My First Tube
By Ari Karaoulis | 11 July 2012
Our author Ari Karaoulis paddles into a little chilly afternoon right near home.
INTRO: In many ways 11-year-old Ari Karaoulis is like any other frothing grommet. He loves to surf, run about with his friends and play music (the drums to be precise).
What does make Ari a little different from his fellow pre-teen mates is the fact he suffers from Degenerative Retina Eye Syndrome ... an untreatable, degenerative eye disorder. Ari is on his way to going blind.
Surfing is a huge part of the young natural-footer's life and he’s working hard on learning how best to use and maximise his other senses so he can continue surfing no matter what the future holds.
One place this enhanced sense of his surroundings is evident is in his writing. Ari’s family passed onto Tracks this 700-word story he wrote entitled ‘My First Tube’.
We here at Tracks are happy to now post this story in full for our surfing brethren to enjoy.
Thanks for your story Ari – all the best for the future and keep ripping little buddy.
My First Tube
I stood on the sandy shores of Ocean Grove beach petrified by the big swell that had just rolled in. Perfect waves lapped the shore and came crashing down to stir the dormant seabed from its never-ending sleep. The water was crystal clear, it was the best surf I had ever seen. I walked up to the water’s edge and felt the ice-cold water wash over my feet. I bent down and put my leg rope on. The soft waterproof fabric wrapped around my leg like it weighed nothing. I stood and walked up to my waist in the water, dropped my board into the water. Once my board was completely submerged in the salty water it started to glisten and shine like it was made of solid gold and polished until it was as smooth as a diamond. I jumped onto my board and started to paddle. The salty water seeped into my wetsuit chilling the skin beneath, I shivered as the cold ice-like claws of the water scratched at my skin. I knew this was normal but every time it happened it freaked me out. I paddled out until I couldn’t see the seabed any more, stopped, sat up on my board and stared out at the never-ending sea beyond.
A minute passed, then another, then another. All through that time my gaze did not waver away from the ripple that was making its way ever so closer to me. When it was only about 20 metres away, I confirmed that this was going to be the most epic ride of my life. I spun my board around as fast as my arms and legs would allow and paddled for all I was worth, as soon as I felt the wave lift me a foot or more I popped up and turned right. The right side of the board continued to tilt until I was nearly horizontal with the face of the wave, then as soon as I had started tilting it reversed itself and left me standing on my board. I looked to the side of me and saw the foot thick lip of the wave crash down filling the green interior with a rolling thunder like crash.
I was awe struck I had never made it into a tube before. It was unusually quiet, and then I realised that I wasn’t deaf. This is actually how quiet and peaceful it is in a tube. All was quiet for an hour it felt like, but I knew it was only a second or two since I had even got here in the first place. Then a slight breeze ruffled my hair and grew stronger until it reached a point where it shot me out and sent me hurtling over the lip of the wave and over the other side in midair.
I landed with a bone-breaking thud on my board, my hands were trembling from what had just happened. Then a sense of pure joy and excitement engulfed my senses. I was brought back to my senses by a surge of water slamming my head on in the face and pushing and rolling me back to shore in a big muddle of flailing limbs and arms. I coughed and gasped for air and then buried my face in the soft sand and fell to the mercy of the pain that enveloped my body a moment later. I woke up to see the smiling face of my dad, no trace of the reviling pain that had enveloped my body just minutes before. Well it felt like just minutes before anyway. I tried to ask my dad but all my voice sounded like was a croak. He smiled even wider and lifted his drink bottle, I nodded in response. He tilted the drink bottle and the wet, cool, transparent liquid poured into my mouth. I swallowed all the dry sand that had settled in my throat, it vanished with the stream of water and I was able to speak.
I started to speak but dad put his hand over my mouth and silenced the avalanche of words and exaggerations that was going to erupt out of my mouth. Then he spoke, “Sssssssshh come on, stand up and let’s go home.” I started to stand but as soon as I had risen to my full height a wave of exhaustion rolled over my body. I staggered but luckily my dad’s firm grip wrapped around and caught me. “WOW be careful,“ said my dad. Then he swung me onto his back and trudged up the stairs.
Written By: Ari Karaoulis
For more information or to help in the search for a cure with a donation visit: http://www.retinaaustraliansw.com.au/