Sometimes a Seagull on the Webcam…

image-125…makes you stop for a second. Is it something in the water? Another something that doesn’t seem right, mysterious? What did you want it to be? What are you looking for?

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We know.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving Shoulder Hoppers and…A Few Comments

…Set Wave Droppers, hope you got some, or are getting some waves today. I did. Thanks, to those souls who braved cold winds and rain to slide a few… and, yeah; it isn’t easy not going for a set wave; but it is great watching friends tuck in; and it even feels nice to throw the occasional (only if deserved) compliment.

Something about waves: More will be coming. I’m thankful I can still slide a few.

Thanksgiving and Related Thoughts

I’ve been writing (e-mailing, still writing) back and forth with Archie Endo. He’s still in the hospital in Bangkok, Thailand after suffering a stroke a few months ago. While I’m checking the forecasts and any other data that will help me make a determination on when and where the best place to try to find waves over the Thanksgiving weekend, his latest ‘replay’ made me… well, kind of sad.

DCIM101GOPRO

It’s not that he isn’t improving, he is, it’s that, if the Strait has become as crowded and as competitive as my reports seem to suggest, perhaps he may want to find somewhere else to surf when he returns.

“Why,” he asks, “should we (have to) follow or go against negative people? That seems like a waste of our lives… If surfers are treating others as enemies, the area is done.”

DCIM101GOPRO

At least, maybe for Archie. I did write back to say that, perhaps, I, (almost) always ready to compete, always wanting a few more waves, overstate the crowd factor. For those who have been surfing anywhere for a long time, it’s always more crowded than it was.

Maybe it’s a phase; probably not; but Archie doesn’t want to be yelled at for taking an already-broken inside wave. Yet, he says, “I really appreciate now that I could enjoy so much of the empty, cold, friendly waters.”

Yeah, well; yes. As I said (wrote; okay), Archie’s email made me think; we can’t really justify resenting others seeking what we seek; and, for some, I swear, they’d rather surf in a crowd. No, that’s negative. Still true. When I recently saw a dad pushing two small kids, one on each side, out onto the reef; I have to think he and they were enjoying the experience. When I saw someone take off on a pretty mushy wave, and someone else, head down, not looking, paddling for the same wave down the line… well, I ruined a few waves at Swamis and Tamarack in my early days. But, again, I didn’t go out. I moved on. I didn’t give up; and neither will Archie.

I won’t let him. While I’m trying to adjust my inner Aloha, I have to recall the times I’ve gone surfing with Archie; and the first time I saw him surfing, alone on a brilliant winter weekday, kneepaddling into an outside wave, easing to his feet, riding the wave into the shorebreak, then taking a break. I joined him in the water. What’s kind of odd is that Archie wants to believe there is a certain nobleness in learning to surf well; a certain moral code that binds surfers. No, that’s not odd; I feel the same way; it’s that he and I have been friends despite my propensity to push my way to the peak of the lineup, go for the best waves.

Hey, I am trying to improve, to share. There is a community; fractured, competitive; each of us paddling out, searching for those moments of sheer joy.

2013 photos 407

On A Rainy Day, 45 Years Ago Today, Trish and I…

…got married. Without a place to stay, we went to the Hotel Del Coronado for our one night honeymoon. Room 222. “Probably,” she said, “because we’re kids.” The next morning, we picked up “The San Diego Union,” went to Balboa Park, and looked for places to rent. I was twenty years and almost three months old, Trish was nineteen years and eleven days old. [NOTE: “Room 222” was a high school-centered TV show at this time.]

Trish, 1969Here’s Trish, shortly before we got married. Wish I still had that Morris Minor; but Trish, she still has that same ‘take no shit’ attitude, the same passionate approach to life, the same willingness to defend things she loves (again) passionately, but backed-up with unshakeable, inarguable wisdom.

What the years have given Trish; three children, modest ups and a stream of setbacks and problems (mostly the type others face), is an incredible inner strength. Really, it’s a quality she’s always had; and, almost sadly, it’s one she’s needed through a house burning down, all the fear and drama of child-raising, husband-raising.  And she’s always had an inner wisdom I’ve relied on. If my line has always been, “It’ll be all right,” it was frequently more on faith than reality. She (her being willing to stand by) has been a major part of my faith.

With a few additions (the children, friends, the Seahawks), I still love the same things I did forty-five years ago. Doing good work, music/writing/drawing, surfing, Trish. The list is in reverse order. Despite whatever she might tell you about surfing being the other woman, Trish has always been my greatest love.

The above was just supposed to be the caption. Got carried away.

Back to November of 1971. We found a place in Pacific Beach, $150 the first month, $125 after that. The back window looked, across an alley, at the back of a pizza/sandwich shop that fronted on Garnet Avenue, a block and a half from Crystal Pier. One bedroom. Perfect.

It rained most of last night, and it’s probably going to be raining most of the day. We have some plans. Oh, gotta go.

Incidentally, Archie’s doing better, though slowly. He’s still in the hospital in Bangkok; won’t be able to get in the water for about a year. He’s been writing, says he has a girlfriend in Thailand, is in, weirdly, a Christian hospital, believes God has some plans for him, and, he couldn’t help but mention, the nurses seem to be in competition over his “Pee pee.” Not sure what that means, but Trish and I, and many in the local surfing community, and his other friends, are looking forward to his return.

Dawn Patrol from Home and the FROTH Factor

Everyone who surfs seems to get the same forecasts, the same weather reports, and buoy readings, tide charts; it’s all in how much faith we put in the forecast, even faith in the buoys; and how we analyze the data. Ebb, flow, go or not go; load up the car, head out in the dark.

cam-lapush-wa-1Looks good; I think I see a line…wait, on the outside…looks glassy. Hmm.

OH, and we have to factor work into the eventual equation: WORK, the reason I’ve missed so many days others reported as epic, including, most recently, last Wednesday, a day I’d predicted as worth trying. Even more frustrating, I can easily, still ten miles from the spot I hope is breaking, remember working on the bluff above Stone Steps, painting someone’s house… OH, and the house down by (original, real) Grandview; while others, others, fortunate others, were enjoying glassy peaks.  OH, and the ultimate, working on Camp Pendleton, painting on base housing, with a perfect view of Lower Trestles, hoping it wouldn’t be blown out by lunchtime, hoping for an after work.

AND, it must be said, that looking at perfect, or even good waves once you’ve been out, and you’re tired, and you’re satisfied, and you’re warm (and your wetsuit is hanging or thrown into a bin) is way different than arriving to mediocre waves and a big crowd (as in, Last Saturday). “So, here comes a set, five people scratching for it… where’s my thermos?”

SO, we can talk about the FROTH level, exacerbated by third hand reports of favorable conditions at a spot I by-passed on Saturday (Was I, as accused, ‘too good’ for that spot? I had hoped to be, and was skunked at a spot I just knew would be working), and the generally hyper-competitive nature (so my wife says) between me and my small circle of surfing friends. Wanting to score, to brag, to, (even) gloat; factor these into the Froth Formula. And factor in one friend saying I was, perhaps, rather than not being so rude as to paddle out in a crowd of surfers of various skill levels, I was, and I should consider this, getting soft.

NO, I’ve always been competitive; and really, it’s mostly with myself, a desire to be better, better; as good as the conditions and my ability will allow.

FROTHING. WAVE LUST. So, yesterday, after a few skunkings, a near-(and should really be classified as a skunking, but I won’t)skunking, and some sessions riding barely-catch-able waves, I was FOAMING.  When I arrived, an hour after dawn (mostly because of indecision about the buoys), there were already six people out, the tide was already high and getting higher, and I was… here’s a froth-mediating thing: If the waves were epic, insanity; they weren’t, but there were waves, and the waves wouldn’t last through the tide; the swell could move a degree or two and it could all vanish… I paddled out.

Does that look... um, kinda...hmm

Does that look… um, kinda…hmm

Here came a wave; I turned and paddled for it alongside a guy with a beard and a very long longboard with a Gopro on the front of it. I backed-out, he missed the wave. “Oh, I thought you would’ve caught it,” I said, politely. No response. I jockeyed around a bit, then pointed to the Gopro. “How do you turn that thing on?” “By not taking off on my wave,” he said in a voice loud enough for me to hear despite wearing earplugs and a hood. “Oh, okay.”

Okay, froth mediation. “Be polite. Relax. Share,” I told myself, quickly followed by asking myself, “If I’m farther over, it wouldn’t be his wave?”  I caught a couple of inside waves, carefully avoiding the GoProHipster, and did notice he did the paddle-in-not-on-a-wave (sometimes called the ‘paddle of shame’), then hung out on the beach for quite a while. I kept surfing.

All lust, I remember from Psychology 101, seeks to end itself. Hungry? Eat. I’m okay, for a while, but, pre-dawn, still checking the buoys, the forecasts, doing a little writing before I go to, yeah, WORK. I don’t, incidentally, have Work Lust, at least not that requires counseling.

There’s Something About a Crowd…

…a certain atmosphere, a certain excitement about seeing a row of surf rigs along the beach side of the pullout, more on the bluff side, only a narrow route between them; still early, with those who stayed overnight just making some coffee, arranging their brunch items, and way too many people in the water, with others arriving, or, going by the adage that ‘it must be good, people are out,’ suiting up; with no question that they’ll be going out, joining in the fun of sharing waves. After all, it’s just lucky to have waves at all, and, if one knows anything about the break at all, one should know that the high tide, already working on this, will mush the waves to death in the next hour or so, that is, if the swell angle doesn’t move two degrees that way or the other; and, sometime before the tide switch, the side winds will be chattering across the lineup.

Maybe, as my friends say, I’m getting soft, not pushing my way into the lineup. Maybe. I took some photos before I left. I’ll have to go through them. Bypassing my backup backup spot, figuring the collective prayers of those who can only surf weekends had been answered, I took the circuitous route to a different spot.

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There’s something about an empty lineup, an empty wave; a certain excitement, a certain… you know, you must know. If you don’t, look for the crowd… it must be good.

“Locals Only,” Story to Follow

I’ve been thinking of a story in which, on a marginal day at a somewhat remote, not-secret surf spot, a surfer who made the mistake of catching a wave another, already quite frustrated surfer wanted gets out of the water to find the air let out of all four tires, and a message written in wax on his windshield.

localsonly

The surfer riding with the frustrated vandal rides back (and not that local) to the perpetrators house, returns on his own with a compressor and a small generator only to find the waves are pumping and the owner of the damaged vehicle is out in the water.

I’ll work on it further, including a drawing, when I get a chance. It’s not a morality tale (no, of course it is), but it’s probably a result of my thinking about how the aloha spirit has been replaced by a begrudging acknowledgement that the surf is going to be increasingly crowded, and being a local local means you are probably going to be equally welcomed at another, and possibly better spot.

And, meanwhile, I’m trying to figure some time I can go and get quality waves without having to be cordial. Aloha. No, I mean it. Really.

Surf Side Trip South to Northern…

…California, and I only started it this way because I was avoiding saying ‘NorCal,’ or is it ‘NortCal,’ or ‘Callie De Norte’;’ the cousin to ‘SoCal’ and ‘Cali (sp? it’s not Callifornia);’ each of which sort of bugs me and smacks of attempts at coolness and/or familiarity; as in, “Whoa! You’re from Cali?”  “No, I was raised in Southern California, but I was actually born in Surf City, NorCar (pronounced ‘Nor Care’).” “NorCar?”

Yeah, that was me attempting to sound cool and/or familiar with a place I left at three years old. BUT, here’s this story. My friend, Hydrosexual (his rampant relationship with all things water, including the frozen and powdered varieties, is explained elsewhere) Stephen Davis, down and working in the coastal foothills of Northern California, took some time off to cruise down to Santa Cruz. He called to see if the waves he predicted for the area in which I surf actually showed up, and if I, part of the ever-increasing surf population in the area I will no longer reference (explained in a minute), actually caught myself a few.

They did, I did, but now, as he was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, I was headed to a Ghost Conference in Port Gamble. No, first to Costco, then on to the conference to meet up with Trish, our ex-daughter-in-law, Karrie, our grandson, Nate (or N8, cooler spelling), and our daughter, Dru… and various ghost hunters, busters, believers, skeptics, groupies; the festivities under the direction of Pete Orbea, married to Mollie, lifelong friend of Dru’s.

SO, a shoutout to that event. BUT, and MEANWHILE…

santacruzdavisAnd, then, on the way back…fortpointdavisOH, wait, are these secret spots? Will showing these images increase the number of surfers and hodads and posers (same as hodad, but, if you didn’t know that, you, well, may actually be a poser, poseur if you’re a more-nuanced hodad) and power couples and enthusiasts and parking area maestros and lineup primadonnas?

DEFINITELY, and that’s why I will never again mention anything about waves, surf, or surfing in ____ ________, ____ _______,  and any other spot on the ______ __ ____ __ ____, or even ______; though I will continue to boast of the merits of Westport. Go there, go now.

NOW, it’s hard for me to believe that my site has done all (or even much of) the damage, brought 40 souls last Saturday to the lineup at any (unnamed) spot that surfers who have survived the high-percentage of skunkings, the driving, probably surfed barely-big-enough-to ride waves, endured endless hours of waiting through ‘almost’ conditions, and occasionally found a few peelers.

NO, I BLAME the folks who lucked-out, then told their friends, bragging, exaggerating the size and cleanness and uncrowdedness and length of ride and… AND, having lucked-out, these same surfers try to repeat the rare session; with a few friends.

My friend, Keith ______, is willing to go through my site, remove/redact any reference, quote or tag pertaining to ????CXCkkppplmnno (it’s a list); so, if you think there is any secret info or insight on finding waves on the _____, better just start here and keep reading. START NOW.

MEANWHILE, Archie Endo, still in Thailand, is improving, doing some Facebooking. Archie Endo; worth looking up. AND, HERE’S SOMETHING I’ll make into a whole post: It seems the welcoming ALOHA SPIRIT has been replaced by a sort of disgruntled, begrudging, half-hearted acceptance of increased numbers in chilly waters.  AGAIN, working on that.  OH, and I’ve decided the swells seem to peak a mathematically irritating number of times on weekends because more people are praying for that. Like the 40 surfers at ____ ______ last Saturday.

Not my fault. I was sliding a few at _____ _____. And Stephen was sneaking up on the main peak at some no-doubt well known Santa Cruz spot. He didn’t actually tell me which one. No, I understand. It’s okay.