Monday, August 02, 2004

US Open, Now Closed

So the US Open has come and gone. Taj Burrow took home the cup. The beach area is covered in trash. And last night Duke's was handing out wristbands and serving drinks in plastic cups.

Pure class. That's HB, brah.

The low point of the event, I think most people would agree, had to be the announcing. Pure cheese. The kind of cheese you hear when your local "zoo crew" decides to broadcast live from some lame bar or restaurant.

"Yeah, we're here broadcasting live from CHILI'S in Santa Ana and it's CRAZY here!! So come on down for dollar appetizers until 6! Listen to this wild crowd...

(smattering of applause and a few hoots)

"...that's right, this crowd is just going NUTS here at CHILI'S and we're having a WILD time, so come on down! YOU GUYS HAVING A GOOD TIME????"

(couple more hoots, two busboys clap)

That was basically the gist of the US Open announcers. The crowning of Taj was particularly painful. Especially since, as you probably know, Burrow isn't exactly a wild man. Certainly no Mick Fanning.

Hang on - quick digression for a classic Mick Fanning story:

Surfer Poll Awards from 2 or 3 years ago. Mick is completely shitfaced and bordering on being out of control. He's up on stage just being a jackass, but a pretty funny jackass. Kelly Slater is at the podium and trying to be the diplomatic, well behaved surf star while giving out another award. Mick is yelling something from the side. Kelly looks at him and then says into the mic, "Mick, what do you think would happen if I went to Australia and acted like this?"

Without missing a beat, Mick runs up to the mic and yells, "Mate, you'd get LAID!!!"

Crowd goes ballistic.

Anyhow, like I said, Taj is no Mick. So the wannabe zoo crew up on stage interviewing the champ was pretty painful. Think Jimmy Fallon doing his morning DJ skit on SNL.

"So, Taj, you gonna PARTY tonight or what???"

"Um, yeah."

"You've got fifteen GRAND in your pocket, so YOU GONNA PARTY TONIGHT?"


"I think our champ's gonna be getting CRAZY in HB tonight! But wait, Taj, we've got something else for you..." (presents Taj with giant teddy bear sporting Bank of the West logo...arguably the most ass thing ever given to a contest winner)

"Um, thanks."

(to the crowd) "And YOU GUYS have been absolutely CRAZY for a week now, let's hear it for TAJ BURROW!!

(smattering of applause, some Chimayo's busboys hoot)

So, we actually had a decent little swell running this weekend. And, if you avoided the pier and headed north for a few blocks, the lineup was pretty empty.

Friday was fun, Saturday was a bit smaller and messier, but then yesterday the swell popped back up with a few shoulder to head high sets sneaking in every 20 minutes or so.

And actually, what little crowd there was down by the Apartments was fairly entertaining.

First, there was the guy who paddled out with his chick. He'd sit out in the lineup with her, barking instructions. She'd nod her head and pretend to understand. Then a wave would come through and he'd say, "Okay, now watch me!"

Then he'd paddle, barely make it to his feet, eat shit when the wave closed out, and then paddle out with a triumphant grin of someone who not only just scored the wave of the decade (and killed it), but of someone who had also just impressed the hell out of a very lovely lady and was pretty much guaranteed some summer lovin' that evening.

Gotta love his enthusiasm.

On one particularly closed out wave, I'm paddling out and he's paddling into it, weaving back and forth and looking every bit like he should be wearing a bike helmet. I'm whistling and hooting at him, trying to let him know that:

1. He's heading right for me.
2. He's got about a 1 in 10 chance of making this drop.
3. This wave is going to close out and even if he makes the drop he's still going to crash into me.

My plan backfires, however, as this guys thinks I'm hooting him INTO the wave. He stumbles to his feet, elevator drops, misses me by about 6 inches, and as he goes crashing past, gives me a huge smile and a thumbs up.

Dangerous, but like I said, gotta love his enthusiasm.

Other sightings yesterday included the timely arrival of a old geezer on a Freeline Designs kneeboard (coinciding perfectly with a discussion I was having with a friend about a summer sojourn up to Santa Cruz). This guy had the pink and black wetsuit, the beard and the Doc's Pro-Plugs and looked like he'd just time warped from 1983 Pleasure Point.

Oh, and there was the Middle Eastern gent in the brand new spring suit and booties. And no, these weren't even reef booties. There were the full on calf-high booties.

EPIC look.

And you'd think a guy with a such a ridiculous ensemble would be, at the bare minimum, somewhat mellow. But no. This guy was also throwing vibes, making hand gestures, and screaming in Arabic every time he missed a wave or got dropped in on by his buddy on a boogie board.

Spring suit. Booties. Screaming in Arabic. Then he started fiddling with his feet and someone made a joke about the US Open and a shoe bomb. Terrible, I know, but it was REALLY funny at the time.

He finally paddled south, towards the contest, which made us laugh even harder. Once the dirty bomb jokes started we were thankful there was no one else around. Gotta admit though, the laughter is therapeutic.

So there you have it, another US Open come and gone. No riots. No drunken, obnoxious Aussies (on stage anyway). Just some good surfing, some terrible announcing, 4 million flyers dumped on the beach, about 8 million white Paris Hilton mini-skirt things (with only about 7 chicks with bodies truly worthy of such trashy couture), one airplane banner announcing the return of Hootie and the Blowfish (whew!) and one dude in a springer and booties.

BTW, I'm not sure those last two were a coincidence.

The Colonel says, "At ease."