Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Old Year, Happy New Year

Yesterday at San Onofre State Beach on my penultimate water session of 2011.

I had the distinct, and in the grand scheme of the world's population, unlikely pleasure to spend over a week of nearly unfettered surfy joy to round out the old year.  Eight days of two to four foot Encinitas, Cardiff, Carlsbad and San Onofre with fits of culinary satisfaction and familial camaraderie stuffed in between. It was somewhat a fitting end to a year of surprising turmoil and even more surprising traction.  The kind of capper that only goes to highlight all the things I need to be grateful for.

Anyhow, we look forward to servicing your (and our) apparent need for an online (and probably distant) surf buddy.  And while Antonio and I didn't have the chance to put together some sort of rambling fifteen minute year-ending talkfestvideoscramble,  we can't wait to bore the pants off you in 2012.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Recent Thoughts from The West



1. Ed Cornell still knows how to pick them.  This year I tried but just couldn't get into the twitter thing. I think my official count is up to three tweets.  Just didn't take.  Sorry Jack.

2. Aunt Ghonda knows sweaters!

3. Next to the new little Surfy Surfy is a new little coffee shop that I forget the name of.  Regardless, it is my new favorite coffee in the area.  And if you take your receipt over to the surf shop they'll give you ten percent off.

4.  Encinitas Surfboards have a fine selection of swim fins. Just remember to drop off a banana for the crew.

5. The happy hour at Fish 101 now joins Cessi's, El Nopalito, In 'n Out and Tip Top as a necessary North County meal stop off.

6. Life's Rad in Carlsbad.

7. Just when the dark, cold and lonely heart of beat-down Los Angeles was starting to crawl into my chest, I caught a whiff of something eerily familiar and my soul was duly saved.

8. The Ocean, my new favorite surf publication.

9. If you're in LA right now and you are looking for something to reconnect you to the recently anesthetized bit of your thinking brain,  walk, stop for a quick stretch, then run, then walk again at a brisk pace to LACMA to see the Kienholz installation.  It will give you nightmares but will remind you of many things perhaps you ought to be reminded of.  At least it did me.

10. "Papa, why do we always have to watch the sunset?"   "Because boy, just because."

11. You know technology is going in the right direction when the very first conversations on your brand new digital device center around hooking up a friend back in New York with another friend back in New York to buy/sell a Vaquero on the very quick.  Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Man, the Wandering Messiah

Another find from the crypt.

The EBNY Sean Collins Memorial Surf

I'm always keen to get out as early as possible, and if it weren't for wifey's grumbles, I'd prolly be out even earlier.  Maintaining New York time is a distinct advantage for dawn patrols out here.  I'm up, roughly at four, fitfully waiting until 5:30 or six when it has been deemed appropriate to actually rise and make whatever little noise I make. Matters are made more complicated as wifey's yoga class doesn't start until seven and she doesn't want to sit in the cold dark on the bluffs for a morning hour.  Usually when I'm here I don't bother to check the surf report on my iPhone more than the initial inspection, waiting to board the outbound airplane from JFK.  Once that initial digital check is done, I just look out the window in the subsequent early mornings knowing that I'll be heading down to Swami's or Cardiff or up to Old Man's or Cotton's no matter what I see.  But even that one look, that one peek owes some sort of debt of gratitude to Sean Collins.  I remember at one point a touch of hullabaloo about how such efficacious forecasting will ruin the art of the surf check, the marine radio report and any other manner of local knowledge.  I still hear the grumblings every now and then, and an art has perhaps indeed been lost.  But that is more or less a thing of the distant past.  Now it is simply accepted.  So it goes with things of use, things of true practicality.  And acceptance can only follow.  Here is to Sean Collins who was finally accepted and will be properly remembered.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Good Day

Time Pieces

I still remember the furtive glances and stolen moments at the magazine aisle . Somehow, somewhere, in the darkness of my late Eighties Pacific Northwest youth, some local pharmacy-department-grocery store merchandiser thought it would be a sensible thing to stock surfing mags next to People and Time and I had been thrown into an illicit affair.  The initial inspiration probably something happening halfway between the moment I traded in my planks for a snowboard and my older brothers relocating to Southern California;  something then between the sheer boredom of the snowboarding magazines (located just to the right of the surfy ones on the periodicals rack) and the frustration with the oppressive mountain culture in which I'd been raised (oppressive a self-inflicted determination). Either way, both ways, whatever way, the bright blue water, the dappled sunshine and the goofball fluorescence drew for my mind's eye a picture of warm liberation.  It would still be a handful of years before my own relocation, a handful of years spent eschewing skateboard tricks on my snowboard in favor of fitting in as many long arcing carves and snow spraying tail snaps as the Cascade ice drifts would allow, and a handful of years collecting, somewhat surreptitiously, a small library of surfing magazines, hot of the presses, or as hot as they can get with all that northern distance to travel.   So really, it was a handful of years as a kook, a wannabe and a poseur.  
Jump ahead to a few days ago, rummaging around in my old boxes stuffed away in a closet for safe keeping at my mother-in-law's Carlsbad house, I come across a milk crate stuffed with the detritus of that harrowing time.  There in the reliquary I find the first couple surf magazines I dared purchase. The first ones I didn't just leaf through with angsty young digits while my mother bought the groceries, but had gotten up the gumption to buy to take home.  First Surfing and then coming back with confidence for Surfer. Flipping through them now I can still feel the ignorant awe I held of the Rasta Schwarzenegger, Archie's tattoos and the improbable comeback of Tom Curren.  After so many years of being in and then out and then back in the water again, It's nice to reconnect with that little moment of self discovery.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Wonderland

The Coaster in from the Airport.
Sunset at Swamis.
Tamale making.
Morning glass.
Ding repair lessons.
Newt & Unca Dana.