How Does Sunset Beach Work? - Page 19

Anecdotes and Personal Experiences - 10

Bearded Guy

There was a haole guy that used to surf the place all the time when I was out there.

He was already there when I first started showing up in the lineup on fair-sized days, in November, 1972, and he rode the place every day it broke.

Really intense motherfucker, had what I call "serial-killer eyes" (Thanks for the phrase, Lisa, and, in case anybody is wondering, "serial-killer eyes" is a personal attribute in people that I admire since it almost always indicates that the possesser of said eyes is a no-fucking-around real person, as opposed to your usual everyday run-of-the-mill mopes, posers, and bullshit artists.), stocky build, surfed really well, never had much of anything to say, brooked no bullshit from anybody, and except for the trimmed beard, he kind of came across like a DI in the Marines or something.

I never had any kind of issue with him or anything, but, needless to say, I never was stupid enough to cross any of the wrong lines with him, either.

People that know how to surf get treated like people that know how to surf, right?

You ride your waves, Bearded Guy, I'll ride my waves, everybody's happy.

Seems perfectly fair and reasonable to me.

Ok, so anyway, I had this thing for night surfing that lingered in the back of my mind, and one full-moon evening, it was a little overhead, the wind was dead straightaway offshore, the lines were as pure as they ever get, and since I did not want to go out there alone, I find myself over at Walter Stephans' house on Sunset Point, banging on his bedroom door, hoping to enlist him in a little bit of moonlight sliding out at Sunset Point.

Walter responds by opening the door all bleary-eyed and buck-ass naked, in no mood whatsoever to go surfing at such a retarded hour of the day/night, but in a forgiving enough mood to entertain my lunacy to the point of perhaps rattling his roommate's cage, to see if he maybe wanted to go.

Walter tells me his roommate's pretty hard-core, is a full-tilt health-food vegetarian and has a bit of a penchant for things a little bit on the intense side, and who knows, he just might want to give it a go.

Walter knocks on the door and from out of the dim recesses of one of the other bedrooms in the house.... comes Bearded Guy.

Well whatta ya know?

And Bearded Guy's just fine and dandy with the whole enterprise, sends a still-unclothed and not yet fully-awake Walter back into the peace and tranquility of his own bedroom, and then informs me that he has a buddy of his own who might want to join in the fun, and then goes and rounds up said buddy.


And so it passes that the three of us decide to go surf some nice peely Sunset Point at around ten or eleven at night, with a nice bright full moon riding high in the sky up above us.

Prior to entering the water, Bearded Guy's buddy, for whatever peculiar reasons, produces a little plastic-bag rig with a fucking light inside of it, and affixes it around his neck.

Little christmyass tree light kind of deal, but it wasn't colored or anything like that. Just a little white light that showed up really nice in the deep gloom of night.

It provided zero by way of proper illumination. I really have no idea what the deal was with that stupid light.

Maybe he wanted the authorities to be able to find his body easier if something dire happened?

Who the fuck knows?

Certainly not me, that's for sure.

Hell, I never even spoke to the guy even once, the whole time. Have no fucking idea who it was. Couldn't see his face in the dark anyway. And I'm faceblind on top of that too, so.... who knows?

Which is how a lot of shit went down back in those days.

Total strangers, voluntarily thrown together by purest chance, into a situation that may or may not have been considered particularly safe. Or even sane.

And so my memory banks got charged that night with images of Total Stranger Guy's little light glimmering just above the water as I paddle back out for my next wave, chit-chatting a little bit here and there with Bearded Guy, squinting into the gloom, trying to see what's coming before it came and broke on my head, taking drops in the dark, admiring the clarity of a cloudless sky sprinkled with a few bright stars here and there, contemplating endless dancing reflections of moonlight on the velvety-smooth surface of the water, noting that I was able to see the bottom despite the very low light level, marveling at the silvery quivering of bright moonlight shining through the transparent water of the lip as it pulsed and wavered above me, and no end of other completely amazing, rare, and utterly indescribable things that occur during such a situation.

We had a fucking blast out there, despite the small size of the waves.

And finally, after as much as could be done, was done, it was time to go.

Which we did, each our own separate ways.

And this, dear readers, constituted my first proper introduction to Bearded Guy, who you might know of as Ken Bradshaw.

Ken's an intense motherfucker, but he's Good People, and he's certainly ok in my book.

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