I Am On a Surf Trip

Baby, Take it Off! is Chas Smith’s column. “Surfing is so totally awesome sexy!” says Chas.

Yes, sir.


I am on a surf trip with a man, a writer, named Taylor Paul. And this Taylor Paul is as tough as nails. Sturdy. Rugged. He surfs Mavericks. He has had his arm ripped clean from its socket there. He knows good shred and knows where to find it. The ocean is a friend to him and so is all life that lies therein. Brave. Like Hemingway to my Fitzgerald.

And this surf trip is up and down the coast of California because the swell forecast is for nonstop amazing. It has been firing forever already just surf surf surf after surf. Each bend in the 101 or 1 or Pecho Valley Road seems to reveal more perfection. So we surf. My shoulder becomes dislocated too, a regular and unfortunate occurrence, but it is ok because Taylor knows also where to find slabby waves that don’t need a paddle, just need a drop.


The author, in his element.


And, again, this is California, so we also go out of our way to stay in fine hotels, like the Kenwood Inn and Spa, and eat expensive meals, like filet mignon wrapped in smoked bacon. We drink expensive wine.

Sommeliers bring to us this wine and also bring to us hot surf tips. They tell us to surf super loc’d out spots and when we get to them they as well are firing. Perfection. At one of these loc’d out spots a loc boy claimed, in the lineup, that sand might be placed in our gas tank and our windows might be broken. We saw him again in the parking area. He had locked his keys in his car and we helped him break his window.


The coast, she cooperates — even if her parasites do not.


Then we drive away and smile at each other. And surf another sandbar. And stay at another fine hotel. We eat gnocchi in an apple vinegar reduction while the sun sets over rolling hills and speak of worldly things. Unrest in Yemen. Elephant seal mating rituals in Año Nuevo. All surfers should be aristocrats, or at the very least least, pretentious.

You say, “Gay.” I say, “If surfing all kinds of perfection by day, drinking expensive pinot noir by evening and sleeping in $600 beds by night is gay then, honey, I am Harvey Milk.”

Photos by Taylor Paul


Chas Smith is on Twitter @chasdoesntsurf and writes regularly for the magazine.