Posts Tagged ‘Life’

After my last surf session, I am glad to report that I was officially able to peel back the hood on my winter wetsuit.  Sure, I still need gloves and boots, but the hood was off.  Popping the top is always a great sign of things to come, but it leaves me in a bit of a dilemma in terms of my gear. 

Brinley says, "time to pop the top."

When it came time to purchase a winter suit, I maxed out and went with a 6 millimeter O’Neill, and in February I generally have few regrets about this.  But, in the transitional seasons I find myself too warm in the big daddy, as the suit is affectionately referred to, but too cold in my 3 millimeter.

I realize that this is very convenient problem and that plenty of people in the world should wish to have such worries.  I also understand that this “dilemma” hardly warrants blog space, but if you have read this far I will share my options with you as I see them:

  1. I buy a 4 or maybe a 5 millimeter suit for the transitional seasons, which in New Jersey amounts to a month in the spring and a month in the fall.
  2. I stop whining and suck it up, wait for a warm spell and forget about winter altogether.   
  3. I buy a one millimeter top to put on under my 3 millimeter suit, and let my lower half, including my spindly legs, freeze. 

Being that I usually ascribe to the sentiment “less is more,” I am inclined to go with option 2.  After all, it is May already.  But there is still one deciding factor to contend with, and that is the reports from MagicSeaWeed, Localswell, and Surfline. 

Winter days will come again...

If the stars align, and a peak swell should develop where I want hours of water time in absolute comfort, I will be off to buy that suit.  Of course this is wishful thinking on my part.  The reports look marginal at best.  None-the-less, I am only an impulse buy away from having the session of my life! 

I can hear the wetsuit makers praying for waves- it is money in their coffers after all.  And the best part about it is I can hear them so clearly without that damn hood on my head.

I hear ya dog. Summer time is cool.

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De La Soul, rap group extraordinaire, had an album out back in the day titled Three Feet High and Rising.  And while I could probably remember 80%  of the lyrics for Hip-Hop karaoke, it is not the music that stays with me, rather it is the album title.

Three Feet High and Rising is the perfect way I like to think of an incoming southerly swell.  If you are familiar with the album you may remember the refrain where Posdnous asks, “how highs the water ma’ma” and Plug Two replies “three feet high and rising.”

There are times when I am paddling out and I will hear this as clear as a bell and I just need to laugh.  Or even better, there are times when I am hoping for waves and some random object will make me stop and think, “yes, that would be the perfect wave height for me right now.”

Hence the red fire plug.  I passed it on my drive yesterday, and it caught my eye.  All I could think to myself was, how highs the water ma’ma?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0irL1M15DH8&playnext=1&list=PLB58D37F7688379FA

 

 

I know that when surfers plunk down sixty bucks on a pair of wetsuit boots they are not making a lifelong committment.  I am fully aware that these boots, and even the gloves and suits for that matter, are consumer products with a shelf life in alignment with the average Hollywood relationship.  I also hypothesize that there is some grand marketing plan behind it all; with a CEO looking at the prototype, asking his team of designers, “are you sure that these boots will fall apart after six months of normal use? Because that will truly alter my bonus and our bottom line if they don’t.”

None the less, and maybe because I am a cheap SOB, I feel like these products should offer more of a return on the investment.  Afterall, when they are through being useful, the rubber generally ends up in a landfill, free to release toxic compounds for generations to come.  So why, as a half-awake buyer, should I not anticipate a long and happy marriage with this costly gear?

So fast forward to my second season in my Infinity 7mm boots.  Snug as a bug in a rug when purchased, but more torn than a pair of Union Solider boots during the Crossing of the Delaware, as the second February came closing in. 

I knew I was in trouble given their current state of repair and the 36 degree water temperatures.  So I borrowed a bottle of this product that is essentially rubber cement glue on A-Rods vitamins, slathered every hole in my gear, and paddled out for a friendly Sunday surf session.

As soon as the waves wrapped around my ankles I knew I was in trouble.  My boots took on water, or should I say ice water, faster than an oil company raises gasoline prices.

Still, I decided to play through the pain.  I was suited up, and the waves were glassy and fun.  About an hour into the afternoon my foot began to throb mercilessly.  I will spare you the dramatics, and let you know that I dodged a few more waves and then grabbed one for home.  

The glue did help with this hole... I think...

The run, I mean limp, up the beach was excruciating.  The rock solid sand, coupled with the ice and snow, made matters worse.  By the time I reached the car I was cursing these blasted boots, and the glorified Elmer’s Glue. 

Sure my digits were intact, right down to the smallest toe, but my session was cut short, and that is the point right?  For sixty bones you might think I could get a little bang for my buck.

As the last winter storm pushed out to sea it left some damn fine surf in its wake.  The waves turned on for an a few hours in the middle of the day and the wind shifted off-shore.  It should not go unsaid that the water temperatures were hovering just above 37 degrees, which meant that the crew who made it out were able to feast as opposed to famine. 

Below are a few of the photos I snapped. 

No need for a GPS to find your way here.

An unknown rider summoning his inner guide

Make a right at the light and go straight into night

More tube time than the Holland Tunnel

A mid-winter traffic jam

With barely a soul to see

 

Which suits this guy just fine

Below are ten very unofficial suggestions you may wish to adopt as resolutions for the year twenty-eleven.  Either way SeaSandSurf wishes you a year of peace and good times. 

1) Don’t hate on the beach that is growing on the floor of your car.  Sand is beautiful.

2) Drink more pre-surf coffee so you can stay warm during those winter sessions.

3) Don’t doubt it- when it’s your turn to go, paddle and go.

4) Road trip!

5) If you find yourself mind surfing in the middle of the afternoon then you must be doing something right.

6) Don’t let the boss know.

7) Surf on a day that is beyond your comfort zone, even if it means a surf trip to Tahiti.

8) Go ahead, hoot that stranger in the line-up into the wave of the day.

9) Snake one for old time’s sake.

10)  If anyone can get away with wearing a pair of purple Uggs you can. No, for real!

A special thanks to Daniel “Surfer Into the Woods” Yackewych for helping to formulate the scientific list above.

 

As I write this New Jersey is digging out of a massive snowstorm which left several feet in its wake.  In a few words, it is cold, it is icy, and it is mean.  Flash to another time and place with me though.  The palm trees are swaying to the hum of the paradise breeze, while crystal blue barrels fire in 78 degree water.  The air lightly hints of sunscreen, but in actuality it is the coconut trees in the distance that are so fragrant. 

Well, the first account is my reality- the latter is the reality of Mr. Gene Wahl, owner and lead shaper for Essence Surf.  He is currently in Hawaii testing out some of his new designs.  Fortunately, I had the chance to catch up with him before he left about all things Essence Surf.

SSS:  So what is happening in Gene Wahl’s world?

Gene Wahl: I have been shaping a bunch for one thing.  I have also been getting prepared for my trip to Hawaii.

SSS: Is this more work or vacation? 

GW: It is hard to tell (laughs). As a company Essence Surf has been in expansion mode to a degree and so there is definitely an angle that pertains directly to the business model.  On the other hand, I will be surfing a bunch of new designs I have been working on, and that does not feel a bit like work.

SSS: Are you talking about one off designs, or are you crafting signature models at this point?

GW: These are defiantly models for future shapes.  For instance, I have the latest update on the Quasar where I decreased the nose width so that it holds better in the high line.

SSS: What else is in the board bag?

GW: Well, the Misfit is something that I am really excited about.  There are three variations; the standard short board, the 5 fin set up and the quad channel. 

SSS: What can someone expect from the Misfit?

GW: It is a solid go-to shortboard.  The quad channel is extremely fast and is a little wider in the turn.  This make is great for big cut backs on an open face.  Both the standard and the 5 fin are made to get up into the lip and to go vertical on demand.

 

SSS: So outside of the new boards what else will be happening for you?

GW: I am really excited because while I am in Hawaii I will be meeting up with Ben Aipa.  He is such a classic surfer and shaper.  I have had the chance to spend time with him in the past and to learn from him and it caused my shaping and surfing to grow in leaps and bounds.  It is an honor to spend time with a master of the craft. It is a blessing to see the tool work and technique of someone who shapes at his level.  Of course, at the end of the day my goal is to bring that knowledge back to New Jersey.

SSS: So we have a small branch on the historic tree?

GW: Maybe more like a leaf, but yeah. (laughs)

SSS: So Essence Surf is positioned to have a good run in 2011?

GW: We are.  There are plenty of custom orders to keep the bays busy.  Local shapers can reach out to us directly if they need a blank as well. We are offering glassing services and if someone wants to learn how to shape we offer classes. 

SSS: Just check the website right bro?

GW: Exactly.

SSS: I hope you bring back some aloha spirit too, New Jersey needs it.

GW: I will see if I can fit it into my carry on.

Swell Chart

The hype is starting build.  If pre-swell momentum was measured in drops in the proverbial bucket than the East Coast would be experiencing a flash flood right now.

But how good will Igor be to us?  There is one sure way to tell so take this as a tip:

Multiply the number of stars being granted on MagicSeaweed by the number of posts in the forums at NYNJSurfer.  Take that sum and divide it by the number of hours you plan on ditching work, shunning household duties or ignoring incoming phone calls.  That number will give you a total, which when converted to inches and measured against the height of your average 1829 German Beer Stein will reveal the size of the average wave face forthcoming.

Or you can just see what Professor Sak is saying.