Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Blue Diamond Is Forever

A person I know who used to spend a lot of time with Yvonne Chouinard told me they were together once when he received a custom surfboard he'd ordered. As Yvonne opened the box with the biggest Cheshire grin his face, he said: "Every man should know the feeling of having a new surfboard on the way."

Without further ado: my winged diamond tail 2+1, shaped by Manuel Caro of Mandala. It has fluted wings, glass-on bamboo side fins from 101 Fin Company, and a semi-opaque blue resin tint from the Moonlight Glassing crew. Dimensions: 5'11 x 20.5 x 2.625 (or somthing). Skip Frye Flex Fin finds the path of least resistance through the water, allowing for speed and snap.

You'll get a better report once I ride the thing. Manny is putting it in the mail tomorrow.

The Mountain Goats - This Year

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Worth It

Last week I snuck out to the beach after putting in a long day of writing. I knew I'd be leaving town for a dry weekend, so I had to make the most of the smallish conditions. One peak was overrun with 10 or so surfers, so I paddled out at the second creek, opting for a steady flow of tiny waves all to myself. It was glassy and fun and I ran into Slim (right upper corner), who was putting his new Art Colyer-shaped "speed dialer" through its paces. Looking forward to blowing off more steam when the waves pick up a little this week!

The National - Daughters of the Soho Riots

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's Coming...

"Hi there, remember me?"

Just got word from Manny that he picked up my board and is getting ready to ship it. Hopefully it will get here before the south swell rolls on by... Oh, it's already almost gone!

Mark Kozelek - Have You Forgotten?
(It's going to be this pretty.)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Good Days

The swell came back in a big way on Saturday. When we got to Seaside, there were already 30 rubberized souls sitting in the rain on the righthander that was peeling perfectly back into the rip. I noticed that the left was going mostly unridden. We're talking shoulder to head high A-frames. The left wasn't quite as pretty, but I'm always willing to sacrifice a little quality for the chance to get a few more waves. Paddling out, I tried to avoid the crowd by choosing a route that put me outside the farthest longboarder. As soon as I made it to the outside, a set came through. I paddled past the first wave, and saw that the second one was perfectly lined-up for me and a longboarder who had position. Surprisingly, the logger backed off! I spun around quickly and did a two stroke entry into the steep face. It was a perfect right. I did a nice long bottom turn and flew down the line, past a bunch of guys who were most likely cursing my luck. Though I finally made it to the left side of the peak, that wave I caught within three minutes of hitting the water was my best of the day.

On our way home, OS and I speculated about how many really good days like that the North Coast of Oregon gets a year. I could only think of five or so days this year that I could call "epic," but then again, I only get out 2-3 times a week (if I'm lucky). We then started trying to devise a matrix to determine the quality of life a city offers by certain factors - like number of good surf days, snow days, climbing days, biking days, etc. available to the city dwellers.

What do you think?

My Morning Jacket - Off the Record

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bring on the Dancing Horses

Just got back from the doctor, where he put a microphone up to my wife's belly and we heard a sound that bore a striking resemblence to running horses. Time to make the announcement official: There's a little Chum on the way. This whole thing took us by surprise at first, but now we're starting to get used to the idea. I may be having to lean on the advice of some of the surfing papas out there in blogland to figure out how I'll maintain my paddling arms with a baby on board. Baby on board... Hm... How soon until can I start charging tandem with the little sprout?

Echo and the Bunnymen - Bring on the Dancing Horses

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Flat Spell

Sissyfish is in the throes of a flat spell. I've been distracted by work. The kind of work that grabs you by the ear and twists until you can only concentrate on one thing: Finishing the work. Luckily though, I have three things that get me through it:

1. It is truly flat out there (see picture above of a sinking logger from last session).
2. My surfboard is getting closer to being finished every day (right, Moonlighters?).
3. I just booked 3 weeks in Nica an hour ago (Playa Colorado for 2 weeks, Maderas for 1).

So please excuse my flatness. I'm sure it'll pick up very soon.

Guided by Voices - I Am a Scientist

(Click above to find out why!)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Mayor Goes Surfing

I'm sure everybody in SoCal has a memory of Rodney Bingenheimer. I used to go down to LA for the holidays in the '80s and record his KROQ shows on cassette, which I'd listen to for the rest of the year. Thanks to Rodney, I was a weird Oregon boy with a taste for the Ramones, the Smiths, and even Brian Wilson. With all this talk of people selling out in the surfboard industry on the Surfing Magazine Blog and other sites, I was reminded of a guy who did his job purely for the stoke (and never did get paid). If you haven't seen Mayor of the Sunset Strip, you should beg, borrow, steal, or even rent it.

Brian Wilson - Surf's Up

(Wowee! Now you can even hear the music link!)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Three Weeks in Nica

I'm planning my next surf trip and it looks like we'll be heading to the land of lefts, Nicaragua this summer. I'll be going south for three whole weeks with my wife and two other couples.

Here's the deal: This can't be a feral surf trip with the bros renting boats and living off the land in remote parts of the country. It has to be an accommodating situation for the ladies too. So far, we're pretty sure we'll end up in (or very close to) Playa Maderas. It sounds like a beach with a variety of breaks... albeit a little more crowded than what we'd hoped for. It's also 15 minutes from San Juan Del Sur, where we can have a nice dinner once in a while and give the gals some opportunities to connect back with civilization (boo).

Has anybody who reads this blog been there? Advice would be greatly appreciated before I book it!

Cocorosie - By Your Side
(Click above to hear the song!)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Kook Power!

During my last surf session, I must've heard the word "kook" used fifty times. On a log in front of the break the words, "Kooks Go Home!" is sprayed as a warning to anyone who doesn't understand the rules of the spot. When two kids in hoodies walked out on the rocks and tried to snap a picture, a barrage of "Fuck you, kooks!" and "No photos, kooks!" was thrown at the duo, who immediately lowered their camera and scurried back to the parking lot. The locals jokingly called eachother "kooks" when they blew waves or didn't make sections.

I sat in the lineup and felt somehow that after three years of paying my dues, I had earned the waves I got. But there was a time not too long ago that I was proud of being a kook.

When I started surfing, it had nothing to do with being cool or becoming a shredder. It was all about getting out of town with the boys and sharing crazy experiences. My first stick was a big plastic banana board with a flimsy 6-foot leash. I was so content to roll in my 4/3 wetsuit (bought at an online clearance house), get worked on the inside closeouts, surf tiny waves, and hoot and holler at every good set that came through, whether anyone was riding or not.

As a matter of fact, after thumbing through a couple surf mags and seeing the horrible ways surfing was being marketed to the masses, I decided that looking like a surfer was the last thing I wanted to do.

But I did get stoked. I surfed more and more and for longer sessions. My equipment changed gradually to a custom 7'0 egg, then to a 6'6 hybrid shape. Now I pull a $700 quad fish out of my bag and wear a 6/5 super-stretch hooded suit. I pick surf spots based on studying the online charts and don't even bother driving out to the beach if the swells are over 15 feet (we used to just go and play in the reforms).

Have I changed that much? I still think that mass-marketed surf culture is a joke, but now I try to support artisan shapers and buy quality outdoor gear. I get longer sessions because I'm warmer and better waves because I need them to satisfy my somewhat higher level of surfing. I know more about equipment and what works for me in the conditions we have up here.

Am I still a kook?

I still hoot at strangers on waves and grin from ear to ear after good rides--or good wipeouts. I look like a hodad most of the time (in and out of the water). I have no desire to boost airs.

If those things make me a kook, then I guess I still am--or at least I hope so.

The Kooks - Seaside

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rite (Left) of Passage

I did something today that I've wanted to do since I started this blog. Sorry, no photos this time...

New Order - Vanishing Point