31 January 2006

Tides Be Damned!

Oh, I was ready to surf all right! I was scheduled to start work at 11:30. That meant a surf session could be squeezed in between the time I dropped off my little man and the time I started work. All I found when I arrived at the home break was a whole bunch of water breaking on the shore. There was nothing for me to surf!!! I ended up taking a good walk in the soft sand for 45 minutes. Up until two years ago, I ran in the soft sand several times a week. But after my orthopedist gave me an ultimatum ("You can stop running now or you can just keep running and we'll replace your knee"), I stopped running altogether. I thought walking in the sand wouldn't be as good a workout as a run in the sand. I think I was wrong. My legs are fried. It was certainly a good workout. I'll start doing those walks more often.

Here's an article that I just found:

Stay out of the water? No way
Some surfers are so devoted to their sport that they ignore sewage-related beach closures, but the risks of infection are real.

By Hugo Martín
L.A. Times Staff Writer

January 30, 2006

In Southern California, surfing can be a contact sport.

Paddle out of almost any beach and there's a chance you'll come in contact with a sewage spill, big-city runoff, a red tide or, sometimes, floating cattle.

The 2-million-gallon sewage spill that closed an 11-mile stretch of South Bay beaches earlier this month was the latest blow to the local surfing scene. The seepage came a few months after the environmental group Heal the Bay reported that L.A. County beaches last summer had the worst water quality in five years. The main ingredient of the pollution: fecal bacteria.

But some surfers can't keep their feet on dry land when great waves kick up. To the more common surfing perils of wipeouts and face plants, they add the risk of liver damage, diarrhea and eye infections.

This roll-the-dice attitude was evident on a recent Friday at Manhattan Beach before lifeguards reopened the shores. Half a dozen surfers had ignored closure signs and jumped into the surf not far from several bulldozers that were burying tons of contaminated sand.

"I think I'll live," Don Benson, a 56-year-old fitness trainer, said after climbing out of the surf, his wet suit glistening with salt water. He had been surfing just outside the spill zone for three days and had felt no ill effects. So on that day, he decided to chance it. After all, the water was a tempting 54 degrees, the waves crested at about five feet and the sky was a flawless blue. "We'll see what happens tomorrow. But I think I'll be OK," he said.

Besides, he pointed out, although he has surfed nearly his entire life, his only affliction came when he got a staph infection after surfing with an open cut — in Hawaii.

Even those surfers who monitor water test results conducted by public health officials and avoid closed beaches can be caught off guard by a spill, surfer Balin Hewitt pointed out while changing out of his wet suit recently at Will Rogers State Beach, about 10 miles north of the Manhattan Beach spill site.

"Your eyes will burn, and the water smells like diesel fuel," the Santa Monica film production supervisor said of his past run-ins with polluted surf. The result, he said, feels like 24-hour flu, including nausea and diarrhea.

Contact with contaminated water can lead to a variety of nasty waterborne ailments. Ear, nose and eye infections are the most common illnesses, health officials say, as are skin rashes. Gastroenteritis (which can cause several days of vomiting and diarrhea) and staph infections that only antibiotics can clear up are also possible.

Huntington Beach surfing legend Timmy Turner recently survived two brain surgeries to treat complications from a severe staph infection caused by an infected surfing wound.

A less frequent but also potentially serious illness caused by exposure to contaminated ocean water is hepatitis A, an inflammation of the liver. The condition, which requires rest and hydration, has no quick drug treatment.

Public health officials don't keep track of the number of Southern Californians who become ill from swimming or surfing in the ocean. But lifeguards suspect that number is on the rise based on the legions of surfers they see ignoring beach closure signs and venturing into the waves shortly after a rainstorm. Health experts suggest surfers stay out of the water for 72 hours after a rain to avoid the trash, oil and other muck that rainwater carries into the sea.

Viruses and bacteria in the water attack surfers and other beachgoers by entering through the mouth, ears, eyes and open wounds, said Dr. Eric Savitsky, a longtime surfer and a UCLA associate professor of emergency medicine. Wet suits don't protect against skin rashes because the suits are designed to keep a warm layer of water between the skin and the suit. Some surfers try to cut their risks by wearing earplugs or shutting their eyes and mouths while ducking under waves, but Savitsky says such precautions are virtually useless.

The best way to avoid waterborne illnesses is to stay out of the surf after a sewage spill or a downpour and rinse off with fresh water after each venture into the ocean, he said.

"I think the lure of good surf weighs heavily on the minds of the surfers," said Mike Silvestri, a lifeguard supervisor at San Diego's Carlsbad beach who is well accustomed to surfers' indifference toward health warnings.

"We try to do the best we can to explain that we've had lifeguards get sick from going out on rescues," he said.

At Manhattan Beach, a thirtysomething surfer in a full-length wet suit pulled his board from the water and sauntered past a bright yellow sign in the sand warning "Keep Out. Sewage contaminated water." Although the conditions were great for surfing, a whiff of sewage drifted through the air.

The die-hard surfer, who identified himself only as Blake, said he has been surfing South Bay beaches for 15 years and has never been ill from water contamination. Maybe he's built up an immunity to it, he said. "I figure I'm in it every day, so it's all good," he said before rinsing off at a nearby public bathroom.

Up the coast about 10 miles away, Michael Sweeney, an electrician from Carpinteria, was squeezing out of his wet suit after surfing at Will Rogers State Beach. He says he looks for beach closure signs but usually lets his nose be his guide on hazardous surf conditions.

"If it totally doesn't pass the smell test, no matter what, you just don't go out," he said.

But Sweeney's technique has not always served him well. He recalled surfing several years ago off San Diego County's Imperial Beach, after a sewage spill in Tijuana, when a dead cow floated by his surfboard.

"That is when I said, 'I'm outta here!' " Sweeney said.

29 January 2006

One More Time!!

I typed out an entry about Friday's session . . . and then lost it when the computer decided to act up. So here it is in a nutshell.
My entry was much longer than that. But since the session wasn't anything great, there's no reason to try and recreate what I wrote. I'll be out again on Tuesday if the tides permit.

25 January 2006

Longboarding Builds Character

What makes me make such a bold statement? Well, I went out today at a spot that scares the shit out of me. I knew I was going to get worked. I knew, in essence, I would once again be out there paying my dues. Now I'll back up and start at the beginning. CYT and I were determined to surf today. As of last night, I couldn't figure out where to go. I'd looked at the surf reports for that day. I'd checked all of the pictures I could find. Yesterday, from what I could tell, it was flat up and down the coast (obviously with secret pockets with waves here and there). I didn't even think we'd go out today. I told her to call me in the morning. That would allow me to check the surf reports when I got up. Again, from what I could tell, it was flat in most spots. However, El Porto was said to be at two to three feet. So, we decided that's where we'd go. Normally, we surf 26th Street when we're down there. It seems to be the spot where most of the longboarders go. Well, that spot was flat too. Then CYT looked north, saw that there were definitely waves further up the beach, and suggested we head to that spot . . . the spot I consider the real El Porto. (I don't even know if 26th Street is considered El Porto by everyone else.) I immediately started trying to come up with reasons not to go down there. Finally, I decided we should just go. Once we got there, I was not at all happy. I was not looking at two to three foot waves. And the sets were putting the fear of God into me. It wasn't huge. But it was El Porto, dammit. That place scares me. It always has. It scared me even before I started surfing. I'd ride by on my bike on big days and marvel at the waves. Once I started surfing and understanding what I was seeing in the water, it scared me even more!!! Yet here we were, looking at set waves that were overhead. CYT knew I was scared. But she said something that surprised me. She was amazed by the fact that I will allow myself to be scared and then face the thing that scares me head-on. She said she will not allow herself to be scared. Interesting. I don't know how not to be fearful about things. I'm simply able to subjugate my fears and go on about my life. I thought everyone did that. It never occurred to me that you could actually keep yourself from being scared. Anyway, she went on to say that this ability is what makes me a strong person. Huh? Me? What's funny is that by the time we were done with the conversation, I was already preparing myself to go out there and do battle with both my fear and the waves. I never EVER thought I'd surf that part of El Porto. And I KNEW I wouldn't be surfing it on a longboard. I mean, it's not like you can duck-dive that thing. But I put my game face on, cleared my head, and went in. I was determined to do it.

The first amazing thing that happened was my dry hair paddle out. That was unbelievable. Somehow I timed everything perfectly and made it out to the line-up. Then I amazed myself by going for waves. I got a few rides. I don't remember them. All I remember is coming to terms with the break that scares me to death. I got worked. I got scared. I got caught in the impact zone during a big set. I got into complete oxygen debt (to the point of thinking I would drown once the next set wave crashed on top of me). I didn't drown. I did have the presence of mine to belly into the inside, hang out there while I caught my breath, and then paddle back out for more. What was so shocking about the session was that CYT went in and I stayed out. That never happens! But she wasn't feeling it today and I was. So I went back for more. Of course, then the ocean calmed down a lot. I waited for at least 10 minutes for my one last wave. When it didn't materialize, I started paddling in. Then a small wave formed behind me. I easily caught it and took it all the way to shore. I got out of the water triumphant. It wasn't that I'd surfed El Porto on a big day. Frankly, it wasn't that big. (It wasn't that small either.) It was that I'd surfed El Porto without giving into my fear. As a result, it was a breakthrough session. Each time I face a fear in the water and conquer it, my surfing improves. Once I realize I can do a thing I thought I'd never do, I lose some of the inhibitions that often stifle me in the water.

20 January 2006

What I Did Today

Got my boards out of the house for today's session. (And that ain't easy when you're dodging a three year old and a dog.)

Packed the car with two boards and my gear. I ended up on the longer board today.

Yeah, there was something there. The only problem was the temperature of the water. On a summer day, I would have stayed out for about three hours. Today, all CYT and I could manage was an hour and a half at RPB. I'm sorry, but it's too $#%!ing cold out there! I was so cold that I went to Rock'er surf shop after the session to buy a thicker rash guard to wear under my 4/3. Yes, I'm a wimp. I'm still not in booties. I don't know that I will be this winter. I just hate them. Booties, like board socks, are of the devil. But then again, so is this cold water.

18 January 2006

Kooky is as Kooky Does

Wow, I truly suck when it comes to surfing in cold water. Yep, I'll use the temperature as the reason why I can't seem to get it together lately. CYT and I went out yesterday. We found a small peak next to a spot where we usually surf. It looked easy enough from afar. But damn if I couldn't figure that wave out for the life of me. I was on the funboard. I didn't catch anything until I switched boards with CYT. Then when we switched back, I caught one or two more. I don't even know why I went out. The cramps (yes, cramps! This is the surf blog of a female so you knew I would bring that up some day, right?) and the cold water were simply too much for me . . . or at least I'd like to think that was the reason for my mediocre session. And you know what? I do all this complaining about being cold and still go right back out there. Expect to hear more about my horrible winter sessions on Friday.

15 January 2006

Let Me Ask Your Opinion

I'm working on an article. Well, let's back up. I'm thinking of writing an article related to surfing. So I want some feedback from everyone who reads this.

Do you think America hates surfers and surfing? Tell me why it (America) does or why it doesn't.

14 January 2006

Triskaideka . . . what?

Triskaidekaphobia? What part of that word didn't you understand? (Don't worry. I know the word but was forced to consult the dictionary when the time came for me to put the word on paper.) Anyway, it's fear of the number 13. And as we all know, yesterday was Friday the 13th. Me being the odd person that I am, it's my favorite day. Now here's my odd logic. I like Fridays because I was born on a Friday. I like the number 13 because my first, middle, and last names begin with the 13th letter of the alphabet. So Friday the 13th holds a special place in my heart.

Yeah, I got wet again. The only place CYT and I found near the home break was in the bay by the street. There was one small peak there that was working. There were already about 10 people on it. We joined them. I must say I thought I would freeze to death yesterday. I was wearing my hoodie, a 4/3, and a fleece rashguard. After 10 minutes in the water, I felt like I was in Antarctica. Now that I'm 24 hours past that, I think I was so cold because I was already sick. (I now have a real cold; I called in sick today.) I wasn't surfing as well as I can. I wasn't feeling it. I got a few good waves, but my heart wasn't in it. At times, there was such a logjam of surfers that it felt like Malibu. I long for summer. I know I'll still be in a wetsuit. I just like being able to stay in the water for a few hours. During this cold weather, I'm only good for about an hour or an hour and a half.

Hair update: The locks are on their way. My hair is the longest it's been in 20 years. I can feel it beginning to lock in some new places. It's still going to be a long process . . . kind of like me learning to surf. The picture shows that my hair is now changing. Or, shall I say, "going back to Africa". (This was a comment I used to hear and say in my youth when my—or someone else's—straigthened hair started to get kinky again.) Black folks have a lot of weird sayings like that. That is one saying of which I don't approve as it denigrates the purity and beauty of the people on that continent while also showing self-hatred that's ingrained in blacks in this country. I'll stop here. I can feel myself looking about for a soapbox on which to stand. This is what my hair looks like now.

11 January 2006

Some Thoughts on "Duddy"

Don't know that word, do you? A friend who's known me essentially since birth used the word in conversation recently. I swear it's a word I'd not heard for decades. But there it was, sitting there in the sentence, making me smile. The word, in a nutshell, is a synonym for "weak," "whack," "lame". It's one of those words that every generation and racial group has to describe something that disappoints. I will use it in a sentence. Please pay attention. (Clearing my throat) "Both my day and my surf session were duddy." There. Now you know why the word disappeared from the vernacular once the 70's were over. Can a word be stupid? It's a stupid word.

Reasons for today's duddiness:
1. The Breakwater parking lot was closed and will remain closed for months;
2. There were no waves;
3. I took my longboard out and still managed to stink up the already rank water with my kookiness;
4. I only caught one wave;
5. I banged my head on the rear (hatchback) door after my session;
6. I closed the car door on my thumb later in the day; and
7. I went to the L.A. Auto Show and was underwhelmed.

Only a stupid word can do justice to a stupid day.

09 January 2006

Returning to Normal

I'll be able to surf three days this week!!! When was the last time I did that? My work schedule is back on track now that the holidays are over. I'm ecstatic! It's time to get back out there and stay there! Just look for the kooky-looking black woman on the red 7'0" single fin. You'll hear the giggling long before you see me; I tend laugh—a lot—when I'm flailing around in the water. I can't wait. I'm serious about getting this board down . . . even if it takes forever.

06 January 2006

Oh, Hell Yes!!!

The only thing I did wrong today was forget my camera. Soul Brother #1 bought me a new digital camera for Christmas. As I drove to the beach today for a session—my first session in weeks!—I realized I'd left the camera at home. That, believe it or not, was the worst thing that happened to me today. In other words, it was a good day, both in the water and out.

I was to meet CYT at RPB this morning. As it turns out, I saw her car, but I never saw her. The place was a zoo so I opted to stay in the bay and not worry about paddling over to Dos Baños. You know the crowd is bad when it takes you 20 minutes to find a parking space on PCH. There was no way I was paying for parking. I'll do it at the Breakwater, but not at RPB. Why pay to park in the restaurant lot when you can park for free on PCH and be just as close? Anyway, I finally got a spot. One of the old guys said I'd arrived at just the right time. "It's actually getting better." But he warned me to stay inside and stay low. The off-shore (on-shore? Hell, I don't know. I always mix those terms up. The wind was blowing toward the ocean!) breeze was so strong, he said, that it was knocking people off their boards. I also realized, once I was in, that the breeze was also weakening an already slow, mushy wave. I talked to this guy for awhile and then suited up. As I was about to put in my left contact, I noticed it was torn almost completely in half. Not good! They're soft contacts that I only use for surfing. I do find it rather helpful to see that there's a wave approaching. Anyway, that meant I only had one contact. Surfing with one good eye isn't fun. I've done it on those occasions when one of my contacts popped out mid-session. As I was cursing my bad luck, I remembered I still had one daily wear contact in my bag. Yep, just one. No, I'm not sure how that happened either. But, alas, it was a contact for my left eye. "Damn, I must be doing something right to get karma like this!!!" I paddled out. As I was about to head toward Dos Baños, I happened upon two of my homegirls from the home break. We've not seen each other in ages. I'm now working full-time. One is in school full-time. The other is about to start school full-time. They're two of my favorite people because we're all moms who are over 35 and we all surf. So there! Well, the old guy was right. It was damn hard to get into these waves. And it was crowded. And it was cold. I'm glad I thought to stick my 4/3 in the car. As I was about to suit up, I'd asked him if I should wear a 3/2 or a 4/3. He recommended the latter, saying the breeze was what was going to make me cold. He was right. I talked to my girls for a time, all the while trying to catch something. Granted, the waves were hard to get into and I've not been in the water since sometime in December, but it got to the point of being ridiculous. This was RPB, for god's sake. It's not a difficult wave . . . most of the time. Finally . . . finally . . . I saw a left start to build . . . slowly. That wave, I'd decided, was mine! The good thing about lefts at RPB is that when you're a goofy foot, you can see if anyone else is going with you (since it's a break where you go right 97% of the time). This wave was big and fat. And it was all mine. I was prepared to call anyone and everyone else off the wave if I had to. "I haven't surfed in weeks and I'm in no mood to share this left, dammit!" That's what I was prepared to say. But once again, good karma was with me. No one else went for the wave. Not one person. It was mine, all mine. And you know what I did, don't you? I carved that mofo up like a Thanksgiving turkey. (Yes, that was a horribly trite simile.) It was a long, tasty ride too. That was yet another one of those waves that makes me so happy that I don't care if the rest of the session is a shutout. It's good I felt that way since the rest of the session was an exercise in paddling futility. I'd paddle for waves and not catch a thing. I wasn't the only one either. It seemed that many people were baffled by those conditions. Just when I was ready to give up, I caught a good, meaty right with nice shape. I knew I couldn't possibly be the only person on the wave since I'd looked to see if anyone else was paddling for it too. As luck would have it, one other guy caught it with me. We smiled at one another, I threw him the shaka, and then got nailed by whitewater. When I came up, he was still going. That, too, was a beautiful ride. I'd told myself I'd get out after that ride. Well, we all know how that goes. It's so good that you can't help but go back for more. I didn't stay out much longer though. I was cold. My bootie-less feet were going numb and I could no longer move my pinkies. I caught yet another good right and took the damn thing all the way into shore. The only thing that stopped me from riding onto the sand was the realization that there were rocks at the shore. Still, I rode the thing virtually all the way in. I got out happy. As if that wasn't enough for good karma, I got back to my car in time to see the parking enforcement guy giving tickets. I asked if my car was parked legally. Wasn't I surprised when he said it wasn't? I assured him I was leaving and he left me alone. Unfortunately, he wrote tickets for the three cars parked in front of me.

Now that the holidays are over, my work schedule is calming down. No more six day work weeks as of next week. So I'll be able to surf two or three days a week from here on in.

03 January 2006

Tide Turns for Foam Factory (From the Los Angeles Times)

The demise of the No. 1 surfboard blank maker has shifted demand to Harold Walker's firm, which had struggled for decades to stay afloat.
By Leslie Earnest
Times Staff Writer

December 31, 2005

When Gordon "Grubby" Clark said this month that he was going out of business, fear rippled through the surf industry.

In a blink, the main source of surfboard blanks — the polyurethane foam cores that big producers and individual artisans alike shape into finished boards — had disappeared.

And Harold Walker, at 73, had finally gotten lucky.

The telephones at his Wilmington company, Walker Foam Inc., went crazy as surfboard makers scrambled to replenish their supplies.

"I could sell thousands of blanks right now if we had them," said Walker, who left the business in 1973, unable to compete with Clark, but resurfaced in 1990 to give it another try. "It's surreal."

Hank Byzak, who recalls how his fellow surfboard makers shunned Walker's products while Clark dominated the industry, has another way of describing the turn of events.

"I think it's poetic justice," said Byzak, a customer of Walker's who owns Pure Fun Longboards in Encinitas, Calif.

Clark's Dec. 5 announcement upended a normally laid-back, Southern California-born industry of foam blank distributors, surfboard manufacturers, backyard shapers and surf shops. Surfboard makers scrambled for blanks. Retailers raised prices — some adding $100 or more to boards typically priced from $350 to $900 — or limited the number they would sell. And surfers — totaling perhaps 2 million worldwide — wondered where their next boards would come from.

Even as Clark's closing roiled the industry, it has presented an opportunity — and caused more than a few headaches — for Walker Foam.

The company has added a second shift and doubled its workforce to about 20, including hiring "a bunch of Clark guys," Walker said.

"We've gone from not having enough orders to successfully operate the business to having the lion's share of the market," plant manager Gary Linden said shortly after the announcement by the 72-year-old Clark.

But the new business has come with a price. With surfboard makers desperate for blanks, Walker Foam can't come close to meeting demand, Linden said Thursday, the stress evident in his voice.

At peak production, Clark Foam was making about 1,000 blanks a day, about 60% of global production, according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Assn. in San Clemente. That's 10 times what Walker Foam can produce, Linden said.

"I've just got this stack of orders I can't fill," he said. "It's just an overwhelming thing."

Clark's decision has unleashed a riptide of change in an industry that has long resisted it.

In a letter announcing his company's shutdown, Clark said, among other things, that county and state environmental regulators had targeted him for closure, an assertion that officials denied. (Nearly a month later, he and workers at his shuttered Laguna Niguel factory continue to decline requests for comment.)

The loss of a supplier with such market dominance has been particularly painful for small surfboard makers.

"I personally know several guys who couldn't buy Christmas for the kids this year and they're having a hard time paying the rent," said Thomas "T.K." Brimer, owner of Frog House, a board shop in Newport Beach.

Although some in the industry predict that supply could be back to normal in two or three months, others remain doubtful.

In some ways the industry is in upheaval as it was in the 1950s, when the popularity of surfing swelled and balsa wood, which was then used to make surfboards, became scarce. That was when board makers started "fiddling around with foam," Walker said. Among them were renowned shaper and surf shop owner Hobart "Hobie" Alter and Clark, who worked for him.

Walker began fiddling too, mixing chemicals in a 3-gallon cardboard ice cream container. After his first experiment, he said, he was "hooked."

"It was maybe 10 seconds — poof!" Walker recalled. "I had foam all over the place."

Clark initially made blanks only for Alter while Walker started making them for others. Hap Jacobs, 75, a widely known shaper, remembers Walker peddling blanks that were "strapped all over his little car."

His business took off, Walker said, recalling the day his office manager appeared with "eyes as big as saucers and said, 'Harold, we've got $120,000 in our checking account.' "

Soon, though, Clark sprinted ahead of Walker, making his own chemicals, building his own equipment and keeping prices so low that others could not compete, industry insiders say.

"In a lot of ways he raised the bar higher than anyone will probably raise it again in terms of quality, diversity of product and service," said Rusty Preisendorfer, a prominent shaper and owner of Rusty Surfboards in San Diego.

Clark "helped a lot of the manufacturers get going," said Bill Bahne, who represents surfboard manufacturers on the surf industry association's board. "He was always right there for everybody."

But Clark also "had a firm grip on the industry," Bahne said.

Several shapers and shop owners said Clark was never shy about using his market power to keep customers from using other suppliers, including Walker.

Clark's business mushroomed as it produced blanks in a variety of sizes and adapted to the changes of the early 1970s, when shortboards became popular and longboards faded, another shift that hurt Walker, whose customers at the time mostly made longboards.

By 1973, Walker had given up.

In the intervening years, he became a commercial fisherman and invested in real estate — making a bundle and then losing "every cent," he said. But after longboarders began reappearing in the late 1980s, he dug out his old foam formulas.

"Nothing had changed," Walker said — including the challenge of competing with Clark Foam. "Up to the day that Clark quit, it was really a struggle."

With his longtime competitor finally out of the picture, Walker said recently, his company could, within three months, be making 600 to 800 blanks a day, including some made in China.

"We're zipping," Walker said. "We're trying to make as many blanks and as many friends as we can."

But Linden, in a somber mood Thursday, said the Chinese operation wasn't coming online as quickly as expected. China is "a long way away," he said. "Ten thousand miles and a lot of other barriers too."

He declined to give specifics about the difficulties the company had encountered in Asia, where President Joe Boyle, Walker's stepson, is overseeing operations.

The company is working to expand domestic operations with a goal of making 500 blanks a day here, Linden said.

The industry, in any case, has no intention of becoming overly reliant on one company again. And plenty of businesses are hustling to get a piece of the action, including Just Foam of Riverside, which began shipping blanks five months ago and is "overwhelmed" with orders, owner Scott Saunders said.

The surf industry association is urging board makers to use polystyrene foam and scheduling seminars to teach them how. The industry also is reaching out to polyurethane foam makers in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Britain and Argentina.

"I think we've all learned to be not so dependent," Preisendorfer said.

For his part, Donald Takayama, who owns Hawaiian Pro Designs in Oceanside, said he was simply glad that Walker had finally "got a chance."

"He can bow out of here when his time is up with a smile on his face," he said.

01 January 2006

Out With the Old, In With the New!

Ah, 2005 . . . a year I will remember fondly as a surfer. It was my third year on a surfboard, the year when my confidence and my surf style started to take shape.

1. The Quiver

It finally came together. I'm completely satisfied with the boards I own. That satisfaction will change once my surfing moves to the next level. Now that I can't surf as much as I used to, it will take awhile for me to tire of these boards. The boards:
9'6" Tyler custom 305 single fin
9'0" Chris Slick single fin
8'6" Con thruster funboard (shaped by Bruce Grant)
7'0" Channel Islands retro single fin

2. The Successful Noseride

All I wanted, it seemed, was to make a trip to the nose and back without falling off. That I did on a few occasions. Once I saw that I was capable of such a move, I stopped obsessing about it and allowed myself to start surfing in earnest.

3. Surfing New Breaks

2005 was the year that saw me and CYT get in the car and drive. We hit up San O, County Line, LPB, Malibu, RPB, Topanga, Bay Street, OP, El Porto, and the Breakwater. We still talk about trying Bolsa Chica and Huntington Beach. I'm giving thought to a run down to Oceanside. I think much of my newfound wave knowledge came from hitting up different breaks. Doing so forced me to constantly learn different waves.

4. Wax

If you don't know about me and my quest for the perfect wax job, you've not been reading this blog much.

5. The Blog

Who knew? All it took was a guy named Whiffleboy and I was off and running. Once I got this new job, I'd decided the blog would end on December 31st since I wasn't able to surf much (and therefore wasn't writing as much). Well, I changed my mind a couple of weeks ago when I realized there will be time to surf here and there. I still want to write so I might as well keep the blog going.


Well, I can't really think of anything bad, per se. It was a good year for my surfing.


1. The 12 Foot San O Wave

I still believe I heard angels singing as that wave approached.

2. The Malibu Hit and Run

I was at Malibu at 9. I was at Aquatech by 4.

3. Surfing and Cultivating Dreadlocks

It looks like I'll spend about six more months surfing with either a bandana or a hoodie while I wait for my hair to lock fully.

Would I change anything about 2005? Out of the water, yes. In the water, no. This was the year when I was able to gain more understanding of what it means to surf. It was also the year when I could officially say I was no longer a beginner.