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Goofy Foot

February 18, 2001|KENNETH R. WEISS

For surfers, size matters. At a bare minimum, they need a waist-high or shoulder-high wave to have fun. A head-high wave is good. Overhead is better. But in Southern California, precious few days bring overhead surf--unless the surfer stands just under a foot tall.

On a recent Sunday morning by the Huntington Pier, J. Schaffer and Christopher Glondeniz didn't bother paddling out in the mediocre mush. Instead, each sent a battery-powered, radio-controlled surfer into the chilly ocean.

Their tanned, sculpted Styrofoam bodies, strapped to motorized boards, quickly drew a crowd as large as the pro-surfing contest down the beach, which couldn't generate much excitement in the piddling surf. But for the 11.8-inch R/C Surfer, as one slack-jawed bodyboarder pointed out, "It's like Waimea, dude."

Lifeguards gaped out the window of their red trucks. Girls giggled as they strolled by. Surfers showed their appreciation in their customary way: greeting each aerial maneuver, each carved turn, with hoots and howls, yips and yowls.

"Where'd you get that thing?" was the question asked most. Answer: Jax Hobbies in Fountain Valley. "How much did it cost?" About $150. "Who makes it?" Kyosho in Japan.

As his self-righting mini-surfer ripped down the face of a wave 10 times its size, Glondeniz marveled at its prowess. "This guy has no fear; he'll drop in on anything."

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