The Bobs of The World

After a rough weekend, I took a long walk on the beach to clear my head.  I’ve walked that stretch of beach known as ‘Hole in the Fence’ for 15-plus years.

All of a sudden, a weathered man named Bob, emerges out of a beat-up van with a huge smile and bestows me with not one, but two bouquets of discount flowers from Trader Joe’s.  He may have even found  them dumpster diving.  Doesn’t matter. They are some of the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever received.  Judging from his van and its contents, I’m guessing Bob’s van is not his home away from home.  But rather his home.

It still doesn’t matter.  Bob is one of the richest guys I’ve ever met.

Thanks Bob for filling that hole in my Monday with an act of kindness.

Happy Monday to the Bobs of the world.

#flowerpower #MondayMonday #Bobsrule #whataboutbob

Bob's bouquet

A Legend in Everyone’s Mind

In surfing there’s a saying:  ‘He’s a legend in his own mind”.  On May 12th, surfing lost a true legend in everyone’s mind in the surf community.  For those of us who spent time with him, legend doesn’t even begin to come close.

Two years ago, I was on my way for one last chaotic  Costco Christmas session.   My son, Daniel, was born on December 26th.  We celebrate Christmas, followed by a birthday bash the next day.   So I had serious shopping ahead of me.  As I zipped into my secret parking spot, I saw Santa Claus in a Hobie shirt – carrying the biggest burrito I’ve ever seen.   As he approached his sleigh disguised as an old white van, I slowed down and  saw that familiar dusty beard.  Yes, it was him.  This Santa was also putting in serious overtime for those awaiting the best gift a surfer can get under the tree:  A hand-shaped Terry Martin board.


Terry leaned into the window with the weathered face that actors can only dream about.  And a glint in his eye that any Santa would envy.   Terry was a Hobie shaper when I first started surfing but I couldn’t afford one of his boards with my measly babysitting funds.  But there he was, one career later,  standing before me.  A living legend.

I became the proud owner of a ‘magic’  Terry Martin board a few years ago by default.    My son, Dustin,  rode for Hobie and spent considerable time with Terry in the coveted shaping room.  Like everyone, he came to know and love the man,  as much as his boards. Which is why Dustin hovers over his Terry Martin boards like a woman fawns over an heirloom keepsake.  I had never owned a Terry Martin board.   Frankly,  I never understood the surfboard shaper mystique that surfers acquire for their Shaper Du Jour.  Let alone, the Shaper!    I just wrote it off to hero-worship.  So when my  board snapped on a big wave, I came home and told Dustin I needed to order a new board.   He leaned over to the board rack and pulled out  his favorite Terry Martin boards and casually said, “Here try this one.  You’ll love it.”

There she was.  Dustin’s favorite green board.  Ironically, it was the same color as my very first custom board.  A Wetzel that I bought  after countless hours, babysitting for Marines,   just back  from Viet  Nam.  Business was booming that summer.

I finally ventured out to my local break with the board.  Locals quickly noticed, “Is that a Terry Martin board?”  I nodded a ‘yes’ nonchalantly.  Suddenly, I got a whole new respect out in the line-up.  Darn, I would have gotten one of his boards years ago if that’s all it took to get any respect in any line-up.

And then it happened.  A set wave was taunting me.  I took off, dropped down and discovered what surfers talk about:   A magic board.  And yes, I’ve had more fun than I ever thought possible.   Thank God Dustin was feeling generous that day. 

So on that day in December, I rolled down the window to thank Terry for my magic board.  He leaned that long gray Santa beard inside, resting his Las Golondrinas  burrito on the window ledge.  But being painfully honest at times, I first confessed to him  that  I didn’t believe all the Terry Martin ‘magic board’ hoopla ’til I finally rode that board.  As he laughed, dust from his morning shaping session sprinkled like snow on his burrito, still wrapped in white like a newborn baby.

Terry opened the car door and sat down, armed with his  burrito and I, with my coffee.   We shared our sons’  triumphs and misfortunes.  His son’s successful racing career; and the motorcycle accident that paralyzed him.  Dustin’s  surfing career and a congenital heart problem that would last a lifetime.    For  two hours, we  talked about life, family, spirituality;  everything but surfing.   Finally, it dawned on me:  he probably had a string of  moms and dads waiting back at the shaping room for the magic Terry Martin board that would brighten their Christmas morning in two days.  Holy moly.

Yet, not once did Terry ever seem stressed or rushed in that two hours.  Ironically, neither did I.  Instead, the holiday rush took a back seat as  the real priorities of life moved front and center for me.   But if I didn’t nudge Terry, he’d be working ’til Christmas Day  to meet his looming deadlines.  And I’d be on everybody’s Christmas list for all the wrong reasons.

Terry climbed out of my car with his burrito, still unopened.  He hopped into his van, waved and drove away.   That was the last time I spoke with  Terry.

I drove out of the Costco parking lot knowing I had just gotten one of the best gifts ever.    Costco doesn’t sell surfboards or anything else that can compete with that of kind of gift.  No membership cards, SKU numbers or family paks.  Just the gift of time and self.  A priceless commodity any time of year.

I raced home and called my niece, Christine, who attends the same church as Terry and his family.  As I recounted my experience to her, she knew that Terry had renewed this Catholic girl’s spirituality and faith in mankind –  in less than two hours.  Something no one had done since I defected from Catholicism.  Praise the Lord – a miracle happened right there in the Costco parking lot.

I have allowed  a select few to use the board.  Of course, this was after I had them sign waivers and releases followed with a thorough background check.  And they would all come back with the same enthusiasm I have every time  time I rode that board.   And for those who had never ridden a Terry Martin board, they too had become followers.  The difference between Terry and other shapers?  All Terry’s boards are magic boards.  All 80,001.

Dustin paid a visit to Terry back in January.  In April, Dustin  had three open heart surgeries.  By May, Terry’s melanoma was in its final stages.  Dustin felt the  urgency to visit Terry again yet he put it off  and now I know why.  Terry was going where Dustin almost went in April.   It was just too much to handle.  Dustin would remember Terry on his terms.  So instead, we hired our friend, Dylan Mack, to patch up the dings on my board.  As Dustin’s health improved, Terry’s health was deteriorating.  But by all accounts, Terry’s spirit, that soul, was still intact.

Last week, my magic Terry Martin board came back home from the ding hospital.  Perfect.  All ready for another endless summer.  And so was I.  So I went downtown and bought myself a Mother’s Day present to go with it:  a 3/2 wetsuit.  I rushed home, put on the wetsuit and headed to San O.  These past 5 months have been the hardest time of my life as a Mom.  A real doozy.  But after the first wave, it was all washed away on my magic board like the Christmas rush on the last day I saw Terry.

Familiar faces greeted me with talk of Terry in the line-up.  An amazing human being.  Oh yeah, and a great shaper, too.    To those of you who don’t surf, Terry is as synonymous to household names of surfers such as Kelly Slater and Hobie.  Sitting in the water for the evening glass off, I savored the ocean, the puffy clouds, taking in the visual reinforcement that reminds all surfers that  we are such a small part of a much bigger picture.

I came home from that surf session with a renewed love of surfing, family, life and faith.     Early Saturday morning, May 12th, Terry Martin passed away.   A legend in everyone’s mind that taught us so much;  yet most of it had nothing to do with surfing.

His services will be held this Friday but my family will not be able to attend because my youngest son, Steven,  is graduating from college.   Terry totally understands, though.  God bless you and your family, Terry.

To contribute to this very’ magic’  human being go to:





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