Episode 018 "Out of the Rafters"
I remember getting my first reliable rides to the beach with anyone but Curt Harper or my mom when I was about 12 or 13. Dylan drove a single cab Toyota pickup and rode for Rusty. His boards looked like rocket ships compared to mine. Dylans dad would film and we’d surf with Geoff Brack. Geoff was doing airs and chop hops and had a wicked style. Kind of like Archy. He rode CI’s and wore Japanese wetsuits. I remember Dylans dad saying he needed to quit messing around with airs and focus on rail work and technique.
Dylan had a coach. While we surfed he’d go to the beach after every few waves and I’d watch Mike making surf motions while Dylan nodded his head. One day, desperate to get better at surfing, I asked Dylan what Mike was telling him and he told me he had signed an agreement and couldn’t tell me anything.
Geoff sold me his second hand 5’4” 16-1/4” 1-7/8” CI with an orange deck for $40 and I left the stickers on hoping to fool some people. His newer chippier 5’1” was what I really wanted though.
Every Tuesday Geoff would try to find a ride to backside Rincon for a Channel Islands workout. If I could find us a ride I could go. Guys I saw winning older divisions at NSSA’s were there. We’d have to run the stairs at Rincon and then up to bates and back. Occasionally there’d be some naked people and Geoff would try and trip me up onto them. They’d film our session and run some mock heats then we’d go to Al and Terry’s to watch the footage and Terry would make us dinner. Pasta, salad, meat. Too fancy for my pallet but I knew how lucky I was to be there so I’d push the food around and try and look for pieces of cheese or croutons.
I saved up enough money for my first new board and I bought a 5’6” Mint Green MTF off the rack cause it was the smallest board in the shop. I could do 360’s if I took the middle fin out but that was a silly trick. One day I broke the tail straight through the back FCS tab. Sadly checking it out I noticed the plug went all the way to the deck! Right where it broke! No stringer! It was too thin to have an FCS plug. Surely that was a mistake so I went back to the CI shop. Terry agreed that it was a faulty design and offered a replacement board. There was nothing in my size and Westerns was in a week and they were backed up so a custom was out of the question. She said she knew another guy in town that could maybe get me a board in a week and gave me his number.
I called Randy Cone in Goleta and he agreed to make me a board in that time so my mom drove me up and I filled out an order card. I ordered my 5’1” 16-1/4” 1-7/8” I had been dreaming of with a custom airbrush that looked just like I had seen in a magazine - Blue deck with a red yellow and orange stripe that grew into a point toward the nose. After about 5 days I started getting antsy. I called Randy once, twice, 3 times, 5 times 10 times. I don’t even remember but he said if I kept calling he wouldn’t have time to get to my board. He got me the board Friday before the contest started and I made the finals at Westerns for the first time.
At dinner after the next CI workout Chuck pulled me aside and offered me a spot on the team and said I could order a custom CI for $250 and handed me an order card. I was delighted to hear the word team but told him I had just gotten a new board and I would get back to him when I was ready for another.
It ate me up that I had been offered a deal on a custom CI right when I got my custom Randy Cone. And was I on the team if I was riding a Randy Cone? Could I tell people I was on the team or did I need to get a board first? I needed to order a CI before this opportunity slipped away.
I ordered a board at the next workout and felt secure as an official Channel Islands team rider. I’m wracking my brain on how I paid for it but I truly don’t remember. Probably a plea deal with my mom. I got the call that the board was done - 5’3” custom by Britt Merrick. I decided to go 2” to diversify my quiver. My mom drove me up from Ventura and the lady up front took us to the back and as I walked through rows of new boards and signed posters on the walls from my favorite pros, I noticed a rack of boards stickered up and used. Some of them broken. Holy shit that’s the one Kelly won pipe on! Woah! That’s the one Rob rode in Good Times! Oh, that’s Keiths orange one from that Surfing Mag cover, I was star struck to see the boards in person that were ridden by the guys I idolized in the magazines and videos that I studied.
The rack has grown over the years with each team rider’s magic board getting stowed after all the data’s been properly recorded for replication. I asked Britt one day what was going to happen to it as it’s starting to spill out of the balcony in the rafters they’ve built to get it out of the way for things that need to be accessible on a daily basis.
He said he didn’t know, I said they should consider selling some and he said he has. He said most of them he wasn’t attached to. “Can I grab some to ride?” “Sure!”
So that’s how this project started. “Can I take this iconic Rob Machado board?” “Sure! Traitor!” Britt said totally jokingly.
I got a little carried away and grabbed oddities and random ones along with iconic and some of my own old boards. The ones featured are the ones people got decent waves on.
Oh, and then I walked through a glass sliding door (No Matt, I didn’t Seeee the glass) and I’m in the business of storytelling and find some of the absurdities of daily life to be the most interesting things to document so there you have it, ‘Out of the Rafters’ Chapter 11 Episode 18.
Hope you enjoy it.