by Shawn Price / Illustration by PJ Loughran
The afternoon sun that streams through the window of Dibi Fletcher’s office at Astrodeck in a San Clemente industrial park adds a warm glow to the everyday whirlwind inside. But here, you also can feel the adreno-pulse of modern surfing’s fabled and feisty royal family. A parade of Fletchers files in and out of Dibi’s office: her 64-year-old surf entrepreneur husband, Herbie; her iconoclastic surf-legend oldest son, Christian, now 42; and his skateboard-idol son, 22-year-old Greyson—each influential in his own way on the wider world of board culture.
The only missing piece is Dibi and Herbie’s younger son, Nathan, who three nights before brought home $60,000 from the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, along with the title and extreme macho-cred that goes with being last year’s best big-wave rider. The 38-year-old is in Vegas, enjoying the dough, and Christian, the much-tatted family provocateur, doesn’t hide his envy of little brother’s prize money. He announces the availability of his soul for, say, $60,000.
Between his parents’ laughter and the energetic, unvarnished talk, the scene could be from an edgy reality TV show. But here, in the offices of one of the few family-owned big-time surf businesses, there are no cameras, sound guys, or producers trying to wrench phony drama from self-absorbed dullards. What’s happening here is genuine, infectious, and irresistible.
Obnoxious? Oh yeah. The Fletchers know that term, too.
“I hear stuff, but I don’t care,” Herbie says between the order-taking and other business at hand. “I don’t have time for it.” Dibi adds: “People who say that don’t know us.” Referring to her famous father, Walter Hoffman, a big-wave pioneer and owner of Hoffman California Fabrics in Mission Viejo: “My dad calls me ‘Dumbshit.’ If you want warm and fuzzy, it’s not us.”
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