The Devon Wedge: Part One
Vomit rumbled like lava in Doggie’s stomach. Beer and acid-reeking lava. Something big had happened the night before, but Doggie had no time to scour the battle-field of his short term memory for survivors now. He had more immediate worries. Like not kicking any of the steaming spirals of sheep shit as he staggered across this farmer’s field. Or being shot. He grimaced. The exploded turds reminded him of the state of his brain. Yet despite the throbbing blackness between his ears, Doggie still managed a lopsided smile. Though still early morning in Devon, the day promised to be a globally warmed corker. He crawled through a fence and began sliding down the cliff trail.
It also helped that Doggie knew he was soon going to be barrelled off his hungover nut.
Only two surfers knew the secret. Doggie, and his best mate, Pipe. No one else knew the wave even existed. What desperado would want to waste their time, crawling around the slime-rocked headland to the tiny spit of beach that invariably closed out anyway? But this last week was different. After Monday’s one-day mega swell, all the sand had been gouged out. What remained was a mini headland perfectly adjacent to a horizontal shelf of rock. The metre high swells hit the headland, bounced off and linked up with the swell hitting the shelf, like a Smurf-sized version of California’s Wedge. And like any good wedge wave, this new surf spot doubled in size and power whatever swell was running. Admittedly, most of the waves still brutally shut down, exploding whitewater in every direction, even through the backside of the wave. But every one in seven stood up, threw out into a fat-lipped cavern and reeled along the ledge for some thirty metres before even more brutally shutting down. If you could make the drop, the ride was a barrel from start to finish - pound for pound, the most powerful wave breaking that week anywhere in the UK, if not the North Atlantic.
Doggie rounded the final rocky corner. Yep, Pipe was already out there - that unhungover bastard. Doggie hooted, and followed through with a liquid laugh.
“Yeeew!" Goofy Pipe hooted back. He paddled hard, leapt to his feet and tucked beneath the sort of bloated lip that Mick Jagger and an army of collagen-swollen supermodels could only dream about. Doggie could see his mate’s silhouette flying behind the curl. He counted the seconds... “Five... Six... Seven..." Pipe drove up the face and flew over the back of the wave just before it turned inside-out and haemorrhaged spit. “Bastard!"
Doggie burped and a cloud of insects fell dead from the sky. He wiggled the zip up on his wetsuit, picked up his battered board and staggered to the end of the mini headland. At least this wave had the easiest paddle out in Devon - provided he didn’t get trapped and swatted.
Doggie jumped, paddled a half dozen furious strokes and arrived in the line-up at the same time as his mate.
“Thanks for waking me, you bastard," Doggie grinned.
“A six-pack of porn stars couldn’t have woken you this morning." Pipe grinned back. “At least I left a note."
Doggie was just about to question his mate’s legitimacy once more when he noticed Pipe’s face change like the Westcountry weather. One moment the thickset head was grinning like JK Rowling’s bank account, the next it turned all dark and twitchy. Pipe pointed toward the shore.
Doggie turned blearily. He blinked. A small battalion of surfers and body boarders sprinted toward the jump-off rock, hooting and seeming as stoked as he was mortified.
“You booze-hound from Hell!" Pipe’s voice was black with accusation. “I told you not to get drunk and blabber about this wave to everyone in the pub!"
“I... didn’t..." Doggie protested feebly, but the truth was, he could only remember last night in disconnected flashes. It just took him one drink to get drunk, but Doggie could never remember if that was the 17th or the 18th.
Boards and bodies splashed off the jump-off rock, just as a two-wave set loomed.
Pipe stroked grimly for the first - a thickset clone of his earlier wave.
Doggie paddled for the second. A wide one, he knew he was probably too deep, but went anyway. While Pipe was a stocky goofy footer a la Tom Carroll, Doggie was more a tall, loose limbed natural footer like Parko, except minus 90% of Parko’s surfing ability. He leapt to his feet as the wave began to pitch, looked down the line and almost gagged when he saw a boogie board freefall across his perfect line. Before Dog could let out a curse, the lip connected with the back of his head. It drove him to the shelf face-first and pinned him there for two waves, like a hamster being violated, while whitewater smashed his ancient board into more pieces than a three-day jigsaw puzzle.
Finally freed, Doggie staggered up the rocks, bleeding, gasping and trembling. His legrope dragged the snapped tail of his stick, no more than three square inches of pulverised foam. Weirdest of all, Doggie was... grinning?
Pipe stood on the high rocks, arms folded, eyes glaring. “What are you looking so happy for? You’ve just snapped your only stick and in two days we’re supposed to be off on our European surf mission! Remember?"
“Do I ever!" Doggie chuckled. “I finally remember last night!"
“Hallelujah. I hope you rubbered up. Nah, actually I hope you didn’t and you’ve caught some new, slow and massively painful disease."
“I got even luckier than that!" Doggie’s grin reached his ears. “I was chatting to a French stunner, and she said we could stay at her place in the south of France-"
Pipe looked a bit interested, before frowning. “That still doesn’t solve what the hell you’re gonna ride. I know you haven’t got much coin. Are you planning on bodysurfing the great waves of Europe?"
Doggie threw back his bleeding head and roared with laughter. “Here’s the best bit! They had a raffle last night for a quiver of boards. And I drew the winning ticket!"
Pipe almost fell over. “You won... a quiver?"
“Three brand new spankers!"
“I’m... happy for you, Dog."
“Then why are you... urk... strangling me?"
Pipe pushed Doggie away, and scowled at the frothing line-up. Three guys took off on the same wave. But even witnessing mass annihilation didn’t cheer Pipe’s mood. Then he noticed a slender brunette walking around the rocky path. Impressive breasts strained at her jumper. Pipe’s eyeballs strained at his sockets when he noticed her tiny pink G-string and the almost parabolic curve of her backside. She leapt nimbly down and held out a hand toward him. “Ah... You must be... Meester Pipe?"
“You’re... French," said Pipe, ever the master of observation.
Doggie rubbed his neck. “This is the chick I was telling you about, Pipester! Um-"
“Gabrielle," smiled Gabrielle. “Doggie told me all about you. And about this wave."
“He told half of England that."
The French goddess tut-tutted and dabbed at Doggie’s bleeding face. “I’m so happy you’ve invited me on your surf trip!"
“You are?" Doggie looked stunned. “I did?" He turned to smile at Pipe sheepishly. “Heh... I was gonna tell you about that, Pipester... as soon as I remembered it."
Pipe shook his head grimly. “No offense lady, but this is a two-man mission only!"
“Aww, don’t be sexist," said Doggie. “Gabrielle said she’d throw in for petrol. And I bet she’s a great escargot cook!"
Gabrielle touched Pipe’s hand. Sparks zapped up his arm and down his chest toward his groin. “If there is problem, I can search for another lift... back to my three sisters and our mansion in Biarritz." She looked heartbroken.
“Mansion, eh? And... sisters? Well, I-"
“Attaboy, Pipester!" Dog cheered. “Gab can have my front seat while I lay in the back with my new quiver. Speaking of which, can you give me a lift to the surf shop so I can pick up my sticks?"
“Why not? How much worse can this day get?"
* * * * *
The shaper scratched his fibreglass flecked beard. “I heard you guys are off on a big Euro surf trip?"
“Sure are, Guru," smiled Doggie. “France. Spain. Portugal. Then Morocco."
“Classic. And you’re the lucky bastard who won the quiver?"
Guru lead the way into a back room and nodded at the three boards on the floor. Doggie drooled as he fondled the rails of each and peered down the stringers as if he knew what he was doing. “Ooh... This fish will be so much fun! And this channel bottom looks sick!! How long is it?"
“Six-three. And the semi-gun is a six-ten."
“Six-ten! Oh man, I’m gonna be able to ride anything this trip!" He shot a lustful glance at Gabrielle.
Pipe rolled his eyes and gnashed his teeth.
“Get these out of here," said Guru. “I’m gonna shut the shop and check out that new Wedge wave everyone’s been talking about."
Pipe gnashed harder.
* * * * *
Guru locked the front door, just as a knock sounded at the back. He gulped, strode through the shop, and opened the door.
A deep voice rumbled at him in a foreign accent as a huge pair of shoulders pushed past. “The special surfboards have been picked up?"
“Yeah. Just like you wanted." Guru gulped. “The fool has no idea. You picked the perfect mule. I doubt the big drunk will even ride those boards."
“Those surfboards weren’t designed for riding, of course," chuckled the mysterious stranger.
“Then I’ve done my bit. You said you wouldn’t hurt my family if I did what you asked."
“I’m a man of my word. I shall not hurt your family."
The big man opened his coat and pulled out a gun with a silencer.
Guru held up his hands and backed away. The big man smiled and blew Guru’s brains all over the surf and girlie posters that decorated his sanding bay.
to be continued…
Next installment: French pits, nudity, quiver secrets, exploding kombis, the CIA.... and murder, most gruesome!