Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Flopping Around

Surfed a sunny SoCal Sunday at The Cliffs (again!). I'm missing the beach breaks but the reefs have been lighting up over the last few weeks. Didn't surf as well as I wanted to, had a lot of sea water running out of my nose for a day and a half, but well worth it. Got some redemption on a few waves.

Flopping Around from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Camera: GoPro Hero 3 (1080 @ 60 fps)
Music: "Left My Wallet in El Segundo" Instrumental by Tribe Called Quest.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunday Afternoon

Tim looking down the line.

Busted out the GoPro once again at The Cliffs.  I didn't surf as well as I wanted too, taking four spills on some lined up nuggets.  But it was fun and had redemption on a few rides.  The vibe was great as always.  Stoked to have seen so many familiar faces from my side of the County out that way. 

Trying to catch up.
"When the Most Interesting Man in The World surfs..."  ad caption.
Victor going right.
SUP's are alright in SoCal... I guess.
Martiza found one all to herself. 

One wave I didn't f' up.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Getting to the "Sentri Pass Lane"

This is when most people say the famous words, "THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT!'
If you've crossed the border at San Ysidro enough times, than you'll know how confusing and utterly frustrating it can be. My relationship with Tijuana in particular has been one of utter discombobulation.  Tijuana = lost to be more specific.  If you miss a turn, turn the wrong way, follow a sign that says "San Diego" but what it really meant was to "turn right in 40 yards for San Diego", than your lost in the epic circle of trying to find your way back to The States (while The States tease you with it's skyline as you travel lost on top of the foothills of T.J).

The Sentri Pass
Recently, to avoid the mess, I went through the three month process of getting my Sentri Pass.  On Thursday, for the first time, I had my Sentri Pass in hand after a good surf in Baja Malibu and Roberts Reef with a good friend.  I left a little bit late, breaking one of the steadfast rules of not driving at night in Mexico.  Everything was fine when I came to the lanes that led to the San Ysidro Boarder.  I took the "Medical Lane" (for people with enough medical necessity to cross the boarder faster than any of the other lanes) like I was suppose to.  I talked to the guard at the Medical Lane gate who told to me to just "stay left" and I would be in the Sentri Lane.  I stayed left, and all I did was make the loop around the over pass and into that frustrating roundabout that half way through has a sign that says "San Diego" and points straight as you drive around in circles.

Hope this makes it easier...  NOT!
After thirty minutes of looping I guessed the Sentri Pass Lane would be somewhere in the regular boarder lanes that are opposite to the "Medical Lane".  Was I wrong.  I was stuck in regular traffic going back into The States with 20 cars behind me and no way to flip a...  we'll you know.  I talked to some of the merchants who told me for $20 they would clear the lane behind me and take me to the Sentri Pass Lane.  No thanks I replied.  "OK, $15 and I'll throw in this toy bank of Tom Brady!"  No thanks I replied again.

Not even Tom Brady can look as frustrated as I did.
Luckily I had bars on my cell phone from my cell network during my arduous wait.  I looked for instructions on how to get to the Sentri Lane.  And according to Murphy's Law I found a video that showed the step-by-step process on how to get to the Sentri Lane.  After watching this video, I don't know how anybody could have figured it out, even with instructions.  It's a bunch loops, U-turns, traffic, and landmarks instead of signs.  It's like a bug fucking maze!!!  But I did figure that I missed my turn three times.  I saw that final turn, but figured it wasn't the way because the flow of traffic was going somewhere else.  I guess that's why the Sentri Pass is so useful, because one percent of the population has it and traffic, at least most of the time, is non existent in that lane.

Yeah, I still have yet to grace this sign.  But it exists...
So for all of you who have a Sentri Pass or thinking about getting one, memorize this video.  But don't get frustrated that even though you memorized this video you get lost anyway.  It's Tijuana, and by birthright into this lovely place called Earth, you must get lost in Tijuana to earn your wings.  Just don't freak out.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Weekend Warrior to Weekday Warrior

Here is my recent article on "The Inertia".  You can check it out on The Inertia by clicking on this link.

Watching shift changes is part of the charm of surfing daily.
Watching shift changes is part of the charm of surfing daily.

For years, I crossed the bridges of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Santa Cruz Mountains to fulfill my weekly cravings for cold waves and warm stoke. My closest break, Ocean Beach, was 45 minutes away plus $20 for gas and $5 for toll. All week I would check the swell forecasts, hoping that either a “green” or the once in a million “orange” forecast would grace my Saturday or Sunday. I also had to play in the fact that I had responsibilities to take care of which included my wife and family, car payments, rent, errands, gatherings and the occasional seven day work week. I even bought a week of vacation to catch that once in a lifetime swell that never came. To fulfill my dry stoke on weeks where I couldn’t surf, I created a blog where I could mind surf. Besides writing a journal-like escapade of my kook adventures, I created videos that I could watch to recapture lost stoke and photos that I could turn to when the fog that rolled over twin peaks made living dry a bit more dreary. Everything evolved around surfing on the weekends. It was difficult, but once I hit the water, all that “noise” was silenced. “The God-awful difficulty of just paying attention” as William Least Heat-Moon put it, was achieved.

But then came the fortunate turn of events that transformed my 45 minute drive to the beach into a five minute bike ride. Job transfers can be notorious for sending a family to a place landlocked and cold. By sheer luck, my wife’s transfer landed us in Southern California, near some primo surf. My surfing went from two days a week to an average of five. Crowded weekends became mostly uncrowded weekdays. I also had the freedom to reschedule my work around surfing, mostly by subtracting out that long drive.

I also got to know my boards better. Instead of intellectually understanding what having more or less “rocker” means, I now understand how it feels. Through trial and error I understand which of my boards work better during high tide and which ones to use when it’s hollow and draining. Never being a skater, I am coming to understand which of my boards skate better on walls that are rampy and which boards hold a tighter line when it becomes steep and powerful.
I’ve met fellow weekday warriors who surf daily. Each half hour has a different shift of characters. From characters that I’ve seen on magazine covers to the character who only goes left. I know who is their own boss, who’s jobs are more relaxed, who has to be at work on time, and who doesn’t work. How? Because I have a watch. And I get asked for the time a lot.

But it’s not a 24/7 surfing buffet. I still have to earn my keep. I had to give up a lot to become a weekday warrior. Instead of living on salary, I’m living on tips. Instead of a door opening, I have to open doors. When others clock out, I clock in. And because I’m starting on the bottom, I see things differently. Instead of living overly, I’m striving for simplicity. And to strive for simplicity is to become the salt, and when you are the salt, you meet the salt of the earth. With the salt, you struggle, and understand the struggle. Instead of visiting the third world, you become the third world in the first world.

Because I get stoked out on most weekdays, I want to share my stoke with all my stoke understanding friends. And like I said before, when they are clocked in, I’m clocked out. And sharing with your friends now isn’t like it was back in the nineties. Sharing consists of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I forget at times that I’m clocked out and others are clocked in.

Presently, It’s weird to paddle out on weekends. There are new faces, new personalities and everybody wants to go right. But there is a joyful sense of stoke, where each woman and man on a longboard has a warm smile, cheerful attitude and contagious laugh. And unlike the weekday community that knows each other because of daily crossings in the surf, most weekend warriors are foreign to each other, but in some aspects, a stronger community. Weekend warriors have what I feel I have lost, the ability to turn off the noise. I think you lose something when you have your favorite dessert almost everyday, and that is what I lost in some respects.

As a once weekend warrior, I hold a responsibility to my weekend warrior brothers and sisters. Because I get to enjoy mostly uncrowded surf during the weekdays, I will try not to surf on the weekends. That is the time for weekend warriors to shine, that’s when they become locals and the rest of us become foreigners. They are entitled to those two precious days where responsibility is put aside and noise cancellation is achieved. They are are the sentinels of the fragile thing that we call stoke. And we all need to share the stoke, even on weekends.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Eve Session

I really enjoy surfing The Cliffs.  It is a really stoked out community that doesn't mind sharing waves, always has a lot of smiles, and nothing but positivity.  We got some fun swell on Christmas Eve.  Kiwi Hippies Don Corleone and The Burglar, Steve with the awesome accent along with San Clemente Kid and prospect, Paul who joined in on the fun.  The Burglar and I shared THE best party wave ever.  Nothing like a Christmas Party Wave to usher in Christmas day.

The Eve Session from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Surf

Wide open spaces.

Surfed The Cliffs with Paul and Steve (not the Steve who share's my B-day with.  But I wish you were there bud).  Got some pretty good pictures of some stoked out peeps with some fun chest high swell.  Merry Christmas everybody!  Have fun with the family, open all those presents and hug the people you love the most.  And be safe.  We still got New Years!

The early morning drop.
Taking flight.
Best Christmas party ever!  That's Kiwi Hippie "The Burglar" on my tail.  All three of us shared with this wave and had a blast doing it!
The fade.
Setting it up.
The left was great this morning.  It kept jacking up as it inched closer to the cliff. 
I'm almost in the way.  But he has it under control.
Deep breath.  Exhale.
Using a bit too much rail there sir.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday at Scripps

Right into the sun.
Took the GoPro out this morning and got a couple shots.  Swell was small, but it looked like that new swell was in the water during a couple sets.  Smelled the bacon and hash browns coming from Coraline's so I left a bit early to grab some brekky with the wifey.  Sorry if I couldn't get some folks in like I promised.

My new little bud, Lil' Mac.

One of the better waves today.

I see this guy out a lot and I give him big props.  If your gonna ride a longboard, ride it right.  Like this guy. 

Another longboarder who rides correct. 

Lil' Mac going right on his sponge.

And the seflish selfie on one of my better rides. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lazy Wednesdays

Here is the video that is an addition to the photos from my last blog "Cliff Diving".  Couple of nice rides, good people and great vibes. 

Lazy Wednesday from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cliff Diving

Surfed the Cliffs today with Steve.  Had the GoPro and got some great shots. Enjoy and get some waves.  The next few weeks should be pumpin'!

Going the right way.

She forgot to look left cuz Steves on her tail.

Steve about to catch that tail after slapping the lip!

All lined up.

 Video on the way!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cold and Flat

Shores to the Cove.
The Bearded Bandito and I were pretty stoked on the forecast this morning.  But instead of a medium, fun sized N.W. swell, all we got was a dribbling South.  There were rumors that some of the south facing reefs showing, but I'm a beach break boy, so I stayed put.  Saw Nick in the water paddling around from The Green Wall to The Shores and back to stay warm.  He was disappointed as well.  Instead of trying to surf in a lake, I grabbed the Canon and snapped some pics.

The swell is out there somewhere...


Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Baja Ferry

On the deck just before landing in Mazatlan
I done some research a few years back around taking the Baja Ferry to Mainland Mexico.  Not the particulars, but what to expect, the adventure, the unknown.  I seen "My Eyes Won't Dry" and remembered the few moments they had on the Baja Ferry.  I was told stories of shake downs, drunk cartel members, robberies and the what nots.  But the only advice that I could remember was a friend telling me to listen for these four words:  "Dos por una cerveza".  So I listened.  Saw.  And understood.  And drank.

Departing from Baja
The Ferry is about 10 miles south of La Paz in this small fishing village named Playa Pichilingue.  The cost for a single person in a two bedroom cabin (what we had) is about $167 USD.  It's much cheaper if you skip the room and sleep in the lounge or deck.  Probably more of an adventure too.  If you're bringing a car, add on another $200.  For more info, check the Baja Ferry website here.

The dining room, where it goes down!
The Baja Ferry offers numerous amenities. From very bad Hollywood movies dubbed in Spanish to the nastiest super nachos ever.  There is also the deck, which is where I spent most of my time, with four beers (remember "Dos por una cerveza"), the smell of salt, sound of the crashing sea, and the air as it breezed warmly against my cheeks.  Besides the deck and the dining room, there is also a "Salon" or lounge where most people sleep and watch T.V. who don't have a room.  Very family like and quiet, people and their loved ones share blankets, hot tamales and tortillas as they sleep the night away on their travels to Mazatlan.

The "Salon"
I spent most of my time on the deck watching the sun fall and rise.  At times it felt like I was on a surfboard, swaying with the sea, smelling that salty, breezy air.   William Least Heat-Moon best described my moments on the deck when he wrote "Since leaving home, I felt for the first time at rest.  Sitting fully in the moment, I practiced on the God-awful difficulty of just paying attention."

Besides practicing the "God-awful difficulty of just paying attention", I met a couple truck drivers  who shared some of their half price cervezas.  These fellas were sweethearts, salt of the earth type bearing the creed of honesty, integrity and sweat stained collars from hours upon hours of driving with no vacation in sight.  Only understanding half of what they said (And they only understanding half of what I could say) we shared our beers and smiles, connecting for short moments in the universal language of "catching a buzz".  But along with the stories and some good laughs, we also shared a sunset that blew our minds and upped our gratitude for living on such a beautiful planet. 

Sunset on the deck.
MC and I shared a two bed bunk with a small bathroom and shower.  The "facilities" in the corridor had more space, so I used those instead.  After the sun went down, I stayed out for an hour more with my new trucker buds.  After a few cervezas, I found my way to my bunk, and plopped on the blankets fully clothed and slept like a baby all through the night.  The sway of the ship probably made me feel like I was in uterus again, safe and warm, ready to be re-born.

Dawn Patrol

I woke up early the next morning, walked out to the deck and watched the sun rise in the east.  I wondered why the boat was heading east that morning since we were suppose to travel west.  And because of obvious reasons, I rather enjoyed traveling east and watching the warm glow of "El Sol" rise in the distance above the soft, swaying clouds.  But after an hour, the sun was high, hot and at our backs as we began making our way to Mazatlan.

Another amenity on the fabulous Baja Ferry is breakfast.  For no charge you will receive a no frills super nacho plate covered with the chefs secret sauce, chorrizo, eggs and re-fried beans.  Seconds are only a few steps away, if you dare finish what was on your plate.  And for 10 pesos you can buy a "fresca" or a coffee.  Sorry vegetarians, this boat can only serve you nachos.  The best thing that I had on the boat was the Tres Leches Cake for dinner.  Probably the best Tres Leches Cake I had on the trip, even better than Sayulita's "Cake Lady".  (Yes Amal, it was better than hers.)

At around noon we met land in Mazatlan.  Thinking that our car was going to come out last, we waited for a few minutes in the lobby for our "level" to be called (we were parked on the third level).  One of the equipment guys came running up and asked for the owner of a "white Toyota".  We raised our hands, and he told us "¡Vamos!" as it was our turn to drive out and we were holding things up.  He lead me down the stairs while MC waited in the lobby (only one person can drive in and out of the cargo bay).  The equipment guy had me feeling like things had to be done A.S.A.P, but within a few seconds I found out that a "A.S.A.P" in Mexico is a bit more relaxed than in the States.  For about fifteen minutes, I stood in a corner with a few truck drivers, small talking while waiting for our turn to drive on out.  When it was my turn, I turned the engine on and inched forward to daylight and the path before us.  As one check was etched off my bucket list, one more, unplanned, was before me.  
Bye Bye Ferry
 PS.  If you missed any legs of the trip so far, click on the leg that you missed!

1.  Tijuana to El Rosario
2.  El Rosario to Mulege
3.   Mulege to Cerritos
4.  Four Days In Los Cerritos: Part I
5.  Four Days In Los Cerritos: Part II

Next Blog:  "The Nayarit Part I"