The sand’s cold and footprints from the day before mark long shadows as 60 Junior Lifeguards from 7-17 slowly rotate their shoulders blades while I throw lasos to the past.
On June 24, 1924, in the water off Newport Beach California, nine souls were saved on a surfboard paddled by Duke Kahanamoku.
How many souls have been saved by Paddle Rescue since? (Aloha Duke! Puerto Escondido Junior Lifeguards salute you and are about to practice your art.) We are under the Supervision of Godofredo Vasquez, former Captain of the Lifeguards for two decades at Puerto Escondido, Playa Zicatela (one of the 10 Heaviest Waves in the World). But it’s not Godo or Duke at this moment that have the Juniors’ attention. All eyes are on Bianca Valenti, Big Wave Surfer. She’d recently paddled into what is being called, “The biggest wave ever paddled into by a woman at Puerto Escondido.” Bianca gave the kids her best Spanish speaking Knute Rockney. And the message was clear. You can succeed. Si se puede. Whatever you set your mind to and dedicate your energy.
Dreams? Go get em’. Little kids carried big boards to the waterline. Sixty of em’ shoved off into open water, to paddle, (just like Duke did). The paddle today was 2 kilometers following the rocky coast and it was the longest swim of my life. At some point I wished for fins.
When I glanced back, the rescue boat pulled up the rear and there was a rescue Stand Up Paddle Boarder just 10 meters from me. I stopped to float.
And this little kid, (he had to be a 7 years old), paddled towards me. He was smiling and his arms were too short because the board was so wide. But there he went, splashing along using mostly his hands. And inspiring the hell out of me.
A hero is a person who, by their very existence, inspires others to achieve. They somehow create an energy within us… that a moment before wasn’t there. But now it is. Like Magic.
Like Duke and Godo and Bianca… and that little kid.
Same same - but different.
Two picture made in winter. I like both settings, but I like winter in boardshorts and tanktop even better than drysuit.
First picture is made at the Baltic Sea in Germany, second is made during our CIRCUS SUP Camp on Sri Lanka.
You decide which setting you like most...?
PS: New Camp Dates for October are online this week. Stay tuned.