Bus Boy Falls Into The Vor-TEX
And emerges with a piece of theatrical genius.
Imagine it’s mid-summer, you’re itching for a trip, and plane ticket prices are soaring.
The fortunate ones are already in Mexico, Indo, Central America — most importantly, just not here. Back at work, the TV plays a rip clip on loop. You despair.
All of your efforts are now focused on finding any way possible to leave the land of ankle bites. A certain form of psychosis sets in.
In Freudian terms, Ego says pay the phone bill. Id says blue kegs come first. Id is more attractive. You decide to kill both your internal angst and your miniscule savings.
In Tex Mitchell’s new edit,’The Vor-TEX,’ even the kitchen sink feeds his post-trip psychosis.
The broad-stanced busboy produced a film that illustrates the less glamorous part of surf travel. The intro is among the most compelling theatrics on surf media. And the G-Land navigation, hacks, and lofty straights are worth watch through.
After the unicorn incident, Stab had a chance to chat with Tex about angry Australians, Chris Ward, Tik Tok, ‘Industry’ games, and the rest of his Indo trip.
Stab: Hey Tex, I guess there are enough context clues — but where are you from?
I am from Houston, Texas. I moved to Oceanside when I was eight years old. Back then, I didn’t know an ocean existed. I would fish in the Gulf Of Mexico with my dad, but that’s more of a brown oil spill — dead fish and alligators everywhere. I spent a lot of time in flat water because my dad was a professional trout fisherman.
Why did your family move to California?
When I was five, my dad died in a plane accident. It was hard living in Texas because of the memories, so we moved three or four years later. My mom had a high school friend in Oceanside, so that’s where we chose to restart.
Who introduced you to surfing?
The locals in Oceanside kind of adopted me. One of my mom’s friends took me out for the first time and I was hooked — love at first beating. I signed up for Surfride’s surf camp everyday for the rest of the summer.
What hooked you specifically?
A lot. But I liked riding the wave and scratching for it. I played football growing up so I was competitive. I wanted to get the best waves in every lineup.
Do you consider yourself a pro surfer?
No, I do not. I am not a professional surfer because it is not my profession. I don’t make a living doing it. Mikey C called me semi-pro in one of his podcasts, so I’m going to roll with that.
What type of surfer qualifies as ‘professional surfer’ in your opinion?
They make a liveable salary and have a fanbase — maybe even their own platform. But you can’t Tik Tok and own that title. All you’re doing is talking to yourself on camera. There has to be some skill too.
What surfers do you look up to the most?
Chris Ward, Bruce Irons, and Jamie O’Brien.
I see a correlation.
Yeah haha.. I rode the same boards as Wardo, and he looked out for me. He took me to Indo for the first time when I was 15, and I tried to copy him in the barrel — ass dragging, mouth wide open, looking up at the ceiling.
What else did you learn from Wardo?
He’s aggro. It’s sick to have that on your side. And no one says shit because they know they can’t touch him. That’s why he’s treated like a local everywhere — you gotta kill that guy to beat him.
I guess I learned to show respect where respect is due, but also be fucking relentless. That’s how the older guys in Oceanside act too.
Is the Oceanside local different from other SoCal towns?
Oceanside used to be a ghetto…I guess the better way of saying that is blue-collar. It was the last beach town affordable for the working class.
The community was tight-knit. A lot more respect in the lineups and a pecking order. The locals stick to their zones — a pier guy doesn’t surf the harbor even though it’s a mile away. That’s changed in the last few years, but it’s still not the free-for-all that Lower Trestles is.
What did your crew look like growing up there?
From the time I was 13 to about 16, there weren’t any kids in town who surfed. Most of the guys I hung with were in their twenties or thirties. They work hard and still do. Guys like Zach Rhinehart and Derek Bockelmen could have been pro-surfers, but they were always like, “fuck the industry, fuck sponsors.”
Why did they think that way?
They didn’t care for the industry or its games. There’s not as much support for professional surfing in Oceanside as in other coastal towns.
San Clemente is its own hub that looks out for itself. There are a lot of professional surfers, nice people, nice jobs, and nicer trust funds. People are attracted to that polished lifestyle, and the sponsors eat it up.
That made me want to quit. I would do well in the contest and wonder why I didn’t have stickers on my board. The brand guys were cool at events but never emailed, called, or texted. I saw so many kids from Encinitas and San Clemente get signed on who were ranked below me.
Money makes money. How did hanging with that older group influence you?
I didn’t have a solid dad figure, so those guys taught me everything — especially with work ethic and managing expenses. They set me up with a job at the Privateer that lets me travel.
That was the point of the introduction for Vor-Tex. To show personality, and how much it can suck to work to travel. For the boys, it was natural to drink beers and have a go at me.
We caught up with you a couple weeks in — but how did the rest of the trip unfold?
I ran into that shoulder hopper in West Sumbawa. He saw the post, and he and his 15 Aussie buddies wanted to kill me.
Yeah, didn’t think it was a big deal…
But the shitty string of luck didn’t stop. I blew out my eardrum and then got Covid. I had to fly back to a Hospital in Bali because I couldn’t breathe. They gave me a nebulizer and prednisone. My stomach was still fucked and I lost 20 pounds. I had to buy all new board shorts.
When I felt better, we filmed for four or five more weeks at G-land. You’ll notice there’s not a lot of B-roll from there because I looked like a skinny ghost.
What’s the next move?
Back to the Privateer bussing for now. Hopefully I make some money and head to Oahu to try to get into this invite-only Vans and Stab Pipe Masters.
I want to surf the best waves in better lineups. The goal hasn’t changed much.
Who is backing you?
Oceanside crew: Brixton, Shootz, the boys at Pyzel, Privateer, Raen and my family.
See ya in Oahu, Tex.
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