She asks me to squat in the background and wax my board.
“I don’t have any wax.”
“Well then pretend you’re waxing your board.”
Sometimes it’s easier to acquiesce to the demands of a frantic TV producer than it is to argue. Or maybe I’m just spineless. So I squat in the wet sand at 52nd Street and start rubbing my fingernails over my wax. Behind me I hear Phil, the reporter from Good Day L.A., begin his intro: “Good morning! We’re down at Newport Beach for International Surfing Day. With us is professional surfer Damien Fahrenfort, who’s going to show me how to surf…”
I’m waxing. Waxing. It’s 6:30 a.m. and this is not what ISD is about.
“But before we get started, Damien,” Phil continues. “Is being a professional surfer as good as it seems?”
I’m waxing. Waxing. Damien gives a charming answer made even more so by his strong South African accent. I’m in the background, a decoration, waxing my board with an invisible bar of wax. I give up. I rise, run to join friends and coworkers in the water so I can celebrate this holiday the only way one can — by surfing.
The waves are only waist-high but it’s uncrowded and glassy and there are dolphins and starfish. No leashes. We pull into closeouts and launch airs. Nike’s Frankie D’Andrea gets a switch-stance barrel on a garage sale Mark Richards 6’5” twin. SURFING Chief Travis Ferré finds air sections that aren’t there. And we lose our boards and we trade our boards and Stuart Cornuelle runs to the beach to switch his board and runs back out to rejoin the fun. This goes on for two hours.
Then we return to our adopted home for this ISD weekend: the Newps Rusty House, run by all-star human Damien Fahrenfort of Dooma’s Rumors infamy. It’s the place to eat and drink and carry on. Then we surf again. The wind is onshore and the tide’s high. And then we convene on the dry sand in front of 51st Street and clean the beach. Admittedly, this isn’t the dirtiest beach in the world, but we still pack pounds of trash, enough to fill a fair few garbage bags. Then back to the house and a revolving cast of visitors — surfers, sponsors, friends and girls — all of whom leave saltier, smilier and tanner than when they arrived.
Without the following supporters, ISD would have undoubtedly happened. It just wouldn’t have been as good.
Barefoot Wines provided the grapes and even sent down a few girls from San Francisco to join the festivities. The wine was wonderful. The girls were pretty and smart. Bull Taco supplied the eats on Sunday — their breakie burritos were post-surf gold. On Monday Daphne’s got us to the Greek with a car full of pita chips, gyros, hummus and baklava. We now understand why Slater rides for them. Sambazon turned our fridge purple and gave us the perfect beverage to make the leap from coffee to beer and wine. And when we were ready to get back out in the ocean, Zinka protected our skins from the powerful and delightful sun. And when the surfing was done, Kona Brewing Co. and Kru Vodka kept the mood high late into the evening. Just a helluva supporting cast. —Taylor Paul