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  1. #1
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    Vince Collier has passed away.

    Definitely a polarizing figure. Obviously there is lots of negative about his conduct, as anyone who lives in Santa Cruz or saw Westsiders knows, but I have also heard some good stories about him.

    https://new.surfline.com/surf-news/r...-collier/20321

    Ott, any encounters? I'm curious to hear from someone who actually has boots on the ground in Santa Cruz.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

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  2. #2
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    He wasnít that bad, IMO. He had a bark, but unless you poked him, no bite.

    Back in the mid 90s I surfed the Lane more than I do now, and that was usually where I saw him.

    I can remember one high tide day at the point, with the back wash really jacking up some waves, I was paddling into a bigger peak, just as the back wash hit and moved a ledge up the face. As I was standing up, I could hear him cackling at me, sure I was going to get launched. I managed to hop off the ledge, acid drop 4í, land the transition and crank my bottom turn into the next section. When I paddled back out, I cruised right up next to him. He glanced over, I smuggle smiled, he gave me a little less stink eye, and never talked shut again.

    He hated kooks, crowds, traveling pros, anyone who dared take over his surf spot, and a typical water bullshit. I can respect that.

    While I avoids being on the receiving end of his anger, I never tried to become too close. He seemed best kept at an arms length. Not too far, and not to close. He was like a ticking time bomb. RIP.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post

    He hated kooks, crowds, traveling pros, anyone who dared take over his surf spot, and a typical water bullshit. I can respect that.
    What? Fuck him and everyone like him. His type is the biggest issue in the surf scene. Good riddance.

  4. #4
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    I should be clear here. He was a dick.

    But I get it. The Lane is often a fucking shit show. Iíd compare it to beginner snowboarders side slippin down a Chute and scraping it down to ice, but the water is more dynamic.

    I stopped surfing there (except on rare occasions) over a decade ago because of how crowded it gets with such a mix of surfer skills and sense of etiquette. Iíve almost been seriously hurt there several times because of the General bullshit in the water. Too many people not being respectful. So, when I said ďI can respect that,Ē I should have said ďI get that.Ē

    I just donít bother surfing there. But I did not grow up surfing there, and feel no loss. OTOH, if that scene ever started to make its way into the breaks I do surf, Iíd be pretty pissed about it.

    Iíd also say he contributed to the general bullshit, along with his crew of meth head boys. Not sure if they were worse than the mixed crowds tho.

    Everyone here thinks they are a local. A friend of mine, who moved here maybe 5 years ago, likes to talk about how the Boardwalk is really for the tourist, and not us locals. I like this person, but they are rich Silicon Valley types driving up the cost of living in this town and displacing the people who were born here. I get their frustration.

    Anyway, Vince was a dick, but I guess he seemed kind of like Omar to me. Sure, he was a bad dude, but at least he had a code.

    And he never hit me with his board.

    And I do hope he finds peace in death. I hope that for everyone, especially those who could not find it in life.

    And there are more problems with the sport than assholes. Iíd put entitlement and greed as a bigger issue. From my experience, most assholes can be defused easy enough, using a few choice, and kind words.

    And again, to be clear, that whole crew for the 90s was toxic. Many of them have grown up, and now are trying to do right by their community. For what it is worth.

    BTW, it fucking sucks when kooks, crowds, traveling pros and anyone taking over your surf spot shows up. Just stay off my waves.

  5. #5
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    We have a couple dicks around here and none of them grew up here but they seem to think they own the break. Again, fuck them and anyone like them. I have no tolerance for it.

    When I arrived in JH as a kid with essentially no clue the air force dudes were super cool to all of us. Of course we weren't dicks, but that is just the difference between the hardcore ski scene vs the surf scene. Skiers are more chill, but we're also not crammed into small areas.

  6. #6
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    There is that.

    Iíve experience much greater levels of asshole at east coast breaks vs west coast breaks for what it is worth. Usually they also suck at getting the peak, so I usually just ignore them.

    From my experience here in SC, over two decades, if you donít act like a dick, no one bothers you. Occasionally you run into an angry old man. There are two guys around here that fit this category. Way more intimidating than Vince ever ways, cause these two seem crazy. Like they might actually try to drown you on the wrong day.

    Always liked skiing with friends a lot better. In resorts and touring. Waves are such a limited resource. Even when surfing amongst friends, it can be quite competitive.

    And itís one of the things Iíve been enjoying about Cowells. So not competitive. Just fun.

  7. #7
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    ^this crap reminds me of when the scene kids (who arenít kids... these people are technically adults) get mad that their Ďsceneí got ruined by someone who owns a building and decides to sell it off to someone who will repurpose it. Immature entitled fools fighting over entitlements they have no right to say they earned.

    From the outside looking in, itís a nasty stain on otherwise one of the coolest activities there is.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackstraw View Post
    What? Fuck him and everyone like him. His type is the biggest issue in the surf scene. Good riddance.
    Yup, was talking this weekend about surfing compared to skiing and skiing doesn't have those kind of assholes around in my experience.
    I love to surf, but the crowds have really put me off over the last few years and assholes like him are the final straw.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by liv2ski View Post
    Yup, was talking this weekend about surfing compared to skiing and skiing doesn't have those kind of assholes around in my experience.
    I love to surf, but the crowds have really put me off over the last few years and assholes like him are the final straw.
    I grew up surfing, but other than a couple of trips to places I wonít mention, Iíve chosen to spend my life skiing and biking because of the over crowded hyper competitive shit-show that surfing almost any quality wave has become. VC seemed like a nutter, but Iím somewhat sympathetic to an extreme response to the destruction of something you love.

  10. #10
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    Our worst Local Dick talks long and hard about growing up here, but time has revealed he grew up 20 miles inland.....thus the overcompensation complex.
    dude takes off for a few months each year to go study the Dickly Arts in....you guessed it....Santa Cruz.

    Many mixed feelings for guys like VC. You feel for their sense of paradise lost, you hate the bad vibes they bring, you admire their surfing and commitment. In a lot of ways guys like that embody the struggles and growing pains of the sport as a whole (imho).

    I'm certain there are plenty of friends and family who will dearly miss Vince, vibes to them. A part of me is intellectually intrigued by wondering how the overall dynamic will change in that scene and that break in the absence of such a brutal regulator. It could go any number of ways.

  11. #11
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    In the way of comparing ski dicks vs. surf dicks...I recall moving to Crested Butte in 1995 as a mere 18 y.o. pup and running into a few heinous douchebags. The one who most comes to mind was a little runtly patroller called "H Baum". I'm sure somebody here knows who that is. He's old now (I'm old now ffs), but here's that douchebag on the right:


    short guy complex, authority complex...douchebag

  12. #12
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    I found the powder day at a big resort shitshow a dickfest of the highest order, equal to paddling out at Rincon or the like. Way too many people competing for a scarce resource, no etiquette, all me me me me ego and that stain has shown no signs of going away. ime the worst dicks at the surfbreak were usually people from somewhere far away, often the mountains, who'd come to plunder as much surf as they could and had no willingness to share or wait. The VCs were always ime overhyped manifestations of that ego, not the problem, but I generally avoided the breaks those guys monopolized anyways. The main difference between skiing & surfing was it being easier to go ski touring and find yourself pretty alone with the powder.

  13. #13
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    Some interesting thoughts here. VC is being discussed over in the surfer mag forums. Lots of guys there have first hand experience, and there are some interesting perspective on both sides.

    I'm all for respect and etiquette in the water, but guys like Collier take it too far. It is understandable, given the overcrowding and gentrification of Santa Cruz, for Collier to be the way he was, but that is an explanation, not a justification.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

  14. #14
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    Grew up in San Diego and yet never surfed any one break enough to be local. Have a friend who has earned it at Blacks and sees the salty vets breaking boards and holding guys under the water all the time. Complete bullshit. So what if it was your thing that you loved and now it's everybody else's too? It's the same thing that happens with small towns, with hot girls, with indy music that gets discovered, everything. Deal with it like an adult, or if you don't want to, find a new place.
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  15. #15
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    Again, regarding Vince, I surfed around him for about 5 years. After that I rarely surfed the Lane, and I donít know if he was surfing there anymore. Never really saw him, or heard about him. I figured he moved to Mexico. Not sure.

    Anyway, in those 5 years, I never saw him hold anyone under water, break a board or even make physical contact with another person. He talked a bunch of shit when someone got up in his face. Every time I saw a confrontation, the other person would back down before it came to blows. No idea if it ever actually would.

    And no, I have not bothered to research his police blotter. Like I said, he was kind of a dick.

    At the same time, in those 5 years that I spent some time at the Lane, I saw hordes of people show up daily that had no sense of etiquette or respect for anyone else in the water. As someone early stated, they were usually entitled visitors. Most of the regulars rotated and took turns. Kind of. I was low on the totem pole, being new. Makes sense to me. I had not been surfing there all my life. I just showed up. By the time I worked my way half way up the priority list, I split to spend more time at less crowded breaks up the coast.

    I get a sense that a lot of what people hear about Vince are boogeyman stories. And I think he liked it that way.

    I canít justify Vinceís behavior. But, again, I understand it. The Lane was crowded when it pretty much stopped surfing there in the late 90s. It is even way more crowded there today. If you donít know the spot, it should be mentioned that you enter the water by jumping off a rock outside the lineup. You can literally jump off that rock and dry hair paddle to the peak during a twenty foot swell. Anyone can easily paddle out. You end up with a mix of beginners, long time locals, wanna be pros, pros, old men, little kids, and pretty much everything in between. It creates a pretty good shit show most days.

    It is not uncommon to get dropped in on by someone way down the line, because they literally thought there was no way anyone could make the wave from that far back. Or a wanna be pro drop in, cause s/he is paying for the video guy on the cliff.

    They day I got it; I understood the frustration, I was surfing Middles and getting some waves and surfing the left when a long boarder kept paddling on the shoulder, head down, not looking, trying his hardest to catch the wave. As I caught up to him, I had to duck underneath the nose of his board to avoid getting hit in the head, and used my hand to push him off the back of the wave. As I was paddling back out, the dude (who Iíve never seen before) paddles over to me and tells me he will kick my ass if I ever touch his board again. WTF. I can see why someone like that might get their board broke. Instead I calmly tell him that he was dangerous, not paying attention, and should move further in to Cowels until he learns proper etiquette and gains some skills to know where to paddle for the waves. He tells me to fuck off and he will surf where ever he damn well pleases cause I donít own the ocean. Whatever.

    OTOH, I can recall a day the last time the real pros were in town for a contest. It was not a contest day, the Point was breaking and most of my usual spots were blown out. It was fucking crowded. The bigger crowd, with a lot of visiting pros was actually kind of easy to negotiate. Easier than when it is only locals it seemed. Anyway, some confrontation popped up and about 30 guys were in a circle yelling at each other. It was a big pro vs local thing. Too bad Nat was not out. Or maybe it was fine. The verbal argument lasted through two awesome sets. There were only three of us left surfing at the peak for these five waves sets. Suddenly it was super polite at the peak, ďWould you like this one, or shall I go?Ē

    Anyway, I also agree with the comment about resort powder days. At least since Vail took over Kirkwood. I think the was better before because we had way fewer passholders.

    With both though, I see the entitled new comers the source of the problem. When I show up at a new surf break, I watch from shore for a while, then paddle out and watch a few sets from the shoulder, then move to the peak and take a few when I have a chance. I donít just jump in the water, paddle to the peak, and start taking every wave I can. But that is now how the world of me me me operates. So many charge right out. And half of them canít surf well enough and are a danger to those around them. But they donít give a fuck. Until a Vince beats their ass. And then they wonder why the Vinces are so mean.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post






    They day I got it; I understood the frustration, I was surfing Middles and getting some waves and surfing the left when a long boarder kept paddling on the shoulder, head down, not looking, trying his hardest to catch the wave. As I caught up to him, I had to duck underneath the nose of his board to avoid getting hit in the head, and used my hand to push him off the back of the wave. As I was paddling back out, the dude (who I’ve never seen before) paddles over to me and tells me he will kick my ass if I ever touch his board again. WTF. I can see why someone like that might get their board broke. Instead I calmly tell him that he was dangerous, not paying attention, and should move further in to Cowels until he learns proper etiquette and gains some skills to know where to paddle for the waves. He tells me to fuck off and he will surf where ever he damn well pleases cause I don’t own the ocean. Whatever.
    .


    With both though, I see the entitled new comers the source of the problem. .
    Your story is why I rarely surf crowded spots. The funny thing is, while Lowers is very crowded, the etiquette is sometimes pretty good there, or at least better than expected. People drop in on each other all the time, but they almost always kick out. One summer I surfed Lowers quite a bit. I eventually gave up, because I did not get enough waves there, but I noticed that there were not all that many confrontations. While people might drop in, they would kick out if the person behind them made the wave. It was still too crowded for me, but I saw far fewer confrontations than I expected.

    Cotton's is a spot that can be a problem. You have a mixed range of abilities, and lots of people on bigger boards who are not courteous. I don't have a problem with big boards, I ride fishy type boards consistently and I have a 6'8" funboard that I take out quite a bit, but when you are going down the line and someone on a 9' almost takes your head off it is not fun. I sometimes wish surf shops would give etiquette lessons to beginners. They need to know that dropping in on someone is dangerous on a shortboard, and VERY dangerous with a huge board. I see lots of people who don't obey the rules and don't seem to use common courtesy. I know the breaks near Cotton's pretty well, so if I time it right I can find a fun and less crowded peak. If you know how to plan things with the tide the breaks from Cotton's to Barbedwire's have lots of options.

    I will be the first to admit I'm mediocre surfer, I learned in college. But I have always tried to practice etiquette, starting when I was a beginner. I asked my friends who surfed lots of questions, I did not want to step on anyone's toes. I really don't understand how people can enter this sport and have no desire to learn the rules.

    I'm not saying violence is the answer, but sometimes the idea that you could get socked is a good thing. I would rather people naturally practice etiquette, but if the threat of being beaten up causes someone to be respectful I guess that is a positive. I wish it did not have to come to that though, and I don't want to see anyone get hurt.

    Like I said, I don't condone Vince's behavior, but I can understand how people like that get to be the way they are.
    "Have you ever seen a monk get wildly fucked by a bunch of teenage girls?" "No" "Then forget the monastery."


    "You ever hear of a little show called branded? Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Not exactly a lightweight." Walter Sobcheck.

    "I didn't have a grandfather on the board of some fancy college. Key word being was. Did he touch the Filipino exchange student? Did he not touch the Filipino exchange student? I don't know Brooke, I wasn't there."

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