“Awesome! Your first wipeout!” Daniel teased.
I laughed at myself and how silly I must have looked. It didn’t matter though. These were my friends and I knew they weren’t laughing at me out of malice. I kept trying until I got my sense of balance, with a fresh sense of determination every time I glanced at each of my friend’s faces.
I don’t remember if I caught any good waves that first day but I did “pearl” a lot and lost the board from underneath me. Daniel helpfully noted that that was called bailing out.
A while later, I retreated out of the water to the sandy beach and grabbed a towel out of my bag and busied myself with drying myself off, allowing my three surfer friends to continue catching some waves. I was towel drying my hair, turning it from its damp dark brown colour to its dry fair colour, when Shawna appeared. Luke wasn’t far behind her. Luke was shivering frenziedly but it was hard to tell how cold he really was from the colour of his darker toned skin. Shawna’s paler skin on the other hand was an entirely different story. Her tanned skin was unfamiliarly white, her lips were tinged with blue and she was rubbing her hands furiously together. At least they were both smiling.
A few people were starting to arrive at the previously deserted beach as families began appear, wishing for a lovely day at the beach. The sun was now above the horizon looking out sleepily at the coastal towns which were just waking up. Luke quickly attached the surfboards to the roof of the minivan and got into the driver’s seat as Shawna and I packed our towels into our bags.
“Go and shout on Dan to get over here,” Luke said, putting his seatbelt on.
I looked over to where Daniel had been riding waves a few minutes before and frowned when I couldn’t spot the familiar surfboard among the waves.
“Where is he?” I asked, scanning the waters again.
Shawna put her hand over her eyes to shield them from the sun’s glare and scoured the waters too. She jumped out of the minivan and jogged closer to the sea.
“Dan!” she yelled loudly. “Come on Dan, your mom is expecting us at your house for breakfast in half an hour!” She looked back at me, her forehead creased in confusion and shrugged.
“Luke?” I said anxiously, “Where was Daniel surfing at?”
Luke rolled down his window and looked out. “He was right there,” he replied, pointing directly opposite at a particularly choppy part of the sea.
I leapt out of the van and ran over to Shawna who was still searching. “You don’t think he...” she began,
I was worried then. The waves didn’t look awfully big, but if a surfer got “bailed out”, as Daniel called it, there was a chance of getting dragged down under the water. Daniel was a good swimmer but neither of us could see his blue surfboard or his vibrant red Billabong board shorts anywhere.
Without thinking, I dived under the water. I heard Luke splash in after me and we swam to the place where Daniel had been surfing. Luke was shivering again but I was sure he wasn’t thinking of the temperature. Shawna watched from the shore, continuing to scan the waters, yelling Daniel’s name loudly.
“Anything could’ve happened! He could’ve hit his head on a rock or -” I cried.
“He’s fine. We’ll find him,” Luke said reassuringly. I was certain that it wasn’t only me he was trying to convince.
There were some people, in wetsuits sensibly, swimming not that far away. I began to swim over to them to ask for their help. One of them was sitting on something, a bodyboard presumably, and I opened my mouth to ask them if they’d seen a blonde boy riding on a blue surfboard. Instead, my eyes widened as I observed what the young boy was really sitting on. It was a blue surfboard with a box single fin and two side fins. There was an intricate blue wave design that had been handcrafted on it. It had been designed by Daniel.
“Hey, mate, where did you find that surfboard?” Luke exclaimed.
The young boy was slightly startled by our unnerving interest but he replied. “Some surfer guy said I could have a go on it if I kept it safe for him.”
“We're missing a surfer, where did he go?” I asked earnestly.
The boy shrugged. “He swam over there.” He pointed towards the sun, in the direction of the never-ending ocean. Some boats were in the distance, but I couldn’t see any blonde hair. I began to swim frantically anyway further out to sea. Luke followed recklessly beside me.