Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not Missing Much

Well, despite all the predications, it appears that Hurricane Bill produced some sizable mediocre waves in the SE and that I didn't really miss that much at all. Sure, I would have been happy to go get some big drops, and there were some fun looking waves on the Jacksonville FL surf report I've been checking, but it sounds like the crowd was huge, drop-ins numerous, and not really that great. It's also possible that I'm rationalizing to make myself feel better about missing what looked like a perfect swell producer for the eastern seaboard, but I don't think so.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Missing Bill

Well, as luck would have it, two weeks after I move to the panhandle of FL, a storm rolls along producing what several forecasters have predicted to be the best surf this year, and perhaps for many years. It's yet to really materialize as anything special, but buoys all over the SE Atlantic coast have the surf big and clean tomorrow with ridiculously long periods. Tomorrow isn't a possibility, but perhaps conditions Sunday will dictate a run to J'ville? We'll see how it all pans out I suppose. To my compadres back in Wilmington and WB, catch some for me bruddas. I wish I was there hooting you into some big glassy ones. Cheers.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Corporate Sesh Photos

A few more photos from the morning sessions I enjoyed with bike shop coworkers:

Making My Approach

Trim and Glide

I almost ran over Billy on this one

Ankle Biters

Morning Glass
So, yeah, the waves are small here most of the time, but it does get bigger. We had chest-head high waves on a couple of these mornings, but there aren't any photos because, well, who wants to take pictures when the surf really gets good? Note the lack of crowd. This is known as one of the more popular spots, and it does get pretty crowded when the waves get good, but we had a blast these few mornings with no one else out. You can't find that in lots of places. I have very few photos and me surfing, so this expands the portfolio quite well. My stance is a little funny looking, though, which is disconcerting. Ah well, ce est la vie. Thanks to Bill and Georgia for taking these and getting them to me. I'll post a few more yet.

Water Drop

Billy took this shot. The camera focused on a bead of water on the lens instead of me, and it turned out kind of cool, I think.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Swell in July

Today marked the last of 4 consecutive days of fun waves. Wednesday we had a chunky session at C-street in which I didn't get a ton of waves, but I did get one really good wave that earned compliments from the boss Jim, coworker Cameron, and a hoot from the local webcam owner/surf shop manager/area talent on the good noseride. Thursday was the best, with stomach to chest high superglass on my quad fish and then my log as the tide fattened it out. Friday was head-high chop on the N end on my Stewart with old pals. Today P-funk and I hit our old favorite in CB for pretty glassy waist + diminishing waves in the river runoff with just a few other guys out. The light was really nice at dawn because the sun was coming up and there were also storms around, so the clouds were lit orange from underneath. Four days running is pretty good. And I'm not even rashed or sore or anything.

It was cool to ride the different boards and surf in 4 different spots where I saw a lot of old faces right before I leave for Florida. It's all very nostalgic.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grip Your Stick

Maxim Magazine, which I haven't seen in years, used to have a section called "Found Porn" featuring advertisements that could easily be misconstrued by viewers as something more sexually explicit. This photo is a promotion for a bodysurfing aid called a Gripboard ( I submit:

Um...If you don't get it, I can't help you. Cheers.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Clean and Empty Masonboro

P-funk and I paddled over to Masonboro this morning from the S end of WB for a surf session in what we predicted would be small but glassy conditions. Unlike the 4th weekend (see the paddling blog for my assessment of that cluster$%&#), we found the island nearly deserted. There were about 7 people in the water, but spread out over a couple of peaks, so plenty of room. The waves were waist high and very clean and very fast, breaking top-bottom (hollow) in a couple feet of water. Many were closeouts, but when you got the right one, they were a little bigger, steep, and quick but not unmakeable. I had three really good ones, which totally made all the paddling and walking with my heavy longboard worth it. Because we didn't get started until 7 and it takes some time to paddle the inlet, we only surfed for about an hour and a quarter before we had to start back in time to not get parking tickets, but the quality of the waves I got was good enough to sate me for the day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nose Exploration

I work in a local bike shop. Of the 17 people that work there, 8 surf and several more are in the process of learning (I suppose we're all still in the process of learning, but you know what I mean). The boss surfs, the manager surfs, and so on. We've been getting together mornings lately and surfing together before work. It's been great and we've scored pretty great waves for July. It's not uncommon to go weeks in the summer without rideable waves, so several days a week is pretty good.

This morning was shaping up well with light off shores and a couple feet of swell at a decent period at WB, so I got up at 5:45 and was on the beach by 6:20. I watched for a few minutes, trying to make up my mind. There were only two people out and they didn't seem to be catching much. I decided that since I had gotten up and driven down I might as well get wet, so I drove a couple blocks down and found a parking spot close to an access and waxed the log, hoping I might just catch enough to make it worth getting up (it doesn't take much). I made my way up to the access where we meet and eventually found Cam, having ridden a few pretty good waves in the meantime. It ended up being pretty darn fun, with stomach high glassy waves, left and right, a bit of a pack (it is Sat. and July after all), but spread out enough so that it wasn't a problem. By 7:30 I was surfing with Jim (the boss), Cameron, and Billy, all good company. It's not saying much, because I'm not a great noserider, but I got three of the best noserides I've ever had. It was a memorable session on that note alone. Just fun quick clean waist-stomach open-faced lefts where I could make my turn and run to the nose. Usually that lasts only a second before I've either fallen, outrun the wave, or have to back off, but these waves just held up perfectly in front of me, and water was breaking over the tail, so it held me up. I got out around 8:30 and went to work to get a shower and cup of coffee before the day really got going. It was a good one.

And I even have witnesses.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

S-Turns Bodysurf

I'm the speck dropping in to this fast little left with nothing but my swim fins and a lunch tray from Wendy's. It reminded me of my days in the Islands. Photo by P-funk.

Corporate Sesh

About a month ago there was some confusion about a shop meeting and who was in charge of it and my boss Jim volunteered me to head the meeting this week, since he would be in Costa Rica (poor bastard) surfing his brains out. I jumped at the suggestion by seizing control in a dictatorial manner and proclaiming that the location of today's meeting would be at the WB beach break of my choosing. Donuts, I suggested, would not be a good idea, as they would get salty, sandy, and possibly tubed. Anyway, today was the day, so I rallied the troops last night for a prework session this morning. The forecast looked pretty good for fun little loggin waves.

Bill and Georgia, Covi, Jason, Cam, and myself showed up and everybody got in the water for a bit (except Jason, who chilled on the beach and shot pictures). The waves were super clean and glassy, thigh-waist high, and a little chubby with the falling tide. We traded waves for a while and hooted at each other. It was so much fun that we're going again tomorrow. How cool is that? Play in the ocean before the workday with your coworkers? The people that didn't show were so jealous that I think tomorrow they'll be a few more people. It was my first surf at C street, and it was pretty fun and uncrowded. Bill and Georgia took a bunch of photos which Bill then cobbled together in a slide show and set to music to show at work. He even got some OK shots of me I think (I'll post a few when I get them).

Super cool. What a great way to start your day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I recently learned that a "friend" suggested that I'm not as into surfing as I used to be, and that I don't even do it that much anymore. This in itself is somewhat innocuous, but my interpretation is that friend was questioning my credibility (this is based on knowing friend for a long time and other comments made at the same time). The friend doesn't surf, barely ever sees me, and has no idea how often I do or don't ride waves. Friend was, in effect, calling me a hodad, even though they don't have a clue what a hodad is (my blog title is meant to be ironic). Now, I do have to admit that there was a time when everything I did was related to surfing, and that I would agonize over what to do when it was flat. I devoured the latest issues of my favorite surf mags and watched movies over and over again. I even participated in the forum on our local surf report website (I long ago decided that was stupid). I talked enthusiastically about lifestyle and being committed and all sorts of other pseudo-philosophical things related to surfing. Some opinions I still hold, and others I've outgrown. At first I was pretty pissed, and a little hurt, that this person would say those things, as they obviously indicate a lack of respect for me. But I've been thinking about it more, and I've come to a couple conclusions: it doesn't matter how often I get to hit the water, as long as it stokes me and I'm having a good time. I have gotten busier, it's true. The carefree days of college are over, and now I have to use my time more judiciously. I've got a great girlfriend who expects to hang out with me, and with whom I like spending time. And I've added kayaking and cycling to favored recreational pursuits. In the past I went surfing when it was big and blown out and shitty, when it was perfect, and when it was small and nearly unrideable. I went all the time. Now I've diversified. Surfing is still my number one, but if it's junky then why wouldn't I go do something else and have more fun doing it? I'll surf when I think it's good; otherwise I'll be riding my bike or paddling or training for triathlons, all great fun in themselves and good for me to boot. They all equal a fitter me, which benefits my surfing, and the swimming for triathlons and kayaking make me a better waterman. My love of surfing isn't diminished. If anything surfing is more part of my life because it fits better now. I'm not dominated by it all the time because I have the freedom to do other things too. As for the health of my surfing street cred, it's good enough for me. I check the surf multiple times everyday, talk about it with friends and coworkers, blog about it, published an article on it, went on a trip to do it, etc. I don't know to better incorporate surfing into my life right now unless I relinquish worldly possessions and any hope for a personal future and go live in a bungalow with a couple boards on a beach somewhere.

Lastly, it doesn't matter what ill-informed opinions this person holds anyway. I've got a great life, a fun job, a healthy relationship with a great girl, a family that loves me, (mostly) good friends who I get to share it with, and access to lots of things that I like to do. My quality of life is ridiculously high.

Still, I should be surfing more (you can never really get enough). Cheers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Surf Trip!

I've just gotten settled back in from a long drive back from Hatteras. The trip was great. I crashed at P-funk's house on Tuesday night so that we could get an early start to make it to the Cedar Island ferry by 7:30. We got up a little before 3, loaded the boards, onto the road by 3:15. We both chose to take longboards. P took his Allison Birddog and I took my Odyssey 9'6". The forecast looked favorable for clean waist-high waves, but I wanted to be able to surf if it was smaller, and I know I can have a good time on the log in almost any conditions we were likely to encounter. It would have been nice to have taken my fish, but I didn't want to worry about the board cooking in the car while we were out surfing.

We made the ferry by 6:30 and bought coffee from the little concession at the ferry launch while we waited to load. The ferry crew milled around on the boat. It's obvious that the NC Ferry Div. doesn't have a PT program, cause some of those boys were pretty portly. On the ferry we watched some storms roll by, read, and napped in the car. We arrived at Ocracoke shortly after 10.

We got off on Ocracoke and made a beeline for the other end to take another ferry to Hatteras (with a brief stop for coffee and a biscuit). After the shorter, second ferry we were off to find some waves to ride. For the local scoop we stopped at Natural Art Surf Shop in Hatteras Village and the guys there suggested the lighthouse, right up the street. We drove up and parked in the lot and were surprised to see guys dropping into chest-head high waves. So we suited up (my first surf this year in just trunks and a t-shirt) and paddled out. The setup at Hatteras Light is really great. There are three groins (short jetties), the first almost adjacent to the old light foundation (it was moved a few years back to keep it from falling into the ocean), with the other two N of there at intervals of about 75 or 100 yards. There were perhaps 50 people in the water, but there were all spread out over the four obvious peaks which ran in a diagonal line from N to S. At first I surfed the inside-most break to observe and get a feel for the spot, but as I got comfortable with where to sit and how it was breaking I paddled into the main peak at first groin and started really catching some waves. The bigger sets were easily head high, and I would swear to having seen a few overhead waves plow through. The wind was side-off, not strong. Over the course of the session, which began at noon, it went from glassy with a little texture to a little bumpy and back to glassy; it never got bad at all. I kept slipping closer and closer to the groin and catching better and better waves. The lefts were fantastic, big clean drops and steep workable walls. Most of the time I just cranked a bottom turn and aimed for the shoulder, but on a few waves I got some decent turns and a noseride or two. It felt good to know that I can still surf in waves that size, because it's been a while. The log wasn't the best board for it, but it did mean I could get in early and I had the momentum and speed to make most of the sections. We stayed out for 4 hours, until my arms and lats and shoulders started cramping and quivering, and then paddled in. I'd guess I had 40 or 50 waves? It was very quality and we were thirsty, hungry, and tired. We loaded the car back up and drove into town to a local joint called Pop's, where I had a big juicy burger and fries, then went back to the National Park where the lighthouse is to find the camping provided there. We pulled up to an open gate with no guard. The sign said to go in and find a spot, and that the ranger would come around to collect the $20 fee, so in we went.

The campground was practically empty and there were tons of spots to choose from in the big open field with bathroom/shower houses spaced every ~50 yards. There was a light rain when we arrived, so we decided to wait for that to pass to set up camp, as there was plenty of daylight left. I took a cold shower (the only kind available) which I was very grateful for. The rain cleared out and we threw the tent up and then relaxed behind the truck sipping Jack Daniel's from P's flask and discussing our good luck at picking what one local called "the best day of the summer so far" to take our trip. It was idyllic. The temperature was very comfortable, almost cool as dark approached. There were no biting bugs and very few other sorts. We were tired and full from dinner and there was light breeze and the sun was setting and lighting all the clouds up pink and purple and orange. At dark we turned in and I fell immediately to sleep. We were within sight of the historic Hatteras Light, which periodically flashed its steady warning to mariners into the tent on the nearly moonless night.

We woke at dawn, brushed teeth, and packed up. The ranger never came to visit, which means that we got to camp for free. We drove out of the campground towards the main road, stopping at the burial sight of British sailors who washed up on the island during WWII, victims of German U-boat attacks. We also drove over to the light and did a surf check before driving out of the park to hunt down some breakfast. There were some people out, but the size diminished greatly overnight and we decided to look elsewhere. We found a great little diner called Island Perks, where we got an excellent cup of strong coffee (the Hatteras Harbor blend, the strongest they had) and a standard breakfast of eggs, bacon, home fries and biscuit. Sated, we headed N to find some waves. The first spot we checked is known as S-turns. There's a big beautiful house about to fall into the ocean. It's apparently where the recent Richard Gere film Nights in Rodanthe was filmed, but I'll never know for sure because I won't be watching it. The main peak breaks close to the beach and right in front of the house, which the shorebreak literally washes right under as it rushes up the beach. There were a pack of about 8 guys out, all on shortboards, and after watching for a bit we could see that it wasn't good for our logs, so I grabbed the swim fins and my lunch tray and swam out to bodysurf for a bit. The wave was very clean (no wind) and thick, about stomach high. It was punchy and perfect for bodysurfing and reminded me of my old days at Makapu'u in Oahu. I stayed out for 30 mins while P ambled about on the beach taking photos and picking up trash (he's really good about always picking up other peoples junk).

At about ten we stuck off to find a better wave. We stopped at Boilers, which wasn't working at all. Then up to Nags Head, where we looked at the Nags Head Pier and several CAMA beach accesses until we found a wave that looked worthwhile (Admiral St.). The waves were still very glassy and clean, but smaller than the day before at waist-stomach. Still, they were pretty fast and steep, with rights and lefts, and we had another good session. I was sore and a little burned from yesterday. I wore a t-shirt and a hat for sun protection (and sunscreen of course) and we surfed about 2 hours. We had it nearly to ourselves, aside from the numerous folks on the beach, some of whom occasionally floated like so much flotsam in the shorebreak and needed to be carefully avoided when surfing in close. Once again, we couldn't believe our good luck to find fun uncrowded surf. We got out of the water sometime after one, cleaned up, and then drove up to The Pit for lunch, which is a combination bar and grill/surf shop. Lunch was great, bought a t-shirt from the shop, and then started the drive home around 3. We opted to drive out through Manteo rather than be dependent on ferry schedules. I got home tonight around 8:30, threw a frozen pizza in the oven, took a shower, and ate. Now I'm about to go to bed, which is going to feel really good. It was an awesome trip. I'll post more photos when P sends them to me. Oblige me and pardon any poor grammar, as I'm exhausted and not thinking completely clearly. Cheers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I got in one decent session this week; about 2 hours on Friday morning in clean knee-waist waves on my log. The tide was too full at first, but as it dropped it improved considerably and I ended up being glad I paddled out rather than stayed in bed or driven back home. Still, there haven't been enough waves in my life lately (when are there ever?), so on Wednesday I'm heading to the Outer Banks with my boy P-funk for a long overdue surf trip. We started our waveriding together on a trip to St. Augustine, FL, so it's fitting that we'll be taking this trip just before my upcoming move to Tallahassee. Right now the prediction on Magic Seaweed looks favorable for clean little waves, so hopefully that will hold up and we'll have a good trip and surf a bunch of waves in the two day whirlwind we've got planned. I'll try to take lots of pictures to post. Hasta.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Local Sessions

One of my previous posts for this blog has been modified for publication in our hometown surf rag, Local Sessions. Check it out:

Cover (not me)

My Story, and photo of me by my best surfing buddy Peter Fritzler

How cool is that?! I finally got my picture in a surf magazine. So what if it's a little local pub; I've got street cred. Thanks to Pete for telling me to send it in, and Chris at the mag for including it. This makes my second article published to date, the first being "My Parents Shopped at Walmart and All I Got Was this Lousy Mullet" in The Neely Chronicle about 5 years ago. That one was funnier, but this one is a little cooler. Send your own photos and observations to the mag at

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The fellow in the center above is my friend and coworker, Bill Curry. Billy is an excellent surfer, East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame inductee, bicycle mechanic extraordinaire, philosopher, humorist, Ironman, father, and husband, among other things. The photo, he tells me, was taken in about 1965 at Wrightsville Beach. The boards are 5' Malibu popout belly boards, with a center skeg. When I asked if they stood up on them, he replied something like, "Hell yeah!" I thought that was pretty cool. These kids were sliding down the line on their feet on 5' boards in southeastern NC in 1965, before the shortboard craze had begun. Hopefully he won't mind me posting his photo. For Bill's always unique perspective, view his blog at:

Thursday, May 7, 2009


On my way home from lunch at WB with friends at Tower 7 today I saw a young woman in a Mercedes SUV with a WRV sticker in the rear window throw her cigarette butt out at a light. For a moment I thought about getting out of the car and picking it up and giving it back to her. Instead I scribbled down her plate # to report to Swat-a-Litterbug online which I've now done. Still, it's not satisfying to me that she'll just get a letter in the mail that she'll probably scoff at and then carry on. Citizens should have more rights when it comes to correcting our wayward comrades when it comes to shit like this. KEEP YOUR BUTT IN YOUR CAR YOU ASSHOLES!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Present by Thomas Campbell

Pete and I went to see Thomas Campbell's newest film, The Present, on Monday night at Level 5 City Stage. Thomas was there to show the film and tell us a little about his experience making it. I thought it was good of him to tour with the film and bring his brand of surf culture to our little backwater. The movie was great, and you should definitely find a way to see it. The California jazz duo The Mattson 2 were also on hand to play a 30 min set before the show started. They're also really cool and worth looking into. My favorite part of the movie was the alaia surfing. Some of the guys in the film are just flying down the line. They even paddle out in big Waimea. Nuts.

Photo by Nakashima Masahiro, from Mattson 2 homepage

Thursday, April 30, 2009

WBLA Surf Contest

The local longboard club is putting on their annual contest this weekend. I've never surfed in it, but I did meet my best pal P-Funk at the 3rd, where we were judges (how I got that job I'll never know). Anyway, that was the start of a long and fruitful friendship, and we've ridden a bunch of waves since then. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Morning Glass

Not Me, This Morning, photo from

I paddled out at #10 this morning for almost two hours of surf before I had to be at work. It was great. No wind, waist-stomach sets, glassy and fast. I got into the water around 7 with about 3 other guys, all very nice. They left before 8 and then I shared a peak with a nice gal who teaches psych at UNCW, Simone. She gave me the best compliment I've ever gotten in the water from a complete stranger. I got a really good left (I'm a goofy footer) and had one of the better noserides I've ever had. She saw it all and asked how long I'd been surfing. When I replied, "7 or 8 years," she said "You're really good!" She said it with such enthusiasm too. I demurred and mumbled something about that being a really good wave in an otherwise mediocre career, but I was excited to get the compliment. I got my fill and paddled in as the crowd started to show up. It was a great session (you missed it P-funk). Water's warming on up. I think today was my last full suit session. I'm ready to move to the l/s springer until I'm comfy in trunks. Woohoo.

Sadly, there's a little delam starting to pop up on the nose of my log. What to do?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Stole out for a pre-work dawn session this morning with the surfbrarian and had a blast on fun waist + zippers. It was a beautiful morning, pretty warm, no wind, sunny and glassy. I caught enough race for the shoulder peelers on my log to keep me satisfied for a few days. Hope you got some.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Playing Hookie

I slipped out of work for a couple of hours today (with permission) to go slide some waves. The report looked pretty fun with with glassy waist-high walls, but by the time I hit the water the sea breeze had kicked up a little out of the S, which is predictable this time of year. I went to the South End of WB, which probably wasn't the right call, and it was closing out pretty bad on the sandbar. Still, I got out and played in the ocean for almost an hour on a pretty day when I was supposed to be at work, so life could be a lot worse.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I'm meeting my boy Pete for dawn patrol in the morning after a couple weeks of no surf. Buoys are ESE 3' @ 9 seconds, wind light onshore, tide low at 8:25. It won't be spectacular, but I'm hoping for a few fun waves on the log. If all else fails, I'll at least get to chew the fat with my buddy and have a cup of coffee while we watch the sunrise, and that's alright too. Cheers.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sweet New Header

Check out the my artsy new blog header, courtesy of my best pal Pete (the Surfbrarian). I think it's pretty cool. I might throw a little color in there. It's definately better than the plain old generic deal I had before. Thanks Pete.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I just came across these photos of my first fish, a 6'6" Allison twin. It had a really rad resin tint and it was fun to ride, but sometimes you've just got to let go (so you can get more boards). This board was pretty big for me, but it caught waves like crazy and was super fast and skatey. I'm a bit of a front-footed surfer, so I slid ass sometimes, which never happens on my quad, but I'm still interested in twin-fins. Hopefully there will be more in my future. For now I'll just have to look at old photos and reminisce.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Trunkin' It

Can't wait for warm water.

Photo by Peter Fritzler


I skipped out of work a few hours early today to score fun walled-up waist-stomach surf with almost no one else out. Waxed up my recently cleaned old log and stroked out. Dolphin greeted me in the lineup. The wind was light-moderate offshore and there was a long wait between sets, but when they came in they were fun little zippers. I scored 15 or 20 waves in about an hour and a half with a couple ok noserides and a closeout barrel or two. I froze my ass off.

Now it's back to status quo, I'm afraid. What a great break from the old routine, though.


I've always loved seeing photos of surfers' boards. Mine is not as complete as some, but the light was right today, so I decided to snap a couple shots.

From left to right: 6'4" Allison Quad Fish, 7'6" Takayama Singlefin Egg, 9' Stewart LSP 2+1, 9'6" Chris Adams Odyssey Single, 6'2" Allison Single w/ rounded pin.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cautious Optimism

Bouys look promising for tomorrow. S swell, 5' @ 8 sec., WSW wind 15 mph, reasonably warm, low tide 9:30ish, day off. The wind is howling pretty hard out there right now, so here's hoping the swell's not gone in the morning. This is the part where I have to look forward to riding some waves without setting myself up for disappointment if it's flat.

As my boy P-funk says, "The sea is an unruly mistress."

Let's hope she smiles on us in the morning.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Clean Stick

After a surf this morning I decided to clean all the wax off my longboard, a 9'6" Odyssey single fin. I picked it up about 4 years ago from a friend who won it from the local longboard club's Christmas raffle. He already had too many boards (his wife's position, not his) so he sold it to me for $400. I was stoked. At the time I was riding a 9' Stewart LSP that I bought when I lived in Hawaii. The Stewart was/is a great board when it gets a little bigger and juicier, but we have a lot of small days here, so I was in the market for a more traditional log, and I found it. Bright yellow, thick, soft railed, glassed on single fin, little rocker, three stringer, no leash plug; it was just what I was looking for. I had been committed to light weight boards and down rails until I rode a friends Joel Tudor in waist-high glass on the South End and realized the advantages of a heavier board in our small waves. Anyway, I got that board and it's been my frequent companion since. When it gets big I still pull out the Stewart, and I love my Allisons and my Takayama egg, but the yellow log has been my standby slider for all that time. There were long periods that I just committed to it because I wanted to really figure it out and get better at walking it and noseriding (still working on that one). I think it's been almost two years since last time I stripped it down, so a grey ball of wax about the size of an apple came off. Then I used a Pickle Wax Remover to strip the rest of the wax and the film that you can't scrape off. As I did this, I uncovered all the little pressure bumps and dings that I've collected over the years, and I started remembering how I got them and all the places we've gone and people we've surfed with and waves we've ridden. It's funny how a board takes on a personality, how it feels familiar to you like a favorite sweatshirt. I've ridden the hell out of that board, and it shows. The worst ones are from the time it went into the rocks at Fort Fisher, but there are lots of others too. And the scars aren't just on it, they're on me too. There's an obvious mark on my cheek where it hit me after a solid noseride on the South End two summers ago when I probably should have gotten stitches but chose not to. I can clearly remember walking up there and hearing an old timer hoot me and just hanging out for a second until it dumped me. When I surfaced it popped me on my left cheekbone (luckily, and not in the mouth or nose). I paddled back out to the line up and then I noticed the blood dripping into the water. Anyway, I thought about these things as I was cleaning my board, and it seemed significant because it's indicative of the relationship that is built between a surfer and a surfboard, and how much joy we get out of using them to play in the ocean.

Clean your old board up and think about the waves you've ridden together.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Yeti

This is a picture of WB local Rob Brown surfing a wave somewhere in Northern California that I pilfered from There are a few more that really give you an idea of how intense this wave is. In some of the pictures you can see it sucking below sea level. Also, notice how thick the lip is:

That's our same local boy about to go over the falls. I can't imagine what that must have felt like. This is one of those mindbender waves that you might not want to surf, even in your head. Could I surf this wave? Not yeti.

I'm sorry, but I love a bad pun.

If you want to see more:

Monday, January 26, 2009


I just started The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard. It's about Roosevelt's descent of a remote tributary of the Amazon in the aftermath of his failed presidential campaign (which would have been his 3rd term if successful). While stumping in Milwaukee, Wisconsin two weeks prior to the election, he was shot, on stage, by some crazy who thought Roosevelt was trying to establish himself as a monarch in America. The bullet, which was slowed by his heavy coat, his speech (folded in half), and his glasses case, still plunged five inches into his chest. He insisted in delivering the speech as planned in his blood-stained shirt with the bullet in his chest before seeing doctors.

You can't make this stuff up. If I get a little headache I need to lay down. The next time I'm thinking about bailing on a session because it's too cold or too early or whatever bullshit pops into my head, I'm going to think about Roosevelt stumping with a bullet in his chest.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paco Strickland

I took my pretty lady to see our local surfing brother William "Paco" Strickland and his Fabulous Flying Flamenco Brothers (or something like that) tonight. The FFF Bros (master craftsman Greg Eavey and a fellow named Troy Pierce) provided percussion to Paco's virtuoso guitar playing. He really makes that mother sing. It was a great show, very private, about 80 people in WHQR 93.1's 3rd floor gallery. It will air on Saturday night at 9 as the Soup to Nuts Live program. If you haven't heard Paco play before, and you have ears on the side of your head, you shouldn't miss it. Or at least check out his website and find a time to go hear him play.

For info on Paco, see

Greg Eavey's boards

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Yes we did.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Check this out:

Holy. Crap.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hand-made Craft

I made something with my bare hands today with wood and tools, perhaps for the first time in my life. It's not complicated, or particularly impressive, but I made it all by myself. Our kayaks (see my other blog) have been resting precariously close to the ground for the several months we've had them, which isn't great for them. I've helped people build things before, but I can't think of anything else I've ever completely conceived, built, and then used before. I bought the wood and put it together without any help at all. This seems a little like a silly thing to be proud of, but I'm thirty, and it's my first real solo project, so I'm going to be proud and if that's silly, then so be it. I learned a little, and I've got an idea or two for improvements, but all in all, I think I did a pretty good job.

This got me thinking about paipos and hand planes. I don't have the space or tools or knowledge for shaping surfboards right now, but I've been wanting to build myself a paipo for a long time. Paipos exist outside of the hustle and bullshit that is our popular surf industry. The skill and tools needed are minimal, and cost is very low. I can get a sheet of marine ply or poplar at the local hardware store and then do whatever I want. This spring, I am going to design, build, and ride my very own wave-sliding vehicle. It won't be high performance, and there won't be some hot kid with all the right moves riding one, but I will have made it, and I think that sounds pretty damn exciting, imperfections and all. My hope is that it will be fraught with the pure, simple, unadulterated thrill that comes with the fundamental act of riding a wave, which is all surfing really is. Free of care, free of worry, free of commercialism. No stickers, no shops, no nonsense. Just me and a piece of wood in a closeout barrel wearing the biggest shit-eating grin you've ever seen.