But for the Occasional Distraction, Life Would be…

But for the Occasional Distraction, Life Would be...

…way more tedious.

I copied the first Little Mermaid drawing, then, and this was probably a mistake, continued filling in the background on the copied version. Oops, all the pencil lines are now permanent, the detail is less detail-ish, and, as always, I, and probably you, can see it’s just lines and dots.
Lines and dots.

Now, since I always seem to go on about my latest surf session, and I did surf some SUP-only sized waves yesterday, Tim Nolan and I being the only ones catching any, the paddle providing as much of the power on some rides as the wave, and Archie Endo, who turned down the chance to go with me to low tide Favorite Spot, texted me late last night he ended up surfing two to three foot peelers for three hours near dark on the high tide at Backup Spot, and there were many opportunities to talk surf in the parking lot; I will, instead, in keeping with the theme of distractions, and working toward the eventual story of surfing as the ‘other woman,’ I will, instead mention that, while cellphone shopping with my wife, Trish, at Costco, there was a call from Stephen Davis, hydrosexual (that story also coming soon), who had not returned my 6:30 call inviting him to go along, and, when I mentioned this incoming call to Trish, somewhere between the bananas and the peaches (white or regular?), she asked, “Can’t you, for once, put me ahead of surfing?”
Oh, yes; of course.
And I did, And, forced to make a choice, I almost always have.
Almost always. Of course, I’d rather it not be a choice of either/or.
Lines and dots; either and or.

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(Pick an adjective) Distraction (or is it an adverb as distraction is an action)- Part One

(Pick an adjective) Distraction (or is it an adverb as distraction is an action)- Part One

I plan to put in some magnificent surf in the background. I meant to make the “Little Mermaid” statue less, um, rendered. Once I made the face too dark, I was stuck. Maybe I’ll make the magnificent surf all junky and crowded with surf class kooks. Maybe I’ll edit out the last line. I meant novices in the life-affirming sport/lifestyle/whatever you think it is of surfing. Probably I’ll eliminate all the above.
I should at least get credit for eliminating the real background.
Stay tuned, and thanks for dropping into realsurfers.net
Not a secret spot. Quite.

Oceanside with Lightning, Ice Cream, and Melvin Glouser’s Farmers’ Toes

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So, when I get around to it (soon), I’ll put in the story. Or, you can check out the story in the next piece down. It took me wayyy too long to get the illustration from the new (son Sean’s old) printer to here, so, maybe I’ll (it’s technical speak I really don’t understand)… just stick the story in here and delete the previous piece.

I could explain the drawing and how I really wanted to make it trickier, maybe with the parking lot actually being the glassy waves and the Oceanside Pier, and the lightning, and the ice cream, and… and, and, we all want to just be better, don’t we?

Oceanside Pier awaiting lightning

Oceanside Pier awaiting lightning

I’m working on a story from my high school era (also working on dividing my long surfing career into segments), after friends got licenses and cars, days when we’d speed to the beach after school. And, surf-whore that I was, I’d ride with pretty much anyone who would drive. When I had access to a car, I’d probably (likely) ask for some gas money.
In this story, probably in the spring of 1967, Melvin Glouser was the driver, Phillip Harper and I the passengers. The surf was small and extremely glassy. We’d parked in the free (then) lot by the first street south of the pier that went down to the beach.  There were rumblings in the sky and lightning in the distance, possibly moving closer.

“If lightning strikes whatever is highest in the vicinity, and, other than the pier, that would be us,” I postulated… A couple more rides and we got out.
En route home, Melvin, who I frequently accused of having “Farmers’ Toes” because of stubborn follicles, particularly around his big and next digits, nevertheless treated Phillip and me to ice cream at 31 Flavors ( I mean Baskin/Robbins). Phillip and I each got two scoops, but Melvin, since he was buying, got a three-scooper.
It was raining and completely dark as we headed back to Melvin’s parent’s car. Maybe lightning struck nearby, maybe he slipped; whichever, all three scoops dropped to the wet pavement. We all just looked at them for a minute.
Then, no doubt, Phillip and I looked at our own scoops, probably took a big bite; one of us calling “Shotgun” before the other. Or Phillip just got in the front seat. Or we finished our ice cream cones, Melvin his cone, just to keep the car a bit neater.
Like I said, I’m working on it.
Or maybe, if I get time to do a drawing… three scoops falling, dramatically lit by the lightning, just a hint of some hairy toes on the black asphalt… and I do have at least a couple more stories involving Melvin. Later.

Late (Very Late) Evening Glassoff

“All good surf trips begin or end in the dark,” I told my friend Archie Endo as we each tried to feed frayed straps of the soft racks through the buckles in the rapidly-spreading darkness. “I agree,” he said, moving to the middle (regular, Home Depot type) strap (stops that bounce when big rigs pass). I slammed the back door on the extra lengths of the back two straps, and added, “Preferably both.”
It was well past 10pm, and the waves were, at last, almost totally glassy, the wind gone from howl to whisper, the blacker, broken-wave-front of a rain storm still to our west. We had scored. 8:10 to 9:50.

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Still, several hours earlier, it seemed more likely we were going to suffer another Straits of Juan de Fuca skunking. No, I wasn’t going to be skunked. I’ll surf ankle-snappers, exposed-rock peelers, even wind-blown peakers- and I have.
Keith Darrock had been right. As he had predicted early in the morning, the afternoon westerlys had pretty much blown out everything on the Straits, and he and Rico had scored glassy peelers at the sheltered semi-secret spot. If the Straits are a place to smooth out disorganized ocean waves, there have to be some sheltered coves where crazy windswell…
“Yeah, yeah. Uh huh, lined-up; barreling. Oh, and even Rico got some good rides. No, we haven’t given up. Not yet.” Keith, of course, had called me AFTER Archie and I decided against our favorite spot (and not just our favorite spot), had back-tracked ten miles, only to rule out the backup spot. We had also failed to gain access to (even to check) a wind-sheltering, secluded cove.
Sure, it’s their right to deny access. This isn’t California, or Hawaii, or even Oregon. “You can own beach in Washington. It just takes money. I had used Archie’s new smart phone to call the number on the sign that denied us access. The woman was polite. A person could rent a cabin, but they’re booked up. “Yeah, okay; but, um, how does the surf look?” “Oh, it’s rolling in.” “Rolling?” “Yes.” “But you’re booked?” “Yes.”
I was pissed, irritated, steaming like a Bolshevik, like an uninvited socialist, from the denial of access, and well aware of the wind’s refusal to abate, and well aware of the odds against finding anything close to perfect waves (ever), when I repeated to Keith, from our conversation earlier in the day, “Maybe we’ll (still) all get lucky.”
Heading back west, I told Archie that, because we had been discussing music and the possibility of him backing me up to at least record several of my songs (Archie and the V2s is all Archie, talented on guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums- I would just play harmonica and sing, and, anyway, I know a guy who might be able to slightly fix the results, once recorded), we’d forgotten to do ‘the sign of the cross,’ my favorite thing about being a convert to Catholicism (Trish gets the credit or blame), to which I add (on surfing trips mostly) a sort of ‘gang sign’ flourish at the end. Like a hoot-out, like, “Yea, God!”
Archie isn’t Catholic (or practicing Buddist), but he is intrigued with things religious and/or mystical; so he will join in; usually with a chuckle. And, if it helps… well, that’s just pragmatism (different religion- maybe).
To back up a bit, again, the reason I was able to gamble on the chance for an afternoon session was because Trish had given my spot at an evening cultural event (a Mozart Mass performed by world class presenters) to her friend Diane. So, once I said I could pick up ‘the heavy stuff’ at Costco, and check out a possible painting project in Sequim; I was in. Archie was up for it and… Port Townsend? No, that option was over (tide shifts, subtle swell fluctuations) before Keith had called.
Another Backtrack: Adam “Wipeout” James had also committed to surfing this afternoon. He met up with Nathan Jones of Pirated Surfboards Company in Sequim to pick up a board shaped for him. Adam, Nate, and a guy from Seattle (Ian, I think) had been the only ones out when we arrived at First Choice the first time. Adam got out of the rip-and-wind-torn lefts to show me the Nate version of a classic Simmons twin fin.
Now, hours later, the wind still blowing but the faces considerably smoother, Nate and Adam got out as Archie and I suited up. “If you catch more waves per hour,” I said, “you wouldn’t have to stay out so long. I was saving that up for you.” “Good one. You guys are really going to score. It’s finally…” “Yeah, look, Archie already caught two.” “Yeah.”
The session was a workout. The push was all west to east. Amazingly strong. While there was an audience, especially, maybe Adam, I wanted to do… better. Yes, I always want to do better. Bet-ter.
And then they left, and another guy, headed to Neah Bay to do some filming, parked, watched, and eventually came out, mostly, he said, because Archie and I seemed to be having so much fun. We outlasted him- ever glassier, cleaner, better, darker.

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On the way home, the rare full moon on a Friday the 13th (next one, Trish says, is in 2049) was rising over the trees and the Olympics. “Here’s a pagan deal,” I told Archie, prying my wallet out of my back pocket, opening it, waiting until the moon was fully in view; “Fill ‘er up, fill ‘er up, fill ‘er up. Thank you.”
I don’t know if Archie tried it. I called Trish as we drove through Joyce. The concert had been “wonderful, great, Diane thought it was just sooo beautiful.” “Great. The moon?” “It’s not showing. Raining.” I repeated the pagan ritual, for her.
The next day, when Keith texted he was hoping for a repeat, I told him we had all gotten lucky. When Adam texted that Archie and I had been like the old bull who said “let’s wait and catch them all,” I had to call him back. “It’s not ‘catch’ them all.” “I know. Man, Archie was killing it.” “Yeah. He always does. What about me?” “Yeah, um, well; you know… sure.”
Prayer, voodoo, pagan rituals… whatever; sometimes we just get lucky.
And sometimes we all get lucky.

 

Sharing Waves With (and Snaking) Dane Perlee (and his Friend)

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“No,” I said after this surfer I’d already realized was really good responded to my only slightly insincere apology/explanation for taking off in front of him, this after he had taken off in front of his friend, and both of us, in reality, were only going for that wave because we didn’t believe the farther-outside guy could make the section; “what I said was ‘I like people who are willing to share; because I’m really not.’ See?”
So, with only three of us out on the rights, he was right, I was wrong. His buddy hadn’t make the first section, but he did make it from where he took off (typically too far up the point) to where I took off (typically the perfect spot). Seeing he would make it across, and already committed, I turned and headed for the peeling shoulder.
It’s probably not a spoiler that the rider I inadvertently snaked was Dane Perlee. I didn’t know that until the after-surf beach recap. What I knew is I had picked up Archie, not yet twenty-four hours home from four months in Asia, and obviously exhausted, and we headed for our favorite spot on the Straits of Juan de Fuca. This was the peak of whatever Spring swell we’d be getting for the next week, and I was actually holding off from leaving earlier in the day to time the arrival with the dropping tide, and, hopefully, still be ahead of the predicted strong west wind.
Just before we rounded the final turns, I bet Archie that Tim Nolan, known to take off from Port Townsend at four am, would be there. “Okay,” Archie said, “we’ll bet a Costco hotdog.” “Oh,” I said, “then, for extra credit, I’ll bet Tugboat Bill is also there.”
By the time Archie agreed, ‘there’ was ‘here,’ and there were no parking spots on the water side of the parking area. Tim was there, Tugboat Bill was there; Clint, who owns his own boat repair place in Port Townsend, was there, and… well, we all check the same forecasts… way too many people were there for waves only slightly larger than the ones I’d surfed alone at the still-weak height of the previous week’s swell.
When someone pulled out to travel farther west, I backed in. There weren’t THAT many surfers in the water, and some of those who did hit the dawn patrol were actually done and loading up. AND the rights, as I hoped and predicted, were starting to work. Not big, just peeling.
BUT (wow, I’m using the all caps too much- still not even close to illustrating how frothed and excited I get when MY RIGHTS are working on the almost-all-lefts Straits- maybe I should add some !!!!!!s- Nope), suiting up outside the vehicle next to mine, two guys were eying the rights. Lustily.
“You’re not thinking about the rights?” The one guy just smiled, nodded, and pointed (to the rights). The other guy, grabbing a distinctively-shaped longboard, said, “We can share.”
So, it was on. Archie got out first, pulled into a couple of insiders, stylish parallel stance into the shorebreak.
Somewhere in the session I mentioned to the surfer later revealed to be Dane, “Hey, I saw you doing some of those Alex Knost bottom turns.” You know the ones; casual drop, stand/turn, arms to the side, body leaned impossibly toward the wave. “No,” he said, “those are my bottom turns; he got those from me.”

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Stylish bottom turns (compare and contrast) by Dane Perlee, Alex Knost, and Donovan Frankenwreiter. Stolen from Google.

After I had to bail, awkwardly, on another wave we both wanted, and he was (again) going to make, and I jumped on the next one; after I said, “Well, I’m just going to have to be the guy farthest outside,” and asked of Dane and his friend, “Which one?” as each set arrived, after I saw Dane hang five, then ten, his board dropping, and after he casually pulled it back into trim without leaving the nose, I asked, “You’ve surfed here before?”
He tweaked at some possible earplugs under his hood. “I’ve been surfing since I was nine.” “Seventy-nine?” I asked, “I moved here in seventy-nine.” “No, I was born in 1979, but I’ve been surfing since I (already capitalized) was nine.” “Oh. So, you obviously know what you’re doing. Where’d you learn to surf.” “Washington State.” “Oh, and where are you from? (I always ask this)” “Westport.” “Oh. Yeah. Sure. They have some well known surfers from there.” I was thinking Tom Decker, but I said, “Like Dane Perlee.”
“That’s my alter ego,” he said. “Which one do you want?” I asked, adding, loudly, looking at an incoming set, “Three.” Since I was the outside (there seems to be an issue between ‘inside’ as in closer to the peak, and ‘outside’ as in farther out) surfer, I took the second one instead.
By the time the waves, and Archie and I, gave up, the Westport surfers were gone. Tugboat Bill and his crew were gone. Tim was on a beach chair, strumming a ukulele next to a heavily sun-screened kid on guitar, next to a fire (yeah, I’d think cliché if I hadn’t broken out my harmonica and briefly joined in, getting talented surf guitarist Archie to borrow the kid’s guitar and whip out a few licks). Tim was with some other folks I don’t really know, obviously willing to wait for the waves to come up with the tide. Maybe they did. I had to get back to work (after a trip to Costco for a few things and one Polish dog, the other for reserve).
“That was Dane Perlee,” Tim said. “I didn’t realize it. He said his dad owns The Surf Shop in Westport. Al Perlee. Did you notice the board he was riding? He shaped that himself. Wide tail, very thin. He’s good. Did you see him on the nose? He kind of dropped then…”
“Wait! Dane Perlee?” That was me, but also Clint. Everyone, really. As excited as I was that I’d (at least in my mind) held my own against (really, ‘against’ is the right word to describe how I think- first compete with myself, then everyone else) someone of his ability, I was most anxious to talk to my daughter, Dru.
“A connection with Dane Perlee? Uh huh. Yeah, the connection is,” Dru told me, on the phone, called at work in Chicago as soon as I had consistent cell service, “back when you were in those surfing contests in Westport (late 80s, early 90s), we were the kids playing on the beach. Me, Sean (her brother), Ruth or Mollie, whoever came with us, Dane Perlee, his sister, Hana; we would play while our fathers surfed.”
“Oh, yeah; that’s what I thought.” “And then, in high school, I’d compete against them in the Knowledge Bowl. He was a year older; I think his sister was a year younger.”
What I remember is, when Dane was probably 13 or 14, seeing him, from the bluff at the Jetty, pulling off a perfect sideslip from the nose on a grinding four footer; probably one of the standout images in my Westport mindfiles.
“Well, he’s, like, a grownup now. I guess, probably… thirty-five.” “Yeah, dad; guess so.”
Later, between dropping Archie off and changing vehicles, I got a call from Adam “Wipeout” James, asking about the session he couldn’t wait for, having hit choppy windswell the afternoon before. “Dane Perlee? Yeah, I’ve surfed with him a few times. Westport. Talked to him…a lot.” Of course. Name-dropping Adam. “He shapes his own boards,” I said. “Yeah, Osprey Surfboards.” “Um, yeah; I heard that.”
Adam never asked me how I did. If I say I held my own, wave count-wise, against a world class surfer twenty-eight years younger than I am, I’d be leaving something out.
I was happy to have someone of that caliber at my favorite break, happier he was willing to share…
…again, because I’m really not all that fond of sharing.

Hey, Todd; thanks for letting me know…and good luck, man

Hey, Todd; thanks for letting me know...and good luck, man

My whole day started out with me trying to catch up on some paperwork before I, maybe, wrote something about snaking Westport standout Dane Perlee out on the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Then my morning plans were wiped out by electronic disconnections leading to many minutes spent on the phone. I did get some proposals written and sent off while on hold, but then… well, one can’t expect to wail every day.
So, looking for some photos of Dane to steal, hopefully one of him doing an Alex Knost bottom turn, a casual move he has down, but claims Alex got it from him; I came across a photo of him, traced it to One Ball Jay’s site, then, scrolling down, found this ad for a big Todd Fischer-led event… and it’s TOMORROW!
And it’s in Westport. Having known Todd before he risked everything to switch careers from Plumber (a highly paid trade) to Artist (not much room at the top and notoriously poverty-inducing), and wanting nothing but huge success for him, I… well, I can’t go; I have to make up for not making real money today… I’m giving him a realsurfers shout out.
For what that’s worth.
So, all you Seattle surfers who consider Westport a local beach… and I do enjoy the party atmosphere of Westport, like, once or twice a year… go and check out Todd’s event as part of your sunny/no-waves-on-the-Straits (really) Saturday. It’s tomorrow. Go!
Meanwhile, if I get my chores kind of in the direction of caught up; maybe I can work on my Dane Perlee story.
Meanwhile… as Dane’s Daddy, Al, owner of (you know this) The Surf Shop in Westport, says, “Westport has a lot of beach; waves for everyone.” See; it’s friendly. Again; go!
And buy something from my friend, Todd.