Makaha, Hawaii

Stuart Watkins

The surf was up, and the boards were out. Sunshine beat down, a direct route. Someone said, “Look at the empty surfboard.” Son John, alone, first time, borrowed board, surfing around the point, and my eyes screamed. I grabbed a Styrofoam board and my fins. I knew I needed to take my time, get in the water, put on my fins, fell, struggled, got the fins on, and started kicking towards the bobbing surfboard, so slowly fast. Tired, old, tired, old, but steadily kicking towards the board. Up the waves, over the waves, down the waves, clinging tightly to my Styrofoam board, and still kicking towards my son. John, only 20, first time to Hawaii, my treat, my family treat, and my wife anxiously watching my slow-motion progress. Fearful, exhausted, but finally there, and the board was empty, drifting, bobbing, empty. I grabbed it, pulled it to my flimsy float, and kneeled up as best I could. I searched the ocean with the anxiety only a parent can know. A head, two waves over, an arm, a yell, “Hey, Dad, you seen my board?”