Going Not-Quite-Full-Picasso

It was Trisha’s pinochle night and it was going a bit past my bedtime and she wasn’t answering either of her two cell phones (the cheap one works almost everywhere, the fancy one almost nowhere, but it does work at Chick’s house). I was fooling around, sketching, waiting, did this.

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A bit frustrated that I had no place to put a surfboard or anything referring to surf, I started thinking about Picasso.

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Not to explain, but I wanted to keep some of the white from the board flowing into the background (that is, eliminating some of the outside line), and I thought about going a bit Dali on the background. And, I thought about adding a more rendered woman peering around the board. Too many lines in the background to add this. Mostly I decided it was done. For now.

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So, I did the black and white drawing (above), wasn’t too stoked on the heaviness of the part of the wave curling over the rider, but added some (too much) color anyway. It’s hard to go back and simplify. Redraw.  Thinking about it. I also added some color to an earlier drawing (middle) that made it just way too…(I’m torn between ‘sexy’ and ‘erotic’, though I don’t want to get into this discussion again) erotic.

Oh, I must add that surfer/librarian Keith Darrock commented on the new header: “You mean the one where you’re just standing there?” “Yeah, but the wave goes on forever.” Trish said, “Yeah, it’s very pretty. Did you make the wave?” “I’m saying I did.” Keith said, “Yeah, you probably did.”


Adam Wipeout’s Happy Birthday Cake, with Frosting

Sorry, I have to eat now, right now.


Okay, I’m back. All wave spots are fickle; wave quality decided by a variety of factors we all know well. Actually, we know what the variables are, we don’t always know how they affect a particular day.  Adam had planned on hitting a forecast swell on Thursday, the day before his birthday, possibly staying overnight, getting some more waves on Friday. That didn’t work out, but he did get some waves late in the day. On Sunday he missed a bigger swell in which only his friend Nate was, according to reports, the only one to paddle out in overhead conditions, but, late in the day, with the tide dropping, he surfed this part of the bay which could be compared to the side curve of a soup spoon, with the point in the distance the, um, point, and this spot at the place where the ladle part meets the handle. The sand bottom shifts around, the swell goes more south or north, the wind drops and turns into an offshore hush, and Adam celebrates a few tubes alone.

Yeah, he says this was a smaller set, with the waves as thick as they were high, and with him pulling into a few. “I couldn’t help but get tubed,” he said, “didn’t make all of them.” There is no better place to get wiped out, I told him, than the tube. Partially I asked him if I could post the photo because my favorite experience at this bay was at this very part of the spoon, low tide, with every wave staying open.   It wasn’t my birthday, but, like Adam, I took the gift gratefully. When I checked the same spot later, at high tide, it was as if it had never been there.

In the Right Place at the Right Place Right Time

An hour or so after this was taken, a surfer in the water asked if I have an easy-to-remember e-mail address. “I got a couple of photos,” he said. “Oh, was I looking all fat and old?” He didn’t, evidently, want to be rude (or truthful). I used his lack of a quick response to ask, “was I getting tubed? I’m always in the right spot.” Before I could add, “Or I try to be,” he said, “Oh, yeah, tubed for sure.”


I had met up with Keith, who had surfed these lefts twice the day before, and, when the tide was right, he also surfed the rights. Backside, for once. “It felt kind of awkward,” he said. Having heard that, the day before, the various spots on the Strait were crowded with people who believed the computer forecasts, and having received reports from several other friends who sampled some of the ‘not quite epic’ conditions at, again, various spots, I expected a crowd even before sunrise, when I arrived. The crowd came later.

I do want to thank Will for the photo, and asked him to introduce himself more formally the next time we’re at the same beach. On the beach, preferably, as I’m usually pretty focused in the water; mostly focusing on being in the right spot. I’m going to try to use this photo for the header for realsurfers. We’ll see.

This is a shot Keith sent me from a not-secret-enough spot, taken the night before he and I dawn-patrolled it. Keith had convinced his father, La Jolla High graduate, who claims to have never lived too far inland, to camp out in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula.

This is a shot Keith sent me from a not-secret-enough spot, taken the night before he and I dawn-patrolled it. Keith had convinced his father, La Jolla High graduate, who claims to have never lived too far inland, to camp out in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula.

I’m guessing the photo is of Keith, mid-swoop; and, as always, I must add the disclaimers that: The place rarely breaks; it’s never over two feet when it does; the swells that do get her never stick around for long; the currents allegedly carry the nastiest effluent (this is not wealth) from Victoria across the Strait; the… I forgot the rest of the negatives, and anyway, I may take this photo off in a day or two, put it in the file with the blurry photo a friend swears is a Sasquatch, though I’ve a hard time believing Bigfoot wears Carhartt.

Two New Surf Illustrations

I ran into Andrew, another house painter, up in Port Townsend yesterday. Checking out a historic building in the Uptown area, stepping back into the street, I practically ran into him as he got out of his car. We had passed each other at the paint store, but this time he was out of costume and carrying a small painting on canvas. It was a scene of this very street, almost black and white. Because I have questionable social skills, I took it from him, checked it out.

Andrew is through, he says, with exterior painting for the season. “Oh. No, it’s still warm enough,” I said. No, I’m no where near through with exterior painting.  He plans on building his inventory of paintings. “You make any money on this,” I asked as he took his painting back. “Maybe in a couple of years.”

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“Realsurfer.net” has always been a portfolio builder for me. And, with longer nights, I’ve been on a bit of a roll, lately. Trish recommended (strongly) that I not add color to the drawing above. I thought it looks ‘beatnik and 1959-ish,’ she says it’s Art Deco-ish. I probably will make a copy and color that. Oh, more than probably.

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While the top drawing evolved from a sketch, the lower drawing came from some reference material; specifically a photo of Kahea Hart at Backdoor Pipeline by Pete Hodgson/AFrame. This time, because Trish had trouble discerning the surfer’s head from the background, she insisted I add some color. No, I didn’t make a copy first. Darn.

A Woman/Wave Connection

We went out and bought a new computer because I couldn’t print anything and had to do my postponed, as usual, taxes.

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That didn’t mean the problems were over, particularly with transferring drawings to my site. This piece actually took about as long to get here as it took to draw. Well, not quite. Still, my hope is that I’ll remember how I did the scan/transfer and the find-it-in-the-computer, and the transfer-it-to-the-site.  Of course, now I have to figure out why the edges all get crooked.

“So, like, it’s, um; where did, you know, these waves come from? You know?

The guy on the left,  Sheep-collar Beardman, says, “Hey, Robin Hoodie, look at Mr. ‘I-just-rolled-in-from-Houston’ Tourist with the camera-slash-smartphone; like he’s never been to a wave park before.” The  to-remain-unnamed guy in the van with his own camera-slash-smartphone says, to himself, “Whoa; Derisive Derrick just turned into Drop-in Derrick! He burned Shortboard Aaron sooooo bad! Badly. Third degree burning! And I have proof.”


Robin Hoodie, without looking away from The Tourist, cleverly disguised in a “Surf Galveston” t-shirt (under the unbuttoned Costco shirt), asks Beardman, “Yeah, um, I know all about these here waves. It’s all because they don’t have a sewer system in Victoria.” “You’re wrong, man; the waves come from… but, uh, no; I mean, uh, what do you mean?” “It’s scientific, Doofburger; they have, like, collection tanks, and…” “So, it’s like a big ass toilet?” “Yeah…” laughing… “Really big ass. Like your mother’s.” “Hey, not fair, Dingledork.”

Meanwhile, out in the wavepark, Shortboard Aaron, riding, today only, a really big ass homemade board someone found in a barn over on Marrowstone Island, gets a flush-roller to himself as Drop-in, peering into the water, stands up on his standup paddleboard, the glasses he was so casually sporting, now somewhere among the rocks.

“Let me review my photos,” the still-unnamed-guy in the van says, temporarily distracted by the image in his sideview mirror.


“Okay, there’s the shot,” VanMan says. “Oh, and here’s one with, I think it’s Longboard Aaron and… those must be the folks from the Mercedes. Tourists, wondering where the heck these waves came from.”

The guy at the computer (me, obviously) says, “I better blow that one up. I wonder what those people are saying.”


“Sure,” the woman (on the left in photo) is obviously saying, “Romantic walk on the beach my ass. He’s  trying to look cool and all Port Townsend-y. I don’t care about surfboarding and how waves from Russian come down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.” Aaron, back in the soup, is saying, “Nice fade, Derrick. Next wave I’m burning you. Don’t care if it IS your birthday.” Drop-in is saying, “I’d be cooler if I hadn’t lost my cool shades.” The man with the hip beanie is saying, “Find!! And I think they’re the 100 percent UV-blocking kind.” “Uh huh,” his wife says, wondering if he’ll help her up to the parking lot. “Sorry we didn’t see any great whites,” he says, actually having meant to say Orcas or Killer Whales, but distracted by his new self image; “they have a great DVD back at the B & B.” The woman says something under her breath, as her husband, an unbagged and sand-covered piece of dog poop squishing from the heel of his sandals, ponders how wonderful it would be to live a beach comber’s life, then says, actually quite loudly, knowing Poopy Sandals isn’t listening, “and when you said great whites; silly me; I had a different thing in mind. Moby Dick my ass.”

Meanwhile, over in Victoria, someone pulls the handle and, Woosh.

Wait, wait; the forever-unnamed photographer and observer told me that, a bit later, the Tourist met up with Beard and Hoody, inquiring about legal weed. “Weed?” “Yeah, ya’ll; like, dope, mary jane; mari-jeuh-wanna. I hear it’s legal, and, well; figured you’d..” When he realized both were (this is a quote) “a bit drunk and a lot stupid; though that’s kinda like being stoned,” the Tourist, who, without being asked, admitted he wasn’t a Galveston local but (another quote) “I am perty much accepted as one,”  and noting the waves had disappeared, asked, “So, what time does the next tanker go by.” “Tanker?” Beard said, laughing. “Tanker,” Hood said, rubbing the start of his own beard.

The guy in the van, window rolled down, scanned the horizon, over toward Victoria.

No Tattoos… Scars, Maybe

Although my sister, real artist Melissa Lynch, asked, then insisted that I not apologize for or (maybe I’m adding this part) try to explain any works of art; I will… sorry, Melissa… maybe, as far as apologies go, I’ll just apologize that the image seems to be a little crooked. I had a tough time figuring out how to get the image from the printer to the computer, so… later on I’ll rescan.

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“What,” you might ask, “does this image have to do with surfing in general and real surfers in particular?” I would be forced to respond with, “Really?” And then I wouldn’t explain the connection(s).

Librarian and stealth wave usurper Keith Darrock told me the new “Surfer’s Journal” (available at the Port Townsend Library, has an article on tattoos. I haven’t seen the issue yet. I was planning on adding a surf-related tattoo to this drawing, and I still might, but… I, and I know this is a sort of semi-apologetic explanation, added some of the heavy vertical lines because I was concerned maybe there should have been a bit more shoulder, maybe… maybe the breasts weren’t quite right.

Let’s call it a sketch. Next time I’ll draw the surf-related tattoo first, then add the background

Surf Dreams, Fevers, Surf Fever Dreams

Something had to be written down (typed-out, really) before the dream images all got too foggy, too distant, ceased to make even the smallest amount of sense. And then vanished as dreams do; perhaps to reappear in later dreams, perhaps as a memory of a real event that was never real. And I’m wasting clarity time even writing this.

It was a surf contest, and there weren’t, really, real waves; but someone had just slid down an artificial wave-like face (it was sort of transluscent, blue-green, though maybe this was added, since, supposedly, men dream in black and white), on a board, hit the bottom, a transition curve to the floor, all still blue-green. The surfer cranked a smooth backside turn, and, running out of wave face (there was a door visible to his left, our right), he turned the bottom turn into a flyaway kickout, the board clanking against a beam or an actual wall, the contestant stepping off, three steps and a sort of victory stance. He had nailed the dismount.

And there would be more. I felt like I was awake, that I knew it was a dream, had to be a dream; but I couldn’t leave it. Somehow I (and this has to be connected to my having served as a judge at the Surfrider Foundation’s Cleanwater surf contest in Westport last weekend) was not only a judge, I was in the finals; and I said, “Okay, but now, each surfer should have to ‘describe’ the ride.” The smiling-and-confident surfer now looked angry. Picture Andy Irons. Yeah; weird. “Oh, I know that would be a winning ride, but now…” Other things that make sense only in dream movies came into play; stolen cars, unfinished paint jobs, having to hire three guys (and grateful the fourth disappeared) to finish that previously-mentioned paint job; waves that appeared only to be obscured by highrise condominiums; roads that didn’t lead to the beach.

Partly to make sense of the ‘fever’ part of the title, I have to add that Trish has been sick for a few days, and on Friday, I had muscle aches, that sinus-y feeling, maybe a little feverish, and I really believed I would come down with the thing. I didn’t, but, maybe her fever transferred… okay, maybe I just wanted to reference some old surf movie I may or may not have actually seen.

I was having surf dreams; not like those from the night before, when I’d gone to sleep having just found a surprising (having missed the forecast midweek pulse) and a rising swell showing. Not only was there a slight increase registering on the buoys closer to shore, but up the line, out into the North Pacific, with winds pushing that swell toward… toward morning. I knew the tide would be too high early, that the swell window was tight. I woke up around three, blearily checked the computer. The possibility of surf was still there. A couple of hours more to sleep, and then…

I got totally carried away, kind of an illustration of a dream in color. Probably why men (according to women, mostly) dream in black and white.

I got totally carried away, kind of an illustration of a dream in color. Probably why men (according to women, mostly) dream in black and white. I didn’t save the black and white version, so I’m stuck with this, for now.

“You say when you dream, your mind can just unravel; well, I’m fast awake and mine’s testing the seams;
No sign posts tell how far you might have traveled, No one’s standing at the boundaries of your dreams;                     And those dreams, they’re filled with clouds you can’t explain;                                                                                                       It may as well rain, may as well rain, may as well rain.”
from original song, “May as Well Rain”

Okay, I got lucky; found a couple of hours worth of waves as the tide dropped and the swell only gradually died. Faded. I was hoping the swell stayed around long enough so my friend Archie, just home from nine months or so working in Thailand, and his friend Sandro, could catch some decent shoulders at a different spot on the afternoon high tide. I had heard, ten miles farther out the Strait of Juan de Fuca than ‘Archie’s Reef,’ that the place they (by now) would have surfed, was overhead (and no doubt closing-out) while I cruised on two footers as the waves died out, as waves do, less and smaller sets, then no sets. I heard from a guy on the beach, someone I swear I’d talked to before, that Hobuck was indeed closed-out by this same semi-phantom swell; and this was notable and a shame as there was a surf festival going on out there.

“Isn’t every weekend a surf festival at Hobuck?” “Sort of.” “Well, the good news is, the surf will drop off. See?” “Well; maybe on the incoming tide…” “Maybe. Gotta go (home, work, reality, those real and unfinished paint jobs). Good luck.”

“Seems like every dream of mine; explodes right in my face;
Can’t seem to find a better dream, to take each lost dream’s place;
You still dream of horses, though I’ve never seen you ride;
Still, the dream of mine, I hold most dear, is to keep you by my side.
You should sleep, perhaps to dream; I see no need to raise the shade;
The dreams at dawn, that seemed so clear, about this time, begin to fade.”
from original song, “Surf Route 101”

What I’ll (at least try to) take from yesterday’s session, to be placed among the scraps and notes and out-of-order manuscripts and image files of my memory, is the fields of diamonds, looking toward the sun, that climbed the wave faces as I tried to get more in line, in trim, to sync-up with the concentrated brilliance at the crest, everything moving, flowing… maybe there were two rides in the session where the reality and some once-and-future dream combined.

Still, someone watching from another vantage point might not notice the flow, the way I cocked a hip to pull the board into that tighter trim, unweighted to allow the board to fit just under the lip, then shifted just slightly to control the drift; and, pulling out onto a flattening shoulder, my left arm, swinging back, my right leg, rotating, precede my board shifting, swinging a hundred and eighty degrees. I cross-stepped, angling into the foam, twisting my front foot, rotating further. I then dropped to my knees to a position to paddle back out.

Or my board might just skitter across a blue-green floor. Five points for the ride, 6.5 for the description.

The Kook Judge hits the Surfrider’s Cleanwater Westport Surf Contest

It was Tom Burns who got me the gig, two days of judging at the Cleanwater Surf Contest in Westport. Oh, I knew it would be exciting, thrilling, and I’d get some food, a place to stay, and a hundred bucks. Professional. Professional-ish. Pro-Am. Yes, I could see myself moving up the ranks, hitting the World Surf League’s Qualifying Series, then the World Tour; France, Portugal, Honolua Bay; explaining to Joey and Potts why I gave Kelly Slater a 12.9 (out of a possible 10); talking them into supporting the number.

“I have to agree, Joey; it was an incredible move. Total commitment, risking… ” “Me too, Potts; and, sure, why not factor age into the mix of Speed, Power, Flow? Say, Erwin, it’s a lay day in another surfing mecca; what do you have planned?” “Well… oh, hi, Strider. Um, maybe see what’s on HBO, maybe a nap.” “I hear that, brother; but for me, the excitement is just about out of control.” “It’s flat, man, sideshore chop; raining like a cow pissing on a…” “So, folks; another lay day here, with new judge Elwin Dence explaining best surfer of all time Kelly Slater’s remarkable…” “It’s Erwin.” “Huh?” “Huh?” “Huh?” “It’s Erwin, boys; not Elwin.” “Thanks, Rosie; love how you say my name.” “And, Erwin, what is on HBO?”

That was my image. Here’s a shot of the actual conditions on Saturday at Westhaven Jetty, Westport, Washington:


Gosh, it makes you want to suit up and run for the water. Actually, unprepared because I had to work my ass off to finish a job on Friday, I sort of packed, then got up before three am, threw stuff together, made sure I used the bathroom (this is sooo critical- for any surf trip) and headed down Surf Route 101. Then the McCleary Cutoff. Then Highway 8 (I think), then the twenty miles from Aberdeen to Westport, arriving only a little later than head judge Gary Milkie (not sure of the spelling) would have liked. The first heat was about to start, and the judging tent was set up about 75 yards from the main contest area. You know, where the out-of-the-water action is happening.

This is the head judge, Gary; quite a serious guy; and a spotter, checking his Facebook status

This is the head judge, Gary; quite a serious guy; and a spotter, checking his Facebook status

Despite Tom… wait, I should say that I originally met Tom while I was volunteering, trying to make a few bucks for the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of Surfrider, a couple of years ago. I did a crappy job as a heat check-in guy, and a shaky job as a flag changer. “Is it red and green; just green… what?” But, hanging with the judges (who mostly are about my age; I thought I did pretty well. “Red up; no, it’s orange… oh, and, way over there, yellow’s up. No, he’s down. Greennnnnnn!”

The next time I volunteered, two years ago, I signed up early, and put myself in the spotter position for all day Saturday. Evidently, it was revealed later, some other volunteers were a bit perturbed by my hogging of the position. As usual, perturbation noted, not dwelled-upon (they should’a signed up earlier). I did have one chance to judge when Tom had to go the 75 yards (imagine a triangle, bathrooms, main event area, judges tent) to go number one (he says). I was doing fine until two surfers took off on one wave, splitting the wall, three more on the next wave, one of those way down the beach.

“Errrrr! What?” “Put the pencil down,” Gary, whose normal position is stalking behind the row of five judges, asking constantly for a wave count, said. And I did.


Hey, look; I have to go. I’ll get back to this; wanting to do it right. Tonight, and I’ll upload some of my photos. These were taken by Tom Burns. That’s Sonny; Larry; me with the Seahawks cap under the hoody, concentrating (probably commentating); Gus, one spotter also concentrating, another spotter probably concentrating while trying to keep his parts warmed.


Again, I’ll be adding more later. “No, I gave him a 5.6. Oh, it’s old guys in this heat? 5.9.”
















There’s no instant replay here. Just getting this from my GOPRO to here took about three heats worth of time. So, we have… no, I have to go. Now that the photos are on this site, I’ll move them around and tell a few tales that, if my performance as a judge doesn’t do it, will keep me from being invited back. No, nothing serious; but, well, you probably can see why judges and on-air talent are different (I wanted to say) animals.