Welcome to G.N.A.S.H.
Summertime and the living’s easy…
The routine drive to the beach has been taking way longer than usual. Lines at the donut shop artisanal coffee bar are getting bad. The vals aren’t cold anymore and there are a few extra assholes out there on the highway. You still can’t find your parking pass or your hide-a-key. Of course, the lot is full when you arrive. The fender benders of life. Surfin’ bummers. They’re prevalent this time of year. No matter, we eventually arrive, hopefully in good enough shape to paddle out. Wash it all off, deal with what’s in front of us, and carry on. Today, what’s in front of us, at least in California, is a very straight south swell, the first dense fog of the year on the water, and hazy 90-degree heat just across PCH. How are things near you? Is it too low tide? South wind? Crowded? Does it feel like there are dogs everywhere and shit in the sand? Do you get the sense that people are emerging from the depths of some dungeon bunker and making their way through shopping centers and parking lots, into wetsuits, maybe for the very first time? Zombie-eyed and covered in consumer products sipping straws from In-N-Out cups? Must be summer.
Summer can be the season of first kisses, first beers and first backhand pits. A time to celebrate the tar on your foot and the rash under your arm with a bonfire, maybe too much tequila. At least that’s the romantic notion that lives inside of us as surf groms and, unfortunately, that often burns off when the first signs of real life start to show. Heartbreak. Tragedy. Fire. Flood. Debt. Illness. When summer vacation is no longer a thing and June Gloom reigns and we all resign ourselves to a lifelong membership to G.N.A.S.H. — Thomas Pynchon’s brilliant acronym for the Global Network of Anecdotal Surfer Horseshit. If you’ve ever checked the waves at your local spot while holding a coffee cup, you’re probably a member. I’m bumper-sticker proud to belong to G.N.A.S.H.
Even as our romantic notions of summer wane, and its absurdity nearly crashes into us on the highway, I’ll never fully bury the dream. Because we’re surfers and we love to commiserate. And procrastinate, bicker or linger on the cliff with our buddies. I love G.N.A.S.H enough to write a newsletter inspired by it. I’ll leave the news cycle to Beach Grit and the forecasting to the Surfline. But here, I want to create a community of unapologetically emo conversationalists (Thanks to Coté for the free branding). I’ll orchestrate some trips. I’ll let Maya Eslami introduce you to some new bands. Paul Brewer will guide you around the barroom and the kitchen, Eleanor Sheehan will take you to the front lines of society, Adam Warren will walk you through Tijuana’s street food scene. You’ll probably hear from some others too.
As many of you know by now, I’m a junkie for this stuff. The more chaotic, crowded and bummer-filled your day, the sweeter that surf will feel — the sweeter whatever you do for internal gratification will feel! I cherish my surfing bummers, without them, life would be boring. So rip the cap off the fire hydrant and toss me a cold beer. Let the wet dogs run wild in the streets with the zombies. It’s only gonna get hotter. If this whole ship is going down like I think it is, I hope we can at least turn it into a good block party. Anyone got an old Sublime CD? —Travis Ferré