All Photos: Peter Taras
They’re in Baja California Norte. Chasing waves. Chasing wind. Chasing their tails. They bump into Rusty Long and his Hawaiian shirt, with one button buttoned, and they take a deep breath. All will be OK. “Uncle Rusty” has that effect. Rusty continues south on his own trip, the G Boys stay put. Soon thereafter, the wind steadies, the waves go round and they trade barrels all afternoon.
It’s the afternoon and they’ve ventured all the way up to regular California Norte. One their way north they linked up perennial wingman Dylan Graves and his Sprinter Van (the SS YOLO). They spy a hopeful wedge in a scenic cove and, wouldn’t you know it, they’re psyching. They’re out there. But they’re also locked out of the YOLO, keys dangling in the ignition. Within minutes of this realization a fire truck pulls up and one of the local firefighters leans out the engine, “You’re the Gudauskas brothers!” They are. But they’re locked out of their car. “We can help you with that,” says the man in uniform, and a shimmy and a pull later they’re back in business. In their wetsuits. In the water, doing what they do best.
It’s early morning in San Francisco. The wind is howling offshore but the swell looks like it’s dropped. Should they stay or should they search? They opt to grab a coffee at Devil’s Teeth because in that wavering moment, it’s a decision they can all get behind. Guess who else is inside the small coffee shop? Actually don’t guess I’ll just tell you — Dan Malloy. The elusive, inspiring Dan Malloy. He’s fueling up for a surf out front. No more indecision. They’re out there. Within an hour the swell picks back up, the tide swings and they’re standing in double-overhead Puerto-esque tubes for four hours.
Rusty Long. Kind firefighter. Dan Malloy. Most people would call these chance encounters, but the Gudauskas brothers call them “omens.” One a day that help guide their adventures up and down the California coast on the best swell of the year. And now that the swell’s faded and the winds have turned, will the trip be over? Nah. The YOLO is filled with gas and they’ve got a close handle on the keys. —Taylor Paul