31 January 2011


• Six-year-olds have longer attention spans and continue to prefer structured activities to more open-ended experiences.

• The language skills of six-year-olds become increasingly sophisticated throughout the year. Their vocabularies rapidly increase, and their language moves beyond communication to provide a foundation for learning, including the development of independent reading skills. In general, their pronunciation of words is clear and they use complex grammatical forms accurately.

• In mathematics, six-year-olds can typically count up to "200" and count backwards from "20." They understand the concept of "odd" and "even" numbers and can represent numbers on a number line or with written words. They use increasingly more sophisticated strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems. They also count the sides of shapes to identify them and can combine shapes to create a new one. Six-year-olds can also give and follow directions for moving around a room or on a map.

• Six-year-olds continue to enjoy moving in a variety of ways. Although far from proficient in motor skills, this does little to dampen their enthusiasm for trying out new activities and sports. They are able to run in various pathways and directions and can manipulate their bodies by jumping and landing, rolling and transferring their weight from feet to hands to feet. Their hand- and foot-eye coordination is still developing, so skills like throwing, catching, kicking and striking are still emerging. With the right equipment, however, and a skillful partner, their motor skills continue to improve.

• In terms of social and emotional development, six-year-olds are confident and delight in showing off their talents. They start to display an increasing awareness of their own and others' emotions and begin to develop better techniques for self-control.

You're thinking, "WTF?" Am I right?

My blog turned six today.

That is all.

27 January 2011

Vroom, Vroom!!

It was time to do something completely different.



And so, I turned to Carrot.

To get this party started right.

In imitable hull fashion, this board took off like a shot every time I felt it catch (which is the word I use to describe how it feels when you can feel the board sink into a wave when you've successfully paddled for it).

I have a titanium knee. In other words, I have a knee that bends much more slowly than the other knee. Popping up on something other than a longboard or a longer mid-sized board can be a challenge.

I like challenges. Life is much too boring without them.

So, for the first time in about a year and for the second time since the knee replacement, I paddled out on Carrot.

I just wanted to see what I could do.

I just wanted to see what it could do.

The first time I rode Carrot, I was simply happy I could pop up on a seven foot board. I did pop up. I didn't get any rides of note.

Today was different. I did pop up . . . and then had to hang on for dear life as the board tried to fly away without me.

I am.in love.with this hull.

Thank you, PG and SK!

24 January 2011

Black Women are Afraid to Get Their Hair Wet


Well, it's basically true. Black women who straighten their hair generally run screaming from water in any form because they fear their locks will return to their natural state. Or, as people used to say when I was a kid, they fear their hair will go back to Africa.

Then there are those of us who give our hair the freedom it deserves. No chemicals. No straightening. No weaves. No pretenses.

Sisters, stop being enslaved by your hair. You can't take it with you. No woman ever went to her deathbed saying, "I wish I'd spent more time at the beauty shop." Opt out of the madness.

We did. And we haven't looked back.

21 January 2011

Losing Count

I realized this afternoon that I have no idea how many days I've surfed without a break. Six? Seven? Who knows?

Today's session was all about the mat. The tide was too high for a board. I gave it a go, but recognized that staying on a board in waves that broke in two feet of water probably wasn't a good idea. Sometimes the tides get to me. Today's session was almost ended by the presence of way too much water. The tide was just killing any kind of surfing on a board. Thankfully, I feel no guilt about cheating on my surfboards. I looked at the waves as they marched to shore. The tide was high, yes, but those were waves that were begging to be ridden. So I ran to the car to get a mat.

I got a few decent rides before the tide killed the waves altogether. This was one of them:

make avatar
Make avatar

18 January 2011

The View From Behind the Wheel

This car is a beast, a gigantic rolling beast . . . in red!!! Look at the size of that steering wheel. And since I'm a bit vertically challenged, I think people do get a sense of the little old lady peering up through the steering wheel when I'm driving. A little old lady with dreadlocks, that is.

Yes, that is a stereo with a cassette deck under the dash. What's that you ask? Oh, you're so perceptive! Yes, that is a small household stereo speaker on the floor. It's hooked up to that cassette radio. If I turn a corner too fast, the speaker disconnects and flies to the other side of the car. I don't know whose idea that was. I'm going to guess it was at least permitted, if not requested, by the same person who painted the car red.

I will eventually make that stupid stereo go away. The speaker will go away as well.

On the surf front, this was my fourth straight day in the water. I'm not feeling surfed out in the least. This is why I have a Woman Cave. I train hard so that I can play hard.

Guess what I'm going to do tomorrow?

Go play.

17 January 2011

Seriously, Thalia Surf Shop?

"All black products"? "MLK Sale"? You mean to tell me there wasn't one person who had the sense to just say no to stupid shit like this?

(Shaking my head and moving on)


‘Respect’ Image Apology

January 18, 2011

Yesterday we at Thalia Surf sent out a newsletter announcing our MLK Day Sale. In no way did we intend to hurt or offend anyone. For those that took offense or disrepect we truly are sorry. We took down the ad for our sale to hopefully calm the waters and in the future will be more careful in our selection of promotions. We appreciate the support from customers and patrons of Thalia Surf that know us and know that we meant no harm. Thanks.

Nick Cocores
Owner, Thalia Surf

Uh . . . hmmm. Well, my gripe is still that someone should have had enough sense to realize the ad was in bad taste in the first place. Whatever. Leave the past in the past. That was yesterday. As I said then, I've moved on.

What Had Happened Was . . .

I got tired of going right, so I abruptly turned around and went left. As you can see from my body language, going left makes me happy!

16 January 2011

January is the New Summer

It's a frigid 55 degrees in the water while the air temperature is an almost sultry 80 degrees. WTF?

I'm not complaining though. I love hot weather. If memory serves me correctly, we never really had a summer in 2010. I remember wearing a hoodie almost every day and coming out of my fullsuit only twice.

We're finally seeing waves down in these parts. The problem, though, is finding a spot to surf that isn't a zoo. The flat spell combined with the hot weather means everyone with a surfboard is heading to the beach now that there's some swell in the water. Yesterday morning, I headed to The Place Which Shall Remain Nameless expecting to see a crowd, but certain it wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary. Fail!! I have never seen so many people in the water at that spot. Usually, I will work around the crowd by riding the mat through the kelp. Well, the kelp is finally clearing out, so people had room to spread out. There was no way I was going to paddle out into that mayhem. I went straight up to RPB.

Although the swell wasn't moving in the optimal direction for RPB, I knew there would be something to surf, albeit something small. I was right. It was a mellow session in small waves. I'd much rather have that than pumping waves in a crowd.

I went back to RPB today. Again, I just want to surf. I long to get into some larger surf, but only if the crowd is light. This is why I didn't even bother with TPWSRN even though I was certain it was good again. When I got to RPB, the sweepers were all over the bay. I surf the bay. There is a spot there with larger waves. It, like TPWSRN and Malizoo, is mayhem. That's not fun for me. I know people who find it invigorating. That's their trip and more power to them. They can have the mosh pit. I prefer the dance party for one.

Now, RPB is a relatively slow wave. I don't like to surf there too often as I think it makes you lazy. Still, after a flat spell, beggars can't be choosers. So I paddled out to my normal spot, which is between the mosh pit and the spot where the sweepers were. For some reason, people tend to leave that part of the break empty. It's as if it's some kind of optical illusion. They see the bigger waves at the mosh pit section. They see the smaller breaking waves right in front of them when they paddle out. No one seems to remember, or care, that there are perfectly good waves right between the two. So, that's where I headed . . . as usual. And for the first 45 minutes or so, I got so many waves that I had to remind myself to take a break and rest. I had that peak to myself, taking waves at will. For me, that's surfing at its finest, regardless of the size of the wave. When you can simply be one with the wave, you are truly surfing. By the time people noticed that I was catching wave after wave after wave, I was too tired and satiated to resent the presence of the interlopers. I was more than happy to share.

Of course, I got out of the water spent. I'd had enough. The lulls were getting longer. The crowd was growing. I was done. Or so I thought. Although I put my board in the car, I felt the need to get back in the water. I watched for a good five minutes before grabbing the mat and the fins. I told myself I'd do my patented "three waves and out" thing. Well, I did it, but it took forever to get those three waves as there wasn't much size and power where I sat. The waves were worth the wait though. Riding a surf mat continues to be a mind-blowing experience. Three decent waves on a mat is as good as, if not better than, three decent waves on a board.

Thank you, summer, for making an appearance. Better late (early?) than never.

13 January 2011

There is Nothing Out There to Surf


It's just flat.


So, I've resorted to running. It gives me something to do and keeps me off the streets . . . sort of.

I've also been getting to know my new longboard, the one with the wheels.

I was fearful of cross-stepping on that thing at first. Visions of ER visits got in my way. But after seeing one of the crew do some fancy footwork without doing himself any harm (barely), I began to get it. Then, today, another member of the crew and I took turns doing slow cross-steps. One would be on the board while the other ran next to it, arms at the ready to steady the rider should she be launched off the board. That little bit of practice was all I needed. Off came the training wheels. Now I need to just concentrate more on carving while I cross-step. Other than that, I've got it!!

Pray for surf . . . please!

11 January 2011

The "Flat Winter Surf" Dance Party

It occurred to me today that I haven't had a good dance party on this blog in awhile. What's that about? I think 2010 started and ended with such a bang that I was too tired to think about dancing. Someone recently told me that we're coming out of the Year of the Tiger, a very intense year. I can honestly say that last year was one of the greatest years of my life. It wasn't an easy year. I guess it was one where I allowed myself to spread my wings. I held nothing back. In many ways, it was as if I drew a line in the sand and dared others to cross it. I just wasn't having it (whatever "it" is and was) in 2010. If nothing else, I allowed myself the freedom to be me. That's not easy for any of us, especially when we have responsibilities and feel the weight of the expectations of those around us. At some point, I just said, "No." I wanted and needed to soar, whether that meant I flew into the sun, only to have my wings melt and send me crashing to the Earth, or stayed aloft.

Someone told me that I was evolving into the person I will be for the next 10 years or so. That made perfect sense to me. I was changing. I have changed. I've said before that I don't believe stasis is a good thing for humans. Nevertheless, change is hard. Change is troubling. Sometimes it hurts. If nothing else, you must have faith in your own ability to find your center. I know who I am. The Mary (my actual first name) from last year is much like the Mary of this year. (How gauche is it to refer to yourself in the third person? I know!! But I'm making a point, so don't think ill of me.) I can see, though, that the person I was in 2009 is not the person I am in 2011.

I guess I'm feeling a bit contemplative. I'm ready to have more of a laid back year now. The line is still there in the sand. Only one person crossed it last year. And much to my surprise, fangs I didn't even know I had slowly emerged. Interesting. I didn't know I had that in me. Year of the Tiger? That makes sense to me.

Since I could not find anything to surf today, I realized it was time to dance off some of this energy. In the early 80's, all I was doing was dancing to two tone ska. I still find it hard not to bounce when I hear this stuff. I didn't used to think that was such a long time ago, but now I realize that was a long time ago. I was still a teenager. Now I'm old enough to be the parent of a teenager!! Ack!! That was a long time ago.

It's supposed to be flat again tomorrow too. As I told my friend Glenn earlier, "the ocean needs days off too". Let's hope there's a little something to surf on Thursday.

09 January 2011

It's Growing!

My once small surf altar is growing. Perhaps that's why the surf gods have smiled on me of late. Okay, that and me making my Almond the sacrificial lamb for Wednesday's session.

I've collected rocks and shells from The Place Which Shall Remain Nameless, Rincon and a local beach break. I seem to be in no big hurry to stop the growth of the altar. I'm happy to keep adding to it. In fact, I may start another one in another corner of the Woman Cave. Who knows? All I know is this thing is kind of like one of those Zen sand gardens. I'm happy to quietly stare at my little altar when I take a break from my workout. Every once in awhile, I'll rearrange what's there. Generally, though, I leave it alone unless I'm bringing in more rocks from a recent session.

Yeah, I know I'm a little off.

07 January 2011

"You Were Never Here and We Never Surfed This Spot!"

This is essentially what I told a guy from my home break, a guy I like and respect, who showed up at The Place Which Shall Remain Nameless with another friend from the home break. Yes, I know no one owns the waves. However, there is a thing called "respect". I respect other people's breaks. I show that respect by not dragging everyone I know to their waves, especially when it's a spot I consider a treasure.

I'm slowly, but surely, getting some kind of reputation at TPWSRN. I want it to be a good one. I mind what I say. I mind what I do. I show the locals the respect they deserve (and sometimes don't deserve). I don't roll up with a posse in tow. I respect what they've got. I just go there and do my thing, whether it be on a mat, which is the usual case these days, or on a surfboard. Some of the people there know me by name now. Others remain crusty. That's fine. I'm establishing my reputation as a surfer and a person each time I'm there.

I met two folks from my home break up there today. I got a text from one of them asking if I was going to a break north of all of us. My reply was that the water was dirty, that I was heading to a different break in the opposite direction. The friend with whom I traded texts grew up in the area, so this place was not new to her. The other had never been. And, as I suspected, he was captivated. I knew he would be.

Throughout the session, I told him he couldn't tell his main surfing buddies that he'd been to the spot. Period. I wasn't playing. "Don't tell them you were here!" I said it more than once. I said it throughout the session. I couldn't have been more adamant.


Well, the guy with whom he usually surfs seems never to have heard of surf etiquette. Ever. He simply doesn't get it. He will go for every wave no matter what the situation. He can see you sitting there waiting your turn, knowing that you've patiently allowed others (including him) to take their waves. Then he'll paddle right back out next to you and jump up on the wave that was rightfully yours. Etiquette means nothing to him. There are surfers like that in the world. We all know one or two or more of them. For me, the best way to show respect to someone else's break is to not release a known surf offender into his or her surf community. I used to spend a lot of time surfing with someone who seems never to have learned the rules of etiquette. Did I tell her about TPWSRN? No. I surfed the place for almost a year year before she revealed to me that someone had taken her there. And I still didn't let on that I'd surfed there often. After years of having seen her drop in on people, run into people and tell me that people at certain breaks wanted to beat her up, there was no way I was going be the one who took her to this spot.

So, I told the guy from the home break not to tell his friends. They all tend to surf together. If he told one, the offender would find out. And they'd all probably tell several others. And so on. And so on. That is just unacceptable.

Today was my fifth straight day in the water. I rode prone on two different mats and rode upright on two different boards. On one of the five days, my board paid my dues to the surf gods . . . and even that session was one in which I got some decent rides that made me smile. I've had a good run of water time during this week. "Stoked" doesn't begin to describe how I'm left feeling after all of these consecutive days in the water. Thank you, surf gods, for smiling down on me. Thanks, too, for not allowing the rocks to do more damage to my beloved Almond.

Go find yourself some waves, people! Remember to respect the locals and their waves, whether you agree with that part of surf culture or not. If you're a local, be nice to the visitors who show you respect. In the end, we're one big tribe of people who love to ride waves.

05 January 2011

Would You Consider This a Fair Trade?

See, it was like this: I was stupid enough to ignore my better judgment and allow someone to talk me into taking my board—rather than my mat—out to this break. The waves were larger today, therefore the shape was not all that good once the tide got too low. So, I paddled my happy ass out into it nonetheless. No leash. It's not that I thought I was too good for a leash. I just hadn't really looked at the forecast and hadn't realized there would be more energy in the water today. All I had with me was the board that doesn't have a leash plug. With a mat, more energy doesn't make much difference. I would have ridden my Standard instead of my Tracker Square Tail.

To make a long story short, the waves had size, but questionable shape. I got a few. On my last one, I realized I was probably going to run someone over and made a quick move to avoid a collision. When I did that, the wave closed out behind me. The board . . . was gone. Normally, that's not a problem at this spot. Unfortunately, I'd drifted a bit south of where I normally sit. Nine times out of 10, losing your board means a long swim and nothing more. This time, the board launched itself into some rocks.

Once I finally got to the board, I had a decision to make: get back in the water and paddle to the other side of the bay to the almost sandy entrance or keep the board dry by doing a 15 minute rock dance in bare feet? I chose the latter.

I can be both stubborn and tenacious at times. That is why my feet are still throbbing some 10 hours after my session. I got my waves. I rescued my board. I shredded my feet. On the bright side, I don't believe much water got in the board (thanks to me sacrificing my feet to the surf gods), therefore the repairs shouldn't take long. Yes, I said "repairs"—plural. The nose took the worst of that beating. There was more carnage to be seen on that stick, but I didn't feel like taking that many pictures (!!!!).

Anyway, my board paid the price today. My feet had to cough up some cash as well. Nonetheless, I saw some things over there where the board ended up. Very few people walk around over there. Alas, I did spy a great deal of trash, more trash than I could have picked up. I'm certain it washed up with the waves; it wasn't dumped by apathetic beachgoers.

I also saw . . . shells, big shells. I never see big shells. But there they were. Even though I knew I had a long, painful walk ahead of me, I stopped to grab a shell. I at least wanted something amazing to take home along with my wrecked board. I'm still sitting here looking at this thing as I type this. It's almost the size of my hand. I'm assuming it was once the home of a hermit crab. I did check for an occupant before continuing on my journey, surfboard on my right side, seashell on my left side.

Is it a fair trade? I don't think it matters really. Dings happen. That's a part of surfing. If you surf a board enough, it's going to take some punishment. It would be unrealistic to think you can keep a board in pristine condition. Perhaps you can do that with a wall hanger. I believe boards are to be surfed. If you ding a board, you fix it. If, like me, you prefer bold colors on your board, you suck it up and don't sweat the small stuff (like the colors of the repairs not matching the rest of the board perfectly). None of that matters.

I got some dings.

I got a cool shell.

I have a quiver.

I have mats.

Boards get repaired.

Life goes on.

03 January 2011

A Good Way to Start the Year?

I think not. And this is why I'm about to start changing the conversation we surfers have about polluted water. Why do we tolerate it? Why do we surf in it? Why don't we do more to protect our oceans? Why do we continue to act as if the ocean is only their to serve our needs? When will we recognize that it's not about us?

Silence equals assent. We, as a tribe, are guilty of not raising our voices on a daily basis. Therefore, it's as if we've said nothing at all. No one hears us because we're not even trying to be heard. That.is.just.wrong. And we should all be ashamed of ourselves.

This is still a surf blog. It's still my surf blog. I will continue to do "my thing" as a blogger, but I will also give some food for thought. I think our oceans are in peril. I've not had to do any research to prove this. The news is out there for all of us to hear. Hey, the big fucking insurance companies have lobbyists that speak for them and convince our lawmakers to protect them. Who is lobbying for the ocean? It's not asking for our money. It's not a greedy corporation. It gives us waves and we give comparatively little in return.

People, it's time to flip the script. It's not about us. The next time you paddle out, think about the fact that humans pollute the ocean with impunity. The ocean is already to the point where, in some locales, it can't clean itself. Did it ever occur to you that this may become a reality for us as well? Will you still be a surfer if your favorite spots consistently rate an "F"? Instead of worrying about yourself, your waves, your gear, your surf trip, spend some time thinking about a dying ocean that can't protect itself. Just sit with that thought for a time. Remember, it's not about you.