Tales of the Slam
Every now and again I tumble into a tailspin down the memory vortex; a photo or object triggering a cerebral rewind yanking me down the timeline of my life to the illuminated place marker where the object resides. I imagine it happens to everyone.
Back when jet ski racing was prime time TV shit, I was a gate filler in the stand up ranks. The biggest problems I had at the time were horsepower to holeshot and the fitness to hold off the pack. I’d say ‘white people problems’ but my biggest rival was a little Mexican and me and that hombre swapped more parts than paint back then so it seems the IJSBA was a pioneer in equal opportunity. So last night I’m cleaning out a toolbox I had sold on Craigslist to fund a Disneyland Trip. Way in the back in a drawer I never open I find a white electrical connector...
Suddenly I’m back at a Diablo Jet Ski Action race on the dock in Suisun Harbor in 2009 frantically trying to get my recently modified (the night before) SXR800 to rev up. My race was staging and for the life of me and Goggles (my old time wrench) we couldn’t figure what the Eff was going on. The ski would not rev up, not even on the dock. We were turning carb screws and scratching our heads and then this like 15 year old kid comes up and asks me what class I’m racing...
“Uhhh Super 800?” I say.
“Oh OK”. He says...”Cut this connector off and tape up the wires real good. It’s the temp sensor off the stock pipe and it’s grounding out, throwing the ski into safe mode...” With that, he takes a bite out of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich and walks off...
“Safe mode??” We did as he said and the ski came back to life like a cheerleader in a zombie apocalypse flick. I went on to win that class that day, the first time I had raced a jet ski in 14 years. You can read about that day here and only here under the title “Running with Outlaws”...
I snap out of it, and keep pulling shit out of the Snap-On roller I know I’m going to miss terribly and under a flywheel puller set is a sleeve with some old pics and...
“What the hell are these’...” BOOM I teleport back to Havasu 1994.
For a few moments I was back in time acting stooped with Kris Burke and Vanilla Ice for a Splash magazine photog. It was Thursday, Vets and Novice Finals. Pickle (Ice) and Burke were off that day because the Pros didn’t qualify until Saturday. I was off because I pulled out of Havasu that year to focus on my T-shirt Company, Certified Insane. I had recently come to the realization that racing jet skis was as much a viable path to riches as professional badminton and figured I’d see if I could maybe attract some big time dealers for my brand by having a booth at the Finals. Maybe I’d be the next NoFear, because I certainly wasn’t the second coming of Jeff Jacobs.
The IJSBA had stuck my booth under the grandstand bleachers. Possibly a bit of a wrist slap for being so vocal about the sit down and shut up attitude infecting the whole industry at the time like the same zombie apocalypse mentioned earlier.
Not one to be easily discouraged I soon realized I had a prime opportunity to turn the 10X10 space I had paid for into a 10X30 by setting up more pop ups behind my booth under the grandstands. It was genius. It’s safe to say we had the best booth going that year . No amount of PJS VIP food, or JetPilot bling could top what we had going under the grandstands...
At the time these pics were taken I was hanging outside my little cave of a booth with Vanilla Ice chewing tobacco and perving on the HydroTurf model pictured to the right. I was trying to get her into the back room without much luck while I was waiting for a buddy to show up with a boom box from the box van so we could get some tunes going back there. We were all giddy cuz some of the Texas boys had brought some strippers out and they were back there drunk looking to make some money. That’s how it all got started that crazy Thursday afternoon. Rumor spread and in a few hours we were on fire. It looked like we were the hottest Company at the Finals but the truth is everyone was just trying to get a peek. The beauty of the whole thing is that it happened right under everybody’s feet. While (most) everyone was cheering their favorite racers, me, my friends, and a very lucky Japanese guy nobody knew all had our hands full of ass and tits in our faces. We got shitfaced on Strawberry Daiquiris that afternoon so it’s hard to remember all the details or how it ended. I do remember the Japanese guy getting really impassioned, started hollering in Japanese, then leaving abruptly. It was so funny, we all laughed our asses off and then his girl piled on me. Just remembering all that started to get me a bit aroused until I was rudely interrupted by my youngest barging into the garage unannounced.
“Hi Daddy!” She squeals happily scaring the shit out me, jolting me from my pornographic recollection. I wheeled around and knocked a bunch of shit off my toolbox and onto the floor. Among the rubble, a bling ass gas cap for a fuel jug I ‘won’ at SurfSlam in 2009...
I looked down at it as it rolled to a stop. My lungs started to burn. I reached down to pick it up and suddenly tasted saltwater in my sinuses as I recalled my near death experience in the second moto of the MotoSurf.
Still high on my first moto fourth, I had accumulated just a tad too much confidence. I actually believed I had a shot at the podium. I got a crap start and was trying to battle my way past either Hackler or Trogner and forgot about the incoming surf...
As I looked at the blue billet cap in my hand and fingered the new nick on one of its edges I remembered turning that buoy headed back out into the surf...
I forgot about the waves... consumed with beating my competitor to the buoy. He lifted. “I’ve got him!!” I thought... “He’s giving it to me... YES!” Nope. He sees the wave and you don’t.
I righted up and packed into the face of a wave so hard the ski darted right through it. I didn’t. I was stripped from the boat and got the wind knocked out of me. I was able to get back to the ski, miraculously, but not before it got rolled a few times. Water had gotten in the hull and I couldn’t get it started before the next wave rolled us again. Skis were flying all around me as I tried to get pointed out to the surf. By the time I was able to get it started there was too much water in it, it went down on one cylinder. The swell was relentless and down on one tube we didn’t have the power to climb the next face. I was lying down in the tray praying to get over but this one was just too big. We went over backwards and I can still remember the fear, the weightless moment...
I knew I was fucked.
Impact was forceful and we went right to the bottom. I was held down and pounded between the bottom and my ski for what seemed an eternity. Over and over I’d get an occasional gasp only to be sent down again by the next of Neptunes relentless bitches. I started seeing images of Boy Scouts and my first dirt bike, an Indian 50, sitting under the Christmas tree. The first girl I ever kissed. I thought I’d met the end thinking .. “well fuck it, it’s been a good run...” Just when I couldn’t fight if off any longer, I thought about my kids and for some reason just stood up. I was only in about 4 feet of water. I tasted the sweetness that is oxygen in between coughs and gasps realized I was actually going to see the last episode of Dancing with the Stars. I was still about 50 yards off shore and the ski was full of water but was inside the break in the foam now and the bilge was doing work. I was able to get my ski started and limped straight back to the beach. I was a good 200 yards away from the race course by that time and just sat there in the tray on my knees realizing I had just jousted with Death and either I won or he was just toying with me. Adrenaline pulsed through me and at that moment I felt more alive than I ever had.
Problem is, I haven’t been on a ski since. What could I possibly write about?
Surfslam Editor’s Note: In the interest of keeping this website family friendly we will simply add that anyone who knew Robbie back in the jet ski racing days of yore could tell him that all he needs to do is write about his absolutely smoking hot sister Tiffany (see pic for memory bank refresh) and we would all be happy... just saying.
It’s ON! What?
Surf Slam 2011.
(Pro Ski “Legend” (another kind and thoughtful word for washed up Viagra consumer) and all around jet ski aficionado of the utmost degree Robby Myer has once again digitized his brain waves into a new Tales of The Slam editorial for 2011.
For those of you who don’t have a clue whom and what Robbie was/is all about please jump down a section to the 2010 and 2009 entries below and enjoy the ride!)
With the sweet sneeze of fiberglass dust lofting through the shop I stop my grinding glee to reflect on what it is that drives me to actually polish turds like this battered 550 undergoing reconstructive surgery. Long gone is the era of any smidgen of respect, farther gone any idea of pushing the watercraft technological envelope. My massaging of this craft now simply orbits in pathetic nostalgia, desperately clinging to the glory days, more accurately perhaps, the mission to entomb them in resin and cloth. A shameless reminder to my offspring that once upon a time Daddy was a somebody in an arena of cool long before X-Games defined the very word. Better recognize.
An Obama-damned legend in my own mind.
While my eyes fall back to the grind my forearms begin the familiar tingle. I know this itch all too well. I know I’ll keep it for 12 hours and if I don’t take a cold shower after this evening’s fiber-orgy, the little missus will as well. While the dust billows out the hull, I’m reminded of a time in West Virginia trying to repair a rapids battered hull beyond repair. I distinctly remember frantically trying to get mat to lay down before the resin went off. This was a crisis for two reasons. One, I was down to my last paint brush and I had to get that basket case floating that night so I could put the motor back in before the end of the next day to be ready to race on Saturday. Typical tour repair frantics.
Second, my ride was leaving. Being a California boy, I certainly had no idea where Huntington West Virginias local Thursday night hotspot was, and the driver of my ride had to pee, threatening to leave with her cute friend. I was fortunate to have befriended this small pack of local talent that happened to be in the vicinity when a curious reporter decided I was going to be interviewed for the local paper. This caught their attention and opened the door for a little friendly banter that resulted in my invitation to tag along with them for the evening. Typical tour panty antics.
I must have gotten that boat patched up and back together because I made the race and the cover of the sports page as well as an East Coast connection that didn’t pay off until the following year. Or maybe it was the next one. I don’t recall all the details, must not have been all that good if I remember fixing the boat. The point here is that it’s got me thinking of the here and now and what might be getting started in small shops and side yards across the globe as the world’s watercraft erect begin their preparations for the end all be all free ride event of the season. Of course I am alluding to the very climax of all things inverted, wet, and squirty. Yes, boys and Danielle, it’s near time for the Third coming of The Blowsion Surfslam.
I remember the hustle. Trying to finagle parts out of sponsor A and buddy B. Reaching out to that friend you made last year that had drunkenly made the mistake of saying “Yeah Bro! Next year you can stay with me!”
“Yeah Doug...right, hey its Robby, I’m comin up..”
Conning that wrench adept homeboy to come over for a beer and...” Hey while you’re here, you think you could help me chase down this salt water electrical short?” New decals, t-shirts, road trip planning, and preparations for couch surfing. Add into this today with progressive four times daily FaceBook posting of your status doing all these things as if your 671 virtual friends could even care a bit less.
The real question is what will this year bring in the sports progression? Will Marc Sickerling uncork the triple roll with a Dolce and Gabbana wetsuit adorned with sequins? Will he bring the pointy shoes? Will Pierre Maxient expose dick and the twins into the salt air while busting pucker factor aerial feats? Will Mark Gomez sport the golden Adidas while debuting his uber top secret new trick “The Freaky Lady Pyramid”? Will the Surf cooperate or will it bitch slap the event like it did in ’09? What will Johnny come up with for awards? You know he’s fondling the bong right now trying to come up with something. My EPA approved and CARB compliant billet aluminum gas jug cap has found a proud perch on a shop shelf for all to admire. Or ask what exactly it is, my token representation of an attempt at participating in 09, despite the fact that I lifted it from a celebratory Mike Hackler after he passed out as a result of podium induced hyperventilation. I figured better to go home with me than get stained with digestive fluids.
A new year, this year, fresh and exciting and full of uncertainty and wonder... Will Steve Webster flaunt the triple fury in the soup of the Pacific? Will his spark plugs again surrender to the compression of his macho mechanical manliness? Will Bushman ever get invited, and if so, would he show?? If he did show, would he show the nipples? If he did show the nipples, would the nipples show any wear from the vampiresque sucking they continue to take from Farthing? So many questions yet left unanswered.
What about the industry itself? What can we expect to see come of this? Will the IJSBA sanction the event? Will there ever be a possibility of Triple Crown Surf Series? Will more standup riders sack up and brave the swell to rise among men and fill the gates in the MotoSurf? I certainly won’t, been there done that, got the gas jug cap and my ass kicked, now prove yourself a bigger man. I can say I have, and your jug too shall wear the badge, if you simply sack up. The question then will be will you suck it? With ‘it’ of course being the surf itself. That is making the assumption that somebody has figured out how to keep buoys out in the volatile Pacific and that in fact there will be a MotoSurf Man-Up. Will my wife even let me go? If I go will I get wet or only wet myself again lost in another drunken stupor ranting on about Obama, his mama, the death of the stand-up and the drama that is my bittersweet recollection of an industry ostracizing now some two decades past. What will this year bring? Only time will tell, and tell it will upon the sands of Pacific City late this summer. So, bust out the banana hammock Swinger, and put the anchor on the icechest. It’s almost time for SurfSlam.
I’d like to take this opportunity to throw a big shout out to the Blowsion Freeride Army.
Most of you flipping wingnuts have no idea who I am, and I for the most part you. So let me introduce myself, my name is Robby Myer. I am the very definition of a washed up old Pro. My best days gone and even back then on my best day I didn’t have the sack or talent of even the sloppiest of you stuntmen today. The last time I set foot at any sanctioned jetski event was Havasu 05’. On that day I had both an epiphany and a revelation.
First the revelation, I was right about stand up racing. If it wasn’t dead at that point, it was in the ECU on a breather with a Chaplin on the way. I overheard some detective types whispering in hushed tones about an overweight suspect the size of three stand-ups that had muscled its way into the industry with backing from the boss...
When I left in 95’ it was with a distain that still tastes like hangover dry heave. As an Expert I had a drive and family racing heritage that made me a dominate force. My dad has race fuel in his blood, he was a multi-time National Boat Racing Champ with a keen ability to seek out and collaborate with the smartest people. He saw to it that I had the fastest boats on the line, hands down. I got great starts and never gave up a holeshot lead. The local regional racers hated me as a result of it. I simply had better boats and was good enough to pull away in clean water. I did the tour as an Expert in 92 and had some classic battles with my damn good friends to this day Rob Flores and Daron Rahlves. I got second to Rob on tour that year and won the Overall Expert title at Havasu. Below is an epic aerial photo of Sunday mornings 440 Superstock main event with me leading the pack in front of what must be 30,000 people. For the first time ever and since I saw my dad cry, it took me 24 years to make the man I admired most proud to have me as his son. It was the most glorious day of my life. I was continuing the Myerfire legacy of winning.
I went home to Clearlake with high hopes of finally get paid for what I loved to do. Myerfire Racing was going Pro. I waited for the phone to ring, thinking I had finally made it. It never rang but dad didn’t care he found a Knucklehead genius in David Simon who would build me a set of competitive Pro level 750s, despite the fact that Dad really thought I belonged on a SuperJet. As always he was right, I ended up 15th that first year, a rude awaking to my surreal expert dominance.
As a Pro I was a mid-packer, I’d qualify for National mains and usually stay on the lead lap. My best finish ever was in Jersey in 93’ when I got a second, behind a Slasher that simply would refuse to let me win one. That was the first holeshot I ever gave up. I didn’t make a dime that first year and actually realized that I didn’t have what it took to do so. But I had other aspirations in the industry, I had a t-shirt company called Certified Insane, and wrote these stories that were a surprise success titled Tales of the Tour. It started out as a cartoon I doodled while at work, and I’m putting that first one up for you guys to see here, then when I was touring it evolved into a monthly column.
I told stories of what happened on the road and after the races more so than about the racing itself. People loved ‘em, I was monthly in Splash Magazine and JetDreams in Japan and always enjoyed the Japanese fans at the Finals that giggled when they met me. They made me feel famous.
The next year the Industry took an unusual turn toward runabout racing and what little money there was in the stand up class began to dry up. I go into more detail in my blog on www.watercraft.com so to keep a long story short for you guys that could care less about racing or runabouts, I quit. I was pissed off that a guy like me couldn’t even pull in $10,000 a year. I was putting in the work, and felt I was a little more valuable than just a meager existence. I started to feel it was time to move on. When I was told that my parts allowance would only be there for me if I raced the runabout class, that added fuel to the fire. Then one day the new Kawasaki team manager kicked me out of the Factory Team pits, “Team and family only..” That was it, I lost it, I wrote a story that spewed venom and was the proverbial nail in the coffin. I pulled out of Havasu that year deciding to give the t-shirt company my full attention. I had a booth instead of racing, complete with now legendary tittie bar in the back room under the grandstands where John Dady got his first (s)lapdance.
I had fun, but as usual, didn’t make any money. That winter I decided I’d make a Tales video, based on the successes of the magazine stories. Besides being popular, it was the only thing I had going for me. I moved to Truckee for the winter to edit my movie and try to sort out my future, while there I did a little free riding of my own.
I finished up editing the Tales of the Tour Video and in the course of doing so met some guys in the snowboard filming business that wanted to start a wakeboard company. Being as I could see jetski racing was headed no where, I saw this as an opportunity to get involved with something that was on the verge of blowing up. I din’t give it a second thought, I was excited about something again. I stuffed my skis in the attic at the Lake and dove into the wakeboard industry with the same commitment I had always put into my racing. I’d pull a ski out on rare occasion to be reminded what a pain in the ass jet skis are. I would return to watch the World Finals in 05’ where I had my epiphany.
The only chance stand up jet skiing has is in Freestyle. I remember sitting on the beach with Scott Watkins watching freestyle. I was really impressed with the new tricks, then Eric Malone blow my mind. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. His power and precision, he made that shit look easy, I was stunned. When he busted a back flip off a boat wake more than 15 feet in the air, I was in awe. This was the future of stand up jet skiing.
I spoke with Eric after his routine that day and he showed me his unreal hand-built machine. He told me he was going into the custom boat building business and offered to let me to try it out. Our discussion got cut short because some French jackass was throwing a temper tantrum because Eric kicked his ass with that carbon fiber marvel he built. All I can remember was blond hair flying and a lot of cussing in French, and that his uber hot girlfriend was embarrassed to be there with him. We locked eyes for a few seconds while her beau was mid tantrum. She looked like a deer in the headlights, and I growing up in the woods could see that I had a clear shot, but, Erics boat looked like a lot more fun to ride, and with all that carbon fiber... little Ms.French Jackass faded back into the crowd, spared this hunters bullet.
I left that day impressed with what seemed like a spark of potential, but let it fade all too easily with my harbored resentment to my jetski past. It would be another four years...
Then story number one happened giving new birth to an old pastime, Chasing Tales, and the return of the stand up comedy.
Read Parts 1 through 6 of Robby's Articles:
All articles in PDF format
- Chasing Tales: Part I - An Intro to the Exit
- Chasing Tales: Part II - The Return of Stand Up Comedy
- Chasing Tales: Part III - Offering a Virgin SX-R Up for a Surf God Sacrifice
- Chasing Tales: Part IV - Freshman Orientation at the University of Oceanside
- Chasing Tales: Part V - Runnin' With the Outlaws
- Chasing Tales: Part VI - The Tale of the Slam