By Brian Brannon
Reprinted from the
Seal Beach Sun, a weekly community
newspaper where Brian previously worked as editor.
There are times when being a local can be an advantage. And then there are
other times when it can be a severe liability.
On the plus side, if you surf Seal Beach pier, the Rivermouth or virtually
any other consistent break during a good swell, you're likely to see a group of
people there who know each other and the way the waves break fairly
If you're one of the crew, they'll show you a certain amount of favoritism
when it comes to letting you cantch waves.
If they don't, good luck.
I heard this type of attitude summed up pretty succinctly in Santa Cruz one
time with the phrase, "I don't know you so I don't owe you."
But then again, there are times when being a local means you should have
Case in point: One time I was in Boulder, Colorado, visiting a lady friend of
mine. We had taken a drive up Flagstaff Mountain and I noticed the main road was
a long, straight, two-lane highway with a nice slope, perfect for downhill
As we were driving back, the traffic was pretty tight. Heading up, the cars
were almost stopped. On the way down, it was still congested but the cars were
moving at a steady clip.
Since I had my downhill board with me I was able to talk Jan into letting me
out so I could shoot the hill while she followed in her VW Bug to keep anyone
from coming up my tailpipe.
The run started out smooth and flowing. I was rolling along at about 43
m.p.h. and, as the Nissan commercials say, enjoying the ride.
Then I spied the red cherries of a State Trooper car coming up the hill in
the other direction. No big deal, I thought to myself. What's he going to do,
pull into my lane and hit me head on?
Next thing I knew I saw his lights start flashing and sure enough he pulled
into my lane and started coming right at me.
Time to think fast.
The way I saw it, I had two choices: Ride off the side of the road or stay in
my lane and play chicken. If he didn't pull off I could jump in the air just
before we hit, hop on his hood, leap over the top and maybe even land back on my
board on the other side.
There were only two drawbacks with this theory. One, it would probably make
him pretty mad. And two, if I missed and put my foot through his windshield
instead of on his hood, not only would he be pretty mad, I would find myself
caught in a painful predicament.
All of this reasoning took about a split second to flash through my brain
because that was about all the time I had to decide.
Logic prevailed and I chose to ride off the side of the road. Of course, the
side of the road was covered with dirt, gravel and vegetation, so I took quite a
tumble, but I'm sure it wasn't half as bad as the one I would have taken had I
missed the other leap.
The officer got out and asked me what I thought I was doing.
"Skateboarding," I said.
He asked if I knew skateboarding on roads in Colorado was illegal.
"No, sir," I said. "I'm from out of town."
A quick inspection of my I.D. proved I wasn't from around there. Good thing I
wasn't a local or I would have had no excuse.