125# YOU HANG IN THERE!

Updated: Dec 24, 2020


- NO!

- Eh?!

- NO! YOU DON’T QUIT ON ME!!! YOU STAY!!!

-...



Everything in Zipolite reminded me of her. Everything made me sick. I packed and said goodbye to my lovely landlord. Tears welled my eyes when Chefi took me in her arms. I promised her I would come visit. Meanwhile, I needed to forget Karleen and heal. Nice people and good waves for a start, then maybe therapy. I left for Barra de la Cruz.


Barra proved too fast, too crowded and too challenging. I had not surfed nor exercised since my neck injury, and carrying my longboard was exhausting. The crowd was hungry. Among the chaos, one guy caught my attention. He charged every wave like it was his last, wiped out often and paddled back as if nothing happened. I liked his attitude.


The next day, I introduced myself. His name was Thomas. He was French, big mouthed, and sarcastic. We made fun of people in French and bonded over common wickedness. At the end of the day, Thomas invited me for dinner. He had rented a room on top a hill, with a gorgeous view over the green fields.


- How long have you been travelling?

- I’m in my seventh month

- You passed the 3-month mark. Congrats! You’re a true nomad

- That’s how they call hobos now? What about you?

- Haha I started this trip a year and a half ago, coming down from Montreal.

- And where do you plan on going?

- To Patagonia…inshallah!

- A year and a half and you’re not even halfway through! Patagonia is a worthy goal

- You’ve been there?

- Yeah, I started my trip in Patagonia.

- Oh nice! Why?

- It seemed like the end of the world… and I needed a change

- Makes sense, and then?

- Then I pedaled.

- What?

- I pedaled along the coast. A friend of mine joined me for 4 months. We did South America together.

- You cycled through the Andes!!!???

- Chile, Peru, Ecuador etc. Yep! Until here.

- This is INSANE!!! Seriously, you’re a fucking legend!!!

- Haha thanks, some days were rough but we made it.

- How long did it take you?

- About six months. With a week of partying in Colombia and another week to recover hahaha

- RESPECT!


Thomas did not talk much about himself. He had left his life in France, flew to Chile, bought a bike, and cycled 8000km... When I dug deeper, he said it was a rough breakup. I burst into laughter. It was so bad I had to explain myself. People have different reactions to heartbreaks. Some get depressed, angry, or abuse substances. Others wander off to explore the world, until they forget, heal, or drown in chaos.

The next morning, we drove to another beach. The current was strong and the first wave I caught chopped my longboard in two. I walked back to the van, took the shortboard and the torture started. Thomas and I were struggling to stay in place, except his stamina was on another level. The tide went up. It ruined the wave and we walked back to the van, tired and pissed. It started raining.


The rain trapped us under the palapa the whole afternoon. We ate, got high, and slept. Around sunset, it stopped. Thomas was eager to get his revenge on the morning session. I was a vegetable, stoned and half asleep. He called me names until I followed him. Round 2....fight!


The waves were bigger and the whitewash fast and thick. The first wave swept us half a kilometer down the bay. The water barrier seemed impenetrable. Thomas was paddling hard, head down, facing the white wall like a mad bull. I drank water. My brain was foggy and all my muscles ached. I looked up and saw the distance to the peak. Impossible.


- I can’t do it. I’m too high, and too tired…

-

- And this board… I’m leaving, have fun

- NO!!!


Thomas was yelling. His eyes blazed with anger.


- NO! YOU DON’T QUIT ON ME!!! YOU STAY!!! YOU DON’T QUIT ON ME! YOU STAY AND HANG IN THERE YOU HEAR ME! YOU HANG IN THERE!!!

-

- YOU HANG IN THERE!!!!!


His words hit me in the face. Thomas nodded and kept paddling. I took a deep breath and followed. Just hang in there. Blow after blow, I clung to my board and hustled. There was no time for thoughts, pain, or fatigue. I paddled for my life, I hung in there. Half an hour in and over 30 duck dives, we passed the break.


We both caught waves. The ride was the cherry on the cake, the reward for our resilience. I surfed it to shore and walked away with a smile. One arm around my board and the other straight up, fist raised to the sky.


When drowning in chaos, you just gotta hang in there.

61 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All