November 26, 2003
not much..

woke up to some brisk NW winds.. The ocean wasn't utterly blown-out at 6:30.. but.. it was on it's way. Globules of foam speedily wafted east as the wind pressed shoreward. I sat at Sloat for a few minutes, considering. lt's within the range of surfability... Largest waves approaching headhigh+. A few shoulders bespeckled the lineup. but.. conditions are crumbling toward ugliness with each daylight moment.. So.. I voyaged south.. hoping for protection on the leeward side of the Princeton Jetty.. thinking maybe the swell packed enough oomph and the tide not too high over the rocks.. but.. nada down there.. The surface looked scrumptiously glassy. Waist-high, cracklin' peaks rose up, dumped or quickly-peeled along.. but.. the few rideable waves broke almost directly on top of the inside rocks. It wasn't working.. On my way back i noticed a few brave souls out at the 'mar.. You could probably find a few there.. and probably a superior few at OB..

Surprisingly enough the wind was actually blowing offshore when i left for work at 8:30.?. hmmm...

also.. It was so glassy at the Jetty.. if you have time you might score down at Kelly ave or at spots south (martins, Pomponio, etc.)?? dunno.. but it's worth a check..

anyway.. soo.. have a great 4-day weekend. hopefully i'll be hooting many of you into disgusting OB barrels tomorrow morning!! we'll see. My rule of thumb about hyped swells is to try to keep your expectations low.. Think blown-out, ugly drivel.. and you'll most likely be pleasantly surprised..

also congrats to jdz.. who will now be a dad of 2!?! crazy.

On Turkey day (or any day) remember to give thanks for being a surfer. For being lucky enough to live near the ocean. For being healthy enough to paddle out and ride the waves. For being aware enough to realize how lucky you/we are! Ride a wave for your bro landlocked in Fresno. Or for your grandpa with the fucked knees. Or for those villagers outside Harare who barely scrape by with the essentials of survival. Surfing is a celebration and a privilage. Most people on earth don't have the resources or luck to devote much of their lives to an activity of leisure. While surfing may nourish the soul and pacify your inner-being.. it doesn't put food on the table or shelter over your head. We're lucky. Be thankful.


cool surfboard from the Jason Bogle benefit on oahu


tim curren

kaiser made me post this

Posted by Ethan at 10:34 AM
November 25, 2003

sorry.. i didn't check it this morning. We'll have to rely on Lerm or Kaiser or other daily chargers for the first-hand account. Based on the cam, blakestah's report, wetsand, wind charts, etc. it looks highly surfable out there.. though most likely a bit bumpy and disorganized. I saw the sea surface from 46th ave at around 8:20 (relatively glassy, minimal wind at the coast) but my train came through before i had time to walk over the dunes for a check. Watch out for the giant 7ft high tide around noon today.

buoy readings as of 9:42am (
california - 8.5ft 13sec
SF - 7.5ft 11sec

All the surf forecasters are going apeshit about the forthcoming few days. Blakestah is predicting a solid NW wind/ground-swell combo from a steep 315 degrees... coupled with offshore winds (SE).. can't beat that! hopefully it won't be too gihugic at the beach for us mere mortals. The Wetsand guy predicts very little diffraction potential for this steep NW swell.. soo.. i think that means very little wrapping into the South facing Santa Cruz spots?? I was contemplating an uber-dawn-patrolling thanksgiving mission down there.. but.. now i'm not sure.. hmmm.

All i'm hoping for is a handful of tapering, rippable, clean faces! That's all i ask. How nice does it feel when you take off on a phatty wave and excitedly observe a huge, overhead wall stretch out in front of you... pining to be carved and teased! Even better when you manage to balance yourself perfectly on the takeoff, even subtly projecting your momentum ahead of you, anticipating on take-off the line you want to take through your first bottom turn.. then letting the speed amass as you thunder down the drop.. look up the face of the wave.. crouch down... pivot your upper body... reach up toward the lip with your board... then lay all your weight on the inside edge and just throw your momentum/power/rage/flow/expression into the biggest cutback you can muster... carve all the way around the face.. back into the white-water.. then stand up, change direction, and let the wave redirect you down the line again.. then a few pumps.. maybe a quick check off the top.. and your accelerating again.. looking for another opportunity to throw it on rail..

ummm.. ok.. back to work..


it's november! enjoy!

salt creek yesterday (photos by smlavin)
crystalline so cal

crystalline so cal

my friend Christine Sommers took this SF sunset photo a few weeks ago
rouge afterglow

Posted by Ethan at 10:01 AM
November 24, 2003
diminutive offshore mellowness

Not much to get excited about at our local beaches this morning. Frigid climes combined with a strait offshore breeze to create some chilly chill chill surf environs. The paltry 3.3ft 9sec (sf buoy) windswell just wasn't quite enough to get the body-rocking waves kickin'. If you're a logger who thrives on groomed, waist-high perfection.. get yer' butt out there immediately!! If you're a barrel-seeking, air-dropping hell-charger.. make a smoothie, maybe some honey-nut-cheerios, curl up on your couch with your girl/dog/self and watch September Sessions or Searching for Tom Curren. Fantastic day for your 7 yr. old son/daughter who really wants to get out to OB with you. I tracked down 3 or 4 worthy sections but for the most part worked on my short-board cross-stepping and hang-five attempts. But.. it's beautiful!

Soo.. Robme, Lerm, mwsf, Silas (Robme's 4 yr. old son) and myself got back from a 3-day central coast surfathon last night. We camped at Montana de Oro and did our best to maximize the versatile, undulating SLO-county coast-line. The rotund wind-swell on offer permeated most nooks and crannies along the coast.. allowing us to work the west-facing areas during the morning offshores and then the more protected south-facing areas for the arvo. I'll give the quick run-down for anyone interested.

Friday: checked infamous reef-break in the morning. Violent slabs of milky/churning wave barrelled and gurgled down the shallow, rocky shelf. Maybe 2-dozen local denizens owning it. Guy with green-board air-dropping through pitching take-offs then cranking off-the-bottom, off-the-top, into cylindrical death-traps, not coming out.. Serious serious serious business out there.. I was tempted.. but.. we moved on. We followed the coastal curvature north toward cayucous.. stopped somewhere in the middle of the beach upon sighting head-high, offshore-whipped peeling sweetness.. We all enjoyed a few hours of ledges, drops, close-out-barrels, gaffs, wipes-outs, etc.. until the wind turned from offshore, to sideshore.. then finally onshore around 11am. That afternoon the wind howled fiercely out of the NW. We drove south to a tucked-away/protected/reefy/quickly-developing SLO-county coastal burg. Dry mountains loomed behind, palm-trees loped in the breeze. Offshore-groomed glassy super-glass greeted us.. with 2 to 3 foot measly nothings breaking in a foot or two of water over a classic reef. We carefully trodded out over the barnacled rocks into the leisurely lineup. Only 3 of us at first until a lame-wad/stinkeye-throwing/ugly-styled surfer and his beautiful/graceful/smily/longboarding girlfriend joined us.. She was a pleasure to surf with. He a vibe-drain. She had wonderful, smooth style down the line. He jerky and staccato. We all found enjoyable sections and generally basked in the evening still of the protected, tranquil cove.

i nearly froze my cojones off that night. barely slept. Good ghost stories around the fire though!! i think we scared Silas pretty good.. or.. at least mwsf!

Saturday - again morro bay sickness for the morning offshore. probably the best waves we found. 2.5 hour session at "flat rock".. Confidence-building conditions as shoulder/head-high glassy peelers cruised in with machine-like consistency. Everybody scored loads of rides. Lerm bashed the lip many times. I grooved through some multi-turning waves and had my perma-grin working. It was a hoot-filled morning for sure.. light/friendly crowd, tons of waves. Easy, bash-happy sections, sunshine, offshores.. sickness! Also fun playing pirates with Silas on the beach, saving mermaids (seaweed), crushing other "bad" pirates, building submarine sand sculptures, etc. Good vibes. Then we drove north.. checked out lolling, sunbathing elephant seals, fed human-friendly squirrels, explored tidepools, etc. generally just chilled it.. Around 3:30 we were itching for more waves.. but everything along the Cambria/San Simeon stretch (south facing) looked small and piddly. We finally pulled up to a rock-strewn river-mouth break and looked out onto the sub-optimal lineup. Neither Lerm nor mwsf were feelin' it but i saw some potential out there and persuaded them (not too difficult) to don their wetties.. just as we were about to jump in Robme saw Christian and Anastasia slow down on the 1 for a quick surf-check. He ran up the hill, waving his arms and gesticulating wildly.. They saw him and soon enough a huge niceness crew picked off barrelly, quick, low-tide, shoulder-high waves. Christian took off on this one sucking, snarling ledge.. quickly checked off-the-bottom on his backside.. and then rode up high and off-the-top and then aired downward with the crashing lip, somehow pulling it off and riding out cleanly! i was thoroughly impressed. I've seen him shred before but i've never seen him get so radical! niiice! Anastasia smoothed into a handful of solid waves, as did Lerm and myself. MWSF sacked-up tough during this session and could be seen navigating his longboard into ugly, pitching closeouts.. making em' too!

anyway.. burritos for dinner.. then another campfire.. we were spent.. We planned to wake up super early to surf the los osos reef but bailed on that.. Instead we hiked down and surfed the raw, exposed los osos beach break about a mile north. The view from the ridge-line high above was of offshore-groomed, turquoise ocean stretching out to the horizon. Faint swell-lines of cordoroy marching in a peeling all along the beach. We hiked the 15 minutes down to the mostly deserted beach only to find scary, pitching, meaty, glassy waves groaning and spitting and closing and beckoning.. nobody out. This place suffers/enjoys the steep beach syndrome ala Montara and Sharp Park. We surfed it for a few hours.. paddling endlessly to stay on a shapely sandbar. Bowling divits of sandy/yawning/slabby consequence reared up on the sandbar, pitched and then raced along. I caught my wave-of-the-trip here.. a steep left double-up that i barely held-on to the pig-dog.. achieved mouth-of-the-barrel status, then accellerated out onto the face before the world closed down on top of me. Robme slanked into a beautiful mini-pipeline left and carved a few nice ones. A great, challenging, hard-core session to end the trip..


i took a few photos.. hopefully i'll get them up this week.


Posted by Ethan at 10:37 AM
November 20, 2003
onshores.. barely surfable..

Frigid temps with onshore winds this morning at the beach.
I checked the middle, then turned around a cruised back to bed.
If you haven't surfed in a while, or you're moping around the house, looking for something to do, you could find a few waves to ride out there. If these conditions occurred in the middle of April you'd probably be reading about "surprisingly soulful sections" or "not as bad as it looked" or "the onshores mellowed a bit"... but.. considering it's November, and we've been enjoying a relatively consistent offshore flow.. it's tough to sack up, suit up, and paddle out on a morning such as today. Biggest waves around head high. Nobody out through the middle. The wind is out of the WSW... soo.. maybe somewhere in P-town you'd have better luck?

Lerm, mwsf, Robme and i are headed down to the central coast for a little camping/surf trip tonight and then through the weekend. It looks like there will be some considerable windswell (9ft 11sec) but the onshores are supposed to rage all day tomorrow... bummin.. then the winds are supposed to mellow on saturday and then turn offshore on sunday.. soo..

I just finished "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick. If you enjoy surreal, riveting, morbid tales of alternative realities then you'll enjoy this book! Dick constructs a world where the Nazis and Japanese win WWII. The tone and moods he establishes are classically otherworldly and strange. While reading you get swept up in the atmospheric tension he creates. You might also find your own internal dialogue shifted to the language/vocabulary/cadence he adapts for the japanese officials and businessmen in the story. FREAKY! His imagination is unparalleled!! Set in 1965 San Francisco, Japanese business men consult the I Ching (the oracle) and posit ancient spiritual significance to its pronouncements. Nazi SS agents plot to assassinate a German spy posing as a Swedish Injection Molding salesman who threatens to reveal the Reich's plan of world domination/destruction. Meanwhile, a mystic living in a castle in the mountains near Cheyenne Wy writes a book detailing how reality would be different had the Americans/Brits won WWII..

Here is Mr. Tagomi talking about a small, handmade silver amulet that he holds in his hand.. He's experiencing soul-wrenching angst after killing two German SS troopers to save his commanding officer. His vision and optic sensation have shifted to some trippy, dark, brooding perspective..

"Metal is from the earth, he thought as he scrutinized. From below: from that realm which is the lowest, the most dense. Land of trolls and caves, dank, always dark. Yin world, in its most melancholy aspect. World of corpses, decay and collapse. Of feces. All that has died, slipping and disintigrating back down layer by layer. The daemonic world of the immutable; the time-that-was.

And yet, in the sunlight, the silver triangle glittered. It reflected light. Fire, Mr. Tagomi thought. Not dank or dark object at all. Not heavy, weary, but pulsing with life. The high realm, aspects of yang: empyrean, ethereal. As befits work of art. Yes, that is artist's job: takes mineral rock from dark silent earth transforms it into shining light-reflecting from the sky."

Posted by Ethan at 10:21 AM
November 19, 2003
fun, solid, mushy..

The swell has definitely backed off since yesterday. (sf buoy 6.2ft 11sec)
Lerm and i paddled out around 6:30.
7knot NE offshore breeze grooming the sea-surface.. oh so nicely.
Set waves peaking and throwing on the outer bar, but then generally backing off through the middle. Translucent lips feathering in the breeze. Both set waves and 'tweeners rising and snarling on the inner bar, tossing out barrels here but also mushy burgers there, depending on the wave and the sandbar setup. I'd say the biggest waves were maybe head-high and a half.. but.. with the 5.5ft high tide at 8am.. waves were for the most part failing to lurch, grind and/or spit. I think that if the wind stays favorable conditions should improve over the next few hours as the tide drops. Lerm caught a few long lefts, including a multi-turner. I caught some stoke-lifters as well.. including one ledging right were i surpised myself by making the drop and then mistakingly set up for the barrel (which wasn't there) insead of bottom turning and hitting the smackable lip like i should have. I had my whole barrel stance/grimace in full effect even though the wave ended up just walling and not barrelling.. i must have looked pretty funny! anyway.. live and learn..

Any way you cut it it's a fine surf day. The sea-surface is uber-glassy, a myriad of surfable waves are available, the sun is out, it's not too crowded out there (at least at 7am), and the stoke meter is high!

Paul Ferraris pics - i think these are of OB.

Jake wrote an email to Kaiser and I.. i'll include some of it here.. hopefully he won't mind..

Sup sup E and Kaiser!

I read the Niceness report from the 18th... sounds like you guys have
some heady NorCal juice rolling in right now... good stuff! Stoked for your

So here is my first Indo report: Things are off to a sick start! I
just spend the last week staying in Dreamland... so dope! Living right on
the beach there in Eric's Cafe aka Surf Hostel... $3 / night... are you

The surf was up for the first few days, but then went kinda down though
we kept scoring some pretty good sessions. When we first got to Dreamland
it was kinda firing... that wave is really dope, and was a good warmup to the
power of Bali. We had 1 session before it on the East Coast at Sri Lanka, a
righthand reef... that was pretty fun, pretty rippable, but it got very shallow and my bro Lee went over the falls and scraped his back pretty bad on the coral. He's tough though and hasn't stopped charging!

As for me, I am currently tied with 1 Indo barrel and 1 Indo reef scar. Both came at Balangan, which is around the corner from Dreamland. That wave
is FUCKING FAST! Sooooo fast, lefthand reef break. I scored an epic
session there with just 2 other bros... the first hour I was suffering from an
intense learning curve... took a hit on the reef on my left arm... but after I
got the insanO drop a little wired, I was money! The thrill of my first barrel
was as such: crazy drop which just thrusts you forward with so much speed,
pump along this jacking possibly covering section... come out onto a shoulder, and then as the next section starts to throw, I start to slide up towards the
lip like I'm going to get pitched, but I push and grind my board down, and I'm
in! No tunnel vision, but just the pleasure of hearing and feeling the lip
smash into the water right next to me as I start to pop out onto the shoulder.
Shacked! With Power!

Seriously this trip has been humbling in terms of surf... I thought I had seen my fair share of waves between the east and west coast, but I've never encountered the power of the reefs over here. Crowds have been tolerable...
the swell is down so I went to Ulu's for my first time yesterday... within 30
seconds of paddling out I got run over and got a fin gash from some reckless
Balinese guy... I wasn't anywhere near him! There must have been 60 blokes in
the water that afternoon too! But it wasn't connecting at all, so there were
peaks everywhere, and I still got 20+ rides to get my first taste of that wave. The power shacks seem a bit beyond me... have to refine my pigdog I guess... but I am seeing plenty of rippable shoulders, and yesterday enjoyed my sickest backhand roundhouse to date. full rotation, sick!!

I guess that's about it. balangan is an awesome wave (had another wave there
that just thrusted me along at uncomprehendable speeds... lightning quick, almost out of control, to beat 3 sections I thought had me)... but I think Dreamland, mainpeak (split an A-frame with Lee) is my favorite wave so far...
We just rented a car for the next 2 weeks, so we should score some more remore, hopefully less crowded surf. Next swell is within 48 hours so we're
psyching! gonna cruise up to Medewi to catch the loooong point break there.
after that, we'll see!!

the balinese and other travelers are great... here's the dozen+ nationalities
I've surfed with so far: Balinese, Aussie, New Zealand, American, English,
French, Spanish, Portuguise, Italian, Croatian, Swedish, Japanese, S. African,
and Brazilian. That's 14! Que internacional!

Anyway, just wanted to give you guys a SHOUT... glad to hear things sound pretty epic in NorCal, though if you're sick E, get better soon! also just
wanted to thank the two of you guys for doing your part in getting me over
here... it's totally sick so thanks a bunch!

hope things are good with you both, and I'll talk to you more soon!

peace bros!

much love,

Posted by Ethan at 09:58 AM
November 18, 2003
large.. beautiful.. nobody out!

nursing this illness i decided to sleep in.. bad move!!
Before cruising to work i strolled down to the beach just to check it. Wow! Gorgeous, head-high+++, lurching, rolling, offshore-sculpted, totally surfable NW groundswell pulsing in. Lulls between sets that seemed to call out to undecided surf-checkers, "Please paddle out, we won't destroy you, you might even have dry hair for your first ride!" I mean, DAMN!! Vintage, classic, storybook, prototypical OB sweetness.. or.. at least that's what it looked like from the great highway. Might be a different story once out in the thick of it?? Please tell me that some of you stroked into macking freight-train nirvana this morning!? cause i didn't see anyone out at 8:30.

The majority of peeling A-frames tended toward the mushy side, but often would steepen, throw and race along as they connected with a shallower sandbar on the inside. The offshores did wonders in terms of holding up lips and throwing out little top-to-middle barrels and such. damn!! Imminently surfable and exciting and challenging and rewarding. Maybe i'm sensationalizing because i watched it but didn't surf.. so now i'm exaggerating in some sadistic pattern of mentally flogging myself when i miss good surf.. but.. i don't think so.. it looks fucking brilliant out there.. and if not at OB.. then DEFINITELY at many places down the coast.. All you work-at-homers and 2-hour-lunch-breakers and on-the-dole-ers and trustafarians and professional vagabonds and employment-is-for-suckers-people.. GO SURF NOW!! enjoy! catch a few for us cube-dwellers and injured reservists and such.. or.. just enjoy an uncrowded midday tuesday november offshore groundswell blue-sky perfection all for yourselves!

Peter Mel at the Lane.. and other great Stinkeye pics

there is a good lane video/article/pics here

Posted by Ethan at 09:56 AM
November 17, 2003
onshores.. crappy at the beach

wet and blowy this morning at OB.
6knot NW onshore-wind whipping and disheveling.
SF buoy at 7ft 16seconds.. but.. it doesn't look that gihugic out there??
Papa and California buoys both at 14ft 14seconds..
Looks like an honest NW swell.. coming from 308 degrees
3ft low tide around noon.
With a little driving you could probably score some sickness today.
Maybe the Jetty or Stinson or Santa Cruz??
It's also not totally unthinkable to paddle out to OB. i watched some muscular, peeling, roping sections rip along. the paddle didn't look unthinkable.
Believe it or not i'm still fricken sick!!! sucks!!!! sooo sick of being sick!!

But i couldn't help but to delve into the appetizing waves yesterday at the beach.
Probably a "top 5 days of the season" day yesterday morning all along our beloved stretch. I skated down to check it around 7:45 and stood slack-jawwed as head-high, offshore-groomed, glassy succulence pulsed all over the beach. People were getting tons of rides too, which i use as an indicator for how many rideable waves are happening.. Generally if you see a ton of rides, you're gonna get a ton of rides. Soo.. great waves on hand. Fun, steep, barrels, walls, lips, launching pads (for those able), sucking/sandy/death-closeouts, most waves breaking on the inner bar. sunny and warm.. a memorable surf day! but.. i'm paying for it now as this cloudy-headed/coughy/sore-thoated sickness laughs and retakes my body with renewed vigor! sorry about the whining..

anybody else score on sunday?

after surfing Seymore and i went up to Bolinas for a picnic and watched 2 dozen longboarders ride and cavort out in the mellow waist-high Bolinas lineup. This one pig-tailed 20-something wahine kept riding down the line doing a head-stand! it was awesome! we were cheering her on. Exceptionally good vibes out in the water there!

word.. go get waves!


beau young won his second longboard world championships.. i think that Tudor finished second.

Bruce took some more beautiful photos... this time of north santa-cruz county

check out his site

also.. not to get you down.. but.. the republican party is launching what seems to be a new offensive on environmental regulations.. check out some of this info from a recent washington post article..

(copied from washington post)
environmental issues in other bills:

An amendment to the defense authorization bill, given final congressional approval yesterday, exempts the Navy from federal protections of whales, dolphins and other ocean mammals if they get in the way of important military operations and maneuvers.

(E's note: do you remember a few months back when scores of dead whales were mysteriously discovered floating in the pacific and on beaches.. then they realized that solar pulses from navy testing had been killing them.. I'm pretty sure that this provision would now allow the military to continue the testing. etc. even if it means killing whales/dolphins/manatees)

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) tacked onto the bill funding the Commerce Department several special environmental provisions. One would cut off federal funds for the identification and designation of sensitive marine areas, including cold-water coral beds.

In the 2004 Interior Department spending bill, enacted last week, a 14-year moratorium on oil exploration in Alaska's Bristol Bay was dropped at Stevens's insistence. The same bill contains provisions easing commercial logging in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

Environmentalists also oppose a provision in the pending energy bill that would enable some communities to postpone compliance with smog-reduction goals set by the Clean Air Act.

The provision, which was not in the original House and Senate versions, was added during subsequent negotiations at the behest of Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.). Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), the chief Senate negotiator, has accepted the provision.

Another provision in the energy bill could expedite oil, gas and coal exploration on Indian tribal lands, which until now had been subject to approval by the secretary of interior and a review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Construction activities related to oil and gas development would be exempt from stormwater pollution control requirements of the Clean Water Act.

Posted by Ethan at 10:13 AM
November 14, 2003
Diminutive but enjoyable

Miniature niceness alighting our friendly OB lineups this morning.
Shoulder/head-high, weaker wind-swell peaking up on various sandbars and peacefully peeling playfully along. Lerm, Robme and I surfed all by our lonesome... leisurely and lanquidly from 6:30 to 8. Each of us caught copious cruisy cruisers. Lerm and i split a delicious declivity, ducking and dashing as dim dollops of dousing wave juice drove us divinely along. Robme nearly nixed my noggin as he needled through a nifty noodle-drop. (??).. Umm.. Glorious, glowing, gorgeous, gut-wrenching sunrise gallavanting gallantly over gloomy twin peaks. Precocious pre-pubescent pinniped puling vociferously at Robme as he paddled progressively toward its wave. Green Lantern again gouged with a gargantuan, gruesome, gargling gash. Phone-call to Ward Coffey today will be made, new board on the way. thanks you to all youz heads. I ordered the original "Brown Turd" 3 months ago, but Geoph Rashe never got back to me.. until yesterday.. but.. i'm going with Coffey for the nouveau Turdification..

anyhooo!!! swell on the way for sunday. maybe onshores tomorrow?? enjoy the melodious mini mellifluous swell as it lingers and drips into our shores.. bust out the fish!!

Traut sent me some cool photos of the standing wave in Munich.. check em'
English Gardens shred

English Gardens shred

English Gardens shred

English Gardens shred

Posted by Ethan at 10:26 AM
November 13, 2003
looks shitty.. but some fun ones to be had.

Sooo.. i've been fighting this flu/cold/sickness. I felt better yesterday so i hit up the exquisite dawn conditions. Felt great the entire sesh but my wettie is on its last leg (thread) so i froze my fricken kajones off out there. I didn't really warm up for 3 or 4 hours and then started feeling shitty again. Seymore hooked me with dinner/tea/zinc/smooches/tuck-in last night and i fell asleep around 9:30.

Woke up this morning around 6. No wind. Figured conditions would be similar to yesterday.. Resweetulous! soo.. even though i was coughing a bit i fricken had to surf! My teeth started chatterin' at the thought of my hole-in-the-crotch wetty. Sooo.. i thought about it for a minute.. THen i put my wetsuit on, then i put my OTHER wetsuit on, my old one, and ran down for a sesh. Wearing the equivilant of a 8/6, i felt properly buffered against the cold. I waddled down to the ocean, feeling like the michelan man, and paddled out.

for those who just want conditions and tire of my tedious babbling.. here's the morning scoop:
- No wind, maybe a gentle offshore
- Messier conditions, not groomed like mornings past
- healthy, head-high windswell coming in consistently
- Surfs better than it looks
- Lots of closeouts
- Nobody out
- morning sickness??
- not much tidal variance until the 0ft low at 7pm
- SF buoy 5.6ft 11sec

Soo.. anyway.. the double wetty solution succeeded brilliantly in keeping me extra warm and toasty. Paddling and general movement was a bit impaired, but not excessively so. I also felt heavier and less sprightly when standing on my board. I probably weighed another 10 pounds. The surf was actually really enjoyable. Easy, juicy corners alighted the line-up every few minutes. I slithered/groped into this one extendo right.. just worked it down the line and eventually did a elongated off-the-top. Conditions looked disappointingly shitty from the great highway.. but.. as many of you know.. it was fun once in the water..

congrats to Anastasia for quelling the parking-lot nay-sayers.

shralp and mysterious rowddy - You guys were hootin and hollerin yesterday morning but definitely spreadin' nothing but good vibes and stoke. i hope you didn't take my observation yesterday the wrong way. I'm a K-jam man myself so hopefully i'll be hootin' you into some throaty barrels soon. Keep up the stoke!

yet more santa cruz pics from Stinkeye - from yesterday.. not sure if it's the Lane or Stockton Ave or where?

Posted by Ethan at 09:55 AM
November 12, 2003

I think Lerm summed it up best when he said, "November is the MONTH!" Yet another morning of light offshores and substantial, bowly, outer-bar windswell. We hit it around 6:20 and had the place to ourselves until a rowdy crew of 4 paddled out around 7. Some of the larger waves achieved head-high+ status. Many offered a steep drop followed by a mushy shoulder... but if you flexed your knowledge/patience/positioning you could sneak into the back-door of an elongo, offshore-propped section that would just go and go and go. I lucked into two or three of these delicious journeys and was thusly stoked.. Occasionally the best waves would deceive you into thinking they would pitch and close-out, only to hold open (thank you offshores) and let you slide into the slick, slippery wetness inside (metaphor intended).. I sorrowfully (painfully) backed off on a few of these before i realized that, of course, I could/should have gone on em'. Worst feeling ever! For those who casually (acurately) comment that i sometimes over-inflate the sweetness of conditions i'll say, in all fairness, that it was often tough to be in the right spot this morning, many waves would mush out while others would close. If you're goofy the lefts didn't seem as lined-up as the rights, umm.. i can't really think of any other negatives..

It felt great to re-experience the moods and emotions of a session after 4 days off.. paddling out.. hunting waves.. taking off.. carving.. positioning.. watching in awe as the occasional outer-outer bar macker pitched and spit... hooting Lerm into waves... observing the clumsy yet graceful pelicans.. Marin headlands...etc.. you know what i'm talking about..

soo.. anyhoo.. it's on.. once again.. enjoy, relish, shred.

santa cruz yesterday.. again Stinkeye with the *tight* photos
barney... pitted at Weasel reef

Posted by Ethan at 10:50 AM
November 11, 2003
looks great..

warm, body-hugging air at the beach. Slightly-lumpy but fun-looking head-high waves that will probably clean up in an hour or two streaming into the beach. Still i'm feelin' the sore-throat/cloudy-headed sickness pangs so decided to take one more rest day. Feelings of remorse, longing and forlornness swept through me as i headed east on the N-judah. I gazed out the window at the sparkling, glassy ocean-surface and invigorating blue sky as I headed downtown toward the urban concrete jungle and my appointed, fixed cubicle of grey steel and stone. I imagined the thrill, excitement and pleasure oozing from the copious unridden waves only 3 blocks away.. 4 blocks.. 7 blocks... Having this little 4-day forced mini-break has reawakened my appreciation and thankfulness for this activity we do. After months and months of 6-day-a-week surfs i was starting to get a bit jaded and forgetful about the underlying beauty of this wonderous artform we participate in. My own neurotic tendencies have combined with a subtle self-placed pressure to surf everyday for the sake of the surf report. My gut-driven need to surf everyday has intermeshed with a weird "have to" surf everyday. Now that i've taken a few days off, stepped back a bit, i've realize that surfing, in my life at least, is and should be just for fun. raw, simple, pure fun. Not about.. "I need to surf this many days in this many months to achieve this and this maneuver, etc." I mean, pushing yourself is all well and good.. but, you can't let it cloud the reality of the raw, pulpy essence and joyous euphoria of riding waves. pure, simple. Pulling away from the ocean this morning, longingly looking at the stellar conditions, made me jones just for that enjoyment of catching waves. I think that the primal, rudimentary problem-solving dance of tracking down an unbroken wave, anticipating it's trajectory, catching it and riding it, is probably one of the most enjoyable little quirks of existence i've encountered. This is at the heart of why i don't really care if conditions are 2 feet or 12 feet. I remember a glassy, waist-high summer day a few months back when the waves were breaking in about 2 feet of water. there weren't many people out. I had the fricken best time cruising around the lineup in "hunt" mode.. just trying to catch and ride as many little grinders as i could. loving it. I also remember a peaky, scary, spaced-out, double-overhead groundswell day last winter where some subconscious motivations took me over and i had the best time stroking into and over the ledge of some of the biggest, meatiest waves of my life.. I just liked to catch them.. almost more than riding them..

anyway.. just ramblings.. hope y'all enjoyed catching waves this morning..

Posted by Ethan at 10:22 AM
November 10, 2003
nice.. large..

Conditions look large and serious this morning.. but doable if you're of the "OB charger" variety. I've been suffering through a cold these last three days so haven't hit the water in a while. This morning i walked down there with my moms. The wind blew a gentle offshore, pelicans soared and dog-walkers strolled. The 7ft 11second 280degree swell looked rather large as it boomed and peeled on the outer sandbars. I watched as one man-sized barrel spit and gnashed, but for the most part waves broke mushily and burgerlike. Nobody out in the middle of the beach or up at VFers. sunny and nice out. Definitely waves to be had. Wind's out of the NE so the whole stretch between Pacifica and Santa Crowded should be lighting up. 0ft low tide at around 6pm.

Yesterday i took my moms down the coast. First we stopped at Rockaway and hiked up to the top of the headland separating Rockaway from Lindy. About 20 people shared the mushy, inconsistent right that was kind-of working at the south end of the 'way. Then we crested the hill and stood slack-jawwed at the 150 or so surfers littering the lindy lineup. My mom couldn't believe it. She said, "there are so many surfers, but it doesn't look like too many of them are getting rides." Then we drove down to Moss Beach and checked out the good-vibed park and Marine Sanctuary.. There are some stellar rock-reefs, tide-pools and coastal trails tucked into that nook of the coast.. along with a few secret surf reefs i'll bet. We hunted around the tide-pools and took turns poking our fingers inside the biggest sea anenomes we could find.. feeling them suck back against our fingers. Then down to Mavericks where we checked a large-and-in-charge Ross' Cove grunt and intimidate. We watched two OB guys paddle out at Mavs. Crazy.. Then some tasty duncheoness crab sandwiches at Barbara's take-out in Princeton. good stuff..

Even though i was sick all weekend, my moms loves to hike so we ended up hiking most of the time. Between point reyes national seashore, moss beach, golden gate park and Mavs we saw quite a variety of california wildlife:
California Newt
California Vole
Turkey Vultures
Sea Lions
Harbor Seals
Long-beaked bird who's name i can't remember
Hermit Crabs

it was cool.. anyway.. go get some waves if you're healthy and at home..

Jake left for Indo last night.. biatch!!!

central cal mysto spot

Posted by Ethan at 09:50 AM
November 06, 2003
still going..

The west swell continues. The buoys are slightly on the wane but not too much. Winds are, once again, blowing offshore at a mellow 3mph out of the NE. Relatively glassy conditions and overhead+ sets cruising in. During the paddle-out i seemed to duckdive under 3 or 4 immaculate, scrumptious rights. I was literally frothing and drooling to get out there and ride one of them.. but.. as soon as i arrived on the outside the waves stopped. I sat for a while, waiting.. nothing came to me.. about 10 or 15 minutes pass.. i'm drifting north.. still nothing even close to a breaking wave comes my way.. i see a set and then another set break with geometric perfection about 300 yards to the south.. dudes getting speedy rides and cranking abrupt fan-throwing turns. and yet... nadda for yours truly.. I'm still relatively mellow.. telling myself to be patient.. i start paddling south in a vane attempt to get down to the peak i had seen on two sets.. but the current has other ideas about my movement and i end up basically treadmilling for about 10 minutes.. now i'm starting to feel the itch.. the burn.. feelings of persecution, maybe even some slight angst.. The upwelling, stomach-churning rampant need for a wave!! i've seen 20 or 30 delectible waves break, peel and crackle to both the north and south of me.. I've probably been out there almost 40 minutes at this point, and haven't even paddled into anything!! So i basically just start paddling toward shore.. with the idea that i'll just get some kind of little shore-dumper ride to break the hex. Some walling, close-outy peaks come through and i catch a head-high, drop-and-close-out left.. at least a ride.. then this A-frame comes through and i make a late drop and go right.. enjoy the speed for a second and then carve a basic turn into the body of the wave.. ok ok... feeling better.. more waves please! Still drifting north.. i notice a family of waves throw, barrel and peel on the inside.. Rights... picturesque... powerful.. I set myself up to catch one of the next set and sure enough, 5 minutes later i'm stroking into a chiseled, head-high right.. make the drop.. pump pump pump.. flick a little turn off the top.. more pumps.. bank up off the wall... then a long turn at the end as the wave peters.. fun!! Caught another of those.. my ride a bit compromised by the fact that i was slightly unbalanced on the take off and my first top-turn was a little kooky.. but then i regained balance for a semi-legit second top-turn.. Then a barrely left came through and i kind-of air-dropped/pig-dogged the takeoff but somehow ended up riding down the line with my back foot totally off the board.. so it was just my front foot and right hand-on-rail supporting me.. until the wave came down and engulfed my shit.. pretty ugly surfing but kinda weird and enjoyable postures... then another little right and it was time for work...

Lerm said he made the steepest drop of his life. Jake caught a bunch. Loon caught some on his new board.. One dude with a hood caught maybe 25 rides during my session.. causing repeated under-my-breath mutterings like, "He's on another wave!".. and "Dooood! I've got to get me some!!"

sooo.. beautiful, exquisite, powerful, well-shaped, groomed waves out there to be ridden.. maybe better with the 0 low tide today at 5pm?? I didn't have the best sesh but the waves are magnificent.. if not tough to predict...


photos from

Posted by Ethan at 10:15 AM
November 05, 2003
damn.. goood!

Jocular Jake and i hit it up around 6:30. I saw that the Papa buoy popped up last night but i didn't think it would hit us so soon.. but.. right now all the buoys are up!! SF is at 2.6ft 17seconds.. California is at 7ft 17seconds!! FUNK Yizeah!! that's what i'm sayin... Anyway.. Jake's coming off a semi-serious operation and so hadn't surfed in over a month. Last night i was reassurring him that conditions would be super-mellow and maybe even mini this morning at OB.. perfect for his first dip back in the drink.. Ha ha ha!! A slight offshore blew my hair in my face as we jogged down to the beach. We climbed over the great highway just as a thick, meaty set crunched and unloaded on a shallow sandbar out at OB. The ocean looked smooth and polished. Waves were peeling and closing out, a little bit of both.. about head-high, maybe a bit larger. Liquid undulations paraded toward shore in sets of 4 or 5.. the biggest ones somewhat daunting and foreboding.. cracking and guffawing as they unloaded long-period ground-swell energy. We actually thought it was the SW swell i had read about, but now, after looking at the buoys, it's most obviously this long-ass-period west swell that's just filling in. The drops were steep and meaningful. Ledgy!!! The kind were you really have to commit well before it's time to stand up. I caught a bunch of solid, memorable, muscular, soul-lifting rides.. mostly just super-solid drops.. but a few down-the-line excursions as well. Jake dropped into one thicky right and enjoyed a brief green-room moment before punching through the wall and out the back. We tried to split the peak on a resoundingly significant set-wave... but both got pitched over the falls and smacked down toward the bottom.. I had a few semi-scary hold downs this morning.. mostly while paddling back out after rides and getting caught in the impact zone.. board getting sucked from my death-grip, and body getting pinned to the hard sandy bottom.. Once again the Robme breathing technique helped keep me calm. The dark sky and gentle offshore wind lent a surreal, magical element to the session. Not to mention the fact that there was NOBODY else within 4 blocks of us in either direction ... plus the offshore-licked, groundwell juice marching in. Where was everybody?? Also of note.. it was fucking hella super chilly out there.. or else i need a new wetty! There also are some extendo lulls between sets.

Rob Born sent me some cool pics.. check em'..
Seeking the barrel at OB
ob niceness

Rob taking off at his favorite secret spot
nice peak

Bachelor party RB... riding tandem


Posted by Ethan at 10:20 AM
November 04, 2003
small but doable..

sorry about the late report.. was having some techy problems.. nice work fixing mwsf!

anyway.. this morning actually shaped up into a pleasurable surf experience.
Strong, chilly offshores at around 6:30. I woke up and immediately froze my face off it was so damn frigid!! jeez! But.. i stepped outside, noticed the offshores, checked the sea-surface, and decided to drive down for a cursory look. Waist/chest-high, offshore-groomed windswell offering sections here and there.. pretty small.. Every 5 minutes or so an acceptably rippable wave materialized. Absolutely NOBODY out. Strange because conditions were perfect for beginners.. After chatting with this panhandler i decided to give it a go at Orschmegma (old stompin' grounds).. Mellow, enjoyable session. Caught about 7 rides in 50 minutes.. One other surfer within visable range.. pretty much a solo sesh.. Caught one racy, walling, critical left that i wish i had another chance on as i reverted to my old bad habit of holding the pig-dog too long. I finally let go toward the end of the ride, in time for a quick bottom turn then lip-ride.. it was a nice, "oomphy" wave though, felt good. that's about it for the seshy.. not amazing but definitely surfable.. offshores!! i was shocked to see nobody out.

I'll leave you with some of the things the panhandler said to me:

"I don't fuck with Auntie Bitch, she'll strangle you!" (referring to the ocean)

"Back in '69 we had the summer of love. This winter is going to be the Winter of Sex!" "Everybody's gonna be climaxing all over the place."

RB sent me some classic pics yesterday.. i'll try to post them..

Posted by Ethan at 01:15 PM
November 03, 2003
cold.. narsty..

Onshores blowin' tough out of the NW.
White-caps plaguing the sea-surface.
Junkified wind-swell.. SF buoy at 6ft 8seconds..
Icy, chilly weather at the beach.
Nadda for surf in SF today.. though if you're super-mega-desperate you could probably nab a rideable corner or two or six out at OB. Then come in and thaw-out in your hot shower for about 30 minutes.

Blakestah's forecase looks bleak for the rest of the week.. Rain coming.. minimal swell.. but maybe a shift in the wind by Wed to a SE wind.. Soo.. be on the lookout (smell-out) for hazardous wastes swilling and collecting in the surfzone later this week as the rain washes out all the pollutants that have been collecting in stormdrains, backyards, gutters, etc.. all summer!!

soo.. that's the somewhat depressing current state of the surf situation in SF.. Now.. on a more positive note.. The surf this past weekend!!!!

Saturday - best day of the season so far?? It gets my vote. I wasn't here on the 26th but saturday (nov 1rst) was "off the fricken hook!" Lerm called me at about 7am and left a voice-mail stating that the surf was on fire... I, of course, slept in after Holloween merriment and woke up at 9:30 and heard his message. I looked out the window and saw the bushes and trees moving in the wind and figured the surf must be blown out.. A few minutes later i was skating to the store for orange juice and i noticed that the wind was, in fact, blowing offshore!!! That struck a nerve in me and i quickly turned westward to see that the ocean looked polished smooth, colored an inviting dark blue. Fuuuck!!! I fricken sprinted back to my house.. delivered Seymore her coffee and bagel.. sucked down a phat ripper... dove into my wetty.. and literally mach-speeded down the hill to the beach. Over the dunes and i was shocked at how perfect the waves looked! I mean.. headhigh+, reeling, sometimes-barrelling-but-not-too-insanely, offshore-licked muscular wind-swell.. Tons of waves.. People getting rides all over the place.. Legions of people strewn across the lineup but not too terribly crowded right in front of me.. Needless to say i was out there in a flash.. SOo friggin psyched.. Took about 10 on the head getting past the impact zone.. but then it was all gravy. Stayed out for almost 3 hours.. until the wind switched to side-shore (out of the north) and then onshore... Probably caught 30-or-so waves.. stoked..

Then yesterday the swell went way way down.. I suited up and ran down there.. thinking it might be a repeat of saturday.. and was disappointed by the lackluster swell.. but there was absolutely NOBODY out at 9am sunday morning.. with no wind.. and fun, shoulder-high, east-coast-like peaks. I surfed solo for about an hour and a half.. i found this little right that kept offering up a steep, immediate drop and then a sculpted wall good-enough for one maneuver before the wave mushed out.. I literally did laps at this peak.. constantly paddling north to stay on it. Probably 7 or 8 rides that were very near identical allowed me to work on steep/small wave takeoffs and then doing the quickest-possible bottom-turn/top-turn combo in order to maximize the small section available.. I could feel the subtle improvement in my technique as i had time and waves to practice the same thing over and over again. it was fun..

anyhoo.. anybody have good saturday stories.. i'm sure the whole coast lit up..


Tom sent this pic of Alex Martins at Mavs.. (he's the guy getting dropped in on)

This little Kauai wahine Bethany lost her left arm to a tiger shark on holloween.. thanks bigmig for the info..

Posted by Ethan at 09:59 AM