You’re sitting on the couch, watching T.V. with no particular interest. As you’re flicking through the channels, your remote’s batteries finally give up their last hold on life and you jarringly realize your channel surfing has ended. With nothing much to do, and no particular motivation to get up from your seat, you settle in to watch what appears to be an old Surfing documentary…
There is a wave. Nay, this is more than a simple wave. It is a great towering beast, a cold, dark blue at its base, slowly fading to an emerald green as it goes up, up, up towards the heavens. At its crown, a great crest of pure-white foam appears, and on top of this, as if on top of all creation, rides a solitary Shellos, the slug-like creature’s green underbelly and blue upper body mirroring the coloration of the monstrous wave. The Shellos dons what can only be described as a devious grin as the foam begins to roll in on the wave. Now crashing with all the might of Tohjo Falls, the wave is suddenly bare; no sign can be found of the Shellos’ existence. As the wave forms into a long tube, it becomes apparent what has happened: the Shellos has dived into the wave, and is now riding through the tube with an incomparable grace, its grin now appearing to split its whole face in two. As the tunnel slowly closes, a feeling of apprehension descends upon all who witness it. Will the Shellos make it? Smaller, smaller grows the tunnel; wider, wider grows that grinning face. The tube’s opening is now no bigger than the Shellos itself, the Shellos a full body length away from safety! Just as it appears all is lost for this admirable creature, the Shellos ducks its head and puts on an extra burst of speed, emerging unharmed, leaving the crashing wave behind it. Before the feeling of triumph against such great odds can sink in, however, the rude voice of the Narrator invades your inner ear.
“This is the famous – or perhaps infamous is a better word – Surfin’ Shellos of Porta Vista. Porta Vista is widely known as a beautiful resort town, with all manner of fun and games happening at the town’s beautiful beach. It is lesser known as one of the best (if not THE best) surfing spots in all of Kanto. Every summer, surfers from all over the world come here to test their mettle against some of the greatest waves in existence. While many have triumphed over the waves, none have been able to triumph over this incredible little Pokémon. Though Shellos is normally unable to learn Surf without the use of a Hidden Machine, this Shellos has overcome its own limitations. For years it studied the form of the surfers here in Porta Vista, hoping to one day ride the waves as well as them. With practice it succeeded, and in little time was even better at Surfing than those it studied! This, however, is not the story of the legendary Surfin’ Shellos. This is the story of Kyle Joshua who, as both Surfer and Trainer, wanted nothing more than to defeat the Shellos at its own game, and Capture the Ultimate Surfing Partner.”
The image changes to that of a tall, tan skinned young man. Assuming this to be the aforementioned hero of the story, you take in his features. Appearing to be about twenty years old, he has shoulder length brown hair, lightened by the sun and formed into shaggy spikes by the peculiar nature of saltwater. His lean physique would suggest the image of his body being snapped like a twig under the force of a wave, but if you look closely you can notice a layer of finely toned, compact muscle between his skin and bones. His face sports a grin comparable to the Shellos’, his eyes reflecting wave after wave of crashing water. His nose would be considered bold and handsome, except it has the appearance of having been broken numerous times. His knees are odd; they have strange little knobs near where the reflex point is, as if ping pong balls are embedded under the skin. However, you guess that this, like his nose, is simply a side effect of being a Surfing enthusiast. His only clothing is a pair of swimming trunks, bleached white with a bright red Gyarados pattern. The last thing you notice is his surfboard: A plank of wood even longer than its rider is tall; it has rounded tips, and a dorsal fin like a Sharpedo’s near one end. The board is mostly patterned with the natural grain of the wood, but two red stripes run the entire length of the board, like racing stripes on a muscle car. You involuntarily shiver as the narrator’s voice resumes.
“Kyle’s story begins seven years ago, in his hometown in the Seafoam Islands. At this point, Kyle had never even thought of Surfing, focusing solely on his Pokémon studies.” A gangly youth is featured, and although he has an unbroken nose, dark hair, pale skin, and is fully clothed, it is still recognizably Kyle. “His life changed forever one day while going for a walk with his family.”
“Yeah, man, I remember it like it was yesterday,” the present day Kyle explains. “We were going for a little stroll, when I noticed this GINORMOUS commotion on the beach. Little did I know that I was about to witness Victor and Puka’s legendary conquest of the Humunga-Dunga!”
“The inspirational flag planting of Victor changed Kyle’s life forever,” continues the Narrator as you repress a wince. “Kyle bought the first surfboard he could get his hands on, and went surfing every day to get better. Eventually, he was noticed by Victor himself, and was offered coaching from the legendary surfer!” Archive footage of Victor coaching Kyle is shown, as the middle-aged man shows his pupil first how to paddle out to sea, then to ride a small wave, and then finally clasps his hand to his face as Kyle wipes out again and again.
“It was tough in the beginning, to be sure,” says an aged Victor. “But as the months went by, Kyle really got the hang of it. By the time two years had passed, I could tell he would be one of the greats.”
“The years went by, and Kyle began to gain recognition from the Surfing world as he went from hot spot to hot spot, Surfing the biggest, baddest waves he could find. It wasn’t long before he heard about the Surfin’ Shellos.”
“Yeah, I heard about this righteous little Surfer, beating the best at the hardest waves, and I knew I wanted to ride against him,” Kyle explains. “To make it even more interesting, the Surfer in question was a Pokémon! I knew right then and there, that little dude was going to be mine.”
“With the objective of Shellos’ capture in mind,” said the Narrator, coming dangerously close to convincing you to just get up and change the darn batteries in the remote, “Kyle went to Porta Vista. It was the peak of the Surfing Season, and so a Surfing competition was being held: The winner would receive the right to challenge the elusive Surfin’ Shellos! On the very last day of registration, Kyle got onto the entrant’s list with only thirty-two minutes to spare.”
“Yeah, there were a lot of entrants that year,” says Kyle. “The year before, the winner had come really close to catching the Shellos, so everyone had a renewed faith that they could capture it. There were a few REALLY big names on that list, but they were mostly newbies in over their heads. I was really surprised, though, to see that my old coach Victor had entered!”
“Indeed, Victor would prove to be Kyle’s toughest competition.” Images of all of Kyle’s matches are shown to the Narrator’s voiceover, each of Kyle’s opponents wiping out. “After a series of nine relatively easy victories, Kyle found himself facing off with his mentor in the Finals of the contest.”
The face-off now showing is one hundred times more intense than those shown before. Kyle and Victor both come dangerously closing to wiping out over and over, as each pulls off one insane stunt after another. Kyle attempts a mid-air board grab, and as he glides back into the tube, he narrowly misses hitting Victor with his board. Distracted by the close call, Victor loses his balance and gets taken out by the wave.
“It was a really disappointing win, because I know the match would have gone on much longer if it hadn’t been for that stunt,” Kyle laments. “But Victor was ok, and while it wasn’t a satisfactory win, it was a win all the same.”
“Having earned the privilege to challenge the Surfin’ Shellos, Kyle’s excitement rose to such a level that he contracted a fever.” Kyle is shown wrapped in blankets despite the heat, with a thermometer hanging from his mouth, as if he were a cartoon character. “After a week of rest, Kyle was back in the waves, readier than ever for his match with Shellos.”
A rare moment of calm is observed, as Kyle paddles out to meet the Shellos. The Pokémon is wearing an impossibly wide grin in anticipation of its match. With a signal to Kyle, it begins swimming out to where their match will take place. Riding the swell, both Surfers keep their eyes peeled, looking for the perfect wave. Kyle knows that if he can catch a better wave than the Shellos, that his win will be assured; likewise, Shellos is determined to not let that happen.
An hour passes, along with more waves than minutes, when suddenly Kyle and Shellos both spring into activity. Faster and faster they paddle to keep up with the chosen wave, desperate to make this ride count. The wave grew, and grew, and grew until it crested at an even greater height than the wave featured at the beginning of the documentary! With a gulp to steel himself, Kyle plunged into the wave at almost the same moment as the Shellos did. Down they plummeted, on what must have been the steepest, fastest, most exhilarating roller coaster ride of their lives. As they emerged, they found themselves isolated in a blue-green tunnel, reaching on so far that neither the Surfers nor the special Surf-Along camera could see the end of it! Forward they raced, weaving right and left in an intricate dance, truly visible only to the dancers. Farther and farther through the quickly shrinking tube they went, their dance becoming more and more intricate with each passing moment.
Suddenly, there it was: the Opening! Faster they raced, making a silent agreement that first out of the tube would be the winner. Faster and faster they went, the Shellos making use of its small stature, Kyle keeping up with the sleek shape of his board. Who would be victorious? As they neared the opening, the camera perspective switched to that of an outside observer, just in time to make out both Surfers emerging from the tunnel’s mouth neck-and-neck!
“A super accurate reading of the photo finish would reveal that Shellos won by less than a millimeter.” the Narrator reports. “Despite the victory of the Surfin’ Shellos, it recognized in Kyle a Trainer – and Surfer – worth being partners with.”
“Yeah,” Kyle continues. “Shellos and I have been traveling for a year now, Surfing all the best spots, battling all the best Trainers. It’s been a blast so far, and it’s sure to continue long enough for us to conquer the Humunga-Dunga, just like Victor and Puka. And who knows, maybe someday we’ll encounter a young Surfer in need of guidance. Whatever lies ahead, Shellos and I are ready.”
Annoyed by the conventional ending, and having no desire to watch an encore performance of the documentary, you actually get up and turn off the T.V. Stepping outside your beach house, you breathe in the salty sea breeze. Maybe you’ll go look for a Shellos yourself. Surfing, however, you’ll leave to the nut jobs with wild hair.
Well, this is my entry for the NWC. Like the rest of the entries, it's for a Shellos, which takes 5k to 10k characters. Including spaces, this is 11.5k characters.
I'm open to comments, but please wait until it has been graded. Thank you.
With that, let the grading commence!
NOTE: I know that the Shellos I get won't know Surf. It's purely for story purposes.