30 October 2010

Worst Surf Film Ever!!

One of the guys at my job insisted that I watch Surf Nazis Must Die, a film he'd gotten for, I think, one dollar (or not much more than that) some years ago on videotape. He almost paid too much. Almost. I try not to savage most things, but this movie was just plain bad. However, what I found interesting is that there were a couple of black folks in it. The hero, believe it or not, was a stereotypical heavyset older black woman who was seeking revenge for the murder of her son. Well, I've never seen a surf film where black people played prominent roles. Ever. So this was highly entertaining for me. I would post the trailer, but it's not suitable for the younger set since, of course, the ubiquitous bare boobs scenes in the film are also in the trailer. I guess that's how the filmmakers thought they could at least get teenage boys and desperate men to watch this horrible flick. Would I watch it again? Not on your life. Once is more than enough.

27 October 2010

Gotta Let Those Gills Dry for a Bit

This photo has no significance whatsoever. In fact, it has nothing to do with this post. I was getting dressed, looked at all of my surf junk strewn around the car and took a picture for posterity.

I've recently acquired an addition to my tattoo quiver. I'll be out of the water for a bit. I don't even mind that much. This will certainly give my over-worked shoulders a chance to rest since I'm not allowed in a pool either. Do you know what this means? I might even wash my car. As quiet as it's kept, one of the reasons I don't wash my car at home is because it taxes my already tired shoulders too much. I just don't want to waste that exertion on the car. I'd rather leave it all out in the water. As a result, my car is hardly ever washed. I don't take it to a commercial hand wash because I'm both cheap and loath to take all of my surf junk out of the back so that someone can run a vacuum back there. Now that I'm out of the water for a week, I think I will pay some attention to my car. Heck, I might even throw some wax on it for good measure!

On the day that the picture above was taken, I had a rather long talk with a guy who was parked near me at the beach. He was a guy who was originally from Turkey. After my session, we got to talking. I don't know what prompted the conversation. Strangers have always engaged me in deep conversations out of the blue. They do it in the water, which I don't like, but it generally happens more often than not on land. I don't mind these conversations when I'm dry. Anyway, this guy and I got to talking. He was a nice-looking man, well-spoken, genuine and personable. As it turns out, he was living in his car. You never would have suspected that. But the recession had led him to that point. He said he didn't mind. I believed him. He was someone who obviously took life as it came. We talked for a long time about the state of the economy, politicians, human beings, greed and who knows what else. When all was said and done, he wanted to help me put my board back in the car. Normally, I neither need help nor want help. If the board is going to get dinged, I want to be the only one responsible for that tragedy.

So what happened? I graciously accepted his help with the board. We wished each other well and parted company. Friends we meet. A friend and fellow blogger once used those three words as the title to a post about like-minded people he'd met over the internet. The conversation with this guy made me think about my fellow blog writer's use of those words. They also apply to people we meet in passing, perhaps never to see again.

Go left for me!

22 October 2010

I Still Surf Boards (and I Can Prove It)

Here is proof that I still ride surfboards (as well as mats). Actually, I love riding both. This picture also serves as proof that I'm figuring out how to crouch even though my left knee can only bend so far. I simply work with what I've got.

More often than not these days, I alternate my days on the boards and on the mats. Both are stoke-inducing. Both make me deliriously happy. As a matter of fact, my hulls (of which this is one) and my mats come from the same person. Coincidence? I think not!

I'm anxious for the winter waves to return as I want to get off the longboards. It's time for the mid-sized boards to move to the front of the quiver.

21 October 2010

Board Whore . . . Board Tramp—I Answer to Both

The long and short of it is that I got hooked up by my friendly neighborhood—well, if I lived in Newport, I could truthfully use the word "neighborhood"—kick ass shaper. We talked about longboards, but I couldn't give him any suggestions about how to improve on the first board I'd gotten from him. It was perfect. No complaints. Nothing to add. Nothing to subtract. Happy as a clam.

That led us to talk about something . . . different. I'm a big fan of mid-sized boards, but they are hard to find. PG and I have talked about this in the past. Shapers don't view the range between, say, seven and eight feet as part of the paradigm. Those who do will often think funboard.

So, Dave and I got to talking. I expressed an interest in something in the mid-sized range. That's when he asked permission to surprise me. There was no reason for me to say no.

And I waited. This, of course, is what you do with custom boards. Remember the words of Tom Petty. It is the hardest part. Finally, word came that it was an 8'0". That was all he would say.

That was all he would tell me . . . for weeks. (Cue Tom Petty's plaintive wailing.)

Finally. "I have a midlength with your name on it!" I couldn't get down to Newport Beach fast enough, in the pouring rain, on bad tires (that were to be replaced later that day at my friendly neighborhood—for real!!—tire place).

I can't wait to throw some wax on this piggy (or whatever it is) and dare my friendly neighborhood point break to "bring it"!

19 October 2010

The Winning Combination?

PG hull + Greenough fin + a pre-rain session + Randy's Donuts = a very nice Sunday.

I didn't even want a donut. See, I've got a problem, a sweet tooth problem. If it was up to me, sugar would be near the top of the Food Pyramid, probably under the vegetables and even with fruit. So when the words "I want a donut" were announced as we were driving back from my session on Sunday, I went straight to Randy's. If you're going to have donuts and you live in L.A., why wouldn't you go to Randy's? Anyway, I sat in the car while donuts were bought. I didn't want one. It's not that I don't like them. Well, actually, I'm not a big fan of donuts. Too much fat and too much sugar, the thing to which I am addicted. I'm not a big fan of donuts because I'm a big fan of my own fitness. Again, I didn't want one. I can and do live happily without them.

Well, they got in the car with the bag. Soul Brother #1 took one. Soul Brother #2 took one. And there was still one in the bag. What is up with that? It was one that didn't even have any glaze. If you're going to bring me a donut, just send me to hell in one fell swoop. Fry it within an inch of its life before drowning it in sugary goodness. A plain cake donut? After I said I didn't want one? Seriously?

After seven straight days of workouts, six of them having been spent either surfing or riding a mat, that donut was so good!! Even without the glaze, that donut was incredible. And because I spend so much time going outside to play, one donut was not going to derail my fitness.

Perhaps I should have had two!!

18 October 2010

Happily Waving the White Flag

Monday = surf

Tuesday = mat

Wednesday = surf

Thursday = mat

Friday = surf

Saturday = weights

Sunday = surf

Monday = too tired to surf, mat or care

I'm Surfsister and I approve this message.

15 October 2010

Blog Action Day: Water

charity: water 2010 September Campaign: Clean Water for the Bayaka from charity: water on Vimeo.

The wonderful thing about being an American is that, for the most part, life is easy. We can generally move about as we please. There are no wars on our shores. Food is plentiful. And we are free.

One of the things we are free to do is blindly allow capitalism and conspicuous consumption to run amok. Clean, safe water runs out of taps from Florida to Washington, from California to Maine. Nevertheless, we Americans are under the illusion that bottled water, whether it be Evian or some generic brand found at the local grocery store, is the only water that's fit to drink. We gladly pay companies to sell us that which we can almost get for free. Why?

Well, I do believe that Americans live in a bubble. It's all about us, isn't it? There's a world out there. We know it exists. They make us study these places in school. But, truthfully, there's much to be said for "out of sight, out of mind" when it comes to Americans. For the most part, we have no idea how the other half, third or billions live. We're over here. They are over there. It's not that we're insensitive—although we are in many ways—as much as it's that we're happily ignorant of what truly goes on in the rest of the world.

Water is a commodity. If it isn't now, it soon will be.

According to water.org, "nearly one billion people – about one in eight – lack access to clean water. More than twice that many, 2.5 billion people, don’t have access to a toilet." Wars have been, and continue to be, fought over oil, right? It is a commodity that some have and others want. We already know it won't be with us forever, that current generations need to start thinking of a time when oil is scarce. People don't seem to be too worried about this. Why? It's probably because humans don't need oil to live; we need it to power things that murder the ozone layer, things we could potentially live without.

Water is different. Like oil, it's not an unlimited resource. We need water to survive. "We" refers to all humans—first world, third world, whatever label they put on all of these different parts of the globe. We require water. Our bodies are between 60% and 75% water. We cannot live without it. Americans don't have to live without it. We take water for granted. It's just water. Some experts believe that wars will soon be waged over water. Yes, it's that scarce in certain parts of the world. Imagine what your life would be like if you couldn't get up every day, turn on a faucet and have water come out. What would your life be like if you didn't even have access to a toilet? Keeping that grass green would be the least of your worries.

My hope for Blog Action Day is that it prompts us all to pay closer attention to our use of water and to the fact that other human beings—adults, children, seniors—suffer in ways we can't understand because they don't have water at their literal disposal. In other words, don't waste it. It doesn't grow on trees. It's not growing at all.

(Okay, it's been a long day and I'm tired. I hope this post made a little bit of sense. Bottom line: don't waste it and do some research into the charities that are helping people around the world gain better access to clean water.)

12 October 2010

Going, Going, Gone




Each time I get on the mat, I can feel myself moving steadily along that learning curve. Today was the day that I was able to recognize the need to extricate myself from the whitewater if I wanted to keep riding a wave that was trying to swallow me up. For whatever reason, that part clicked today and I was able to get back into this wave without much hesitation. I eventually ended up in front of the wave, looking right . . . and kind of going right . . . but not so much.

My goal now is to learn how to easily direct the mat. I'm not skilled enough yet to make that inside rail set and hold. I made a valiant effort to do so on a larger wave this morning. Instead of getting that inside edge to catch, I flipped over and lost the mat. As usual, I came up chuckling. Riding a mat, as those who do it will probably attest, is both fun and funny. Whenever I get tossed, I think it's the funniest thing in the world. Then again, I always laugh when a wave tosses me from my surfboard. There are numerous pictures of me grinning from ear to ear as the surfboard and I go our separate ways. I even laugh after I get worked.

In other news, the guys at the place where I take my car to be worked on are still shaking their heads about me, I think. Instead of you making an appointment with them when it's time for your car to be serviced, they voluntarily mail you a card telling you when they expect you to bring your car in for service. In other words, you don't make an appointment with them. They make the appointment for you. Well, I've had that card for a couple of weeks. I had every intention of being there on Monday at 8:00. Then word came of a combo swell headed this way. I didn't even bother to lie. I sent them an email on Friday telling them I couldn't make the appointment because of the surf. Period. They responded with an email telling me they'd switched the appointment to Wednesday at 8:00. I was fine with that until I realized the swell is still with us. So I called today to reschedule. Danny knew right away: "Don't tell me. There's surf." Yep! I'm not giving up my car, the only one that can transport a surfboard, until I've had my fill. He gave me an appointment for next week. He was still laughing when he hung up the phone.

Halloween? Surfing in costume? Again? Why not!

08 October 2010

Quiver Addition (and Subtraction)

When I wrote about that transcendent session on the mat, I truly had no words to express how mind-blowing it was. Even though my interest in mats began the first time I heard tell about such a thing as a surf mat, I was not at all prepared for the truth. You can't handle the truth. Oh, I can handle the truth alright.

The truth is that I excitedly contacted Paul Gross. "I want to get another mat." Period. End of story. Mind blown. And it's not something you can explain to other people. I'd ridden my mat many times before, right? But something magical happened in that last session . . . and I wasn't high on drugs.

Quiver addition:

One magic towel. Custom. Made in the U.S.A. Delivered within two days.

The fact that other people don't get it is fine. They just see some inflatable thing. Laughter ensues. Ha ha.

The person on the mat gets the last laugh though.

Both Greenough and Gross get it. I thought I got it. I rode a mat. It made me smile. It was a helluva lot of fun. Then I took it to a wave with shape on a virtually empty day.

And, to quote a term blacks used to use in the 70's, I got turned out! Fully.

As for my quiver subtraction, that was in the works prior to my . . . hmmm . . . whatever that was. I realized I had no place to surf this board and let her go to a good home where she will do more than just sit unused in the garage. What does this have to do with the mat? Well, normally I would be thinking of replacing that board with another. This is my modus operandi. Sell a board, buy a board.

No. Sell a board, get a new mat.

My mat quiver is now up to two. One Standard and a custom Tracker Roundtail. The surfboard quiver is now down to seven, I think. There's a new board on the way, but now I'm in no rush for it to arrive.

Mind blown.

04 October 2010

Not Necessarily Stoned But . . . Beautiful

Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.

This is not the look or demeanor of someone who's been skunked. It is me deep in thought after a mind-blowing session on the mat. I never even noticed that there was a camera trained in my direction.

Not necessarily stoned but . . . beautiful.

I think this is how Timothy Leary must have looked as he was coming down from his first acid trip. Lost in quiet contemplation. Thinking about what I'd just experienced.

For a time, I was the only one out. As luck would have it, my belief that catching the first wave I go for will result in a stellar session was once again proved correct.

Greenough rides a mat for a reason. Greenough gave up surfboards in every form because his mind was blown. I get it now.

My surfboard was near, but those empty waves told me to bring the mat.

The rest is a blur. Some of that blur is in slower motion. I remember looking right and watching the face open up. Skimming over kelp. Kicking as if my life depended on it. Having the mat ripped from my death grip. Being unafraid. Feeling myself change.

I was out there for 90 minutes. Then I got out, found the rocks I'd put aside for my collection and made the long walk back up the trail.

Almost 12 hours later, my mind is still blown. I think this may be permanent.

03 October 2010

That Horrible Ripping Sound

I didn't hear it, to be truthful. I felt it . . . for the second time in my life. Nonetheless, when I look back on these two incidents, I always believe I heard the rending. On both occasions, I immediately thought I'd injured an already compromised joint.

The sensation is more like that of velcro being pulled apart. There is pain. There is also the perceptible feeling of bodily fibers pulling taut and then giving way.

What am I talking about? Scar tissue, of course. After my second knee surgery, I was riding around campus when I felt several noticeable pops in the joint. I was certain I'd done more damage to the knee. I somehow learned that what I'd done was tear some of the adhesions. Well, it happened again recently. This surprised me because it's been over a year since the knee replacement. I'd gone through many brutal massage sessions in an effort to break up scar tissue. I've forced myself to bend the joint to its max and hold it there for minutes at a time, on an almost daily basis, to help increase my range of motion. It's all helped, but the gains have been hard fought.

Then I surfed with my buddy Adele on her birthday awhile back at San O. I remember being on a left that started to crumble in front of me. I crouched as best I could and grabbed my outside rail. I was intent on racing back to the open face. As I was doing this, I felt the board forcing my knee to bend. Completely intent on finishing this wave, it never occurred to me to simply let go of the board. No, I had to see if I could make the board speed up. As my knee continued to bend, I wondered how this was all going to play out. This can't possibly end well, I thought. It was right about then that I felt something in my knee slowly ripping apart.

I don't know if that made me let go of the rail. Something tells me it didn't. I remember thinking I'd just ripped the implant out of the bone. One thing that is typical of most people with knee replacements is that they believe they can easily damage the prosthesis. The truth is that, barring complications, these knees are almost bomb-proof. Once the wave ended, I moved my knee just to ensure that everything was in place. I could still bend and straighten it. But something was different. The knee felt different. Since surgery, my knee has felt like it was stuffed with cotton. I don't know how else to describe the feeling. It's always felt like I got the titanium joint as well as some stuffing to go with it. Well, that feeling is gone. That horrible ripping sound resulted in a joint that feels like it was freed up in many ways. It took awhile for the soreness to subside though. That was over 16 months' worth of scar tissue that tore apart in under a minute. It hurt for over a week. Now? This knee is good to go. Whatever I did, I'm glad it happened and I've had no ill effects as a result.