Those living in New England are currently breathing much easier even though Hurricane Lee is bearing down. President Joe Biden has just declared a state of emergency and I have officially arrived, ready to direct and advise. So far, a light blanket of clouds is covering the sky, in Vermont, and the temperature is a scary 68 degrees Fahrenheit. I am wandering the streets of a very cute historic town telling the Teva-clad locals not to worry. That they should horde just a little but otherwise put their favorite Phish album on the turntable, sip a little maple syrup and relax.
I’ve been through a hurricane, in Southern California, and am a survivor.
Speaking of Southern California, Topanga, just south from famous Malibu, made the hipster news today for its surf rage problem.
KCRW reported on various locals, like Donnie Wilson, a former professional who has been surfing Topanga since the 1970s. He said he’s been all over this blue earth surfing and claims, “(Topanga) the only spot in LA that gets a south and a north and a west swell, and it’s a point break. It’s one of the best waves in the world.”
Being such, though, surf rage. Wilson says he is part of the problem.
“I’ve been one of the ones guilty of [yelling] ‘get the fuck out of here kook. I’ve been cracking people since I was a kid. When I was in junior high or something, I fucking broke this dude’s nose.”
Chad White, who has been surfing Topanga for 40 years, also weighed in, declaring, “The really heavy guys are the ones that had to pay some real dues to surf here. In the 70s, it would be every time they came to surf here. They’d have to fight.”
Another nameless local shared his experience of being “fully chewed out by a Topangry 12-year-old girl, and fully got bullied into submission as a 34-year-old man who’s surfed here most of my life.”
“Topangry” being a portmanteau of “Topanga” and “angry.”
All of it fairly run-of-the-mill until Joshua Alexander enters the scene. He is black and has been surfing for two years but has already had many “racially charged” incidents in the water. He has been told to “go back to your hood” and “go back to China.”
Go back to China?
What sort of geographic weirdness is happening at Topanga?
In any case, Women have also had a rough go. Professional surfer Frankie Seely sharing, “Growing up, there was maybe one woman in the lineup as compared to like 20 guys. There’s a lot more women surfing (now). The ratio [of women] almost gets to the same as the men’s ratio in the water.”
Chad White even changes his tune at the end saying, “If you’re a local somewhere, [it] doesn’t mean that your job is to be an asshole. Maybe if you’re a local, your job is to be really helpful.”
Topanga becoming paradise on earth (minus misdirected racial slurs)?