Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Lōc-sters

Westside Santa Cruz
Watching the sun go down and the moon arise.

Or they could be watching some guy catch a bomb out back?  Your pick ;)

Monday, January 28, 2013


I've been reading this great book that was recommended by fellow Kiwi Hippie Amal.  The name of the book is "In Search Of Captain Zero" by Allan Weisbecker.  There was this great paragraph that aligned with my thoughts and feelings at that present moment and it goes like this:

"In front of me stood the woman I loved, and all she implied; at my back the ocean, another She, and also a focus of my sensuality and deepest desires.  Two profound, implacable forces of nature vying for the nod of total commitment, mutually exclusive in their coveting of my attention".

Over the last six months or so, I have been trying to find a balance between the love of my life (Wife), my friends (Kiwis) and the other love of my life (the Ocean).  I think it's a difficult thing that all us surfers struggle with on a daily basis.  I can't imagine how difficult it would be to have children.  I know if I had children, surfing would probably have to take the back seat until my kekai's were old enough to play in the ocean and learn how to surf.  Balance I guess is hard enough in life, but when you add the love of the ocean, going down the line, hugging the lip and dropping in blindly as the offshore winds fill water in your eyes, balance becomes a high wire act. 

I talked to one of my best buds, The Duck, who is ten years younger then me and single. He struggles with it all the time.  Trying to balance dating and surfing, trying to find that one sexy lady who will allow him to surf on a daily basis, no questions asked.  I advise him to find a lady who loves the ocean and surfs.  But we agreed, finding a woman that surfs and understands how our knees buckle every time an "8 feet @ 20 seconds" type swell dances on to our shores is a one in a million thing.  And to find a woman (let alone anyone) who understands what "8 feet @ 20 seconds" means is like filling an inside straight on the river.  The odds are pretty stacked.  

The Duck and I, glad to have you back brotha.  Surfer girls, he's single. 

There is this other excerpt that I love in "Captain Zero":  "So Denise was stuck on the shadeless, foul smelling, fish crud-encrusted little vessel while the rest of us surfed.  Twenty minutes into the session I paddled back to the boat to be with her...  'No, go ride your waves,' she said when she realized why I'd cut my session short.  She turned her sweet, easy smile from me to the horizon.  'I love just being out here.'  Flies buzzed, her sweat ran in rivulets in the gathering swelter.  'And I love watching you surf".

"Perfecting the cutback" has been a thrill so far, but it had quiet the impact on my marriage.  After the first six months of this grand new adventure, that  feeling of early effervescence drifted off between us and the darling of my life wanted to make sure I was more committed to her then her sultry, wet competitor.  And to prove my love, which I was and will always do, I took a step back and recommitted more time to my wife, which in the end was the best choice. 

Give up a little and maybe get a little more?
As months rolled on, and as I continued to openly provide consistent commitment to our marriage, my wife let me surf more.  She even started coming out and watching me.  She has even inclined to go so far as to taking some great pictures and videos of my surfing, learning more about the ocean, and even critiquing my technique.  "You have to swing your arms first before you try and cut back, watch how Kelly did it at Bells back in April" she said once.  She has grown a great affinity in watching ASP contests with me as I stream them on to our T.V. screen.  She even said once before when I went out to surf 4 mile, "Let's go have lunch, too much water, give it an hour".  

My wife shot this video when I went back home.  She's become quite the talent.

To her credit, my Darling can't swim a lick but she'll get as close to the ocean as possible to get a great shot.  And she recently told me she knew what she was getting into when she said "Yes" five years ago.  I asked her on the Big Island while visiting and introducing her to my family, especially to my favorite Auntie Leo (who cooks the most ono Lau Lau).  She knew, as a Hawaiian boy, even before I knew how to surf, that she was always going to have to share me with Big Blue.  And I'm thankful.  I filled my inside straight against all odds.

My Darling trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.
Then there was January 19, 2013, the most epic of epic days to ever happen at Ocean Beach.  I like to buy my tickets refundable just in case a "can't miss swell" sneaks in.  And everything said that swell was a can't miss.  We all knew it when Mavericks was called that Thursday.  But I ignored all the pub, avoided looking at any of the buoy readings (it was very difficult) and boarded that plane to Portland on that Friday.  Did I regret missing probably the greatest swell to ever hit Ocean Beach in years?  A little.  But then again, not really,  I probably wouldn't have paddled out to be honest.  And if I mustered up the balls to do so, I'd probably be writing this blog from the grave.  So in essence, I had a great time with my wife and our Portlandia friends along with being blessed with another day to surf.  And a side note, it didn't help that the Mavericks online telecast sucked.  Just my two cents.  And it's only two cents.

I had an epic day with my buds on Saturday surfing some sweet swell at G-street.  All of my closest buds were out (except for Furball) and we all caught some pretty good waves.  We surfed so long that a few of us were able to watch the full moon fill the sky over Santa Cruz.

And on Sunday, instead of surfing like I would have usually done, I stayed home and took care of the love of my life, my sick wife who caught the flu bug.  I cooked her soup, made her tea and attended to all her needs.  She is so worth it.

Besides, it was blown out at Ocean Beach anyway ;)

Big props to all you wives and husbands of surfers.  You all have a lot of patience.  Thank you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


The one thing that I really love about Trestles is that there are seven breaks all within a walkable distance from eachother.  Cottons, the farthest northern spot is only about a fifteen minute walk from the farthest southern break, Churches.  And each spot works on a different tide.  If it's high tide, all you have to do is walk five minutes to one of the seven spots that works best and vice versa for low tide. Besides the usual clean, fun waves, that is one of several things that make Trestles epic.

My favorite surf trail. 

On this day, I chose to surf Cottons for dawn patrol (works best on mid outgoing to low tide) and Uppers for the afternoon (works best on incoming mid to high tide).  When I walked under the train tracks, Cottons and Barbs were looking pristine.  Clear skies, slight off shores, peaks setting up everywhere, and not much of a crowd.  I didn't even look anywhere else, I just posted up, put my suit on and jumped in.

Two fellas checking out the surf. Looked clean enough for me.
If I rated my session on a scale from one to five and five being the best, I would have rated this session as a 2.8.  The waves were there, I was just being super impatient.  Cottons is Trestles form of a beach break and peaks shift up and down the shoreline.  I wasn't chasing peaks, but I sure wasn't placing myself in the right spots.  I usually wait for the third or fourth wave of the set, but for some odd reason, I would paddle myself out of position.  After a few times of being out of position, frustration set in.  And once frustration hit, I lost my patience, and from then on it was all down hill.  I wasn't able to get into the flow like I usually do.  I even missed a clear cut, hollow mini barrel.  You'll see it on the video.  And when I watched it, I was in the right position, but didn't see it coming.  Shame on me.  The barrel was pretty clean and makeable.  But I didn't even give myself a chance.  Bummer, bummer and... bummer.

Cottons A.M. from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

I did catch a few good rides.  My best wave came after the camera came off (as always).  It was a screaming right.  It ended with me trying to squeeze into a baby barrel and almost squeaking out.  I was pretty deep in it and I remember almost making the curl.  It was a fun wave, lots of fast sections and really clean.


I ended my one day at Trestles at my #1 favorite spot, Uppers.  For some odd reason, no one was out this particular day.  For an entire three hours, it was a grom, an old guy on an log and me at the first point.  We traded 4-5 feet, clean (really clean) waves.  The grom in particular was surprising.  We created a mini lineup and the grom actually respected it!  He was a really good kid, one of those beach blond SoCal surf kids. 

@ Uppers.  The old guy on the log paddling back to his boat.
One thing that I found particularly interesting on this day was the old guy on the log.  He parked his boat about 50 yards on the outside of Uppers, jumped in and paddled into the lineup.  And when his session was done, paddled back and whisked himself back south.  I've seen a family paddle out to Lowers from a boat before (a big 'ol yacht that is) but never at Uppers.  And the thing about it, no one was giving him shit or laughing.  I guess SoCal peeps are just more chilled.  And I like that.

I ended the day with the California Burrito and couple fish tacos at good 'ol Pedro Tacos on El Camino.  In retrospect, I didn't get to surf Rincon like I had planned that week.  The swell that was predicted just didn't show up.  But I did get some really fun waves anyway and some tasty fish tacos, SoCal style.  No complaining on this blog!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

La Boca

I made it a bit early to our dawn patrol session yesterday at La Boca Del San Lorenzo.  Watching the sun rise over the Marina light house is a thing of beauty.  I'm thankful to be a surfer and experience moments of pristine tranquility.  No one other then surfers, fisherman and the early morning runners are that crazy to be awake that early in the morning to see something like that.  And because of our commitments to the sea and the mornings and the luck to live so close to the sea, we experience things only others dream about. 

I heard that this place hasn't gone off in a couple years.  Panama Red, who lives within a short 5 minute walk from this spot said that it was going off the day before, lending six foot, non-lethal, barreling peaks.  I was tending to The Lane that day, stealing some bombs out back from old guys on long boards and mini guns at Middle Peak.  But today, La Boca was the call.

This wave can get very clean and hollow.
We paddled out before the rise of the sun.  We watched it rise up and sparkle the sea with millions of lights as it rose into a velvet sky.  Sets were coming in at around four feet with an occasional five footer in the mix.  And when it broke outside, all you had to do was catch it, grab rail, stick your arm in the wave and watch the glow of dawn through the silk sheets of water as mini barrels were lending themselves if you were in the right spot.

A local making it happen.
It was just me and two other friends trading waves.  I had many spills and ills, but like Richie says, "If you make it, that shit'll be epic!"  One particular wave just set it self up for me.  As I was pumping down the line, trying to make sections, a slow rising section of this wave bumped up and steepened out.  I made one quick pump, put myself close to the wall, stuck my right arm in the wave and enjoyed a 3 second mini barrel.  It tried to throw me off at the end as it poured gallons of water over my right shoulder, but I stayed determined, made it out, made a quick chop off the top and the ride ended.  Richie, a fella that I surf with occasionally was stoked out for me.  He said he watched it the whole way and gave me a fist bump.  And yeah, I was super stoked!    

On the Sunday before New Years, I surfed The Lane with about one hundred of my closest friends.  But it was firing to say the least.  I bet everybody on that day got something that could be comparable to the ride of their life.  I hanged out around the slot for a while, but I got tired of endlessly taking monsters on the head.  I scooted over to Middle Peak.  Compared to everybody else, I felt so under gunned.  I saw old dudes on mini guns and nine foot long boards.  All I had was my 6'2 M-10.

After an hour of just trying to judge where I could position myself and avoid the run of the 'logs', I decided to stay deep and maybe catch the fourth wave of the set.  A set came, first wave, second, third and oh shit, here comes the fourth. I was all alone as others either caught one or were cleaned up.  And this particular wave was coming wide.  I paddled with everything I had to get to it's outer right shoulder, straightened up my board and went for it.  That drop had to be one of the biggest drops I ever made.  All I saw was a wall of green and I was speeding down it.  At one point, I thought I was going to lose control of my board, but for some reason, it was one of those moments where the wax on my board kicked in and my feet got into proper position.  And by blind luck, I was able to make what felt like the ugliest cut back ever to set myself up near the curl.  For the next 100 or so yards all I remember was the wind in my hair, silence, a green wall and here and there, the curl of the wave falling softly on my back foot and tail.  And when I woke up from this dream, I was passed Cowell's point and about 20 yards into Cowell's.  I decided to paddle into the Cowell's stairs, go to my car and leave on a high note. 

And now it is the New Year, and I guess the tradition is to make resolutions.  For one thing, sugar is the devil for me, so I have to make a resolution around that.  Another thing that I want to do is read more, but my wife said that I already read enough.  So my resolution this year is gonna be somewhat of an abstract one.  My new years resolution is to "stay stoked" and enjoy the great moments that life offers.  And to make my cutbacks prettier.  They are so damn ugly.