Preliminary Sketch for “It’s in Your Hands”

It’s October 22nd, my older son, James’, 41st birthday, a day or two after (I think- I’ll check) James’ wife, Rachel’s birthday (younger- again I’ll check with Trish, who totally has these things memorized), and the day before Adam Wipeout’s 39th birthday (which I know because he wants to score some waves tomorrow).

I mention the date because I want some sort of proof, just in case… just in case a number of things do or could occur, just in case this idea is, if not original, at least different.

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I’ve been working on some Christmas card ideas, and my thought was to have “Peace” in the palm of a hand; still going to do that one; but, since I was watching the WSL contest from Portugal… hmm… surfer standing in open palm, in the tube as the fingers fold over.

SO, this is the first (okay, second) sketch toward that end. LATER… oh, and happy birthdays…




Stephen Davis Gets a Barrel (Roll)…

HEY, REALSURFERS, my site is a mess. I’m aware of this. I decided it might be easier to just do a monthly thing, adding new stuff when it comes up; probably not a good idea, but… hey, here’s something I came across in my many-times-daily search for whatever information I can find to determine when I can best avoid getting skunked.  IS IT A GHOST SURFER, or someone who went out in storm surf, found a corner of a wave in the corner of the bay, and got on camera?  I don’t know; couldn’t help but share it.

OKAY, and, incidentally, it’s also Barrel-roll Stephen Davis’s birthday; and he’s lucky to have made it to this one. Read on; there’s other new stuff.

…ADAM WIPEOUT wades into the crowds in Southern California; ARCHIE ENDO heads back to Thailand; the (UNOFFICIAL) PORT TOWNSEND CREW (with HamaHama backup/alternate) hike (to a non-secret-but-unnamed spot) in, separately and together, and score; MANY SURFERS travel and get skunked; ANOTHER BEACH ACCESS IS SHUT DOWN, another ACCESS IS THREATENED; I sneak in a few sliders before THE WESTPHALIANS show up;  and other news that doesn’t include revealing any secret spots on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Steve at one of his day jobs, pre-roll.

But first… Headed up a Big Island highway at six in the morning on Friday the 13th, en route to his job (one of his jobs) as a crew member (and guy who swims with dolphins AND tourists) on a catamaran built and owned by legendary surfer Woody Brown; Hydrosexual STEPHEN DAVIS, in his words, “Nearly met my maker.”

“Oh,” I said, Saturday afternoon, Steve having called me back while I was on a slippery roof trying to finish a paint job; “But you’re okay. Right.” “Kind of. I’ll send you some photos.” “Okay. I mean, but you’re okay.”

“Mostly. The first thing I did when I got out of the car was say, ‘Mother-fucker!'”

We both laughed. Since he was okay, I was imagining Steve’s impression of me in boss mode, crouching-down, hands splayed-out, saying, “What the fuck?” Yeah, it’s pretty accurate; at work; never in the water- very chill, not as chill as Steve.

I didn’t look at the photos until a couple hours later. Steve’s quick reactions, no doubt, saved his life. A DISTRACTED DRIVER was in Steve’s lane, head-on. Steve swerved, the other car hit him in more of a glancing blow.


WAIT! WHAT! Yeah, a glancing blow that…WHAT! I had to text Stephen. It went like this:

“Did your rig flip?” “Several flips and spins. It was upside down when it came to rest. Had to kick the door open all laying on my head.” “Geez, man, just had a chance to look at the photos. thank you Jesus. Trish and I are en route to Mass.” “Ya. Super grateful.(emojis) Will you thank God for me please?” “Sure, already working on it, and trish has a bit more clout, and I’m sure your appreciation is noted. You were definitely barreled.”  “Gracias. (more emojis).”  A bit later; “Okay, mentioned your accident to the Priest. You’re all set. Be strong. No, you are strong.”  “Mahalo (emojis).”

Now, please don’t think I’m like, super religious; but I am a believer in something mysterious and beyond our understanding.  I think Stephen ‘Barrel-roll’ Davis is, too. I was ready to drop the ‘hydrosexual’ part of Steve’s nickname anyway; getting too many spam attacks from porno promoters.

OKAY, I have to go. I’ll get back to the other alluded-to news; but, ARCHIE seems to be stronger than when he arrived in the northwest after over 90 days in the hospital after a stroke in Thailand. Part of this has to be due to the above-mentioned Stephen Davis taking him to the pool in Sequim. “He lit up like Christmas,” Steve said. AND Archie is talking about getting back in the surf. Better. He better.

ADAM JAMES, on a surf-and-oyster-sales-related trip, surfed Pipes, twice at Swamis, another time at San Onofre (that I know of), tried to teach northwest-style surf etiquette to my old surfing grounds.

WAIT, here’s an UPDATE (October 16)- Now Adam has added MALIBU, VENTURA POINT, AND COUNTY LINE to his list of Southern California conquests. Nice business trip.

County Line from the rental van.

SO, parking in someone’s yard to access a rivermouth break west of Port Angeles, which has been shut down before, is shut down again. Plans for a Land Trust parking area are stalled, on hold, or just not happening, and the alternative is a long walk. When some surfers from Port Townsend hiked in from one direction recently, they found other surfers from Town who hiked in from the other direction.

AND, AGAIN, people who camp out overnight in a parking area/access to another rivermouth spot are SERIOUSLY RISKING the closure of this area. IT IS PRIVATE PROPERTY. Park somewhere else. Please.  Thanks. As far as surf etiquette is concerned; it takes some nerves to tell a local at any break that, “Hey, that was my wave.” And, I think Adam is planning on hitting Malibu before he comes back home. “Excuse me, but; you know; I’ve been waiting, and…”

No, Big Dave Rips

Jeffrey Vaughn seemed to be enjoying the waves (part of this is that there were waves). It was stormy, west wind blowing (this is sideshore on the Strait of Juan de Fuca), and, maybe it was the tide, maybe the angle, but waves that, typically, hug the reef and peel, were, mostly, closing out, rolling through.

Waves were breaking on outside, Indicator reefs. Rain squalls, clouding the view to the west, would approach, roll through, further chopping-up the lines. Then pass by. Sun would, randomly, break through, adding blinding reflections on ribbed wave faces.

Some waves, that should have been lefts, almost looked like rights. I know better, usually, than to drop into these chunky, deeper water waves. You can drop into a long wall, speed for fifty yards or so and pull out, as you would on most beach breaks, or drop down under the first closeout section, pull back into some non-critical, not-steep wall, and bounce around well past the fence (this is the measure for a long ride at this spot).

Still, even on more lined-up waves, there was a tricky inside section that, if you made it, it was great. If you didn’t you’d get punched, pitched, or, again, be forced to drop down, try to work past it. Oh, I guess you could straighten out.

Jeff was taking off on the outsiders, big smile on his face, dropping-in while I’m going up the face, looking to see if the next one is going to break farther out; and he was picking off  some of the up-the-reef peelers, dropping in with his patented and classic South Bay longboard style, hands on the wall as he wailed toward the inside section.

When he got out he climbed up on top of his Mad Max-meets-heavy-duty-off-roader-adventurer van, snapped some shots of Big Dave and, yeah, me. Thanks, Jeff.


Top-Discussion mid-session (I was out for about three hours, then a break, then an hour or so more, Dave was out when I arrived, still out when I left- at least 6 hours straight) with Dave, mostly about how access to a favorite spot has, again, been cut off. Or, maybe, about how he’s sometimes mistaken for me, and vice-versa. He’s five years younger, and was a Crystal Pier rat (his words) when I moved to Pacific Beach, San Diego, at 20, in 1971.

Second shot-Me setting up for the tricky inside section. Yes, there were bigger waves.

Third shot- Dave setting up for the tricky inside section. And, yes, the camera takes two feet off the height of a wave and adds twenty pounds (minimum) to the size of a surfer.

Bottom- Dave vertical. There were bigger waves. Really.

NOTE- While I was taking a break, drinking two cups of coffee, one of three guys loading up in a black jeep parked next to me, after taking a couple of cell phone shots of Dave, said it’s nice that someone like me is still ‘out there.’ “Thank you, young gentleman,” I should have said, instead of asking, “You mean old?” Of course he did. Maybe this, and the unspoken challenge of Ironman Big Dave, made me go back out for ‘five more waves,’ that, when it glassed-off, turned into fifteen or so. It was either that or that I’d peed in my wetsuit. Either way, thanks for the photos, Jeff; thanks for the waves Juan.

Interpreting; Sometimes it’s in the Syntax, Sometimes…

…it’s semantics; often how we interpret an event is in our orientation.

Orientation as in, ‘the house faces west,’ or, where one is located on the sliding loop (generally thought of as a sliding scale between left and right wings), pretty strong and solid in the middle, where most of us are, a bit sketchier and more broken up as it heads toward, and close to,  a final connection at the place usually thought of as the lunatic fringe.

That’s where the shaky and tenuous bridge, the point of agreement, and possibly the only one, is distrust.

I usually say it’s a shared distrust of the government, but, more recently, I have to believe it’s distrust of all of the various groups considered ‘other’ or ‘them,’ or ‘they,’ and a disbelief in (or denial of) arguments and positions ‘they’ state as if they were facts. Facts?

Again, it’s orientation; which corner one backs him or herself into.

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All right, I almost took a stand on only one of the issues that have become screaming points; one set of zealots, possibly jealous of the traction the opposing zealots appear to be making, steps a bit closer to the edge, yells a bit louder.

You and I have worked our way into positions on the same issues. Then, constantly, there are new events and new tragedies. Too many. Too constant.

No, actually, most are repetitions of the same events and the same tragedies we’ve seen before, but happening to or with different players, different victims. Maybe we’re shocked, maybe we’re numbed. Maybe, occasionally, we should stop listening to the screamed accusations and echoes, look back toward the middle.

I’m happy to talk about almost any issue. Happy to listen. I have a loud voice, but I try not to yell.

HEY, this is something I wrote for my blog, “Stuff That Goes On,” at

I do have some surf stories I want to tell, but, I figured I might get a few more people to read this if I also posted it here. The cartoon is another one submitted to and rejected by “The New Yorker.” Thanks for reading.



“Grizzly” Adam “Wipeout” James goes Nationwide-kind of-Viral


My daughter, Dru, in Chicago, hepped me, last night, to my friend Adam Wipeout appearing in a national video put out by “Rolling Stone.” Whoa!

I just spent some time this morning checking out the Harley-Davidson-sponsored video, with Clint Carter trying some oysters in Seattle, then motorcycling to the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula to check out where they came from.

Hence, Adam, looking a little more grizzly than the last time I saw him.  There were others in the video, including his sister, Lissa, and… forgot his name, the plant manager; but Adam’s the guy out in the middle of the night on the tide flats. And, yeah; with him complaining about his knees slowing down his surfing lately, I did take not of a sort of painful-looking crouch-down-stand-up on his part.

Anyway, Dru; when I should have been halfway to a job, called. She tried to explain how to put a link to the video on my Facebook page, though I really wanted to put it on realsurfers. Either she ran out of patience or actually didn’t have the time; and I’m actually, as almost always, really supposed to be somewhere else, painting; but the net result is… no, it’s not here.

BUT it is out there.

Maybe you should look up “Rolling Stone,” “Harley Davidson videos,” or hama hama oysters on Facebook, or friend up with Adam James. Pick the right Adam James; there seem to be others. The correct Adam is the one with the big brown Grizzly Adams beard who lives on Surf Route 101.  It’s not like he doesn’t have enough friends, but… he and the whole Hama Hama Oyster Company need to go viral.  Viral-er.

AND, just to explain, the photo  is one Adam sent me of his midnight, low tide expedition to find a fin he’d lost at high tide.

Catching the Sun

I’d like do (almost said create) drawings that look simple. Simple is hard.

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It is odd that I finish two drawings in two days. I thought I should put this one out there before I decide to do more to it. I can’t make it simpler. Please read/check out yesterday’s blog/rant, and thanks, as always, for checking out realsurfers.

Under the Brow

Somewhere between waking up a little later than I had planned, trying to get up the energy and necessary excitement level to drive to a job I have to (HAVE TO) get completed before Monday, that project twenty miles out on a (relatively) wilderness peninsula; somewhat after I stepped in cat barf (easily detected with bare feet), had to deal with the same cat’s (Snickerdoodle’s) latest incredibly, unbearably stinky crap (each installment demanding instant removal from the litter box and the house), made a pot of coffee for today’s thermos full, microwaved a cup of yesterday’s leftover, turned on the light in the art/breakfast nook, found the magazine and the photo I would use as reference, then…

…oh, yeah, then I decided, after getting fresh boxers and socks for today from the laundry room, that I could actually use the Seahawks shirt I had worn, yesterday, for Blue Friday, but hadn’t worn to paint in; fresh enough; so I set the magazine and (I think) my drawing/computer eyeglasses on top of the stuff on top of the heater near the door I went out to retrieve my shirt. This particular pair of cheaters is too strong for watching TV (or for walking around), but perfect for making a lot of lines make sense. Some sense.

I looked. Couldn’t find them. Got a flashlight, dug around under the piano and the heater, retraced my steps. Gave up. The clock is ticking. Got to get to work.

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This is drawn with my painting (trim-cutting mostly) glasses, a few specks on the lenses. It’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation.

MEANWHILE, I got some new earplugs. I’ve been using these orange-ish waxy plugs purchased at Walmart, but, if I wipe out enough times, I always seem to lose one. Then I rip the other one in half. Then, as happened this week, I might lose one of those. If I don’t wear earplugs I will get one ear or the other plugged up. It’s not always immediate, but this last time I lost hearing in my right ear before I made it home. This deafness is quite irritating to people (Trish mostly) who think I should hear what they’re saying.

It’s also quite irritating to me, constantly trying to clear the ear, dealing with that drop of the ocean caught between the bone growth (diagnosed when I was 20 year old) that has been narrowing my ear canals, and my ear drum. Slosh, slosh, clearness, hey… replugged. Silence. “What?” I’m constantly snapping my fingers next to my ear, checking.

AFTER googling ‘surfers’ ear’, it seems like the best solution is surgery. Drilling or chisling. NOOOOOOooo! WELL, we ordered and received some new plugs, seemingly identical (except for the strap connecting the two) to the ones endorsed by Tom Carroll, but cheaper from Ebay, possibly because of the lack of his endorsement. I’ve checked them out, can’t wait to use them.

MY HOPE is I don’t find my drawing glasses the same way I found Snicky’s barf. Cruncccccccchhh.

ADDITIONALLY, because it seems to be a deal, with attacks from the tweeter-in-chief; it seems like everyone should take a note from the Seattle area high school football team that took a knee during the national anthem. This shows no disrespect, and, in fact, probably shows more respect for what our country stands for (I won’t add ‘allegedly’, ‘historically,’ or ‘supposedly’- for the sake of not arguing), while noting that social inequality is real. Really.

New Age Dawn Patrol with Malmsted Dreever

These are the first pages of a… I don’t want to say comic book, not quite a graphic novel. Okay, my graphic short story of an older guy going to… hey, it needs to tell itself; and, no, I wanted the Malmsted character to be someone other than me.

Image (212)Image (213)Image (214)…and there’s more. Coming. Soon. Will Malmsted make it back to his room before… will his desire to surf overcome his complete lack of actual experience in the actual ocean? Will he rule the lineup? Why did I draw him with a mustache AND a soul patch?



Headed Home on Labor Day…

…after, and it’s a tradition I’ve managed to keep, working. On this day celebrating, supposedly, labor and laborers, but, really, the end of summer, I was sweating, trying to finish up the painting of trim and cabinets in the last of five quite low-brow, if not low-rent apartments in Bremerton.

Along with the heat (I would have given the apartments a higher rating if there was any sign of air conditioning- one didn’t actually have power- extension cords provided me with a fan, radio, and a light), there was smoke from various fires.

Because I’ve been working in a city, Trish and I have been enjoying the benefits of the variety of fast food restaurants not available on the Olympic Peninsula, at least not in our neighborhood. On this day it was Popeye’s. Trish loves the jambalaya (hmmm- spell checked, I’d have spelled it jUmbalaya).

Wearing my go-to and go-home shirt rather than my sweated-through shirt, I made note, when I called Trish to confirm Popeye’s and I actually got her order right, that the sun, low over our Olympics, was red; and, unlike the recent solar eclipse, one could pretty much look right at it.

Now, whether there are waves on the coast or not, I know there are none on the Strait; but, still, I make note when I pass vehicles with surfboards on top. As the grimy darkness deepened, the three-day weekend crowd headed back to civilization, the increasing brightness seemed, straight on then out the side, flying by, seemed to suggest something on top of every vehicle.

It has been said that angels don’t actually have wings. It’s the glow, the halo effect that makes it seem as if they do.

I don’t know. I know we look for angels.

Here are some images. I’ll put them together later, something more, hopefully, meaningful. Right now I should be headed back to Bremerton, hoping I don’t get hung up by a bridge opening. Today is forecast to be hotter than yesterday. I have to finish up this job. Carpet layers are waiting. Apartments need to be rented.

MELISSA horses w drawingimages180szakat_nad_gornim_ozerom_1024nBlood-red-moon-total-lunar-eclipse-over-Namibia-Reserve

On the last segment of my drive, I could see the rising moon, almost full, and equally as red as the sun had been.  I’ll check the buoys one last time before I go, looking for…

If I lost you in the lines…

…in the glare, in the crowd; I know I’ll see you later.

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It’s high season for painting houses, and quite a short season it is here in the great northwest. It might be considered fortunate that it’s off-season for surfing, even on the coast. I would love more time for writing and drawing and, yeah, I’d like to see something a bit more promising in the surf forecasts.

So, this one time… this one time I moved over from the rights as the tide flattened them out. About the time I got to my preferred lineup for the lefts a set approached. Big Dave was the only one farther out than I was. “Oh,” I said, “I’d love to take that first one.” “Well,” Dave said, “It’s your birthday.”

It wasn’t. But, recently, it was; and there was a bit of a bump, and… okay, it wasn’t classic; there were roll-throughs and closeouts and a sideshore wind, and, along with the many waves I caught during my five hours in the water, there were several pretty nasty wipeouts, cuts on both hands, a wound on my calf, sore muscles, and one ear plugged up for several days.

And now it’s back to sweating, painting some crappy apartments in Bremerton.  But, I am taking a little time to finish a drawing, do some (this and other) writing, study the forecast. My thinking is: I’m not getting any younger.

UPDATE: Archie Endo has returned, at least temporarily, from Thailand. The stroke he suffered there has left him physically weaker, and he thinks it’ll be a while before he can get back to his soulful and stylish longboard surfing.   Stephen Davis and Mike “Squintz” Cumiskey helped him get settled back into his house.

Hydrosexual Stephen Davis, who just left for the Big Island this morning, took Archie to the pool in Sequim, and said, when Archie got in the water, “He just lit up. You could see the energy coming back.”  Archie confirmed this. Hopefully, with some proper therapy, we can see our friend parallel-stancing his way across some northwest waves.