The wave peeks. White foam forming as it starts to break. A voice comes out of the ether “Paddle at the wave!” It is a memory of a past instruction from Mike.
The paddle digs in and the boat struggles forward. Rising up the face of the wave I turn to look back down the line. My boat pivots and starts picking up speed. The disembodied voice comes back “Use your rail!” I like Mike, he isn’t on the water and still his spirit is out here.
The boat slides sickeningly sideways. I am too flat and adjust my rail. I pick up speed racing down the line and swing around to look back at the pile. Spray flies out from the bottom of my boat as I switch rails. My paddle drags and I lose speed but the pile is racing towards me. Again I turn back down the line, banking off the foam. I must be near shore, the entire line is beginning to face. I pop off over the top and look around. My mind really isn’t present, muscle memory is all I have…and Mike’s instructions.