Big Dave Sets the Record Strait

Let me trace back the rumor: I heard it from Adam ‘Wipeout’ James, who heard it from Frank Crippen, owner of the North by Northwest Surf Shop, the local shop for the Olympic Peninsula; Big Dave had been hit in the face during an altercation at one of the (frequently overly) popular individual surfing spots at a rivermouth/point/beach surf playground that [legally-required disclaimer] actually very rarely breaks.

Wait! Wait! “Big”  Dave, the guy who rides a standup paddleboard like a regular longboard?

So, today, Keith Darrock and I got to a different rivermouth/reef break [that even more rarely breaks], ran into Tim Nolan, a kid named Cooper, there with him, and, down the beach a ways, there was the very same Big Dave, the guy who was a 15 year old surfer at Crystal Pier when I moved to Pacific Beach in 1971. Keith said he very rarely surfs this spot [partially because of the already-mentioned fact that it so rarely breaks], “But, every time I do, there’s Big Dave.”


The record had to be set straight. I asked, out in the water, but Dave (hey, it’s not like I know him well enough to know his last name- for all I know ‘Big’ is his first name) repeated the story for Keith as we left. He’s eating, like, I don’t know, hummus.


DAVE’S STORY, paraphrased extensively: “Things got out of hand.” “Yeah, but, specifically to the allegation that you were punched in the face…” “He just sort of grazed me.” It seems Dave was surfing alone for a while; and then it got crowded,and this one guy was turning and cutting other surfers off. Dave took offense. [insert grazing punch here; I think]. However, somehow Dave came into possession of the younger guy’s short board, which he used to stab the fellow in the chest with, then slash at the guy (I’m imagining a big-ass sword here), then threw the board, sort of sideways, I’m guessing, striking the guy about the shoulders, head, and chest. Going back to his own board, Dave then came close to running the guy over on the next set wave.  “It was pretty unnecessary,” Dave said.

Now I’m forgetting everything about the alleged incident at an unnamed spot that very rarely, if ever has waves. But, meanwhile, librarian Keith Darrock pointed out that I constantly say ‘Straits of Juan de Fuca.’ “There’s only one strait. Singular. It’s the ‘Strait’ of Juan de Fuca.”

I stand corrected.

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