If you have to ask, you shouldn’t know.
The North Shore is a cauldron of fun, fear, beauty, danger, perfection, insanity, annoyances, amazingness, intimidation and inspiration all heated up, stirred together, poured out and molded into the shape of reefs. (Contrary to geographical belief, the reefs shape what happens on land here and not vise versa.)
In other words, it’s a complex place. There are a lot different strokes, and a lot of different folks playing them — but who are those folks?
In the name of brash generalization, I decided to break it down into the eight different people that you almost meet on the North Shore this time of year.
The professional surfer. The professional surfer’s confidence ranges from kid who sits in the back of class and owns a bunch of reptiles-500K Instagram followers depending on the social setting — they know when they can puff chest and when they have to suck up. Almost always, their sole focus is Pipe — they might do a few airs on small days, but they’re not exactly here looking for their next stalefish clip. Sometimes they party, and one of them always wins a World Title.
The girl who, no way, just so happens to be vacationing here this time of year. Such a coincidence.
The notorious local. Shockingly human — they smile often and socialize in a way that shatters your fantasy of them walking around and beating the shit out of people all day long. Their seriousness in the water always matches the size of the waves and they mostly just have fun. But, uhh, don’t cross them.
The complete dickhead. They are not from here, but they’ve been here long enough to know when they can get away with masquerading as someone of significance. The complete dickhead will burn you on a wave at Freddyland (really?) or mug you off a set wave at 3-foot Pipeline (really really?). It’s only a matter of time before they move back to wherever they’re from and get fat while the Pidgin they so swiftly adopted dies a very slow and painful linguistic death.
The hellman. Hellmen wait for the biggest swell and are up before the sun rises every single day. They eat Cliff bars, like all the time. You see them at barbecues sometimes and I’m pretty sure they only drink beer out of bottles.
Commoner local. They are so friendly in the water that you almost begin to question their surfing ability — then a set comes in and they’re the only person who swings and goes, or they do a turn that makes you want to go back in time and eat all the steak. Often times, they wear long-armed springsuits.
Tweaker. In social settings, they will make outrageous claims like “Say my name out at Pipeline and you’ll get waves.” Their eyes are distant and unreadable. Their clothes are stained. Their skin is sometimes stained too.
Industry guy. They love to act they’re not really enjoying their time over here, like this is a real job. They like to seem like they know about everything and sometimes they compile passive-aggressive lists while eating Pirates Booty and spilling the crumbs onto their company-provided laptop which doubles as a porn machine when the stars align and the house clears for that rare window.
Who the fuck buys Pirate’s Booty anyway? —Brendan Buckley