Bobbing like bait, with his legs dangling in the open water, always made him feel somewhat uneasy, but Lucas was patient. Quality not quantity of rides took home trophies and sponsorships–and trips to Bali. He shifted his focus from what lurks below to the rolling mass of water near the horizon. He had a keen sense of which swell would break and which one would peter out. This one was the former. Lucas simultaneously laid flat and turned the board’s nose toward the beach. He waited. If he paddled too soon he’d be ahead of the wave and risk it smashing down on top of him. If he paddled too late, though, he’d lack the momentum needed to be in control of the ride—possibly going over the falls. Surfing is both luck and precision—and a chick magnet. 


This was the moment, it’s hard to explain how you know, but it’s that same sense pilots must have knowing where there wheels are just before touchdown. It’s like a sixth sense. Lucas began paddling until he felt that same teetering effect signaling it was safe to make the leap to standing. Lucas had once again successfully dropped in on one of the most powerful forces on earth. 


He made a bottom turn, channeling his momentum toward the open face. After carving left and right, he felt the tension and nerves lesson. He was in “the zone.” While the wave was still clean, he shot upward and performed an off-the-lip trick, pushing the back half of his board into the air at the wave’s lip while dramatically forcing the nose of the board downward. He couldn’t hear it, but it was a crowd-pleaser! He picked up speed and carved back toward the lip, launching skyward. His board completely left the water; Lucas rotated so the bottom of the board faced the shore, then grabbed the rails as he tilted sideways and reconnected with the wave. He’d pulled off the “Superman!”


Lucas ended the ride with a few more snaps and cutbacks before moving over to the backside of the now foaming lip. He was sure that as long as he didn’t crash and burn on any of the next waves, he’d likely take home the top prize. He didn’t necessarily play it safe, but he was less risky during the next three runs. The horn blew, and the three surfers, finally having a moment to rub their sore arms and legs, gladly letting the salty current wash them toward shore. 


Friends and family huddled near the outlet point. The three surfers exited to cheers, high-fives, fist bumps, and lots of smiles and shakas! It wouldn’t be too much longer before all the heats had finished and Lucas would know his fate.


Lucas toweled off and distracted himself with TikTok and Instagram. He scrolled through his friends’ feeds to see if any of them had posted his runs. Much to his surprise, accounts like Hi-Tech and HSA Maui had already posted some of the day’s events, including Lucas’s Superman trick!


“Aloha, surfers!” came a voice over the loudspeaker. “A big mahalo to all our sponsors and to you, the surfers, for putting yourself out there. We’ve tallied the scores and are ready to announce the winners of the HSA Maui Shredder Tournament.”


The voice preceded to rattle off the names of third place, runner-up, and first for the different boys and girls age groups. It felt like an eternity before the announcer boomed, “Boys, 13 and under… in third place, Nelson Perry. Our runner-up, Deen Coy…” Lucas didn’t even hear his name… he didn’t have to. He let out a scream and did a little dance as the feel-goods pulsed throughout his body, nearly overwhelming his senses. He rushed to take his place on the highest podium labeled “1st Place.” He stared out looking for familiar faces but found the most important one, his mom’s. She wore the biggest grin and you could see her pride beaming from her eyes. Behind him, the sun actually was setting. And his hair was actually swaying in the wind. Everything he had dreamed about was coming to fruition.


“Lucas,” a voice called from his back left. It was Kyle Hendrix. “After the trophy ceremony, come see me.”


Stuttering, Lucas replied, “Uh… oh-kay.” Then turned back to face the crowd, nearly in a trance. The event organizer did his best to encourage the groms, or more appropriately, the surfers, and wish them all the best as they enter future high-stakes events. Finally, the announcer finished blabbering. Lucas shook the other boys’ hands, climbed down and rushed past his mom, up the concrete steps, and to the judges area where Kyle and Ian sat.


Forcing the butterflies in his stomach to fly in formation, Lucas spoke, “You wanted to see me?”


“Yeah, Ian and I would be honored if you’d join us in Bali next month. We’ll handle all the arrangements so all you have to do is show up. And oh! Guess what?”




“I think we’ve got a sponsor or two lined up for you. We’re going to get you a new surfboard, branded rash guards, and all the board shorts you’d like.”


Lucas reached down near his hip and pinched himself. He’d always heard that that’s how you can tell if you’re dreaming or not. But it was all real. Even the selfies with Ian and Kyle, and them exchanging “socials.” He didn’t want to ruin the moment by lingering too long; and as cool as possible, he said his goodbyes and casually walked away—like what he had experienced was no big deal. But once out of the pro surfers’ sight, he launched into a full sprint. He couldn’t wait to tell his mom and blast his news on social media.


A grom he was no more!



What's something challenging—for you—that you've tried lately?

Why did you want to try this challenging thing?

How did it feel when you first got started? How about later?