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The Wave Sliders journal

ENTRY # 026

Written By: Curtis Perdue

It's been almost two years since my father passed. In his youth, he was quite the badass.

Old photos from the 60’s show him playing drums in a band, racing dirt bikes, smoking a spliff on the floor, or standing next to a car with surfboards loaded on the roof. I owe my love and passion for surfing to him, especially my devotion to logging over the last six years. It was not until I reflected on his life and our relationship that I realized why longboarding might’ve become an obsession for me. The further we grew apart, the closer I got to being a full-fledged logger.

My father took my brother and I to see Endless Summer 2 at the movie theater in 1994. He had watched the first Endless Summer, so it was only natural that he take his two sons to see the sequel. At 11 years old, I knew nothing of surfing, except maybe a little bit from watching one of my sister’s favorite movies, Point Break. After watching Endless Summer 2, my brother and I were hooked, mesmerized by the long rides, clean waves, and emphasis on travel, as well as the search for something new. We immediately went back home and got our dad’s old surfboard down from the attic, and the next day we went to South Beach. Shaped in the 70’s, it had to weigh around 30 or 40 pounds. Dad pushed us into knee-high, wind-chop and would holler when it was time to stand up. By the end of the day, I was catching and surfing waves by myself. Within a week or two, we had purchased two used shortboards. One was a T&C, the other was an HIC.

Once my dad knew we were hooked we bought brand new shortboards. My father had a longboard, but back in the 90’s longboards, as I’m sure everyone knows, were more like shortboards with thruster setups, pintails, and tons of nose rocker with very thin rails. Longboarding was criticized and people were made fun of. Sometimes I would take my father’s longboard out but only because the waves were too small to even grovel in. I didn’t have a problem with longboarding, but since it wasn’t visible, it wasn’t what I preferred. As a teenager, I stuck to the trend. I did not want to do what was considered uncool.

For me, that shortboard trend continued into college and beyond. I lived in Florida until I was 25. Then I moved to Boston for Grad school in 2008, and I kind of left surfing in Florida. I wasn’t sure if there was surf in New England, and I didn’t really care to research it because I would not have a car. While in graduate school, I went to Puerto Rico twice, and I worked as a surf guide in Panama for a month. I moved back to Florida after my masters, taught high school for two years, and lived only a mile from the ocean, so I surfed. A lot. All shortboarding. All the time.

I decided to make my move back to New England permanently to be with my future wife, so I packed up my car with everything I owned, mostly clothes and two surfboards. One was my 80’s inspired Rusty twin fin (pictured) and the other my father’s 9 ft. Natural Art high performance longboard (with blue flames) that had been delaminated but fixed by my father. We had an 8’0 Hobie Peter Pan Slug and a 9’6 Stewart, but my dad wouldn’t let me take those. He did not want to let go of the memories associated with these objects. He seemed a bit selfish. It was around this time, summer of 2013, that his health started visibly deteriorating.

One of the first things I did after moving into a one-bedroom apartment two blocks from the Beach in Swampscott, MA was buy a wetsuit. I found a used Billabong 5/4 on Craigslist and bought it. I remember my first session Spring of 2014. I couldn’t believe how warm I was. And I immediately could not forgive my past self for not trying to surf while in grad school. I quickly learned that my new home break, Nahant Beach, was a log wave only. Even when the wave would get up to four or five feet it would still be too slow and soft, not steep enough for a small board.

This compelled me to buy a new longboard, but I didn’t know anything, and there was only one shop, and it was small, and also a coffee shop, so I bought a pop out 9’1 McTavish Fireball. It was a pintail with a wide nose and lots of rocker. Not too dissimilar from my father’s board, but it was new and more buoyant. I surfed a lot. And started to develop a real enthusiasm for longboarding. I called my dad a lot to tell him about the uncrowded sessions so close to my new home. My wife and I lived near the beach for two years then we moved to East Boston, got married, and had a baby nine months later. I knew I would one day pass on surfing to my children, but with the current board being too narrow and thin, it wouldn’t be good to learn on, so I decided to buy a bigger, heftier log better designed for noseriding. For my kids, of course.

I found what seemed to be a good deal on a board down in southern Rhode Island. My wife and I got married in Providence, and I had spent some time in Newport, but I had no knowledge of South County. I went down one weekend in March and surfed before I purchased the board. I was enchanted by the town of Wakefield. My wife and I had been thinking of where to move and this place seemed like it checked all the boxes. The following weekend we came down to look at a house, and on our way back, we found a different home for sale on Zillow and made an offer over the phone without having seen the property in person. We began living in Rhode Island June of 2018, so it’s been almost six years. And in those six years I have become a longboarder.

The first and only time my dad visited our home in Rhode Island he was uncomfortably cold, and he could barely get up and down our stairs, which becomes an issue when the only bathroom is on the first floor but the bedrooms are upstairs. It’s hard to watch your parent slowly wither away. Each time I saw him there was something new that was hurting or diagnosed. The one topic we did always seem to talk about was surfing, and he was always excited to hear about any recent swells. Having suffered from depression for most of his life, and a struggle with substance abuse off and on, talking about surf was one of the things that altered the tone in his voice. He perked up. I could hear his smile.

Looking back on my progression and commitment, and how my enthusiasm strengthened, I think it had a lot to do with my dad. I was always envious of my father’s surfing style. He made it all about fun. Surfing bigger boards was a way to relate with history. Even though my father’s death was unexpected, he had been sick for a while before he died, and I think, subconsciously, I was preparing myself for his departure. My father did not communicate well throughout the latter part of his life. Leaving my home permanently and starting a life in New England further separated us, and I know that probably hurt, but he never said anything. Which is why I think I grew closer to longboard surfing. It was a tribute to my dad. A way to stay connected even though we were thousands of miles away. It was and still is a part of him I refuse to let go.

What Curtis Is Stoked On!

In The Surf Community:

I am stoked on fin design right now. I feel like I am finally at a point where I can notice what works best for me as a surfer and I am having fun exploring different shapes and sizes. Currently can't live without my Hydrophile 10inch Hook Fin.


In Thoughts And Quotes:

“Throw away the light, the definitions, and say what you see in the dark.”

- Wallace Stevens

In The Faro Workshop:

I am very stoked on the new FARO dry bag. I have never owned one, so I feel like a responsible grown up who takes care of his belongings and is prepared. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but the craftsmanship stands out as well. Can't wait to throw a soggy wetsuit in there.


Follow Curtis on IG: @curtisperdue

Thanks for reading, ya'll! Look out for the next WAVE SLIDERS JOURNAL coming soon.

- Jack