27 September 2010

It's Not What You Think

I'm not going to go on and on about how I got barrelled today at the home break. As is typical of me, I didn't even know that lip was pitching back there. And with this titanium knee, that's about as low as I can get on a board, therefore I couldn't have tucked into it anyway.

The point of this shot is to show that the weather was hot, hot enough to allow me to comfortably wear some of that wonderful custom Japanese rubber I picked up a few weeks ago. I really wanted to wear it this year . . . if only once. This heatwave made that possible. As I sit here typing, it's still about 100 degrees. Or maybe it's finally gone down to 95. Who knows? The bottom line is it's hot! It's the kind of hot that makes everyone want to start singing Irving Berlin lyrics.

No, I didn't get a barrel, but Frank did. Alas, it closed out and he got pitched. He still came up smiling . . . as always.

23 September 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Beach

Summer broke out all over!!!

To celebrate this illustrious event, I made another one of my patented spur-of-the-moment sand angels. Whenever I see freshly groomed sand, I'm always tempted to get to work. The first time I made one was because, as always, I was just happy to be able to do what I do. Today's sand angel was made as a thank you to Mother Nature for the first true day of summer . . . even though it's now fall.

As if the weather wasn't enough to celebrate, the waves at the home break were actually good too!! Don't think I won't be tripping over myself to get back out there tomorrow.

21 September 2010

You're Supposed to Surf on Your Birthday!

Happy Birthday, A! I'm glad you didn't get skunked this year. Thank you for sharing your birthday waves with me. This one was best. You went right. I went left. Both of us paddled back smiling.

20 September 2010

There is No Aloha Here

Alright, don't say I didn't warn you. I will be uncharacteristically serious and angry in most of this post. This is why I am giving fair warning about the lack of aloha.

Simply put, don't step to me in the water about something that happens on land. Period. Read my lips. I will reiterate. If you have a problem with something I said or did on land, keep it there. You got one free bite today. You will not get another.

Why am I mad? Well, someone with whom I've always had a good relationship paddled up to me today and I could tell she was irritated about something. Then she proceeded to tell me that a comment I made to someone else, in a public internet space, was essentially inappropriate and wrong. What's worse is that she wouldn't let it go. I had to paddle away from her in order to stop the madness. Of course, this essentially ruined my session. First, I was worried that I'd hurt the feelings of the someone else to whom the comment was addressed. Second, I couldn't help but wonder how this person who was giving me this dressing-down got off thinking this was any of her business. Third, I tend to emotionally shut down when I'm in the water. I'm just there. And that's the way I like it. I leave everything else on land. When I surf, I want to sit quietly and just be. As far as I'm concerned, what happens on land . . . stays on land. So, don't bring it to me in the water.

So I spend the drive home concerned about having hurt the feelings of the friend to whom the comment was made. Once I get home, I immediately send her an email in which I apologize if she felt I'd said anything hurtful or insulting. Her reply? "Now I hope I don't offend you...but I don't even remember what you wrote. So, clearly I wasn't offended in the least."

Right!! That just made it worse. I'd had to deal with this stupidity for nothing? The only person who was not happy with what I said was someone whom I was not addressing? And she felt it within her right to chastise me? In the water? I will now address her directly. You will not be allowed to cross that line again. I have always shown you love. I have always shown love to everyone in the crew. Obviously you felt it necessary to be all up in my business. As one of my friends would say, you need to go find some business of your own. And, yes, this is totally uncharacteristic of me. This is a person people don't see often. This is, in fact, the person I am on land. I am never this person in the water. But, hey, I'm not in the water as I type this.

If you read this, feel free to be offended. You've already offended me; I did not expect to be spoken to with such derision . . . especially in the water. No. I'm not havin' it. Not from someone I know and respect. I would never have spoken to you like that. I certainly wouldn't have confronted you in the water.

And with that, I'm done discussing this. I will not discuss it with you again. The next time you see me in the water, show some aloha. I will do the same.

16 September 2010

Watching the Whales with Peter Gabriel

"They" weren't kidding when "they" said the blue whales are hanging out in our waters. I think I last got on a whale-seeking boat about 20 years ago. If I saw one whale, I certainly don't remember it. All I know is I never went whale watching again. I remember going when I was a kid too. Again, I'm not sure that I saw any whales. So, as you can tell, I've long been over this whale watching thing. I mean, the ocean is nice and all, but not if you have to pay to just motor around looking for something you might not even see. Over it. Seriously.

Over the weekend, I got an email saying the whales were here and didn't seem to be in any rush to leave. I was all over that like skaters on coping. Two days later I was in what the naturalist called Santa Monica Bay . . . even though we weren't in Santa Monica. No matter. I wanted to see a whale or two.

You know what? "They" were right. The whales were everywhere. You'd turn your head to watch one or two whales on the right. Before you could get a good look, you'd hear water emerging from a spout to your left. I guess this excursion made up for all the times I got skunked (both as a kid and as an adult). Who knew there could be that many whales in one place? The naturalist said something about the krill, which these whales eat, being more plentiful than usual. Krill are tiny, yet there were so many of them that even we had no trouble seeing them . . . everywhere.

Peter Gabriel? Oh, he was there, but he only made an appearance on my iPod. I know . . . why would anyone take an iPod on a trip out into an ocean full of beautiful blue whales? Well, I just had an inkling that I'd need it. And I was right. Let me paint the picture for you—the folks on the deck below us polished off three bottles of champagne within about 30 minutes of us leaving the harbor. Then they proceeded to talk loudly about stupid, inane drivel for the rest of our time on the boat. They were drowning out the whales. Peter Gabriel was drowning them out. I think I was the happiest person on the top deck since I could literally tune them out. I didn't have to keep hearing the young chick say "I'm from Sydney and (fill in the blank)". The middle aged chick went on and on about how her dad was a sailor who said to eat something salty when you're seasick, thus the reason for the pretzels and Cheez Its she kept trying to give away to anyone who'd listen. Well, I wasn't listening anymore. That iPod was turned up enough to keep me from yelling at them to STFU!

Go see the whales, people. We may never see this many blue whales in our region again. I couldn't afford to go, but I went anyway . . . and it was worth it.

13 September 2010

Japanese Rubber

I picked up my custom wetsuits today. Both of them are phenomenal. The fullsuit has some buttery neoprene that, of all things, smells incredible . . . if you're into that wetsuit aroma thing. (Of course, once I've peed in it a few times it won't smell so wonderful anymore, will it? What? Too much information? Prudes!!!)

I'm no longer lamenting the summer that never was. Or at least I thought I wasn't until I tried on my shorty john—the one I won't wear at all this year because the water is too damn cold. That little blue suit is just right. My first shorty john was too long in the legs. My second one was too short in the legs. As I've said before, I'm not built like the women who served as the fit models for the wetsuits you find on the racks at the surf shops. I've got a little more here, a little less there and some wide shoulders that do some serious damage as they stretch the neoprene around my deltoids past its ability to provide warmth. Getting suits that fit is a treat. The price was right too. (No, they weren't free.)

All in all, it was a good surf-related day. I decided it was time for something completely different. Therefore, today's session was on the Bluegill. I had fun in the fog and chop. Then again, I usually have fun surfing, especially when it's not crowded. After the session, I headed out to the OC to pick up my wetsuits and do an interview with Dano for an online surf publication. I've been wanting one of his boards for years. Today's sit down with him only made my Dano board lust worse! Dano's a great guy though. I dig his personal aesthetic . . . and his boards.

Pray for surf and warm water so that I can wear my new shorty john at least once before the year is over!

10 September 2010

Fall(ing in Love with the Home Break All Over Again)

Oh, no, I didn't make it out. As a matter of fact, I never made it in. But look at the size of that wave. It's not massive. But do those look like flat conditions to you?

Today will be day five of my renewed appreciation for my home break. The place is never epic. rarely stellar and hardly ever good. But years of surfing there have taught me that fall is the time when you will probably see waves with shape at this break. Usually, fall brings heat and waves with shape. I will gladly accept the latter in this "one out of two ain't bad" equation.

Five straight days of surfing a beach break. I have yet to be disappointed with what I've found. There was one day when I paddled out and immediately cursed myself for that decision. There was so much glare that I couldn't see anything resembling a wave. In fact, there weren't any waves. It was dead flat. Flat flat. "Yo momma's so flat" flat. Then, out of the blue, the skies darkened—allowing the two or three of us in the water to finally see past 12 inches in front of us—and the small waves turned on. Smiles, everyone, smiles!!!

Yesterday, there were shoulder-high sets. (Double take!!!!)

I'm just about surfed out. I'll give it one more day before I take a break. Let the weekend warriors have their due. I've certainly had mine.

04 September 2010

Worst Summer Ever!!!

September 4, 2009

September 4, 2010

03 September 2010

"This is How I Feel About Our Summer Weather" Dance Party

A fullsuit and shivers? In September?

Our beautiful So Cal weather has turned its attention to another. If this isn't a case of good lovin' gone bad, nothing is.

02 September 2010

Ah, the Putrefied Stench of Skunk

In other words, I got skunked big time today. I'm talking at least a quarter of a tank worth of skunk.

When I packed up the vehicle this morning, I was prepared for the worst. The surf yesterday had not been good. I wasn't feeling returning to the scene of that crime. So, doing my best imitation of an intrepid seeker of surf, I'd decided that today would be the day I would make that drive. I'm normally not one to drive in search of surf. I can't afford to waste the gas on such exploits. I also do my best not to contribute to the deterioration of the ozone layer. As a result, I tend to not go far in search of surf. It's different if you already have a distant destination in mind when you leave. I will drive to surf as opposed to driving to look for surf. Did that make sense?

Anyway, I got to the home break. I saw the same surf I paddled out into yesterday. Nope. I wasn't going to do it. I was not settling for it. Thus began the journey north in search of surf. I'd decided I would go as far as the dividing line with the next county, especially since there was a child to be gotten from school at 12:30. My window of opportunity was not unlimited.

Off I drove looking for waves. RPB was virtually flat. The Zoo was virtually flat. LPB had some small lines rolling through. Unfortunately, they broke onshore. What's worse was that the wind was also blowing onshore with such vengeance that I could not have surfed that break anyway without a 4/3. That meant I would just have to keep going north in search of surf.

Once I made it to the break that divides my county from the next, I was met with the same sad conditions I'd seen elsewhere. I didn't stop to watch for long. It wasn't worth it. Back I went from whence I came, stopping at various beaches along the way. I found beaches I'd never been to, beaches that looked potentially promising when there is something in the water to surf. But today wasn't the day for any of them.

Eventually, I ended up back at my home break. Nothing had changed. (Sigh)

I decided to head down into the South Bay as a last ditch effort. By then the wind was up even more than it had been. All of my eternal optimism, thinking I was seeing waves I would want to surf, was no match for the cold truth. There was nothing to surf. Period. Anywhere.

Skunked . . . and good.

At least I had enough time to lift weights before picking up the young squire. (I wonder if he got a whiff of skunk when he got in the car?)