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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Koka Kola

Just finished making a late lunch after a noon-thirty session (or so). Had a good talk with Lando before I got into the water. We talked of the flippant surf culture and I articulated the growing chasm by detailing the difference between myself and another gentleman who I had happened upon earlier in the day while checking the surf at 17th Street in Huntington. My attire consists of a ripped and bandanna patched pair of jeans that I have had since high school (circa. 1997), a long sleeve Huntington Surf Shop T-shirt and my sunnies which are a pair of Ray-Bans that were left at my roommates work and which he later gave to me b/c they didn't fit him. That's it. No shoes, no flops, no nothing. Now the guy next to me was full on dressed for a photo shoot. He had the big "in style" sunglasses, I think they were Von Zippers or something like that with the big logo on the side, he had the flat brimmed baseball cap set just perfect so it looked like he just threw it on in a hurry, his un-zipped hoodie/jacket matched his tan cargo shorts and under the jacket/hoodie he had on a white surf logo silk-screened t-shirt (which by the way, all surf company logos matched). Surprisingly his white socks weren't pulled up but his skate shoes were in perfect condition and yes, you guessed it, his shoes, a light brown, matched the shorts, which matched the jacket, which matched the hat, which matched the magazine photo he saw sometime last week.

Neither of us ended up going out at 17th Street, I opted not to because I knew that the swell wasn't powerful enough, the tide was mid-way on the out and unless you had around 9 feet of fiberglass under your toes, you would have just floundered on these deceivingly slow rollers that don't break until they hit the sand bar shelf just off the shore line. I would hazard to guess that none of these factors were a part of his decision but rather the factors that his girlfriend was hanging on his arm and Jack's Surfshop down on Main Street was probably having a sale, drove him away from the water.

I ended up back at 56th Street just out of habit I guess at this point. I think I like surfing there because it reminds me of surfing Rockaway in Queens, NY. Rockaway, much like Newport, CA, consists of many jetties lined some 50 yards apart and when the surf is just right the lefts that come off the tip of the jetty are long and very wallish, not much close out on the right day, just nice rides, that is if you can win position with the locals, the die-hards of winter having their day in the summer sun. I look back fondly on my sessions at Rockaway and Long Island. Dan and myself away from the madness of the city and enjoying something similar to what we would have been doing if we were back in RI. Sitting right in the pocket next to the jetty, in better position than the locals, i would flick my 9 foot longboard on a leftward angle and stroke into a quick drop and a long shoulder. Wait a second and then cross over, cross over and though there's no lip to shoot, I'm in a cheater stance, crouched and trying to position my situation just a little higher so i can throw a few toes off the front. This was how I could assimilate with the New Yorkers, the Rockawayers, most of the hard core locals had a nice quiver of boards and always surfed the appropriate boards on the appropriate days so when it was a longboard day they were right next to me laughing and hooting at the cross overs and cut backs. If you show respect you gain respect. I'll leave it at that for the time being.

But today's session was not unlike the others of late, small surf, uncrowded line-up, sun darting in and out of the clouds, me singing and laughing to myself while no one notices. The only real highlight of the session was one right hander I slid into near the end of my session. It was kind of a fluke of a wave, bigger than the rest of the day, and i happened to be in the right spot at the right time (I'm talking like this was some 15 footer with a hollow 6 foot tube lined with hula dancers when in reality it was probably nothing more than chest high). I dropped back side and to my surprise i was not met with a fast forming wall of closeout white water as the case has been all week, but rather a slightly bending shoulder. For a second, I thought back to last Spring while surfing Trestles habitually and the long, rights just lending themselves to cutback after cutback. So I pump my fish, once and then again, very quickly down the line and let her find the lip on her own with her own speed. Cresting off the top, I dug my left arm into the water as a sort of pivot and whipped my board back toward the beach and then straight back into the direction from where I had come and in a fluid moment pushed the tail into the fast approaching white water and rode the rest of the close out toward the beach. It was the sort of wave that you finish with on a day like today but i was greedy and wanted another one. Nothing much more would come but I was left the reminder that yes, I could surf, and that damn it felt good to put together a line.

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