A to Z 2017–S is for Surf

S is for Surf

Neville paddled his arms as the small wave pushed him toward shore. He wasn’t sure he was cut out for surfing, but he was in California visiting his American cousin, and apparently this was what his cousin did best.

So, here he was. In the Pacific Ocean. In the sun, for Pete’s sake. One thing he was sure of, he was going to have a sunburn before they were done here. The L.A. branch of the Atwater clan was a sight more sun-roasted than the Blackpool branch. Both lived near the beach, but their beaches were a far and away different places.

As his board ground ashore on the sand, Brad ran to meet him. “Careful of the fiberglass, dude. You can wreck a good board that way.” He chuckled in what Neville thought was an unpleasant way. “Lucky this isn’t a good board, I guess. The rentals are perfect for tourists and newbies.”

“Still,” said Neville, “I don’t want to cause any damage. Maybe I should give up. I don’t think I’m quite getting the hang of this surfing business.”

“Nah, bra! You’ll be catching waves like a pro in no time.” Brad smacked him on an already sun-tender shoulder making Neville wince. “Paddle out to the real waves with me this time. I bet you can get on your feet. It’s actually easier when you’re on a bigger wave. The faster you go, the more stable you are.”

“I’m not certain…”

“Nah, dude. You’ll be fine.” Brad grabbed his own board and splashed into the ocean. “What are you afraid of? Sea monsters?” He laughed as he laid belly-first on his board and started paddling.

Neville felt he had no choice but to follow suit.

Several arduous minutes of paddling later, Neville was approaching the spot where his cousin sat on his board, beyond the breakers, waiting for him.

“That took a while. Gotta bulk up those skinny arms, man. Now, see if you can get your board turned around and I’ll show you… dude. What are you looking at?”

Neville didn’t answer. He couldn’t answer. Instead he pointed to the thing that was a few hundred feet farther out than they were, but moving fast enough under the surface of the water to create a wake they could see.

“Shark! Dude, get back to the beach!” Brad yanked his cousin sideways to help him orient, and then started paddling.

Neville tried to paddle toward shore, but found he was terrified to put his arms in the water. What if one of those things ripped it off? The rational part of his brain knew he was panicking, but he couldn’t make his body work properly.

As he watched, helpless, a large dark mass passed him, took hold of his cousin, and retreated back to the depths from where it came.

  *  *  *

Beneath the waves, two pairs of black eyes danced over their meal.

“Dude, why’d you go after this one? The other one was just sitting there.”

Teeth gleamed in what was almost a smile. “See how nice and brown this one is? The other one was obviously under cooked!”



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  1. Groan…
    So, reasons not to tan, I suppose

  2. Sharks don’t like pale people. Glad I’m safe.

    Once Upon a Time

  3. Paula Meengs says:

    I liked the way you portrayed the sharks as being as adolescent and laid back as the boys.
    It put the two species on a par.

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