December’s Lost Boards- Swami’s ’69, Straits ’14

lostboardimagephoto by Steve Kohr,

It would be half an hour before the winter sun would rise, and even then it would be blocked for hours by the Olympic Mountains, then the nearer tree lines. In fact, at this time of year, on the north shore of the west coast, the sun merely hugs the mountains like an all-day dawn. At 7:30 am, what could be seen was grainy, almost colorless; headlights in the parking area, semi-clear sky, the water was the color of drowning, of death at sea.
And I was in it trying to swim, side-stroke, one hand on my paddle; and I hadn’t even caught a wave yet.
Yeah, it’s over-dramatic; but I was the one caught in it, swimming because I had tried to cut across the usually waveless channel, the deep spot between two reefs; so confident; thinking I could snag an inside left on my way out to a lineup in which the first members of the dawn patrollers were trying to find the perfect place to take off in a crazy sea.
Sure, I’d seen, even in the dim light, the sets breaking on the outlside indicators, the roll-throughs, the waves that closed out the channel and the ones that could provide those storied rides that start on the outside reef and end up past the parking area, past the fence.
“I ended up way past the fence, man.” “Whoa.” Meaningful.
But this is my favorite spot on the Straits of Juan de Fuca; I’ve surfed here (first time, 1979, next time 2005, if this means anything) in every condition, from low tide rights you couldn’t catch with a regular board, fin clicking across rocks; to those just-mentioned left peelers; to bouncy just-after-a-storm surf, waves blown by winds from sideshore squalls, rain or sleet, cold offshores from fresh mountain snow; fun, user-friendly conditions- but I’ve also surfed days with these outside roll-throughs, almost out of control, where the hard part was not panicking, holding my position, waiting for the reef to catch the bottom of the swell, to shape it properly.
Big Dave had been on the wave, dealing with an inside close out, almost directly in front of me; the wave that ripped the leash that, evidently, hadn’t had enough Velcro ‘bite.’ It wasn’t a big pull; my board was just gone.
Oh, I could see it, tantalizingly close, just out of reach; then, another wave, and it popped up again, farther away.
I was only yards from the beach, but I knew the waves wouldn’t help push me to shore. The tide was too high, washing up on the river-rock bank; pushing up and rolling rocks and foam uphill. Then there were clackity-thunk sounds as the energy tumbled back down, crashing into the next surge. I knew there would be no bottom to put my feet on to take a last leap forward.
still, not panicking.

swamis69actual shot from ’69

It was the second day of the famous swell. I had survived the first, seriously undergunned with my regular short board (probably around 6’6”) in well-overhead waves with an unusually strong Santa Ana offshore. Yes, I was one of those guys hanging on the shoulder. In my memory bank’s version (probably in a Super 8 format- still), I was out very early and the tide was at that height where there is no inside and outside; merely a long wall that required a crazy-late takeoff, offered a crazy-long barrel past the shoulder-hoppers, and rewarded the best surfers with the best rides Swami’s could possibly offer.
I know I didn’t do a ‘paddle (in) of shame,’ but I couldn’t say I caught anything but a few insiders.
But, on the second day, the waves only a bit smaller, on a different, longer (still round-nosed- hate a pointy nose) board, the weather was stormier, the tide lower, the waves more broken up, and I was attacking the inside lineup, lined up on the palm tree on the cliff, that below the solid line of onlookers at the edge of the parking lot; scratching into waves that ‘went wide’ and peaked on the inside lineup or had closed out on the guy riding from the outside peak.
Still, I was looking for the smaller waves. I caught a few, but it was rough. I did keep getting caught inside, part of the crowd the riders had to navigate. The thrashing-to-riding ratio wasn’t really going my way, and too many waves I wanted went to others. “One more wave” I told myself.
And I caught it. If you know Swami’s, particularly the inside section, you know there’s a drop and a wall, then an area to cut back, cruise back and forth, and then, over the grassy finger slabs inside, often there’s another little section. Maybe I was too far outside. I made the drop and was totally in position for the wall. Too far back.
It wasn’t like the worst wipeout/holddown of my career, another wave at Swamis where I fell from the top (of note: On a turn, not dropping-in), to the trough, had the wind knocked out of me, came up seriously out of breath, sucked in part of twelve inches of foam. This was more a whacking, a full-body punch, the energy as much out as down.
I wasn’t panicking. I was swimming. “Fine,” I thought,” I’m done for the day.”
STRAITS- After a couple of shorepound knockdowns I found footing, slogged up the steep beach, my paddle in my hand; breathing in deeply, coughing out. The water, probably 45 degrees or so at the nearest buoy, is so much colder when you’re between two streams coming off fresh mountain snow; and seems even colder when you’re swimming.
My board was not on shore, however. It had drifted down past the fence and was headed out. I hurried down the beach until I was even with it. In that time it had moved farther out, headed toward the other reef. Tim Nolan, who, for once, I had beaten to the beach, was ready to paddle out. I was too far away to yell at him to help me and a bit too shaken up to swim, my board now a hundred yards out. I threw the paddle up onto the higher beach and thought, “Maybe it’s just not my day.”
FATE AND KARMA- Each of these seems to be about things in life kind of evening-out. My own philosophy is somewhere in there.
Maybe it was because I had thought it amusing when I saw someone in a car with a longboard getting a ticket over by Discovery Bay when I was on my way home from working in Port Townsend that, earlier this very morning, I had gotten a speeding ticket near Port Angeles. Maybe it was fitting that several of the folks in the rigs in the parking area had passed by us (Stephen Davis, Keith Darrock also in my car) in front of the car with the flashing lights, maybe it was only right other surfers should mention it, chuckling as they did.
Maybe there’s some wicked form of Fate/Karma in that, cruising up Surf Route 101, we chanced to be behind someone either sleepy or drunk, weaving across the center line, then across the fog line; and Steve called 911, and we gave them the license number; and I had Steve tell them the car would be behind a white car with several boards on top; and, when the officer returned with our tickets (Keith got one for no seatbelt- also, really my fault), the drunk-or-sleepy guy drove right past.
“I hope he gets home all right,” the State Patrolman said.
That karma’s on him. Maybe. Oh, and maybe it’s this: The last time I was out in similar conditions in the Straits, the first (and only) guy out that morning tried desperately to catch an inside wave, caught the third he tried for, came in, ran up the beach, and, wide-eyed, asked, “Is it always like this?” “It’s never like this.” Another surfer and I, both on longboards, started paddling out, he a bit closer to the reef. A wave closed out immediately in front of us. I turned turtle. When I came up, he had lost his board. I kept paddling.
At least he was close to the reef.

swamis69two another retro shot; I’d be further to the left.
IN 1969, not finding my board on the rocks or beach, members of collective crowd on the bluff were pointing and yelling, “It’s in the rip!” It was. I looked up, looked out, swam almost to the inside lineup, climbed on my board, caught one more wave. A good one according to my Super 8 file; and went in, did better the next day.
THE OTHER DAY I almost thought I’d lost my board forever, thought I’d be watching Keith and Stephen deal with the Dawn Patrol Syndrome, watching the waves get more and more crowded. But, Big Dave left the lineup, paddled over, grabbed a hold of my board, started paddling it in. Push, paddle, push. When he got close to the inside waves, I swam out. I still had a bit of trouble getting it and me in. When I did, I dragged it (by the leash) up the beach, took a break, reclaimed some (not quite all) of my usual confidence. Four hours after Keith was the first one in the water, the day now sunny, the tide more normal, the waves more in control, way too many people in the water, we all agreed it had been, ON BALANCE, a great session. Each of us had a few good ones, a few ‘past the fence.’
Maybe not for everyone (there were some words exchanged among others, at volume, in the water), but for each of us.
THANKS, Big Dave; I owe you (another) one.


A Christmas Retelling of “Joyce Hoffman’s Bra”


My boss, Buddy Rollins [real name Lacy, which partially explains why he went to prison in Florida, where he learned sign lettering], of Buddy’s Sign Service, sold Christmas trees for several years at an otherwise empty lot next to Master’s Automotive, right on Oceanside Boulevard (U.S. Highway 101) in Oceanside, California.

Master’s Automotive, or, as we, in my family, referred to it, Mac’s Garage. Mac’s was where my father worked all day on Sundays, and Tuesday and Thursday evenings after his regular job on Camp Pendleton. It’s not like my dad and I hung out during the two seasons I untied bundles of trees, cut a little off the bottom, set them up on wooden supports, sold trees, and tied trees onto cars. We were busy.

I enjoyed the selling of the trees the most. I had received some experience helping out at the lot set up by my Boy Scout Troop (724, Fallbrook, California). At that time, I thought the whole place was like a clean, moveable, and fake almost-Disney Christmas woods, conveniently set up on blacktop. I could easily imagine background music from the March of the Tin Soldiers. I could fully visualize the cute girls who occasionally came in frolicking with me in the big military-issue (originally) tent; the little post-Mouseketeer, pre-Beach Party Annette Funicellos all giggly and…

Hey, I was, like, eleven to, maybe 13. So, not much actual frolicking. Mind frolicking.

But now, on Buddy’s lot, I was eighteen [the first year], then nineteen. I had a girlfriend, Trish, a real surfer girl- blond hair, not afraid of waves, not irritated by the sand as Annette had been rumored to have been.

And, in 1970, my second season on Buddy’s lot, Trish [who had her own job] worked a few shifts with me. That is, she sold lots [lots] of trees, and kept me busy loading and tying-on, while not merely holding several for her customers to decide between. “What do you think?” they’d ask. They’d ask her.

“Um, Erwin; could you load this please?” Sure.

So it was that I didn’t sell but did get to carry a tree to Joyce Hoffman’s VW bus, two surfboards on top. This was JOYCE HOFFMAN, the famous surfer, world champion, everything champion, the first woman to surf [I read this- didn’t see footage] the Banzai Pipeline, the only surfer to be named “Person of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times, the first woman to (later) be be inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame.[‘On her way home from surfing Trestles, Rincon, some other mythological spot, she had stopped in here!’ You should read the previous line like the voice-over from “A Christmas Story”]

Blonde, fit, Joyce Hoffman had competed in a male-dominated sport and conquered. “Hey,” I wanted to say, “I surf. I have a VW bus. I, I surf, too.”  I didn’t. I did say something like, “Joyce Hoffman,” to which she responded with something like a polite, casual, “Uh huh.”

It seemed just knowing who she was would have been enough to prove I was a surfer. A real surfer, dammit.

Then she opened the side door. There, on the bed, was a bra. Nothing else. [nothing else I instantly focused on]  “Um.” I turned around quickly, politely, adjusting the tree a bit. When I turned back, the bra was gone. Joyce looked only slightly less casual, arms kind of crossed.

taken from Matt Warshaw's Encyclopedia of Surfing

taken from Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing

NEAR MISS. In 1976, living in Encinitas, I was painting most weekends for Two-Coat Charlie Barnett. I had actually gone back to work for the Navy Public Works in San Diego. Charlie wanted me to call in sick a couple of days to help out him and his brother, Olie, on a job in Leucadia, near Moonlight Beach. An added incentive was that the job was for a famous woman surfer, Joyce, and her husband.

I really couldn’t, and I didn’t. It turned out that the job involved bleaching and stripping real wood paneling, and somewhere in the process, Olie, who regularly sprayed lacquer without a respirator, got ill enough to have to be rushed to the hospital, and then stayed there a couple of days. No smoking, either.

Well. Missed opportunities. Had I worked the job at Joyce’s house, I could have said, waiting for the ambulance, probably in an only slightly chemically-altered state, “Hey, I once loaded a Christmas tree in your VW bus, and…” chuckle, chuckle, end of this imagined scenario.

Other than Joyce Hoffman might have said, giving me one more, slightly skeptical check-out, “Uh huh.”  If she’d kind of crossed her arms, I’d have known she remembered.

[Merry Whatever-you-celebrate-during-this-season to all the real surfers; to all the former surfers who remember there was, on rare occasions, something magical about surfing; to all the kooks and posers and after-work-and-weekenders; to all the girls who couldn’t just sit on the beach and watch; to all the young frothers, and to all those who merely simmer. If I can’t be surfing, I do feel thankful that I sometimes have a few moments to write about it (Not that I wouldn’t rather be pulling up high and tight on a runner)]

Surfing Cornwall Walls with Nick Evans

Nick at Harlyn Bay-1IMG_7019

This is a photo of Nick Evans at some secret spot on the west coast of Cornwall. Well, maybe it’s a secret; but the photo Nick’s cousin, Frances, sent me (at my request, several of them) labeled it as Nick at Hamblyn Bay. Wait; I may have misspelled that name; the photo may have been mislabeled; and, anyway, I don’t live in England, and, even if I did, I’d probably miss these conditions.

Now, if I captioned the photo, it’d have to be “Nick Evans bottom turns into a Cornwall wall.”


Oh, I just checked, while adding the additional photos, and it may actually be Harlyn Bay. Hey, I have a bit of trouble pronouncing old world English. When another surfer from there, a few years ago, whipped out a map after I’d told him I get most of my surf forecasting from Magic Seaweed, which, evidently, comes from somewhere where they actually are in the same time zone as Greenwich (Green’-witch, right? No) Mean Time; I pointed to ‘Bude,’ mentioned occasionally on one of our favorite (favourite maybe, to ya’ll) PBS imports, “Doc Martin;” said, “Yeah, Bude;” and he corrected my mistake of thinking it would possibly be a one syllable word. “It’s pronounced ‘Be-ude.’ ”

Also, I should say the other photos may not be Uncle Nick, but photos taken by him. Just to clarify, though, the surfers do seem to be in position on waves I’d love to share*.

I actually almost met Nick, his obvious coolness revealed by his not donning the hood along with the gloves and booties, when he visited his niece and her husband, Morgan, at their second home high above the bay at Pulali Point in Brinnon, Washington, one of the fingers of the Hood Canal. I was there for a meeting in connection with bleaching and refinishing the place, just for informational purposes. Nick was asleep, resting after a trip up to British Columbia to surf the Canadian (still closer to England than we are) waves at Tofino. I’d pronounce it ‘Tow-Fee-No,’ correct at will.

It may be just too too obvious that I’d be very happy to have a few more eyes on from the British Isles (is it okay to call them that? It’s not like they all get along). My mother’s family came to America from Wales. My family name, Dence, dates back to middle English, first used on the Northeast side of the island, and evidently means ‘The Dane,’ and, I like to say to pretty much anyone who would still be listening, “And not in a nice way.”

Vikings, just another group wanting to conquer and rule. Or maybe they just wanted to share; as in, cruise around “Doc Martin” territory, share a few waves with Nick and his surf buddies, head down to the local pub, throw back a pint or three. “Throw back,” would that make me sound, you know, local? What if I wore a tweed coat? Forget it, I don’t even fit in here.

Disclaimer: If it suddenly gets crowded with Yanks (Yankers?) at your favourite surf spot, please don’t blame Nick Evans. Blame his Americanized niece, Frances. “Frances?” “Yes, like the country.” “Okay. Frances.”

*share- (Erwin’s definition)- to catch all the waves I can, often calling for the second or third wave in a set so others can get the first ones. As far as sharing a wave- okay if you’re WAY out in front.

A Couple of Mysteries On and Beyond the Straits of Juan de Fuca

I’ve been working in Port Townsend for the past week or so, hoping some waves come down the Straits of Juan de Fuca and grace the local shoreline. This is frustrating business, and, with windows in which actual waves actually break small, I just missed a couple of times. Tide too high, swell too south, not enough prayer, whatever.

On Tuesday evening, having already checked earlier, I pulled into the parking area in a downpour to see both of the guys out catch a couple of waves each… then, waiting, waiting… nothing. I went to the Penny Saver and talked with a guy I’d seen at the beach. His name (I asked later) is Will, and he’d just moved from the ‘West End,’ knew a few local surfers.

Nothing hitting on Wednesday. Or Thursday.

I did go out on Friday. One other guy, Tim (I ask names but usually forget them)who had cruised around and had been skunked on the Straits, thought he’d found some. He was wrong. I hit a few rocks, did a pull-the-fin-sideslip a couple of times, paddled in, gave myself a 6.5 for the dismount.

On Saturday, a few actual waves were showing, and the crew that would show up at the best-guess time for waves wasn’t around, evidently headed west to the Far Straits or the Farther Coast. Keith Darrock was out, and an electrician (Brett or Brent) who said he and I had ‘shared blood’ on job sites, and the waves were, indeed, slightly larger. Still, they pretty much disappeared after an hour or so, but, later, Keith already dressed, the set of the day came in. Then, waiting, waiting… ready to go back out… nothing.

On Sunday I listened to the Seahawks, did some repairs after the previous week’s rain and wind.

On Monday I was supposed to go west with Stephen Davis. I punked out,  now having to catch up on work missed while hanging around looking for surf, talking surf. The swell was WSW, not conducive, typically, for the Straits.

On Monday night, working late, Trish called me to say the Port Townsend fire department was conducting a search off Port Townsend for someone who had said he was suicidal, and whose car was found in the parking area at the very beach I had (sort of) surfed so recently.

Later Monday night, Stephen Davis sent me this photo. No information. Maybe it’s that spot Steve and I had promised each other we’d hit, a spot I’d heard about for years. You now know as much as I do. Now. Another mystery spot.


It’s Tuesday. I checked the buoys, checked the forecast, checked my hotmail, wrote my friend, Ray Hicks, my longest-term surfing friend (off and on, known him since 6th grade), checked for any update on possible drowning/suicide. Sadly, there was something; a body had been pulled from the water half a mile or so down the beach from the place I’d so recently surfed.  The name hasn’t been released yet. It’s tragic.

Mystery. Mysteries. I’ll find out more about this wave, whether Stephen surfed it; how much I missed. Later. If all is never really fully revealed, frequently enough is.  Meanwhile… meanwhile we wait. Or we go looking.


Today’s Uncrowded (almost) Offshore Westport Storm Surf


So, I was out in that northwest winter version of afternoon/almost-dark, sitting in my work van in a rainstorm, trying to see pretty much anything through the fogged-in (plus a couple of leaks) inside and the furiously beating-but-not-keeping-up windshield-wipers, somewhat desperately looking for any sign of surf.  Just as a small wave approached the two guys out, one of them (I think) rock-standing-while-waiting, an extra surfboard that was supposed to be on the low bluff blew over the small bluff and into the shorebreak.

Actually the shorebreak was the only break.

Hey, maybe tomorrow the Pineapple Express will make a little jog, and, whoa!

So, since I didn’t recognize the vehicle two down in the parking area, hence, didn’t know who the surfers in the water riding waves even I couldn’t quite get up the enthusiasm to ride, I called Keith, gave him the report. I had checked it early, ‘flat;’ Keith at mid-day, flat, with ‘some lines showing,’ and now I was checking it again, ‘pretty flat, offshore, though; with two guys out.’  I called Stephen (you remember, the hydroxexual) Davis, got his voicemail, told him Keith and I are still looking at (oh, I can’t say, do your own forecasting), invited him along. Then I called Trish to tell her I’d be home earlier due to a lack of surf to ride and a lack of desire to go back to my job. Then, heading to the Penny Saver for some of that almost-like-homemade salads, I gave Adam “Wipeout” James a call, just to make sure it wasn’t him and one of his friends out in the cold chop, not catching many ‘head high’ waves.

Yeah, because the waves are always ‘head high’ in Adam’s reports.

But, it wasn’t Adam and a friend I’d seen, unless they got out, Adam checked his voicemail, and called me in the four minutes since I left the parking lot, and called me. He mentioned another friend of his had been to Westport today, and that he’d sent him a photo which he’d send to me. Yeah, the one above; high tide, semi-offshore, no one out, and, of course, ‘head high.’  Of course.  Thanks Adam’s friend.

Hey, I only posted something, like, yesterday or the day before, but, sure, this is news. Sort of.

Still, if you don’t have the time or inclination to check out the last post…

realsurfersshortjohn 001

Maybe tomorrow the… I’ll let you know.

My Custom-Tailored 1965 Shortjohn Wetsuit

My First Wetsuit- 1965
Because it’s December, because I’m thinking about what wetsuit items I need for the colder WINTER season, it seemed like a great time to relive a few things about my first wetsuit, the classic CALIFORNIA SURFER’S SHORT JOHN, custom fit in 1965, and purchased for the sum on $15.00, plus tax. Not to give too much away too soon. So:
BOOTIES- Very fine. My daughter, Dru, bought them for my birthday. Because I have a bone spur/bursitis on my heel of my left foot, I’ve been sticking with the zip up pair I bought from a dive shop in Bremerton, though I’ve ripped through the material in a few places. So, no new booties; I can take the tightness if I don’t have to hike too far.
VEST/HOOD- In pretty good shape. Fine. This piece adds an added mil of rubber for my core. It’s a bit tighter than I might like, but, well, maybe that’s something I can work on. No, not cutting it and adding more material.
RASH GUARD- It’s fine, does its job; could use a higher neck area, and it never seems to dry out. Yes, I could bring it in the house. Okay, no new rash guard.
3/2 MIL (or is it 4/3?) BODY GLOVE LONGJOHN WETSUIT, with back zipper- Broken string replaced with longer, sturdier shoe laces, this piece was purchased in a Seattle surf shop (I was doing a job in Queen Anne, it’s the shop by the Aurora Avenue Bridge) for about one hundred dollars (plus tax), and had been (lightly) used in the shop’s rental/surf school operation down at Short Sands in Oregon; so, though I’m sure it did contain some residue of someone else’s urine, it was probably a specialty tea drinker from some Portland office complex, trying to seem more interesting (“You do know I surf, right?”), and maybe (because it is big enough to fit me, maybe the renter wanted to lose a few pounds. Yeah, the suit is getting a bit thin in the places I grip to get it into position, yes, I have patched a few spots with material cut from my previous wetsuit… So, probably not getting a new wetsuit this year. And, incidentally, I did offer the folks at my local(ish) surf shop, NXNW SURF, in Port Angeles, an opportunity to sell me a rental wetsuit; the kid working probably didn’t pass the word on to Frank Crippen. Oh, and, as I did when I got this suit, I want my next one to be a size smaller. Working on it.
GLOVES- I have several pairs of worn out gloves. I definitely need new gloves. Santa?

realsurfersshortjohn 001

PHILLIP C. HARPER , my first surfing buddy, now Dr. Phillip C. Harper (I added this for when he googles himself), as with all things surfing, found out for both of us how to get proper gear for our first winter season as surfers. He may have already gone for his fitting, but was kind enough to go, after school, with my Mom and me to the shop over by Oceanside Harbor. It was somewhere around December tenth.
The date meant the wetsuit would be my main Christmas present. It also related to the unofficial (but very important) rule that REAL SURFERS don’t don wetsuits until the water temperature drops to 58, and cease wearing them when the temperature comes back up to the magical 58 degree mark, usually some time around Easter Vacation.
MEASURING- This is always embarrassing for a chunky kid. It was somewhat lessened by the fact that Phillip and I had both gone out for wrestling as freshmen at Fallbrook High, and we both knew he weighed somewhere around a hundred pounds, and I had started out the season at 130, but somehow, with strict dieting and exercise (and as much surfing as possible) had ended up the season at 136. Vertical growth, maybe. I got through the measuring, and we got to do some surfing before going back home. Phillip was the guy in a wetsuit. Fine; he needed it more.
STYLE- The wetsuit had no zipper, but did have a, new that year, stainless steel closing mechanism on one shoulder. Stylish and out of the way.
PERSONAL STYLE- Maybe it was more modesty than fashion that made me want to wear trunks over my wetsuit. I’m going to say it was, perhaps, consideration for other surfers who were more, um, err, modestly-endowed, because… anyway; I did soon discover that my Hawaiian Jams, all the rage (according to Phillip) would rip out even faster when worn over the suit. They just didn’t ‘ride up’ properly. But, this didn’t stop me from wearing a t shirt under the suit; sort of an early rash guard effect, though the extra layer did nothing to promote warmth.
NOWADAYS (and for a long time now) surfers wear wetsuits in the summer, even longjohn wetsuits in the summer. Hey, I’m not judging; it’s no longer cool to be cold; and, it must be said, wetsuits are better than ever. I rarely get as cold in water that drops to as low as 43 degrees, possibly lower near the rivers coming off the nearby Olympic Mountains, as I did in the depths of winter in 1966, clad in my Beach Boys (style) striped shirt, my custom short john with the stainless steel closure, and my first pair of Hang Ten trunks. Phillip, no doubt, pointed out the unofficial (but strictly enforced by peer pressure) requirement for real surfers to wear surfing trunks, along with my surf wardrobe of Levis (not Sears or Pennys) jeans, Pennys t shirts, and a properly-showy windbreaker.
Actually, I purchased a pair of Jantzen trunks before the Hang Tens, at the Men’s Shop in downtown Fallbrook, along with gym trunks and an (and I was so embarrassed to ask for this that I wandered around the shop for a long time) athletic supporter. Not wanting to be measured, the trunks (and I think they just ‘ran’ small) were too tight to wear even under a wetsuit; but the other items, with the ‘boys large’ stickers, fit fine.
Not bragging.
No, I don’t wear trunks over my wetsuit. I did mention how cold the water is, right? Colder for some than others.
Again, not bragging.

Another Un-named Surfer at Another Secret Straits Spot

20141123_123549 This photo was taken by Adam “Wipeout” James on the Sunday after I surfed with this guy on a late Saturday afternoon. Maybe it was the next Sunday; I lose track. Even if it wasn’t, the surfer (we’ll call him Clint) seems to be trolling the Straits of Juan de Fuca looking for surf.  And, sometimes, finding it.

I was a little surprised when he told me, on whatever Saturday evening it was, that he was camping out, hoping for more waves the next morning. “It’s a long night,” I told him. I’d rather drive back home and return in the morning. Not that I did. the short wave window had, in my estimation, already passed. Now, maybe Monday; Monday had been the day I’d been looking at for a while. Better tides, maybe better swell angle; but I had already committed to working “across the water,” as we say, in Seattle. No, I wasn’t staying overnight there either. I can sleep on a ferry, just not so well in a lot close to a road, where other surf surfarians pull in and, I’ve heard, sometimes party down.

THE STORY ON CLINT, who had already surfed some “a little windy, but not crowded” waves at another spot on the Saturday when I ran into him, is he did some surfing on Sunday, with Adam also involved in the action, then checked out this secret spot closer to his home. Meanwhile, Adam surfed another, even more secret spot with Keith. Now, Adam’s excuse/explanation for not surfing up to his full potential and ability at that super secret spot, is that he went to a restaurant in between, you know, like social surfers do, and ate more teriyaki than he should have.  But, he told me (this would be on Monday) that he’d surfed well on Sunday in the first, pre-teriyaki/hangin’-with-the-bros session, which also included Nate, who built and sold Adam at least one Bob Simmons-style twin fin, and some other guy who Adam didn’t fully identify, and whose name I’ve forgotten (or didn’t bother to try to remember). Those two guys remained on the shore as Adam and Keith surfed, the waves fading fast, but Nate offered to sell Keith a Robert August “Wingnut” surfboard, a leash, and a board bag, for a really good price.

Not that it’s really pertinent, but Keith called me (in Seattle, working, after getting lost) to ask if I thought the potential purchase was a good deal. “You know, I once surfed in a heat against Wingnut…” “Erwin, I have to talk now.” “Yeah, okay, um, yeah; I’m sure it’s…” “Gotta go.”

Okay, so, in the process of delivering the board and stuff to Keith on Monday, Nate, with or without his friend, but without Adam, decided to head out farther on the Straits. They didn’t find rideable waves, but saw Clint’s Camper, but no Clint. So, they decided to go the actual coast. It was big, a little out of control, and the surfers out were having troubles. So, Nate and his friend stayed on the beach where they witnessed Clint (who, his rig broken down, maybe, had hitched a ride farther out) go over the falls at least once; maybe twice.

So, Nate relayed this message to Adam, because Adam just has to know these things, and he called me the next day (I was still, or, really, again, in Seattle), wouldn’t let me talk over him until he told me that he had talked to Clint, asked him how the session on the coast had gone, and, and Adam says this really speaks to Clint’s authenticity (because Clint didn’t know he was being observed. See? Yes, Adam, I get it), Clint said, “Actually, kind of shitty.”

If it had been me, I would have said, “You know, great.”

Then again, even going over the falls beats camping on a long ass northwest winter night.