What is the weirdest shit you have seen while surfing? Do you ever get out in the water and ask, “did I just see that?” Needlefish humming out of the water in the lineup? That’s cool until you get tagged by one. Dolphins surfing waves alongside you? Also cool but something about it always feels potentially dangerous. Someone botching a rock jump and getting worked @kookslams style? It’s cringe-worthy, but what’s new? On the Great Lakes, a common sight is the ill-communicated party wave and resulting white water bedlam, but the online lucha del dia is more entertaining than that. Traveling Europe? Well, the beach dress code is about half what it is in North America but you get used to that… ish.
My own list isn’t that strong but you get the point: we see some odd and often funny things while surfing.
One time I tasked a young deaf and blind-in-one-eye Moroccan kid with watching my flip flops and fake Ray Bans while I surfed la source in Morocco, but that’s more cool than weird.
Weird, though? One session this past fall tops the list. A favorite lake spot was set to pump (pump in lake-speak = a rideable wave) and I had her all to myself. The sun was shining, cleanish lines rolled in, two mysterious abandoned pairs of shoes had been left on the beach, and me and my low-performance foamie were in our glory. The day’s events were already eyebrow-raising as apparently the night before a car chase ended in a fatal getaway pier jump. Provincial police were swarming and roads were blocked, but that didn’t slow my flow. A right here, a right there, and I’m humming a tune while I stroke into waves of my choice, hanging cheater fives wave after wave and never getting get sick of it. Eventually, a few of the lake faithful join me. I hear the odd hoot when I take off, which is great for the self-esteem. The wind picks up and we all push the take-off zone further out. Suddenly, a lone pedestrian, gender undetermined, strolls along the path beside the beige waves. They’re roaming head down and disappearing then reappearing from the reeds. Finally, this person came close to the rock-lined shore and appeared as if they were waving. As I watched, I realized they were actually emptying the contents of a bag, and in that bag had been a greyish ashy substance which was now floating into the air. They looked up, they looked down, they wiped the substance off their well-fitted leather jacket and out of their hair. They walked for a moment, then stopped, then pondered.
Did I just fucking see the actual reenactment of the final scene of the Big Lebowski? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did. Were they really just attempting to spread ashes on a sunny day into a light 50 km breeze with gusts in the 70s? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what just happened. And as quickly as I pieced it together, it was over. No one else saw. Scratching my neoprene-covered head, staying ahead of the current, I asked myself, “Was that funny? Was it sad? Would The Dude abide?”