you may get wet

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Old enough to know better. Young enough to do it anyways.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bomb the Butte, not Beirut

When the weather’s bad and the swell is uncooperative, one is forced to improvise. Today the sun was shining like Mr. T’s neck and the waves were lining up like blue corduroy slacks. Unfortunately, the closest I could come to getting wet was constantly refreshing the buoy report: 5’ at 11 seconds.

Shutting down the computer at five, an idea crossed my mind. During numerous bike rides I had noticed a steep road above my house that just begged for a long board to grace its asphalt. It had been over a year since my last zoo bomb; since then I had moved across town and relegated my skating to the driveway.

Always one to put safety first, I dug up my helmet and headed to Rocky Butte. Situated in Portland’s deep northeast, Rocky Butte provides a beautiful 360-degree panorama of downtown, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, the Columbia River and the rest of the rugged valley.

Turning my back on the view, I dropped into a continuously breaking wave of concrete that unfurled as far as the eye could see. Gliding from heel to toe to heel to toe repeatedly as the tree-lined road reeled past, I realized skating provided the perfect training grounds for surfing. Power slides replaced cutbacks, and I managed to pull-off a few that effectively slowed me without pitching me ass over teakettle.

As I coasted into my driveway, my roommate, Silverstein, was in her car yammering on the phone. I quietly slid into the front seat and finagled a ride back up the butte to my car.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Too Much of a Good Thing?

There's a funny mentality in surfing that goes something like this: I wanna surf, but I don't want anyone else to surf. As if there's not enough fun to go around.

Looking at these pictures a friend recently sent, the fun definitely looks to be in jeopardy.

When I first zipped myself into a wet suit - a process similar to peeling a banana in reverse - and paddled out I was both stoked and unstoked. Straining through punishing white water to sit atop my board in the vast blue ocean was the perfect mix of exercise and enlightenment. The stoic stares and cold shoulders I met with in the line-up were the exact opposite. These guys were as close to enlightenment as Portland is to Hawaii. It's as if they were pissed to be in one of the most beautiful places on earth doing what they loved to do. As ridiculous as it seems, they appeared to be angry that it was sunny with shoulder-high waves rolling in - both phenomena on the Oregon coast being BBC newsworthy.

To my mind, the more people surfing the more happy people there are in the world. I've commonly responded when asked for a ride to the beach, "The more the merrier." At heart, I still believe that to be true. But after suffering through numerous summer days where soft-top torpedoes wreaked havoc on the line-up like a Hezbollah offensive, I now have my concerns. Concerns these pictures only reinforce.

I completely understand both sides: Surfing is fun that's why we're hopelessly addicted, but the more surf-addled fiends in the water the less fun it inevitably becomes.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A cold one & a rolled one

Under the clear dark desert night roars a campfire. Seated around the blaze are family and friends. My family and my friends. This is the way it was when I was a kid. And, hopefully, this is the way it'll be when I'm old.

As of now, I'm neither young nor old. Just perfectly situated in the middle - snug as a bug in a rug. And that's just how I felt as the vino started to soften the edges. Amazing how the grime of daily life washes right off with a couple of glasses.

Wine may clean the grime, but a joint will dirtier it beyond recognition - like a pair of jeans fresh out the drier, only to be stained anew.

After smoking enough grass to floor an elephant, we began to play Trivial Pursuit. A difficult game at the best of times, it becomes down right comical under the influence. The only things I remember are asking to have the questions repeated, watching my parents' close personal friends eat their weight in Dorritos and, of course, lots and lots of giggling smiles.

In a game like that winners and losers are not separated by IQ points, but rather functioning brain cells. Though, I must say, the true winners were the ones who woke up the next morning without a throbbing head and an achy belly. Being on the losing side in all accounts, I woke up the next morning to hear my mom cheerily exclaim, "I only took a tiny toke."

I was caught half admiring her discretion and half peeing myself that my mother just said, "toke."

She had woken at the crack of dawn, no doubt, and was now recounting the night's hilarity to an abstemious friend, who upon hearing the tale proclaimed: "You had a cold one and a rolled one!"