The Legend of the Ola

After two fabulous week in Guanajuato filled with music, theater, and nights on the town, we headed back to Mexico City to meet up with Brent's Mom, Beryl. From there, the three of us made an escape to the beautiful Pacific Coast in Oaxaca State. We spent a few days at La Punta in Puerto Escondido learning to properly relax in the heat (aka find a hammock and don't get out of it all afternoon), surfing, and discovering the importance of securing your mosquito net tightly around your mattress. Further West along the coast we came upon the perfect little beach getaway- San Agustinillo. Being slightly cooler, breezier, and with safer swimming, this little fishing community is sure to become our family's holiday home away from home. While I tumbled and floated among the waves, Brent mastered the art of standing on his surfboard and riding the wave all the way to shore. It was here on the coast where we encountered the incredible story of the Ola. In print for the first time, we bring you the life, and The Legend of the Ola.

The Legend of the Ola

They call him the Ola, the Shaman of the Waves. His power animal is the pelican, and you can see it in the way he carves pipes. The same way pelicans use the updrafts off the waves he soars down the pipes. He can fly man, I've seen it. His tribe surfs the pipes down at the Esco, and I was just a boy when I made my first pilgrimage. Hell, I hadn't even been born yet. And if he accepts you into his tribe, he accepts you into his family. He marks you, with a wink and a nod which means your Shocka-bra. And if you're Shocka-bra, then that means your OK with God. Family… man, that shit is for life.

When I surf other breaks in other places, I always dream of the wicked pipes of the Esco. Whenever I great my fellow brahhs on the beach, it's always with a colloquial 'Hola.' But if you listen for it you'll hear the pronounced 'O,' as in Ola, the Spanish name for the wave, the name of the shaman. And I listen real good for their response, that subtle 'O', for Ola in return. And if I hear it I turn round and say, “Hey Brahh, you ever been to the Esco?”

He'll look back real serious, and if he says, “Brahh, I was born in the Esco,” then that means you've found a fellow believer. A fellow Seeker.

I still remember the last time I saw the Ola. And I guess you could say since that time I been searchin'. Not only for my own olas, but for the Ola. The surfing had been wicked sick that day with tight ass pipes off a strong southerly wind. How was I supposed to know what was going to happen? Had I known… oh hell, what's the point in looking back at the shore. We got a case of cervezas and a basket of fruit and we hiked out to La Punta, the point, where we felt the power of the waves crashing on the rocks.

“One day,” began the Ola. “I'll be moving on.”

Mal noticias amigo.

He went on as was his habit of doing. “That's right, I don't know when and I don't know where, but I can feel a wave a-coming. “Feel the waves fellow brahhlitos y brahhlitas.” Everyone of them coming across the ocean, born out at sea. Traveling miles and miles just to get here, just to get to you. They begin practically as nothing, maybe the wings of a butterfly in India or a falling tree which stirs the breeze across the ocean. Just the way your mother may have batted her lashes at your father. Just a little thing at first which releases all that kinetic energy. Love man, it's all just energy.”

We chew on this for a while, sipping our beers and thinking, just digesting what it is the Ola tells us. He's deep man, real deep.

“Everyone of us,” he continues. “We only have so many waves to surf. You can't pick your waves, you can only be ready for them when they come. Is it going to break right or left, is it going to be a pipe or what? You just got to be there in the moment. And if you're sitting on shore, then that's just too bad. This wave came all that way just for you and you just let it crash on the shore? That's the only sin I ever heard of. Now listen to me, my brahhs, my family. When that wave comes for me and I take it, I need you all to remember that you've never needed me. Because the wave is inside of you.”

I didn't like the way the Ola was talking. Man, what would we do without him? I didn't even want to think about it. He came up to me later on saying, “Why you looking so glum my little brahhlito?”

I toss a rock into the ocean.

“Seeing you grow up on these waves man, it's given me a lot a joy,” he says. “But you're not a little boy anymore. You're a man. But you're running. Running from what? I don't know. That's for you to figure out. Did you know that waves come in sets? Sets of fourteen. Tell me now, what happened to you when you were fourteen?”

I search my mind and I can't think of a thing. Then it hits me. “Lost my pops when I was fourteen,” I say. To be honest I'm not sure if it was fourteen, but it was thereabouts. But I go on, “He didn't die or nothin. Just up and ran off with some Vegas hooker he met online. I ain't seen him since.”

“Little brahh, that wave passed. It's come and gone and it's energy has washed back into the ocean. You can't look for the waves when you're only looking back at the shore. Look to the sea my brahhlito, be ready, and when the wave comes you be ready to shocka-bra.”

I look out at the sea again.

“How old are you now?” He asks.

“Twenty eight.” I'm actually thirty, but I know what the Ola is getting at and I want him to see it through.

“Well son, sounds like it's time for a new beginning.”

The next morning the Ola was gone, board and all. The family couldn't keep together after that, like the spirit had been taken out of us and we scattered like sheep without a shepherd. We went our different ways, and my way was back into my parents' basement in Santa Monica. I'm still surfing though, still searching for my olas. And still searching, for the Ola.


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