“Surf and Destroy” was last week’s History of Surfing chapter. It covers America’s mainstream media treatment of surfing in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which to my mind is equal parts bleak, funny, and clumsy, with the odd flash of brilliance. And by “odd” I mean two: Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Robert Duvall as Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now.
I didn’t think much of Big Wednesday when I saw it on opening weekend (possibly the same weekend I graduated high school) in 1978, and while I watch it every 10 years or so to see if maybe it’ll grow on me, I feel today just the way I did at 18. Gary Busey sinks those huge teeth into his Leroy the Masochist part, has a great time for maybe 45 minutes, and carries Big Wednesday on his back. Then the shit gets heavy, Busey loses interest, and the film melts into a pool of sentimental goo. Surf’s Up stole my heart a few years back, but the Great American Surf Movie hasn’t yet been made. Big Wednesday fans, sharpen your knives and cut me to ribbons but don’t unsubscribe!
The EOS Coolite page got a new photo grid, then I merrily skipped over to the mat surfing page and decided it needed a new video. Will we all end up riding a surf mat in our surfing twilight years, like Wayne Lynch? I kind of hope so. When the Morey Boogie arrived at our local beach in 1974, I distinctly remember taking one out for a spin and being totally certain it was going to fail because it was so much less fun than a surf mat. Which just goes to show how wrong I can be. That’s why I keep watching Big Wednesday, just from being aware of how often I blow it.
That said, I’m pretty sure there’s a surf mat, not a bodyboard, in my future.
Thanks, everybody, and see you next week.