Thursday, January 29, 2015


I am not going to beat around the bush, January 2015 has been a pretty rough one for your boy.  First off, the first two weeks of January felt like June and July, maybe even flatter.  No waves to be found anywhere.  Then as the waves started to pick up, something else happened.  On January 13th, after my wife and I came home from our weekly Taco Tuesday date,  I got this odd call around 8p from my brother who lives up north.  He usually texts, so this call was a surprise, and when surprises as these occur, it's usually not good news on the other side of the line.  I let the call go to voicemail because I was just about to jump in the shower, acknowledging that probably there was going be bad news.  I just wanted to get myself comfortable and in the right head space to receive it.  Half an hour later, after I was washed up, had some comfortable clothes on and my head was right, I called my brother and braced myself.  The news:  My father had past.

I sat at my computer for what felt like an eternity, just scrolling, not reading, not doing anything, just remaining in shock.  I have great memories with my father.  He taught me all about nature, camping, fishing, and offered me the love of the outdoors which opened my world.  But over the years, as fathers and sons do, we were at odds.  I haven't spoken to him in three years, and I know that he wanted to talk and work things out, but he just didn't know how.  He always wanted me to make the first move, and I didn't want to give it to him.  Like most stories of Fathers and Sons, I did everything in my power to not be like him, but in the end, I'm almost a mirror image, stubborn like a mule, not wanting to give an inch.  Which probably cost both of us three years of memories.

My Father thought he could live until a hundred.  He was the guy who flew by the seat of his chair, only knowing what he was going to do a few hours from the present.  He didn't leave much, just three sons to sort out whatever trinkets he left behind.  But each of those trinkets had lasting memories for each of us.  My Father and I disagreed on a lot of things.  But one thing we didn't disagree on was our love for Star Wars.  As I walked into his room, on top of his DVD player were Episodes 1-6. My Step Mom totally obliged and gave me all six.  This was all I wanted, and I left everybody else to sort out whatever broken empire he left behind.

The thing about having a parent die is that you are constantly reminded of them.  You look at their old pictures and you look exactly like them when they were your age.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw my father.  And everybody wanted to console me, so they asked me how I was doing, how was the funeral, how did he die?  Which was a very nice and appropriate thing to do.  But I had to repeatedly tell the story over and over.  Each time it got better, and each time it would become something other then real, somewhat surreal.  But it always reminded me of what had just happened.  And it cut deeper each time.  The only time I really had to grieve was during our drive up north and back, when all I had in front of me was road and thoughts.

After taking care of his funeral and what comes with a parent's death, I headed back to San Diego.  The surf was good and it was forecasted to get better.  I just wanted to surf.  I wanted to get in the water as fast as I could.  I didn't want to do anything else.  My buddy Steve was in town from up north and we surfed Trestles.  Steve and I talked, he always has a really positive yet realistic outlook on things, which helped a lot.  

Steve on one of many bombs.
The surf was alright at Trestles.  This swell was pretty selective on the places it hit.  Trestles wasn't one of them in my opinion.  I ended up leaving around noon and went straight to one of the reefs by my home, and boy, was it firing on all cylinders.  Even the outer break they call "Little Makaha" was going off.  A lot of people were telling me that spot doesn't go off but once in a while and I was lucky to see it.  I paddled out to the major left at this spot and I used Little Makaha as my indicator.  It didn't matter.  When the big sets came, no matter how far you paddled out, you were going to get drilled.  I got drilled a dozen times over.  I didn't catch but one wave in two hours.  I just sat in that same spot and kept taking it on the head.  And I enjoyed it.  It got my mind off of the really painful stuff.  It got me present.

The next day I headed down to Baja to one of my favorite winter spots.  It was a solid 6 to 8 feet with a couple +'ers coming through every hour.  Perfect size for this spot.  It was also a bit crowded and the locals appeared pretty irritated.  But I was able to mind my own business, surf with respect and get waves when I had a chance.  I caught some really great waves during that session.  One thing that I was perplexed about was whether to keep my starting line high or go straight down for the bottom turn.  This wave is pretty fast when it's going, and a lot of guys were keeping their lines high to beat sections and then go low when the wave slowed down.  But I was surfing with a lot of emotion that day and I just wanted to blow the lip up when I had a chance.  But I missed a couple sections due to mindset which I was bummed about after seeing some of the pictures.  My wife came along and took all of the pictures.  She gave me some pointers, but she also knew that I was surfing with a purpose that day.

I'm not going to be all cliche and say that surfing healed all my wounds.  Nothing can heal the loss of a parent but time.  And that clock just keeps ticking and ticking.  We have such a short time on this planet to experience life, and then we go back to where we came, where ever that place maybe, where ever you think it is.  My father was a big believer in The Force, in part by how Star Wars defined it, but more central to the idea that we are part of a whole, and when we pass, we just transform and form another piece while another piece takes the place we left.  I just hope that he is in peace, watching us on his flat screen TV, hopefully smiling and bull shitting with all his buddies.  I hope he has his tent up and fire going, that he has his cargo pants on, his favorite tee-shirt with his silly Teevas on his feet as they are propped up by an old log that fell a millenniums ago.  I hope he is sipping on cup of Joe watching time pass. 

Photo taken by Chris Corona

So Glassy

Monday morning was not so Monday. Glass all morning long. Great way to start the week.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: Year End Review

August was a good month.  It was the beginning of the year of the Hurricanes, starting on the 23rd. 

2014 was a transition year for me, more so then 2013 when I moved from The Bay Area to San Diego. In mid 2013, I attended a book signing with Shaun Tomson over at Bird's Surf Shed.  Shaun wrote a book called "Surfer's Code" about 12 different codes or bi-rules a surfer must abide by in the water as a form of respect towards the history of surfing and for the safety and respect of others in the water.  But in addition, he reflected those codes as a metaphor for getting through life's challenges.  He challenged everybody that attended to create their own 12 codes.  Well,  with much thought, I took his challenge to heart.  Three months later, I worked out my 12 codes, and I came up with an additional code, giving me 13.  When the ball dropped in 2014, my resolution for that year was to live by those codes as much as I could in all areas of my life.  My 13th code is "Let it be yours".  In an effort to continue to live by that code, I'm not going to bore you and share my codes in this blog.  But if your ever in my home, and look to the bottom left of my imac, their posted for you to read and contemplate.

My favorite shot from 2014.  Slater during the Hurley Pro.
I was very dedicated in pursuing my resolution and sticking to the codes that I created for myself.  I stuck to it so dearly that I had to cut my ego in half during some very heavy hearted  conflicts, become more positive with others that were less positive, take bigger drops on bigger waves, learned to accept and sometimes let go of some really good friends, I had to learn to say less and do more, become braver in situations that I felt uncomfortable in, and become more of an individual.  It has been a very self defining year for me, a struggle, but I think I'm better for it, and it all came down to those (damn!) codes.  I wish I could go into every little detail about how defining this year was for me, and leave everybody crying and wanting more, but then that would defeat my 13th code.  And it's important to "Let it be yours", especially for me, who puts a lot out there on this blog.

One of my favorite Gopro Shots from this year while at Blacks.

Besides living by my 13 codes, I surfed.  And surfed a lot.  I'm turning 37 this year, and each year, I move closer and closer to the four - oh.  So I really don't have that much years left on a short board if you think about it, maybe 18 years left, 20 if I'm lucky.  I wasn't lucky enough to start surfing as a grom and 2015 is going to only be my fourth year surfing.  So 20 more years isn't that much time.  But I have learned different approaches in cross training to keep my body fit, keeping Yoga as the foundation, and more core balanced exercises that really have helped me become a decent surfer.

The year of the Hurricanes.  This one was during the first big one, "Lowell" and also my favorite of the hurricane season.
So how much did I surf?  Here is the breakdown:

Days surfed: 241
Sessions surfed: 282

Spots surfed:

Scripps:  88
Blacks: 30
South Bird: 22
N. Garbage: 17
K38: 11
Sewer Lines: 10
Cottons: 8
Gaviotas: 7
S. Garbage: 5
Hairmos: 5
Uppers: 5
Teresita's: 5
Windan: 5
Swami's: 4
Rincon: 4
Liscomb's: 4
Lowers: 4
IB:  3
Shores: 3
Osprey: 3 
Rock Slides: 3
San Miguel: 2
Beacons: 2
Church's: 2
Ponto: 1
Henneman's: 1
Bone Yards: 1
Barbwires: 1
PB Point: 1
OB (SD): 1
C Street: 1
3 Mile: 1
Moss Landing: 1
Middles: 1
OB (SF): 1

Boards Surfed:

M-10 (aka The Go To): 70
Webber: 61
Merrick (aka Air Drops): 40
Rusty: 34
Longboard: 1
NSP (aka The Kamehameha): 1
Sunset (new): 17
JS (new): 9
Steve's Board: 1

April from Kookingitup on Vimeo.

My Favorite sessions are in the video above. The Santa Ana's were screaming in addition to some decent swell, which created some really fun surf.  I had a blast at The Shores especially,  catching some really fun and long lefts.  But the best thing about those sessions were having my buddy Steve around.  I met him while surfing the Cliffs.  He ended up moving to The Bay just a little bit after these sessions, and we totally laugh on how we switched lives (he's a born and raised San Diegan).  But our friendship was one of the gifts of 2014, for me at least.  He is one of my best homies, and I'm really blessed to have that fucking guy as bud.

My favorite snap from the infamous Marie.
I hope 2015 will be a good year for all of us.  I was really taken back by some of the things that happened towards the end of the year in Ferguson and New York.  I'm all for civil society, as long as society is civil to all (which isn't really reality, but something we can strive for, right?).  And I'm a brown guy, half second, half third generation American.  My child is going to be a half third/ half fourth generation American, and I want the best for her where she can love and marry who she chooses and doesn't have to raise her hands in fear to survive.  I also want her to get tubed a lot.  And me too.

Another one from Lowell.  It was such a great hurricane for our region. 

I ended up at Swayze's house for New Years, and at midnight we had our glass of champagne with 12 grapes.  For each grape, you make a wish for the next year, giving you 12 wishes.  Well one of my wishes was to get tubed 10 times this year.  As for the other 11, Code 13 will apply ;)

PS.  Here is a link to my 2013 in review.