The countdown starts and Surfline Man struggles to clear his head. Surfline Man can hear the train coming. It’s so close now.
Surfline Man is in Surf Ranch! He can’t even believe it.
Surfline Man is going to eat a fabulous Surf Ranch dinner, sleep in an Airstream, and surf the world’s most perfect wave. He doesn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or throw-up.
Probably all three.
Surfline Man stashes his important stuff in the Airstream he’s been assigned. So delightfully retro!
He inspects the build-out carefully. It would be so cool to redo the Sprinter and style it out all hand-built and vintage. Surfline Man has to confess that his current look is so basic. He totally deserves better.
What to wear.
First impressions are so important and Surfline Man doesn’t want all the tech bros to think he’s a total kook. And there’s Trey who always made Surfline Man feel so inadequate. Surfline Man suddenly has second thoughts about this whole thing. Maybe he could just stay in the Airstream all night?
You gotta pay to play is what his dad always said and while Surfline Man doesn’t want to admit it like at all, his old man was probably right. Surfline Man has to go out there and meet the bros and pretend that it’s the best night ever.
Would the Hawaiian-print shirt give him courage or make him feel like an idiot? Fashion is exactly as confusing as surfboards and much less fun. His ex always hassled him for wearing the wrong thing. Surfline Man feels so totally damaged.
Pulling an organic cotton v-neck out of his bag, Surfline Man is pretty sure he can’t go wrong with white. Surfline Man slips on fresh pair of Billabong boardshorts. Recycled plastic bottles, baby! Then he shuffles into his well-worn Rainbow flip flops.
Surfline Man feels confident he has nailed the perfect look. He throws a double shaka at his reflection in the mirror. A hat, should he wear a hat? Totally. He grabs his Patagonia with the perfectly curved brim. That’s it! He totally looks like a surfer right now.
Feeling so core, Surfline Man saunters out of his Airstream to dinner. He puts on his best happy face and gets a drink at the bar. Everyone is already sitting down. Shit. Already behind the section.
Surfline Man reaches across the table to fist-bump Trey. Then he slides into the nearest empty seat. Next to him sits an Outerknown button-down shirt in slate. White twill shorts, definitely not organic. Allbirds, no socks. Venture Capital, for sure.
Surfline Man looks around the table. It’s good to check the conditions before paddling out. Surfing and life are so totally the same. Surfline Man is so grateful for all the important lessons surfing has taught him.
In addition to Trey, Surfline Man recognizes two other marketing bros from Elevate! Another guy looks familiar, too, but Surfline Man can’t even remember him. Surfline Man is pretty sure the rest are the money. Trey is working the VC thing so hard. He must really want that funding to bring them to Surf Ranch.
Surfline Man can’t be bothered with all that capitalism stuff. He’s so over capitalism. He totally learned his lesson. Surfline Man has important surfing to do. Surfing is way better than capitalism any day of the week.
Pulled out of his blissful haze by the sound of his name, Surfline Man realizes Trey is talking about him. Surfline Man assumes it’s an introduction or something, so he smiles around the table.
Oh. Of course. Of course Trey is telling the dumb story about that one time at the company dodgeball game.
“So there we all were,” Trey is saying. “Every month we’d get together at Elevate! for a field trip. It was so good for company morale to have some bonding time together. This one time, we went to the beach and played dodgeball. Beers, dodgeball, friends, the beach — it was such a good time.
“But Trent here, he’s not the most coordinated guy out there. We all loved him for his great attitude at Elevate! Nobody worked harder. But he is not what you call good at sports. He was running or something and totally tripped over his own feet. He had to go to the ER and everything! Six weeks on crutches.”
Trey laughs, and everyone around the table joins in.
This is so embarrassing. Surfline Man keeps his smile on his face, and thinks about waves. Perfect waves. Surfline Man is going to get so barreled tomorrow. He just has to get through tonight.
“I’m sure he’s all healed up now, though, right Trent?” Trey is still talking. Surfline Man resists the temptation to slip down in his seat, all the way down, under the table.
“I hear you’re really into surfing now,” Trey is saying.
“Oh yah, I live in Cardiff now. Great waves all the time. It’s so nice to get out in the ocean,” Surfline Man says.
Surfline Man resists the urge to brag about how he got a sweet wave at Malibu. He could talk all night about the rad boards he brought to Surf Ranch. Best to play it cool. Surfline Man is totally going to let his surfing do the talking. Fuck dodgeball anyway.
Talk around the table shifts. Tech stacks. VC rounds. The next big thing. Surfline Man pastes an interested look on his face and checks out. Tech stuff, so boring.
Surfline Man drifts off into happy daydreams about surfboards and how he’s totally going to get barrelled tomorrow. Which board should he ride? Maybe bringing boards he’s never ridden before now was not his best life choice. It’s going to be just fine, Surfline Man tells himself. Sometimes, you just gotta send it.
The next day, Surfline Man rises with the sun. He makes coffee in the Airstream. Organic Kona blend. It’s fine, but nothing special. Surfline Man reminds himself that he’s not here for the coffee. Waves. He’s going to surf perfect waves today. Surfline Man can hardly wait.
But first, stretching.
Surfline Man carefully unrolls his yoga mat outside the Airstream. He’s so serious about his fitness now. Surfline Man should have discovered yoga ages ago. He can totally touch his toes and everything. He’s pretty sure his surfing is improving so much now.
Back in the Airstream, Surfline Man surveys his boards. They’re so white! So clean! It’s almost painful to wax them up. Surfboards are for surfing! Surfline Man knows that, if nothing else.
Time to commit. He pulls the two CI’s out of the stack and begins the slow, meticulous process of applying the perfect wax job. Good thing he’s been training.
Leashes. Fins. Surfline Man wasn’t super sure what fins to ride on his new thrusters. The internet had so many suggestions. Drive and control, that’s what he needs. He slides two sets of Futures AM1’s out of their packages. Fortunately, there’s no one around to see him as he tries to slot them in backwards.
Surfline Man loves surfboards so much, but really, do they have to be quite so complicated?
Surfline Man looks longingly at his long john, but really, it’s not that warm at all. Instead, he stuffs his 3/2, a towel, and extra wax in his backpack. Surfline Man is not about to risk looking fat in a 4/3 in front of Trey and the bros.
Ready, Surfline Man tucks his two fresh surfboards under his arm and heads to the waves. He feels so pro right now. Two freshly waxed, beautiful surfboards! Surfline Man is going to get so barreled. It’s going to be the best day ever.
Trey and the bros are gathered at the edge of the basin, checking it out. Surfline Man joins them. Trey is talking about a boat trip he took with friends to Cloudbreak. Surfline Man refuses to be intimidated. He’s been to Malibu!
Talk turns to the lineup, who’s going to surf first and all of that. It’s like, super political, and Surfline Man is happy to stare out at the water and dream about surfing.
Oh. Trey is talking to him. Surfline Man figures he’d better pay attention. He’s having so many flashbacks to the start-up life.
“Trent, you can go last,” Trey says.
Surfline Man knows Trey is trying to put him in his place. But he’s actually super stoked to go last. He can watch everyone else and learn from their mistakes. And, maybe he’ll get lucky and poach a left-over.
The bros struggle into wetsuits. Got any wax, bro? Surfline Man keeps his wax to himself. He might need it later. Surreptitiously, he surveys the boards. Amateurs, for sure.
One of the bros forgot to bring a leash for his midlength. It looks so new. Straight out of Mollusk, Surfline Man thinks. Good thing he is super into thrusters now. So high performance! Surfline Man conveniently forgets all about the turquoise midlength at home in his garage.
Waiting his turn, Surfline Man watches the bros surf. There sure is a lot of falling. The Outerknown shirt from last night’s dinner misses the barrel and gets axed. Surfline Man tries not to picture himself meeting the same exact fate.
Then he’s in the water, sitting down the line. Surfline Man hopes he can score a scrap, just to get warmed up and stuff. And there it is. Trey falls on his right! Surfline Man paddles hard. He must make it into this wave. Surfline Man’s new thruster suddenly feels super tiny, but there’s no time for second thoughts now.
Surfline Man pops to his feet. It feels like an miracle. OMG he’s surfing! Surfline Man entirely forgets what to do and how surfing even works. He should turn, maybe. He tries a tentative little arc on the face. It works! Surfline Man is so excited he nearly falls.
Surfline Man hears someone yell, “barrel!” Shit, Surfline Man never saw it coming. He ducks, but not quickly enough, and down he goes. Surfline Man is so embarrassed right now, but at least it wasn’t like, his real wave. It was just a practice. Next time, he’s totally going to get right in that barrel.
The much-hated voice of Trey reaches his ears. “That barrel section is tricky, huh?”
Surfline Man forces a laugh, “It sure is! Just gotta get lower, I think! Maybe I can make it on my next wave.” Surfline Man really, really hopes he makes the barrel on his next wave. A real surfer like him should be able to make the barrel.
Then it’s his turn. Surfline Man sits by the fence. He is so nervous right now. Like, even more nervous than prom night. Ugh. Where did that memory come from? Brains are the worst.
The countdown starts, and Surfline Man struggles to clear his head. Surfing. Waves. Balance. Flow. You got this, man. Surfline Man can hear the train coming. It’s so close now.
Then just like that, Surfline Man is up and riding. He has no idea how it happened. Paddling into the wave, standing up, it all happened so fast. He tries a turn. Then another. Holy shit. Two whole turns.
“Barrel!” This time, Surfline Man is so ready. He crouches down as small as he can. Good thing about all that yoga. He feels his board start to slide and desperately fights for balance. Somehow, his rail holds.
Surfline Man is getting so barreled now! Surfline Man feels the beautiful, blue embrace of the water. He can see the wave out in front of him and the bright light of the sun. It ends so fast! Surfline Man wishes he could stay in the barrel forever.
The bros are hooting him! Surfline Man is so proud. But there’s no time to celebrate. The wave is still going and Surfline Man has surfing to do. Buoyed by his successful barrel, Surfline Man pushes his next turn harder. Spray! He actually made spray!
When the next barrel section comes, Surfline Man is so tired. He smashes down as tiny as he can and holds on. The final barrel! Surfline Man has to make it! He wobbles on rubber legs, but miraculously stays on his board.
He made it! Surfline Man made his whole wave without falling. He got so barreled at Surf Ranch. And he even made spray!
Surfline Man just wants this feeling to last forever.
In a happy haze, Surfline Man joins the bros poolside. Someone passes him a beer. He even gets a few high-fives.
Surfline Man is pretty sure this is the best day ever.