WATCH OUT! Going Paddle-less

In a CONVERSATION with my friend, media darling (I will continue to call him this- it’s true) ADAM WIPEOUT JAMES, me painting trim in a low-bank waterfront mansion (part of the greater Puget Sound, but many thousands of feet (because waterfront seems to be sold my the foot) from even the fickle, often-trickling (note the internal rhyme) waves of the Strait of Juan de Fuca; Adam just about to miss a ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, where he would attend and cook oysters at an event held by ‘WARM CURRENTS,’ a group dedicated to getting kids who might not otherwise get the chance to enjoy the cold bliss of surfing, Adam, in response to my telling him that I was switching to surfing a TRADITIONAL LONGBOARD, and that he should definitely tell ‘Warm Currents’ official, ABIGAIL, who, if you read ‘Realsurfers’ religiously (as you should), you will recall that Abigail, who I, allegedly (accused, not convicted) once burned on a wave (in response to, again, allegedly, she pulled my leash), but who (still Abby/Abigail) did, nevertheless, purchase an ORIGINAL ERWIN t-shirt; and that this switch from the STANDUP PADDLEBOARD would, obviously and unavoidably make me far less DOMINATE in the lineup; in response to all that, Adam said, “WAIT! WAIT! you’re going to crawl on your belly, MAYBE jump up to your knees; maybe even (gulp) STAND UP?”

There was something in Adam’s TONE that just hit me wrong.  NO, not the tone, it was the WORDS.

“NO, man; I’m planning on RIPPING IT UP; dropping-in, back to the wall; swooping, climbing and dropping, tearing into a vicious cutback… all that.”

“YEAH?”

“YEAH.”

“WELL.”  It was a ‘well, we’ll see’ kind of ‘well.’

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Archie Endo, styling at LongLost Point. Photo by Stephen R. Davis

I would like to say the catalyst for my switch back to a longboard was that ‘Allboard’ (formerly ‘Shortboard’ to distinguish him from ‘Hippy’) Aaron’ said he has the perfect board for me, a ten-four Ricky Young; or that legendary longboard stylist Atsushi ‘Archie’ Endo offered me a ten-two Southcoast on a long-term loan basis- I would like to say that- but the truth is, if I want to surf some of the Strait’s less-accessible spots, or even, like, make the trek back from, say the beach at Westport to the parking lot, without, embarrassingly, dragging my board across the sand/gravel, and, sweating and red-faced, stopping every once in a while to readjust my grip on my SUP, I might just have to switch back to crawling onto my board, paddling for and into waves, hoping some dormant muscle memory might kick in and… we’ll see.

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Archie Endo shot this one. It’s, like, waist-high, right?

ALSO, I switched the header back from the one drawn by my late sister, MELISSA, to one of me standing up on a surfboard.  Yes, I did make that wave.

YES, I am aware that I’ve been saying I have (already) given up my WAVE-HOGGING ways for a while.  Well.

That’s a ‘we’ll see’ kind of ‘well.’

Pay-back and Pay-for at the Hama-Hama Oyster-Rama

Abigale said she would buy one of my t-shirts if I promised not to ever drop in on her again.  “Wait. Me?” “Uh huh; you.” “No.” “Yes.” “Is this a [spot name redacted] thing?”  ‘Uh huh.” “Well, I must have thought you weren’t going to make the section,”  “Oh,” raising her voice noticeably,  “I was totally going to make the wave.”

“Oh.”

So, I’ve decided, here is how life goes: We have to pay back favors given, and pay for mistakes made.

So, yeah; I gave Abigale a discount on a shirt, five bucks off, and promised not to drop in on her ever again.  “Well,” she said, obviously thrilled with her new, limited-edition, Original Erwin shirt, “I did pull your leash.” “Oh? Um, did that stop me, or did I keep on surfing?”  “It stopped you.”

Oh. So, a little background: Abigale, who I actually met a couple of years ago when she was involved in running the SURFRIDER FOUNDATION Cleanwater event in Westport (I think it was the year I was given an opportunity to judge some heats, irritated the shit out of the head judge [mostly, my opinion] because I talked way too much- wasn’t invited back into the booth); was in the booth at behind and kitti-cornered to mine, doing some promotion for the upcoming (May 4th, I believe) WARM CURRENTS event.

I will insert photo of REGGIE and me when I figure out how to get it from hotmail.

REGGIE SMART was displaying some of his art along with my stuff, and is involved because he’s working on some surfboards CHRIS BAUER, Port Angeles shaper plans on having at the event.  I walked over to the WARM CURRENTS booth with Reggie to see if there might be an opportunity to push some of my stuff when I was confronted with my nefarious past.

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SO, that was the ‘pay-for’ portion of the day. The ‘pay back’ was giving a discount to a woman who works at the HAMA-HAMA store down SURF ROUTE 101, and was very helpful to me when I painted the interior a couple of years ago; and actually remembered me, out of my usual painting outfit, when Trish and I stopped in more recently.

AND, I guess I should add, in one of these two categories, that I did (and, begrudgingly, will) discount the remaining baby-poop-colored shirts.  Hey; I liked the color.  All of this is a learning experience.

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That’s Reggie’s art on the, um, ground, out of the salty puddles, but, yes, on the oysters.

Having a booth at the HAMA-HAMA OYSTER-RAMA was also a learning experience.  I’ve always felt a bit sorry for folks sitting in booths at events where people were there for some other purpose than buying some awesome drawings.

Most of the day, not knowing whether (or exactly how) to engage the passers-by, I felt sorry for myself.

Not so much.

SURF-SHELLFISH CELEBRITY ADAM ‘WIPEOUT’ JAMES is my contact, His sister, LISSA MONBERG, was running the event.  I saw Lissa once, Adam several times, though he was usually a blur passing quickly, schmoozing the paying attendees. Fist bump, hug, medium five; Adam, the most gregarious person I have ever met, has skills.

WHAT the participation (I punked-out last year) forced me to do is to organize my artwork, cull a percentage, push myself toward a more polished and professional approach.  My daughter, DRUCILLA (or Dru), recently moved back to the northwest from Chicago.  She went to Loyola University, 21 years ago, graduated, worked in new business acquisition for a major advertising firm.  More recently she worked for (and is continuing with some freelance work for) THE ONION.

She’s settling into a house in the historical district of PORT GAMBLE, and is working on making my website better (I have no skills) as well as the business end (even less skills) of trying to make some money from art.

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Here’s Dru in the booth.

I must also thank Dru’s pretty-much lifelong friend, MOLLIE ORBEA, for her tremendous help in this endeavor.  Mollie has a sign company, ORBEA SIGNS, is most of the reason Dru lives in Port Gamble, and lives two doors down from Dru.  Mollie supplied the tent, a table, the banners, the table runner, the easel, the table easels that kept falling over, and the beach chairs that, once seated in one, one would naturally assume the posture of a booth person who really doesn’t give a shit if you buy or not.

I, of course, was half-expecting complete failure.  I participated in a STARVING ARTIST sale once, in 1972, next to the Green Stamps Redemption Store in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego where we lived (LOCALS!) at the time. I think I paid ten bucks to participate, got sunburned, sold one original drawing for fifteen bucks.  SO, YEA! SUCCESS!

I was also quarter-expecting (so, less) complete success; upper-crust Seattleites lining-up, adorning their bodies with ORIGINAL ERWIN t-shirts, adorning their walls with limited (by me) edition illustrations.

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They were lining up all right.  For ice cream.

I don’t want this to sound like I didn’t make any money.  I did sell some stuff, did learn a lot; like, next time… Original Erwin cookies.  Pay For and Pay Back.