When Ian Crane gets out of the water after a dark-to-dark surf binge in The Desert, he walks up to the car park to join his friends. It’s Wednesday. The colors from the sunset are fading. The beers are flowing. Ian glances at Balaram, who is chatting up three Canadian backpackers next to the car, and grabs a beer with a cheeky grin. But instead of pulling the tab and cheersing his friends, he slams the bottom of the can onto a surfboard fin. The girls step back to avoid the spray. He lifts the beer to his lips, pops the top and chugs. When the shotgun is over, he spikes the can and shouts at the top of his lungs, “BEST. WEDNESDAY. EVER!!!” The Canadians look at him, eyebrows raised. Then he turns to them and, like a prospect at a college job fair, says, “Hi, I’m Ian.”

This is how Ian Crane lives his life — like a 12-year-old that just saw his first pair of titties — with raw happiness that’s almost impossible to contain. And sometimes, he doesn’t contain it. Sometimes he screams. Sometimes he throws food. Sometimes he gets naked. Sometimes — actually, most times — he’s so excited to surf that he dances in the parking lot as he suits up. He is unapologetically goofy. Unapologetically Ian.

And to be Ian is to live in this moment, and this moment only. When I ask him about his future, about making the tour and the next five years of his life and adult-type stuff, he says, “To be honest, I don’t really think about it that much. I probably should. I just really love surfing.“

His surfing is strong and stylish and aggressive in a way that’s better for clips than for the health of his ankles. Still, I’m surprised I haven’t seen more of it. He’s 22. Shouldn’t we know him well by now? I ask him if he thinks he’s a late bloomer. “I don’t think so,” he says. “I’ve always just been Kolohe and Luke’s buddy that surfed good. But maybe a couple of people just started to notice? I don’t know.”

Or maybe he’s just not as competitive as those two? Maybe it was hard to see his backhand whip in their shadows? Who knows? Who cares? He’s here now and, as he voiced so many times this trip, right now is the best ever. This crew? Best ever. The left point? Best ever. The girl working at the bakery? Best ever. This sunset, this scenery, this life? All of them — best ever.

And then, of course, there’s this Wednesday.

“I’ll always remember our Best Wednesday Ever,” he says later. “Because that was the greatest day ever, forever. We woke up in the dark to go surfing, the waves were firing, it was a perfect left point with an inside slab, the sunset was insane…Oh — and I saw titties that day! Some chick just whipped her frickin’ titties out at the beach. I couldn’t believe it. And they were, like, good titties.”

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