This column is a little off-topic for the usual content on Yobeat. At a 4th of July BBQ I caught up with a living legend of the surf industry and at the very least his story is an interesting one and I think more people should know it. The surf community calls him the original Jackass. He was a drunken crash-test dummy for famous pro surfers to abuse in their team videos long before Johnny Knoxville appeared on MTV. I first learned about “Crazy” Randall Jackson Blanco from watching clips of old Lost Surfboard films in which he had his hair lit on fire, dropped into vert ramps on a skateboard, slid down stairs on a surfboard and looked like he partied very, very hard.
In 1999 Randall became so huge that he was voted the most popular surfer in the world by the readers of Surfer Magazine. Apparently Lost rigged that one and Kelly Slater was eventually given his proper title. It wasn’t long before his relationship with Lost soured and Randall got screwed. Lost continued to use his antics and image to hype the brand and to sell more t-shirts and videos.
In the snowboard community many of us joke of our “homeless” lifestyle as we travel the globe living out of a suitcase in search of the next snowy pleasure. Randall is a different kind of homeless; he puts no value in money or material things. He just loves to be outside and feels that he is rich in friends. I don’t think Randall Jackson is crazy. I think there just aren’t many people like him out there anymore.
When I moved to San Clemente and started surfing a few years back, I heard that he occasionally hangs around the area near my house. While walking to the bbq I stopped to ask the man I saw lying spread-eagle on his back in the middle of the street if he was OK. He looked up at me and smiled, “I’m just taking a nap.” It was my pleasure to catch up with him and talk about what happened with Lost and why he chooses the lifestyle he lives.
How old are you?
I’m 49 years old.
Why do you choose to be homeless?
I like being outside. It makes me happy. I like the wilderness and I don’t want to be caught up in bullshit. I’ll never forget when they brought down the Berlin Wall in ’89 that I was camping on the bluff in Dana Point.
How did you get mixed up in the surf scene?
I worked at a store [surf shop] from ’86-’89 in San Clemente. I was homeless. I quit three different times and went to 7Eleven to work until I met this guy named Skitch Hitchcock. He was the first World Champion Skateboarder in the 70’s. He was a surfboard shaper at the beginning who didn’t like pollution. I got offered a lot of money to shape surfboards; I was a good shaper. I was broke and homeless, but I don’t want to be surrounded by pollution, so I didn’t want to do it.
Tell me about Lost Surfboards.
These kids from Chino used to write “Lost” on their shoes back in the day. They started making surfboards and selling them and started the company Lost. They used my image and shit, on t-shirts and stuff like that. I’m not down with those guys no more.
You’re known for being pretty wild and doing some crazy stuff. What was the most dangerous thing you did?
Riding a surfboard down stairs in a house in Lost Across America. I crashed at the bottom in a wall. I couldn’t use my shoulder for two years after that. It finally hit me that maybe it hurt, but the stuff I was doing was making people happy. I was the class clown and I love to make people happy. The best shit never gets recorded.
Many people refer to you as the original jackass. Would you agree?
No, there were so many people doing even crazier shit than me before me. I don’t regret none of it. Before I was loose and now I am old enough to know I shouldn’t be a bad influence on kids.