you may get wet

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

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

Monday, April 30, 2007

Boarder Patrol

My flagging stoke was given a quick pick-me-up the other day when I got this email from Erik Hakon Olson: "I dropped your blank off at Moonlight glass today. Stoked!

"The shape came out great. Given your input of wanting something on the "high performance" end of the spectrum (I take "high performance" to mean able to go more vertical on the wave), I went for a shape that features a pulled in nose but kept a somewhat fuller rear end (although not as full as a classic fish shape). I've been hearing about a Pavel design called the creekfish. I havn't actually seen one but apparently it does a similiar type of thing and the few people that have given input on them swear by them. So I'm hoping this goes great for you!

"Unfortunately I never was able to get to Home Depot for the color chip you specified. If you have one on hand, I need you to pop that in the mail to Moonlight. They're expecting that we'll send one in to them."

So here she is in all her glory:

I did a quick search on the Pavel Creekfish and found this testimonial: "If you want the latest design evolution from Toby...request a Creek fish...He made me one and it is the best board I have ever had in 35+ years of surfing."

Here's a quick shot of the color chip. I'm going with the top color: Shoreline Green. Might have to call the board "Shrub" in honor of the color.

Ready for lift-off to the Moon Base.

Somehow I sense a theme amongst my toys.

Friday, April 27, 2007

At the End of my Leash

The above picture is what my board looked like before I entered the water. The below picture is what it looked like a half-hour later. I pulled up to the EP parking lot in the mid-morning sun. The swell size was still holding and the wind hadn't blown it out yet. The first thing I heard as I stepped out of the car: "Oh my god, that was the longest barrel of my life!" A still-wet bro was standing pie-eyed in the parking lot explaining his good fortune.

Stoked to find some of my own I hurried down to the beach. I should've know something was amiss. I was wearing my bulky 5-3 hooded suit, and my leash was tied in a knot. Pulling the hood down off my head and untangling my leash, I leaped in. The arms were noodlely after nearly two weeks in dry dock. The 5-3 wasn't helping any. That's not totally true. I had to duck at least 15 waves to make it out. So I did have it to thank for my warm core temperature.

The first wave I went for spooled out in front of me at about head height. As I swung into position, I saw the whole thing wall up in a pre-close-out grimmace. I pulled off it; unfortunately, my board didn't follow suit. It got yanked over the falls, and the leash snapped like a twig. Next thing I know I'm doing the swim of shame, as my board bounces and bobs like a little yellow submarine all the way in.

Like the title of this post suggests, I'm at the end of my leash with my surfing right now. I'm not committed enough to improve, and I seem to go out just enough to get frustrated. I've got a New Mid-Year's Resolution: Surf at least three days a week. Let's see how I do.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Friendly Fire

Friends that surf together, stay together. Something about being half-submerged with someone seems to strengthen the bonds of friendship. The point was driven home for me over the last couple of go outs. Over the weekend I was able to hook up with mi amigo, Markarito. Markarito is actually responsible for me even surfing in the first place. I still remember the bright sunny day at Venice when he pushed me into a wave and screamed for me to stand. I did the ol' Leaning Tower of Pisa for the briefest of moments, but I've been chasing that feeling ever since.

'Rito and another friend, Kays, took me to a somewhat more secluded spot in the North Bay. The set-up looked nice, with only two other guys out. The voluptuous swells of midweek had dropped down considerably and, adding insult to injury, the water temp had ducked down as well. Before I knew it, my two L.A. chums were chattering teeth like they were trying to send Morse code. They lasted about 45 minutes and I followed shortly after. I can only imagine how they would of handled a snowy weekend in Oregon.

The following day, Markarito and I hit another new spot...for me at least. Again we were in the North Bay, but at a much more well-known locale with a few more locals. The mood in the water was welcoming, but again the temps were a little south of sunny. After a handful of windy waves, 'Rito was out. And then so was I.

After two days in the water, I got a call for a third. This time it was my old buddy Shitbird. He migrated south to L.A. from Portland to nest with his lady, giving me the motivation to do the same six months later. On this day we hooked up with his good buddy Jordache. Both Shitbird and Jordache are die-hard loggers, and as soon as they saw the mushburgers being served up at one of L.A.'s most popular joints, they were in. I had little say and paddled out on my fish fillet. Paddling and pumping like my life depended upon it, I managed a couple of fun, longish rides.

As we got out of the water we noticed a crusty barnacle on a soft top log showing us how it was supposed to be done. He would sit way inside, almost on top of the rocky point, catch a wave and ride it all the way up onto the beach, slinging his board against the rocks for good measure.

We contemplated the advantages of a foam board as we turned for home. As I ran into rush hour traffic, I contemplated the advantages of living on the beach. A big house, with all my boards and all my buds. That's the ticket.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Dead deer,
decapitated elk
and graffiti,
oh my.

I understand the sentiment of yokelism. It's like hiding beers at a party - everybody's there to have fun, but you want to make sure your fun doesn't run out.

Fellow web/surfer, Dub, recommended I hit Ventura. Then a friend, Slimly, sent me the above pic. Curious to know the real? How full force are the foolios in Ventura?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Santa Cruzin'

Over the past two weekends I've been making my way up and down the coast like a traveling salesman. Fortunately, the only thing I've been pitching is myself over the lip of many a frothing wave. I even managed to ride a few of them - imagine that.

After heading south to Baja, this weekend I aimed the car north to Santa Cruz. Surf City, U.S.A. was in full effect. I drove over to Rockview with a friend and got a veritable history lesson on the many breaks that peel off the point. I lost track after "Pingers" and "Suicides." No matter what you called it, every inch of rideable face was inhabited by rubber-suited rippers. It's becoming a reoccurring theme in my California surf experience - if you wanna surf you gotta get used to the company.

It's not that I dislike people, it's just that there seems to be a correlation between the number of people in the water and my surfing ability. As one goes up, the other goes down. Trying to keep the latter up, I headed to Carmel. Unfortunately, the rich opulence on land wasn't mirrored in the water. A hard NW wind tore through the break and sent spinning sand storms across the beach. Of course, it was fine white sand imported from Hawaii, so it didn't sting quite as bad.

I paddled out into the crossed-up waters and waited just north of three other guys. The first set that came through jacked up quickly with an ugly ledge in the middle of the face. I motored toward it and as I plunged the nose of my board under and ducked, I felt the full force of the wave shudder through me. On the next set I again felt the full force of the wave, but this time is was detonating on top of my head. I paddled into what looked like a rideable section, but just after reaching my feet the entire wall shut down on top of me. I hit the bottom hard enough to think I was back in Oregon. After another half-hour of the same, I managed a couple of straight drops with no chance of making the closed-out section. Then the winds went from humming to howling, and the whole bay was whipped into a frothing latte.

The next day, I again went looking for solitude. Driving north, I pulled over into a dirt parking lot a little before Bonny Dune. I realized I'd forgotten my towel, and even though the beach is noted for an occasional nudist, I didn't feel like flashing my tackle box in front of any salty sea dogs. I tied my sweat shirt around my waist and squirmed into my suit. I then walked a quarter-mile into the spot to find it completely empty. Paradoxically, I don't like surfing with crowds, but I don't like surfing alone, especially at a remote break I hardly know, and especially when I can see something lurching in the water just past the break.

I sat and stared at it for 15 minutes. It was big. 8-9 foot faces pitched on the outside at the point and steamrolled all the way to the inside. Not to mention the tide was way out, exposing a rocky reef. My short two hour window of surf time was quickly closing. I thought of running back to town and nutting up to surf with the crowds. I turned to leave, and what do you know, ambling down the path comes a guy with board under arm and backpack slung over his shoulder.

"Do you know this place pretty well?"

"Yeah, I surf here all the time. You can paddle out through the middle channel, or you can walk the rocks to the point and jump in."

He walked the rocks; I tiptoed to the edge of the reef and launched myself into the channel. His way was quicker, and as I neared the outside he swung into the belly of the beast and shot past me, carving down the line. The paddle through the channel was long and strenuous. I sat on the outside to recover, but before I could catch my breath another set was upon me. I turned, paddled, peaked to the top and then slid down the back. The waves were monsters, but they were a little round at take-off.

"You almost had that one! There kind of hard to get into, but then they jack up on the inside."

"Yeah, I gotta commit more."

The next set came chugging in. I turned, paddled hard, peaked to the top and this time slid into the wave. A massive green wall swung into focus to my right. I popped to my feet, looked down the line and went to turn, only to realize my feet were way back on the board. As I bobbed down the face, I leaped with both feet to readjust them. Landing in the middle of my board, I shot forward down the wave's face. But my momentum was too much. I lurched even farther forward, lost my balance and was thrown into the meat grinder. I couldn't believe it. A perfect wave. I was in, and I blew the pop-up.

As low as I felt at that moment, it was actually the high point of the day. I lost my nerve a little after blowing the take-off, and then a couple other guys showed up. I backed off a couple of lips I really should have gone for, and then my day officially ended when a large set materialized on the horizon like an invading army. I scratched feverishly to the outside, but someone had called for a clean up on aisle G, and there was nothing I could do about it. I dove as deep as possible, but the avalanche of whitewater ripped through me, tearing my board from my arms like a lollipop from a little babe. I twisted, contorted and kart wheeled for a dark eternity. Popping up in time to relocate my board, pull it to me, belly up and get pummeled once again.

My surf window was emphatically slammed shut. I paddled back in with my tail between my legs, but happy that I at least paddled out. If it didn't kill me, all it could do was make me a better surfer.

I drove back to Santa Cruz, picked up my girlfriend and headed south on the 101. The next five hours were spent wondering, dreaming, replaying what could have been had I made that drop.

Friday, April 06, 2007

In Surf We Trust

My old lady, Tay, had a brilliant idea this year for my birthday: Start a fund for a new board. She even donated the first $200, which is pictured above complete with "Totally Legal Tender Dude" and "United Shaka Bra." The idea is that each time anyone in our little surf crew has a birthday we start a board fund for them. Gotta say that is one brilliant idea.

As I've posted about before, I'm in talks with a shaper to make the inaugral surf fund board.

P.S. - Scope that stash. It's got a tasty little curl to it.