Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pop-outs vs. Poop-outs

I am not a militant pop-out surfboard hater, but I was amused the other day when I was taking a leak and noticed the logo below written on a toilet.

At first, I couldn't think of what it reminded me of, but by the time I finished peeing I remembered where I had seen it before...

I rode a few of the epoxy sandwiches in the picture below and had a great time, but next time I go to Cabo, I'm bringing a hand-shaped board.

Swearing at Motorists "Cuando Nos Veramos"

Monday, June 12, 2006

LA Daze

Some random shots of my recent LA trip. The guy above was playing music in front of the Roxy. I intended to dawn patrol with Whiffleboy or Patch the next morning, but they were calling for a 4:30 wake-up time in order to reach the 'Bu or Zeros by 5:00. I didn't get home until 3:30, so I pretty much blew my chance to hook up with the authors of "Confessions of a Novice Surfer" and "Patchies Hideout." Next time.

I did, however, make it to Venice by 9:00. The conditions actually looked fun (see below), so I pulled my parents' nice Volvo convertible into a parking space on Washington St. Just when I put my foot on the brake, a guy backed into the side of the car. Ding! Dang! By the time we exchanged insurance info (1 hr later), the wind picked up and the tide went out.

I still got a surf in, the lowlight of which was a large closeout that the other surfers hooted me into. I was too late on the drop and pearled, flying on my stomach down the face of the heaving wave. I could actually heared a few people on the pier go, "EEEEEEWWWW!" as I skipped along, before the whole thing ate me.

The Decemberists "Los Angeles, I'm Yours"

Friday, June 09, 2006

Pier Pleasure

When I got to San Diego a couple weeks ago, there was a surf contest going on directly in front of our hotel. It was the Sun Diego Pro/Am, I guess the last pro/am contest of the season. Anyway, the waves at Ocean Beach were somehow reminiscent of Oregon: lumpy, bumpy, and thumpy. But it was really good to watch the way these guys handled the conditions. We need more piers to paddle out next to up here...

!!! "Space Island"

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bear Flag Soul

On my way to Southern California, I read an article in the latest Surfer's Journal about surfboards called "Stubbies" and the San Diego County scene from where they emerged. In the appendix, the editor mentioned something called "bear flag soul" in reference to the cool characters who the story was about. It was a term that I didn't really understand at the time, but one that would be demonstrated to me throughout the week I spent down south.

I was invited to go surfing with a couple great guys from LA surf blogs, but due to some schedule conflicts (read hangovers and fender-benders) I couldn't get out early enough. But in San Diego on Sunday morning, I hooked up with Jeff from the Instant Boulder Kit blog. And Jeff hooked me up! On the phone the night before he asked me if I needed a board - I said I did. "No problem." Then he asked if I had wetsuit - I said I had my 4/3. "No problem. You can use my springsuit." At 6AM the next morning, he picked me up at my hotel.

We headed to a spot called Tourmoline, a longboarder haven located between Pacific Beach and La Jolla. On the way, Jeff told me that this was kind of a legendary beach where local heroes (shapers and riders) meet up on the weekends to surf and shoot the shit. "It's more of a social thing," he said as we pulled into the lot. He also said that there would probably be some swell left over from the south that had rolled through and that I should be able to get some decent rides on his 7'0" Nectar single fin that he brought for me.

When I eased the bright yellow board out of its bag, admiring the pintail, long Tudor fin, up wings, and bright pinlines, I was nonplused. It had an incredibly hefty resin tint glass job and the widepoint was closer to the nose. I'd heard of Nectar but had no idea that they were still making retro boards like this. I asked how much this jewel set him back - it looked new. "You'll never believe it," he said. "I got it for $150 bucks from a guy who needed to get rid of it. It just sat in his garage for 30 years!" I made Jeff an offer, which he kindly refused.

On our way through the parking lot Jeff introduced me to a guy who used to ride for the Nectar team in the 70s. The guy had stringy blond hair and leathery skin. He examined the board under my arm with eyes that looked like he was staring into a campfire. He said he'd be watching me out in the line-up. As we started paddling out, Jeff explained that all the old dudes watch from the embankment overlooking the break and if you screwed up, they would give you shit on your way back in. Great.

Jeff was paddling out on his flawless Harbour longboard (leashless, natch) and he soon left me in his wake. Before I could even make it outside, I saw him dropping into a chest-high peak and head dipping under the lip. He caught back up to me as I finally made it outside.

There were about 45-50 guys out, mostly on longboards, and they all seemed to know eachother. "Hey Mike, how's the wife and kids," and "I just got my AARP card in the mail yesterday," and "Are you that old?" etc. were some of the exchanges I overheard. Lots of jabs about being too old, even though most of these guys paddled like Olympians.

It took me a little while to get used to the beefy board I was on. For some reason it didn't paddle well as I had expected. I ended up catching a couple of lefts that slipped through the cracks and rode them to the inside, crouching low and doing my best '70s surf poster pose. Jeff gave me a thumbs up and then told me to watch out for a big rock on the inside. I forget the name of it now... "Grimace" or something...

Anyway, I stayed out for about 2-3 hours and Jeff checked in with me periodically to see how I was getting along. The crowd got more and more dense, and I just spent most of my time watching the skilled longboarders drop in and make amazing bottom turns. Great to have a front row seat. Later, I found out that a couple pros were out there: Kevin Connelly and Eric Summer.

Back in the parking lot, after the surf, I met a couple other guys who were also named Richard. We joked about being the "three swinging dicks" and watched the chicks in bikinis walk by. Man, it was a perfect California day. Thanks to the PB Surf Club gang for making a real "hodad" feel right at home. Come up to Oregon any time and let us return the favor - I have an extra 5 mil you can borrow!

Tom Waits "San Diego Serenade"