It's 3 A.M. on a Sunday night in Virginia Beach. An older man, freshly retired, has been jigging off the end of his dock since midnight. The moon casts a bit of sparkle on the surface of the narrow, sleepy waterway. He has yet to catch anything, nor has he even felt a small bite. The calmness is contagious and he starts to become bored, beginning to wonder if it might be time for this old tradition to be allowed to fade.
Out of the darkness he sees a light on the water. It’s swiftly moving towards the dock. Bewildered, he stands up to get a better look. The light gets closer. Then closer. And closer, until a speeding boat roars through No Wake Zone — seesawing docks like a small tsunami in the still of night. The old man catches a glimpse of the captain — a bearded man, approximately 30-years-old — fist pumping and singing/slurring to music as the vessel disappears as quickly as it came. The old man follows it with his eyes for a second longer before packing up and walking back home with an itch on the grey of his head.
This is one of many occurrences from the hours after Michael Dunphy won Virginia Beach's premier surf contest at his home break. Dunphy has been doing ECSC since the age of 9, but a win has always eluded him. Not this time. He took it out in fine form in front of all his friends and family and was subsequently greeted at the water’s edge by a mob of VB's finest and a wave of BudLight foam. They are proud and they were loud. No hurricane has ever hit that town as hard as we were about to. And so, after the awards, it began.
The owner of a club in Virginia Beach had sat with us during the final and let slip the possibility of open bar if Dunny won. It was #ASPItsOn. Shots were thrown back like sips of water, whiskeys flew across the bar, and Trash Cans (Vodka, Whiskey, Tequila, Rum, Blue Curacao, and a full Red Bull) were tackled. There wasn't even a tinge of a bad vibe. Nor were there more than five females in sight, but nobody cared. We were there to celebrate our boy. Eventually the yelling cascaded into chanting and our champion was standing on the bar in a beer-soaked t-shirt holding two bottles of champagne. They were popped and sprayed high before he was pulled back down so everyone could shower him in drinks. He went through four separate shirts that night. There is video of him motor-boating a pretty blonde girl to entertain the crowd. He was the winner, so I think she was more than happy to let it happen. After all the training, healthy living, and skipped nights out, Mike was deservedly letting loose. And his people were right there with him. He was the man that night and his will was for everyone to get well and truly blacked out. Oh yes, they did.
After a few hours in the wilderness of the local bar, I decided to go outside with a friend to get some air. As you can guess, I was very drunk but not over the top. We sat on the curb outside just talking when some cops came over and started hassling us. Next thing I know, I feel the cold metal of handcuffs grabbing my wrists and as I’m being escorted to a police car. We are taken to a nearby precinct and put in the drunk-tank. A friend attempts to come grab us at 2 A.M. but he is also drunk so that didn't work. They say we can't be released yet and a car transfers us somewhere else. I looked at my friend and said, "In a way, this is kind of funny." We went so hard for our friend that we ended up waking up in a fucking jail cell. All for walking outside of a bar drunk. Who doesn't walk out of a bar drunk?
We ended up strolling out of the local courthouse at 8 in the morning with a fine for $110 and one hell of a story. That night was legendary and I'm not even mad about what happened because — it’s a testament to the legitimacy of the levels we reached out of pure stoke for our friend. We laughed for hours the next day, reliving all the moments that we had forgotten. Thank god for the Chopes contest because I proceeded to lie on the couch and watch every heat. Dunphy only took one break from the action and it was to go workout with his trainer. The Prime in the Azores is only a week away. I wonder what kind of fine I’ll incur the night he qualifies. —Dylan Goodale
Editor’s note: We told Dylan to invoice us exactly $110 for this fine piece of literature. Coincidence? Maybe.