Monday, July 21, 2014

My Favorite heat from the J-Bay 2014

Occy vs. Curren. Can it get any better? I love Curren's style. Natural flash born out of an introverted personality, that is highly efficient.  And that 10 point ride!?  I watched that ride about a hundred times already.  He rode that wave so effortlesy.  And to think, he almost got hung up on his first turn.

I love Occy too, especially the current Occy. My body type is very similar to Occy's. It's great to see the bigger guy charge, especially that day at Jeffery's Bay.  I loved Occy's last wave.  He virtually said "fuck it" to the competition and he just rode the right handed wall as far as it could take him.  The announcers were like "WTF?".  LOL!  Anyways, one of the pleasantry's of the ASP tour this year is  Occy's commentating.  So insightful and he is pleasantly articulate.  He proves that even bull headed surfers can be intelligent as well.

Curren's band is opening for Donovan Frankerieter this weekend at a local Casino.  Bought tickets just because of this heat.  Gotta at least be in the same room as Curren once in my life.

Oh, I love this clip of Curren's first wave ever at J-Bay.  This was a clip captured by the late Sonny Miller.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Confidence Fleeting

One Minute from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Over the last week, there was a very good run of swell.  Depending on where you surfed it, you either were getting caught inside by some bulldozers or you were surfing some pretty fun waves.  It didn't hit San Diego particularly well as it was a very steep swell with not a lot of west in it.  I surfed spots across the border and south facing beaches more north and got some really good waves. In my opinion, Sunday was my best day of surfing during this swell.  I surfed my regular spot across the border for a bit until leaving for something a bit uncrowded.  And while I was driving north across the bend on the "Libre", I saw a peak just exploding over these ram shackle houses that are on the edge of the cliffs.  I made a quick u-turn and found this lonely point just going off with only five guys on it.

There were about 4 other guys on the cliff, contemplating whether or not it was worth it.  The paddle out looked pretty sketch, and an exit strategy looked like a mile paddle to the safest beach.  I asked the boy's on the cliff if they were going.  After a minute of talking ourselves into it, one guy just looked at me and said "Fuck it".  He started walking and three of his buddies, including me, followed.  Lucky enough, I made it out pretty clean.  But damn, this swell was pumping some dragons.  It was a damn great sesh of paddeling around beasts and going for broke on a few waves.  But I have to say, I did it, with some grace.  When I surfed the next day back home at a local reef, I told some of the older guys where I surfed the day before.  And they scolded me for it.   One guy said, "Dude, you can't take chances like that when you have responsibilities, that's for youngsters."  Another guy told me how he almost tore out his entire eye brow after hitting a rock at that spot.  I guess I got lucky, for the swell and tides were was just right (I guess), as I came out pretty unscathed with a lot of good memories.  But over and over again, the same phrase was used by everybody about that spot:  "The damn rocks."

Over the next few days I surfed a local reef with the same crew of guys.  It wasn't a perfect swell for this spot, but it was good enough.  But even though I had a really great sesh at that "damn rocks" spot, I was struggling a lot with my confidence.  My pop up hasn't been particularly well lately.  I ate it a bunch of times the day before.  I figured that the jump from two feet surf to 5 foot + had a lot to do with it, but I'm starting to think otherwise.  It probably has to do a lot with my weight, as I've been hovering around five pounds over my surfing weight, which makes a big difference on some of my boards.  But instead of trying to starve myself, and lose five pounds in one day, which wasn't going to happen (cuz I love my grinds), I tried something else.  Over the last few days of the swell, I just made it a habit to just tell myself as I was paddling into a wave this small mantra "Relax, don't over think it."  I know myself pretty well, and I know that when I am doing things with a flow of thought and instinct, rather then just thought, the end result comes out pretty well.  So I changed my mantra to "It's cool, just pop up".  And that seemed to work for a bit. 

But then there is Trestles.  And with summer, Trestles equals... too many groms. The Bearded Bandito and I decided to catch the tail end of the swell at Uppers.  And it was a great choice.  It was pumping.  Big walls were just coming one after another.  And if you surf Uppers any, big south swells just close out that spot at times.  But the medium sized ones are the ones to go for.  And all the groms knew that.  One grom after another was just flying out of the white water as I was trying to drop in, making me pull out just before I was about to pop up.  And when they weren't flying out of nowhere, they were just dropping in.  To say the least, it got pretty frustrating.  And damaging to my confidence because of two things:  (1) Kids younger then half my age were schooling me and (2) They really made me feel old.

So now I'm three steps back to where I was a few days ago.  Confidence feels like it is fleeting and there are no waves until the end of next week.  Generally when I'm feeling down about myself, I tend to not wallow in it too long.  I find out what's bothering me and do something about it.  So here is the first step, processing and identifying it, and the next step is looking for the best method to heal and improve and then put that plan of action into motion.  But today, The Bearded Bandito and I had a conversation about this "confidence" thing (he was feeling the same way after our Uppers session).  We both felt as if we lost something and left it there on that beach in front of Uppers.  And maybe that is what we were suppose to do to evolve as surfers, and become better men.  And whatever is going to fill what we left, is going to make us that much better, because maybe, just maybe, that part of our confidence, that part of ourselves that was left behind, was holding us back.  And just maybe when the next swell comes, we won't be held back. That new part that fills that void, will give us the push we need to lose something else... 

Or maybe we'll just get schooled by groms again.  Who the fuck knows. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Whatever Sessions

The Whatever Sessions from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Lately, I've been looking into new hobbies.  Knitting, gardening, fencing, maybe dabbing into learning a new language, cooking...  Whatever to get my mind off surfing and the endless knee high waves and south winds that blow out anything that is good or ride able.  For whatever reason, the S.P.A.C. has not let loose, not once.  Well, let me take that back, it did a couple times but during spring when winds from all directions destroyed any hope or stoke that I had.  And when there are waves and the weather cooperates, this is what happens:

I'm not really one to complain about crowds.  Shit, I cut my teeth in one of the most crowded reefs in Santa Cruz.  But the older I get, the less I can hang with all the young kids and groms.  Especially down here in SoCal.  Everybody can surf pretty well, and when your in a crowd fighting for three waves sets that come every ten minutes, you have to be on your "A" game.  But it's difficult when your surfing a spot and at the head of the pack is Kolohe Andino and on the inside, besides all the groms, is Pat Gudauskas (someone could win a spelling bee trying to spell that last name!).  It's probably my fault for picking crowded spots to surf, but I'm not one to dwell on if there are crowds or not, I just want to surf good waves.

That's me above surfing at my local break.  I'm pretty hesitant on calling any break my "home break" cuz I don't feel as if I'm ever going to be a local ("What high school did you go to?").  I pretty much wonder to where the buoys tell me too, so I don't frequent the same spots.  But I do have my "local" breaks which are near where I live.  Shores, Scripp's and Black's are practically on my doorstep, so yeah, those spots are pretty much local.  And out of all three, Black's can pretty much go "loco" at times if you know what I'm saying.

That's me on in the picture above again, giving ya'll an example of what it's been like.  Yeah, we get the intermittent chest high wave now and then, but pretty much, it has been ankle to knee high crap.  Whatever waves.  It's been pretty much exercising as of late, and I don't take these sessions too seriously.  Why?  Cuz for one thing, I surf like crap in small waves, and when I do, my confidence in my surfing falls off tremendously.  It's hard to surf well in small surf, especially since I'm a pretty big guy.  I need more "umph" to set up my turns.  One thing that I have been doing lately is wearing a hat during afternoon sessions.  That my friends, has saved my face from burning like a crisp.  I don't know why I didn't start wearing a hat before, but I never paddle out without it after 12p.

I know I'm ranting and complaining a lot in this post.  And I know I haven't posted in awhile either.  I just haven't had anything worthy to write about.  But to be honest, we have had a few good days of surf.  The last couple of days of June were pretty good at my local breaks.  For some odd reason, we had a late WNW swell that made Black's look like a pretty fun winter day.  I had a blast that day, catching some overhead plus waves.  It was good enough to bust my leash.  And after my leash busted, I decided to stay on the outside and body surf, which was a great call. And besides having the size, the waves were nice and peaky, just the way I like them.  We also had a couple of windswells that provided some fun rides at the Pier.  Really fun waves that again, provided those lovely beach break peaks.

This is all first world problems.  People in Iraq would be laughing at my bullshit complaints right now.  But even when there are no waves, I still have this beach to go to.  My wife and I spend most of our sunsets parked on a hill watching sunsets like the one above.  We sit in my car like two teenage love struck kids, holding hands, smelling that sweet sea breeze and watch one magnificent sunset after another.  There isn't much that I can share with my wife about surfing because she doesn't swim and doesn't surf.  But sunsets at the beach is something we can always share, because if your in the lineup watching this or from a hill, the feeling is always the same.    

Friday, June 27, 2014

Harry Houdini

Promised Harry that I'd post his pics from yesterday.  Hope you like it Harry!  I'll put the full motion magic in my next video.  

Harry is a distributor for Boz Wetsuits out of Peru.  If you want a wetsuit that is unique and out of the ordinary but is of great quality, hollar at Harry.  His email is  Harry will hook it up!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Snaps From Yesterday's Sesh

Yesterday was probably my favorite session of the Spring 2014 season so far.  Caught one of my favorite breaks in the O.C. just simply firing.  Since it was a "blue" day and the wind was slightly blowing, the cynical stayed home and the lucky ones came out.  The crowd stayed super manageable and we all caught more waves than we could count, both finger and toe wise.  Here is a couple snaps I took as I was leaving after a session that lasted more than five hours (with a 10 minute water break).

And the morning after....

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Getting Away From The Fires

I live near the coast, smack dab in the middle of San Diego County.  Living near the Coast, I didn't really "notice" the fires until yesterday when I saw them burning in the distance from "that reef around the corner from my house".  Black smoke rising into the blue sky, being pushed out to sea was not a good sign.  The winds turned into hot offshore winds during my morning session that day, and I knew that from that moment, families and fireman were going to be put in extremely harsh and dangerous situations until at least dusk or later.  For once in my surf life, I wanted the winds to blow straight onshore to help the strong and the helpless.  But it didn't and several fires in San Diego County raged on.

After work today, I headed out to Trestles to catch some of the swell that was in the water.  But every time I looked south, the picture above is all I saw.  The beach was packed with folks.  Most of the schools in San Diego are closed for the rest of the week.  A lot of adults like me, who work in Inland North County either were told not to come in or can't make it to work due to all of the inland freeway closures because of  the several blazes.  But The 5 is open, which leads to Trestle's door step.  Once we made it down to the beach, The waves looked good.  The wind was side/ offshore, which helped groom the waves, but it didn't help the firefighters that were working to put those fires out.

I had a strong sense of guilt that I was surfing instead of doing something to help others that were caught in the fires either physically or emotionally.  I was just out in inland Oceanside and Carlsbad yesterday for work, and I was cornered by several fires.  I don't know these towns very well, so I was sort of helpless, even with my GPS.  Roads were closed and the only way back to The 5 South was through The 78 that headed directly towards some of the most intense fires.  I thought about how helpless I felt and thought of the hundreds of families who shared that same feeling but a million times more intense.

But than I started to think about my present moment, my feelings, where I was, and who I was with.  I bet at least half of the crowd at Trestles today were effected in some way or another by the fires, and being there, with good waves, eased their worries and helped them make it through that scorching day.  My good friend Steve was out in the lineup with me.  I had my GoPro with me and we wanted to capture the fire from a very unique perspective.  And after working our way through a crowded lineup, this is what we got:

The smoke in the distance is the fire blazing in Camp Pendelton.  I was totally psyched that I was able to catch a clean wave with the smoke in the distance for this capture.  But as I rummaged through the footage, I felt a sense of guilt again, that we did something we love, while others were and still are in harms way.  I still feel that sense of guilt, but I'm praying for the strong and the helpless, that they can get help one way or another, from nature or from others.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Quiver

I'm a fan of surf blogs that have a list of their quiver.  I love seeing what people ride, what they ride it in and their internal discussion on what makes each board unique. I've been asked a few times to write a blog on what I ride, but I felt a bit shy about sharing such secretive and useless information.  Plus, I really didn't have the knowledge to explain what makes every board different (I still think I don't have "that" yet, but I'll give it a shot).  But since I've been surfing a lot more over the last year, I've gotten use to using different boards at different breaks and tides.

I'm also modeling my explanation on two influences:  San Francisco based twitter bud @zachsnowthatsme's quiver page, which is pretty dope.  I'm also modeling the way I approach the list of my quiver the way Rick Kane learned how to surf under Chandler (which is the way I approached learning to surf as a person who taught himself later in life.  Yeah, I know it's kook, but I'm proud to say that Chandler taught me how to surf too).

Also, to put in perspective how my body fits with my boards, here are my specs:  5"7 1/2, 180 pounds (of pure B.D.). 

"The Kamehameha" a.k.a "The Destroyer" 
8'6 x 22.5

This was my very first board.  I guess you can call it a fun board, but it's the closest thing I have that resembles a long board.  I found this board at a garage sale around the corner from my home in the Bay Area in April of 2011.  The owner wanted $80 for it but I got her down to $50 by saying "Your going to change my life if you sell this thing to me, you know that right?"  I got destroyed out at Linda Mar with this board.  When I figured out how to ride a face, I took this board to third bowl at The Hook in Santa Cruz and rode the first decent wave of my life on this thing.  The board is made out of one solid block of epoxy. It's not glassed or anything, which makes it indestructible (hence "The Destroyer).  Even though the paint layered above the epoxy block is all chipped away, this board still rocks and catches waves when they are in their infancy.  I rode this board out at Cowell's on a pretty epic day for Cowell's standards. I shared a wave with three other people, which sealed the deal that I'd be surfing for life.  Now days, either this board is being used by a beginner friend or getting layered by dust waiting for visitors.  I use it in the summer out in San Elijo at Turtles.  Great board for ankle slappers. 

The "Arrow"
7'4 x 20.5

This was my first transition board after surfing the "Kam" for three months, probably around June of 2011.  I bought this on Craigslist for $100.  I remember first surfing this board at the Groin in Bolinas.  I was all nerves that I was going to eat shit and all.  But on my very first wave, I popped up and rode it right, all the way into The Channel's infamous left.  Luckily, I didn't go head on with some one that day. I rode the shit out of this board at The Hook.  I rode it in anything including Linda Mar, The Hook & Indicators in Santa Cruz.  I didn't know any better.   The only place I couldn't ride it was at Cowell's because there is no damn push there.  I keep this board at my brother's place in San Francisco.  Towards the end of using this board, I was using it in bigger surf at Ocean Beach in S.F. and at Linda Mar.  It's a great board with some deep channels on the bottom part of the tail.  It freakin' flies down the line!  This board's core is P.U.

The "Webber"
6'6 x 21 3/4 x 21 1/16

I bought this board brand new from Dan at Sonlight Surf Shop in Pacifica, Ca.  I think I bought it during the fall of 2011 for around $600.  Funny thing about this board is that the first one I had was dinged several times.  I addition to that, one of the fin plugs (& fin) got torn out by a floating kelp leaf.  I was pretty frustrated by the board and the lack of durability in the glass work and complained to the board's company, giving the board a bad review on their website.  Well, within two days I was contacted by the representative of "Global Surf Industries" and they shipped me a new board!  Ever since then, the second board (exact replica of the first) has been an awesome board and super durable.  Anyways, in the beginning stage of my surfing life, I got bored easily with boards, and that's why after a few months of riding the Arrow, I bought this. I caught probably the most epic wave I ever rode on this board out at Sewers in Santa Cruz.  I caught this well overhead macker perfectly and watch the sun glimmer through it's thin sheet top all the way past first at Pleasure Point.  I still use this board often.  It really glides into waves, which is useful on days when I'm super lazy and don't want to wait on waves to make late drops.  I use it for mushy waves that have a lot of slope.  Mainly, I use this board on average days at "that reef around the corner from my house" which I mention a lot and at North Garbage.  I also use it at Scripps on days of 2-3 feet at higher tides.  I refer to this board as my "Fatty" or my "high performance long board".  I roll with FCS G-AM's on this board because all I really need is drive.  This board can turn pretty good for a how fat the rails are, but they are usually pretty long, drawn out turns.  My back foot always has to be situated slightly on the opposite side of the face if I'm going left or right.  This board is "super light" epoxy.  And it is super light for how big it is.  Surprisingly, I can whip it around pretty good. One of my best friends, Old Panama Red, swears by this board.  And he dings the fuck out of it too ;)

The "Go To" board.
6'4 x 20.26 x 2.75

This was my first board I bought as I moved into the more high performing sticks.  I bought this on Craigslist for $135.  It was in superb condition. I fucking love this board.  It is awesome.  I trust my life with it.  I first rode this board at Three Mile in Santa Cruz.  And from the second I stood up on this board, I immediately did a pretty shitty cutback (one of my first ) back into the wash, stalled a bit while I waited for another section (that's just how Three Mile goes) and rode that wave into the beach.  I decided to not ride this board in the Spring & Summer and wait on Fall and Winter to use it.  I caught some of the most epic waves on this board and also received some of my most brutal beatings with it too.  This board is still pretty fat, but for the waves I intend to ride this board on, it's totally perfect.  I usually bust this board out when the waves are 6-10 feet (10 feet is my threshold).  If it's ever bigger than 10 feet, either I'm taking pictures from the shore or I'm out by mistake.  With that said, I have caught waves that I consider bigger than 10 feet on this board (Why? Because sometimes you just have to go!).  And it's never let me down.  I use this board mainly at reefs and point breaks.  But I have used this board on bigger days and S.F.O.B., Blacks and Scripp's.  When I start to feel the butterflies and nerves, I grab this board and I feel a lot better.  This board's core is epoxy.  I heard that Geoff Rashe, who hand shaped this board for somebody, was first a Black's surfer and later moved to the West Side of Santa Cruz.  So I guess you can say that this board's creative influence came from the two places I've surfed the most. I use medium FCS PC-5's on this board.  Since this board is a round tail, drive already exists and I wanted more performance out of it, and the PC-5's gives me that. 

The "Sunset"
6'0 x 19"

I bought this from James at Sunset Shapers off of Noriega in San Francisco. He posted this board on Twitter for $180 dollars.  Manav grabbed it for me and I rode it for the first time out at Three Mile in Santa Cruz in some pretty good sized surf.  This became my everyday board in the end.  I rode it a lot out in Santa Cruz at all the breaks on the west and east side.  I rode it in beach, reef and point breaks.  This is the board that I used when I really learned how to surf. I surfed this board pretty much all the time when I moved to San Diego.  This was my board when ever it got good (4-8 feet usually at any tide).  I also rode this board all the way down Baja and on Mainland Mexico last year.  I got my first front side and back side tubes on this board.  It's a perfect short board for my body and style.  It can surf a mushy wave like Pleasure Point and steep waves like Blacks and La Pastora in Baja.  It's just a sick board.  I gave it to the little guy above when I left Mexico.  He was stoked on it and according to my friends out in Sayulita, he still surfs it every day at La Bahia and El Burro.  Lots of the locals were jealous of him when I gave him this board.  But this kid is tough and can hold his own.  Good for you kid!  This board is P.U. As for fins, I used Future JC1's.  I rode Manav's Hess, which is a similar sized board that had JC1's on them and I enjoyed the extra skatey feel, so I bought me a pair and stuck them on The Sunset and it was a perfect fit. 

"Air Drops"
6'2 x 18 3/4 x 2 5/16

Future JC1's

I bought this board for $160 from Bird.  After I came home from Mexico, I searched for a board just like The Sunset but with less width.  I got the idea of less width after I surfed a session with The Duck at Linda Mar when I went back to The Bay for a weekend.  The Duck let me use his M-10 which is I think is 6'6 x 18.5.  Anyways, I caught a pretty good sized, steep wave.  That board just stuck to that steep face with a lot of stability, like I was on a plank!  I digged that feeling and wanted a board for San Diego that was similar.  I also wanted a board with more rocker than The Sunset.  I talked to Bird about my preferences and we looked in his used board stash and found this. Since then, I've been riding this board mostly during low tide at beach breaks.  This board is awesome at Blacks.  It hold's great to the face, gets me in tubes and sometimes out.  It hold's really well when I'm in a tube on those steep faces.  A lot of times when I use boards with fatter rails, they sink when I'm in the tube and I get pummeled by the lip, but this board holds the line.   It's also great on late drops, hence the name "Air Drops".  I'm starting to use it a lot more at reef and point breaks too.  I recently used it at Uppers and Lowers, and it just killed!  This board turns really well.  This board is super light for a P.U. and which allows me to toss it around pretty well.  I rode this board about 100% of the time in my last video. Plus, it's a great board to hike down trails with as it's pretty light and fits under my arm with ease (not rubbing against my arm pits).  I generally ride this board in 4-8 feet (sometimes bigger) surf in lower tides both for beach breaks and point or reef breaks. It's becoming one of my more trusted boards.  This board is P.U.

The "Rusty"

6'2 x 19.15 x 2.4

I bought this board at Bird's for $200.  I got this board because I was struggling with "Air Drops" at the time and really missed The Sunset.  So I bought this board which is as close as I could find to the specs of The Sunset.  As soon as I bought this, I really started riding Air Drops, and I started to love that board more and more everyday.  Well, the more I fell in love with Air Drops, the more this board stayed in the corner.  But a few weeks ago, I was about to sell it at the Cardiff Board Swap.  It received a lot  of lookers but not takers.  After I got home, I went out to my local beach, and since it was already in my car, I decided to surf it.  And since than, this is the only board I surfed over the last few weeks!  I can't believe I almost sold it.  The board is epoxy and super light.  The rails are really thin and there isn't much rocker, so this board just flies down the line.  This board surfs really well when I go backside.  I can totally whip this board around on backside hacks, so far around that my front knee goes into my chest.  I'm still figuring this board out, but I think this board is going with me on trips to faraway lands with warm waters.  I haven't really rode it in anything above five feet yet, but I'll let ya'll know how it goes.  I don't use a stomp pad on this board (it didn't come with one) and I'm probably going to keep it that way.  On really good waves, I can feel the wave under my back foot and judge when to turn just by the feel of whats going on under the tail.  It's a trip, but hard to explain.  Plus, I don't want to add much weight to the board, as it is pretty thin and I think it barely floats me properly.  But when conditions are good, this board is what I've been using recently.

So that's my quiver.  Most of my boards are used except for the Webber.  I try not to buy new boards because they are too expensive and need to broken in. Used boards are the direct opposite, and just needs an owner who can appreciate their quirks.  Plus when I ding new boards, that frustrates that crap out of me. I also think it's more of a  sustainable way of surfing by buying used boards and recycling them for use by the new owner.  Yeah, you can buy a sustainable board, but that board is using at least a couple new things from mother earth while used boards are orphans that just need a loving home.

I need a proper longboard and a fish, but you know, not really.  But we can never have enough boards, the wife just has to O.K. it, and that's not going to happen anytime soon ;)