He can beat Kolohe Andino and Kanoa Igarashi! True!
I was a winner, dammit! I had CT dreams!
Can you? Will you? Please? Believe that I was once High School surfing champion in 2010, 2011. Not NSSA, but SeaView League. Competed against second-tier surf teams in Orange County. I was a big fish in a stickerless pond. Didn’t lose in two years. Not one fucking heat. Kids at school called me “Telly Slater”. Done so mockingly, of course.
I thought I was the shit. I beat Kolohe Andino once. If memory serves me, he received an interference for standing up after the hooter. Checked the scorecards though, had him fair and square. It is a feather in my hat that I wear every time Brother dons a rashie.
Smoked Kanoa in an AirShow too. But he was, like, 13. I’ve never worn that feather past round three, but hope one day too! Keep swinging Igarashi!
My story begins as all washed-up athlete stories do.
It all happened in my senior year of high school….
I got a sponsor. Lost… ! Stickers, clothes and Matt Biolos shaping me surfboards at cost. Announced contests back then, too. Was able to save enough for an ASP Pro Jr. membership and fly myself to the East Coast. If I made a few heats, I told myself, my competitor wristband would get me so much tail at the U.S Open come summer. That was the goal.
I was once High School surfing champion in 2010, 2011. Not NSSA, but SeaView League. Competed against second-tier surf teams in Orange County. I was a big fish in a stickerless pond. Didn’t lose in two years. Not one fucking heat. Kids at school called me “Telly Slater”.
So I trained and I trained and I trained. Surfed everyday. Hucked myself into the wind after school. Desperately trying to extend my bag of tricks past the standard three to the beach.
So I go to New Jersey with my older sister. Stay in a shitty hotel far from the contest. Show up a few hours early for my professional debut. Nervous as hell by the guys in my heat who had actually gone through puberty. This was back when Pro Juniors were under 21, not 18.
My plan was to do an aerial. The night prior, I went over and over it in my head. Board leaving the lip. Hand clutching the rail. Spot landing. Compress into the whitewash. Rise with hands firmly kept by my side. Look judges directly in the eye and beg them to free me from a life of mediocrity.
I showed up that morning with my game plan firmly intact. Mother Nature didn’t agree.
A hurricane had blown through the night before and the waves were offshore, head high, and tubing. I gorged before my heat. Pulling into cylinders spinning off the jetty with the other competitors. Feeling like I was finally in the scene. But I wanted to win. I wasn’t there to make friends.
Grabbed my jersey three minutes before my heat. My big sister told me to have fun. I told her I was out for blood. Paddled out dismayed. Every wave was breaking right. Zippy freight-trains that I couldn’t get more than a turn off on my not-so-stellar backhand.
Get myself a little tube. Not very deep. Get a five. Sweet. Guys behind me get sevens and eights. Shit. They are men. Man-handling sections that I was going around. Pull into close out after close out. Wasn’t backing down without a fight.
Few minutes left, I go on a wave with foam in its face, very difficult to ride. Fins never felt the face. I bottom turn, go for a slash and accidentally do a reverse. I make it. Disbelieved but still going, I bonk the end section. Gave a lion stare to the men in the judges booth. The announcer laughs at me.
They give me a four and a half. I needed a six.
In my adolescent rage, I left for California convinced that if I had only done a backside air reverse, I would’ve made the heat.
So I start skateboarding. Every day, different skatepark. Trying to learn how to air on transition. I progress slowly. One fateful afternoon, I break both wrists simultaneously .
Miss the next few contests and fall out of touch with competitive surfing. Late one sleepless night, I learn that I love to read. That poetry is my true passion. Fuck the ASP, I had open mic night dreams!
And now here I am. Typing my miserable tale.
Laugh as you will,
But understand why I must give the QS one last swing.
It is not for the women. Tales of travel. Rekindling friendships with those who have probably long forgotten about me.
It is because when you google my name, it says WSL Professional Surfer: Jake Tellkamp.
You think I’d be thrilled. Surely this would go off on a Tinder profile right? No. Because there isn’t anything there. Not a photo, not an embarrassing last place in a grade 1 Pro Jr. Nothing.
It is a hanging reminder. A cloud of suffocating weight. That I am trivial and a nobody. An unshakeable burden that I can no longer bare!
Considering you guys were generous enough to give a heroin dealer money for his fake cancer treatment,
I figured one of you might be willing to swing ten gees my way so I can pay for my membership into the World Surf League and help me join the tour!
In return, I’ll decal my board in honor of our favorite surf site, and ride into battle screaming, “Ultra Hard Surf Candy!”
With a bit of luck, and lots of back paddling, I can qualify for the Volcom Pipe Pro. I promise to wear Chas and Derek’s size 31 short shorts in my heat, and the slight chance I actually win, I’ll tell surf fans on streaming webcast anything you so please.