Somewhere on the (Surf) Sliding Scale

Let’s discuss the FROTH SCALE, the STOKE SPECTRUM; the level to which your adrenalin spikes and your heartbeat soars in a direct relationship (or proportion if your mind is more math-ish) to rumors, predictions, short term forecasts of waves; and, more specifically, how you react to those soothsaid prophecies (as in, “Did you see the forecast for next Wednesday [only an example]?  Sooooo sickkkkkk.  Dude.”); adding in how you *spontaneously, viscerally respond to the anticipation factor, the increased possibility of real-life, rideable, possibly-rippable, possibly-uncrowded, possibly-perfect waves as you approach a beach; and then, we’ll add in how you react when the actual waves and the actual conditions, skunk-to-score, shit-to-all-time classic ultimate; this reaction, the **intensity of this reaction shows where you are on THE SCALE.

So, yeah; pretty much just standard surf talk.

EXAMPLE ONE- You’re probably, statistically, way more likely to get a speeding ticket heading for waves than going from waves.

EXAMPLE TWO- Access to beaches, including possible surf spots, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca often requires a hike.  Often, the waves cannot be seen until one is close.  There’s faith and hope but no guarantee.  If you have hiked a mile, half of which is steeply downhill on a muddy, slippery path, and you, on first hearing waves, even before trying to discern the relative strength of the waves or an interval; break into a run… that’s probably three-quarters of the way up the scale.

*The actions our bodies take without our minds playing a major role (breathing, breathing, digestion, for example) are generally categorized as part of the bodies’ autonomic system.  Yeah, yeah; we’re talking about how we react in the moment, without allowing our trained, worn-down and cynical brains to lessen the impact.

**Flight or fight; fear or some sense of invincibility; depression or elation.  The worst and lowest place on the scale is ***NO REACTION.

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FORGET THAT; we’ll start with WETSUIT WORTHY.  It seems fitting to have Jack O’Neill, pretty much the soul daddy of cold water surfing hypothermia prevention garb, trying to decide if the waves are worth turning a not-quite-dry wetsuit back to right-side-out.

You, no doubt, have stories of times you went out when the surf was marginal, only to discover it turned into something epic.  Place that story on the scale.  Sure, you can embellish it a bit, after the fact.  This is where our brains add the color.

There is, of course, GIGGLE WORTHY, HOOT WORTHY, WET YOUR WETSUIT BEFORE IT’S ON WORTHY.  There is, or shouldn’t be a CALL YOUR FRIENDS WORTHY.  Maybe way after the fact.  At the top of the scale, just after HYPERVENTILATION WORTHY is HEART ATTACK WORTHY.

It doesn’t mean you are required to have one.

***I didn’t mean to go to three asterisks, but, if you see pretty darn good surf conditions and have no reaction, QUIT SURFING.  NOW.

Dominating vs. Ripping & Tags vs. Price

THE DISCUSSION went back and forth for a while. Probably too long.  Stephen Davis had seen a YouTube video in which Wardo, Somebody-or-other Ward (I will remember, just not this minute) boosted a big air, landed it, and was then burned by someone (Steve made it sound like it might have been a woman) blindly taking off in front of him; and so, of course, Wardo flipped the clueless kook off.

HEY, if you go by a nickname, people are supposed to know your name.  Miki? Dewey? Alex? Kelly?  Anyway, Steve read through the many comments on the incident.  Some folks defended Wardo, others thought, maybe, he could have been a bit nicer about the whole thing.

STEVE’S comment, to me, was, “DO YOU REALLY THINK Wardo got world class good without ever burning someone?” He answered himself with, “OF COURSE NOT.”

And I agreed.  This took up most of the first hour of the back and forth.  Maybe if I had a radio in my car that worked; maybe if it wasn’t so far to the coast.  Maybe…

SIDETRACK- I would be severely criticized if I publish anything (else) even mentioning surfing (or the existence of waves) on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  I have been criticized for not writing more often about surfing and the many joys associated with surfing.  I check the buoys and forecasts the way football commentators study even seemingly-obscure stats, and I have finally allowed the truth to work its way to this:  The ocean doesn’t give a shit about sending waves forty, fifty miles and more so surfers can ride them.  There are, however, waves pretty much every day on the coast.  CONCLUSION- If it’s about the same time investment for you, coast or Strait… nevermind that; how about this: Waves are a gift.

CHRIS WARD. I looked it up.

THERE WERE SEVERAL OVERRIDING ISSUES in Steve’s longform rant (if you will- he thinks it qualified):

ONE- When waves to sneak down the throat of the Strait, it gets rather competitive.  RATHER.  The surf spots are, of course, fickle, and either difficult to access (cliffs, fences, cops being called), or instantly crowded with even the rumor of breaking waves.

TWO- The points or reefs can feature a very pleasant surfing experience for three or four, but, adding in that most of the consistent (or diehard, if you prefer) locals (or semi-locals) know or sort-of know each other (and are very competitive), when it gets crowded, feelings can get hurt (and can stay hurt a while).  RESULT- A less pleasant surfing experience, people who could be your friends holding grudges, you holding grudges against people who could be your friends.

Steve and I agree on this; though I probably enjoy (tolerate, I’d call it) the jockeying in the lineup, the back-and-forth, a bit more than he does.  “If someone wants to really be good,” Steve said, somewhere on the drive back, “You have to be somewhere where there are always waves, where you can surf every day.”  Well, um, yeah; but there’s no way I’m going back to California.

WAVE COUNT.  That’s how you get to be good, like Wardo, his joy at landing his 999th air interrupted by some kook.  MEANWHILE, the kook, perhaps, unaware, blissfully unaware even, may have had the best wave of his (or her) life.

CONCLUSION- No conclusion.

ORIGINAL ERWIN AND DISCO BAY T-SHIRTS- There are some available (in a range of sizes, Disco logo on the front, one of the other two illustrations on the back) at the Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange.  Tyler Meeks has been at this a while now, and, when I delivered my latest batch of shirts, he said he could only get $15 each ($20 for long sleeves) without tags.  TAGS?  WHAT? One, I’m not really sure what my cost per shirt is- I’ll find out today when I pick up more; and, two- I will make some tags if it means I might actually make a dollar or two on the whole thing.  WOW, it’s so hard becoming a t-shirt mogul.

“It’s just that, if someone is buying a shirt for a grandkid or something; they want to see… tags.”  “Oh, okay.”

SO, if you get in there, like, tomorrow (Thursday)… before the tags are organized… and remember, these are, by design, limited editions.

LIKE waves, they make great gifts.

Time- Warped, Wasted, Spent

To quote; or, possibly, mis-quote Miki Dora; “Life’s pretty much a waste of time. Surfing’s as good as any way to waste it.”  I’d spend some time trying to look it up if I felt like I had the time.

TIME.  So, recently, headed back along the Strait of Juan de Fuca (SoJdF) and into the zone between the Northwest’s Pacific Coast where cell phone reception becomes merely spotty (Joyce for most of us), I gave Adam Wipeout a call (one of the few surfers on my short list of people- and I’ve explained this to death already- I share session reports with).  WHAT? It turns out he had tried to sneak in an (another) stealth surf at an undisclosed location and was forced to now make up for all the things he was supposed to do.

“I feel like I was in some sort of time warp,” he said.  “I can’t believe it’s one o’clock.”

“Well, it is.”  It was, and it wasn’t even raining.  I should have been painting.  Adam should have been… something, something with his family or for HAMAHAMA SEAFOOD; something else; not sliding and barrel-dodging and getting praised by onlookers for better-than-proficient rides.  That was Adam’s recap. He hadn’t invited me, probably wouldn’t have told me about this until days later.

AND, I was elsewhere, allegedly (someone willing to pay roaming rates called someone he knows, he called another surfer from my short list, and that guy called me and left a voice mail I couldn’t listen to until I reached Joyce, and, as happens, restarted my phone) catching more (somewhere between slightly and considerably more) than my allotment of waves.

Well.  I hate to waste time.  Not an excuse.

OKAY; that’s out of the way. I’ve been working on a series of NORTHWEST SPIRIT ANIMALS. My latest was the eagle.  Now, the national bird has been done from so many angles.  I wanted to go for a new one.  I spent some time on the first version of this; but it just didn’t work.  I must have some fear of using large patches of black, but… not an excuse.

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Rather than tear up the whole thing, I doubled-down (I know, you’re thinking Trump backing up ridiculous claims with more ridiculousness) and added the checkerboard stuff.  Ewww. Well, maybe, in color…

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Not thrilled.  Not my favorite.  Next time…

MEANWHILE; and for quite a while, TYLER MEEKS, the owner, and I have been discussing using the logo I came up with for the DISCO BAY OUTDOOR EXCHANGE on t-shirts.  There are some very small decals available, but the problem is, and has been, that the design isn’t ‘tight’ enough to be instantly recognizable from a distance.  And I agree.

SO, I spent some time drawing, and several trips to various printers, trying to get it tight enough to print as white-on-colored (or black) t-shirts, possibly with ORIGINAL ERWIN designs on the back.

NOW this presents an additional problem/mind game, at least for me.  The design was drawn to be black on white (or light), and too much thinking is required to make the switch.  OKAY, here’s how it goes:

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This is the black-on version.  The black outside the drawing (including the points of light) would be cut out.  White mountains and clouds.

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Here’s the white-on version (there are some outside-the-image things to be eliminated). SO, everything black on this would become white on the shirts Tyler and I have gathered (various colors and sizes), but I have some amount of trouble making the switch from what I see (black clouds and mountains) to what will show up.

ANYWAY, the plan is to have some shirts available soon at a reasonable price.  I’ll let you know.  OR, maybe one of your friends will call someone else with the news; something like, “Got skunked, but, whoa; they have some awesomely cool new t-shirts at Disco Bay, Bro.” Then that person might call you.

Meanwhile; I have been working on my novel, “Swamis,” making it te-ight!

 

 

Jaime Lannister Comments on “The Code”

PERHAPS it was because I had just watched the finale of “Game of Thrones” that I got so excited when I got a comment from a James Lannister on my last posting. I wrote about how I can’t write about sessions and spots and forecasting techniques, or about decent waves or awesome sessions. Though I didn’t mention that there is a sort of code about revealing too much about surf on the Strait of Juan de Fuca; I have, over time, become more and more aware that there is one.  Maybe.

WAIT; just like the fictional character, Jaime Lannister; only, um, whoa/wow, real?

SO, rather than leave the comment in the commentary, which, evidently WordPress makes it difficult to actually submit, I decided to include it here; my comments on Mr. Lannister’s comments in parentheses. HERE:

Blogs and Instagrams which withhold a classic surf shot in hopes of not breaking the code and maintaining status amongst (note how it’s the more British-ee ‘amongst’ rather than the more mundane ‘among’) certain media darlings (maybe this is because I’ve started referring to Adam Wipeout James as a media darling- which he is) and the local(s) that live in the woods but post content clearly implying epic surf and epic surf of daring adventures (I think he meant ‘and’ daring adventures) out of state or country is an interesting scenario. One could argue there is more allure in tales lacking photographic evidence than posting the damn photo itself, thus attracting more casual wave seekers. (then there’s a smiley face- I do wonder if there’s a ‘tongue in cheek’ emoji).

jaimeLannisterTwins“So, you’re telling me, that, maybe, when the tide comes in; there might or might not be, waves?  Tidal push, you say? Very well; it’s not as if I can call someone.  I don’t even seem to have a ‘roaming’ option, and all the locals and the pretenders, not that I can tell one from the other; keep saying stuff like, “If you see waves; you had best surf said rollers,” or, “Winter’s coming;” shite like that.  Oh, yes; board bags and Westphalians. Noted.

“When I inquire as to the availability of other, possibly better wave locations, and access to these rumored breaks; I keep hearing about ‘the code.’  The code?

“And, again, to be clear; you also seem to be quite critical of my custom wetsuit armor, designed for close quarters combat.  It served me well at Rincon and Trestles… Sir Dude of the Clan of the tree-dwellers.  But, no; I will not bend a knee to your house or your banner; ‘Lib-tech or die,’ indeed.  Um, so; when is high tide, again?”

OH, I hope this doesn’t add to the allure of the wild Strait of Juan de Fuca area for more casual wave seekers.  That might be a code violation.  Thanks, James Lannister, for reading realsurfers.

Skunked, Semi-Skunked, Just Plain Missed It

Not that I’m making excuses. Probably nothing is more frustrating to a surfer than the ‘could have gone.’  This applies to the time you ‘haired-out’ (retro term) and didn’t drop into a wave that, viewed from the back, broke perfectly; and to the time you didn’t go because you didn’t believe it would be ‘all time;’ and to the time you didn’t pay attention to the conditions, finding out later that a small window opened up, some of your friends hit it, and, of course, it was all time. Or maybe just epic.

Then there are the times the conditions look great, you cancel a few things, put off a few more, and go. Not epic, not all time. If you’re lucky, you can get a session under the ‘practice’ heading. “Practice for what?”

You know; for the time you’re the one who hits it right.

Meanwhile, I am continuing to work on illustrations.

Image (30)I have a couple more I’m taking to The Printery in Port Townsend today. One is of “Hobuck,” the other is a sort of Northwest version of an Aloha print. I’ll explain later. Later.

Meanwhile, if you’re cruising to the wild Olympic Peninsula, stop off at Tyler Meek’s Disco Bay Outdoor Exchange on Surf Route 101, Thursdays through Mondays. He has gear for all your vices, and some of my illustrations.