Pay-back and Pay-for at the Hama-Hama Oyster-Rama

Abigale said she would buy one of my t-shirts if I promised not to ever drop in on her again.  “Wait. Me?” “Uh huh; you.” “No.” “Yes.” “Is this a [spot name redacted] thing?”  ‘Uh huh.” “Well, I must have thought you weren’t going to make the section,”  “Oh,” raising her voice noticeably,  “I was totally going to make the wave.”

“Oh.”

So, I’ve decided, here is how life goes: We have to pay back favors given, and pay for mistakes made.

So, yeah; I gave Abigale a discount on a shirt, five bucks off, and promised not to drop in on her ever again.  “Well,” she said, obviously thrilled with her new, limited-edition, Original Erwin shirt, “I did pull your leash.” “Oh? Um, did that stop me, or did I keep on surfing?”  “It stopped you.”

Oh. So, a little background: Abigale, who I actually met a couple of years ago when she was involved in running the SURFRIDER FOUNDATION Cleanwater event in Westport (I think it was the year I was given an opportunity to judge some heats, irritated the shit out of the head judge [mostly, my opinion] because I talked way too much- wasn’t invited back into the booth); was in the booth at behind and kitti-cornered to mine, doing some promotion for the upcoming (May 4th, I believe) WARM CURRENTS event.

I will insert photo of REGGIE and me when I figure out how to get it from hotmail.

REGGIE SMART was displaying some of his art along with my stuff, and is involved because he’s working on some surfboards CHRIS BAUER, Port Angeles shaper plans on having at the event.  I walked over to the WARM CURRENTS booth with Reggie to see if there might be an opportunity to push some of my stuff when I was confronted with my nefarious past.

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SO, that was the ‘pay-for’ portion of the day. The ‘pay back’ was giving a discount to a woman who works at the HAMA-HAMA store down SURF ROUTE 101, and was very helpful to me when I painted the interior a couple of years ago; and actually remembered me, out of my usual painting outfit, when Trish and I stopped in more recently.

AND, I guess I should add, in one of these two categories, that I did (and, begrudgingly, will) discount the remaining baby-poop-colored shirts.  Hey; I liked the color.  All of this is a learning experience.

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That’s Reggie’s art on the, um, ground, out of the salty puddles, but, yes, on the oysters.

Having a booth at the HAMA-HAMA OYSTER-RAMA was also a learning experience.  I’ve always felt a bit sorry for folks sitting in booths at events where people were there for some other purpose than buying some awesome drawings.

Most of the day, not knowing whether (or exactly how) to engage the passers-by, I felt sorry for myself.

Not so much.

SURF-SHELLFISH CELEBRITY ADAM ‘WIPEOUT’ JAMES is my contact, His sister, LISSA MONBERG, was running the event.  I saw Lissa once, Adam several times, though he was usually a blur passing quickly, schmoozing the paying attendees. Fist bump, hug, medium five; Adam, the most gregarious person I have ever met, has skills.

WHAT the participation (I punked-out last year) forced me to do is to organize my artwork, cull a percentage, push myself toward a more polished and professional approach.  My daughter, DRUCILLA (or Dru), recently moved back to the northwest from Chicago.  She went to Loyola University, 21 years ago, graduated, worked in new business acquisition for a major advertising firm.  More recently she worked for (and is continuing with some freelance work for) THE ONION.

She’s settling into a house in the historical district of PORT GAMBLE, and is working on making my website better (I have no skills) as well as the business end (even less skills) of trying to make some money from art.

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Here’s Dru in the booth.

I must also thank Dru’s pretty-much lifelong friend, MOLLIE ORBEA, for her tremendous help in this endeavor.  Mollie has a sign company, ORBEA SIGNS, is most of the reason Dru lives in Port Gamble, and lives two doors down from Dru.  Mollie supplied the tent, a table, the banners, the table runner, the easel, the table easels that kept falling over, and the beach chairs that, once seated in one, one would naturally assume the posture of a booth person who really doesn’t give a shit if you buy or not.

I, of course, was half-expecting complete failure.  I participated in a STARVING ARTIST sale once, in 1972, next to the Green Stamps Redemption Store in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego where we lived (LOCALS!) at the time. I think I paid ten bucks to participate, got sunburned, sold one original drawing for fifteen bucks.  SO, YEA! SUCCESS!

I was also quarter-expecting (so, less) complete success; upper-crust Seattleites lining-up, adorning their bodies with ORIGINAL ERWIN t-shirts, adorning their walls with limited (by me) edition illustrations.

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They were lining up all right.  For ice cream.

I don’t want this to sound like I didn’t make any money.  I did sell some stuff, did learn a lot; like, next time… Original Erwin cookies.  Pay For and Pay Back.

 

 

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Hama-Hama Oyster-Rama

If you’re cruising up or down Surf Route 101 in the Hood Canal area on Saturday, April 20, cruise on in to the event. I will be selling some custom Original Erwin t shirts and other art.

I will be posting some photos.  Soon. We’ll see how it goes. Happy Easter.

Rumors of a Perfect Wave Poster…

…and more!

Here’s a shot of Little Reggie Smart (he adds the ‘little’, I wouldn’t- it would be rude) when he was actually little. before he became a tattoo (and otherwise) artist, a surfer, a painter (house and otherwise), well before I met Reginald Little, a person I sometimes refer to as, “kind of a pretty boy with neck tattoos.”

littleReggieSmart

YEAH, he was a towhead, couldn’t help that.  I actually thought posting this might be a bit of revenge for his posting a video of me on his Instagram.

OF COURSE you will have to check this out, as Trish did.  Her first reaction as I broke into song was, “What a dick!”  Not that she didn’t know this already, but, when I explained that it wasn’t staged (not by me, anyway), and was secretly taped by Reggie, and that several folks in the Peninsula surfing community commented on it; she was almost all right with the whole thing.

I think he’s under “Reggie Smart” on Instagram; not too hard to find.

MEANWHILE, here’s my latest effort in the Positive-to-negative genre:

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OH, AND ONE MORE THING:  My latest t-shirt design is at the screen shop, DL Logos in Port Townsend, and will soon be available.  I am selling these shirts as limited editions (because they are), and tried to add a bit of information to the actual image.

For these shirts it would be something like: Original Erwin- Series 4- Edition 1- “Lightfoot’n it” (title refined by comment on the illustration by Drew Kampion, the need for a title for the various projects of mine at the screen shop, and the way they wrote ‘lightfoot’n it’)- Copywrite Erwin Dence, 2019-  Run of 30.  Printed at DL Logos, Port Townsend, Washington, U.S.A.

Maybe it was a good idea, but the image was already on screen when I got to the shop.  SO, new idea. I’m making tags to go with each t-shirt, with the image of the shirt, the above information (not the stuff in parenthesis), a number (ie; 2/30) and a signature.

SURE, that’ll make your shirt more valuable.

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I AM LEARNING a lot from this process; who like what, what works, what sells; and, other than the sales part, I totally enjoy the drawing, hanging out at print shops desperate to see what the negative image of what I’ve drawn looks like, going over shirt and ink colors and stuff with the guys at the screen shop.

Our daughter, DRUCILLA DENCE, has moved back to our area from an extended time in Chicago, where she most recently worked for, and is freelancing for, “The Onion.”  Since my stuff is massively disorganized, Dru can, hopefully help in the sales and distribution (and, of course, organization) of my, um, stuff; years of stuff.

SOME OF THE SHIRTS are already spoken for, but the rest, white on a dark blue, will be available soon at Tyler Meek’s DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE.

MEANWHILE, as always, I’m checking the buoys and working on other stuff.  “Swamis” the novel, is up to somewhere over 48,000 words (and I still haven’t figured out whodunnit), I’m trying to get some stuff ready for the HamaHamaOysterRama down Surf Route 101 on April 20th (“Four-twenty, man,” Adam ‘Wipeout’ James told me, with the same insider-ness as when I tell someone my age that I graduated in 1969, as in, “class of ’69, man!”)

And, as always, I have to go to work.  Rumors of a perfect wave. Memories of a perfect wave. Anticipation for more of each. Here are the first three t-shirt designs.

 

Throwing a Wake

Throwing a Wake

Stephen Davis texted this recent photo with the message, “Emmett is on the left.”

Stephen’s son, Emerson, and Porter Hammer’s son, Ulysses; Emmett and Uli at some beach in Oregon. “Ulysses,” Steve said, isn’t that the best name?”

“As is your son’s name.”

 

IMG_2260Here is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

When each of us pass through the water, or, through extension, through life, we leave a path, we throw a wake. Outward. Outward and behind us; molecules disturbed and pushed into motion; people we pass by, interact with; there is a reaction to our actions, there is a difference because of our existence.

A wake (different definition) is an ancient tradition; honoring those who died; telling tales about them; celebrating their existence, the difference their passing by us made. Emmett Davis died, tragically, just a few nights ago; and the word spread quickly.

Seattle TV news, social media, cell phone memorials, a story shared with people who didn’t know Emmett by people who did. There was cell phone footage, fire, that couldn’t be unseen, there was disbelief and grief that couldn’t be held by only one person.

A path and its wake.

Twenty-two years old, Emmett was part of many communities. There is an admittedly-loose surfing community of those who live and surf on the Olympic Peninsula and Washington coast. Rather than cell phone conversations and texts with the topic usually centered on waves scored and waves missed, on skunkings and forecasts; the unfathomable loss became the topic. Dealing with the impact.

Impossible. Incomprehensible.

Though we have all experienced the loss of those we love, we do not understand tragedy. We don’t have the whole story, can’t see even a corner of any sort of supposed bigger picture, can’t rationalize grief away, can’t untangle one story from the many. So many stories, pushed forward, bumping and twisting and knotted; it becomes so difficult to believe they all meet on some horizon beyond that which we can see, difficult to believe there even is some sort of reason or order to the universe.

We grieve, and we have stories.

Stories of Emmett; Emmett at the Port Townsend Skate Park, Emmett playing with the children of his parent’s friends, stories of Emmett at school, at work, stories we haven’t yet heard, haven’t bumped into the person who can tell them.

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Here’s mine: “Eager,” I told Steve; “that’s how I would describe Emmett.” I saw him with a friend, out on a point where, sometimes, west winds funnel into and blow the entire fetch of the Strait of Juan de Fuca; long period ocean swells mix with chop; tops of waves are blown forward; slower waves are overtaken and become part of larger waves. The water is the easy road for the wind. The waves become just a little more organized. While most of the energy takes that deep and easy forward route, driving down the deeper channels, some turns into explosions against the rocks, protective jetties, rocks moved and piled to absorb that thrust; jetties there to protect that harbor, that bay. Us.

I hadn’t yet made it out the path when Emmett and his friend came, running the other way. So excited, so eager. “Out of control,” Emmett said; “Crazy!” They stopped just long enough for Emmett to tell me they were going somewhere else; just to see. Somewhere else.

There are stories of surf spots around the corners, around the points, out of the wind, protected; where out of control energy becomes organized, where it all makes sense; fine lines wrapping, wrapping, wrapping; wrapping toward some farther horizon.

Peace.

 

 

 

Numbness Isn’t…

…insulation.  It is a sort of temporary relief, at best, but the pain returns. Stinging, tingling, nerve endings shooting messages across revived synapses.

Paralysis. Blindness, self-induced or the reaction to tragedy one’s mind cannot process; not all at once.  Temporary. Some images won’t be erased.  They won’t remain, locked in some file, some separate place.  No. This file must be filled with better images.

Happier images.

Time. There is the split second before any loud, harsh sound hits, before our mind can identify what it is and what to do. There is the wave, softer, a cushion perhaps, just ahead of the wave that no one can stand against, the one that will push you back, knock you down, roll you, hold you down. Energy, greater forces. Irresistible.

“I… I have some really bad news…”

Dot dot dot.

Not enough time, not enough of a cushion.  Impact.

Eventually the wave will release you. Time. Not yet. You’re still caught in the swirl, still holding onto disbelief, some hope that this isn’t real. Nightmares fade, the details drop away, they don’t make sense when we try to retell, or even remember them.

It takes longer for reality.  disbelief. Numbness. Paralysis. then anger. So much anger, thrown in all directions. All directions.

Time. Hope. If there is a reason and a plan we cannot comprehend, then… No, even then, the anger must be hurled back at whatever or whoever. No. This was a mistake in the plot. This wasn’t right.

No. No. No.

No, we don’t get to write the script. Bad people would suffer, young people wouldn’t die.

Time. Time. Time.

Image (16) Knowing they can’t offer more than words and thoughts, friends want, desperately, to relieve some of your suffering. Perhaps a word by someone searching for the right words, when there are none, perhaps a wave of truly-felt condolence will relieve a portion of the pain.

Perhaps. That is the hope. But the pain will be real, full force, and you will endure it. 

You will look to the horizon, the waves forming, you will feel the warmth of the earth and sky, step back into the water, open the file, now over-filled  with snapshots of a life too-short.

You will no longer be numb. Not in that moment. In that moment.

Time. All wounds. Memories. Love. We throw out prayers in all directions.

 

Stephen Davis and Cap Score… Maybe

Stephen Davis is, no surprise, on the Big Island; missing out on really cold winds blowing over always-cold water.  So, what you see below is Cap (Steve has never given me his real name- maybe it’s Cap) captured mid-turn on his Go-Pro.  So, Cap in a cap, jauntily turned sideways.

cap with cap

The spot is called… I’m not trying to be coy here, Steve told me the name of the place he and Cap scored, alone (I forgot it), for three hours; after surfing another, well-known spot (Pine Trees, I think) where Stephen, unable to find the keyhole while trying to come in, got all cut up.  Ow!

So, what to do?  Neosporin, hockey tape, and a drive to this spot, waves accessible by paddling for fifteen minutes or hiking for a longer length of time.  Steve paddled; not sure about Cap.

Meanwhile, the cold winds keep on blowing; and, hey, I hit the rocks a few times last time I surfed, but I was wearing booties, full suit, hood.  Go Stephen, go Cap!

Oh; Stephen said the next day the spot was cr-ow-ded.  Timing is everything.

Original Erwin T-Shirt Design #4

All right, I tried to find the fax and scan feature on our new and hyper-confusing new computer. I have proof that I scanned a drawing before on this thing, but couldn’t seem to find out how to repeat the process on my latest illustration meant to become limited edition Original Erwin T-shirt Number 4.

NO, I had to download a free (thankfully) app from the overlords at Microsoft.

WE’LL see how this works, and worry that, one, I can find the scan in the files, and, two, if that’s successful, that I can do it again next time.

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OKAY on the first point. SO, I had to work in Bremerton, had the original drawing, the negative image of this (sort of), and a fresh-from-Fed-Ex-Kinkos white-on-black version, and showed them to the sales crew at Miller (Kelly-Moore) Paint Company in Silverdale.  Kevin, the manager, and, this might ordinarily matter, a non-surfer, said that if I can get him three shirts, xxl, with long sleeves… So, YES, pre-sale.

ORDINARILY a non-surfer wearing a surf-themed t-shirt might even solicit a question from me, such as, “Do you actually surf?”  NOW, because most of my paint shirts come from Goodwill, I have been known to wear a Harley-Davidson shirt- haven’t ridden a motorcycle in 50 years, and then it was a stripped-down dirt bike.

This might prove slightly embarrassing if, say, one was gassing-up at the Sequim Costco and a real Harley-Davidson Dude, leather and tattoos and pony-tail and actually on one asks, “What kind’a hog you got?”

Not that this happened, not more than once.

AND, BESIDES, if Kevin is willing to risk looking like a Hodad, and he’s willing to promise a purchase; there’s some money to offset the cost of printing… this is something to put in the ‘hopeful-optimistic file,’ off-setting something four or five notches down on the ‘worry’ column.

BUT, as when reviewing anything with others, I realized I had to make some changes in the original Original Erwin. Did that during a break, went back to Kinko’s on the way home, borrowed some whiteout for some fine(er)-tuning, got another batch shot.

AGAIN, I am marketing these as originals, and, de facto (because the printing money goes out all at once and the sales dollars come back slowly) limited editions.  Between those sold (some still available) at Tyler Meek’s Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange, those I’ve sold out of the back of my surf rig, and those (few) I’ve given as presents, most of the first editions are gone.

THOUGH I am way more interested in doing the drawings, I’m working on my sales strategy.  My daughter, Dru, is returning to the northwest from too long in Chicago (most recently working at the “Onion,” quite status-y; and I’m hoping we can do something, something bigger.  I hear this Internet thing is catching on.

No, not blogs.

MEANWHILE I continue to get the occasional (small) wave and the occasional skunking, the northwest continues to be dominated by cold, offshore conditions, I’m past the 40,000 word mark on “Swamis,” the novel, and, as always, I have to go to work work.

Mid-Winter Strait Session Report

You might notice the snow, the hat, the lack of any waves actually showing; you might wonder what that is in the background. A chunk of land? No, it’s a board.

tim nolan

I got to this spot at 8am, trying to beat the wave-killing high tide, surprised (and a bit worried) at the treacherous conditions (the parking area, not the waves); this, in my front wheel drive car (rather than the all wheel drive work van), and after driving good (not icy, not compact snow) conditions on surf route 101.

I was too late. Or too early. High tide was at eleven. Tim had been out since seven (first light), picking off set waves, sliding across the outside sections, easing out when each wave mushed-out.  It wasn’t exactly barreling, but Mr. Nolan was getting the most out of each ride. Gliding. Cruising.

So, I was hanging out.  On my way west, I had followed a woman (I think her name is Hannah) from Joyce (one of only a small group of true locals) in her full-sized SUV, at about 60 mph; slower, much slower when negotiating highway 112s downhill slalom course.  Once I turned into and over the remnants of the snow-plowed curb and onto the pullout road, I was committed, wheels in the deep ruts, plowing  through the iced-over snow between the ruts. Ahhhhh!

Hannah (possible Hannah) pulled perpendicular to the beach, and soon joined Tim in the water. Meanwhile, I tried to find a less-snow-choked area to park, way too worried to pull out of the ruts. I finally backed into a position under a tree and behind one of those Sprinter vans, the ruts deep and muddy.

NOW, I have to give Hannah a lot of credit for her commitment.  A mother of two kids, she was surfing when (apparently- one doesn’t ask) seven or so months pregnant, and then (evidently) only several weeks after delivering her third child.  When she did get out of the water, I went over to tell her I thought she might have been speeding (again, I was keeping up), she told me she got the short straw, and her husband (Dave, I’m pretty sure) would get to surf when it (hopefully) got better.

Meanwhile, the tide still rising, me still waiting, a guy who delivers mail to Neah Bay wheeled his (classic, short wheel base) big-tired Jeep into the parking area, straight into a divet, jumped out, lit up a smoke, walked over toward me.  “I have to admire your confidence,” I said. “Oh, I can get out,” he said.  “I’m not a surfer,” he said, using his cigarette to draw a line across the horizon, “this any good?”

“If the swell doesn’t fall off or the angle doesn’t change, or…” He wasn’t really interested. He wasn’t a surfer. He probably did burn out half of his clutch trying to rock back and forth (forward and back, I guess), before ‘locking-in’ his lugs (I hope that’s the term for putting it in four wheel drive), and getting out; no doubt lighting up another smoke.

About this time a small-sized pickup with (only) two boards in the back makes the turn and slides through the ruts, pulls up and cranks a left, straight toward the water. “Four wheel drive?”  “No, it’s rear wheel drive.” “Oh.”

I recommended another (not secret) spot he might try with the high tide. Somewhere in here he (John, from Auburn) bought an Original Erwin t-shirt from those I still have (all now large or extra-large) in the Toyota.  When John couldn’t get out, he tried to put chains on the back tires. Not so easy.

A guy who had, evidently, walked in from the highway, helped me push John’s rig back into the ruts. When the pickup made it to the blacktop the guy said we’d met before (“Oh, okay,”) and introduced himself with, “Luke (I hope that’s right). No one knows who I am, but everyone knows my girlfriend.” “Who’s your girlfriend?” “Kim, Kim with the VW bug.” “Yeah. Kim. I think I was out the first time she surfed at ________ ______.” As Luke walked away, evidently going to look elsewhere for waves, I said, “Luke. Yeah. I’ll remember you the next time.” “Sure. That’s what you said the last time.”

Meanwhile, the guy from the Sprinter suits up, goes out on a Lib-tech (small, short) board, and a guy with two longboards on his all-wheel-drive pickup, who watched but didn’t help push John’s truck, suits up, says he thinks the east wind will blow it out by the time the tide drops, and besides, “It’s not crowded.”

Longboard Guy (didn’t get or don’t remember his name) grabs a really long board, makes a negative comment on SUPs. “You know, at San Onofre, they have to go to one end of the beach.” “Fine. I do say anyone under 60 who rides one is a _______.”  Now, I only decided to blank out the word I always use here is it might be considered sexist. So, maybe I should replace pussy with whimp. Not sexist.

About this time, a regular-sized SUV pulls in.  It’s Cole, a guy I’ve seen quite a few times out on the Strait, and a friend.

Somewhere in here, knowing I couldn’t concentrate on surfing if I didn’t think I could get out of the parking lot, I side-slipped and rut-rode my way out to the highway, considered parking on the side of the road, but, with the snow piled on the fogline, decided the odds of someone (like a log truck or an RV) side-swiping my vehicle were pretty high, and counting on my ability to get out twice, I pulled back in; still parallel to the beach.

Somewhere around 10am, Tim Nolan gets out of the water. Since I’d spent quite a bit of time leaning against his all wheel drive (says it right on the car) Suburu, I give him a hand with his board.

“Are you catching up to me yet?”  He meant in age. “Yeah, I think so. You were working it, man.” “Thanks.”

Incidentally, Tim is 71, I’m 67, and his continued commitment to surfing continues to be an inspiration to me.  When I first met him, probably 16 years ago, he told me some of my best surfing days were still to come. And he was right.

If you surf on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, you probably recognize Mr. Nolan. A boat designer in Port Townsend, Tim participates in flat water SUP races, has paddled every bit of the Strait (on purpose), and helps out in some community support activities that I only heard about from others.  That says something about his character.

So, Cole and his buddy came over to Tim’s car. He showed us the results from his Apple watch. He had travelled 3.9 miles during his session, with red lines (a lot of them) showing each ride. “About half of that (somewhere around two miles) is surfing.”

Very impressive.  I kind of thought I was getting a contact high from my proximity to the two younger surfers. Legal, of course. Just to make sure, I touched Cole. “Yep; now it’s a contact high.”

I went out at mean high tide. The wind changed to west rather than east; more people came out, including, surprise, Adam Wipeout (who showed up when I had told myself I was going to catch five more waves and was down to one); so I kept surfing.

On the way back, after I had to back up, gun it, probably damage my transmission to power through the pile at the highway, I figured out the whole experience- three hours of driving (there and back), three hours of waiting, and three hours of surfing.

No Apple watch, lost track of number of waves. And, if I factor in the wetsuit donning and un-donning, and the stops at Costco, Walmart, the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE; yeah, 12 hours or so. SO, GOOD.

 

New Drawing, New Greeting Logo

It’s my new computer, and I’m trying to figure it out.  I’ve hooked up the printer one other time, found out it’s out of ink. Errrr.  Trish had hooked it up before that, and evidently used the last of the ink.

It’s not that I need ink to scan a few drawings.  No, but I do have to find out where the drawings end up, and how to get them from there to here.  SO:

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Meanwhile… wait, it worked. Great! The first drawing is another one originally drawn as the negative version of this.  It’s a learning experience.  When I saw the resultant re-positive-imaged drawing, I discovered the mountains didn’t show up very well.  So, I went back in with some black lines, and got… what you see.

I do have this drawing available as a print at Tyler Meek’s DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE, and I’m adding the image as another in a group of greeting cards I’ve been working on.

HEY, Tyler has a lot of snow-thrashing gear and clothing, there’s snow in the Olympics; so… check it out!

The other drawing is to be used as one of two (so far), way reduced in size for the backs of the soon-to-be-available, ORIGINAL ERWIN cards.

MEANWHILE, waves continue to miss the Strait of Juan de Fuca, as far as I know, and it’s cold, and, yeah, even though I totally entered a state of hypothermia last time I surfed, I’m ready for some more. Or some.  OH, and I’m at 39,000 words, or so, on my novel, “SWAMIES.”

“SWAMIES”- INSIDE THE LINEUP

I continue to be baffled by computers, and get tangled and confused even with tasks I’ve previously performed successfully; like transferring something from the 35,000 plus words I’ve written so far on my novel, “Swamis.”

BUT, this particular chapter with actual surfing in it, which was set earlier in the narrative, had to be moved, just to lessen confusion for readers, from around page 42 to somewhere in the high 50s.  I was able to highlight, copy, and transfer the words, intact, but three attempts to move it from the thumb drive too realsurfers, doing some refining each time, failed.

AND I lost the changes.

SO, here I am typing it onto the site.  I do have some other actual surfing in the manuscript, and plan on writing more, and (spoiler alert) the novel will come to some sort of conclusion during the famous December 1969 swell, though probably not on Big Wednesday.  Maybe on ‘Still Good’ Friday.

REMEMBER, although I surfed Swamis every day during the swell, with varying degrees of success, “Swamis” is still a work of fiction.  That is, the story and characters are fictional, mostly; THE WAVES ARE REAL.

INSIDE THE LINEUP

Jumper was the farthest surfer out, sitting on the Boneyards side of the outside peak, looking at the horizon.  There was a pack on the safer side of where most waves would start to break. As always. Swamis.  There was that string of surfers, with another pack in the vicinity of the inside peak.  At this tide, probably a third, or so, of the waves, the bigger waves, would connect all the way across.

Jumper seemed to feel someone approaching, or he heard the splash and glide of my paddling. He didn’t look around, but rotated his board enough to catch me in his peripheral vision.

“You didn’t call… could have called Tony; given me a head’s up.”

“Figured you’d know.”

I did. “I did. Of course. Cardiff’s… the parking lot is full, and…”

“So it must be good. Huh?”

A line on the horizon started to thicken, darken, take form; a wall, the peak of it fifty yards over from me, farther for Jumper. I could see the lineup come alive; surfers dropping to prone, paddling out and toward us.

“Number three,” Jumper said. “Block for me.”

“Fuck you, Jumper,” I said, stroking hard, out and toward the first wave.  I looked-off three guys also trying to get in position, turned, sank the tail of my board, stroked hard, and took off. I dropped in, made the down-the-line bottom turn, knowing, if it didn’t look like I would make the first section, shoulder-hoppers would take off.  If they didn’t kno0w wave etiquette, didn’t know who I was, or didn’t care, some fool might drop in anyway.

Some surfers, taking off from the outside (weirdly enough, called the ‘inside’ position- closest to the peak) will whistle at the attempted interlopers, or yell something like, “I’m on it!”  Or something harsher. I tried to resist those urges; but I had been known to come as close to any surfer dropping in that… maybe it was an intimidation tactic. Maybe.

I was more likely to just yell, “Go!”

I leaned hard into another bottom turn, looking off two new scrappers. I aimed for a place high on the steepening wave; hit it, tucked into a short tube. Then, while I’m trying to deal with the board speed on a weakening shoulder, someone did drop in.

“Fuck!” I tried to cutback, couldn’t, fell sideways, awkwardly, trying to fall onto my board, or, at least, close enough to grab it.

Nope.  The guy who dropped in, totally unaware (probably) that he was almost hit by my board, (probably) had one of the best rides of his surf life; while I hoped my board would pop up within a swimmable distance before the second wave of the set hit. Nope. Almost there, then… whoosh; more swimming.

Three kooks were sharing the second wave, which had, as I would have predicted, swung wider, more toward the inside peak.  The guy in front stayed in front, the guy in middle tried to stay in position, the back guy (who should have had priority) got (and this is pretty standard, though, sometimes the front guy pulls out- etiquette)  knocked off the wave. I ducked under rather than (and this would have been good etiquette) making a grab for his board.

The third wave, number three; that was the wave. Of course. I just stopped swimming, turned around, bouncing in the eel grass on the ledges, keeping my head above water. I watched Jumper backdoor the peak; tucked-in, covered; emerging, still high on the wave, most of his body above the lip, backlit for a mind-extended moment; then unweighting, redirecting, s-turning while dropping to the bottom. He leaned forward and into the wave, body stretched-out, front hand pointing down the line.

As the inside section formed, he kick-stalled (another freeze-frame-moment in the flow), crouched, and disappeared again.

Some gremmie retrieved my bo0ard, shoved it out to me, just as Jumper finished his ride with an in-the-closeout island pullout, the tailblock of his board coming quite close to me.

He brushed back the water, pulled the hair out of his eyes. “No, fuck you, Jody.”

“Nice ride, man. Number three. Outside peak. Why’d I doubt?”

“Because you, my friend, lack faith.”

“”We’re not friends.”

Another set caused us both to wait, reef-dancing on the finger ledges. “We are. I am the best fucking friend you’ve got.” He tapped me on the chest. A little too hard; looking for my reaction.

“Then, friend; why didn’t you tell me?”

“You’re the detective.”

“Fuck you… again, man. You heard Dickson. ‘There ain’t no eighteen-year-old detectives.’ Right? Stoolies, narcs, informants. Undercover, um, agents.  Not interested. But you…”

“Yeah, me. Me; I am interested. Stoolie, narc, informant, undercover… yeah.  And you, you need to stay away.” My expression, evidently, changed. Way too readable. “You aren’t going to… stay away.” Nope.  “You should.”

We both saw the break in the waves, the chance to paddle back out. We both leapt onto our boards. Jumper almost instantly jumped off his, blocked me from paddling. “First of all, Joseph; you were interested. Second, it was me who said ‘eighteen-year-old detectives.’ Dickson thought you were still seventeen. Friends.”

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Jumper got back onto his board, paddled through a wave and toward the channel. He paddled toward the pack at the inside peak, past the shoulder-hoppers and the scrappers, past the sitters, the channel markers, those folks afraid to go on set waves, afraid to get caught inside.  Those who knew who Jumper was would, if in his direct path, move aside, their feet moving like ducks, rotating.

I tried to paddle out inside (closer to shore) the pack, and got caught by a four wave set. I had almost made it past and through to the outside when an older guy (probably pushing thirty), but an obvious beginner (stink but stance, big arm movements) from Escondido (at least that’s where his license plate frame said he bought his flashy black Monte Carlo), wearing out-of-date, out-of-fashion jams over his wetsuit (for modesty, perhaps, but totally impractical- they wouldn’t ride up, almost instantly rip out) had to fall on his flashy board to avoid hitting me.  His anger only added to mine.

“Fucking paddle around, Kook,” he yelled. Hand signals were added; big arm movements. “Don-cha-fuckin’ know nothin?”

I chose not to be angry. “Sorry, sir. You were… (I made a smooth hand/forearm gesture) surfing so very well. Sir.” Nice guy/apologetic smile.

“Um. Oh. Well. Oh? Yeah?”  I nodded. He smiled.  Now he had a story. “Well; next time…”

I was already paddling, again, taking the inside route.