Florida’s Evan Geiselman Is Fluent In Two Coasts. And Every Woman Loves A Bilingual Man
“Everything is just so surreal,” says Evan. “Out here in California — it’s like living in a movie every day. It’s the complete opposite of Florida…”
She would come to visit him at noon. In the dead of summer, she would drive down from Fountain Valley, or Huntington, or Newport Beach to nurse him. And though she knew she wouldn’t be the first, she’d be a fool not to. He was stunning and talented. Some sort of Pro Junior champion. He was in a Kai Neville movie. He was…golden. She would gun it down the I-5 South in her zippy little 3-Series that her parents bought her for her sweet 16. She’d check her makeup in the rearview, fiddle with her hair a bit and perspire lightly, heart racing with the anticipation. Evan would be sprawled on the couch in his quaint San Clemente living room, ankle propped on a pillow, remote in hand, flipping through the channels to golf. A broken ankle wasn’t so bad — the waves had been shit through most of his injury.
“This year I started getting these pretty gnarly fans — if you could call them that,” says Evan. “And it’s wild how they can get a hold of you through your friends, just through being tagged by a buddy or something in a photo. Like, I’ll get stopped on the street to take pictures and then five seconds later my Instagram will blow up from getting tagged by the same girls I just took a photo with five seconds ago…”
A passing Amtrak train clatters over the tracks and hoots three times in the still June air. He hears a knock on the screen door, and a wavering voice, “Umm, Evan — are you there?”
“Yeah, just come on in…” he replies, quickly flipping through his texts to get the name right, “…Jen — uh — Jessica.”
She enters, rounds the coffee table in her skimpy jean cut-offs, faces him and frowns, “Oh, Evan — let me take care of you.” And Evan is lounging, ankle propped, lethargic and regal like a young king on his throne. He lowers the volume on the PGA AT&T National with one hand and with the other, pats the seat next to him.
“And that’s what I love about social media,” says Evan. “You get to interact with people that really want to know about you…”
She makes herself comfortable and plops down beside him. She runs a hand through his blonde mane and lies, “Ooh, I love golf…” But Evan begins to drift away, as he does occasionally, to another coast. The belles of Volusia County are a different breed. They don’t blabber on about the post-Open-pre-release-industry gala on Thursday like the California girls do. They don’t swoon over the latest cover boy and his bio pic party on Friday. They’re more familiar with Super Swampers for optimal shoreline driving. With Young Life youth nights on Wednesdays. With football stats and trips to Costa.
“I’m not gonna say there aren’t stuck-up people in Florida,” says Evan, “but there is a lot of hospitality, a kind of open-arms type feeling that I think gets lost sometimes in Cali. It’s a slower pace of life in Florida. When I go back, I can see that nothing changes. It’s the weirdest thing. You see the same guys you grew up with — no one new. When I’m there I wake up early and either I go surf, or I go fishing out in the lagoon…”
And for a moment he is there. Knee-deep by the mangroves in the Mosquito Lagoon, casting for redfish and trout with his father, Greg. An osprey glides low in the hazy dawn light and a pair of manatee float up for a breath, and then sink again. For a moment he’s back at New Symrna Beach with his brother, Eric. The two split sloppy, waist-high bowls near a jetty, flinging off sections simultaneously.
“Evan, are you thirsty?” she asks, and he blinks out of the daydream. “I’ll get you a drink,” and scampers into the kitchen. Evan remembers that he must travel up to L.A. for the weekend, shortly. And not just L.A., but Hollywood. Something about Red Bull. Something about the X-Games. Even injured, he is always wanted, always on the move.
Evan hears the girl in the kitchen opening cabinets and shutting the fridge door. He hears his phone buzz — he’s been tagged. And by someone he doesn’t know. He flips to “notifications” and there’s a picture of his kitchen and two cups. #makingdrinksatGolds. He looks up from his phone and she’s walking in with the drinks, bubbly and grinning. “And now what can I do for you?”
* * *
“It’s pretty comical, but also fascinating and fun. I don’t go to Hollywood very much, but during the X-Games, Red Bull put me up at the W. And after three days it’s crazy to see what ‘normal’ is for some people…”
Evan speeds toward L.A. in his black Toyota Tundra. Toward the obligations and the weird. He speeds beneath giant concrete overpasses that reach into the city like nightmarish tentacles. He speeds to a creep when the 101 inevitably jams. Once in Hollywood, he sees stars on the sidewalks and tourists posing with frumpy superheros. He sees a washed-up Spider-Man walk out of a liquor store smoking a Newport through his spandex mask.
“The main thing that’s so different about Cali is that there are just so many different lifestyles you can live here…”
He checks into the W Hotel and is whisked away to various X-Games events shortly afterward. He hangs out with professional skaters and professional BMXers and he is noticed by the girls that also stalk and follow them. They notice Evan and know he’s somebody, but even more than somebody, they notice that he’s a little tanner than their skater crushes. A little less sweaty and his clothes fit his taut body quite a bit better. They meet him and think to themselves, “What the f–k am I doing in downtown L.A.? I need to take the 5 down to San Clemente sometime.” And these girls want to know why his friends call him “Gold.”
“The nickname ‘Gold’ came from Michael Dunphy and Dylan Goodale. They’d claim that nothing bad would ever happen to me — like I had that certain luck. I was gold. Like on trips, or something, they’d hit the reef or whatever, but I wouldn’t. But I think that theory’s out the window now with my ankle [laughs]…”
And the days are interesting in L.A., because watching guys launch 20 feet high on ramps is exciting, but it’s the nights that define him. He watches the sun come up on three of those long evenings.
“Honestly, after three days, I was a little rattled [laughs]. For what I’m trying to do, Hollywood’s not the lifestyle I could live for too long. Especially when you’re trying to be the best surfer or athlete you could possibly be…”
But a little fun now and then surely couldn’t hurt anyone. He goes to a bar where the difference between his two homes on different coasts is magnified. Whether Evan longs for the turtled pace of New Symrna Beach, while midgets dressed as Oompa Loompas fly above his head in the Beacher’s Madhouse theater, is hard to say. Whether Evan drifts back to the Indian River with a spinning rod and light tackle while the Hollywood night smothers him, is also hard to say. Because there are girls that pursue him, despite those midgets overhead. Despite giant transvestites singing in sequined miniskirts. Despite the woman with fake breasts like swollen watermelons grabbing inebriated victims into her vise-clamp cleavage. Evan begins to notice them — the faces seeking him through the hectic Hollywood crowd. Something predatory, yet familiar about them. Women’s gazes, like alligator eyes popping up through the surface of the Mosquito Lagoon, staring at their prey. And Evan has always been comfortable in lagoons.
“I definitely love Florida, but I don’t miss it all the time,” he says. “California is my home now. I like it here — it makes sense. But I’ll claim
Florida till I die…” Beau Flemister