Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Duke

Caught a few rainy waist-high waves yesterday morning before work.

Coming out, I notice a bunch of guys, a camera in water housing, and a log with no wax.  Curious, I wander over.  "Do I get three guesses?"

They laugh.  "Sure."

"Okay," I say, "A PSA to abolish the sticks."

"No, next guess"

"A commercial for a leash manufacturer?"

Another laugh.  "One more guess!"

"My third guess is...ah, hell, I give up.  What's going on?"

"We're filming a re-enactment for the Travel Channel.  It's of Duke Kahanamoku's 1926 rescue of a group of shipwrecked sailors."

Knowing of Duke's visit to Rockaway in 1912, my interest grew.  "The Duke carried out a rescue in Rockaway?" says I.

"No, in Hawaii."

I look over at a young dark skinned guy with curly hair and a grin on his face.  "I guess this is Duke?"


I look around at the decimated trash-strewn beach, the workers hammering away on a section of boardwalk, the dark brown water, the heavy overcast sky spitting raindrops down, and the villainous sticks.  I glance at the fiberglass Wardy with faux wood finish, the black wetsuit on Duke.

"Do any of you guys surf?"


A chilly wind stirs up the sand, and a puff of spray blows off the top of a breaking wave.  The cameraman turns to me.

"There are, like, actual waves here!"  I nod.  "I didn't know there were waves in Rockaway.  Were you out in this?  There were some BIG WAVES.  And the current is HEAVY.  I almost got washed into these wooden sticks."  He looks out at the ocean.  "I'm debating whether to go out and try to catch a few.  But I'm freezing cold."

I give him a few pointers on avoiding the sticks and wave goodbye.

Of course, everything about it was wrong.  And I can't explain why, but despite all it was kind of awesome anyway.

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