31 August 2008

Just Shopping, Not Buying

I'm not averse to complimenting someone in the water. It won't necessarily be a compliment about surfing. If something in particular strikes me as wonderful, let the positivity fly!

There was a guy trunking it in the water yesterday. I've seen him before, but I don't know that I've ever seen him bare-back it before. My god, he had the most perfect back! The muscularity was beautiful. The color/tan was beautiful. Simply perfect. As I paddled back out after catching something spectacular (not!!!), I smiled and told him he was not allowed to wear a wetsuit ever again, that he had too beautiful a back to keep covered up. I think I caught him off-guard. I'm not sure what he said since I never stopped paddling back to the line-up. About 20 seconds later, I heard, "Thank you!!"

Note to Grace: Yes, he was. You know my type.

29 August 2008

A Day of Rest

There's no gas in the tank today. After doing double workouts on Wednesday and Thursday, these middle-aged bones need a day off. Besides, the surf still doesn't look that promising. I don't feel like I've missed anything.

Do you know who Eve Fletcher is? I've blogged about her before, specifically after a trip to San O when I saw her in person. That was a few years ago when she was in her 70's. Now she's 81 . . . and she still surfs!!! Bad ass old lady. That's what I want to be in 35 years. Wetsand recently posted a video interview with some recent surfing footage. All I can say to Wetsand is THANK YOU! Eve Fletcher is my hero!

27 August 2008

The Pier

Soul Brother #1 stayed on The Pier and played with his camera while I surfed. I love the point of view you get from The Pier. I also love (for once) that I was too far away for him to get a good picture of me.

25 August 2008

Dance Party Mondays!!

I completely forgot it was Monday. That's how bad the surf is. I've lost all track of time and space!

I hated this song when it was first released. As a baby who's got back, I guess I wasn't amused. Then I got a job working for this asshole private practitioner in Hollywood. What does that have to do with the song? Nothing, but I needed to add my editorial comments nonetheless. I'm not sure how many legal secretaries he went through while I was there. All I remember is none of them ever stayed long. See, the guy was an asshole and a stupid one at that. (Again, I couldn't help it.) Okay, I'll get to the point. He wasn't in the office much. (I did all of his legal work . . . because he was an idiot!). Anyway, there was one legal secretary who was especially cool. During the twelve o'clock hour, a local radio station would play hip hop oldies. They played this song almost every day. And she knew every single word. She'd hear the intro, start lip syncing and then she'd break out into a full dance party for one. She's the reason why I love this song. I remember our lunchtime dance parties in that horrible office with that horrible asshole attorney. (How do you represent one guy and then represent someone who was tangentially on the other side of the suit? Dude, you can't do that. And how do you ask your clerk/paralegal/whatever I was to sign your name on court documents that need to be filed while your ass is running around outside of the office? If this guy hasn't been disbarred, all is not right with the world.)

This song is probably the only good that came out of my short time working for what had to be the world's dumbest attorney.

23 August 2008

My New Steed

I took this bike, in pieces, to the mechanic in May!!! Then I got hurt. Then Soul Brother #1 got hurt again. (I can tell you anything you need to know about rotator cuff surgery; this year he tore the right rotator cuff. Last year it was the left.) I finally picked up the bike today. After decades of riding and racing bikes, I have just one question: Does anybody really need more than one gear? I think not.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. This bike is a combination of new and used parts. I try to reuse things whenever possible. If I can't use something, I attempt to pass it on to someone who can. There's no reason to buy a completely new bike when you've got all sorts of pieces lying around the house (if you're a cyclist, that is). This will be my primary mode of transportation when I'm staying close to home and staying in regular clothes. I'm not feeling the lycra, cleated shoes and racing persona these days. I just need non-fossil fuel-burning transporation.

Doesn't Anyone Read the Surf Forecast Anymore?

Saturday the 23rd should still see some of this NW swell, but anything above waist high would be rare at west facing breaks. South facing breaks will likely be just knee to waist.

22 August 2008

I'm a Winner

Jamie at PineappleLuv had a Beach Blanket Burnout giveaway. She alerted her readers to the giveaway last week and said the winners would be chosen this week. And I won, I won!! Video. T-shirt. Booklet. Hot damn!!!

A lot of people went in search of surf today. I went to the pool. There was no way I was going to waste my gas and my time on what probably wouldn't be out there in the water. I got up while it was still dark. I was somewhat undecided about what my workout for the day would be. That's not entirely true. When I plan to surf, my gear is all in one spot and the board of choice is allowed to spend the night in the living room. None of this had been done in anticipation of my Friday workout. My swim bag was the only workout-related paraphernalia that was in the living room. Anyway, I waited around at home long enough to get a quick glimpse at a surf cam. Since the sun was beginning to rise, I could see a little of what was going on out there. It looked like a little bit of nothin'. "Screw that," I thought. "Might as well get my swim on." And I did.

21 August 2008

My Olympic Hero

She's not a millionaire. (Okay, that was a jab at Michael Phelps even before the Olympics but it's not personal. Just trying to make a point.) She's missing a limb. But look at her. That girl kicks ass! And she's said she'll be back for the next Olympics (to race once again in the swimming marathon).

20 August 2008

Shark Watch! (Day 2)

I saw a fin today and just about #@!% myself. It was a dolphin. I also saw a pretty damn big fish jump straight up out of the water. Never having seen a fish of that size do that before, I assumed the shark was near. Thankfully, he or she kept out of sight, thus keeping me from imitating the fish and jumping straight up out of the water.

I used to think my alternating (mismatched?) neon green and blue toenail polish would scare the shark away. Now I'm concerned that curiosity will get the better of the shark, who will assume my toes are some kind of exotic fish and try to get a nibble. Will that make me stop polishing my toes? Nope. But I did spend an inordinate amount of time trying to see what was going on underneath my board.

The waves? They sucked.

18 August 2008

Wrong Attitude?

Telling me that there have been great white shark sightings at a break I frequent is like telling me you went to Harlem and saw some black people.

In other words, a sighting is not enough to keep me out of the water. A sighting involving teeth, blood and John Williams' infamous theme would probably do the trick.

Dance Party Mondays

I'm old enough to remember ska's second coming. I suppose I was a rude girl at one point in my life. I dressed the part. I listened to the music. I just didn't have any like minded peers. No matter. I've still got all of my albums from that time in my life.

The video doesn't do the music justice. However, I think it does prove my point that you cannot have a dance party without a good heaping dose of ska. Enjoy!

(Look at the post below for the today's rejected video.)

Dance Party Mondays (REJECTED)

NOTE: After I wrote this post, I decided the song wasn't quite up to my dance party standards. I'll include the video and the post anyway.

This is classic!! I love that James Brown is singing what is probably the only true Black Power anthem to get serious radio air play. What makes this video even better is that the majority of the people jammin' to it are white. On a superficial level, it's all peace and love, right? But then you look more closely and you realize some of the folks in the video don't know if they're supposed to sing along, feel guilty, or just sit there. I guess it's kind of like how I felt in college when I listened to Black Flag's "White Minority". I love that song. However, I feel kind of odd singing along.

As you know from having seen the pictures of my latest board, this is a song that's close to my heart. I remember singing it in elementary school. I did not quite understand its importance. I've since learned that James Brown made a bold move by releasing a song like this. Seems kind of tame by today's standards.

I'll still be dancing to this song when I'm an old lady at the old surfer's home. I'll be easy to spot—the little old black lady trying to ride a skateboard down the hallways and probably singing some unrecognizable song that's part "White Minority" and part "Say It Loud".

17 August 2008

I'd Love to See McCain Do That!!!

This is not a political endorsement by any means. But as a surfer and a person of color, I'm happily surprised by the brother's skills in the water.

16 August 2008

Mixing It Up, Y'all

I never say "y'all". But since my husband, who's watching double sculls on TV as I type, just yelled, "You're getting spanked, y'all!" at the Americans, I decided to steal his language for my post.

When I paddled out at the home break today, I realized that I've surfed four different spots since last Saturday. San O. RPB. LPB. Home break. That's great for my surfing. It was not a week for getting settled in. Each wave is different. Hence my approach to each break is different.

The home break generally sucks in terms of wave quality. Today was no different. But I don't paddle out thinking about how bad it will be. Instead, I paddle out thinking about things I can work on given the waves I'm given to work with. Today, because of yesterday's session at LPB, was all about remaining completely relaxed on every ride. That was my focus. Stay relaxed, stay loose. That's easy to do at a place like San O. It's not always easy at a place with nasty closeouts. If you want to catch more than a two second ride on a day of riding closeouts, you have to relax. How did it go? Mission accomplished.

15 August 2008

The Days Grow Shorter

I met a blogging comrade today at o'dark thirty at LPB. I won't even bother to say what time I left the house. What I found distressing was that it was still dark when I arrived at the break, so dark that I had to drive slowly (on PCH!) and stick my head out of the window in an effort to find the entrance.

I miss the early sunrises.

How was the session? Fine. That place still makes me nervous, but I think this session helped me to shake my unnecessary fear of that break. I'm anxious to go back there and surf aggressively (like I do when I'm completely comfortable). I won't wait years before I go back again.

13 August 2008

There Won't Be Blood?

I paddled out today with SoS#2, wondering if we'd see any of the folks from Saturday's day trip. After about an hour, I spied one person sitting too far away from us to be of any worry. We waved. She stayed put. No problems. Then I saw two more from the day trip. They stayed on the inside. Still good. Then I saw the one who I thought would spill the beans, but she, like the first, was nowhere near us. Well, before I knew it, she was right next to us and talking up a storm. We mainly talked about the Olympics. When SoS#2 came closer, we all discussed the Olympics. I was a little worried that talk would turn to Saturday . . . and it did!!

SoS#2: Hey, how was San O?

Day Trip Friend: Oh it was goo . . .

Me: Yeah!! That guy from Togo was fantastic and got the bronze!!!

I think I was yelling when I spoke up. Mind you, I don't raise my voice to yell very often. But I'm sure I was yelling then. My diversionary tactic worked. We all returned to discussions about the beautiful Olympians. No more was said about San O. (Exhale!)

I find my relationship with SoS#2 perplexing. I like her (most of the time). I like surfing with her (most of the time). I guess what confuses me is her attitude. Aside from being possessive of me and my time, she is overly competitive and is looking for validation from those around her. I think that in her mind, surfing is a competition. She wants to be better than everyone else, get more waves than everyone else, get noticed, etc. One day I mentioned a surf friend whom I adore (but didn't say that). The first thing SoS#2 said was, "She's not a very good surfer." WTF? What? We're ready for the WCT? What's that about? Who cares? The person about whom she made that comment is so full of surf joy that it's infectious. You can't help but be happy when you surf with her. Criticizing her surfing is uncalled for. And yet, this is how SoS#2 operates. Suffice it to say, I can only take so much of that kind of attitude. I think I'm a good enough surfer. I am by no means a great surfer. Sometimes I think SoS#2 believes she's a great surfer (as evidenced by her insistence on telling me and others how to surf). If the person you're surfing with is steadily making trips to the nose (whether they be successful or unsuccessful), why are you, the person who just stands there, telling her how to surf? This was one of the reasons why I needed my space. If you can tell me how to do the things I aspire to do, feel free to provide some coaching. If not, shut the fuck up.

This is a serious soap opera, isn't it? Will they stay friends? Will Surfsister kick SoS#2 to the curb? Will SoS#2 discover this blog and kick Surfsister's ass? Stay tuned for next week's The Surf and the Fury/As I Lay Surfing/Intruder in the Surf to find out.

11 August 2008

Dance Party Mondays

Jamie, over at Pineapple Luv, has "Surf Fridays". I like that. I've decided to use her for inspiration. This is the first installment of "Dance Party Mondays". I don't care what you wanna say about Hammer. When he first hit the scene, all we heard was his album. This song was the jam! We didn't even know the brother could dance. And then they came out with the video. Go, Hammer! Go, Hammer! Say what you want about the 80's. I miss the hip hop from that era. No grills. Fewer scantily-dressed, big-bootied women. No body counts (until NWA came along). No overblown conspicuous consumption. And the men looked good (as compared to this current crop of wanna-be-a-gangster brothers being pushed by the recording corporations now).

Admit it, you can't watch this without moving a body part in syncopation with the music. You know you want to get up and shake that thing. So shake it!

10 August 2008

A Day of Surfing Firsts

Yesterday was hands-down the best day of surfing I've ever had. The waves weren't epic or anything, but the day was. I felt almost like I'd gone on vacation. Granted, I was still in Southern California. We had to wait in line for about an hour before we could even gain entrance to the break. None of that mattered or detracted from my day of surfing firsts (which I will list).

1. First time I've ever stayed at the beach longer than a few hours to surf.

I'd never ever had a leisurely and relaxing surf day at the beach before yesterday. My sessions always revolve around my watch or my concern about being needed by my men (or my mom or my job). Therefore, I've never surfed with total freedom. Yesterday was my first day for that. And let me tell you that there will be much more of it now that I've gotten a taste of that freedom.

2. First time ever having two people I don't know address me as "Surfsister".

Not long after we got to the break, a man approached me. "Aren't you Surfsister?" Doh! I'm always a little taken aback when someone connects my nom de plume with, well, me. But he did. I never quite know what to say or do in those cases. He was very nice, telling me he was Puttzle's friend and one of the contributors to San O Daze. A few hours later, someone else walked up and addressed me as "Surfsister," having been sent to find me by the first guy. It's kind of amazing. I'm always shocked that people know who I am. But really, if you see a black chick with dreadlocks at a surf spot, it's more than likely going to be me.

3. First time doing a double session.

I think I surfed for about two and a half hours before dragging myself in. I was all surfed out. I came in, ate, sat in the sun (since I was cold) and said I was done. Then, others said they were going back out. I kept telling myself I wouldn't. For one thing, I have a hard time working out with food in my stomach, especially when the workout involves lying on one's stomach. I looked at the water and still saw surfable waves. I was definitely tempted. So I watched. Then I told myself that if one person in our group caught something, I'd go back out, full stomach and all. It wasn't long before I saw someone going down the line. I told the men I was going out for one more wave. Okay, I lied. I got that first wave and paddled back out. I got about three waves before I finally had to admit defeat. My arms and shoulders were fine. My stomach was too through. Much to my surprise, others were right behind me. They were either too tired or too full to stay out any longer.

4. First time doing a day of surfing with a crew of folks.

The three of us brought food. We ate very little of it. By the time the crew broke out the awning, the hammock, the chairs, the camping stoves and the smorgasbord of food, I certainly had no interest in my little chicken salad. Who wants a cold sandwich when people are handing you freshly made tacos? Now that's how you hang out for the day.

5. First time doing more cheater fives than I could count.

I'm beginning to feel comfortable at the front third of my board. I'm not sure what that's about but I won't fight the feeling.

6. First time my spouse was attitude-free while hanging at the beach while I surfed.

Who knew it was possible?


There will be blood.

Some time ago I talked about being summarily dismissed by one of the two "Stealers of the Stoke" in my circle of surfing friends. It's the second one who will be pissed off by my little day trip. This person is someone who, in the past, was incredibly possessive of my time and my attention with regard to surfing. I was expected to call her every time I went out. She would get mad if I surfed with others. It's a strange relationship that we have. Anyway, she kicked me to the curb for going to San O without her a few years ago. Whatever. I don't believe that people who aren't related to you have the right to place demands on your time. I've already got a husband, child, parent and dog whose demands I must meet (as does anyone else with family commitments). I will not give that kind of attention to other people on a consistent basis. I don't have it in me to be that giving emotionally.

Anyway, she stopped speaking to me for not calling her every time I went surfing or for not giving her enough notice as to when I was going surfing. What? She never heard of one's spouse granting a last-minute surf pass? I was summarily dismissed from the friendship. Fine. Then, out of the blue some months later, I saw her in the water. She said she missed surfing with me. Then she started calling again to surf. Having been raised with too much courtesy, I didn't know how to say I didn't want to surf with her anymore (or continue the friendship).

Fast forward to the present. Right before my injury in June, she'd been on me to make a day trip to surf. I wasn't keen to be stuck in a car with her for hours and was noncommittal. Then I got hurt and that pretty much ended the discussion. Well, a few weeks ago while in the water with her, someone paddled up and invited me to go on a day trip to the break in question. She (Stealer of the Stoke #2) immediately told that person she wanted to go. Apparently, she's been on other day trips with this crew in the past. I, on the other hand, said I probably couldn't go given my spouse's recent surgery and my belief that I would not get a surf pass for the day.

Oh, it gets better. Last week, someone else told me she and a group were going on a day trip. Again, I was invited. After a few days of thinking about, I decided I was going. Period. I didn't care who liked it. The men could stay home. I just needed some time to recharge my battery, time when I could surf in peace and not worry about anyone else. So, I didn't bother to alert Stealer of the Stoke #2. I just wanted to surf and be left alone. Well, as we drove south, it hit me that the person who told me about the trip the first time was part of the group I was meeting (even though I hadn't seen her since she talked to me in the water). I spent much of the trip down wondering if I was going to see SoS#2 once we got there and whether she'd flip out because I'd obviously decided to come down without calling her.

Okay, she wasn't there. Good. But there will be blood. The folks in the group will see her or see us in the water. I can hear it now. Wasn't San O great? SoS#2, why didn't you come down? I'm the type of person who, when there was something to which I was either not invited or didn't know about, doesn't take it as an affront. Perhaps there's something wrong with me because I don't feel slighted or overlooked. I really don't want other people to feel like I'm their responsibility. SoS#2 makes me feel like I have to be her keeper or something. Perhaps I should talk to her about it. After the first time she flipped out, I've stopped talking. I just surf. When she calls, I make an effort to surf with her. And she's picked up on the fact that I won't surf with her every day. (Yes, in the past she expected me to surf with her every fricking day!")

Will it have been worth it for the best day of surfing ever? Hell, yeah!

08 August 2008

Recycle Your Plastic and Throw Away Your Trash!

From the Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Marine monument languishes

The chain of islands in northwestern Hawaii has seen funding drop and debris accumulate

WASHINGTON » Cleanup efforts have slowed and garbage continues to pile up in a remote chain of Pacific islands that President Bush made the biggest and most environmentally protected area of ocean in the world two years ago.

Winning rare praise from conservationists, Bush declared the 140,000-square-mile chain of islands in northwestern Hawaii the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in June 2006.

His proclamation featured some of the strictest measures ever placed on a marine environment, including a prohibition on any material that might injure its sensitive coral reefs and 7,000 rare species -- a fourth of them found nowhere else in the world -- even if the debris drifts in from thousands of miles away.

It hasn't happened.

Ocean currents still bring an estimated 57 tons of garbage and discarded fishing gear each year to the 10 islands and waters surrounding them, where the refuse snares endangered monk seals, smothers coral reefs and fills the guts of albatrosses and their young with indigestible plastic.

Debris removal, meanwhile, has averaged 35 tons a year since the islands became a monument, about a third of the 102 tons of derelict fishing gear collected on average before that.

The Bush administration slashed the debris cleanup budget by 80 percent from the $2.1 million spent in 2005 and requested only $400,000 a year for it through 2008.

Bush now wants an extra $100,000 for removing the lighters, plastic bottles, refrigerators and fishing nets that litter its beaches and get snagged on its pristine reefs. But the amount he would spend in 2009 is still only 25 percent of what was being spent four years ago.

"It is wonderful that our nation has made a commitment, and this administration deserves a lot of credit for designating the world's largest marine reserve but there is a responsibility that goes along with that," said Elliott Norse, president of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute in Washington state. "Unfortunately in recent years, the U.S. has not made picking up trash in our most special places in the ocean a priority."

The result has been that since Bush declared the area a protected national monument, boats and divers have been picking up far less debris than they were removing before the area was protected.

"We are collecting less," acknowledged Steve Thur, acting coral program director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which manages the monument with the state of Hawaii and Fish and Wildlife Service.

[art] Thur said Bush's budget requests were based on a faulty annual debris accumulation rate of 28 tons. New research has shown double that amount floats into the monument each year.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said that while Bush was making the area a national monument, his administration had "decided to reduce its level of commitment to removing marine debris and only address new accumulations."

"The administration is not keeping pace, and this is disappointing," Inouye said.

Inouye had concerns about the area becoming a national monument because of fishing restrictions and no public participation in the process. In 2006 he pushed a bill through Congress authorizing up to $15 million each year to tackle marine debris nationwide.

Despite that law and an initiative announced last November by first lady Laura Bush, Congress added only $352,000 last year to the $400,000 requested by the president for cleaning up Papahanaumokuakea.

The combination of currents, its remote location and a plethora of endangered species make marine debris in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands arguably the worst ocean trash problem in the world. Circular gyre currents funnel plastic, lighters and fishing nets from all over the Pacific Ocean to the islands as if they were a drain in a gigantic sink.

Garbage collection began on a haphazard basis in 1996. It was not until 2002 that the federal government got involved and began dedicating significant resources to the collection of marine debris in the sanctuary. To date, more than $12 million has been spent and 646 tons of marine debris has been removed. The haul is either recycled or burned for energy.

Many who had fought to get the islands protected thought making it a monument would accelerate marine debris pickup. Instead, after an expensive and aggressive sweep in 2002-2005, the Bush administration decided to downshift into a maintenance level.

"It is very disappointing. Here you have this designation as a monument, and there has been less visible activity going on in the monument," said Chris Woolaway, an independent environmental consultant who coordinates the Ocean Conservancy's "Get the Drift and Bag It" international coastal cleanup program. "There is a need to expand the effort."

07 August 2008

The View From Behind the Dreadlocks

This is what I usually see while I'm surfing, at least until I execute one of my head flicks. These are the dreadlocks that fall in front of my eyes while I'm on the board. I wanted to take a picture of them for posterity. It won't be long before I'll be able to pull them back and out of my eyes.

This is how the locks look to anyone who's close enough to touch them. Looks kind of like some weird thing you'd see in a science book, huh?

Okay, okay. I was bored and having fun with the camera.

05 August 2008

$#!@ Rocks! Rocks: 2, Surfsister's Quiver: 0

This is what happens at very low tide. Can't blame human error this time. I neither surfed over a rock nor lost my board into the rocks (the latter of which NEVER happens because, you know, my skills are such that every wave ends perfectly). All I was doing was getting out, sacrificing my feet to the rocks and carefully leaning on my board. Then, it happened! One good wave drained the water out at that moment and the board was no longer being supported by the water. It was on a damn rock!

Dearest surf gods: Consider these recent rock incidents my personal sacrifice. Yes, I sacrificed my boards in exchange for some decent waves. I upheld my part of the bargain. Where are the waves?

04 August 2008

Just Say "NO!!!"

The trailer alone pissed me off so badly that there are no words to describe how much I already hate this movie.