Friday, August 25, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
This spot was pretty great Sunday. Shoulder high with occassional head high sets. And glassy! The coconut wireless must've been in full effect, because many of the regional surf heroes were there: Point regulators, surf shop employees, a gal I ran into in Mexico, and even the legendary Slim and Foul Pete. If you were there, you knew that you scored the first hints of the fall season. There was some good surfing going on. I caught quite a few, but really felt limited by my inability to make the most of the a-frame peaks. I got down the line, made some sad backside turns. But OS, who incidentally got the best ride of his life, laid a nice compliment on me: "I saw somebody tucking, trying to get a tube, and I thought he might actually make it. When he got closer, I realized it was you!" I guess I have a one-track mind since the bowls in the bowels of Baja.
Wolf Parade - Shine a Light
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Anybody who knows me knows I tend to fixate on the details of a surfboard: rocker, concaves, tail shapes, rails, thickness, bonzers, fish, nuggets, fin setups, and so on.
Then I run into a video like this on 70percent.org--Jamie O'Brien riding a finless thrift store junker with more style than the "hottest" surfers in the mags.
So next time you're contemplating whether it's worth it to drop a grip on a balsa-edged Firewire or carbonfiber Aviso board, watch this clip and get out there on your tried-and-true stick.
Oh yeah, and GET LOW!
Hot Chip - Boy From School
Monday, August 14, 2006
Not much to report on the surfing front last weekend. The wind was blowing like hell again and the swell was prepubescent in size. Not only that, but the Saturday crowd at Short Sands was insane. We had to wait 15 minutes to get down the steps to the beach as a parade of 50 soft-top surfboards filed up the stairs. Did I mention that there were no waves?
This reminded me of a flat-spell alternative I just tried for the first time: slacklining. I'd seen Rob Machado messing around with it in a surf mag before, but my friend Utah, a seasoned climber, taught me the basics a few months ago. Essentially, you stretch a strap between two trees and give it enough slack so that when you step onto it, it stretches down a few feet. The effect is similar to walking on a tight rope, but with trampoline-like spring in the line. The trick to being able to walk along the strap is to concentrate intensely on the end, where it meets the tree. Looking at your feet will mess you up. It took me awhile, but I finally was able to walk the line by myself. Seasoned slackliners like Utah can walk the line, turn around on one foot, and walk back with acrobatic ease. Experts can do flips on the line and all kinds of other mind-boggling (read insane) tricks.
In the top picture above, believe it or not, I'm off the ground and officially slacklining. Look easy? In the second shot you can see how far I'm launched by the strap and how high it snaps when you fall. The first time I tried it, Utah warned me in her German accent, "Be careful not to straddle the strap when you fall. Not good."
Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
(I couldn't resist...)
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
For our first session back in Oregon, we made the trek to our state's quintessential mysto break. The report gave us a shred hope, and when we made it to the first lookout point (above), we were psyched by what we saw: clean lines rolling in and peeling on the inside. We ran the rest of the way down the hill, taking slippery shortcuts between switchbacks to save time.
When we made it to the beach ten minutes later, the wind had already started blowing. By the time we got our wetsuits on and reached the water, it was whipping from the north. Despite the gale forces, we managed to snag a few, but after an hour of abuse, we were laughing hysterically at the ridiculousness of it all. The wind was pushing us south a clip that would bring a tear to an old sailor's eye. When we fought it and battled back north, we got slapped in the faces by the whitecaps. And it was icy cold. Astonishingly, the waves continued to break down-the-line despite the chaos. We finally gave up the fight and drifted down the coast.
In the end, when we climbed back up the winding path, we looked back down at the break again and couldn't help but notice that the whitecaps had disappeared again from the surface of the sea. My legs were sore for two days, making me think, "I hiked all the way down to XXXX and all I got was this aching thigh."
Yesterday was better. Somehow. Shorties looked pretty sad from the shore, but we paddled out and I must've gotten about 20 small waves and 2 decent ones. Good exercise, good fun!
Islands "Rough Gem"
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
La Bocana again, our last day there. As you can see, the sandbars were working, as was the mud/poo factor. Gee paddled out first, solo, and freaked when a three-foot fish resembling a barracuda swam across his arms. We had to wait for a set to pass through before we could join him and I think it gave him just enough "alone time" to get psyched out. On my way to the lineup, another eel-like creature nibbled on my pinky. I squealed like a pig, which caused the two locals already out to laugh hysterically.
My first wave is the last one pictured here. By my guillotine impression, you can tell I need a tube-riding lesson. The session picked up from there as we got tons of lefts, rights, and even more thundering closeouts, but never the elusive barrel.
Here's a question: Would you paddle out in these dirty conditions (near a rivermouth in Mexico, right after a rainstorm), especially with scores of snakey fish slithering on the surface? Our amigo Markarita (in the top pic) compared the go-out to dirty sex. We expanded on the analogy with numerous metaphors... none of which I'll subject you to.
The Smiths - Big Bocana Strikes Again