Sunday, July 28, 2013

New Video: "Sh*t Dude!"

You know that parking lot next to Carl's Jr.'s near the Trestles trail on the Cristianitos exit?  Yeah, that's a State Park lot and you have to pay...  Fun things happen anyway.

Sh*t Dude! from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Side Show Surfing

I was watching the U.S. Open webcast last Monday as I emptied mountains of boxes into our new home in the 92307.  While the marine layer played it's part in hiding the sun away, everything looked bright and warm out in Huntington Beach which is about 90 miles away from where I live.  Tired of unloading crap that I'll probably never touch or use ever again, I texted Swayze "You down to go watch some surfing and half naked bodies at Huntington Beach on Friday?"  "You had me at naked bodies."  Swayze texted back.

The California dust bowl.
First thing we did was grab some breakfast at The Sugar Shack on Main Street, just a ways from the Huntington Pier.  There we met an old Dogger named Al who ended up having coffee with us at our table, giving us the low down on where to get the best views of the surfers and the revelers.  After breakfast we walked down Main Street to the Pier and ran into the Surfing Hall of Fame Induction, where my favorite big wave charger, Shane Dorian, was being inducted along with Skip Frye and Rockin' Fig.

After that, Al took us over to the middle of the Pier where we watched some of world's best Women and Men's surfing go down, right under our feet.  Literally.  I always thought that The Lane had the best arena style set up for surfing, but from the middle of the Pier, I was right on top of the action.  I could here the competitors paddling, here them grunt and almost feel their spray.  Here are some pics of what went down below us. 

Nat Young getting some air.
Nat Young speeding down the line.
Nat Young's competition, Charles Martin punting one.
Stephanie Gilmore coming directly below us. 

Stephanie Gilmore off a rebound.
Laura Enever took the heat against Gilmore.
We than walked down to the beach where thousands of people sat and watched.  What tripped me out was how knowledgeable the crowd was.  I remember when the second to last Maverick's competition happened when the spectators were allowed to hang out on the hill and cliffs.  I'll put money on it that only about half the crowd knew what was going down.  The other half didn't realize that walking in high heels probably wasn't a good idea.  But this crowd was smart.  Even the pretty girls in g-strings knew what was going down, knew what a hack was and how influential Stephanie Gilmore has been on Women Surfing.  It was pretty refreshing.  I came to a realization, maybe true, maybe not, that surfing is just part of life in SoCal, ingrained in it's culture rather than an irregularity as it is in NorCal.  I'm not trying to put down the place that holds my roots, but it's a fact.

Finally, sun. 
We sat next to the exit and entrance for the competitors.  We watched some of the best women surfers in the world run out.  And some of the most overrated  (you know who I'm talking about).  Here are some pictures from our vantage point.

Bianca Buitendag.
Lakey Peterson.
Carissa Moore
She can out surf probably the top 10 men, seriously.
Out of all the female surfers, I was most impressed by Carissa Moore.  She has the full game folks.  Power surfing, smoothness with a lot of style.  That lady can surf.  Like ya'll didn't know that.  What else tripped me out was Ms. Blanchard.  When she ran out to the beach, her hair was perfect, Mascara was lined up and her skin was radiant and exfoliated.  The lady looked near perfect.  No matter how you look at it, Women's surfing needs Alana just as much as they need Stephanie and Carissa (both beautiful women also).

Ms. Blanchard.
There she goes...
Yeah, she can surf too.
The Van's U.S. Open was interesting to say the least.  It seemed as if surfing was just the side show and all the half naked bodies, booths and loud music were the main attractions.  But at the same time, it's the celebration of surfing in SoCal, the birth of mainland American surfing.  It celebrates the the athleticism, the past, the future, the heros and the foes.  It's all wrapped up in a neat little package for all the world to experience.  For how many people that attended the event, along with the webcast, it is well organized and surprisingly, not crowded even with the thousands of people.  There is a lot of space and always a place to sit and watch the world's best do their thing.  The webcast is great, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't do the spectacle justice.  You have to experience it first hand, full on.  Lots of great things to watch, including surfing.  And even though commercialism has it's greedy little hands on it, you can still feel the celebration of SoCal surfing and the stoke.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


B.D. hugs the world.

I recently returned from holiday (I should call it vacation, I'm American dammit!) from Greece and Turkey.  While in Greece, we visited this small town called Oui (pronounced "ee-ya".  My wife corrected me ten times) on the Greek Island of Santorini.  The sunrise and sunsets were unimaginably beautiful on this island.  Never have I seen the sun rise and fall as I did during our 3 days on Santorini.  You'd think I'd sleep in while on vacation, drink tea at ten with a side of fruits.  But no, not The B.D.  I woke up around 4:45 a.m. each morning, put on my slippers and walked east and watched the sunrise over Oui's eastern hillside.  Watching the sun wake up and cascade it's rays against the back of Oui's virgin white houses left me blessed every morning. 

On the first morning I met this cute, happy dog.  He always had this big, stoked out smile, as if he was just happy to see another sunrise.  As it goes in Greece, no one really owns the dogs or cats.  They are all strays, free to roam and siesta under the shades of bustling tourists and under cars.  Rather than a single family owning them, the town or city owns them, vaccinates and hospitalizes them and so on.  The town folks put food and water outside of their door steps to feed them, most of the time in front of their shops.  One local O.G. told me that the strays keep the rodent population down.  And to my surprise, all the strays I met during my trip we're friendly, giving me smiles and allowing me to pet and take pictures of them, for a nominal tip that is.

My buddy Joe
We'll "Joe" (That's what I called him, which is better then "Hey dog" or "Here puppy, puppy") would meet me every morning.  I'd buy him some scraps of meat the night before and give it to him while we sat on stoops and stair cases watching the sun bring life to another day.  He was a good buddy, and even though he was Greek and probably spoke Greek in dog language, we understood each other just fine.  He would sit by my side, lick my face, I'd rub his soft fur and we'd talk story for a few hours each morning.  He said he'd even Facebook me once I got back to the States. 

Joe scoping for the best spot to watch the sunrise.
After watching the sunrise and watching it come to a point where it got hot enough to where I needed shade, I'd start making my way west to the village center to pick up some morning brew.  Joe would follow me about a quarter of the way into the center of Oui but he would always stop at a certain point.  I would always look back thinking I had lost him but find him at the top of this stair case looking at me with this hesitant half smile, half nervous look, saying with his eyes, "Shit dude, I don't know if I can do this."  I would try to bribe him with bacon and beer, but he could never step over that certain line.  So as it goes, I would tell him "αντίο!" and he would say the same to me and we would go our own ways.  

After a few days of getting dissed by my buddy Joe over my breakfast plans, I finally figured out why he couldn't come with me.  The city has about twenty to thirty stray dogs who litter certain parts of the town.  The dogs are we'll cared for, clean and usually just lay there as tourist shuffle by.  But each part of town is owned by packs.  And the part of town that I enjoyed my coffee and snacks was also enjoyed by the biggest king pins of them all, who I will call Andre, Pete and Samantha.  

Andre, Pete and on the far end, Samantha.
None of the dogs crossed the "King Pin" Line.  If another dog from another hood would try and cross the line, Samantha would just have to give a look and Andre and Pete would be all over that ass.  From my observations, Samantha was the leader of this outfit, and well respected by all dogs and humans.  She owned one of the most beautifulest views not only in town, but probably in the world.  The view from her spot was so beautiful that it didn't look real, it looked like you were watching it in high def at AT&T Park.  

Samantha and her view.  She gets the best spot.  Locals only.
So I finally understood why Joe couldn't come over to my side.  So instead of trying to prod Joe over to the Westside, I found a cafe just east of the center, get my coffee and snacks and hang out with Joe all morning.  I spent my last day with my buddy Joe, and I sure miss him.  

Are you down with the Eastside or Westside?
Looking back, I think my experience with Joe was foreshadowing of my future.  Like a good book, it all started to make more sense.  As of mid July, my roots and all that I belong moved 450 miles south of San Francisco to the city of San Diego, crossing that dreaded line somewhere in Bakersfield or the Grapevine, making me a now SoCal resident.  Due to "great" circumstances in regards to my wife's professional growth, she dragged me kicking and scratching to my new home that is just five minutes away from Scripps Pier.

If your not from California, then I don't think you can understand how our territories go down in this state.  Here in the great (let's say greatest) state of California, we have Northern, Central and Southern California.  And each Californian throws up their pride for where they live.  It's not how, but rather who we are.  And I am what you call a NorCal for life type of guy, not matter where I go.  Yes, I lived my younger days on the Big Island, but I was born in Kali and have lived in the Bay for over 20 years.  It's where I became a man, met my wife, shed blood and tears and learned to surf.  Moving territories to a place that is far from what I know is leaving me like Joe, half smiling about the new adventure and warm weather, but hesitant and nervous at the same time, saying to my self, "Shit dude, I don't know if I can do this."  But after my first week here in San Diego, I don't think it's going to be that difficult ;)

Things that I will miss about my beloved Bay:  Jackets in the summer.  Kung Pao Pastrami, Salt Cod Fried Rice and Chingqing Chicken Wings at Mission Chinese Food.  Salted Carmel at Bi-Rite.  Crossing the Bay Bridge and seeing the City come to me.  Foggy summers.  Ice cream headaches.  All my best friends, and they know who they are.  4/3's during the summer and 5/4's during the winter.  Getting paddled around by Panama Red.  Santa Cruz kelp.  Firework nights at A's games.  Watching the Warriors win the NBA Finals (future missing).  Taco Trucks on E. 14th Street.  Betty Burgers.  Layering.  Spot checking at O.B. but never finding a spot.  Noriega.  Linda Ma..... Na, I won't miss that.  

Anyways, here's to a new life in San Diego where the water is a bit warmer and Trestles is a lot closer.  Please keep tabs on the blog for new adventures.  I plan on going international surfing once a month, so keep in touch.  The blog will continue, and I will always be "Just another Northern California surfer trying to perfect the art of the cut back while trying to stay warm in his 4/3."  Except I'll be trunking it from June til September ;)

SoCal....  Yeah.

PS.  Just added on August 2, 2013.  Here is a video from our trip through Greece and Turkey this past summer.

τουρίστας/ Turist from Kookingitup on Vimeo.