Saturday morning didn't appeal as I looked out at Home Break. I heard someone say the Porto jetty was overhead, so I decided to wander out there. Not to surf! Just to watch!
As I pulled up in the parking lot, I saw a lot of rolling water with set waves walling up. With no one on them, the waves looked deceptively makeable and small until a particularly big wave would roll through and erase any doubt that this was THE OCEAN.
A couple of guys were gabbing behind me in the parking lot. As I was lacing up my running shoes, one of them kept talking about how he'd go out if he had a leash and "I'm going to go home and get a leash."
I turned to him and asked him what length. 8-foot, 9? "Here, take mine." The back of my car seems to have collected a couple of neatly coiled longboard leashes because I dislike using them so much. "I'm pretty sure this is the 9-foot one."
"No, I can't take your leash."
I shrugged, thrust the thing at him. "No worries."
He thanked me as I jogged off toward the jetty. (The jetty was a great show, by the way. Better shape there, but a harrowing drop that closed out quickly if you weren't in the right spot. A few spongers in the mix just screeeeeeming along the face with amazing speed. But that's not the point of this story.)
I jogged back and marveled at the handful of people who were scattered out at different "peaks." I couldn't imagine what they were thinking. If I were out there... I wouldn't be out there.
From my vantage point on the bike path, I could see a big set on the horizon. Paddle!!! The shortboarder who had been flirting with the line made it. Then I saw a longboarder further down the shore paddling hard to get outside this thing. Uh-oh. This was an eerily familiar sight.
He was not in a good spot. Big wave, lots of water, and he's not going to make it over. So he turtled at the only moment you could in this situation. I couldn't see him, but I knew what was happening because it happened to me. Turtling, he was getting sucked up and over. That board was broken. As sure as I knew mine was snapped when I was underwater, I was equally sure his gone. I looked for him in the whitewater after the wave broke and started to get a little panicky because he wasn't showing up. Finally, I saw his black outline amid all the white. And then I saw something skittering toward shore. Half a board.
So I continued walking back to the parking lot. (I supposed I had stopped because those waves had stopped time.) As I got closer, I saw the surfer with the broken board walking with his friend. The surfer was the guy to whom I gave my leash!
I felt awful. Sorta. He might not have gone in if I hadn't given him my leash right there. He might have gone home for his leash and realized that going out in that water was not rational. Then again, he might have gone home for his leash and gone out anyway. He was making quite a lot of talk with his friend about doing so.
One thing I am certain of, the leash is cursed.