I couldn’t let this day go by without a tug of the forelock in acknowledgment to all the surfers and wave-obsessed out there.
I used to be the girl in the photo. I lived on the beach. Although I never surfed, I wind-surfed. And snorkeled and scuba-dived and free-dived and hung out with surfers. Some of my best young adult memories are from those times.
(In fact, one of my keenest memories is dragging myself away from the beach to head for the pub for the Sunday session to see a band no one had ever heard of. Their name was INXS.)
That history led me to write a romantic thriller set in surf territory, Western Australia. Terror Stash features surfing, diving, surfer culture, wind-surfing and lots of sandy beaches, all mixed up in an international terrorist conspiracy.
Here’s the opening scene:
EXCERPT FROM TERROR STASH
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2013
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
If Montana had known the surfers milling about on the white beach thought her to be both brave and totally insane, she would have been puzzled, but right at that moment, she was too busy to care.
Today, the Bommie was living up to its reputation. The twenty-foot waves on offer could easily dump a rider on his ass right on top of shards of reef. They were keeping even the most dedicated surfer with his feet planted firmly in the baking white sand. Most of the surfers stood in the shade, staring out at the heaving green peaks and troughs, wishing they had the guts to take a run at it. At the very least they would be hailed for their courage while they recuperated in hospital.
“So when are you humping that bloody great lump of board of yours out there, Jacko?” The loud question came from one of the surfers lined up along the edge of the only available shade, cast by a patch of prickly acacias gasping for life in the arid sand. They were thigh-high bushes which were useless for anything but providing relief to bare feet from the burning white sand. The rutty bantam of a man was speaking to the tanned, bleached surfer at the end of the ragged audience.
Jacko had planted one of the long, traditional Malibu boards heel down in the sand and was propping himself up with it. “Get knotted,” he offered, not bothering to look around. His accent was a rich Afrikaans.
“Hey, no problems,” Bruce shot back. “You don’t have the balls for it. I get ya, mate.” The cocky bantam gave Jacko a great, easy grin.
“It isn’t balls you need to go out there,” Jacko announced. “It’s a healthy dose of insanity.”
Bruce pushed his bare toes through the fine white sand. A few paces beyond the bushes it was too hot to stand on but just here it warmed their feet and tickled between their toes. “Crazy prob’ly explains what Greg is doing out there, then.”
They both turned to study the waves with a hand shading their eyes against the dazzling Morse code blinking off the green walls of water rolling in toward them. The waves were so high the horizon was hidden. The front wave curled over itself into a cap of foam, then behind it the next swell built up into a breaker and behind that yet another big peak of green.
Endless waves. Each of them was a killer, if you didn’t approach them just right. Less than a month ago, Jacko had hauled the mangled, bleeding body of an Argentinean surfer out of the water when he’d read the wave wrong. He’d failed to turn into it so he could slip over the top edge and down the long, easy back slope to safety.
The Argentinean had won the Puerto Escondido International in Mexico just five days before.
“There he is,” Jacko said, pointing to Greg, out on his board. “He’s at the lineup, going for a run.”
“He’s fucking crazy!” the small Australian declared.
“No balls, huh?” Jacko shot a sideways glance at him.
The Australian grinned and spread his hands in a “Hey, so shoot me,” gesture.
Then they both turned back to watch crazy Greg take on the Bommie at its deadliest.
“Bloody hell, there’s a girl out there!” Bruce declared in an outraged voice, “and she’s windsurfing!”
There was a strong southerly wind blowing across the face of the waves, which made them choppy and unpredictable. It was dangerous for a surfer, so a windsurfer was guaranteed to be in trouble. A strong cross wind on flat water was tough enough. It could rip the sail out of your hands and knock you right off your board. Add monster waves to that and you had to keep the windsurfing board pointed toward the beach or get wiped out by the many tons of seawater building in a wall behind you and fight the cross wind.
Bruce shook his head. “Fuckin’ crazy.”
Jacko’s far-seeing, Aryan blue eyes narrowed. “It’s Montana,” he declared.
“Well, that explains it,” Bruce said, throwing up his hands.
After a long, thoughtful moment, Jacko dropped his board to the sand and settled his rear on it. “Could be a good show.”
“A girl?” Bruce curled his lip in disgust, but he sat down, too.
That’s not the only ocean-involved scene in the book, either.
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