Sexy New York fitness buff visits Urbnsurf!
A Brooklyn-based freelancer, or stringer as they used to be called before all the staffers were sacked and everyone turned into piece workers, has written a long-form story for The Atlantic following a recent visit to Melbourne’s Urbnsurf.
Spenser Mestel, a well-muscled white man whose Instagram profile pic finds him in underpants, quadriceps flared, scrotum aggressive like carnivorous jaws, opens the piece. “I Went Surfing in an Office Park” with a quote from Chas.
“Surf Ranch is a satanic mirror!” the surfing journalist Chas Smith wrote in reference to a park in California built by the surfing legend Kelly Slater. “It shows you who and what you are but the worst possible version.”
A session is booked.
Before going surfing, I’m used to lugging my board onto a bus. I’m not used to booking a session online. Using the descriptions, we debated which level was right for us. Could we “paddle, take-off, trim along the wave face, and safely dismount?” Yeah, of course. Well … maybe. We’re both consistent surfers, but it depends on the board, the wave, the day. To cover all our bases, we signed up for the two easiest levels. Still, three weeks out, all we could book were left-breaking waves, which are supposed to be harder if, like us, you surf with your right foot back.
Mestel arrives at tank, a five-minute drive from Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport.
When we got to Urbnsurf, it looked like we’d just boarded a Royal Caribbean Cruise. Where was the weed-smoking, the dogs with sunglasses, the sleeper vans with Instagram handles painted on the back?
At the rental shop, the man working the front desk had his nails painted, like me. I’d never seen that while surfing, either.
After we got our boards—embarrassing bright-blue, 7-foot-6 foamies—we caught the tail end of the safety briefing. Finally, we could surf—well, “surf.” After scanning our wristbands at the turnstile, we paddled out in the chlorinated water toward the massive metal cylinder capable of spitting out all types of waves, from a slow, gentle roller to a six-foot-high barrel. One by one, we’d maneuver out to the label on the concrete wall that corresponded to the difficulty level of our wave and wait for our turn. For most of the four years I’ve surfed, I’d see a promising wave, turn toward the shore, and paddle furiously until I either caught it or didn’t. But recently, I’d learned to look back at the wave as I prepared to drop in, to read the shape and color to figure out where and when it would break. At Urbnsurf, I didn’t have to do all of that: I already knew I was in the right position. As soon as I heard the whurl of the machine, I’d start kicking my legs uselessly up and down.
For the first time in my life, I was able to trace along the face of the wave, turning down to gain speed and turning up to build momentum, all without being afraid that the wave would suddenly topple over and roll me so many times, I wouldn’t know which way was up.
Mestel discovers flotilla of VALS.
After our first session, we moved up a difficulty level. While I waited my turn, I saw nearly every person before me bury the nose of their board and face-plant into the water. Even in a single session you could see a huge spectrum of ability, from an overconfident beginner who left halfway through to a woman who absolutely shredded on a little potato chip of a fiberglass board. On my first attempt, I managed to stand up and ride for a few glorious and exhilarating seconds, but when I jumped off there was no familiar tug on my right leg.
A bad man, probably white!
Urbnsurf had its share of assholes, like the man who cut between a mother and her teenage daughter and then yelled at them both for not paddling hard enough.
Discovers ocean still pretty good after flying from Melbourne to Sydney.
But then, on my last session out, during one of Sydney’s few perfectly sunny April days, I saw a three-footer rumbling toward me and guessed it would break to the right. To my amazement, it did, and I ran my hand through the face of the wave as I carved it up and down, opening my shoulders and looking where I wanted to go. It was a ride so perfect, it felt engineered. Seven euphoric seconds later, I’d ridden the wave all the way to the shoreline—and directly into a patch of seaweed.