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Mantauk: Therapy with Jimmy Goldberg, Session 4

We’re at Jimmy’s —the best, and only, ding repair in Montauk —more often then we’re actually in the water. It was no surprise, then, that in the hours we spent watching our boards get bandaged back to life, that Jimmy —whose life experience could be measured by how many ships he’s had to sink with the coast guard on his trail —became our default therapist. In this ongoing column, Jimmy waxes poetic on love, life, and surf etiquette while we furiously take notes.

What’s our problem, why do we keep hitting on groms?
Oh, I thought you were going for older guys, that’s why you keep hanging around here.

What’s the best way to pick up a surfer?
Stand right next to him. Say, “Hello, how was surfing?” That’s it, done deal.

That seems too easy.
Yeah, it never happened to me. Montauk back when I was single; there were two women around. It was a horror show.
It was just a bunch of drunken, ugly, goddamn stinking fishermen.

You’ve been married for a long time, how do you keep it exciting?
My whole goddamn life is exciting. There’s never a dull moment. I’m either sitting on the couch or robbing banks. My life revolves around surfing, and I’m rugged, and I’m a nice guy. So let’s review: rugged, do exciting things, nice. And I take care of my wife and I love her. Even though she can beat me in ping-pong and foosball.

What’s the weirdest request you’ve gotten from a customer?
A guy goes the other day, “If I buy a 9’6” board, can you cut the nose off and make it 8’?”

Why are people mean about our surfing skills?
They’re jealous. Most people are mean to women about surfing because unfortunately they still think women are inferior. Men think they control the world, but women do. Personally, I’d rather see a cute tush than an ugly butt on someone’s board.

If you’re super passionate about surfing, how much money do you need to get by?
Money isn’t everything. I read a quote the other week: “I’d rather surf and not work, than work and not surf.” I work to surf. I work about 100 days a year and the rest of the time I’m either in a hammock or surfing. Tell me a millionaire that can do that.

How long do you have to surf to be able to call yourself a surfer?
It’s called one wave. It’s not the ability or how long you surf, it’s how you feel about it. I was a surfer before I was a surfer. When I was a kid watching Wild World of Sports with my dad, I saw tandem surfing on Waikiki Beach. It’s like someone hit me over the head with a baseball bat. I said to my dad, “That’s what I want to do.” From then on I never stopped roaming the ocean.