Michael Anapol with â€śThe Rileyâ€ť and banged-up leg.
There are occasions when time stands still, or at least slows because the moment is of such glorious importance it begs one to stop and recognize it. Time stood still on a Thursday afternoon in Boardriders Surf Shop on PCH.
For weeks I had watched the Beleaguered Husband scrolling through surfboards for sale. Actually, this is not anything I havenâ€™t seen throughout the course of our marriage, although back in day there was no internet and heâ€™d have to physically hunt down boards up and down the California coast, sometimes answering ads in publications or on bulletin boards leading to encounters with shady, â€ścash onlyâ€ť guys in back alley garages. Now in pursuit of adding another board to his collection, such as it is, the whole worldwide spectrum of surfboards is at his fingertips. Unfortunately, due to pesky financial constraints, this screen shopping is more of a hobby, just some whimsy to pass the time like looking at three-million-dollar homes in Santa Cruz, the perfect old Land Cruiser, or a high-end printer that works.
Then something happened to propel fantasy into reality. A birthday was coming, and our son, in a state of dazzled grace, wanted to give his Dad a surfboard.
I watched as Michael wavered back and forth with the idea, â€śI canâ€™t let Riley buy me a surfboard, can I?â€ť
A moment later he is lost in the online sea of offerings from Firewire, Album, Lost, Pyzel, and Procter. This goes on with an admirable dedication and the answer to his question, although humbling, is obviously, â€śYes,â€ť or â€śHell yes!â€ť
Now and then he solicits my opinion, like I know what a Fish with a displacement hull is. I try to appear as if Iâ€™m deeply pondering the choices, finally stating, â€śI like the green one.â€ť
Evidently the green one was the right choice. Shaper, surfer, and handsome black trailblazer from Oregon, Ry Harris seems a revolution unto himself with the development of his creative company, Earth Technologies. â€śMy company is the leading production facility in the environmentally sustainable surfboard movement. We produce zero waste. I call us the Ecoboard Capital,â€ť he says.
His surfboards are created by recycling and breaking down trash, old clothes, straws, plastic debris, which he forms into creative, state-of-the-art, surfboards that look as if they should be mounted on museum walls as modern art. In the past, surfboards were made with polyurethane, a toxic material, but wanting to leave a lighter footprint from those who walk on water, Mr. Harris has admirably succeeded in bringing surfing, art and eco-attitude together, and it was one of his boards that we went to see at Boardriders one afternoon...and yes...it was green, vibrant, glowing, swirling, mystical, and alive with movement like water itself.
As we stood there with the young salespeople, who may or may not have bothered listening to us, we proudly shared that our son was buying the board for his father, the magnitude of the moment struck. There we were, now of a certain age, and Riley once known as â€śThe Puddin,â€ť was now grown up and giving his father such a wonderful and perfect present in the impossible year of 2022. We called Riley in Ventura and while he and his dad spoke and our son completed the transaction with the sales guy, I strolled over to the ladies swimming suits pretending to be interested (as if I could ever wear such a thing again), as a tear slipped down my face. But it was not for the loss of my days in the sun, but for a little boy who grew up.
A few days later we went up to Ventura where Riley and his father surfed together. It was a wonderful thing to see.
Michael took â€śThe Riley,â€ť which is what we christened the board, to Mission Beach on a little vacation and as the water warmed and the waves came up in Topanga, he seemed to be going out every day locally. On a Saturday morning I got the call. It was one of those you donâ€™t want to get. After saying hello, the Beleaguered Husband announced, â€śIâ€™ve had an accident surfing and need stitches.â€ť
I refrained from asking, â€śBut howâ€™s the board?â€ť
The waiting room at Kaiser Emergency was blessedly air conditioned but the operative word was â€śwaiting.â€ť We took books, The Canyon Chronicle and cell phones, to pass the time. After about three hours we were seen. All agreed it was a gnarly gash, luckily on his leg not his head. â€śThe Rileyâ€ť had spared him that when its fin sliced him (or was it a shark?) All the staff were friendly and efficient although there was the remark from the young MD, sort of adding insult to injury, â€śI donâ€™t see too many guys in your demographic still surfing.â€ť
So now he sits on the shore or the bench with the locals or others on the DL (Disabled List), staring out to sea, admiring the waves, longing to ride them, stuck on land like an overturned turtle until the healingâ€™s done. â€śThe Rileyâ€ť waits.
Life of a surfer.