Newport, Old Memories

28 10 2009

Every time I go back to Newport to surf, it brings back those memories.

Next to Trestles, 54th Street (formerly called 56th Street; or “The Bay” for those of us who were there in the 70’s) is my favorite place to surf.  I’ve been planting my fin in the sand there since about 1970.   I think that is just about the time they dismantled the temporary pier at River Jetty (correct name–not River Jetties, not RJ’s).  Enough old guy “I remember when” crap.

Anyway, I think anybody who has been surfing 54th for any time has seen the cycles.  The cycles of guys that dominate the place for a few years, then move on.  

Probably every 8 to 10 years, you see a new crop of guys discover the cylindrical perfection of that right that starts at 53rd and smokes past the 52nd Street jetty, or the left that winds off the end of the wall that stretches from 48th to 52nd.  They graduate from high school, hone their skills between college classes, get married, have their first kids, then disappear.  The cycle repeats and repeats.

Each cycle is like a subculture.  There are leaders, good guys, bad guys, surf stars, drug addicts, and entrepreneurs.   They form a tight-knit network of “locals.”  Those years are some of their best years, though they don’t know it until they are gone.

I used to get offended when I would show up in the 80’s and 90’s and have the new guys look at me like some kind of alien intruder.  Now that I’ve seen some more cycles come and go, it doesn’t bother me.  I know our crew was the same way and I’m glad to see they have the chance to experience that same camaraderie we had.

I salute the new 54th Street locals and I send my heartfelt regards to our old crew:  Nick, Jim, Briggs, Bob, Cliff, Charlie, Lance, Brian, John, Andre, Billy, Mike, and all the other guys who were my brothers during some of the best years of my life.  Thanks for sharing all those days watching waves and dreaming of what was to come.

Norris–the Mayor



2 responses

8 11 2009

You’re making me want to surf again!!

9 11 2009

Do it Ray. It’s like riding a bike and its’s good for the body and soul. Hope to see you out there.


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