2023 Chris Brown Eternal Stoke Award :
Daniel “ Cookie Monster” Bralver
The Chris Brown Eternal Stoke award was founded in 2019 as a way to recognize our dearly departed friend Chris Brown, and his ever present positive energy that can only be described as stoke. The CB Eternal Stoke award recognizes those in our community who embody his passion, positive energy and dedication to sharing that with others.
In 2019 Chris Brown passed and the community gathered to celebrate his life as a tribe as thousands converged on the Santa Barbara breakwater and paddled out in his honor. Within days of his passing friends of Brownie reached out and asked how we could honor him and keep his legacy going.
Long time friend of Chris and myself Tony Luna called me and we talked about creating a perpetual trophy that was specific to who Chris was and how he approached life and made others feel. Stoked. Thus, the Chris Brown Eternal Stoke award was founded with the first inductee going to his father Dave Brown who ran the WSA for years, assisted with the Christian Surfers and running bible studies, and acted as an incredible ambassador for the spirit of stoke and positive energy.
Anyone who has surfed Rincon consistently over the last 40 plus years will recognize the unmistakable beard, smile, and style of 74 year old Daniel, aka Danny, aka “Cookie Monster” Bralver. Danny has a knack for finding the best waves on any given day at the Queen of the coast and has the enthusiasm and stoke of a teenager which has led many locals to refer to him as Rincon’s oldest “grom”.
His positive attitude, stoke and love of surfing and riding waves at Rincon have made him one of the communities most beloved figures. We caught up with Danny to get insights on his experiences at Rincon.
Self Titled Story by Daniel Bralver : Typical Jewish Surfer From Oklahoma
DOB: 09/25/1948 Born in Greenfield, Massachusetts
Lived in Oklahoma until 9 years old.
I first surfed Rincon in 62’ or 63’ but the first time wasn’t really Rincon; My parents dropped my buddies and I at what we thought was Rincon, and we surfed all day alone, but that was Mondos! I soon got it right, and my first surf at Rincon was over 60 years ago. I was out with Bob Cooper, snaked him on a wave in fact, clean and shoulder high. I remember paddling up to Indicator where I was the only one out. I still have the photo of that wave with Bob that signifies the beginning of my love affair with Rincon.
Through the late 60’s and 70’s out of towners rarely came to Rincon unless it was some giant swell like in ’69. When Mctavish or Nat Young would show up it was a big deal, but most days, everyone knew everyone, especially the Indicator crew. You had to earn your way into the lineup, and, since no forecasts existed, you had to check it every day. Nowadays, everyone knows, and it seems everyone is entitled.
When I saw Michael Peterson in Morning Of The Earth, he ws the man. In the days way before Tommy (Tommy Curren), Ronnie Wolf was the man riding Dennis Beaudums boards; Greenough was out a lot and he would have showings of his films for all us locals, but really, the Indicator crew on good swells was a tight ship of good friends and good surfers.
For me, nothings changed. I feel like I’m in the same stage as ever, though I have my limits now for big waves and I’m starting to sometimes be a bit slower on late take offs, I can still find a deep barrel now and then.
When that time comes each year, like about now, after he cold, dry November stretch, and the aloes start to bloom, I dream and prepare my spirit for he majesty of Beautiful Rincon, and there’s nothing like it. Even J-Bay, the wave is phenomenal, but it’s always running away from you, whereas Rincon’s always coming at you. Remarkable. I pay attention to the horizon.
Back when Greutzmacher was still surfing Rincon, he and I hada motto for newcomers… “ Make em hate the place!” Maybe now I’m not so aggressive unless I’ve been waiting for my wave and someone back paddles me. No way this ol’ boy is backing down when it’s my turn. You know, I’ve seen generations of surfers come and go, I mean generations, I’m still looking for the growers and still finding them, and still always stoked and just a tiny bit envious when I see one of my thousand friends on a good one.
Favorite Spots: Ranch for sure, Pitas, used to be the big left up north, Star Bar in it’s rarity, 20 points in Baja, many for years we had to ourselves, I mean in the early 80’s we had Scorpions to ourselves practically on days when you had to pinch yourself it was so perfect, died and gone to heaven stuff.
Early days in Indo, Central America, South Pacific, Kauai, J Bay, Australia – The surf vibe was rebel and rarer, now the sport is so gentrified it’s troubling a little. I like what CJ Nelson said: “ It’s like a million people just cutt in line for set waves…” I just surf when it’s good or I’m desperate. I love exploring the wild country by foot equal to surfing, and I do put in the miles.
I think Gabe Novoa gave me the “ Cookie” Moniker “ Shit, there’s Cookie Monster on another set wave..” LOL. Being around surfing so long, it’s not nostalgia but reality when I think how I got to surf so many surf spots in the world before they became known.
Oh, and to the next generation of surfers at Rincon, if you see me turn around and dig in, forget about it, that one’s mine.