Partying Down with the Hipsters, Surfsters, and the Grumpsters

My friend Steve was giving me a hand finishing up the staining of a cabin in the woods. The temporary renter of the cabin was a young woman who works in the wide world of psychoanalyzing and psycho-advising and psycho-counseling. She had just revealed that her partner… surfs. Not around here. “Venice.” Oh. “California.” Oh. I didn’t think Venice is particularly known for surfing. “Well.” Okay, so, he’s a hodad? “What’s a hodad?” Steve explained the term. “So,” she said, “during the pandemic, a lot of people started surfing, or were able to surf more.” Oh, yeah; for sure. “So…”

It still didn’t answer the question about hodad-ness.

So, then I told her what the pandemic did for folks out here on the fringe. For folks who only need a signal from the cosmic cloud to work remotely, remoteness was, and still is, up for grabs. Or for sale. “So?” So, more surfers. “And does that, in some way, annoy you?”

Yes. You see, I said, I seem to differentiate between surfing, and surfers who have a certain… connection… and those who do it for the… social aspects. Surfing is cool and I, um… uh… I don’t really go for cool by association.

Somewhere in here the woman made, I believe, a psycho-judgment that I was, not a sociopath and narcissist that I claimed to be, and possibly took some pride in being, but a grumpy old surfer unable to realize and/or accept that surfing is really just another excuse for healthy social interaction in a beachside setting.

Man, I hope someone else shows up who appreciates my bitchin’ trailer and my state-of-the-art board. San Onofre, 1950.

Wait. I am just another grumpy old surfer unable to appreciate the reality or share the joy? Oh, the guilt I feel. I was being accused of being self-aware and in denial of being self-aware; no, not true.

Well, maybe. I don’t know. Allow me to self-examine. I have developed some appreciation of the cultural circus aspects of surfing. Some. You know, like going to Westport mid-summer, once every other year. Festive.

When I started, just after junior high, none of my contemporaries surfed. Surfing was cool, even then. If you lived twenty miles from the nearest breaking waves, but surfed, you had an automatic plus in the cool category. Many tried it, some stuck with it. No one dropped the surfer checkmark next to his name (not sexist, didn’t seem to have any female surfers at Fallbrook High- would have been fine with it, probably). I was part of some sort of informal crew, one that broke up almost immediately after high school.

Then I wasn’t. I was a lone surfer. Sounds cooler than it is. I worked in Oceanside, then moved to Pacific Beach, University City, Encinitas, Mission Hills. I occasionally went surfing with someone I worked with or for. I recognized surfers at spots I frequented, but surfing was something one did before or after (or during- Trestles period) school, or work; forty minutes or so in the water, on average. This is where and when I developed my ‘ghetto mentality.’ Keep your head down, don’t look other surfers in the eye. These are not your friends; these are your competition. This is my often-used excuse for poor wave etiquette. I should apologize. Probably. I may have changed. Possibly.

Wait, they had, like, cool surf rigs back in 1963? Wow! San Onofre is a happening! And scaffolding. Brilliant!

San Diego, Ocean Beach, 1978: We were moving to the Northwest. I was unaware of any surf possibilities on the Olympic Peninsula. I checked out from my job before lunch. Trish was still working. It was fall, but the day was hot, and the water was still warm. I was walking out toward the pier. There was a crowd sort of hanging on the wall and in the parking lot. I don’t really remember if the surf was good or not. What I remember is the gallery, hanging out, sharing and utterly convinced of their individual and group coolness. Believing I was giving up surfing, my thought was, “Yeah; I’m too old for this shit.”

It might actually be that the older surfers are always being pushed out of the way, accused of not getting it by another next generation of surfsters, if not hipsters. It might also be true that it is difficult to maintain a certain level of involvement in a place where the waves are fickle. I have difficulty imagining what it might be like in a place where the waves are more consistent, and, undoubtedly, more consistently crowded. When I sneak away and go to some possible surf location, I do, almost always, know someone, or many someones who are also there, looking for a few waves.

There are multiple identifiable-if-unofficial groups of surfers in the spread-out neighborhood of the Strait/Islands/Northwest Coast, each with revolving memberships, that one could, loosely, describe as ‘crews.’ Or, maybe, ‘pods.’ Some surfers are actually accepted in multiple informal groupings. Some surfers are not accepted in any. Sad.

True of everywhere, no doubt.

I am actually very happy that I do have friends who surf. I’m actually fine with chatting it up on the beach. For a while. Party? Party wave?

Hmmm. Best things I can say about my therapy session is that it confirms what the self aware me already realizes, and that didn’t have to pay for it.

“Hey, Dude; You Binging or What?”

FIRST, as a Public Service Announcement- The Makah Tribal Council has closed the Neah Bay Reservation to non-tribal members until April 27.  You know why.  Yeah, keeping the waves to themselves.                                                                                                                             NO, but it does impact surf traffic out to the various spots on the Olympic Peninsula.          BUT, the good news is there isn’t a particularly great looking swell in the immediate forecast.  I originally heard about the shut down from Stephen Davis, thought I could verify it and pass it on.  “WAIT, what about La Push?”  I don’t know. Maybe it’s open for surfing.  “How is La Push on a two foot swell?”  Hmmm.  Accounts vary.

I haven’t been stuck at home, actually, but I did actually spend about ten minutes yesterday watching a live feed from a beach in Oregon, with some guy trying to get in waves that were not that daunting.  After five minutes I was saying, “PADDLE HARDER you Kook/Hodad/Gremmie/Punk, it’s not like pushing through crowds at Costco, cutting through the line waiting for the next batch of toilet paper, a line of Costcoites and carts that stretched halfway back along the outside wall (‘excuse me, Comrade, I’m cutting through, not in’), getting the next to the last should-be-lifetime supply of paper towels, some old (older than me) guy elbowing me before I could go back for the last one (this was the Kirkland brand, they still had the Bounty, though not in bounty- ha, ha; and besides, I was too busy giving the stinkeye to piggy/hoarder shoppers filling their big ass carts with bottled water and baby wipes to actually pig out myself).  It’s a lull, Hipster Surf Enthusiast,  PADDLE!  It’s not like you’re squeezing in next to the woman who would otherwise be handing out free samples (and there are NO FREE SAMPLES), but is, instead, opening a stack of large cardboard boxes and placing Organic chicken into the cooler, me on the phone with Trish (there was no chicken, organic or manmade, a week ago), asking if she want the breasts AND the legs (she does), and there are other people squeezing against and leaning over me.  Ride some soup, Weekender, go in where you can stand up and WAIT FOR ANOTHER LULL.  It’s not like getting to Costco at ten am and the parking lot was full, the first person I saw coming out is an old guy (already set as someone older than me), and he has on a MAGA hat, with a bottle of Jim Beam and a package of sausages in his basket (perfect for drunk- watching FOX News reality shows); and I want to say something rude AND clever, but I notice he’s looking at me, a list in my hand, wearing my hand-knitted hippy cap and my layered shirts, the one on the outside featuring Christopher Walken (from a Saturday Night Live skit) dressed as Han Solo, with two balloons above him, one saying ‘fast’ the other ‘ships?’ and I just nod and say, ‘Another great day in America.’  OKAY, Buddy, maybe YOU CAN CATCH A FEW REFORMS.”

I gave up watching before the surfer gave up trying.  “GOOD ON YOU, MATE! (this with my attempt at an Australian accent).  I checked out MSN for some signs of hope, tried to catch up on the World Surf League.  No hope there.  Turned on the TV.  I checked out the various sports channels.  Reruns.  Oh.  Sure.  Incidentally, while similarly clicking through various channels on Friday night, I happened to stick for a moment on big time wrestling.  You know, when there’s no audience, it looks kind of, um, fake.  Add a few thousand screaming fans and it seems real.  Or real-er.  Not making a comparison here between that and a, say, Trump rally, but, evidently, with the virus-proof president unable to hold such events, he has decided to break into programming on a random-but-often basis, just to reassure the citizens of these Unites States of America that he’s still OKAY.  I think he said ‘perfect,’ I’ll stick with ‘okay.’

OH, WAIT, I’m not really political, and certainly, If I was political, I’d be so very middle of the road, but, when the president, trying bigly, allegedly, to unite our country against a world wide pandemic, refers to Washington State’s governor, former presidential candidate, climate activist (and, according to my son Sean, who worked on his original election campaign, ‘kind of bland’) Jay Inslee, as ‘a snake,’ I can’t help but think, that if I was hit with that invective, I’d add it to my title.  The Honorable Governor Jay the Snake Inslee.

BEFORE I GO BACK to working on “Swamis,” I do want to say I hope you’re all stocked-up and surviving this weirdness; self-isolating, hunkering-down, avoiding crowds (and nothing says all that like going to Costco and Walmart on a Saturday).  I suddenly almost regret that Trish and I have already binge-watched “Vera” and “Bosch,” and that we’ve just cancelled Showtime and HBO.  Maybe I could see if SURFLINE is offering a free trial.

I DO KIND OF WONDER what the novice surfer from yesterday said about his session. “It was double overhead on the sets.  Caught a few bombs.  Yes.”  YES, I have been accused, though not at a national level, of some mild form of occasional ‘snaking.’  It’s debatable and over-blown, but, if you want to add it to any nickname for or description of me; FEEL FREE.  It’s still America, even if you’re waiting in a line for toilet paper.  Comrade.costco 2ls

Cartoons, Coloring Book Drawings, Tattoos, Renderings…

…and kind of thinking if concentrating on doing surfing illustrations with using them in a coloring book has been helpful to my long term artistic goals. It has made me think of trying to show more with simpler lines, but… yeah, but, but I just always want to get better, closer to the feelings as well as the images.

"Water Seeks Its Own Level" I thought I'd post this before I go back and add more to it. I love simplicity; love wild, swooping lines; I just don't seem to stop soon enough often enough.

“Water Seeks Its Own Level” I thought I’d post this before I go back and add more to it. I love simplicity; love wild, swooping lines; I just don’t seem to stop soon enough often enough.

Image (152).jpg

This was the third attempt. Draw one; the expression on the surfer’s face is wrong, head’s too big. Use that to get to the second. Too messy, perhaps. This one… maybe the face is too cartoonish. AND, I know, got too carried away with the lines. Really, in most surfing images, photos or illustrations, especially if the surfer is wearing a wetsuit; it’s a lot of black. It is risky to try to show expressions; and (sorry for the self evaluation/critique), on drawings where the expression seemed right, the rest kind of followed.

Here are a couple of other recent, non-surf-centric illustrations:


I’m not sure why the second one seems off-kilter. I’m blaming the scanner. Again, it’s the expression first, rendering second.

MEANWHILE: Trying to keep from naming surf spots; but reaffirming that there is never any surf on the Strait of Juan de Fuca; I did go surfing quite recently with Adam Wipeout, Cameron, Adam’s dog, Victor, somewhere on the wild Pacific Ocean coastline in Washington, just ahead of more incoming snow.

BECAUSE Camo is six feet four with long legs, he got to ride shotgun in the ‘should be stealthy, but with four boards (two for Adam, just in case) on top, non-descript Toyota’ while I, with short legs but a quite long torso, got to ride in the back with the over-active dog. Now, part of Adam’s deal with his wife, Andrea, is that, evidently, if he gets to go surfing on a Sunday, he either takes their two overactive boys, Emmett and Boomer, or the aforementioned dog. AND Victor seemed to resent both me, taking up less than half of the available space, and the paddle that split the space. AND it’s a long haul there and back; speed reduced by the off-and-on icy, and almost all winding roads.

AND, when we got to the ocean, there were choices; not between almost great and great waves, but between junky and less-junky. AND it was cold. 37 degrees, with a colder wind possibly ready to get even colder. I must admit I waited a while, looking for… geez, what are we always looking for?  WHILE I was shivering, watching, four surfers came running down the beach, headed out right where Camo and Adam were getting a few decent beachbreakers. Bear in mind, there were no other surfers out anywhere. AND, one of the surfers had a GoPro in his mouth, just sure he’d be getting barrelled.

SO, I went out, found a few fun ones, cranked a few turns, connections, got bumped off on a tuck-in, got caught inside way too many times, traded off peaks (the wind did shift, and it got better) with Adam. EVIDENTLY, when we were pulling through Port Angeles, someone flipped us off. Really, they flipped Adam off. “So,” I asked Adam while we were waiting at a Mexican Restaurant, “don’t you flip off cars with four boards on top? I do, sometimes, I admitted, if it’s only an under-the-dashboard flip-off.

AND, incidentally, there were PA locals at the restaurant, possibly, almost certainly, surfers, but, on this day, they’d been hitting the local slopes (not sure if this is a secret spot or not). You can tell; they kept their passes hanging on their outfits. Outfits. “It was just too good to pass up,” one of them told Adam. Other than the car with the dog hanging out a window and the four boards on top, there was little proof that we’d been ripping up the ocean waves. Maybe if I’d had a GoPro in my mouth…

So, sorry to get too involved in the story. Hopefully I didn’t reveal too much secret information. Again, remember there’s always something breaking on the coast, never anything on the Strait.

PART III- Hydrosexual Stephen Davis Goes Deeper Into Baja

BUT FIRST…I’ve have a connection with Franco Bertucci, leader of Locust Street Taxi and author of a book of poetry, Awkward Guy.  I did some illustrations for the book, and Franco and I are scheming on how to sell more of his book and the Realsurfers Coloring Book. He has ideas on how to set up a PayPal account, and other things essential to being a bit more successful in our endeavors. Check him out at 

NOW BACK TO STEPHEN- I’m not sure where he is, do know he was in La Paz, on the Sea Of Cortez side, last time he had wi-fi. The surf had been flat on the coast (so, all the way up and down), but, obviously, he got waves somewhere.


So, it’s one photo from Hawaii, Pine Trees, which, when I said it looks like Cardiff Reef, Stephen said, “Maybe, but warmer water, ” and, he did say, he got some good waves in uncrowded conditions on a rainy day, crappier waves with way more surfers, the Haoles more of a problem, attitude-wise, than the locals, when it was nice all day long.

The other photos are a bit of a mystery. I don’t know how there were lefts breaking on the backside of Baja, but, hey, I’m still up here waiting for a swell. Yeah, I know, it’s coming.

NOT REALLY AN UPDATE: Selected Texts to/from Stephen:

mon-12/08-10:10- I’m on my way.   11:37- Looks like a huge storm hitting PNW soon?    Reply-Not great forecast though. (this was after Steve hit N.Cal, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, some spots between there and Rincon)

sun. 12/11- 6:25am- Rincons knee high/flat/longboardable/high tide… No one seem to mind my afro so far. Good omen.            Hitting San Clam.                                                             4:06pm- Is ‘pipes’ San elijo state beach? Biggish bluff?                                                                       Reply-Yes. North end.                                                                                                                                      4:08- Looks super fun!                                                                                                                                     Reply- Surf it. Mostly oldsters.                                                                                                                      4:10-  Ok.  Longboard Day.  Clean though.                                                                                    Reply- Aren’t they all?                                                                                                                                     4:11- Seriously…                                                                                                                                              6:33- best waves so far? Santa Cruz. Pleasure Point rights.

Sun.12/25- 3:27pm- Hey Erwin! I made it to Canejo. Bit like the point and Hobuck in a blender with a cobble reef and howling wind. Surfing, kiteboarding, whales, blah, blah… I miss everybody. I hope you’re dropping in on some ahole logger catching tons of bombs for xmas. Miss you. S                                                                                                                                         Reply- Great stuff. Glad you are hitting it. Glad you made it. Surfed twice last week. (bragging part deleted). Don’t worry about missing anything here. Keep me posted and score the maximum allowed. And merry x-ing Christmas.                                                               3:42- I’ll send photos when I get wi-fi in a few weeks or whatever. Glad you are unapologetically charging… that’s my game plan too.  PS I love my new short board!!!

Wed. 12/28- 7:12am- I don’t know if people are fucking with me (probable) but, supposedly a naked surf contest here on New Year’s Eve? I might be the announcer? I will keep you posted… waves have been pumping.                                                                                         Reply- Thanks. Going surfing.                                                                                                                7:25am- PS. Get some bombas. Lack of surf desperation is tangible here. Solid overhead drainers one guy out all cruisey. Oh! It’s not perfect I guess? WTF?                                           Reply- Indeed. Hoping for four ft.                                                                                                        7:31-  Sounds good. Hope you score. I’ve been wearing armor, my full suit booties. Too many sharp flesh eating/penetrating things living on the reef. Going out now.

Tues. 01/03/17- 7:57pm- Happy New Year Erwin. “Flat” here… the equivalent of epic (spot deleted as per Clint’s Rule Number 1) only warm water, offshore wind, no one out, too much sun, etc… I’m tripping out. So many crazy stories from the old timers… Oh. Orcas ate a baby gray whale just past the surf on NY eve at sunset. What does it mean!?!?! Too much to tell. Warm wishes.                                                                                                                      Reply- Wha-ah-whoa-owww!!! And I never use multiple explanation marks!!!! You better be journalling this stuff, with illustrations

I also never say ‘journalling,’ but Steve does. Maybe texting is journalling. I’ll keep you posted, and soon, once I get them all sorted out, I’ll do something on Clint’s New Rules of Surf Etiquette and Behavior. I am trying to abide by them, but, really I love to talk surf way too much to not blurt out where and when if asked. And, yes, I did drop the name, Hobuck; but, if you’re a Buckster, you’re happy to share the Ho experience, though, really, I only had one great session out there, all alone until… that’s a different set of rules; the “Oh, it must be good; people are out surfboarding.”


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.

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.

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.

Oregon Secret Spot Secretly (at least covertly- sort of) Photographed

UPDATE: Here’s a shot of my nephew, Fergus Lynch, at Waikiki Beach in Ilwaco, close to my father’s house in Chinook, Washington. Wait, is this a surf spot? Ooops.


It isn’t really a secret spot, but it is really quite well protected. While I was driving around looking for a place to park where I wouldn’t have to hike past a beachfire attended by what, from a distance, I would have to think were surfers, parked in someone’s back yard; surfers who would, no doubt, be unhappy to see yet another non-local drawn to the unmistakable (to another surfer) long distance view of glassy, heavy, twirling barrels, my nephew, Fergus, did take the hike. Not a surfer (other than the times we hit Seaside Cove while visiting my Dad- Not this trip, however, on Christmas Day), Fergus got some great shots. This is, in my opinion, the best of them.


When it was evident that he was taking photos, one of the surfers came in, walked up to Fergus, said, “You better hide that camera.” With his next breath, he asked, somewhat excitedly and unexpectedly, “Did you get my last ride?” Fergus gave him a digital review of his photos. He had just caught the last of the surfer’s last ride, an attempted kickout close to the rocks. Perhaps Fergus, not looking like a threat, probably more like a hipster (and this is the last time I will ever use the word- hipster, that is, not tourist) tourist, and maybe more so when his parents caught up to him, got away with taking a few shots on what had to be a rare, but definitely epic (by any set of standards) day. What’s amazing to me is how great his eye is. But then, his mother is an artist. Great work, Fergus.







I actually had to bug my sister, Melissa, to bug her son to get the photos to me. Then, because he sent it in one format… not a big part of the story; I have the photos now, and next time I’m down visiting my father, I might take that hike.

UPDATE: Just received photos from Melissa. The last one is of furtive photographer Fergus and his father, Jerome, in disguise. No, I won’t be hiking-in anytime soon.




A Teaser on The Continuing Saga, Formerly a Mystery, and soon to be a majorly independent motion picture event, of the Paddle in the Dolphin

NOW that I’ve written it, gotten it out, I’m over it. I hold no ill will toward Raja, and hope we can hang out in the future. He does seem to have the same appreciation for the thrills, absurdities, posturing, and generally high-schoolish behavior involved in surfing anywhere. I’m calling us even. Hopefully Raja will also. PEACE, and I don’t mean that sarcastically.

This is Raja, his given name. I asked. He was born and raised and still lives in Edmonds, a city on the Seattle side of Puget Sound. I’ve seen Raja numerous times over the past several years while surfing on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. His beard keeps growing; hipsterrific.  A few months ago, in an act Raja still claims was not malicious, he found my paddle, which had been ripped from my hands while negotiating the last sixty yards of an inside tube. Now, as I have previously written, I would have bailed on the wave had it not been for the just-mentioned tube. And, hey, the paddle floats, right?


Raja in left profile. The other two angles are on file.

Oh, those are my fingers. Just can’t seem to get them out of the shots.  Now, you can make your own decisions on whether Raja is a hero for causing an (allegedly) intimidating and (by definition) notorious wave hog to have a few moments of, well, humiliation; or a punk-ass bitch who has never actually said he was in any way sorry for the non-malicious act.  The ‘punk-ass bitch’ is not malicious, Raja (and friends of Raja), and was recommended as the appropriate description by someone who had heard [my version] of the story, and preferred punk-ass bitch over [my choice] hipster dick. Yes, I know you, Raja, and all hipsters, deny your hipster-ness, and, if ‘hipster’ is in any way a pejorative term, this is also not malicious in intent.

There’s intent and there’s actual consequences. Um, yeah; sure.

I’ll get back to this. I’m working on the complete story. I am over it. I think Raja is counting on the wave of prestige for showing up, kind of, a 64 (no, I was only 63 at the time) guy without having to do it on actual waves.

Check back another time.


All TIme (So Far) Strait Skunking

“Everyone gets the same forecasts,” I am quite fond of saying, and, indeed, probably just did say to one or more of the accumulated surfers, one of whom said he didn’t self-identify as a hipster. “You could shave the beard,” I offered, if he didn’t want to look like a surf hipster. Or he could have gotten in the water if he wanted to look like a, you know, surfer. This was all taken after I got out of the water after two and a half hours of cruising on little waves, mostly alone. This sort of de facto crew was mostly there at dawn, with an incredible number of other rigs pulling in, checking it out, discussing the fact that there should have been bigger waves, better waves. “The buoys, the forecast, the…”

Yeah, well. It’s the Strait. I actually sort of set up this shot, calling for one of the VWs to tighten up so I another could fit in. And there was another one back by the main road, evidently broken down. And there’s one up on the road; maybe you can see it over the top of the others. I did, at one point, say, “Why don’t you all do a VolkswagenTrain to Hobuck.”


Maybe it’s because it’s an El Nino (gee, where’s the key for that curly thing that should go over the n?) year, maybe it’s because the Seahawks have a bye week; maybe the fact that the road closer to Neah Bay was washed out during the previous day’s rain; maybe, maybe there’s a great explanation for why a record number of surf enthusiasts, surf yuppies, some hipsters, and pretty much everyone who ever surfs in the northwest, was out. As for why the surf chose to not come down, who knows. It’s the Strait.


Different angle, same group of woulda-been surfers had there just been waves. The two folks in the nearly-but-not-quite (because they’re not like couples with matching windbreakers) matching sweaters and the city-sized dog, were probably also planning on surfing. Behind me, and I now wish I’d taken a few more photos, was a nice setup of beach-made coffee, some boutique snacks, a bottle of sparkling Pellegrino water, which, later in the afternoon, could be replaced, perhaps, with an appropriate wine. The vehicle was there at dawn when I arrived; and, when the guy sleeping inside got up, and I said the waves were big enough for an old guy like me, and wondered why all the younger folks didn’t go to the coast and take on overhead, long period swells, he… well he rolled out his yoga mat and started doing, I guess, yoga.

“Getting into my wetsuit is enough of a warm up for me,” I said. As what turned out to be a set rolled in from the darkness, I added, “It’s big enough for me.” What I didn’t say is I should have listened to Keith. He figured, and now I just knew, correctly, that the swell wouldn’t hit where I was. Yeah, I should have waited for Monday.

Oh, I should mention that behind my birdshit-splattered rig were groups of surf power couples, chatting, with new personnel being added, others giving up and trying to beat the rush for the ferries. It’s not like one can really tell a real surfer just by looking at a crowd. A Patagonia cap might not mean the person wearing it rips. However, I might offer that guys who pile out of a rig with four boards in bags on the rack, each one looking all impressed by the number of people hanging out (three surfers bobbing in the actual water at this time), and then each give a nod to the only guy, and an oldie at that, in a wetsuit… those guys might be wannabes.

Let me reiterate that I did catch a lot of waves. The couple who live down by Crescent came out on SUPs, rode quite a few; Big Dave, now again employed (which explains why he was there then on Sunday), paddled out. When the tide was about to do in what waves there were, one other guy on a long longboard came out, caught a wave. “That’s one,” I said, being friendly. What I did notice from the water was the sort of slow motion movement of surf rigs into and out of the area.  I asked Mr. Yoga before I left, “Since you never did surf, maybe you kept count of how many vehicles came and went.” “About 80, I’d guess,” he said. “So crowded,” I offered. “You’re looking at the future,” he said, “word’s out. Maybe you heard of a place called Malibu.”

I did look at the future. Gathered at the water’s edge, chatting in groups like it was a Ballard block party. I’m not hating, here; maybe it’s just my image of surfers hasn’t been properly shifted from the illusion of blue collar rebels to, to… Anyway, Keith did get surf, and Adam Wipeout and his friend Nate got surf. They drove past the scene I was involved in, made it past the now-partially opened road, checked out the coast, managed to score somewhere in between. I passed at least ten vehicles still headed out when I was cruising back down Surf Route 101. When Adam and Nate drove back past this spot, it was dead, dead flat.

“Epic Skunking,” Adam said. “Well,” I said, “I got more waves than anyone on the beach.”

Today it may be firing. NOTE: Again, I’m not hating; we all just want to have fun. Next time I’ll bring some Pellegrino water, though I’m not fond of the sparkling kind. “Maybe Wednesday” (a holiday for many) I heard a woman in the parking lot say. “What does the forecast say?” “Iffy.” Iffy for sure. Always iffy.