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"We Thought You Were Gonna Die, Bro"

This morning, I awoke and slowly tip-toed my way out of a tremendous hang over with some careful tea drinking, sandwich making and a little nap in the early morning. I awoke and decided that it was almost 11 and it was time to make my way down to the beach and forget about my shitty first day of paddling (it can't even officially be called surfing). So I get all my gear on, booties as well this time thank goodness, and walked down to the beach. The wind was ridiculous and nearly knocked me on my butt about twenty times along the way. The waves were choppy and it was high tide, so the break was further in towards land and the waves were smaller. It looked like I could easily find some white water/small breaks to test my humble talents on. So I paddled my way out, diving under some waves and trying to pay attention to where the other two surfers were headed. I got about 50-75 feet out to where the medium waves were cresting and decided to paddle for a few. I kept missing them, and was blaming it on my poor paddling, but then I realized my situation was much more serious. I was stuck in the rip. I acknowledged this by saying outloud to myself, "Fuck, I'm stuck in the rip. I'm fucked." I'm a genius. So... the Piha rip is really famous apparently, I knew this to begin with, and in fact there is a show on Australian TV (reality) that is called "Piha Rescue". Sweet. I had been using the rip to get myself out yesterday, but what I hadn't thought of was that this was HIGH tide, yesterday was LOW. So the rip had moved in and was almost three times as powerful. So, back to me, stuck in the rip, totally fucked. I tried to remember that there was no way to paddle against the rip, and that you should paddle 45 degrees into the breaking waves as hard as possible. I'm a shitty paddler, needless to say, this did not help me. I kept retreating further and further out and more and more around the bend, away from the beach and down the shoreline into an abyss of rocks and scariness. I remember thinking "I don't want to end up in Fiji." I spotted a surfer back where I had first tried to paddle into some waves, now almost 50-75 yards away, I waved to him. I decided I'd try my best to paddle into the rocks and Gerry my way up out of the water, trying not to get too beaten. Thankfully, a man on the beach spotted me as well and began to Gerry his way out onto the rocks to guide me in to safety. Finally, he arrived, along with the surfer, and they yelled instructions to me, eventually getting me into a rock field where I was pummeled by breakers and had to get off my board and swim. I remember being astonished at how fucking tired I was, so tired that even though I knew my life was in serious danger, I couldn't do anything to aid myself. I was just so damn tired, I was floating helplessly, paddling like some injured dog. Anyhow, I made it onto the rocks and Gerry'd my way to safety, bloodied and a bit shaken. I was SO THANKFUL that no damage was done to my board, a miracle really, because it was a rental and I would have had to pay for it. That would have sucked. Anyhow, this guy, Phil (a serious hero of mine) walked me back to the beach and explained that, hey, he taught surfing. Hehe. So he was telling me that I could go back out, just not to get near the rocks blah blah. I said goodbye to Phil and stood on the beach, staring out, bloody and a bit breathless. I went to put my leash back on, and spotted my hand, ripped up and covered in blood. I then decided that although it might be sweet to bring that SHARK MAGNET with me into an already perilous ocean, I'd save that for tomorrow, and call Phil to help me. So that I did. I came home, called Phil and we're gonna go out tomorrow for 70 bucks NZ cash for 2 hours, not bad really, more like 55 bucks American to save my butt in the future. Once home, I thought I might do some trekking up to some waterfalls, but it had rained all night, and in my drunken stupidity, I had left my shoes on the deck. Cheers. So today was a day of rest, whether I liked it or not. So I laid about, listened to Thad's new songs, re-read some of "Heartbreaking Work..." and considered myself lucky to be alive. Surf lesson tomorrow morning at 10am.
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