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

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

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

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

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

seasiderocksjustrocfksseaside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Swell of the Summer on the Last Coast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Real Surfers Coloring Book is…

…ready. I put it all together in time for an event at the Port Townsend Library last night; twenty copies, numbered, artist’s proofs. Here are a few drawings that were redrawn, resized from the large originals, or are actually new: Oh, not sure how this happened, but the drawing on the left is the cover for the poetry book I illustrated. Franco read some of his poetry, sang two of my songs, two of his; and I recited (rather than sang) a song or two, played some harmonica, recited some of Franco’s poetry. It went well. And we sold a few books.

Surfer/librarian Keith Darrock took this photo of Franco Bertucci and I setting up and preparing to kill it. It didn't feel like 'killing it' at the time; but, for a poetry reading, it was racy and raucous

Surfer/librarian Keith Darrock took this photo of Franco Bertucci and I setting up and preparing to kill it. It didn’t feel like ‘killing it’ at the time; but, for a poetry reading, it was racy and raucous

Now, if I could figure out how to approach the larger market.

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Image (72)Working on it.

“Awkward Guy” illustrations

realsurfersI did some illustrations a year or so ago for a friend of mine, Franco Bertucci. The drawings go along, sort of, with poems he wrote about raising kids out in the country (he and his wife and three kids live on a working farm), love, poetic stuff like that. Franco is a musician and song writer, heads up a professional band, Locust Street Taxi; very tight, very showy. And Franco, the most low key guy in person; on stage, is radical. AND he can leap, flat-footed, like, amazingly high.

http://www.amazon.com/Awkward-Guy-Poems-embarrassing-things-ebook/dp/B01EIOLDI6/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461706483&sr=1-3&keywords=awkward+guy

The book is available, so far, on kindle. Jeez, let me check that. Yeah; kindle. Franco offered me (some undetermined amount of) money to do the drawings, but, very non-characteristically for someone who always takes the short money, I chose to take a (similarly non-determined) percentage of future profits.

We’ll see how that works out. I checked out the little sampler, and, whoa, and maybe it’s because I haven’t seen the drawings in a while… they looked awesome.

I mean, objectively speaking.

 

 

Surfing To You

Maybe it’s because I suffered the triple skunking the other day… a trip to a spot on the Strait that should have been, according to the buoys, working, but wasn’t. At all. Then a backtrack to a backup spot that also wasn’t working; but, while in cell phone territory, I discovered the buoy readings were even better. With various theories of tidal influences, ebb, flow, playing in my head, and not wanting to miss it (never wanting to miss the small windows) I headed back out.

That’s the double; didn’t have the triple until I got a report that several surfers near where I would have been if I hadn’t driven out, got a session (as in, after the session). This probably, with nothing showing in the forecast, bothered me more than it should. It’s only surfing, after all; not like it’s critical.

So I resumed my occasional contemplation of what surfing means. Fifty plus years of some participation in this; I still don’t have it figured out.

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This (below) is an edited version of something I wrote the day after I was triple-skunked.

When you finally, having, perhaps, exhausted all the cheap and easy options, admitting that being among the waves fills some void in your heart, and, possibly unaware of how brave and foolish and true this confession is; it’s impossible to do anything else but agree.

Still, this is not an empty heart; it is a heart; and as long as it’s beating, as long as the liquid flows…

I'm considering putting together a coloring book (all the rage I hear) of black and white drawings. It's not like you can't color them in as well as I do. I always feel like I need more colors.

I’m considering putting together a coloring book (all the rage I hear) of black and white drawings. It’s not like you can’t color them in as well as I do. I always feel like I need more colors in my quiver.  Three sizes of ink pens does fine, but color, color… imagine the possibilities.

Setting Out the Beach Chairs

The title has nothing to do with the drawings; but it has everything to do with surfers who check out every spot on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, then get to a place that’s actually working at about the time it stops doing so.

Image (47)Not that it’s happened to me. No, of course it has. Right now, trying to figure angles and tides; I wouldn’t bet on going to…you know, one of those spots… but, if I screw around, it might even be too late to go to… darn. Let me check those buoys again.

Image (48)I drew this larger, to fit a found frame, and, when I got it reduced, it was on paper a little too slick for the color. Not an excuse, an explanation. I have a load of wood and roofing in and on my work van, and no gas, and… checking the buoy. Oops, gotta go.

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Border-Line and Colorized Version

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Here’s the colored version of what I imagined as a more typical surf illustration than I usually do.

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I originally planned this as a border, with the woman probably less defined, kind of out of focus, and more linear so I could put a more focused wave, with someone on it, in the background.  I’m saving this in steps so I can have some options. I’ve already done more to the original; some swoops in the clouds, something coming from the horizon.We’ll see.

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What Are You Looking At? Some Color Added

I’m not sure how to get the colors, which are certainly bright and vivid enough on the drawings, transferred to the screen with the same intensity. I did probably over-color this drawing, and yet… by comparison, it still seems a bit washed-out.

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Now, if I tilt the screen backwards… oh, too much. I recently took a batch of drawings to The Printery in Port Townsend (shout out because I have the most annoying requests, cause them to spend a lot of time, and pay very little for the service- and I appreciate it), getting them reduced and centered. I’m hoping to frame up some of them, maybe see if I can, well, sell a few.

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“No One That Mattered” Short Fiction From Surf Route 101

Mostly Fictional Short Stories From Surf Route 101- No One That Mattered

“‘Vietnam,’ he said; like he was impressed. ‘You, uh, um, kill anyone?'”
This was, just to clarify, my brother, Sidney, talking.
“‘No one that mattered,’ I said. I was hoping he might figure out I didn’t really mean that. Bluster. ‘Posturing,’ you’d say. ‘But, hey, man,’ I told him, ‘you’re the one with the gun.’ He looked at the old pistol, looked at me; almost smiled. Didn’t lower it, though.”
I’m still not sure why Sidney felt he had to tell me the story, but I was already picturing him, grinning; always with that grin.
Not really confessional by nature, he… we all try to have an excuse or explanation, or, something more, some justification for our actions, even those we know are wrong. This is me, then, me now; judgmental, always trying to determine what things mean.
That, introspection, that wasn’t Sidney. We, and this would be my brothers, even our dad, we tried to justify for him.
Sid continued.”Maybe I shouldn’t have let it out that I recognized Humberto; maybe… I was really just trying to save the two surfers from West Covina.”
I’m sure I nodded; support; no, just to show I had heard what Sid was saying; definitely something short of approval. My approval, I thought, at the time, is what my older brother was looking for.

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At the time. Sidney was standing in the driveway when we, that’d be Julie and I, were still at the condo; before our first kid. Maybe picture me, a younger me, cleaning out my side of the shared garage; Sid pulling the Surfboards Hawaii out of the back of his jacked-up, four wheel drive truck. Twin fin; six-four, red; one of their last boards before they closed the shop; at least the one in Encinitas. The board would be worth a fortune if I still had it.
“Just tell her you bought it from me,” he said.
“With what money, Sid?”
“Future money, man.” At this he did a sort of succession of non-surfer’s surf moves, grinning, watching me the whole time.
Maybe, now that I’ve (finally) started (resumed, really) writing this… maybe what he was looking for in my expressions, and he considered himself a master of reading people; if not approval; was admiration. Maybe even respect; or, at least, some hint of jealousy.
No; I’d never let him see that. I was working on being a master (not so much any more) of not being read, of not being close. Distant. Never cool; never Sidney cool. But, whether I hid it or not, I was intrigued.
Let me simplify this particular part of the Sidney Grace saga (saga, makes me chuckle); or try to: This was the early 70s, before the old section of 101 that went through San Diego’s North County ‘beach towns’ flourished rather than died from the effects of being bypassed by I-5. There were still cheap motels, marijuana was still homegrown in avocado orchards and hidden greenhouses.  Scoring weed was, it seemed, less corporate. Maybe more dangerous. Maybe less dangerous; but more exciting. LSD was… I really didn’t, and don’t, know. I just had to work and I just wanted to surf: Swamis, Pipes, Grandview, Stone Steps; wherever it was best.
And I was busy. So busy. I didn’t take drugs, did smoke (for too long), but not weed (opposite of the old line, “I don’t smoke… cigarettes.” Smile cleverly); not until later, and not enough to impress even an average college freshman (or high school junior).  Though friends, even good surfing friends, did get involved, none invited me into this part of their lives. I hadn’t even been good at drinking beer, wasn’t comfortable hanging out unless it was after a surf session, and then, not for long.
Decadent. Yeah, I thought that; mostly I considered it a waste of time.
So, it was fine. I was busy.
Anything I knew of a drug subculture was mostly hearsay, other people’s stories, fiction; real life embellished; stories I chose to ignore, avoid, not hear. Still, I occasionally stopped for a moment to try to make sense; always trying to have things make sense, to fit into my version.
People assumed, because of my brothers, four of them, two sisters; and who my brothers ran around with, that I knew things. I just had to know, for example, the dreadlocked white guy who was the “Luther Burbank of Dope;” who came back to Fallbrook from some secret mountain grow area; occasionally, handing out free samples.
“Bombers, righteous shit. Virgin buds,” my brother, Grace number 4, who, along with brothers one, three, and five, did know him, would tell me. “Big parties; everyone would come,” he said. “Not you, of course.” “No.” “Busy.” “Yeah.”
Even when I left home, moved to a crappy rental in Cardiff, someone would assume I knew something about inland weed. North County was that rural.
“Which Grace am I? Two,” I often had to say to random people, each with an a sort of eager, hopeful, and expectant expression, wanting to get some kind of inside information. “You’ll have to ask one of them.” No, I wasn’t being sly; wasn’t judging the person not trusted or cool enough. No, I wasn’t. This was never believed. The person was always angry, I was always a dick or an asshole. “Sorry.”
Sid was the oldest Grace. He didn’t want to be in charge, to be responsible for the rest of us when our mother died. He didn’t want to be like our father, bluecollar, to whom work is ‘so’ important. He wanted… something easier. He took two years in the Army, cannon fodder, because even junior college at Palomar was, he said, “high school with ashtrays (common putdown at the time), full of phonies, anyway, and, anyway, too much like work.”
“Fun and games,” he said, when he got back. “Easy.”
He didn’t look like it had all been easy. Most of his friends had scattered, as did most of mine. As soon as our dad remarried, I escaped, headed for the coast. The underground ‘agriculture’ economy had moved north. Grace brother number three had moved with it. He wouldn’t reveal who he worked for. Still hasn’t. “You know them,” was his explanation; “Can’t say.”
Sid was not interested in being ‘any kind of farmer.’ There were other opportunities, and there were still parties on hills, property parents had bought in the fifties sub-divided by our peers into ranchettes. There were homes, estates to build, orchards to tear out or replace, irrigation to set up. Opportunities. People from money who had more money. Easy.

thHwy_Historic_Sign

That’s only part of how Sid got into a cheap motel room in Leucadia, a block back from the non-beach side of 101; with the two surfers from West Covina gagged and tied together on a bed; with Humberto Lopez and the guy with the gun to my brother’s head; with two surfboards cut open, leaning, rather politely, against a wall; several duct tape-wrapped packages on the other bed.
“You once told me that you can’t really remember pain,” Sid told Humberto, trying not to look at the gun trembling in the hand of the other Mexican. “It’s not really true, I found out…(he laughed at this point, hoping Humberto would at least smile- he didn’t)… but I held on to the notion. It helped.”
Humberto had to soften. This was Sid, confident, grinning, cool. “Yeah; I was talking about… you couldn’t believe my father wanted me to quit high school to work in the fields.”
“I couldn’t believe he had you working in the fields at fifteen.”
The young man switching the gun from hand to hand was unimpressed by that story. White guys don’t know. Sidney and Humberto remembered the story neither would tell; how the usually-slacker PE coaches would, at some random time, have some sort of ‘Hell day,’ and run and exercise the shit out of everyone. They still did it when I went through. Humberto had been suffering more than most, not keeping up. It was my brother who came to his defense.
“Okay then Hotdog; fifty burpees (four count squat thrusts), Grace. No, all you Jockstraps. Everyone. Not you, Lopez; you just relax.” The coach went to his version of a feminine voice. “Just catch your breath.”
In the garage at the condo, Sidney said of that earlier incident; “The problem with helping someone, in a moment of weakness, is, or can be, resentment. I’m just; I know you like to figure shit out. So, now I was the one who knew about Humberto’s weakness. It lingers. When he’s attempting to steal drugs, armed robbery, and that person, me; when I come barging into the room, and he doesn’t know how that’s going to turn out, and I recognize him, and remember his weakness, and…”
“Yeah, Sidney; I think I sort of get it.”
“Yeah. Sure. So, maybe we read this on each other’s faces. Hey, he recognized me first. I could tell.”

th

Look: I’ve thought about this story, about Sid’s version; thought about how much of it I believe.
“What’cha going to do with the bricks, Humberto? Got a plan? (pause, Humberto and his accomplice looking at each other) You and this guy, someone you work with in the… (checking their pants, dirt on the knees, maybe something caught in the folded-up cuffs) flower greenhouses? You see two white guys with… (nodding outside) four boards, but they only take two inside the motel… two newer boards? So, knowing these a-holes probably aren’t grinding out a living doing stoop labor…”
“Sidney?”
“Humberto?”
“Why are you here?”
“Your guess? Even though I yelled ‘surf’s up’ at the door, you know I don’t surf. No. My brother. One of them; he surfs. Number four, he kneeboards, some. You don’t know, Humberto; you don’t know how to get rid of a couple of bricks of… you even know what that is you’re stealing?”
“We were waiting for, I guess, you. Sid-ney.” That was the other guy speaking, waving the gun around; checking for Humberto’s reaction. It was negative, as if his co-conspirator had been disrespectful. He didn’t know Sidney.
“Yeah; so, fine.” Sidney backed up a step or two, looked at the West Covina boys, put a hand out toward the guy with the gun to calm him down, pulled a wad of bills out of his pocket, held that out [in a later telling this became two hundred dollar bills from a wallet].
“I’m sure they’ll be fine heading back to LA. I’ll give them some money for gas. Okay? I wasn’t holding on to the money anyway. It’s not like it’s mine.”
The three guys standing looked at the two surfers on the bed, stripped to their trunks, the larger one tied behind the other one, both trying to nod.
“Could’a gone butt to butt,” Sidney said to the other guy. The other guy smirked, shrugged. Sidney shrugged. “Okay. I get it.”
The other guy handed Humberto the gun, took the cash; smiling, a smile that went away when my brother reached down for the drugs [later the look was disappointment, and Humberto asked, “This it?”] Sidney threw his hands out as if this was the deal; looked back at Humberto, who released the hammer  on the revolver.
My brother, in recreating this, talked really fast: “Where’d you get that pistolo, ‘Berto? And, hey, man; these drugs don’t belong to me. Either. You get that, right? They’re carriers, they work for me. I’m a carrier. Just. Only. They didn’t know what… (he looked at the boards. They were waxed- he turned toward the West Covina boys, back toward Humberto). They; guess they tried to ride the boards. Shit. See? You take these drugs and you’ve got so many new problems. I have some real weapons in my truck. What do you think we trade for drugs? Huh? Too much knowledge, man; not so good. You have no plan, man. We have to… If you… you think about how hard it is to get rid of bodies? I mean; the Sheriff’ll come lookin’ hard for two wetbacks… don’t mean that… kill a couple of innocent, white, spoiled-ass suburban surfers. Right?”
“We’ll just take the money, and…” Humberto set the old pistol on the small television set, took the money, looked to my brother.  Sidney took two twenties out of his wallet, threw them on the bed, reset his grin. Humberto just wanted out.”Okay, Sid?”

“It should have been okay,” Sidney told me. “I just started thinking about all the connections.”
“Connections?”
“I thought about how this would affect me.”
“If no one found out,” I said. “The West Covina boys wouldn’t talk; Humberto and his friend…”
“Yeah, yeah; it was all rattling in my brain. I thought about… I thought about what my people would… no one wanted any attention to any kind of trafficking in those days. I kind of imagined Humberto taking the gun and…”
“And what? Kill the other guy? What, Sid?”
“‘You’ll have to work for me, Humberto,’ I said. ‘Your friend, too. You wanted it easy. Easier. Right?'”
“‘Maybe not,’ Humberto said. ‘Maybe we’ll just… (too long a pause; Humberto picked up the gun, cocked it) I don’t care about the drugs. I don’t want your kind of life, Sidney; but, really; dead drug dealers… like you said, ‘No one that mattered.’ No need to dispose of the bodies. I’m willing to leave the drugs. Or some of them.’ He took one brick.”
“‘It’s not that much money, Humberto, I said; ‘Not enough.'”
Sidney took a breath, set the Surfboards Hawaii twin fin, with removeable, adjustable rainbow fins, onto the rack of my car.
“I don’t know if I seemed weak. No, I did; it was all just so… heavy, so exhausting. Humberto…anyone could have seen this.”
“So… what did happen?”
“Humberto and his buddy backed toward the door.”
“‘We’ll just call it even, then; Sidney,’ he said.”
“‘No, Humberto; not even.’ We looked at each other. If I hadn’t smiled…’Forty burpees, Humberto; and then we’ll call it even. Forever.'”
At telling this, my brother released his serious expression and laughed. So did I.
“I did twenty. Humberto did the full forty. No problem. This time he was in shape.”
Sid said Humberto got the money, a new gun, and one for his friend, Julio; the West Covina boys never came back to the North County, as far as Sid knows, and they all went out for tacos.
“Fine. Sure. The West Covina boys, too?”
“Yeah, them too.” Both of us were laughing when Julie came into the garage, looked at the Surfboards Hawaii twinfin, looked at Sidney, looked at me.
“How much,” she asked Sidney. “No presents.”
Sidney knew not to offer any more presents.
“Easy payments,” he said. “Future money.” Sidney and I both waited through Julie’s look of disapproval.
“How long, Sidney?”
“The payments. Easy…”
“No; how long are you going to…”
Sidney seemed to think through all his previous arguments about his life, mine, our father’s; all in a moment. He nodded, and said… nothing. He shrugged. Then Julie shrugged, looked at me. I shrugged.
“Fun and games,” she said, to both of us. “I have some cash in the…” She looked at the board I was now holding, moving it through the air as if it was on a wave. Sidney watched with something short of understanding; not jealousy, really, except, maybe, he might have been just a bit envious that this simple act could make me so happy. “Nice board,” Julie said.

You can’t know how I’d love to leave the story here. I heard a slightly different version of the Leucadia motel incident, years later, from Humberto.
“Sidney Grace always told me he didn’t expect to live well AND long,” Humberto said, at the makeshift memorial at my dad’s house. Everything else was hushed, to one side; secrets.
“It was very tense. Sid asked me…it was a test… I didn’t know that… what I was willing to do if I, if I went to work with him. I had said I was willing to kill him and the two surfers. Bluff. I wanted, so bad, to be out of there. A mistake. He asked me if, instead, I’d be willing to kill Julio. He acted like he meant it. I pointed the gun at him. Julio. ‘Sidney,’ I said, ‘I would, but he’s married to my sister. I’d have a hard time explaining it.’ ‘So, no?’ ‘No.’ Your brother acted like he was putting the wallet back in his… That’s when Sid knocked the gun out of my hand, pulled one out from… it was behind his back. ‘You owe me, ‘berto;’ he said. I practically shit myself. Umm; I still think Julio did.”
We pause for a moment; our laughter only a bit out of place. Still, I stopped, looked around the room. Half the people there were… altered. The former Luther Burbank of Weed, bald and overweight, was talking with Grace number four, chuckling occasionally. Julie had just put a hand on my father’s shoulder. He stopped crying, smiled.
“So your brother says, ‘Forty burpees, Hotdog. Now!’ He did, maybe, five. Julio, he…”
We were laughing again; but we both stopped when Grace Number 5 and another law enforcement type came over. “Nice to see you again,” my last brother said, reaching out a hand; “Deputy Lopez.”
The last Grace looked at me, tipped his just-emptied wine glass toward me, said, “Not your fault.”
If my brother and Humberto tried to read my expression at this moment… they did; I just… it didn’t matter.

Since I wasn’t planning on working, I dropped Julie and the kids off, checked out Pipes from the parking lot. A little crowded. A little choppy. Went out anyway.

Real Surfing at Semi-Secret…

what? Oh, yeah; can’t talk about it. Ever. With anyone. Maybe if I redact anything that reveals anything about when or where waves might (rarely) break on the Strait of Juan de [redacted].

So, after confirming, pre-dawn, that it wasn’t really all time at XXXXH XXXXX, I met up with XXXXX XXXXXXX at Fat XXXXXX’X. We loaded up his stuff, headed XXXX on Surf Route XXX. Originally, we were going to meet up with XXXX XXXXXXX  enroute, but he had changed his mind, opting for a later start.

Meanwhile,  XXXXX had told (texted, most likely) XXXXX that, despite the forecast and the readings on the appropriate XXXXs, and, quite possibly because of the expected heavy XXXTOR XSX winds, and, more likely, because of a need to work, he wouldn’t be venturing out for this, as always, small SXXX window.

Now, it must be added that I had borrowed a shorter, and, more importantly, lighter XXP  from XXXX XXXXXXX, specifically because it would be easier to pack into and lug out of one of several, not-secret, but not-to-be-advertised spots, or, really, even spoken of; particularly to anyone who has to drive farther than you do to get there.

This bit of localism/tribalism/selectivism goes along with the widespread but more-fantasy-than-fact notion that there are still secret spots that might provide really great waves when the better-known spots are not breaking or are exhibiting only the standard Strait weak-ass, mostly-missed-by-the-swell conditions we all have built-in excuses for. Or we surf what’s there and embellish when we talk about it.

And, packing-in on some muddy goat trail also feeds the Northwest Surfer image; if you make the effort, you will surely be rewarded with clean, empty barrels.

If only. Because I am slow in donning my wetsuit, XXXXX got into the lineup well ahead of me. Fine. Normal. When I eased into the icy (bone-chilling, deadly, really) water, discover the BXXXX will actually float me, miss a couple of waves, catch one or two, then paddle out to where another surfer is waiting, and give a friendly greeting, I’m rewarded with no answer and a look you might recognize. Imagine Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.”

What? When I ask XXXXX , about the snub/shunning, he says, “Your reputation has preceded you.” “Oh.” Allright; I’m there to surf. So I do, though I tried to stay clear of Mr. Pleasant (I’d redact, but I don’t know his real name). But, as happens, because I was going for one particular wave, I had to do a sort of cautionary “Yo” so that Mr. Pleasant wouldn’t accidentally take off in front of a particular “Old guy who puts stuff on the internet.” I mean, it might be dangerous (not on purpose, just, like, because I’m old and all).

Yeah, and I thought it might have been my rep for shoulder-hopping and wave-hogging. No; and, evidently, Mr. Pleasant’s concise critique of my website is that it’s “gay.” I don’t think he means in a homosexual way; maybe just silly and/or juvenile. NOTE: I told the story to my daughter, XXX. She translated ‘gay’ as ‘lame.’

Juvenile. I actually didn’t hear about the ‘gay’ part until XXXXX and I, after I struggled to get across a hundred yards of big, slippery river rocks and what seemed like a mile longer (and many degrees steeper) trail (and I did carry my borrowed board the whole distance); and after we, because XXXXX had a little more time than originally thought, checked out XXXX XXXXXS, the parking area filled with surf rigs and the water empty; almost back to Surf Route  XXX, we passed XXXX XXXXXXX and XXXXX on State Route XXX. They apparently had already given up on several other spots.

No, I did not reveal where XXXXX and I had surfed; but it may have been apparent to those who had been hanging out for hours, that I had surfed somewhere with waves (and it’s actually not that long a list of alternate spots). I was more than happy to have the mixed crew in the parking area believe it was CXXXXXXX, also known as SXXX XXXXX. I heard the place was getting swell, but know, from experience, it was probably CXXXXD XXT.

It’s interesting that XXXXX was all right with telling me I’m not universally popular (and, yeah, I took off in front of one guy, didn’t see him, gave him plenty of room, kicked-out, apologized), and there’s no way I could be convicted of wave-hogging), and XXXXX did say, “At least this means surfers are going to your site,” but he held back, possibly to spare some of my self image, on revealing the ‘gay’ comment.  And there I was so proud I hadn’t kooked it up, but had, indeed, gotten several rides I was pretty pleased with.

Incidently, XXXXX ripped. surfing way better than Mr. Pleasant. Sorry Mr. Pleasant. It’s true. Still, the ‘gay website’ comment… it’s like saying one is not smooth, lacks style, isn’t cool. Or is it?

I don’t know. To be called-out, or shunned, or ridiculed; that does put a damper on things. Truthfully, I’m paying heavily, physically, today for the hiking yesterday. Though it was worth it, and another spot has been added to my (pretty short, actually) mental list of places I’ve surfed in the northwest, the negativity does sort of wear on me.

Or, maybe, what I really want to do is hit a couple of other legendary, not-actually secret spots I’ve heard of; even if only once each, spots that are always reported as “All time, classic, epic, etc. etc. etc”)  I’m thinking XXX WXXXX, aka XXX WXXX, XXX XXXP, XXXXXXX XXXXR, XXXO XXXXXX, XXXX XXXXT, and, of course, XXXX B.

I’ll be the old guy who puts stuff on the internet. Watch out!Image (35)