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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Tomfoolary

So in surfing, as with most things, when you're fooling around and not really paying attention, things generally take a dog leg turn into trouble and last week this was the case for me. It was last Tuesday, a gray and foggy day with waist high waves. As I pulled into the the 2nd beach parking lot I saw Cheyne's wife Anya pulling out. We talked for a minute and she told me that she just dropped him off and that I should get out there and surf even though it was small and gray.

It was a fickle day in which the waves had a little size but not push. The kind you paddle for, glide on the top and then just fade off the back while scratching your head as to why you couldn't catch a waist high wave. Cheyne was on a longboard and I on my fish. One of us would get one here and then a few minutes of chatter and then another wave. This lasted for a little while until there was a slight push and we started trading waves at a regular pace and well...I was goofing off.

These were waves that you dropped in on and then made a turn and the ride was basically over. So when I looked down the line and saw the wave setting up I got a little excited and looked to go off the top as hard as possible. I pumped three times down the line, good hard movements that pushed me faster and right before the whitewater I flicked my fish up to the lip and pushed off for a floater. In my haste, or lack there of, I failed to notice that while I was gaining speed I was loosing water. I found the top, I left the wave with my fish still under my feet, I looked down and saw maybe a foot of water and kicked the board away and turned in mid-air and then "crack." I was under water for a second maybe two but that's all it took. I had slammed my right shoulder onto the sand which was as hard a pavement. I got up and immediately checked the range of my neck and said a quick prayer of thanks that it was only my shoulder.

Like any other guy I said fuck it and kept surfing, it hurt but not that bad...well, I'm not fully incapacitated but I don't think I could throw a baseball 90 feet right now so...I'll prob still go try and surf this evening anyway...

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Simple Request

Please be grateful for those you have in your life...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Text messages from today:

M: "...What are ur plans for this evening"
G: "...cruise by 2nd to see if there's anything surfable"
M: "Surfing! Get back on that horse!"

For the first time since early last fall I found myself in the beat-up parking lot of the Surfer's End at Second Beach with my fish strapped to the roof racks and a crumbled up wetsuit in the back of my truck. As I was getting out of my truck my friend William Hogg drove up in his pick-up and we started the chatter that I've missed so much. The tales from last night and how the swell was in the morning when he paddled out. I pulled the fish off the racks and let him give it a once over. We talked size and where did you get it's which led to talking story about our days out in California. We met here in Rhody but were surfing the same breaks at the same time back west...small world, smaller when you stay on the coasts.

It was small, to be honest but as I said to Hogg on his way out: "Yea, I'm just gonna go out and put a smile on my face." And that I did. As I like to do in these conditions, I made my first wave a dry hair affair (where you don't duckdive or go all the way under until after your first wave). I turned and stroked into the first wave that came to me: pushed up on the rails, paused for a second, popped going left, a little bottom turn back up to the whitewash, then a few pumps, around a tiny section into some more wash and turned the nose back out to the line-up. Huge smile on my face.

There were a few others out this evening, including a father and son. The kid, maybe 10, was riding a twin fined fish and is on the verge of being a ripper. After one of my rides I looked to the west and saw this kid doing a full on rail grab lean into his wave, I just stood there pumping my fist for him...it was a great first day out.

little turns, little rail grabs into little close-outs:::big fun

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A new, Again...

So I'm back to posting again for many reasons but one in particular. I was having a conversation into the evening last night and I was prodded about why I don't talk or write about surfing anymore. When I was asked upon this subject I sipped the Oyster Bay that was in front of me and wondered the same thing to myself. The answer lies is the fact that I had to undergo hernia surgery this winter and my condition had sidelined me for most of the fall. And well, I had to step away from what I love...and I didn't know how to cope with it all.

I was removed from many aspects of my life but took that time to develop many other aspects of my life, foremost my photography: http://www.garrettseiple.com/ (yes, it's a shameless plug but it's my blog so deal with it!)

I'm back in good health and am looking forward to a fruitful summer of longboarding to condition myself for the fall swell.

Many more posts to come...thank you for the talk last night.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What Ended up Happening

Kaveman and I ended up going to First with our boards and went for a paddle. We forded the ankle bitter waves and went out to the buoys. I did a couple of bad back-flips off my board and wrestled the buoy for a minute. A fun little exercise in plain fun. We ended up in the tiny waves just standing next to our boards and talking until a knee high wave would come when we would jump on our boards, pop up and just make fools of ourselves. Par for the course if you ask me: no waves - good friends make the best of it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Welcome Stillness

It's a beautiful Monday here in Sachuest, Rhode Island. There is a stillness to the water that is so perfect that it actually redeems itself for not having any swell. It is a perfect summer day and I am inside hammering away on the keyboard, and shockingly, am pretty much, maybe, for the moment, ok with being inside. It could be the conversation I'm having with an old friend on the west coast as she sits in her office in L.A.. It could be the random mix of Slightly Stoopid, The Expandables, Jack Johnson, Sublime, G. Love and Ziggy that is streaming off the internet from Pandora Radio. Or it could simply be that I am taking solace in the fact that I have a few hours to do some laundry done, get my banking straight, drink cup after cup of coffee and just forget that work begins again in some 17 hours. The sun has another 5 hours before it sets and that beautiful blue isn't going anywhere, so I lean back take another sip.

I guess this isn't a post about the swell so much as a post about preparing the mental and preparing my surroundings for the swell. Maybe later I'll grab a summer brew and finally strip the wax off my Becker and get her ready for the hurricane swell that is soon to arrive. Or maybe I'll rush off to catch sunset with my camera or catch sunset with a friend over some dinner. Or maybe I'll just go to the beach and disturb the stillness because, well, I can't sit still for that long.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Understanding

It's two in the morning and I have found this hour once again in the fashion of being too tired to do anything but sit in front of my computer and too awake from work to simply go to sleep. I have a Newcastle in my hands ( I silently wish I had a brown ale from Landon, I won't tell the Newcastle that but it's the simple late night truth). Daniel's music plays on my speakers, Lying in the Grass to be specific, and I'm kind of enjoying listening to something beautiful and understanding what every word means to the author. An ideal that I spoke of the other day to an old new friend. The ideal that I have a first hand understanding of Daniel's music, where his lyrics come from and how I can feel where he found the inspiration for the chords which match the days and nights we spent living his lyrics. And I think it's the simple fact of understanding which drives me to write in this early morning.

My first posts, back in California, were to help me make right a situation which I had let get out of control. Then my writings evolved to mirror my growth and my little day to day adventures. Now being back in the shelter of what I know best, I am enjoying having a strong understanding of the hows and whys to what makes me content and, well, happy for a better word. I have recently seen this in myself while bartending at Castle Hill, of all places. Daily I have hundreds of people come into my life, for short periods of time, and look to me to educate them on what it is that awes them so in this little piece of heaven. And, well, I can tell them how the tides work, where their fish, scallops, and oysters come from, and as was the case on Tuesday, when the weather will change. I felt the wind change, I stepped outside of my cabana bar, looked at the flag pinned in an east wind and said that we would start getting weather at 9:30. I was about 20 minutes off.

This summer we have been fortunate enough to have some early action in Caribbean and subsequently have experienced some early hurricane swell. Nothing of huge proportions but enough to keep us surfers chatty and excited. Daniel, Kevin and I scored a great session and an even better day the day after my birthday. As if surfing with them wasn't good enough, I surfed with this understanding in my mind. I will not proclaim that I was the best out there or that my knowledge makes me better in the water than anyone else but I will say that it grounds and focuses me. I find myself slipping off my board more and more often to dive the length of my leash and find the colder water away from the surface. Simply trying to soak up the solace that comes from being under water where I am but an awed visitor. Hurricane, by Daniel, plays now and it's fitting for it's my favorite song of his for it is about the storms which we have pounded our coast and how they have molded us into the men that we are today. "Hurricane won't you come my way," he sings and then continues, "My coast has been waiting on your waves." This is what we know, this is what we are and we are privileged to be molded by these storms. Anybody with any skill can come and surf the waves we do here on our beaches and our points, however it takes a true understanding of the lore and love of this point to find the shore after a waist to chest high day and be completely satisfied. A simple understanding that has taken 28 years to find me...

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Brother Returns

Taylor is on the island right now, in from Hawaii for a brief visit before he and Andrea leave for Indo. Today Taylor, his mom Josie and myself all went to Elephant Rock to soak up some of the 80 plus degree weather and soak up the story of what each of us have been doing in the last nine months since we've all spent time together. After lunch Taylor and I hiked Norman Bird and then due to the heat had to stop at the Surfers End and take a dip in the ocean. A lifeguard I knew from last summer was manning the tower and let us take a couple of rescue boards for a paddle. We dug our way out to the chasm and then kind of drifted in-between the chasm and the rocks just off the face of the puddingstone. I marveled at how cold the water was and how it was perfect for a day like today (Taylor wasn't as awed by the cold as I was, Hawaii will do that to you) however we both were drawn to the sincere clarity of the water. We just let the current take us, barely scratching the water with our fingertips when we needed to keep moving yet not disturbing the glass like clarity. I dropped in on a serious, serious ankle high wave, pulled a cheater five mid-way down the board, did my best tube stance and then stepped off into the shin high water. There was no swell, but as Taylor has been reminding me, you have to learn to ride the swell of your life. And today, we scored big. Outside my friends, Outside!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Hogs

The Evolution

When I was a child our family had a boat. A blue and white Tiberias with an inboard/outboard motor, fishing pole holders on each gunwale of the stern, an open bow and a snap on canopy that didn't get much use. I never once contemplated the brand name Tiberias but later in life while reading scripture, probably while in Catholic School as a teenager, I came across the well know passage of the multiplication of the loaves and fish and a correlation was quickly drawn. The miracle had been performed near the village of Tiberias and is the only town named in the Gospels in reference to this miracle. That boat, the biblical reference unbeknown to our family, brought more fish and shellfish to us than we could have ever procured simply on land. In retrospective it makes me laugh to think how after a good day on the boat and a good catch my parents would outfit me with a huge Tupperware container of fillets and have me go to all the houses on our street and offer our catch to our neighbors. A lanky kid in brown rimmed coke bottle glasses still in wet boat clothes going up and down the street multiplying the fish for the masses. Jesus must have gotten a laugh out of that sight.

The boat was a place where not only our family was strengthen but friendships as well. More my father's friendships but still none of the significance was lost on the young boy. I learned how to fight fish on that boat, I learned the significance of the tides and how to stall the boat high on a current off a reef or rock outcropping and fish right down the reef, letting the current take you with the fish. These fishing outings would usually come in the late days of August through the cold days of October. But in mid-summer our boat wasn't so much used for fishing as it was for ski-bobbing and Quahoging.

Up and down Narragansett Bay (and no, I won't say exactly where) I learned to Quahog. Either off the side of the boat with the big two handled rakes which you handled like a life size pair of scissors or wading in the shallows with a single rake. I think it would be quite amusing to be able to see my younger self, maybe aged 10, maybe a little older like 12, leaning over the side of the boat with the double handled rake digging away waiting for the familiar scrape of something hard. Then to have my small frame drag the rake over the gunwale, remembering to keep the handles tight as not to loose what was in the basket, and then dig out any Hogs from the rocks and conchs.

Though I know my father was next to me for so many of these hog adventures, one instance sticks out so distinctly that it seems like it could have been the only time we ever went out hoggin. Though I would hazard to guess that said memory is nothing more than the conglomeration of all my memories lumped into one hot and sunny day on the port/stern side of the boat. While I worked the teeth and baskets my mother laid out in the bow reading a book with her hair pulled behind a ball cap, my sister was off snorkeling by herself and my father was hoggin with his mask and snorkel. He would dive, dig his knife into the sand feel for the hogs or watch them squirt out sand and silt as they closed up in defense. I was either too young for this avenue of hoggin or just didn't have the comfort of the mask and snorkel yet (I put the previous up for debate but know that it was the later, I didn't take to the mask and snorkel till later in my adolescence).

My father donated the boat to U.R.I. some years later, I'm sure they turned around and sold it, but it was for a good cause for a great aquatic studies program. Life ebbed away from fishing and hoggin for me during my adolescence. The reasons are both personal and lost and would take up far too much time to detail here in one post. I took to surfing and riding the sea instead of fishing from her bounty. I have never lost my accord with the ocean but fishing or spearfishing never took precedence over a good swell. And well, with moving to Florida at age 18 I lost the opportunity to go hoggin or fishing with my father.

It's nine years later and I've set lures (which he has handmade and sent to me wherever I've lived) in Florida, California and Alaska. It's taken the nearly four months since my return for us to hit the beach together while neither one of us were working. But still what's more impressive is that it's taken us fifteen to seventeen years to don mask, snorkel, weight belt, flippers, gloves and metal spike and re-enter the Atlantic together. He never stopped Quahoging this way and I never stopped snorkeling but I still had another lesson to be learned.

For my first time, in this manner, I dug a fair share of Hogs and Little Necks. I nearly caught a sizable adult Flounder and saw a hundred of inch long baby flounder. My father pointed out schools of small Snapper Blues and I saw a Blue Crab with a claw about the size of my own hand. We exited the water side by side with the same beat-up yellow dive bag in my fathers hand that I remember sitting in the stern of the boat and just like it sits in my memory it sat heavy with today's haul.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Holy no swell Batman, we've got to go make a sacrifice to Neptune.

What the fudge....I need to get into the water.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Prediction

So the storm came as predicted, but the swell, well, not so much. It's one of those days where you just sit there in shock because you swore there was a chance you were finally going to get to surf. You're looking at the ocean and there's just not shit out there to ride aside from some deceiving chop. But you still wait and try to figure out how you could have been wrong. Eventually you get over it and start the truck back up and go home to lift. Always learning to wait and train for the next prediction.

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh."
~~Al Swearenger

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Epic Fall




This kind of picture would never have happened in Cali. This is from Norman Bird Sanctuary.

The Horizon

It's all out there, sitting, perched, waiting for the tide to bring it to the shore. All the guys; Lando, Dannimal, Daddy Warbucks and T-Rocker have all left the island. No surfing during this visit because there just wasn't any surf. With their departure there is no real sadness for we've been doing this for the past 10 years. All coming and going using this rock of Aquidneck as our home base. Warbucks and Lando are just up in Boston and Dannimal will be back in Vermont, all easily seen but T-Rocker, well he's back to Hawaii, it will be a long time before I will see him again, maybe not that long, maybe I'll bring The Swell to Hawaii for a little bit this winter. And that's what I mean about the horizon. It's all out there. Life after this weekend will slow down. More time for fishing and family, surfing and stealing away for trips up to Vermont and Boston. I excited for the fall. There's swell on the way as well, I predict that tomorrow morning I'll be duckdiving chest high sets.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Storm

It's later in the day, the next day to be exact, and I'm feeling the storm on my personal horizon. It's just past midnight and I fell no affiliation with anything good. I start a new job in some 10 hours and it's nothing to me for it's just another bartending gig. Though it's a potentiality 50,000 dollar job I just don't give a shit because it's just slinging drinks to the rich. But I'll suck it up and take their money. Tomorrow I'll roll into Castle Hill in a cocky manner and not because that is what makes up my person but because I've learned that if you're serving the rich and you feed your own personal cache you'll survive but if you falter in their bullshit than they'll tear you apart with their pompous judgment.

It's a matter of comfort and confidence. I'm comfortable and confident with myself, no matter what wine or water is on my table. These people I speak of lack a huge confidence in themselves. You may ask how this applies to The Swell or to the life of surfing itself and I'll put it out here and now that neither money or reputation will ever float you in the water. I have no respect for those who buy a yacht and know nothing of crewing the boat. I have no respect for surf camped adults and I have no respect for the rich with no affiliation with the non-profit.

I haven't touched the water in two days and I felt like I was losing my accord with the tide but today, off a minimal town paycheck, I bought a membership to the Norman Bird Sanctuary and the first thing I did was walk to Hanging Rock. From there I sat and looked on what I help mold for the last three months. It looked beautiful. The beach itself, three days closed, looked groomed and pristine. And here is where I engage the rich and blind; myself and a crew of kids under 20 years old sweat and bled so that this site, this beauty, this pristine, this tide, this habitat, this sanctuary, this haven, this escape and this bliss could exist for everyone.

I little expect that my 16, 17, 18, and 19 year old crew boys/girls knew the extent of what they were doing when they were scrubbing bathrooms at 8am or picking trash in the blistering sun of an August heat stroke but I hope that they had faith in my father and I. I hope they had faith in us for we were surrendering our summers, as a family, to the pleasure and enjoyment of the hundreds of thousands which came to the place we called our home, Sachuest Beach. And it's true that it's a home. It's a home to millions of person's memories and we, as a family of lifeguards and crew, had the duty of preserving and molding those memories and we did it well, we did it very well.

The Norman Bird Sanctuary and the Aquidneck Island Land Trust are doing amazing work, all year round, to keep this island (not just the beaches) undeveloped and pristine for our generations still unnamed. Please support them.

Aquidneck Land Trust:
http://www.ailt.org/

Norman Bird Sanctuary:
http://www.normanbirdsanctuary.org/welcome.shtml


Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Calm

The Return

My truck found new soil familiar to my soul back on the 24th of May as I found Rhode Island by way of Vermont, Southern Canada, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Colorado and Utah. It was a trip ripe with nothing more than I needed to remind me that I was making the right decision. I camped at a solitary lake on the side of a mountain in Utah and by the side of a slow creek in the Badlands with the company of Joel and Joy, an older couple who had been coming back to the same spot year after year and who were so selfless and sent me off with some of the strongest camp coffee. I faced those cold May mornings in the Rockies and north of the Great lakes with a hot cup and Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline. An album inspired very much by Johnny Cash, of whom he does a duet with on the album. Just great driving music for slow morning touring through the overlooked parts of this, our continent.

Today is September 6th, a far cry from May 24th. There was a deviation in my writings where I had imagined I would have written much more. But the beach took up far more time that I had bargained for and the addition of being one of three bartenders to help open a new restaurant took everything I had to give this summer. I hardly saw my nieces and nephew, spent nearly not enough time with my grandparents but moreover not enough time for myself and my writing.

That being said and done, the beach did lend itself to many positive aspects as well it's numerous negative spurs. I'm not going to try and detail any of these at this point, I'd be sitting here writing well in November before I could detail all the madness of being one of a few who run the most beautiful stretch of land on the Eastern Seaboard. And I'll stand by that statement. You go up on St. George's Hill and cast you sight east over Sachuest Beach and Sachuest Point and if you're not in accordance with me after taking in that spectacle then, well, you might as well stop reading this scrawl.

There was no swell this summer. Maybe five afternoons where a trace swell crept up to our southern facing points but not a whole lot more. I caught a couple of these afternoons and surfed the fish on all occasions. I had the pin-tail in the back of the truck, just in case, but never had the opportunity to break her out. I did however use our lifeguard's cache of toys to the fullest extent. I had at my disposal an array of paddle boards, kayaks and well, I guess never did take out either the dory or the van dyke boats. One of the highlights of having a solid crew of Lifeguard Captains, like we had at the beach this year, is that you are inspired by their dedication. I took to the ocean harder than I ever have in times of no swell. They would run, swim, paddle and row and it drove me to stay out of the gym and train in the elements of my passion. I even took it to another level and incorporated long distance snorkeling into my days.

Details are lacking here is this post and I am fully aware of this deviation but rest assured my readers that there are thousands of images from this summer that will grace this log well into the cold winter we have somewhere on our horizon. But that horizon is far off and though the summer is waning away it's the fall which holds the swell. So it's the fall I wait for, for the swell to grow but as for The Swell in which I write, the sets are picking up as you read sit and read this post.

"Malibu...Outside"

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Nearing

I'm posting this, as a satalite post, from a friend's new apartment in the gaslamp district down in San Deigo. It's a slow day here, just getting ready for a housewarming party and one of the many good-byes I'll have to say this week. Buffet plays on the stero and a bottle of wine has been opened.

This afternoon as I drove with my windows down and the sunroof pulled back, I headed south past all the spots I'd spent so much time surfing, and i had them to my right for the last time. Laguna, San Clemente, Trestles, and San Onofre. The wind whipped through my truck as I creened my head to the right to try to catch a glimpse of the surfers pack at San O. There were cars and trucks all over the highway with longboards starpped to their roofs telling that there was some action in the water. It must have been a small day but i saw a set pull through what would have been just north of Old Mans. One guy out at the point stroking into a wave all by himself while there were three or four guys closer toward shore at the second point and too may to count waiting for the reform.

I rounded into Pentelten and thought of all the reasons why I had moveed here in the first place; a number of them all wrapped up into today: friends, surf, wind and music passing freely through open doors, a steel drum melody to surf the sunset away.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thoughts from just North of South

4/17/2007

There's a milky sky of grays and blues above the Pacific as I look out to six surfers playing in the high tide push of an otherwise weak swell. But do not get me wrong, just an hour or so ago I was one of the six. Actually one of the three at that moment, but I digress. Presently I sit atop sandstone with my tin cup full of wine- I look out on Cardif-by-the-Sea and I look back on a fun session in a place I had never surfed before. I'm camping at San Eligo tonight and I got one of the best campsites, #57, in the entire camp. There's a view of the break from my picnic table and I'm on the beach level, no walking up and down the cliffs, just a few steps and I'm on the sand. I would have been happy with any site for I am just happy to get out of Orange County but to get the best site in the entire camp is really stoking me out. Call it karma, call it what you will but tomorrow in the AM, after some oatmeal, a bagel and some fresh French Press coffee. I'll be walking from my tent to the surf.

There are four surfers left and I would assume that the sun has now gone down. There is too much cloud cover to see any sky which means no sunset and also means no stars tonight. I had rather hoped that I would have been able to have a good night sky in which to watch as I sat on the beach but alas, no. Though I couldn't be further from upset at this moment. I don't even think rain could spoil this feeling for me.

I think on the fact that I'm alone right now, a thought which usually brings me any variation of sadness or depression, but now leaves me rather blase. There is nothing so unique or solitary about this moment which couldn't be shared with another -- it's just that I'm OK with it for the moment. I thought of Talia, one of the people who puts my travels to shame with her escapades, on the drive down here. I called her later in the day and we had a good laugh as I drove North from checking the surf at Torry Pines and she got ready for a business dinner in New York City. At this moment, the physical but not metaphorical, darkening moment I think on lots of people. People I love, people I want to get to know better and I think on sharing my ambition to sit on the rocks into the twilight. Though I am alone, that fact doesn't stop me from doing what I want to do and, I hazard that, that is what pleases me into the night.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4/18/2007

I rose early this morning with the chipmunks. I kept putting off getting up and thought it was much later than 7am when I sat up in my sleeping bag. I made my coffee and my oatmeal and took them up to the bluff and sat upon a picnic table and watched the swell come in from the dawn. The wind was already hard and it was only 7:30. There were peaks and a few guys out but it didn't seem as if the tide was right for the place that I had surfed yesterday so I decided to pack it all in and drive up the coast and check for a more wind sheltered spot.

While packing I thought of how I must look to those around me. The lone wolf turning down some sort of surf and packing it all in before most people are up and I think on how they must wonder where I'm off to next. What's so important that 8:15 in the morning can't wait for...and there is no answer and that's the let down. I think south, I think Mexico--it's right there like a mysterious woman calling me from the shores. I could just keep going south, stock up on food and gas, and keep going. And I wonder what stops me...

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Consumption

I was doing some packing today and came across a letter from Dannimal from when he was fresh in Guatemala. He talked of time and it's allocation and how even on a basic level, something you love, (in his example writing and then furthered with guitar and song writing) ends up taking up your time and it can easily turn into "work." He used the "day off" metaphor of having nothing to do but spending six hours with pen or guitar in hand and then be left with limited time to accomplish everything else you wanted to do that day. I found this ironic for right as I got sick, my last day in the water, I thought on this subject and upon returning to the truck jotted down the shards of a conversation Taylor and I had some weeks earlier on surfing and work.

I think on Taylor and I's conversation of late, the one of delegating time and the different avenues of pleasure. How if you take out all the other pleasures in your life and focus all your positive feelings and energy (i know i sound like a hippie) into one specific aspect of your life then that aspect which was once so pleasurable becomes tiresome and ceases to bring pleasure but takes on the roll of being a chore of pleasure. The pleasure flees from the activity and it becomes a responsibility.

I never did ask Taylor what his exact thoughts were on the subject but it's something to that extent. When I wrote that excerpt I was still in the throws of Lent and I was still sober. Now that Lent is over and I can drink again I have started to see where I took more out of my life than just booze. I was taking everything pleasurable out of my life. Even though I still saw friends I would remove some aspect of the encounter because I was without a beer in sight. I made surfing the only true aspect of my pleasure because it was something that I had never done drunk and, at the time, I was learning how to do just about everything again while sober. And I can say that being sober didn't make sense at every point. I'm not saying that either extreme is the answer but rather that either extreme is never the answer. Maybe that's what I had to get out of all of this, maybe realizing that I can't annex myself and think that I can fit into the same society I live in is an option. Maybe that I need to retool my thinking and my environment. Cole, at one point during lent, questioned my sobriety in the way that if I was to just go back to being either the party animal or the wall flower, then what would be the point of doing it at all. She brought this up at an early stage which made me question my fasting, and I can not thank her enough for she gave me an answer to a blind question I was existing in. For I'm finding now that it's not one or the other but the degree of consuming one or consuming the other.


(On a side note, I did not head south today but will do tomorrow)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Continuing

Billy Joel plays on my stereo, the coffee pot clicks from the kitchen, my shades are drawn back, I see a sky smeared with clouds and I watch the trees get abused by the wind. It's a Saturday morning and the Red Sox are playing the Angels. I speak of all these things for I am still sick, much better than before but alas still sick. I'm planning on going to the gym today, some light lifting to shake off the cobwebs for come Monday morning I'm heading down to San Diego County to take advantage of the State Parks system. I'm bringing my boards, coffee, pasta, wine and a whole lot of wood and I'm gonna do some car camping. Be it that I will go alone but I will go. My time left here in California is limited so sick or not, surfing buddies or not, I'm going to Swamies, Pipes and Cardiff. I'll camp North Carlsbad, take a hundred or ten pictures and return to work on Wednesday with another adventure which will be met with the standard issue: "You went by yourself?"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Rivermouth

So I surfed the river mouth in between Huntington and Newport on the 4th, the day before I surfed Cliffs and watched El Porto. It was a decent day, head high plus, some shoulders, a lot of close outs, just big and heavy. I had a few good lefts, the best, by far, would have been my first wave of the day. A left just ripe with cut backs and perfect positioning. The wave made me happy with the entire session. What has not left me with any pleasure is that since that day I have been getting sicker and sicker. Today is the best I've felt in sometime but still quite short of fathoming the idea of putting on a wetsuit and getting back out there in the drink. It's a sad state of affairs when you get sick from the water. I'll post the Surfrider link below: just as a reminder....


Surfrider

Friday, April 6, 2007

Thoughts from El Porto

So the oddity of life and the peculiar way things work shows it's way through my recent blog entries, or lack there of. I created this to talk about surf and well, it's surfing that has kept me from writing. Or better yet, transcribing. Scrawled out in my moleskin are the thoughts and recollections of the past days but in keeping brevity in mind I'll just leave you with my thoughts from yesterday. Enjoy:

I've got a cup of coffee and my notebook as I sit on the rocks at El Porto. I await the call from Cole telling me she's out of work, so in the interim, I do the only thing which comes naturally, I go to the beach. There's a decent mix of surfers in both boards and ability.

The few times I've surfed here have been enjoyable. The fun lefts and the soft rights out in front of the power plant or who knows what it is industrial complex. I've had good luck here with the fish, stalling and continuing on into the reform - a soft wall which is good for a cutback and a crouch, pulling yourself through the back of the wave.

I feel a little antsy while watching some of the better surfers make their way through the sections and snap turn a rooster spray against the gray sunset. And though my boards are in my truck my wetsuit hangs on the balcony at home for the fourth day in a row.

Today was cliffs, around six foot with a current which could rip a hole through teflon. After crossing under the railing I was poised to traverse down the dirt cliff when I saw two guys digging for a wave. The second guy had paddled around the first to beat him out of position but as karma would have it, the first guy (who had original position) stroked into the wave of the day. I stood there board and leash in hand and watched as his red board cut high and fast across the face of a head high plus wave.

I was stretching in the intertidal when the aforementioned surfer came walking by - I told him that I watched him from the cliff and that it was a hell of a wave to the end the day day on, the kind of wave you just go in afterward. He admired my board and was shocked that it was a Becker, for his was as well. Not knowing the size we matched pintail to pintail and decided it was around seven feet. His board was numbered around a thousand, a real classic.


There's barely any sun left right now and just two black specks left bobbing in the water, the last of the El Portos

I did well today. The first few waves were nothing of glory or gloom. But as I raced up the coast, catching left after left, (A south swell in southern California is a goofy footers wet dream) I found my rhythm and the strength in the pain from my body. After each wave it was right back on the board and right back out into the breakers: hard, digging and taking lick upon lick, my head border lining brain freeze. I had the power of desire in my arms.

There were no epic waves today. One frontside crouch to put my head and shoulders under the lip, which proceeded to crash on me and I skated out from the wash onto the shoulder to finish the wave. And there was one left, a big boy I hit with a drop and stall on a great angle. I then proceeded to pump once or twice before a cutback off the lip, from which I saw a lot of open wave behind me so I returned right and cut back in the soup and raced the white up the coast. I pumped fast and she sped close but I beat her out for once and celebrated with a big swoop of a cut back. No spray off the top just a text book swoop with my knees bent in homage. The kind of wave you want to end your day on but it wasn't my last wave, and for that I was glad for that stoked the fire and made me burn my arms more and more until I neared Bolsa Chica and the yearning for a cup of coffee, a hot shower and drive up north to see one of my close friend's overpowered me and I jumped off my board and body surfed to the shore with a 6 foot 8 piece of fiberglass in-tow.