I never thought I would need to write this. Or that I would need to start a new magazine that would need to do a surf trip as a reminder that we’re still unpredictable enough to fail. That the throwback of a silly road trip up north in a big van in California is not entirely unnecessary. And it may in fact be essential. That not all is lost from our golden eras and buried in the hieroglyphics of old Counter Culture stickers, or forgotten in the glassy-eyed stare that is, “It looks kinda shitty on the webcam” or the infinite abyss that is your phone. But I think we did need this. To prove that not everything is hidden in a contract that says no vape pens or cursing on camera. Or no mistakes or hangovers or all-nighters. That we’re still human beings and we want to live and have fun.
And so we did. And now we have this. And all of us. From the ones who do things for no other reason than to wake up and wonder, just for a second, “Where the fuck am I again? Oh yeah!” And then grab a jacket and get moving. That we still yearn to roll with the ebb and flow of the tide that exists inside a 15-seater van with nine hoodie-wearing dudes and their hangovers for hours at a time and the absolute insanity and musical diversity that it commands. Because it is rambunctious in there, and it is laughs and fun, but it is also as nostalgic and lonely as listening to old Modest Mouse songs while you stare at open fields of brown and green through a windshield covered in bird shit.
But we’re glad we went. Because we are all Droid and his full bottle of wine in the very back seat begging for a piss break every 22 miles. And we are all in this van and it’s loud full in here, full of clattering boards and live albums playing loud. And we’re sure as hell glad we paid extra insurance on this van because the floor is already coated with sunflower seeds and beer caps before being north of Santa Barbara. And that’s OK.
Because we are not a football team. We are not any kind of team. We are us.
And the waves looked like they would be good (and they were at times). But they were better the following week (of course). But we went anyway, because we couldn’t wait. We destroyed many things on our way. But we mostly destroyed a small guitar that Andrew bought in Santa Cruz on our our second night. —Travis Ferre
Look for the full feature and imagery from our This is Us: North trip inside What Youth Issue 13, available here.
Watch our Off Beat with Cole Sandman, the gremlin grom we adopted for a day in Santa Cruz during the trip: