Write Stuff Guernsey Literary Festival

Sponsored by


Highly commended

Surf's up!

By Gabriel Buchanan
Year 7, Elizabeth College

It was all just a dream now, Nazare, Pipeline, Hossegor. A dream that I would roll over and over in my head until I screamed.

It had been ten years since Maverick’s surf competition, ten years since I’d broken my neck surfing the biggest wave of all time. And ten years since freedom … I had now spent endless hours beeping food at the supermarket, alone and sad.

The only thing I could do to be near my beloved waves was sit on the beach in my wheelchair and watch them crashing on the sand …

That night I had the same nightmare I have had for the last ten years: Nazare, 2nd of October 2010, Maverick’s Surf Comp. The Jet ski: the wave towering over me like a huge churning mountain, the waterfall of white water rushing towards me like a huge train, ploughing through me, not caring whether I lived or died.

And then I woke. Today was the day when I would surf again for the first time in years, at the disabled surfer association of the Gold Coast … I was driven to the beach by my old friend James Busker, who used to surf as well but stopped after he got married.

He drove me right up to the water’s edge and called a lady named Rose over to help me get on the surfboard safely. They waded into the water and nudged me ever so slightly out. I slowly got back into the rhythm of paddling and felt ready to catch my first wave …

I paddled frantically away from the wave, faster and faster keeping in time with the surge and then I was surfing, carving along the wave on my tummy until it finally broke. A smile crossed my face for the first time in years …

Listen to the story read by Neal Layton

Guernsey Literary Festival · Surf’s Up!

Judge’s comments - Neal Layton

The writer’s interest in big wave surfing comes across in this piece which conveys both the excitement and the danger of the sport. Nazaré, Mavericks, Pipeline are all spots famed throughout the world, and the central character shows the passion felt by those who surf. Well done.
Back to winners

Get Inspired

Each year we set a different brief and receive hundreds of amazing entries. You can read the previous stories below.