I looked out into the distance, seeing nothing but the glimmer of the flat ocean. I slowly walked to the water, salt in my nose, board underneath one arm, hoping for a swell to pick up.
As I reached the water, everything was motionless. "Strange," I thought to myself. This was unusual for the place I visited every morning.
I took a few steps into the calming waters. As I strode deeper into the water, I dropped down to my knees and let the sea engulf me.
I took a deep breath, submerging myself under the warm waters. The water was amazing underneath. In all of my time as a surfer, I have never experienced water this clear. Little neon fish darted around me. Kelp swayed from side to side on the sand, dancing to the oceans ethereal rhythm. Rainbow fish and clown fish playfully dashing from one coral to the other. Everything seemed vibrant and beautiful. My lungs strained for oxygen. I surfaced, feeling the hot air on my face and the soft, gentle wind. I inhaled deeply.
I turned to look out at the horizon. My heart dropped in my stomach as I saw the horizon rising impossibly high, the deep blue contrasting the soft yellow of the warm sun.
A violent, rippling wave was storming towards me. I had never seen a wave like this before. It-unlike me-was a complete stranger to this beach. A tsunami? No, it was different. I tried swimming back to the shore, but it was too late. I felt the wave's undertow pulling at me, overpowering my body like a cork in a waterfall.
I took in a deep breath and dove down as far as I could. Now the water was ugly. Underwater currents whipped up the sand. The previously clear water was now darker than midnight. Salt water burned my eyes as I fought to maintain what little breath I had left in my lungs. Rather selfishly, I thought to myself, "This wave is an unwelcome presence here. I'm the one who is supposed to be at this beach." Thoughts clouded in my head, as if an octopus had inked in my fishbowl of a brain. My head pounded, thoughts and blood racing as my body ran out of oxygen. I couldn’t see which direction was up…
Gradually, I felt a pressure behind my eyes. Blackness overcame me.
A sense of calm overcame the panic that I felt just moments ago. I opened my eyes and saw myself, unconscious in the water. I felt as if I were drifting up, floating towards the never ending expanse of blue sky.
Writing Hugo McMillan