Still having dream-sequence flash backs from the last session.
Right-harder. Head-and-a-half high (bigger on the bombs), offshore and running one or two hundred meters down the reef. I hopped out of the van and saw the corrugations warping in from the open Atlantic toward the main peak, heaving upward, almost to pause-for-effect before detonating and writhing down the reef.
At this stage I’m absolutely shitting it. My mate is laughing away and questions (once again) my choice of craft. No leash, low-digit degrees and maybe 10 sessions on this air-bag under my belt to draw experience from. Yeah, maybe you’re onto something there mate, what the hell am I doing? Nonetheless I grab the rolled up surf mat, ducks, socks, gloves and sprint across the field hooting; froth defeats fear. Down on the rocks at the waters edge I’m pulling on the fins and can see how out of my league it looks. I reach down for the gloves and the mat to inflate to see the sea has claimed one of my new gloves. I ignore the ominous sign, stumble out through the bouldery intertidal before flopping onto the half inflated bag, sliding off, hopping on and begin finning out toward the heaving lines of froth. Again the thought runs through my brain… how does duck-dive a pool-toy again?
“What is that thing?”
“Does it have fins?”
“F**k it looks fast”
This day (8th? 10th session?) out on the Sligo coast stacked up as the most critical since that rather memorable first session.
That first session… a shorter lefthand slab up the coast (no, not the one pictured) with an often bottomless take-off before scouring the shallow reef down toward a massive boulder sitting proud on the reef. I thought I could surf. First wave, somehow made this weird floppy bag drop into a shoulder-high gaping pit before being swallowed whole, rag-dolled, slammed on to the reef and dragged into the swirling shallows of the impact zone. Traumatised. Normal folks might have aimed for some benign beachie for some sloppy sliders for their first go on a surf mat. Nah, bricks to that mate, let’s have this. I hobbled out shaken but definitely stirred.
I doubt I’m the only bag man on the Island. Someone mentioned having a go on one last summer; couldn’t manage to ride across the face let alone get it into trim, a bit of fun. Written off. I’ve got a heavy log and two short single-fins up for sale to fund a new bag, something handmade.
I’m losing friends fast. Not sure if they fear infection or association, definitely the unknown has them backing away with their hands up.
Perhaps they think this’ll pass. I’m not so sure.