I’ve been at this for most of my adult life, but it still feels like a dream every time I come home. Like it’s happened to someone else. I sit across the table from my pal Matty, on the train to Penzance, we’re mostly silent, our bodies resting at last. Enough chat for a lifetime over the past couple of weeks.
I made my quarterfinal heat, then I made my semifinal heat. And I’m never really sure how it happens. I just surf like I know how, in a way that makes me happy, which makes me grin, the only way. Our flight was due to leave Zihuatanejo the afternoon of Final’s Day, a last-minute change to the schedule, so in between the semi and final, we packed our bags and left them by the door.
The final pulsed with waves, as the whole event had. I got three to the beach and did my thing; I’ll not miss the 8-minute paddle out. We waited in the midday sun for the results. I came in 3rd, the same as last time round in 2019, Kai Sallas won. I was happy, too tired to be anything but. And with that, we jumped in the taxi, with no time for goodbyes or heartfelt hugs. A whirlwind, like the rest of the trip.
📸 Matty Snelling
If you’ve not already read it cover to cover, there’s still time to pick up Mike’s previous volume of Wavelength; decked out with the stories of twelve custodians of surfing from different corners of the globe. Get yours here.