Monday, October 29, 2012

Small Bits

I love dawn patrols.  Waking up early, driving alone on an empty, dark highway, listening to the WTF Podcast while sipping on some warm brew.  My favorite early morning drive is making my way up on the 17 on a cold morning, heater half way up.  I remember last year and the sheer nervousness before a big swell, wondering in the darkness if I'm up to it or not.  I guess I just love the alone time. I'm in the "helping others" industry, and I take on a lot of other people's burden, so alone time is always a blessing.

Over the last few weeks, the surf has been pretty small.  The tides haven't helped either.  The tides have either been too high for any type of small swell to show it self or too drained for the sand bars to do their business.  I've really tried to be positive during the last week and a half  around the smallness, trying to figure out a way to learn at least something new and gain some type of wisdom from it.

One of the the things I have been working on in the drained out afternoons is trying to catch waves early and leaning into closeouts.  Linda Mar and Montara have plenty of them when it's drained.  I know it sounds hilarious, but I've been trying to practice tucking into mini closeouts, getting really close to the small walls, grabbing rail and tucking in.  I'm hoping this will be good practice when the walls get steep and hopefully it will help me get used to holding my own in a real barrel.  I've also been working on keeping my eyes open in close outs, getting my body fully shacked and keeping my footing for as long as possible.  Please don't snicker, I know it sounds funny, but I have to work on something of use...

When I was younger and living near a beach break called "Magic Sands" on the Big Island, that's all we used to do on our boogie boards.  We would catch a wave, pop up and stand on our boogies and get clobbered by 4 foot (Hawaiian sized), closed out beach break.  We would get pounded to oblivion, but we would come out, my brother and I , give eachother a hi-five and paddle back out for more.  So I guess getting clobbered by shitty beach break isn't new to me, it's just now I'm on a surf board. 

Panama Red and I surfed a spot just north of Santa Cruz.  It was epically... small.  But I guess it was good that it was small because the Panamanian and I had a lot of catching up to do.  Lots of good conversation with one of my best and most trusted buds.  He caught a few small ones.  I think I only caught two in three hours.  But I wasn't dissappointed at all.  It was a beautiful day and I was able to get some fantastic pictures.  The water was really clear and we watched a grey harbor seal swim slowly under our boards.  It was utterly breath taking.

Dawn Patrol.  3 Mile in the distance.
I also busted out the GoPro and caught some great footage.  Being that there was no one really out but us, I was able to get in good position and get some good footage of the Panamanian.  Check it out:

Just... Real Quick. from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

But being that I didn't catch much waves, I had to get my stoke elsewhere.  So I headed up north on the One, checked out a couple spots and ended up doing a session at Montara and Linda Mar.  The one thing I really love about both spots is that if you really have a lot of patience and calm your frustration, you can find some nuggets.  And also, wether it's shitty or not, there is always going to be some type of catchable wave.

Panama Red on one.
During my sesh at Linda Mar, I did my own thing.  I try to find the open spaces between the clusters.  I wait and wait, practice patience and being present.  Why?  Cuz usually waves will shift from one spot to another, especially on swing tides when a little bump in the sand becomes irrelevant because of the tides and another becomes surfable.  I'm able to stay in my spot alone for a while when the waves come up, but after 15 minutes of catching some decent closeouts (if there is one) the herds usually rush in.  And for some reason, there is this one dude on a fun board that always surfs the same time as me and follows me everywhere!  I swear I could be 100 yards away from him and he'll spot me, paddle over and sit right next to me.  I try to paddle (run if I have to) away from him, but like a shadow, he just keeps on following me, trying to snake everything I paddle for.  I always end up giving him the "turn my board and paddle" routine, and he falls for it, but then he paddles back, following me up and down the beach (excuse me why I vent my frustration.  LOL)

On a positive note, it looks like we'll be having some decent size swell for the next few weeks.  The ASP will be starting up at The Lane.  And a three day weekend is on the horizon.  Plus, my best friend is moving to San Diego!  Never again will I have to sleep in my car when I drive south for some waves.  Cheers to that!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Man, I'm Ready For Winter

I can't claim this video, but damn, it is getting me pumped for winter!  October hasn't been as good as expected but we are a short month and a half away from our favorite time of the year!  Shot at one of my all time favorite spots on the West Side.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Missed. Nearly.

In my last blog, I went over to Santa Cruz to pick up Mrs. Go To.  I was able to get my board, have a fun time at my third favorite spot with super charger Panama Red.  But the next day, I got text after text from some of the Kiwi's telling me how epic Ocean Beach was that day (Saturday, October the sixth to be exact).  I went to stokereport to see if all of this was true, and low and behold, it was one of the five epic days all year that Ocean Beach becomes a world class wave nest...

Courtesy of  Grant Ly
Courtesy of  Grant Ly
Courtesy of  Grant Ly

Courtesy of  Grant Ly
I talked to other fellow OBers the following Sunday and they all said that it was one of those days where you could hang out on the inside and the outside and catch nuggets.  I knew just what they were talking about.  When OB gets epic, the third bar cleans up larger waves so when they hit the second bar, they are perfect size, tubing beauties.  And when the waves are around 8-10 feet on the third bar, they are a couple feet bigger then the second bar, but still as beautiful.  And I missed it.  But it's all good.  Gotta stay positive.

My favorite days at OB look like this:

I headed out to OB the following Sunday to find that parking was next to none due to the Marathon that was going on.  I got lucky and found a quick spot on Sloat.  I parked near the Zoo, walked over to the Sloat lot and found that the outer bar was clean, no wind and next to empty because of the Marathon and the lack of parking.

A marathon for a great cause.  But they could do less of the Lady Ga Ga music...
I ran back, suited up, got my board, waxed it and ran back down the new sandy hill.  I did my 10 minute stretch, took a deep breath and paddled out.  Even on softer days, paddling out can be a bitch at OB.  But I got lucky, found a rip and made it out back in 10 minutes.  Breathing hard and needing a rest, a nice 6 foot, high tide chunk of a wave headed my way.  Still breathing hard, I turned my board, waited for it to come, paddled into it and caught a fun, fast right.  I had too much fun because I found myself on the inside and it took me another 10 minutes to get out back.

I stuck around for 2 hours, caught a handful of fun, sorta mushy waves.  The last wave I caught was one of the bigger waves of the day, a chunky, pushy left.  I caught it way to inside and decided to land on my belly and catch it into the shore.

Tired and stoked I headed back to the car, dressed up and munched on a banana.  I stopped by Aqua Surf Shop, heard a debate about Epoxy vs. PU, checked out some gear, bought me a pretty sweet shirt and headed back to the car.

Aqua Dog
I wanted to surf more, but I didn't want to waste all my energy on a 30 minute paddle out.  So I headed out to Linda Mar, bumped into Kush, said 'WAZZUP!', then suited up and headed out to Alaska.  Had a fun sesh with sixty good friends.  I overheard somebody say (as always) "Dude, it's hella crowded".  But isn't it always hella crowded at Lindy?  I actually like it now.  I dig the new surfers.  They carry this stoke, this joy of just being in the water.  It's pretty contagious if you let it.

I headed home pulled up to this chilled out dog.

He was wearing a pair of Ray-Bans and was digging life.

I surfed a couple times last week, but nothing spectacular.  I was just happy to be in the water, watching the sun and sometimes the fog filter in and out of the bay as they usher in the winter.  Winter is around the corner and more epic days will be had.  I can't wait, Me and Mrs. OB have some making up to do.

Heads up, great little surf film festival headed our way.  Went to the last one and it was pretty epic (Like OB was).  Check it out @ Save The Waves Film Festival .  All proceeds go to a great cause.  I'll be there for sure!  It will be held at at the Victoria Theater in the Mission on November 16th.

Last off, I want to congratulate the S.F. Giants who are headed back to the World Series.  To make it clear, I am an A's fan.  But...  the Giants have heart and never say never will.  Gotta respect that.  Bring it back to the Bay ya'll.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ding Doctor

In every sport, there is the "go to".  The go to ball, the go to shoes, the go to glove, the go to ritual, the go to bat, the go to player and so on.  When the score is tight, and there all but a few seconds left on the clock, the ball is always in the "go to" players hands (or feet), whether that be Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, or Abby Wambach. As long as the "go to" is involved, there is always hope that something good is going to happen.
M10, 6'4,  Geoff "Rashe"
In surfing our "go to" is our board.  This is the board that we trust when we are confused about the surf, when we can only fit one board in our car or when the drops are steep and waves are big.  It is the board that has our back, and we in turn.  Some refer it to being their "all-round" or their "baby", which is all good.  But I refer to mine as my one and only "go-to".  "She" makes me (think I) look good on small mushy waves.  She glides me down big drops when I'm in fear and my eyes are closed.  She tucks me into nice little green rooms sometimes when the swell is just right.  And she smells so damn minty (you know I'm a sex wax guy).

I found her on Craigslist in May of this year.  I paid a inexpensive $160.  She was perfect, no dings, or pressure dings, nothing.  Best $160 I ever spent. (This whole thing doesn't sound right with the Craigslist reference. Just to clarify, I'm talking about my favorite surfboard...)

While surfing at Trestles in June with the Kiwi Hippies, I dinged her while duck diving during low tide.  My right fin hit a shallow rock and dug into the back end of the board causing a pretty deep gash in addition to a lost fin.  Manav gave me some good advice to stick some wax on the gash as a temporary solution.  A few days later, Manav, "Ms. Go To" and I ripped Lowers together.  What a morning.

fixed her up a week later, and continued to surf her even though I had a pretty bad feeling that I did a shitty patch job. A week ago, during that last big swell, I noticed this:

Not good.  The surf was really good that day.  And I knew I wouldn't be complete without her.  So I did the Manav/wax advice.  She surfed well, but I could feel all that water weight on the tail.  All bad.

I dried her out for a week.  She cried and cried.  And cried and cried.  So much tears.  For five straight days.  I felt so bad.  But she kept smiling and telling me that she would be alright as long as I stopped playing doctor and took her to a real ding specialist.  I caved.  In my guilt, I knew what I had to do.

The very next week, I took her to the land of professional ding doctors, Santa Cruz.  I usually take my boards to Freeline on 41st, and they send their boards to Sand Dollar Ding Repair.  But as I was walking over with Furry and Viv (our very first female Kiwi), we stopped in at the Rip Curl Store and one of the kids that worked there showed me some work that had been done to his board.  I was astonished at how awesome of a repair it was.  And he said that his board was done in 4 days!  4 days, are you kidding me!  Ding Doctors usually take a month if your lucky.  And I don't have a month.  November is right around the corner, and you know I have to have Ms. Go To when the waves are like glass and the curtains are peeling.

He gave me his ding doctor's number, and I called him up right away.  I talked to Dr. Brian.  I told him the situation and Dr. Brian told me not to panic because he was going to have Ms. Go To ready within a week.
Dr. Brian and his office.

Dr. Brian's notes.  I like him already.
Furry in Dr. Brian's office.  He's so stoked that he has to tag his whereabouts on Facebook.

Dr. Brian called me a week later and told me that he would have Ms. Go To done by noon.  I sped over to his office and watched him as he did his final touches.

Dr. Brian in his medical room, taking care of Ms. Go To.
Dr. Brian changed Ms. Go To's plug and fixed her gnarly gash.  He also fixed some minor dings on her bottom and on her deck.  She is now water tight, and winter ready.
New plug.  Water tight.
My beauty.
As I was about to leave I met Dr. Brian's brother, Sterling Ebert.  Sterling is a pretty wanted shaper around Santa Cruz.  He currently lives in Kauai, and we "talked story" being that we are some Hawaiian brotha's lost on the mainland (but in a good way).  Our conversation shifted towards boards and he had a great idea for my next board.  I was sold.  Too bad my beautiful wife wasn't .  Bummer.  But there is still hope, and I still got his number. The board we talked about was so sick.  A board focused on Santa Cruz waves...  The dream is still alive!

Sterling Ebert of Ebert Boards, taking notes around our thoughts for my next board. 
Dr. Brian expressed that Ms. Go To continued to cry for a week.  He said that she even cried all over some of his other patients.  I again felt bad.  But she told me as long as we could jump in some salty water and catch some waves that she would forgive me.  We headed out with Panama Red to my 3rd favorite spot.  Being that it is a pretty fickle spot, we didn't expect anything and we had already planned to head out to Florida Mile.  But there were some waves.  Panama and I caught a handful each and even shared one all the way down to the other cove.

She rode so much better then she had in a while.  She had slightly more float, she was a lot lighter, tucked easier into pockets and made some fast sections.  Ms. Go To is back and she is stoked.  And so Am I.  And a little less guilty.

Just a friendly suggestion from a satisfied customer (no, he didn't give a discount or anything for that matter), if your in need of a professional ding Doctor, give him a hollar.  Check him out here @  Good people and a local business.  Always good to support that type of thing.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Hugging the world.
Before I got hooked on surfing, traveling was my hook.  I loved going to different areas other than mine.  I loved being part of a new culture, not understanding a language, enjoying the differences, the food, and the different ways of saying good morning and good night.  I enjoyed the days when I was simply lost, walking down a street that made no sense, settling into a cafe and strangely bumping into a person that I would eventually know for the next 10 years. 

For me, traveling wasn't all about going to countries across the world.  It could be going to places like Sonora or heading north to Eureka or south to Watsonville.  Drinking coffee and having breakfast at a mom and pop restaurant where people wear unfashionable trucker hats with red, thick flannels with rugged, cow hide, sharp tip boots, with so much food on my plate that the left overs were my lunch and dinner.  As long as I felt strange and out of place, I was O.K. with it.  I still enjoy traveling and continue to do it a lot, but now it's more about fitting surfing into my itinerary, which adds an extra depth to the over all experience. 

Like travelers, surfers share one very extreme quality, we are adventurers.  Part of the experience that I love about surfing is the "search".  The search for a new wave, an uncrowded break, chasing a swell or just looking for a stretch of beach that can lend some peace.  There are days when my search can go from Bolinas all the way down to Moss Landing.  I shit you not.  And I think most of us have done that sort of drive, probably not as extreme as I have, but somewhere in between.  I believe surfers are travelers in a sense, and probably in most cases are, as both communities "search", and in our case, for waves. 

Last year, around this time, I completed my first real "search".  Not knowing anything or having a plan, I packed my car with my boards and gear, threw a weeks worth of clothes and headed south to San Diego. I had no idea what I was doing other then surfing from the south end of California and all the way back up to San Francisco.  There were so many ways a trip like this could have went wrong, but some how in a strange way, it went entirely right.

On the way back up the California Coast, I surfed beaches in La Jolla, Trestles for the very first time, bumped into Rincon on a lucky epic day, Carpenteria, C Street in Ventura, Santa Barbra, Pismo, Santa Cruz and finally ending at Ocean Beach.  It was an epic trip where my back seat was my bed about sixty percent of the time, found myself befriending some great shapers in Carpenteria, slept on a couch with a dog named "Rippa", and connected with people that I still talk to today.  I found a lot of rough footage a few weeks ago and decided to make another silly video to first, share with you all, and second, remind myself that the "search" is always there.

Discovery from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Video: "Around Town"

Around Town from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Video from our very first swell of the season.  Shot around Santa Cruz during a two day span (September 25th and September 30th, 2012).  Great times, big sets and some epic wipeouts by yours truly. 

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall = Waves

Picture from "Cloud" on

As of the third week of September, the rumor was out.  The very first major swell was due to hit on the last Monday of September and continue on through the whole week.  My cell phone was going off every few minutes, with texts coming wildly from a thread of friends from all over the Bay asking the same question that every other crew was asking "Where we surfing?"  My wife laid restless in bed, punching my thigh everytime that funky little guitar ringer would go off on my iphone as a new message arrived.  But it didn't matter (don't tell my wife), fall arrived and so did our waves.

I paddled out on Tuesday morning, not being able to get some of that Monday stoke.  Instead of being worked by Mother O.B., I got worked by the grind, but in a good way.  I pretty much love my current gig, and I hate missing work.  But I had to paddle out on Tuesday.  I ended up heading for my "third favorite break" and majorly scored!  My wife took the day off too, wanting to know what all the fuss was about.  She was pretty astounded in the end, watching some mega sets come through.  She really got a kick out of watching me take a major nose dive on a serious wave.  I asked her later if she was worried about me on that wipeout, and she just said nonchalantly, "Not really..."

I also scored some waves in Monterrey on Saturday.  I was attending a wedding in Forest Grove near Lovers Point and I could see the swell just coming through in the form of beautiful glassy sets.  The groom, who is a good non-surfer friend, but one of the most open minded fellas I know, whispered to me "This must be porn for your soul".  Yes it was.  

Definitely some swell hitting the Central California Coast.
Lover's Point.  It wasn't this good, but it was happening around high tide.
In between the wedding reception and the bonfire,  I had around two hours to score.  The tide dropped at Lovers Point and it went flat with rocks sticking out everywhere.  I called Manav and he told me to drive south to a white sand beach in front of a golf course.  And there my friends, on a quick surf safari through Monterrey, in a spot I think they call The Spanish Harbor, I found some waves. I caught my quota of three waves in about an hour, two nice head high rights and a screaming left.  

Spanish Bay.  A local told me surfers call this spot Moss South. 
While basking in the high of scoring when I didn't think I was going to score, I looked to my right and I was accompanied by a squawking sea gull, who was enjoying all the wave action too.

This guy was induced by the wave porn action too.

Not Mars, but the Central Coast.
On Sunday, I was able to convince my wife into "allowing" me to pull a double session at The Hook and at my 3rd favorite spot. And yes my friends, I was allowed!  The swell was still kicking up at the Hook and some really pristine sets were flowing in.  I caught it when the 49ers were playing (planned attack you might say) and the crowds weren't that bad. I got into a shouting match with a local after he blatantly cut me off and at the same time yelled "fuck off" as he rolled towards Sharks.  During our shouting match, the same ol' Santa Cruz banter was used as in "I'm a local!" and "I've been surfing here for thirty years!" and "Blah Blah!" and "Blah Blah!" I'm not going to go through the whole situation, but I stood my ground for once, and represented everybody else in the lineup who had been disrespected.  Me and this fella were able to squash it, share some waves and even talk about our wives, shopping at Costco, the difference between green and yellow bananas, how we both love to watch The Big Bang Theory and all the in betweens.  We even caught one in and walked up the stairs together.  See Santa Cruz, we can all get along!

For my second sesh, I headed to my third favorite break and man, it was pumping.  There were some waves that broke out farther then I've seen them do in a while and roll straight through Mitchell's.  I was able catch three bombs, hit two tubes and made it out of one!  It was a total surprise to really feel the wave and see it shape, take my time and position myself into the best spots to catch those tubes.  Instead of rushing through the waves, I came to a point (at least on this day) where I could really slow it down, take my time and pick my spots.  I was able to see the curl come, stall a bit and ride them out.  I'm pretty stoked about it.

Patiently stalling and pulling in. And I made it out.
I also had some major wipeouts during the last week of swell, but it's all good.  My new motto is "fuck it".  I have this new attitude where I'm going to paddle for a wave even if I'm late and not be pissed if I make it or not.  A quarter of the time I get hammered, and the other third has been straight up fun!  And when I do get drilled, it hasn't been that bad.  I've just been taking "The Slayer's" advice on just going for big ones and getting worked.  And for some reason, I'm getting pretty comfortable now and been more relaxed in rather gnarly situations.

Mitchell's when it get's major.
Panama Red was out on the rock, chilling with a six pack, rooting me on as I was pulling into some mackers. Panama sustained some major carnage (six staple carnage) a day before after he caught a south swell closeout bomb that drove him straight to the bottom and into some rocks.  The Guy is such a charger.  He's like a great NFL cornerback who gets beat deep, forgets about it and intercepts the next pass and takes it in for the score.  Which means, he has a short memory and he'll be back for some more carnage this winter.

Panama Red.  

Six dilemmas of a charger.

It's been a great weekend of waves, made a new enemy that turned out to be a really cool guy who is now a friend for life in the lineup.  My wife really enjoyed watching me get thrashed and I watched another friend find happiness with a beautiful woman.  And... there are more waves on the horizon.

Look out for the video from last week's swell.  It will have some great surfing and some beatings on your's truly.  

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El Salvador: Tunco Es Liso

Tunco Es Liso from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

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