Monday, December 31, 2007

RIP Doc 3

Actually, I had a feeling it was going to happen when I suited up. Chilly in the parking lot with Sis and CYT.

Big wave, I was too far inside. Turtled and had a moment when I considered holding onto the board and cartwheeling with it, which I've done before, but never on SUCH a big wave. So I let it go. I was jerked back and dragged under water with a lot of force by my leash. While I was cursing the leash, all of a sudden, I wasn't being tugged quite so hard and I knew. It wasn't a surprise when I surfaced to find myself attached to half a board.

What I don't get is that obviously my board was in one piece as I was being dragged. Not quite sure what happened to snap it in two while I was still under water.

Oh, well. I have to stop abusing my sanded glass boards. I love them because they're light, but I'm starting to think I should go epoxy at this rate.

So, it's a beater board winter for me! If you see a short round Asian girl frowning at a Raw 8'0" she inherited, that's me. I really dislike those Raw boards. No reason, really. I just find them incredibly plain and ugly. They look... functional.

I had promised my friend that I would fix the dinged up nose and the shattered tail and sell the board for him, but I never got around to it. Instead, I'm going to give him some cash and thrash the hell out of it on some winter waves. Should be fun.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Engagement Ring: His

We are talking to someone about my engagement ring. A hint.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

So, I wasn't crazy after all.

Forgoing the zoo of Big Wednesday, I was looking for something like a Mellow 6-Foot Thursday this morning. I got up when the dog alarm went off at 5am. Usually, Otis will go back to sleep for an hour and a half when you give him a sharp command, but today, I decided not to snooze the dog alarm and took him for a quick walk in the dark and off I was to see what the popular point was looking like. Mushy on the high tide and not that appealing.

So I headed back down to home break and thought I was going crazy because I SWORE I saw corners. But maybe my brain wasn't working, maybe there was not enough light for my feeble eyes, maybe it was a trick. No, there it was again. A corner.

And a curtain of water fell in the following set wave. But it wasn't really a CRASHING, HOLLOW sound. It was a high tide sound: a loud, but mushy sound, like a sumo wrestler stepped off the side of a pool and fell into jello.

Still, though, I thought I was crazy. It wasn't until Mr. Love came around with his enthusiasm that I decided standing around getting cold was ridiculous when I could be paddling in and seeing for myself.

That first paddle-out wasn't too bad. I waited for the lull and was able to scratch over the rolling waves.

But then I got frustrated. I sat and waited and paddled for rollers that wouldn't break. I pulled off of things that looked like close-outs. I was starting to think I'd have to take one of those if I wanted anything. Finally, Sensei J told me that there was shape. "Even the ones that look like close-outs, there's shape, just get on it and you can go down the face!"


So a perfect example popped up. It had just enough shape as it approached to make me turn around to paddle into position. As it got closer, it loomed over like it was going to close, but I took the advice and just went. Speed speed speed and I was turning into the bottom turn going frontside when I realized that I could look up at the wave. And I could see that I wasn't fast enough or in trim enough to make the shoulder.

But it was good enough.

I got caught inside in a hole on a set, so I gave up trying to paddle in at that spot and walked out and back up the beach to a spot with easier entry.

The next right was much better. I actually had some shoulder time.

Started paddling back out when I saw a rogue wave rising out of the water. The giant curtain of water started to come down and I was in exactly the WRONG SPOT. There was no way to duck or turtle, so I ditched my board and dove through the wave. (When was the last time I ditched my board?!) The wave pushed me down and took the board, so I was being dragged underwater by my leash. (When's the last time I wore a leash?!)

No fun! (But in a way, it IS fun!) Woo!

I may not understand the need for speed on two wheels, but I totally get the thrill from dropping down a nice-sized face of water.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Two-wheelin' it

The timing could not have been better. After a first big wash of rain on Friday, I was not about to get into the ocean until the prescribed 72-hours was done. Luckily, my fiance (yes, that's right, we're engaged) had signed us up for a motorcycle riding class for the weekend.

I've always wanted to learn and he got revved up by some riding co-workers when he expressed interest.

The class we took was really great. Highly recommended if you're just thinking about riding for recreation because it scares the bejeezus out of you. Basically, we learned how every element out there on the road is out to get you. After the classroom, you get about 10 hours on the bike over two days. The first day it was thrilling. I found out that I am good at going fast around corners, but I suck at the slow, tight figure-eights. My wrists and forearm muscles started getting stressed because the clutch and brake levers were too wide for my tiny hands.

By the second day, I think the novelty wore off. I was really good at finding neutral whenever we were idling because my left hand started having spasms from gripping the clutch. And, by the end of the day, even though I finally started getting the hang of slow, tight figure-eights and got to blast through off-set weaves, I couldn't help but see riding as a really expensive hobby.

I'd love to hear from Whiff or Sis's husband or any other riders. I'm sure I'm missing something about motorcycles. I had fun and am glad I learned the basics, but I didn't get the bug, that's for sure.

On the other hand, I had the bug for surfing even before I caught a legit wave.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bound by the Leash

Miss Sis's post got me to thinking more about what I'd already been thinking. Going leashless improved my surfing exponentially. I've learned how to control my board and kick-out and I have a greater comfort in crowds because going leashless has made me more confident in my abilities.

I have another girlfriend who went leashless this year and you can see the difference in how she relates to the wave -- she looks comfortable and in trim. She's finishing her waves instead of hopping off the board. She is leaps and bounds better than some of the other people who have been surfing alongside her for the same amount of time.

As for me, it doesn't even occur to me to put on a leash if it's waist-high (chest-high if there is shape). It's a little weird when surf buddies greet me on the way down to the water with, "No leash?" I take a look at the easy waves and wonder if they even see the same thing I do.

Put me firmly in the "leashes suck" camp. I mean, how could I even consider doing a coffin-reverse coffin if I was tied down with a leash?

Monday, November 12, 2007

I like surfing

Go figure.

Small waves, big board, some shape. Home break this weekend. Kinda stupid fun. Evidenced by my coffin-reverse coffin move on one knee-boarded wave.

I knee-boarded because the wave was too small for me to get into otherwise. I ended up kneeling too far up on the board, and being leashless, I will hold onto the board with anything, even my ass. I somehow found myself lying ass-down on the board with my head at the tail. Through the white-water, I saw Bart laughing at me so I waved. Somehow, as the white-water got more turbulent the closer to shore I got, and I found myself having done a full 180 turn, still ass-down, with my head at the nose of the board. I was in hysterics all the way back into the line-up.

That was the stupid fun. The serious fun was cross-stepping to the nose, carving on some shoulder, kicking-out, and calling a dude off a wave. That last one is important to me. Being mellow and non-confrontational about people taking off in front of me, I'm starting to take heed of the regular guys who want us girls who can surf to take on some of the burden and to start calling out the newbies and kooks when they breach etiquette.

I was up and setting up for a nice backside topturn when I saw a guy on a little fishy windmilling his arms for the shoulder in front of me. His chin was touching the board and he was looking straight down the stringer, so I called out, "Hey! I'm up!" He backed off and I was able to turn and carve to the end of the wave. And, yeah, my ego threw in some extra style as I rode past just to let him know that I surfed WAY better than he did. :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

What to do in Kauai when it's flat

In no particular order:

  • Kayak any of the rivers
  • Drive/hike Waimea canyon
  • Eat poi
  • Drink beer while listening to the 20 mph trade winds whistle through your bottle
  • Have sex
  • Watch local team news coverage about the SuperFerry
  • Attend a cheesy luau for the first time (and never have to do that again)
  • Boat ride up the Na Pali Coast
  • Look at all the beautiful breaks that aren't breaking
  • Snorkel
  • Tube through abandoned irrigation shafts
  • Chase a chicken
  • Chase a rooster
  • Contemplate over a mai tai what came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • Wonder why mai tais are so popular
  • Drink more beer
  • Go to bed at 9pm since all the restaurants have closed
  • Buy a ukelele

It was a week in flat paradise. I had reserved a surf lesson for my boyfriend in Hanalei, but we got there early and I made the unfortunate decision to check out the break first. Flat. There were about eight students and teachers on the ten yard swatch of bay that was breaking. It was as if you took ten yards of my home break on a weekend day in summer and plopped it in the middle of a lake and put an invisible forcefield around it. We cancelled the lesson.

The trade winds are amazing, though. It created some spectacular windswell on the East side, but if I wanted to surf sloppy, victory-at-sea conditions, I would have stayed home. But I loved how those tradewinds felt. I wanted to breathe in as much of it as I could.

On one of our trips on the two-lane highway to Waimea Canyon on the south side of the island, I saw silver-haired surfers with giant boards parked along the railing and disappearing into the trees. I made my boyfriend park the car and we followed the red dirt trail through the brush and was greeted with an empty beach as far as the eye could see to the right. To the left was a rock jetty and beyond that were about five stand-up paddlers catching long ankle-high lefts off a reef further off.

Welcome to Infinities. It might have just been the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. What would have been more beautiful would be if there were some size and right-hand waves.

The south swell began to roll in a day before my departure. In anticipation, the night before, I'd rented a beat-up epoxy 9'0" 2+1 longboard which was badly weighted forward (maybe from all the repaired dings). My long-suffering boyfriend and I drove straight to Infinities on Tuesday morning. He sat on the beach while I made the long paddle-out to the reef where I was the only chick in a tanned group of 7 or 8 guys which included one stand-up paddler. The waves were waist-high when they came in. Long lulls. But I smiled at everybody and whooped the best waves and made some friends so the vibe was pleasant and, hey, I wasn't in a wetsuit!

I didn't get the best waves of the day, but it was good enough. Long feathering lefts held up by the tradewinds coming off- and side-shore. Easy vacation waves.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I hate surf shops

I tried putting on Yakima hard racks yesterday, anticipating a trip north this weekend with plenty of time to surf before going to a wedding.

In the boxes (and the running score):
- four Q-towers (+-0)
- five base pads, one is attached to a tower (+1)
- four stickers, two are already stuck to two towers (+1)
- three end caps, I guess I don't really need all of them (+-0)
- four clips (+-0)
- zero allen wrench, but I scavenged one that kinda fit (-1)
- zero locking houses (-5)

Obviously someone had bought this package, opened it, thought it was too hard to put together, and sent it back to Val Surf who re-sold it without checking the contents.


I could also complain that my boyfriend didn't demand that the sales person check the contents, but he also bought it for me as a birthday present months ago, so I can't complain too much there.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Boogie, Bob, and Weave

Boogie board - sheeee-it am I sore today. Paddled out into the line-up and breathed heavily while Surf Sister and Riab laughed and laughed and laughed. Thanks for your support, girls.

Cooperfish. Okay. I didn't need it, but I couldn't resist. I bought Sensei J's V-bottom board this weekend. After catching close-out after close-out on the boogie board, I didn't have the energy to paddle out AGAIN, so I traded the sponge for something easier... a surfboard.

Of course, paddling and taking off are fine on the V-bottom. Turning is a different story. On not so shapely waves, making a balanced turn on that board is more than challenging, it's downright comical. I saw D laughing at me as I paddled back out into the line-up and he said all he saw was my head bobbing and weaving uncontrollably. Thanks for your support, guy.

I see there's some kind of energy in the water. I'm taking my bobbing and weaving new board to somewhere with fewer close-outs tomorrow.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Needing to surf, no matter how unappealing the waves were, I trundled out with Doc III. The waves were better than they looked.

Short rides with a bottom, a top turn, and then a good launch off the bottom again to KICK OUT. (Frontside, of course.) It was all about the kick-out today.

My last wave had me a little befuddled. Frontside turn and I found wave that was going to jack up and pitch. I ended up high on the wave caught between thinking I should kick-out and thinking I could actually make a top turn and see where the wave went.

In the end, I did neither and chickened out of what probably would have been a cover-up. Instead, the wave took the board on a heavy rotation and I leaned back deciding I'd rather swim than get clobbered by the rail of the board. Curious. I actually realized that if I'd had more courage and derring-do, I'd have stepped forward and leaned into the rail that was wave-side so my board might not start pitching, and I might actually have gotten barreled. I wouldn't have made it out and I probably would have gotten a black eye, but I might actually have gotten barreled if I had just known what to do.

It's one of those a-ha! moments I treasure about surfing even if I sucked and didn't go with the epiphany.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Surfing, waiting

Last weekend was super fun. No more to report than that.

This weekend I was landlocked in my Illinois hometown for a wedding. I grew up with cornfields in my backyard which eventually got turned into a Wal-Mart when I was in high school. I drove by and found the Wal-Mart had closed, but only because there's a bigger swankier location just off the highway.

Right now I'm waiting for my poker-playing surgeon of a brother to get here so we can go to the beach. I'm not sure what to bring for him because the beach break might be closed out. Should I put him on Cooperfish to catch the whitewater because at least it's stable? Should I put him on Doc III because at least it's only 9'0" and less mass for a newbie to negotiate? Should I just screw it and toss him my boogie board?

Yes, I bought a boogie board and fins a couple of weeks ago. I've only been out on it once, but geez is it harder than it looks! What was an easy paddle-out on a longboard becomes a session of getting tossed around in the impact zone. I felt like such a kook. And then catching a wave was an exercise in sheer panic-denial. I looked down the line as this thing was jacking up, my longboarding self wondered who in their right minds takes off on this?!

Still, it was fun... and much easier to carry out to the beach.

Poker-playing Dr. Brother just called and bailed. He ground out $6 in winnings and got home at 5am.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What happens in the Water

After a frustrating Friday at work and a Saturday of old familial rhythms you thought you grew out of, on Sunday you send everybody off bon-voyage-"here's your hat, what's your hurry"-style and make a break for the beach later than you normally would. At mid-morning, the hourly parking lot is already filled and, instead of circling around and around, you pony up the day-long fee because you're about ready to jump out of your skin. You flip off your early morning buddies who are out of the water but who are heading back to the sand to loiter under the sun.

The black pavement of the parking lot is hot. The sand is hot. Your collar is hot and you speak too loudly to your buddies loitering at the water's edge. Who cares about the surf report? It's small and crowded, and just because of everything racing around your head, the water looks better than it ever did.

You can't get in fast enough.

You can't get a wave either. The brain isn't working as fast as the body and the body just reacts to the freedom of the water. All the pent-up energy pours out in a flailing of limbs. By the time the body tires out, the brain takes over and feels the water and sees the waves and helps you identify the catchable waves.

And there are a few waves under your feet. They center you in the moment. A drop-knee turn calms your jerky movements. You suddenly don't feel like you need to paddle full-speed to the buoy.

And you try to comprehend what just happened. Why you're sitting there. Why you feel better. Why you felt so bad before. You sound out to a buddy floating in the water and he sounds back... a sounding board for insights found in the water. A split wave sends you twice as far from each other and you're alone with those pressing thoughts again.

A paddle-out to the buoy doesn't sound like a bad idea. But it's not frantic, it's steady. It's even. Alone and facing the horizon, you can't see the condos and apartments, the cars and parking lot, the beach chairs and boogie boards. Alone and facing the horizon, you can't hear the humanity behind you. When you're ready, you can paddle back.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Not very inspiring surf this weekend, but I was out there anyway to be social. The last thirty minutes of my Sunday surf saw me on my belly for every single wave. I figured the waves were not worth my energy to stand up, so I just started goofing around. I have to say, speeding along with my face against the tiny face of the wave and getting covered up in weak knee-high waves was pretty fun. I'm thinking of getting a boogie board and fins for close-out days.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Purposeful Donkey

I was really hoping to make a debut on the Donkey site, so I did everything I could today. Luckily, one of the owners of the Rocker Board Shop was out with her video camera, so I'm pretty sure my best wave of the day has been immortalized. Even lazier than normal, I took off on a wave and decided popping up was too much effort. I sped down the line on my belly, trimming like I'd never done on my feet, right in the curl. I should probably take more waves like that.

I also tried one on my knees with a transition to my ass, but by then, the whitewater was too turbulent and I donkeyed into the water with absolutely no grace.

I actually had real rides, too, but the most fun was taking pics of Handsome John's ass with my Frogeye camera as I chased him on a wave. I hope I got his cross-step in a shot because it's a beautiful thing to behold. I AM referring to his cross-step.

I'll try to develop the pics this week (yes, film!) and I'm pretty sure all of them are going to be bad.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two surf-a-thons

Unfortunately, I have two weddings to go to in the Bay Area during each of these events. Otherwise, here are two surf-a-thons I would gladly attend:

Surf Dog for the Helen Woodward Animal Center - at Del Mar, September 9

Make A Wave Project for Oceana: Protecting the World's Oceans - at my home break (shhhhhh!!!), September 22-23

By the way, check out the picture of the surfer snapping off the lip on the Make A Wave website. That is Most Honorable Sensei Master Frank.


Four days on Cooperfish made me donkey on Doc this morning. It was still hella fun, but Oy! fast fast fast. Tried to out-think the wave while the board was speeding along finding trim all by itself. I was just along for the ride. I had two opportunities (ie. lefts with shape) to get good backside kick-outs, but I did no more than power squat like I had to really GO, you know? Froze up and laid two big donkeys.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Small daze

Small waves, giant board, no leash, a dozen surf school students. Them's odds I like.

Small waves means I get to screw around on a giant board with no leash using a dozen buoys as an obstacle course. I haven't expounded lately on my giant Cooperfish because I haven't been riding it since I got Doc III, but for giggles I took him out and rediscovered the fun.

Today was even smaller than yesterday if possible and there seemed to be a plethora of boards to try. Board swap! Johnny R brought an old school POP board which Sensei J rode most of the session, leaving his new V1 Cooperfish lonely on the beach. It was just out of pity, really, that I asked to take it out for a spin. The V1 has a V-bottom and a really hard tail. I really don't know how to explain it, you just have to see it. Here's an example, but it's even more pronounced in person. The V-Bottom makes turning interesting. It's not a real forgiving board (as I found out on my first face-plant) so you're constantly managing your balance, but it's wicked fun once you dial it into the wave.

I seem to get extremely tired after sessions on small days. I think it's the amount of paddling that I have to do to get into waves as compared to my lazy efforts on big days. Small days also encourage me to keep going back for more waves, especially if the shape improves with the tide push like it did today.

Small days in the sun on a weekend with a growing crowd also make me appreciate how far along I've come in this whole surfing thing. I used to get really nervous and tense and not take waves because I'd be scared to hit someone. Now, I'm amazed at how relaxed I am. I think a big reason has to do with the kick-out. Like some worn Yu-Gi-Oh! card I got tucked in my boardshorts, I throw out Magic Rearing Kick Dragon to save me whether my opponent be Cursed Foam Board or Closing Jaws of Death Water.

Oh, there's also a wonderful thing that comes with more experience in the water: Trust. Yesterday, I found myself paddling out after a wave and I saw Johnny R taking off on a wave. I could see the ideal line he would have wanted to draw and I was in it. In a similar situation six years ago, I ditched my board in a panic and got yelled at. Yesterday, I paddled like a mad-woman for the shoulder and trusted Johnny R would go around me, hoping it wouldn't ruin his ride too much. He was fine because he's got skills. I was fine because he's got skills.

Today, I'd taken a pretty so-so wave in on the V1 and turned around to see a pretty so-so wave with Dancer and SurfSister both on it. Sis was closest to me, and I shifted to the side as best I could to give her some room to play. I knew Sis saw me and and I trusted her to keep her board under control. Not a moment of panic.

I think trust is a good skill to acquire in surfing. Trust in yourself, trust in others. Trust that the ocean is unpredictable and you have to open up your senses to take in all that is around you.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Why am I so excited about this?

(Salvatore Laporta / Getty Images)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fourth and weekend

I met SurfSis on the mid-week July 4th holiday in Bolsa because there was a south swell and a lot of low-tide: a combination that causes close-outs up and down SaMo and Venice. Even at 6:30am, I was met with a LINE going into the state beach. Fathers had packed up the hibachis, the charcoal, the boards, and the kids and thrown them in giant vehicles. All up and down the beach (I REPEAT, AT 6:30AM!!!) families were digging in, entrenching themselves as if the British were invading again.

Got some nice waves, a baby backside kick-out, and a really long walk back to the car. As Sister and I got out of the water, she jokingly said it would take us 30 minutes to walk back. After I started chaffing in unmentionable places because of the walk, I realized her joking was going to be our reality.

All in all, a good holiday surf.

Saturday, I stayed local because of time commitments on my day. But I was up at 4am and, after loitering and reading and getting to the beach at 7am, I realized I should not have listened to all the reports of "smaller size" and I should have driven my lazy butt out to take a gander. I arrived at home break to see head-high close-outs and I kicked myself because I probably could have done a DP run to some better break.

Instead, I got a coffee and watched the show. A surf school was out and newbies provided cringe-worthy entertainment. But there were some stars, too. Sir Richard was getting his share of one second rides down-and-up. And Sensei J was pulling into every barrel he could find. I'd see the dark shadow of his form behind the curtain of water before the whole wave exploded on top of him.

I called Sister to give her the grim report and she breathlessly told me that it was big at Bolsa. I was resolute in joining her on Sunday. I invited Sensei J along and we carpooled down. Faced with head-high A-frames he ran out into the ocean ahead of us.

I had some good waves. Nothing terribly spectacular because I realized I was barely in control on these larger waves. There's a mind-shift that has to happen and I wasn't really jump-starting the brain. Not a moment of panic because, I realized, surfing OP and its close-outs regularly makes head-high waves with shape a piece of cake to take-off on. My problem is finding the sweet spot fast enough and making my brain work fast enough. I had a really nice left that I probably could have managed to make the closing section, but I saw the lip feathering and I instinctually went low and grabbed the rail to pop over the wave. I kicked myself when I realized I should have done a top-turn and come down PROBABLY to find more shoulder on the other side.

I lost both Sensei J and SurfSister in the drift. We all had different thresholds of paddling to stay in place. Since memories of chaffing were too fresh in my mind, I vowed not to walk more than 2 lifeguard towers.

The worst thing today was facing a rogue outside wave coming right at me. I turtled, knowing full well that this beast was going to take my board and flip me into a cartwheel with it. At least I can say I didn't let go. Unfortunately, the amount of water that ran across my face also forced out my right contact. The next thirty minutes was spent having absolutely no depth perception and getting a little dizzy.

For those who understand the numbers, I am nearsighted and have a prescription for something around -13 and -14. They don't even make soft contacts strong enough to correct me to 20/20 vision. So losing the contact in my dominant eye REALLY put a kink in my ability to catch a wave. To make matters worse, there was a little lull because NO ONE around me was catching waves.

Finally, I got a little right in and walked about five minutes to the car, hoping that, if I had a spare set of contacts, I'd be able to go in for another 30 minutes. Oh well. I was just glad I didn't drive.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Baby got Backside Kick-out?

I need help, tips, some boot camp barking, or anything else anyone can spare to help me figure out the backside kick-out.

This past weekend's small waves were happy times for me to go unleashed. I absolutely LURVE surfing sans leash. If I were a guy, I imagine it's kind of like hanging free if you know what I mean.

My frontside kick-out, though not the spectacular arc some of the local stars exhibit, is at least in my control 99% of the time. I feel powerful when I can throw the board over the lip before the dumpy wall hits me.

My problem is the backside kick-out. I rely too much on the rail grab to punch through the dumpy wall. I know I need to stop the crouch, but my instinct is to hold onto the board so I don't have to swim to get it. My addled brain won't let go of this crutch.

Anybody with sage advice on how to get a backside kick-out going? This might just be my next surfing goal.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Me the nerd

Is it bad that I am outwardly rejecting applications for our job posistion when the first sentence reads, "I am responding to your add for a producer's assistant."

Is it bad that I trash resumes of people who don't know how to use apostrophes?

Is it bad that the American public school system obviously no longer teaches grammar?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Go slow or go fast?

This weekend I was back at the home break with all its humans and human effluvia. I witnessed Sis's kook magnet, but strangely, even with all the people in the line-up, I didn't have a problem and got my share of waves. Maybe part of it was my whole goal for Saturday was to NOT get my head in the water. It made me very picky about the sort of waves I took and it made me kick-out early. Not a drop of water went up my nose. Sunday I wasn't so lucky. My back-side kick-out is pretty much non-existent and I got dunked once.

Sunday also brought with it the joys of a sunny Saturday at the beach: trash floating in the water. I stuffed my wetsuit sleeves with floating bags, grabbed a wave all the way to shore, walked up to the trash bin and pulled out plastic bags like a hobo magician. I did this four times.

I was on my fifth paddle-out when a drowning moth floated over the surface of my board. Without thinking, I picked it out of the water and let it rest on my hand. Now I was stuck sitting on my board, responsible for a living thing, and no way to get to shore. I thought the best thing to do would be to kill it fast instead of letting it die slowly covered in salt water, unable to fly.

One of our loudest local guys agreed. He's a tough lookin' dude, so I held out my hand and asked him to kill it. "No way! I can't do that shit!"

Help came in the form of the biggest plastic bag of the day. It was thick plastic like something used to package products in the factory for shipping. I felt my feet get caught in it and I kicked it up to grab it with my left hand; the moth still in my right. Without thinking too long about it, I smashed my right hand into the plastic in my left and then crushed the whole thing up into a wad the size of a baseball. I stuffed it into the sleeve of my wetsuit and looked for a wave to take me to the trash can. I didn't have too much time to think about how we so conveniently use plastic to shield us from the ickiness of life (think about all that neatly shrink-wrapped meat at the grocery store). A wave came and I took my death package to shore.

My last bag of the day came from a Spanish language mercado. "El Super: Cuesta menos!" it read in bold colors. How appropriate. "Costs less!" It's our untiring consumption of cheap goods that is a major source of economic and class inequity as well as the more obvious pollution problem. I wondered if we were going slow or going fast. One of our biggest weaknesses is our inability to see how our actions affect life beyond our lifetimes. We live just long enough to begin to understand the consequences of our actions, but we also live short enough lives to be able to justify our selfish choices.

Sometimes it feels like a slow march to annihilation, but I wonder if maybe a giant hand might pick us up out of the water and decide that it's better if we go fast?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

H2O Anxiety

All week I had anxiety when I thought about getting into that water in Santa Monica. Seriously, my palms would start sweating. I knew I had to get in the water - being a month out - but I couldn't do it in water where there would be potentially high human effluvia.

So I drove to County and had a good time catching some okay waves on Saturday. The ones that didn't close out were kind of soft and my timing was off, so I dug a rail more than once and bunked some decent shoulders. Decent size - maybe chest-high on the tweeners. And when the infrequent set wave did come through it was probably head high, but I was always in the wrong spot. I had an onslaught of sneezes about an hour into my session and my sinuses started closing up so I couldn't quite breathe through my nose. This makes me think I might just be allergic to the ocean.

On my drive home, I talked to Suzy Q who let me know that Venice was closed again because of a sewage spill in Ballona Creek which just made me happy I'd driven 45 minutes to County. I'm not sure I can ever surf at home again.

Today, I met Suzy Q and we drove to RPB, which is really still too close to civilization for my health, but I figured I'd be able to keep my head out of the water on those easy waves.

I have to admit to having a stick up my butt about RPB. Too many people, too soft of waves, too much paddling. I have tended to be really tense when I've gone there in the past. This time, though, was easy. It was weird. We positioned ourselves between the bathrooms and the point and I found myself easily sliding into waves with confidence. It was easy to spot who you can take off in front of because they wouldn't be able to turn and it was easy to steer my board around those paddling out. My last wave Suzy Q and I had already loudly announced we were taking in so we "shared" it with one other guy. It was challenging to chase Suzy Q within two feet and manipulate the speed of my ride so I wouldn't run into her. The guy was much further behind me on this very slow wave, so I wasn't worried that we were ruining his wave.

It was a good day. It went a long way in easing my anxiety about polluted water and it made me see I haven't completely lost what little skill I had.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

That goddamn water

I'm a little afraid to get back in the water. I'm not talkin' being afraid of big waves or sharks or kooking out. I'm afraid of the pollution in the Santa Monica Bay.

In Vegas this weekend, I could NOT taste the foie gras or the fallow deer. And I mean COME ON! FALLOW DEER! I can kid myself for only so long that I enjoy eating the foods I CAN taste... the sweet and acidic and tart things. Tomatoes exploded like light bright stars in my mouth. The cherries and reduction complimenting the foie gras were rich and tart. And the lobsters in the lobster salad were cool and sweet.

That's all very well and good, but I don't normally crave sweet things. The things I am normally drawn to... the savory things, the dark rich tones of shiitake or liver... they are tasteless because of this sinus infection brought on by surfing in red tide over a month ago.

I'm still dosing myself with antibiotics. Today marks one week of medicine. And my calendar says I am free this weekend to surf, but I really can't see myself out there.

It's not that I'm sleeping in. Today, I was up at 6am and decided to make use of that gym membership I've been paying for. I suppose I could have gone for a surf, but I told myself I wanted to finish reading the book I started last night so I read while I pedaled... stationary, but my mind was racing with the words. The stories distracted me from the fact that I wasn't surfing.

I'm really kind of paralyzed when I think about that goddamn water.

The idea of dousing my head with polluted water from the Santa Monica Bay this weekend freakin' scares the livin' crap out of me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Foodie senses no Flavor

So, I'm awake early on Friday morning. I COULD go surfing... the first time in nearly two weeks. Instead, I opt to read the paper and do some gardening at first light. Why? Ever since dipping into the ocean almost three weeks ago, unknowingly in a red tide, I haven't been able to smell a thing. Surfing in Santa Monica while Venice was closed to a sewage spill a week later didn't help things either.

I toughed it out most of this time, hoping that being out of the water and doing some saline wash would eventually get whatever was going on. It didn't look like an infection (and I know this because I carefully examine what blows out onto the tissue after I make loud honking noises).

Finally, this week, I started a course of antibiotics (a prescription I refilled two months ago "just in case") because I'm going to Vegas this weekend. A town known to most as smoky casinos and ringing slots appears to me like a hedonistic playpen. Not only are there twinkly lights to amuse and sexy postures posted everywhere, but there are the expensive, quiet little corners with some absolutely fine food.

I am making another visit to Picasso at the Bellagio where I once had a melt-in-your-mouth black bass and a beautifully rich foie gras paired with a sweet citrus sauce. I would really like to taste tonight's menu, so I hope the antibiotics have done enough since I began taking them on Tuesday.

I think there has been progress. I'm breathing easier at night and the last couple of days of honking have resulted in some evidence that I did indeed have a sinus infection. Those particular sinuses were just so inflamed that they weren't letting anything go. I'm going to go have a bagel with some lox spread and see if I can taste it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What I saw in the drugstore ad section

The part of me that came up with the "Paris Hilton = Christ Figure" theory was absolutely thrilled when I heard Becks and Posh were coming to Los Angeles. This photo in the drugstore ad section of the mailer gave me that thrilling tingle all over again!

David Beckham: Instinct

Oh, christ. I just did a search to find out what people thought of this fragrance and I just found an even BETTER advertisement.

Hello, I'm David. Do you like my tummy?

I have no idea how he boned up on his modeling skills and kept such a pretty face all those years playing for the English Premier League.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bombs on the beach

Yet another reason why Man sucks...

May 15, 2007
After Ordnance Scare, Beachgoers Told to Dig With Care

SURF CITY, N.J., May 14 — Sun worshipers coming to this Jersey Shore town should be happy that the closed beaches will soon be reopening. But they might want to rethink what they bring.

Pail and small shovel: check. Sand spade and metal detector: skip. Beach umbrella: proceed with caution.

After removing 1,111 pieces of potentially explosive military ordnance from the sand and surf, the United States Army Corps of Engineers is ready to declare the beaches here and in neighboring Ship Bottom safe and recommend that they be reopened in time for Memorial Day.

So, once the State Department of Environmental Protection approves, the “Beach Closed” signs will come down. But in their place will be new signs prohibiting beachgoers from using metal detectors or digging deeper than a foot into the sand. These “land-use controls” will be posted at every entrance and on every lifeguard stand along the 1.4 miles of affected beach on Long Beach Island.

“We really don’t expect anybody to find anything, but you don’t know,” George Follett, an explosives safety specialist for the Army Corps who has been overseeing the removal of the devices, said on Monday. “If there’s a lot of wave action, something might be uncovered.” Keith Watson, the project manager, said he did not expect umbrellas to pose a problem, but children digging too deep might be warned to ease off.

The corps will be holding training sessions with all police, fire and beach personnel, and any interested citizens, about how to handle situations should they arise, Mr. Watson said.

“We’ll be training badge checkers and lifeguards what to look out for,” he said, “and when they see someone digging too far, they’ll politely tell them not to. It’s all part of the public relations.”

It is one public relations campaign that Joe Muzzillo, who owns a Surf City beach shop, could live without. Or maybe not. After hearing that sand castle building and hole digging would be restricted, Mr. Muzzillo decided to skip buying any sand toys and umbrellas for his shop, Exit 63 WearHouse. Instead of the beach paraphernalia, the store’s back wall is now lined with T-shirts that carry slogans like “Save a Tourist — Find a Bomb,” “Surf City’s Da Bomb” and “I Got Bombed on L.B.I.,” for Long Beach Island.

Aside from a couple of complaints, reactions to the shirts have been “98 percent positive,” Mr. Muzzillo said. Still, he’s predicting a weak summer. “Even if the beach is open, I think it’s going to suffer,” he said. “If kids can’t dig and do the normal things kids do, it could be kind of traumatic, especially when they hear the explanation for why. Is a kid ever going to want to dig in the sand again?”

Mary Madonna, the Surf City borough clerk, said the borough has had an ordinance that prohibits digging more than 12 inches at the beach since 2002, when a boy in nearby Loveladies died after digging a deep tunnel that collapsed on him. But she and others at Borough Hall could not say how strictly the law has been enforced.

In Ship Bottom, where about 10 percent of the beaches are affected by the new guidelines, a regulation against digging deep holes also exists, but Mayor William Huelsenbeck said that there was no set depth and that enforcement was left to the discretion of lifeguards.

“We’ve always discouraged deep holes; nothing will change,” Mayor Huelsenbeck said. “Kids can use their shovels and pails. As for metal detectors, certainly we would discourage people from trying to look for these things.”

The explosives problem arose on March 5 when a resident using a metal detector came upon a rusted military fuze, an ignition device incorporating mechanical or electric elements, buried in the sand. Believed to have been dumped off the sides of ships sometime during World War I, the discarded military munitions lay on the ocean floor for 90 years or more, according to Mr. Follett. Last fall, the Army Corps dredged up 500,000 cubic yards of sand from the bottom of the Atlantic as part of a $9 million beach replenishment program for Surf City and part of Ship Bottom.

The joy of getting new, wider beaches was quickly diminished by the discovery of the ordnance, which corps officials said could cause injury or death if detonated.

For the past six weeks, contractors hired by the corps have been sweeping every inch of the replenished beach, using equipment that Mr. Watson and Mr. Follett said could detect devices as deep as three feet with 95 percent accuracy.

At the start of the cleanup effort, Mr. Follett said, the contractors were finding as many as 40 to 50 devices a day. On Monday, doing a second sweep of the areas stirred up by the recent northeaster, the crews found one device. The cleanup has cost $2.3 million to date, according to Mr. Watson, who added that the corps might have to undertake a similar effort next winter.

“Beaches are a dynamic thing,” he said. “We’re not leaving. We’ll follow it through to the end.”

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sinus swoosh

Must remember to not make excuses about squirting saline solution up my nose. I'm getting back to a more frequent DP during the week and while rushing around to get ready for work I think, "Nah, I can skip the saline thing this time. What's it gonna hurt?"

I don't know if it was a psychosomatic response to Sister's post on toxic algae blooms or an actual sinus reaction to polluted LA County ocean water, but the result was the same. By the end of the day yesterday, I had a HUGE sinus pressure headache that made me want to take a giant mallet to my face.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back to DP

This weekend I was back to dawn patrol surf on Friday and Saturday. Not stellar surf, but Friday I was pretty stoked to have my first good day on the new board. After it wacked out my knee about six weeks ago, I was wondering if I was ever gonna be able to control it.

Saturday, I traded boards with Sensei J and of course he immediately took off on two great lefts one after the other. After a while, he paddled back to me and said, "Your board is cursed." Evidently, he was trying to make it around one last section close to shore when the wave came up and the board flipped him and he reinjured himself by throwing out his back. After taking out my knee and his back, obviously, I should rename Doc III to "Killer." I feel bad, but SurfSister said there's no reason for me to feel bad. She's right. Sensei J is one of the best surfers I know. It's his own fault he's getting old.

Sunday, I surfed second shift because I wanted to surf with a couple of my girlfriends. Gray skies. Cold water. Some awesome lefts. I like the social nature of second shift because there is a comraderie amongst surfers, but I have to admit I prefer dawn patrol. First light and still streets are a calming way to wake-up in a city.

Friday, April 27, 2007


It was my first good day on Doc III. Rights! Lefts! No rail grabs! Turning, kicking out... and, I know this is a longboard, but I swear I snapped a little spray.


That is all.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Weekday Surf!

Finally made it out to a weekday surf. This was the first since... since... shee-it, I don't know when.

Not the greatest of shapes and the water was still cold, but I got enough wave-time to start feeling the new board. (And to start challenging the muscular atrophy I've developed over the last few months.) I was still hesitant on the turns, but my back foot was starting to understand how to direct the turns on Doc III. I found that being a little vocal helped me figure things out. Archer John heard me "ahh!"-ing at a wave going frontside. Bottom turn. "Ahh!" Top turn. "Ahh!" Trim and kick-out. "Ahh!"

(Not so much of an "A-ha!" kind of noise. More like a "Ahh! Am I going to make this? Thank God!" kind of noise.)

So I can kind of turn going right. I don't know about left yet. I found mostly right shoulders today... probably just a matter of my comfort level right now. My knee feels more protected when I'm going frontside.

The lefts I did take seemed to be steeper and faster than the rights. I relied on my old crutch, the rail grab, on the lefts. Fun, fast, but not much skill involved in racing down the face and pulling into a close-out using your hands.

Glad to have a weekday surf. Hopefully more to come!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Can turn, can't turn

Last Saturday, I met up with Surf Sister and her compatriots at Bolsa. First time back in the water since I messed up my knee, so I wanted something I knew I could handle and turn... weirdly, that's my 9'8" Cooperfish Hornet. I sat in the water for a while, just enjoying being back. I also realized my knee was not 100% as I kicked my legs underwater after a turtle and it felt a little funky. Most waves that day were backing off and you really had to paddle. I ended up playing mindgames with myself on a lot of the bigger waves. At the critical moment of take-off, I'd have a flash of memory when I hyper-extended my knee. I pulled back every time. I just wasn't sure I could pop up comfortably.

When I finally did get into a wave so I could turn, I could feel my knee creaking. It didn't hurt, but I was aware of every movement in the joint. I started realizing exactly how much your knee torques to make a turn. In all, it wasn't a great day, but it was a good start.

What made it kind of a great day was taking doggie to Huntington Dog Beach. There is nothing that embodies joy quite like a dog running full speed on the beach and changing direction so sand goes flying.

This Saturday, I sucked it up and took Doc III out to home break. I knew high tide plus swell was going to give some mushy peaks. The frustration of paddling for nothing didn't phase me. I figured I needed the pointless work-out after weeks of being land-locked. What was surprising, frustrating, and challenging was realizing how right my initial observations about this board was. It wants to go FAST. AND I can't turn it. I can't turn it like I turn Cooperfish, that is. I can't turn it from the middle, where I usually end up popping up to get into a wave. And I can't turn it on the rail. I tried doing both these things on a nice right and the board shot out from under me and I wiped out pretty dramatically. The board doesn't carve into the wave and rather feels like it's skating on the wave.

Obviously, I'm going to have to turn from the tail and use the fins. I'm going to have to stop being afraid to move my knee (again, mind games) so I can adjust my position.

I'm looking forward to having more board time to experiment. This is the first time in a long time that I've been antsy to get back into the water. Now, if only the winds would stop.

Friday, March 30, 2007

On Progression

Sister Surf had an interesting musing the other day that I just saw. In response, it gets me rambling about the good, the bad, the ugly. Home Break really is like home. Can you ever really go home again? I've spent the last two weeks out of the water stretching and strengthening my knee, but both Sundays I found myself haunting home break on my way to the Farmer's Market so I could see who was out and what the waves were like. It was fun hooting for my pals. Two Sundays ago I would have liked to be in the water because there was actually some shape on the waves. This past Sunday, not so much.

I think there is truth in what the Old Regulars say the break, Sister, if you can surf Home Break, you can surf ANY wave. I've found it to be true... even if it does psyche me out some time. I've been to other slower, fatter, shapelier places and I back off waves because my natural instinct is that it's going to jack up and smack me like Home Break does. But after my first good Get, I realize the new break is a slow, fat, shapely wave.

Learning at Home Break DID help me as a newbie. I paddled out through some of the crappiest, wind-stormiest waves because I didn't know any better. This helped me figure out how to power through without turtling a longboard.

Learning on this wave helped make me fearless on steep drops. You either GO or you go over the falls. Imagine the bright orange nose of Doc #1 as I went over the falls... over and over and over. I'm sure I cut a wide swath.

I learned turn at Home Break when all the crowds started showing up.

I think the frustration now is that we know how to paddle out through set waves. We know how to pop up. We know how to turn.

The problem is: what we don't know how to do, we don't get enough opportunity to do at Home Break. Either the shape is off or the crowds are on it. Either it's too low tide or it's too high. It also doesn't help that we've had some pretty consistent non-swell for the past few months. Both Sister and I have become weekend warriors so if Mother Nature doesn't hit us with energy on Saturday and Sunday, we're pretty much screwed.

I want to learn how to walk to the nose gracefully and not in a panic. I want to learn how to kick-out backside. And I'd really enjoy keeping my eyes open when I pull into a tube instead of fearing that the close-out is going to wash away my contact lenses.

In all, though, I'm not too concerned. Today, I drove over a hill I've gone over a thousand times, and at the top of that hill you can see the Pacific Ocean. This morning it was beautiful and blue and I had a Yearning. I yearned to be in it. Surfing. Floating. Just playing. The yearning hit me hard, but not in a way that made me regret being out of the water for so long. The yearning washed over me in a way to make me realize that I will be back in the ocean and it doesn't matter how much I suck or rock the board. It's just a place where I belong.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Another reason I don't surf in red tide

Sea mammal deaths sound alarm

Experts investigate new dolphin die-offs
By Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post

March 27, 2007

SARASOTA, Fla. -- In the summer of 2005 marine animals suddenly started dying off Florida's southwest coast, with scores of bottlenose dolphins, manatees and turtles washing up on shore. In October alone, 22 dolphins became stranded and died, compared with the usual monthly average of three.

Hoping to unravel the mystery, nearly 50 researchers, part of the Working Group on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events, commissioned a study of the deaths. After taking samples from 130 stranded dolphins, they concluded that red tide -- an algae bloom that creates a neurotoxin, brevetoxin -- caused the massive die-off.

The working group, formed 16 years ago under the auspices of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, has investigated scores of such events. At present, the panel is handling eight such cases simultaneously, an unprecedented high.

Experts believe a range of factors are contributing to the algae blooms and viruses linked to the die-offs, including nutrient runoff from farming, rising ocean temperatures and discarded waste such as cat litter.

The group, now with 12 permanent members and a shifting array of volunteers, has evolved into the federal government's top detective team for these events.

Randall Wells, who heads the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program at the private Mote Marine Laboratory and studied the 2005 red tide, said he and his colleagues are still struggling to figure out whether environmental contaminants or other factors might have weakened the mammals that fell prey to the 2005 algae bloom.

"It is so hard ... to pick all those things apart," he said.

This month the rapid-response team sprang into action again after 64 dead bottlenose dolphins and numerous fish washed ashore on the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

Teri Rowles, senior scientist for NOAA's marine mammal mortality program, said the dolphin deaths have spurred a major response.

Typically, marine scientists first try to determine whether a virus or an algae bloom is to blame. Rowles said she is concerned that the morbilli virus, which is similar to distemper in dogs and killed tens of thousands of European animals in 2004, may be responsible for the recent dolphin deaths.

Frances Gulland, who directs veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., said that marine mammals dying in waves can serve as indicators for human health.

"They can be early messengers, really, for broader changes," she said.

Monday, March 12, 2007

MCL sprain

At no point on any wave on Saturday was I in any kind of control on Doc III. Left, right, didn't matter. The board felt squirrelly and fast and I'm starting to think I'm not good enough. To compound it all, I was trying to bring the board under me on a right after a bottom turn when the wave jacked up and the board started sliding and pitching me. I couldn't even count on my honed wipe-out skills. My front left foot remained planted on the board as it cartwheeled and started hyper-extending my knee. I was tumbling with the thought, "I am seriously going to get hurt here." I managed to disentangle my leg from the board and hobble into shore. Walking was manageable, but started tweaking out if I rotated the bottom half of my leg.

Great. So now I had to fake walk all day while my parents came for a visit. (They approve of my surfing even less than they approved of my white boyfriend in college.) The first part of the day was fine, and my Dr. Brother, who was also visiting, assured me that if I wasn't in agonizing pain and could walk it was probably just a MCL sprain. He had one while snowboarding a couple years ago. I asked him how long it took to recover. "Fully? Two months." What?! Great.

So, dim sum in Monterey Hills was good . What sucked was discovering that sitting still all day caused my knee to get stiff which caused more pain when I started walking. The day's plan was to drive around looking at neighborhoods with Dr. Brother in preparation for his move out there in the summer when he starts his vascular fellowship. That means me sitting, driving everybody in my car. By the end of the day, I couldn't fake walk from the parking garage to the crab place at Redondo for dinner. I had to limp walk and confess.

"You have to do things right. When you have kids to support you won't do such things."

Is that really true? The majority of my surfer friends are parents who can't wait to throw their kids into the water. I also don't think I did anything particularly stupid. I just have a new board I don't know how to ride. Unfortunately, though, my dad believes surfing in general is dangerous and stupid, so there is no point for debate.

I feel like the MCL sprain has actually given me a new appreciation for preventative training. I'm glad I started going to the gym to improve my cardio-vascular system and build some muscle mass. I believe in the positive effects of yoga to strengthen my core muscles. But surfing is not for any of that. It's just for me. So, will I end up "doing things right" like my dad lectures?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Doc III photo spread

Okay, so there was a liberal interpretation of the picture of the paint job I showed them... Granted, I wasn't insistent on an exact copy of Clayfin's color design... so I wasn't too surprised by what I got. Here's Doc III, please be gentle:

I called up Little Miss N as soon as I got the board and left the message, "It's ugly. I LOVE it!"

I took it for a spin on Sunday. Not the greatest conditions to be taking out a new board, so I don't have anything to say about how it performs. But I think I'm going to be tinkering with the fins to get that looseness I loved so much with the old board.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I just got a message that my board's ready! I'm going to pick it up this weekend.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Late great

The tide was too high in the morning on Sunday and I heard I'd missed a decent noon session from Saturday because I was busy doing long-neglected household chores. So I waited. I hit the Farmer's Market and Peet's Coffee with my make-up artist surfer friend and headed into the water around 11am... the tide still not looking much lower than at 9am. But we suited up and I burped coffee burps in the water. VERY uncomfortable.

I had few memorable rides, but one sticks out in my memory because there's nothing like panic to force a good kick-out. When that tide is high and that shore pound looms in a fraction of a second, you gotta love having the instinct to kick-out before you think about it. My friend Ms. Zen heard me cackle in triumph as I safely landed on my board and started paddling back out.

Noon came and my meter was up, but on my way out Sir Richard was headed in and I decided it was getting good enough to put in another dollar and chat with him in the water. I'm really glad I did... my last wave... around 1pm probably the latest I've EVER surfed a "morning session"... was a backside left I was surprised to find had a shoulder. I thought it was going to slip out from under me which a lot of the mushbergers that day did even when I ran forward to the nose. Surprisingly, the wave held up, I backed off to the tail and turned and was able to come back up and back down the wave. I kept doing that all the way until I felt my fin dig into the sand. Oops!

Bonus that the Boy was there to meet me onshore. He was done with his bike ride and I excitedly said, "Did you see that?!" A good wave is always better when someone else sees you.

It was a good wave. One that I relived on Monday morning when I looked out the window to see rain, also on Monday night when I realized I'd have to go to work on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I visited the Metzler shop today and put in an order for a performance 9'0" with a paint job inspired by Clayfin. I'm getting the last Clark blank at their shop.

Hopefully I'll meet Doc III in about three weeks!

Docs II and I below. You'll see the bump in the tail which I think is the magic of this board:

Note the old patch job on the deck of Doc II when I buckled it a year ago. I'm going to try to treat my new board a little better and stay away from overhead close-out beach breaks at low tide.

Gaze and admire the 80s neon color and art deco fade on Doc I. I bought it used from the Board Gallery in Venice. My first board. Glassed on thruster 8'6". Note the broken leash that broke with the board.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Raw Sewage Spill Closes Beaches
By Angie Green
Times Staff Writer

11:18 AM PST, February 7, 2007

Portions of Will Rogers, Venice and Dockweiler beaches remained closed today after sanitation officials were notified of a raw sewage spill Tuesday afternoon.

Portions of the beaches will be closed until at least Thursday afternoon, said Jonathan E. Fielding, L.A. County public health director and health officer. County health officials warned users to avoid contact with ocean water.

"We always want to err on the side of caution," Fielding said.

Health officials are testing water quality for bacteria levels. Drinking water should not affected by the spill; the spilled sewage is going into storm drains and creeks, Fielding said.

According to officials, Will Rogers Beach is closed for about 100 yards on both sides of where Santa Monica Canyon Creek discharges into the ocean. Venice Beach is closed from the Marina del Rey channel entrance to the ocean to one quarter of a mile north of the channel. Dockweiler Beach is closed from Ballona Creek to one-quarter-mile south of Ballona Creek.

The Los Angeles city Sanitation Department responded to the Will Rogers Beach discharge on Tuesday at 12:03 p.m. and completed the cleanup at 12:40 p.m.

Culver City Public Works Department responded to discharges leading to Ballona Creek and Venice and Dockweiler beaches at 3 p.m. and completed the cleanup at 4 p.m., Fielding said in a statement.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Chicago Donkey

Though the opening kickoff return touchdown from the Bears was exciting, I knew before the endzone dance was done that my Bears were going to lose this game.

Surfing, though, was fun both Saturday and Sunday. Hello, Sis!

Going frontside always makes me feel like Laird Hamilton. Grain of salt, please, but what I mean is that going frontside, I feel the power of the bottom turn and carving through my legs and up my body. I feel ten feet tall.

Going backside always makes me feel like Taj Burrows. I improvise and find myself playing on the edge of control. Sometimes, like my first left in three weeks, I end up in a series of Donkey moves. I knew I was donkeying everything on this really nice wave, but every time I tried to correct my style, I OVER-corrected to another donkey position. But it was a really fun wave and I laughed at myself all the way back into the line-up. I was glad SurfSis's Soul Brother #1 wasn't around with his camera. Awareness of your donkey-ness doesn't show up in still photographs!

Then there are other lefts which leave me bewildered that I could have pulled off such a feat... like my last left of the weekend where I seemed to step and turn at the same time to try to get more power and speed out of the wave. I felt everything out of whack and still managed to balance ballerina-like on my pointed left foot while my right foot hovered next to it trying to figure out if the wave could be saved by crossing forward or returning home to the tail. I felt like I was floating above the wave for a long moment before bringing everything under control for a nice little bottom turn.

Laird or Taj, it was a good welcome back to the water after so long a hiatus.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pump Fake

I thought maybe there'd be some energy headed our way, but that turned out to be a pump fake. I heard Porto was the only place firing. So, at SaMo, waves were a no go, but I went anyway because it's been three weeks dry. I had to try on my wetsuit to see if it still fit. The result? Barely.

Speaking of Bears... 41!

How can you not cheer for a team coached by a man named Lovie?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Not futbol... FOOTBALL!

No surf again this weekend. Flat, windy, COLD. 1-3 feet I'd do if the weather reports didn't mention the words "WIND CHILL."

Sheee-it. I didn't think I'd ever hear those two words in Southern California. I thought I'd gotten enough of them in my time in Chicago (which is the most wonderful city in the world except for those two words "WIND CHILL").

And I'm sorry, but when WIND CHILL goes to negative numbers, I don't even think booties help. No surfing in those conditions unless it's head high with perfect shape. So, I stayed in and watched the morning political shows and went on to watch...

Da Bears. Goin' to da NFC Championship.

I still fondly remember the rap of '85:

We are the Bears shufflin' crew
Shufflin' on down, doin' it for you!
We're so bad, you know we're good,
Blowin' your mind like we knew we would!

Ah... memories.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sans Surf... so Soccer!

I don't know why I've been so enchanted with David Beckham and his wife for the past few years. Maybe because they are bourgeois royalty and I'm fascinated that the world is fascinated by them. Maybe because Victoria Beckham seems vulnerable under all her posturing bluster. Maybe because Beckham is such a beautiful man with such a sissy voice.

Anyway, I'm weirdly excited that Becks and Posh are headed to L.A.

(Nigh going on two weeks sans surf for me.)