As he paddled out I thought he may have been a boy. Long blonde hair was tied up in a bun– but you don't see too many female surfers at El Porto. I caught a wave but the surfer didn't pay much attention. They wore a distinctive outfit: a white rash guard over a black wetsuit. One doesn't see that too often outside of professional contests– maybe they were trying to stand out, get some attention in the overcrowded surfing community. A lot of the groms here wear brightly colored wetsuits for that very reason; it can mean the difference between being remembered or fading into the mists of the morning wind.
He paddled– and I confirmed it was a he– as rippling muscles unearthed themselves every time he took a stroke. If this guy didn't know what he was doing, he'd been in for a world of hurt– the more layers you wear the harder it is to paddle and the more sore you'll be. A wet rash guard meant a much shorter session.
I caught a wave and paddling back out, the white rash guard was staring at me. This was no boy. At first glance, it looked as if his hair had come out of the bun and fallen into dreads. He looked pissed. Fucking pissed. He wanted something– looking for something. Peace, maybe. I took a look out of the corner of my eye. He had a masculine knot in the middle of his protruding nose. Maybe he had broken it as a kid, but it was repaired nicely and shone as a worthy battle scar. He had a mighty mustache which touched his long hair on either side. The color of his hair was a dark blonde– almost brown– and blended in with his weather skin. A shelf of skull pushed against his skin above his sunken eyes. He turned towards me. This dude wasn't someone I wanted to mess with. He wasn't great. He wasn't even that big, but there are guys that you run into in the lineup that you want to be irrationally careful around. I can't explain it, but even when I was easily inside a wave, I felt the need to check and make sure it's OK with the beast before I took off; very unlike me.
This time, I backed off. I saw him make a few heavy pumps on his backside. Damn, one of the best waves of the day– 6 foot and this thing was barreling quickly towards shore. His stalky frame cruised down the line with unexpected agility, hair whipping back towards the wave from the heavy offshore winds. He cut back and in, and took his bomb to shore. A mysterious man, gone. I hope he found what he was looking for. I turned back and paddled out back to position. Peace.