Is this real life or just a fantasy?
I am paddling for a wave that rolls in straight from dreams, rarely from life. Green, a-framed, groomed by gentle offshore breezes and by a-framed I mean truly teepee’d plus barreling. Spitting. Like a mini Pipeline/Backdoor if Off the Wall went to hell, Backdoor wasn’t a glorified closeout and the bottom was sand instead of death.
It is mostly empty save my wife, a lime wedge throw away, addicted to the left she rode yesterday and my best friend Josh, a lime wedge throw the opposite direction, picking off the ones that run wide. All on crisp, new, perfectly tailored Album surfboards.
If we had one more surfer in the water, one more family on this surf trip, we could be running overlapping heats. We should be running overlapping heats with a dream commentary team to match the dream waves. Vaughn Blakey in the booth. Todd Kline on the beach.
The greatest to ever do it. The one who, for a gleaming second, showed the world what professional surfing could be, might be, should be, standing there with Bobby Martinez as Santa Barbara’s greatest to ever do it, smirking, while Bobby called professional surfing “this dumb fucking wannabe tennis tour.”
A phrase that will someday be graffitied on the rubble of Santa Monica’s Wall of Positive Noise once we crumble it like those brave East Germans crumbled theirs.
Josh arrived at Rancho Santana at sunset last evening after an even more grueling haul than mine. Carrying two children under the age of five and a Ndijilian/Parisian/Helsinkian fashion designer wife that suffers no hiccups. No red-eyes. No transfers, bad domestics or cocktails mixed from plastic bottles.
He flew his family from LAX at midnight, even a touch after, connected through Houston before doubling down by re-connecting through Miami before arriving in Managua and driving the three plus hours to Rancho Santana.
He was also stopped by two separate policemen on the way who tried to pull his sleeping wife and children out of the car in order to pat them all down.
All it took for his wife to forgive that ordeal and accept the family surf trip as not only workable but divine was a trip to the spa, hovering above the jungle canopy, above the organic farm, all dark tropical hardwood and world-class masseuses.
And now? I’m surf gorged, mojito gorged, wives are happy, children are happy, everyone is somehow dreamily happy.
The only problem?
No Todd Kline.
My wife, Josh and I surf for an hour or more before retreating to our sunbathing, book reading, swimming, happy counterparts at one of the multiple pools and…wait. Who is that in the far cabana tucking a Red Bull branded Mayhem under the chaise lounge in order to prevent wax melt?
Could it be?
I honestly can’t believe my eyes and saunter straight up after ordering a mojito with freshly picked/muddled mint etc.
“What are you doing here?”
“The family and I love Rancho Santana.” He responds. “I’m here with my wife and the grom. It’s the poor man’s Tavarua. I was surfing the wedge this morning after ordering breakfast, saw the server come out with the tray and was at my table before she set it down. It’s epic.”
I walk back to my cabana shaking my head. I thought I could break the notion of a workable family surf trip by inviting another family along. Not only did it not break, Todd Kline and his family have now been conjured out of thin air.
The poor man’s Tavarua. And to think, for one second, that thou of little faith J.P. Currie thought I wasn’t The People™.
To think a Scotsman doubted this modern incantation of William Wallace for one second.
But maybe I didn’t push hard enough?
Maybe I’m doing something wrong?
We still don’t have enough people to run overlapping heats.
More as the story develops.