“With that storm down the coast, the waves are bigger than usual, much bigger. Let’s do it!” said Zena.
We’d talked our boyfriends into towing us into the waves on their jet skis. They were pretty pumped, too, to ride those waves on their skis. We were talking extreme surfing. The waves were like mountains, five stories high.
I’d never seen anything like it. No one surfed Alley-Oop Alley during hurricane season. But that day we each caught a monster wave. Of course we wiped out. You can’t ride a wave that big for long, especially not the first time out.
I’ve wiped before, but being underneath so much thundering water when the wave broke on top of me... I didn’t know which way is up. The sound was almost deafening.
But all four of us are lifeguards. We never would’ve tried it if we hadn’t prepared. Instinct and experience were on our side. We’d practiced, but never in waves like that.
When I finally popped up after my wipe-out, I didn’t see anyone at first. I grabbed hold of my board in that incredible whirling water. It was a miracle it stayed attached to my cord and ankle.
I got a glimpse of Jake. Thank God he was ok. He skied out to tow me back in – towards shore. It was just one run, but we’d had enough. Those waves were just way too big.
“Where are Zena and Nate?” All we could see were the waves crashing all around us.
Then I got a glimpse of Zena’s fluorescent orange board flying up into the air after another gigantic wave chased us out of Alley-Oop Alley. The Alley has the biggest waves around, but there was no riding those babies that day. They just pummeled us. Jake and I headed for shore in the rumbling surf.
Not long after we beached the ski, Zena’s board, well, half of it, washed up. Nate zoomed up to us on his ski -- alone. “Where’s Zena?” he yelled frantically.
“I’ll climb up the cliff and see if I can see anything from there,” said Jake. He took off running. We had our water resistant walkie talkies, but I wasn’t sure I’d hear anything over the crashing surf.
“Nate, tow me out there. We have to find her -- Fast!” I yelled.
We thought we were prepared, but ya can’t prepare for waves like that. Just like Zena wasn’t prepared for...
As we headed back into the Alley, Jake radioed, “I see her! Out past the jetty! She’s hanging onto something.”
We zoomed in that direction, but the waves were so huge we couldn’t see much else. I was afraid we’d wipe and lose the ski, but Nate was going so fast we just zoomed up and over, surfing on the jet-ski, almost. But we were too worried about Zena to enjoy it.
Finally we got a glimpse of her. She was clinging to something all right, but we couldn’t make out what it was.
Next thing I knew, Zena was right there beside us, clinging to a dolphin. -- A dolphin sent straight from God.
Zena scrambled onto my board. We screamed “THANK YOU!” to the dolphin and bolted outta there as fast as we could.
But we still had to get back to shore in one piece. Nate zoomed us outta the Alley. There were still some serious waves to contend with. Somehow we made it to shore.
On the beach Zena said, “Oh man, what a rush! But let’s go home now, ok?” She was shivering so much she was shaking. “I’m totally wiped out.”
“Me too,” I said.
“Thank God for that dolphin,” said Nate. He held Zena close in a big warm blanket.
“I was so scared,” said Zena. “But that dolphin… It was amazing. If it hadn’t shown up…”
Jake joined our group hug after making his way back down from the cliff. The four of us were a good team. But only God could have sent that dolphin. Why else was out it in such enormous waves?
The next week Zena returned the favor. She rescued a little kid who almost drowned. She fished him out of the water and gave him CPR till the medics arrived.
That’s our job. It’s what lifeguards do. We’ll always think of that dolphin as one of us. -- And that big Lifeguard up in the sky -- the greatest Life-Saver of all.
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