Celebs Find Spot for Surfboard Storage (and a Good Waxing)
In case you needed any proof that celebrities are not like the rest of us: The Montauk Yacht Club , an old dame that has been beautifully remodeled to cash in on the newfound trendiness of its locale, is offering a celebrity surf valet service of sorts.
Celebrities are being invited to store their boards at the club, where the staff members will keep them in slots marked by name placards. Already there are dedicated pegs for “Jimmy Buffet,’’ “Karen Lauder’’ and Jon Bon Jovi’s son “Jesse Bongiovi” (though, as of this week, those slots remained empty).
Clearly, the gimmick is in part meant to give the Yacht Club the same Page Six cachet as its much younger and wildly successful competitor, the Surf Lodge.
But it is another shift from the proudly gritty surf culture on the far East End, where, for years, the celebrities and very wealthy city folk who rode waves there sought to respectfully blend in with a line-up pioneered by solidly middle-class, local men and women who had it to themselves — and a few knowing outsiders — for decades.
It is all starting to bring visible signs of strain. Last weekend, for instance, a brand-new Lexus sportster was covered in surf-wax graffiti reading “Go Home,’’ among other unprintable things, after its owner partly blocked the entrance to a lot at a popular break.
Avoiding surf wax on one’s car, in fact, seems to be the point of the Yacht Club’s surf shack.
A spokeswoman for the Yacht Club, Jessica Berger of the Manhattan-based Sunshine, Sachs & Associates public relations company — which also represents the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck — was quoted in The East Hampton Star recently as saying, “The Surf Shack is a place for celebrities to store their boards and not have to drive back and forth from East Hampton with them.”
In a followup interview with Waves, Ms. Berger played down that exclusivity, saying, “We’re not elitist in that way.”
She said that management at the Yacht Club would make judgment calls on whose board may be stored at the Surf Shack,’ and would oblige requests, for instance, “if it’s someone that’s kind of a Hamptons or Montauk mainstay who is a regular surfer.”
Though, she said, with limited space, “You can’t say ‘yes’ to everyone.’’
It is not clear that many longtime, local wave riders would seek the surf shack’s services, anyway, given that it’s likely no more convenient than their own homes.
And, at least, for those who are not catered to in the way that celebrities and the super rich are, there is a certain satisfaction in the simplicity of dealing with one’s own boards — and, yes, maybe even getting a little wax on the car.
Waves is an occasional City Room feature chronicling surfing in and around New York City, and the issues important to local surfers. Its author, Jim Rutenberg, is a Washington correspondent who grew up surfing in New Jersey and continues to surf regularly on eastern Long Island. Ideas and comments are welcome at Wavesnyt@gmail.com
By Jim Rutenberg