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Pushing Pine

South African chargers Frank Solomon and Josh Redman fund their Northern California winter by slinging Christmas trees

For the last two years, South African hellmen Frank Solomon and Josh Redman have spent the first part of the winter together in San Francisco, surfing Mavericks and bigger-than-big Ocean Beach. Though they’re two of the best big-wave surfers on the planet (Solomon finished 10th in the Big Wave World Tour last year), Solomon and Redman suffer from the disastrous exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the South African Rand. To help stretch their sponsorship money, they earn their room and board by spending a few weeks selling Christmas trees at a lot owned by a local surfer. They work and surf in shifts: one guy hauls trees out to the curb and lashes ’em to the roofs of customer’s cars, the other jogs across the highway to indulge in some freezing sandbar bombs. When Mavericks wakes, their chainsaws go silent. By the end of December, when the Triple Crown madness has largely left the North Shore, Solomon and Redman will trade their hooded 4/3s for trunks and jet over to Oahu. The heavywater charger’s job never ends.