So yesterday I checked out the O-side bodysurfing comp and took one look at the waves on the south side and basically shit my pants. Never in my life have I bodysurfed waves that big! Or heavy! I was glad I had missed my practice heat because I didn’t want to embarrass myself out there! Literally, I felt like yeah, sure, you could make me swim out these amongst the bombs but hellllzzzz no would I be chucking my body over the face of one of those! Thank you for the free lunch and t-shirt World Championships of Bodysurfing, but no thanks!
But… I thought about what Ted had said when he called me up last Friday from Humboldt: “Aw Katie, you’ll win it. Just find the biggest one and go for it!”
Well, I went down to Surfy Surf surf shop in Leucadia and found myself a little confidence booster…
…and said to myself: “Okay, so you’re gonna wear this to bed tonight, and wear it to the comp tomorrow morning, and so when the biggest bomb comes and no one wants to take it because it’s so thick and closing out, you’re gonna channel that little dude, throw up the shaka, and just screw everything else and go for it.”
So I wore it to bed,
Wore it to the comp,
Got there at 6:45 am for my 8:15 heat,
Was SO nervous,
Checked in at 8am,
Grabbed my fins, left my wetsuit,
AND BONZED OUT IN THE RIP AT 8:15!
Almost immediately I heard the spectators on the pier whistling… which only meant one thing–OUTSIIIDEEE! I had barely time to catch my breath and get used to the cold when I had to haul ass to the outside and dive under a huge cleanup set. The last and biggest wave of the set came by me unbroken. I paused at the crest, looking down the face, pondering a late drop in…
…It looked like I was about to jump off the roof of my house head first! I checked hard over the back of the wave to safety–OVERRR IT!
There was a little lull for a very short while, and then I heard the tell tale whistles from the pier again. I looked up, and only then did I hear the people screaming to us to “SWIM SWIM SWIM! SWIM OUT! SWIM OUT! OUTSIDE! BIG OUTSIDE!”
I wasted NO time. Hellz no did I want to get caught in the whitewash of one of those. PLUS, the current had already swept me close to the pilings of the pier.
The first wave broke in front of me, and I dove deep under and came up swimming.
The second and larger wave broke under me, and I dove deep again and came up swimming.
The THIRD and largest wave came. I was the only one in position, but it looked like it was closing out. It was SO big, maybe even the biggest wave I’ve ever seen in real life (except for Santa Cruz winters of course), and I was thinking about going over the falls on it. I thought to myself, “Fuck that!” but then, I thought about that little shaka guy on my shirt on the shore, and I heard Ted’s voice in my head about taking the biggest one…. and I said to myself, “Fuck it!” And sunk down, kicked into the wave, shot out at the top, looked down the ~10 feet in front of me, thought “Oh shit!!!!” and with one more kick and a stroke I was flying SO FAST down the face of the wave. Miraculously, I had launched into a little pocket and was able to get two spinners in before I was completely eaten alive. But, I came up coughing, smiling, alive, and most importantly without a broken neck!
Trés bien! It wasn’t that bad– in fact, I would say invigorating!
So now I was on. And I caught a bunch more like this little guy (but none as big or awesome as that first):
And then I won my heat in the semi finals!
So I made it into the finals at 11:30 and, oh well, didn’t win…. BUT I did end up catching the biggest waves again!
I also got the biggest hiding of my LIFE! on some of them!
I heard the five-minute horn blow while I was hacking up sandy seawater on the inside, and I don’t think I’d ever been more relieved. I also don’t think I’ve ever experienced a longer five minutes in my life. I took a bunch of waves– got a little barrel on two of them (but I don’t think anyone really saw because I had gotten swept pretty far away. But I really, REALLY have never been beaten up so bad by the ocean. I had a pretty good hold down on my first bomb, and REALLY good hold down on my second bomb, and had a remarkably disorientating tumble in my third. For the first time in my life, my body went into survival mode and started looking for the direction of bubbles to find my way to the surface. When I FINALLY heard the double-horn for the end of my heat, I was like YESSSS! and went in… and LAID DOWN!
Let’s be real here though:
I was pretty glad I didn’t win my finals heat– I didn’t want to go back out there in the grand championship heat! I was so tired! Even as I write this, I know the waves are good and I want to go surf or swim or bodysurf… but I’m just sooo tireeddd!
Until next time,
your 4th place women’s 18-29 world champ n00b competitor,