Don Bauder 9:40 p.m., May 21
Cardiff Kook Tells All
Kook: (also "Kuk") A surfing beginner; someone who gets in the way or into trouble because of ignorance or inexperience (also see "Dork," "Geek").
The intersection of 101 and Chesterfield Dr. is the home of the internationally loved and hated Magic Carpet Ride, much better known as The Cardiff Kook. The Kook is a 16 foot high bronze statue that was mounted on granite rather than bronze, as originally planned. Kook is surfer lingo for a wannabe and is an expression of the contempt many locals have for this work of art. In his three year existence, the kook has been denigrated, ridiculed and even terrorized. How does the Kook react to this mistreatment? My name is Dr. Bill. My plan is to interview the Kook to garner insights about his inner emotions and to offer the Kook an opportunity for cathartic healing. After four decades of studying the language of hypnosis, I have discovered a method to communicate with inanimates. I will put myself into a deep hypnotic trance in which Kook and I will be able to exchange psychic waves. You get to tune in on our communications.
Dr. Bill: This is Dr. Bill. Are you there, Kook?
Kook: Right, Bro. I’ve been here for more than 3 years.
Dr. Bill: Kook, you’re an example of “No good deed goes unpunished.” You were conceived and created as a welcome to Cardiff beach goers, and then you become the incompetent Kook of Cardiff. I’d like to talk about feelings you may have about the stir created by your birth. And, perhaps we can chat about love and existentialism. Is that OK?
Kook: I’ve kept my feelings under bronze too long. I’m ready to spill my guts.
Dr. Bill: Let’s begin. Who are your parents?
Kook: I was born is a laboratory like Frankenstein. My dad is Mathew Antichevitch. His genes of creativity produced me. The Cardiff Botanical Society is my mother. She contributed a little nest ova of $92,000 to the test-tube. My dad was chosen from over fifty others to be the one to create his child. I love my dad.
Dr. Bill: Yes, I read that the city of Encinitas, not recently seen as a friendly force to art, covered the $30,000 costs of your lab work and provided the birthing room. I read that in order to avoid your abortion, your father had to sacrifice a part of his vision?
Kook: I big-time appreciate what the Botanical Society did, but… Well, first they downgraded from a beautiful bronze platform and replaced it with granite, which I actually like. But, they took away my wave. All the hassle would have been avoided, if they could have saved my wave. What is a surfer without a wave? People would have seen me in my real surroundings. My father wanted it and I wanted it.
Dr. Bill: What was your first thought when you were unveiled in 2007?
Kook: I was down with it and couldn’t wait for people to see me surf. Dad was watching. That day was a wipeout. I ate it. I left my father’s loving hands and was thrown into a bunch of vultures wanting to melt my bronze. I have been subject to continual ridicule and embarrassment ever since.
Dr. Bill: Yea, I read some of the reviews. They don’t say nice things about you.
Kook: The reviews are the nicer part. The San Diego Architecture Society in 2007 awarded me, not an orchid, but an onion for being one of the worst architecture pieces of the year. Surfer magazine described me as “Just DORKY.” The author of Encyclopedia of Surfing said that I was “a misfire.” Even Rob Machado has said that he can’t figure out what I stand for. It’s been tough.
Dr. Bill: What do you mean the “reviews are the nicer part?”
Kook: It’s what’s said face to base that really hurts. I’ve overheard people say my feet are goofy, my hands are weird, my stance is awkward and that I’m a novice surfer. . Everyone begins as a “novice surfer,” even homeboy, Rob. One idiot even said I was too effeminate
Dr. Bill: You do have supporters.
Kook: I’ve a few. Jerome Stocks tells those who hate me, “Well, you go raise $90,000.00 dollars and put up a statue that you like.”
Dr. Bill: What is it that people don’t understand about you?
Kook: I guess it was like making a statue of a beginner in meditation and not the Buddha. They wanted an old pro that has been around for a zillion years. Instead, they got me. This is one of my first times up on the board. I am scared, but in awe. It is only me and the ocean. Nothing else exists.
Dr. Bill: How would you describe the experience?
Kook: I just did. Well, it was like someone rubbed Aladdin’s lamp and Aladdin turned the ocean into my magic carpet. I am the spirit of every surfer’s first dance across the ocean. So, my feet aren’t right. I am doing it. What if all you dear critics had your first surf ride immortalized in bronze? If it were Rob’s first time up, it would be inspirational. Why am I not an inspiration?
Dr. Bill: What do you think of this Cardiff craze of dressing you up?
Kook: It is a little like the dancing mania in the middle ages. A few people started dancing in the streets and then lots of people were dancing in the street. Dad and I traded words over this. He saw people as abusing me.
Dr. Bill: You have to remember criticism of the son is also criticism of the father. All these reactions couldn’t be easy for him.
Kook: Dad felt it was vandalism when people carried out all their tricks and costumes. I kind of like it. No, I don’t kind of like it, I love it. I absolutely love it. Dad is starting to understand that this is what I do. The other day, he said that he doesn’t mind people putting costumes on me as long as they don’t hurt me. He’s just being protective.
Dr. Bill: So, being an interactional art form is your reason for existing?
Kook: Yep, it’s what gets me up in the morning. I never know who I’ll be each day. I change clothes frequently and dress up for fancy occasions. Today, I’m the kook. Tomorrow, I might be Vincent Van Gough, a marcher for breast cancer in the three day walk, a graduate, a pumpkin, Uncle Sam for the 4th of July, Santa Claus or who knows what. It is fun and people enjoy me.
Dr. Bill: Which is your favorite?
Kook: I loved being Vincent Van Gogh Kook. Finally, people got to really see my surfing skills. Has any dude out there ever tried surfing, while painting with your easel on the surfboard without a drop of water getting on your painting? Even Kelly Slater can’t touch that. It’s my dad’s favorite, too.
Dr. Bill: Oh, I read about Van Gogh Kook in the North County Times. Bryan Snyder told the world that he provided the magic spell that transformed you into Vincent. The City of Encinitas has asked him to desist from further vandalizing you. Bryan was sent a letter to cease and desist. “Please be advised it is unlawful for any person to intentionally damage or deface public property, and it is considered an act of vandalism.”
Kook: I am not vandalized, I’m enhanced. I’m an actor taking on different roles. Thank you, Bryan. Dude, you got brass balls.
GT: Any others that stick out?
Kook: Not my favorite, but the one that got my bronze shaking was the shark. This dude, Eric Hardtke spent $450 and used papier mache to make a 15 foot shark, complete with fins. He called it a tribute to the movie “Jaws.” Those rats snuck up on me, like a shark centering in on its prey. Me! They finished attaching the fins at about 4:00 am and left me inside the mouth of that shark about to clomp his jaws shut. I thought I was going to stain my board shorts. They left me in a state of terror until the city workers arrived, armed with saws and freed me from this fright. It was the bomb to see that shark carried away in pieces! The Kook has the last laugh.
Dr. Bill: Hardtke, one of the masterminds of the shark, thinks that you’re “a fair representation of average surfers.” He observes, “I’m sure that I look like that. That’s why everybody is so down on it. They like to think they don’t look like that, but they do.” An old surfing proverb that says, “In our minds, we skim the surf as a pelican, others see us as a headless chicken.”
Kook: I just want to be loved for who I am.
Dr. Bill: To some of us you are. Elizabeth Murdoch said it beautifully. Liz states, “At 8:00 AM, the kook was a jockey and horse in honor of Del Mar’s opening. It was clever, delightful and made me laugh.” When Liz returned at 9:00 for pictures, she was disappointed to find a crew undressing you. Liz continues, “The statue needs $2,000 repair. Do it. The people will dress it for free and bring delight to many for a long time.” Dr. Bill: I know how you could redeem yourself and the city could make a big profit off of you. You don’t know it, but you are famous. The city could put you on EBay, sell you and the city of Encinitas could get a big return on their $30,000. They could sell you for fortune. Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, got a 4 million dollar, 8 carat purple diamond ring for renting out his body for one night. Just let the city sell you, you’ll be a hero. Kook: Someone who sells their body is not a hero. . Dr. Bill: My guess is that you would go for at least couple hundred thousand from some rich kook, kookie enough to pay that much. The price of bronze has risen since 2007.
Kook: First, you want to sell me, than you want to melt me down! My father wouldn’t like that. I bet we could sell your two wheel piece of bicycle crap over there for $50.00 on eBay.
Dr. Bill: Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. There is a better idea that will make you and all the citizens of Cardiff happy. Well, not quite all, there are always discontents. But, this idea will warm your bronze.
Kook: Come on dude, no more drama. Show your cards.
Dr. Bill: If you had one wish, what would it be? Bet, I know. Nacarima is American spelled backwards. Your wish is “ym nwo evaw”
Kook: If I had one wish, it would be… my own wave. If I had my own wave, everything would be alright. I might even go pro.. There would always be that wave behind me pushing my skills. For a few seconds, the ocean and I travel as one.
Dr. Bill: We’re buzzing bro. What if we started a fund for “Give the Kook his Wave” All the other surfers get their wave. It’s time for you to finally have your own. People love and enjoy you enough to donate to the cause of giving the kook his wave. I think your father should create your wave. Here is the first ten dollars.
Kook: In Oz, the Scarecrow found his brain, the Tin Man found his heart and the Cowardly Lion discovered courage. I need to find my wave. If I only had a wave
Dr. Bill: The tide is changing. Your stock has gone up. It has been my pleasure to interview you. I love you for capturing our imagination. I imagine myself as a boy of 15, up for the first time feeling, “Whoa, I can do this.” Any last thing that you would like to add, Kook?
Kook: So, I would ask my critics to take off your sunglasses and view me in natural light. I am a phenomenon. I may be a flash in the pan, but I am somebody. Someone out there, get me a wave, please.
Dr. Bill: Check you later Kook, It’s been my pleasure.
Cardiff’s Most Popular Citizen: Surfboy Kook : “The Superhero”
Time moves forward, as does the human spirit. My Sunday morning lazy eyes open to this front page. On Aug. 13, 2011, a group of 40 to 50 made a kid-friendly dinosaur diorama out of the "Cardiff Kook." August 14, 2011: Statue becomes Prehistoric Spectacle
“the biggest prank to plague the artwork” North County Times, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011
“It is the best Cardiff Kook since I’ve been alive” Lucy Holliday, 6 years old.
“…statue has been a victim of a pterodactyl snack attack.” Rose Brackley.
Some things you have to see in person to appreciate. Let me outline the scene. Here we are at Kook’s Corner. There are 20-30 people around taking pictures and videos amidst many ohhs and ahhs. A few yesterdays ago, the Kook managed a close escape from Jaws. Today, Eric Hardtke gave the Kook a ride on the best wave of his life. This ride put the Kook out there with Superman. He became the prehistoric superhero Surfboy Kook. Surfboy Kook is the first to surf the oceans and fight off the mighty Pterodactyls to save the world for future surfers. It’s a grudge match, the Surfboy Kook vrs. Ptery Dactyl. The match looks uneven but Surfboy Kook has a special power that Ptery will soon find out about. Let’s find out what Surfboy Kook has to say.
Dr. Bill: This is Dr. Bill, Surfboy Kook. Today Eric Hardtke and the crew gave you the big kahuna of your life. You became a three dimensional comic book superhero.
Surfboy Kook: I was just here, as always. It was a tidal ride today.
Dr. Bill: I remember how afraid you were when Jaws was about to gobble you. It must be scary to be in the talons of a hungry Pterodactyl with 15 foot wings who thinks your name is dinner.
Surfboy Kook: I was young. Now, I’m more mature. I am becoming a superhero and thousands of people are cool with me. I’m an actor and Ptery is my co-star. We understand each other. Wasn’t Ptery gorgeous floating so easily and mightily in the breeze. We were down on giving the kids a delightful scare. It is Halloween in August.
Dr. Bill: Describe the scene that you are in?
Surfboy Kook: This morning I put on my loin cloth and went out for a surf. I am riding my wave and this ugly flying Prehistoric monster swoops down and grabs me in its talons. Well, from experience I’ve learned that all I have to do is maintain my cool on the board and I will surf away unscathed. My special power is immovability. There isn’t a pterodactyl alive that can carry me off. I always win. After exhaustion, the big birds drown in the deep blue sea.
Dr. Bill: Was there anything different about this venture?
Surfboy Kook: Yes. This time they left Ptery up and we became bros. I know they will take Ptery away from me. Hope I don’t cry. We’re very close.
Dr. Bill: Don’t worry. Every teardrop tells a story and yours is better than Hollywood because you strike with spontaneity. Today was your coming out party. You broke out of locall town prejudice and caught the big kahuna. You were the next biggest draw to Sea World and the Pacific Ocean. I give so much credit to the city officials who had the nerve to leave you up for the public’s delight. I want you to know that I am a fan and I have been there from the start. You lift my spirit.
Surfboy Kook: Dr. Bill, This is new and different. Look at the children’s faces glow and their eyes twinkle.. Around me, I see children mingling about with a cute little dinosaur and dinosaur eggs. Many hundreds visited today. It all feels so good spirited. It melts my metallic heart into a little puddle.
Dr. Bill: You have background, drama, action. It’s all there. This is your day, Surfboy Kook.
Surfboy Kook: It’s been coming on for a while, but today takes me over the top. I’m starting to feel good about myself. I am a respected member of the community and becoming a saga. Cardiff would not be the same without me. People love me. Children love me. Who could ask for anything more? I’m as alive as any of you. Thank you all for giving me the gift of life.
Dr. Bill: What is this with Encinitas street artists? Is Ensenitas becoming the center of an idealistic art movement in which everyone can view the works of art and there is no cover charge? Is Ensenitas exploding with artistic talent that spills over into the streets? Yes!