Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Comic-Con... My first blog that has nothing to do with surfing.

It's summer and as expected, waves are hard to come by.  Instead of punishing myself by checking the forecast and living for the moments that will happen (supposedly) in two weeks when swell comes my way, I decided to skip summer surf all together and just enjoy the present.  I check the buoys every morning, and if there is surf, I surf.  If there isn't, I work out.  I gave up watching forecast models until September.  Besides, if a swell is coming, I'll get a text from one of my buddies.  So instead of surfing, I've invested some more time at work by providing some really great trainings and presentations, going to Padre games, keeping fit by doing a 50/50 regime of P90X and Cross fit, and last week, attending Comic-Con.

Adding protien to my diet at The Walking Dead booth.
Mind you, this is my first Comic Con.  Last year while the 2013 Comic Con was going down, I was moving our stuff down from The Bay.  Luckily enough, my wife had a couple of friends who helped us score the coveted "4 - Day Pass".   And dang, was it worth it.  Simply, Comic-Con is sensory overload. It's like Las Vegas, but minus the gambling, boo's and hookers.  It's a Las Vegas for all of us grown-ups that never grew up.

Comic-Con is a collectors paradise.  A couple buddies of mine from The Bay were down for the convention.  These fellas are hardcore collectors.  They want every "exclusive" toy they can get their hands on.  To buy any exclusive, you have to wait in line for a "ticket".  Which means you have to sleep all night in a line or get there at 3am to have a chance.  But if you scored (according to my buddies, one of the most coveted items this year was Hasbro's "Magic Planeswalker with Garruk's Axe", or something like that), that item could sell on Ebay and pay your way through Comic-Con.  I got sucked into the whole "Exclusive" thing and bought a couple Starwars pieces that are worth a pretty nickle now.  But I'm going to keep them.  A friend of mine scored a free Batman Lego piece that was given away by Lego.  The catch to get that Lego piece was that you had to wait in line for at least three hours.  That little, itsy, bitsy toy is now going for over $200 on Ebay.  Sounds like a hard way to make a living.  But It's not all about that.  It's all about the hunt.  And scoring.

Hall H, Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey talking about next years film "Interstellar".

Besides the "Exhibition Room" where all the toys, costumes, booths and comics are, there are also these really cool "panels".  They are held in ballrooms, like any other convention.  The ballroom to be in was "Hall H".  This is where all the cool previews of the new movies coming out in the future were shown.  Besides movies, popular T.V. shows were previewed in this hall as well.  My wife and I were able to score a seat (the wait to get into Hall H can be 1 hour to overnight) in Hall H and saw a couple cool previews.

Kevin Smith.  His interview on the "W.T.F. Podcast" with Marc Maron is still, by far, one of the best podcasts I ever heard. 
What was really cool about Hall H was the sound system.  The sound system was epic.  It was loud, but not deafening loud, but it was loud enough to rumble your pants during explosions on the screen.  And if your lucky, they hand you a ticket while the presentation is happening, which scores you what the Comic-Con-ians call "Swag".  All that means is you'll get a cool promotional item like a poster, t-shirt, button or backpack that you pick up at the "Fulfillment Room" which is located a couple hotels north of the Convention Center.  My wife went to the ballroom for "True Blood" (she's a hardcore fan) and scored some really cool "Swag".  She wears her True Blood swag to bed now. 

But the coolest thing about Comic Con is the people attending it.  I never been part of an event with so many people who all share such a high level of stoke.  All I saw were wide eye'd smiling people.  And for a crowd so large (150,000+), there were no fights at all (that I seen).  And the costumes were awesome.  There was this costume of Optimus Prime that was soooo sick!  And the costume next to him was Megatron in the sickest Megatron costume ever! And to add to that, it was nighttime, and they both had neon lights, blazing there costumes as they walked through the crowd.  I read a few articles about ladies in costumes getting harassed, which sucks.  But all I witnessed were guys asking ladies in costumes, in a really polite manner, to take pictures with them.  Like I did below. 

One for my Pop's who is a huge Trekky.
The only disappointment I had was not getting into the Barbecue for "The Walking Dead".  To get into The Walking Dead BBQ, I had to first find the "Terminus" map, and then take a seflie with it and tweet that picture with the hashtag "#tweettoeat".  Then I had to wait in line before 9am to get a wrist band.  Well, to get a wrist band, you had to get to the line at around 7am and wait two hours.  Sway and I got there at 8:30am.  No chance.  But we almost made it, we were about 15 people off.  Maybe next year.

Darkside Swag

All in all, Comic-Con was all that it lived up to be and more.  Super fun!!!  My wife and I are already planning on taking off work for a few days for next years event.  We're so stoked that it happens in San Diego.  All we have to do is jump on the lightrail, and bam!  We're at the doorsteps of the convention center in downtown.  Hopefully we'll score another 4-Day Pass and join the stoked out crowd of movie buffs, collectors, costume lovers, celeb's,  and zombies. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Favorite heat from the J-Bay 2014

Occy vs. Curren. Can it get any better? I love Curren's style. Natural flash born out of an introverted personality, that is highly efficient.  And that 10 point ride!?  I watched that ride about a hundred times already.  He rode that wave so effortlesy.  And to think, he almost got hung up on his first turn.

I love Occy too, especially the current Occy. My body type is very similar to Occy's. It's great to see the bigger guy charge, especially that day at Jeffery's Bay.  I loved Occy's last wave.  He virtually said "fuck it" to the competition and he just rode the right handed wall as far as it could take him.  The announcers were like "WTF?".  LOL!  Anyways, one of the pleasantry's of the ASP tour this year is  Occy's commentating.  So insightful and he is pleasantly articulate.  He proves that even bull headed surfers can be intelligent as well.

Curren's band is opening for Donovan Frankerieter this weekend at a local Casino.  Bought tickets just because of this heat.  Gotta at least be in the same room as Curren once in my life.

Oh, I love this clip of Curren's first wave ever at J-Bay.  This was a clip captured by the late Sonny Miller.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Confidence Fleeting

One Minute from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Over the last week, there was a very good run of swell.  Depending on where you surfed it, you either were getting caught inside by some bulldozers or you were surfing some pretty fun waves.  It didn't hit San Diego particularly well as it was a very steep swell with not a lot of west in it.  I surfed spots across the border and south facing beaches more north and got some really good waves. In my opinion, Sunday was my best day of surfing during this swell.  I surfed my regular spot across the border for a bit until leaving for something a bit uncrowded.  And while I was driving north across the bend on the "Libre", I saw a peak just exploding over these ram shackle houses that are on the edge of the cliffs.  I made a quick u-turn and found this lonely point just going off with only five guys on it.

There were about 4 other guys on the cliff, contemplating whether or not it was worth it.  The paddle out looked pretty sketch, and an exit strategy looked like a mile paddle to the safest beach.  I asked the boy's on the cliff if they were going.  After a minute of talking ourselves into it, one guy just looked at me and said "Fuck it".  He started walking and three of his buddies, including me, followed.  Lucky enough, I made it out pretty clean.  But damn, this swell was pumping some dragons.  It was a damn great sesh of paddeling around beasts and going for broke on a few waves.  But I have to say, I did it, with some grace.  When I surfed the next day back home at a local reef, I told some of the older guys where I surfed the day before.  And they scolded me for it.   One guy said, "Dude, you can't take chances like that when you have responsibilities, that's for youngsters."  Another guy told me how he almost tore out his entire eye brow after hitting a rock at that spot.  I guess I got lucky, for the swell and tides were was just right (I guess), as I came out pretty unscathed with a lot of good memories.  But over and over again, the same phrase was used by everybody about that spot:  "The damn rocks."

Over the next few days I surfed a local reef with the same crew of guys.  It wasn't a perfect swell for this spot, but it was good enough.  But even though I had a really great sesh at that "damn rocks" spot, I was struggling a lot with my confidence.  My pop up hasn't been particularly well lately.  I ate it a bunch of times the day before.  I figured that the jump from two feet surf to 5 foot + had a lot to do with it, but I'm starting to think otherwise.  It probably has to do a lot with my weight, as I've been hovering around five pounds over my surfing weight, which makes a big difference on some of my boards.  But instead of trying to starve myself, and lose five pounds in one day, which wasn't going to happen (cuz I love my grinds), I tried something else.  Over the last few days of the swell, I just made it a habit to just tell myself as I was paddling into a wave this small mantra "Relax, don't over think it."  I know myself pretty well, and I know that when I am doing things with a flow of thought and instinct, rather then just thought, the end result comes out pretty well.  So I changed my mantra to "It's cool, just pop up".  And that seemed to work for a bit. 

But then there is Trestles.  And with summer, Trestles equals... too many groms. The Bearded Bandito and I decided to catch the tail end of the swell at Uppers.  And it was a great choice.  It was pumping.  Big walls were just coming one after another.  And if you surf Uppers any, big south swells just close out that spot at times.  But the medium sized ones are the ones to go for.  And all the groms knew that.  One grom after another was just flying out of the white water as I was trying to drop in, making me pull out just before I was about to pop up.  And when they weren't flying out of nowhere, they were just dropping in.  To say the least, it got pretty frustrating.  And damaging to my confidence because of two things:  (1) Kids younger then half my age were schooling me and (2) They really made me feel old.

So now I'm three steps back to where I was a few days ago.  Confidence feels like it is fleeting and there are no waves until the end of next week.  Generally when I'm feeling down about myself, I tend to not wallow in it too long.  I find out what's bothering me and do something about it.  So here is the first step, processing and identifying it, and the next step is looking for the best method to heal and improve and then put that plan of action into motion.  But today, The Bearded Bandito and I had a conversation about this "confidence" thing (he was feeling the same way after our Uppers session).  We both felt as if we lost something and left it there on that beach in front of Uppers.  And maybe that is what we were suppose to do to evolve as surfers, and become better men.  And whatever is going to fill what we left, is going to make us that much better, because maybe, just maybe, that part of our confidence, that part of ourselves that was left behind, was holding us back.  And just maybe when the next swell comes, we won't be held back. That new part that fills that void, will give us the push we need to lose something else... 

Or maybe we'll just get schooled by groms again.  Who the fuck knows. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Whatever Sessions

The Whatever Sessions from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

Lately, I've been looking into new hobbies.  Knitting, gardening, fencing, maybe dabbing into learning a new language, cooking...  Whatever to get my mind off surfing and the endless knee high waves and south winds that blow out anything that is good or ride able.  For whatever reason, the S.P.A.C. has not let loose, not once.  Well, let me take that back, it did a couple times but during spring when winds from all directions destroyed any hope or stoke that I had.  And when there are waves and the weather cooperates, this is what happens:

I'm not really one to complain about crowds.  Shit, I cut my teeth in one of the most crowded reefs in Santa Cruz.  But the older I get, the less I can hang with all the young kids and groms.  Especially down here in SoCal.  Everybody can surf pretty well, and when your in a crowd fighting for three waves sets that come every ten minutes, you have to be on your "A" game.  But it's difficult when your surfing a spot and at the head of the pack is Kolohe Andino and on the inside, besides all the groms, is Pat Gudauskas (someone could win a spelling bee trying to spell that last name!).  It's probably my fault for picking crowded spots to surf, but I'm not one to dwell on if there are crowds or not, I just want to surf good waves.

That's me above surfing at my local break.  I'm pretty hesitant on calling any break my "home break" cuz I don't feel as if I'm ever going to be a local ("What high school did you go to?").  I pretty much wonder to where the buoys tell me too, so I don't frequent the same spots.  But I do have my "local" breaks which are near where I live.  Shores, Scripp's and Black's are practically on my doorstep, so yeah, those spots are pretty much local.  And out of all three, Black's can pretty much go "loco" at times if you know what I'm saying.

That's me on in the picture above again, giving ya'll an example of what it's been like.  Yeah, we get the intermittent chest high wave now and then, but pretty much, it has been ankle to knee high crap.  Whatever waves.  It's been pretty much exercising as of late, and I don't take these sessions too seriously.  Why?  Cuz for one thing, I surf like crap in small waves, and when I do, my confidence in my surfing falls off tremendously.  It's hard to surf well in small surf, especially since I'm a pretty big guy.  I need more "umph" to set up my turns.  One thing that I have been doing lately is wearing a hat during afternoon sessions.  That my friends, has saved my face from burning like a crisp.  I don't know why I didn't start wearing a hat before, but I never paddle out without it after 12p.

I know I'm ranting and complaining a lot in this post.  And I know I haven't posted in awhile either.  I just haven't had anything worthy to write about.  But to be honest, we have had a few good days of surf.  The last couple of days of June were pretty good at my local breaks.  For some odd reason, we had a late WNW swell that made Black's look like a pretty fun winter day.  I had a blast that day, catching some overhead plus waves.  It was good enough to bust my leash.  And after my leash busted, I decided to stay on the outside and body surf, which was a great call. And besides having the size, the waves were nice and peaky, just the way I like them.  We also had a couple of windswells that provided some fun rides at the Pier.  Really fun waves that again, provided those lovely beach break peaks.

This is all first world problems.  People in Iraq would be laughing at my bullshit complaints right now.  But even when there are no waves, I still have this beach to go to.  My wife and I spend most of our sunsets parked on a hill watching sunsets like the one above.  We sit in my car like two teenage love struck kids, holding hands, smelling that sweet sea breeze and watch one magnificent sunset after another.  There isn't much that I can share with my wife about surfing because she doesn't swim and doesn't surf.  But sunsets at the beach is something we can always share, because if your in the lineup watching this or from a hill, the feeling is always the same.