Fins are expensive, bro.
I sometimes imagine the VAL’s life being glorious, simple and unencumbered. There he is, waltzing into a surf shop then waltzing out with a brand-new _________* under his arm plus two bars of warm-cool wax, a rash guard, pair of Rip Curl Live the Search boardies (which he pronounces “live” as in “I just saw Jack Johnson play live.”) and a pair of Vans surf booties.
There she is sitting around the break room with her colleagues, regaling them with stories of her recent trip to Maui where she paddled out at Big Beach or would have if not for that pesky whitewash.
There is no shame in the VAL, no embarrassment and he can SUP Manhattan Beach day or night, heart filled with joy, not grumpy grouch.
But there must be some darkness hovering therein also because a top, blue-blooded VAL recently shot his father in the head for surf money and would you like to read the compelling beginning to the very tragic story of Thomas Gilbert Jr. in The New York Times? I think we owe it to ourselves.
Five years after he graduated with an economics degree from Princeton, Thomas Gilbert Jr. walked into a Hamptons surf shop and asked if they needed an instructor.
At 29, Mr. Gilbert — who grew up in Manhattan’s elite social circles with wealth and connections — might have been expected to climb to the top of the world of finance, as his father and uncle had done.
Instead, the son of a successful hedge fund founder was surfing, going to exclusive social clubs and living on a $1,000 weekly allowance from his parents.
After three weeks of testimony in Mr. Gilbert’s murder trial, a picture of him has emerged as a perpetual Peter Pan who was increasingly troubled with the idea of losing his real life Neverland.
Mr. Gilbert’s lawyer maintains that mental illness problems are to blame for his client’s seeming inability to hold a steady job. But prosecution witnesses have described Mr. Gilbert as a feckless young man interested mostly in pleasurable pursuits, who was furious with his father for reducing his spending money.
The piece goes on to describe how Mr. Gilbert Jr. would buy things from surf shops and take surf trips with his pals. It also details a surf-esque relationship he had with one of the famous Rothschilds.
Mr. Gilbert dabbled with the idea of working at his father’s hedge fund and even spoke of starting his own.
“It seemed to me he didn’t have experience to do that,” said Anna Rothschild, 53, a publicist who dated Mr. Gilbert in 2013. “He didn’t seem to be highly intelligent, in my humble opinion.”
Ms. Rothchild testified that she found Mr. Gilbert “odd,” but continued to date him because “he was very good looking.”
Ms. Ressner said she regularly found evidence that Mr. Gilbert was seeing other women while they shared an apartment: fingerprints on a bedroom mirror, an unexplained box of condoms and even strands of other women’s hair.
“He didn’t bother to clean up when I came back,” she said rolling her eyes. “I did not have self-esteem at the time.”
And do you think this VAL will get off for insanity or do you think he will spend the rest of his days drawing epic tubes on prison issued paper?
Do you worry that other VALs might take a sinister turn into murder?
*What is the VAL’s favorite surfboard these days?