SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — During the last run of west swell to hit Santa Barbara, three-time world champion and surf-world spirit animal Tom Curren was spotted at Sandspit, flying through the tube on an unusual surfcraft.
"I was sitting on the shoulder when I saw him pop up on this tiny piece of plastic and get the deepest tube I'd ever seen," said local Geoff Marshall. "I knew that red rectangle instantly; I've eaten about a hundred Big Macs off of those."
A handful of local and visiting videographers captured the ride, and the resulting video clips went viral within minutes on social media. Once word got out that the craft was a lunch tray from a McDonald's franchise, surfers all around the world descended upon the chain restaurants in droves.
"It was the strangest thing," said Jessica Carlyle, a cashier at a McDonald's in Oceanside, California. "All these surfers were coming in asking about 'the new Tom Curren model,' and I was like, 'I don't think we serve that.' Then they started asking about the dimensions and volume of our lunch trays. I thought maybe they were on drugs, so eventually I called the cops."
In the days that followed, McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook realized the company was missing out on a new revenue opportunity and added the trays themselves to the menu for $49.99 each. Customers can make it a "Curren Combo" by adding fries and a drink for only $0.99 extra.
"At McDonald's, we just want to put a smile on your face," said Easterbrook, "whether that means cramming toxic meat-like substances into your smile hole or selling you an overpriced piece of plastic for wave scooting."
At press time, McDonald's had officially surpassed …Lost, Channel Islands, and Firewire as the largest surfcraft manufacturer in the world. The fast-food chain's rapid ascent in the surfboard game comes as no surprise to industry insiders, who know that many surfers will ride just about anything if they see a pro ripping on it once.
When asked about the rise of the McDonald's lunch tray, Curren said, "What? Oh, that red thing? I found that on the beach. It goes alright. I'm riding mostly old cooler lids now. You should check them out…"
[Editor's note: "Corndogging" is a satirical column in which we take serious surf issues, dunk 'em in the ocean, and roll them around in the sand for awhile.]
[This feature originally appeared in our April 2017 Issue, “Evolution,” on newsstands and available for download now.]