Friday, October 23, 2009

Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead! Thats about the way I felt a year ago. At least weight wise. I was as out of shape as ever. Just look back at the pictures of me riding the Clownfish. I was up to 183. Now, you bigger guys might think that is not bad. At, 5'7, it is. I never want to be that old fat guy. All our lives we are constantly telling ourselves that it's time to start, so that we don't end up a fat longboard has-been that mainly sits on the beach talking story. My kids are still young, I want to be able to play soccer with them, or surf with them (at heavier breaks) when they are older. The thought of one boat trip to the Mentawaii's with the whole family filling the boat. Jumping off and Paddling out at some remote spot, with just my wife and 3 kids, sharing a perfect spinning head high right. I want to have that option. So, about a 10 months ago, I started. Started trying to get in the water as much as possible. Keeping active. Running as much as my schedule will allow. Mainly, eating better. Not necessarily dieting. Eating better. Less portions. Nothing late at night. Decrease the junk. So, after the first installment in the plan, I am down to 148. 35 pounds off, and down to a reasonable weight for my body. Now the key is maintaining it for the rest of my life. Getting back to the song. I have a soundtrack that I play while running. Mostly made up of songs that remind me of surfing. I know if I get to "Better Off Dead," then I've had a good long run. It always inspires me to make it up that last hill, not only make it up, but with a little zest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CNN and Surfing

How to link em. Well for me, it just became a little easier. CNN/Money Magazine just announced their best job list for 2009. I was driving to work the other day and almost spit up my coffee, when it was announced that my profession was named 2nd on that list. For years we have been know as the bastard children of Medicine. I mean, hell, the name itself implies that we are nothing more than the help. In truth, that is the case. Generally though, unless you've experience the work of a PA in the past, the name pretty much implies that you went to a couple month course and learned how to draw blood, or take a blood pressure. Plus, with the close relation to the name "Medical Assistant," (which is pretty much what you get when you take that 2 month course), the haziness becomes even more prevalent. Now days when people ask what I do, I usually try and move on as quickly as possible. No longer do I want to have to explain. Since this is my blog, and I can pretty much say what I want. I'll give you a quick glimpse. I work in Orthopedics at a very large group. I see and examine patients (just as a physician would do), evaluate studies, diagnose, and treat patients. This all under the supervision of a Doctor. Rarely do they ever see the patient, unless it is an extremely complicated case. When on-call, I am the one taking the calls. I am usually responsible for 20-40 post-operative patients on the floor. I see all the complicated Ortho cases in the ER, reduce most fractures, and admit the patient for surgery. I also first assist in surgery (which to me is pretty boring).

How did we get to where we are, and why should you trust us to take care of you? One reason is that we usually know how to treat the common problems in Medicine better than the doctors. We see em everyday and know the protocols. We also usually know when it's over our head, and time to pass it along to the Doc. The Docs in our clinic rarely ever see the basic stuff anymore. More often than not, when they do, they are asking us what that protocol is. As for education, Most PA Programs these years are 2-3 year Masters Programs. They are run or are affiliated with a Medical School. We pretty much give up 3 years of our lives (after getting a BS degree) to do what we do. Unlike Medical school where the students go to class from 8-12 the first two years, we go from 8-5. Then study until midnight, and repeat the next day. Usually do an all nighter studying 1-2 nights a week. The general idea is to try and get the same information in 2 years instead of 4. For me, and for most, it was probably the hardest years of my life. In the end, well worth it.

So, that is it in a nutshell. I have now done the job that our profession is constantly trying to get us to do. Explain to the public what we are, and what we do. I'm pretty stoked, after 12 years of being a bastard, to now be recognized for a job that I truly enjoy and am glad to have.

So, how does this tie into surfing, Well, I get a lot of time off. Those hard years of work have now paved the way for the job of my dreams. I work three twelve hour shifts a week. This entails some nights and some weekends. Generally, I have 5 days a week, that I am off during the day. I also get one week off every 5 weeks. It's just the way the schedule rotates. I'm thinking most of you know what I'm doing with all that time.

And the winners are...
Great pay and superior growth prospects. Work that's meaningful. Those are some of the qualities we looked for when selecting America's best jobs. More
1. Systems Engineer
2. Physician Assistant
3. College Professor
4. Nurse Practitioner
5. IT Project Manager
6. CPA
7. Physical Therapist
8. Network Security Consultant
9. Intelligence Analyst
10. Sales Director

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Pinliner Model

I made this one for Peter St. Pierre. He has been an inspiration in my handplane quest. He was actually the first person to show me a handplane. Danny Hess sent him one of his models. It was pretty neat, and I filed it in the back of my head. A while later, he was at the beach one day and we again got to talking about bodysurfing and items used as assistance. He was talking about things they used to use back in the day. One of the big things he always went back to was a ping pong paddle. But, always kept saying that anything would work. So, prior to using that makeshift board I found on the beach, I tried one of the kids plastic shovels. It didn't do much. We got to talking again the other day, again he brought up that his favorite thing was the ping pong paddle. That he likes his Hess, but sometimes feels it's a little on the big side. He wanted something that was smaller and a little more functional, especially for waves that were top to bottom and super easy to catch. Waves you didn't need a big plane to get into (Think Wedge, Marine street, or just use your imagination.) Something like the ping pong paddle. He gave me some general dimensions and this is what I came up with. I like it alot, and will definately be making myself one, and I'm sure many others in the future.


The winter that is. Yesterday was the most relaxing day I've had on the beach in a long time. Don't really know what happened. It was a Sunday, the sun came out, the wind was calm, the surf was reasonable. Not epic by any proportions, but definately do-able. Especially when the tide filled in. So, where were the people? Don't really know. Maybe the masses succumbed to Mr. Bass's constant hanging of postcards on our cars, and decided to check out his coveted, "Sacred Craft." Or the outdoorsperson was trying to get one last summer camping/hiking/biking trip in the Sierra's before Mother closed her doors. Maybe Football has finally taken a stronghold of all those warm water buoys, that seem to float around in our way during the summer. So, there I was, sitting on an empty beach, kids playing in the shorey, sitting in a chair, sewing neoprene handstrap covers for handplanes. Yea, you read it right. I was sewing on the beach. Got a few comments from friends, about needing me to sew em a new Beanie before winter kicked in, or a new pair of nice fuzzy socks. It's OK, I can take it. So, back to sitting on the beach. Had to be one of the most relaxing times I've had in a while. Lots of things on my mind lately, thanks to all of you who decided to do other things, you gave me some time to clear the haze a bit. These are the kind of days that make all the effort, or "Passion," if you will, worthwhile. Carry on.

Friday, October 9, 2009

One for Mr. Surfy

Just finished this one up for JP. If you see him this weekend, he just might have it laying around.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Watch the Melon

A couple things I've learned while using the Handplane:

First, as stated in a previous post, people WILL burn you. Be it your best friend (who woulda probably burned you anyway), or just the random Donkey visiting from Kansas. It will happen. And happen ALOT. I try and keep my composure and remind myself that I'm not on a board. If I were, knowing myself, and my sometimes lack of self control, I'd probably be constantly yelling if I got burned so much. So, with my accepting attitude about being burned, all I ask is that you watch out for my Melon. I'm gonna be behind you, even though you think not, just don't cut back on my head. I kinda wanta keep it intact, at least for a few more years.

Second, boy, it's sometimes pretty blinding when planing. Many times, especially while trying to get into the wave, your head is completely underwater. Your kicking as hard as you can, trying to make yourself streamline like a fish. You can feel your arm planing, but, you're not quite in the wave yet. A few more kicks, and you're going. Raise your body and your head, and finally you can see. Hopefully you set your line correctly and are actually now trimming down the face. Uh Oh, you've gotta push through a crumbling lip ahead, there goes the vision. Whitewater in the face, still planing, hoping to push through. Yes, there it is, back on the face and a nice section ahead. Stall, pull in, twist your body so now your back arm is above you, and actually stalling in the back part of the barrel, and wow, you've just experienced one of the best sensations in wave riding. As close to what the dolphins feel as any human can get. So, getting back to the blinding parts. Many times I'm doing this in a crowd. Unlike surfing, where my head is constantly above water and I can see who is in front of me, I can't see people paddling out through the waves. Someday, and probably soon, I'm gonna hit someone. To that person, I apologize. And also say, next time, get the fuck outta the way, cause you're the asshole that just burned me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


We'll see how she goes tomarrow, if Eddie leaves us alone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Bastard Children of the Ocean

I've definately had my words in the past about SUP's. Most are related to the mass public interest. The people who never really stepped foot in the ocean, or did it on an occasional basis. The SUP gave them the freedom to all of a sudden have a huge advantage over the paddle-less others. They didn't need to serve their time, work their way into the line-up, take the left overs, etc. If they were smart, All they needed to do is spend a week paddling on calm water, then take that act out into the line-up and learn to catch waves. Soon, they could be sitting out further then the rest, and stroking into waves, with hardly a competitor. I think I could teach a non-surfer how to paddle an SUP and having em ligitamately catch waves in 2 weeks. How long does it take the average surfer to learn to catch waves, stand up, and go down the line? Most of these newbies have absolutely no etiquitte whatsoever. They never learned. They never had some guy at WindanSea throw a punch at them, because he grew up their, not because he was right. They never had an older buddy constantly grind their mind with the rights and wrongs, the places they shouldn't go, or the places they shouldn't go with anyone else. They just don't get it. They don't understand why they hear comments as they paddle by. They are just out getting some exercise, just as they would on the basketball court or the softball field. Then, throw in the fact, that most of the ones that don't fit this bill, that actually surfed, then started to SUP, usually don't do it at the break that they used to surf at, well that is just plain fucked. My question to them is this, "You seem to surf well, why is it that you are all of a sudden coming here to SUP?" Why don't you SUP at the break that you used to surf at?

As many of you know, lately I've been really into this handplane thing. Today I got some of the best waves I've had with a handplane yet. Probably one of the funner sessions in the ocean this year. One thing that I've noticed while learning to handplane, is that when you are out bodysurfing, you also get absolutely no respect. On a surfboard, at most breaks, I usually get a fair share of waves. At the break I frequent most, usually more than my fair share. I think I know the wave pretty well, but, I also know the people as well. I've put in a decent amount of time, and think that I'm pretty well respected. That all seems to go out the window when you put on a pair of flippers. You could be talking to the guy next to you, hand over your plane for him to check it out, set comes, you are in position, and he'll burn you everytime. Doesn't matter if you can plane down the face and ride it as long as him. Doesn't matter if he saw you get perfectly slotted the wave before. For some reason, he thinks that because he's standing, it's his. The clincher is that these are the very same people that are making the comments that I made above about the SUP's.

So, now that I've got that all straightened out, the reason for my rant. There are about 5 guys that I know that SUP that I really respect. They started doing it way before the craze. All surfed well prior to starting to SUP. Know etiquitte well. Most importantly, grew up surfing the break that they now SUP at. Tom English is one of them. I enjoy surfing with Tom and talking with him in the lot. He's a smart guy and is always willing to share or give away a wave. Here are a few picks of Tom and myself last weekend, riding a wave together. The part that was missed in the photos, was when we were actually right next to each other, gave a nice High-5, then he sling-shotted me into the next section. One of the most memorable waves of the year. Memorable, while still being the Bastard Children of the Ocean.

Handplane Goodness

Well, I've been pretty much addicted to this handplane thing for the last month. Have gotten in the water almost daily, foregoing surfing, in hopes of getting a few good ones with the plane. I pretty much tweaked my original prototype on a daily basis. I then made, tested, and tweaked a few others. Screwed with channels, holes, and multiple straps set-ups. This is the version that I came up with that seems to fit my needs the best. Wood is Poplar, which is a nice hard wood and will hopefully be real durable. Strap is adjustable for tightness. Board is sealed with 4 coats of Helmsman Gloss. The belly flows to about the strap placement, and I stayed with the deep single concave, because overall, I seemed to get far better waves and was able to stay in the pocket far more often then when I was using the board with channels. For the guys that contacted me about making one for em, should be starting later today as I've now finished most of my experimentation and and ready to make some.