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Sexy New York Fitness Enthusiast Visits Urbnsurf!
A Brooklyn-based freelancer, or stringer as they were called before all staff were laid off and everyone became gig workers, has penned a long story for The Atlantic following a recent visit to Urbnsurf from Melbourne.
Spenser Mestel, a well-muscled white man whose Instagram profile photo finds him in his underpants, flared quadriceps, aggressive scrotum like the jaws of a carnivore, open the room. “I went surfing in an office park” with a quote from Chas.
“Surf Ranch is a satanic mirror!” surf journalist Chas Smith wrote in reference to a park in California built by surfing legend Kelly Slater. “It shows you who and what you are, but the worst possible version.”
A session is booked.
Before going surfing, I usually drag my board on a bus. I don’t usually book a session online. Using the descriptions, we debated which level was right for us. Could we “paddle, take off, balance along the face of the wave and descend safely?” Yes, of course. Well… maybe. We are both regular surfers, but it depends on the board, the wave, the day. To cover all our bases, we signed up for the two easiest levels. Still, at three weeks, all we could book were some left-hand breaking waves, which are supposed to be harder if, like us, you surf with your right foot back.
Mestel arrives at tank, a five-minute drive from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport.
When we arrived at Urbnsurf it looked like we had just boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise. Where were the weed smokers, the dogs with sunglasses, the vans with Instagram handles painted on the back?
At the rental shop, the man working the front desk had his nails painted, like me. I had never seen that in surfing either.
After collecting our boards – embarrassingly bright blue 7ft 6in foams – we witnessed the end of the safety briefing. Finally, we could surf – well, “surf”. After scanning our wristbands at the turnstile, we paddled through the chlorinated water towards the huge metal cylinder capable of spitting out every type of wave, from a slow, gentle roll to a six-foot-tall barrel. One by one we maneuvered to the label on the concrete wall that matched the difficulty level of our wave and waited our turn. For most of the four years I’ve been surfing, I’d see a promising wave, turn to shore, and paddle furiously until I caught it or not. But recently I had learned to watch the wave as I prepared to fall, to read the shape and color to know where and when it would break. At Urbnsurf, I didn’t have to do all that: I already knew I was in the right position. As soon as I heard the roar of the machine, I started kicking up and down unnecessarily.
For the first time in my life, I was able to trace along the face of the wave, descend to gain speed and ascend to gain momentum, all without fear that the wave would suddenly reverse and roll so many times, I wouldn’t know which direction was up.
Mestel discovers the VALS flotilla.
After our first session, we went up a level of difficulty. As I waited my turn, I saw almost everyone before me bury their nose in their boards and stick their faces in the water. Even in a single session, you could see a wide range of abilities, from an overconfident newbie who left halfway through to a woman who absolutely shredded on a little potato chip from a fiberboard glass. On my first attempt, I managed to get up and roll for a glorious, exhilarating few seconds, but when I jumped off, there was no familiar tug on my right leg.
A villain, probably white!
Urbnsurf has had its share of assholes, like the man who cut between a mother and her teenage daughter, then yelled at them both for not rowing hard enough.
Seeing the ocean still pretty good after flying from Melbourne to Sydney.
But then, on my last session, on one of Sydney’s few perfectly sunny April days, I saw a three-legged rumble towards me and guessed it would break to the right. To my amazement, it happened, and I ran my hand through the face of the wave as I sliced it up and down, opening my shoulders and looking where I wanted to go. It was a ride so perfect it seemed designed. Seven seconds of euphoria later, I had surfed the wave to shore – and straight into a patch of seaweed.