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When the Waves Don't Matter

Updated on January 1, 2017
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

"He noticed an ideal wave rolling in. It would've been the one he caught, if he had been out there with the others."
"He noticed an ideal wave rolling in. It would've been the one he caught, if he had been out there with the others." | Source

"Cool yah, bro," Darrell Teague uttered as he gazed at the perfect, curling waves breaking near shore.

He sat on top of the Esplanade on an overcast morning, watching a legion of surfers and body boarders carve out epic rides on near perfect surf. He noticed an ideal wave rolling in. It would've been the one he caught, if he had been out there with the others.

Instead, this "surfer for life" sat atop the fabled Redondo Beach street, blankly staring at that tempting set rolling in.

"It's just not right." he uttered.

His wetsuit was still in the trunk, while two long boards were strapped to the car's roof. The thrill and exhilaration that well-shaped swell promised just didn't have the same appeal as it had the year before when he last attempted to ride the California surf.

Something was missing, or to be precise, someone was missing...bro.

"Cool ya bro," he muttered again as he headed toward the ramp and onto the beach ... Cool ya bro.

Bro was Kelso Key, his childhood friend, surfing partner, and all-around-partner-in-crime (as the tight group of South Bay surfers liked to say about the two). The "bros" - as they were called - were inseparable when it came to their favorite mode of living. It didn't matter if the waves were diminutive one-footers on lake-like conditions, or storm-driven monstrosities generated by the Arctic Express. They challenged all and came out victorious. So epic were their adventures that they believed they could do this forever.

Cancer changed that ride, and welcomed them harshly to vulnerability.

It had been a year since Kelso caught his last wave and forever came to shore. Since that fateful day, Darrell noticed that the California sun hid behind the overcast gloom, and the oceans took on a gray tint. And that fateful chant, "Cool ya bro!" was distant, like a dream.

It's the little things you notice when you're alone watching the surf, Darrell thought.

"Cool yah, bro," Darrell Teague muttered as he gazed at the perfect, curling waves breaking near shore.
"Cool yah, bro," Darrell Teague muttered as he gazed at the perfect, curling waves breaking near shore. | Source

More perfect sets came in. Darrell sighed. If Kelso was here he wouldn't wait for a perfect set; he'd make it a perfect set. He ruminated on this and finally made his decision. He went to his car, pulled out his wet-suit and took Kelso's board off the roof. One last ride, figured. One more perfect set to catch and ride as long as possible.

"Cool ya bro," he muttered again as he headed toward the ramp and onto the beach ... Cool ya bro.

A Brief Comment on the Esplanade

Recently, Esplanade Avenue (or better known as The Esplanade by locals) in Redondo Beach and Torrance has gain notoriety as a semi-secret enclave for celebrities. It has become the home to athletes from the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings. And at one time, it was the stomping grounds for Motley Crue's Vince Neil (that is until the infamous car crash he was involved in occurred on that street).

Seated on an ancient coastal dune system, this is a street with million dollar condos, luxury apartments, town homes and summer homes overlooking more than a mile-long stretch of sandy beach within the wide, blue Santa Monica Bay (or as we locals call it, the South Bay).

As seemingly ideal and exclusive as it is, it wasn't always that way. For most of us, it was place we went to surf. Also, it was populated with affordable apartments full of surfers. The transformation was happening at the time my friend and I started hitting the surf there so many years ago.

These days, the place is extremely ritzy, as compared its past. People in Southern California have come to realize it's a haven for prime real estate. Still, it's the best place to access the beach or the bike path that starts there and heads all the way up to Santa Monica. It's also a place that will be near and dear to my heart, even if celebrities start moving in.

 from /redondobeachrealestatehomes.com "Something was missing, or to be precise, someone was missing...bro."
from /redondobeachrealestatehomes.com "Something was missing, or to be precise, someone was missing...bro." | Source

© 2014 Dean Traylor

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