Introducing the Angry Midlengther.
Have you ever looked at the map of California? I mean, really looked at it? Let’s do that together right now. Look, there’s Point Conception. There it is, just jutting out there like a giant cock dangling in the ocean, free and easy. The sharks are so stoked.
Now let’s trace down the map a little farther. Oh, look, there’s Santa Barbara. There’s the 101 and Rincon and that one taqueria, which is totally better than the other taqueria. What a lovely, gently curving stretch of coastline, it is, right there behind Point Conception.
The taint. That’s what it is. If Point Conception is a giant cock, that pretty much makes Santa Barbara the taint.
I am now changing my name and buying a new face on the internet — you can do that, right? — before a crowd of angry villagers shows up to run me out of town. But surely you understand. Once you see it, you really can’t unsee it. There it is. The giant cock. And the taint.
I’m pretty sure this arrangement is exactly why the waves have not made it here very often this winter. There’s a giant cock in the way. We have felt so many emotions — despair, resignation, anger, bike rides — during this winter that wasn’t really much of a winter at all. I’m not sure what to call a winter that ended in February.
Will it ever rain again? Will I run out of Clif Bars before the world ends? Answers, I don’t have any.
Still, I have persisted. Even without any hope of good waves, I went surfing. I went surfing for you, because there is important research to do out there. New anthropological phenomena and other things I can’t remember right now, I had to go find them. I know how much you depend on me! I could not bear to let you down.
So, I dragged some small-wave boards out of the pile and dug out the magnifying glass I keep around for making small things look bigger, and headed to the beach. Optimistic! I am always optimistic. If I did not find good waves, perhaps I would discover some new discoveries. Important ones, even.
There I was, sitting in the lineup, looking for waves, doing important science, whatever. Suddenly I saw it! A whole new species. My lucky day had arrived!
Suddenly, the bad waves, the magnifying glass, the small-wave boards, it was all worth it.
After much careful study and reflection, I have named this new species the ANML. The ANML is a close relative to Surfline Man, which we have previously discussed at some length. But worse, so much worse. After all, Surfline Man’s migratory patterns are predictable and with only a smidgeon of planning, a smart surfer can often avoid him.
But the ANML, well, you never really know when you’re going to see one. You’re out there on a clean, knee-high day, super chill, just a couple friends, and BAM, there he is. The Angry Midlengther. Mood, totally killed. (So far, no female ANML’s have been spotted in the wild.)
The ANML can surf, yes. But he is notable for his very distinctive approach. He goes straight. Then he goes straight again. Does the ANML know how to turn? If so, I have never yet seen it. The ANML believes he has surfing solved. His midlength will rule it all, and anyone who does not have a board exactly like his, just doesn’t know what’s up. He has an ego, the ANML and he doesn’t care who knows it.
Occasionally, an ANML will claim that he is riding his crowd control board today. Usually, he rides a shortboard, he’ll say, while gesturing about the lineup, as though to say, but then all of you people showed up. Bro, that’s not your crowd control board, you’re just an asshole.
Also, shortboarders ride shortboards. Almost entirely. We are masochists that way. If we wanted surfing to be easier, we would chuck it all and move to Seattle.
The ANML has no compunction about burning hapless bystanders. I have experienced this trait often. No look, no apologies, just go, man. That wave, you deserve it! The lineup, and every wave in it, belongs to you and your awesome surfing. You go, ANML!
The ANML never believes he is getting enough waves. He has never once gotten his fair share. So after each one? He’ll paddle straight by the rest of the lineup. Right to the front of the line. Next wave? The ANML has it. Oh, he’s got it. And the next one after that one, too.
I’ll say this for the ANML, he can paddle. He can paddle when he wants to, that is. And usually, he wants to. Slap, slap, slap, gotta hurry, gotta get another wave.
Once in a while, usually when some sad, beleaguered, almost totally cowed shortboarder is surfing down the line, the ANML will casually paddle through the pocket, pausing just long enough to ensure that the shortboarder is fucked completely. Thanks, ANML!
The ANML believes in resin tints. He doesn’t believe in leashes. He’s heard of a cutback, but isn’t sure why he should bother to do one. Instead, he stands there in the middle of his board, points it straight down the line, and occasionally moves his arms around. He believes the arm-waving imparts style to his surfing. He is wrong.
There is no defense against the ANML. If you see one, approach with extreme caution, if you must approach at all. I recommend fleeing. It’s not brave and it’s not bold and it’s certainly not manly, but it will save you hours of hate. And hate is so very depressive.
The ANMLs are running wild! I’m headed straight back to the lineup out to learn more, because science is a very important thing to do. I am a trained professional in such things with a diploma on the wall and everything. In the meantime, be safe out there! If you see an ANML, run!