Streaming and Screaming like a Toddler

                                “Whoa! Ow! Ewwww! Ye-aaaaaay-yah!”

Oh, and “Cowabunga!”

SATURDAY, JUNE 22ND

I had to drop my earphones to try to figure out why Trish was yelling at me.  It was tough because the Super Heat was ‘ON!’ Kelly Slater and Felipe Toledo trading excellent scores. 9.1 topped by a 9.5; two more excellent scores, one each, and Kelly needed another wave to win.  Scary barrels, final turns into whitewater head and a half high. 

Great heat.  A minute and a half to go.

“What?”

“What? You were screaming.”

“Me?”

“Yeah, you; if I hadn’t been awake I might have had a heart attack.’

“Fine, fine; can I just… I want to watch the last… thirty seconds.”

“Sure. Cowabunga!”

I’m sure I didn’t say ‘cowabunga.’ I never say cowabunga.  Dude. Then again, I wasn’t aware I was screaming.  Earphones.  And me, to borrow a phrase one of the WSL commentators used to describe what Wade Carmichael did when he saw the waves at the Brazilian Pro contest, “screaming like a toddler.”

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Next time…

That might be tomorrow.  Early. With earphones and the door closed.

SUNDAY, JUNE 23RD

I was feeling like I was coming down with a cold for a couple of days.  I was right. It seems like, when I have a day where I don’t absolutely have to be somewhere, a day where I can sort of chill out… sniffle…

I didn’t manage to get up early enough for the start of competition in Brazil, got streaming when the second women’s semifinal was on.  Stephanie and Carissa.  It was a bit of a shoot-out, or tube/air-out, with the scores going back and forth, and, with a minute and a half left and Stephanie needing a good score to win, Dru called me.  Admittedly, I wasn’t super into the competition, but I was kind of rooting for Steph (and I’m not sure why I root for competitors like Gilmore and Slater who have certainly won their fair share of competitions- but I do- with some room in my fan-head for underdogs Silvana Lima and Sebastian Zietz), but, again, it’s not an interruption unless you care about what is being interrupted.

At least now I was awake.

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Eventually Sally Fitzgibbons and Felipe Toledo would win.  I de-streamed when the final buzzer went off.

I might have screamed if I hadn’t been sick.  Next time for the WSL, Jeffry’s Bay.  Oh, yeAH; UH HUH!

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Either You Froth…

 …or you don’t.  This may be a distinguishing feature of all real surfers.  Anyone can enjoy the basic beauty of a perfectly formed, peeling wave.  Basic. Beauty. Energy made visible, even violent; distant wind, steady or sudden; moving, pushing, transferring its power to the water; disorganized bundles hitting other forces, tides, waves from other winds; traveling, deepening, overcoming smaller swells…

 …and when they approach land, fingers and hands, points and beaches, land that has been formed by other forces, shaped by constant batterings; these lines that are the pulse, the heartbeat of the oceans, one-every-five-seconds become one-every-fifteen, four per minute…

 …and then…

wavesonewavetwo

 You can probably clearly remember picking waves out of a stormy and blown-out ocean, telling your friends, or just yourself, what you’d do on that wave (presuming you could even get out).  “That one!  That one! See?”

There have been moments where seeing waves hit some indicator, outside or up the beach; paddling over the shoulder, twenty yards out from the peak, where the witnessing of the beauty of the lighting and the varied-if-not-perfect symmetry of a breaking wave is enough…

 …almost.

 

There are moments where watching a friend drop from the other side of a peak, drop-and-drive, disappear for a tick, or three, under the break, and emerge… or even not, and you’re crashing through a lip, looking toward the next wave, hoping you can paddle fast enough to line up on a hoped-for second or third wave in the set; some times that view, sharing the joy, is enough… almost.

You might just be screaming as loud as the person in the tube. 

That’s part of the joy.  You know that joy.  I’ve never met a real surfer, no matter how cool, who won’t break into a near giggle-fit at the sight of a wave… this wave, that wave, ‘that one! That one! See!”

 Hey, it’s INTERNATIONAL SURFING DAY! Feel free to FROTH OUT!

 

 

From “Swami’s” the Novel

I am still working on the novel; when I can. I’m busy; working. It’s painting season, and I haven’t had the luxury of a few hours early in the morning when my brain is best suited to writing; or, more likely, the energy to take those hours and then do a days work an hour each way from home.  Now, I must admit, I have taken some time to attempt to find and ride waves. Don’t tell my clients.  Not that much time.

And I’ve been thinking about the novel; where it is, how to resolve it; who killed Chulo; who killed Jody’s father; and, once worried that a novel is supposed to be over 60,000 words, I’m now at somewhere over 55,000 and needing thirty or… I need more words.

So, here I am home relatively early, took a much needed nap, interrupted after half an hour by Trish, just wanting to know if I’m home (yes, and no, I can’t go back to sleep), and I have some time before Trish gets home, so, rather than write new stuff, I thought I could post something from what I have written.

Part of my wanting to do this is that, discussing the painting of a rental with one of my clients, retired attorney Rick Shaneyfelt, I started telling him about the novel.  I can’t say listening to a painting contractor talk about plot and character development was particularly fun for Rick, but, like talking surf with a friend, it did get me inspired to do something (something) on the novel.

Because I wanted to back up the version on my computer, I have a zip/stick/whatever drive, and I’ve been writing on that.  The version on the computer is somewhat behind and, because I edit what I’ve written more often than adding new chapters, it’s different. I was going to copy and paste a chapter that actually had surfing in it, but, scrolling down, I got to this part.

AND, of course, I made changes. I can straighten that out later.  MEANWHILE, please check out this part, probably about a third of the way in to what I’ve written so far on “SWAMIS.”

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                 JUMPER AND THE WOMAN FROM THE JESUS BUS… WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 1969

“I was surfing at Pipes,” Jumper told me, both of us walking across the Palomar campus from the upper parking lot, “last spring; kind of junky, and… Swamis wasn’t working. It was pretty early. Overcast. I see this woman coming down the stairs. Kind of a flowing… I don’t know, robe or something, behind her.”

“From Pipes? You saw her from Pipes?”

“Yeah; good vision. And she runs around the corner…”

“Boneyards?”

“Yeah. And… the waves weren’t too good, anyway; so I decide to go for a run.”

“Jog? Like jogging?”

“Yeah. No. Hey, Jody; Marine Corps. Remember? We don’t fuckin’ jog, man.”

“Yeah, so, you, um, run. Sure. You dropped your board and…?”

“Yeah. I stuck it against the rocks by the ramp, jogged on down.” Jumper did a bit of a comic jogging move, legs flying to the sides. “Ran. I mean, the beach was empty; I stayed on the hard sand… (whistles the Marine Corp anthem a bit) and I get to Swamis, go around the corner, around the point, and…”

“And?”

“And there she was; full lotus position.” Jumper held out both hands, palms up thumb to first two fingers. I nodded, gave him a hand motion that meant ‘and?’ “So, she’s sitting on whatever it was she had been wearing, and she’s…”

“Naked?”

“No. No. But, she’s…” Jumper moved his free hand from one side of his chest to the other a couple of times. “…topless.”

“Oh. And, full lotus?”

“Full lotus; eyes closed. I guess her dress was kind of… (he acted as if he was pulling up a skirt, unevenly, one leg, then the other) there was a lot of, a lot of leg showing. Thigh.  I’m, I, um, run past. Then, then I figure; like, if she’s in a trance… so, I kind of jog- okay, jog; back… around… couple of times.”

Jumper did a sort of over-awkward, vaudevillian version of his beach moves, eyes on one place (in this case, on me). 

I duplicated Jumper’s jogging routine, adding some arm flapping, some out-of-sync hand motions.

PORSCHE/PORTIA AND SHAKESPEARE…

We were both laughing. Jumper’s voice got lower as we approached the first classrooms, little groups of students, a few more men than women, waiting for the 7pm classes to begin. There was only one I recognized (Jeanie, had dated John in high school- he had moved away- his dad was transferred- didn’t want to ask if they were still together- assumed they weren’t- she was standing quite close to a guy I didn’t know). Jeanie and I exchanged those ‘wave in lieu of conversation’ waves.

Jumper exchanged nods with several guys, waved at a young woman. She stepped forward. He stopped, allowed her to give him a hug. There were words, “Welcome back,” “Yeah, yeah.” “You… good?” “Good; yeah; good.”

Jeanie didn’t step forward to explain… anything.  The people Jumper knew all looked a bit suspiciously at me. Or I imagined they did.  He didn’t introduce me. He nodded in the direction we were going, and we moved on.

“It was; it was the woman from the ‘Jesus Saves’ bus.  Portia.”

“Oh. Oh? Yeah. Her.” I had heard her name. I knew her name. Portia. She was somewhere over twenty, under thirty; long black hair, very tall, always in a long skirt, kind of a Hippie/Prairie/Churchy. Now I was imagining her topless, full lotus. “Portia?”

“Maybe. Yeah. Yes. Porsche, like the sportscar; and, it’s, like, maybe the third time I circled, she opens her eyes and…”

“Shit!”

“Shit; yeah; and she says, ‘I’m not Buddhist or Hindu or nothing,’ and I just…”

 “Fuck. Busted!” I was giggling.

Jumper got a bit more serious; gave me a look. Sideways. I had fallen a bit behind him. I knew better. I pulled even with him. “She says, ‘Jumper, Jumper Hayes.’  Not like it was a question.”

“What?” I stopped. I stopped giggling.

“Yeah. Yeah, and I say, trying to not look at her tits, which, by the way, she made no move to cover. Just, uh, out there. Eye level. Tan. They’d been out before. For sure. But, they were…” Jumper put both hands out, as if cupping breasts. I probably was trying to determine something more specific about size and shape; probably something about whether they were high and… yeah; I was wondering.

The notebook under my left arm almost fell out as I tried to duplicate Jumper’s hands. Yes, he had twisted, rotated his wrists a bit. Size and shape.

“Really?”

“Really.”

Jumper dropped his hands, started walking again. “Wait. Wait! And you said?”

“What?”

“You were about to say what you said when she said, ‘You’re Jumper Hayes.’ And it’s not Porsche like the car, it’s Portia, like, like a character from Shakespeare.”

“Shakespeare?” Jumper asked. We both nodded, neither of us sure.

“I think,” I said.  

“Well, then. Shakespeare.”

ATH-A-LETES…

We were approaching the correct block of classrooms. “We’ve missed some classes, you know.”

“You know I don’t care, Jumper; didn’t want to take this class.”

“Well; you’re a brain, supposedly; you can make it up.”

“Probably just basic stuff; getting free food, beating confessions out of the innocent, rousting Mexicans, harassing Hippies; probably inherited most of it.”

 Jumper looked to see if I was serious.  Joke.  We rounded the last corner. There was a group of about seven or eight large guys in the middle of the block.

“Ath-a-letes,” Jumper said. “It’s kind of a joke. You tell someone you’re taking Police Science, they ask if there’s a lot of athletes in the program.  Easy A, as I said.”

Several of the ath-a-letes nodded at Jumper, one at me (Fallbrook jock- lineman, shotputter, heavy weight wrestler), as we approached. Jumper stuck both hands in the air, flipping the bird with each.  The athletes gave way. We walked past them.

Most of them.  The biggest one stepped in front of Jumper. Jumper stopped. I stopped. The guy was wearing a San Dieguito letterman’s jacket that may have fit when he was smaller, younger; fourteen or fifteen.  He was somewhere over twenty. Jumper’s age, probably. “Jumper fucking Hayes,” he said.

“Tiny fucking Tod,” he said.

Tiny Tod picked Jumper up, said, “We was so worried about you, man.” Yeah, somewhere around Jumper’s age.

Jumper didn’t resist. Not that he could. Larger force. He was being shaken like a ragdoll. And then he was set back on his feet.  “Thanks, Tiny.” Jumper rearranged his shirt a bit. “I’m good. You taking this class?”

“Uh; yeah; coach said we have to.”

 “But, uh… coach?”

“I’m a freshman, Jumper. Navy, man; four years. Saw the world.”

“Okay.”

“Mostly San Di-fucking-a-go. NTC. Cook.  You?  Heard you and Chulo did some time in the Gray Bar Hotel.  Fuckin’ shame ‘bout Chulo.”

“Yeah. Um… no; they gave me, me more than Chulo; gave me a choice.”  Jumper snapped to attention. “Semper fi, Swabbie.”

“Wait. No.” Tiny Tod pointed to a ‘USN’ tattoo, with anchor, on his upper arm, grabbed Jumper’s arm.  Jumper gave him a look (we all watched the exchange, saw the look); Tiny dropped the arm.  “Sorry.”

Jumper looked around at the other students, rolled up the left sleeve on his t shirt to reveal the rest of his scar, just to the inside of the middle of his bicep.  He laughed. One syllable only, sticking his finger into the former wound, pushing it in past the first knuckle. “No muscle there; huh?”  He laughed a bit more, pulled down his sleeve.   “All right.” He looked around at the other students, back at Tiny, pointed at me. “If any of you need to, cheat off’a this guy. He doesn’t just look smart. Um, smart-er; anyway.”

All the athletes looked at me. Tiny stepped aside.  They all stepped aside. I followed Jumper.  He looked around, jerked his head as a signal. I came up even.

He kicked out with his right leg, caught me mid calf.  “Sidekick,” he said.

“No way,” I said.  I stopped just long enough to kick out my left leg. Missed. He laughed. 

Five or six men, older men; men, were standing at the other end of the building in another group; smoking, laughing. A couple of them looked our way. Jumper stopped between the two groups. I stopped; even with him.

“Okay, Jody,” he said, in a lower voice, “So I say, ‘Yes, I am. Do I know you?’ And she says, ‘I knew Chulo Lopez. You were a friend of his.’ I say, ’Chulo? Yes; good friends; known him… knew him… all my life.”

“Chulo?”

“Yeah, and then she unfolds her legs, straightens them, stands up. Gracefully.”  Pause. Even lower, “She was wearing underwear. I looked. Yeah. I did. Black. Lacy. Her skirt kind of, um, falls down. She must have had a belt to… She was a little, um, uphill of me; and she walks closer. Her tits are still, just, out there. I’m looking in her eyes. Trying to. So dark. And she’s looking me up and down. And she says, or, maybe, she asks, ‘Do you know Jesus?’ And I kind of… I kind of want to laugh. I say, ‘Yeah. Jesus; half man, half God; I know a lot about Jesus.’ And she goes, ‘Do you think Chulo has found redemption?’”

“Wait,” I said, “Redemption?” Now we’re both serious. I pulled a pack of Marlboros out of my jacket pocket. Maybe it was because all the guys at the other end were smoking. Jumper shook his head.  I put the cigarettes back.

“Yeah, redemption. And I say… a couple of other runners, joggers; they were- I’d call them joggers; outfits and all; were headed our way… from the Moonlight beach direction; and she, Portia… Por-ti-a; she pulled up her dress; slowly covered her tits, watching me all the time, and, and, I guess it was the shawl thing around her waist. She…”

“Jumper; man; what did you say?”

“I said that whoever killed my friend Chulo had better look hard for redemption; because I’m looking for him, and I must apologize to God and to Jesus for this, revenge.”

“Revenge. Shit. What did she, Portia, what did she say?”

“She…” Jumper looked from side to side, back at me. “She just sort of…” He smiled. “Smiled.”

I had, of course, more questions; but it must have been close enough to seven. A man came out of the classroom, herded the crew inside, most cigarette butts left in the number 10 can at the door; some butted and tossed into the juniper bushes. The athletes walked past, pretty much around us. When the teacher caught a glimpse of Jumper and me, he pushed the next to the last student, Tiny Tod, inside, turned, both hands waving us off. He started walking, quickly toward us.

“Dickson,” I said. “Detective Dickson.”

“That,” Jumper said, “I would call that jogging.”

                                          VISTA SUBSTATION- THURSDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 25

“I’ve been here before,” Jumper said. “You?”

“’Course. Yeah. Sure; my dad worked out of here.” I pointed to a separate office, big window, closed door. “That was his.” Jumper nodded. We were standing in the larger, open area, with several empty desks and rows of file cabinets for dividers; a couple of uniformed deputies leaning over a woman clerk at a typewriter in a far corner. Jumper was holding a paper cup of coffee. 

“Different circumstances, probably,” Jumper said.

The door to what had been my father’s office opened. A man dressed in a nicer suit (higher rank, better suit) walked out…   dot dot dot…

I tried to not make changes once this got onto the WordPress page; couldn’t help myself.  Again, thanks for checking it out.  Trish should be home any minute, with groceries to bring in and take out to eat.  Maybe, in the morning…

Jaime Lannister Comments on “The Code”

PERHAPS it was because I had just watched the finale of “Game of Thrones” that I got so excited when I got a comment from a James Lannister on my last posting. I wrote about how I can’t write about sessions and spots and forecasting techniques, or about decent waves or awesome sessions. Though I didn’t mention that there is a sort of code about revealing too much about surf on the Strait of Juan de Fuca; I have, over time, become more and more aware that there is one.  Maybe.

WAIT; just like the fictional character, Jaime Lannister; only, um, whoa/wow, real?

SO, rather than leave the comment in the commentary, which, evidently WordPress makes it difficult to actually submit, I decided to include it here; my comments on Mr. Lannister’s comments in parentheses. HERE:

Blogs and Instagrams which withhold a classic surf shot in hopes of not breaking the code and maintaining status amongst (note how it’s the more British-ee ‘amongst’ rather than the more mundane ‘among’) certain media darlings (maybe this is because I’ve started referring to Adam Wipeout James as a media darling- which he is) and the local(s) that live in the woods but post content clearly implying epic surf and epic surf of daring adventures (I think he meant ‘and’ daring adventures) out of state or country is an interesting scenario. One could argue there is more allure in tales lacking photographic evidence than posting the damn photo itself, thus attracting more casual wave seekers. (then there’s a smiley face- I do wonder if there’s a ‘tongue in cheek’ emoji).

jaimeLannisterTwins“So, you’re telling me, that, maybe, when the tide comes in; there might or might not be, waves?  Tidal push, you say? Very well; it’s not as if I can call someone.  I don’t even seem to have a ‘roaming’ option, and all the locals and the pretenders, not that I can tell one from the other; keep saying stuff like, “If you see waves; you had best surf said rollers,” or, “Winter’s coming;” shite like that.  Oh, yes; board bags and Westphalians. Noted.

“When I inquire as to the availability of other, possibly better wave locations, and access to these rumored breaks; I keep hearing about ‘the code.’  The code?

“And, again, to be clear; you also seem to be quite critical of my custom wetsuit armor, designed for close quarters combat.  It served me well at Rincon and Trestles… Sir Dude of the Clan of the tree-dwellers.  But, no; I will not bend a knee to your house or your banner; ‘Lib-tech or die,’ indeed.  Um, so; when is high tide, again?”

OH, I hope this doesn’t add to the allure of the wild Strait of Juan de Fuca area for more casual wave seekers.  That might be a code violation.  Thanks, James Lannister, for reading realsurfers.

Four Days Strait

OKAY, If I choose to write about surfing, surf culture, real surfers along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I can, because it’s America (one day from Memorial Day, and the official start to outdoor grilling season), I can say pretty much whatever I want.  Freedom.  YEAH, well; then there’s popular sentiment and, I must admit, some self-centered reasons for not writing EVERYTHING.

HERE’S what I can’t write about: CAN’T name spots, even those pretty much everyone who has ever surfed the Strait knows; CAN’T publish photos of any waves over one foot (should these photos even exist); CAN’T divulge tide/wind/swell direction formulas (mine or any one else’s) for determining best chances to avoid getting skunked (even if not getting skunked means, merely, getting some of those previously-mentioned one footers); CAN’T besmirch or demean any local surfers by name or, even, by giving away clues as to the identity of said locals (and I’m not defining or arguing your definition of locals here).

In the non-writing category, the main no-no is calling up your buddy from some spot with one footers sloppily lapping on rocky shores (and, hopefully, you’re being charged Canadian roaming fees, with tariffs), with a ‘Hey, Hipster-Bud, High-Bank is just f’ing firing. Calf-high sets. No, really. How long it might take you to get here from Gold Bar? No, I don’t know about the ferry backup or if the Hood Canal Bridge is closed, or if 101 is closed due to an accident, or if downed trees are blocking 112. Sheet, man; I’m just trying to get you some waves.”

It is kind of okay to tell surf stories and reveal surf secrets to people who have no real interest in ever challenging you for a set wave; and it’s kind of okay to brag about your latest surf exploits to a few friends, AFTER THE FACT.

Most of these ‘can’ts’ are, admittedly, self-serving.  Surfing is just sooooo cool.  I don’t mind (or fear) saying that.  I don’t want MORE SURFERS in the water; some of them, undoubtedly, ready to get pissed-off because someone might be getting more tiny tubes than they are.  Or many more.

ANOTHER ARGUMENT for not sharing is that it takes away from the joy one will feel when discovering these things for him or herself.  YEP, there’s nothing like the thrill of hiking through the woods, down a slippery trail, only to find… nothing.  NEXT TIME.

ANYWAY, I will reveal two of my secrets: If Keith goes camping or Adam makes a stealth run; there will be something.  A problem there is, they might not (probably won’t) let me know until it’s over, or, at best, when that small window is closing.

SO, one (non-specific) day last week, checking the buoy readings and tea leaves frequently; I decided to go (mostly because my painting project get shut down due to the client not happy with the color she chose).  I talked my friend, Stephen Davis, into going with me, promising waves based on the hope that the angle would improve, and that Keith was out there somewhere, no doubt, scoring  AND, SURE ENOUGH, it was big enough to ride if one didn’t worry about losing another fin.

SIDEBAR: Tyler Meeks had a bunch of fins for sale at the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, sold them all.  ADVICE: If you go, bring extras.

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Okay, if you recognize the spot, one, don’t tell anyone; and, if you do, be sure to say this is a big day.

BUT, since I’m not the only one willing to be fooled by buoy reading that should mean waves, there’s always the enjoyment of hanging out.

20190522_182419I keep forgetting to take photos of real surfers, but here’s Tugboat Bill, ready to rip.

This is Gavin, originally from South Africa (once sat next to Jordy Smith at a restaurant at Jeffry’s Bay), an electrician and Whistler ski instructor; cooking lamb (smells good, not willing to taste it- did once) after his wife, Char, invited Steve and I to tour his Sprinter van. Though Steve is planning on going to Baja soon, Gavin is “through with Baja.”20190522_182550

So, yeah; one learns a lot while hanging around and waiting. NOT PICTURED is this other guy who was sitting on a five gallon bucket when we got there, quite willing to talk about how, possibly because he disrespected some Hawaiians, he suffered… (I don’t want to get into it, and, because he kept talking about it, I decided to risk my last unbroken fin).

AND, I MUST ADD, others pulled into the parking area, drawn by the hope and the anticipation.  DARREN was lured into the water, possibly, noting that SEAN, teacher from P.A., and I were rock-skimming.

STEPHEN took a nap.

SO, THREE DAYS LATER, Adam having made at least one stealth strike, Keith extending his camping trip, Steve and I risked skunking again.  And, now, finally something I can’t write about.  I have at least one photo, though I should have taken more that I can’t publish; more of real surfers.

 

Here’s my daughter, Drucilla’s, new van and the woman she bought it from. Le (pronounced Lee, but, she told me, ‘with just one e’), originally from Vietnam, but of Chinese ancestry, and… things you learn in parking lots. This one is outside the Quilcene Post Office, down on Surf Route 101.  The second photo is of the Deli section in the Poulsbo WalMart, taken because, there, partially because Dru only has a learner’s permit, and I was the duty instructor; but, mostly, because, Trish (at home on the phone) didn’t believe that there was no longer a place where one could get non-pre-packaged macaroni salad.

YEAH, not a surf story.  Not that I don’t have some.  SO, to all folks in the many many vehicles with multiple surfboards on them, with hopes and anticipation of overhead bombs; GOOD LUCK; hope you have some great stories you can’t tell.

Except, maybe, in some distant, out of cell range parking area.

Biscuit and Victor and Adam Wipeout

It seems to some of us (okay, mostly me) that Media Darling Adam Wipeout James gets more opportunities to surf than many of us married surfers (again, mostly me) can get away with without some pushback from our significant others.

I have stated, and do again state, that surfing has always been (the equivalent of) the other woman in my relationship (since 1968) with Trish.

And Adam, who has younger children, Emmett and Calvin (one or the other of them nicknamed Boomer), younger, given that my baby boy, Sean, is 37 (just turned, the other two, Dru and James, are 39 and 42- Ow- shocking, even to Trish and me), still seems to slip away to various spots from south to north, northwest, while others of us scheme and study and try to schedule waves to coincide with some window of opportunity to chase them.

The last time I ran into Mrs. James, Andrea, at the HamaHama Oysterama, I did try to ask her how she allows her husband to be so, so, so… surfer-like.  She was just rushing past, possibly chasing Boomer or non-Boomer, and didn’t actually answer. Joel, another surfer with children, who also happened to be there, was equally inquisitive.

“I’m glad you didn’t actually ask her,” Adam said, when he was passing by, schmoozing his way around the festivities.

But I did. She just didn’t answer.

NOW, in truth, Adam works an incredible number of hours, many of these hours on cold tide flats in the middle of the night; and travels to oyster-related events far and wide (and not always near waves). I honestly don’t know when he sleeps.

SO, here’s an incident that counters the narrative that Adam’s relationship with surfing if just too, too, um, desirable:

The story involves Adam pre-dawn patrolling it on Mothers Day, then, when he got back into cell phone range, discovering that the new lamb, Biscuit, was out; their dog, Victor, was involved (and possibly Adam had left some gate accessible if not open), and Andrea was, according to Adam, “not particularly happy.”

Wait. What?

So, no second (or third) session; and back down Surf Route 101 to search for the baby lamb, one that needed a bottle every, um, so often, lost in the rough terrain that features coyotes and cougars and Sasquatches.  So, kind of dire.

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Victor, trying to make up for leading Biscuit astray.

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Wait. Is that something Adam rode to look for the lost lamb, or something else lost in the deep woods?

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BISCUIT!

All photos by Adam Wipeout.  What I asked for was a photo of Adam walking down the hill with the lamb over his shoulders, hero-like (with some unavoidable comparison possible with THE good shepherd- nothing too deep). Wouldn’t have the same effect if Adam was packing the lamb out on the motorbike.

So, Adam; how were the waves again?

Uncovering Archie’s Classic Surf Rigs

ARCHIE ENDO was in Thailand when a snow load took down his ten year old homemade, canvas, vinyl, and (thin) plywood-covered, metal-tubing-framed carport.  This was in February, and his area, above Discovery Bay, and everywhere north and west of there got the brunt of the snowstorm.

ARCHIE, still recovering from a stroke, asked me, possibly because I am a contractor, to help extricate two of his classic surf rigs.  “Painting contractor, Archie; don’t really do this kind of thing.”

But we’re friends, so, of course, I said I would get some of our mutual surf friends, guys with carpentry skills, on it.

Eventually.  Then Stephen Davis went to Hawaii, shit happened, and…

A couple of weeks back Archie came back.  Cars still buried.

Last week I got some eight foot two-by-fours, some ten foot two-by-sixes, five pounds of sixteen penny nails (who would need shorter ones?), and had a plan on how to prop the thing back up. Then I got Steve and his friend from Hawaii, Damon (here for the memorial for Stephen’s son, Emmett) to give raising the roof a shot.

Heavy.  Too heavy.  We agreed that a couple of jacks (better than the bottle jacks we had) might do the trick.  Luckily, since I’ve saved jacks from two recent prematurely-killed (by me); we agreed to return.  Meanwhile, we got the roof high enough that Archie was able to start up his Lincoln Towncar.

BUT THEN…

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Two jacks, an extension cord, a Skil saw, a lot of swearing (by me only), and… (some amount of) success! We’ll fine tune it later.

Photo by Archie’s daughter, Lillian, of Archie propping me up. Or about to straighten out my moustache.

CAN’T WAIT to see Archie’s rides out on Surf Route 101.

Slow Down, No ThrowDown at the BroDown

“I always try to compete to be the best,” I said.

Now, I can, and do, edit what I write.  What I say in real time, however, is out there, it’s gone, in the time zone of ‘past,’ mostly ‘past imperfect’ tense.

Tense. Yeah. Five more minutes, I figured, and the guy who had been all “Aloha” was going to, possibly, want to throw down.  He had, he said, a history.  He had, he said, given a well-known Westport enforcer a beatdown years ago.  Cops were called.  Westside Oahu. Makaha. He knows Sunny, calls Buffalo ‘Uncle;’ said he did some enforcing.  Despite my being seventeen years older than him, he didn’t call me Uncle.

Now, after I went over the story with a couple of friends via cellular device, I began to believe I had, perhaps, over-reacted.  Maybe it was because the thought of someone actually throwing punches over some imagined (or even real) affront in the waves just seems like over-reacting.

Then I called Trish. “You have to think about what you say.” “Uh huh.” “What exactly did you say?”

Oh. So, again, let me rethink:

 

 

Discussions on who has priority.

It’s all about the windows.  The tide was going to drop off, the swell was supposed to drop, the wind was forecast to increase, and not at a good angle, not offshore.  There’s always the chance that you’ll get skunked; especially when the buoy readings, at the last place where my phone works, had already dropped to a size where, in my memory of collected skunking/scoring, the numbers favored flatness.

So, when I rolled up and saw waves… um, maybe I kind of over-amped. Pretty much a record time for me to get a suit on, booties, earplugs… and only two guys out. Guys I didn’t know.  Three surfers, three wave sets; shouldn’t be a problem.

The one surfer had just finished a ride and was lying on his very large standup paddle board. “You guys are probably exhausted from catching so many waves,” I said, paddling past him toward my lineup spot.

WAIT: Etiquette check. Perhaps I should have followed him, making sure to sit ‘outside’ of whatever position he decided to take.

THEN, scrapping around to catch waves that showed up on an outside reef, them, mostly, backed-off, regrouping on the main reef, I did, and I admit it, take off on the same wave as the other SUPer.

WAIT: Even if the guy closer to the peak, farther outside, missed a couple of waves, I probably should just let the wave go unridden rather than go for it.  Probably.

THEN, because I lost one of my earplugs, and didn’t want another three days of one-ear hearing, I went in, hung out with a couple of guys who were waiting for the incoming tide; giving the two other guys free rein.  So, nice.

THEN, MORE SURFING, more jockeying for position, but no more take-off-in-front-ofs by me.  Three wave sets, shouldn’t be a problem.  When it looked like the big surfer was going in, I did comment, “Hey, I know boating season started yesterday, but, um, do you have a license for that boat?”  Joke, yes; but the board, I swear, almost filled the bed of his small-sized truck, side to side. Very wide.

THEN, with the wind coming up and the tide bottoming-out, with more folks starting to fill the parking area, Darren deciding to paddle out before it got worse, I was changing-out on the beach, next to the big guy with the big board.

WAIT: There were, in retrospect, a few things I said that I probably shouldn’t have.

AFTER the big guy, who was pretty (and rightly) proud that he’d dropped many pounds, but had gained some of the weight back, then downed another beer, I could have avoided saying he should switch to coffee.

AFTER he said he’s sticking with the custom board, and said maybe he’s kind of a pussy, I didn’t need to say I think anyone who rides an SUP under 60 years old MIGHT BE (here’s a can’t-backspace words example- I said IS) a pussy.  Probably a mistake.

AFTER he said that if he see’s someone paddling past other surfers, taking off in front of other surfers, he has to say something (Pretty sure he meant me), I did say, “Hey, I only took off in front of him once.”  He disagreed.  Okay.

WAIT: Maybe I really shouldn’t have said that I don’t really get the whole paddling past other surfers thing. I paddle to my spot, everyone else is entitled to move. If my lineup is the one they want to use, come sit next to me, even inside me.  Paddle.  Move.  Jockey.  “Back when I started surfing, the best surfer got the most waves.”

“OH,” he said, possibly moving a bit closer to me, “Do you think you were the best surfer out there?”  Out of three. This is where I said, “I always try to compete to be,” and he came back with, “You aren’t.  See that guy over there?” Now dressed, talking to Clint. “He rips!”

OKAY. This is when, exactly, I thought about the last time I ever was involved in serious fisticuffs.  I was about 13. Butch Standefor. I only cried because I was frustrated because, though I wasn’t hurt, he wasn’t either.  SO, I lost. CLEARLY.

THEN I thought about my father.  He would throw down up until he died.  At 92.

SOOOOO, I walked away from the BIG GUY, he re-suiting to go for another session, his last word to me, “Aloha,” walked over to the other guy, shook his hand, introduced myself, apologized for the ONE time I took off in front of him.  He was nice.

LESSON LEARNED.

No, you don’t have to believe me. But, if we’re out together, sit by me. We can discuss which wave is who’s. Aloha.

 

WATCH OUT! Going Paddle-less

In a CONVERSATION with my friend, media darling (I will continue to call him this- it’s true) ADAM WIPEOUT JAMES, me painting trim in a low-bank waterfront mansion (part of the greater Puget Sound, but many thousands of feet (because waterfront seems to be sold my the foot) from even the fickle, often-trickling (note the internal rhyme) waves of the Strait of Juan de Fuca; Adam just about to miss a ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, where he would attend and cook oysters at an event held by ‘WARM CURRENTS,’ a group dedicated to getting kids who might not otherwise get the chance to enjoy the cold bliss of surfing, Adam, in response to my telling him that I was switching to surfing a TRADITIONAL LONGBOARD, and that he should definitely tell ‘Warm Currents’ official, ABIGAIL, who, if you read ‘Realsurfers’ religiously (as you should), you will recall that Abigail, who I, allegedly (accused, not convicted) once burned on a wave (in response to, again, allegedly, she pulled my leash), but who (still Abby/Abigail) did, nevertheless, purchase an ORIGINAL ERWIN t-shirt; and that this switch from the STANDUP PADDLEBOARD would, obviously and unavoidably make me far less DOMINATE in the lineup; in response to all that, Adam said, “WAIT! WAIT! you’re going to crawl on your belly, MAYBE jump up to your knees; maybe even (gulp) STAND UP?”

There was something in Adam’s TONE that just hit me wrong.  NO, not the tone, it was the WORDS.

“NO, man; I’m planning on RIPPING IT UP; dropping-in, back to the wall; swooping, climbing and dropping, tearing into a vicious cutback… all that.”

“YEAH?”

“YEAH.”

“WELL.”  It was a ‘well, we’ll see’ kind of ‘well.’

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Archie Endo, styling at LongLost Point. Photo by Stephen R. Davis

I would like to say the catalyst for my switch back to a longboard was that ‘Allboard’ (formerly ‘Shortboard’ to distinguish him from ‘Hippy’) Aaron’ said he has the perfect board for me, a ten-four Ricky Young; or that legendary longboard stylist Atsushi ‘Archie’ Endo offered me a ten-two Southcoast on a long-term loan basis- I would like to say that- but the truth is, if I want to surf some of the Strait’s less-accessible spots, or even, like, make the trek back from, say the beach at Westport to the parking lot, without, embarrassingly, dragging my board across the sand/gravel, and, sweating and red-faced, stopping every once in a while to readjust my grip on my SUP, I might just have to switch back to crawling onto my board, paddling for and into waves, hoping some dormant muscle memory might kick in and… we’ll see.

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Archie Endo shot this one. It’s, like, waist-high, right?

ALSO, I switched the header back from the one drawn by my late sister, MELISSA, to one of me standing up on a surfboard.  Yes, I did make that wave.

YES, I am aware that I’ve been saying I have (already) given up my WAVE-HOGGING ways for a while.  Well.

That’s a ‘we’ll see’ kind of ‘well.’

Memorial for Emerson ‘Emmett’ Davis

While I do fancy myself a writer, and I have done some work (paid) as a newspaper reporter, it will soon become obvious that I am neither a photographer nor a photo/journalist.

The memorial for Emerson ‘Emmett; Davis, tragically killed in a fire in his apartment in Seattle, had been planned for a while.  His father, Stephen Davis, often mentioned in ‘realsurfers’, is a friend of mine, and, while this was an opportunity to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of someone taken away from those who loved him way too soon, it also afforded the many people whose paths in some way were touched by Emmett’s.  Including mine.

My connection was, originally, through surfing.  Emmett was, and Stephen is a part of the loosely-connected collection of surfers with a homebase in the unlikely corner of the country, the Olympic Peninsula.  Because Steve travelled, ‘posted-up’ (his term) in Baja and California and Hawaii and Costa Rica, and often included Emmett for parts of these adventures, because Steve put off work (occasionally) to go snowboarding with his son, met up with him in Oregon; the community of surfers with a connection to Emmett has grown.

Add in the fact that Emmett was raised in Port Townsend, went to college and worked in Seattle, it shouldn’t have been surprising that so many people met up at Fort Worden.

Though I knew many of the locals through working in Port Townsend for many years, I was probably more at ease among the surfers. Not saying I’m totally accepted; I’m tolerated.  I gave a ride to the memorial to a surfing buddy of Stephen’s and mine, Archie Endo. A stylish longboarder, whose daughter, Lillian, went to school with Emmett.

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Archie was in town from Thailand. He had a stroke a couple of years ago, and, though he recently surfed some small waves there, he fears his days of hitting the waves in the cold Strait of Juan de Fuca may be over.

Friends of Stephen actually came into the area early, and, because it’s what surfers do, they went looking for waves.  And they found some; glassy, long walls; one of those rare, brief, and magic windows on the fickle Strait.  Cap, here from the Big Island, credited Emmett for sending the waves.

I met Cap, who introduced himself as Brian, at a beach north of PT where Stephen was preparing to kitesurf. Not being a photo/journalist, I did not take any photos.  Supposedly, Stig, who, like Cap, I had heard stories about but had never met, a friend of Steve’s from Oahu, was in town but not there at this time.

cap with cap

Okay, let’s look at photos I did take.

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Local ripper/librarian Keith Darrock, left, media darling and local wherever he goes, Adam ‘Wipeout’ James.

 

People I don’t know, or didn’t know, and Stephanie Moran, who Steve and I have both done work for, and who Trish is great Facebook friends with, though they have never actually met (yet).

Top, then clockwise- Archie and Cody Caputo (who I haven’t taken off in front of in quite a few years); the same shot twice of Cody, Archie, and Keith (I’ve never, to my knowledge, burned Archie, though I did totally ding one of his boards once, I think Keith and I are about even on wave usurping); and a photo of kitesurfer/SUPer/long-or-shortboarder Derrick Vandersurfer (I swear, no one can really get through his real last name, Wipeout, All-board (formerly shortboard) Aaron Lennox, and Archie.

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Stephen R. Davis.  I heard one of Emmett’s friends say “He’s dressed up, looks like one of my professors.”  If it doesn’t show up, there’s a matching blue tie in this sartorial mashup.  If one gets strength from hugs, Steve should be powered-up for a long while.

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Bob. Not a surfer. Everyone seemed to know Bob except me. When I was introduced, he said, “Oh, you’re Erwin. Some people thought I was you.  Some woman in Town, every time she’d see me, she’d say, ‘Erwin… love your column. Erwin.’ (I had a column in the Port Townsend Leader for about ten years) Finally, I said, ‘Thanks. Where’s that forty dollars you owe me.’  She never called me Erwin again.”

I don’t really have a right to be offended, but I don’t really see the resemblance, and,  should add no one has ever said to me, “Hey, Bob; how’s it going?”

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Steve with Cosmo. Cosmo is a landscaper from Chicago and made leis for the paddleout.

People headed toward the lighthouse for the paddleout.  That’s Michael Morrow top right. Raised in Panama, he’s surfed all over, lived for a while in Hawaii.  Has some great stories.

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Emmett’s sister, Katrina. She took some of Emmett’s ashes out to the circle.  I had never met her, and her expression might be explained by saying I had just introduced myself.  “Oh, you’re Erwin.” I’m not sure what she heard about me, but I held back from saying, “Yeah, often confused with Bob.”  I actually considered asking, feeling somewhat guilty for not participating in the paddle out, if I could hop into the canoe.

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This isn’t the end of this. While working on this, and I apologize for not having a closer shot of the circle, Adam called me.  A tanker’s passing pushed some waves into the bay, described as ‘perfect little peelers’ by Mr. James.  He sent photos.

Later.  It was, for someone who avoids these things, so worthwhile.  Archie met a guy who married into a Japanese family, Adam, who claims not to be a fisherman, regaled Aaron with a well-told fishing story as well as asking Aaron if he had, indeed, been hiking in the hills down around HamaHama (he had), and gave him some pointers on climbing spots in that area.

At one point I asked a young man across the picnic table what his connection to Emmett is: It was more his wife, but he was from Seattle; he’d seen the local news coverage.  He started talking about another incident where a young person tragically lost his life in an accident.  That was the closest I came to breaking out the tissues Trish made me bring.

I still never met Stig.

Emmett, rest in peace.