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Come To Oregon, Get Choked Out?

“…before I blacked out, I removed the memory card and put it in my pocket When I woke up on the beach… my camera was gone.”

news // Nov 3, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Oregon is a strange place. Downtown Portland is an adult playground, overflowing with amazing food, killer beer. Oodles of legal weed. Mexico-tier prices compared to Kauai. I spent a lovely two weeks there just a few months back. The Multnomah Whiskey Library alone is worth the trip. I despise the wretched stuff but they serve up amazing food alongside that brown poison my wife loves to suck down. (The hooch makes her mean, but that’s a story for our marriage counselor.)

Once you leave Portland city limits things change. It’s rugged and raw and majestically beautiful. It’s also chock-full of insular beardo weirdos and terribly blatant racists. “The blacks are taking over.” “The illegals are ruining America.” “MAGA.” No shortage of hateful talking points and close-minded surety. I get it though. It’s damn easy to hate different people when everyone around you looks the same. God forbid you take responsibility for your own failures.

But I don’t want to be unkind. I’ve met many truly nice, welcoming, open-minded people there as well. They possess a rough and tumble pioneer type mentality I can’t help but appreciate.

I’ve never felt an urge to surf when I visit. It’s just too damn cold. I love surfing, but not to the point of masochism. That doesn’t mean I haven’t mind-surfed a thousand waves. I’ve watched overhead beach breaks fire for hours. There’s a dredging harbor mouth right that just begs for some young kid to risk his life. Playful fun surf rifles in the shadow of offshore monoliths.

I’ve almost never seen someone surfing. Once in while I’ve spied a lone warrior dorking around in tiny mush, or flailing about on an SUP. But it’s not like the state is crowded. El Porto-level hell can’t occur when ocean temps are in the 40s and full-sized logs bob about in the shore pound.

And so Oregon’s reputation for localism has always left me a bit confused. I know the state is a final refuge for too many misanthropes who couldn’t cut it down south. But violence in the name of protecting a resource that no one wants is beyond pointless.

Nevertheless, I guess it’s a real thing. Here we can see a group of humans acting like barking dogs. Strength in numbers enforcing poor impulse control.

Stepping in front of a camera and saying, “Yes, I’d like to face felony charges.”

Here’s the (very annoying, we admit) photographer shown in the film, Ben Mater:

“Yesterday before work I went to the beach to take some wave photos, had a nice gray/blue tint with the overcast. Several surfers assaulted me for taking photos of “their spot”. The main person shown here attacked me several times, tried to take my camera, and then he put me in a choke hold. You can see him holding my camera bag that he took. After the first attack where he knocked me to the ground, I tried leaving, but had to stop to recover. Another surfer walked by and have on video him saying: beat him up and smash his camera. I fought the best I could, but I was protecting the camera, and left my neck exposed. After about a minute of me holding back his arm, pleading to stop, he put a knee in my back and then I lost. BUT before I blacked out, I removed the memory card and put it in my pocket. What shit huh. When I woke up on the beach — lucky it was low tide — my camera was gone. The video of it all — I warned them I was recording it — was given to the police and I’m told they were identified. I’m not doing so well right now. Wondering why it’s worth going on, the way the world has treated me. But I’m ever so lucky to have a few great friends here who have given me some support in this dark hour. I’m homeless (but not helpless), living out of my car, but that pails compared to not having a camera by my side. I’ll be posting everything I’ve shot since I got the camera a few weeks ago. It’s what is keeping me going.”

I can tell you, there is good surf in Oregon. As far as I’m concerned, they can keep it. I live in a warm place. 

But, to anyone out there who wants to surf ice water and get in a fight, I can recommend Seaside, Oregon. Gorgeous place.


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