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Hurley Team Riders Surf and Enjoy with Galveston locals

Senator Larry Taylor names Hurley Team Riders honorary Texans.
Senator Larry Taylor names Hurley Team Riders honorary Texans.
Peter King

On June 20, 2014, in Galveston, Texas, International Surfing Day was ushered in at the 17th Annual Galveston Island Beach Patrol BBQ Fundraiser and Street Festival at local establishment, The Press Box. Fundraiser supporters were in for a surprise. There was plenty of BBQ to go around, prepared by the Galveston Rugby Football Club (Although, most were fans of the potato salad!). Music, a silent auction which included a surfboard bid, a cash bar, and plenty of smiles being allotted by Galveston Beach Patrol found their way amidst the sea of supporters. The road was blocked off to make more room for the outdoor venue.

A wooden pigpen held invitees in close proximity as they watched a streaming, Hurley surf movie exhibited by Ohana Surf and Skate. In addition, Ohana played host to an onslaught of Hurley Team Riders for this year’s summer tour. Fundraiser supporters were able to meet and greet the surfers. James Hendrix (yes, like Jimi Hendrix) sported a hat with an American flag flexed under the brim and held a similar starched respect for beach lifeguards: “It’s always a good thing to have them there.” If Brad Ettinger is staying busy being a good role model for the groms, Taylor Pai is definitely the class clown of the Hurley group. He keeps everyone in stitches. Despite being shy, Jason Rhodes, expert on surfing The Wedge, vocalized quite the protracted conversation regarding the gnarly Newport break: “[It’s] Newport Beach’s biggest wave. It’s the only wave I like in Newport. If it wasn’t for the wedge, I’d probably quit surfing. Wedge is the exception. I’ve been everywhere, but still go back to that wave. It’s my favorite.” He expanded further, “It is short and intense rather than a long, drawn out wave, and it barrels.” Rhodes explains his affection for The Wedge: “...just because I grew up there. I feel comfortable there.” Getting back to one’s roots is something that the Hurley guys had in common with the Texas locals. Southern boys, Blair Wheeler and Eros Exarhou, had a lot to say about the ocean’s wildlife. One can never quite tell if Wheeler is being serious or sarcastic. On surfing South Carolina he posited acerbically: “South Carolina is really bad. A lot of the waves are terrible. [There are] gators and sharks.” Eros elucidated his roots, and what it is like to surf New Smyrna Beach in Florida: “It’s all sand, which is kind of cool. No rocks. No reef… sharky!” Surfing with sharks does not seem to bother him. He relayed his ease in surfing with sharks: “I love sharks. Sharks are friends."

The Hurley boys were from the West Coast and the East Coast, but they all enjoyed their time in the hot, hospitable South. Some stayed up all night, living up to the team’s tour title “Hurley Surf and Enjoy Summer Tour 2014.” The following day, Hurley Team Riders showed their patriotism and support for the U.S. National Team, donning red, white, and blue Hurley boardshorts from Hurley's latest line at the “Surf and Enjoy” surfing event hosted by Ohana Surf and Skate. The team taught and surfed with countless groms, once again living up to the motto. Senator Larry Taylor even made a special guest appearance! An ardent surfer himself, Senator Taylor graced the Hurley boys as honorary Texans and gifted them with a Texas flag. Later in the day, the Hurley Team Riders were still stoked, raving about the experience.