The other evening I was in Cardiff’s Beach City Burrito, with one eye on the latest Lost video when a near miracle caught my eye — this kid (Kolohe Andino?) did a 360 on takeoff, let the guy behind him catch up and pass him, backed into the tube and spent the next five seconds in the barrel, only to exit with a series of beyond vertical off the lips.
From the counter came a hoot to match my stunned silent enthusiasm and I locked eyes with a familiar face. “Did you see that?” asked the face attached to the man walking toward me. I nodded in disbelief. “I have never seen anyone do a 360 on the takeoff and I’ve been surfing a long time.” The man then extended his hand, gave his name as Moose, and it all began coming back to me from years ago. Moose was a surfboard maker who had built quality boards for years, before he suddenly disappeared.
Moose (I never did get the name on his birth certificate) gave me the story of how he had been hit by a drunk driver 25 years ago, was disabled and basically in so much pain that he would lie in an ice-filled bathtub, to feel better for a while. He mentioned that he had once built boards for Todd “Gluefoot” Martin, one of the most talented hotdog surfers ever from North County, along with numerous other great surfers.
That much of the story sounded familiar to me. The rest did not. Moose continued telling of his unheralded contributions to snowboarding and wakeboarding, slipping in the fact that he was back in the board business after years away and that he had opened a one-hour ding repair in Oceanside, something that immediately caught my attention, since I rarely wear leashes and often lose my board. One hour ding repair! What surfer couldn’t use that?
Moose is quite a talker and what he said was interesting, but my food had arrived and I was due home soon. I thanked him for the info and we parted company as I tried to remember where and when I had last seen him. Before I walked away, he gave me a double-sided flier, one side advertising his one-hour ding repair with the vaguely familiar slogan “Bro Prices, not Pro Prices” boldly printed on the bottom. The other side advertised factory direct surfboards for $349, followed by the words: “All boards are shaped and glassed by Moose for 33 years and 5 champions (sic). Then, “If your not riding a MOOSE “Hy-Energy Rip Stick” Your just Riding a Board. (sic)
I continued toward my car as Moose returned to his table where he sat down to food and more surf videos. I was nearly out of range when he called after me, “Hey, you write in the paper, don’t you?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Why not help a bro out and do something on me?”
“OK Moose, I’ll do that,” I promised, before stuffing his flier into my back pocket, opening the car door, sliding into my seat and promising myself that I would write about Moose. All the way home I tried to recall where I had last seen his face. Nothing came into clear focus, but there was something I did recall for certain — an endless energy and optimism and a desire to work hard and make a good product. Moose is back and I’ll contact him next time I ride my board into the rocks at high tide. The repair is already a bargain, but when you throw in the character … welcome home Moose.
To learn more about Moose Surfboards, visit www.MooseSurfboards.com.
Filed Under: Sea Notes