The maker of epic VR footage of great white sharks reveals the amazing secret he uses to avoid being bitten by a twenty-foot giant, “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”

“Even a blind criminal finds a nut every now and then.”

I’ve ridden (slightly) bigger waves, warmer waves, nicer waves, longer waves and more so-called perfect waves, but I don’t think any wave is as satisfying as that late afternoon one.

The beach break was in turbulence, so half a mile had to be added to the oar from a distant bay to avoid premature strikes and to absorb energy and rush; Rewarded by getting dry hair outside. Finally, after a mile and a half, alone on an outboard shelf at low tide, the beach is alarmingly remote. A place familiar decades ago, now feels strange and incongruous amid Libra.

The “bombshell” of highest honors swells to reveal its roar as waves move unnaturally fast and slam hard over rocky reefs. The almost flat contrast that still marks the air is the remnants of a storm wind sending crunching teeth of ugly, short-ranged energy onto the surface of an unstable sea. Frighteningly alone, and while I was unable to quell doubts about “Where’s Everyone,” I still knew I could see, and could feel, a gem was seeping through the storm. Confidence from hard-earned experience (read: a career full of kooky smears) created a confidence that drowned out — if by no means overwhelmed — doubts, or at least pretended to do so — and hearing a louder voice yearn for someone who was good at it. Enough to keep me searching.

Years of scrapping on the edges in search of surf gave me the usual hungry crowd at this semi-clear “serious” spot. The crushing sweep of 270-angle heavy Western energy threatened to shake me from the unseen, dependable entry point I had honed through the decades. For more than an hour I knew ‘where’ amidst ‘why’, by triangulating a certain outcropping, a faulty runoff hose from a rickety manse on a hill, with a rocky outcrop to the north completing the puzzle.

The lure of the search wave was a double whistle call to go inside – a fool’s errand, I knew – I still called though I knew it was foolish. And I had to ignore the seductive, north-only grenades that taunted me with their seemingly perfect shooting walls. But I knew that eyes could lie, an illusion that was at once convincingly real, yet palpable in its dishonesty.

The hunt was not in the motion of stalking prey, but in the never-stopping energy of staying planted in one place like a hunting jig.

An hour, alone, then a little more. No chit chat, except for the sound of a wayward seabird. Then, from a distance, a hump appears, but just a hint offers more questions than answers, and I’ve been fooled and disappointed before. Will he bump into my pout, open elegantly or beguile with bits of lips that fall on themselves? Will it swing wide, or be too small for this bottomless negative tide to pass under me. Then I saw that it was mine and it was time.

Flared hook with scalloped edge for entry point. As the wave felt the bottom causing it to rise and hump, it was exactly where it should be, doing exactly what it should do, but to fulfill its destiny, it needed a partner. I turned and of course, accompanying her voice, instinct told me to run away. But this wave, the last piece of the jig saw a puzzle and a game I was playing and remaining a servant of what I knew to be a brain versus the reptilian part of the brain trying to get me to run—I stayed.

And like tango, I got into my own role, my humble role in dancing. A shot of fear-filled suspicion tried to break through—but I caught the face of the giant, more terrifying in his speed and strength than his pure size. And then I was surfing. The photo would be an injustice as it implied that the ending was more important than the journey of being there now (thank you Baba Ram Dass) and it fell off the lip line and down the face, then one turn highlights me. along the face. Nothing fancy, nothing exciting — those days are pretty much gone — but there was a slip up.

The wave—my wave—is where it was supposed to be and does what it was supposed to do, and I play my part in the pas de duex. Then it was over and, I must admit, yelled at myself and myself (except perhaps for the seals – is it a pretense if no one was there to hear or see them?) and then like there is nature, dissipated back into the sea. Cowabunga, boys and girls. Get yours, where he will stay with me and accompany me for a long time.

I had a bowl of ice cream and a fat cup of jack.

Even a blind criminal finds a nut every now and then.

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