I have no idea how long the bar roulette went on for, it seemed as if the whole of Ferrol was out that night, we kept on bumping into people from the contest then losing them again only to meet up later somewhere else. The boys from Pukas in their Renault Espace, were on a mission, with Pablo and Ignacio leading their charge. They were by far the real masters at this game, I was just a mere apprentice, we could not keep up and always seemed to be a few paces behind them. Throughout the night they seemed to drift in and out of vision as we kept crossing paths, their car always full of laughing girls and raging surfers. If an award for the naughtiest guy on tour was awarded Pablo would have been the winner hands down, if ever there was a problem Pablo was guaranteed to be involved.
The year before in Pantin we had drama in the water, it was solid a good 8 feet, big lumps of ocean, perfect for me, I had 3 Basque surfers, Pablo, Gorka and Jorge in the quarter finals. It should have been an easy heat, semis next almost a sure thing.
We were sitting up against the cliffs and as soon as the heat started I dashed into the middle of the bay with Pablo sticking to me like glue, a perfect left stood up right in front of me and I was perfectly placed to get a bomb wave in the first minute of the heat, a perfect start.
I looked at Pablo he was too deep, impossible for him to go, he was famous for playing dirty, He was paddling over the wave and shouted for me to go, I turned took two digs and was up and gone. As soon as I committed he had turned and thrown himself over the falls, somehow made the drop, bottom turned and was right behind me. A classic interference, my contest had come to an end.
I was not angry I was fuming, I wanted to smash his head in, instead we were getting caught by set after set and getting smashed ourselves right up against the cliffs and rocks of Pantin. Earlier in the day the contest had been called off while one of the Owen twins rescued another competitor who was drowning in the middle of the heat, so this was not a game this was heavy water pushing us up against the rocks. My anger dissipated fast as survival came first.
Eventually there was a break in the sets and we made it safely back into the lineup I was swearing and cursing at Pablo the other two competitors gave us both a nervous glance and moved as far away from us as possible, I said to them not to worry they would advance into the semis as Pablo was not going anywhere. I grabbed his leash, wrapped it round my arm and paddled him out to sea. He was not going to get another wave, not if I could help it.
We sat in open ocean for the next 25 minutes with Pablo frantically trying to get away but I held him like my life depended on it, the whole beach and every other competitor was watching, let this be a lesson. With a minute to go a perfect big right stood up right in front of me, I let Pablo`s leash go paddled for it and went. It was a perfect wave I got a big score and just missed making the semis by a fraction of a point. Pablo came last in the heat, the only wave he caught was the wave of the interference. We had a little scuffle on the sand before we were broken apart and we went our separate ways. Our rivalry had just stepped up a level.
So that night when I saw Pablo being chased out of the disco we were about to enter and down the road by a group of apparently very angry guys and a few policemen, I smiled put my arm around Blue Eyes and walked in.