The older, more jaded surfers, think watching surfing is boring. I’ve joked that watching a heat can be like twenty-minutes of boredom punctuated by the most intense exhilaration. Sitting up in the VIP booth next to the speaker speaking in French in one ear and the two TV’s with American broadcasts in the other can make your head rattle. To remedy this, I’ve gone down on the beach and photographed people and their dogs. People are always a little funny if you try chatting with them in a language they may not understand. But talk to them about their dogs and the fun begins.
What I discovered is that, unlike, say, Malibu, where we run from a surf contest to avoid the crowds, people drive from all over Europe to be here. This morning I met a couple from Great Britain who came down just for the contest. I met two different groups of women in their thirties who don’t surf, but drive four hours to be here and stay the weekend for the last three years running. Last night, there was a women from Scotland with her two friends from Chamonix. When the contest was called off yesterday, I spoke with the Mom of a family up from the Basque country with their dog “Happy.” There were the two blond girls who were wary of a middle-aged man approaching them, but as soon as I asked about their dog, they said his name was “Vans. Like the shoe company.”
Beach people love their beach dogs. But in most of Southern California, dogs are banned from the beach. And so is wine. But here the two get along just fine.