Hydrosexual Stephen Davis On His Way Back UP

Evidently spring is finally coming closer. After driving through some snow, surfing in a squall, changing back into street clothes (socks are surprisingly difficult to put on frozen feet) in another round of sleet, driving back through rounds of sun, rain, more sleet, more sun… yeah, another surf trip in the great Pacific Northwest.

I’m not sure how long it took Stephen to get from lowest Baja to San Diego; almost long enough to get over getting sick from surfing in storm-runoff. But, with people lined up to stay with along the way, it’s taken one day from San Diego to Huntington, one day more to Rincon and beyond…

Here’s a shot of Rincon, the note saying (only) “Rincon with 4 out.” I sent a reply. “Did you go out?” I would have gone out, even if there were, I don’t know, 8 people out.

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Oh, I’m sorry… maybe it’s Rincon.

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.

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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:

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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.

New Year, Almost

image-128I’m still scheming on how to fit in one more session before the end of the year. You probably are, also. Okay, I’m not going anywhere tomorrow morning, so… wait, Sunday’d be 2017. I am going to figure out where I did my surfing over the last year, as soon as I find the calendar I used for the first months, only transferring the number of sessions.

Remember, the whole realsurfers thing started, or, at least the notion of realness, because I read that real skiers go at least 30 times a year. So, I am real. At least. Best to you in the coming year; may you luck into some perfect conditions, and tuck into a few perfect waves.

Hydrosexual Stephen Davis Goes South- PART II- 12/10/16

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Here’s a spot. Evidently not a secret spot. Steve did not surf here with 50 or more other rabid, aggro, or merely fun/crowd loving enthusiasts; but, rather, surfed a pretty empty lineup without a lot of other position-jockey-ers. When I asked him how he could find an uncrowded spot, he said, “Hey, I’m not from around here; I don’t know why everyone was out there. I don’t understand at all.”

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There are a couple of other shots with landmarks that might reveal which spot this is. No, it’s not Seaside, even on a Saturday, but is south (I think) of Santa Cruz. Okay, it’s Morro Bay (probably). I spoke to Stephen later, when it was already dark up here, still light, but foggy, at a break he was watching. I think it’s Cayucos.

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Below is a shot of Steve pig-dogging a super-top-secret spot in the PNW, aka GNW.  As in, Rarely but rarely (and not currently- rarely, rarely) great.

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UPDATE- Sunday morning, 12/11/16.                                                                                                        It was too dark for Stephen to get a shot at Rincon, barely breaking, but longboardable. With a dropping swell,  I don’t know how he resisted. He was sorely tempted, but wanted to get through LA before… you know, before. And he did. He thought about Trestles, but opted for San Onofre. Got in the water with quite a few others spread over a hundred yards or so, south to north. Caught some peaks. I have to edit, but Trish loves all the photos. Yeah, I do, too.

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UPDATE: 12/12/16- Steve, his van in long term parking, is enroute to Hawaii. He and I had talked about Swamis and Pipes and other North San Diego spots. He was a bit confused about where actual Pipes is, but did hang out on the fence on the bluff for a while, surfers doing the ‘talking story’ thing in the parking lot. Unable to find parking at Swamis, obviously not breaking, with “some sort of circus or something, people doing yoga under the trees… kind of confusing what was going on there.”  Here’s a shot from the bluff. I told Trish that maybe it’s my old friend Ray Hicks and his wife, Carol, strolling the beach.

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UPDATE- 12/14/16- Having flown out of San Diego early Monday morning, Stephen is in Hilo, Hawaii. I called him this morning to see if he’s watching the Pipeline Masters. Yes. Surfing? Yes, but mostly body surfing. I asked him to send me a photo of the shop Oceana’s father owns. “Haven’t gone there yet.” “Why not?” “Too busy.” “Where are you staying?” “Next door to the shop.” “Oh… sure. Maybe you can take a photo?” “Okay.”

Here’s a photo of a beach. I already forgot the name. Probably, judging from the heads of those in the beach chairs, heavily localized and probably secret.

img_0711 Steve identified the spot as “Magic Sands.”

Dawn Patrol from Home and the FROTH Factor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does that look… um, kinda…hmm

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

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

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

There’s Something About a Crowd…

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

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

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

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.

Thrashed, Trashed, Clipped, Rocked and Rolled at (naming names) Seaside

If you roll up to the parking area at Seaside Cove and notice the wind isn’t howling, the sun is out, full force, the waves are… well, it’s a little hard to judge because no one is out, and you… stop. No one is out; take that as a hint. It isn’t a secret spot, and, a couple of days after Labor Day, there still should be some long weekenders hitting it; and it was just about time for after-workers, locals, soft top renters, someone.

Rather than heading out from the sand-bottom of the Cove, I was going to save myself the paddle out through a hundred yards or so of waves, wavelets, chop from previous winds, a northwest swell mixed and comboed with the chop, sidechop bouncing off the rocks… yeah, the rocks; I would pass the confusion, slip down the dry rocks to the slippery ones and ease in, past the confusion, straight out to the lineup.

Such as there is a lineup. I would pick off a few lefts, maybe, close to the rocks, some of those rights that peak, offer a drop, and an exit; staying away from the lefts that drop you off in the impact zone. Yeah, and maybe I’d head up toward the Point; I mean, like, this time there weren’t any Locals out to be irritated, and, from the still-dry rocks, it did look like there might be a few zingers out there.

NOW, let me explain the rocks. Boulders, really, each one seemingly planted erect, like an obelisk, few lying sideways, as one would think they should; rather like a field of boulders, not dropping off quickly into deeper water, but more rocks farther out; and, with one foot wedged between this monument and another, my leash wrapped around another, somewhere behind me, I discover I’m nowhere near a place where the waves aren’t hitting.

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Fifteen minutes, or so, later, I had moved my van over across from the bathrooms/shower, changed to my shorter-but-stronger leash, one that probably wouldn’t rip loose from my ankle like the other one did, and was back out, through the wavelets and waves and cross-chop. Somewhere in the time I was regrouping, deciding whether to go back out or go back to my Dad’s house in Chinook, two other surfers had come out.

I caught a wave, nice peak, dropped in, didn’t make my decision on which way to go in time. Bloop. Regroup; paddle back out, just in time to be just inside of one of the two surfers to drop into a head high wall just in front of me. BLOOP! “Sorry, man.”

“No problem,” he said.  A few moments later he said, “I have to give you credit. I was watching, through the binocs; you took a thrashing; didn’t give up.” Self-identified as a 25 year local, Jason (this is after I explained I only surf Seaside when I’m visiting my Dad, and usually surf the way-more-in-control waves in the Strait) gave me a few tips on clearing the rocks, like, maybe, wait for a lull. “Lull, yeah. Thanks.” “You know,” he said, “all my friends have surfed in the Strait; I’ve never been.” “Well; maybe when you get, you know, older.”

Mostly I was grateful to get some kind of props for trying to recover from the worst thing on a real surfer’s worry list, looking awkward/gooney/kookish/out of control; way worse than wiping out, blowing a takeoff on the wave of the day (no, that’s worse, if only slightly). Adding witness to either of the above-mentioned terrors compounds the event.

So, I caught another left, with Jason inside to witness something less kook-like; dropped while driving, got into a great position on the wall, then got clipped, just barely, by the lip, and… BLOOP! Roll. Regroup. Blow more water out of my sinuses. A few more waves, a couple of closeouts, a right that hit deep water and vanished; and a long wave, made the drop, drove through a tube, hit the open face, slid into a turn, went for another… BLOOP!

Now I was caught inside, well into the miles of beachbreak between the Cove and the Columbia. It was enough. When I got back to my van, there were two people fooling around in the near-shore reforms, and, squinting toward the horizon, fields of rocks and Jason was nowhere to be seen.

ADDENDUM- When you have a tough session, all one wants to do is make up for it the next time. I was planning on going the next day, maybe somewhere else, but was actually in the area to paint my Dad’s addition; and I had to get back home. My friend, Hydrosexual Stephen Davis, and his son Emmett, came down during the night, checked out Seaside the next morning. Overhead, waves breaking on the horizon, northwest wind. “You aren’t missing anything,” Steve said on the phone. Later he and Emmett hiked down to one of the secluded coves, paddled out to some low tide closeouts. “Worth it, Steve?” “Yeah.” That’s when, in retrospect, one decides a couple of nearly-made tubes might be counted as a success. But, next time…

Swell of the Summer on the Last Coast

PART ONE- On Friday, seeing something, or sensing something, or just hoping for something, I found some fun waves and no one out; no one to fight for position against, no one to compare rides with, no one to, um, hang out with;  not that I mind; I was there to surf, surf rather than continuing to try, harder and harder, to catch up on high-season, mid-summer painting projects.

I had missed the best of the low tide rights, rights so rare on the Last Coast, the swell angle necessary to penetrate sliding sideways against the hooks and points and rivermouths and crannies of the Strait creating lefts where a straight-on swell wouldn’t; still, there were some sets hitting the indicators on the rights side, and rideable waves following the outline of the green-slimed rocks creating some punchy little rides. And no one out, maybe only one rig pulling through the turnout, briefly. It can’t be good, there’s only one old guy out. Move on.

Oh, there was Kyle, reading a book, on the beach slightly around the corner, shaded by the trees that mark a certain lineup.  I parked, putting off going back to work just a bit longer so I could find out where this guy was going. The coast? Neah Bay? La Push?  I had seen him from the water. He was sitting ashore of the lefts, an hour and a half after I arrived, ten minutes or so after the rights were high-tided-out, and the energy just not making the transfer to the next river rock point. “Kyle” he said, when I asked him. “You’re Erwin; right?” “Um? Uh; how do  you know that?”

IMG_0140 Another high-season job keeping me out of the water. You?

No, I’m not that notorious. I probably mean ‘infamous.’ But, Kyle explained, he’d been coming out from P.A. all week, went out once (too small, too much wind); but he had seen me here before, and had been there when my now-friend (friend being a broad term including pretty much any real surfer out of the water) Raja had, to general acclaim, taken my lost paddle, inserted it… yeah, maybe you know the story. It seems like everyone I run into was there for the paddle incident. “Well, Kyle; it’s supposed to get bigger; I’m surprised there aren’t more surfers cruising through.”

“Oh; they’ll be coming,” Kyle said. Now, I did, specifically, ask him if he knows Adam Wipeout; as everyone seems to. He said he didn’t. “Good luck, Kyle.”

Back in cell phone range, I spoke to Keith and Adam on the phone, just to gloat, a bit (they would, and have done the same) on my way back, passing the oncoming surfers Kyle had predicted. “Hey,” Keith said while I was getting a ‘topup’ on my oil at the Jiffy Lube, “it’s coming up. Maybe you should go back.”

“Tomorrow,” I said as an SUV with three boards and a luggage carrier passed by. To be continued (the tomorrow part)

 

photos from fairly recent encounter

My sister, Melissa, took a few photos when we were both down at Chinook, visiting our Dad. I wrote and posted about the session earlier, and Melissa and I went over the photos she took of the session (one did include the guy who, when I moved just a little too far up the point, told me I needed to get myself over to the beach breaks). Hey, I was ready to get out anyway.

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Since then our 92 year old father has had, after many delays and a couple of stints in the hospital, an angioplasty procedure, successful, with a stent put in. He’s recovering; I’m going to go down to see him, and, if I see something breaking I can’t resist…

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…if you have a problem with me showing up, maybe you’ll have to talk to my father about it.  No, you can talk to me. I’d post more photos, but I asked Melissa to only send me ones where the waves were bigger and/or I was thinner. Big rocks, huh; at this semi-private, semi-secret spot?

Meanwhile, I’m way too busy right now to even get the additional pages for my coloring book set up… but I’m working on it.