Inconvenience Store


Ok. It’s late evening and I’m down at the end of 35th Street South, doing my

evening wave check. It’s flat of course, but of that peculiarly perfect, less

than knee high with offshore winds, Cocoa Beach kind of flatness.

Sipping the cheap beer and hear a horn honk behind me.

There sits Matt Kechele, in his van.

With a twinkle in his eye, he produces a device most bizarre.

It’s a Surf Bob (you know, the miniature thing that you push into teency surf

and it actually rides the waves by itself, a sight to see), but it’s a little

different. Quite a lot different, actually.

Under Bob’s feet is a hatch that opens into the foot long board. When unscrewed,

it reveals a wonderful high tech assortment of wires, batteries, and a small

electric motor. Sonofabitch, the damn thing is self powered and radio

controlled. Matt grins like a Cheshire Cat.

After the battery pack is inserted into the thing, Matt takes it down to the

water and radio controls it into some insane wave action.

The thing is really REALLY FAST on it’s own. Just ZOOMS.

Technical glitches ensue and I’m called on to walk into the waist deep

perfection to retrieve the wayward device when it inexplicably decides to go

dead in the water every so often.

After operation is tweaked into normalcy, I’m treated to a psychotic display of

radio controlled surfing with Electro Surf Bob doing some incredible maneuvers,

getting serious air, flipping over oncoming waves, and screaming down the line,

making impossible closeout sections using his secret weapon, that little

propeller under his board. Matt is stoked, and so am I.

Soon enough the battery pack runs down.

Matt has me retrieve the device from the midbreak and takes it back to the van

for a battery pack replacement.

At which point things begin to go seriously awry.

Down to the ocean’s edge and fire the thing up.

Which, it dutifully does, but then refuses any further commands.

Matt, ever the optimist, places the thing in the water despite being utterly

unable to turn it off or steer it using his radio control handset.

Electro Surf Bob immediately TEARS into the tiny waves, reaches the outside at

top speed, turns to the right, and ensnares itself in the fishing line of the

fat kid standing just south of us on the shoreline.

I go out, retrieve the damn thing and then compound Matt’s mistake in setting it

free in the first place, and do the very same thing, pointing it toward the

beach. Electro Surf Bob immediately zooms shoreward and very nearly comes within

Matt’s reach. VERY nearly. But at the last minute it does a wide right turn and

shoots along the shore and then veers toward the horizon, blasting through the

small surf and gaining the outside, at which point it veers again, but not quite

enough. It’s now heading southward, and easing gently out to sea, even as the

gathering gloom of nightfall begins to thicken and gather.

So we run like crazed treasure hunters, following the wayward gizmo.

Somewhere near Picnic Tables we loose sight of it.

While I mark the place in the sand, Matt shoots back to his van and returns with

his board.

A heroic paddle into the gathering gloom.

Soon enough, I lose sight of Matt and make ANOTHER mark in the sand, feeling a

bit of unease.

At which point, nothing at all happens for the next half hour.

Matt’s gone, and I’m getting VERY worried for his health and well being, not

being able to see any evidence of him, at least five hundred yards offshore in

the now fully cloaked shroud of complete nightfall.

Eventually, he shuffles onshore quite a bit north of where I’m squinting into

the blackness, looking for him.

No gizmo.

Too bad.

The July offshores continue to blow, through the night and into the next day.

Electro Surf Bob must surely be riding them far, far away from this shore.

All I can say at this point is that all of you people residing on the rim of the

North Atlantic Basin are on notice.

If Electro Surf Bob fetches up on your shore, it’s Matt’s, ok?

I’m sure he’ll want it back.

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