We’ve all read exciting tales of adventure, or seen them in movies. Can you write a short description of a dangerous moment? I bet you can do better than this sample with some sport or situation you know well.

Taken from Riding the Waves, Lake Michigan Cowboy, by Joe Novara

Nick stuffed the last of his toast in his mouth, grabbed a towel and bolted toward the door. “I’m out of here. The wind’s up and I want to get on the sailboard.”

The wind was up. So were the waves. Nick stopped at the water’s edge holding the tail of the sailboard in one hand and the mast in the other. He had not seen waves this big before. It made him pause. Then he remembered what his instructor had told him – “The sailboard is your best life-preserver. Stay with it and you’ll be all right.” Besides, what if Cassidy were sitting on the beach watching. He couldn’t wimp out now.

The ride out was a rush. Nick remembered to hunch his hips upwards and to bend deeply at the knees as he pulled the sail into the spanking breeze. The nose of the board rose out of the water slapping the tops of the four-foot waves that broke even higher over the shallow sand bar. A rooster tail shot out from beyond. “Yeah!” Nick shouted.

About half a mile out, arms aching from the strain of holding the sail, Nick lost his balance, tumbling into a washing machine of wind and waves. He took his time underwater looking up at the belly of the windsurfer. It looked like a giant white shark hovering above him. He released tiny bubbles as he rose to the surface, toward the blue, magenta and yellow sail floating on the waves. He grabbed a huge gulp of air, rested his arms on the board and watched the four foot waves rising all around him. Sometimes, caught in the valley between the waves, he lost sight of shore. He fought down a feeling of panic. You got here, you can get back, he told himself. Besides, he fantasized, squatting in the middle of the board, bracing to uphaul the sail, what if Cassie came riding by about now? How cool would it be if she could see him slicing through the waves, running up on the beach all pumped up from a wild run?

Aiming for the spot on the beach where he had started, Nick found the return trip much slower and harder than the ride out. On this tack, the following waves kept hitting the back end of the board at an angle, shoving it out from under him. He fell four or five times before he was half-way back. As he grew tired, it became more and more difficult to up-haul the sail against the strong wind. He went another twenty yards and fell again. Then another twenty and another bail-out. At least he was getting closer. The really huge waves breaking on the shallow sand bar were just ahead. A particularly tall wave slammed down on the board tingling the soles of his feet and whipping it out from under him. When Nick came to the surface, he could see the twelve foot board tumbling end over end three waves away. Suddenly he felt very tired. Like someone had let all the air out of him. He knew that he didn’t have the strength to swim the rest of the way in. The tip of the fifteen-foot mast floated about ten yards ahead. If I can reach that with one more burst of energy, Nick thought, I can work my way back to the board and can float the rest of the way. It’s my only chance. He took a deep breath and summoned all the strength he had left to swim hard for the tip of the mast that had just vanished under a huge wave. When he came up for air, the mast floated just six feet away. One more push. Then he had it. Pulled himself along to the board. Yanked the tail of the board toward the waves so they pushed him along. And he slowly washed ashore.

Nick slumped on the beach. Heaved his breakfast. Exhausted. So much for impressing Cassidy, he thought. Good thing she wasn’t here after all.

Nick eventually sat up, stared at the pounding surf, replaying the last few minutes. What I did at the end, pointing my tail to the waves, that was good. I should have done it sooner, before I got exhausted. I could have rode right in instead of getting knocked off all the time. So what if I didn’t get back to the exact spot where I started? I’m going to have to learn to work with Mother Nature instead of fighting her. “Find the flow,” he muttered out loud.