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Gypsy was in jail. The ranger at the state park
openly laughed and joked but quietly didn't take kindly to Gypsy
acting crazy waving the pistol around his camp site. It was
the beginning of the end of the free wheeling Ventura Co wild
coast days. Parking on the higway at Rincon catching some sleep
the night before a days surfing was like anywhere else along
the beaches those days uninterupted, perfectly legal and free.
The Ventura County Park head Ranger flat out said
"Kids should not have to pay to camp". No 18 yrs or
over rule, No parents permission. Free camping period. It didn't
matter if the campground was empty or full. Common sense did
tell us to park outta the way, by the dumpster, way up towards
the enterance, or tripled up with someone else. If there were
no room no big deal there was two other parks close by and plenty
of nooks and cranies out there as options not to mention Stanley's.
After being threatened with vagrancy arrest, run off from our
pre dawn warming fire at c-st by early morning city trash collectors
we were weary of the little city of "good adventure".
Smoke billowed off the campfires at hobo jungle while we doused
the flames roughly where the holliday inn is today. Other than
the Hale and Morey surf shops, thrift stores and day old bakery
the only other thing of any interest was Ventura Point. When
there were no waves anywhere else there was always something
to ride there. A word to visitors, some things never change,
"Come to Ventura on vacation, leave on probation".
Like McTavish and Greenough Gypsy had his sidekick
Eddie the kneeboarder. Eddie broke his leg in high school and
never took to stand up surfing. Leg strengthening ws accelerated
by the use of various bellyboards until a cast off Greenough
spoon found it's way to him. He thrashed about on that thing
for years only showing signs of greatness in quality powerfull
surf for which those spoons were intended. He evolved to fine
tuned bonzer kneeboards. They magiclly appeared periodically
over the years on his Capatola door step. Eddie was adept at
all things mechanical and showed up many a time in procured
vehicles of dubious origin.
Gypsy and Eddie had the compound overlooking the
fabled reef. Tear drop trailer, van, tents, cars. It always
looked like a large group lived there. Most of the time it was
just them. On weekends or special occasions the camp site teemed
with visitors, travelers, La Conchita crew etc. The state limit
of days you could camp was 30. After 30 days you had to vacate
the site. 24 hours later you could return to the site, reestablish
the camp and were good for another 30 days.
Gypsy and Eddie basically had run of the place,
friendly Rangers, it was their spot. Gypsy and the transient
clan laid claim to the unique surf set up of heaving insiders
and the ever present outer reef that A framed epic beauties
thrust forth from the Alutians. On one such day I pulled into
the park solo, the caravan of circus tents and trailers were
parked at the seawall just north of the entrance. The dreaded
30 day 24hr vacate rule. The waves were perfect glassy 10',
not a soul around this weekday, no Gypsy or Ernie.
I hung around long enough to psych myself out.
The thought of making the quarter mile paddle didn't sit well.
The thought of loosing my board forced me to say fuck it and
move onto Rincon where there would be people to surf with, maybe
some of the La Conchita tribe. Sharing the long running walls
was a breeze. A nicely lopsided wave to rider ratio dream day.
Crawling up the rocks to the car I spotted another familiar
face. It was Wild Jenny the big breasted blond who was a cross
between Janis Joplin and Marylin Munroe. She was swearing like
a truck driver in her high pitched cackle. "Johnny, Johnny
they got Gypsy"!
Jenny turned heads anywhere she went with her breasts protruding
out the sides of her overalls more often than not. Her cackling
laugh in the back of rocking panel trucks at Stanley's always
gave her away. The sight of her changing into a bikini caused
many traffic accidents on old PCH. She was introduced originally
as one of the crews girlfriend. After her boyfriend took off
for Europe she evolved into something else.
to be continued