Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Belated Happy Thanksgiving from the Other Half

While Tony took off to Costa Rica for a week, I had to settle with a quickie flight to North County for 48 hours. Fried turkeys in the Valley. Cotton's dawn patrol Spitcast session that worked out just as Jack said it would, even though he didn't have any forecast for that sort of high tide. Then Cardiff Reef and martinis with old one eye at the Ranch. Stopped by to buy a throwback watch from J.P. at Surfy Surfy to boot. Then back on the plane and back to NY.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Dropping In

I've been thinking about that Inertia article about dropping in. What I come away with are a few different moral justifications for the snake:

Economy of Aesthetic:
Each incarnation of energy made into a precious, surfable wave should, ethically, be ridden to it's highest potential.  A rideable wave's highest potential can only be actualized by the most accomplished and/or aesthetically pleasing practitioner in the water.  If a lesser practitioner takes off on the wave, it is the superior practioner's moral duty to reclaim the wave in the name of an overall general economic success.

Law of the Land:
Each incarnation of energy made into a precious, surfable wave should, ethically, be ridden by the practitioner who has spent the most time at that particular bit of rock, sand or coral. For the good of societal order, if a "younger" practitioner takes off on the wave, it is the "senior" practioner's moral duty to reclaim the wave in the name of communal justice.

John Stuart Swell:
Each incarnation of energy made into a precious, surfable wave should, ethically, be enjoyed by each practitioner equally, based not on merit but on existence of effort. If one practitioner snakes another practitioner based on any of the preceding justifications, parity must be reasserted to maintain moral order in a natural environment that is intrinsically free to all.  It is the moral practioner's duty to reclaim the wave and reset the agenda for the good of surfkind.

Each of these fall prey to more or less the same slippery slop of the sliding scale.  Who is to say what's prettiest?  Who can really claim localism? Who can be the judge and jury on what's best for everyone?

In the end, it's a mixed bag of privilege to surf at high tone spots with any consistency.  More often people find themselves at less than spectacular breaks, surfing middling waves with a community whose skill set, while certainly functional and at times inspired, rarely climbs the highest heights of surfing accomplishment. Especially with this in mind, one gets the feeling that there really is no categorical justification for dropping in.  Not to say one shouldn't snake someone every now and again for whatever personal reason.  But that's just it:  it comes down to self-interest.  I need to catch as many waves as I can in any given session.  If some guy keeps snaking me, I need to figure that out.  If a lesser surfer keeps taking waves and bailing, I need to figure that out. If someone paddles around me (a sort of "pre-snaking")  I need to figure that out too.  Basically, there are no lists of "if thens"; no delineatable set of moral obligations either way.  You do what you need to do.  In this way, perhaps there is one more categorical justification to add:

Man as Animal:
Each incarnation of energy made into a precious, surfable wave should be ridden by the practitioner who can lay claim to biological superiority based on strength, aggressiveness and guile. It is simply the way things go. The only moral measurement is the survival of the fittest.  It is the practioner's personal duty to take an honest approach to the natural state of things thereby doing justice to the majesty of the untamable ocean and the blatant realities of existence.

Of course with this you've got the live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword deal.  Which is often enough the best personal arbiter of pragmatic action out there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Today's Thought

The Case of the 20 Year Old Sticky Lumps

So, maybe 15 years ago, prolly closer to 17, Tommy took a summer job at a surfboard shop near his childhood home in Sandy Eggo.  At the time, Tommy was all about collecting stuff. He had a few wetsuits, a bunch of leashes, a few cruddy old boards, a truck, a car, a motorcycle and a very good looking beard.  Did I mention the afro?  Anyhow, so there he was working at that shop collecting stuff. Or beginning to collect stuff, because maybe it was within a couple years he had all that shit in one place, namely that little yellow house on the hill in Summerland.  Or maybe it was at the Ranch?  I don't remember, honestly.  But at this point Tommy thought it would be a great idea to buy a couple of cases (cases) of Sticky Bumps.  Then he stuck the gooey loot in a closet in his parent's house in Sandy Eggo and left it there.  Or, more likely, he carried around the boxes full of the junk to the 20 or so odd different domiciles he would inhabit over the next ten years.  That's probably more like it.  I can't be sure.  Or I could be, but I choose not to be.  Anyhow, getting back to it, a handful of months ago Tommy handed over a handful of these old bars of Sticky Bumps, you know the ones with the scary ghoul guy on the package? Yeah.  And I'm all "holy cow! where'd you find this old stuff?"  and he reminds me of all that old crud he used to have and that he still had this military grade cabinet chest thing full of old wax and that I was welcome to it any time.  So this morning, waxless and worried, I find some of those old bars in the boot of my car. Ever try to wax your board in 2011 with 1996 sticky bumps?  Rub the heck out of it on the pavement to get at the golden nugget of goodness within the hard candy shell.


 via The Breuer Bureau

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More Morning Light

I guess I'm a Washington guy.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I haven't seen Mike M. around as the shop has been closed... but he is still at it somewhere, doing that trickster thing he is so good at.

Mobile. For a morning.

There is some article doing the digital rounds via The Inertia about the thorny ethics of snaking people. If you can get past the petulantly incendiary opening lines of someone wanting desperately to be antagonizing someone, anyone really, you'll find a relatively nice little piece that covers the topic to a point.  On another tip, last night the phone said "green" and the website said "so-so" and all my cells were crying out "go!"  This morning, the phone said "red" and I didn't even bother to look at the website as my cells were still screaming "go!"  So I went.  Chunky, cruddy, windblown and high tide.  But the air temp was warmer even if the water seemed colder, and as I paddled into a handful of mushflats, I couldn't help but be proud that I made the paddle on the Monday morning, Wednesday morning or Weekend-morning-of-your-choice, that I am allowed to hope for surf. Even if there was in fact, no surf. So yeah, here I am, feeling proud.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Sometimes I take a look at the Follow section down below and see who else is out there.  This usually means I am trying to put off some other thing I need to be doing.  I nearly always come away with a good, substantiated feeling.  This one is from Khaos.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Another November

This is the season where each session is like one of those advent calendars.  You've only got so much time between the sunrise and the moment you gotta be back in the car, heading back home.  Pop open those little perforated windows... one, two, three, four if you're lucky.  This morning was like that. Out and in, three in the bag.  Fun, chest to shoulder high lefts, rolling from the depths of the east.

Negotiating the Window or Another Recorded Miss

One might get weary of repeat performances. I'm not. There's something about the idea potential so tied to surfing around these part, Negotiating the window of opportunity, timing the tides, the swell, the wind, the new babies in the midst, family you never get to see, the rest you never seem to get enough of, the work you never get away from, the posts you only get to think of, the exercise you should have done through the week...We looked longingly on the situation. We gambled on the idea that as long as the wind stayed the same or got better, the cold air lifting as the day got warmer, it should be better as the tide dropped a little more but not too much probably. Maybe smaller but better shape. It wasn't. And it looked better just a few blocks down the beach. On either side. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't and maybe it just seemed to be that way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quality Muertos

We'd like to say something great today, but these guys already did.