Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sacrificial Lambs

Yes, that would be us. Like when you paddle in after waiting an extended peroid, for that one last set wave. Only to watch it peel all the way through the inside, once you've gotten out. We have been making Thanksgiving dinner for 12+ people for the last 10 years. This year, we decided that we wanted to do something different. In order to get out of the family obligations, we planned a camping trip out to the desert. Wanted to show the gremlins something a little different than sand and salt water. Maybe some snakes and lizards. Cactus, flowers, and most importantly some SMORES. They love the SMORES. So, tomarrow we head east for a few days and nights. The hardest part about this trip isn't the camping part, the preparation, the wondering and worrying if we will be able to entertain the kids, or even better, if they will entertain themselves. The hardest part is the fact that the surf just may be epic. Doubtful that it will be truly epic, but, probably pretty damn good. Swell is supposed to be building almost the same time we will be pulling out. It's supposed to lose most of it's steam, right as we will be returning. It's not just the swell though. The weather is supposed to be pretty much as good as it gets around this time of year. Warm, offshore, without a cloud in the sky. We could stay home. 4 days off work. No big dinner to make. Surf all day. A nice mini staycation. With the commitments we've made, it probably wouldn't be prudent. So, we are the designated Sacrificial Lambs for all of you. Please don't leave town. Don't go on Mountain Bike trips, or early snowboard trips, those can be done when the surf sucks. Stay, have a surf, catch all the ones that we might have been on. Enjoy yourselves and take advantage of the reason you live near the Ocean.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


So many things I love about this photo

Sunday, November 15, 2009

3 in a Row

Last weekend I had some of the best surf I've had in quite some time. I missed Saturday due to soccer obligation (last games of the season, woohoo). Sunday, drove across the bridge to clean overhead lines stacking up on the horizon. Pulled up, fed the kids some grub, and watched wave after wave peel from the peak, regroup in the middle, then rocket down the line in the shorebreak. Plenty of great rides. Lots of smiles. Rebecca soon got out of the water, and I gotta say, there is nothing better than seeing your wife have shit eating grin walking up the beach. Paddled out on the GH twinny that Rebecca bought me for my birthday, and preceded to catch wave after clean wave. Well overhead. It was pretty crowded, but luckily most of the guys that were catching the good ones on bigger boards, would call me into waves after they passed by, usually leaving me plenty of pocket room. Plus, they would always kick out before the better inside section. Monday rolled around and my expectations weren't that high. Two days in a row of good surf? Couldn't happen. Plus the buoy numbers seemed to be a little smaller. Well I was wrong. It was a touch smaller, still overhead, but even cleaner than the day before. Shifted over to the ledgier part of the reef, and pretty much got a few of the best barrels I've gotten in a few years. Crowd was much more mellow, and the rotation was working well. Tuesday. Nah, couldn't happen. Not 3 in a row. Tuesday we (Rebecca and I, no kids) pulled up to the reef to another perfect weather day. For the first time in a while, we could surf together. We were heading out of town later in the day, but had the morning off, and the kids in school. We've had bad luck over the last year on our rare surf days. Usually the surf is real small, or blown out. Can't actually remember the last time we surfed together when it was good. Just might have been pre-kids. Our session started out pretty slow. It was an incredibly beautiful day, but the surf had dropped and changed directions a bit. Surf PE was in full force. The crowd was thick. We paddled out together, and stayed on the south side. From the lot, there seemed to be some fun looking waves breaking on the middle and reeling through the inside. When I got out, I couldn't seem to find them. I ended up sitting outside with the rest of the pack. 30 minutes went by, still no wave ridden. Then something wierd happened. People started to drift. Some got out for work or school. Some paddled over to the other side of the reef. Before we knew it, we were the only two sitting at the peak on that side of the reef. Waves started coming. Head high, fun, a little softer on the outside, but would reform into some great inside sections. We traded off wave for wave for about an hour. Sharing many during that time as well. One of the best sessions of the year, not because it was epic, or even as good as the prior two days, but because it was pretty much just us.

Here a few picks Tom English shot of me on Sunday:

I remember this last little section. Remember watching it set-up, remember waiting for it, stalling, stalling, stalling. I remember the view and how many I've blown recently. Remember thinking to myself, "No way I ain't coming out of this one." Luckily, I did.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Confrontation with a Legend

I've definately had some confrontations over the years.  It all started when I was 16 and some Windansea local took a swing at me for no reason (actually, thats another story all together).  I tend to have a bit of a temper in the water sometimes. Rarely on land. If there was another step under rarely, I'd probably go with that one. In the water, it's different. Usually doesn't have much to do with what really happened in the water. Some days someone could burn me multiple times and I could give a shit. Some days not so much. It usually has to do with what's going on in my life, if I slept well, or if the gremlins were driving me crazy. I watch my best friend of many years surf all the time. So even keeled. Always in control. In 25 years, I've never seen him lose his temper in the water. Never even heard him yell. I respect that a lot. It's not me, but sometimes I wish it were. Whether right or wrong, confrontations never really turn out too good. Even if you feel you came out on top, you still feel like shit, and it pretty much screws up the rest of your session. One caveot is that I have ended up meeting some great people that I got into confrontations with.  Carter, Dan, Uncle Rick.  Somehow our lives just collided at the wrong times.  Luckily, we got through it, and became friends.

Recently there was an occurance with a legend. It actually didn't even involve me. Well, indirectly. I was on the beach watching. It was a small crumbly day. Windswell. Close intervals. Hardly worth surfing. Nevertheless, it was crowded. Something about those days seem to bring out the crowds. The kinda crowds that can be dangerous. My wife, Rebecca, took off on a wave at the peak, someone took off on the shoulder, almost directly on top of her, as she was coming down the line. She fell and lost her board. She swam over to her board, grabbed the tail, just in time for the next wave to be breaking. The Legend was on it. And yes, he is truly a legend. Her board pivoted up as she held onto the tail, and hit him in the side of the upper body and head. Not hard enough to hurt, but definately enough to be felt. The sad thing is, he had plenty of time to read the wave and turn out of the way, instead he decided to hold his line. He could have easily avoided the whole mess. I'm a huge stressor of etiquitte, and how it is the person in the waters responsibility to get out of the way of the person coming down the line.  Sometimes, it just isn't possible.  This was one of those times.  This legend tends to be a hot head. At 62, he's probably yelled at more people in North San Diego than any other person I've seen. We tend to avoid him in the water as much as possible. He is still a great surfer. I would say, probably the best 62 year old surfer alive. One of the best surfers to ever live. Always a stand-out at any age. So, he paddles back out and yells at Rebecca. I'm watching this whole thing from the beach, and I could just tell what was going on. She caught a few more waves and came in. When she got in, she confirmed what I'd thought. I was truly proud of her for getting back into his face and yelling back at him. Another sad thing is that many of the people that we see and talk to at the beach, everyday, were out in the water, so-called friends. They all saw what had happened, and not one of them had the balls to say something during the verbal assault. Oh, they thought they were do-gooders by later telling her how sorry they were that this happened, but still, absolutely no sack. Is your place on the beach that important? Really?     Fuckers.

Back to the legend, He's had some problems in the last few years and just started getting back in the water a few months ago. It was good to see him back in the water, but, thoughts of the old times always sat in the back of my mind. He's had 3 confrontations with people that surf their everyday, just in the last two weeks. These are the same people he hangs out with, well, at least when he is their. All nice, good natured guys. When I think back, I don't think I've ever seen one of em in a confrontation in the last 8 years. He comes in soon after Rebecca, and heads up the beach for the typical coffee talk. This whole time, i'm thinking, "Should I just let this go?" Is it OK for someone to yell at your wife for a misfortunate accident. One that could be avoided at that. After contemplating for a while, I decided that the right thing to do was to have a talk with him. The real test for me, was to do it as calmly as possible. I walked down the beach, asked him if I could have a word with him. He came over, and I calmly explained the situation. He said that it wasn't his fault, what if it would have hit him in the head?   What if he needed to get stitches, or got knocked out? I explained to him that it was an accident. Accidents due happen. She got burned, was trying to recover her board, windswell, close intervals, pretty much everything. Tried to draw it out as clearly as possible, as calmly as possible, so that he could truly understand the situation.  That yelling at her, probably wasn't the best reaction. His response, still not his fault, he shouldn't have to deal with it. He didn't get it, the whole time his face was getting redder, his voice louder, his eyes more strained. I asked him if he'd ever made a mistake, his response, "NO. Never." So you're perfect? Well this whole confrontation lasted a good ten minutes. My buddy (mentioned above, who knows me real well) showed up to the beach and actually came down and stood about 15 feet away. I didn't see him or know he was their, but apparently he said I started using my arms a little more, he was their to cover me. Thats a true friend. I never raised my voice, which for me, was a true accomplishment. The whole thing ended with him walking away telling me to "Fuck Off" pretty much at the top of his lungs. I told him I love him too. And it was over. I held my ground and didn't feel bad for doing it. It didn't ruin my day. About 15 minutes later we were sitting at our table talking, up walks the legend. He apologizes to my wife. He didn't realize that she had gotten burned on the wave before which caused her to lose her board. Says that he doesn't want this type of energy between us. We all shake hands and he walks away. Another 10 minutes go by and he comes back. He apologizes to me for talking to me the way he did. Well, guess you could say that his apologies made me feel pretty good. Definatly not wasted energy. From what I hear, nobody has ever heard him apologize for something he did, or someone he yelled at in the water. I know it took a lot for him to come over and apologize.  He gained a lot of respect from me that day. Respect that was lost years ago.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kewarra Jet Bottom Challenge

My best friend and I got to talking yesterday. I really don't think he appreciates me doing this handplane thing lately. We've surfed together for a good 20+ years. Now, half the time I'm bobbing around the inside looking for some goodness. As I've stated before, we used to watch all the Bystrom Movies when growing up. I forget which movie it was, but it showed the Kewarra Jet bottom boards. We were always intrigued by them. So, the challenge was set to truly test my mediocre wood working skills. I am making a Kewarra Jet Bottom Handplane to try and get him interested in my latest obsession.