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The Dragon Post

The Dragon Post

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When in Doubt Go Out

When in Doubt Go Out
Credits: Kanagawa Art


This is a story of the day I almost died. It was my 12th birthday weekend and the waves were on fire along the north side. Waipio was pumping bombs with great sunny weather, waves were peeling and barrels were spitting so hard when people got spit out of barrels you couldn’t see them through the mist.

On October 3rd, 2020 I woke early in the morning around 4:30 am. I got all my bodyboarding stuff ready for the day.   It was my brother, my dad, and my uncle; we went down Waipio before the sun came up and made it to the beach by sunrise. We got out of the truck and started to prepare, putting on sunscreen and grabbing the gear. We watched the waves break along the beach, searching for the best spot. We decided to go all the way to the end by the cliff because the waves were peeling off the cliff making massive barrels that looked like giant open blue caves and spits that looked like big white clouds. Only experienced adults were out in the lineup.

We walked down the big black sand beach with our boards and fins. We reached the area, put our stuff down, and started stretching while talking about how we had to time our paddle outs. Every second counts when paddling out in big waves because of how dangerous it is. Before we paddled out my dad looked at me and said “ What think you can?” I looked at him and said, “Goin find out”. We watched the waves enough to tell how much time there was between sets and we jumped in the water and started paddling. Only, my dad, my uncle and I went out because it was too big for my little brother, he stayed on the beach. 

In the water we started paddling hard but smart to conserve energy in case the sets came back before we made it out. That day I paddled the hardest and fastest I ever had in my life. I was scratching to make it before the sets came in. I got lucky and made it out in time. I was the only kid in the entire lineup, there were even adults out there looking surprised, I heard them saying “Whose kid is this?”

I was out there floating for around 30 minutes watching people catch waves. The waves looked 5x bigger when I was out there than from the beach. I remember just watching glassy big blue mountains of water reaching face heights of around 13-15 feet. Then the sets started rolling in and the waves were so big they provided shade before they even broke. This made it so that when the waves reached a certain point they were dark blue almost black. The big sets rolled in, there were about five of them, all huge around 15 feet tall from the front. I heard some yell “Backsets!” which means the biggest waves are on the way. The first two came in, the whole lineup was paddling out as fast as they could because the waves were breaking on the outside. I made it through the first two but then the third one came in. It was the biggest one of all the five so I duck-dived through the wave thinking I was safe because I made it before the barrel crashed. Once I went down I felt the power of the wave. It was like something grabbed my legs and pulled me back. I felt myself rise and then start falling in slow motion. I was in the lip of the wave, and I was coming down with the barrel about to be slammed.

When the barrel hit the water I hit the water just as hard and got the wind knocked out of me. Now I lost my breath while getting tossed around under the water. It felt like I was in a washing machine. I got slammed all the way to the bottom on the sand. The thought even crossed my mind that I was gonna die because I couldn’t fight the pressure and power of the ocean. I was stuck underwater for around 11-15 seconds but it felt like 10 min. The only thing that mattered to me at this moment was staying alive and not passing out. 

My eyes were starting to close and the light shining through the water from the sun started to get dimmer but then the current finally calmed. I swam with all the strength and energy I had left,  to the surface. Once I made it up I took the biggest breath of my life. Though the fight wasn’t over yet I still had to make it back to the beach. I was on the inside where the waves broke and there were still two sets left I had to get past.

I was lucky my board leash was still attached. The sets broke before they reached me so it was just white wash but it was huge eight-foot-tall white wash  – coming for me. I tried to catch it straight to the beach but it was too strong, it flipped me over and I got tossed again though not as bad as the first time. I got back up on my board and tried to catch the second wave, though the same thing happened. It flipped me then tossed me around. After that, I just paddled in and got lucky. I made it to the beach still in one piece. Though I swallowed a lot of water. Water went into my ears and nose, and I felt horrible. Later, I sat on the beach in pain and watched the waves thinking about how I made it out alive. 

This event changed my life because it helped me realize and become conscious of my limits and the power the ocean holds. This event was a near-death situation so it affected my life in a big way. It helped me realize how easy it is to die or fail, but as long as you don’t give up you will make it. After that day I only got better at bodyboarding and also had more knowledge about the ocean. I still love to bodyboard even though it can be extremely dangerous at times, but that is what makes me love it. The adrenaline rush you get when you’re doing something you love is incredible especially if it puts you in danger and when you make it out safe you feel amazing. For me the feeling of riding beautiful waves is unmatched. If there is one thing I know it is, that you can’t win against the ocean, it can only let you go. 

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  • F

    FrancheskaSep 25, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    An amazing and detailed story about not giving up and keep trying. An inspiring story.

  • M

    Mrs. Haitsuka-FernandezSep 24, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    This is an incredible story! I was hanging on to hear how it would end. I could see it because of your amazing descriptive writing! You could use a lot of this essay for a college application personal statement! I love it! Thanks for sharing about this amazing day in your life!

    • A

      adviserSep 25, 2023 at 5:31 pm

      I also loved this story and was blown away by Blaize’s use of alliteration, suspense and sensory description to make this narrative pop.