Place item was collected
Salt Lake City, UT
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Michelle Lund is the mother to me and my two siblings. She was born and raised in Millcreek Utah and currently resides in Holladay Utah. Michelle is the type of person who is very outgoing and loves to talk to and be around people. She has her own circle of friends that she is always doing something with, whether it be going to lunch or a group vacation. In her work as a designer for a building company, she meets many people and is constantly making connections. She is very personable and outgoing. Michelle is also known within her group of friends to always have a connection somewhere or know some information that one is looking for.
The picture of the Kook was taken on October 19th of 2017. The “dress” or props that are in this picture are ever changing. The costume appears to be a mix of soccer and celebration. The story was gathered at my home in Salt Lake City Utah weeks later. However, first seeing the Kook began years ago in Carlsbad California. Each year over the UEA (Utah Education Association) break in October, a group of families camps on the beach each year. Over the past seven years, I have been able to see the Kook dressed up in many different ways. In dressing up the Kook, groups of people can come together and feel a connection. It has become a way for people to express themselves and leave a mark on society in their own way.
Me: Okay. So you know how in California, when we’re at San Elijo there’s that surfer there? That surfer statue?
Michelle: The Kook
Me: The Kook! What, like, how, why’s he there?
M: So you can read about it online, but what I understand is that when, people would come to San Elijo to, surf, they would call you a “kook” if you weren’t local. So, say “no kooks” and so, somebody did the statue of the Kook, ‘cause they call non-local surfers “kooks.” So we would be “kooks.” Because we just visit, we don’t, we’re not from there.
Me: So why do people dress it up?
M: I think just for fun. The other day somebody put ski boots on him and skis, they don’t know how they got the ski boots on him. But you can follow him on Instagram I think? But anyway, they dress him up for, just ‘cause why not.
I asked Michelle about the Kook while she was doing her make-up. The enthusiasm would have been more had she been telling someone new about the surfer. There are not superstitions or legends associated with the statue so then there was not as much enthusiasm about the story. The focus of this story was simply facts. The picture has more to it. The green covering the surfboard represents grass. On the right arm there are cleats and the left arm there are stars. A medal is around the neck and a party hat on top of its head. The implied meaning could be a celebration for a specific person or perhaps a soccer team as a whole.
Introduction to Folklore/ English 2210
Dr. Lynne S. McNeill
Semester and year
G8: Yard Art
Lund, Kelsey, "The Kook" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 166.