Surfing Oregon Vicariously With Keith and Too Many Portland Hipsters

Port Townsend librarian Keith Darrock took a trip down south right after Labor Day. It was a family vacation/surfari, with his wife, Marley, and their daughter (I’ll add her name when Keith gets back to me- forgot it. Sorry. She was a baby the first time I met her father, checking for surf near PT on another ‘could have been but wasn’t’ day), though only Keith surfs.¬† He and I had discussed whether he should risk getting skunked on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. No, too risky, though Stephen Davis and I did hit the first feelers of a swell that lasted into the next day, followed by the usual flatness.

So, good choice overall. The photos are mostly from Oregon, and none of the spots are secret, and, truthfully, I’m a bit confused about which spot is which. What I did get from the texts and calls was that Oregon is becoming more like (Keith’s perception of) California, as in crowded; and though Keith is still well under forty, youngish by Strait standards, most of the folks on the beach were described as “Portland Hipsters.”


That’s the Darrock family surf rig in the foreground. Keith sent photos of Short Sands (“13 Hipsters”) and some other spot, both protected by the prevailing northwest wind (but not the fog- it’s either one or the other). I told him the surf didn’t look too impressive. “No, it was fun.”


Okay, he only had to share the spot on the left with a couple of Hipsters, unless this is the place where the surfers looked like real northwest surfers, which is to say, blue collar guys (usually carpenters up here, maybe a window washer or the odd painting contractor), unlike, and even Marley commented on this, people who stand around with new boards, in new boardbags, in new wetsuits, brand-central caps, maybe drinking a crafted micro-brew, discussing the upcoming season of “Portlandia” and how they, like, know, exactly, people who so precisely fit the various characters, and, “is it supposed to be, like, ironic, because… I don’t get that part,” posing rather than actually, like, getting wet; or at least longer than it might take to recycle some of that crafted, hand-filtered micro-brew.

Yeah, ‘recycle,’ as in the way they recycle pee in Victoria. Flush. They’ll wash out their wetsuits and their boards once they get back to the City; board back in the bag, wetsuit over the condo railing. And, yes, I know, “The City” once referred to (this was something I heard back when I was a hipster myself, from Steve Penn, who lived across a bridge, in San Raphael- so, maybe not a worldwide usage) San Francisco; I was using it ironically; not that I blame anyone for living where the work is.


Quick caption, left to right: a little dog about to leave a little poo; a photo by Marley of her husband at Oceanside, Oregon; Keith with his longboard. At one of the hip Oregon beaches, getting out of the water, a woman about to enter the surf with her brand new Donald Takayama funboard, asked what asked Keith name brand board he was riding. He had to hold it out and read it. “Something with a W in it.”

I did once live in a city, San Diego, and, when I had just turned 27, and I’d just been given ‘Permanent’ status (I think the term is actually ‘made permanent,’ as in the Mafia’s ‘made man.’ Kind of similar, though I did eventually get out alive) as a civil service painter. Trish and I had already decided we didn’t want to raise children in the (I should say ‘that’ or ‘any’) city; we were already looking at other places I could now transfer to. Somewhere with surf, hopefully. I was sneaking out at lunchtime to do some surfing on a fine almost-fall day, having already determined that¬† I distinctly remember walking toward the pier in Ocean Beach, looking up at the hipsters hanging in the lot, others in groups at the bottom of the bluff, looked at the surfers bobbing in the not-too-impressive waves, and thought, maybe, I was too old for thisshit. Yeah, ‘thisshit,’ it’s a conjunction. Not a hip conjunction.

Keith did say he sent me at least one shot of Manzanita, where he found the best waves of the trip, but I never got it. So, that’s kind of like not revealing it. And maybe it was a lucky session.


Caption, bottom right (from “Portlandia”- couldn’t resist)- “Hey, like, this surfing is so great. Nature, music, getting in touch with… um, did anyone remember to bring, you know, surfboards? Wetsuits? Wax? Oh, Portia/Clarina; you… no, not that kind of wax, but… hey, we can still do the wetless surf. Zen it.”

Otherwise, we’ve got cliffs, steep trails; just no hip places to hang out. And, just to finish this up; Trish asked me the other evening where the surf was happening. “Not around here. It’s all a bit too south, too small, too… why do you ask?” “On my way back from (a, not the) city, I saw a rig with boards headed up the Center Road.” Yeah, it was Keith and Marley and their daughter, name to be filled-in later. My daughter, Dru, when I told her about the Portlandia hipster thing, said, if Keith wanted to be Portland-hip, looking at his little trailer, “Maybe he should just put a bird on it.” No, I didn’t get it either.

I googled it. If the folks at “Portlandia” find this piece because I tagged “Portlandia surfers,” well… wait, the host of “Live Wire Radio,” from Portland, is actually hosted by Luke Burbank, and he recently moved to Port Townsend from Seattle, seems to brag about it (and PY’s hipness, real or imagined- but definitely promoted), and, maybe the “Portlandia” folks can contact him, he can turn them on to Keith Darrock at the PT Public Library, and voila, we can see an overlong skit that parodies hip Portland surfers. “No, of course we’ll spa on the way back; it’s all annotated on the itinerary, silly surfer you.”

NEWSFLASH- I’ll be in Westport next weekend to help judge the Surfrider Cleanwater Surf Contest. It’s always a scene down there, and I’m sure there’ll be some fun.