The best three brothers that anyone could ever have.
There is something magical in California’s sunlight, oh yeah. The way it is gold and the way it filters down to earth, through leaf and smog, so warm and breezy. The way life looks through it.
Blonde girls spread out on sandy towelettes just taking it all in. Brunette girls walking down hot sidewalks in the shortest of shorts just sipping ice cold Coca-Colas. Sippin’. Time lasts forever in California’s sunlight. No one ever gets old and nothing ever changes, no not ever, and a Mamas and Papas soundtrack dances on those breezes so warm. Ahhhhh, yeah.
So close them tired eyes of yours, child. Close them eyes and open that mind. Picture palm trees and sand and driving with the top down. Driving past the Chateau Marmont and up to Hollywood Boulevard and you go right ahead and call in Hollyweird. You get right on in there, dig?
Breathe deep that Golden State, that Hollyweird. Smell the sweet. (and we all know what that “sweet” is, yeah?. Ahhhhh yeah. It Mary Jane. It that Indian tobacco. Squares call it marijuana but we ain’t square so we call it weed). Stay awhile. Ain’t no hurry ‘cause ain’t no one hurrying. Just keep them eyes closed and keep breathing and just roll. Head back on the greenest grass. (We call it grass too.) Let it be, babe. What is and whatever may be and maybe ain’t no more Mamas and Papas soundtrack. Maybe now it’s that ol’ Jefferson Airplane and maybe now we slippin’ on down the rabbit hole.
Woah! No fear. It’s all happening now. Ride it out. Kaleidoscope, brother!
Who is that man with crazy in his eye and a swastika on his forehead sitting up under that Eucalyptus tree? What’s he saying about the system? Let’s listen.
“You made your children what they are,” he’s saying. “These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them. I didn’t teach them. I just tried to help them stand up. You can project it back at me, but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you.”
He sure don’t live inside of me! His hair is a wild rat’s nest! Let’s beat it! Let’s find another corner of this totally golden state. Let’s go down to the beach.
And that’s better. We needed some salty spray. We needed some bouncy bikini. We needed some all bared to the world skin.
Wait. Who are those boys with each the same straw-coloured hair and each the same white-as-light teeth sitting on that beach blanket cross-legged and tan? They look like Mormon angel paintings. They look like they live in heaven and they’re talking about something. They’re moving their hands and really digging on something, man. Getting to the meat. What is it? Let’s get close. Let’s get right on in there. What is it? Ahhhh they talking about the surf. Waves, friend. Not metaphysical ones either. Real liquid waves. Waves that break in the ocean from storms a million miles away and waves that they ride. The surf.
The tallest of them is smiling as he speaks. They call him Dane and his hair. Wow! Like, Wow! His hair looks like the fruit sitting under the Eucalyptus tree with the crazy in his eye except it is the colour of straw, like the rest of them, and it is chopped at the fringe. His jaw is strong. All their jaws are strong but his is the strongest. And he speaks.
“Hoooo, it is a blast. Surfing is a blast and I could do it all the time. I do do it all the time.”
And, it becomes clear that all three boys not only have the same straw-coloured hair and the same white teeth but they have the same mother and the same father and “brother” is not being used metaphorically either. Real waves and real brothers. And, furthermore, the one they call Dane has the same genetic code as the one they call Pat. They are twins. Twins, man. Woah!
And Dane continues his thought. “I love travelling with my brothers because no matter what the situation is, we turn it into something fun. And it’s cool to share those experiences with people you’re stoked to be with. We aren’t travleling as much together now but they are always in my heart. Right down in there. In the middle of it.”
And, he looks at both of them sitting on that beach blanket and smiling broad. Then he looks at me. Like, right through me. “But, I’m not the one you should be writing about right now. You should be writing about Pat. You must write a story about Pat but call him the Banana King and don’t pull any tricks on the young maestro and write something else. The Banana King is your meat. There sits the Banana King.” He points a long finger right at Pat who has the same bones as Dane, the same eyes, but not the same hair. His hair is cut short. Almost similar to the way squares wear it. Twins, man.
And, I tell him I don’t really give a damn which of them is on tour. I’m not about all the rules and regulations and hierarchy but Dane ain’t having it. He ain’t having none of it. “Until you learn to realise the importance of the Banana King you will know absolutely nothing about the human interest things of the world” he tells me.
So, now, I am right in the middle of it. Right down in there. No longer an observer of this freaky beach scene but, instead deep down that rabbit’s hole. Engaging. And I ask Pat, the Banana King, what it is like on tour and he tells me, “Ahhhh bro, it’s fun. It’s a blast. Just cruising, you know? There are so many good guys on tour, so many friends, and my brothers don’t do it so we don’t travel together as much and all that but it is real fun. I’m all requalified up so I’ll be doing it next year too and Tanner is charging so he’ll be here soon, too.”
Positive thinking. Idealising. Manifesting the good.
But, he is alone right now. Alone on tour. So I ask him about the latest tour event at Teahupoo.
“That wave seems unearthly. We are accustomed to looking upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there in Tahiti, at Teahupoo, there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It is unearthly and the men who paddled out, all the men who paddled out including my brothers, seemed inhuman. But, no they were not inhuman. They would drop down and pull into huge barrels and howl and leap and spin and get totally shacked and make horrid faces, but what thrilled me was jut the thought of their humanity. The thought of our kinship with this wild and passionate uproar.”
His brothers are all grooving on this beat. Getting in to this rhythm. And, he keeps riffing.
“Teahupoo is my favorite wave in the world. It is so sick. During the big tow day I sat in the channel on my board and took it all in. I was thinking about giving it a go but just sitting there and watching it was amazing. And, of course, it fired for the contest. So sick.”
Sick. And what a heavy thought. Kinship with the uproar and riding a free monster. Kinship with the other two sitting right next to him. Whoa.
And I ask him who he likes on tour. Specifically, what he thinks about Matt Wilkinson because Matt Wilkinson was totally inhuman at Teahupoo. And Pat, the Banana King, looks at me and his smiling face grows serious and he says, “Wilko was doing things out there, man. He was getting after it like no one else but he has hydrocephalus or some manner of lymph disorder I believe. His head fills up with liquid.” Heavy.
And, they all sit and ponder this for a moment. The youngest one they call Tanner and he hasn’t said much of anything yet. Tanner is a good-looking young man two-and-a-half years younger than his twin brothers and he also has a square cut and he is also handsome. He has just been soaking in his brothers’ words and sucking on them like marrow. I want to know what is in his head and what it feels like to have these two twins above him, clearing a path. Do they make him a better person? He answers thoughtfully. “Yeah, definitely. Dane and Pat push me in all things I do. Patrick is a great coach because he has the knowledge of surfing the CT heats. I am super stoked ‘cause he genuinely wants to help me get back to the Tour, so I really cherish his advice. Dane and I always push each other as well. He is the most positive coach, so I am really lucky. But I would do the same for them.”
Dane nods and agrees. But, Dane isn’t interested in competing himself right now. He is on his own trip. Getting after the big waves. Surfing the unshackled monsters. He travels a different path chasing the storms but he is always locked in to what his brothers are doing.
A full-on brotherhood. A totally now collective of enlightened youth just living in the moment and living without the jealousies and negativity of society. Tied together with the thickest of knots but each doing a different version of the same thing. Pat competing full time at the highest level. Dane riding the huge. Tanner coming up the ranks. A full-on hip crew separated most of the time, these days, but never separate.
Pat says he thinks Dane always does the single best manoeuvre of every contest he is in and now he is not talking about his twin brother Dane, but rather Dane Reynolds. Every conversation about competitive surfing these days ends up floating around Dane Reynolds and what he is going to do and what he is doing. Pat really grooves on Dane’s surfing, like everyone else. He says he is psyched to watch Dane surf in any conditions and Tanner smiles. Tanner likes watching Dane too and just likes watching surf, in general, and psyching on surf, in general. He says that surf psych is alive and well in San Clemente.
They all love the surf. They are always surf stoked. Surf psyched and it makes them famous everywhere they go. The great surf psyching Gudauskas brothers. Yeah, just dig on that for a minute. Their last name. Just say it, man. Let it roll over your tongue. Gu-daus-kas. Goo-dows-kiss. Good-ah-skis. I ask what it means, Gudauskis, and Dane answers, “It is Lithuanian. Our pops is Lithuanian and our mom is Irish so we get drunk and then we get drunk. A Lithuanian car bomb.” Tanner adds, “When we travel in Europe we’ll meet girls and tell them our last name and they know our roots are Lithuanian. It’s a pretty common last name over there…” Heavy.
I ask when they first got in the water, when they first graced Mother Ocean with their blonde genetic similarities. They all look at each other and remember the past. And Pat, the Banana King, finally speaks. “I think Dane and I were surfing by, like, four but Tanner didn’t pick it up until he was seven or something. He used to bodyboard all the time, doing doughnuts in the beachbreak. Dane and I were baffled by why he wanted to do that but then he picked up surfing so it was all good.”
Did they ever fight? They all speak. “Nah. We’ve always just been cruisy. Easy.”
The non-fighting, all-surfing Gudauskas brothers. I say they look happy. That they look so totally happy and Tanner says, “Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”
And with that I turn and walk away and leave them Gudauskas brothers sitting and smiling in the sunlight and still talking about the surf and the psych and the stoke. Good things happening in California down by the beach.
As I’m walking away I run into an old Indian with a weathered face and wise eyes. “You ever hear of the Gudauskas brothers?” I ask him.
He looks at me all deep and said, “I saw those young people, the two with short hair and that one with the long, crazy hair and the Great Spirit told me they will have no greed. We waited a long time to find white men without greed. But we knew there would come a time when we could get together as brothers.”
California magic. California gold.