Friday, December 24, 2004

One Crazy Winter

This has been a weird winter so far.

We've had a few good sized swells, as well as multiple days of warm weather and Santa Ana winds. But for a few reasons (like I said in my last post, I don't actually understand most of those reasons....and it appears I'm not alone http://www.surfline.com/community/whoknows/12_20_npac.cfm), only one or two days coalesced into great waves.

One of the main reasons, I think, has been these crazy tides we've been having. 6+ in the morning, dropping down to -2, and then back up again. I don't know exactly why, but extreme tide swings never seem to be a good thing.

The other reason, I guess, has something to do with "fetch" and maybe something called "shoaling"...fuck if I know. What I do know was that last weekend the pier was like waist high and the cliffs were like double overhead, which, unless you understand Sean Collins' article above, makes absolutely no fucking sense whatsoever.

Oh well.

Then, on Friday I paddled out at 6th St. I hadn't been out 5 minutes when I spun around to paddle for my first wave of the day, and there's some guy, paddling out right in front of me. I pull back so I don't run him over. He duck dives and comes up right below me, nose first, and spears the underside of my board.

Haven't even caught a wave yet and already I've got a 2 inch stab wound in my board.

I didn't yell or get mad or even give him a dirty look. It was just one of those things. I'd like to be mad and know that he's an idiot who fucked up and thrashed my board in the process. But I'm not sure what else he should have done. Ditched his board? That might've been even dumber.

Hard to admit, but it's true...it's just ONE OF THOSE THINGS. Goddamnit.

Another thing happened last week that's tied in nicely to this wacky winter. I was having lunch with my friend Christian. Christian is an ex pro surfer from Brazil who now works in sales for Yahoo!. He lives near San Francisco and still kills it almost daily at places like OB and Fort Point. He also surfs Mavericks.

Anyhow, we're having lunch - me, him, and an old childhood friend of mine who also surfs - and Christian starts talking about the guys at Mavs who really charge the place. Obviously Flea and Mel and those guys are great, but according to Christian, there's a handful of other guys who surf it just as well, if not even better.

"Who?" I ask.

"Well," he says. "The best guy out there is this guy Ryan Seelbach."

I look at my childhood friend, Dave, and do this wrinkled eyebrow thing.

"Yup," says Dave. "Same guy."

Um, okay.

See, Ryan Seelbach went to my high school. He was a senior when I was a freshman. He was 6'5", a football player, and had a pretty smokin' chick. He played in the Silicon Valley Classic, which is the Norcal version of the high school football All-Star game.

And, as far as I know, he did NOT surf.

At Palo Alto High School there were like 8 of us who surfed. We even had a club and everything, started by a guy in Ryan's class (who now runs the Pigeon Point lighthouse). Hell, we knew every guy in the whole damn city who surfed. And Seelbach wasn't one of them.

Just for shits and giggles, I looked him up in my freshman yearbook. He had this whole little senior write-up thing, where he wrote things like, "Pink Floyd!", "Palm Springs '86....party!" and "Football '85, '86, '87!" and, of course, to his girlfriend, "I love you."

Oh wait, down in the left-hand corner of the write-up, is a corny little scribble of a palm tree and the word, "Surfin'!" (written just like that).

And now this guy is THE GUY at Mavericks???

Guess what? Turns out Jeff Clark even invited him to the contest this year! Fuck me, have you seen the guys on the ALTERNATE LIST???

I guess I'm just in shock. And that's not even all of it.

Turns out ANOTHER guy from my high school is yet another one of the Mavs chargers. His name is Darius Brohymn* and was, I think, a year younger than Ryan. Mostly I just remember that he was a big, scary, psycho of a guy.

My main memory of Brohymn is from some party I was at when I was a sophomore. I walk out of the bathroom and two fists go flying crossfire in front of my face. It was Brohymn and this big black football player with a giant Kid n' Play skyscraper 'fro (this was 1988), Emmitt Cougler. I'm 5'11" and 190, but these two brutes were like clash of the fucking titans.

And let me just tell you - they DESTROYED this house. I remember the chick who lived there, screaming and crying and grabbing her face while these guys literally wrecked her home. I specifically remember an end table getting flipped over, a coffee table getting smashed, and the sliding glass door shattering.

Then, a bunch of other huge black guys jump in and break it up. But kind of not really. Mostly they just pulled their buddy back and told Brohymn that they were gonna ALL kick his ass.

So what did Brohymn do?

He runs outside as the chick is screaming and crying and calling the cops, with these guys hot on his tail, and fucking jumps on top of this car in the driveway and starts thumping his chest and screaming, "C'mon you MOTHERFUCKERS, bring it on, I'll KICK ALL YOUR FUCKING ASSES RIGHT NOW!!!"

And the next thing I know, the whole mob of giant black guys surround the car. He punches one, kicks another, hoots and hollers and jumps off the car, and the entire mob proceeds to chase him down the fucking street.

On Monday morning I seriously expected a school announcement that one of our classmates had been murdered in some sort of crazed reverse-lynching.

Nope.

There he was, sitting on the Senior Wall, laughing, talking...a couple of bruises on his face and maybe a piece of tape over his eyebrow.

So guess how Christian described Brohymn at Mavericks?

"Oh man, he's nuts...he'll paddle so deep...get drilled, come up, and then paddle out and charge another one."

Whoa.

The Colonel says, "Flea, watch your ass."

*Not his real name...at his request. Read the rest of this posting and you'll know why I happily complied.