Waves by Bader Shehab

It cried and rhymed with these southerly winds, as Hajar and I, sat on those rocks, overlooking the slow, sporadic, sudden and at once subtle motion of the Atlantic sway. It soothed and cleansed my lungs of every air molecule as I, on every diatonic hole, exhaled the tunes of worrisome melodies of which, as though, seemed to harmonize and remedy with the violent claps of nature’s force against those moss and limestone. 

We sat upon for an hour or two, as I eased off the harmonica tunes to listen in carefully over the fierce winds the 20-minute interval of weather radio update. “It ought to blow east any minute now” stated Hajar, as her silken of yarns of hairs blew back and forth in reaction to the winds. She looked out to the farthest horizons and continued. “I can’t wait to get out there!” I nodded in agreement, flipped my board over and placed it square on my thighs. I took a handful of wax and applied it on the smooth, shining deck of the board, as I proceeded with my normal surf routine rituals the weather radio sounded off. “Temperatures at a clear and cool 19 degrees centigrade, Easterly winds approaching at 28 km/h, ground swell at 240 meters offshore, wind swell at 12 feet heading south east off Devil’s rock coast, Agadir, low tides at 4:38 pm. Surf away!” Hajar glared back at me as she stood and zipped her lycra wetsuit up to her neck, at this point my heart pumped up a notch, all I hear and see at that point are roars and blues, to the far west one click out, upon whites of descending and perfectly orderly waves.

We found our ways down these slippery sharp rocks carefully while negotiating the balance of our precious surf boards, and atop the last rock fighting for dear life against the approaching tides, we’d hug our boards chest high and jump with one spring. We are met with cold, ocean salt water, as if toying with us in its majestic mercy as though in god’s hands we trespassed and in him we trusted, time and time again, with nothing but ply board-cut decks and bodies merely covered by the thinnest layer of nylon film or sometimes just board shorts. We paddled and paddled, and as the weather radio predicted correctly, counter winds suddenly appeared and we felt the water level under us, dilating to the atmospheric change and almost tuning visibly to the under swell that is bound to shake this coast to a surf spot. I looked over my shoulder and I saw more shapes and patterns of colors appear upon numerous surf boards above the heads of running surfers eager to paddle out and ride nature’s ferry wheel. As though the ice cream parlor drove by, a sense kicks in to the wanting of getting out there upon these limitless boundaries of Oceanic jungles. “How far out?” Hajar looked back at me with the excited look and glare she gets before she surfs. “About 100 more meters out to this way” I replied as I pointed to the south, a deviation of direction, so we can meet the swell just right on the spot.

We sat up on our boards after long paddles after paddles, shoulders sore and muscles already strained, but it pays off so beautifully, once you lay your eyes on that swell formation, tide change, the tail heading and the perfect tip aligning to the wave’s broad body spreading from coast to coast, increasing in speed and hollow pipeline set up, just perfect enough to surf, she is ripe and ready for a ride! “This one is yours Hajar!” she nodded at me and proceeded to paddle and paddle, catching up to the topmost edge of the wave, dropping in perfect glide to its body and surfing it ever so perfectly with textbook technique. She disappeared as I dove beneath the swell, and dipped my first wave off. Submerged, on the other hand, is another world. A top I eyed the cloud-like movement of the wave as it rolled away, so very quiet I could nearly hear my heart beat slow down, my lung capacity can last me 4 to 5 minutes, but if I’m calm and collected, I think I could stay down here a long while amongst the darks of these ocean floors. The buoyancy of my surfboard compels me to resurface and as I do so, I am met by another large swell, after swell forming graciously together and easing the tide for another larger wave.

I bodied my board as fast as I can and paddled against the tides, with one hand I paddled and the other I placed near my thigh the other one did the same as soon as the board was parallel to the rising tail, I felt the wave begin to pick me up and nearly flip me, but I counter her power with my weight as I stood on the well-waxed surface and took full balance square center, I’d use my back foot to steer, the tip seemed to wash off the board in reaction to my presence, a spray of salt water tackling my eye and taste buds, I’d grab a handful and wash my face. And here I was, in harmony and remedy with the ocean, time and time again. Waves slapped me around here and there, but nonetheless, I got up again and again. Swells of bodies of rushing water, barreled and formed a pipeline of a shape in accelerating, near-shore waters. But I got out the other side, with a scrape or two, but without a doubt I have. Hajar envied my surf exits so much so, that we spent that full day to sunset’s demise instructing and teaching her how to finish a surf perfectly, as she always had the habit of slipping or falling off the board when these deep ocean groundswell waves approach the coast and increase speed, which causes them to form into a circular, long pipe-like shape; which trick even the most experienced of surfers.

But she’s a fast learner, picks up things quickly on the sport and I am but a wave-shy of asking her out. “I really had fun today, thanks for bringing me out here!” she exclaimed and recalled what a day it was, as her hazel eyes glanced back at the setting sun off the Moroccan coast with passion, while the tides eased off in a westerly direction as if waving us goodbye. I inhaled as much I could and muttered with feigned confidence “Was wondering, if you’re free tonight, we could, you know… grab a drink or bite to eat, whatever you want, I mean…there’s this nice sea food place by the…” I slowed down as she fixated her eyes upon mine, and I was instantly lost in hers, she then broke into a small chuckle, the orange skies seemed to compliment her blushing cheeks, she carefully uttered a “yes, sure…” while scanning her feet dipped in the sand.              

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