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Collin Balester and Brett Haber at the Surf Shop

Because he plans ahead, WUSA sports director Brett Haber arranged to visit the massive 24-7 Ron Jon surf shop in Cocoa Beach with confirmed surfer dude Collin Balester last night. Because I'm shameless, I arranged to tag along. Because he's abnormally interested in the world of sports media and abnormally friendly, Balester stayed in the surf shop for about 90 minutes, just sitting around and talking.

(And yeah, the ratio of Balester-to-non-Balester items is a big off lately, but we support fellow bloggers here. Go to Bally's Blog. Now.)

Anyhow, you can see Haber's piece on 9 News at 5:50 tonight, but in the meantime, a few surfing facts.

* Balester's dad shapes surfboards for a living, which he said was his coolest claim to fame until he got drafted. "He used to make us boards every week, it seemed like," Balester said. "I had 40 boards by the time I was 10 years old."

* Even so, he said he never had the talent to turn pro in that other sport.

"I wasn't THAT good," he said. "I was always scared of the waves that went over my head....My dad always wanted me to do the 20-foot waves, and I was like, 'I could die.' "

* Haber pointed out that Balester was "caressing the foam the way baseball players caress their glove." Meantime, I'm caressing my laptop even as I type these words. Anyhow, he used to own dozens of boards, but now he's down to zero and just uses his dad's if he needs to get on the water. And he very officially said he's "a baseball player that just happens to surf; surfing came first, but baseball's what I do."

* Balester said the first time he showed up in a big-league environment, he had a ripped shirt, flip flops and long hair, and "everyone was like 'Who's this guy?' " And while he said he's "kind of mellowed a little bit," since then, he still said virtually all of his teammates get on him for the surfing thing.

"All these guys are from the Midwest," he said. "Some of these guys on the team have never even seen surfboards in their live....I think they're just jealous, that's the whole thing, they're jealous about the lifestyle that I live."

Read more on Haber's blog, naturally.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 18, 2009; 8:47 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Look: Those Skating Presidents
Next: Life in Viera: Boring


Cowabunga, dude!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 18, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

No complaints here! Keep the Bally stories coming.

Posted by: jasper12 | February 18, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Steinz, this is awesome. I always check out the Bog, but rarely post.

Do you just shamelessly go for visits or comments? I bet way more people are checking this out than the comments would indicate.

Plus, you're losing Nats fans to the Smiley Scandal of 2009.

Either way, you rock. Yes.

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 18, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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