Trying to Catch That Glass

It’s all about lighting; the perfect surfing photo or drawing; and color helps. We know that waves, spray; these can be translucent. At some point, rising and throwing out, a wave can seem, or even be transparent. And foam; it’s white because of the air bubbles. And the reflections, the shine, the shimmer; maybe these are easier to capture with pencil, charcoal, pastel; something pushed and dragged across the flat surface.

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I just keep scratching.

MEANWHILE: I’m sure the northwest has been sending lots of waves, along with the rain, down south. If it doesn’t lessen the drought, maybe it’ll clean some of the toxic waste from the highways; and maybe, after a prescribed length of time to avoid getting sick from the water, surf.  Or maybe a die-hard surfer will get a course of shots and paddle out. “Just keep your mouth closed,” possibly not the best advice.

I did catch some waves recently, can’t be too specific about where, or maybe even when; trying to adhere to Clint’s Rules of Modern Surf Etiquette (which I promise to list when I get them all straight in my mind: Don’t call people from the beach; don’t talk specifics because someone will back-check against the buoy readings and figure out when the spot you named, but shouldn’t have, works; other rules); but I will say it ran contrary to the surf forecasts we all study.

Partially, what I wanted, was to catch a few waves to myself before I try to play the odds and go when the forecasts seem to guarantee waves. I’ve been on the beach before, with twenty or thirty rabid surfers (or in various stages of rabidity- a real word, I looked it up) standing around, perfect conditions on the forecast, and even the buoy readings the same as they were on days that were great (see, back-checking, or, more likely, anecdotal information gleaned over years), and there’s one guy in the water scratching for some dribblers, and the waves are just not there.

I’m just saying; it happens. And it explains why, the farther one has to travel, the more one has to invest, the more likely one (or thirty) is to lean heavily on ‘sure thing’ forecasts. But, I slid a few waves alone to sort of indemnify myself against a serious skunking.

AND, I do know Adam Wipeout got some waves. Not sure where, exactly, but I do know he did score because he wouldn’t tell me. Clint’s Rules. I think he would, and it’s probably all right to talk about sessions in crappy conditions. Come on, Adam… I won’t be posting. Really, I’m not sure why we want to know… Oh, yeah, I do. Because.

Here's a colorized version. It all gets washed-out a bit from the scanner/computer connection

Here’s a colorized version. It all gets washed-out a bit from the scanner/computer connection

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.

Inside Break- Reboot

INSIDE BREAK- SOMETHING CLOSE TO NON-FICTION
THIS IS AT LEAST THE FOURTH TIME I have attempted to write this story. I always got stuck on the fact/fiction thing, partially because I didn’t want to get too personal with people who might not want this intrusion; partially because any attempt at biographical non fiction, because of memory lapses, point of view skewed in one direction or another, detail editing, many other reasons, becomes fiction. So, fine; I will attempt to remain as truthful as possible.
WRITING IS REMEMBERING as much as it is creating; maybe more. Forgotten events, suddenly, while thinking of/writing a particular story, spring loose from whatever kink or coil of brain wiring they were stuck in: Example I stole (one way of looking at it) Phillip Harper’s car (an oil-burning/leaking Corvair) in Baja (Easter Break, 1968) while he was sick and our other friends were unwilling get up early to try (again) to surf the rock-strewn closeout beachbreak out in front, or to leave the big and over-crowded tent to surf one of several legitimate point breaks we’d seen on the way down.
Though I remembered we were staying at a place on the beach, featuring a trailer park, a motel, and a cantina that looked like a gas station, which it may also have been, I couldn’t immediately remember the name of the place. We were actually mostly staying in someone’s parents big tent just outside the trailer park. Though Phillip’s stepfather had the use of a trailer for Phillip, his brother Max, stepbrother Mark, and invited friends Ray, Melvin, and me; because Dana and Billy and Mark had invited themselves along) earlier, I couldn’t remember the name of the place when I started writing this, but, because I was sure I’d driven the borrowed Corvair to K-54, but wasn’t sure that was actually correct, I went to the computer.  Cantamar. Or course. Still there.                                                             Hmm; was it K-55? Surfline claims that K-55 is a reef break, and I’m sure this was a point break. I did, perhaps, catch a few waves; pretty big ones, then lost my board trying to roll under one (term, at that time, ‘turning turtle’). I can, actually, vividly recall the board (the 9’9″ Surfboards Hawaii noserider, ‘found’ buried in the sand at Tamarack by some member of the Brooks family, from down Debby Street from my house, when they were grunion hunting, and given to me by Wendy Brooks’ father, over her objections, when they moved back to Texas) getting ripped from my hands; the lesson being, ‘keep your grip tight but your arms flexible.’
Just to finish this part of the story, Phillip wasn’t too sick to join up with the others, Dana’s old Corvair wagon and Ray’s (actually, as with my house a few sentences back, the cars may have been owned by parents, though they were pretty crappy vehicles) Ranchero suddenly, and dramatically pulling into the dirt lot, skidding, stopping near me, six highschool age (most of us were juniors, Billy, younger brother of a contemporary for whom surfing didn’t stick, may have been a sophomore, even a freshman) surfers bailing out as I secured the board with the newly-acquired ding onto the Aloha racks. “Your mom said I could take it,” I said Or may have; something to the effect. “You were in the motel with your mom and sister (Trish. not my Trish, but prominent in the bigger story); she didn’t want to wake you up.” This was interrupted and followed by a chorus of “fuck you,” that, eventually, by “How was it?” and “How did you do?”                                                          They hadn’t brought boards. We caravanned back to camp, later surfed some blown-out beachbreak south of Ensenada; though, maybe the next day, in the afternoon, the usual closeouts at Cantamar were lifted by genuine offshore winds.                                                    Better. Much better. I had convinced/forced Max and Mark, into filming; mostly me, with my super 8 camera.
Later, I put some of the footage together, showed it at school, several times; narrated by, of course, me. “Hanging ten? Hard to tell in the glare. Let’s say…yes.” There was a part where some of us are hanging out around a table outside the trailer. This was just after (not caught on film) Trish played footsie with me, and I, shocked, jumped; and she asked Ray, “How’s he ever going to get a girlfriend?” and I said (or should have, or could have, or wish I had), “Well, try it again;” and Ray, of course, sided with her on the girlfriend issue. And there was no way she’d ever do it again. No.                                                                               So, a bit of smoke from an unseen cigarette (this was before I’d had my first one) is visible in the movie version, to which I always said, “It was very cold down there.” It got a laugh; though not, after the first showing, from Ray.

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OBVIOUSLY I GET SIDETRACKED too easily. SO, I’m going to get to, and try to stick to the story of one trip from Fallbrook, across Camp Pendleton, to San Onofre, with one of my first surfing heroes, BUCKY DAVIS. This was in the spring of 1967. Things were escalating in Vietnam, the base was crazy busy, and we, just wanting a few good waves, were edging ever closer to making critical personal decisions on life and love and war and surfing.
BUT, don’t expect a laser focus. There’s just too much overlap with other trips and other stories. I’m at this moment, stuck on whether or not Bill Buel was on that trip to Cantamar. I’ve long replaced him in my own version of the San Onofre trip with Ray, with whom I made many other surf trips (mostly because I never liked, and even had some resentment or fear of Bill Buel).                                                                                                           And, once it was Ray with Phillip and me, me riding (for once) shotgun, in Bucky’s VW bus; the story definitely became fiction. So, Bill’s back in. This should be easier.
SO, NEAR-NON-FICTION.

Locals Only Kooks Go Home

Locals Only Kooks Go Home!

“IT’S SUNNIED-UP,” Scott ‘Scoots’ Walter said, into his cell phone, as his truck, mid-sized, an eight foot board on the canopy rack, made a turn onto a residential street. “You there? Mark? Evidently not. Okay. I’m going dark.”
It was, and this was surprising,  going to be one of those days where it clears up just before sunset; the sideshore winds just stop. Scoots found the pullout on the bluff was empty except for the old Subaru four door. The car was a faded mildew green/gold color, any hint of former shine accidental, and most noticeable near the driver’s side door; where arms had rubbed against the roof while tying or untying a board from the obviously-homemade wooden racks. There was, if one looked, a little more shine near the hood and trunk latches.
Scoots, without checking the lineup, was looking at the car, the flattened tires. The car appeared empty, though tough to tell with the side windows darkened. And then there was the windshield.
“Fuckin’ Mark,” he said. Then, pulling alongside the Subaru, he did look at the waves, just over to his left…
“WHOA!” Scoots leaped from the truck, leaving the door open.
So clean, so lined-up. One surfer out. Only. It was The Guy, obviously, the guy who owns the car with the flat tires and “Locals Only Kooks Go Home!” in wax on the windshield.
That Guy, in the glare, two-stroked into an almost-glassy peak, angled to the left, waited until he reached the bottom to stand, that move melded with a too-casual bottom turn, rising back to mid-face, gliding higher. He kick-stalled near the top, crouched, tucked in.
“Owww!” No one, really, could hear Scoot’s uncontrollable (or merely uncontrolled) hoot. Two steps toward the bluff; look, stop. The Guy was just slicing back from the shoulder, the spray up and lost in the sunlight. Scoots walked backwards, eyes on the waves. He opened the hatch on the canopy, dropped the tailgate, pushed the twisted hose and a compressor over to get to the cracked plastic bin. He pulled it over and out, allowing it to drop to the ground. He grabbed his inside-out, cold, sandy, twisted wetsuit. Water flew when he flung the suit out and around.
A wet wetsuit will cling to your legs, your arms, and Scoots couldn’t get his untangled or pulled-up quickly enough. He’d hit a window of opportunity, and windows can close quickly. And the sun was angling toward the glistening horizon like…
“Fuckin’ Mark” he said, looking at the tires on the Subaru as he threw the straps off his board.
“Fuckin’ Mark” he said, as he threw his gloves out of the bin, joining his booties on the tailgate. Grabbing a partly-worn bar of wax, he shook his head, looked for his leash in the dark, crowded truck bed.
“Fuckin’ Mark” he said, reminding himself that he had put the stem caps back on; realizing he’d have to, at least, refill the tires before he could… “Fuck.”

THE SUN WAS MELTING at the horizon when Scoots ran the last twenty feet or so from the path at the bluff to his truck. Still, he took a moment to look back. Melting, this was the metaphor Scoots had thought of, even in the water. Music; jazz, really; from “The Endless Summer,” was playing in his head, though, looking, again, at the words waxed onto the Subaru’s windshield, a faster, newer tune took over; his background tune for riding pumping point breaks.                                                                                                                               His wetsuit pulled down, Scoops was cleaning the windows on the Subaru with a six inch broad knife and acetone-soaked rags when The Guy came up from behind him.
The Guy’s eyes, suddenly too close to his, were bloodshot. Saltwater. Dehydration. They had to be more bloodshot than his. The Guy didn’t seem overly curious about what Scoots was doing. He stepped around him, setting the board on his car’s rack.
“Your last wave…” The Guy said, “it might have been the wave of the day.”
Scoots was too busy to do more than nod; saltwater dripping on the Subaru, some squeaking from the wetsuit rubbing on the fender; scraping and smearing with serious strokes.
“Fuckin’ Mark, huh?” The Guy said, reaching around to his back, feeling for the cord for the zipper, throwing it over his shoulder, let his comment hang.  “Huh, Scoots?”
Scoots pointed at the fully inflated tires with a cold acetone rag. “I, um, have a compressor and, and a, a generator. It was…” Scoots knew it was too late to… to lie; he just couldn’t quite think of a reasonable… “Yeah, that was a great wave.”
The Guy had a key, evidently out of the little pocket most wetsuits have (though Scoots had never used one), and unlocked the driver’s side door. He reached in, unlocked the back door, then opened it, threw a blanket onto the back of the front seat, passenger side, pulled out two large aerosol cans, and set them on the roof. “Guess I’ll save these for next time. Scoots. Oh, and thanks for coming back.”
“Fuckin’ Mark,” The Guy said, slightly behind the same words from Scoots.

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“MOTION ACTIVATED,” The Guy said, dusk filling-in; that grainy grayness you can almost feel. There was some music, mid-sixties Dylan, “Blonde on Blonde,” coming from the Subaru. “Most expensive thing about the car,” The Guy had said. And there was the music rising up from the water; familiar rhythms.
Scoots and The Guy, both now dressed in almost-matching Levis and hoodies, were looking at the back of a camera now perched atop the Subaru.
“Fuckin’ Mark; man… don’t…” could be heard from the camera, the two surfers nodding. At the camera, not each other. The Subaru, now, had its hood up, all the doors open. The generator, a compressor, a gas container, hoses and wires were all spread about, seemingly kicked next to, and almost under Scoot’s truck. “Fuckin’ pussy, Scoots. Whimp-ass coward. We’re making a stand,” the camera said, in Mark’s voice.”
The Guy motioned toward the truck. “Weren’t you afraid someone might…”
“It’s Mark’s stuff.”
“Oh. Okay.” They both laughed. “Maybe Mark was a little frustrated. Crappy waves; crowded; all those city people…I mean; on a Wednesday.  Me, me maybe getting too many waves for his liking.”
“No, he’s just… Mark’s pretty much always an asshole.” There was a brief pause.  “His stuff…” Scoots made a swooping arm movement, “…He just had to tell me how he had unloaded it all so I could go surfing with him this morning. Nice of him.”
“Yeah; nice. But, the asshole thing… Well, that’ll… that… frustration. Anyone….” There was another, longer pause, The Guy was helping Scoots reload Mark’s equipment. “I know assholes. I’m… in real life… a lawyer. No, really; sold my soul years ago. Before law school, even.”
“Sales whore,” Scoots said, pointing at himself, effecting a fake smile.
“Funny,” The Guy said, my Mom… she was from the south, and she always pronounces Lawyer like…’Lie-yer. Lie.'”
“Mark’s a contract-whore,” Scoots said. “Contractor.”
“We’re all surf sluts, though; huh?”

BOTH VEHICLES, lights on, heaters going, were idling, Dylan singing, “Please don’t let on that you knew me when…” Scoots and The Guy, at the edge, were looking at the the waves, defined now, only, by the lines of soup behind the curl. “The problem with being a local,” Scoots said, pausing to think of how to phrase it…
“The problem is,” The Guy, who had yet to reveal his name, said, “is you can’t go anywhere else and still be…”
“That’s true.”
“You know Devil’s Point?” Scoot gave an ‘of course’ nod. “Ever surf there?”
Another nod. “Paddled over a couple of times. Hardly ever breaks.”
“No; not today, for sure. Wrong direction, wrong wind… anyway; if you want to… So, you know those houses by the point?”
“Yeah.”
“Third McMansion from the end; over where the rights… I mean, when they actually do break…so, um, punchy.” There was another pause, The Guy seemed almost apologetic. “Yeah; the house; wife hates it… salt spray on the windows. But, hey, you’ll never see this car there,  and I definitely don’t drive it to work.” The Guy laughed. “Actually, I have to keep it in the garage so the neighbors don’t…” Another laugh. “Assholes.” Anyway; if it’s breaking…”
“Really?”
“Yeah. Park by the greenhouse. Only, one condition, Scoots…”
“Don’t bring fuckin’ Mark?”
Now they both laughed. “No, if you bring him. Oh, and, if you do, it can’t be until after you’ve told him I said he’s a whimp-ass coward. Oh, and incidentally; you cut him off at least twice.”
“Because we’re friends.”
Scoots stuck his hand out. The Guy had a cell phone in his. “Give me your number.”
“Phones don’t work here. No reception… that’s part of why I…”
“No. No service. Fine. Contacts list. Um. Scoots. Still… Just in case. I mean; accessory, accomplice…”

“SELFIE?” THE GUY asked half a second before the camera’s light flashed.
“More evidence?” Scoots asked, wondering if he should give his actual phone number, his actual name; wondering what he’d trade to get access to a fickle, but sometimes-perfect wave.”Remember, I’m still a lawyer; and, well, we’re not friends. Scoot…” The Guy walked toward his car, reached inside the driver’s side door. A spray hit the windshield as the wipers swept across a white-but-oily spot.

The Subaru pulled out ahead of the pickup, Scoots still pondering whether The Guy meant that, because they’re not friends, he shouldn’t take off in front of him when… yeah; Devil’s Point. Yeah. The cell phone chimed when the truck got closer to town.  The third of four voicemails began, “Surf slut Scott, it’s surf slut Jonah…”

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.

Sometimes a Seagull on the Webcam…

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

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We know.

 

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.

While You’re Praying for Surf, how about…

…adding World Peace?

image-98Yeah, sure; but, I mean… okay, world peace… and some uncrowded and perfect waves.

MEANWHILE, I’m working on a commissioned (not, like, for a lot of money) poster for Franco Bertucci’s band, Locust Street Taxi.  Here’s kind of the progression:image-97image-99image-96Actually, I had to add a lot of copy in the blank space; and then add color. I’m getting the final poster copied today; I’ll post it tomorrow. Or tonight.

MEANWHILE, Archie continues to recover from his recent stroke; supposedly is using computer. I’ll write him, see what happens. MEANWHILE, continuing to get November weather in October here on the northwest corner; always praying for some alignment of the swell and wind direction… oh, and world peace.image-100

 

Fully-Packed Realsurfers Coloring Book Ready for… you

THE LATEST version has 56 drawings, ready to color. AGAIN, I didn’t draw with a coloring book in mind until recently, and, perhaps, I’m now simplifying the lines a bit, allowing a bit more blank space. MOSTLY it’s a way to get my work to an audience that probably has walls filled with surf photos, posters, paintings; coffee tables stacked with coffee table surf books, shelves, maybe boxes filled with old surfing magazines.

HERE are a few examples:

This is a slightly-altered version of a drawing already posted. Trish asked me if it was a woman or a man. "She needs a little more... definition." Okay.

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OKAY, I added a couple of colored-in drawings two that aren’t in the book, kind of as an example. I’m still figuring out how to market the book. Sales is not anywhere near my comfort zone. I’m checking out Paypal, getting some copies ready to, hopefully, sell at the Surfrider Cleanwater Surf Contest in Westport in a couple of weeks.  The plan is to contribute a couple of bucks from each one to the Olympic Peninsula Chapter. We’ll see. MEANWHILE, I’d be happy to mail an autographed copy to anyone willing to send $20.00 to Erwin Dence, P.O. Box 148, Quilcene, Wa. 98376.  OR, maybe you can contact me at realsurfersdotnet@gmail.com

Woman (actually) Surfing Illustration

I was showing someone the first run of the RealSurfers Coloring Book, and couldn’t help but notice; probably because he pointed it out, that I have quite a few illustrations of women, but only one of a woman surfing. I almost said a girl surfing, and, in fact, did title this “Girl (actually) Surfing Illustration.” Whoops.

It’s part of the myth/fantasy/history/tradition, I guess; and, having just hit 65 years of age, I probably should also stop thinking I’m not 46 years or so removed from being anything like a surfer boy. Surfer Girl, Surfer Boy; nope, doesn’t even sound proper.

This is a slightly-altered version of a drawing already posted. Trish asked me if it was a woman or a man. "She needs a little more... definition." Okay.

This is a slightly-altered version of a drawing already posted. Trish asked me if it was a woman or a man. “She needs a little more… definition.” Okay.

Still, I do prefer a woman who surfs with flow and grace; Margo Godfrey Oberg, Jericho Poppler, Stephanie Gilmore; and, sure, throw in a few carves and power moves… no matter how manly a ‘man hack’ sounds, it’s all done on water. Water. Woman.

This week, men and women, boys and girls; I’m promising myself that I’ll get to the Printery. Not Monday; it’s a holiday, and I do have to go down to my Dad’s, and I do have a lot of work… this week.