Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strange at Endless Bummer West

The Strange crew are in Cardiff staying with Endless Bummer West (Unca Dana, Tia, Red and Newtie), and will be printing at the Patagonia Store on Sunday. Go check them out.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Metropolitan & Vans

Most days I ride my son to school on the bicycle.  He climbs up on the luggage rack, dangles his feet, clutches at my shirt and off we go from South Williamsburg up to Greenpoint.  For the last year or two, Vans has inhabited this corner along the way.

And this clip has nice small waves.

The Bad Idea (or) Two Thirtysomething Teenagers In Deep Discussion

This sort of thing falls directly into that sort of bad-idea meme I usually get a kick out of despite myself.  But this morning welcomed a lightning storm of epic proportions (to me anyhow.) If you were lucky enough, or unlucky enough, to be up this early doing whatever it is you had to do this early this morning, you would have been treated to something electric.  And if you happened to be on the right frequencies, you would have over-read a very goofy conversation between two old guys sounding vaguely like kids of a more youthful vintage.  The magic of texting.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wushu Waves

Lots of kids take some sort of martial arts.  When I was a kid, it was all Tae Kwon Do and Karate.  Now it's all MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My son takes Kung Fu. I get the sense that for most kids in martial arts, it's a sort of one and done deal.  They go in for a while, learn something, find out that the discipline it takes to succeed at a martial art is a rigorous hardship and inevitably take off to play for their travelling "select" soccer team instead.  I'm not sure what kind of kid my son will be. Maybe I'm not sure what kind of parent I will be.  When he wants to join the soccer team, or when I want him to go to music class, or when school get's more intense (or when all these things happen at once) will I be able to justify making him adhere to the strict regime necessary to keep studying under the master he has now? I vacillate in my prognostication.  I'd like to give my son the sort of focus and initiative to excel that I never got in my willy-nilly do-whatever-you-like upbringing.  Because as great as the freedom of childhood self-expression is, the pitfalls of a directionless youth are the gaping holes in my own life.  But all this just tumbles into so much psycho-babble Dr. Spock-esque pontification. The real lesson here to be learned is one my Tai Chi teacher always reiterates: function and form must be one. Bruce Lee said the same thing.  It is the whole raison d'etre behind mixed martial arts.  Kung Fu is full of "forms" (or in Karate, katas) particular patterns of movements designed to train the body the most efficient muscle memory for proper self-defense.  These end up looking like extended choreographed solo expositions of punches blocks and kicks.   Even when you see the old Chinese people at the park going through their Tai Chi forms, they are basically practicing the best way to repel and redirect an attacker's energy and deliver an immobilizing response. At the end of class, my teacher often shows us what our moves look like in real time, in real use, during a fight.  It is a beautiful and scary thing to see.  In the end he always reminds us that the point is not the form itself, but its ultimate usefulness that matters.  There is some back and forth about wave-riding equipment.  The prevailing view is to have a smallish quiver of tools from which to properly pluck given the right circumstances. I've always had to hold to the view that one should pick a board and stick with it; learn to ride it in as many conditions as possible; become one with the weird nuances inherent in the board.  I've probably had to take this point of view because I am simply not a good enough surfer to enjoy swapping out boards, simply not quick enough a study to derive enjoyment out of it.  Besides, as Jack would say, hipster surfers ride crappy boards to hide the fact that they suck at surfing.  Maybe I'm Jack's hipster surfer trying desperately to garner street cred on my beaters.  Of course that's another road into psychoanalysis best left for some other time.  All I can say is that it's great to see a guy doing arresting things on all types of equipment, having obviously studied his forms.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Support M. Lusk

There are a few M. Lusks out there. This is the one I know. He got me a job as an art hanger back when there were still galleries in Soho. He even put me in my first Brooklyn group show, where he built a whole store front in his waterfront Greenpoint apartment. I sold t-shirts onto which I had sewn cut out images from children's books and Wifey sold hand-made muslin underwear. Those were heady days. Matt Lusk is one of a handfull of truly struggling (in that glamorous sense) real pioneer-type artists in Brooklyn. And yes, "handfull" is a relative term as is "pioneer." Regardless, he is one of my favorite people. One of my favorite train wrecks. One of the few personal inspirations that floats around these parts, scratching his head and trying to work it all out. Art is a funny thing, often more important in process than in product, and lost in translation by the multitudes because. But I believe in Matthew.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Naomi & Mike Make It To San Diego

For all you Sandy Eggans, try not to miss these guys.  They are top of the notches.

Today's Thought


Ever take a little boat to a surf spot, surf your brains out all day, then ride the same little boat back, wearing the wetsuit the whole time because you happen to be in Central California where it's cold and the boat is so small you can't keep anything dry on the trip? And the boat trip is about 45 minutes each way? Boy oh boy does your ass get salty-wettie-itchy. My butt is getting itchy just watching this long ride. via SMASHtastic.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday is the Second Day of the Week

Remember skorts? They were those awful half-skirt, half-short numbers that were all the rage with a certain female demographic in the mid-Nineties. They were a scourge. You'd see a girl walking down the street with a real hot skirt on, then they'd pass by, revealing a dowdy bum in shorts. Awful. I've been seeing something reminiscent recently. A very short opaque skirt that has a long, gossamer sheath fitted over it. The see-through part reaches the ankles, whereas the non-see-through bit only gets to mid thigh. You see some ankles and knees and then CLANG, you're eyes hit this wall of fabric. Frankly, it's dishonest. This is an apt summary of a lot of surf videos I see on the web.  Man, that still-frame looks great! And the beginning montage looks good!  And then CLANG you run into some bad music, or some standard surfing, or some all-too-perfect waves you've seen a thousand times but rarely actually get a chance to surf yourself.  Not this video.  Nope.  This is the anti-skort of surf videos.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Forward Thinking

"How's the Style on this one? Retro throwback or regressively progressive?"

 Somehow Deus Ex Machina has become a constant font of surfy media. SMASH is a similar font of surfy media, in a completely dissimilar fashion. Anyhow, that's where we got this. SMASH, that is. And Deus Ex Machina, of course.

"That Dingo Stole My Yater Fin!" And Other Unfortunate Cultural Blunders of Tasteless Humor and Cockamamie Reasoning

In the Delta Flight Path, This Morning

The other day my wife (and son) accidentally left our car unlocked overnight.  In many urban places this would be begging for a morning scratching one's head over where one might have parked the car the night before, and then a subsequent slapping one's forehead over the sure cause of the absent automobile.  Certainly New York is high on the list of places to never leave anything unlocked for fear of instant ramifications.  And so it was when I realized the Yater fin was missing from the back seat where it had been put to pasture in favor of the Greenough fin, slapping of the forehead was the next logical step.  It is moments like these where the cultural assumption that being stupid and being a surfer is sufficient due course going one way and certainly necessary going the other, might actually find its toe hold in reality.  Surely I should have observed that nothing else was missing from our car.  Surely I would have noticed that cellphone chargers, a coin stash of considerable girth and a number of stylish clothing options had not gone missing.  No, my first thought was "god damn, a surfer saw my car was unlocked and nabbed my Yater fin!" I saw past all reasonable course of action (like checking the boot to see if I or my wife had stuffed it back there) and fully accepted that some eagle-eyed surfy burglar had the nous to pounce while happening down an obscure Brooklyn street.  This morning, driving back from what I can only describe as a wonder-session of knee high, clean and perfectly fun sunrise waves, I was lucky enough to tune in to the right radio station.  I heard what I think might be sixty percent of this program, but what I did hear made my mind wander into good places.  If you've got the moment today or tomorrow or next week, listen to this.  Watch out for the social scientist's use of the curious phrase "began to become."  That cracked me up.  Oh and yeah, I found the Yater fin.  In the boot.  Stupid surfer.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Watsons in Menlo!

Today's Real Thought

As quoted by an old high school, no, make that elementary school, friend.

Surf Art By Any Other Name

The First Installment of the 2012 Summer Blather Series

The naiveté and cynicism of my backyard.

This morning I think to myself that it's time to fix up the bicycle.  The chain is a little too rusty, the gears are loose, the brakes could use some tightening, the stem's a bit off. There are two people who can do this: 1) me and 2) someone else.  I am a proponent of two other things: 1) not doing activities I don't absolutely have to do and 2) supporting businesses I believe in.  I believe in bicycle shops.  I believe in riding bicycles.  Well, not a quantitative belief, maybe.  Perhaps nothing exists at all.  But more the qualitative belief that as they do exist in my conception of whatever I guess is the physical world that surrounds me, I believe they play an important part in keeping that world a sustainably fun place to operate in.  So I take my bike to the bike shop.  The cool thing is the bike shop nearest my apartment is open ridiculously early in the morning.  I ride in and ask for a tune up (chain, brakes, gears, stem, etc.) I'm not sure where the guy who owns the bike shop is from.  He has that sort of Eastern European countenance and a slightly vague accent.  Maybe, I think to myself, he is Czech.  I hope he is Czech, I think. It would be cool to have a Czech fixing my bike.  "Sixty dollars." "Two days."  I walk my bike out the door as he's reaching for the order slip.  "You don't want me to fix the bike?"  No, I'll do it myself.
The Buddhists say that suffering comes from expectation.  They say that right?  Anyhow, that's what I get out of it.  Rather more fundamentally (funny phrase, that) the Buddhists say that suffering comes from attachment. Which one might say manifests most potently as expectation.  The expectation leads to disappointment, which, frankly, is what we feel all the time, whether we are disappointed or not.  But here we might be able to reduce further. Or do the opposite of reduce, whatever that is.  Expand? Enunciate?  We afflict ourselves with poles.  We have two poles between which we operate and affix ourselves between (to varying degrees.)  (We affix our affliction.)  These two poles are Cynical Naiveté and Naive Cynicism.  The former is a stubborn disavowal of certain blatant facts about ourselves; a willful ignorance of our failures and successes.  The latter is a rabid assumption that nothing is on the up and up or straightforward; a rampant reduction of interactions to calculated movements. (Or maybe these two poles have better available definitions, but hopefully by this point the point is mostly made.)
The fact is, I'll likely take my bicycle to the Brazilian down the street from my office.  He opens later, but he is the guy who has been the neighborhood bike grump longest.  If he charges me $60 and tells me to wait two days, I may just leave it with him anyhow.
What does getting my bike fixed, my obvious failings as a do-it-yourselfer and some shoddy reasoning have to do with a surf blog?  Maybe not much.  Maybe everything. The prevailing winds of "surf culture" seem to blow between the same poles.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


So This is Surfing Day?

Manny Miranda, definitely NOT surfing in New York today.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Josh Berry Experience

Ever since the first NY Surf Film Festival, Josh has proven himself to us to be a guy with a point of view. Over a recent coffee and a croissant, Josh and I had a chance to touch base again here in Brooklyn. Whether it has been his passion for producing and showing films through the Save The Waves Foundation, or via promises of future maple syrup booty, Josh has always had that extra vision. Looks like he's at it again.

Today's Thought

File Under: Funny Stupid

Hair Barrels
via Le Sabich


Spring Cleaning

My wife recently informed me that it is, in fact, not summer yet.  This took me unawares.  I figured it was summer.  In fact, summer does not start until the 21st.  Or 20th.  One of those days.  It is the 18th today.  I do not have time to spring clean.  Coming off a very busy "official" period, I have a very busy "unofficial" period ahead of me.  This scheme of career taxonomy is something I'm not sure happens in other disciplines with such regularity.  As a filmmaker-editor person, a kind of artisan meets moron, there is always the choice to take on things called "personal projects."  These take the form of favors for friends, speculative efforts to boost opportunities in the careerist future, and passion projects.  Really, usually, all three categories are intimates.  This sometimes has unfortunate consequences.  And so this morning, on the eve of a small "unofficial" season, I am spring cleaning (not summer cleaning) my office.  And I have never owned a Playstation.  One, two, three... I don't know how many permutations there might be at this point, but somehow this video game crept into my personal vault.  Whatever the point of origin, Kelly Slater once purposefully mixed my name up with Rod Stewart.  Sort of.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

A couple porta-coffees in official EBNY porta-coffee mugs on their way out to a life-affirming Father's Day surf.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I wanted to call this post "The Ruinous Art of Surf Blogging" but I realized the qualifications would run deep, mostly blather about the use of the word art, and subsequent meanderings into over-blown over-confidence, the ability to score with the head (known as an English Goal) and probably ending up in a TED Talk about whether anything outside the act of riding a surf board on a wave can be be associated with surfing.  The last bit is the interesting bit, no matter how tired, and overly-accepted it is.  I say overly accepted because nearly everyone accepts the idea on principle, but few actually have the discipline to tow the line.  See, I just shaved my head.  I had this long, often gross, sometimes bushy often greasy, always scalp-destroying mess of hair and I shaved it all off a couple weeks ago.  Before I shaved it all off, a couple months ago, on an unseasonably warm late winter morning, I was walking my son down the street after his swim class.  I was wearing a beanie cap as I had lost my hair-band and I wanted my hair out of my eyes and the beanie was in the car and hair-bands were no where to be found, and I was sweating since it was unseasonably warm and I was wearing a beanie cap.  And up walks this guy.  Mid 50s, maybe 60s, with some hair that had been dyed back to a more youthful dark brown, wearing a yellow cut off-sleeve t-shirt and sporting a similarly browned goatee.  And he walks up next to us and says "cute kid."  I look at him.  "Listen, mind if I ask you a question? I don't want to offend you." Ok.  "Well, I don't want you to take offense."  Ok.  "But see, why are you wearing that hat?  I don't want to offend you.  I'm a retired police officer, and I used to see these guys with these do-rags coming through all the time.  I mean, it's such a warm day, are you cold?"  No, in fact it's hot.  I wish I weren't wearing this hat, but I've got all this hair (lift hat, show him hair.) It's probably just a fashion thing.  It's fashionable.  This last bit gets the retired cop's goat and he nods and smiles what I can only describe as a deeply self-congratulatory smile,"Yep, yep that's it!" "Well, thanks! Hope I didn't offend you!" And he walks off.  I think, in the end, I am mildly offended. Then, the other day, Mark Cunningham comes to town.  Yeah, Mark Cunningham, one of those truly cool surf guys that don't have the taint of surf guy to them.  A hero kind of guy.  A guy that could be a hero.  And I get some chances to hang out with him.  A few chances.  I get a chance to film him.  I get a chance to surf with him, have dinner with him, hang around him.  Here is a guy one wants to hang around.  Maybe siphon off some quality mojo and knowledge. But for one reason or another, some part star-alignment, some part ineptitude (on the part of myself and others) some part simple priorities, some part complex ones, almost every opportunity gets blown.  Mark Cunningham leaves.  Boy did that throw me for a loop.  On top of a series of other recent seemingly adverse life happenings, the whole manner of my inability to talk, to hang out with this guy really bummed me out.  And then this other guy from the New York Times writes an article about how the Saturdays surf shop guys are poseurs (or at least he intimates it heavily) and the author doesn't even surf.  Wackadoodle.  So to recap the series of events:
1. Ex-cop, sleeveless shirt guy makes fun of an inopportune beanie hat.
2. Super star surf icon guy comes and goes, presenting a blown opportunity.
3. Seemingly adverse life things happen.
4. The authenticity of  an irrelevant (for me) surf shop is called into question by a non-surfer.
This all leaves me feeling very funny.  Very at-the-mercy of elements outside of nearly anything I respect and care about.  Why?  I don't know.  Maybe it's because I wished I'd asked the ex-cop why he was wearing that lame sleeveless shirt. Maybe because I feel let-down by the shallowness of my own iconoclasm.  Maybe because adverse life things really have happened (or maybe because I feel guilty for being upset about those things).  And maybe because I actually took time to think about something as goofball as an article about surfing in the New York Times.  Anyhow, I haven't written anything very personal on here in a while and figured it may be time. So I refer you to the first sentence.

Nothing like a sunrise surf to get a guy back on track.  Thanks Ty.

Friday, June 15, 2012




6:30 PM TO 9:30 PM



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Last Night's Party

Exciting times.  Lots of dancing.  People sure like each other.


Well, that's that.

One Perspective

Photos by Donna Alberico for the NY Times

I don't know who Jon Caramanica is, but here is the text from his forthcoming review/article thing on the Downtown Manhattan & North Brooklyn surf shop scene as expounded in the New York Times.

FOUR or five guys were gathered around the counter in the back of Saturdays Surf NYC in SoHo one recent afternoon, watching surf videos on a computer monitor. They were lean, tall, sinewy. Their hair had movement, except for the one who wore a yellow Billabong cap. They were surferesque, less like surfers than like the models who are hired for GQ summer-issue shoots on the beach. They may or may not actually participate in surfing, but they certainly suggested it.

A friend of mine, who wanted to try on a shirt, stood near them, waiting for the magnetic pull of customer to salesclerk to kick in. No go.

After a minute or so, he stepped away and whispered to me, “I can’t tell who the salespeople are.”
Indeed, surferesqueness was the order of the day, for staff and customer and hanger-on alike, at Saturdays Surf, which in the last couple of years has rapidly established itself as a post-J. Crew lifestyle brand for would-be beach bums.

My friend — we’ll call him Laird — has more surfing experience than I have, which is to say that on a recent trip to Mexico he rented a board and took it out onto the water and managed to stand up a few times. At Saturdays Surf, that might have placed him in the top quartile.

There’s a rack of surfboards near the front of the store, like an art display you walk past to get to the clothes, which are, it should be said, extremely respectable basics that have much to do with the downtime before or after surfing. The clothes are handsome and neutral: a thin-stripe tank top ($48) and a short-sleeve oxford ($98) felt almost purposely unmemorable. Basic pants ($118) were beautifully cut and sturdy. A navy trench with angled pockets ($275) drew no attention to itself.

The verisimilitude was in the details. The fitting room is actually a curtain on a circular rod that juts out into the narrow store and recalls a beach shower (and which provides a show, via shadows, to other customers); the restroom has a pull-chain toilet and a door made from what looks like repurposed driftwood.

Out back behind the store, a bunch of people who had defied the hot day by buying coffee at the coffee bar inside were seated on benches, in what may be one of the most appealing after-hours/lock-in spots in the city. Inside, the racks held books like an anthology of Surfer magazine, but also fashion magazine bricks like Inventory and The New Order.

This is, in a way, one manner of surfing in New York, by shopping at a store in which the best item is a rugged and dignified-looking tote bag, made in collaboration with Porter ($299), that one uses to take things to the beach.

BUT there is a truer way, if one wishes to catch a wave. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, maybe 40 minutes by car from New York’s surfing semi-Mecca, the Rockaways, is the recently opened Pilgrim Surf + Supply. It carries, proportionately, many more things that could be worn in the act of surfing: plenty of swimsuits, some Vans you can easily kick off into the sand. Antônio Carlos Jobim was playing on the store’s turntable. There were some clothes that perhaps only surfers would wear, like the heavy plaid shirts by VSTR ($95) or the button-down club collar Bajalike popover by Baron Wells ($118).

On a previous trip to the store, I had fallen for a rain parka, a collaboration between Norse Projects and Elka, in a shade of melon so alive, so sharp, it looked like how I imagine “The Simpsons” would illustrate spent nuclear fuel. Even though it had the weight of fetish gear and fit like a caftan, I was still dreaming about it, but it was gone this time around.

Here, the surfboards were spread up against the back wall, with more options to choose from. You got the sense someone might come here to actually buy one of them, or at minimum to debate their merits; in two visits to Saturdays Surf, I didn’t see anyone linger at the surfboards, which were similarly priced, around $600 to $1,000 in both stores. (At both stores, there was a range of surf DVDs for sale, as well as surfboard wax.)

While I was at Pilgrim, someone drove up in a small truck and pulled a surfboard out of the back, which he proceeded to scrutinize with a couple of friends. I asked a salesman with a load of curls atop his head and sun-reddened skin if he wouldn’t rather be in the ocean than working the floor, and he said “Of course.”

Still, he answered Laird’s questions generously: thinner boards and those with a pointier tip were for more experienced surfers; newbies should stick to the wide, flat ones. He urged us to head out to the beach, rent a board and see what felt comfortable. He used the phrase “fish thruster” with ease. He was speaking his native tongue.

To read the original placement of the article in the NY Times click the image above.

Monday, June 11, 2012

All Natural

Because the ocean reminds us of organic foodstuffs made with real fruit juice and without gluten.
And worms.
From Le Baum.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

CY IN NY Update

There are more than a couple surfy luminary types haunting New York this week.  Cyrus Sutton the young mastermind behind the digital hub Korduroy is taking part in the Vimeo festival, extolling virtues, making declarative statements and shooting missives via text memos.  Apparently he'll be at a McDonald's  somewhere with a Power Point presentation.  It will likely be far more scintillating than that sounds.

Today's Thought

This sort of thing is simply not in the cards for most newly minted, semi-middle aged surfers.
This sort of thing is simply not in the cards for lightly seasoned, semi-middle aged surfers.
This sort of thing should not be attempted at home, but mostly because you can't get this at home.
This sort of thing. however, should be watched, ingested, crammed into a nook, and allowed to accumulate moss and little mushrooms about the base.  It ought to be enjoyed and cherished from afar as if you did it yourself.  Let it become your memory.  Maybe that is the way to manifest good things. Maybe this sort of thing can be the genesis of motivation.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Today's Thought

Mark Cunningham @ Pilgrim

The lucky thing about being a surfer (as it is so oft pointed out) is that our living legends are just that.  Consummate waterman (a "waterman" being a guy or gal ((I guess that would be "waterwoman")) who is good at everything watery from lifesaving to fishing to diving to body surfing, and etc ((for those that don't know))) Mark Cunningham is one extant example of that rare convergence.  He will be fresh off the plane form Hawaii in the coming week and Friday night will be at Pilgrim for a special screening of the film Hell or High Water.  A very large dose of respect is in order.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Beach Clean Up



Lil' Flatso

I have deep seeded, irrational and at times masochistic distrust of web cam surf reports.  I tend to trust the numbers more.  This may sound obtuse to many and quixotic to some, but really it's just the worst sort of red herring pronouncement.  Mostly because I rarely really look at the numbers anymore either.  Rather, I look down at my handy pocket calculator picture telephone, press a button, and if it shows "green" or "blue" my eyes light up, glaze over, then dart back and forth looking for an exit.  Of course this is all to say that my hold on physical reality is tenuous, particularly when it comes to surf forecasting.  This also all goes to say that I can be very easily skunked.  Like this morning.  Because I'm stupid.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Pilgrim Cunningham Appreciation Wall

Super hero. No question about it.

The Evolution of a Surf Mobile

So yeah, brakes fixed up, normal surf movement can happen freely again.  (Which usually means minimal surf movement, but let's not talk about that.)  One huge upside is that upon inspection of a non-working car horn (a functional horn being a must in NYC) our mechanic found the problem to be part-based and entirely too expensive to fix.  Up pops the the idea to reroute the system.  If you hear some excessive honking, look up and see me, you'll know why. I can barely keep my fingert off the thing, it so much fun to press....

More Great Wythe Happenings

Yesterday's pop up printing experiment at Picture Farm turned into a party.  Today's party will be up the road two blocks at Zebulon where the P.S. 132 bandies will be putting on a show. (NOT to be confused with the 110 walkiethon donation hype, which you can still get in on...) (and for those of you that don't know P.S. stand for Public School.  And we all have kids, see.  ((PS 110 being the best)) (((But PS 84 and PS 132 not being so bad!))))

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Come get a screen print today!

Acclaimed screen printer Naomi Kazama is in New York for a short time to take part in a group show at the International Print Center and will be at Picture Farm with Mike Ming this afternoon with his “live screen printing” equipment set up! Come by with a blank t-shirt, or pair of pants or jacket, (or buy a blanky from him) and get a beautiful, hand made print applied by a master.

Come over in the afternoon, maybe around 1:30 or two...
Picture Farm Gallery, 338 Wythe, Brooklyn

Check out his studio space in Japan here.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Over at Aquati Capes.