mark-the man the myth

The man The myth

?Hey, so I enjoy talking a lot with my friends in the water between sets?I can hear the Thais givin? me sh*t?so I say “hey man?me old man?u know me man??u see me every year surfing, u miss me talking in the water man?” but they are mostly having fun with me.

Growing up in ?Cal?

I was born in a military family and raised on the East Coast, the Midwest, the desert and California in the good old USA ? then went to 12 schools in 3 countries, including England and Germany. In California we lived in ?Berdoo? (San Bernardino) about 100 km from Newport and Huntington. My first surf spot growing up was San Onofre.

Back in Berdoo, on the next street over from ours, I met Steve Bainee who was making surfboards out of his family’s garage. He also came from a military family and he surfed San Onofre. He told us to get our parents take us surfing there (you needed a military id card or be a member of a surf club). In the summer of 64, he said that his friend had a surfboard for sale for 50 USD and my dad agreed to buy it for me ?and that was it!?I was into surfing! That was my first board and it weighed around 19 to 30 kilos!

Most of the time we surfed San Onofre. But once we got our licenses to drive we would make the 1-1.5 hour trip on weekends and hit other famous surf spots too. Back then the crowds were not bad and the traffic on the highways was minimal.

California ?Daze?

As a grommet, I was very shy ( TSM: we don?t believe you Pood Mark J ), we kept moving around a lot and new places and faces was not a comfortable thing for me. It took time to adjust to the new environment and to the new students. By the time I was around 10 yrs old, I started to be more talkative and adventurous?hangin? out with the ?cooler? students.

While in high school I heard about ?the skate boarding thing??using roller skates by taking the wheels off the skates and attaching piece of wood. Once companies started making these with good wheels we were ?all into skateboarding?. After high school I still surfed while in a junior college, but got lazy cause I was into the music, drugs and the girl scene. The late 60s and 70s in ?Cal? was the real deal. It was one of the best times to be an 18-23 yr old?living the surfer-life on hardly no money.

I had wheels, and so did my friends, so we would do weekend surf trips with lots of weed, acid, etc. We ?surf-party?go to concerts?sleep on the beach?be beach bums?. I dropped out of school and went into the military for a few years. After that I got totally back into surfing?got into the short board scene and was a full-time college student. I even had an evening job?the rest is history!

Later I moved to San Diego?s Ocean Beach and lived, worked and played there for the next 27 yrs?and surfed almost every day! I still have my second surfboard that I used for many years?a 10ft, 3-stringer, green tint, quarter-speed shape Wardy surfboard, made in Laguna Beach, Cal.

My buddies told me “Mark, you got to go to Thailand, unbelievable place, lots of really nice girls, great mountains, waterfalls, parks, friendly people, great food, cheap, easy to get around?just go!”

So they were totally right, I just fell into a great place, great fun, great people, easy life, smiles everywhere.

Bound for Thailand!

Around 1991 I decided to make a trip to Asia with a couple of old buddies. They told meMark you got to go to Thailand, unbelievable place, lots of really nice girls, great mountains, waterfalls, parks, friendly people, great food, cheap, easy to get around?just go!”? So they were totally right, I just fell into a great place, great fun, great people, easy life, smiles everywhere.

So every year I would go to Thailand for a few days, then travel to other countries around Asia, like Viet Nam (?Charlie country?), Cambodia (a lawless land like going back 50 years ago), Nepal with its mountains, and Indo with its radical surf spots, beauty and culture. Over the past 4-5 years I went to the west coast of the Philippines and found similar waves like here, but better shape.

MEX

Back in San Diego, we were only about 60 km from the border of Mexico, which has a lot of good surf sports. You need a wetsuit surfing the Baja side (until you go really far south). My buddies and I would go down there a lot and surf many spots during weekends?just stay on the beach camping or get a cheap hotel room.? We surfed Cabo San Lucas, Matzatlan and Puerto Viejata. Then I went to Costa Rica and stayed at my friend?s house in the southern region at a famous surf spot call Pavones. Big days?between 6-12 ft faces?and surfed it many times.

A New Beginning

On Jan 25 or so, 1999, I left the states for good. Why would I do that people ask? Time for a change?eastern culture, different society, and I don?t have to see all the idiots and jerks in my face. It was just time?time to get away and make an attempt to start a new life in a new part of the world! So I decided to keep a place in Phuket for the surf season and a place in Cambodia during the Thai tourist months, Nov thru April, and travel around to other countries as a tourist.

How it was?How it is

Surfing has really come along way and not for the best. I had the best back then?cool surfers in the water, small crowds compared with today?s, respect for the old-timers and basically everyone took surfing as having fun; it was a way of getting into nature. Today, its huge crowds, agro-mentality surfers,? idiots, territorial assholes, mean competitive young punks thinking they are the next world champs, every country in the world trying the sport, doing the sport. It is just getting out of hand.? Throw in the wonderful internet and you don?t have surfing like you had in the old days, during my beginning surf years? the 60’s and 70’s era.

But we all make the adjustments?so mine was leave Southern Cal?go to Phuket?it works for me!

Surfing in Phuket

Surfing is getting more popular in Phuket, but that?s okay, it?s not real busy except in Kata Beach due to the many surf shops and surf schools. I live in Kata but do travel around the island to other spots and on a regular basis. There are a few surfers in the water with the attitude, but hey?so be it. Sometimes I will get into somebody?s face if he is constantly showing no surf etiquette, but that is rare. So I enjoy talking a lot with my friends in the water between sets?I can hear the Thais givin? me sh*t?so I say “hey man?me old man?u know me man??u see me every year surfing, u miss me talking in the water man?” but they are mostly having fun with me.

All the local thai surfers are really cool, they joke around in the water, always looking at the hot Japanese girls or farang chicks. They are okay. There are a lot of hot Thai surfers throughout all the surf spots here. Many work and surf in Patong, Kalim, Kamala, Karon and of course, Kata Beach.

?Hey all you young surfers out there?Don?t take surfing so serious, most of you are not going to be professionals?Have fun in the lineup, there is always another day of waves, the waves are not going away?Relax and have fun cause one day u going to be my age in the water?Think about that dude!!!?


SEE YA IN THE LINEUP!

TAKE CARE,

?POOD? MARK

?SURFER MARK, ?PUT PUT MAK MAK? FROM SAN DIEGO CA?Still living in Kata and surfing this wonderful island of Phuket for 12 years?Check it out, dig it man?the old man is still surfing and riding off-road ?motos? throughout Asia!

READ THE FULL ISSUE OF THAISURFRIDER HERE: http://www.thaisurfrider.com/this-issue/

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