29 November 2010

Mama's New Ride

Yeah, I know I was trying to get a VW bus restored. I finally threw in the towel with that thing. For a variety of reasons, I lost my enthusiasm for that vehicle. I still have it, but I will be putting it up for sale soon. I gave it an almost valiant effort though. The VW has a new engine and a new carburetor. Had I been able to maintain a head of steam with respect to its restoration, I'd probably still be enamored of it. However, life got in the way of my plans for the VW—cancer scares, lost jobs and a great deal of angst. I simply didn't have it in me to go any further. I think, at this point, the VW is representative of all of the bad things that happened to our family in one fell swoop. I can no longer be bothered to labor over a car in an effort to bring it back to its former luster, both inside and out.

I've always loved old cars. Prior to the birth of my child, I went to every classic car show I could find. I always said I would have an old car at some point in my life. My first (failed) attempt was with the VW. My next attempt is with this Ford station wagon that the original owner painted red. Yep, she painted everything red, including the panels. When I was a kid, you could not have told me I'd grow up to have such an affinity for station wagons. I thought them ugly and uncool. Well, they still may be uncool, but I love everything about them. This one and I found each other. I didn't even have to negotiate price with the seller. Each time I spoke to him, the price came down a little more without me even asking. He just wanted to sell it and get some cash. I just wanted a station wagon . . . even if it was one that never should have seen a speck of red paint.

I guess I will paint it eventually. There's no rush. This thing runs well for a car that's two years younger than I am. And it's a station wagon!! I'm in love!!!!

27 November 2010

Stoked and Broke

I got hooked up. And as a result, I got to watch the movie online for free. Twice!! I suppose I could watch it again if I so choose. I may so choose before the weekend is up.

Now that I've seen it, I have to admit that I will buy it once the film is released on DVD. It's just that good. I rarely watch surf films these days because, as I've said before, I just can't relate to them. They're not talking to me, about me, around me, behind me or even in my general direction. I suppose this relates to something I said to someone recently about the way the corporations portray surfing. When you look at ads or films for surf corporations, there is a definite feeling that surfing is about "them," that the average surfer is not a part of the equation. We aren't young, blonde twenty somethings with scantily clad babes (whether male or female) waiting for us on the beach. The surf story as told by the surf corporations excludes most of us. This is the reason why I spend a great deal of my time reading surf blogs. The writers of those blogs give stoke away for free. They generally ask nothing in return. They simply grant us entrée into their lives as surfers. As a result, we see ourselves in them. That's something we can't say about the corporate portrayals of surfers and surfing.

That brings me back to Stoked and Broke. There was a definite feeling of "us" as I watched this film. I think I was most enthralled by the surfers they spoke to during their walkabout. RK, as is probably readily apparent, is my boy! Even though we've only met once, we've developed a weird, hip-hop based relationship after I interviewed him for Liquid Salt. I thought his comments in the film were very poignant. Kneeboard Steve and the Horns also epitomized what this is all about. Stoke is not easily extinguished. That is probably one of the reasons why surfing is such a joyful lifestyle.

I give Cyrus Sutton a lot of credit for doing something completely different that still ended up being a highly enjoyable surf film. A+!

Stoked & Broke Teaser from www.KORDUROY.tv on Vimeo.

26 November 2010

I Heart Adam Colton

Here is yet another skater who inspires me. How is it that folks like him and the chick in the other video make it look so easy?

25 November 2010

Giving Thanks for Good Waves

The stars aligned, the heavens opened up, the angels commenced to singing and lo and behold we were treated with stellar conditions at the home break this week. Somehow the offshores, fat morning tides and windswell combined to make our normally closed out beach break do a damn fine imitation of a point break. It was a wonderful thing, a thing for which I will be thankful today, tomorrow and for many more days to come.

Don't believe me? I have photographic proof. Observe.

On Tuesday, the shape was fantastic. Shoulders would pop up and keep going. The waves were about chest high on the sets.

On Wednesday, the waves got even bigger! I had not expected that. Frankly, I'd left a lot out in the water the day before, thinking I wouldn't see those conditions again. I surfed for about three hours. When I got to the beach on Wednesday, it looked a bit messy. Still, the wind was offshore. I truly believed it would clean up, so I waited for a sign (from heaven, from the ocean, from wherever). After about 15 or 20 minutes, I noted that the waves were beginning to crumble upon impact. That was all the sign I needed. While others stood in the lot like doubting Thomas, I paddled out. I just knew that someone somewhere had put a quarter in the home break wave machine. In fact, that person probably put in two quarters. Why do I say that? Well, see for yourself. The waves were just about head high! And the shoulders remained. Total and unequivocal score!

I went back today, but somehow I knew it was over . . . even before I got to the beach. All was back to normal—small, closed out, crowded.

I am nonetheless thankful for those two amazing days as well as any other day I can surf, regardless of the conditions.

24 November 2010

Thanksgiving is the New Black Friday

This is not a surf-related title. It's just the thought that keeps coming into my head with all of this talk about pre-, mid- and post-Thanksgiving sales. I must be allergic to shopping because I have no interest in any of the money-spending frenzy. We're in a recession. Too many people are either unemployed or underemployed. Where are people getting this money the retailers think we all have lying around to spend at our discretion? See, this is one of the reasons why I surf. It keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. Even if I didn't surf, I wouldn't be shopping, but surfing ensures that my focus is not on what I can or can't buy for those around me (including myself).

I just surf. Then I go home and get on with my day.

The home break has been on and poppin' for the last two days. Offshores. Shoulders. Smiles. I've surfed so much that I've suffered more than a few foam beatdowns from my beloved Almond log. Today saw me forget to plan my exit strategy on one wave in particular. That resulted in the board and I being tossed around in the whitewater. At some point during that incident, that huge D fin delivered a blindingly painful blow to my hamstring. I'm still walking funny more than 12 hours later. Of course, my biggest relief was in the fact that the fin didn't cut through that custom wetsuit. It's still "gonna leave a mark" though.

Pray for more surf like this:

23 November 2010

Stoked and Broke Online Movie Premier

I've said on more than one occasion that I think Cyrus Sutton is a wonder. He, in my mind, embodies all that is good about surfing. If you don't know who he is, you need to find out. Your first assignment, then, is to check out his site. Stoke resides there. Every day.

Your next assignment is to see his new film Stoked and Broke. If you missed it in when he was showing it in a few theaters the old-fashioned way (i.e., the filmmaker announces the dates of the showings and brings his film to a live audience of enthusiastic surfers), you can see it online. It'll be shown from Friday, November 26th through Sunday, November 28th. The details are here.

I still haven't seen the film either. Each time it was shown at a locale close to me, I had to work. (You know, this work thing is totally overrated. Don't forget I said that . . . again.) I don't plan to miss out this time.

22 November 2010

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

Between Yellow Lines from Max Esposito on Vimeo.

I first saw this on the Monsterboards blog. They got it from Korduroy.tv. All I know is this chick is making female surfers and skaters proud. I've watched this video countless times and posted it elsewhere. Others saw my post and began to post it themselves. When I was skating on my longboard today at the beach, this video became a topic of conversation among some of us who had shared it. It gave us, in a word, stoke. And so, I will post it here, hoping that it gives all of you some stoke as well.

19 November 2010

Day Four of Four

This was taken on my last day in the water before the weather went on strike. I managed to get wet for four straight days—three of them were on a surfboard and the last was on the mat. After suffering through closeouts on the first day, I set out for greener pastures, so to speak, on the following days. So, the second and third days saw me heading down to the OC. I found what I was looking for on both occasions: uncrowded waves with shape. On the fourth day, I decided to stay a bit closer to home. I drove north on PCH with no particular spot in mind. I went to my favorite point break, but it wasn't quite working. Then I headed further north, stopping at a well-known beach break. The wind was already on it, therefore I wasn't too enthused about the idea of paddling out there. I got back in the car and headed south a ways, finally ending up at a break I've only surfed on one other occasion. It's one that mat riders in L.A. speak of often. I decided I would see what all of the fuss was about. In the end, I could see why people like the spot, whether on a board or on a mat. However, the wave itself is a little too fickle for my tastes. One thing about being on a mat is you get a good sense of how a spot works. You're down there with the wave as its forming. You can see much more happening than you ever can while sitting on a board.

This spot was good, yes, but I would argue that The Place Which Shall Remain Nameless is better. The latter has more peaks and more room. The spot I went to yesterday has a limited take off zone. Were it the only game in town, I probably wouldn't be so critical. But we live on the coast. There's a wave to fit everyone's tastes. The spot I matted yesterday is not quite to my liking. I take my hat off to those who have it wired. You all make it look easy . . . when I know that surfing there is not.

It's going to rain this weekend. Stay fit and fix your dings. Good weather and clean water will be back soon enough.

14 November 2010

My Footwear for the Zombie Apocalypse

This is assuming, of course, that I am a zombie and no longer part of the population of the living. Were I a member of the latter group, I'd get some running shoes on so that I could get to stepping. Although I don't watch horror films or shows, I cannot escape the current fascination in our country with all things zombie. My child plays "Plants vs. Zombies". There is apparently a television show on cable all about zombies. Zombie this. Zombie that. Whatever. When I do join their ranks, I will be sporting my long-dead-but-not-yet-laid-to-rest Vans.

These shoes went from plain old kicks to skate shoes. Slowly but surely, as is typical of canvas Vans, a tiny tear materialized where shoes naturally bend as one walks. That tear slowly grew, as did the obvious punishment that I mete out on Vans.

So they were retired . . . from daily wear.

I didn't dispose of them though. They were too thrashed to donate to the Goodwill, but they still had a lot of life in them. They must still be good for something, I thought.

And they are. These are the shoes that allow me to safely get down to and back up from my favorite surf spot. The trail is quite rocky these days. For a time, I was making the trek on that trail with bare feet. Once we had some decent rains that brought loose rocks down onto the trail, I soon realized I'd need footwear again. The trail at this spot is uneven and rutted. The rocks are sharp. Flip flops would probably cause you to fall faster than bare feet will. I tried some funky, weird, found-them-for-a-song sandals for a time. Since they weren't snug on my feet, they turned out to be useless. I needed shoes. I needed shoes that were going to take a beating.

These Vans are now stained, salty and stiff as a board. Their odor when wet is . . . interesting. Nonetheless, I'm not giving up on them yet. I wear them down to the break when my feet are dry. After my session, still dripping wet, I put them back on for the hike to the car. By the time I reach the end of the trail, the shoes are soaked and caked with dirt. I clean them off as best I can. Once I get home, I leave them out in the sun to dry.

So, when the zombie apocalypse is upon us, look for the dreadlocked black chick zombie with the nasty brown Vans.

Then it would probably be a good idea to start running in the opposite direction.

09 November 2010

Home Break Goodness (a Pictorial)

A lot of folks were missing, but those who were there thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Me on the mat

Dude whose name I still don't know on the paipo


Joey . . . ripping . . . as usual

John . . . the Energizer Bunny who catches everything



Me going right because I couldn't seem to find many lefts today

08 November 2010

It's a Mat Thing

You probably wouldn't understand . . . unless you were ready, willing and able to have your mind blown. You've got to do it to truly get it.

05 November 2010

Almond? Joy

I finally got a chance to try the new mid-sized board. The waves were less than stellar, but I was determined to try this board regardless of the conditions. Granted, my mat and fins were on the beach as well. If the conditions had been better, I would have split the session between the two disciplines.

It turns out that the board was the only game in town.

I think I won.

02 November 2010

Gotta Love Adam Wright

I consider him the voice of reason. He's not always right, but he comes close more often than not. And he doesn't charge one thin dime for his forecasts. My hero!!

Waves for Wednesday – WNW-NW swell peaks but expect some heavy shadowing for some areas
By adam wright on November 2, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

Wednesday will be a surf day…and despite the title of the forecast most WNW-NW facing spots will have some sort of surf and even a few of the best-est breaks will have some decent size…but if you were expecting to need jet-skis and tow ropes really anywhere in Socal you are going to be disappointed.

So if you haven’t already heard…on Wednesday a new WNW-NW swell (285-300 but with the biggest energy showing at 295+ degrees) will be peaking throughout the day. There is a tiny fraction of S-SW remnant swell from the Southern Hemi but it is basically there as a party decoration.

After looking at the charts all day…this is probably the most useful one in terms of seeing how the swell will be filtering into Southern California. At first glance you basically go “holy crap the outer waters are on fire!” but then you take a closer look at how much of the swell is actually making it into our beaches, which isn’t all that much compared to the “potential energy” on the outside. Now that being said there will be some decent surf here and there…and I have circled the regions that will pull in the most energy (for the color blind)…so if you are looking for bigger waves you are going to want to focus on those areas.

Sizewise…the average spots (outside the circles) are seeing some swell…but it isn’t all that much. We can expect the WNW-NW facing spots in those areas to hold around the chest-shoulder high range on most of the sets…with the potential for a few bigger sets on the right tides and if the break has a tendency to work on swells like these. The standout spots, again…mostly in the circled areas of Southern Ventura, parts of the South Bay, and Southern San Diego (once you move out of the Catalina Shadow), will have more consistent shoulder-head high surf with some overhead sets…and the potential for sets going a couple of feet overhead…maybe a little bigger at the focal breaks in S. San Diego. One thing that sort of blows…is that we have a 6’+ high tide peaking right at 7am so if your spot is tide sensitive…you might be out of luck for a morning session.

Weather on the other hand is going to be really good again on Wednesday. Winds will be light/moderate N-NE (offshore) for most areas…holding around 4-5 knots for most spots and seeing some stronger gusts 10-15 knots near the really wind prone passes and canyons. Winds stay light for most of midday and then will get variable to variable onshore near the end of the day. Skies will be sunny and overall it will be a pretty good beach day, while people burst into flames out in the Inland Empire.

Just a couple more parting shots for this forecast…the points/reefs that are exposed to the NW swell are going to have the best shape…there just isn’t anything to break up the lines at the open beach breaks…but if you are stuck surfing one, try to pick one with some sort of structure or really good sandbar and hope it can put a couple of creases in the swell. Watch those tides…the 6’ high at 7am drops to a negative -0.2 low by 2pm…and tide swings like that can take a lot of wind out of a swell’s sails. Happy hunting…let us know if you score a few tomorrow.

01 November 2010

The YouTube Hip Hop Battle with RK Dance Party

I am not a big fan of Facebook. I entered that world kicking and screaming, certain I was lowering myself to the level of the lowest common denominator.

Yes, I looked down my nose at Facebook.

That was last year. This year has seen me embrace Facebook. I readily acknowledge that it's both useful and entertaining.

How useful was it this morning? Well, where else can you have a YouTube war with Richard Kenvin? He'd post a video, then I'd answer his post. We were going at it with both barrels. I was pulling out music I hadn't heard in years. Finally, we both agreed to a truce. I mean, there are important things to do other than play on Facebook. Well, sometimes there are . . . right?

This was one of the songs I used to try to slay RK. It was, and still is, a jam. I've been having dance parties for one as I've replayed it a few times since our battle.

RK is a bad ass surfer. And he knows his hip hop too!