Jaed tilted his plastic helmet back a bit to reveal the top of his forehead. The bottoms of his jeans were wet from weaving in between moguls.
He angled his skis and approached the first jump, his wind breaker from Goodwill crackling in the wind.
“Watch, he’s gonna eat shit,” said a pimply snowboarder next to me, tapping his buddy’s shoulder.
Jaed was airborne. The telemark bindings released his heels and he sprung forward, flying through the air – lethal and daring. His skis tapped the rail and spun 180 degrees, landing backside.
“Whoa.” Behind a fire iridium lens the teenager slunk off.
“It’s not the bow, it’s the Indian.” – Owen Smith, Zen master and expert Go player
Years later I thought about Jaed’s snow-soaked jeans as I walked towards a South Swell in Venice, CA, Costco wavestorm in hand.
A few locals circled in the water, their eyes darting from the hunk of foam in my hand to my cotton t-shirt.
Dusty, they thought.
A decent sized right hander appeared out the back and I held my ground, resisting the temptation to paddle.
Yeeeeee! I took off smiling, my wet t-shirt slapping up against my chest and tomahawked over the glassy, open face, the wave engulfing me in a washing machine of sand and salt.