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Beach Grit

Podcast: “The Legend of Dirty Gabe!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Is he your favorite surfer yet?

I was invited to attend a performance at the local high school, when I was five, because my father had a role in it. I remember sitting on the hard wooden bench in the gymnasium. I remember being transfixed my the cheerleaders. I remember wishing I was in something other than bellbottom overalls.

The show was fine enough, a cowboy sort of thing where my father played Black Bart, the maudlin bank robber. There was much exaggerated shouting and big arm movements. Eventually the sheriff and Black Bart met in the town square for a duel. The sheriff shot. Black Bart fell to the parquet. And next thing I knew, the cheerleaders were all surrounding me, begging me to come and give Black Bart the kiss of life.

I was very frustrated that I was in bellbottom overalls and really not wanting to be the center of attention but it was one of those moments that couldn’t be escaped and eventually I was dragged toward my father’s “dead” body. I kneeled down, kissed his cheek, he came back to life.

It might have been that moment, there, that I started cheering for the bad guy. For Darth Vader, Cal Hockley, the marines killing those damned Na’vi. Would you like to know a secret? I cheered for Gabriel Medina too. His antics, two days ago, put him in rare company. Dropping in on Kelly Slater then trying to milk an interference? Dirty. Sitting on Jeremy Flores and not letting him paddle? Dirty.

I would kiss his cheek, if I could. Maybe someday I will.

In the meantime, here is another podcast that speaks to Gabriel Medina’s essential role in the World Surf League pantheon, the poor quality of WSL judging and the last days of Turp n Pottz. Listen if you feel like. I don’t know how good it is, frankly. I was hungover and my brain was not working well.