Surf Lit Makes a Splash at the Park Chalet
Surfers and book enthusiasts crowded into the standing-room-only Park Chalet Monday evening for “Words and Waves,” a surf-literature event for San Francisco’s annual literature festival Litquake. It was the first time the festival included a night dedicated to surf literature, and the first time for the Park Chalet hosted a Litquake event.
“We’ve held a lot of great and important gatherings here at the Park Chalet,” said Lara Truppelli, owner of the restaurant, “but I would have to say that tonight’s Surf Lit even was one for the records. The authors’ readings, and the folks in the room, exemplify why Ocean Beach is pretty much the coolest neighborhood in San Francisco.”
Jane Ganahl, co-founder and co-director of Litquake, was equally pleased with the night.
“I think tonight went really, really well,” she said. “It proved there’s a real interest out there in the natural world, the world of the waves, surfing and surfers.”
A panel of six readers stepped to the mic and shared selections of their writing, while the audience stood and listened with wide eyes and faint hints of smiles in the corners of their mouths, often erupting into laughter. Everyone was united in their enthusiasm for books and surfing, and reveled in the chance to share stories about waves.
Jaimal Yogis, an Ocean Beach resident and author of “Saltwater Buddha,” kicked off the night by reading an old piece about Carol Schuldt, a 76 woman who still bodysurfs naked in Ocean Beach’s icy waters. He was followed by Daniel Duane (“Caught Inside”), Doug Dorst (“Surf Guru”), Steve Kotler (“West of Jesus”), Krista Comer (“Wanting to be Lisa”), and finally Tomas Comer (“On Water”), who all referenced their respect for the local surf community.
The overwhelming sentiment at the end of the night was of eager anticipation for next year’s Surf Lit, shared by members of the crowd, as well as organizers like Mark Massara, an environmental lawyer who was the master of ceremonies for the night, Truppelli, and Ganahl.
Litquake continues through this weekend in other portions of the city. Visit the Litquake website for a schedule of remaining events.