Just a knight’s luck: The stars have aligned and Cave is breathing fire. From the bluff we watch a set unload on the reef. Backless 6- to 8-foot righthanders suck off an exposed slab, the rocks like the back of some mythic beast.
Suiting up, Nic explains how Cave is not Portuguese for “cave,” but translates to basement or cellar, due to the various steps and boils one encounters on his way into the tube.
But Alex, John John, Albee, Nic and a few other locals are out there before Nic’s story is finished. And all make their way in (and out) of the belly of the beast. Nic, like a true knight, gets the largest wave of the session, lunging into the right on both heels, letting go of his rail about 3 feet in front of dry rock, spat out and blown into the channel. A crowd that’s gradually gathered on the bluff roars for their hero.
Nic and the rest of the dragon slayers come in, most of them shaking their heads at the beast’s apparent ferociousness. “That’s a heavy f--king wave,” says Albee.
Famished after a good fight, Nic leads us to what he calls “a proper Portuguese feast.” Which is actually a Brazilian buffet. But along the way we pass a strange antique stone-junkyard. The lighting is gorgeous and the ruins are oddly magnetic so Nic, Griffin, Parker and Brendon wander through the rubble.
They wander the yard and stare at the ruins. At statues frozen in tragic poses. At the pillars and houseless stairways.
“There’s more culture in this Portuguese dump than there is in all of California,” says Parker, climbing onto a stone wheel that looks like it was once attached to a Roman chariot.
Maybe by “culture,” he means questions. Certainly there was a lot of that here. Like: Where did these stairs once lead? Or, where have all the sculptors gone? Or, will the wind be dead again tomorrow morning? And, are there more dragons out there in need of slaying?