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“I found a nice, medium-sized wave, possibly the first of a set. I caught it, shaky with relief, then I managed to fall off. I popped up, annoyed, and found myself looking at a wall of water that seemed to have marched out of my worst nightmares. It was already pulling water from the shelf, pulling me toward it, and there was no chance at all that I would escape it. It was the biggest wave I had ever seen at Pequena, and it was already starting to break. I swam toward it hard and dove early, but it plucked me out of the depths and beat me until I screamed in hopeless protest. When I finally surfaced there was another one behind it, just as big, just as malignant. There seemed to be a bit more water on the shelf. I swam to the bottom and tried to get a grip on a rough slab of rock but was instantly ripped away. Another long, thorough beating. I tried to cover my head with my arms in case it dashed me against the bottom. It didn't. I eventually resurfaced. There was another one. It was bigger than the others, but the important thing about it was that it sucked all the water off the shelf. Boulders started surfacing in front of me, and then I was standing in a field of rocks in rushing, waist-deep water. I did not understand where I was. A field of rocks had risen out of the ocean, quite far from shore, at a break I thought I knew. In a lifetime of surfing, I had never seen anything like this. The wave mutated into a hideous, boiling, two-story wall of white water, almost without breaking. It had run out of water to draw from. I had a moment in which to decide what to do before it hit me. I picked a fissure in the wall and threw myself up and into it. The vague hope was that if I wriggled in deep enough the white water might swallow me rather than simply smash me to pieces on the rocks. Something like that occurred apparently. My feet were sliced up from the leap but I did not hit the bottom as I rag-dolled shoreward in the bowels of the wave, and when I next surfaced I was in deep water, in the channel East of Pequena, safe.”

William Finnegan
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

“When climbing outdoors, the beauty of movement is very important for me. Very often I can find it on some rocks that a lot of people would think of as very crappy. But the beauty of movement is there, the interesting moves you need to really ponder about for hours, imagining the sequence and planning how to do it. Also very often a solid looking wall turns out to be very stupid from the climber's point of view.”

Adam Ondra

“I watched the story that night on the evening news. The blackout episode helped me better understand what was ahead of me. I had been cautious. NSA was a national treasure and my first task had been to do no harm. Now it was clear to me that no course of action I could set out on would be as dangerous to the agency as standing still. Had I known what awaited me and America a year and a half down the road, I might have been even bolder. But the broader lesson stuck: caution isn't always a virtue, not if you're serious about doing your duty.”

General Michael V. Hayden, U.S. Air Force ret., former Director of NSA and CIA
Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror