I met up with Timmy on a warm afternoon at the US Open. Huntington Beach was full of people from California and even Arizona. These Arizona folks, always everywhere during summer time! Kids were playing in the water while surfers were trying to impress the judges to win the contest. The waves were shitty. The crowd was happy. That was a good vibe. I came up to Timmy while he was building sand castles with his kids, which is a pretty rad summer activity.
Huntington has developed so quickly. Before you were born in the 90’s, the back alley of the sugar shack was all empty. My mom and my dad used to park the car back there because they used to work at 3 in the morning. Me, my sister and my brother, we would sleep in the camper. Now you can’t do that anymore, you are not allowed to.
We then changed to another subject I didn’t even know was a must in Huntington Beach and the Surf Culture – The Sugar Shack. More than a restaurant, this is a family thing for Timmy since he was a kid. ‘’My mom always worked at the restaurant, she has always been there from day one. My grandma owned it before with her partner. They worked their butts off! My dad always had like three jobs. Back in the days, you could get as much over time as you wanted’’. Working also means vacation once in a while, ‘’we always did one or two family trip to go camping. We were going to Bishop by Yosemite, camp there for one week and fish’’.
Timmy is a local from Huntington and it seems like he knows everything about it, it helps when you have the Sugar Shack part of your childhood. The restaurant located on Main Street is a popular spot for surf legends and anyone locals. This is where you go and spend at least two hours looking at the walls covered up by pictures of people surfing and cover of surf magazines. You can imagine the place - exactly where you need to be to keep the inspiration alive. There was a picture on that wall of Timmy surfing in Indonesia - I always wondered why everyone loves that place so much.
We started surfing when we were so young, it wasn’t that crowded at the time. My dad used to take us surfing and the cool part is that we would drive on the beach with him. Back in the days, you weren’t allowed, still, you are not allowed to drive in a city truck, but we were doing it anyway. My dad worked all the time, so he would pick us up at 6 in the morning and drive us around. People would stare at us like we had guns or something. It was nuts!
The waves in Indonesia are perfect. It’s a photographer and a pro surfer’s dream. It’s been so long now, I used to talk about it so well, but the karma is so good over there. I gave everything I had in 2002 and that year I end up having that cover shot! We always go to the same island and we sit there for months at a time. I travelled many different places, but that’s where I fell in love.
Indonesia. That’s what blesses my whole surfing career. I love owning these barrels. You never pull out. Who cares about the reef you know! But then in 1999, we found… was it 99? Yes, it was. We rent out a boat trip to this place and then in 2000, we went back for another boat trip. And in 2001, we found it expensive, so we started camping there.
We went to Indonesia for the first time before high school ended. We all planned a trip together. We went there for a month and on the first day, the waves were going off. We didn’t know. We thought it was like that every day! But that year, I hit my toe and when I came home, a month later, I learned about Staph real quick. So gnarly! When you cut yourself and you don’t clean it, it makes an infection. Especially when you don’t clean it for an entire month! So when I came home, I went straight to the doctor and they gave me these pills. Hours later, ooze would just come out of my cut. So much poison was in my body and from that trip, I started bringing my video camera. Wherever the waves were, my camera would come with me. We showed our friends, we were so stoked with the results.
When I graduated, we went to Indonesia again. We ended up staying five months. We had no money, so we got some photographers to send money to us, but we owned our hotels, we owned our car rentals and even restaurants. But in these kind of country, it’s different, it’s so small that they easily trust you. It’s karma. So much good karma. They sent us money and we got to pay off everything.
When we went to Indonesia that year, we went to this wave. All you had to do is drop in and get barrelled. We were thinking of doing a movie out of it when we came back. We made a movie called Burning the Maps.
The island? It’s an island with no one on it. You bring your own foods, you bring your water. There are panthers and crocodiles that come out of the river… I haven’t seen them, but other people did while they were surfing, it’s gnarly. One of our guide said he saw a panther at six in the morning. It was scary but awesome. It’s so dangerous because of the waves. I know some friends that tried to get a helicopter because they got hurt, but they couldn’t. After that movie came out, I got problems with the captain of the boat over there. Everyone started coming on fishing boats. I never named it, but people know. They just know the spot when they see it on camera.
Back to the restaurant – every pro surfer and all the industry guys will come and eat at the sugar shack. So, I was just being there, talking to these people and when they heard that I was going to an island in Indo, they said ‘’well we will meet you there’’! This TV Show showed up in Indo and I got a cover shot and a TV Show out of it!
My best friend at the time was Dustin Humphrey, he moved to Indonesia but he was from Texas. You need to go to Bali and look up Dustin Humphrey. He is a character! This is because of him that I am with my wife now. I met her in San Diego, she ate at a restaurant and she left me her number. I never called her. I told Dustin about her, so when I turned 21, Dustin invited her to my surprise birthday party and then, we fell in love.
I had 6 brain surgeries, it was all from breaking my ankle. I tried to rehabilitate by swimming around the pier in dirty water, and I got sick. That’s why you don’t surf after a rain, it’s really bad for you.
The doctor said it would be good to stick close to home just in case I get sick again and that I should only surf in cold water. I was pretty heartbroken. My cousin lived in Alaska so I had a backup plan, at least. I went straight there, no time to think. The idea of Cold Thought was from being sick – my backup plan was Canada. That’s where we got the waves. Me and Sep would go camping while I was spending months there. I also had my birthday up there, it was awesome! Today, it’s different. Now, all I want to do is go to the places I love and get barreled. Whenever a big swells come, I need to go. Then I come home and I appreciate the time here with my family.
You know what my son told me yesterday! ‘’Dad, do you think I will become a famous surfer?’’. There are so many talented kids these days that it makes me realize how lucky we were when we grew up. Now kids are ten years old and do airs and all they do is surf, surf, surf. I don’t know what my son is going to do. We will see.
The Sugar Shack is only open one night a week and it’s the Wednesday, because it’s Turkey dinner. You know what is Thanksgiving, right? It’s been like that for 30 years. You should come have dinner tonight!
Let's just say that the turkey was awesome & that Timmy Turner is probably one of the nicest person I ever met.