Why is my site blow-oh-oh-ing up?

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The following for realsurfers.net has been growing slowly but steadily since I started it three years ago or so. HOWEVER, it’s been getting massive numbers of hits (for me, probably low for most porn sites) over the last week or so; I don’t know where it’s coming from, and I’m kind of freaking out; thrilled and refusing to believe it’s happening at the same time. It’s, perhaps, not unlike getting locked into an overhead wave at a spot with a brutal bottom contour.

I’ve been working quite (surprisingly) hard recently, doing some writing; some drawings; some cartoons, some of which I hope might show up in “the New Yorker” (and all will undoubtedly, eventually show up here); and shipping off and working on the realsurfers coloring book. My sister, Melissa Lynch, has been helping spread the word on Facebook.

With the difficulty in convincing anyone to have painting done this time of year, the surf either not happening or not at the right angle for anywhere close, the ground frozen and the temperature brutal, I’ve been trying to do what I can to advance my artsy career, such as it is.

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Still, I’m behind on my (okay, once, I’ll call it a…) blog. I have some news and some photos from Hydrosexual Stephen Davis, last heard from wayyy down in Baja, and have some new drawings to add to existing stories “Inside Break,” and “Locals Only Kooks Go Home.” I am working on editing the coloring book down to 48 total drawings (cheaper to ship), checking into setting up a PayPal deal so people can buy the book, and cleaning up my site. Keith Darrock may be helping me with this (we’re negotiating). Keith, Associate Librarian in Port Townsend, is also working on planning for the Third Occasional Surf Culture on the Strait of Juan de Fuca Event. We’d love to get William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of “Barbarian Days,” involved, live or (maybe, even) on Skype. If you have any influence (and we’re reaching out to surf journalism legend and Surf Culture headliner Drew Kampion for help) in getting (just guessing at his surf nickname) Willy Finn involved; yeah, use it.

So, shit’s happening; and if you’re promoting/linking/doing anything that’s helping, thank you. Since the start of what may or may not be a virus, Trish, long stating that Facebook is her thing, not mine, has been helping get some stuff on the Facebook site our daughter, Dru, set up. I think I’m at Erwin Dence, Jr, Facebook-wise, and I’m also at realsurfersdotnet@gmail.com.   So, thanks; I’m getting back to work.

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Going to Chinook, maybe Seaside, then Cleanwater. Classic… and, Damn, I’ll Running Late

I stole this photo of a typical Westport contest scene from Drew Kampion.  Knowing I was headed down to my Dad’s in Chinook, Washington; and maybe checking out some post/during/pre-storm surf at Seaside, Mr. Kampion, top-tier surf wordsmith, and someone who spent some time judging heats and doing various contest-related chores, sent this photo. I did reply, saying I’m stealing it. He was (and I can’t guarantee it’s actually his photo) encouraging me to give his love to the Surfrider folks who brave harsh conditions to help run the annual contest, or, whoa, even compete in it.

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Yeah, south wind, sideways swell, sixty yard impact zone, waves that look like the stuff you paddle through to get to the waves you want to ride, roll-throughs, closeouts; welcome to the Northwest Surf City.

I have some notion that I may be able to sell a few Realsurfers Coloring Books while I’m down there. It is a great time to hang at the surf circus that Westport can sometimes be; so, if you’re going; see you there.

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Here’s the second drawing I did (on commission) for Tom Burns, a northwest surfer for, for, forever; with all the stories to prove it. He sent me two photos, thirty (might have been forty) years apart, same classic spot on the Strait. I completed a first drawing, but Trish said he looked like he had a big ass. He’s thinner here. I expect a bonus. Tom will be judging heats at the Surfrider competition. I did judge last year, but, I don’t know; I’m kind of loud, fool around a bit, judge harshly, perhaps… still, kind of hoping they’ll ask me to fill in while one of the judges takes a bathroom break or has to be treated for hypothermia. We’ll see; and I’ll let you’ll know.

UPDATE ON ARCHIE: I’m thinking no news might be as good as we can get. Recovery is slow and probably lonely, half the world away. Still sending whatever good thoughts I have; and I’ll pass on anything I hear.

new, revised, or redrawn images

I’m preparing to add some more images to the realsurfers coloring book, getting them resized, adding some lines; redrawing a few. Here are some I’ve been working on:

Image (79)Image (78)Image (80)Image (81)Image (82)And here’s a backstory on the drawing of the guy on the nose. I’ve drawn it several times, had it all finished, but it didn’t seem right. I went back to the drawing I took this from, realized the surfer’s left arm is supposed to be in front of his face. Oops. And now it’s a bit darker. If I could, on occasion, sort of duplicate the silky, magic-lighting look of classic John Severson photos, I would. Maybe this is as close as I’ll get (not that I won’t keep trying).

Hey, it’s all just lines and dots. Suddenly I’m not sure if I reported on how the poetry/singing/book selling event went with “Awkward Guy” writer Franco Bertucci and I… it went well, probably better than expected. We’re not done. I’ll let you know.

The Real Surfers Coloring Book is…

…ready. I put it all together in time for an event at the Port Townsend Library last night; twenty copies, numbered, artist’s proofs. Here are a few drawings that were redrawn, resized from the large originals, or are actually new: Oh, not sure how this happened, but the drawing on the left is the cover for the poetry book I illustrated. Franco read some of his poetry, sang two of my songs, two of his; and I recited (rather than sang) a song or two, played some harmonica, recited some of Franco’s poetry. It went well. And we sold a few books.

Surfer/librarian Keith Darrock took this photo of Franco Bertucci and I setting up and preparing to kill it. It didn't feel like 'killing it' at the time; but, for a poetry reading, it was racy and raucous

Surfer/librarian Keith Darrock took this photo of Franco Bertucci and I setting up and preparing to kill it. It didn’t feel like ‘killing it’ at the time; but, for a poetry reading, it was racy and raucous

Now, if I could figure out how to approach the larger market.

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Real Surfers “Real-ly” For Surf Literature

…the first one, ever; goes to William Finnegan for “Barbarian Days.”

I’m sure he would be stoked. Okay, maybe mildly amused. Maybe just cool about the whole thing. I just heard the last of the hourly NPR newscast the other day, announcing the winner of some award. Didn’t hear what award, but something literary.  I was excited. I called up Port Townsend librarian (and surfer) Keith Darrock, who had saved the book for me when they got it in. I may have been the second one to check it out. My friend Archie Endo also mentioned the book was out. Real life surf writer/editor Drew Kampion endorsed Finnegan as a writer, quite impressed he had written a two issue (unheard of in its rarity) “New Yorker” piece on Doc Renneker, legendary surfer. “Yeah, he’s legit.”

So, I read it. Not straight through; but as straight through as I could manage.

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s the Booker Prize. Don’t they have something like that?”

No, I found out; it’s the Pulitzer! Whoa. Now, that’s something.

It might be that part of the reason I loved the book so much more than some other books on surfing I’ve read, or started to read, or scimmed and abandoned, is that Mr. Finnegan is a real writer; a really good writer. And…he’s been there; surfing and other war zones; and he can maintain a coolness that most of us cannot; he can put into words what we can feel, not explain, and yet recognize as authentic. Passion and critical situations are sometimes best described from just a bit of distance;  with the right amount of objectivity. “Yeah, that’s it. He got it right.”

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The explanation for why the book had a bigger impact on me than it seems to have had on Keith is, perhaps, that Finnegan and I are contemporaries. I looked it up, he’s actually a year younger than I am; started surfing at a similar time. He is able to describe the beginnings of what his reviewers always seem to call “a lifelong passion;” trying to learn, to improve, to fit into whatever tribe one finds himself among.

While he was exploring now-well known spots around the world, I was surfing now-way-more-crowded spots in a less crowded Southern California. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear how that went for him.

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I actually was impressed enough to hold off of returning the book after I’d read it, asking Keith what would happen if I went over the deadline. And (this is actually unusual) I watched a video of Mr. Finnegan doing a reading at some event in New York City, with non-surfers making up most of the audience.

And he was cool; not talking down, now rolling his eyes, not even, noticeably smirking as he looked back to the page he was reading.

I have to admit I take some (probably improper) solace in knowing that, possibly to make up for his wanderings during his youth, he’s still working. Of course, when he’s not, he might be snagging a few tubes at Tavarua, staying at the now-known island, with a real bed and untainted water.  So, a minor honor, indeed, but the first ever “Real-ly” is for you, Mr. William Finnegan, Jr.

Illustration for World Mind-Surfing League

I’m going to insert this into the piece, but, since I have enough folks who get a message, psychic or over the mysterious intranet, when I post something new, I’m putting it here first. I’ve got a secret (okay, letting you in on it) plan to get this to the WSL, which I love (and was watching earlier, before the Seahawks game started. Wouldn’t it be great if they did a little skit where…

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…Hey, if you have some contacts… that’d be great. Greater. Also, I wouldn’t have finished the drawing if the surf had just cooperated and followed the forecast.

Semi-Finals, Mind-Surfing Championships, Live Now

You’re switching from a site featuring photos of ‘mature’ nude women to WM-SL.com. “LIVE NOW” is flashing at the top of the page. You hit on a photo of perfect waves. It takes a long moment to buffer. Eventually, with a few stops and starts, an image of a man standing in a parking lot, most of the crowd obvious tourists, including an older (‘more mature’) couple with matching t-shirts reading, “Obviously we’re Tourists.” The angle moves in on an attractive man in his thirties, obviously unaware the show is about to start.

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JACK E. WILLIAMS (holds microphone close, wipes his eyebrow away from his right eye):
Oh. Hey. So, the second semi-final heat of the World Mind-Surfing Tour is about to start. Welcome to all you web and mind surfers, and to the crowd here in the parking lot at the edge of the cliff. Yes, we’re at Swamis, world famous point break in Encinitas, California. The surf is… how would you describe the conditions, Pete?
PETER POTTER (looking out at the lineup, eating a slice of pizza. He motions that he’s still eating, then spits pizza over the bluff):
Blown-out. Simple, Jackie; blown-the-hell-out. (pause) Um, it’s a boiling cauldron of mixed-direction swells. I mean; Surfline called it; six to eight south Chubasco-generated south swell, north-northwest Santa Annas howling, and a long-period northwest all the way from Alaska. It’s, I mean; it’s Swamis, for gosh sake, and no one’s out. (takes a bite of pizza) Back to you, Jack.
JACK (drops hand mirror from shot):
Peter, the field is down to four Americans. Oh, one’s from Hawaii; but, Pete; what happened to the Brazilians and the Haitians and that guy from Indonesia? And Don Reynolds, John-Jack; wildcard entries. None of them could make it out of the elimination heats.
PETER (wipes mouth with back of hand, hand on t-shirt):
Accents, Jackie. The judges couldn’t understand what they were saying. I mean, geez. Mumble mouth, shyness, that won’t get you to this level, Jackie. I mean, maybe you.
JACK (rolls his eyes):
Well; Peter, always real. Maybe too… hey; we’re going to get underway; this is a different game; the waiting is over. There’s tension, and we have waves, AND no one out to spoil the mind surfing… great. We’re now going to Brent Savage, over in the contestant’s area. Brent, are the semi-fnalist’s ready?
BRENT SAVAGE (older guy in Hawaiian shirt, glasses, standing next to the public bathrooms. He puts a woman’s purse behind his back):
Sure enough! Ready! Now, in semi-final one, Simpo Martinez narrowly defeated Sleeter Kenny, our wildcard entry from the northwest; great event for Sleeter; just… it was that floater into the inside rock finger, with the Hawaiian pullout… awesomely described… I mean, it was like you could see it; that gave Simpo the victory. Here’s the after-heat interview:
SALLY DeBOIS (very tall blonde, French accent):
So, Simpo; you took down a legend in the mind-surfing sport. It’s said Sleeter’s wave knowledge and experience in, um, challenging conditions, is… did I already say, ‘legendary?’
SIMPO MARTINEZ (with flower neck tattoo):
Um, yes. Uh, yeah; Sleeter; maybe this wasn’t his year; I, um, most definitely… all respect… he’s… yeah.
SALLY (moves in front of Simpo, looks at camera):
Yeah? I mean, that’s your answer? Yeah?
SIMPO (steps around Sally):
Yeah. Definitely.
SLEETER KENNY (about 60, with dark sunglasses, wearing a track suit, walking by, stops):
I’m coming back. Seriously. No. Wait. I’m through.(puts on hat that says, ‘FTS’) Fuck this shit!       SALLY (chuckles as Simpo reaches out for Sleeter’s hand, Sleeter smiles, shakes his head as if to suggest he’s just being dramatic:                                                                                                                         Back to you, Jackie-bird.                                                                                                                                      JACKIE (fakes shock, chuckles):
Okay; we’ll be seeing Simpo in the finals. Sleeter, greatest mind surfer of all time. I think he’ll be back. He personifies the sport. But first… Pete; re-introduce us to our semi-final contestants.
PETER (pouring beer into a red plastic cup):
Hey, Jackie; I’m… never mind. Look, web-lackys; and I do love re-explaining this all the (mutters) time. Slider Gustovson, from Oceanside… well, now Escondido; and Jay Coxworth, our Australian; have thirty-five minutes to describe what they’d be doing if they were actually in the water. The five judges, separated from the contestants and from the actual water, will view the surf on several monitors, each from a different camera angle. That way, reality and what’s being described; hopefully you get that. Not that you couch surfers get a vote. We had a drone, but it got too close to the Self Realization compound, the authorities were called, and, well, the footage is available on our site. Not pretty. Also, we didn’t think the nudies would be out around the point past Boneyards, what with the wind and all. (winks) Check my Facebook page, Droners.
JACK(checks out attractive woman in the parking lot as he looks out at the water, holding his hair down with one hand):
So, we’ll be in our roving WM-S League studio, seeing the same thing viewed by the judges AND the contestants; listening to the descriptions of each ride; seeing how the judges score. Roger Platnik, five time Mind Surfing Champion, will join me for analysis. After this break. So exciting.

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AN ADD FOR HANSEN SURFBOARDS starts and stops, ends with “We used to sell surfboards; now we’re all about the fashion; a few surfboards upstairs and on the world wide web.
A SHOT OF THE PARKING LOT shows three old vans and an even older RV, awnings connecting them, in the back corner. Jack pushes Brent out of the RV. Brent kicks the tires, pulls out and lights a cigarette. He opens the door and looks back into the RV. The woman Jack was checking out earlier, adjusting her top, steps out, then throws a kiss back inside, pauses for a moment, throws a kiss at Brent, hands him her purse, goes inside the RV.
A WORN KANVAS BY KATIN BANNER RIPS down the middle in the wind. two sides flapping.
THE SURF IS SHOWN, BIG AND BUMPY, BUT with some shape coming off the point.
SLIDER (voiceover): I’m on a 5’10” Hynson Fish, black, with all down-rails; and the extra flotation allows me to, it mitigates, one could say, the chop, as I paddle through. Ew, duck dive that one. And up.
JAY (voiceover): I’ve just switched to a Channel Island semi-gun, template taken from a classic Yater.  I think there’s a bit of Pat Curran in there. Sorry, Aussies; it’s, yes, Cal-i-for-ni-an. I’ve just paddled past Slider, out and around, and I’m going to take a chance on the inside break. A little bit cleaner, perhaps. (breathing a bit heavier) The wind is just brutal. Thankfully, I’m wearing my new O’Neill Windbreaker hood. Yeah, also Californian.
PETE: Geez; have you seen these guys? I mean, fuckin’ Slider is old and fat and no way he… what? Oh. Okay. Sorry. I just… (cuts off).
SLIDER: here’s… second wave of the set; clean, backlit; I’m…(breathing)… I take off late, in the shadows, drop… freefall… connect; cranking it… vertical; slam off the heavy lip. OW! trying… my fins are free; side-slipping, my right hand deep in the wall; no! Tucking-in. Owwww! And out! Cranking, everything onto the rail. Yes! Back up, pull it off the foam; down again. I aim for the shoulder as another section grows, opens…
JAY (talking over Slider): It’s an outsider. No, it was a ploy; I’m hitting the long section, driving straight off the roll-in whitewater takeoff. Will I connect with the… pumping, a long floater off the roof; down swoop, set my eye on the…
SLIDER: Hey, Jay; you didn’t have time to get outside; Wanker. Meanwhile, I’m still going, a few jukes and go for the nose on the rock ledges inside. So clean, so…                                                                       JACK (breathing heavily):                                                                                                                                        Oh, oh! Amazing! What did you think, Roger… Platnick… Plats? (pause) And, um, where are you, Plats? PLATS: Upper bunk, Jackie. Watching the show. Here, let me turn on my, um, actual camera.
THE VIDEO FREEZES. It may never recover. You switch to PETERPOTTERPUNTS.com, see a still aerial shot of the old couple on the beach, pulling off their t-shirts. You wait a moment, open another bag of cheetos, then hit the arrow.                                                                                                                         The next day, on the site, there’s an update. An interference by Jay Gustavson, Slider goes on to the finals, the finals then put on hold due to the surf cleaning-up and fifty surfers heading out. Photos of the contestants are from years past, though a rival website, Wasted Mind Surfing.org, shows the actual surfers. Brutal. Keep mind-surfing; we’re all champions.

MEANWHILE- while I’m working on a drawing, Happy Thanksgiving. No Hate, No Fear. I spent a lot of last Thanksgiving watching the currently-on-hold Target Pro from Honolua Bay. I actually love that the WSL allows the rest of us to watch quality surfing and, yes, do some mind surfing ourselves.

Surf Dreams, Fevers, Surf Fever Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First in a Series of Newly-Colorized B&W Drawings

Because I actually have a large number of drawings in my portfolio, and wanted to display as many as possible for the recent (and extensively covered in realsurfers.net) Surf Culture on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea Event, I took some time, dug through various shelves and drawers and drawing books, and found quite a few of the variously-sized originals, some previously-made copies; took them all to The Printery in Port Townsend, and, with a lot of help for the money, got them sized to fit on 8&1/2 by 11 inch shinier, heavier stock, and placed them in five stacks on a six foot piece of 12 inch wide pine.

Almost instantly I wanted to add color to many of them. Oops; too hard to color on the shiny stock. But, I do have a scanner/printer. Here’s the first. There will be more.

realsurferscrystalballcolor 001

Not so stoked on the way yellow reads like semi-worn out magic marker, but, not apologizing. And, somewhere here I’ll have to write about how I got some small waves today; small but… hey, look for both “Erwin Would Go, But What Will He Do When It’s Over A Foot?” and “If You Were Happy With Your Last Session, Don’t Talk to Adam Wipeout.” I have some photos; might even have some of me on really tiny waves.