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Authors: Stephanie Peters

Catching Waves

BOOK: Catching Waves
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Copyright

Copyright © 2006 by Matt Christopher Royalties, Inc.

All rights reserved.

Little, Brown and Company

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at
www.HachetteBookGroup.com

www.twitter.com/littlebrown

First eBook Edition: December 2009

Matt Christopher® is a registered trademark of

Matt Christopher Royalties, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-316-09377-4

Contents

Copyright

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

THE #1 SPORTS SERIES FOR KIDS: MATT CHRISTOPHER
®

Matt Christopher
®

1

K
ai Ford stuck his surfboard into the sand, ran full speed into the ocean, and dove into a wave. The sound of rushing water
filled his ears. He broke the surface, tasting salt, and whipped his blond hair out of his eyes with a toss of his head. Then
he scanned the ocean horizon. What he saw made him grin. Good-sized waves were rolling in one after another, like lines of
soldiers marching toward shore.

Time to rock and roll
! He splashed out of the water and crossed the hot sand to his surfboard.

The board was a beauty. At seven feet long, it was known as a shortboard—the best length for doing tight maneuvers on a wave.
It was made of fiberglass, foam, and balsa wood. Except for the black rubber traction pad near the tail, the deck was covered
with bold graphics in neon colors. The underside was glossy white and sported three curved, triangular fins at the tail. The
board’s leash—a long urethane rope with an ankle strap at one end—was attached to the tail.

When Kai reached his board, he secured the strap around his ankle. Then he picked up his board and headed back into the ocean.
He floated the shortboard in front of him, pushing it along until the water reached his waist. With one smooth motion, he
slid facedown onto the center of the deck. He pulled his arms through the water in even strokes, paddling away from shore.

Kai was as comfortable in the sea as he was in his own bed. He’d grown up playing in the sand and surf of this stretch of
Southern California beach. Kai’s father had once been a professional surfer, and he made sure that his son respected the awesome
and unpredictable power of the sea. When Kai showed an interest in surfing, his dad had taught him the rules of safety before
they even began with the basics of the sport.

That was four years earlier, when Kai was ten. Since then, he had become as confident on his shortboard as other fourteen-year-old
boys were on skateboards and snowboards. He couldn’t imagine a life without surfing—and hoped he’d never have to.

Kai continued to pull himself along through the water. He wasn’t alone. Eleven other people were out surfing. Some sat on
their boards, watching for a good wave. Others, like Kai, were paddling out to join the lineup—the place where surfers waited
their turn to surf. Only two people were actually standing on their boards and slicing their way back toward shore.

Kai reached the lineup and sat up. As he bobbed on the waves, a cool breeze blew across his face, arms, and chest. He adjusted
the neck of his long-sleeved rash guard shirt. He was glad he’d decided to wear the shirt instead of going bare chested. Not
only did the stretchy fabric keep his chest from being scraped by the board, it kept him warm!

Kai looked out to sea and spotted a decent swell. He glanced around. No one else was making a move to take it so he decided
to go for it.

He lay down on his board and stroked
hard to stay ahead of the wave. Then he felt it—the moment the wave surged beneath him and started pushing him forward.
Now
! instinct told him.

In one explosive move, he shot from a prone to a standing position. His stance was practiced and sure: feet shoulder width
apart, left foot forward, right foot planted on the traction pad, and knees bent. He stretched his arms out and leaned forward
for balance.

He’d caught the peak of the wave perfectly. It was a “left,” a wave that broke from his left side toward his right. He rode
the swell frontside, with the white water boiling at his back and the crest rounding in front of him. The water beneath the
board was like a living thing, rippling and strong. He pumped the board, pushing it up and down with his feet, hoping to get
enough speed to reverse direction and catch some air. When he didn’t, he rode the wave straight into shore instead.

Kai bailed when the water was a few feet deep. He pulled on the leash to bring the board back then returned to the lineup.

When he got there, Kai saw Vaughn, a boy he knew from school. Vaughn was with another boy who looked older and wore tinted
swim goggles. The other boy looked vaguely familiar, but with those goggles, Kai couldn’t place him.

“Hey, Vaughn, how’re you doing?” he called, raising a hand in greeting.

Vaughn returned the wave. Kai paddled closer to them.

“What’s up, Kai?” Vaughn said.

“Hopefully me on my board—and soon!” Kai replied with a grin.

Vaughn laughed. “Yeah, I’m hoping to get in a few good runs, too.” He introduced
the other boy. “Kai, this is my cousin, Roger. He’s visiting for the weekend.”

Roger nodded then turned back toward where the waves were forming. Kai studied the boy’s profile, more certain than ever that
he’d seen Roger somewhere before. He decided to satisfy his curiosity.

“You look kind of familiar,” he said to Roger. “You ever surf here before?”

“No,” Roger muttered.

“Roger usually rides farther up the coast,” Vaughn added hurriedly.

“Oh yeah?” Kai said with interest. “I’ve surfed some places up there, too. I bet that’s where I saw you.”

“Doubt it,” Roger said. “I surf at a private beach.”

Kai looked excited. “But I still could have seen you there! My dad took me to a private beach up the coast last year. The
waves were killer!” He smiled ruefully.
“Unfortunately, the rocks under the waves were killer, too. I rolled over one that cut my leg something fierce. See?” He pointed
to a three-inch-long, jagged, white scar on his left thigh. “I almost passed out when I saw the blood.”

Vaughn made a face. “Gross. Don’t tell me you kept surfing!”

“I wanted to, but my dad made me go to the first aid station. By the time I got it fixed up, we had to leave,” Kai said.

“How come?” Vaughn asked curiously.

“The beach was being closed down so some movie company could shoot a surfing scene that afternoon.” Kai rolled his eyes. “Someone
told me the star of the movie was afraid he’d be mobbed by fans. Talk about ego, huh?”

Kai expected Vaughn to agree with him about how silly movie stars could be. Instead,
Vaughn glanced at his cousin then dropped his gaze to the water.

Roger lifted his goggles and fixed Kai with a cold stare. “What do you know about it?” the older boy said. “Maybe the guy
just wanted a little privacy. I mean, I bet if you’re an actor you get recognized all the time. I bet people won’t leave you
alone—even if that’s all you want.” He fit the goggles back in place, spun his board, and paddled furiously away to catch
the next wave.

Kai stared after him open-mouthed. He’d finally realized where he’d seen Roger before.

2

T
hat’s—that’s—he’s—” Kai sputtered.

“Shhh!” Vaughn hissed.

“He’s the star of that movie!” Kai couldn’t believe it. His eyes were glued to the figure surfing. Roger’s board glided over
the waves like a knife spreading peanut butter—smooth and effortless.

Kai’s voice rose with excitement. “Look at him go! Wow! He looks just like he did in
Surfer Dude
!”

“Will you pipe down?” Vaughn begged.

Kai moved his board closer to Vaughn.
“Your cousin is R. William Masters, the actor?! You know I love his movies! Why didn’t you ever tell me? And why didn’t you
call me and let me know he’d be surfing here today?”

Vaughn raised his hands in surrender. “I didn’t tell you because Roger didn’t want anyone to know he’d be here. He’s sick
of dealing with fans. He came here because people keep bugging him where he usually surfs. He just wants some peace and quiet.”

Suddenly Kai remembered something. “I know why he’s here!” he practically shouted. “He’s looking for extras to be in his next
movie, isn’t he? I read in some magazine about how he does that! That’s what he’s doing, isn’t it? Oh, man, do you think he’d
pick me?”

Vaughn rolled his eyes. “After you made
fun of him by saying he had a big ego? Good luck!”

Kai grinned broadly. “Aha! So I was right! He
is
here to recruit surfers for a movie!” He turned his board. “Well, I’m going to show him my stuff! Then I’m going to ask for
a part in the movie.”

Vaughn caught hold of Kai’s leash. “Kai, wait! You’ve got it all wrong! Roger isn’t here to look for extras. He just wants
to get in some surfing—
without
being recognized!”

Kai looked at him in disbelief. “Without being recognized?” he echoed. “Oh, come on, Vaughn! The guy’s in the
movies
. I bet he loves all the attention!” He gave a hard tug on his leash and pulled it free of Vaughn’s grasp. “Listen, don’t
worry. I’ll be discreet!”

He spun his board toward shore and signaled
that he was going to take the approaching wave. He paddled hard, but he was so busy thinking about Roger that he mistimed
his takeoff. Instead of catching the wave’s sweet spot, he was bowled over by the curl. His board shot out behind him, and
he turned a somersault under the water. He surfaced as quickly as possible and pulled his surfboard beneath him.

Well
, that
was impressive
, he thought as he rode the next swell in to shore on his stomach. He looked around quickly to see if Roger had seen him get
axed. The movie star was halfway out to sea again. Relieved, Kai lay down and began paddling back to the lineup for another
ride.

On his way out he saw Vaughn taking a wave. He paused to watch him. Vaughn was riding goofy foot, with his right foot forward
rather than his left. When the ride
was over, he floundered to find his footing in the gentle undertow. Vaughn was an okay surfer, Kai decided, but nowhere near
as good as his cousin.
Or me
, he thought.

Kai had drifted sideways while watching Vaughn. Now he paddled his board around until the nose was facing back out to sea.
He met a big wave head on, duck-diving his board right through it.

When he reached the lineup, he searched for Roger. But Roger had already taken another wave in to shore.

Kai decided to wait for him to return. As he bobbed in the water, he thought about what he’d say to the actor.
I’ll be totally cool, of course
, he told himself. A
fan, but not crazy like some over-the-top groupie
.

“Hey, kid, you gonna surf or you just gonna sit there like a duck on a pond?” An impatient surfer interrupted Kai’s thoughts.

“I’m going to hang here for a bit longer,” Kai shouted back.

“You could have said so sooner,” the other surfer grumbled. He spun his board and took the next wave.

Meanwhile, Roger and Vaughn were rejoining the lineup. Kai called out to his idol.

“R. William, over here!” he yelled. His voice echoed over the waves. A few other surfers glanced their way. Vaughn shot him
a warning look. Kai ignored it. “I am so stoked to meet you. I want you to know that I
totally
love your movies.
Surfer Dude
is my favorite.”

“Kai, keep it down,” Vaughn pleaded.

Kai continued as if Vaughn hadn’t spoken. “So listen, sorry about that crack about you having a big ego. I didn’t know you
were R. William Masters, star of the silver screen, when I said it, you know? Honest mistake. So about your next movie—”

By now, more surfers were staring at the three boys. Suddenly, one of them pointed at Roger and gave a small cry of recognition.
Then she began talking excitedly to the other surfers, gesturing at Roger the whole time.

Roger glared at Kai as if he were a disgusting bug he’d just found floating in his cereal bowl. “Thanks for nothing! I am
so out of here!” He grabbed the next wave and blasted his way to shore.

Kai sat hunched on his board, openmouthed with dismay. Meanwhile, the other surfers gave a shout and hurried to follow the
movie star. Kai cringed when two of them nearly collided in their haste to catch up.

Kai turned to find Vaughn glaring at him with even more anger than his cousin had.

“Oops,” Kai said.


Oops
!?” Vaughn exploded. “You completely
ruined Roger’s day, and that’s all you can say? ‘Oops’?”

BOOK: Catching Waves
6.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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