I first came down here with a stand up board in June of 2007. The water was warm, the surf super small- perfect for stand up paddling. I don't know if I was the first guy to paddle surf the beach break (I know there's one particular guy up north who wants soooo bad to claim that- all yours bro!) but I do remember that my board caused a sensation, everyone wanted to give it a go. The local rippers and surf school guys all wanted to take a shot, an instructor from a woman's surf retreat hopped on it, surfing a stando for the first time (that was Kristy Murphy, the female ripper, nose riding in a video I posted last year- totally stoked on stand up surfing) and then there was the pack of four, shall we call them, interpretive dancers who swarmed me- all wanting to give it a spin (a memory I won't soon forget- jiggly is a great descriptor).
|When you see this truck come rumbling up, get ready, you're about to meet Fleet!|
The coolest guy who approached me was a gentleman who had to be in his late sixties/early seventies named Fleet. Fleet walked right up to me on the beach and told me he'd heard about stand up paddling and thought it'd be great exercise for him and that it fit his southern Baja lifestyle. Cool- here you go Fleet, give it a shot. Man, he was stoked- if not a bit wobbly. He told me he was hooked and was heading up to San Clemente to have his buddy Ron House make him a board- he was convinced, he loved stand up paddling!
Honestly, I didn't think it would stick. How funny is it then that for the last three winters, every time I come back down, I run into Fleet. And he's paddling like a madman! I think he's on his third board and he's not just cruising. Fleet's sporting a Paddle Surf Hawaii All Arounder model and he's getting waves. I can't begin to tell you how cool it is for me to meet up with Fleet each year. It's always the same thing, I see a tall, older, incredibly tan, fit surfer come walking up to me with a huge smile on his face. He reaches out his big, ol' mitt and says, "John! Welcome back... let's go get some waves." It's always the same thing- and it always feels really good. Thanks, Fleet- you're killing it!