Another pointless moment in the life of the surfing’s next too-famous freesurfer
By Nathan Myers
Craig Anderson is making out with a lonely stewardess. He’s in the middle of a crowded bar, but it’s late, it’s Bali, and what-the-hell ever. Craig’s not really too into this little smooch-session, but the stewardess — from Switzerland — is. So…whatever. We’re in Bali’s hippest Friday nightclub for some end-of-comp booze-n-shmooze afterparty that we don’t really have anything to do with and, well, whatever you know.
While he’s making out, I lean into Craig and say, “You should just never go home. Never ever.”
Three drinks earlier, the stewardess had asked him: “So, what, you don’t live anywhere or do anything?”
I’d been trying to explain to her the nature of his, uh, job…and this was her understanding. I might as well have told her he was a ninja. She liked skiing. She kept trying to inject it into the conversation. “Have you heard So and So, the skiier?” she’d say. We hadn’t, of course. No one has. No one cares about skiing.
Craig is a pretty big deal, I tell the stewardess. He’s almost famous. He will be soon. Probably tomorrow. Or the next day.
The stewardess nods. Famous. Mmmmm.
But I’m not lying. Hansel is so hot right now. He’s currently a profile subject in all sixteen major Aussie surf mags, and the US surf mags are forming a line behind them. He was the 7th (secret) Modern Collective agent. He’s a star in Taylor Steele’s next travel film. He can fly. He heals lepers. His hair is messy in just the right way.
“After all your profiles,” I tell Craig. “You should just take a nap for three months. You’re done. No one will want to touch you. You’re spoiled goods. You’ll be too famous.”
Craig’s laugh is a nervous laugh. “Yeah, I hope not,” he says. “I just wanna keep doing good trips.”
Two drinks earlier, I tried to explain Craig’s surfing to the stewardess. Super relaxed, like a Machado or Parko, but he’s doing the full Mod Col range of maneuvers, stomping big punts and getting way above the lip.
She nods her head when I said “Mod Col.” It’s loud in here. Somebody’s hip-hopping over DJ music. The free beer has just run out
Craig’s got some good waves in Castles in the Sky, I tell her. And he’s here in Bali now filming for an Innersection submission.
The stewardess says she doesn’t have a boyfriend. She just got out of an eight-year relationship. I tell her Craig doesn’t have a girlfriend, either. He’s from a good Christian family and he’s friends with Jordy Smith.
When I say Jordy Smith, she nods her head. She says the name of a famous skiier. I tell her skiing isn’t cool at all. You have to stand sideways to be cool. I stand up and show her what I mean by standing sideways…but I probably don’t look cool doing it.
The thing about Craig’s surfing, I tell her, you almost have to watch it in slow-motion to appreciate it. He’s so relaxed and smooth, you barely notice that his little set-up turns are actually fins-free slides. Or that his bottom turn much resembles as young Larry Bertleman.
She nods when I say relaxed and smooth. Craig returns with more drinks. The stewardess tries on my hat. It’s sweaty and makes her unhappy.
The swell was good today. Craig borrowed an alaia and went surfing at a longboarding wave. Last month he got wildcards to the Quiksilver Pro and a six star at Margaret River and he lost them both in the first heat. He does these crazy huge airs, but lots of times he doesn’t land. Sometimes when he heals lepers they end up dying. Being a freesurfer isn’t as easy as it sounds. Craig is traveling solo. Creating his own projects. His sponsors don’t tell him what to do. He’s not even wearing a Quiksilver logo. When he stands sideways — even just here in the bar — he looks cool doing it.
One drink earlier, I told the stewardess that being a freesurfer isn’t as easy as it sounds. The stewardess nods. She says she lost her stewardessing job recently, so she’s not even really a stewardess anymore. She’s not really anything. She doesn’t live anywhere. She doesn’t do anything. I nod as she says this. Stewardessing is probably hard, too.
Later, while he’s kissing the ex-stewardess, I tell Craig: “You should just keep traveling and surfing and getting profiled and kissing stewardesses and going to comp after-parties and just never ever ever go home.”
He looks back at me like he’s bored of kissing the stewardess. “I know,” he says. “I totally want to.”