NOTE: I started realsurfers.net to have some ownership on the two words, real surfers, and to tell the story alluded to in the introduction (below). Maybe I didn’t realize I had so many other stories to tell; maybe I didn’t realize I still have a surfing life. So, I plan on serializing the novel that fictionalizes the real story and wraps other stories around it. It will, unfortunately, be in reverse order, but, after a few chapters, interspersed with other pieces, I’ll consolidate. When it’s all done; I’ll probably change the name to “Real Surfers,” what I always wanted to be.  I did a drawing, but I didn’t think it fit the mood, didn’t want to wait until I have the time to do one I actually like, so… here we go… thanks for coming along.

Love and Wars and Surfing and Some Amount of Magic

Surfing is part of the soundtrack; whoosh, wait, wait, wait, whoosh. Always has been. Well, maybe not surf itself; but it is the tides and winds, moving in waves, and the waves themselves, maybe even time itself, another wave, spinning ever outward, all providing the heartbeat of the planet. Whoosh…wait…wait…wait…whoosh.

“So, Dad; it has to be fiction?”
“Because… you know our memories are…”
“Corrupted? Flawed? Inaccurate?”
“Hmmm. Ha. Yeah.”
“Maybe your original story could be enough. Jeez; I’ve heard it for years; headed for San Onofre; you and Phillip Harper and Ray Hicks and…”
“Dru; I’ve asked Ray. He doesn’t remember this trip. Others; yes. I think it was always Bill Buel. See? I edited him out; stuck Ray in, because Ray was… because I never liked…I mean, Bill wasn’t my friend; Ray and Phil were.”
“And you were riding with Bucky Davis, your surf hero…”
“For a while. That’s part of it. If I broke down my… shit; it’s really just another surfer coming-of-age story, but, at such an, an almost unique angle. If …and, if I could break down my surf history, to, like, chapters; it’d be illustrated with the times I went surfing with Bucky Davis. Like five or six times over five or six years. Grandview, New Break, Swami’s, the last time… your mother was there… at the beach by the state park… South Carlsbad. and part of this, this bigger story, is how my image of Bucky and…”
“Matured. And there’s the love story; Bucky and Phillip’s sister. Trish.”
“Yeah; and, again, I don’t really know. We never know about other people’s lives… or loves, and I’m such a fucking romantic, I wanted that to…”
“To work out. But that’s all… it’s the hidden story, Dad; the, um, interplay between what you thought, that so many things were magic, magical; and what was real. The, I guess, surface story, is of you guys going from Fallbrook, across Camp… Camp?”
“Camp Pendleton, 1967; the Vietnam War in full swing, and the Marines, really, were all just a couple of years older than Phil and Ray… I’m sticking with Ray, and I; and Bucky was… he was right at draft age. And the war; everyone thought, was going to go on forever.”
“Well, it didn’t. New ones. But, you know, some other stuff happened on that trip.”
“Yeah. Yeah, it did; but, this far removed, this far gone, it seems… stopped by a Highway Patrolman and hassled before we even got to the back gate, running out of gas, pushing the VW up a couple of hills, coasting down, pushing it into the little PX outpost in another tent camp as marines marched by, us all cool surfers and they ready to go to… see? It seems like fiction, even to me; like I’ve seen it before.”
“But you did. And… see, even I know the story. And you did surf at San Onofre.”
“The surfing was almost incidental; I don’t really remember it, specifically. Another session. Just like with Ray, huh?”
“But the story; it ends up at Tamarack. Tamarack, right? After Bucky tore up his Dependent ID card, and couldn’t ever go back on the base; and you’re riding shotgun… for once. Right? And Phillip and… and we’ll say Ray; they’re asleep in the back, and Dylan comes on the radio.
“It was ‘Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.’ Rare on ’67 am radio.”
“Right. And, pretty soon you’re singing along, beating on the dashboard. And pretty soon, maybe because this was the perfect song for the perfect scene; you could see and hear the waves, just about to get glassy…”
“The afternoon glassoff.”
“The soundtrack and the… the soundtrack. And now; I love this part; Bucky, so, to you, ultra cool; Bucky’s beating on the dashboard, also, and you’re both trying to sing along.
‘Everybody must get stoned.’”
“Ev-ry-bo-dy mussssst get stoned!”
“Can you still see it?”
“There is magic in there somewhere.”
“Thanks. But, Dru; you know; now; because I… because real life doesn’t live up, maybe, because I’m going to steal other things I’ve seen, from other people’s lives, move things around; and, and, mostly, maybe, because I haven’t, um, lived up… it’ll be fiction.”
“Dad? Has your life contained enough… magic?”
Woosh, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait… woosh.

Trestles- In Progress



This photo was taken by Grant Ellis for SURFER MAGAZINE in 2011. It’s pretty much the view I had from the maintenance shed for the San Onofre Housing Area on Camp Pendleton. I worked there from the spring on 1975 to the early summer of 1976, painting interiors when marines and their families were transferred elsewhere. The actual view was from higher and a bit to the left. I could easily crop out the freeway as I was checking out the surf, almost an equally spectacular view from most of the housing area. You might as well delete most of the crowd. Okay. Now focus for a moment on that visible patch of beach. That was about where I’d park, extending my official half hour lunch to an hour and a half, depending (you know what it was depending on). I could have easily been busted by the Military Police or my Civil Service co-workers. Luckily, they were more interested in other activities.

MY ORIGINAL INTENT was to add to the TRESTLES STORY, Trestles from my particular vantage point, and, rather than have Part II, Part III, out of sequence, move the added-to piece up to the first spot with each additional update; but now that I have the photo… we’ll see.

“YOU CAN JUST GET GOING SO FAST…” I told my surfing buddy on the phone. Surely I was as excited in describing my latest surf story as I am when I do so now. Definitely. By this time, 1976, my friend Phil had just become, or was about to become, Doctor Phillip Colby Harper. Back in the conversation, with the tendency, still-with-me, to talk over others, I continued “…going so fast that you go up the wave, then freefall back to the bottom, like… um, it’s like dropping, sideways, with the lip… like, even, inside the lip; then back up again; over and… and… yeah, Trestles. Every day. Extended lunch. Yeah!”

THE FIRST TIME Phillip and I saw Trestles was in 1967. I guess, really, it was Church; we were riding with Bucky Davis, a few years older than us, way ahead of us in surfing, and the boyfriend of Phillip’s sister, Trish. He turned right instead of left past the creek, away from our destination of San Onofre, and up along the beach. He stopped the VW bus when we saw a Marine Corps Military Police jeep on the beach, perpendicular to the water, waiting patiently for the two or three surfers in the water to come in.

“Some day, maybe,” Bucky said. “Not today.” Phillip and I, following Bucky’s lead, flipped off the M.P.s (not so they would notice); the van made a three point turn and we headed around the cove.

THERE WAS a local TV show about that time, on channel 9, possibly titled “Surf’s Up.” It may have come from Santa Barbara rather than Los Angeles. From Fallbrook, North San Diego County, we got that city’s three stations, 6, 8, and 10, and a couple from LA, but the TV Guide listed this surfing program, and, the one time I enlisted my brothers to move the antenna on the roof, I got a blurred, fuzzy image of a segment that happened to feature the magical and forbidden waves of Trestles. “They just roll on and on,” the commentator said, “spinning, like a washing machine.”