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Hurley Pro Interlude: “The wages of sin!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

What happens when there is too much bawdy downmarket fun? Come and learn a lesson.

Yesterday was my second full day with the people and what a day it was. I’ve become addicted to the scent of paraben-laced spray-on sunscreens. The eau de McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches. We are the same, you and me. From the tips of our sun kissed hair to the soles of our Gucci loafers. And as I left Lower Trestles parking lot I wanted to be with you more. To know the innermost secrets of your proletarian heart.

But where do you go? McDonalds? I wasn’t hungry having feasted on the bread of the people all day and also almond butter and organic raspberry jelly organic bread sandwiches. But I was thirsty. Yes, extraordinarily thirsty having stood shoulder to shoulder with you plus our Brazilian brothers and sisters in the blazing sun. And having eaten an almond butter and organic raspberry jelly organic bread sandwich.

We all turned our reddening necks, from time to time, and watched the VIP set sip daintily from a never drying fount of Michelob Ultra in their shaded villa but there was none for us. Only the occasional spray from Ace Buchan’s backhand turns.

But now where do you drink? Taverns right? Saloons? Well there is a saloon very near my home named The Saloon and that’s where I headed, pushing though the door and into a delightfully rustic interior expecting to enter the very center of bawdy, downmarket fun. Like that scene in Titanic where Kate Winslet realizes how free poor people are.

But you weren’t there. The Saloon was, in fact, empty except for a very fine man with wonderful taste in preschools who works for Surfer magazine. We drank Coopers. None of that fancy Michelob Ultra stuff. Coopers. Coopers after Coopers after Coopers.

When I woke up in the morning my head pounded. My eyes were red. My head pounded. Did I already say that? But the people go to work hungover after nights of bawdy downmarket fun and so off to Lower Trestles I went.

I got there late, missing out on $20 parking and having to park near Carl’s Jr thus walking for 30 minutes in the blazing sun. Still, how could I let one minor inconvenience sour my mood? The people pick grapes in this blazing sun before attending surf contests. They scrub Porsches clean in local car washes in this blazing sun. And so I cuffed my Comme des Garçons trousers and sallied forth, down the dirt, through the reeds, back to you.

While I was walking Fred Morais was in the water beating Zeke Lau. Fred Morais is a blue collar name but the beach announcer kept saying, “There goes Frederico Morais again laying down his patented long drawn out rail carves…”

One of the great pleasures in attending live surf events is the beach announcers. They are often funnier than the broadcast announcers and don’t jibber quite as much. And I liked Fred Morais’s good working class name but it frustrated me that he patented the long drawn out rail carve. It seems a very 1% thing to do. How do you think he collects money on those surfers who infringe upon his property? Does he fine them per long drawn out rail carve? And how did he secure that patent ahead of Tom Curren et. al.?

My head pounded and I had many questions as I posted up next to a trash can filled with Africanized bees. My eyes burned as the sun pierced my Tom Ford lenses. The people, all around me, cheering now for Wiggolly Dantas but also imploring Ace Buchan to cool them with the spray from his backhand turn started to ring my ears, along with the angry buzz of Africanized trash bees, and I needed a quick break so walked aimlessly toward the media tent some 5 miles down the beach and inside one of San Onofre’s nuclear power reactors.

I had no intention of actually entering the media tent but old habits die hard yet as I was walking I saw signs for the Hurley Surf Club. Now of course this sounds exclusive and elitist but when I arrived discovered that Hurley provides an onsite school, free of charge, for children set on becoming professional surfers.

That’s right free. A Bernie Sanders dream come true.

Beanbag chairs are scattered on the floor and white boards intermix with big screen televisions on the walls. Instructors pause videos of the live action and show the children, sitting everywhere in half-stripped wetsuits and trunks, where the surfers legs are, where their arms are, where their eyes are looking. There is also video of the children shot just moments earlier and the instructors give real time analysis.

My heart melted.

An institution for the people’s children! For the fruit of the working class!

I pressed in further. Every boy and girl was staring at the screen, taking it all in, learning. Loving it. Loving learning. I have never seen a better thing at a surf contest. No not ever. A room packed with hungry learners being gifted a free education.

And I pressed in further still, almost stepping on one young boy. He looked at me with horror in his eyes. All of them did. “Let them stare…” I said to myself “…let them feast their eyes upon me. Hungover, red-eyed, sweaty. Let them absorb what they will become if they drop out of professional surf school and become a surf journalist instead. Let them gaze upon me and let them smell the Coopers on my breath. For this is what happens, children, when bawdy downmarket fun gets in the way of a proper education.”

And I stayed there for much of the day, sunk in a beanbag chair, missing the rest of the action.