MAKING IT GOOD AGAIN
I began surfing the same year that Peter Mel got the cover of SURFING Magazine for packing the inside bowl of Maverick's. It was also the same year that Ratboy got the cover of the "Did he make it?" issue of Surfer for his backside 360-air during the expression session of the Cold Water Classic. Yes, he made it, and beat Slater in the process. I grew up watching these guys. They were my hometown heroes. I'd see them in the magazines and in The Kill movies and, if the sandbars were good near my house, in the water. Adam Replogle was my favorite small-wave surfer because of his smooth, full-rail turns. My favorite big-wave surfer was, well, a tie between Pete Mel and Flea. This was Santa Cruz's hour in the spotlight and I had a front-row seat.
The decline probably started well before any of us noticed it. Economy and sponsorships slowed. Photographers moved away. More and more surfers were matching their craziness in the water with craziness on land: drugs, booze and other hazardous vices of choice. Today it's hard to name five professional surfers in Santa Cruz.
I moved to San Diego for school in 2002, and during my sophomore year I lived at "the Santa Cruz house," so called because three out of the five of us living there were from Santa Cruz. But we also had a roommate from La Jolla. And since La Jolla was just 20 minutes away from campus, his friends would often visit for parties and girls, of which SDSU had plenty. Among them was Derek Dunfee. He was my favorite because he was polite, respectful and didn't start fights at the parties we'd attend. Over the next eight years I got to know Derek while surfing with him at Todos and Maverick's, and eventually through interviews for SURFING.
Earlier this year Derek came up to the magazine for lunch. "How's everything in La Jolla?" I asked. He proceeded to tell me about a friend who had recently been killed after breaking into a drug dealer's house. He then went into other unbelievable, movie-like narratives that seemed out of place in the ritzy San Diego suburb. Lots of drugs. Lots of violence. Apathy.
I asked if he would write about it for us, and he said he would. Through his writing, photography and surfing, Derek gives us a stunning and at times frightening snapshot of La Jolla today, and offers an optimistic vision of what it can be tomorrow (Never Never Land, pg. 78). It can be good again.
Santa Cruz and La Jolla share many characteristics. Each is blessed with good waves, affluence, and relative isolation, making them comfortable little bubbles that are inevitably hard to leave. In addition to Never Never Land you'll read about Santa Cruz's plight -- drugs, complacency and unmarketability -- on page 86. But like Derek, I'm optimistic about Santa Cruz's future. Much like the decline we failed to feel a decade ago, the rise has likely already begun.
Last week I was in Santa Cruz and I bumped into a high school friend who I hadn't seen in some time. A few years back he had become addicted to meth, and went to jail for doing whatever you do when you're addicted to that drug. But when I saw him he was getting out of the water. He was a healthy weight. Eyes clear. Soaking wet and wearing that smile people wear when they've got a new lease on life. "How are you, man?" I asked. "So f–king good," he said. "Surfing every day and training, getting ready for this swell on Wednesday so I can get my ass back out to Maverick's." --Taylor Paul
Inside this Issue
078 NEVER NEVER LAND
Derek Dunfee gets all journalistic and examines his hometown of La Jolla, a place that shows why not growing up can be a dangerous ideal. Derek and other Windansea locals share their tales of surfing, violence, drugs and murder.
086 REMEMBER SANTA CRUZ
It used to be all airs and Maverick's. Superhero wetsuits and shoulder chips worn with pride. Santa Cruz was an epic surf play and its characters were both endearing and flawed. Today it is something else and Leo Maxam explores why that is. Economy? Geographic location? Methamphetamines? All of the above? And more importantly: Will it ever return to its glory days?
094 LIGHTBOX: IS THAT A FACT?
California produces more turkeys than any other state in the union. And other useful information paired with inspiring imagery.
110 BOBBY DRIVES A PRIUS
He's brash. He's loud. He's thug. Or so we've been told. SURFING's Beau Flemister packs his expectations in a duffel bag and takes a trip to Santa Barbara to interview Bobby Martinez. Over breakfast he learns that Bobby likes the Kings of Leon, wants kids to be kids and has a unique opinion on the meaning of FTW. Beau returns with an empty duffel bag.
118 FROM DIEGO TO THE BAY
This is a California winter. Ryan Burch shapes boards with asymmetrical tails and Eric Snortum vouches for their function. Kolohe Andino tells us about the highest air he's ever done. Oliver Kurtz and Dillon Perillo find elephant seals and full-rotations in Big Sur. And California hides its best Christmas presents near the Golden Gate.