My First Barrel by Max Melvil
“Go for it!”- the selfless surfers chant. A willing cry of someone who knows they are not in the right position to paddle for a rising swell but desperate to share the joy. The weightless feeling of takeoff – a unique rush as you steeply charge down an ocean floor as it simultaneously sends you forward from behind and pulls you along from ahead. Like every other ‘best wave of my life’, I started to angle across it, as a moving wall of water was continuously forming alongside me on the one side but only as fast as it was getting sucked up in front of me on the other. Still and focused, it was propelling me forward as I clinched to its potential.
As if with natural intent, my liquid surroundings started to peal over me, surrounding me with calm and chaos in equal measure. Hunched over and tucked away in my own personal secret pocket of the ocean, I wasn’t sure whether I curled up out of trust or fear as I sped through a narrowing tunnel of adrenaline. Similar to waiting for my first kiss, when it finally happened, the experience was half spent trying to take it all in and the rest reminding myself to focus on what I was doing so I didn’t mess up.
As the spiralling portal in front of me closed out, I was taken by the familiar motion of the ocean, to once again emerge humbled on the other side in a wake of crumbling white water searching for my breath and my board. As I looked around to see if anyone else had witnessed my 2-second miracle, I was struck by the wholesome affirmation that some experiences you can’t share, nor should you want to. At the end of the day, life is worth more than likes.