This Has Everything To Do With Surfing: Barrels of Plutonium

posted by / Blogs / August 15, 2013

Illustration by Noa Emberson

Current IssueThis is a tragedy. I’m about to become a headline, an accidental martyr for a Fox News super-nation to rally behind. In a musky concrete enclave somewhere between India and Turkey, I stand terrified. Three men wear turbans and tightly grasp automatic weapons; their eyes singe me. I’m not even pretending to be Canadian.

As I sprint through my list of gods to pray to, the tallest of the three guards nods and my guide presses his hand to a fingerprint reader. It beeps affirmatively and the concrete door grumbles and budges, revealing a bright, lucid mirage. I telegraph an anxious smile and walk past the motionless guards, their eyes still furious. And there it is, just as it was promised: the ocean.

Well, maybe not the ocean, but its small desert cousin. It is bright green and smells funny; it feels radioactive. Four guys are out, each about 50 yards apart, and four men stand on the beach adjacent to the surfers. They appear to be coaches. I hear a controlled explosion and a wrinkle appears in the nuclear sea. It takes shape and heaves, A-framing and exploding, then softening up for a perfect carve section and finally closing out with a Lowers ramp of an end section. All four men destroy the waves, but one of them does so in a way that redefines perfection — casually spit out of the first section, a carve better than Kelly’s on the next before sending it home with a stalefish alley-oop. I rub my eyes, partially believing that I was killed and this is an eccentric form of purgatory.

My guide senses my confusion, lets out a chuckle and signals for me to follow him. He leads me to a thick door adjacent to the wave pool, but stops before we walk in. “Look,” he says, “It’s going to be a little crazy in here. Just be very respectful and try to relax.” My heart explodes.

Inside, a musky training camp. It is overcrowded and sweaty. I hear shouts and chants, whips being lashed, and the moans of about 100 men who vary from 10 to 22 years in age. The group collectively holds a pushup in plank position. Shout. Chant. Down. Up. Poorly formed planks are given a pat on the back by a bloody whip. Shout. Chant. Whip. A large but dull screen shows a slow-motion clip of Mick Fanning’s surfing. Shout. Chant. Up. Down. Whip. This is training. I’m nauseous.

“It’s time for you to meet the director.” At this point, I feel like I’m ready for anything. “Follow me.” Another door opens to a lavish marble hallway. We walk down the hallway and guards show us to a room with high ceilings and some of the most elegant décor that Martha Stewart could ever dream of. The director walks in and sits down.

His smile is somehow soothing as he offers me a glass of a wine. I accept and a woman in a burqa immediately fills a chalice and hands it to me. After pleasantries are exchanged, he opens up. “You see, here in Iran, we’re not the evil nation that the United States wants us to be. They say we possess plutonium and uranium — which is true — but it is for constructive reasons. We’re not trying to manufacture any nuclear weapons. My friend, we just want to surf.”

For a moment, it makes sense. His smile is soothing. But George W.? U.N.? Liars? I don’t know what to believe. He continues, “During the Persian Gulf War, one of our special services confiscated a copy of Morning of the Earth from a U.S. Navy Ship. Our fascination was immediate and we’ve dedicated the past 20 years to surfing. We were afraid of the U.S. intervening and building a propaganda campaign to ‘emancipate’ us with the Western World’s ASP system. But, we have our culture and our ways, and we are not apt to change that. So we built our own enterprise. It might seem a bit harsh on the surfers, but with every inhale of agony comes an exhale of greatness. And we now have the greatest surfers in the world.”

He walks us to a room that overlooks the pool. Another group of surfers are in the water and I watch one land a tweaked slob grab backflip. These are, in fact, the best surfers in the world. “We are progressive surfing extremists,” the dictator tells me. I sip my wine and sigh. I should never have voted for Bush. —Brendan Buckley

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  • Anyone

    Not surprised to find no comments here.

    Do you have an editor Brendan?

  • tony (ty) carson-kailua kona big island

    Sprint through his lists of gods to pray to? How many gods do you know? There is only one true God that can help you. And were pretty sure Eddie R. couldn’t help you either. But, hey guys, we better be careful how we answer here, Brendan might go off on us and start punching ghosts again… Were so afraid. (not.)

  • tony (ty) carson-kailua kona big island

    Have an editor? I believe Brendan now is the assistant or associate editor, please correct me if I’m wrong. And come on Dudes, (Taylor Paul, Brendan, Chase Smith), stop acting like a bunch of gremmies,- man up and take the drop- who and why were the the comments deleted from the ‘Eddie Rotham and Playboy’ blog. If nothing else, just blame it on Chase, he’s probably the most likely to cave into pressure and have done it anyway, (no, seriously, we would like the truth). Your readers want to know.

  • Real God

    Tony from CArson/Kailua….

    I do not exist.

    Ask anyone.

  • tony (ty) carson-kailua kona big island

    Well, seriously, Chase probably is the most likely to have deleted Eddie R’s. comments, it was Chase’s blog after all . And Chase does seem the most likely to cave in under pressure. Still, it could have been Taylor or Brendan, looks like we might never know. Looks like they are are not going to man up and take the drop. But Brendan, come on, whats up?, you’ve been as silent as a ghost.

  • anyone

    Say this about tony in Carson…

    He’s on script.

    Dude, they are not going to tell you why they deleted the comments and Chas doesn’t give a f*&k because he wasn’t going to surf the north shore anyway. His hair hates the humidity.

  • Stickey

    This fairy tale makes no sense. I am less intelligent now than i was prior to reading it. I cannot unread something that has been read. Somewhere along the way i missed the purpose, point or thesis statement to this rambling.