How Does Sunset Beach Work? - Page 20

Anecdotes and Personal Experiences (Name Dropping) - 11


It's all just a bunch of goddamned monkeys.

That's all it's ever gonna be, ok?

That's all we're ever gonna be, ok?

Deal with it.

Get over it.

But for some eternally stupid and fucked up reason (well..... actually it makes perfect sense, and once upon a time, a very long time ago, evolution dutifully selected for it cruelly and relentlessly, and it's now a fundamental, basement-level part of everyone's wiring, fresh from the factory, and completely unremovable) the only thing that monkeys ever want to do is to stare at other monkeys, with the forlorn hope that they might, just maybe, if they're realllly lucky, learn something about some of the other monkeys that will permit them to cheat the second law of thermodynamics a little bit, and gain a little bit of social advantage over their fellow monkeys in so doing, and, with yet more luck, perhaps project their own DNA forward in time at the expense of all that other goddamned DNA which constantly surrounds them, and..... fuckit, I don't want to get into it right now.

It's enough to know that monkeys can never get enough of other monkeys, and all that the dumb sonofabitches ever seem to ask about is, "What was it like being with this monkey?" "What was it like being with that monkey?" "What did those monkeys do when nobody else was watching them?" And on and on and on, ad vomitum.

It's just endless.

And it's pretty goddamned irritating.

Or at least to me it is.

I don't tend to give a rat's ass about all the other monkeys.

They're fucking monkeys, after all, right?

Who gives a shit?

Apparently everybody except me, that's who.

I'm trapped, and there's no way out.


But the bombardment never stops, and I've already dipped my toe into this fetid little end of the pool already, so......

Fuckit. May as well dive right in and swim with all the other monkeys anyway.

So here you go, monkeys. More monkeys.

John Peck Gets His Feet Wet

Big Day.

Another one of those cyclopticly giant green-water days with a solid deck of high cirrostratus overcast.

The place was just about maxed out, but not quite. Swell purity, angle, and period were just about as perfect as they get to allow things to continue holding good shape at real size.

And the swell was still rising.

I was on my way to Kailua to go work in the bakery, and had stopped at Sunset to admire things before getting back over on the side of the road to hitchhike around to the other side of Oahu.

And I'm down on the sand, just a little west of where all the cars were parked, and here comes a ratty little dark-green VW beetle.

Pulls up and stops, facing the water.

There's about fifteen or twenty guys way the hell outside.

The ratty green beetle had a single surf rack. One of those old Bay Standard Aloha Surf Racks metal things that we had to endure back in the Bad Old Days, because nobody had figured out how to make a decent set of surf racks yet.

And there's a nice big-wave gun strapped down on the rusted steel and wax-begrimed plastic of that rack.

Wind's got a nice angle to it, and huge plumes of spray are coming off of the peaks that are roaring through, way the fucking hell on out there in the far distance.

John Peck gets out of the V-dub.

Full-tilt hippy-hair John Peck.

Back in the Pleistocene, pre-shortboard days, I had owned a Peck Penetrator, and it was one hell of an excellent surfboard.

It burned up in a palmetto fire in South Patrick Shores, but that's a different story for a different day.

Peck was a regular on the North Shore, and although he kept a pretty low profile, you'd see him here and there, now and again.

My regard for Peck's understanding of surfboard shapes in general, and the nuances of rocker and rails in particular, is as high as it is for anyone, anywhere.

Peck knows his shit when it comes to surfboards.


Peck also knows his shit about riding a surfboard.

The man's sense of positioning, placement, speed, and flow is also as good as anyone's, anywhere.

Fearless motherfucker, too.

He'd go right at it, every time.

He was also fun to surf with.

Low-key, easy enough to talk with, and just generally one of those high-focus, high-intensity, low-profile kinds of people that I tend to gravitate towards, and like and respect the very most.

Out of the V-dub, standing on the dune, giving it a good and proper surf check.

In no kind of hurry whatsoever.

Took his time and let several sets pour through.

Outside, it's fucking rolling.

After enough due consideration is given to things, John Peck decides to surf.

Unhurriedly turns his attention to the rack and the surfboard, removes the board, puts a little wax on it, and heads over the dune crest toward the water.

It being Sunset Beach, and it being a large day at Sunset Beach, he gets down to the water's edge, board under his right arm, and sits tight, waiting for a bit of a lull, waiting for the shorebreak to lay down enough to allow him to get through it.

He's standing there and the surges are running up the beach past him, and he's getting good and wet from the waist down, and he's still patiently eyeballing things, waiting for the proper moment to commit.

At which point a fucking colossal set of waves rears up three or four hundred yards out past the crowd, folds over with a roar, and just demolishes the entire crowd, to a man, and fumes on in to the beach with a bunch of tiny little toy toothpick-looking surfboards popping in and out of the whitewaters every once in a while, every last one of which was taken all the way in to the beach in one go.

BOOOOOOOM, and all of a sudden there's nobody surfing at Sunset Beach anymore.

It was The Mother of all Cleanup Sets.

Peck's still standing there, board under arm, still getting wet from the waist down, as all of this unfolds directly in front of him.

And he gives it just a bit more consideration, and then silently and unceremoniously turns on his heel, walks back to his car, puts the board back on the rack, and drives away without so much as a word or a nod to anyone else.

Poof, and he's gone.

There are days at Sunset Beach when those who know, know.

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