Outer Island is a short story, written by Dan Webber, about a year spent on Norfolk Island, in the South Pacific. The basic theme is one of escape. The surfing adventure creates the setting for the narrator's personal journey, which unfolds in the manner of a bildungsroman. The narrator's inner turmoil can be gleaned from his descriptions of the island, it's cultural and geologic past interwoven with the narrator's present moment explorations. The island thus serves as a metaphor for the narrator's psyche.
"Surfboards, leg-ropes and wetsuits have to be considered long in advance - not only suiting the surfer, but also various surf conditions. Untold factors go into surfboard design. I have two boards for different sized surf. The other would be better for this morning. It's bigger. But, I daren't go get it, else the swell drop or the wind change direction. Like anything, when an opportunity presents itself, you've kind of got to take it, however prepared you might be. The left is good and hollow. I'll see how it goes.
I like to keep my boards in good repair. Dings are inevitable at these rocky breaks. A cracked fin can easily snap off. A ding on the rail might be where the board snaps in half, or else the exposed fibreglass will put a cut in your leg-rope, and if that breaks, the board will end up getting bounced around on the rocks until you can find your own way in to retrieve it. But then, hectic situations are half the fun.
Then there's getting ready to head out. Putting on a wetsuit and waxing up has a kind of ritual feel about it - a few moments spent mentally preparing for engagement. When it's big, it feels like you're preparing for battle, your wetsuit like a suit of armour, your board a shield. I normally wear booties and a helmet at reef breaks - added protection in battle. But, I'll have to do without, this morning. I hadn't needed them at the beach yesterday. I feel very naked, without them."