Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Yowza. The funny thing is I actually lived in Summerland for a little while. Sorta. For a couple months. Officially. I mean, I went from the Pueblo Street house to the Summerland house and then to the Turk Street apartment in a matter of months. Boy, those days were a whirlwind. I love Central California. via QPs
There always seems to be a lot of talk in certain circles about what makes a real "surf shop." Someone over there will say that some place is not a surf shop because they don't have enough boards. Someone over here will say they have enough boards, but they're all the wrong boards. That guy over there will point out all the t-shirts and handbags that place sells. That other guy will swear that the guy behind the counter can't surf worth shit. Who knows. There is knowledge out there. And there is need. And wherever you get your board is where you got your board. Wherever you buy your wax... same-o. Frankly all you can do is walk into a place, be taken seriously and hope to be inspired by something up someone's sleeve. I don't know anything about anything. I surf on surfboards and sometimes with my body and every now and then on a mat and I've been doing all that not since I was a kid but at least since I was legally able to make my own decisions about how I spend my time. There are a lot of people who know a boatload more than me about surfboards. Best thing to do is to take the long view. Know that while I'm alive I'll be in and out of the water and maybe by some point I'll have some idea about how it all works. For now, I am happy to stumble around, relishing opportunities good people offer up.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Every morning I make the decision to forgo the drive out to the beach is a morning of excruciating contemplation. Well, that may be hyperbole, but I do think about the consequences of that decision perhaps more closely than I ponder the consequences of other decision in my life. Last night as I fell asleep to the insistently insipid babble of the broadcast pundits covering the Olympics, I realized that with such a big day of work ahead of me tomorrow (today) I needed to put in a full night's slumber. So this morning, instead of the 4am surf wake up, I opted for the 7am soccer wake up. Driving to the field I pass this scene, and am instantly shaken. The whole thing leads to questions of mortality, old age, the preciousness of time and all that junk. And so it is with no small wonder, or rather, with some small wonder, that I am confronted with these two items today. One, from my favorite radio show On Being, a piece titled The Far Shore Of Aging. Engaging and worth the listen. The other, from the BBC via Mr. Mick Sowry, called Would You Want To Live Forever. Ah the eery zeitgeist of it all.
Friday, July 27, 2012
|Kevin threw this one back, pointing out that one shouldn't keep the breeders.|
Nice. I really like the style this guy has. I like the little crouch-grab-rail-bottom-turn-do-it-again thing he has going. I like the pivot he has with that knifey fin so far forward working with the shape and those rails. Those boards are special. via Displacementia
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Josh is a craftsman, surfer and long time Burger. A fine American, not content to sit back, watch a little Mork and Mindy on channel 57, kick back a cool Coors 16 ouncer. Don't get me wrong, those are good, fine things, but, he has art on his brain. Crazy techniques, long-honed skills, wacky old-timey materials. Big party for his opening brah. Next Thursday night the 2nd down at the Farm. Soopah fun style.
Wifey has taken to calling Northern California "Upstate California." I think this clip oughta be called "The Angelinos." Figure all them Upstate and Downstate Californian's'd be pissed. But when I showed it to Wifey last night she just cracked up. She said Cwoalofwonria out loud and muddled it up the same way. Hilarious.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I wonder what it feels like to be a really good surfer. A professional grade surfer. It's probably like anything else professional grade, that is, I'm professional grade at what I do professionally, and I am always feeling like I'm messing up, dropping the ball and missing the mark. So really good surfers probably feel the same way. But then, as a professional grade surfer you probably have that confidence that even when you have a little bit of an off day, someone on the beach is looking at what you're doing thinking "Wow! Look at that professional grade surfer!" Or something like that. To even get to professional grade anything you have to have that smidgen of hubris somewhere in there. And frankly I'm passed it, surf wise. I missed that boat, the window, my chance. I'm too old to get there. Too inflexible, too un-nimble, too uncreative, too unconfident. I have to be content with being one of those guys who can catch waves and not look too kooky doing it. I have to be content with those one or two waves each session where I do everything right in the eyes of the sea and find that perfect trim or make it all the way around on that cutback. And I have to be content to endure the really off days. The ones where I can't put two and two together to impress anyone, let alone whatever delusional me that actually believes I ever do get that cutback all the way around. And I have to be content with the sure knowledge that no one is watching when I do get anything right anyhow, my hopeful glances over the shoulder after skillfully popping out the back a futile hope for a nonexistent public. No, they are only there when I fall over for no good reason. Well, this morning I got a bunch of little waves and two fit the bill nicely, thank you. I'll not say which bill.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
So I'll admit when I went to the Beached Days magazine giveaway party at Pilgrim a while back I didn't really read the magazine too closely. I saw a bunch of grainy pictures and a little bit of writing and a lot of stuff that looked like advertorials. I just thought huh. I jus thought ok that's that. Today at lunch I am sitting behind Mitzi Dodge, eating a chicken torta from Cariño while she muttered under her breath disparaging comments about how people record adult contemporary guitars, and I pick up the Beached Days hidden under the phone on the coffee table. I flip through, see all the same grainy, nice looking advertorial stuff and happen across a minuscule, I mean really tiny, interview of CRS3. Pretty standard really until the last little answer just hops out classic Stecyk style, dribbling across the page in globules of tapioca greatness. God bless that guy.
Monday, July 23, 2012
What's going on here? I dunno. A recent Michael Rovnyak photo, it looks like John there, jumping over someone paddling in the wrong place at very much the wrong time. John is a really, pretty really good surfer, if that is John, and all the other things I'm seeing tell me otherwise on the speed bump (knee leash on a small day being the most obvious clue). But maybe they are friends horsing around? Dunno. It certainly highlights that this time of year can be awful for full time New York surfers. Actually, right now it can be glorious here. There are tons of relatively empty beaches with nice little working breaks that no one pays attention to. The water is warm. The hubbub of the city has slowed down just enough to allow free time. But at the high tone spots, the ones you hear about, it can be a circus of bad attitudes, bad decorum and minimal understanding of how to operate with a crowd in the water. New York is undergoing its own prolonged Gidget moment. Surfing is not-so-suddenly a hot commodity, a lifestyle suddenly attainable for blue to white collar. This isn't a bad thing in itself, or doesn't have to be. But the influx of well-meaning people unaccustomed to the rules of the lineup stresses the system at some critical, popular joints. It will be interesting to see what this movie makes out of it all. By the trailer it seems to have a specifically dim view. Made by some Montauk residents, one can assume it will cleverly skewer the unknowing masses. But maybe it will take a left turn. Maybe it will offer up something more inclusive; something everyone can laugh at. Maybe it will be so exclusive that someone will learn an important lesson. Only the film will tell. The full-length premieres out east in August. I hope I can make it.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Speed, freedom, recklessness, expression, connection. All with a soft landing. Surfing offers so many different things to so many people. They pick and choose which bit of surfing they want to be part of, what cultural counterpoint they want surfing to perpetually incarnate for them. We put so much meaning into this particular activity. It gives us a place to live, a whimsy to indulge, a code to live by. We pour, pour, pour our being into this activity. We watch these videos and we imagine we're there. We are keen on the nuances. We try to ingest these moments hoping they will be part of our DNA too. Their muscle memory is our muscle memory. Please, please, please give me more, we plead. And then we don't want any more because it's ours, ours, ours and if there is more someone else will get it too. And who wants that!
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Blind Spot Syndrome: the unaccountable desire to maintain top cruising speed while avoiding any sort of unnecessary gravitational pulls from other traveling objects in a closed system.
For example, while walking through an uncrowded sidewalk, one increases speed at all costs to overcome another pedestrian without any practical goal being achieved. Is Walker A (protagonist) in such a hurry? No. Is Walker B (perceived antagonist) moving so slowly and blocking large swaths of sidewalk? No. And yet Walker A increases velocity in order to stay outside any minor draft of Walker B. I had a similar experience the other day while driving, albeit one that perhaps matches up to the lofty title a touch cozier. Minor road rage ensued as I found a car driving for an extended period in my blind spot. Every time I'd speed up, the car would speed up. Every time I'd slow, it'd slow. I thought someone was winding me up. The competitive urge is an odd bird. The urge to maintain control of one's immediate surrounding, less odd on the face of it, is far odder when you look at it closely. There is no "controllable." Surfing teaches us that, if nothing else.
Naomi and Mike finally finished their grand tour, screen printing and bringing great vibes to everyone. They ended up at Endless Bummer HQ East in Cardiff with Carmel and Dana playing host to many great California nights. Click the photo to see the whole tour...
Ladies swimming stylishly. 'Nuf said. Saturday night super extravaganza.
Good friends splashing in the water. You should go!
Swim Under the Stars with the Brooklyn Peaches
Saturday July 21st @ 6:30 PM
$15 Cash Admission at the Midtown Holiday Inn
Swimsuits Encouraged if you plan on jumping in the water. Which is encouraged.
440 West 57th NYC
(between 9th & 10th)
Doors open at 6:30, performance begins at 7:30
Full bar and Room Service Menu
Special Musical Guest "The Snow"
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This time of year many are beset by the cognitive dissonance brought about by the knowledge that we were all once kooks yet we cannot abide the kooky crowds. Nothing wrong with cognitive dissonance, it makes the world go 'round. The problem comes in when we deny the affect. My own struggles have little to do with cumbersome crowds at the moment and more to do with the fact that I desperately want to clean up the wax on my longboard, but feel compelled out of spite to leave it messed up. One should never operate on spite. Gonna have to get me a comb.
Don't mean to bum anyone out unnecessarily, but the light is already changing. The days of the 4:30 AM sunrise are long behind us. The slow, inexorable march to winter doom has begun. Despair readies its pugnacious reign. Just kidding. It's sunny and hot. Don't even think of the dead of winter and how cold it will be. The waves this morning were funky out in Long Beach. At least from five to seven. They seemed to be righting themselves just as I got out of the water, but until that point, they would throw a little then back off then throw a little again. Or, they'd just throw. Not to say that I were thrown. Not like I was later in the morning while looking for my floppy hat to protect the brow from a highly in-form sun. My wife has the talent of putting my things where I would not put them. When I ask her where they are she replies that she put them away where the go. Where they go I snort. Then she shows me where they went. Yep, that is certainly one place they might go. And probably a better place than I'd left it. I also went back to the original Bill Hamilton fin this morning. Over the years I'd tried the long blue Greenough fin and that massive black Yater keel-like number, each adding something different to the mix. But today I plugged back in the much shorter black scribbly one and moved it way up the box. In California recently I rode a number of different boards. A squishy old sixsomething blue foamy, a ridiculously squat green fish, a ten plus yellow tanker and a nine six white toothpick. I was really liking that toothpick. Got into waves easy, trimmed great, turned on a dime. You know, in that mold of the much-maligned "performance longboard" of the late nineties. I feel dirty even admitting I like to ride it. The Bad Wax Hamilton turned a bit more like that this morning. Mid nineties shame. I used to ride that Hamilton with just the pop-out skegs in it, twin fin style. A bit of an experiment of riding a twin fin 9-8 but I liked the way it sorta slipped around. Made the ride interesting, but only interesting in clean waves. Jamie B. said something similar a few days ago surfing one of Cyrus' boards at Cardiff. It looked like a seven foot twin fin with a kind of double concave bottom and a boxish tail. I dunno maybe it wasn't that at all, I didn't get a great look, but he said he liked the way it slipped. I know that feeling. I like it too sometimes. But only in clean waves. And by the by if you get the chance to surf with Jamie, make a mental note of how long the interval is between getting out of the car to when he's snug in his wetsuit. I swear to the Great Creator he is the fastest wetsuit-putter-onner I've ever been around. Prolly all those years worried some jerky grom competitor would yank his towel. The monotone dirge of darkness awaits. Enjoy yourself.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Just got back to the office to find a copy of WAX waiting. Thanks guys. Great magazine. A nice line drawn in and around all sorts of the things New York seems to be about. Some art, some fashion, some nice concise interviews with people who have nothing to do with art or fashion. Lotsa interesting stuff in there. Riding that edge between rampant surf stoke (which can be construed and misconstrued as faddish and fashionable) and a deeper sense of place and history is something of a pocket. It is tough to document what's happening, especially in a place as presumably malleable as New York, and then place it in context of the timeless values of being in and around the water. This issue is a great initial go.
On Saturday night we returned from gentle Pacific waves lapping the North County coastline to the furnace that is reflected heat off Brooklyn pavement. To try and soften the blow, we planned a Gilgo Sunday. Of course we slept in late. Of course the waves were mush bog chop gunk. Of course our car doesn't have AC. Hard landing indeed. But all is well. There are no bad waves. A few years ago I wrote something designed for Kurungabaa that actually never made it to Kurungabaa. If you haven't read through their archive of original writings by a host of talented writers of different temperaments, it's is fully worth the perusal. Anyhow, Noah Sabich was kind enough to publish "Notes" there recently, doing the piece a great favor in realizing actual from potential.
Friday, July 13, 2012
One thing that always finds its way to me when I come to California for these little week long stays, is the sense that one can recreate oneself. Maybe not one's essential essence, whatever that is, rather one can decide to take a slightly different track, adjust course a touch and go off in a new direction with subtlety. I don't know if I can put it down to the North County spooky surfy yoga vibe or whether it's just the simple moment of perspective you get from exiting the normal rigamarole, but it happens. The mind can play awful tricks though. As soon as I start to believe I can shift back to a more sublime state, I am internally chided by that little dwarf inside, pointing out that I'll be nothing more than a phony and a fake and everyone who knows me will see through the thin gauze lickety split. Yeah, well, that might be true. All I know is that when something feels right, really right, really comfortable and right and the way it prolly ought to be, that's the moment you really need to squint your eyes and give it the once over. The best thing may be to go the other way. Either way, don't ever let anyone call you a phony and be calling it like it is, for too long anyhow.