Lying on the chest on his wooden surfboard, Aloha paddled forward with his arms. Along the coast, the breeze was slow and waves were quiet. It was a peaceful moment, but Aloha knew myriad waves awaited him just below the cliffs. Just then, a yell rang out from behind. It was two old men sailing on a fishing boat, slowly departing from the coast. They raised their voice at Aloha, “Hey punk, get out of here! We’ve got work to do! ”
“Old papa! You’re not in your twenties anymore. The sea isn’t for you! Why don’t you stay home and be done with it?”
“Humph! You weren’t even born when I starting sailing into the winds back then!” “It’s because you kids can’t get fish hauls, so we old fellows have to do it ourselves!” The old fisherman brandished his paddle, attempting to scare him off: “Buzz off! Get outta our way!”
Aloha did not pay attention to the old men, and continued paddling towards the shore. Despite growing up in a fishing village, Aloha did not know how to swim, and suffered constant teasing from his peers for it. As a child of unbending character, Aloha strived hard to practice swimming. Yet, he remained unable to overcome the fear of the ocean, for his every attempt would result in near-drowning. However, Aloha did not give up. To ensure his own safety, he tied himself to a wooden board during swimming practices.
One time, some mischievous children had hidden in the water to trick Aloha with a shark plank. Terrified, Aloha had paddled to a wave. The children threw rocks at him and struck him in the leg. Mistaking the pain as a shark bite, he panickedly leapt onto the wooden board, and from that instinctive act, he learnt the secret of riding waves on a board. After extensive practice, Aloha mastered surfing. To alleviate his fear of water, he would imagine himself riding a rolling sand dune instead of a wave in the ocean. Since then, Aloha had fallen in love with surfing, for the anxiety it brought actually enhanced the excitement.
“Yoo-hoo!” Aloha was riding excitedly on a growing swell. As the momentum built, he surged all the way up to the peak. Before the edge of wave broke, he leapt onto the board, bent his knees and started surfing beneath the rolling wave. At last possible minute, he leapt out just before the wave came crashing down.
After taking in a few gasps of air, Aloha surged again to the top of another wave. At that time, he saw that some distance away, a dark dorsal fin fast approaching the fishing boat.
“Get out of here! Now!” Yet, the old men did not hear Aloha. Immediately, he plummeted from the edge of wave, and paddled towards them. The boat was left swaying as the killer whale brushed against it. The two old men, losing their balance, nearly fell into the water. Arriving just in time, Aloha held up his board and slammed it onto the whale. Yet, the large killer whale, several times his size, was unharmed; it shattered the wooden surfboard with a single bite. Before Aloha could call for help, he had been scared faint from the sight of its enormous jaw.
For a moment, Aloha had thought he was dead, but the scorching gust blowing at him told him he was still alive. He instinctively turned away from the blinding sunlight, opening his eyes to see a vast, ragged bay. Aloha found that he was lying on a leaf-covered bed, inside a bamboo shed with herbs hanging around. Aloha checked himself from head to toe, and was astonished to find that he had escaped unscathed.
“You are awake, young man.” It was a gravelly voice. He turned to see that a stranger with gray hair appeared. He was dressed in a raw, rattan vest, exposing his shoulders and arms, which were dotted with myriad wounds. “Hello, I am O’Barry.”
“I am Aloha. You saved me?”
No, I did not. You’re not yet out of danger.” With his calloused hand, O’Barry amiably patted Aloha’s shoulder, and continued, “You have been ‘abducted’ by a killer whale.”