A skiers experience on a surfski in Ambergris Caye
( a surfski is a 19 to 21 foot long high speed fiberglass cover-less kayak with a rudder designed optimally for downwind wave riding. It is between 17" and 20" wide, weighing between 20 to 30 pounds and designed for coastal and offshore competition, rescue and long distance travel/training. Downwind speeds of over 10 knots are attainable )
It was early morning, the sun cresting over the horizon. Because of the storm that day, the onshore wind was very strong. I went out to the reef three times against the waves and wind. As I approached and got near I would slow, then stop and touch paddle in position facing the reef, the crashing waves about 100 yards away, careful to stay over the sea grass and not tempt the coral heads. The morning sun was rising behind the spindrift of the waves on a slightly oblique angle, the reflection reminiscent of climbing a crusty snow mountain top with the sun lighting the bits of dry powder particles flipped by the wind. I was watching the glory of the morning and taking it in and thankful. The wind assembled and with the waves picking up I turned and paddled hard into the flow and caught the waves and wind, now backing me and propelling me forward. Coming down the waves you lent back and went with gravities direction, edging forward pushing down on one leg stomping out a turn as you would on a soft powder run. The blades of the paddle whipped a bit at first, less so as the speed increased and the differential diminished. As you plunged one blade into the water the same leg pushing hard against the boat and the hips counter rotating against the new position, so like a downhill turn, each wave now a mogul, some carved around some crashed through and the mind focusing ever intently on the the increasing pace of the rhythm. Changing, correcting, leaning back for a dip, leaning forward to drive the paddle hard, and you realize you are flying towards the shore. As you approach the beach the bounce back of the waves begins creating confusion in the water, you ease up, paddle across and turn back to the rising sun, ready for another go!