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Monday, January 14, 2013

The All-List Post

Below you will find a list of all of the spots I can remember surfing in the last fifteen-plus years  I also added a couple of other lists to reward all of the loyal readers of

Costa Rica

Puntarenas Province:
El Palo
Playa Hermosa de Jacó

Guanacaste Province:
Playa Avellanes
Playa Junquillal
Playa Negra

El Salvador

Departamento de La Libertad:
El Barco
El Matadero
El Pedrero
El Recodo
El Zonte
La Bocana
La Bocanita
La Izquierda
La Paz
Playa Toluca
Punta Roca
San Blas

Departamento de San Miguel:
El Toro
La Vaca
Las Flores


Las Cabañitas


Playa Larga
Red Frog Beach

United States


Orange County:
Anderson Street (Seal Beach)
Huntington Pier

San Diego County:
Baby Blacks
Buccaneer Beach
Cardiff Reef
Corner Bowls
D Street
Del Mar Beachbreaks (17-29th Streets)
Del Mar Reefs (7-15th Streets)
Del Mar Rivermouth
Marine Street
OB Pier
Oceanside Boulevard
Oceanside Harbor
Oceanside Pier
Power Plants
Sea Point
Sea Bluffe
Stone Steps
Tyson Street
Wisconsin Street


Hawaii (Big Island):

Anahola Bay
Hanalei Bay
Kalihiwai Bay
Tunnels (thanks Tia!)

Green Lanterns (thanks Tia A!)
Rest Camps
Velzyland (thanks Kurt!)

Dream Trip:
Six-plus weeks of traveling through South Indian hitting namely these waves:
Lance's Right

Want to help? Buy through the Amazon link on the left-hand side of the blog.

Haven't-gotten-around-to-them "local" waves in order of lust:

Puerto Escondido/Zicatela, Mexico
Playa Colorados, Nicaragua
Outer Banks, North Carolina, during hurricane season
Pavones, Costa Rica

Surf Notables with whom I've shared waves aka had waves stolen by (all at Lowers unless otherwise indicated):

Shane Beschen (Punta Roca)
Alana Blanchard (Pinetrees)
Gilbert Brown (Punta Roca)
Tom Curren (Punta Roca)
Mick Fanning
John-John Florence (Pipeline)
Laird Hamilton on an SUP (Hanalei Bay)
Bruce Irons
Kyla Langen (Cottons)
Shea Lopez (Punta Roca)
Rob Machado
Dean Morrison
Jamie O'Brien
Joel Parkinson
Mike 'Snips' Parsons (Lowers AND Wisconsin Street)
Random Brazilian Pros whose names escape me
Gus Tandberg (Grandview)

Least Favorite Ethnic Race on Land:
I do not see race.

Least Favorite Ethnic Race in the Water:

Friday, January 11, 2013

1.9.13 Seaside Solo Sesh

The forecasts' tales for this week made my loins droop with woe.  I was going to surf today's mediocrity no matter what.  I initiated the suit-up sequence in the relative warmth of my living room.

Because of the massive tide, I had a feeling MD's and NoTePads would be washed out with fat rollers.  I opted to take the 101 and swing south so as to maximize the angle of the swell with the countering angle of the coastline.

I saw a sick left break at Seaside that the lucky rider was able to ride all the way through to the inside connection in the shorebreak.  I pulled over off the 101 JUST as I entered Solana Beach, finished suiting up, and got out thar.

On the walk to the break, I reflected on all of the magical sessions I've had here. The bummer is there aren't any.  I've never had success at Seaside, despite the seemingly rippable walls that, when firing, remind me of Uppers on an ok day.  The strongest memory I have of Seaside is paddling out ten years ago with my buddy Andrés, a busboy at the restaurant formerly known as Jay's Gourmet.  I caught a massive right that freight-trained on without me and got so hammered, my left heel was left hanging out of its warm cocoon of a booty.

Perhaps today my relationship with this fickle tease would change.

When I rounded the corner and had a view of the waves, I accelerated and thought "top to bottom, top to bottom" thinking the hittable lips would encourage me not to ride out so far into the shoulder.

After a pretty long, ten minutes-plus, paddle-out, I perched inside of the pack of five.  Within five minutes, I caught my first wave. It was an overhead (!) right and the drop was a dooz.  I angled up and then slammed my weight forward.  I brought it about halfway around into a roundhouse cutty, but the lip was gone.  Oh well, at least I got my first one out of the way.

There were two groms out, and one was emphatically telling his bro about how he slid his fins out on a layback snap and made it.  SICK, if true!

Fifteen minutes passed, the bulk of which I spent paddling back and forth with the very shifty waves.  The guys outside of me kept missing some, but by the time they got to me, they were closing out or still not steep enough to catch.

I saw a steep left that one of the groms couldn't catch.  I put my head down and stroked hard for it, salivating over its steepness.  I popped up keeping the vast majority of my weight towards the front, so the rocker would make a smooth transition into the possible air drop.  Seaside decided to pull the football away from me, and flattened out so I popped up and immediately pearled.  Damn it!

I paddled back out and sat with the pack, and twenty minutes later I was rewarded with a similar wave, though a little bigger.  I sat back on my tail a little more and immediately faded right to counteract its probable marshmallowing.  I read the wave correctly, but when I swooped into my bottom turn, I just didn't have enough momentum to stay with it.  Too bad, because the inside section looked good from the back.

I decided I'd had enough and bailed shortly thereafter.

Friday, January 4, 2013

1.4.13 Solo Mish to NoTePads, RIP Missed-It-Mike :*-(

It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of my best surf bro, Missed-It-Mike.  I am thankful to have spent the majority of Sunday with him at the Chargers game.  I have called him three times since to go surfing and I haven't heard back from him.  I will always remember the good times, him bitching about his feet hurting in particular.  Walking barefoot on gravel without drawing a reminiscent tear will be especially difficult.

I of course will be the last one to eulogize him, as the order goes from least to most important.  In my run-throughs thus far, I've gotten most choked up bringing up when he used the Amazon link on this very blog to buy a $700 washing machine, netting me $28 in Amazon money in the process.  I will remember the good times bro.

Mike leaves behind a wife, a son, and perhaps most tragically, a surf bro (for life, brah, never forget).

Obviously, I am dedicating this session to his memory.

I woke up and practically lunged for my phone, but Mike had once again failed to return my call.  He was gone.  I had a hard time getting out of bed with the grave thought of his entering his next phase.

I debated staying in bed, but pushed myself out the door at 7:40.

I half-heartedly checked the surf.  MD's was not great, but the tears in my eyes made things a little blurry.  I packed back into The Rad and considered going home to have a good cry session, but I knew Mike would have wanted me to soldier on, south, towards one of his favorite waves, NoTePads.

It was beautiful.  It was as though Mike had flapped his angel wings and kicked up some swell, and somehow also stoked the offshores in the opposite direction, into their cherubic faces.

I knew the water/wind combo would lead to ice cream headaches, and for once I welcomed them, hoping their presence would dull my inner pain.

I watched two guys on too much foam, take turns going over the falls, as the winds seemed to catch their boards and delay their descent until the wave pounced on them.

The lefts to their south looked most appetizing.  I figured with the N angle on this swell (WNW), I would be pushed right into their line of fire, so I paddled out straight out and got swept down slowly.  I watched as two grinders spun about fifty yards south of me and hurried things along by paddling towards them.

Within five minutes, I caught my first wave.  I am getting way better on my frontside barrels,  I dropped down, set my line well, kept my weight on my front foot but got slightly pinched and a little too far behind the lip.  I had a fleeting feeling of reaching daylight.  My head and the wave ceiling said their hellos, but I pushed through for another half-second before being slammed into the trough.

Two minutes later, I had a look at a shoulder-high or so right and was able to tuck in to a pigdog barrel.  On the descent, I thought briefly that my shoulder was going to run into the wave and either stall or pull me into its vortex.  I narrowly avoided disaster and got my longest pigdog barrel in over a year.  It isn't so long, however, that you can see what happens without constantly toggling the pause/play button in the footy...

The next wave I caught was a left and I smelled a barrel.  I unfortunately set up a little too far away from the wall and received a lip to the head for my efforts.  The lefts kept pinching and pinching hard; my guess being the swell direction wasn't working in their favor, benefiting mostly the rights.

The next wave was a twin to its immediate predecessor, just a bit bigger.  The same result happened, except I got SLAMMED by it so hard it made my knees buckle.  This sudden acceleration of force upon my body also caused my lower legs to somehow slam into one another, leaving me with an agonizing few seconds.

I caught a small right and tucked into it crab-grab, for old-time's sake.  It closed out much more quickly than expected and I pulled through the back pretty violently in an attempt to get out of its grasp.  I managed to go through just barely, then immediately detouring straight up into its spinning maw.  This resulted in a tense but thankfully painless tumble over the falls.

I called it a day and realized it was the first surf session in a while in which I'd made every turn I'd attempted.  I looked up to the sky and smiled.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

1.2.13 FREEZING Just-Get-Wet Solo Mish to Condors

After yet another wetsuit half-on abortion of a paddle-out attempt the previous day, I was salivating over the reports.  They claimed 5-7' surf from the NW.  Well, with this in mind, I made MD's my first check.  It revealed surf so bad it made me want to drive up to Huntington and take it up with Surfline personally.

By the way, did you know Surfline claims 95% accuracy in forecasting the surf conditions "within one foot" of actual surf heights?  I'm guessing they're not including when they "update" the forecasts.  Also, I'm guessing they further pad their figure by saying it will be 5-7' when the surf is actually 2-4' is within one foot. Unconscionable...

Since MD's was terrible, I didn't bother checking NoTePads due to my experience making those rounds yesterday.

I headed for points further north.  Dog Beach was slightly bigger but slow.  Seaside looked ok but had a pack.  George's was way too racy and Cardiff was Cardiff.  Pipes was packed as usual so I hung a right towards the freeway and pretty much committed myself to surf by taking the time and using the gas to get The Rad up to Oceanside.  Buc Beach was laughably small and the Wisconsin-Pier corridor had not much more. NSide Pier had maybe a half-foot or so on its southern contingent, but still not worth paddling out.

I crossed the waterway to officially enter Oside Harbor and I saw S. Jetty's small and in direct line of fire of the topographical offshore funnel surf.  Good luck catching those waves, pack of eight!  I drove further north, past the boat ramp and N. Avalanche looked ok.  I also a semi-decent wave break at Condors.  Fug the cold, I'm out thar!

All I had to do was slip my wetsuit on over my shoulders, I kept telling myself.  That was a struggle in itself, the gusting offshore wind lapping away at my will to surf.

I powered through, grabbed my board and headed to the sand.  I didn't bother taking a second glance at S. Jetty as the memories of frustrating blown-out-the-back (not quite as good as it sounds) waves from sessions past kept flashbacking through my mind.  I thought about paddling out just north of the jetty, but there were two dudes already there.  N. Avalanche seemed a mile away and I wasn't looking forward to trudging back with purple hands upon going in.

I settled on the compromise that is Condors, though I didn't notice the dude already out there until just before going prone.  I gave him his space and settled on inside and north of him, but not before experiencing is the empirical overload that is duckdiving in  ~60 degree water with ~40 degree air to greet you upon you surfacing.  I immediately felt the overpowering sting of ice cream headache.  Two more dips further enhanced the sensation.  I tried out a trick that I use to see as very informal thermometer.  I use my lips to make a horse lip fart sound and felt the numbness in my cheeks.  Oof.

My first wave was a racy left on which I got a solid pump before the wave collapsed upon itself.  It was good to see there was some juice out there.

My second wave was better, if you exclusively use raciness as your sole barometer.  I got hung up towards the top and tumbled.

I'd made one of my New Year's Resolutions to not crab-grab anymore, and I must give myself credit.  I made it to my third wave of the year before breaking it.  It was a small barrel and I was too high on it.  I'm not sure it was makeable, but I didn't do myself any favors by picking such a high line.

The only other guy out there wasn't doing a good job functioning as my buoy.  He would paddle whenever he saw the slightest bump on the horizon.  I made a mental note to not trust his gut and got paid off for my instinct when the wave of the session came through.  He had over-paddled for it and was way too deep.

I somewhat made up for my self-treason by doing a proper pig dog pivot on it.  I got in it very well and even took my hand out of the wall and leaned forward to give myself a shot at making it.  This low percentile wave didn't care  for my trying to up my chances of blowing through it and punished me by shutting down, but not before allowing me to be dazzled by the risen sun's light dance on the ceiling.

After this wave, there was nothing special.  I was tempted to go in about twenty minutes later but convinced myself to stay out another ten.  When I finally got back to The Rad I came to the grave realization that I'd forgotten pants for my journey.  I'd also neglected to bring a towel or changing robe, so I rode home tucked tightly into my 4/3, heater blasting.

The shower was awesome.  I uploaded footage of it, but YouTube disallowed it because it "violated YouTube terms of service"?