Thursday, February 8, 2007


Below is an email from one of our brethren, Kevin "Kaveman" Lang. Not only does this communication show his love for the ocean and his unfettered desire but it provides a fresh voice and explanation of what it is to be out in the water. His brother Dannimal would later respond to the e-mail with this passage:

kevvykave, that´s one of the best damn pieces of scrawl i´ve ever read regarding surfing. especially well taken were the descriptions, untinted or coded by surf terminoligy, those words and phrases that make you feel like you need to take a fucking class or talk for an hour with surfers after every session just to understand what the fuck they´re talking about when they describe a ride. originality, i dig."

This has sat with me for the past week or so and left me to contemplate the colloquialisms that I use on a daily basis and further more, the ones that I use within this forum to describe what is beautiful to me and to describe what moves my soul, what keeps me up at night and gets me out of bed in the morning (and for those who know me, I use the term "morning" loosely, very loosely). Both Dannimal and Kaveman have served as creative sounding boards for me for as long as I can remember and it has taken until now, until Dannimal's non-direct slander of this voice the masses of us use to describe our time in the ocean. Nor him or his brother are free from these descriptions but rather they have stepped back once further and taken stock of what it means to use fresh wordage in comparison to the habitual terminology that is intertwined into the surf culture; both in the water and in the corporate advertising office.

While driving back from Orange, which is in-land, this morning, I had my foot pressed about 80 miles per hour to the floor for I wanted to check the surf. Knowing that we were due for some swell I could think of nothing more than a session before work. Then I could think of nothing more than Dannimal's words. They sat and festered as I tic-taced through semi's and suburbans while racing to Huntington. Then it hit me. The guilt, the half shame, the personal let down of so easily using this cliched vernacular to describe my desire. I'm a writer, I have been published on both sides of this Country and some places in the middle as well, I have given reading in all four corners of this Homestead, and have a 30 page book anthologized in the sweaty catacombs of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and yet I use a formula un to my own.

Can I ever break from this? Do I really want to abandon it all? An entire language which I've spent the better half of my life trying to master all thrown away on two e-mails? Over head, double point break, outer reef, dredged rouge wave, throwing a translucent lip giving way to a green room with not a drop of water out of place. An epic session of lefts and rights, floaters and just getting wicked slotted, stalling and crouching to duck under the pitching peak. Brah.

Sometimes it reads like a hyped up, half drunk monkey who has a smouldering cigar clutched in this teeth, is writing the rags and web-sites I read everyday, but I understand this madness. Maybe I've prescribed to the stereotype I search to defy, or maybe this isn't as black and white as I would make it out to be here in this post. In baseball one would never refer to the pitch as "throwing it down field" or in throwing from one player to the next it is not labeled as "passing"
as it is in football but rather simply "throwing."

In either case, my dear reader, I'm going to leave you to throw my stick in my car, head down to the beach, wax it up, and go stroke out into the breakers and try and catch a line before I have to go to work and articulate how much it pains me to stand up straight and bow at the same time. And while I'm gone please read the aforementioned e-mail I have posted below. Kaveman is a warrior, a writer, a foul-weather friend and a man of our generation who forges his own artistic way.

Fellow waterbrothers-
I went out for a surf on Sunday. If you can even call it going out for a surf. The air temp was 23 degrees with gusts of up to 20mph, there was a heavy fast moving slop constantly rumbling in, every 8 mins or so we would get a "good" set of 1.5 chest high sloppy joe roll.
Now granted - I was wearing keith's 6.5xcel, which has no zipper and I am ashamed to admit that I need my Mom's help getting out of it (2 bad upper body injuries in the past 6 years). My hood was on tighter than a rubber wrapped around a basketball.
I got in with my 6'3" pineapple (a little custome board I picked up in Narragansett in December... She's my first surfboard, my new girlfriend, and a bitch 'cause i haven't stood up on her 'wicked floatie" ass yet.) I digress.
Every time a wave slapped me in the forehead It felt like I just chugged a slurpie, but the cold headache was behind my eyebrow, and then the wind would bite it like a little bitter.
this happened at least 30 times, i'm being modest with the count. The sun was brighter than ever and blinding my dunked wet poodle ass.
After about 12 painfull mins of paddling out I was ready to call it a day. No... instead I decided to pull the all time rookie move of paddling out too far. The under toe was a bitch and the chasm was grinning at me as I was pulled closer to her.
I ended up flailing out there for just over an hour, never catching a single wave. Love or idiotiry I don't know.

But what I do know is how I feel about a heated wetsuit debate. I'm not down. And as far as i'm concerned no true Rode Islander should ever be. If it's too cold to surf than don't. Electricity does not belong surfing on the waves. They are now making a waterproof ipod case, it comes with waterproof earphones. So where do you draw the line my brothers?
No electricity on the waves, not if you're there to surf them.
My Dad spend a lot of time teaching me and my brothers to respect the Ocean. Respect means love, commitment, understanding, devotion, and appreciation. Enjoying all that the ocean does for all of your senses, even if that means cold on your skin and chill in your bones.
You may disagree with me. Well, that means 2 things:
#1 You have been out of Rhode Island too long and your getting soft
#2 It's time to come back and surf the point
The debate is of great importance, surfing should leave as small an environmental impact as possible. bringing wired suites into the mix is leaps and bounds past a wristwatch.



Blogger Daniel said...

Regarding the use of terminology and fighting of cliches in writing, pick up On Writing Well by William Zinsser. Read and enjoy it, it´s excellent and speaks to a lot of your conflicts. If you want, start with the chapter on Sports Writing, then go back to the beginning and read through the rest of it. It´s an invaluable resource for any writer; it brims with wisdom that holds.

February 22, 2007 at 8:27 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home