Waverider Duckie

What a morning! Waverider Duckie had been catching the curl for hours with his buddies. Surfing was great exercise and a fun challenge, especially for someone with webbed feet. Waverider Duckie loved nothing more than the smell of the sea air and the feel of the crashing waves.

Toweling off his feathers to a downy yellow fluff, he reached up to check the sound processor for his cochlear implants. It was perfectly dry, just like it should be! Someone nearby was playing music he liked, and he bobbed his head to the beat. Waverider Duckie had been diagnosed with hearing loss as a young duckling, so after a surgical procedure, he’d learned to talk and hear using the digital audio signals generated from his bilateral cochlear implants.

Carrying his beautiful red longboard, Waverider Duckie saw his grandfather’s truck waiting in the parking lot, tossed his board in the back and climbed up. At breakfast, Grandpa Duck asked about surfing, like he did every week. He told Grandpa about the breakers and that he was making progress on his kickflip, a special move where he turned in the air on his surfboard. Grandpa smiled and said he was proud of Waverider’s hard work. Since Grandpa was a great swimmer, Waverider invited him to come surfing next week—but like he always did, Grandpa said ‘no thank you.’

Later that month, Waverider Duckie had his first bad morning of surfing. Practicing his kickflip, he took a spill and landed hard on his wing in the rocky sand.  Waverider Duckie’s doctor said he needed to take a few weeks off. Waverider Duckie felt grumpy and angry, and the sling that held his wounded wing felt like one more reminder of his scary fall.

Once his doctor said it was ok, Waverider Duckie went back to the beach with his friends. They all encouraged him to come back out in the water, but he felt scared. Grandpa was waiting in the truck when he walked back, like he was every week.

The next week, Waverider Duckie paddled out in the water on his longboard but couldn’t muster the courage to start surfing again. He felt heartbroken, imagining that maybe he’d have to quit his favorite hobby forever.

On the third week, when he walked to the beach, Grandpa’s truck was already waiting. Thinking Grandpa was here to get him early because Waverider Duckie was now afraid of surfing, he put his head down and walked slowly over to the truck. To his surprise, there was Grandpa—in a sleek wetsuit and carrying a green longboard!

“I believe in you!” Grandpa said. “And I’m coming out in the water today to watch you surf. I’ll be there if you feel scared.”

Waverider Duckie wasn’t ready to start his kickflip practice again, but he did have a great day of regular surfing with his friends—and Grandpa! All the experienced surfers took turns helping until Grandpa was able to catch the curl and hang ten.

“Thanks for coming out with me, Grandpa,” said Waverider Duckie as they headed back to the truck. “This was the best morning of surfing ever!”

“I’m proud of you for getting back out there!” said Grandpa. “And hey, it turns out you CAN teach an old duck new tricks!”