Saturday, January 31, 2009

Becoming a Man by Mathew Tomson

Deep inside the barrel, completely in tune with my inner self, nothing else matters, the hard wind and spit shooting past me from behind, my hand dragging along the wall, the light shines ahead. My long hair carried by the wind. My feet are in perfect placement on the board. As I lean forward I feel myself speeding up getting faster and faster as the barrel starts to close. I crouch down until my legs burn and I then pull out to the whole lineup cheering. My body tingles with joy and happiness.

I finally felt respected. I got back on my board and paddled to the outside. I turned my head to the right to find Keone and his crew paddling towards me. My joyful feeling disappeared as fast as they came, my mouth went dry and I was truly afraid. He stopped in front of me and raised his hand. I ducked, but no pain was to come. I opened my eyes and put my hand out and firmly grasped his hand. This was not a handshake, it was a sign of respect.

I looked into his eyes and we paddled to the point together without saying a word. The moment was much more powerful than any words could explain. For the rest of the season I was allowed to take off on as many waves as I wanted. I could have never imagined being part of "The Crew" but I was and I will always be. That was the day I became a man.