“To the left, Sergio, to the left! , what are you doing? , the foam is going to screw you up, man…to the left!”
I hardly hear him. He is out there, but I am not able to see him. I barely tell the contrast between the dark blue sea and the white horizontal line which is growing higher and nearer. Pulling my arms with strength, I feel my shoulders ache. “I am gonna make it, yes, yes, come on, man!”.
I am dead wrong. The wave is just above me, and my board is not straight to the wall of water, but sideways, so there isn´t any hope for me. I hold the board tightly when the foam embraces me with such force that it makes me spin, and I lose grid of my board. I just disappear under the cold water.
After seconds which seems to be a lifetime, my head gets off the water. I gasp and cough. Naively, I swim towards the board instead of pulling the line or cord attached to my ankle, but it is too late: another wave. ¡Splash!
For God’s sake, what am I doing here?
When I got off the plane from Qosqo, the weather was so hot that I thought I was not in Lima but in the Peruvian jungle. This is the summer season which goes from the last days of December to the last week of March. Summer season only means one thing in the coastal area: beach. But now I want more. I wish to surf this time since it is unlikely for me to come back to Lima soon or again
Even before dawn, I head for Makaha beach located in Miraflores district. Walking down Bajada Balta street I listen to birds singing from trees lining the middle of the road. The cobblestone road is surrounded by green cliffs crowned by a bridge that breaks the horizon. As a backdrop, the ocean spreads endlessly. The scented breeze moistens my face and skin.
As I guess, there is already a group of men and women wearing wet suits and stretching out. In fact, they are following the commands of an instructor, a young man in his twenties. After the group gets into the sea, I find that the instructor’s name is also Sergio. That is a good start! In less than five minutes we get a deal and then I put on a wet suit. His directions are easy to do, at least, off the water, I first think. Soon, I will know that I am dead wrong again.
My drawback is that I am short-sighted. Very short-sighted, I would say. My measure is nearly eight. Without my glasses, I am almost blind. But my motto is: No fear! Of course, I am a liar, but I am on the water right now, and there is no way back, my friend!
We go forward after dealing with the round pebbles on the shore. Dreaming with a sandy beach does not cost anything. I endure the pain as a macho man. Again, I am a liar. The challenge is to face the foam. Even though I do what Sergio told me to do, the waves are so powerful that I end up reeling as though I were inside a washing machine. I dislike salt water, but I better off getting accustomed to it.
I lay on the board facing the shore. Sergio helps me holding my board and pushing it when there is a good wave. And then all I have to do is the trick: stretch my arms and then do a quick leap placing my feet on the board. But I just stumble and fall. By the way, my board is number 9. What a shame!
Fall after fall, something happens then. I do not have the slightest idea how, though. I feel Sergio pushing the board and yelling at me: now!
I also feel the energy of the wave speeding the board. Then I do the trick, and I am able to stand up bending my knees and unfolding my arms. It seems as if I were flying. This is awesome!
When I was fourteen years old, I went on camping for the first time in my life. That night, I was wondering the same question: what the heck am I doing here? That was just the beginning of my story as a backpacker which still goes on. If I stayed in Lima, I would definitely become a surfer too. The freedom and I do not know what else atop a wave is an indescribable ecstasy.