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Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Wrap-Up and a Plea

Here are the most-surfed spots of the month:

Grandview 2
S. Pipes
D St

G-View pulls out a razor-thin margin to become the winner of the month.  Congrats to all of the nominees and better luck next month!
A Plea:

Please stop and/or stop people from saying the following phrases. Permission to use force, granted...

Sunday Funday aka how to let people know you're a douche in just two words

"It is what it is.":  The most pointless sentence uttered in the history of mankind.  Obviously, it is what it is.  It also isn't what it isn't.  This sentence is most often seen escaping, and flying away as quickly as it can, from the mouths of those who like to hear themselves talk.  And I should know!

"I'm not gonna lie to you.": This would make sense to say before a true statement only if the human race also said the opposite during a farcical statement. I caught myself saying this once and immediately cringed.

"Good human" or "(fill-in-the-blank) human": I first heard this in the jungles of Isla Bastimentos, when a pretty well-known surf photog described some of his subjects as such.

Is my being so easily annoyed a sign of getting older?  Whatever the case, GET OFF MY LAWN!

2.28.13 Religious Epiphany, then Macking D Street w/ M-I-M!

The reports from last night were juicy.  An overnight building swell and perfect offshore, with a medium tide to boot.  The water was still a scrotum-wrinkling (I have pics to prove it) 56 degrees, so the crowds should be lighter than normal.

I called up Missed-It-Mike and he was down to surf.  Given the combo nature of the swell and the medium-rising tide, D Street was the call.

I met him there at seven and goaded him into suiting up without checking it.  On the way down, we saw a sick set break and our pace quickened.  we somehow began talking about God. Mike is Catholic and I chide him for it constantly.  I can't remember what I asked him, but he downplayed his faith in his response.

I told him to say, "I, Missed-It-Mike, hereby banish Jesus Christ from my heart".  He wouldn't do it.  I repeated it with my own name in his' place.  I nervously snapped my neck up and around looking for the fateful bolt of lightning that was sure to be the end of me.

When it didn't arrive, I decided morosely that God had forsaken me.  It was at that point that I exclaimed that I would allow Satan into my heart.  This is how I imagine Mike viewed me, except prone, paddling on my surfboard:

After a lot of duckdiving and head-dipping into the brisk water, we perched.  There was a guy on a log who was sitting deeper and inside of us.  I saw him catch a left from the top and just kind of cruise on it.  Another good-sized left came and the same result.  The logger paddled back out and a juicy one was within his grasp, but he half-heartedly paddled for it and missed it.  I let out a hearty, "WHHAAAAAAAAT!?!?" and received a grin from some guy between us who'd witnessed the 'exchange'.

Since Mike and I were still having no luck, I paddled for about three minutes until I was outside of him.  The logger paddled back out and went way down the line, so much so that he wasn't a factor. Or so I thought...

When my first wave was heaving and close to elevating me, I was salivating.  This was the first good wave I'd caught since early December.  All of those mornings spent convincing to paddle out then sitting and shivering flashed through my mind ad I got lifted.  I pumped once, then laid into a slash.  After jumping though the wave, I realized I'd somehow snaked the longboarder.  Eagle-eyed readers will see him in the background at the 6/7-second marks.

I sincerely apologized to him after realizing my mistake, but I'm sure he thought I was an asshole after this and the WHAAAAAAAAAT incident.

A minute later, according to the GoPro timestamps, I caught another wave on which I got barreled and pinched. BAH!

Mike caught a left and gave it two solid smacks.  As he was paddling back out, I caught a left on which I didn't descend all the way and got barreled within a second-and-a-half of popping up.  I set up a little too far away from the wall, but I don't think it was all that makeable (it IS D St, after all...).

Mike was in position for a left that the logger caught but couldn't make it around the section.  This left developed into the best barrel I've EVER seen break at D St.  Thick, bowly, wide and remarkably makeable -looking!  Of course, it finale'd with a massive closeout, so a doggy-door exit would have been in order.

An older guy who looks like a Gentile version of Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World" was out and frothing, making catching waves difficult.

The tide rose and the waves suffered.  I was able to catch a pretty sick left on which I pumped once, rose up to the lip, SUPERpumped and got stuck on a heaving ledge of a lip.  I aborted towards the trough and midflight, all two inches of my manhood managed to free themselves from its between-two-thighs nest and flop up towards my stomach.  I ended up landing right on it, not an easy task for such a small target, but luckily all I suffered through were nerves from the incident.

I am happy to report that it still works for the purposes it was designed!

Mike and I went in after about eighty minutes of being out there, cold and having to get on with our days...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2.25.13 Denying a No-Go at South Pipes w/ Forrest PM SESSION

After canvassing the coast for the better part of an hour, we made Pipes our last check.  Forrest really wanted to get in the water, but I wasn't too amped on the tiny waves.  Since Forrest had driven and gas prices were so high, I finally relented and told him we could surf if he really wanted to.  I didn't expect him to accept my challenge.

While suiting up, I silently bemoaned my decision to throw myself on the mercy of Forrest's surf whims.

I had my shortboard with me this time, after longing for it for the majority of the previous day's session.

I took my time paddling out and the first duckdive was a dooz.  Whatever warmth the Santa Ana day had bestowed upon me was immediately taken from me, to return only after my thaw-out shower later that day.

It was a gorgeous day with not a cloud in the sky.  With any decent swell, we'd have a classic winter day on our hands.  Of course, if the conditions were good, there couldn't be any swell, so we were stuck picking up whatever scraps were coming in.

Every fifteen minutes or so, a two-wave set would come in.  I was lucky enough to be in position for one of these just after perching.  It was a fast right that almost immediately closed out.  I attempted to flop over it, but I got caught in the lip and slammed into the trough harder than I expected.

About ten minutes later, I spotted what appeared to be two young wahines paddling our way.  It turned out one was a dude.  The girl he was with was wearing a wetsuit set-up not often seen outside of Hawai'i.  It was a one-piece wetsuit with a bottom that was shaped like a bikini bottom, leaving the legs and butt exposed.  I felt like such a puss in my (albeit leaky) 4/3.

They paddled out after us and went in before us, and I found out why on the walk up.

I caught a left and pumped a couple of times before attempting to ball myself up small enough so as to get tunnel vision from the microscopic barrel that was about to throw.  It hit me in the base of the skull and I called it a day.

On the way up, we saw the dude who to my estimation had received a blow to the head from his longboard. He had blood streaks over his face.  He was being looked after by the girl and some other guy, so we bailed.

This is shaping up to be the worst winter in my surfing career.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

2.24.13 Seascape Fish Sesh w/ Sponging Forrest

I had my interns look up the last session I'd enjoyed with Forrest.  All three of them came back with August 3rd, the night surfing session. WOW.

Forrest met his now-girlfriend Angie and has been MIA since, surfing-wise.  The guy's been a ghost.  I hadn't heard from him.  Have you heard from him?  NOBODY's heard from him!

Today he called me to see if I wanted to eat lunch with him and I told him I'd just had lunch.  He told me to come watch him eat and I agreed upon the condition that he buy me an horchata.  He agreed.  I then asked if  he wanted to surf.  He asked how it was and I said, "Terrible".  He left his pad to come get me and I grabbed my fish.

Forrest's knee has been giving him issues, so he decided he would be sponging it today.  He hadn't been in the ocean in quite some time, so a sponge was better than no dip at all.

We decided on Seascape, a wave we used to surf all of the time about thirteen years ago but had since been relegated to our dustbin of surf history. Today, we resuscitated it and HARD.

We didn't bother checking the waves.  When we got within eyeshot of the waves, Forrest let out a telltale groan.  I was thrilled to see waves, and some were sort of lining up! YEEEEEEEEEEEH!

The paddle-out wasn't too bad, but the second dip swept me awash in the agony that is the ice cream headache.  Luckily, I only had one more progressively worse instance to endure before reaching my perch spot.

My first wave was a quick left on which I kicked out almost immediately.

Forrest was bobbing about on the Costco-bought sponge and he said the waves look way bigger prone.  He mentioned being colder than usual, likely because more of his body was in the water.  I asked him if he wanted to switch boards and he replied negatively.

Forrest caught a wave, and I was alone.  A left came, and I was convinced it would close out.  I went anyway, hoping the chop on the face would slow its demise.  I bottom-turned up to the top, pumped hard down, then back up.  I was going pretty fast, but I was on a section that was about vertical on a board with no rocker.  It looked as though I would not be victorious, but I proved triumphant, zooming down the face.  I saw a little section approach and went up hard, slamming my weight onto my front foot so I could do a 360.  The fins washed out oh-so-slightly, but my momentum caused me to fly off.  I came up, amped on making that pump and milking as much speed as I could out of that beast.

A couple more forgettable waves came and went, and one took Forrest's boogie board with it.  Forrest swam all the way in to fetch it, then came back out.

During his absence, I caught a big left.  I was continuing my pumping regime when I caught a glimpse of the sketchy, frothy section coming up to meet me looked like it had some teeth.  By the time I'd spotted it, I had no time to react and it gobbled up the nose of my board,  I freefell all of four feet into the trough, then got picked up and slammed over the falls again.  I took a bit of a beating, but not as bad as it could've been...

A right came, and I was on it.  There was not much to it though, so I Fosbury flopped over it.

I caught one of the biggest waves of the day.  I was reluctant to go because of my board choice, but I pushed on.  By the time it got to me, it was steep and nasty.  I dropped down and the frontside edge of my nose bit in just a tad, altering my trajectory and throwing me off balance.  I ended up doing an abrupt hairpin turn up and over the face without descending all the way.  That one must have looked interesting from the beach!

No other memorable waves came.  Many party waves were attempted, but Forrest was limited by his lack of foam, so we only got one...

Monday, February 18, 2013


This clip combines three of my favorite things: Hawai'i, surfing, and guitar.  Throw in a couple of half-naked ladies (I say half-naked only because my wife may see this) and you have my idea of heaven; what I've been working so hard toward for the last thirty-three years.

Highlights for me include the very first turn at around the :50 mark. WOW! The barrels are SICK and as only Backdoor can deliver.  The alley-oop 360 at 2:40 is also donuts and that straight ollie about twenty seconds later... oof!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2.14.13 PM SESSION w/ Mark DeGrovel at TINY Grandview

My boy and rap protegĂ© Mark DeGrovel texted me yesterday to see if I wanted to surf.  I had an appointment set for this afternoon, but King Neptune smiled upon me and commanded the client to postpone for the next day.

I met Mark at his in-laws' beach house and we had the good fortune of having the cliff-top backyard as our vantage point.  It looked better than I expected, but still pretty rank.

We suited up, then walked down the stairs.  It was an absolutely glorious afternoon and I was amped on that (and not much more).  I carried Wanda, my fish, thinking its lack of rocker would easy my entry into these little morsels.

About a half-hour in I caught one pretty good wave on which I was able to rise up and smack the lip AND ride down, which is a bit of an accomplishment on that board.

I caught another wave immediately after and went a little too radically, sliding the tail out and sliding my chances of a successful maneuver out the window along with it.

About twenty minutes later, I caught a wave I paddled for for a solid eight seconds before I finally stood up on it.  It took forever for that thing to get steep.  But once it did it was a doozy.  It was steep and I popped up and pumped almost immediately, rejoicing in the quick burst of speed I garnered.  Unfortunately there was no payoff.

Mark and I got cold after about an hour and fifteen minutes and in we went.

2.12.13 Solo Sesh at Deserted MD's

Seeing as to how the air was a testicle-levitating forty degrees and the water not much help at 56 degrees, I opted to suit up in the relative comfort of my living room.

The charts said it would be 3-4' and I couldn't wait to sink my fins into some of that.

I drove down to MD's and parked The Rad at 20th Street.  I didn't bother checking it, I was going out no matter what.

I slipped my all-but-spent 4/3 over my shoulders, then shoe-horned my feet into my geriatric booties.  Upon first glimpse of the ocean, I was immediately worried, but this was a short-lived sensation as I saw a head-high banger crack hard.  The sound of it rifled into my ears, amplified by the cold air.  I walked north a ways, knowing I would be shepherded into the line of fire of that wave in due time, hopefully not before I perched though!

I waited nearly a minute for this seven- or eight-wave set to end its assault on the otherwise calm water.  I ran into the water, jumped on my board, and glided before paddling.  I knew it was a matter of time before I would have to dunk my head and feel the sting of ice cream headaches.  Supposedly, the reason these happen is the temperature differential between the skull and the brutal cold of the water.  The frosty air piling on wasn't going to help.

After a good five or six minutes of constant paddling and duckdiving, a short clearing appeared and I whisked through just in time.  The sets were frequent and hitting hard, reminiscent of a new swell hitting the shore.  Unfortunately, the tide was making the waves slam shut with very few (and short) exceptions.

I caught my first wave within three minutes of perching.  It was a steep right and I made the drop, got a look at the lip throwing, and attempted to straighten out.  The lip undermined my backside rail and literally pushed my board over.  Picture a bully tilting a tray, but forcefully.

About forty minutes passed with a lot of paddling/pulling back.  Also, there was the scenic tour of some of the most expensive real estate in the county thanks to the N angle in the swell and the longshore current byproduct.

I saw an overhead left and I paddled for it.  It had the slightest of openings, but as I paddled, I smiled because I could see this thing was going to shut down on me, but I was GOING!  I went, and it did its pitching-all-at-once thing.  I attempted to pull through head first but my timing was off slightly.  My face slammed into the lip really hard, and while the pain was present, I wondered if I'd get a black eye from it.

Once I got to Three Palms, I got caught in the rip.  I paddled in and just missed another closeout, one that would get me closer to The Rad and its heater.  My hands were so cold that I could not stop fantasizing about a hot shower.

Ten minutes passed, and finally a wave broke outside of me.  I rode the foam in prone and spent the three-block walk back to The Rad alternating which hand carried my board and which hand was blessed by my warm breath blowing into it.

I should have checked it...!

Friday, February 8, 2013

2.7.13 Grandview Slump Buster with Matt

If you've ever gotten really into surfing, you know that after about two weeks of dry time, you start jonesing hard.  I was on four weeks without any interaction with salt water.  I would imagine it's a weaker cousin to what our neighbors in the Pacific Northwest tend to suffer from this time of year, Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I know it seems like hyperbole if you don't surf, but I swear to you, moods dip and tensions rise.

The charts were saying the weather was going to be bad, but a closer look at the hourly breakdown revealed gentle offshores in the morning.  I called Matt the previous night and he wanted to surf Ponto, a wave that is so fickle.  It's usually rank, but when it gets good it's really good.  And its proximity to the 101 ensures it's really crowded when it's good.  The predominant swell direction was WNW and given Ponto's shores aimed WSW and lack of bathymetral (not sure if that's a word) variety, I nixed it.  He proposed Grandview, with a cornucopia of underwater bathymetry scenarios.  I readily agreed and we were out thar.

I got there about ten minutes early and jammed out to the GuyPod.  I got a text from Matt saying "where u at. Gonna get off on la costa and check ponto".  Of course our meeting time comes and goes with no sign of the guy.  So I call him and he tells me he's waiting for me to meet him.  I'm not sure what I was supposed to read into his text that would make him believe he'd unilaterally changed the meeting spot and I was on my way.

I told him I wasn't going to Ponto and he acquiesced and met me at our official, bilaterally agreed-upon meeting spot.  I got out of my ride, ready to give him shit for being late.  He looks me up and down and says, "Really? PJ pants?", and I about lost it.  I told him this is a surf check, not a fashion show (for those interested, mid-thirties Matt was wearing what appeared to be the latest offerings from Tilly's).

Things calmed down after we saw a left peel down the line.  It looked slow, but when it connected to the inside section, we both gushed with anticipation.

We changed into our wetsuit and I quietly admired Matt's new-looking Excel wetsuit.  A real estate client of mine swears by them and I am flirting with the idea of making an Excel my next purchase, once prices go down come Spring.  My journeyman Rip Curl has been squeezing me too hard in uncomfortable areas going on five years now!  It's due for retirement and a fat pension (that's what I tell it anyways, it's really going to be recycled into a new wetsuit).

We paddled out and were predictably shuttled south thanks to the north angle in the swell.  The waves were punchy, but extremely racy.

Matt happened upon an SDSU friend of his, Grady, and we watched as he took off on two set waves, waited out the flat spots, and admirably traversed towards the inside section.

I thought about joining him out there, but I was concerned the rocker on my board wouldn't allow me to ride out the flat spots.  I continued to opt for the middle-inside, hoping to luck into a corner.  I caught several waves that immediately closed out.

The one stand-out wave was a left that I pumped pretty much on the flats two or three times before realizing it too would bar me from some lip-time.

Matt had to go to work so in we went...

January Wrap-Up

January SUCKED as a surf month.  The swell was on when the weather wasn't, and when the weather was perfect, we were cursed with some of the flattest ocean I've ever seen.  This is winter!  Where are the waves?

The swell of the century, at an unheard of 25-second swell period (meaning it's coming in extremely fast and with power) was a dud.  Had this swell or even something half as good materialized, Blacks would have been the go-to spot.  I probably would've paddled out on my 6'3" like an idiot to try to bag one. Bah, enough mental masturbation over a love that wasn't to be...

I surfed three times.  THREE! I surfed alone all three times. Mike is still MIA surf-wise, Forrest was in Thailand for "work" and everyone else was bitching about the cold.  I'm calling it, January 2013 was the worst month in the history of this blog.

I heard a small swell did come in late in the month but of course it was while I was in Mammoth...

Here is the breakdown:
Condors: 1
NoTePads: 1
Seaside: 1

The session of the month goes to NoTePads and it's not close.

Bail of the month honors go to the second left barrel I got at NoTePads, during which the lip hit me in the head with the ferocity of a woman scorned (and her new boyfriend joining in on the wallop).  My doctor thinks it may have permanently parted my hair.