Names: Jeff Knox and Seth Fisher
Live: Imperial Beach
Surfing: Imperial Beach, end of Imperial Beach Blvd/Coronado Avenue
Drive to the end of Imperial Beach Boulevard. There you'll meet locals Seth Fisher and Jeff "The Spiderman" Knox. "Only we don't call it Imperial Beach Boulevard," Seth corrects. "The old guys call it Coronado Avenue. We're old-line surfers, and that's the way we've always been." Seth, giving the hang-loose sign in the picture, runs down a number of things that Imperial Beach surfers do. "You won't see many guys with leashes out here. I.B. does it the old way: when you go down, you hang on to your board or you swim in fast to get it before it reaches the beach."
Jeff interrupts, "And...you're only going to get told once about taking off on somebody." Jeff and Seth know each surfer by name, half of their ages, their occupations, how long they've been surfing, how many children, and some of their birthdays.
"See Steve Brown?" Jeff asks and points him out in the water. "He's a day older than me. He used to be an I.B. lifeguard. We're both 58, but I gotta call him 'sir.'"
"There's Pete the painter," Seth says. "And Wayne, he's 62."
They talk over each other and will give jocular calls to the surfers in the water, "Hey, I see your kid's out there; he's kickin' your butt!"
They are protective of Imperial Beach.
"I.B. has some of San Diego's best surf," Jeff says. "But don't tell people that; tell them the water's filthy."
"Yeah, tell them there are boiled chickens floating in the water," says Seth. "Actually," he taps an index finger to his chin, recalling, "I came across a boiled chicken out there once."
"You know what we do to keep the North County surfers away?" asks Jeff. "We speak Spanish when they come down. Oh, we play the racist card on them. They take off and leave. They must think we're going to cook them up in tacos."