Good old Knopp. Making the seemingly worthless waves very fun. Hawaii 2012, still laughing.
My friend Tom has more fun than you.
One of my favorite surf sessions ever, and a story I have retold ad nauseum, is one that involves a bodyboarder and some closeouts.
Not just any bodyboarder, but my main man and roommate at the time, Tom Knopp. And not just any closeouts, but large, mean, clean, heaving, 25-block-long, hurricane closeouts right behind our house.
So no one was around. No one really wanted anything to do with it. Not because it was so scary. But because it was just not really fun.
You could rush and get the view for a second, but there was no real graceful way to bring your ride to an end. No matter what way you went, it was the wrong way.
So as we sat there an looked over ledge after ledge, and pulled back again again, Knopp waited for bombs and smirked as he spun and went into the oblivion.
What at first looked like just unrestrained stoke coupled with some optimistic aneurysm turned into a show of how functional aerial surfing could be. Right as you are ready to write him off and look away, down the beach a lot farther than you would have imagined, Knopp’s body would soar out of the lip, into the air—upside down sometimes—and reconnect with the falling lip before disappearing again.
We had a reunion recently, more than 20 years after that day. And I gotta say, all of those memories came rushing back. I was so stoked to see Tom doing his thing. Making the lackluster surf all of us older surfers grumble at, look fun. Just like that day in 1987 behind Our Place At The Beach with Ricky B and Chris Street. Every time you looked back, Knopp was smiling from ear-to-ear at the “less-than-perfect” waves.