Don’t swipe left until you get to Cloudbreak. Stephen Kaltenbach. Photo: Becca Speak
I won the lottery a little while ago. Well, not really — I’m still broke as shit. But as far as surf trips go, I was able to cash in a winning ticket.
It was St. Patrick’s Day and I was drunk. And bored. Seeing as I’m part of a generation that relies on little rectangles to solve all of our problems, I went on Tinder and started searching for a girl to better my situation.
I only swipe right. It’s good karma. And it paid off when one of my matches — let’s call her Sharron — messaged me. She told me she was recently divorced and very horny. I told her I was recently drunk and very horny. We decided to meet at her house and have some fun.
The next morning, I found out more about her and her life. She’s in her early 40’s, has a new pair of boobs and a small litter of children. She seemed nice overall, and she kindly gave me a ride back to my car in the morning. I thought that would be the end of our interactions because that’s typically how the whole dating app scene works. I was wrong.
The next weekend rolls around and we ended up hanging out on another drunken night. My head felt like it was just kicked for a 69-yard field goal the next morning, so I started complaining about my hangover.
Me: I feel awful. I have zero interest in going to work today.
Sharron: Awe, I’m sorry. It sounds like you need a vacation.
Me: Yeah but who doesn’t?
Sharron: I need a vacation too, want to go on vacation with me?
Me: Sure, where do you want to go?
Sharron: I love Tavarua. Want to go there?
Me: I would love to go there, but I have nowhere near the amount of money for that. I’m broke.
Sharron: No, like, I’ll take you there.
I figured she was bluffing and wrote it off…until I got a text asking for my info so she could send it to the travel agent. Two months later, I’m packing my boards while eyeing up an 8-12ft swell. I had the excitement level of a kid waking up on Christmas to find a monster truck in the front yard. By the way, Santa, that would still be a wonderful gift.
I was in disbelief as I stepped off the boat and felt my feet sink into the warm white sand. Videos, pictures, stories — none of them do this place justice. Given the swell that was about to hit, I informed Sharron that I’d probably be surfing for about 10 hours a day. She tells me that she comes from a surfing family and she gets it, so I should just have fun.
I’m not going to tell you about the waves we scored. You’ve seen footage of Cloudbreak. It’s fucking perfect, and some idiot who barely scored a 400 on his SAT writing isn’t going to lead you to any revelations. So let’s just talk about the inevitable disaster with Sharon.
Two nights in, we’re at the bar and she’s looking a little tipsy. I think good for her, she’s having fun. I try to strike up a conversation; she quickly shoots it down. Then she goes on a tirade, yelling at me and telling me how much I suck — some of which I may have deserved. I ask what I can do to make it up to her and she dismisses me as a piece of shit. I know there is no rationalizing with an angry drunk person, so I decide to save it for the morning.
Me: So last night you kind of snapped on me, and I’d like to know what the problem is so we can fix it and have a good time.
Sharron: This just isn’t how I thought this was going to go. And it’s whatever, it’s my own fault.
Me: Well how did you think it was going to go?
Sharron: I don’t know, but definitely not like this. It just seems like you’re unappreciative.
Me: I’m super appreciative, so thank you. But coming from my point of view, I’m at the best wave in the world and it’s pumping. You told me to surf all day. I didn’t think you wanted me to stay on the beach and collect shells.
Sharron: No it’s fine, just use this opportunity and have fun.
So that’s exactly what I did.
The rest of the time we were basically like roommates. We’d see each other and exchange pleasantries but that was the extent of it.
On the last day of the trip, we hung by the pool for a bit before our flight. Sharron started drinking some wine, which made me nervous because she’s an angry drunk. We eventually made it to the airport and she was still in high spirits, so I thought I’d crossed the finish line. Until we got to security.
They wanted her to throw out her special sunscreen and she wasn’t having any of that. It turned into a screaming match between her and the airport staff. I started stepping away from the situation — no cavity search for me. Then she told me to go ahead, so I did.
She eventually made it through and went straight to the bar to go to town on some wine. I could see the situation deteriorating before my eyes. I told her I wanted to walk around airport for a bit and temporarily fleed the scene.
When it came time to board, I grabbed a very inebriated Sharron to go wait in line. She decided to strike up a fun conversation about one of the cute blonde girls on the island.
Sharron: You like Becca more than me, don’t you?
Me: What are you talking about? She was just hanging out with our crew.
Sharron: You like young stupid, naïve girls. You wouldn’t know a good woman if you saw one.
Me: Can we please not do this?
Sharron: We can do whatever I want because I paid for all of this
Me: Ok, well I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m sorry.
Sharron: You don’t have to say you’re sorry. Just know that this is the problem with your generation. You guys don’t appreciate things, and don’t know when to fight for a good thing when you see it. Go fuck yourself.
Me: You know what, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to go fuck myself.
With that, I walk away from her and hope that she cools down in the 20 or 30 minutes before the plane takes off and I wait until the last minute to board the plane. I finally get on and sit next to her.
Sharron: Why did you walk away from me?
Me: I’m not going to stand in public and get berated. I figured walking away was the best thing to do.
Sharron: You need to grow the fuck up and learn that you can’t just be carefree your whole life.
Me: Ok, thanks for the life tip
Sharron: You know what, FUCK YOU! Just go fuck yourself!
Me: Chill out, there are kids on the plane. You need to relax.
Sharron: Don’t tell me what to do, FUCK YOU!
Me: Hey shut up, this is not the place to do this.
Sharron: FUCK YOU! Don’t tell me to shut up!
At that point, I plugged my headphones in and stared straight ahead as she continued to scream obscenities in my ear for another few minutes. I wanted her to hit me so that I could be relocated or get her kicked off the flight, which was the path we were on. Another person we’d met on the island yelled at her to chill out from across the plane, and she eventually simmered down into a sleep.
The flight landed and neither of us acknowledged the other one’s presence. She put a few things in my board bag, so I was bracing for a final interaction with her as I got to baggage claim. My boards come out and I pulled out her stuff and gave it to her without any words. And it was done.
So that’s how I scored a free trip to the best place in the world. And if I could do it again, I would. Hell, I would do the same trip with an even crazier broad if I had the chance. I only wish I could’ve found a way to make it more enjoyable for her. I’m 25 and have never had a real girlfriend so I’m kind of a rookie when it comes to this kind of stuff.
I just hope she has more fun with the next guy she told me she was bringing. —Stephen Kaltenbach