…and never saw her again…
Every winter season for five years now a buddy and I make the pilgrimage to the North Shore. We have yet to be false cracked, but there were some close calls. Like when we entered the Foodland parking lot through the exit, when an ice head paddled out at V-land and dunked the poor surfer beside me, and a few others. One that sticks out above the rest is tearing apart a couch in the Volcom Pipe House at four am.
Let me backtrack…
The annual trip never takes place in December or even January for similar reasons. Too big. Too crowded. Too macho. I’m not going for the glory just some cool waves, tasty poke, and strong mai tai’s. Spring, comparatively, is Haole friendly. The crowds are lighter, locals are in a good mood after a full season, and the waves a little more user friendly, but still with that Hawaiian kick.
To add some spice to this recipe the trip is booked to overlap with Wanderlust – self-described as a 4-day yoga festival of mindful living. While days consist of the mostly female attendees going OM on the mats, listening to meditation inspiration, and surfing with Gerry Lopez, the nights see them going HAM in Turtle Bay trying to undo all the good. Yoga girls in paradise are not timid.
So we’re in Surfer, The Bar for the closing party as are the boys. It’s a well-known feeding frenzy. I look to my right and see a lone surfer dude approach Eddie Rothman and crew. His body language is sheepish as if he’s trying to apologize for something. Mid-sentence, one of Eddie’s pals haymakes him straight in the face ending the one-sided conversation. Unfazed, Eddie grabs a very pretty girl and hits the dance floor. It’s one thing to read about the North Shore violence and another to witness. Its very existence is almost satisfying providing you’re not on the receiving end.
I took a sip of my umbrella’d drink – something too sweet involving Ciroc coconut – look to my left and lock eyes with the striking L.A actress I spent a night with this very weekend 12-months ago. We embrace and both give half-ass reasons why we hadn’t been in contact all year. But that was the mainland and we were back in wonderland. Her equally wild wing women hugged hello as a Brazilian surfer snaked his tongue down her ear. He looked like a young Christian Fletcher: tattooed to the jawbone and tough as fuck. Recognizing that I could be the one to entertain his third wheel we bonded immediately. After a long winter this was his time on the North Shore and he was going to get this girl. More drinks were drunk and it was time to move the party past the lobby.
I glanced into the rearview mirror to see how my new Brazzo homeboy was making out. He had the wing women bent over the hood of a car with her skirt pulled up around her waist. Her head was howling back in pleasure and he was furiously eating her ass from behind.
The four of us walked into the breezy parking lot. The actress and I got into a parked car. A few minutes later I glanced into the rearview mirror to see how my new Brazzo homeboy was making out. He had the wing women bent over the hood of a car with her skirt pulled up around her waist. Her head was howling back in pleasure and he was furiously eating her ass from behind.
Parking lots are not where the magic happens so someone drove southwest on Kam highway because the Brazzo knew a place. Pulling into a dark oceanfront driveway somewhere very close to Pipe he slide the private gate open. Our feet slipped in mud before entering the garage and immediately I knew where we were. The walls were lined with hundreds of surfboards all with a distinctive sticker of a black-and-white stone placed right on the nose. We were entering the infamous Volcom pipe house. Not the Gerry digs, but the B-team next door.
Images of beat downs entered my head. The girls were screaming drunk and strolled into the main room with their muddy slippahs on. A #1 no-no! I knew better, but still feared a slap for their lack of respect. It was three am and everyone was asleep save for a lone Brazilian smoking weed and playing video games. Hearing loud female voices woke the crew like coyotes to a carcass. Within minutes there were seven guys in the room all with identical accents.
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“South America.” That’s what they all answered.
“Are you from Brazil?”
“We are from South America.”
“What part of South America?” I’d press.
“We are from South America.”
My mind began to grind. Were they not admitting their Brazilian nationality because they were self-aware of stereotypes or does Volcom only give them leftover access to the B-house in the late season after all the A-team has vanished and then instruct them not to tell a soul where they are from? This was before the glory runs of Medina and ADS keep in mind, so it could be a conspiracy based on fact.
Regardless the air was being filled with passionate testosterone. I saw what was brewing and wasn’t prepared to fight it. The Brazilian crew was working the girls hard and nosebags were being chopped. I left with no tender goodbyes, my place only a quick walk down the bike path.
The Volcom house depicted in the recent Red Bull documentary shows spoiled groms sweeping sand and learning life duties with the warm paradisiacal sunshine beating down. At nighttime the house is a much darker place where unspeakable things happen.
Arriving home I reached into my pocket for the house key. There was nothing. Shit. Did it fall out in the couch? I wasn’t about to sleep in the wet front yard or wake up my gracious North Shore host, so I weighed my options. Barge back into the Volcom house uninvited and hope it’s there or…. fuck, that was my only option. At this point I was too tired to care about the repercussions.
So back I walked with years of Pipe house horror stories running through my head. The Volcom house depicted in the recent Red Bull documentary shows spoiled groms sweeping sand and learning life duties with the warm paradisiacal sunshine beating down. At nighttime the house is a much darker place where unspeakable things happen. What type of twisted scene was I about to walk in on? I let myself through the gate (Note: do not ever attempt this), crept past the quiver-lined garage to the backdoor and re-emerged. Everyone starred dilated daggers at me.
“Uhh, hey guys. I may have dropped my keys mind if I take a look?”
Not waiting for an answer I uprooted four dudes from the couch and tore through the cushions. Finding nothing, but noticing the room was short one actress. I stormed out not looking forward to a lonely night sleeping on the porch.
Walking home listening to Pipe roar in the background, I started to relax. Knowing I had navigated through an iconic structure of surfing, breathed in its inspiration, and made it out unscathed. Surf history really is a violent and beautiful thing. As my feet hit the driveway something metallic on the ground reflected a streetlight and caught my eye.
It was the key. I was home, baby.
(Andrew Sayer is the editor of Later magazine, a very good surf lifestyle title from Canada.)