Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Holy Human Surfboards!

Not sure what's better about this video: the Joker's description of how boards are made, the two goons "Riptide" and "Wipeout," the sea urchin spines (G, that's for you), or Robin simply saying "I'm never ready," when Batman asks him to jump through the window.

Michael Penn - No Myth

Monday, February 26, 2007

The G-Spot 2007

Man, Poseidon really smiled upon us Saturday morning when we held the second annual G-Spot Invitational Surf Contest. Conditions that were forecasted at 30 feet earlier in the week dropped all the way down to 10 feet at 8 seconds when we checked the bouys the night before. There was no need to go to any mystical spots, as there would be one place that would work best on a south swell with hard southerlies.

When we arrived at 8am, this is what we saw: slightly disorganized conditions, but a nice hollow left running consistently through. The wind--as hard as it blew at times--switched offshore. I immediately snapped these pics (trying to keep my camera out of the rain) of a guy wearing yellow rubber kitchen gloves who gave us some perspective on the size of the wave. Not bad! It wasn't long before the five contestants were out in the line-up. Gee was out first, then OS, then Slim, then yours truly, then Nash. But Nash forgot his leash, so I told him where to find my spare in the trunk of our car.

The "contest" lasted about 4 hours. Unfortunately, everyone was spread out and nobody could actually judge the damn thing. I saw Nash catch a few as I battled back out through the shorebreak, but that was really about it. I personally made it my mission to get tubed, which resulted in my experiencing some serious thrashings. And Jerry Lopez says the safest place to be in a wave is the barrel...

One of the biggest surprises was that we were the only five people in the water for most of the morning.

About three hours into the session, Nash, OS and I decided to paddle to an outside peak that seemed to have gotten cleaner and steeper with the dropping tide. It was a gamble, but I figured that it couldn't be much worse than the inside stuff, which started to close out a little in the shallows. When we finally made it out, we were pleasantly surprised to find shoulder to head-high waves with much more power than we'd been able to tap all morning. I caught the first one and my board (the 6'6 "Greenbean") actually felt good under my feet. The additional speed made it easier to turn. OS and Nash hooted all the way to the end of my ride, which was one of the longest I've had at that spot. OS caught one next, and paddled back out several minutes later, saying he'd just picked off the best wave of his Oregon surf career. Nash caught one next, and then went in.

After a few more waves on the outside, OS and I decided we'd had enough. OS caught one in and then I grabbed then next set wave. Believe it or not, I actually surfed it all the way to where OS was paddling in. As the wave died down, I noticed that he was holding his hand out for a high-five. I turned as far out on the shoulder as I could and reached to slap him some skin. We connected just as I fell off my board, laughing our asses off at the ridiculousness of our Slater/Machado Pipeline Masters impersonation.

When we got back to the car, we found Gee sitting inside with the heat on full blast. We asked if he'd seen the waves we'd caught, expecting to hear a review of our amazing rides. Maybe he even took pics of us with my telephoto? Nope. Gee said he didn't even see one wave. Looking back at the spot where we'd been surfing for the last hour, we noticed that it had gone completely flat.

Later that night, over beer and wine, we talked about the contest, but had no difinitive answer as to who won in the various categories... Maybe this can be the forum that finally decides it!


1. Best Wipe-Out
2. Longest Ride
3. Biggest Wave
4. Smallest Wave
5. Best Tube Ride (yeah right)

I'd like to nominate the namesake of the contest, G-Money, as the overall winner, considering that this was his last session as an Oregon local (for a while).

Band of Horses - St. Augustine

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Yesterday I got a phone call from Manny Caro, who informed me that he was going to start shaping my board. I marveled at the coincidence, having just posted about it a few days ago. After discussng a few more details about the board: Did I want bamboo side fins from 101 Fin Company? Yes. Definitely magenta for color? Um, no... I imagined myself doing a long cobblestone walk with a board the color of a doggie dick... Maybe something that I can ride at ALL of Oregon's breaks without drawing too much attention to myself? Blue then. Cool.

Then, last night, I received an email with photos of my 2+1 winged diamond tail. Dims: 5'11" x 20.5" x 2 3/8". Damn. It looks beautiful.

Check out the subtle fluted wings, which are supposed to add bite on turns. The board is made for steep down-the-line walls (I can think of a certain hike-in mysto spot that provides these kinds of hollow waves). I'll probably ride it in most conditions though. Now all I have to do is wait 2 more months for Moonlight to glass it!

A few more pics:

Low - California

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The G-Spot Is Coming...

Ready or not. In our case, probably not. The waves are predicted to be peaking this weekend at 30 feet. There's only one mysto g-spot that may be able to take something off this ridiculous size, and we've never caught it working...

This year's invitational is a bittersweet affair. The man who inspired the event, our dearest chumbucket G, is leaving for Los Angeles, so we're combining the yearly surf battle with his going away party. In true G-Funk style, the festivities will last all weekend.

Friday, we'll tactically head out to a cheap motel on the North Coast and plan an early-morning strike on the secret spot in question. Watch this space for contest results and photos of the debacle.

Ellen Allien - Come

Monday, February 19, 2007

Pick a Color, Any Color

I finally got around to sending Mandala a color chip for my new board. Manny told me that I could pretty much pick any color from the paint store and the fine folks at Moonlight Glassing would match it perfectly. I wanted something a little different, so I went with magenta. You might call it hot pink, but whatevs. As a painter, I've never feared color. As a matter of fact, I'm most drawn to complimentary colors that "vibrate" when placed next to eachother. We surf in turqouise water, mostly, so magenta seemed like a shade that would pop nicely. It also kind of reminds me of the images LeRoy Grannis and Jeff Divine took in the '60s and '70s with the super-saturated Kodachrome film. The resin tints looked like hard candy.

[Ammendment: I went with my second choice of blue (see above) instead of pink. Call me a Sissy, but I want to be able to use this board in the kinds of waves that it is made for - which unfortunately do not always welcome flashy colors. I'll save magenta for my long board.]

I sent Manny an email to ask if he received the chip and a few more questions about the board. His replies are in blue:

1. Did you receive my color chip?
Got the color chip...killer.

2. Do you know anything about these environmentally friendlier blanks from Homeblown?
Waiting on soy foam from Homeblown...sweet.

3. When you start shaping my board, can you send a pic or two for my blog? (No prob if that's a big hassle.)

I also found a really good interview on with Manny Caro where he talks in detail about his whole approach and the history of Mandala. A good read, if anyone is interested. It definitley re-stoked me on my order (now a diamond tail), which I placed ages ago.

Alex Smoke - Jah Future

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

About an hour of yesterday's surf was decent, then the place just turned to junk in the blink of an eye, the flap of a seagull's wing in Chile, the swirl of a digital blob on a satellite radar. M was on the rocks moments later, mumbling something about a latte. Disrubbered, I pointed my lens at the cove, careful not to aim too close to you-know-where. I'm a journalist, dammit, but I also have a certain respect for that place - and my own front teeth - that keeps my camera away like two magnets denying the other contact. They want to get close, but they just can't.

So we drove home, talking about "Project Caveman"...

At around 5pm, I found myself stuck in gridlock on the 84 interchange. I exited immediately and turned left at the railroad tracks. Driving through the industrial district, I noticed how the yellow light was bouncing off the brick walls, tattooed with graffiti. It was The Golden Hour and I was a block from Burnside.

I have a new enthusiasm for skating, that's no secret, but I also have an old enthusiasm for taking pictures when the light is warm. Pulling up to this underground landmark, I noticed that the sun was angling perfectly under the bridge, casting long shadows across the hills of cement as skaters flew gracefully across its surface. A few hours earlier I watched a surfer land 360 air at the cove and now a skater executed the same trick on a concrete swell.

I pulled out my camera and snapped a couple pictures, then walked by a crow's nest of skaters who were hanging out on the elevated platform drinking beers. Nobody paid me any mind, except a ramshackle kid who hit me up for a smoke, which I didn't have. Admiring the once-illegitimate terrain, it crossed my mind that this place was sacred in a punk way. But was it also protected by its residents, the people whose lives revolved around being locals there, in the same way as the spot I had been so close to on the coast?

As I took another picture, I felt something strike my leg. Looking down, I noticed a plastic bottle still bouncing at my feet. Did somebody just throw Gatorade at me? I looked up. I was underneath the bridge. Maybe a passing pedestrian chucked it over the rail above...

I took a couple more pics, then headed back to my car. Along the way, I thought I heard someone at the other end of the park yell, "No photos!"


As I made my way back to the sidewalk, a skater with scabs on his cheeks leaned over the chain link fence and said, "Hey! You got a couple bucks?" I told him I didn't. With that, I hopped back into my car, surfboards on the roof, and drove home.

I know there are a few Portland skaters who read this blog. If they (or anyone else) can explain why photos of Burnside aren't allowed, I'd be happy to take down this post.

Daniel Johnson - I'm Nervous

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rain Surf

It was pretty choppy and crossed up yesterday at the cove. But there was a consistant left rolling off the rocks and only two guys out. Our gang paddled out and got some fun ones. Then the other guys left and we were the only three people out. Must've looked like crap from the parking lot, because we had the spot to ourselves for three hours.

It started pouring down rain. If you've ever surfed in the rain you know the sensation: You can't really feel the raindrops, or even see it falling, but the ocean surface just starts to boil. I'd love to see that effect in slow motion. Oh, and we got a nice rainbow. Let the gay pride comments begin...

Coco Rosie - K-Hole

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Tale of Two Tails

My oldest surf chum, Ebb and I got together yesterday for a hooky session. The conditions looked pretty good from all reports, but when we finally got to Seaside where we were sure that the swell would be protected from southern winds, we found that the break was also protected from the slightly southern swell. Even longboarders were struggling to get into the mushy (albeit very clean) waves. So we headed south to Shorties. Deja vous all over again. The waves were bigger, but the paddle out was a frickin' joke!

How could I have made the same mistake twice? On two consecutive trips?

After an hour (during which we actually made it outside twice), we decided to head back north to try and salvage our day at the North Coast's version of Waikiki. Wearing our dripping wetsuits for the 20 mile drive, we got back to Seaside and found one longboarder in the water. He seemed to be tapping into a decent peak though, right in the middle of the cove.

Screw it. We pulled our boards off the roof and charged. Ebb was on a new stick: a 6'0 Cole Firefly quad, with a pretty cool bat tail. I had my taped up (still) KG quad.

Surprise, surprise...

We soon realized that the left side of the peak was walling up nicely; It had been sort of obstructed from our perspective in the parking lot. Also, it seemed like with an outgoing tide and the evening approaching, a little more swell had started to show. Ebb was throwing a little spray off the backs of waves even. I snagged a left and pumped, pumped, pumped down the line, clearing sections and bottom turning around another longboarder (who was not Doc). Almost instantly, there were six loggers next to us. Where'd they come from?

After about two hours, when our arms were wet noodles, Ebb and I switched boards. I was pretty skeptical about riding the more "performance" quad, especially with my aching shoulders. As expected, Ebb immediately snagged a wave on my flat Plantain. I battled to get into a few, but failed (flailed) miserably. Finally a set wave approached, I spun and paddled like hell. I made the drop, pumped once, and the board just seemed to stick right in the pocket. I just stood there and noticed how the more curved board conformed to the shape of the wave. Green wall. Lip near my head. Wave of the day. On another dude's board.

Would that be considered infidelity?

Matt Sweeny & Bonnie Prince Billy - My Home Is the Sea

Monday, February 05, 2007

What's He Doing in There?

Painting again. Using the basement for something besides surfboard and LP storage. The canvas on the right is one that I've owed OS for some time now. I said I'd paint something for him when he bought a surfboard from me for way too much money, and now I'm finally coming through on my side of the bargain. Work in progress.

Tom Waits - What's He Doing in There?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Things Fall Apart

The center cannot hold, and all that. This was yesterday morning. I imagine that when people from other parts of the country think of Oregon surf, this is what they envision. A lot of times - especially in winter - this is what you get. Blown, chopped, chossed, crossed. Our most recent transplant to Oregon from California, Markarito (pictured), hasn't actually experienced really good surf here yet. He still works in LA often, so his surf trips here have been relatively limited.

He's got a lot to look forward to.

Danielson - Two Sitting Ducks