WESTPORT, WASH. — Drive as far west as you can in Grays Harbor County, and you’ll meet the ocean in Westport. Waves roll into the beach there, next to a jetty that marks the entrance of the bay. It’s where Al Perlee arrived decades ago with a wetsuit and a surfboard. A while later, he opened The Surf Shop.
He says he wanted to create a place for the community of surfers in Westport. Perlee says no matter where he's been on the West Coast, he's found a continuity among surfers. He says people have an understanding of how to interact with each other that doesn't have to be explained with each new locale.
Perlee also raised two children in Westport. They surf, too. It's a family tradition in a way. Perlee calls his father "a waterman," who spent a lot of time on boats and body surfing in Southern California.
Perlee says that now that he's older, he's mostly given up the surfboard, choosing to ride the waves with his body instead. "Anymore, the board gets in my way, and everyone else's too."
This afternoon, KNKX Connects to Grays Harbor County. All Things Considered will broadcast from the Aberdeen Timberland Library, sharing stories about government, business and history. This special edition of Going Places is part of that series.
EXTRA: KNKX Producer Geoffrey Redick talked with Dennis Crowley, of Aberdeen, at Westhaven State Park in Westport. Crowley had spent a while in the waves, and was in the parking lot packing up his wetsuit and surf board.