Posts Tagged ‘Oil Spill’

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I noticed today that Surfline has posted a preview of the J-Bay ASP contest which is forthcoming, and it got me to thinking of all of the people who will not be surfing in the contest.  I should probably preface anything else that I write here by stating that J-Bay has always been my dream wave.  As a teenager, I covered my walls and locker with pictures of the right hand point break which I snipped from Surfer Magazine.  I should also state, that I am realistically ill-equipped to ride the place well, but hell, a guy can dream.  All of this said, I will tell you that the first person you will not see surfing J-Bay in this contest is me.

I can almost hear Kelly Slater breathing a sigh of relief. Can you imagine if he lost his chance at a 10th world title because I actually got a decent barrel?

The rest of the surfing world is aware that Joel Parkinson will not be surfing either.  While he had a more realistic chance of winning the thing than I did, there was something with stitches and a gash and blood.  Those pesky fins!  Stick around and surf long enough, and you too will get to know the pain.

While being a long shot to grab the podium, I must tell you that LeBron James will not be in the contest.  Yes, he has dominated sporting news in recent weeks, but there is serious speculation about his ability to swim.  This makes his choice to play for the Miami Heat questionable, but I am sure he could get some endorsement cash for wearing a rubber ducky inner tube while drinking a Red Bull pool side.  Come on LeBron, think outside of the box man!

I will also tell you that neither President Obama nor Tony Hayward will be able to make it to the famed venue.  While both would like the chance to destroy some waves by unleashing their energy on the helpless ocean there is some concern that the devastation they will spew may be too much.  They do both have a willing sponsor in BP however.

Other names that you will not see on the 32 man roster are as follows: Barbara Streisand, Elmo, Mr. T, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, Glen Beck and Betty White (although she is in the news a lot lately.)

Still, the contest stands to be a good one, and I am sure that I will spend hours mind surfing the waves like I did in high school.  This goes to prove the old axiom that the more things change, the more things stay the same.  

The ocean is flat and has been for some time.  I was able to judge the actual lack of surf recently when I checked in on Dan’s blog Jersey Fresh about his hike on the Pacific Coast Trail and saw that he has been in the woods for 54 days.  In that time I have surfed on actual waves 3, maybe 4 times.

Reports say waves may be coming for the weekend though.  I am certain that no one with a board will be sitting this one out.  Like seagulls on a french fry…

Jay Alders checked in, and he is back from Brazil.  Currently, he is on his way to The Pit in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  He will be back in Jersey for his solo exhibit at the Langosta Lounge on July 14th.  That is the same night that Donavon Frankenreiter is playing at the Stone Pony.  This promises to be a great night, and my wife and I will be in effect.

As a follow-up to my visit with Gene Wahl and Essence Surf, the blank is in the pipeline.  Shaping of the Quasar will begin soon and Dylan Jones finished the airbrush on his funshape.  I hope the completion of the Quasar coincides with the arrival of a tropical swell.  The ocean should be cranking out some named storms soon.

Jones' Hand Shaped Board

Speaking of coincidental occurences, we did note that the flat spell has aligned perfectly with the spill in the gulf.  One guy I spoke with recently, by the name of Crazy Bob, suggested that BP “may have shut the atmosphere off.”

When I suggested that this was not really possible he told me that “I did not understand extraterrestrial life forms and the existence of UFO’s.”  When pressed further he produced some questionable photographs and yelled until his front teeth fell out.  Bloddy gums aside, I think Crazy Bob may be on to something.

Come on BP… release the waves already!

Out of the Blue (Oil on Panel 12"x24") © 2007 Alders<b><a href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Out-of-The-Blue_p_18.html" mce_href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Out-of-The-Blue_p_18.html" target="_blank">Buy Now</a></b>

Talent is a funny thing.  Everyone has their strengths and their unique attributes.  Some people take time and energy to develop their particular set of skills, while others seem to let their talents waste away.  Another interesting aspect of talent is that it often goes to a person’s head. 

This is not the case with surf artist Jay Alders.  One look at his artwork and it is undeniable that he exudes talent and that he has developed it.  He also has an absolute knack for capturing the feel of surfing and the lifestyle that surfers cherish.  Yet none of this has gone to his head.  I recently had the chance to sit and talk with him over a cup of coffee and what follows are portions of a very interesting conversation:

Sea Sand Surf:  The first time I saw your paintings I was here in this very Starbucks (in Neptune, New Jersey).  It must have been a couple of years ago. 

Jay Alders: Yeah, they have shown my work twice now.

SSS:  I was immediately struck by your ability to capture light.  You have a way of bringing the visually translucent nature of the surfing experience to the canvas.  How do you do that?

Anxious Contentment (Oil on Panel) <b><a href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Anxious-Contentment_p_24.html" mce_href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Anxious-Contentment_p_24.html" target="_blank">Buy Now</a></b>

JA:  I have always been interested in the way that things work.  When I am surfing or looking at the ocean I am curious about the way that light interacts with the wave.  I am intrigued by the curves that appear naturally in the ocean, along the dunes of the beach and in the human form as well.

SSS: How do you cultivate that awareness and what inspires you?

JA: I just try to pay attention to the details in life. Whether listening to music, checking the waves or watching a seagull fly across the beach I try to understand the movement  and seek inspiration in everything. 

SSS: So were you always an artist who had a primary focus on surfing?

JA: Not necessarily. My whole life, I’ve been into skateboarding.  It was not until I got my driver’s license that I started surfing regularly at Manasquan Inlet and started obsessing over waves and surfing.

SSS: So you were officially bitten by the bug too.

JA: Yes, officially bitten… (laughs)

SSS: When did that creative change take place for you?  As an artist you are renowned for capturing the surf vibe.

JA: I had been working on a painting titled Back to Me during a point in my life which was very transformational, hence the title Back to Me which holds several meanings. Upon moving to the beach, I was about ready to complete the piece. I painted a window in the background looking out onto the beach and it dawned on me to try to incorporate my love of the ocean in some future pieces.  That was 5-6 years ago now.

Back to Me (Oil on Canvas)

SSS: So that window literally opened a new world for you.

JA: (laughs) I suppose you could say that. Life imitating art…

SSS: Exactly. And speaking of life, how do you fit surfing into your routines as an artist.

JA: Like most New Jersey Surfers I am forced to suffer through long flat spells, so when the waves come I do everything I can to be on it. 

SSS: Living in Belmar helps I am sure.

JA: Absolutely.  I am able to keep my eye on conditions.  When the swell, winds and tides combine, I make it priority to grab my board and run for the local break.

SSS: One of my favorite paintings of yours is Solitube. I love the play on words too.  This is a quality of life that is difficult to find in New Jersey and surfing provides that peace for a lot of us.  How has the fast pace of New Jersey influenced you?

Solitube (Oil on Panel - 24"x24") © 2007 Alders <b><a href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Solitube_p_16.html" mce_href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Solitube_p_16.html" target="_blank">Buy Now</a></b>

JA: Jersey is tough place.  I have had the chance to travel quite a bit and there are few places as intense.  The one thing that living here has taught me is how to hustle.  To be successful and make a career as an artist you need to have business sense, and New Jersey teaches you that the hard way.

SSS: In keeping with the theme of intensity and difficulty, how would you represent the BP spill as an artist?  Your work brings such a positive light into the world, but how would you handle that subject if you had to?

A laughing gull in distress tries to climb on an oil boom

JA: Man, that is a tough one. As an artist it is a struggle to make a political comment that is not overly heavy handed. My initial reaction is that I would take an emotional approach, maybe an oil slick wave or an injured bird. Artistically, I do my best to bring an optimistic approach to the work, but I do think it is important to document the times that we live in.

SSS: Well, your work is absolutely awesome, and I know that you are on the move. I can’t thank you enough for taking some time to have a chat.  What is on the immediate horizon?

Second Glance (Oil on Canvas Board 18"x24")  <b><a href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Second-Glance_p_84.html" mce_href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Second-Glance_p_84.html" target="_blank">Buy Now</a></b>

JA: I am leaving for a three tour stop of Brazil in conjunction with Almasurf this week. I’ll be on tour with John Butler Trio and Rob Machado which is pretty rad. It is a music and art festival and I am stoked to be invited back this year.  On July 14th I have an exhibition planned at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park. My friend Donavan Frankenreiter is playing a concert across the street and he’ll be making a guest apperance at my show as he did last year .

SSS: Excellent news. I am sure the surf community will be in effect that night.  I know buzz is starting to spread already. Hopefully Donavan will bring a swell with him on his tour bus.  This flat spell is killing me.

JA: He brought some big swell last summer.  We had a sweet run of waves that week when he was in town.  Donavan is a great guy, and I think he has it written into his tour rider that there needs to be waves wherever he goes (laughs).

SSS: Let’s hope so, because if it works out for him it works out for all of us hardened Jersey Surfers.  Is there anything else of interest?

JA: I will be at The Pit in the Outer Banks of North Carolina on July 9th and 10th for a solo art exhibit and charity skate to raise money for Surf Aid International.  Our musician friends The Movement, Quincy Mumford & Gabe Gomez will be performing, and our bro’s from Original Skateboards will be doing longboard skating demos and releasing the new line of Jay Alders Longboard Skateboards.

SSS: So there is no shortage of upcoming events.  Of course we can follow along at http://www.jayalders.com/.  With any luck, we can get you to check in again along the way. We are wishing you the best.  Just don’t let the rest of the world know that Jersey gets waves too.

JA: (laughs) No doubt.  It is best to keep it our little secret.

Face it, if you have checked in to Sea Sand Surf before you know that I have to start this post discussing the worst environmental disaster facing our planet in a long time.  I will try not to bore you with the details other than to say that this “spill” is currently estimated to be 2 to 3 times larger than the Valdez disaster.  Of course no one is really sure how much oil is leaking, so I will suffice it to say that it is “a lot.” 

British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward has been working diligently to think of creative ways to stop the leak with no end in sight.  Today he was overheard saying to President Obama that “Bounty is the quicker picker upper.”  I guess that sure beats stuffing the hole with golf balls.  However, if they used that method Tiger Woods might become relevant again, and Hayward is apparently leveraged heavily in Nike stock, so for him the golf ball method would be a “win-win.” 

Thankfully, President Obama has declared a 6 month moratorium on offshore drilling which is just enough time for everyone to forget this ever happened.  Coincidently the end of the moratorium will come as a new season of American Idol begins.  The hope is that this will stop anyone from actually formulating an opinion in their free time.

This is not to hint that the news is all bad.  Today, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez came out and said that a moratorium is insufficient, and that a ban on offshore drilling is the only acceptable decision.  Send him an email and tell him to keep fighting for our ocean and our beaches.

As a final note on the topic, you know it must be bad when it is all I want to write about after coming off of 2 days of very good surf.  I will leave Localswell to chronicle the events for you as Tom Spader has amassed a collection of awesome photos that detail the excellent south east swell that just passed through.

If you are looking for a board this weekend get on over to Brave New World in Point Pleasant.  I just got off the phone with Ryan and he told me they have a board swap starting Friday at 10:00 am and it runs through Memorial Day Monday.  Get your board over early before the sale starts as lots of folks will be cruising down to the beach for sure.

Thanks for checking in!