By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
When people approached him, he asked their names and introduced himself as Adam. That got him the open-mouthed double take that he probably gets a hundred times a day and ended his moment of relative anonymity.
“Am I old or is Saturday Night Live not funny anymore?” someone asked.
“Hey, it’s not easy to be funny once a week, believe me,” Sandler said.
“What is Shaq like up close and personal?” asked a guy who’d seen Sandler sitting at courtside at a Laker playoff game.
“Confident!” Sandler answered.
Someone pitched a movie idea to Sandler called Bubblehead: “Imagine a guy who has something happen to him, and he can all of a sudden read thought bubbles over people’s heads!”
Sandler just smiled politely.
This went on for about an hour as the surf trickled in and the wind got better and the sun sank behind the mountains. Sander surfs okay, for a Jewish guy from New Hampshire who spends too much time on movie sets making gazillions of dollars — except for one quirk: When he ends a wave, he usually does this dorky, twisting flop which, like everything else he does, is kind of funny. But it’s also kind of hazardous because he lets his board go flying off wherever, and that can have consequences at a surf spot this crowded.
Once, Sandler paddled and stood on a wave that a young woman was already riding. He took off anyway, as is par for this place, and then rode the wave for a while, with the girl behind him and someone else behind her. When he got to the end, Sandler did that twisting dismount, and his board flew up and popped the girl good in the side of her head. For a second there it looked like he might have done serious damage, but the girl brushed it off, kicked out and paddled back out on her knees.
As she passed the inside pack, someone asked if she was okay.
“I’m fine,” she smiled. “You know how this place is.”
“Do you know who that was?”
“No,” she said, already over it.
“That was Adam Sandler!”
The girl stopped paddling for a moment, then howled, “Celebrity Justice, here I come!” She paddled back to the top of the point to get some more.Renzo Piano’s blue-print for the County Museum of Art look suspiciously like a certain animated character?
L.A. surfers love to talk sharks.
I’ve seen jerk-offs trying to scare off newbies with all sorts of exaggerated claims. The great white shark that spent last summer lounging around San Onofre grew from a length of 8 feet in June to an August tally of 24. It’s all chatter.
So, when I paddled out at Sunset Beach last Monday, the last thing on my mind was the recent shark sightings at Will Rogers Beach. After all, I learned to surf in San Francisco, right in the middle of the great white feeding grounds known as the “red triangle.” I paid no attention to the fact that four 8-footers — either great whites or makos — were swimming less than a half-mile away. Nor did I care that one of the sharks swam over to a boat of local lifeguards — atypical behavior for a shark in this area. None of that mattered, because there was a south swell in the water, and I wanted some waves while the getting was good.
The getting was exceptionally good because there were only about 15 guys in the water — nearly empty for Sunset with a decent swell. After the third of three quick rides, I noticed something odd — a couple of news trucks parked by the side of the road. By the time I paddled back, everyone was talking about the trucks.
“You know what they’re here for?”
“They’re here for footage of us becoming lunch.”
Shark attacks on surfers are rare. Between 1990 and 1999 there were 441. According to a 2000 Surfrider Foundation report, a surfer can expect to be attacked by a shark once in a million sessions. Nonetheless, within 10 minutes, the water had emptied out. In 15, it was just me and one other guy.
“You ain’t leaving?” he asked.
Then he caught the next wave and was gone. It was just me and the news crews waiting for me to get eaten. I paddled into a nice wave and had the whole ocean to my smug, macho self. It had been a while since I had surfed at Sunset — just long enough to forget that there’s an inside section that shallows and where the waves wall up. Unprepared, I got punched by the lip and knocked off my board. Roiling in the water, I had only one thought: Was that the lip that hit me or was that something bigger, something with teeth, something in the 24-foot range? That was all it took. I took my smug, macho self home. Later, I found a small tear in the back of my wetsuit. Could have been there for months. Could have been there for hours.
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