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Taking the Drop by Danielle Dubois, Jillian Flitton, Debbie James, and Sheree da Costa is an inspirational journey of four everyday women who wanted to share another kind of surfers’ world. They wrote this book not only to provide an entertaining and inspiring insight into surfing, but also to share their very different stories. This week we get to hear Sheree's version on braving the shorey!
Excerpt from “Taking the Drop” – Sheree’s story…
Shore dumps and how NOT to negotiate them
Shore dumps – OMG! This is when the waves crash with alarming power right onto the beach, particularly when there is a deep gully running parallel to the shoreline, and it makes exiting the water gracefully near nigh impossible. I’m sure even Kelly Slater has been mauled at least once in the shore break.
You’ve paddled out, acquitted yourself well in sizable surf, the tide is high and a latte is beckoning you from shore. You eye the dumping shore break, note the timing of the sets, reckon you’ve sussed the safest place to paddle in and wait for your last wave. You’re up and riding when some fool paddles out right in front of you, thereby cutting you off, resulting in getting caught in the close out.
“Damn!” you say to yourself, as you break the surface and dodge your surfboard as it ricochets back towards your face.
You’d planned to jump off five metres from shore, wait for a lull, then paddle like fuck till you hit the sand. However, due to our aforementioned fool, you’re fifteen metres or more from shore, stuck in no man’s land and still a decent paddle to sand and safety.
“Oh well. May as well make a run for it,” you figure, as you start hauling arse towards your original planned disembarking point.
You make it to the five-metre mark with dead arms, cramps in the back of your thighs, and half out of breath. You look behind you only to see large wave after large wave, big set after big set, breaking out the back.
“Ah shit! Too close to shore, I’ll get slammed if I wait here – better paddle back out again,” and off you go towards the horizon, this time executing at least two Eskimo rolls along the way, until you’re back at the fifteen-metre mark.
You reassess the situation, keeping one eye on what’s happening on the horizon, and make another run for the shore. You make the five-metre mark and now you’re seriously tired. You look out the back, and here they come again – wave after wave, set after set.
“Far out, I’ve had enough! I’m going in this time,” and start paddling like a maniac, yet you feel as if you’re not going anywhere, ‘cos your tired arms feel like someone has tied cement blocks to them. You head to shore yet again, with terrified glances over your shoulder. Those big sets have broken and a giant wall of whitewash is heading your way with alacrity.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” is now your mantra – you are sooooo close to, yet sooooo far from that elusive beach.
You glance behind you again, and that monster whitewater is almost upon your fatigued little body, but you feel you’re going to make it, so you hop off your board expecting your feet to connect with sand, only to find your toes can just touch a grain or two, grains which now swirl mockingly around your feet.
You half swim, half paddle with ever increasing alarm, until just as your feet really connect with the beginning of that blessed shore, you get totally slammed from behind by the advancing whitewater. All that power needed to unload somewhere – may as well be on your head!
Suddenly you’re upside down, inside out, board God knows where, leg rope wrapped around an unfortunate extremity (hopefully not your neck), and you emerge from this carnage with absolutely no idea which way is up, and resembling a week-old crumbed cutlet.
You scramble to your feet, try to grab your board as it gets sucked back out in the receding shore dump, only to have the next monster unload on you once more. This one is just as brutal, but Huey has taken pity on you and washed you far enough onto the shore to be considered in the safety zone. Meanwhile your board, which is still attached to your leg, is doing dangerous flip flops in the shore break, and you’re already mentally ringing the local ding repairer as you observe this phenomenon.
You grab the leg rope and haul that bastard towards you, because you ain’t getting in that water again – no sireeeeeee! You succeed in retrieving your board, straighten up as much as your battered body will allow and head back on wobbly legs to the car park, only to see every person you’ve ever known sitting there looking at YOU! Humiliation at its’ most potent…
Does this scenario sound familiar to any surfers reading this book? I’ve done it, I’ve seen it, and to be perfectly honest it’s always bloody hilarious, so long as it’s happening to someone else!
I hate shore dumps! But then again, don’t we all?
Now where’s that latte…
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