The alarm droned at 5am and I wanted to hit snooze but I had sabotaged myself the night before by positioning it across the room. I was up so I made some coffee and hopped in the “Smelter” for the 5 minute ride to Duranbah. The tide was low and the waves did not look very appealing in the pre-dawn light. There were only 10 guys out and the sun had just started to peak above the horizon. “It’s better than watching T.V. I’ll give it a float,” I convinced myself. The water was transparent and little fish darted around below me as I paddled out. The waves were more fun than I had anticipated. I was letting the caffeine set in when a little shoulder high nugget rolled in. At this point the next 10 seconds seemed to go in slow motion. I saw a guy on a mal (Australian for funshape board) paddling for the peak. He was a bit far back and had an awful lot of zinc sunscreen on his face for 545 a.m. I watched as he stood up…or I should say attempted to…since the nose of his board pearled instantly. As this happened, he threw his hands straight up, his eyes turned to saucers, and he opened his mouth wide to let out a shriek. I instantly spun around and dug as hard as I could for the wave. As I stood up I looked back to see Mr. Zinc’s scream stifled as he face planted into the clear water. I could barely contain my laughter as I dropped into the 4 foot double up and hooked a bottom turn right into the belly of the “beast” (I’m using the term liberally here.). The wave stood at attention on the sandbar and then inhaled me. I could see the sun peering through the translucent lip and for a second I assumed the wave was going to swallow me whole and deposit me on the sandbar with Mr. Zinc. Instead, it spit me out into the daylight like a sip of rancid milk. I was so stoked that I started fist pumping the air like a kook! I looked over and saw a 10 year old kid laughing. I’m not sure if he was laughing at my awkward contortions or Mr. Zinc but there is a good chance that it was a bit of both.