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.

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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…”

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.

 

ADRIFT, PART THREE- What I Thought I would Say

The point I thought I’d be making when I started writing about the sort of existential trip (though so much of what really happens is internal, despite a change of scenery) my friend Stephen Davis was taking was that, though he seemed adrift, taking off across the country with sketchy plans and even sketchier funding, was that, maybe, even probably, all of us are adrift.

Well.

Steve’s currently in Chicago, working for his friend, Cosmo, a landscape engineer who once was a (another) neighbor in Port Townsend. They’re busy reinstalling winter-removed pumps from rich people’s water features, among other things. Stephen is surfing, couch surfing.  His plan to take a train to Colorado, since that project is on extended hold/possibly dead, has been replaced with a ticket to take the train all the way to Seattle en route back home.

He’ll arrive at about the same time as our mutual friend Archie Endo returns from an extended (new) business trip to Asia. More on that in a moment.

I might as well include the remainder of “And So Am I,” a song I wrote more than ten years ago; possibly referencing the times I’ve traveled to make some money. Mostly, and happily, in my case, to San Diego, where I did some painting for Trisha’s brother, Jim Scott (and do some surfing- in the water variety). The lyrics seemed to go with Stephen’s trip.

“…Clouds are spread out like a blanket, to the sea; like a quilted, patchwork blanket to the sea. And it’s all downhill from here, I guess that’s my greatest fear; waves of clouds are breaking, crashing over me; and they’re spread out like a blanket to the sea.

“Rain keeps falling just like teardrops from the sky; tears keep falling just like raindrops from my eyes; with the windshield wipers on, I’ll drive on into the dawn; where the morning sun ignites the clouds on high; clouds are skidding down the highway, and so am I.”

So, I updated Stephen’s and Archie’s progress to another mutual friend, another surfer, Keith Darrock; adding that I was really having some basic problems in trying to establish some connection between those of us who hold desperately to any piece of something that looks like security and those who boldly take off across the country or around the world with some vague romantic notions of…

“Adrift,” Keith said; “we’d all like to think we could be that… adrift.”

And that’s true. Surfing magazines seem to praise surfers who turned their backs on Corporate, lit off for exotic destinations. Miki Dora is legendary for surfing/living off his wits, even if it was, as portrayed, often at the expense of someone who invested, unwisely, in his quest.

Adrift? We all are, really. Stephen has met up with friends established through just being the kind of guy who makes friends with an honest ease (enough so that my client on one of three projects Steve helped me on, calling to see if I’d ever get it done, asked about him and how it was all going. “He seemed to be having a rough time.”). Archie has  also (finally) taken advantage of relationships established through years of toiling all around the world as a roe (salmon eggs) expert. He is taking a job as (again, finally) a middleman, securing and buying and selling seafood from all over the world, and will still, mostly, be able to work from home on the Olympic Peninsula, seeking some ‘surf-able’ waves on the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

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Archie spent some time in Phuket, surfed two two hour sessions in some Andaman Sea shorebreak on a rented board, said it released some of the tension; as did, perhaps, the nightlife he described as (I’ll have to check this) something signifying crazy. “Next surf at home.”

Okay, here’s a surf story: It was one of the first times I surfed Cardiff Reef, racing over after (high) school, and we were probably surfing there because the waves were kind of big; my friend Phillip Harper lost his board. Cardiff has kind of an outside, a middle section, and an inside; all a little nebulous, and, at that size, it breaks farther out than the breaks we were more familiar with (Tamarack, Grandview, Swamis). Maybe Phillip was looking for me to help him. I wasn’t aware of his situation. We’d like to think we have to be responsible to get in when adrift. Sometimes friends help. In this case, it was a stranger who ferried Phillip through the middle section.

ADDED/EDITED: First, I told the above story because I couldn’t think of a story of being rescued in the surf other than when I was eight or so and went over the falls at Oceanside Pier on a styrofoam surfie (kind of like a kneeboard, about three and a half feet long) broke it on the bottom, the back end against my belly. Gary and Roger’s mother, Arthella, had to save me. Really, I was just kind of- yeah, I may have needed saving.  What I’ve realized since I wrote the original piece is, because I get almost all of my work through referrals, I have been rescued innumerable times, a phone call about a job coming along at just the right time.

Second, I did get a comment that, compared to the realities of war and famine and global warming, my subject matter was kind of, well, superficial, perhaps. This came from someone who had a site pushing something “Better than Botox.”

So, adrift? Yes. No. Sure; just in various degrees and at various times; not drowning, just swimming.

 

ADRIFT (Part Two), FIght or Flight

“Got my foot down to the floorboards, making time; got it pressed down to the floorboards, making time. Though she said I’d never learn, she gave me love I did not earn; Got to shift down as I start that uphill climb; got my foot down to the floorboards, making time.

“It’s a chance I had to take; there’s some money I can make; but to make it, have to go so far away. I could turn this rig around, roll it right on back towards town; But I won’t, and if that’s wrong… it’s my mistake. I’ll return or more than one heart’s gonna break.” lyrics by Erwin Dence, Jr.

This is Stephen in Port Townsend (photo courtesy of Stephen Davis- not sure who took it) with what he identified as his ‘fight or flight’ expression. He had returned home from working on a construction project in Colorado that had just recently fallen apart when the primary financial backer suddenly died of a heart attack.  Different story. The immediate impetus for returning was that his brother had been involved in a car accident that sent him, the brother’s daughter, and a friend of his daughter’s to Harborview, the regional trauma hospital, in Seattle.

Stephen and his wife are partners in a Port Townsend restaurant with Stephen’s brother. Stephen had been a cook, but, with tensions high, and, he said, “everybody blaming him,” he was working in Colorado because he had, after suitable worry and debate, walked away. He had been raised in Colorado, playing hockey and skiing, before coming to the northwest to study at the Wooden Boat School more than twenty years ago.

It was in Port Townsend that Steve honed skills in surfing, picked up kite surfing for those windy, choppy days on the Straits. He traveled for surfing extensively (at least compared to me), and knew every secret spot from Port Townsend to Neah Bay, having explored the points and rivermouths. His master plan had been to build an Auxiliary Dwelling Unit (ADU) on his property, move into it, rent out the main house, and use this income to allow him and his wife Stephanie, and son Emmett, to spend some time living in Mexico.

Things change. Because his brother couldn’t compete in an ice hockey league that competed in Bremerton, Stephen was quite excited to take his place, “And I get to play for free.” It’s not clear whether the Psychic knew this in advance, but the day after Stephen helped his brother’s team secure a victory, champions for the season (“I got a hat trick and made a couple of awesome defensive hits- bam”), Stephen Davis met me at the Henery’s Hardware store in Quilcene (on Surf Route 101), I paid him the two hundred bucks I owed him, and…

“It’s all surfing.” Anon.

Yeah, that’s Stephen’s mom’s car, now the Psychic’s.

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Adrift with Stephen Davis (Part One)

“Clouds are skidding down the highway, and so am I; Clouds are rolling down the highway, and so am I.  I’m in the desert headed East; guess I’m gone at last, at least; they’re not clouds, they’re really shadows from the sky; Clouds are rolling down the highway, and so am I.

“Storm clouds gather on the mountains like a shroud; cloaked around the distant mountains, like a shroud. There’s some one I love the most; but I left her on the Coast; never did one single thing to make her proud; Storm clouds gather on the mountains like a shroud.” lyrics by Erwin Dence, Jr.

Image This is a photo Stephen Davis sent me from his trip from Port Townsend, Washington to Dayton, Ohio to bury his mother’s ashes. Stephen, it seems to me, has thrown himself off another ledge. The perfect guy to go surfing with, generous, willing to celebrate someone else’s ride, he has no real agenda.

“My Psychic told me I have to go.”

“Psychic?”

Somehow, Steve is also giving his Psychic, who he’s meeting for the first time; his car. “Because she needs one.” “Uh huh. And then…?” “I’m not sure.”  “And yet…?”

This seems like classic Stephen Davis. Though I’ve lived my life close to the edge; I always looked for certainty; jobs in the future, hopefully lined up; this one, then that one. Lined up toward some distant channel. If a section falls prematurely, I push through. 

But Steve… different. He (forgive any forced metaphors), just pulled through, out; hit another wave. He seems, to me, to be like some incarnation of Candide; not quite clueless, but, maybe, optimistic.

Oh, I know that’s not totally true. He has demons; a father who was (and is) forever disapproving. “You have to get over that,” I told him en route from Fat Smitty’s, along Surf Route 101 in Discovery Bay, to some waves on the farther Straits. But, somewhere approaching Sequim on the way home, I was pounding the dashboard with my free hand, yelling, along with Stephen, “You (meaning Stephen’s Dad) ______ (I’m going to say ‘had sex with’ because my family members might be shocked at what I/we were really saying) Lenny’s (made up name of one of Stephen’s ice hockey teammates at, probably, the pre-high school level) mom!” Now, put it together with both of us pounding and laughing.

I don’t know if my weak on-the-road counseling was helpful for Stephen. He’s had plenty of counseling, even pre-Psychic. I did once receive a text from a surf spot in Oregon. He had, he wrote, sitting outside on a day in which the surf came up enough to wash the other surfers to the beach, heard the Universe ring. Clearly.

But that’s not the beginning of this story; it’s not even the middle. There’s more. 

                                                         

Surfing Like a Teenager

Sorry, but, with my new computer now scheduled to be replaced (Dell support has given up on me- or it), this has to be something that has to be classified as a blog.  That is, I’ve thought about what I’ll write, then, rather than write it on Microsoft Word (not on my new laptop anyway- now must be rented), I write it on the site. No real read-backs, no real editing, no polishing.

Sure, I’d rather have ‘articles,’ or ‘pieces,’ thought-provoking insight on big issues, and stories from the past, near and far.

And I will, just not tonight. Today everyone who hit the trail (or highway, or side road) looking for rideable waves, at least in the corner of the country I live in, found something. This includes me; early-riser, third person out, catching as many little rights as I could, always watching the beach to see how many others would join me; just hoping to snag a few more before I had to jockey for position, before I had to… Share.

Yes, I’ve been thinking about why people surf, why so many people surf.  I’m happily out here on the frontier, no longer cruising 101 in North San Diego County, not searching for the peak-de-jour (of the hour) in Oceanside, not waiting until the onshores start in Pacific Beach (figuring the dawn patrol surfers are a bit more skilled/more competition than the surf-for-fun late-arrivers); but, whoa; it does seem there are a lot more of them/us lately.

Maybe it’s not odd that we each consider some surfers part of them, some part of us.

And, I do (again, and constantly) have to admit to being stingy with something that doesn’t belong to any of us; and resentful of those who show up, approach the water, stand at the edge for a bit, doing that standard last check. And there are often groups of them.

“Party wave!!!!” Rarely my idea of fun.  Okay, maybe once in a while.

So, why do ‘they’ surf? I ask. Sort of. I asked a guy this morning, a guy from Seattle who slept (poorly) in his car after riding a few on Sunday evening. He was from originally from Georgia, now one of the Seattle surfers, and learned to surf at a surf camp somewhere around 40 years of age. “Surf Camp?” Points off.

“I figured,” he said, “after I’d tried surfing and failed, that if I ever wanted to actually stand up and ride…” Oh, okay; hope there were good waves there in….? “Costa Rica.” Okay. I guess. Guilty with an explanation

Okay,  so I’m still thinking about the ghetto mentality I had in the city, the aggressive way I attack the waves when it starts getting crowded, whether, even, if I secretly enjoy that feeling of competitiveness.

Sure I do. And maybe that’s why I felt a twinge when Stephen Davis told me, this evening, that he and his son, Emmett (Emmett’s birthday surf trip), and Christian Coxen hit some ‘double overhead’ wedges farther out the Straits; and I felt another twinge when Keith Darrock reported some classic late afternoon tubes in Port Townsend.

It’s so childish of me to be jealous, even though I’d been informed of and invited to each of the events, even though I’d surfed enough ‘slow motion Malibu’ waves to need a nap (interrupted by a business-related call) partway home; even though a guy on the beach had said, as I passed him on the way to talk to fellow “Monday’s-the-day” surf searcher Tim Nolan, “You were surfing like a teenager.” Hmmm. Validation.

When I reported the comment to my wife, Trish, via cell phone as I arrived at the Sequim Costco, she said, “Oh. Good for you.” That was sort of sarcastic, though I had been very pleased when the comment was made, pleased enough, along with Tim Nolan vouching for the guy (almost my age) to give the obviously knowledgeable witness a ‘realsurfers’ decal.  “I think he meant not like an old guy.” “Uh huh.” Then I got out of the car. My knees were those of an old guy. Stop, make sure they’re working, proceed. Loosen up.

So, hopefully we (you, me, them) all get most of what we surf for out of each session. Still, if you see me, count me as one of ‘them.’ At least in the water.

UPDATE- I think, I write; I think about what I wrote; I edit. The above has been edited for punctuation, flow, stuff like that. What hit me somewhere overnight is just how full of crap I am. If I appreciated the validation; someone saying that I surfed well… well; obviously I don’t surf just for the benefits to my own soul. No, I want to perform. “Perform.”

There’s something in my to-the-bone desire to do well, and, it must be added, to appear to do well, that contradicts all of my blathering about who should be paddling out. Here’s something: Big Dave, a few years younger than me, was also out yesterday. Same board as mine, though he rides his as a regular prone board. On one wave, me juking up and down into the shorebreak, pulling a big kickout-to-paddle position, I turned to see Dave had been riding behind me. Behind! He was knee-boarding, so close to the curl.

Still, I was so proud, unlike my session on Easter Sunday, skittering over big rocks, that I had been in the stand up position on every ride. Yeah, probably a little out in front on most.  “Sorry, Dave.” “It’s fine; plenty of room.” We both had to laugh at the implications of that. “I’ll try harder next time.”

Surfing like a teenager, thinking like a child. May you get self-satisfaction from every session. Performance? That’s up to you. If I see you, I’ll give an assessment; maybe on a scale from 19 to 90 (years, 19 being the apex for most of us, slightly different scale for those who started late). Extra points for exuberance.

Overhead on my sweet, sweet laptop

SO, I received my much-anticipated new, ‘sweet, sweet laptop’ (quote from my daughter, Dru) about a week after my hand-me-up (from son, Sean) PC got all virused-up due to my stupid (and getting stupider) opening of the wrong thing on Hotmail (It said it was from the USPS). Right now I’m on Trisha’s computer, waiting another fifteen minutes for the arranged (yesterday) phone call from Dell’s support team. It’s a Windows 8.1 driven laptop sitting on top of my disconnected printer/scanner in the adjacent office; plugged-in to the router and ready to be fixed. Again.

Evidently the last fix, an hour on the phone day before yesterday with a support guy who was about to lose it several times, and the eventual re-setting of the entire computer (supposedly) didn’t fix the problem.

I could stop writing at any moment to take the call.

Okay, eleven minutes more. The problem is this: The keyboard doesn’t work. But, the good news, if there is any, is that, before it decided I couldn’t surf the worldwide web by punching in new addresses or prompts, I did go to Bing, and typed in ASP. I got to watch semi-final heats from Margaret River before deciding it was just too damn late to watch the final. Besides, it couldn’t have been better than the Slater/Bourez heat.

That “ASP” on Bing is one of the tabs I can’t seem to close, or change, but I can scroll down and, if there’s something new, I can click on it, maybe get the first day video from Bell’s Beach. Okay, some time after 6am (6am-8am, supposed tech support call back), I did watch a video of the first round. Evidently Kelly beat Kalohe, the younger competitor using some Slater-esq moves, in the first round.

Okay, three minutes left. I could talk about the swell supposedly coming in tomorrow for Easter, or I could revisit the last surf session, roll-throughs at the usually user-friendly reef break, or, maybe how Stephen Davis, working in my stead while I surfed, responded when I called to tell him how great it was, his line the most negative he’s ever said (at least to me)

“Whatever, Dude; I know it was shitty.”

I could, but, whoa; now it’s 8 am, time’s up. I have to make a phone call.

A Painting by Stephen Davis

A Painting by Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis is a surfer/painter/kite-surfer (and much more) living in Port Townsend.
He was exhausted and surfed-out by the time I disenfranchised the rest of the local surfing population by wave-hogging.
But he heard about it.
Stephen continues to amaze me with his combination of casualness and his ‘gleam in the eye’ enthusiasm, his deep love of the (he’d say) intense emotions and excitement from riding on the natural energy occasionally thrown our way.
And yet, the first thing I liked about him is he said, “Your wave, Erwin; go for it.”
And I, of course, did.
If that says something about me, it says more about Stephen.

Guest Writer Stephen Davis on ‘Nose,’ Talking Story

            GUEST WRITER STEPHEN DAVIS ON ‘NOSE,’ TALKING STORY   

 “The restaurant smelled like vomit and I couldn’t tell where it was coming from.” I was telling the story to our accountant Dolph, short for Adolph.  “You could smell it in the kitchen, the dish pit, and the twelve-top in the bar next to the wait station could more than likely smell it too”.  

Katrina, my stepdaughter, initially said she couldn’t smell anything.  Five minutes later she said that someone had, indeed, thrown up in the ladies’ room and that I must have a good sense of smell.

Having a discerning ‘nose’ is something I must have developed over a lifetime of cooking food and working in kitchens.  I never really thought about it consciously until now, but you can tell a lot about things just from smell.

 Once I was at a friend’s house when the retired fire chief, who was a neighbor, knocked on the door. He said my buddy’s chimney was on fire. After a career of fire fighting, he had a nose for chimney fires.  Both of us ignorant of the blaze, we were stoked the chief caught it.

“I think it might be a good idea to replace the fan in the ladies’ room one of these days,” I insisted. The fan had burned out two years ago and I had pulled it to get the part number. We never bought a new one because cash had been tight until the thought had dropped off everyone’s radar. 

“Having a strange hole in the ceiling of the ladies’ room for two years is just a buzz kill too,” I said.  No one is super comfortable using public restrooms and one having a strange, pervert hole in the ceiling just makes it more awkward.

The truth is, we’re a good team; Dolph and I.  We opened our restaurant in Port Townsend, Washington just before the banking meltdown and, somehow, we were able to skate through the recession, the Hood Canal Bridge closure, and another ferry crisis.  We pulled it, but it was tight, and the women’s room fan was a luxury no one considered until the smell brought our attention back to it. 

The reason I was involved in the restaurant business at all was because of my love of surfing, not food. I started working in kitchens to get through college by working nights.  As it turns out, working in the evening is great for surfing too, and, being an art major, I  just stuck with it after college. 

What gets confusing is that people think I must love food because I’m a chef.  Recently, reality cooking shows seem to be everyone’s window into the professional kitchen. Food becomes pornographic.  We now watch people eat for entertainment, like drooling dogs begging at the dinner table. 

That’s great, but waves are my true passion, and cooking has allowed me to ride a lot of them.  Having my weekdays free allowed me to surf every day waves were breaking; and I often surfed good spots alone.  I could go on long surf trips during the off season and not worry about losing a good paying job.

Like I had a good paying job.

College was amazing, but I didn’t see how it would help me surf more, so I bailed. That’s how I found myself owning my own place and talking to Dolph about foul smells in the ladies’ room. 

Foodies would often call me on my surf-over-work ways. When I asked a previous employer for a raise, he declined saying I didn’t “put enough love in the food“. 

“Whatever,” I thought,  “he should try putting love into two hundred-plus dinners a night.

 Assembly line workers don’t always put love into the torque wrench either. Maybe they‘re doing their best to make a buck for the fam and do some bowling at the end of it.  My boss had obviously never seen me praying for surf to a barrel-shaped tortilla chip on the dash while driving to the beach. 

People are extraordinarily fortunate when they get to do what they love for a living.  I do enjoy cooking for folks, but surfing is my love. 

I wandered out of the office and down the stairs to get back to work. A few minutes later Dolph comes down and says, “You really know how to tell a story,   your stories are always WAY beyond everyone else’s ”.  

“Oh,” I say, “It’s cause I’m a surfer. Talkin’ story is important to us!”