Escape from Down Under
As the reception winds down, I strike up a conversation with artist David Lloyd. The subject turns to young, talented surf artists like Tyler Warren and Chris Del Moro.
We discuss their art and their personalities, and I make a comment about Chris’ neo-hippie ways, and how interesting it is to see the return of the organic/barefoot/save-the-whales ’70s surfer dude. How history repeats itself, and all that.
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about”, David contends politely, “The surfers I knew back then drank beer and pulled their pants down.”
A quick check of the memory banks proved David right. Other than a few images from the pages of surf magazines, I couldn’t recall one true surfer/hippie that I knew back then.
Then the source of confusion dawned on me. Surfers and hippies were both anti-establishment, but most surfers back then weren’t really interested in organic behavior, they were interested in outrageous behavior.
This line of thinking triggered some recollections:
—The typical seventies San Diego surf contest involved chugging a 24 oz. resin bucket full of beer right before each heat, and then scrambling down a steep, weed-covered cliff to the waves. The further you advanced in the contest the easier it was to justify blood and vomit stained boardshorts the next day.
—Surfing in the nude was more commonplace, and White Snake sightings were reported long before the band existed.
—An Orange County surfer once hired a limo, jury rigged a mobile margarita blender, and convinced two girls to ride to Rincon in style.
As the ‘70s gave way to the ‘80s, outrageous surfer behavior began to take on a prank element. Grommets got abused and innocent by-standers scared to death. One group of pro surfers even made a video called “Faces of Death,” which featured the flight response in pedestrians by pulling death-defying e-brake slides right next to them.
The only thing that prevented this from being considered cruel and unusual behavior was that the filming took place in France.
For outrageous behavior, though, Australia usually had the final word. Judge this story for yourself:
At the end of one particular ‘80s session Down Under, a few local surfers were changing out of their wetsuits on a bluff, next to a restaurant. They were using a nearby hose to rinse off.
Suddenly, one Ozzie surfer, let’s call him “Rod,” looked over at the glass-protected restaurant patio, and got an evil look on his face. He then grabbed the running hose, calmly inserted into his backside, and filled his colonic netherworld until the pressure became nearly unbearable.
Rod then pulled out said hose, pulled up his wetsuit, and waddled like a human penguin to the beautiful vista just adjacent to the restaurant patio. His face was red and constricted in a way that only a laxative addict could appreciate.
Then, with significant volume, Rod yelled, “EHHH!” until everyone that was dining on the restaurant patio looked up at him.
With Olympian skill, Rod quickly pulled down his wetsuit, turned around, bent over, and from a distance of about 10 feet, fired a brown-hued, aqueous rope with such force that it crashed against the glass with Niagra-like intensity.
People gagged, children screamed, waiters fell, surfers doubled-over and Australia retained its crown as the most outrageous country on earth.
A hippie never looked so good.