…”Grandview,” I said, as if it was a magic word.
-FIRST SESSION AT GRANDVIEW (1966) WITH BUCKY DAVIS-
We’ve arrived at a point in the John Amsterdam (may still hate me) story where it makes perfect sense to include a brief mention of the first time Phillip Harper and I got the opportunity to surf Grandview with my second surfing hero (after Hippie, overlord of Tamarack), Bucky Davis.
Phillip’s sister, Trish, a junior, was dating another upper classmen at Fallbrook Union High School; one who surfed. Because he surfed and was dating Phillip’s sister, Phillip and I begged him several times to take us surfing after school.
“There’s time,” I said. “It doesn’t get dark until six or so. We can have our boards at Phillip’s; it’s on the way, and, and we run out after class, jump in your…” By this point Bucky had walked away or Phillip, not wanting to make a scene, had pulled me away.
But, Trish was taking some after-school modeling classes in Encinitas. Yes, she was model pretty; tall, thin, blonde. If she couldn’t be a model, Phillip told me, she could be an airline stewardess.
“Oh, sure,” I said; “that’d be something.”
It’s pretty apparent that Trish used her influence to allow Phillip and I to ride along in the VW station wagon, our boards on top, two freshmen in the back; me, at least, probably over-stoked and out of control.
I’m not apologizing.
If Phillip wanted to act cool, and if Bucky just was cool; my over-excitement was really the part that spilled out while trying to act as cool as I could.
So, Trish dropped off over by the A&W, Phillip moved up to shotgun, we arrived at the empty lot at the top of Grandview Street, the sandstone cliff eroded in the middle by water and beachgoers tromping up and back. We checked out the small and still-choppy afternoon surf, a few other surfers out.
“You going out, Bucky? Huh? Huh? I’m going out. Phil; you going out? Bucky? Oh; that wave… I’d be taking off; bottom turn; oh; I’d move up to the nose.” This is all illustrated with moves on the leading edge of the bluff, me walking, foot-over-foot, to the nose on some imaginary board.
When I looked around, several mind-surf rides later, Bucky is squatted down, looking over the edge into the access path, fully eight feet to the bottom. So Phillip squatted down, as if they would soon discuss some further secret of how to surf this heretofore mystical spot.
I squatted down. Bucky looked at Phillip, on one side, then back at me, on his other side.
I rolled when I hit the bottom, jumped to my feet, looked up at Phillip and Bucky.
Both were now standing, Bucky with a grip on my friend, Phillip pulling back. “I skateboard!” I yelled.
“Do you skateboard?” Bucky asked his girlfriend’s brother, releasing his grip.
Despite Bucky saying the waves weren’t good enough; as the afternoon glassoff continued, he did join us in the water.
Something about surfing with friends in fun waves brings out the competitive nature in many of us. And, as such, the perfect ‘watch this’ situation is when you’re taking off, your friend/competitor paddling out. If you can do a little head dip or jump up to the nose, anything special… even better.
Bucky couldn’t help but show up his lower classmen tagalongs. And he was, of course, better than we were; smoother, with better wave selection skills. He even, accidently, got excited, smiled, acted like a seventeen year old. “Yeah, watch this.”
“How’d my brother do?”
It was fully dark when we picked up Trish. She took over driving. I observed the couple, looking for any overshow of affection. Maybe they touched hands when they passed in front of the car. Maybe there was a look.
“Oh, he did okay; but I was running up to the nose, think I even hung five on one…”
Bucky pushed me back into the seat. Phillip put an arm across me to keep me there.
“Phil did… good. Erwin (looking to Phillip for confirmation)… he kind of ‘jumped’ up to the nose. A real surfer goes foot-over-foot.”
After we got back to Phillip and Trisha’s place, Bucky had to give me a ride the rest of the way to my house. One might imagine he’d loosened up, acted a little friendlier. Not really. “This your house?” “Yeah. Debby Street. I skateboard down the driveways, do a few turns down here.”
“Uh huh,” he said. I took my board off his racks, restrapped his board.
We weren’t friends. I was his girlfriend’s brother’s friend. What he did say is that I should try not to brag it up at school that he’d taken us to Grandview. “I mean, like, my friends wouldn’t…”
“No, no; I get it. I’m cool.”
“Yeah, sure. Foot-over foot; huh?” I did a little on my board as he started up his engine, backed away.
Cool? No; never was. Still, when you’re around someone who is so caught up in being cool, so, in some ways, trapped in the coolness; there’s something about seeing that person forget his self image and other people’s perceptions for a moment, smile his ass off dropping into a glassy peak near dark.
Still, and again, for my lack of coolness; I’m not apologizing.