Mance revved his engine and made a run for it down a bumpy road. We hit the beach going full blast. The tires spun in place. Mance punched it. His car sputtered and crawled onto the hard-packed sand along the shoreline.
"They call this place St. Augustine's," said Mance.
We cruised up the beach going about sixty, kelp pods popping beneath the tires.
"My god, look at all all these spots," I said.
"Perfecto!" Mance hooted.
"Can't we just go out here?" begged Mike as we sped past all-time empty peelers off a little point.
Mance shook his head. "You guys ain't seen nothing yet."
Mance's coupe hissed up a long-curving beach.
"Look, you can see white water--up there on that point," said Mike.
Mance stepped on the gas. "It's pumping all right."
We pulled around inside the cove and piled out of the car. A shower of silvery spray and rainbow colored spindrifts hung over the bay. Line after line, longer than Malibu or Rincon, peeled toward shore without a soul in sight. We hopped up and down and let out with loud hoots. Mance's eyes lit up. I'd never seen him so stoked. He yanked his board from the trunk and quickly waxed the deck with paraffin.
"I want you guys to keep a sharp eye out for saltwater cowboys," he said in a serious voice.
"We're trespassing on the Bixby Ranch. They might try to bust us."
Mance ran down to the shore and paddled out alone. Suddenly, Mike and I were feeling pretty psyched out. We looked out at the rocky point and saw hundreds of shiny black fins churning the water.
"What the hell's that out there?" I said, my voice shaking.
"Dunno," said Mike. "Looks like a bunch of seals to me."
"Shit. I don't know if I wanna paddle out," I said.
There wasn't any sound except for the waves crashing and the offshore wind howling in our ears. I felt my throat tighten.
"Government's Point is a mysto spot all right," said Mike. He looked scared, too. Mike climbed into his "old man baggies," and I pulled on my wet and sandy Paul Revere Jr. High School gym trunks. We lugged our boards to the shore break and started to knee paddle out across the cove. The water was clear and stinging cold. My eyes darted to the sandy bottom below.
"Mike, I swear I just saw a shape down there." My body shivered.
"Jesus," Mike gasped. "Hope it ain't a shark."
"Outside!" I yelled.
"Wow, Whatta set."
My arms turned to butter as panic scratched up and over the waves. Mance came steaming down the line, his whole body showing through the backside of this tubular green wall. Mike wheeled his board around and got one. Suddenly I was alone. It was spooky, but for some reason I didn't feel that psyched out. I scrambled into a five-footer, took two steps and for the first time understood what it was to lock into perfect trim. I screamed across the paper-thin wall. It felt like I was cutting glass.
A pull from issue 1.2, read the classic "Barefoot Surfari: The Further Adventures of No Pants Mance" by Denny Aaberg in its entirety in the TSJ Archives.