Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Pococito de Sur from Panama Red on Vimeo.

It has been a few days since I returned from a long weekend in Mexico with 1/4 of the Kiwi Hippies. I already miss her like crazy.   It's hard to describe how different it is just by crossing the boarder and driving thirty miles south.  People are a lot more friendlier, their is much more space, less development, barking dogs and this browness to the land that reminds me of the old west.  Mexico is and will always be the wild, wild west in my opinion.  That sense of security and safety that we have in The States, whether it is real or not, does not exist in Mexico.  It's just you, your buds and whatever you have in the back of your car. 

But I've always enjoyed that sense of being "un-secure".  Maybe I'm just an insecure person and my brain is mapped out to feel comfortable in those types of spaces.  Or maybe I just like looking over the edge and jumping just for the thrill to feel alive.  Maybe it goes back to moving around a lot as a child.  But security, for all it's shackles and freedom, doesn't bode well with me.  And that's why I love Mexico. There is an adventure after every toll plaza. 

Take my favorite cafeteria in the Rosaritio region.  I don't know it's real name, but the name we gave it was "Doña's".  It's half restaurant, half convenient store in the back of her home.  It only sits about 8 people max.  And it has steel bars around each window and door.   Tattered on her walls and windows are stickers from all over the world.  People leaving their mark, wanting to be remembered.  Or maybe it's a way Doña can remember them.  

When I sit down at Doña's (that is what we call the chef, out of respect and love) and she get's behind the counter and on her stove, she treats me like her grandson and feeds me like a son.  Her husband catches fresh fish everyday which she fries and puts on a homemade tortilla with fresh vegetables, salsa and if your lucky, homemade ceviche on the house.  She doesn't speak English, but she'll talk to you as if you understand every bit of Spanish that flies out of her beautiful soul.  And all of her ingredients, vegetables, her fresh fish and meat is stored in a  refrigerator to the left of her kitchen in tupperware, just like my mother and grandmother did.  I enjoy watching her from behind the bar, in her element, cooking for all her 'sons'.  Her nest will never go empty.  And the small T.V. in the right hand corner with the Mexican soap operas are a plus.  It never gets old watching a Padre get down with a hot chick. 

There is nothing like a carne asada taco in Mexico.  If you know me, you know that I love my Mission style carne asada burrito or taco in San Francisco.  I by far think that the Mission style carne asada cannot be out done, especially at Pancho Villa's Taqueria (I know that place turned hipster, but it was a damn good lunch spot for the ten plus years when I was a customer) & that taco truck on 22nd and Van Ness.   But once you cross the boarder, and you see that dark, burnt grill being heated by real wood & unfueled charcoal, you know it's going to be good.  Panama Red and I hit a really good taco stand up during our night out in Tijuana.  Russ and Ricky from Robert's were our chaperones and they didn't let us down.  That spot made tacos extra special, with marinated meat and super tasty sauce.  If either of us got kidnapped or banged over the head with a steel pipe that night, eating at that taco stand would have been the best last meal.  But than again, El Swayze makes the best carne asada tacos in National City.  But his family's roots are in T.J.  So sorry bro, your tacos are counted as south of the border too.  

And there is nothing like experiencing the sun in Mexico.  It always shines a little brighter and sings a little louder.  I know that it's strange for me to say that the sun has a voice, but it does to me.  I can hear it sing everyday.  And in Mexico, maybe because the vibe is more laid back and time is a bit slower (folks call that Mexican time), our internal ears can hear more of what's around us that counts.  Panama Red enjoyed the sun in the picture above as it sang it's last tune of the day.  We were practically the last one's out, surfing the point, three buddies that include ol' Don Corleone, carving three to four feet waves as the sun fell off the deep end of the horizon.  Memories para siempre.  

The Bearded Bandito came out on this trip.  He fit in right away.  It was an anonymous decision when we took the vote to induct him into the infamous Kiwi Hippies.  Good man.  Very good man.  He will only make our crew better.  

One real Kiwi (Ricky) with a transplant Kiwi.
One rule that I have learned over the last eight months of surfing and traveling through Mexico solo is this:  Never pay before, always pay after.  This is just the Mexican way of keeping a business honest.  If someone makes you pay first, than something is off.  Run.  Don't look back.  And make sure you still have your wallet. 

ándale from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Mexico, most of the time, is honest.  She doesn't beat around the bush and try and be your best friend when she actually wants to be the complete opposite.  She's not two faced, She is who she is and stands by it.  She loves the sun, let's stray dogs wonder her hills and has military check points every fifty miles.  She get's lonely when no one visits because the blood on the streets out weigh the salsa verde in her taqureias.  She is the Doña just across the San Ysidro who will offer you a good, handcrafted meal and a simple bed.  She's organized in her own way and unwilling to compromise her core values.  Yeah, Mexico isn't all sun, good vibes and waves.  She has her faults like The States, it's just that her faults aren't hidden or ignored.  She let's you know where she stands and where you stand.  And that is what I love about her.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

One Swell

One Swell from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

I remember watching "Distant Shores" back in 2012.  I was a middle aged grom who was still developing his bottom turn but stoked on travel, surfing being the vehicle.  Watching Kepa Acero get barreled, chase swell and do all those things that we as surfers dream.  I won't lie, gets me jealous.  Especially since I was working at a job miles and miles away from the Pacific, watching waves on the cam go vertical while particles sprayed on to it's wet back from all the offshore winds that come through during fall at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. 

My buddy Steve calls me a "GoPro addict".  I bring my GoPro out a lot.  The video that the GoPro captures helps me really see where I need to improve, what I should have done, and a sense of accomplishment and development when I do something right.  GoPros, like one friend in NorCal has said several times, is not for everybody.  I had this discussion with Steve, and we agreed that for the majority of soul surfers, not only is the purity of surf taken, but that singular moment of riding a good wave is something that should be remembered and told through human discourse (this goes back to the Hawaiian culture of "Talking Story").  For them, moments aren't suppose to last forever.  And they can't be contained.  But with a GoPro, that moment is captured and bottled, forever changing surfing and it's community forever.  

But I enjoy watching the waves that I catch.  I enjoy seeing the ripples rise up the face as the wave hits a shallow shelf, and if I have the GoPro angled right, the nose of my board as it skids across that giant plane of liquid as a pelican flies high above at the same time.  I think moments like those are meant to be captured and shared.  It gives us and others we choose to share it with, beauty.  And that's where this video was born.  Capturing one swell, from it's birth to it's death, around the town where I live.  To share and rejoice about.  Even if the waves were mushy.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Get Away

Papi and I shared this great wave, laughing and hollering all the way to the stairs.
Met up with Steve this morning and hit our regular reef.  Really fun waves with some good energy.  It was a slightly less consistent than it had been over the last few days, but if you were patient, held your ground and waited in the right spot, you were rewarded.  Watch out for the new video coming online in about a week.  Should be a good one!

Steve taking down probably the wave of the day.  

Papi taking down a good one with a shaka!

Here comes Tom...

There Tom goes.

Nice and Frothy.

I always have a great time surfing with Papi.  Great style and skill, but the his stoke is what I enjoy most.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sergio's Dolphin

The Bearded Bandito caught a local getting air last week.  I helped him with the editing, but other than that, this all The Bearded Bandito.

Sergio's Dolphion from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

No Kicking Out For You, Kook.

Here is a recent ride I had at Black's.  Short but fun.  And a punch in the gut.

No Kicking Out For You, Kook from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Barell Finder

Caught this kid getting barelled at Scripp's last Tuesday, February 4th.  If you know him, give him props from the B.D.

Barell Finder from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Personal Solace

We all have those special places, depending on your personality, where either "everybody knows your name" or where you can just disappear in the crowd.   I seen these places all over the world.  From the cafes in Paris to the backroom, smoke filled backgammon rooms in Turkey.  The concept first came to me when I was in college after overhearing the commentary from the film "You Got Mail" in which Nora Ephron coined such places.  The name that Epohron gives these places eludes me, but the concept stuck.

I look for these places from time to time, and I love to look at the people sitting there, in their own world.  Yeah, it's a pretty odd thing to do.  To make it more odd,  sometimes I have my notebook and I'll scratch down the name of the place.  From a "three foot, bricked garden wall" in Union Square in New York to that bench at the end of Midway that overlooks two really good reefs, there everywhere a person can sit.  For us surfers, our solace is the sea and our bench is our boards.  I never really found a spot in NorCal because I was either dodging big 'ol nuggets at Ocean Beach or I was being hounded by a grumpy local at The Hook.  To be honest, the place I found that odd concept of "solace" was at Linda Mar, with a bunch of stoked out newcomers, where flashy waves and localism are almost nonexistent.  But here in San Diego, specifically La Jolla, I found that spot at Scripps.  I tried to recreate that entire concept in the picture below.  I'm in my spot and on my bench.  Solace.