Hangover

Written on 04/17/2013

I woke up dizzy, feeling like a zombie, with the phone telling me it was already half past noon. The french girl laying next to me, even without intending to, used all that was left of my five senses to make getting out of bed an even harder challenge. I knew about the surf forecast and was fully aware there were great chances Kirra would be doing it’s thing that Saturday morning.

However, despite that previous knowledge about the surfing conditions, I had already planned to wake up around mid day. It was actually unavoidable because the night before we’d played a gig at Darcy’s Arms, an Irish bar in Surfers Paradise. And a gig at Darcy’s never goes by without drunk Irish people, many shots of high alcohol percentage drinks and laughing until late hours. To cut this part of the story short, I woke up with a big blank gap inside my head, smelling perfume next to me, feeling the taste of distilled beverages in my mouth and with my hole body tingling. In the back of my head I could feel the waves should be good though.

I got up slowly with no rush at all, savoring the last few seconds next to that girl. Went into the kitchen, filled a glass of water and for a second tried to put together the flashbacks from twelve hours before. No success. Got back into the bedroom and, after another half hour in bed, we were hanging out on the couch in the living room. Me, her and the two friends who lived with me. The house was pretty small so when someone got up and engaged into breakfast prepping it was impossible not to wake up on the noise of the crockery.

We devoured something I can’t remember what just to end the initial hangover hunger and in in no time we found ourselves watching Tenacious D while going through some spaghetti. When the movie ended, Lorenzo finally asked the question probably should’ve been asked long time before, “do ya reckon there’s waves?”.

We tuned into CoastWatch’s live Kirra cam and were all dazed while watching some dude get a 5 second pixelated barrel on the screen of our computer. We went crazy. I’m not sure but I think it didn’t take us more than 10 minutes to pack four boards, wetsuits, towels, camera, wax, leashes and a a big joint into our car. Next thing we know we were heading towards the superbank with The Black Keys playing in the back. The hangover had been left behind. At least it seemed that way.

When we went over the hill at Kirra the bigger sets were right on the edge of 8 feet. Perfect. Sand colored barrels were detonating over the shallow bank. It was no kids playground out there. Four or five jet skis were pulling Mick, Parko and friends into the gnarlier waves while the crowd tried to take the drop into anything that moved. Oh, the crowd… The amount of people in the water already unbelievable during the week was now multiplied by two cause it was a Saturday. Th wave wasn’t making anything easier, swallowing itself at each set while peeling off the infamous Kirra groin.

I was quick to put the wetsuit on and in a few minutes was already running around Greenmouth point towards Snapper’s keyhole. Kirra is the last section of the superbank and as a strong current tends to push everyone down the point, the best entry spot is usually through Snapper Rocks. Once out there, all one’s got to do is let the current drag you down to the end of the bank where, on this day, 6 to 8 foot barrels awaited like a meat grinder waits for a boneless piece of steak willing to turn it into minced meat.

Got out there with no major difficulties despite the heavy sets breaking at Snapper point. Then I just saved the little energy I had and allowed the current to drag me down pretty fast towards Kirra. I knew I was close when I started hearing a sound that reminded me of a plane’s turbine generated by 3 feet thick lips racing down the line over the sand bank. I’ll admit it, when I finally went by the groin I was a bit scared. The first set that came was 3x2, the face was 3 meters tall and the barrel was 2 meters wide. I mean, it was square and while you probably couldn’t fit a bus inside it, you could easily fit a yellow Fusca (old small Brazilian car, google it if you never seen one).

The crowd was like a plague. The lineup was like an attacked anthill. A war zone where the silence was only broken by the screams of those who had priority on each wave. I decided that if I didn’t went for it quickly I’d go pass the groin and lose the best position for take off along with the chance of getting pitted.

I paddled for my first wave and thought I got in. However, when I searched for the deck of my board with my feet, it just wasn’t there anymore. It was all so fast but so slow… The fraction of a second that took between the top of the wave to hitting the bottom seemed like an eternity, and then I felt the sensation everyone loves to describe in surf movies, the washing machine feel. I went around at least 3 times and wasn’t aware of which way was up anymore when the white water finally released me. I pulled my leash but the board was being dragged down by the strength of the water moving around. When I managed to get over it and started paddling back out, the inevitable happened: a set started to roll in. I got beaten up and raped like a small young virgin in the hands of a sadistic African porn star. But, in the end, I made it back out.

I sat on my board and felt a few looks from the crowd around me. Only I had taken that particular set on the head and everyone had seen it looking down from the line up. Another set came up and I started paddling up the point in order to get the preference over as many guys as I could. It worked as a 5 footer rolled, a bit steeper but smaller than most of the other waves. I took off in the air but this time I was prepared for it. Managed to keep both feet in place and corrected my line in time to get crazy slotted. Did two pumps and made it out dry with the spit. I felt like a wet piece of cloth hanging in the wind.

The wave shut down behind me and for a second I didn’t know whether to go in or try to paddle back out. Eventually I jumped from my board escaping under the white water. It was the right call for I was lucky enough to escape the impact zone before the next set came in. At this point I was adrenalized and I ran into Lorenzo. We both shared a few nervous laughs before more lines appeared in the horizon.

My arms were sore due to the lack of energy caused by the night before and I had another gig at the same bar in a couple of hours. I decided to catch the next one in, however it seems that every time one decides to do that the waves just stop coming it’s way… It took me half and hour amongst the crowd to find a closeout all for myself. I dropped straight down, laid on my board and rode the white water all the way to the beach.

When I stood on the sand I was exhausted. Couldn’t event speak properly. My muscles screamed silently warning me that the walk back to the car would be a painful one, as it was. I don’t know how, but we made it back home smoking the last half of the joint strategically put away before we went out. Neither of us said a word the whole way. The gig that night went fine.