Posts Tagged ‘Surprise’

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.

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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.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…

I know, “summer is over and the blog dies.  Go figure.  This guy is a light weight anyway.” 

“Another one hit wonder and blah, blah, blah!”  Trust me, I have heard it all a hundred and three times before.  But not so fast.

Winter swells have yet to come.  Daniel is officially off the PCT.  He finished his hike and I know he is looking forward to getting back in the water.  Having a surf buddy always helps drag a person out of the gloom and doom.

On top of that my friend Basil has figured out how to make a board for under a hundred bucks.  I won’t give you all of the detail, because, well… I really don’t know how the hell he did it.  The pictures speak for themselves.  I can tell you that the board actually rode last week in thigh high wind swell though. 

Granted, it is a prototype and the kinks were numerous, but when you combine Basil’s tenacious nature with his natural understanding of craftsmanship, I have no doubt that he will make a board for any quiver.  I repeat, under a hundred bucks.

Take that China!

The Finished Product and the Maker

...From Humble Beginnings

 

According the Basil, "the holes make it float." Of course they do.

 

A Sweet Fin Sets this Board Apart

Looking Damn Near Done

I also had someone give me a board.  Sure, my halo is bent and rusty; my angelic wings are singed but when someone gives you a board you have to figure that you have SOME good karma left.

Life Smiles on Those Who Smile

The nose needs some repair, but the glassed in neon fins make me want to surf in corduroy OP shorts while wearing a pink Gotcha tank top.  February can’t come soon enough!

Other than that I am hear to tell you that Seasandsurf has yet to die.  It just rises and falls with the autumn tide.

I know it may be a little too late (or early) to revisit Earl, but Tim Bourne of Identity Surf shot a great video of some Jersey surfing that I wanted to post up.

For me, the video could not have come at a better time. 

Let’s face it, most of can’t surf whenever we feel like it.  There are jobs, families, responsibilities and all of the other facets and complexities of the day-to-day that can keep us out of the water.

Personally, this will often cause a disconnect.  So wrapped up in my busy life, I will at times forget what it means to be a surfer.  I will even occasionally think that I may be done.  “Who has the time?” my brain will tell me. 

It is in moments like this that I am reminded of the infamous line from the Godfather III when Al Pacino says,  “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

As a surfer, I don’t mean say this with the same brutal angst felt by Michael Corleone.  I actually apply the line with the utmost gratitude and affinity for those who help share the stoke.  Afterall, if I stopped surfing today I can’t turn State’s Witness.  The best I can do is tell you about a few unknown breaks that work best on a south swell at mid-tide.

So this time, with the burdens of “all things life” feeling, well, burdensome- it was Tim’s excellent video of a bunch of guys getting glad on the waves of Earl that drew me back in. 

 

Now, I will feverishly follow the reports in the hopes that I can get in the water again soon.  Happily thinking to myself, “yes, I am drawn back in!”

 

On the continuum that begins at hype and ends somewhere in reality, Earl was on the reality side of the border- somewhere between fantastical imagining and gritty, in your face 3 dimensional manifestation. The swell was the focal point of countless hours of news programming, keeping Sam Champion and Al Rocker pleasantly fed.  So the hype level was high. 

As a surfer I can always tell when East Coast Swells make their way into the mass consciousness of our collective society.  I measure this by the text messages that I receive.  If there are waves and I only hear from surfers, well then, all is right in the world and few are paying attention.  When the swell is heavily hyped I receive messages from coworkers, friends and family telling me to be safe.  It is by these messages that I am able to tell if the swell has the infiltrated thoughts of popular culture.

Sam Champion Told You to Stay Out of the Water

In this area Earl was on the radar.  I received 4 separate well wishes by really good people, cheering me on and imploring me not to drown. 

The only question was if Earl would deliver?  Happily, Earl came with the goods, albeit, not perfect but real. The Saturday morning session was crowded, warm and intense.  The long swell lines were hard to pick and the line between makeable sections and a rinse in the washing machine blurred continually.  By the evening the incoming tide interjected a second level of juice and the walls held up longer. Everyone relished in a second session.

It was this second session that projected Earl from a storm of general hype, to a swell worth adding to the card catalog of surfing memories.  I heard some rumblings that the evening swell was more a product of a faltering Fiona than a feisty Earl, but I have no idea.  That is where the professionals like Duke Storm step in and explain the semantics to laymen such as myself.  What I can tell you is that Labor Day Weekend 2010 will be remembered for the waves Earl sent our way.

Feel the Trim

Earl Had Everyone Running for Cover

Thanks for checking in.  Earl is a popular guy right now.  While the name generally invokes an image of NASCAR and canned beer for me, the approaching storm has me thinking about the chance for some great waves.  I was trying to recall, but I think it was Fabian who brought the last decent tropical swell for Labor Day Weekend?  Don’t quote me on that, but I think I may be right. I do remember getting a fun swell a few years back with a storm at the start of the alphabet for the official close of summer, and I am hoping for a repeat.

Early Earl

I received a text this morning (thanks Tim) that the first hint of the storm was in the water.  “Waist high and mostly clean” was the early read. Unfortunately, I am in high season professionally and the chance to drop it all for a wave did not present itself for me.  I did however get to the Atlantic Ocean’s edge with enough time to snap a few photos of early Earl.  The winds were heavy from the south and conditions were less than ideal,  still the crew in the water looked to be having a blast.  And yes, the water is warm.

Here is hoping for more to come.

Daniel Yackewych and I finally caught up via telephone several days ago.  The timing could not have been more appropriate.  Like a tried and true surfer, he must have smelled that the Atlantic was finally starting to brew- with Hurricane Danielle cranking happily along and more activity sniffing at her heels.  This is some feat on his part though, since he was reporting from a small town just off of the Pacific Crest Trail, 200 miles south of the Oregon border.  However, I was not surprised that he still had a read on things- because a surfer in the woods is still a surfer.

SSS: Excellent to hear from you brother.

Daniel Yackewych: Excellent to be heard from.

SSS: For those not checking in on your blog, which is an awesome travel log by the way, please tell us, how is the hike going?

DY: As well as could be expected with 100 plus days under my feet.  I am ragged, dirty and worn but I am feeling good.  So far we have hiked just over 1600 miles and I smell to high heaven.

SSS: You say we- I thought this was a solo mission?

DY:  It started out that way, but I have a few travel companions now who share the goal of making it Canada.

SSS: Mainly Flyboxer right?  I feel like I know the guy from your posts. 

DY: Yeah, Flyboxer is a real levelheaded guy and we have a similar approach to the hike.

SSS: What approach might that be?

DY: Well, a lot of people on the trail are super succinct when they get into town.  They are able to organize their supplies, do their shopping and what not with little effort.  I on the other hand, end up standing in the middle of the grocery store, wandering the aisles for two hours trying to adjust to the change of scenery.  Flyboxer is the same way so that works well.

SSS: It sounds like you are a homeless guy.  You aren’t talking to yourself or screaming on street corners about the approaching UFOs are you?

 

DY:  (Laughs) I don’t think so.  Would somebody tell me if I was?

SSS: That is a great point.  I guess we will see when you get back.  Speaking of getting back, what does that look like for you?

DY: Well finishing the hike will be a miracle.  Washington looms as does late September, and the weather is going to play a huge factor. We are certain to encounter some wet chilly conditions and I am trying to mentally prepare myself.  As the trip is currently planned, I am flying back to New Jersey in early October.

SSS:  Just in time for some prime Atlantic activity I hope.  Although I doubt that you are thinking much about surfing right now.

DY: You would be surprised.  I really miss getting in the water and it is one of the things I look forward to most.

SSS: What else do you miss in terms of your “normal” life?

DY:  I have thought about this a ton.  I miss having an armrest and a couch.  I am focused on a beer, a blanket and the NFL.  I really want to see football.  Flyboxer and I are actually going to try and catch a high school game somewhere in Oregon.

SSS: That is if security doesn’t throw the two homeless guys out.

DY: (Laughs) Good point.  Although most towns along the PCT are used to having hikers pass through, so it is more likely that someone will offer us a pasta dinner and place to shower.  The people we have met along the way have been amazing.

SSS:  And if you had to say there was one lesson that you have learned so far, what would it be?

DY:  I would have to say that I have learned that I know where my home is.  I feel really grounded in knowing that New Jersey is where I belong and that I have it to come back to.  The hike has solidified my attachment to place- to family and friends. 

SSS:  Well that is cool.  Just so you know we will be here when you get back.  Of course you better plan on getting into paddle shape before the winter swells start to come in, or you will be sure to get you tail handed to you.

DY: I know!  I am hoping it is like riding a bike.

SSS:  There is a reason why Todd Stewart titled his short surf film Surf Magazines Don’t Talk About Lapsed Catholics. The ocean will be waiting…

DY: I can’t wait.

SSS:  We can’t either.  Keep up the great work.

DY: I will. I hope there is a Jersey Freshie waiting with my name on it.

SSS: You know there is, and I am buying!

DY: With pepperoni too?

SSS: Sure.

DY: Nice.