BLACK PEOPLE DON'T SURF
(Did I stutter?)
29 October 2011
26 October 2011
In a Prolonged Holding Pattern
My mom had spinal surgery last week, so I haven't surfed and have barely skated. Right now, it's all about Soul Grandmother #1. I may get a chance to surf on Thursday, but I'm not counting on it.
For now, I remain in a holding pattern, hoping upon hope that I can paddle out sooner rather than later.
21 October 2011
I Need to Hit the Local Skatepark More Often!!
I have no idea who this shirtless man is. But he insisted on having his picture taken with me, so I assented if only to keep him from standing there staring at me with his mouth agape. Cos, you know, I shred so hard that it leaves men speechless.
He tried to tell me about his years of skating, saying something about Venice and some dogs or some such mess. Who knows?
Anyway, I took the picture and sent him on his way!
(Note: I almost died when I realized who the man with the beard was. Seriously. I just about had a heart attack right there in the middle of that skatepark.)
MF, you will find him here.
I Wish I Could Rock an Afro
I would sit out there in the lineup trying not to get it wet. The thing would be regal. And perfect. And round. Then I'd pair it with my Red, Black and Green Liberation Wetsuit.
Then I'd dare someone to say that black people don't surf.
Or get in the water.
Or love Led Zeppelin.
In my next life, I'm rockin' a big ass afro.
That's a promise.
16 October 2011
12 October 2011
My New Life as a Surfer Who Skates
Here is another one I wrote for Josh's site.
If someone had told me, as recently as six months ago, that there would be a point in time when I’d be riding a skateboard as much as I ride my surfboard, I would have laughed and used some pointed words—words that Spongebob and Patrick humorously refer to as “sentence enhancers”.
But I digress.
My life as a surfer who skates, as opposed to a skater who surfs, began in earnest about a month or two ago. My son quietly let me know that he wanted to start riding a skateboard. Mind you, this boy couldn’t even stand on a board, let alone push to get it going or kick to make it turn. So, I hooked up with a couple of pros to teach him some basics. And while they were at it, I figured they could teach me a thing or two or 20 as well.
The last few months have seen me at the skatepark on a regular basis. Days that would normally involve me packing my car with a surfboard and surf gear became days that involved me packing my car with a child and skate gear. Instead of checking the surf forecasts all day every day, I now spend time looking for skateparks that would be suit me and my little skater.
Surfing will always be my first love. And I don’t aspire to drop into a 12 foot pool, crush the deathbox and then subsequently fly out over the coping with an audible roar. I’ll leave that to the younger skaters, the ones with the more malleable bones. What I do want from skating, specifically from my visits to skateparks, is to be able to flow . . . as one does on a wave. Mind you, I always thought skateparks were for ripping and shredding. But now that I skate at these places, I realize that a skatepark can present you with opportunities to feel like you’re riding a wave (albeit a concrete one).
I don’t know that I’ll ever be a full-fledged skater. I’m too old and too enamored of the ocean to put skating ahead of surfing. I do, nonetheless, feel a certain affinity for the glide of the skateboard even if it isn’t quite the same as that we find in the ocean. My new definition of a perfect day? It would have to be one where I surf in the morning and skate in the afternoon . . . without falling . . . on my (insert sentence enhancer here).
08 October 2011
First It Was James Brown. Now It's Cowbell!
Remember when I was in my James Brown phase? I even had a James Brown-themed board made. That phase lasted a good one or two years. I've yet to truly outgrow it. I simply ran out of
JB music to discover.
Well, I was all about the cowbell over the last few days. Chicago. War. Hugh Masakela. Grand Funk Railroad. Tone Loc. The Beatles. Jimmy Hendrix. Santana. The James Gang. Stevie Wonder. Slave. Def Leppard. Funkadelic. Mountain. And, finally, to end it all . . . Blue Oyster Cult (with a nod to Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken).
At one point, one of my friends suggested that Walken's picture be removed from a faux motivational poster, one related to more cowbell, of course, and that my image should replace it.
Voila!! I warned people that when I hear cowbell in my head, I'm liable to break out in a spontaneous dance party for one.
You can never have enough cowbell!
04 October 2011
My Most Recent Blog Post for My Friend's Site
I've been doing some writing for a site in England of late. Josh, who initially was a guest blogger and has now become a friend, enlisted me to help out with his site. I wrote this post the other night when I was at a loss for what to talk about in my blog post. Josh thinks this is one of my better blog posts, and I agree.
I came up with this title because it looks probable, at least with the U.S. economy barely improving and the job situation seemingly worsening, that I will never make a surf trip. Ever. California and Hawaii share an ocean. They are separated by a plane ride of only a few hours. The plane ticket, while not exactly affordable, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Nevertheless, I will be surfing the beaches that are within driving distance of my home. While others talk about going to far away exotic locales in search of surf, I quietly go about the business of appreciating the surf that’s right in front of me . . . mainly because I have no choice but to do so.
This is not a post about gloom and doom. Woe is not me. One of the things I love about surfing is that the whole point of what we surfers do is to ride waves. No one ever said our goal was to ride the best waves or the biggest waves, the waves in the warmest water or the waves in the bluest ocean.
As Gerry Lopez once said, “Surf is where you find it.”
I am, apparently, a truly local surfer. In other words, I live in Southern California. I surf in Southern California exclusively. Thankfully, California is such a large state with such varied geography that making a day trip to spots like San Onofre and Rincon feels like one has gone on vacation.
Some years ago, one of my surf friends returned from a trip to Hawaii and was talking about the place for days after his return. I, as usual, asked him how it was and what it was like. At that point in my life, I still believed I was financially capable of making a surf trip happen. (As it turns out, I was mistaken.) I was a bit taken aback by his response. Most people talk of their surf expeditions in glowing terms, advising the listener to take a trip to the same place. What did my friend have to say to me when I mentioned my interest in going? “Don’t go. It will fuck with your head.”
He went on to explain that surfing in a tropical climate, with its warm water and beautiful scenery, had ruined him. When he returned to Los Angeles, he was not amused by the cold water and the less than perfect waves.
I’ve never forgotten his warning.
So, I keep it all in perspective. A wave is a wave is a wave is a wave. As long as there is something to surf, I’m happy. If I never manage to leave my little part of the world to surf, so be it. The fact that I can paddle out almost every day reminds me that I’m living a life that makes me happy. And I don’t need a surf trip for that.
03 October 2011
Introducing Masa to the Mat
We had only one degree of separation at the most and we seemed to travel in neighboring skater circles. Word came down the pike that Masa was curious about surf mats. He wanted to get out in the water on one.
I, of course, jumped all over that, sending him the message that we could take the mat out when he was ready.
Last weekend, he was ready!
I kept him in the whitewater. That turned out to be a prudent move. At one point, I asked how well he swam. Let's just say he won't be going leashless any time soon. Anyway, he tried the mat, smiled a great deal, lost a fin at one point and generally had a wonderful time. I was happy to be of assistance to a fellow skater, a dedicated one. Masa is as nice as everyone said he is. His English is a little spotty at times. And I speak no Japanese, so there were times when I was using some senseless sign language to try and express myself. We will be doing this again though.
Stay tuned for the second episode of "Introducing Masa to the Mat".