With all the time I spend at THE PRINTERY in Port Townsend, I can’t really explain why I didn’t get a scannable 8 &1/2 inch version of the white and black version of my third attempt to draw a bottle on a beach. BECAUSE of an accident in which the illustration part of the poster was reversed, color-wise, with some very interesting results, I attempted to add some color to what would otherwise be black background. Two attempts, with the colors from the first used as a sort of chart to narrow the palette for the second. Purple becomes kind of, almost yellow, green becomes one shade of blue- like that.

Live and learn, experiment, fail, try again. I am not yet satisfied with the results, with my next attempt at coming out with something, perhaps, less psychedelic, more like… I don’t know. We’ll see. I got the white and black version printed on watercolor paper (or something close) and I’m going to do a sort of wash.

Bear in mind, everything that is in color here would be black. Not horrible, but not nearly as much fun. SO:

More sparkle, less crazy… We’ll see.

KEITH DARROCK is the Librarian/ripper and the curator for the EVENT. I called him over to the Printery to check out and pay for the posters. He assigned me to getting some distributed out to the JEFFERSON COUNTY locations. “Wait a minute, Keith,” I said, “I’m, like, a volunteer, and…” Yes, I took on the task anyway. IF YOU are cruising up or down SURF ROUTE 101 between now and the 30th, check out the sign the folks (actually one folk) at the QUILCENE VILLAGE STORE (QVS to Adam Wipeout, Mary’s Village Store to longtime locals) made from a postcard of mine. It’s at 101 and Columbia. AND THEN, go inside, check out this poster at the checkout counter. YES, Quilcene is a way hipper place than when we moved here.

AND, even hipper, the CHIMACUM FARM STAND, a cooler version of the Sunny Farms in Sequim, also has a poster AS WELL AS some copies of STEPHEN R. DAVIS’S latest postcards.

Steve is one of the eight artists currently lined up for the event. And there will be, as advertised, music and some talking story. It’s coming together. MORE NEXT TIME.

Remember, as always, to respect ownership of original material. I do reserve all rights to my stuff, BUT, when you show up for the BIG EVENT, you might have the opportunity to purchase works by a member of a pretty eclectic group of artists in a pretty wide range of styles. And I’m hoping to have some ORIGINAL ERWIN t shirts (unofficially) available.

The colors I loved in the original I also love in the reversal.

The Good Kind of Soreness and…

A few changes, something new, stuff like that.

Every year I try to to keep track of how many times I surf, just trying to get up to the thirty sessions I have (not arbitrarily- it’s like, I read it somewhere, though it was for skiing) set as a sort of minimum requirement for one to be self-identified as a real surfer. AND, every year I lose track. I ACTUALLY was doing pretty well until my surf rig died and the always fickle surf on the Strait became, um, even more so. Like, scarce, any window of possible opportunity incredibly small.

NOT TO WHINE (whinge in the British Isles, whimper elsewhere), but it’s been a full on month between salt water immersions. AND THEN, I went. Windblown, small, a touch crowded (not in numbers, just too many good surfers). Possibly because I was yelling and a bit too enthusiastic, I bit my tongue on the fourth wave. Apparently, because each of the rippers commented, I looked like a zombie, blood on my mustache, and spitting blood for the rest of the session. Then, attempting to get out of the water on the rocks, awkwardly, slipping between them, seaweed wrapping around my legs, I slammed my big ass board against my thumb. And, then, because I was just that tired, I dragged my big ass board back to my van, now starting consistently, after (different story) I finally faced the truth and replaced the starter. Thanks, George Takamoto.

So, YEAH, great session!

The next morning, I was sore. But it was the best kind of Sore. OH, AND, do you know what that soreness means? I need to surf MORE. MORE. And you probably do, too.

TODAY I have some new drawings, and I’ve made some changes to a couple of others. SO…

…we have a watercolor of a view from a spot near a house I was painting, waves added; a watercolor I did post, some new lines added to kind of put the subject’s face in place; a possible design for a possible t shirt (after I did a partial redraw because the surfer’s leg was too long); a definite ORIGINAL ERWIN t shirt design with the colors added (possibly by Ian for a didn’t-happen commercial-type shirt thing, maybe by me- not sure either way); and the so-far poster for the upcoming THIRD OCCASIONAL SURF CULTURE ON THE… yeah, it’s on the poster. The lineup of artists is still incomplete and will be filled-in on the bottom, and, of course, I WILL LET YOU KNOW.

THANKS FOR the realsurfers CHECK, and hopefully, you’re experiencing some of that good kind of SORENESS

SIDENOTE- Surfers and non-surfers came very close to losing access to one of the few easily accessible spots on the Strait because some ASSHOLES decided to add some unwanted graffiti to the fence. If you want to record that you were there, blow it up in the water. I mean, of course, surf well.

As always, please respect copyright laws and ownership of original art and content. Thanks.

Water-Color Adventures

Maybe I should just put up the images without explaining what I was going for and why I decided to do some water colors. NO, I should explain. Jealousy, competition, that sort of thing. I am very impressed by what TIM NOLAN has been doing with photos and watercolor. In particular, I was super stoked over some colors he used on a work I have not yet posted, BUT WILL. SOON.

AND, I do want to get some froth building for the upcoming THIRD OCCASIONAL SURF CULTURE ON THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA AND THE SALISH SEA EVENT, Friday, June 30, Port Townsend Public Library, 6pm. The event will feature story and music and art works by local Olympic Peninsula artists.


OKAY, so I am perfectly willing to refer to these watercolors as studies or sketches. The poster… um, I’m not totally stoked on it. Even though it is a surf ‘culture’ event, when you add people to the mix, the risk is of getting cartoony, which I kind of did. SO, I’m redoing the poster. The deal with three surfers in the glare was designed to put in the middle of a poster. The darker version was a mistake by Steven at my favorite non-surf, non-work hangout, THE PRINTERY in Port Townsend. I had just gotten a reversal done for the new attempt at the poster. SO… whoa! I like it. And what I liked about the color on the original, the splotches in the breaking part of the wave, I like the colors in reverse almost equally. Happy accidents.

THE BOTTOM two drawings are… okay, studies. I am working on (Today, actually) some other possibilities for new ORIGINAL ERWIN t shirts. IF you own one now, hang onto it. I, most likely, will not print more shirts with those designs. They are authentic and ultra-exclusive and, and… yeah, if I ever hit it big…

IN other dream scenarios…

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mothers. I’m scrambling to get past my me-time and maybe buy something special for TRISH, the mother of our three delightful children. I mean, I do have a list: Toilet paper, paper towels, some vitamins, stuff like that. I’ll see when I get to Costco.

Oh, yeah; please respect the copyright restrictions on use of my, you know, studies and sketches, and… fuck it, why didn’t I go to the coast? The NEXT TIMES are piling up. But, yeah, next time, man…

SHAY… Painting

WordPress makes this all way more difficult than it should be. I’ve already lost the post twice, had to sign back in both times. Each time I get a bit more frustrated. OKAY. I’m so, so, so fucking calm now. Deep breath. Probably something karmic about all this. SHAY is a yoga instructor as well as a surfer and an artist.

TRYING AGAIN, here are a few examples:

Where I went wrong was trying to move images around and trying to enlarge them. Note to me: Never hit ‘back.’

SO, pulling info she texted me: Shayann Marie Hoffer started painting early. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota and post graduate studies in painting and printmaking at University of Oregon, Eugene. She has been a yoga instructor since 2007. FIRST TIME SURFING (or at least jumping, in a thick wetsuit, Lake Superior). She learned to surf (like, I guess, surf… classes?) at Hookipa Point on Maui, back to wetsuits in the cold and fickle Pacific Northwest.

CORRECTION: No surf classes. She went out on smaller waves with kids and (other) kooks. So, okay.

Hopefully Shay will have some of her works at the upcoming THIRD OCCASIONAL SURF CULTURE ON THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA AND THE SALISH SEA EVENT on Friday, June 30, 6pm, Port Townsend, Washington. Curated by surf-frothed librarian KEITH DARROCK (though I want credit for coming up with the ‘occasional’ thing), the event will feature some hanging out and some wall-hangings by LOCAL SURF ARTISTS Christian Coxen, Stephen Davis, Jesse Joshua Watson, Reggie Smart, Tim Nolan, Nam Siu, and me. Keith is promising goodies and, maybe just as counter-programming, a group playing classical music. I’m not sure all the participants are planning on speaking, but I am. I’ll be trying not to sing, but…

To see more of Shay’s art, go to https://shayannhoffer.weebly.com

Oh, yeah, and her paintings, as with all original materials on realsurfers.net are protected by copyright.

And now, if this doesn’t all disappear into the ether…

Protecting the Occasional and Promises of More Art to Come

The reference photo for this drawing was of MIKE PURPUS at some place I had never heard of, Waddell Creek. SORT OF interesting story- I was selling prints at the much-missed (possibly and particularly by me, since I could go surfing, pick up a few bucks on the way home) DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE. On one such visit, owner TYLER MEEKS said someone had been interested in the color version of the drawing, and (Tyler thought this was almost as amusing as the customer who complained about some wave hog that just might have been me while buying some of my stuff) asked him “Where is this place, SECRETO?”

ANOTHER perfect scan (above).

ANYWAY, with local ripper KEITH DARROCK on a slow trip down SURF ROUTE 101 and HIGHWAY 101 to San Francisco (without a board), checking out as much coast as possible. THE PLAN is to meet up with the mighty QUINN, part time Port Townsend-ite, sometime San Francisco area (work is the explanation) guy, and, perhaps, surf a few waves.

I’ve gotten a few updates, a few images. I COULD SHARE the shots of empty waves that, according to Keith, “WE would definitely FROTH over.” I could, but, here’s what I’m thinking: With surfers loathe to share names and locations and tide/swell/wind info with others, focusing on someone’s SECRET SPOT has got to be, like, criminal.

BUT I enjoyed them. Thanks, Keith. Good luck. Let me know.

It seems pretty obvious that, with so much coastline, there are spots that, though probably not as fickle as the Strait of Juan de Fuca, occasionally offer really fun if not outright epic waves. AND these spots have regulars, locals, surfers who guard the secret-ness of these rare gems. What works in the hard-core surfers’ favor, is the very fickleness. If you want to go hours into the wild to seek a dream spot, dream session, good luck. MEANWHILE, spots that weren’t considered great options with less surfers (“D Street” is my go to example), are, with small enough waves the general surf size most days, labeled as home breaks by… someone.

Maybe it’s you.

WHAT I wanted to post today is some artwork by OLYMPIC PENINSULA surfer, SHAYANN MARIE HOFFER. Okay, let me see if I can… no, you’ll have to wait. Shay does have a degrees in art and printmaking. Anyway… next week.

As always, remember original work on realsurfers.net is protected by Copyright, all rights reserved by Erwin Dence, Jr. Thanks.

Pencils and Workable Fixative and Unworkable Technology

I did take basic AND advanced drawing, like, um, fifty years ago, though my main medium of choice (didn’t want to say preferred medium) is pen-and-ink. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t resist going back in with the ink. I tried to go over the “Glass” drawing with darker lines. Didn’t like the results.

Figuring I’d do a quick mid-week posting (still going to have a Sunday by-high-noon post). Then… problems with the scanner, the connection, the actual scanning, the finding my ‘new post’ saved thingie. Now I’m late.

Hope you’re getting some surf. I’m in the scamming and scheming phase. See you Sunday on the web/cloud/fog.

Remember, the stuff is copyright protected, all rights reserved.

Art, WSL, Cuts, and… POWER OUtAGE!

I tried really hard to have today’s post UP AND ONLINE by ten am. SORRY. 9:45, big power outage. I’m dealing with it. I got the boondocks-necessary generator going. Great! Hooked up the router and a few other items, went back to working on this. OOPS. Out of gas. Luckily, I didn’t put it all in my van. Back up and going. NOW, of course, the power came back on and I’m afraid to switch back over and lose whatever I haven’t already lost.

I did go on a little too much on the WSL stuff. I intended to just post some of my new illustrations.

OKAY, that:

JUST A BIT of explanation- The top part of this image is all I felt I could save from a larger drawing. The lower part was intended to be a WOLF. Maybe it’s the ears, but even I think BEAR. Oh, and maybe it’s the computer, but the colors seem to have come out way better than usual. WOLF/BEAR.

NOW, what I overwrote about the WSL:

It has become quite popular to criticize the shit out of the WORLD SURF LEAGUE, so… why shouldn’t I?

OKAY, I will.

Though I do appreciate that I can watch surf contests from all over the world on my big screen TV, and after I repeat an assertion I frequently make to doubters and haters that the difference in the wave riding skills of top-level competitive surfers and even above average non-competitors is proportionately greater than the difference between your local rippers and those who can objectively be labeled as kooks. HAVING SAID THAT, I leave a lot of room for those free surfers who are as good, and often better, as the men and women who seek fame, fortune, whatever, by subjecting themselves to the boredom and tension and the whims of judges.

OH, yeah, judging is SUBJECTIVE, subject to some person’s opinion on whether this air is more difficult than that carve, whether a floater is more functional than a kick-stall, whether making fifteen jitterbug moves is cooler than just being in the optimum position. People, even judges and even commentators and company executives could, maybe, even possibly, evenly reasonably influenced by companies that sponsor surfers as well as surf contests.

NOT THAT this happens, or that the WSL would bend a bit to keep or to even get popular surfers on the tour, or… or, or…

BUT a little behind the scenes stuff from the two seasons of that series about, you know, winning and whining and (I couldn’t remember the title and didn’t want to take the time to search further- but I did watch every episode), showed that in judging, there is a head judge who makes sure the other judges are on the same page. SO, yeah, totally subjective, semi regulated and controlled.


SHIT! I didn’t want to get this involved. THE MID-SEASON CUT was completed. Twenty-two men, ten women. Elation and tears. I stayed up a little later than I would have to watch some critical rounds of the WSL contest at MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA.

YES, it was the last heat of the day, but as soon as it became apparent that SALLY FITZGIBBONS was going to lose, I turned it all off.

NOW, I do find it easier to follow women’s surfing. Not all of my surfing friends even give a shit about contests. Some do. Some have favorites. My daughter, DRU, thinks Tyler is a bad ass. She is. TRISH, based on watching, kind of over my shoulder, a contest from Huntington Beach a few years ago, became a COURTNEY CONLOGUE fan. I wasn’t, so much, but Trish keeps asking me, “How’d my girl do?”

Oh, she was underscored, just as she was in the BELL’S BEACH contest. A fierce competitor, Courtney didn’t make the cut. Sorry.

AND NOW, Sally Fitz, Sal, she’s out. Didn’t make the cut. Because Sally lost in the quarterfinals to Caroline Marks, this other woman, who, I believe, Sally defeated earlier, is in the top ten, and is still on the tour, and Sally… well, I don’t know. I turned the TV off and went to bed.

HERE is how to defeat a contestant as experienced, as capable, as skilled in SURFING TO THE CRITERIA as anyone- Sally: Give her a 3-plus on a well-surfed wave. Give Caroline a 7-plus for a similarly surfed wave (but backside). This difference in scoring puts Sally at a disadvantage. SURFING well is all about confidence. Surfing scared or angry or tentatively is not a losing strategy. Sally fell or took off on the wrong wave. Caroline got a well-deserved score. She won the heat. And she would have without any scoring help. Sally didn’t get a last second gift/miracle buzzer beater wave like CARISSA MOORE did in the heat before hers.

Sally’s out. She had a long career. She’s popular. She may or may not go on to the CHALLENGER SERIES.


There is a WINNING FORMULA. With so much study done on how to win a heat (priority and time management, having that Kelly Slater turn on lock, knowing which claim to throw when), watching eight heats in a row has become… kind of… less thrilling. IF A SURFER can’t figure it out, hire a coach, do the work (always gets me, surfing as work), perfect that tail slide and that fin drift, remember to cut your competitor off from a last wave even if he or she can’t possibly get enough points to beat you (these are not your friends in the water), be ruthless… and always appear humble in the post-heat interview, always wear the hat and the sunglasses.

I watched a child/teen contest recently, from Trestles. The formula worked. Turn, turn, off the top, fin slide. If the kids didn’t have the moves down, they will. Coaches, sponsors, judges. 

ALL THIS SAID, I don’t exactly know how the WSL could do a better job. AND I do enjoy the big screen coverage. WAIT, how’s about they mix up the time-filler ad between heats? How about… I’m thinking. If I can’t sit through a bunch of heats next time, maybe I’ll just watch the shorter versions on YouTube.

Wednesday at Swamis

Check out Reggie Smart Art by scrolling down. I do plan on posting new stuff on SUNDAYS, but I might just have more stuff to say than one-a-week can handle.

I continue to tighten and refine my manuscript for “SWAMIS.” Every time I am happy with one chapter, I think about how I can cut some fat from another chapter. When I say ‘think,’ I mean obsess. Most of this chopping and hacking involves covering what characters do without going too far into some background on the character.

But first, without too explanation- A few new illustrations:

WAIT! I screwed up and didn’t switch the view on several other drawings. Not being skilled enough to save this and add the corrected images. I guess I’ll have to save them for SUNDAY. SUNDAY!

MEANWHILE, here is a section that comes early in the novel, and is sort of retold a bit later. I already cut a character who was in this chapter. Sorry, man. I did a bit of a combo, taking what I thought was the best of each and making a version that is BETTER.


I tried to concentrate on the water, listening, studying where the waves peaked, where the best takeoff point might be. Instead, I visualized Sid in the water at Swamis on a sunny, glassy morning. Sitting with four other surfers, Sid was the farthest surfer over, farthest out. The apex of a loose triangle. He watched me push through a wave, kept his eyes on me as I paddled over far enough over to not be in the way if someone caught a right hander, close enough to pick up a wave someone missed or fell early on. Scraps.

Sid motioned to the surfer on his immediate right as a wave approached. The surfer paddled for and caught it. Three-wave set. Sid motioned to another surfer to go on the second, then took the third, and largest wave. I was on the shoulder, forty-five degrees to the waves, sitting back on my board, ready to go. Sid kept his eyes on me, shaking his head. He rode as close to me as he could, cranked his board around in a cutback, spraying me as he passed. I paddled on, out, toward the peak.

Another set came quickly enough that the surfer who missed the previous waves took the first one. I took the second one. Smooth takeoff, I thought, decent bottom turn. I lined up the section, pulled up high on the wave face. I did see Sid down the line. I didn’t expect him to turn, last second, and drop in. I had two choices: Run Sid over or bail.

No choice, really.

“That’s for paddling past me,” Sid said, paddling back out as I stood in chest deep water, my board, broach to the wave, popping up halfway to shore.

“I didn’t break any rules,” I said.

Sid stopped, got off his board. It was floating between us. “Yeah, Kook, you broke the locals rule.” He took in a mouth full of water, spit it across the board at me. He smiled. “Locals rule.” He nodded toward the lefts. “Okay… cowboy?”

“Okay” I said, out loud. I opened my eyes. I was still on the platform. “Ten seconds,” I whispered. “Maybe twelve.”

OH, yeah, remember that all rights to this stuff are claimed by the artist and/or artist and are protected by copyright.

See you SUNDAY!

Reggie Smart Art

If I had to choose just one image from those Reggie sent me, it would probably be the tattoo on, like, a live person. I’ve known Reggie a while, worked with him a lot, surfed with him many times, and he is still kind of an enigma to me. He always has a quick answer to anything rude or sarcastic I’ve ever said to him, and his self-identifying stories (and I’m not challenging them; sure, maybe he was named after a dealer on Third and Broadway [hope I got that right]) have a sort of (effective) shock value to me, someone who considers himself worldly.

Proud enough of his Irish genes to have a big “Ireland” tattoo on his body, Reggie’s forebears must have included some Leprechauns, and (yes, I looked this up) maybe a Kelpie (known for luring others into the water and the out-surfing them) or two. Reggie has this habit of showing up at my job sites and, more worthy of not here, at surf spots when I’m there. Sometimes we both actually score. I have been trying to not greet his paddling into the lineup with a “Fuck you, Reggie!” and/or a flip-off, single or double.

FRIENDLY GESTURE, I insist. BUT, Reggie has also filmed me on his phone, then, through super clever editing, made something amusing or funny for his many instagram followers. Evidently the secrecy part is crucial. He may refer to me as “Erwhistle,” something like that, but when another surfer in a parking lot referred to me by that name, I did resist sharing the FRIENDLY GESTURE with him. “Yeah; friend of Reggie’s, huh?”

SO, without further commentary, here are some selections of REGGIE SMART ART:

OKAY, so, um, not sure who this is, or what story the images selected tells, but I am pretty sure it isn’t Reggie. One of the nicknames earned through a careful diet (ask him, I’m obviously on a different regimen- vitamins and Oreos) is Reggie Good-Abs. No offense to this guy. ALSO, remember Reggie’s original art is copyright protected.

I do plan on having new posts on Sundays. I do plan on having other artists represented. TWO WEEKS AGO I did the once-only thing of texting everyone on my smart phone’s contact list with a message about TIM NOLAN’S artwork. It worked pretty well, hit-wise. LAST WEEK I featured NAM SIU. I have received a lot of text feedback. One recent one was, “DIGGING THE NEW ART.” I texted back, “What about the old (like, mine) art?” No response. YET.

NOW, I WILL ALMOST DEFINITELY add some of my art, as well as some recent outtakes from “SWAMIS” sometime this week. OKAY, Wednesday; let’s shoot for that. I am posting this one early, and remember, you can just scroll down… down, down, old art.

OH, AND if you see Reggie and can’t help but give him a FRIENDLY GESTURE, you might expect a response like, “Oh, you saw my stuff on Erwhistle’s site, huh?”

Nam Siu for You… and more

It’s EASTER SUNDAY and I did not get up before dawn.

Maybe my one-time-only self-promoting text attack last Sunday worked a bit better than I thought. I sent word to every person on my smart phone about some artworks by TIM NOLAN, and, I think, I might have made reference to planning on posting content on Sundays. I DIDN’T MEAN, like, early.

OR maybe the unusually high number of looks is because I’m posting some art work by Olympic Peninsula STYLIST (I considered some other apt descriptors- ripper, reef diver, skatepark regular…still thinking…) NAM SIU.

SO, OKAY, I’ll just…

NAM SIU did send me three photos of him surfing. I selected this one because of the lighting. Mainly. Or the styling.


JAMES ARSULISH, a friend of mine of many years, died on GOOD FRIDAY. I feel compelled to write something about friends we see, occasionally, over many years, like surf friends. Occasionally, with large gaps in between. AND there are friends who move, or pass on. We get the news… eventually. James’ passing was closer than that. I will write about James. For now, I share grief with his family and his extended group of friends. RIP.

BECAUSE I am going to stick to the SUNDAY POSTS with an emphasis on ART and ARTISTS, my plan is to post occasional stories, essays, whatever, about other things on a random Thursday, Friday, whenever, IT’S all on one page… scroll down.

IN “SWAMIS” NEWS: I have been going through the latest edit for a while. I focused heavily on it recently, got to the end, again, and got a copy printed up on, yes, GOOD FRIDAY. 221 pages, somewhere under 97,000 words (not epic length, and down from the 120,000 plus earlier versions), double sided. It cost me (I have the receipt right here) $26.29. MY PLAN WAS, put it in a PEE-CHEE folder (sort of featured in the novel), sell some numbered (max 100), signed, limited editions for… more. A profit.

YES, I do know it’s cheesy and unprofessional and, no, but… do consider the value increase when/if the novel hits it big. MEANWHILE, I have had several people offer to buy a copy, AND I ran into a client at the grocery store whose granddaughter has written many books and might just… help. BUT TRISH is telling me to calm down, not go any crazier.

WHAT MAKES anyone crazy enough to do anything that might be considered art or literature or surfing, anything that can be judged subjectively by judges and judgers, crazier, is self doubt. I have already sort of pushed some folks into reading parts or the first two unexpurgated versions of “SWAMIS.” I won’t get a second chance at a first impression.

I am aware of some of my mistakes. MY HOPE IS that I have now cut out enough of the peripherals, focused enough on the plot. Meanwhile meanwhile, I am going through the paper version, marking things, cutting, changing. I am trying to write a reasonable synopsis, looking up agents I might contact… shit like that. I am not a salesman. This part sucks. TRIPLE MEANWHILE- I somehow can’t help wondering/dreaming/fantasizing what my $26.29 copy, with notes and changes, might be worth.

THANK YOU for checking out realsurfers. REMEMBER all rights to original materials are owned by the person who produced them and are protected by copyright.

OH, AND how about Sunday by… 9:45AM?