27 April 2010

I Keep Waking Up Thinking I'm Dale Webster

I don't want to swim. I don't want to lift. I don't particularly want to skate.

I just want to surf.

Shitty conditions? I still paddle out.

Flatness? I grab the biggest board in my quiver.

Cold water? I shiver and sit with my hands tucked into my armpits, complaining all the while about how black people don't like the cold.

It's all about surfing. All surf, all the time.

Wanna know why Dale stopped?

But it's just becoming some kind of a target that people have to compare themselves to or be better than or get more waves. It's just ridiculous how I can be treated sometimes by these people who seem like they're trying to give me lessons on how not to surf. I'm sure you've seen the same phenomena that I have. The last few years there've been more and more of these molded, third world boards, and people just leaping lizard, splash dancing, whoopdy-whoo, surfing. And they can catch anything but they can't finish a wave. And I have to surf against all these people that are just splashdancing kooks. And I have to share waves with people who won't share waves with me. I have to keep away from people who won't keep away from me. They paddle right up next to you and catch the wave you were waiting for. It's just no rules, no respect, free-for-all surfing. And that to me is the biggest reason why I'm quitting.

I used to think we should ask ourselves "What Would Duke Do?" when surfing in a crowd. Now, I believe it should be "What Would Dale Do?"

Will I paddle out tomorrow? Probably not. Then again, that's what I said last night.

By 8 a.m. today, I was sitting out in the water (hands firmly tucked in my armpits, of course) thinking the conditions weren't half bad.

Navigating the home break closeouts without a leash. (Sigh) Yeah, I went swimming a couple of times.

23 April 2010

20 April 2010

Knee Replacement: One.Year.On.

If I was a woman with money to burn, I swear I would have hired Samuel L. Jackson to help me commemorate this day. No one swears like he does. No one uses my favorite curse word—a word I rarely utter—like he does. When Samuel L. Jackson delivers a line with that word in it, I don't cringe. I don't want to turn to a different channel. I don't think about the long lost virginity of my ears. I just smile. If I had money, I would have made a video of Samuel L. Jackson sporting a Kango hat, holding my before and after x-rays in his hands and bellowing as loudly as possible, "One motherfuckin' year later!!"

Complaints? None.

Scar? Ugly. Gnarly. Seven inches long.

Attitude? Better than ever.

One year later. My level of fatigue is higher than it should be. Why? Because I've been surfing my (Samuel L. Jackson word here) ass off! These days, I surf as much as I can as often as I can. I surfed almost all of last week, so much so that I was forced to take a break on Sunday. I was so physically spent that I had the shakes, the shakes that are the telltale sign of someone bonking, most of the day. I took a breather and ate often. Then, on Monday, some friends and I rolled out of L.A. at 5:30 a.m., heading down to San O. Prior to the session, I ate a banana. That was it. I can't surf with food in my stomach. I was in the water for three hours! While my friends took breaks to fuel up or rest, I did not. When given the opportunity to surf without time constraints, I surf until I can surf no longer. Only then will I get out of the water. I kind of staggered out after the third hour, ate a little something and decided I was truly done. The tank was empty. No more surfing for awhile.


I paddled out today if for no other reason than to celebrate the anniversary of my knee. The weather cooperated long enough to allow for a two hour session. Now I can take a break—meaning I'll do something other than surfing in order to let my shoulders and back recover.

I know I will eventually get to the point where I forget this joint is fake. I'm almost there, but not quite yet. There is still some pain, albeit minor. I still worry about doing something that will damage the prosthesis (said the woman with the skateboard ramp in her backyard). Nevertheless, I haven't held myself back in the least. I'm doing more than I ever thought possible prior to surgery. If where I am now is as good as it gets (and I hear it does get even better after a few more years), I'm quite content.

17 April 2010

Surfing Pet Peeve #3928

There are times when I'm in the water and I can't help but utter the lyrics of yet another Elvis Costello (and Burt Bacharach) song. I had a great session today, but there was a moment when I said to myself, "God, give me strength." Now, most people know I'm not religious. I don't read the Bible. I don't pray. Christianity just doesn't work for me. However, sometimes I just have to throw an invocation out there . . . if only to keep me from surfing up someone's ass and over his head. Seriously.

If you're a new surfer, don't do this. If you're an experienced surfer, don't do this. People, stop doing this! Do not, upon seeing someone paddling for a wave, decide you must place yourself directly in front of her and paddle for the same wave. Now, I won't run you over . . . even if you deserve it. It's too hard to clean the blood, shit and brain matter off my skeg. Or, at least, that's what I've heard.

I jest, yes.

I've had to deal with this kind of behavior for a few years now. I don't remember it happening this much before the lineups got so bloody crowded. I understand that everyone wants a wave. I also understand that at some point you've just got to go, etiquette be damned. My gripe is when you go while I'm going . . . and you're directly in front of me. Did you do meth before the session? Do you really think that's going to go over well? Obviously, there are some who have the ability and the power to do this at will. And that's not okay either. However, I'd say that there's usually a bigger fish in a pond somewhere who will deal with that person.

I'm not a wave hog by any means. I know the folks on shortboards are out there. I will often alert them to an approaching wave and tell them to take it. That's my way of saying, "Hey, I know I can grab this, but it's your turn." If I don't tell them to take it, I will sometimes just give them a look which lets them know I'm going to let the next wave go to them. My life is all about respect. I show everyone respect until given a reason not to do so.

I swear, I'm getting to my point . . . if there is one. Oh!! Well, my point is I'm now becoming less forgiving of this kind of behavior. Today it was a guy on a shortboard. Just as the law gives a dog "one free bite," he was allowed that one breach of etiquette before I took action. I'm not really one to say anything. Part of that is because, contrary to popular belief, I don't like to talk that much when I'm surfing. I can do that on land. Anyway, I go for a wave. It was my turn. And he just turns and paddles right in front of me. If he'd been naked, I'd have been looking directly at his asshole.

Today, I was at a break that favors longboards. The wave is rather slow. No, it's really slow unless you paddle a little further north to where it breaks with a little more vert and a lot more push. (The crowd is just stupid there so I'm content to sit where the lefts roll through.) This guy was on a shortboard. FAIL. This wasn't a day when the wave would deliver anything for him. So what? You're going to paddle your happy ass into my path thinking you'll get something because I've been catching waves all session so I must be sitting on a peak? (I wasn't. I was just surfing my ass off and working for every wave I got.) My point: I'm not having anymore of this. I didn't run him over, but I paid him back in spades. When I paddled for waves, knowing he'd turn and try to go too, I'd paddle so that I eventually came up next to him. All he kept seeing was the nose of my board heading his way. I did it enough times that he finally got the message that he needed to be gone. Sometimes I took the wave. Other times, I just paddled into his space and looked at him, ensuring he wouldn't catch that wave and waiting for him to say something. Nothing was said. My point was made.

The moral of the story is that you don't take a knife to a gunfight and then start casting aspersions at the nice person whose Desert Eagle isn't even loaded. Mind your manners. I will do the same.

16 April 2010

What's Right With This Picture?

I'll let you know on April 20th.

11 April 2010

Sacred Craft - Ventura

Talking to Cyrus Sutton and Kirk of A Day at the Beach blog

I wanted to go to this gathering of the tribe last year, but the newly installed titanium joint was not allowing me to even think about walking or standing for long periods. That meant I'd have to wait. For some reason, I couldn't attend the last Sacred Craft down south either. Again, that meant I'd have to wait.

Jon Wegener, Soul Brother #2, Kenvin (in the white shirt) and Kirk

This weekend, I did not wait. I drove up to Ventura to see and be seen.

Zeph Carrigg's beautiful Boarddesign boards. (I want one!!!)

What I came away with is an even deeper belief that we, as a community, need to support our local shapers. They may be rock stars to those of us who speak of them with respectful hushed tones in the parking lot as we unveil our beauties prior to a session. They are, however, rock stars who, like the rest of us, are just trying to pay the bills and keep food on the table. They don't go into shaping to strike it rich. They aren't waiting for a venture capitalist to come along and buy them out. They make our surfboards. They make real surfboards, surfboards that you'll never see sitting in a cardboard box at Costco. They are the reason why I'm a unapologetic board whore.

Kirk and I checking out a Wegener beauty

Support your local shapers. Period. Doing so will make you a better surfer . . . and a better person.

10 April 2010

"A Threesome? With Me?"

Ha ha!! Made you look!!

Seriously, I was kind of thinking that—the threesome question—when the couple on the tandem paddled out and immediately started complimenting me on my build. She noticed I'd lost some weight. (Once I stopped eating meat, I lost about five pounds—five pounds I didn't even believe I had room to lose.) He asked me if I had a background in dance or gymnastics. They were looking hard and paying a little too much attention to my physique. And I'm thinking, "Hey, I love you guys, but, seriously, I'm not interested. Just like there's not enough room for three on that board, I'm not feeling that three people in the bed thing either!!" Then, they paddled back to me after catching a wave and started talking about how I'd be good with some dude named Oden. WTF? A foursome?

As it turns out, they were sizing me up as a possible candidate for tandem surfing. I began to figure this out the first time they stopped to talk to me. From what I've seen in the past, they are always on the lookout for people they think would be good tandem surfers. I respect them for that. They are looking to further their sport, to keep it alive and flourishing. So they have no hesitation about sizing other surfers up. By the time they were done talking, they'd decided I would be a good match for Oden. I had to remind them that I ain't no lightweight. I look like I weigh about 20 pounds less than I do. I can't see some dude trying to surf a big ass board while simultaneously trying to lift this baby and her back (as in "baby got back"). I'd have to try to look graceful while all that is happening too? I don't think anyone wants to see that tragedy.

I cannot believe I paddled out at L.A.'s most well-known beach on the Saturday of the season's first SW swell. Normally, I stay as far away from this place as possible. You can't even suggest surfing there on a weekend to me. I'd probably call you an impolite name before giving you the finger. That's how much I don't like surfing there. I felt compelled to be there though. A group for which I'm one of the officers said they wanted us all to be there today, that there would be some French camera crew and blah blah blah. I promised I would be in attendance so I showed up. Thankfully, when I asked another member of the group what time she was getting there, she said she'd be there at dawn in order to get a good parking space. Again, WTF? Since I knew she surfs there often, I decided I should follow her lead. I was there in the dark . . . with about 15 other cars. As the sun was coming up, I was paddling out. Hit it and quit it!! I wasn't going to sit around waiting for the group or some camera crews. Not here! I got in and I got mine. As much as I hate this place, I actually had a decent session. I got several waves to myself, one of which took me all the way to the beach. I wasn't overly freaked out by the crowd. And that damn longboard hull is a monster. I notice, as I've said in the past, when you have equipment you trust, your anxiety decreases. So, I didn't care about the crowd. I knew that board would get me my waves. And it did.

P.S. Apropos of sounds that I consider noteworthy, I love the sound of Sarlo powering down the line. Oh my god, I don't need to see him. You can usually hear him coming; he's throwing spray constantly. And you can hear the power of his surfing as it approaches you. He's only had to spray me once. That was enough to teach me to get the fuck out of his way. Quickly. By the way, I love Sarlo. He's always been very nice to me. Maybe it's because I'm a chick. Don't know and don't care. I just have a lot of respect for him.

09 April 2010

Is This a Hiatus?

Cos I've got nothin'. Haven't surfed in days. Haven't written in days. Perhaps when the child is back in school, I'll have more time to get busy. But for now, the cupboard is bare.

Rule it!

05 April 2010

It's All About the Sound

There are certain sounds that I associate with certain pastimes. When I raced bikes, I always loved the sounds of spinning freewheels and Look pedals. More often that not, the sound that actually stayed with me was that of someone and his bike sliding across the pavement after a crash. In fact, the person losing skin makes very little noise as he's crashing. But the bike makes a particularly metallic sound. I can't even describe it. I know when it when I hear it. There's no need to see the crash. After years of sitting on those tiny little saddles staring at the butt in front of me while in a long paceline, I learned to quickly recognize (without ever turning around) when people in the back were hitting the pavement. The sound always seemed deafening.

I associate a variety of sounds with respect to surfing. Of course, the sound of the waves is ubiquitous. I, for one, am more taken by the sound of people waxing their boards. My love affair with all things surf wax-related has never waned. For whatever reason, I find the sound of a board being waxed kind of meditative. The only other surf sound that makes my ears perk up is one I don't hear often. I heard it the other day when another blogger and I headed up to LPB. It's the only spot where I've heard my fins hum. I heard it there on my Tyler first. I heard it again last week on my Hullaballoo. That's a sound that makes me laugh each and every time I hear it.

Skating? Nothing beats the sound of a good grind. Nothing. So when I discovered this video, I saved it, made it a favorite, then decided I'd post it even though my last post included a video. Metal on coping? Love it!! That will soon be the sound I hear regularly on the ramp . . . followed by the sound of me probably falling off the board with joy! Grind.your.face.off!

04 April 2010

Zappa Easter Dance Party

Is it me or has someone thrown ice cubes into the ocean of late? I was colder this weekend than I was all winter. I don't wear booties. Never ever. But damn if I wasn't thinking about them as my feet lost feeling.

Why the Zappa? Well, I was so cold that I had to sit in the tub in order to defrost. As I listened to the radio, a very odd song about dental floss came on. And the song had the nerve to be a jam!! I figured it was Zappa. And it was. That's when I decided it was time to throw some Zappa on the blog. This one's for you, Badlands skate crew!!

03 April 2010

Cyrus Sutton in 2012!

Cy Rant: Entitlement

Posted on: March 31, 2010

Ok here it goes, Today’s rant is about entitlement… I don’t like it.

I’ll take it down the line.

1) Newbie Surfers – When I first started surfing, I was afraid to go out where the good guys surfed. And rightly so. I was a danger to them and had no business being out there. It seems like these days there are more and more people out who can’t surf and don’t get that surfing is a dangerous, difficult activity that requires years of patience and humility. The people who screw up the rest of their lives pursuing a harmonious relationship with our fickle and cruel mother ocean should be respected as the ill-fated nuts we are. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the more people surfing, the better this world be. But they should spend years connecting with the ocean, not mimicking some tv show or billboard. I’m guilty of this to a certain extent. Despite being afraid of the locals, I too paddled out at the main peak prematurely to fulfill some delusional glory quest. During those times, I cheated myself out of a valuable connection with the ocean. That’s why I’m now body surfing in the shore pound more than ever before. The ocean is there to teach us all lessons if we are just open to receiving its gifts, regardless of what level you are at. We are all exactly where we are supposed to be. Pushing the envelope only makes you and those around you suffer. I know from experience.

2) Crusty Locals – I’m an advocate of localism and there needs to be more situations where clueless surfers are put in their place. I’ve also spent a lot of time in localized lineups and the vast majority of locals are cool. They know the wave like the back of their hand, they enjoy surfing with other good surfers and they demand respect. A proper local lineup is the backbone for any positive, organized surfing experience when there’s a crowd. But the “I’ve lived here longer than you…I have birth-rights to these waves ever since I moved here 5 years ago” dorks give locals a bad name and undermine the value of experienced surfers upholding order in the lineup.

3) Rednecks – The simple, no bullshit, family first, tradition-serving, self-sufficient ethos that I associate with the word “redneck” gets fouled when certain members of this stereotype act arrogantly towards others for reasons I’m not going to drag into Korduroy.

4) Hippies – We all dream of building our own utopias and checking out. But like it or not, mainstream society casts a very large shadow and by checking out, we give up our only ability to change things.

5) Self-Righteous Environmentalists – Pretty much anyone who thinks they are the solution is part of the problem in my book. Saving the social and environmental problems we face is going to require inclusive, inspired ideas and there’s no better way to stifle this than with self-righteousness. Arrogance breeds fear and fear stagnates creativity and compassion.

6) Religious Zealots – If religion helps us live better lives and connect with other people who have faith in something greater than themselves then that’s awesome. But if it gives us a pulpit from which to judge others, then that’s lame.

7) Spoiled Perma-kids – I am part of the what they call “the entitlement generation.” I was born a few weeks before 1983 and I belong to a group who grew up in the perfect storm of rampant 80’s consumerism and Dr. Spock spoiled parents who’ve passed it on to us with extra calorie-free sweetness. The result is a bunch of child-like perma-kids who are perpetually pissed that life isn’t the fantasy the media and their parents promised it would be, and who use that to fuel their belief that everything is fucked up and therefore life is not worth giving a shit about.


There’s a little bit of all us in these groups and it’s easy to look at each other and point out what’s not cool like I’ve done in this rant. However its way harder to distill the problems within all these groups and apply them to our own lives. In an age when the vast majority of people are terminally directionless, these groups have the ability to shine truth on the sea over-commodified BS. But when we adopt an attitude of entitlement, we become destructive to ourselves and our surroundings. I feel for everyone these days. We’ve gotten the short end of the stick. We haven’t been prepared for the harsh realities of life. We’ve been disconnected from our ancestry and our natural environment, and we’ve been sold values that are making us sick and tired. It’s my belief that the solution lies in ditching the our resentment and humbly jumping in the deep end, getting our hands dirty, and being apart of this amazing moment in time without feeling the need to control or analyze it. We’ll all become better humans from it, and end up with a way more rad planet.

02 April 2010

Here, Piggy, Piggy, Piggy!!

Only swam twice in the first session. Same with the second session (when it looked like she was heading for a high-speed collision with the rocks—only to be found reclining quietly behind me). As big as this board looks, it's actually rather light and turns quickly. The poor girl has only ever seen the home break closeouts (pictured below) and some nasty windswell, VAS messiness. Wait till she gets a load of a pointbreak!

This girl is a keeper.