Flipping through Surfer Magazine goes something like this: blue, blue, blue, blue, blue, blue, shocking lime green, blue, blue, blue.
There in each issue, jumping out from Surfer's sea of epic waves and countless board short ads, is a rusty but glowing, chartreuse 1972 VW camper van, the icon and motorized doppleganger of Curious Gabe, Gabe Sullivan, who, every month, poses to ten complete strangers the kind of existential questions you'd expect to be asked in the pages of The Atlantic Monthly or in a dorm room at 1 a.m. Questions like, Does surfing improve with age? Would you rather be an East- or West-Coast surfer? And, a real brain scrambler, What's worse—being a hoser or a poser?
The queries are always filtered through the prism of the mother ocean, but Sullivan tackles more topical subjects, too. How green are you? What's your take on sustainable surfboards? And which presidential candidate would you rather paddle out with? (Best answer: "Bush, so I could snake him." Creepiest: "Hillary Clinton. She might look good in a bathing suit.")
The Curious Gabe column has run in Surfer for almost 11 years. Each one features headshots of the ten respondents and a snapshot of Gabe, the bus, or Gabe and the bus. The age range is huge, with groms and long-time AARP members puzzling over the questions. Both sexes are represented and there's almost always eye candy in the form of a hot dude and cute girl.
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