The sampan dipped into a glassy trough and then climbed the shining face of the next wave. As it teetered on the peak, I lunged to the right side of the bow. My weight felt insignificant against the waterlogged boat, but it had the desired effect. The sampan pivoted and began to fall down the backside of the wave, carving an arc from left to right. By the time it began climbing the next wave—a monstrous wave wider than the sampan was long— the bow squared to the foaming break and cleaved it in two as it thrust skyward. The boat passed the center point, hovered atop the foam pile for a moment as if contemplating a backward slide, and then slid forward. The river seemed to fall out from under me.
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