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- WRITER J. A. TRILIEGI
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
SURFERS AND LOW RIDERS: " GO GO's DROPPING IN …"
FICTION: Excerpt from The Story Series
by Joshua Aaron TRILIEGI
My older brother Chaz is talking Mom into letting me take a day away from school
to watch the surf contest at Hermosa Beach Break Wall. I wonder what that means,
were going to break a wall ? We do break it when Mom reluctantly agrees, due to
my old man seconding the motion. ' The kid needs to learn how to surf, we don't
want him hanging around these streets & fields for ever.' Somehow, they agree.
I'm told we will be getting up at five AM. The surf journey starts early when you
live inland. We pile into someones van & are on the sand lot walking to the reef &
break by sunrise. If I don't look up, its legs and feet and crotches : I'm nine, ten
or eleven, the only kid in attendance. Were about to to see one of our neighbor-
hood jesters steal an entire season from a bunch of internationally known pros.
People are gathered in groups & huddles. A calm intelligence, mixed with a wild
sense of un expectancy from the surf, which is cold and grey, is in the air. Big
sets flow in, getting larger & slanting into even more powerful faces that broaden
slowly, without notice, becoming the big waves that cats from all over came here
to be a part of. These are Winter swells. Different than the smooth, silver, glassy,
summer afternoons we knew so well. This is the mean, cold, sharp, kind of grey,
jagged, hurtful side of mother nature. An old woman of an ocean ready to take
the boys into manhood. Several little stands & tables with umbrellas & banners are
blown over completely. The more concerned sponsors embarrassingly back up their
entire camps. It's an outsiders nightmare & a locals home favorite kind of condition.
It doesn't take long before Go-Go, short for Geronimo, starts scheming to pull
the kind of prank that makes names and legends and stories such as this one here.
He's chewing on two pink chocolate sprinkled cakes, shaped like breasts. Chasing
them down with several gulps of Mad Dog Twenty-twenty & a quaalude or codeine
'cause his wetsuit has a giant rip in it and he messed up his ankle the night before
at Oktoberfest. Sleeping in his car in front of Millers Market until pre dawn hours.
He's looking like a coyote running in the back field, while all these pros look like a
bunch of rabbits, sitting, quiet. Even though they have been in the water for several
heats or sessions of elimination and judgements on style, distance, etc… Go-Go's
not even entered in the competition. He's simply going to jump out there and join
the ranks with a wild sense of piracy that comes with years of life on the water. Like
a renegade native, getting high on the water. He can't help it. Go Go's dropping in.
I have heard guys talking about my brother's either bravery or just plain craziness
in dropping in on the biggies at the break wall. But those were warm Summer swells.
This was after he had dropped out to master Swami's, County Line and Horseshoe.
Years before the storms took away half the beach from us forever. Back then, there
were the Hawaiian transplants and Filipino's , the blonde Malibu types and then there
was Bill. He was my older brothers, best friend's older brother. The first day I met him,
he was shaping a board in the family garage. He was the conscious of our neighborhood.
A mentor and ex football hero. Now the word is getting and Bill is saying that Go-Go is
a kook. But everyone else is goading him into it. The b level players like, Gozer, Richie
and the others. " Yeah Go - Go do it." So, we're all aware that something is going to
happen and all the guys that look like newscasters at the table are about to be surprised
by the " Attack of the Boys from The East End " like a film at the Roadio drive-in. We had
our own daredevil-jokester-madman-hero and we'd have sent him into anything, just to
watch him burn, although it was his matchbook, that was always clear, so it didn't seem
like anyone even thought twice about his safety, except maybe Bill.
Of course , it was about the girls too. A guy like Go-Go who wasn't a pretty boy or
particularly smart or wealthy could crank up his position on the charisma level. He'd
be King - for - a Day. Could maybe even shack up with a babe for a week or so after
a performance like this. A guy would build up his story, it circulated, and he'd ride it
like the wave that Go-Go was hoping to catch. There are boats at bay, in case of any
emergency and the girls are all in their bikini's and cut off jeans. They must have come
up from Mexico the way they look, glowing with that peach, amber glow that white girls
get after a season or two on the road with surfers. The tips of their hair, the tan toes, the
bright colored clothes and all the wind blown edges of their attitude. Go - Go slips away
long enough for us to forget about his plan when someone at the surf officials table
becomes extremely animated and upset, waiving erratically at some thing no one else
can see. Another official breaks out the bull horn and starts directing the man on the
break wall to , " Get away from the water. " Go - Go continues down the wall toward
the rocky point where locals, who knew the terrain, could jump off by counting the right
three second interval between the breaking set and the next rising crest. But today, this
was just plain f@#*ing insane and everybody knew it.
I started to get concerned. Not like Bill did, by calling him a knuckle head, but fearful
that a bad thing could happen. And of course a bad thing could happen, that's the
point of these manhood rituals with the sea and earth and wind and ourselves. But
Go-Go was built to do this, just like he was built to steal a police car because the cops
busted up a party where he was about to get laid and it really pissed him off. Some
were not impressed, whereas we were ecstatic, I mean I was anyway. The place was
being robbed of it's boundaries, that was the thing. So Go-Go does a run and a jump,
off the end of the concrete, over the first set of rocks and launches a toes - out - cat -
like - flight over the six feet of rocks on the outer side of the break wall and into the
sacred sea. Breaking several rules, disrupting the contest and banishing himself from
any future competition position according to the Official California Surfing Federation
handbook of 1970 - something. But Go-Go wasn't saving for retirement, he was building
up a different account of sorts and was about to hit the long shot on a late bet at roulette.
Now he's out there and has to drop in on this next big set and do this thing or it'll flop
and he'll have lost a chance & completely ruined an otherwise decent Winter competition.
He works quick, paddling into a larger break point which can completely slam you into the
rocks if your to close at drop in. By now everyone knows what's going on, all eyes are on
Go - Go. People in our circle start shouting, " Go - Go you f*#@er ." Others join in like
fans at a Rams game or Stones concert, " Go - Gooooooooo, do it man." Finally, the war
cry is heard, " G - e - r - o - n - i - m - o ! " I look up and even Bill is beaming. As they
all shouted into the cold, grey sea, Go - Go dropped in and it was then that I started to
understand what surfing was really all about.
BUREAUofARTSandCULTURE.com " Go- Go' s Dropping In " from SURFERS and LOWRIDERS by J.A. TRILIEGI