Woke up to the dream of paddling out SUP style on a skinny long board…too skinny. The paddle was awkward in my hands and threw my balance off. It’s so strange to stand up on the paddle out. I couldn’t find the balance point…too far front, move back, sink the tail, too far back…”this sucks”, I think to myself in the dream. Meanwhile, big wave coming and no time to make the drop or paddle over. The wall turns vertical double my height, the skinny board turns to the sky, swings south and somehow I am in. A quick belly ride while I remind my self it’s a dream, press up, on my feet skirting the white water…I’m surfing. I ride in to the shore, like you can in a dream, drop the paddle at the beach (forgot I still had it) and think before I head back out, “I don’t need a paddle to go surfing…”
What I need is a haircut, I think to myself looking up in the bathroom mirror of the ‘Beach Club Resort’, in Parksville (Vancouver Island, BC). I see myself looking back, everyone else is still asleep and it’s too dark to write out in the room. Jack colored on the pullout sofa while I watched the “Super Session” DVD we picked up at Island Long Boards on the mini flat screen TV they hid in one of those fold open cabinets too close to the floor. Larry ‘The Bert’ Bertleman slashing turns on a 7’6″ and Gerry Lopez with the full ‘stache in the 70’s…classic! I finished packing up the left over pizza for lunch and looked over to see Jack lying tummy down on his elbows, both his hands under his chin, mesmerized by Jay Adams, Tony Alva and Stacey Peralta sliding down concrete banks, slashing turns like Bert and ducking under a bunch of stacked up benches with what must be one of the first taped on helmet cam rigs ever invented in some So-Cal school yard while the rest of the kids in bell-bottoms and tight T’s watched history in the making…I wonder if they had any idea? (So proud my son digs this stuff!)
That was me in 1976 or ’77…I have a school pic somewhere in the lower 6 grades with the ’76 logo. After the clear blue plexi board for passing 2nd grade broke in short order I moved on to the classic plastic skinny banana with the kick tail and dreams of bombing the biggest hill East of the Rockies…the big hill heading ‘downtown’ in Okotoks, Alberta, home of The Big Rock, cowboys, and The Red Robin shop where I picked up that magazine. I remember images of Jay Adams riding concrete pipes out in the desert somewhere and gapping between two of them in black and white…raw. I picked up that magazine and knew even then, ‘that was a scene man!’ Never did bomb that hill…never made it to the bottom anyhow.
We have come so far and at the same time moved so little from the source in over 30 years. The world changes constantly beneath our feet and before our eyes (at an incomprehensible pace these days) but the thrill of sliding down snow, or catching a wave, or letting gravity take charge of those whizzing little wheels attached to a board beneath your feet, that will never change.
“That’s cool!”, Jack says looking up at me with his curly hair and those grey blue eyes…those eyes are mine.