Lost Time at Scorpion Bay
By Justin Biel
The bay is hundreds of yards wide and calm like a sea-filled lake. Sandy dunes rise above the water’s edge and black rocks and coral lay beneath. A dirt road runs along the tip of the dunes connecting one point to the next.
Driving this road in the early morning, stillness swallows the place. You hear the whispers of nature, a trickle of water, the pull of rocks, dragging and clacking as they’re sucked out and washed back onshore.
I drive slowly, feeling there is no need to rush. The surf report says 2-3 feet. It’s still surfing, but I can’t help feeling a bit cheated.
Moments later I pull up to our camp, a small patch of rust-colored dirt above third point. I get out of the car and look out. A series of images play in my mind, loops of the videos I’ve been watching over the past year. Each memory is exactly the same. World-class waves rolling in from third point, a perfectly shaped face that peels and flows for over a hundred yards of surfing bliss.
Looking at the sheer size of a single cove, the idea of connecting these points is nearly impossible to imagine. But in perfect conditions, it happens, and on these days a skilled surfer can ride for minutes on a single wave, traveling over a kilometer in distance.
The right wave at Scorpion Bay is the wave of a lifetime, as close as a surfer gets to heaven on earth.
Unfortunately, today is not that day.
“Heads up,” says Paul. “Here come some nuggets.”
A miniature set is coming in from the point. The waves are extended rights that begin to break halfway across the bay. There’s only one problem. The waves are two feet tall.
The bay is empty except for a single surfer, my friend’s daughter, Tessa. Sighting the set, she begins paddling on the inside. Tessa works for the wave, head down and arms splashing.
“Stay with it,” yells her father. “Stay with it.”
Tessa pops up and begins gliding across the face. The wave is slow, but it holds longer than any I've ever seen, this tiny wave carrying her fifty yards or more. As she turns to paddle back out, the ecstatic cheers of her father echo over the sea.
Suddenly, I've never been more excited about riding a two-foot wave.
Now I’m rushing to apply sunscreen, slipping on my rash guard and hustling to join Tessa at the break. I catch one wave, then another, and another. By the time our entire group makes it into the water, a silly smile is glued to my face.
There are six of us surfing third point, experts and beginners side-by-side. We take turns as the sets roll in and yell out, “party wave,” with the appearance of every three-footer. It’s surfing for the joy of surfing, without ego or competition, and it locks you into the moment, grounds you in a way that can only occur in the waves.
The rest of the day progresses perfectly.
We surf. Relax at camp and watch others surf. Join in the cheers. Eat a snack. Surf. Talk with friends as the day passes. Switch boards. Surf. Forget about time. Make new friends. Surf.
I have any concept of time, but the tide is now high and the waves are close to the rocks. Still, Paul and I can’t seem to stop surfing.
“I just need one more,” says Paul. “Yeah,” I say, “One more.”