We are sitting in the auditorium during Sam’s graduation. His school has asked me to do portraits of the seniors and shoot the ceremony. I’m thinking this is going to be pretty routine, the class parading down the aisle in cap and gowns, some speeches, they get their diplomas, and they toss their caps in the air after it’s all over with a big round of applause. I’m pretty unprepared for the wave of emotion that’s about to hit me.
There are many nuances and unwritten codes that I’ve tried to pass on to my kids when it comes to surfing. At all costs never let go of your board- it’s your lifeline and a loose board could hurt you or someone else in the water. Never, Never, Never drop in on any Hawaiian dudes. And, when you are out in the line-up on a big day and someone yells “Outside!” you start paddling hard towards the horizon.
I’m thinking about Sam and colleges, thinking about a six year old Sam yelling, “Daddy!” while a big set is about to pounce on us both at the Waiohi, and last year watching Sam silhouetted off to my side while we make the long paddle in from Tunnels.
As the costumed class comes traipsing in with their “big day” goofy smiles on their faces I bring the camera up to record what’s going on and to hide the tear that’s about to come down my face. The back of my camera fogs up a little as my lips make out the word, outside.