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.

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)

 

Lost/Found Surfboard on Surf Route 101 and Panama Surf Revealed

Adam ‘Lucky and or Wipeout’ James called me yesterday, Thursday, April 21, just after 2pm. I was talking to a client and told him he’d have to call back. He did, five minutes later; quite excited, maybe more excited than the time he called me back to go over the incredible barrel he made the other evening in Westport on the new 6’4″ Takayama he purchased, or was able to justify the purchase of, because I’m buying his 9’6″ Hobie SUP. Making payments. Soon. Really.

“Dude,” he started out, “I just found a surfboard… on the side of the road… 101… Yeah, okay, surf route 101. Down by Shelton. What? Wait. What?”

What he meant is, “What do you think I should do?”

I recommended taking a photo of the board some traveling surfer evidently, unknowingly lost off his or her southbound vehicle, and sending it to me. I could post it and tag it, “surfboard lost/found on 101 near Shelton,” or something.

But then… wait a minute; if there’s a photo, no one has to describe it to reclaim it. Hmmm, better think of something else.

steve5steve2steve3indexFirst we have some shots Hydrosexual Stephen Davis sent to Keith “Stealth” Darrock via Facebook (because Trish hasn’t friend-requested Stephen yet). I think the first one is the local surf club. Steve is down there with his son, Emmett, and Scrimshaw Peter; and I told Steve before he left that I’d love to reveal all the secret spots in Panama because, durn it, I’m not going.  And I would reveal all, but I don’t have the information.  I’m sure if Steve described it, or when he does, it’ll start with, “Dude; you can’t even imagine how awesome it was.” And I’ll say, “Hey; why does everyone call me Dude?”IMG_2163Here’s a photo of Steve on his boat, about to say, “Dude, you can’t even begin to know…” Yeah, yeah.

MEANWHILE, thinking it’s probably not the best to give out Adam’s phone number; and it’s actually kind of a pain to write a comment on this site; if you, by some miracle, find this posting, and you, indeed, lost a surfboard that you can describe accurately, give me a call, (360) 774-6354. Limited time offer.

Barrel-Dodging With Adam Wipeout

Evidently my paint sales people remember my surfing stories; or some of them; tales of two foot waves and rocks and ear infections and surfers who, on hearing how great the waves were on a Saturday, show up at dawn on a Sunday when the waves are half as big. Yeah, I’m talking about Adam “Wipeout” James, who said he couldn’t think even about surfing while he had so much work that just had to be done.

But there he was, actually getting out of the water when I rolled up. And then he was too tired to go back out. And then he did.

And then, in position for the ‘wave of the (this particular, would have been average the day before) day,’ Adam blows the takeoff (he did well otherwise, other than an ‘off the back’ that was supposed to be a cutback).

Sure, it can (and has, and will) happen to any of us. There’s a penalty (worse in Hawaii, I’ve heard) for this particular type of incident, no doubt mentioned by me, possibly reinforced by Keith Darrock, one of the other surfers out this day (and the day before, and pretty much any time the place breaks), and someone who hates to see a rideable wave go unridden. “Wave of the day, Adam.”

Adam, though remorseful, nevertheless struck back. “At least I’m not a barrel dodger,” he said, paddling for the next non-wave of the day, watching to see if I’d challenge him for it.

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“Barrel Dodger?” Pause. “Me?” Wait; let me think. Have I ever dropped low, under a falling section, rather than staying high, risking getting pitched into the rocks? Have I?

If I have, I won’t again. Thanks Adam.

Down Surf Route 101 at the HamaHama

I did a little project for the HamaHama Seafood Company, family-owned-and-run for five generations. The business is located about halfway down the portion of Surf Route 101 that snakes between the back side of the Olympic mountains and the Hood Canal.

If I wanted to be clever (and I do), I should add that the Hood Canal is, itself one of those TENTACLES that reach from the ocean, SURFROUTE 101 widely used by surfers coming up to the Strait, or down to the various surf opportunities to our south.

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SO, here’s some old guy sitting on the toilet in one of two bathrooms (easily available for customers, and there’s a sani-can outside) now sporting octopus graphics. I’m pretty proud of this illustration, adapted from drawings provided by a designer, but the second bathroom’s drawing…. WELL, my original contact at the HamaHama, Adam ‘Wipeout’ James, fifth generation of loggers and seafood folks (with a sixth growing up quickly) said, of the second illustration, a reverse of this one; “Now you’re really killing it… (or something similar- hip and positive and suggesting that one was even better- ‘crushing it,’ maybe).

ACTUALLY, I was working for Adam’s sister, Lissa. The second I showed up to start the painting portion of the store renovation project I got a call from Keith Darrock. Something about buoy readings and wave possibilities. I told Keith I was working for Adam Wipeout’s sister, Lissa Wipeout.

“ACTUALLY,” Lissa said later, “it’s more like Lissa Freakout.” This may have been a bit of pre-employment intimidation (possibly based on what Adam may have told his sister about my pre-surf mind games- guessing); Lissa has only been gracious to me.

IN FACT, everyone at the HamaHama, from those who work the tides, the folks in the retail store; those workers who shuck oysters, and prepare them for markets all over; those who talk to bigtime clients; Louie Lakeness (who grew up in the oyster business up the canal in Quilcene, and who does several jobs AND is a childhood friend of my son James- JJ to him); and Adam’s sister-in-law, Kendra, who his brother, Tom, met while earning a PHD in Forestry at Yale, and who is now the CEO; they all seem so… so HAPPY in their work. WIERD.

I mean Weird. Unusual. Happy. ALL I’M SAYING IS, when you’re headed up or down 101, stop in. If you have boards on your rig and Adam is around, expect him to talk you up on where you’re going or where you’ve been; what you expect or what you surfed.

ONE MORE THING. We were told, when driving over those two double bridges (look like the bridge at Haleiwa, huh?), it’s good luck to repeat “Hamahamahamahama…” as many times as you can on each one. Maybe it’s to distract you from the narrowness and the log truck coming at you, but… try it.

OH. There is a more flattering photo of me, on Facebook; but I don’t do Facebook, but my wife, and Adam’s newest Friend, Trish, won’t let me download it from her Page. OH, and there are less flattering photos you’ll never see.

Hydrosexual Stephen Davis Pig-Dogs One

More than one, actually. John the Calendar Guy took some photos of a rare northwest break. Hey, I have to go. I’ll get back to this. There is a story. Yeah, always a story. Here’s 1,000 words…

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Okay, so Stephen, whose wave riding posture is more typically a casual stand-and-almost-slouch (hope you’re imagining a confident, defiant, hips-forward, wave-challenging stance), but, on these little bombettes, was just tucking-in from the takeoff. Some he made, and on some the wave won; not that getting rolled while inside a tube isn’t the very best way to not make a wave.  If being absolutely parallel to the wave would give you a score of 100, I’m giving Stephen 105. Hey, do your own scoring.

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So, on the right, on the same day, in one of several photos taken by John the Calendar Guy, Librarian/surfer (totally alternate egos) Keith Darrock in his typical posture, tucked-and-driving. I’m saying 95, but, if you’re on the shoulder, hoping to take off, and don’t think Keith will make the section, think again.

And, thinking again, on the left, some unnamed spot on the Far Northwest Coast, with whiplash offshores; and because I like to give people nicknames, and a nickname just won’t stick if it doesn’t ring true, and “Stay at Home Nate” obviously didn’t, and I don’t actually know Nate’s last name; I would like to offer “Seventy-five percent Nate” as an alternative. Oh, yes; “75% thinks he’s barreled.” If I get called on this, I’ll probably cave. “Eight-two percent Nate;” no, doesn’t sound right. “Big Bic Nate?”

No, that’s right; Adam Wipeout told me it’s not a Bic.

 

Adam Wipeout and the Lost Skeg

I’m crawling around, sanding and painting baseboards on a project in Silverdale when the cell phone rings. Adam starts in with the story without a ‘hello.’ “So, I just had this feeling…” He had been in bed, he said, and possibly because he was still suffering the effects of what he had referred to as ‘the crud,’ he felt the same way he did when he got the most memorable ride of his last session, the session he had to get in despite his cold. Importantly, he chose surfing as an alternative to going to ELK CAMP. Elk Camp is, it must be said, quite important to someone born and raised in one of the wilder parts of the Olympic Peninsula. And, no, they don’t hunt the elk that show up frequently in his brother’s yard.

Adam had jumped out of bed, into his car, and driven quite a distance (about 52 miles) to the spot where he had lost one of his two Mark Richards’ designed fins. Adam James knows the tides. It’s part of his job as a key member of the Hama Hama Seafood operation, down Surf Route 101 on the Hood Canal. It was dead low tide, the middle of the night, with a gale blowing down the Strait; sideways rain. No biggie. “What?” That was my response. “And this was, like, three in the morning?”

“Yeah; about.” Adam told me he figured, in his haste to get in the water, he hadn’t fully secured the fin, and it was either in the sand, where it would be difficult to find; in the rocks near shore, where kelp and such would might hide it; or out where he had been sitting and waiting, and probably just fell off from being loose.

On this same day Adam lost one of his fins, the end of the single fin on Keith Darrock’s  board snapped off from contact with one of the rudely-placed and overly-large (this is the home of two foot waves and three foot rocks) rocks that populate the point. At this point, I must add that Keith, in, I’m guessing, a discussion on the beach concerning lost and broken fins, told Adam that he had also, once, lost a (complete) fin at this break; but found it at low tide, wedged between some of those wave-forming, board-dinging, wetsuit-slicing, gloveless finger-cutting rocks. Yeah, I’m listing a few of my discoveries, including, from the day before the fin-breaking/losing event, that, if you wipe out, roll under your board, smash your lower back/ass against one of those rocks, be grateful you didn’t hit your head. Add in a few too many surfers in a tight takeoff zone and… yeah, big time fun!

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Back to Adam’s story. “And where was it?” I asked, leaning into a window to lessen the echo in the empty room.

“Where I was sitting and waiting.” Yeah.

What I had to ask Adam is whether his wife has just given up on worrying about his sanity. I mean, if I told Trish I just ‘had a feeling’ and took off to look for a lost… anything. BUT, when I read her an email from Adam, she said it was so cool that he had that sort of psychic connection, and… geez, I don’t know. Maybe she’s right; Adam does seem to get the sessions with ‘chest high’ waves while I get the none-to-one (but glassy). I am working on finishing the story of my lost paddle. Oddly, my wife, when my paddle was stuck in the pilings, said I’d get it back. She just ‘had a feeling.”

UPDATE: I’ll write about my fin-breaking, fin-losing-not-finding stuff another time. We all have stories about treasures lost or found in the ocean. I’m not sure about Adam’s psychic powers, but, what he does work on, constantly, is his network. “I heard,” he’ll say, “that it was flat on the Strait on _____” (some day I had not gone, but had been considered it). Unlike me, Adam is genuinely nice, just laughs when I make rude remarks (example: Adam- “We have to come to grips with the fact that we’ll never be really really good.” Me- “Oh, I have come to grips with the fact that you’ll never be really really good.”), remembers the names and stories of those he meets (I’m more apt to remember the stories), and doesn’t seem to offend other surfers in the water. If I’m coming back into cell phone range after a session, I’m very apt to give him a report. “None to one, but glassy.” Always. If it isn’t flat.

All TIme (So Far) Strait Skunking

“Everyone gets the same forecasts,” I am quite fond of saying, and, indeed, probably just did say to one or more of the accumulated surfers, one of whom said he didn’t self-identify as a hipster. “You could shave the beard,” I offered, if he didn’t want to look like a surf hipster. Or he could have gotten in the water if he wanted to look like a, you know, surfer. This was all taken after I got out of the water after two and a half hours of cruising on little waves, mostly alone. This sort of de facto crew was mostly there at dawn, with an incredible number of other rigs pulling in, checking it out, discussing the fact that there should have been bigger waves, better waves. “The buoys, the forecast, the…”

Yeah, well. It’s the Strait. I actually sort of set up this shot, calling for one of the VWs to tighten up so I another could fit in. And there was another one back by the main road, evidently broken down. And there’s one up on the road; maybe you can see it over the top of the others. I did, at one point, say, “Why don’t you all do a VolkswagenTrain to Hobuck.”

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Maybe it’s because it’s an El Nino (gee, where’s the key for that curly thing that should go over the n?) year, maybe it’s because the Seahawks have a bye week; maybe the fact that the road closer to Neah Bay was washed out during the previous day’s rain; maybe, maybe there’s a great explanation for why a record number of surf enthusiasts, surf yuppies, some hipsters, and pretty much everyone who ever surfs in the northwest, was out. As for why the surf chose to not come down, who knows. It’s the Strait.

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Different angle, same group of woulda-been surfers had there just been waves. The two folks in the nearly-but-not-quite (because they’re not like couples with matching windbreakers) matching sweaters and the city-sized dog, were probably also planning on surfing. Behind me, and I now wish I’d taken a few more photos, was a nice setup of beach-made coffee, some boutique snacks, a bottle of sparkling Pellegrino water, which, later in the afternoon, could be replaced, perhaps, with an appropriate wine. The vehicle was there at dawn when I arrived; and, when the guy sleeping inside got up, and I said the waves were big enough for an old guy like me, and wondered why all the younger folks didn’t go to the coast and take on overhead, long period swells, he… well he rolled out his yoga mat and started doing, I guess, yoga.

“Getting into my wetsuit is enough of a warm up for me,” I said. As what turned out to be a set rolled in from the darkness, I added, “It’s big enough for me.” What I didn’t say is I should have listened to Keith. He figured, and now I just knew, correctly, that the swell wouldn’t hit where I was. Yeah, I should have waited for Monday.

Oh, I should mention that behind my birdshit-splattered rig were groups of surf power couples, chatting, with new personnel being added, others giving up and trying to beat the rush for the ferries. It’s not like one can really tell a real surfer just by looking at a crowd. A Patagonia cap might not mean the person wearing it rips. However, I might offer that guys who pile out of a rig with four boards in bags on the rack, each one looking all impressed by the number of people hanging out (three surfers bobbing in the actual water at this time), and then each give a nod to the only guy, and an oldie at that, in a wetsuit… those guys might be wannabes.

Let me reiterate that I did catch a lot of waves. The couple who live down by Crescent came out on SUPs, rode quite a few; Big Dave, now again employed (which explains why he was there then on Sunday), paddled out. When the tide was about to do in what waves there were, one other guy on a long longboard came out, caught a wave. “That’s one,” I said, being friendly. What I did notice from the water was the sort of slow motion movement of surf rigs into and out of the area.  I asked Mr. Yoga before I left, “Since you never did surf, maybe you kept count of how many vehicles came and went.” “About 80, I’d guess,” he said. “So crowded,” I offered. “You’re looking at the future,” he said, “word’s out. Maybe you heard of a place called Malibu.”

I did look at the future. Gathered at the water’s edge, chatting in groups like it was a Ballard block party. I’m not hating, here; maybe it’s just my image of surfers hasn’t been properly shifted from the illusion of blue collar rebels to, to… Anyway, Keith did get surf, and Adam Wipeout and his friend Nate got surf. They drove past the scene I was involved in, made it past the now-partially opened road, checked out the coast, managed to score somewhere in between. I passed at least ten vehicles still headed out when I was cruising back down Surf Route 101. When Adam and Nate drove back past this spot, it was dead, dead flat.

“Epic Skunking,” Adam said. “Well,” I said, “I got more waves than anyone on the beach.”

Today it may be firing. NOTE: Again, I’m not hating; we all just want to have fun. Next time I’ll bring some Pellegrino water, though I’m not fond of the sparkling kind. “Maybe Wednesday” (a holiday for many) I heard a woman in the parking lot say. “What does the forecast say?” “Iffy.” Iffy for sure. Always iffy.

Adam Wipeout’s Happy Birthday Cake, with Frosting

Sorry, I have to eat now, right now.

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Okay, I’m back. All wave spots are fickle; wave quality decided by a variety of factors we all know well. Actually, we know what the variables are, we don’t always know how they affect a particular day.  Adam had planned on hitting a forecast swell on Thursday, the day before his birthday, possibly staying overnight, getting some more waves on Friday. That didn’t work out, but he did get some waves late in the day. On Sunday he missed a bigger swell in which only his friend Nate was, according to reports, the only one to paddle out in overhead conditions, but, late in the day, with the tide dropping, he surfed this part of the bay which could be compared to the side curve of a soup spoon, with the point in the distance the, um, point, and this spot at the place where the ladle part meets the handle. The sand bottom shifts around, the swell goes more south or north, the wind drops and turns into an offshore hush, and Adam celebrates a few tubes alone.

Yeah, he says this was a smaller set, with the waves as thick as they were high, and with him pulling into a few. “I couldn’t help but get tubed,” he said, “didn’t make all of them.” There is no better place to get wiped out, I told him, than the tube. Partially I asked him if I could post the photo because my favorite experience at this bay was at this very part of the spoon, low tide, with every wave staying open.   It wasn’t my birthday, but, like Adam, I took the gift gratefully. When I checked the same spot later, at high tide, it was as if it had never been there.

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

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

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

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