Surfing probably didn’t occur to the Vikings
but then you never know – maybe one of Asgeir’s men
found himself oaring his chieftain’s faering
for this Biscay shore, just as a set wave jacked –
the kind that narrows the eyes of the guns
who yearly light up the Quicksilver Pro
(Slater, Fanning, Medina, Florence, Parko) –
and intuiting to lean down the face of the monster
felt it take, the shove as the hull slotted flush
into the vein of the sea god, frisson pitching through
the crew like the shudder of a brained seal
as they fluked the drop on an outside bomb.
You can almost see them now, rolling in from
out the back like hoons on a banana boat,
on course to plow through locals. A nerf howls
to a thud; a kitesurfer eats it. And there must
have been some among the numberless wrecked
who happened to cling to jetsam felicitously warped –
the waterlogged panel of a walnut armoire, say –
as to hitch them a lift in the home stretch
of this crumbling A-frame’s deep Atlantic fetch.
Perhaps one of them even cottoned on
that after breathing, the art lies in the reading
of the break, getting to grips with tide-shift
and how the wind’s caprice vexes the takeoff,
the fickle line-up – but who among them
could have envisaged a Tahitian king, carving?
The guns will return, who are now braving
the skull-crushing torque of Teahupo’o.