That long suffering ASP escritoire comes clean about life underneath professional surfing's mouthpieces. And Pat Parnell.
“I used to be happy…” the Association of Surfing Professional’s wooden desk tells me on a perfectly crisp San Clemente evening. I set my daiquiri on his head as he continues. “…I used to be where I belonged, at the very, very, very, very back of Office Depot’s Garden Grove location. Doesn’t sound like much but it was home. A fake Eames chair and I had even started this little thing… Anyhow, one day a man from the ASP came in. Said his name was Hardy, Terry Hardy, and went on and on about how he was Kelly Slater’s big shot manager and how he now also owned all of professional surfing. The sales manager didn’t care. He only spoke Vietnamese.”
I nod and know this story is not going to have a happy ending.
“Hardy got me for a steal. Said that while professional surfing was a totally rad can’t miss money maker, the Association was a bit cash poor at the moment and so Mr. Nguyen gave him a discount. Before I knew it, I was boxed up and shipped to Australia. I didn’t understand what was happening. When I came to, there were weird LED lights on the floor around me, even though I was outside, and a TV monitor hanging from my chest. The ASP logo was stuck to both my arms and, when I studied it, assumed that “professional surfing” was something kindergarteners did. Have you seen it? The sun and wave look like they were designed by a five year old with no natural talent.”
I nod and push my daiquiri’s umbrella out of the way.
“Then the four men sitting at me started to talk. Whoa. Never had I heard such stilted dribble in my entire life and, remember, I was living in Garden Grove. They talked incessantly about absolutely nothing. They used the same exact phrases over and over again. They seemed to think that surfing was a real sport. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that LED lights, a TV monitor and the drawing of a gift-less child do not the NFL make.”
I nod and give an empathetic frowny face.
“After the Gold Coast, I was sent to Margret River, then Bells Beach then it became an absolute blur. They’d try to dress me up. Sometimes in wooden pallets, sometimes in a grass skirt. And look at me now. What the hell is this shit?”
I nod and don’t quite know. Maybe pier pilings with retro airplane propellers affixed?
It’s all just so strange. I mean, why am I on the beach? Why can’t the men who sit at me turn their necks even a little bit? Why are some of them so old? Why do they dress in the costumes they do? Did you see us in Tahiti? Their Hawaiian shirt mélange was so bad I tried to slide off the dock and into the water. Where is the money Terry Hardy promised?
I nod and soak in his existential dilemma.
“At this point? Someone please burn me. Just take me outside, dump gasoline in my drawers and set me on fire. I, honestly, can’t take one more second of Pat Parnell. Where did he come from? What does it mean to ‘jam it into the foam climb?’”
I nod, light a cigarette and definitely can’t answer.