This morning while driving to the beach, I paused at a crosswalk to let a surfer jog across to the dunes. He was middle-aged, maybe late 40s, and wore an all-black wetsuit, booties, and a black helmet. Under his arm he carried a bright white thruster that looked like a great board for a good surfer—no-nonsense design, bit of a wider 80s template, no tailpad. Made by a shaper I'd never heard of, no color or decoration of any kind. Carried the board fins out.

I was a little bit perplexed by the guy. I watched him bound over the sand toward the head high peaks. Thought about it for a second: helmet, good board, weird but competent way of carrying it, and put the chances that he rips at about 85 percent. I imagined a well-traveled tubehound, surfing with confidence and authority, throwing around Curren-esque head snaps, speeding around sections with double-pump bottom turns. Lots of stylish kick-outs. Just somethin’ about his vibe.

Could have been a kook, but I don't think so. Had a quiet confidence and a lightness of foot that suggested lots of time spent in grinding tubes and burying rails in roping walls. Maybe a Santa Barbara guy.

He was a strange breed of mysto surfer, but an intriguing one. There are a few categories of what I'm calling a mysto surfer here, but really is just a non-traditional shredder. A surfer who's a little different, dances to the beat of their own drum, but who rips super hard. Weird kooks don't really count. Like, you see this surfer take off on a wave and start their own brand of schralping, just see them jog to the water board in hand, and know they're on a whole different, weird level of good surfing.

I'll advance the following categories:

•Ripper guy riding really big thruster who just kills it
•Tom Curren
•The Last High Performance Longboard Shredder®
•Big fat dude on modern shortboard throwing massive hacks
•Devon Howard
•Older woman who's maybe the best log rider you've ever seen
•Dude bodysurfing double-overhead beachbreak
•Helmet-wearing Santa Barbara tubehound
•Dude who wears a hooded wetsuit all-year long, no matter what, never talks to anyone, shreds so hard

What's your favorite brand of non-traditional ripping? What's your fave category of mysto ripper?