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California paparazzi, stand at the ready: Barney Frank is about to hit the beaches of the Pacific.
Ready, like Rohrabacher, is a surfing enthusiast. Frank, it seems, is not.
“We have them set up at surfers hotel,” says Rohrabacher, joking that Frank “will probably have to lie on the beach like a whale while the rest of us are in the water.”
Frank’s office confirms that the Massachusetts Democrat and his partner have accepted Rohrabacher’s invitation, but nobody will say much more than that.
“I don’t want to tell you the dates,” Rohrabacher says. “I don’t want people out here gunning for [Frank], politically speaking.”
Rohrabacher said he broached the idea with Frank at a function not long ago, after Ready had told him of their shared interest in hanging ten. The congressman heads the three-person Congressional Surfing Caucus, which includes fellow California Republicans Brian Bilbray and Duncan Hunter.
Hunter is quick to note that his fellow surfing cohorts are longboarders and jabs: “I wouldn’t exactly call that surfing.”
Nevertheless, whatever you call the activity itself, you can call the Frank-Rohrabacher gathering an example of some true beach-based bipartisanship. Aside from their agreement on the issue of medical marijuana, the two members are on fairly diametric ends of the political spectrum. And even if Frank ends up staying supine on the shore, Rohrabacher says he hopes the experience will have a pacifying effect on his irascible colleague.
Rohrabacher, who is trying his best to satiate the surfing (or longboarding, as it were) itch over August recess, started riding when he was in high school. But it wasn’t until he was challenged for his House seat back in 1988 that he became obsessed.
“Some 18-year-old girl asked me if I was a surfer or not, and I said, ‘Sure,’” Rohrabacher recalls. “So a couple days later, she said, ‘I am really glad you are a surfer — I enrolled you in a surfer contest.’ She was one of the local Republican activists. I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I haven’t surfed since I was in high school.’”
As the story goes, the girl invited Rohrabacher to join her and her boyfriend on the beach the following day. He obliged and has been hooked on the sport ever since.
Oh, and about the girl? He eventually would marry her. In 2004, the couple had triplets.
“The boyfriend had to be left on the beach, so to speak,” Rohrabacher says.