WELLFLEET – Edward Gurnett’s running commentary through a megaphone as the surfing pundit at the Cape Cod Oldtimers Longboard Classic is better than most stand-up comedy routines.
“He’s brash. There’s no holds-barred. He has no filter,” said Steve Griffin. “That is no act. He was born like that. He was born obnoxious. The guy just doesn’t care, and everybody just laughs along. He’s so quick, he’s like Robin Williams.”
Gurnett of Eastham, is 60, or 57 as he was last year, or 64 as he was in a conversation with a different surfer on Sunday,. His flexible age seems to epitomize his ability to pivot in conversation. His quick-witted announcing of the surfing contest proves it.
Gurnett, who now works in construction, is trained as a sculptor. He also worked as a bartender for Rick’s Outer Bar, owned by Rick Weeks, for more than two decades. He’s a character,” said Weeks. “He can carry on a conversation about anything.”
Weeks, a surfer who was at the Longboard Classic, said, “None of us here have normal lives.”
Gurnett was born in in South Boston and grew up in Weymouth, and “surfed a lot of Nantasket Beach.” He also summered in Eastham.
Tom “Flats” Flaherty, remembered, “He was a summer kid on the Cape and he ended up hanging out at the surf shop, like the rest of us.”
The surf contest has been going on for decades, said Flaherty, and Gurnett became the announcer when the original announcer, Kevin “Foggy” Foley left. “Eddie picked it up after Kevin started sailing around the world,” said Flaherty.
“He’s got a great sense of humor,” said Weeks of Gurnett. And then noting that a favorite drink of Cape Cod surfers is a homemade concoction of many things, known as “Wipeout,” Weeks laughed and said, “If you’ve had enough Wipeout, anyone can do it.”
Yet somehow through all of Gurnett’s politically incorrect commentary, a saltwater-tinged sweetness seeped into almost everything he said.
“I have a blast when I’m up there,” said Gurnett. “The real story is that I don’t know what I am going to say.”
That’s pretty obvious.
“He’s a little twisted and a really great guy,” said Karen Baker.
And he loves the ocean. As Gurnett said, “Everything in my life is saturated with salt water.” He pointed to the dunes and the ocean. “I’m looking out at that,” he said, “Life is wonderful. Life is beautiful. It doesn’t get any better than this.” (See Whitecrest Beach Summer Haze)
While he doesn’t surf in this contest, he still surfs and loves everything about surfing. “Once you surf, you’ll be in heaven,” he said. “From the first day I surfed, I said I’m going to do this forever.”
From 2014 – A-Mung The Happy Surfers
From 2013 – Poetic Beach Boys Go Surfing
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— Brian Tarcy