Corndogging: A Surf Mission To Jupiter

New ocean discoveries on Jupiter's moons spark serious wanderlust

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It was announced early in April that oceans are present in more of Jupiter’s moons. This pairs with exciting discoveries of waves in the seas of Jupiter’s moon Titan a few years ago.

"We think we've found the the first waves outside the Earth."

-Dr. James Barnes, of the University of Idaho, discussing the recent discovery of waves in Punga Mare, a sea on Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

"Oceanography is no longer just an Earth science."

-Dr. Ralph Lorenz, Johns Hopkins University 

SCENE:

August, 2017, SURFER offices. Several staffers, including editor-in-chief Todd Prodanovich, listen to features editor Justin Housman pitch a new travel story for an upcoming issue. 

JUSTIN: So, remember a couple years back when scientists announced they'd found waves breaking on Titan?

TODD: (looks up from ipad, befuddled) Justin, let's, uh, try to stay on topic here, we've got a lot to…

JUSTIN: I know it sounds crazy, but…uh, you might not know this, but Richard Branson is a close family friend, and he…

TODD: Richard Branson, like, Virgin Atlantic Richard Branson?

JUSTIN: Virgin Galactic Richard Branson. I never told you guys that? Anyway, he texted me right after the news broke about Titan, saying something about sending one of their experimental space ships up there to check out the surf. I just assumed he was drunk, so I ignored him.

(There's a knock at the door, it opens a crack, and Richard Branson's smiling face appears)

BRANSON: Sorry, Justin, is this a good time?

JUSTIN: Yeah, sure, come on in Uncle Richard.

(Branson walks in, takes a seat at the conference table. Eyebrows around the room raise at the mention of "Uncle" Richard)

BRANSON: Cheers everyone, sorry to barge in on you like this, but I wanted to be here in person to discuss logistics.

TODD: Logistics?

JUSTIN: Uncle Richard wants to organize a surf trip to Titan, and I want to write the feature about it.

(Room sits in silence for a moment)

BRANSON: Well, I, uh, assume you've all got lots of technical questions, but rest assured, the trip is in excellent hands with Virgin. Our prototype SpaceshipTwo is capable of getting the crew to and from Titan in just a few days time—safely, of course. And we're fully insured.

TODD: Mr. Branson, Justin, I appreciate your enthusiasm. I do. But this really doesn't make any sense. Not that this trip is actually possible, but who do you think would shoot it? Who would go out there to surf it?

JUSTIN: (Craning his head toward the door) Chris, you want to come in here?

Tthe door opens again, and photographer Chris Burkard enters the conference room) 

JUSTIN: Well, Chris is already on board.

CHRIS: Todd, have you seen the artist renderings of Titan's surface? There are the huge, like, ice mountains, the seas are methane, everything is lit up by this weird glow from Saturn. It's the landscape I've waited my whole life to shoot.

ONLINE EDITOR DAVIS: Wait, the waves are liquid methane?

BRANSON: Don't worry about the methane. It's basically just liquefied natural gas. Very, very cold, but we think it's harmless.

CHRIS: You think it's harmless?

TODD: (Face in hands, speaking toward the table) I can't imagine that you've actually found someone to surf up there.

JUSTIN: Gavin! Come on in.

(Surfer Gavin Beschen opens the door, awkwardly takes a seat at the table, waves to the editors)

TODD: (Exhaling loudly) Gavin. Of course. You've thought this trip through?

GAVIN: I've done far more than think it through. Who do you think tipped off the astronomers to look for waves on Titan?

TODD: What are you saying, Gavin, you're like an astrophysicist or something?

GAVIN: No, Todd. I'm saying that I told the scientists to look at Titan because I already knew there were waves there. I’d seen them.

TODD: I'm sorry Gavin, how did you know that?

GAVIN: I want in on this trip because I want to return home.

DAVIS: Home? Like, San Clemente?

GAVIN: No, Davis. Titan is my home. I was sent here with my brother as children to escape…complications on Titan. But now it's time for us to return.

TODD: I don’t think anybody here is actually surprised that you’re an alien, Gavin. But Shane? He always acted perfectly normal.

GAVIN: Shane is perfectly normal. He's not my brother. Not biologically speaking anyway. Yes, I was raised by his family, but Shane is from Earth.

DAVIS: So, who's your brother?

TODD: Oh shit. (pause) It's Slater, isn't it.

GAVIN: (smiling)

TODD: I'm surprised we didn't see this coming.

(The thumping of helicopter blades begins to sound through the office, faint at first, then growing louder until it becomes apparent that a helicopter is landing in the office parking lot. Everyone but Gavin moves to the nearest window to see what the commotion’s all about. Kelly Slater emerges from the helicopter and begins striding toward the office, bizarre spacesuit draped across his arm)