“Totally Gay”, by Brad Melekian

May 19, 2011 in Art, Articles, Members' blogs, Stories by thomasadmin

Thanks to @wavvves , we found this article written by Brad Melekian, called “Totally Gay” and published in 2007, about brad’s friend’s coming out story as a gay surfer who thought he was the only gay surfer in the world…
They probably have heard of GaySurfers.net by now, but just to make sure I would like to get in contact with them.
Does anyone know one of them, or how to get in touch with them ?
info@gaysurfers.net

We’d just gotten out of the water in front of his house and were on our way to a taco shop for dinner. Boards in the back of the truck, me riding shotgun, him driving, another buddy in the back. This was our little surfing crew.
In the crack between his 60/40 bench seat, I saw a magazine. We were driving down an oceanfront road, late summer, the sun setting over the water to the west. I pulled out the magazine, unfolded it, and looked at the cover. Two dudes, laughing, smiling, real close to each other. The Gay and Lesbian Times.
“What are you?” I said. “Some sort of homo?”
I had seen the magazine in his house before. He’s an attorney, and he’d told me he was investigating a case for a client.
“What if I was?” he said.
My muddy in the back started cracking up.
“You keep these things around and I’m gonna start thinking you’re a fruit.”
“No, seriously, what if I was?”
“F-ck you,” I said.
“I’m asking you, what if I was?”
We were in our 20s, so I reasserted myself with a F-ck you.”
After 10 minutes of the same, with my other buddy laughing in the back (turned out he already knew) I said to him, “Look, if you are, I don’t care, but you’re not, so shut the f-ck up.”
“I am,” he said, and still I didn’t believe him. It took another 10 minutes before I was convinced.
We got to the taco shop, where I forewent the California burrito and without meaning to, downed three beers. “Wow,” I muttered. “He is some sort of homo.”
He’s a friend of mine. He knew my wife before I knew my wife and, perhaps inevitably, we started surfing together. There was one winter in particular that we surfed almost every single day. Within a couple of years we had our own little surf crew – three of four of us – and our friendships became ironclad. Surfing was the thing that kept us together: We went on surf trips, traded phone calls and emails about upcoming swells, talked about things more serious between set waves.
Then it happened. Or, it didn’t happen, but he figured it out. After years of denial, he finally admitted it to himself and to other people. He couldn’t stand for it to be true. How did any of it fit? Especially in surfing.
If it was heavy for me, it was traumatizing for him. When it happened, he stopped surfing altogether. He thought that there was something wrong with him and that he had no place in a surf world so laden in machismo. He figured that the thing he loved most in the world would have to be surrendered. After all, he thought, there weren’t any gay surfers.
For three months he didn’t surf, got depressed, took pills, and couldn’t stand himself. In trying to figure out who he was and how this had happened, he figured everything had to change.
My wife and some of the girls in our little group tried to talk him through it, but us guys didn’t know how to do that. We just told him to keep surfing. Told him to get back in the water. There would be something there, an answer. I framed up a picture of this break we’d been to on a surf trip. Taken from a bluff overlooking the ocean, in black and white, my amateur photograph pictured an empty lineup and a perfect wave: double overhead, offshore, barreling left and right. I attached a little piece of writing, and told him he owed it to himself to get back in the water.
When he did, six months later, he went out alone at a crowded break, terrified. He looked over both shoulders and thought everyone knew.
Telling me now, he tears up. He’s been prodding me for years to write an article about gay surfers, but I kept asking him what the story was, what it meant,who cared? To me, he was just a surfer. I didn’t care what he did in his private life.
Not everyone thinks like that, I know. It’s an old boy’s club, and there’s no room for guys like that, some say. After all, we take our shirts off around each other, go on surf trips in tight spaces. That’s our forward-thinking subset.
But even that’s not the story. The story is what that first session taught him. He was surfing by himself and looked out at the lineup, and thought to himself that he didn’t care. He thought that so many of those people out there would hate him if they knew, and still he didn’t care. He thought that out of all these people, there had to be more, and he’s right.
He caught one, got to his feet, arced a big frontside bottom turn heading right, hand on the table, anonymous faces on the shoulder looking up at him, seeing in him only what he was and is: a surfer, and a good surfer.
He cracked off the top and settled into himself a little more, into the familiar routine. He came back down off the bottom and arched into a roundhouse. This is me, he thought. This is what I am, and I won’t stop being it.
He milked the wave to the inside, kicked out before the wave closed out on the reform, and began paddling back outside, looking at the lineup. He thought that out there, in all those people, there were more like him. And maybe someday that wouldn’t matter.
Now, when we surf together, he’ll sometimes double pump a bottom turn, or claim a wave, or come off the top too weak, and one of our crew never fails to yell my favorite criticism: “That was totally gay!”
And yes, he’s still a friend of mine.