14 August 2012

The Magic of It All Coming Together Nicely

This was my first wave of the session. This was also my first wave on this mat, one that Paul Gross sent me recently. It's the second iteration of my beloved Omni. Let me tell you, this mat is magical. Paul must have special powers or something; the best board I've ever surfed is one by PG and Spence. Now he sends me a mat that puts the first version of the Omni to shame, and the first Omni was magical too!

Ken Samuels, the photographer, was not at all happy with this photo. We—a prone riding crew of two people on mats and two people on paipos—hit this break early, so the sun had yet to peak enough to brighten everything. The camera was set to shoot a scene with more light. Apparently, I caught this bomb so quickly after paddling out that Ken wasn't quite ready when he saw me speeding across this wave. When he saw the first few pictures of the session, he was not amused. He felt they were too dark and too blurry.

I, on the other hand, looked through those shots, found this one and immediately knew he'd gotten a money shot. As I was on this wave, I felt like the mat and I were doing everything right. The mat locked in like no mat I've ever ridden.

Pranaglider, upon seeing this photo, said, "Such a great shot! so many things going on. outer fin on the water, inner fin and calf getting in position to augment the bottom turn that is about to happen, left arm compressing the front corner of the mat. M obviously focused down the line but coiled up and about to project down the line. great stuff!"


All of us got waves that were worth getting up at 4:30 for.

We're steadily becoming a prone riding gang of four. We all still surf boards, but we all get a completely different type of enjoyment from mats and paipos. Don't be surprised if you happen upon us at a surf break near you!

05 August 2012

Deus Ex Machina's Fin Soup

Photo by Glenn Sakamoto
We spread the prone riding word as best we could. I thought we did a wonderful job. True, most people don't understand the mat. But some folks did. And others were curious. For me, that's good enough.

Our booth had mats, paipos and handplanes. Obviously, Lucy had a lot of 'splainin' to do.

The goal, for me at least, was to help people expand their worldviews. Surfing isn't only about paddling into a wave and then standing up to ride it. Kicking into that same wave and riding it with your belly on the water is an equally valid way to do one's thing.

This was the first time I'd seen so-called "hipsters" in their natural habitat. Interesting. I really don't see what all of this "hipster" negativity is about. Is it about their clothes? Their hairstyles? I just don't get it. I didn't see any negativity, condescension or anything like that coming from this crowd. I live by the rule that I respect everyone until given a reason not to do so. I also teach this to my kid. And I saw no reason not to respect any of these folks. They extended an invitation to the mat riding community to have a presence at this event. Then, we also brought in the paipo/handplane community.

If nothing else, stoke was shared, even given away. We need more of that in the water. It never hurts to do that on land first, hoping that people remember that stoke and pass it on when they get in the water.

01 August 2012

It Was, Indeed, a Festival of Stoke

Sunday morning. Scripps Pier. Bright and early.

We all gathered for The Paipo Stokefest, a meeting of prone riding minds, if you will. There were paipos. There were handplanes. There were mats. There were even some alaias that a couple of people rode standing (or tried to). But for the most part, this was about being in the water, not above the water.

One of the memories I will take away from this event was looking at the many people who surrounded me and seeing nothing but smiling faces. These weren't the bemused smiles people have while sitting in church and watching someone a few pews away falling asleep. These were shit-eating, ear-to-ear grins that reflected the shared stoke of those of us attending a different kind of church. I have never in my surfing life heard so much joyful hooting and laughter. It was like nothing I've ever experienced in the water. 

The beauty of something like the Stokefest is that it gave the tribe the freedom to truly let it all hang out. It's one thing to ride a mat or paipo in a lineup of surfboards. There's a certain amount of antagonism with which one must contend. But when you let the tribe know that it's just going to be us, that we're going to take over the beach, you see what happens when we professed surfing oddballs let it all hang out.

It is something to behold!

Mr. Mike (of the Mr. Mike's Paipos blog) and the wonderful Flavian


"The Goddess" board

The father-daughter tandem mat team

Jon Wegener

Kevin Jimenez of Viper Fins


I was there when this guy was overcome by the paipo stoke!

Mr. Mike

Paipos, alaias and friends

Stoked out of my mind after sharing a wave with a guy on a handplane

Party wave!

This shot just captures how much fun we had that day
Dropping into a bomb
Photos shot from the beach by Ken Samuels
Water shot by Val Reynolds