December 23, 2002
no waves here so far.. Indo excerpt

hey everybody... so far no Atlantic ocean juice for me.. mark and i almost went a few days back but partying got the best of us the night before.. looks like a new east coast utility wind swell is developing for christmas day and the day after christmas.. i might try to hit it on the 26th.. A few of you emailed with with pics and video.. thanks so much for doing that.. i'm on a modem here, however, and won't have the bandwith to check most of it until i get back to SF.

Tom, congrats on the 220 days!! Great work my bruddah!! I think that i ended up around 220 this year so far.. though it's not over yet.. last year i finished with 226 days and 296 sessions..

in the absence of any new surf-related experiences on my part these last few days i'll leave you with a journal entry from my indo trip last year..

merry christmas and all that..


Wed aug 29 2001
Hey everybody!! long time no internet/electricity/phone etc... Things have been going stellar here on Sumba (3 islands east of Bali)... I'm not sure where to begin or what events/images/happenings to highlight so i'll just sputter out a smattering of thoughts and reflections as they occur to me..
just spent 4 days deep in the heart of remote, tribal west sumba.. in a village named N******.. On a hilltop about 2km from an epic lefthand point/reef break called "G**'s Left" the 4 of us (2 South Africans, an Aussie and myself) stayed at chief Metabulu's house. The little village of Ngiwatu consists of about 20 or 30 stilted, thatched-rooved homes and buildings.. all risen above the ground to keep animals (pigs, roosters, cats, ducks, water buffalo etc.) out of the living area.. The homes are mostly constructed of bamboo and palm fronds, both of which grow abundently in the lush, jungly surroundings.. The West Sumbanese are renown for the creative architectual stylings of their rooves. The style is to build a secondary pyramidal shape of thatching above the primary pyramidal shape.. it looks as if the roof is wearing a birthday-party cap.. pretty schweet.. this picture depicts the Sumbanese village..

traditional homes

To get to the wave you had to walk 2km down a winding mountainside trail, through palm groves and dense jungle.. 3 snakes where seen on the path at various times by my companions, one snake 5 foot and supposedly deadly... though i never saw one.. thankfully.. I was so anxious of encountering a snake, however, that i carried a stick and whistled loudly most of the way up and down the trail to warn any potential malicious snake of my approach.. the trail to the surf then wound down and through green/fertile rice paddies... pretty cool.. smiling farmers would wave and the sun would beat down.. there were occasional swarms of locusts that would rip through the fields.. at one point i got smacked violently in the ear by one.. once down to the beach the sand fleas attacked in mass numbers, leaving annoying little red bites that continue to itch 5 days later.. Bitches!!! BUT... tranquility was achieved as soon as i entered the water each day.. a short paddle around a channel in the reef... at most 4 other guys out (usually 2 or 3 person sessions!).. The swell during most of my sessions was small but long period, so the waves would cruise in as low but fat mounds of water.. when they hit the reef they would suddenly jack up, steepen, and peel along the reef.. sometimes closing out, sometimes barrelling... always steep.. every take-off had to be well-timed and committed.. i got another 2 tubes but didn't make it out of either.. so my trip total for tubes is 5.. but i have 0 successful exits.. This was my best few days of the trip, surf-wise.. i racked up almost 20 hours of surf in just 3 days. i caught about 30 or 40 rides a day on a solid, tuby left-hander.. I'm stoked to come back and charge Ft. Point! I learned the utter necessity of speed and commitment on the take-off.. when you've selected a wave as yours upon seeing it on the horizon.. basically lock down on the perfect take-off spot and commit yourself fully to going! paddle super hard and invision the line of your first turn or projection down the line. This pattern of thought helped me immensely on the bigger waves.. waves which, on the beginning of the trip i would have questioned my ability to make the drop and potentially would have wimped out.. or partially wimped out.. and then gone headlong over the falls into the reef!
sidenote: the room that i'm currently checking the internet is sooooo hot and stinky with body odor that i'm about to vomit.. i'm breathing in through my mouth to try to avoid the smell... aachh!! i'm in the capital city of Sumba.. Wangapu.. i'm taking a ferry to the next island over, Sumbawa.. tomorrow.. off to a famous surf spot called Lakey Peak! there is a swell due in two days so it should be sick!
i just completed two weeks without the availablity of electricity (except for a little solar-fueled battery at one place), no cold beverages, no running water, no mirrors, no dairy products, no meat except fish, and little to no english.. it was sick!!!!! really refreshing but also tiring.. i didn't shower for about 5 days as there was no shower or mandy (tub of water with bucket - use bucket to scoop water, then dump over self) in Ngiwatu.. I've actually been shitting in the ocean ... as the toilet scene at Ngiwatu consisted of a dirty outhouse.. complete with hole-in-ground and hornet's nest in the corner! not even a squatty potty.. just a hole!! it was cool..
currently there is some independence day festival going on here in Wangapu.. we saw some traditional Sumbanese dancing and heard the piercing, quasi-harmonious shreek/chants of the traditional sumbanese singing.. wish i had a minidisk to record it..
want to give shouts out to mom and dad! i'll call tomorrow! hope that BI was relaxing and beautiful!
also another shout out to Robbie Scott and one to B. Biggs! the lefts in indo, bros! the lefts in Indo! that's all i have to say..
also a shout out to the X-factor, always an inspiration! keep it up my brotha!

Posted by Ethan at 09:38 PM
December 19, 2002
huge again, stormy.. scored yesterday!

yup.. i finally scored a fun session yesterday.. left work early and checked out our two local lefts.. DeeMers was cracking and absolutely going off.. with perfectly tapering point-break lines reeling in.. too bad 40 or so people were jockeying and jostling for position within the tightly packed lineup.. there didn't look to be that many waves either.. just a definitive set every 7 minutes or so.. if you were able to get yourself into one you'd be "laughin'" .... that's an Aussi expression.. for example.. if, all of a sudden you found yourself in a roomful of cutie ladies at a party, and they started flirting and playing with you, well... "you'd be laughin', mate!".. or.. if you cruised down to 4-mile on a random tuesday morning, even though the swell wasn't that schweet.. then you walked out there and it was glassy with 2 people out, well.. "you'd be laughin, mate!"... ok.. you get the idea.. anyhoo.. i dedided to bail on Deemers and headed over to Spot X, where National Guardsman and Marina chicks meet, where the Union previously defended it's land from the Confederacy and where Jimi Steward saved a damsel in distress in a Hitchcockian Vertigo.. sunrays beamed down and the faint southerly offshore feathered the lips.. Wave after wave after wave after fricken wave funnelled and bent around that point like bicycle spokes around a hub.. only about 10 peeps in the water!!!! I was fucking OUT THERE!!! The big rock right at the main corner was exposed the whole time due to the low tide, the main takeoff sat right to the surfer's left of the rock.. way-overhead bombs just kept coming in and reering up and then peeling along.. Odd Todd was ruling out there, along with a few of the other regulars.. I finally dropped my first bomb after a few minutes and then just got into a nice rhythm and ended up scoring 5 or 6 solid rides.. I was psyched that i landed a bunch of air-droppy, grab-rail takeoffs and then had time and presence-of-mind to turn off the bottom and then off the top.. Spot X is such a great wave for throwing everything you have into the top-turn.. it kind-of mushes and wedges on the shoulder, but the drop is generally pitching and good for speed generation.. i saw one successful barrel ride.. it was basically a great final california session of 2002 for me and i'm leaving for Philly/Jersey a satistied man.. satisfied also because i immediately high-tailed it to Berkeley last night to enjoy a little post-seshy snugglin!!!! really can't be beat can it!!

anyhway.. that thar's the digs.. i'm audi tonight sooo expect some changes in the reports for the next 11 days.. i have some alternative surf-related postings in mind and will also be reporting on my jersey missions with marc and kus.. so keep checkin' back y'all!


Posted by Ethan at 11:34 AM
December 18, 2002
swell and wind down a bit.. still huge

OB is still way way way overhead and just thumping.. seems that the weather has cleared a bit and it's nice and sunny outside.. with just a faint offshore breeze.. umm.. buoys are down significantly from yesterday and the day before.. SF buoy is at 10ft 17seconds and the California buoy is at 15ft 13seconds.. soo.. it seems that alot of that uber-thick long-period juice might be dissapating until the next swell moves in.. I mean.. there is still SIGNIFICANT helpings of swell in the water.. it's just not 20ft 20seconds anymore.. soo.. with this downturn in wind and swell spots might start to loosen up and be a bit more inviting today.. maybe some of the santa-cruz area locals.. maybe up in Bolinas too.. I came into work this morning before 7 in an effort to leave before 3.. soo.. i'm going to try to score some wave-time this afternoon.. i'll let you know what i find..

Reports are streaming in that the new Lord of the Rings is Siiiick! they've even added a surf sequence where Aragorn son of Arathorn uses a fallen branch from an Ent tree to escape capture by riding a wave in the Sea of Rhun! Don't miss it!

looks like Mavs is breaking and actually rideable too..

i was looking for a Salsipuedes photo for a "guess that spot" but i couldn't find any good ones.. anybody have any good Baja stories to share?? i'd really love to do a legit Baja mission one of these days.. I surfed Zippers and the Rock and Old Man's but never really surfed the Pacific Coast.. anyone??

oh yeah.. and.. in case you didn't hear.. Andy Irons is the new world champ, pipeline champ and triple crown champ.. damn! hatrick for AI... I have to give it up for the guy, he's a ridiculously quick, powerful and creative surfer. and also psychopathically ballsy! crazy huge sack.. (figuratively speaking!!)

some of you asked about more info on the County Line surfers being hit by a car.. i found a few more things..

Car strikes two surfers on PCH
By From staff reports
December 16, 2002

A group of surfers were injured while standing on the shoulder of Pacific Coast Highway Sunday when a car strayed from the road and struck the men.

Tyler Rumph, 18, of Calabasas, and Matthew Wolferstan, 25, of Victoria, British Columbia, were hit by a car driven by Oxnard resident Carlos Demos, 48, a CHP official said. Rumph was treated and released from Saint John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard Sunday. Wolferstan, however, is in critical condition at Los Robles Regional Medical Center and was undergoing surgery for multiple injuries.

The accident happened around 8:30 a.m. when Demos was northbound on the highway approaching Neptune's Net restaurant at the Ventura-Los Angeles county line, a CHP official said. A group of surfers on the shoulder were unloading wet suits and surfboards from a van when Demos' vehicle drifted onto the shoulder, a CHP official said. The car hit Rumph and knocked him to the ground before striking Wolferstan.

and also..

I am still in semi-shock over this, so writing may help me, but fair warning, it may be disturbing to read.
I had paddled out to the outer point when I got cleaned up by a rogue wave, ended up breaking my leash. I had to swim in to the beach and then do the rock dance to retrieve my board. I went up the steps and talked to some observing surfers and surveyed the damage to my board. I turned and walked towards PCH when I heard a sickening crunch and saw a blue SUV speeding with a guy tumbling off the hood. Matt, that is his name, ended up crumbled up and broken in the gutter. I remember yelling, "I didn't need to see this" and the place went into stunned silence. Someone walked up to me and said "He's dead". I told him that I just couldn't walk over to check on him, I just didn't want to see and face the damage. Some of us started to cross the street amd shouts of "Call 911" and someone was yelling "Do not touch him" repeatably. Another surfer made the decision to move his truck in front of the scene to block traffic from the lane. When I ran over to check on Matt, his face was just grey with no color and he was not moving. Someone did come over to stand over him and check carefully the extent of the injuries. I made the decision to stand on PCH and direct traffic out of the lane. That is when I found that another surfer had been hit. He was conscious, but on the ground behind a car . I also saw that the force of the impact had knocked Matt out of his shoes. I deduced that the surfers had pulled over while going north and parked to check the surf. They had been mesmerized by the swell and stepped into traffic. The SUV did not see them and may have been to close to the shoulder and hit both guys.

We flagged down a Park Ranger and she called for backup. Two more Park Ranger vehicles showed up. A surfer said that we don't have time to wait for help to show up when there is a fire station 1/4 mile up the hill so someone drove off to get them. The police showed up and then the fire department and gave initial treatment to Matt. During all this, Matt's friends who had traveled with him would gather in prayer circles. I went to console them and said a mental prayer for Matt. They asked how he was, and I said "Bad, but he looks resilient." I could see that his body and spirit were rallying. He became semi-conscious and started to move around a little. He was suffering from internal injuries as well as external and a decision was made to evacuate him out by helicopter. The police and fire department were doing anything they could to save him and the original Park Ranger was holding his hand, calling by name, and telling him to hold on. The ambulance came from Ventura and arrived at about the same time as the helicopter. Matt got transported via helicopter and the other surfer was taken by ambulance up to the Oxnard area.

Be careful out there and live well. Things can change in a blink of an eye.


Posted by Ethan at 09:29 AM
December 17, 2002
huge again..

rows and rows of white water stretch out to the horizon at Ocean Beach.. i checked it from the little mountain behind my house again this morning and saw a definitive set crack and peel, A-framing, out at potato patch..

I'm sure that most of you saw the FRONT PAGE of the Chronicle this morning!! "Surf City, SF" with a picture of a guy surfing at Fort Point.. Inside the front section is another pic of a guy surfing "near Lands End".. geez!! the article doesn't even mention how crowded it's been.. soo.. you know loads of "thrillseekers" from the east-bay and beyond will surely descend upon the city for a surf.. not that i really have a problem with that.. i guess i'm still just grumpy from getting shut out on sunday after two hours of surfing (paddling and jockeying)... anyway.. there are some funny quotes in the article.. such as, "When the wave curls, the surfer can stand up and balance and ride, on top of the ocean, on top of the world." and also.. "When they get into the Pacific they paddle around waiting for the right situation. Here they look like sea lions with a surfboard, only part human."

arrgg.. i guess the only reason i'm bummin is because i have to work all afternoon instead of checking out the action.. anyhoo.. if you're lucky enough to be home this afternoon.. you know where to head!!

There really aren't that many emotions as trying and gut-wrenching as being a surfer, knowing that you're missing swell, simply because you have to sit at the computer and craft code.. ahh.. but i shouldn't complain.. i guess that two surfers almost died (one might have??) yesterday as they were getting out of the water at County Line.. some SUV swerved over (probably checking the surf) and plowed into the two unsuspecting surfers, who were changing out of their wetties.. soo.. say a prayer for those guys and count you lucky stripes..

here's a pic from pipeline yesterday
crazy pipe

here's a great pic of Lowers

can anybody guess this wave?
long rides

Posted by Ethan at 09:52 AM
December 16, 2002
huge and stormy

hey y'all... sorry no reports over the weekend.. for some reason i can't access E's surf report from my home computer!! sucks eh! anyhoo.. i hiked up to this little hilltop behind my house this morning (moraga heights, a.k.a "Craggily Peak") and took a good, long look at OB.. there were peaks and lines of white-water stretching out for about a mile!!! seriously!! In the middle of the beach there were about 300 rows of whitewater!! I'm fricken serious! Crazy shite!.. but VFWs and Sloat had only about 5 or 10 rows.. man.. not exactly a super mellow OB surf experience..

i did, however, find some surf yesterday.. paddled out to this uber-crowded, reeling, protected little break.. there were about 40 guys on it and it was soooo difficult to get any waves.. after a little over two hours i actually paddled in without getting one ride!! I didn't even come close to paddling into any!!! It's not like i couldn't deal with the waves at this spot.. i've scored many many rides here in the past.. it's just that yesterday, being sunday and all, and considering the fact that there weren't that many places to surf, this place was a frothing mess of growling, jockeying, seething surfers. the waves were ridiculous though.. i witnessed heeps of cavernous, successfully-exited barrels, and just wave after wave of high-performance, down-the-line perfection. Most of the area's stand-out surfers were out there.. i saw Andy Olive drop in to a few bombs.. i saw our boy Christian score one super-nice set wave. His boy Alex caught a few beautiful waves and also suffered one end-over-end wipeout over the thick/ugly falls.. Usually i can work my way into at least a few scraps at the crowded/hard-core spots.. but yesterday just wasn't my day i guess, which is disheartening.. cause the waves were soooo damn good..

seems like the wind has a abated a bit since yesterday.. it's blowing 7mph out of the SW.. gusty though.. looks like there are storms stacked up across the whole North Pacific.. jesus.. i mean.. we're going to get pounded for the next 2 weeks solid.. kinda wish that i was in So. Cal for these swells..

the pipeline masters started up again yesterday and witnessed some gruesome conditions.. many of the ASP guys failed to even make one successful ride!! tons of gnarly wipeouts and saves by the jet-ski lifeguards! today conditions are supposed to be 6-10 feet, glassy and perfect.. daaamnn!!


Posted by Ethan at 10:02 AM
December 13, 2002
windy, rainy, huge

wish i enjoyed this this morning.. can anybody guess it?

gigantic, jarbled triple-overhead craziness right now at the beach.. Lerm and i surfed for two hours this morning and scored some unbelievable airplane-hanger-sized barrels.. it was nutty!! On this one barrel we were both in there and Lerm jumped off his board onto my board and then i hoisted him up into the air just like tandem surfing.. and we were cruising through this enormous tube with Lerm all arched back with his one leg up and me just holding on and trying to steer us through.. then we got shot out with the spit and launched into this gravity-defying air where i let go of Lerm, he made a circle with his body by reaching back behind him and grabbing his ankles.. then i soared through his circle.. we both landed back on my board and cruised down the line into another barrel on the inside.. it was sick!

but seriously.. i'm not sure where you could score surf today?? the south winds are raging.. most likely killing most of those south-facing north-santa-cruz-county spots.. and the swell is macking at 16ft 14seconds or something.. we're supposed to get more and more swell and more rain too.. soo.. i'm not sure what to think.. Maybe FP as the tide goes out today? but.. things are going to get dirtier and dirtier in the water.. You know what would probably be good today.. Mendocino Bay.. it's totally sheltered from the south winds and also sheltered from the hammering NW swell.. too bad it's a 4 hour drive..

whoa.. Papa buoy is at 31.2ft!!! fark!

anyway.. here's a cool pic of sunset beach to keep your surf stoke alive..

Posted by Ethan at 10:29 AM
December 12, 2002
weird.. kinda crazy

offshores were blowing again.. and the swell lessened a bit from yesterday.. but conditions were overall still lumpy and jumbled at OB. I saw a few feathering, peeling waves on the outside and decided to give it a go.. wave on the head after wave on the head after wall of white-water after wall of white-water etc. and i was out in the lineup.. sitting there.. sitting there.. paddling in.. paddling in.. sitting there.. huh! waves would break on the outside but then sort of mush and die.. soo. i ended up inching my way ever closer to the inside reform sandbar and eventually got into the fun-zone.. this marks one of the first times i have ever intentially surfed the inside reform at OB for the whole session.. 2 or 3 of us milled about on the inside, alternatively dodging huge sucking closeouts and hooting at throaty barrels.. All of my solid rides consisted of a ridiculously steep/air-droppy takeoff followed by a power carve with all my might.. then the wave dying. i also caught a bunch of random rides on weirdly shaped waves.. My best ride consisted of dropping in to this suck-out right.. i was basically blinded on the takeoff as water sprayed all over (maybe a little cover-up?) i then turned off the bottom and immediately grinded and pushed with my inside rail along the top edge of the wave, throwing up a nice fan.. All the skating i've been doing has SERIOUSLY improved my instinctive ability to carve.. i mean.. i didn't really think about what i was doing.. just barely initiated the mental thought of "turn" and all of a sudden i was crouched low and powering through one.. but.. as always.. for every case of *shredding* i succeed at in the water, there exists the *anti-shredding* moments.. today i began paddling into this barrelly/suck-out left and just before sliding up to a pigdog i just sort-of wimped out or something and threw my board out ahead of me.. then somersaulted, with the barrel, over the falls!! ughh.. it was ugly.. then i took about 20 waves on the head, just treading water without my board.. before recovering and getting back out past the impact zone..

anyway.. there is surf out there.. and from Tom reported from yesterday.. north santa-cruz county spots should be fun again today..

tom.. great write-up of your session yesterday.. sounds like you definitely encountered the 4-mile-pycho.. and.. maybe he's not always that psycho..

Rob Machado won the pipe trials and is in the main event.. Brian Pacheco placed second and also qualified for the main event..
check out triple crown of surfing for all the details...

check out this shot of Manoa Drollet at Pipe.. geez!

Posted by Ethan at 10:02 AM
December 11, 2002
big, jarbled but fun

check out this image of the north pacific (projected a couple days from now)!
npac juice

cruised the beach this morning jonesin' for surf after two days off.. things didn't look that inviting with 5 or 6 rows of whitewater and messy/hard-to-see-clearly A-frames out the back. VFWs looked the most organized so i suited up and hit it. 30 or 40 duckdives later i was in the linup.. along with the 1 or 2 other people along the whole stretch of beach. Conditions were actually pretty clean on the outside.. with a faint SE breeze grooming and massaging the surface.. It felt like a new swell in the water, as the character of the waves was different than that of last weekend.. thick walls were cruising in and either throwing out serious throaty barrels or just backing off and mushing out.. or both.. You definitely had to be in the money spot to get into the buggers and find sections... I managed a few frontside rides and 3 or 4 backsiders in a little over an hour. nothing amazing but enough to fuel a surf-stoked day here at work. I'd say the biggest waves on the outside were easily overhead... and the swell is thick and serious. 12 oclock 3 foot low tide.. might see the north-santa-cruz-county reefs and points light up? 10ft 13sec at the SF buoy right now.. 19ft 11sec at the Papa.. hmm.. my recommendation would be to get in as much surf as you can right now before this storm system washes us away this weekend..

I guess that Lisa Bonet (aka Denise Huxtable) was spotted at Lower Trestles during the contest a month or two ago.. a guy from Transworld surf asked her a few questions and she had some cool things to say:

So how did you end up here today?
I'm an aspiring surfer, and I just have a lot of admiration for what these guys are doing. I think for my own life, I'm looking for some type of mastery. When I look at what these guys have accomplished and what's happening in the water right now with the surfers, it really ignites that sense of something very powerful happening between nature and humans. I'm just in total admiration of these guys and the focus and the letting go - all at the same time. Just that contact with nature... it's deep.

go Denise!!!

also check out these shots that our boy Kaiser took in South Africa..
Kaiser in South Africa

Kaiser in South Africa

also check out some pics of Thanksgiving Ocean Beach sent to me by Steve Lovell



Posted by Ethan at 10:27 AM
December 10, 2002
ugghh.. finally!! it's not awesome!

now i kinda wish that i had jumped in for a rainy surf yesterday morning.. the wind has finally shifted around and is blowing onshore again!! ahh.. that's a relief, i was started to grow incredibly tired of all those perfect, offshore days.. I mean... who really likes it when it's sunny, with a 5mph offshore breeze and headhigh+ groundswell in the water? i mean.. geez.. but.. seriously.. looks like we have a few local storms cruising through.. another one is predicted for this weekend. with big swells too.. soo.. prepare yourselves for murky, dirty, windy, crazy, stormy wildness... or something.. looks like the dream weeks might be over??

in all honesty i didn't even check it this morning.. busy snuggling with friend Tory and her super-hilarious pug Oscar... anybody get wet out there?


Posted by Ethan at 10:07 AM
December 09, 2002
doable.. but.. pouring rain..

woke up just as the rain squalls began spattering against my window.. noticed the offshore wind, decided to cruise down and check the situation.. Noticeable swell decrease from yesterday at VFWs.. biggest waves slightly overhead. I felt rather burly and in-tune with the natural cycles while standing out on the sea-wall.. blustery wind and rain whipping all around.. my hood up and closed around my face so that only my eyes peaked out. offshore wind groomed the sea-surface to a shellacked, misty grey.. I figured that i'd jump in for a surf if it was on fire.. but.. it was simply, "surfable".. while not being "good.".. there were sections firing off here and there, but there was also a fair share of closeouts and mushiness... it looked pretty inviting, though.. not too much of a paddle out.. a few barrels beckoning the brave bastion of bull-headed surfdom.. and absolutely NOBODY out. I decided to skip it.. hit up Louis' for some pancakes and the newspaper. but i encourage any of you to go get some out there.. might be kind-of dirty all over tomorrow too.. soo.. this morning might be your last chance for a few days..

soo.. this past weekend we saw some fantastic waves pummel bay area surf spots. Lerm and i surfed nutty overhead closeouts at the north end of Schmlindy on Saturday.. don't ask me why.. but we ended up scoring some fun rides.. I have no idea where it came from, but this head-high, chisel-lipped right cruised in for me at one point.. i made the ledged drop and enjoyed a racy, lined-up wall all the way to the beach! I ended up fitting in two off-the-tops and one floater/ride-on-top-of-wave type maneuver all on the same wave.. i was stoked!! but.. seemingly just to spite my stoke, a few minutes later i got caught lurking on the inside by this huge closeout.. then proceeded to take about 10 or 12 (more??) huge closeouts on the head.. a few times getting held down to the point of the beginning stages of panic.. the water was soo foamy that i had trouble gaining purchase and kept getting sucked down like quicksand!! i, once again, employed the Robme method of counting slowly while holding my breath underwater.. i finally got spit out on the beach and nearly collapsed with dizzyness!! it sucked.. i chilled on the beach for a second and then tried to paddle back out but got denied AGAIN!! by a heaving set of overhead closeouts!!! and this at LINDY!!! anyhoo.. lerm took one in and we called it a sesh.. then lerm bought a sick fish at Sun-Light surf shop.. soo.. he's stoked..

then yesterday (Sunday) saw some killah waves up and down the beach.. I surfed VFWs from 12 to 2 and caught a bunch of speedy, high-performace bombies.. I also had a huge wipeout on this gigantor left.. i paddled and paddled to get into it.. the offshores whipping up mist and froth into my face.. i popped to my feet and tried to will my way into the section but saw this gaping death pit open up underneath me and air-dropped for a while.. but miraculously i landed on my feet in front of the maelstrom.. but just couldn't pull it off and got absolutely hammered by the barrel on top of me... it was fun!!

soo.. that's the scoop from my neck of the woods.. now i'm at work...

i culled this from pacific waverider.. it's particularly relevant for us california surfers now that the rainy season is upon us

*** Bush and EPA Want to Cut Both Sewage Infrastructure and Runoff Funding

Though Congressional Democrats and Republicans have introduced bills to increase federal spending on sewage treatment infrastructure and polluted runoff programs from $1.35 billion annually to approximately $4 billion annually, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is officially asking for a 10 percent decrease (from $1.35 billion to $1.21 billion per year) in federal funding for programs that address sewage treatment and polluted runoff. None other than the EPA itself last month published a report citing the need for additional expenditures of $271 billion for sewage infrastructure over the next 19 years. More info on the requested budget cuts at and more info on the projected sewage infrastructure needs at

*** 81% of Major Factories and Sewage Plants Exceed Allowed Water Pollution Permit Levels

Using government data, the U.S. Public Research Interest Group (U.S. PIRG) has discovered that 81% of large factories and sewage plants (that is, 5,116 of 6,332 major facilities) exceeded at least once between 1999 and 2001 the level of water pollution discharge allowed by their federal permits. The average excess was 10 times what the permit called for. "Polluters are breaking the law not only frequently but flagrantly," said the report's author, Alison Cassady, research director for U.S. PIRG. More info at

can anyone guess this wave?
point l


Posted by Ethan at 09:30 AM
December 06, 2002
bigger.. junkier

both blakestah and surfpulse say it's rideable out there today.. and it might be as the tide comes up and mellows things out a bit.. but.. fark, there are about 4 more rows of death-knelling white water to contend with then there were yesterday.. Way out the back i noticed some glorious sections peeling and feathering and grinding along.. but.. man.. i wasn't feelin' it.. that was at VFWs/middle of the beach.. conditions at Sloat looked a bit more doable.. waves breaking a bit closer to the beach.. but still junky and hard-core.. then i noticed a peeling left beyond Second Lot Sloat that looked to be breaking along a semi-permanent sandbar.. but.. at that point i had resigned myself to checking Pacifica and was audi.. Lindy and Rockaway (Smoke-a-Jay) both were pretty much flat, with the exception of a set full of closeouts every 10 minutes or so.. in all fairness, there actually were a few semi-rideable mini inside waves at Schmlindy that looked *almost* fun.. and there was a pretty serious right firing and spinning and spitting at the far right corner of Lindy.. but the violent closeouts outnumbered the peeling niceness.. also.. there are these signs posted at Lindy by the county of San Mateo that say, "WARNING! swimming or contacting the water here could be dangerous to your health! The water is contaminated!".... Ummm.. ok.. has that sign been there a while?? I mean.. it's not like it has rained in the last week or two.. anybody know what the deal is??

anyway.. i bailed on surfing and scored myself a tasty chai latte and bagel instead..

maybe you could score as the tide fills in at OB? or.. venture south and i'm sure that you'll score some niceness..


Posted by Ethan at 09:35 AM
December 05, 2002
bigger, meaty, offshores

Lerm wakes me up in the pre pre-dawn and we head down to VFers.. Significantly bigger than yesterday, with a noticeable increase in the girth and chunk of the waves.. wind AGAIN blowing offshore, feathering the lips and providing that scalloped, groomed texture to the sea surface. A few brutal beatings on the head and i was out in the lineup... Robme takes off on a big closeout right away.. still pretty dark out.. i bide my time and get accustomed to the sucking/ledging/throwing/phwumping character of the new swell in the water. Gaping, chocolate-brown vortices of death punctuated the otherwise calm surroundings. I finally stroked into a suck-out left and enjoyed a air-droppy takeoff then a carvable wall.. The current pulled like a river to the north.. I looked back at one point and witnessed Robme take-off on a serious right, he made the drop but then this huge barrel just engulfed him and chewed him up!! seriously gnarly!! The barrels this morning were serious business! Certainly not for the wimpy-at-heart.. I caught a handful of thickys and then called it a sesh.

it's reeealllll good out there. i mean.. damn good.

i don't remember a stretch of two weeks that have ever been better here at OB.. does anybody else out there remember a stretch as good as this??


tom.. sounds like Sloat was sick yesterday afternoon.. another friend confirmed as such.. damn.. right on!!

can anybody guess this location or wave?


Posted by Ethan at 09:53 AM
December 04, 2002
light offshore.. head-high.. fun!!

geez!! the surf was sooo fun this morning!! Cruised down to VFWs and had to pinch myself after seeing a head-high+ set funnel through and peel evenly in both directions.. I've been so blindly surfing VFers lately that i decided to check the rest of the beach just to keep myself honest.. the middle looked bigger and i watched a few overhead++ bombs peel and peel and peel.. the inside looked a bit treacherous and ugly.. Waves at Sloat looked to be backing off a bit and not breaking on a defined bar.. soo.. back to VFers.. Three or four distinct peaks from Lincoln to Seal Rock.. I surfed the southernmost.. First ride of the day was my best.. groomed, utterly-glassy head-high right meandered in and began to ledge up a bit.. a few funboarders scraped from the outside to get into it but couldn't.. i was on the inside and spun, paddled and made the drop.. then was jettisoned down the line at breakneck speed.. the wave had a huge, sucked-out wall that i sped along... part of my mind requested stalling tactics, to get back into the barrel behind me.. but another part of my mind, a more persuasive part, recommended pumping and racing to stay out ahead of the cavernous pit behind.. I ended up wimping on the barrel but then was able to use the amassed velocity to arc a long turn along the top, then into meat of the tapering wave. ahhh.. that felt good..

the only other semi-significant item of note is that i'm finally starting to learn to come out of a pigdog into a bottom turn then top turn.. for the longest time i've had difficulties pulling out of a pigdog stance and initiating bottom-turn/top-turn maneuvers.. it got to the point where i was actually turning up the wave and hitting closeout lips while still in the pigdog!! i'm sure it looked funny and it also wasn't very practical.. but today i pigdogged my way into this sucking left.. then was able to let go of the rail.. alter the micro-positioning of my feet.. then throw myself up into the lip for a bash or two.. ahh.. felt good..

FYI.. i witnessed quite a few successful barrel rides today! they are out there! the only reason i didn't get into one was because i'm a wimp and because i don't really know how to stall..

oh yeah.. a funny antecdote.. this guy started chatting me up in the lineup.. good vibes and everything.. saying, "man.. it's a bummer that the waves have gone down in size since the beginning of the session!" "What happened to all the waves?"... "I must be spoiled from all the surf this week.. because the conditions are starting to suck out here.." yadda yadda.. i responded that, "i don't know man.. there still seems to be a few waves cruising in.." he starts talking again and i notice a mound of a wave pop it's head out over the horizon.. if he would have seen it and started paddling, he would have been in position.. but instead i quickly got down on my board and power-paddled out to meet it.. then turned and took off on the wave.. he was inside of me, but i was already up and going by the time he got himself into position.. anyhoo.. just a little story.. If the guy i'm referring to is reading this.. sorry about that wave!! didn't mean to snake it from ya!

also of note.. a friend of mine just arrived in Bali and has this to say..

"Anyhow just walked past the bomb site her in Bali and was definitely
shaken. Having been here just two summers ago and spending a good deal
of time parlaying it up in both places, it was a shock to see the empty
space and feel the loss of life. To Australians it was an event which
brought the tragedy of Sep 11th to their doorstep. And having been in
Oz at the time of the bombing saw just the media coverage which I
noticed was far greater than the US. "

soo.. cool.. hopefully the high tide isn't killin' it for all you lunchtime surfers.. conditions should improve again as the tide drops and this new west swell fills in..

Robme.. i'd be down with using one of your old/ratty wetties if you don't mind..


Posted by Ethan at 11:02 AM
December 03, 2002
sunny.. light offshore.. smaller

fun session this morning.. welcoming me back to california.. Very mellow conditions compared to the thrubbing we've been receiving.. I paddled out at VFWs as the dawn was cracking.. never really got too crowded except for right in front of the beach chalet.. i simply paddled south a bit.. every 7 minutes or so a "purdy" set would flow in and feather and peel in both directions.. rights generally healthier than the lefts.. i caught a few memorable rides.. one on a nice set wave (maaaayyybe head high??) where i skimmed and pumped along the very top edge of the wave and kept making sections that i would have missed a few months back in my surf progression.. I was generating enough speed while pumping that i actually felt like i was catching little horizontal airs as i unweighted from each pump.. it felt good.. I also caught a bulky right were i was back on my heels at the bottom of the drop but then re-balanced myself and turned vertically up the face and ripped into a feel-good off-the-top/lay-back-snap..

anyhoo.. huge high tide today at 10:30am.. about 7feet.. and then a huge low tide this afternoon at 4:30... hmmm..

the papa buoy is also livin' large at 14ft 17seconds.. I wonder if it's the beginnings of the storm system Blakestah predicted??

One negative note as far as my surfing situation.. many of you know that my sternum protrudes from my ribcage pretty significantly.. over the last few years it hasn't given me much of a problem.. but lately i've been experiencing these shooting pains in my bone that make paddling a BITCH!! soo.. i need to get my hands on some old wetsuit rubber so that i can craft a pad to sew into the inside of my rashie..

anyhoo.. if you see me grimacing out there.. that's why..

check out this pic of mavs that Dan Jones sent me.. it's from '98

Posted by Ethan at 09:55 AM
December 02, 2002

what up heads!! i'm back from the (L)East coast.. flew all morning and now i'm at schwork.. looks like things are still surfable this morning, though maybe a bit funky and disorganized.. I am Fricken JONESING!!! to surf.. hopefully i'll be able to squeak in a large seshy tomorrow morning before this weather front moves in. It was sooo frickin cold on the east coast, i can't even tell you.. It would have been brutal to try to surf in the 26 degree + windchill nastiness.. I stepped off the plane in SF and it was almost 70 and total sunshine.. ahhhh!!! too bad i have to slug through code and other work-related tasks all day.. but.. it pays for food and shelter.. and.. working here at the Sierra Club, at least i feel like i'm supporting a good fight and not working for the man..

anyway.. sounds like many of you caught some fun waves.. sweeet!

mark h - sorry i missed your show.. i wasn't really checking email from home..

see ya in the water..


Posted by Ethan at 11:44 AM