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Surfin' Safari

I turned in the first galleys today. Such a relief. And I didn’t have to make a million copies and messenger them over. Nope, all I had to do was turn things into pdfs. I like it when technology actually delivers on the promise.

So now, I’m just hanging out, relaxing after a couple of days of work. Nothing like sitting around in a wife-beater T and surf jams. I haven’t worn these jams in forever--they even still have wax on them from when we went to Waikiki and surfed! And that was something like 3 years ago. I think I’ve worn them in Mexico, but I don’t remember surfing that much in Zihuatanejo.

Anyway, that trip to Hawaii was super fun. I took some lessons from one of the beach carnies--if you’ve been to Honolulu, you know exactly what I’m talking about. They have these little shacks on the beach, with rows and rows of gigantic boards behind them, and the folks who run the shacks act like carnival barkers trying to get tourists to take lessons. It’s pretty frightening. I actually was stopped dead in my tracks by a not unattractive man who claimed to be a professional surfer and also claimed that he would have me standing up in 5 minutes. There were three of us, and because one of us was Hawaiian, we worked out a deal. What the hell.

We did a couple of little drills on the sand (positioning yourself properly on the board (this was especially easy because the instructor, Lance, put little gobs of wax on the board right where your nose should hover,) practicing paddling with proper “trim” as it’s called, jumping up in one fluid motion, grabbing the rails with confidence, blahblahblah.) We finally followed Lance into the water, paddling after him in an ocean filled to capacity with swimmers and surfers. I was totally freaked out by how crowded it was, but Lance was like God--wherever he went, the waters cleared. He gave us a few tips, turned us around so that we faced the beach, pushed us out into a wave, and screamed orders, and sure enough, I stood up the first time. It was so fucking amazing and fun. Of course, the waves were minuscule, but it didn’t matter. Lance was pretty funny; he had a giant stripe of zinc oxide on his upper lip, and his skin was like leather. He kept talking about the professional surfing circuit, showing me his G-Shock watch that he got at some contest, and I kept rolling my eyes. One time, when I was completely exhausted from paddling back out, he said, “Hey, don’t let yourself get tired!” And I said, “Hey man, I’m small and my arms are like chicken wings!” And then he said my most favorite, cheesy line EVER, OF ALL TIME:

“Don’t you know that dynamite comes in small packages?”

The fact that he spoke English with his crazy Hawaiian pidgeon accent made it all the more hilarious.

For the rest of the week, we’d head out to Lance’s surf shack, get a board, and surf. Lance seemed genuinely psyched to see us, saying, “Hey ladies, you goin’ out today?” It was pretty cool. I actually was able to surf with Terence, and even rode a wave with my friend Mike. Someone took a picture of me and Mike on that wave, and it’s one of my most treasured photos. The entire time, Mike was hooting and hollering, and I couldn’t stand up straight because I was laughing too hard.

Good times, good times.

The best part was coming back to California, opening one of Terence’s Longboard magazines and being surprised by gnarly pictures of Lance. Lance surfing North Shore hugeness. Lance in Puerto Escondido getting tubed. Lance in Noosa, doing crazy shit on some enormously terrifying wave of death. Lance holding a trophy. Lance hanging out with Joel Tudor and other longboarding luminaries. Lance was, in fact, a professional surfer.

Who knew?

11:33 a.m. - 2002-06-26



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