Along the right bank the water only gets clearer halfway. The seabed is made up by sloping layers of rock, cut by crevices at least three metres deeper. Sometimes they are so narrow I can’t pass through with the wing, but they can also be so wide, that with five metre visibility you can’t see the other side running farther into the sea. Thus you easily wind up behind the edge of a layer. Often the water above such a reef is just too shallow to swim across, so I start looking for a way out.
I need only half a metre of water. First I hold the wing flat and get to hang above the reef with the drive of the mono, then I have enough space to pull myself through by the wing. Around the corner the ocean swell starts rolling towards the rocks, often tumbling over on the shallow reefs.
It is a wild adventure, in which the long kelp leaves are whipped to and fro by the climbing waves. When the sun shines you see everywhere brightly bouncing reflections of the kelp, like a stroboscopic lightshow. By the flapping weeds also the seabed seems to move. You should not watch this for too long or you yourself get confused.
When another mountain of water comes towering in I am lifted high so I can assess the next one. If I can find an opening in the reef I catch a wave that carries me through at breakneck speed.
Swimming before the waves is a matter of timing. When my feet feel a wave coming, I first whack along with the mono and then take the last part with the wing. Thus I get metres ahead in a jiffy and under water this goes even faster. In the backwash of a wave, which you can see very well by the massive reversal of the kelp I hold myself as streamlined as I can and then usually keep hanging over the same spot. Thus I am, by making effective use of the energy of the waves, back on the beach in no time.
Because of the sudden effect of gravity I first stagger on my legs through the hip-high water, where, by using the fin and the wing as a rudder, I attain reasonable balance. Before I put on my wetshoes I first sit down at a puddle to rinse the sand of my socks.
People say I look young for someone pushing 61. But that is mere appearance. I am only well preserved by all this sea salt.