Water attracted her, felt safe,
comforting, but surfing? Playing in the waves a delight,
not riding them. She was confident at the beach. The
ocean a reasonably private haven of security.
She looked at the throngs of
beachgoers, she assessed her own forty-five year old
body — Looks better than most! So, across the sand to
the surfboard rental booth. She dragged a yellow board
into the water, flopped aboard, and flopped off.
Again and yet again, body on;
body off, body on, off. Outraged, she gave the board a
whack thrust it out in front of her; it skimmed out of
She splashed through the
incoming waves, she reached out wrapped her arms around
the board. She turned, look back towards the beach. Was
anyone watching this inglorious performance?
The sun reflecting on the white
sand the glistening blue water distorted her vision. She
saw a figure walking through the water. He had a shock
of gray hair, side burns, bronze body, white suit, a
very tiny white suit. She took a deep breath, shut her
eyes. She shook her head, her memory began to fade, she
heard the rustle of leaves, then a backwash wave slapped
her across the face, she heard a voice out of the past
but no, this voice was now:
"Hey, you Haole lady, you neva
stay on, betcha you got da oil on your nice bod, here,
sand and salt water clean you good." And he reached
down, dug out bottom sand, and threw some of it on her
front, then on the board. He was laughing. She was not
ready to laugh. Then he said as he moved in closer,
"Come on, you scrub da board I scrub you."
Should she smile, laugh, run off
or go with the flow? She thinks, fresh Hawaii
beach boy. No, not a boy, her age or older.
"Smile, it no broke your face.
You want I should teach you surf? I’m Rabbit." She’s
thinking: "Sure, your name is Rabbit like mine is Bunny.
But what the Hell! I want to learn to surf and here he
She watched as he picked up the
board, and in one unbroken motion placed it on his left
shoulder. He headed back to the beach. She hesitated,
"This is not the way to the surf." As they crossed the
sand she could sense the people watching. She felt her
stomach tighten; her eyes automatically cast their focus
downward, she would not look at them. Ahead of her:
Rabbit, her board, the sand, the thousands of eyes. Her
board was now beached, lying upside down on the sand.
Rabbit motioned for her to kneel on the board. OK. She
wiped the sand from her hands, gritted her teeth, took a
deep breath, and did as she was told. Rabbit instructed:
lie on the board, hands grip the edges parallel to her
shoulders, push up, get up, one foot ahead of the other,
knees bent, to a standing position. The sun’s heat
penetrating her body, she kept her head down focusing on
the sound of his voice. "Again, get ready, push up, on
da feet, knees bent, stand up." In fifteen minutes she
learned the drill. Then a piece of white stuff was
tossed on the board. "Wax da board, den we go."
She crouched over the board,
rubbing, rubbing. She ventured a glance, no one was
looking― she saw feet next to her board, “enough wax,
He hoisted her board to his
shoulder, scooped another under his arm and tossed both
of them into the water, "Get on, paddle, follow me" He
held the nose of the board, "Move forward." She did as
she was told. But after a few moments of braving the
constant slapping of the waves across her body and the
push back of the current, he was way out ahead.
She stroked harder, her arms
already cramping. She saw Rabbit paddling back. He
hooked his toes onto the nose of her board, like a tow
truck― “Paddle, dig deep!”
Out they went, way out to
breaking waves. The water was clear, cool, the air warm,
the breeze gentle. She was sure she was wet with
perspiration. He stopped, positioned her board facing
the beach. "Now when I say get ready, go, paddle, you
paddle like hell― when I say up, get up, you get up
fast, keep your knees relaxed, shoulders and feet square
to the board; feel for the speed of the wave when it
pushes the board."
The waves looked gigantic. Then,
"Get ready, ready, and, go, go ― paddle, paddle, dig!”
She felt the board move out and then a sudden
acceleration. She was paddling like hell. She heard the
command, "Up, up, get up! She gripped the sides of the
board, pushed up, got her feet under her. ― She stood
straight up, bent back, her arms flailing the air, she
was off, into the air, butt first into the water,
floundering. She looked back. Rabbit was motioning,
waving his arms, pointing. "What?"
As she reached for the board, a
wave crashed on her head and the board flew straight up
like a missile. She was driven down and down.
Reflexively, she wrapped her arms around her head. She
came up gasping. Another wave collapsed above her with
overwhelming turbulence; she went down, came up and was
driven down again, tumbling, the underwater
reverberations deafening her. She opened her eyes
underwater. "Sunlight" she thought "That’s the way."
Her head broke through the
surface; she gasped for air, reached for her board, her
arms wrapped around the nose holding on. Then she felt
her body being lifted up and up. She looked down as she
was carried up the face of the wave. The view from the
top of the wave to the bottom tore her breath away.
The front end of the surfboard
pointed straight down, later, she would learn the term
for this unwanted maneuver, pearl diving or pearling.
She shut her eyes, threw out her arms, her body
spiraling in a free fall. The wave crashed. Darkness.
She was face down, mouth open,
eyes open, looking at unfathomable depths, choking, she
felt suffocated, her throat burned, ears ached, eyes
burned as the pressure made it feel as though they were
being sucked out of her head. Her body scraped against
the worn reef, churned into the bottom sand. She felt
something slimy brush across her face. She was being
carried down, down; it was a long corridor, he was in a
white coat, a black mask was forced over her face, she
was held down, couldn’t breathe, "Tonsils, they took out
my tonsils. I want my Daddy." She fought, struggled,
gasping, desperate for air. Her arms flailed in downward
strokes, her legs thrashed. She pushed herself, willed
herself to the surface gasping for air. One deep gasp
was all she got before she was overcome by more
turbulence and the salty foam of the churning white
water. Her sinuses were draining torrents of water. She
is coughing, fighting the vomiting reflex, shaking her
head, gasping for more air. "This is it, this is the
end. Where is the flashing of the past before my eyes?"
"The board, I have to get to my
board. Where’s Rabbit?" She twisted around, paddling to
keep afloat, keeping her back to the unrelenting waves,
diving down, trying to get under the tumult, allowing
the current to push her toward shore. Each time she rose
to the surface she was looking. Where was it? Where was
he? And she spotted a vacant yellow board far to the
left, about twenty-five yards away. Another crashing
wave down she went again. Up again looking, looking, the
board ― it was not where it had been a wave ago.
It was even further away, to the
far right. Again, she began to swim. She could barely
lift her arms. Her legs are dragging, her body aching.
"Doesn’t anybody care enough to get my board for me?" A
teenage boy called over to her, "Need some help?" "Boy,
do I ever," she mutters but answers "No, but thanks."
"Out here take care of yourself signifies that
you are on your own."
She looked back. Where was that
Rabbit? She could not find him; another wave rose up and
blocked her view. Again, she looked, no Rabbit. "Where
is that perverse SOB? He must know I need help, he
doesn’t have to read minds to get my message." And when
she finally picked him out from the other surfers, she
saw that he was sitting on his board, arms crossed, the
tail fins of the board out of the water behind him, just
watching her, like a big Buddha.
She continued to chase after her
board; well, chase was hardly the right term: she was
slow, persistent: Sidestroke, crawl, backstroke, float,
dog paddle. Walk? Her toes brushed the bottom as the
in-shore waves receded. Despite being able touch bits of
coral mounds the waves continued to lift her up and
smash her down.
And the board had a mind of its
own, teasing, skimming toward her on the wave backwash
but then dodging just out of her grasp. The board
bounced her way the waves subsided. She could now walk
over to this damndable yellow object; she draped her
body over the center, rolled her body on, wiped hair out
of her face, put her head down, closed her eyes, letting
her arms hang in the water. Then she remembered: And her
eyes flashed open, her head jerked up, she grabbed the
rails, body rising from the waist. She looked out at the
incoming, now her attention to the waves was absolute.
"Never take your eyes off of the incoming waves."
She plotted her course a calm
almost wave less route back out; she timed the break of
the waves. Accelerate: go up and over. Decelerate, back
paddle to slow down, wait for the wave to pass under.
Stroke with only the left arm, move right, stroke with
the right arm move left. Watch every wave, every surfer.
It was likened to the marching cadence or a dance,
generally she was a watcher not a participant, but she
knew rhythmic movement.
There was ebb and flow, rise and
fall, mountains and valleys, but the timing, people,
heights and depths were the elements of
"Who is this Rabbit person?"
And, "Does he have a real name?"
After the long paddle back, she
wanted to rest, needed to rest. She looked up at Rabbit
as he moved her board next to his own. Before she had
time for a smile or hears a word of encouragement, he
spun her around, yelled "Ready" and pushed her into
another wave. "Paddle, dig deep, faster, UP, UP, NOW,
GET UP! No fly off like da turkey."
She paddled, got her body into
position, knees, legs and feet under her, she was up
with the rush of the wave and the speed of the board,
her vision blurred the wind and salt water in her face,
her body trembling. She was riding the wave! Not pretty,
but she was up and going ahead. "Hang on feet, don’t
fail me now." She struggled. She could hear the wave
behind her. See the sparkling of white water trying to
"Oh, God! Like flying on the
water. What now? How do I stop?"
She shifted her body, turned her
head to look back, lost her balance and flew off; but as
she crash-landed her arms were out, hands extended,
fingers stretched; she caught the board. "You’re not
going to get away this time." She was energized. She
could feel her heart racing, she was laughing. She
looked at her hand holding onto the board, "Damn, I
broke a nail and I don’t even care. I rode my first
She slapped the water with her
open hand, yelling, "Yes, yes, I did it." She looked
around, whispering to herself, "Who saw that? Did he?"
Yes, there he was, the grand poobah, waving. Rabbit,
waving. And as she maneuvered her way back she
remembered that she was the one who would avoid or
ignore an activity rather than risk first time failure.
For her it had always been,
"Better to experiment, learn on your own, then be
perfect with the first public display, it had always
been that way or it was nothing at all. Well, Get
over it!" This is fun! Awesome, stoked, ripped
now had meaning.
She was finally able to look
beyond the end of her own surfboard. Surfers had a cord
attached to their boards connected to a strap around
their ankle. Why didn’t she have one of those whatevers?
She would ask. "Rabbit why don’t I have a rope tied to
my ankle and connected to my board?" He answered
gruffly, "Dat’s a leash, too dangerous, no good for
beginner. You just grab for your board and hang on,
loose it, swim for it. Even if the board turns over, you
hang on, look like turtle is OK." She thought she saw a
sly smile creep across his face. "Who is this lunatic
and why do I trust him?"
For the next 40 minutes he
pushed her into just the right waves. Crashing, falling,
swimming after the board, but up and riding too. When he
readied her for a wave he yelled out "surfer" and the
sea of surfers parted magically at the sound of his
Then Rabbit said, "stay in dis
pocket, on the right shoulder, watch the waves, paddle
around, build up your strength and stamina. " Mo betta I
go now. See you at 10:00 tomorrow at the rental booth.
And keep away from the crowd." She nodded, asking,
"Pocket, what’s the pocket?" "Da pocket is here." "Where
exactly is here ― everything moves out here."
He shook his head and paddled
away. She learned later that he went to Queens Surf, for
locals only; outside surfers knew to stay clear of this
spot. If they did not know it was made clear with
surfing maneuvers that wiped them out.
Her location was called
Canoes and Baby Queens. Every surfing spot
had a name and reputation. The next surf spot, First
Break and way out Pops then
Number Threes, Kaisers, Inbetweens,
Rock Pile and Ala Moana; place names all.
The rest of the morning spent
paddling, chasing waves, watching surfers, trying to
imitate their moves, getting control. And when her arms
no longer worked she quit. She let the incoming tide and
smaller inside waves carry her back to the beach. As she
began to drag the board back to the rental stand, "Here
lady, let me take that in for you." One of the beach
boys relieved her of the board. "Another Hawaiian living
off of the fruits of the sea, once fish and seaweed, now
tourists." She sat drying in the shade of sea grape and
palm trees observing the action. The scent of the sea,
the tropical flowers, the rustling of the palm fronds
"I can do this! No matter what I
looked like today." The passion quickened her walk back
to the hotel. She was more tired than she had been in
years, but she envisioned herself whipping down the face
of a wave, crouching to turn right, then left, up to the
lip and down across the face into the trough, just ahead
of the break, tucking into the perfect tube.
She found a book and studied all
evening, trying to absorb as much surfing arcana as
possible. The next morning on the beach she was still
She was at the rental stand at
9:00. The boards were lined up like the Moai on Easter
Island, all with their backs to the ocean waiting; she
walked among them, until she located her special
yellow board. She hated yellow! It had an insignia of
Poseidon midway to the front. Her learner’s position
No dumb Haole lady today.
She looked away from her reading
and watched the waves, counting as best she could from
the shore. One ― two ― three ― four― five ― six ― seven
― eight― nine. Nine, she had read Burdick’s ‘The Ninth
Wave’ in college. All about, waiting for the ninth wave.
"Howzit Haole lady, you come
back. You really want ta learn surf?" His tone said he
was surprised to see her. He was laughing as he said,
"You no learn from dat book, you learn from me, best
surfer and teacher in Hawaii, even the world. Put your
stuff up, I get da boards; we start some serious
learning on the Inside." Serious learning? What was
yesterday? And, what’s this ‘inside’ as opposed to
outside?" She wouldn’t ask. She would find out, but on
her own. That was her manner.
Inside, turned out to be the
area closer to the beach where the waves of the outside
had another chance to form on the outcroppings of the
inner reef. Not so fast, not so big, more predictable in
a more shallow area. As she paddled behind Rabbit she
noticed that other aspiring student surfers were there
with their teachers. They all shouted the same commands:
"Get ready, paddle, dig deep, up." But, no matter how
many voices chanted these words, she could identify
Rabbit’s voice. And for an hour that day and the
succeeding three days she learned the basic skills: on
board balance, getting up, knees bent, one foot ahead of
the other, pressing her weight into the direction she
wanted to go, trimming or orienting herself on the
surfboard so it could plane as fast as possible, reading
the juice ― the power of the wave, lifting the nose,
lifting the tail, riding the rails, crouching down,
looking back at the wave, timing the stroking speed,
looking back while paddling to time, speed, kicking out,
― to turn abruptly to get out of the wave, diving off,
aborting a wave, all this on merely the two to four foot
There were wipeouts but she was
stronger, more confident, and in a safer more
predictable wave pattern location. After lesson time she
paddled out to watch the practiced surfers and the
turkeys ― no-nothing tourists who were over their
heads literally and figuratively. At times the area
became a lake of calm, clear blue water, there were
passing tropical rain showers, light breezes, a flash of
a water creature dancing on the surface, it was serene.
"This is the perfect
place," she thinks, "Being here, all outside
thoughts, worries gone, and it’s just me, the ocean, the
gentle rocking motion as I sit on my surfboard. The calm
waters, the warmth of the sun, the gentle tropical rain
showers ― no stress ― it brings you back to earth. But,
the ocean has moods, the way a human being does.”
Each evening she continued her
studies despite the admonitions from Rabbit about book
learning. "Who is he to tell me about book learning?" At
least she could learn the rules of surfing etiquette and
basic ocean survival. Never cut off a surfer who is
already riding the wave. Never turn your back on
the ocean. She thinks, "It’s not all in books but books
help me. Except: Who is
As she drifted off to sleep, she
could even now sense the rocking motion of the waves,
the coolness of the water on her sun-drenched skin; the
sounds of the sea surrounded her, the palm fronds
outside the window rustled as they brushed against the
balcony. The identical sound made by the branches of
trees as they rustled above and around her in the
orchard. Without a pause she was able to fashion for
herself this long ago adventure:
Frame one: I am sitting on the
beach. I have my arms wrapped around my legs, my chin
resting on my knees; I am staring out at the
ever-changing surface of the ocean. I am watching the
surfers. Thousands of people are on the beach and I feel
so alone. Why?
No one is paying any attention
to me. Except I know, without looking, that there is one
pair of eyes fixed upon me. Those eyes, with their
powerful gaze, make me feel childlike, small and
miserable. This was so confusing.
Frame two: I had oiled my body
with sunscreen and I didn’t have any success with even
lying on the board in the shallow water. And, yes,
Rabbit did come out to offer his assistance and a lesson
and he did help me to scrub off the oil from my
surfboard and then my body. I wanted to say no but I
didn’t know how.
Saying no, hearing no, was an
invitation for total rejection and possible abandonment.
Better to say yes, or say nothing, than to say no.
And not asking was a way I had
learned never to hear no. I would trust this man, but
just for now, to learn to paddle around on a surfboard
and maybe to learn to ride a wave.
But my fright and suspicion of
this man was overwhelming. I did not know how to
evaluate the intensions of men. It was all a guessing
game; more than that it was going along blinded by the
aura of mysterious images that were hidden deep from me
consciousness if they were there at all. Could he tell,
did he know, could he recognize my vulnerability? It was
my ‘Show time’ on the beach at Waikiki. My mind went
into neutral while we were on the beach going through
the basics of board skills. I was in an auto obey and
action mode. It took all of my strength emotionally to
go through the ‘on the sand’ lessons of the basic moves
I had to block out all of the
external input, just focus on his voice. My body was
trembling, I could barely hold onto the bar of wax when
it was handed to me with orders to ready the board for
the lesson. My mouth was dry and words stuck to the
inside. In any case I was too much in a state of shock
I knew that I was up and down
and moving around in a pattern. Listening for directions
knowing he would say "get up on the right foot first"
and I had to think, which is right? And, "hands out
level with da shoulder" and I could not remember where
my shoulders were, my lips would have been in bloody
tatters if the pain had not been so intense.
I did not know how to defend
herself from the thousands of eyes that must have been
watching, nor from the, and I thought that I was sure of
this, the seductiveness of this confident Hawaiian male.
But I wanted: what did I want? What did I want?
Frame three: I did go out that
first day. We kept on the inside and he pushed me into
gentle waves. I did not think they were either small or
gentle. I was able to get up, do the tourist pose: feet
squared, body facing front and arms out shoulder high.
And each time I managed to paddle back with my weak
arms, he’d turn the board around, watch the incoming
waves and push me into the next one. Never let me rest.
Just right ones for beginners.
I noticed that this man never
met my direct gaze. He was distant, silent between the
orders for catching a wave. Questions went unanswered
almost as if he could not hear or care to hear. When
answers came they were limited to one or two words. I
finally asked, "When do you know to get up on the
board?" His curt reply, "When you feel the speed." I
needed to ask, "What is the speed?" But, no, eventually
I became as silent as he; I stared at the waves, the
beach, the buildings, the flags on the buildings, the
number of waves that passed by.
For an hour I concentrated on
the task, staying on the board. Rabbit watched me,
referred to falling off as "You make like flapping
turkey." Then he offered me an alternative, "Crouch down
when you lose balance."
He would wave and shout at his
buddies who were surfing or paddling the outrigger
canoes filled with tourists. They spoke English, I was
sure it was English, but with strange syntax that I
could not follow. "Mai sista hia, or as gaiz kaen go
pati yo haus, daes rait, no gon ren tumaro, Aes da kain
gaiz de awl tawk only, phrases like that.
And that’s how it went. No big
dramatics, no story in a glorifying novel, just ordinary
"Haole tourist learning to surf on the beach at
"Waikiki" nothing to write about. It was fun. Nothing
gained but nothing lost either. No great victories no
losses. It was simply just another day in my life.
But, there was something more:
when I was out on the water. Rabbit by my side, I had a
feeling of peacefulness even when I struggled to ride a
wave. The power of the waves challenged me, frightened
me, but he was there.
Even with his silence she had a
feeling of trust. And there was a sense of singularity,
the contact with the water drove out all other thoughts,
it was like flying, I had to concentrate on my task, it
was a life or death situation. If I became distracted I
could perish. I had to place all of my trust in myself
and my skills; and more than that, first there was trust
in my mentor, his skills at his task. I was sure that if
I lost control, faltered, cried out there was a person
by my side that would guide me to safety.
Frame four: that night I did
read up on surfing, I did wish to do more surfing but
with more skill. But included in my thoughts, what were
the risks? The worst was that I could get hurt: by a
board, mine or someone else’s, or in the reef
out-cropping. The boards went flying around out there:
beginners, hotdoggers, Hawaiians aiming to injure or
wipeout stupid, rude Californians.
I faced these alternatives (1)
look like an old fool; or (2) never learn or (3) give up
the effort or (4) overcome the love/hate relationship
with water, and letting go of my modesty and
I thought being in a bathing
suit and on a surfboard with gray hair drew looks. I
don’t know why I thought this. I know I am in good shape
but this sort of exposure makes me uncomfortable. I had
always wanted to have a tall angular frame, without
boobs, narrow hips; the athletic look not the seductive
Frame five: that second morning,
when I went down to the beach, I got my towel from the
Royal Hawaiian pool captain, I was shown to my reserved
table by the pool "great big waves today" I realized I
was going to have to expose myself again I wished
secretly that the surf was down, a storm would rolled
in, jelly fish invasion, or some other outside element
would give me an excuse to be land bound, bored but
I took off my watch, ring, and
sunglasses, disrobed slowly, and folded every piece
carefully, placing the items on the umbrella-shaded
table. I kicked off my sandals and arranged them next to
the lounge chair, stalling. "If I move slowly and
methodically it will take longer and I’ll be less
noticed." I walked out of the pool area to the beach. I
barely glanced up at the ocean, watching my feet as they
moved along toward the surfboard rental stand. I signed
for the board, took a piece of wax and dragged the board
into the shade. I waxed and then sat on the sand waiting
for Rabbit. And this was my routine for three days. The
lessons progressed. I was feeling more confident.
Frame six: On the third day
Rabbit, was a bit more forthcoming with conversation. He
was divorced, red flag, his girl friend never came down
to the beach until lunchtime, two red flags, his
daughters were in school, three flags, there was a spa
in the basement of the Royal Hawaiian, warning bells
went off in her head. But that was all for that morning.
He was going to be late on the next day. "Get a board
and practice stay on the inside waves."
So, after finishing my regular
preparations on the following morning I got my board and
paddled out to where I thought the inside pocket was.
And there I sat: the waves were flat. The pocket was
small, the population was dense, and the few swells that
developed were slow, hard to catch, and crowded.
Suddenly I had no time to evaluate my situation.
I felt the board lift. I saw the
other surfers paddling out, past me. I looked over my
shoulder and saw that there were giant incoming swells.
Automatically, I flattened my body on the board and
started to paddle out too. I was in high gear as I saw
that the lull was over. I got past the crash zone and
outside beyond the group of experienced surfers.
Waves rolling in fast developing
long high walls. Shouts of elation, cries of "That’s
mine" and "Surfer!" I watched from my safe perch and
speculated, "Should I or shouldn’t I?’ "What would
Rabbit say?" I knew if I stayed on the far left
shoulder, waited for other surfers to turn right I could
try to go it alone. Yes, I would match my skills against
the power of these waves. If I only had a leash, damn,
but I would grab for the board, hope to catch it before
it got away. Or I might get lucky and stay on even if it
had to be in a prone position, the baby way, but safer
then wiping out totally. I counted the waves, "one, two,
three, four, five" The "ninth" wave was out there
nearing I began to paddle, digging deep building up
speed to match the wave’s momentum.
Then I was sure I heard his
voice "Ready, don’t stop now, dig deep, go, go, up, up.
My body responded to the voice I was up and heading
across the face of the wave. I dared not look down. I
stayed in a crouched position until I was sure of my
balance then I stood up crouched back down, rode my wave
on and on. It curled around me. As the kids say, "It was
That’s what I remember happened
then, this is now. I remembered Rabbit.
Rabbit…who are you? Why do I
think of you and our times together? Have pictures of
us, many, over the 30 years of our association. I
believe, at this moment, that you must be the one man
that I entrusted with my life; you never let me down,
never asked for a reward in return. Although there were
times in those early days that I wondered if you might
have sex on the mind and in the body. You probably still
do, you are a sexy guy, but our friendship was more
important to me then all the overshadowing that sex
might have played in destroying a lasting and long
So who is this "Rabbit"? Rabbit
is not one person; like the chameleon, changing,
adjusting to suit his situation. To many of his beach
buddies he is a braggart, "A legend in his own mind"
some say, but not within his hearing; he is one tough
Kanaka. They know they would be "All bus’up." To others
on the beach, a symbol of success. To his own children a
supportive father. To his teammates, a competitor of
unequal stature. To some tourists he is a dumb Hawaiian,
speaking pidgin "to da max." To many, many chosen women,
a great lover. He loves the women, avoids the smoke and
drink. To the children of Hawaii, a generous, devoted
hero. To his sport, a master, a true waterman, an
ageless participant, smart, cunning, and to his banker a
financial success story. He is a man who hides his
agenda, speaks Pigin for the tourists and beautiful
English, can work the New York Times crossword puzzle,
in ink, in 30 minutes or less.
He is featured in movies,
magazines, newspapers, television advertisements, books,
teaching, always teaching, sharing his 85 years of
water’s way every day of his life. He is known globally
in the surfing world, sponsoring his own long board
contest in Costa Rica.
He is of short stature. An honor
student at Kamahamaha High School, college scholarship
denied because of his slight build. Given name, Albert.
One of five children. On the beach since he was three.
Born November 11, 1920.
Left the beach once during WWII
for service in underwater demolition duty. He has never
had an 8-5 job, the sand between his toes that is his
life. He is a beautiful many facetted man.
He gave me trophies as his
student, one in 1981 another in 1990. One engraved with
my name and "Class A Student Surfer" the other "Rabbits
Surfing Success." I was not a kid but a mature woman,
forty-five plus, seeking to learn to live in his element
and enjoying it, sometimes fearfully but game for the
experience. I could listen to him whether he was at my
side or far away; I could always hear his voice, feel
his presence. I trusted him.