You can tell a lot about a surfer by their posture in the line-up.
Some sit lazily on the back of their boards, content, talking shop to everyone about a barrel they got six months ago in Bali… just glad to be out there, to say they were out there. Some sit forward, like a cheetah preparing its 75mph burst… also glad to be out there, but damned if they don’t get a wave, damned if it isn’t a set wave. There were only two of us out. Me and the other guy. It was big enough and bad enough to be a waste of energy for everyone else. I love wasting energy.
The other guy was wetsuit-less, bareback, in the cold windy Hawaiian January, water temperature 74 degrees. Which sounds warm, until a 15 knot wind kicks your skin. I wondered if this bareback guy thought he was tough… I used to surf bareback just to show the lineup what a bunch of sissies they were. His heavily tattooed body seemed to further prove his toughness. Maybe I should let him catch the next set wave, give him the right of way? But his face stopped that thinking. Smeared zinc oxide, white as a ghost. At worst, a tough guy who gives a shit. The guys who have nothing to lose, including their skin... those are the ones I watch out for. Those are the ones waiting in the parking lot, still with nothing to lose. I decided I would stay in position and fight for every wave with ghosty McGhosterson.