Postering, vibes, aggression.
Testosterone, anger, entitlement.
Crowds, stinkeye, chest-thumping.
Some guy in a black jetta cruising by and calling you "fag!"
It makes a surfer reflect.
I used to love exploring unknown (to me) areas and checking out new surf spots.
I used to love going down to Santa Cruz to find a few peelers amongst the throngs.
Maybe up north a few counties.
Down to the central coast for some reefs and nuggets.
But now.. it's either in front of my house or somewhere random on tuesday morning at 4 dark thirty.
When Korewin told me yesterday that he's planning to surf Rincon today i whinced and cringed. The thought of the probable 700 surfers packed like sardines into the not-so-huge lineup made me nauseous. It makes me nervous just thinking about it. Gah! Have you seen the photos of Swamis during this last swell! Pretty amazing images of baby-butt smooth perfect overhead pointbreak waves. Maybe 300 black-clad surfers bobbing and weaving and yelling and gesticulating. gnarly. Maybe i'm getting jaded and lame but i'd rather stay at home and work on Mingus tunes than drive for hours and then battle and grimace for waves in a gigantic throng of hungry, agitated surfers.
Surf trips make me nervous too. The first thing on my mind isn't how sick the waves will be, it's "how crowded is it going to be?" I pretty much would never drop coin to go to Costa rica or Bali or Oahu or Rio Nexpa. 50 rippers in the lineup at Ulus or Sunset. I'd be the kook on the shoulder getting jack squat. bumming.
Instead of filling my imagination with images of slate-smooth tropical perfection, the Mentawais fill my thoughts with 5 boatloads of disgruntled surfers scratching and battling for the same few waves at an otherwise picturesque little spot.
I'm also the king of fore-bummering. If i'm on some kind of mission to a non-beachbreak, i'll psych myself out thinking, "they'll probably be 40 dudes in the water already. Then if i get there and there are 20 guys out, i won't be so disapointed.
Anyway.. thank god for big-ass beach breaks! Also i guess the silver lining of the crowd situation is that it forces you to look around the next corner if you prefer less crowded surfing. Yeah 4-mile is always going to have 40 people floating around... but.. what about that other spot 20 minutes away? Yeah... the mentawais are packed but what about coastal Java? J-bay has 200 bobbing heads but what about Angola? You got punched in the face on the gold coast? Maybe check out Papau New Guinea.
Sorry for the negativity. just venting.
happy holidays everybody.. the blog will be on hiatus until the 3rd of January.
I guess it's all in the mind.
Here are some more photos of Bagel switchstance pig-dogging in the Indian Ocean. (psyche.. it's actually a sequence of another SF surfer named Danny.. who got a bit upset to find out his photo was on niceness and attributed to Bagel in 2006! Nice wave Danny.)
16ft 16seconds on the SF buoy.
Couldn't see squat from the beach.
Booming, ground-shaking thunderclaps.
Hellish, sub-sonic profusions.
Grab the 8'8".
Meditate while jogging down to the local.
"Stay relaxed, find your rhythm, don't puss out."
Get to the water's edge.
See nothing but white-water and foam.
Watch putrid, oily, garbage-water flow directly into the ocean.
Wade in and start paddling.
Tasting the briny, chalky dirt-water.
Conditions are wild and manic outside the first few rows of white-water.
Tempestuous clashings from multiple directions.
Insane-o triple-ups rising and crashing.
Look up to see triple-story avalanches of white-water.
Ditch and dive.
Inadvertently drink the poo-water.
Floating way out in the victory at sea.
All conditions amplified beyond anything i've experienced.
Constant, neverending sets of wild, unrefined groundswell.
Can't see land, can't see the sun.
Board nowhere to be found.
Only towering waves, white-water and the faint sound of fog-horns.
Floating and swimming.
Mammoth walls washing over.
Submerged for 20 seconds? 40 seconds?
Blackness and calming thoughts.
Life but a fleeting instant of time.
The ocean giveth and taketh away.
Back to the surface.
More mountains of unforgiving aquatic terror.
Floating and swimming.
Over the falls on a huge one.
Circling and spinning under water.
Open the eyes to see dark black nothingness.
Cold, dark, black nothingness.
Cold, dark, black soothing calm.
Calming, comforting, easing, peace.
Out of the surf loop.
Looked large and brooding out there.
More music than wave-riding for me over the last week.
Harmonic minor with a flat second.
Coltrane's Afro Blue and My Favorite Things (they sound kinda similar).
Learning basic scales with harmonics.
Using a looping pedal to lay down ethereal background noise.
Star Spangled Banner.
Working out arrangements for a few new cuts.
One sounds a bit like Hall of the Mountain King.
But also like the dracula theme song.
William Tell Overture.
Too Much Pressure
Trying to keep it fresh, strange, unusual.
Focus on the groove.
Looks like we have a gig at Brainwash on Friday January 13th.
(please keep in mind that we suck)
Wind, rain, thunder and lightning.
Giant, wild, dirty waves.
I'm sure certain zones were firing like rabid banshees over the weekend.
Were you getting pitted?
Braving the armageddon winds at some undisclosed point break?
Or were you sitting on the couch with your girl, sipping tea and snuggling under the blankets?
I know what i was doing.
AI wins Pipe and the Triple Crown.
Slater knocked out in the semis with an interference call.
Wardo barely makes the WCT next season with an injury wildcard.
Bobby Martinez easily in there with a 2nd place finish on the WQS.
Will Adriano De Souza soon be the first Brazilian World Champion?
We'll soon find out.
Reading a fun skateboarding book called "Scarred for Life."
It's made up of 11 mini-biographies of different skateboarders. So far i've read about Hosoi, Bob Burnquist, Jay Adams, a women from Oregon and a guy from NYC named Rodriguez. The Hosoi and Jay Adams stories are pretty gnarly, both guys spent periods of time in Hawaiian prison for meth-related crimes. Also it seems that Jay Adams spent about 6 months in prison in the States in the 80s for starting a fight that led to the death of guy in LA. I guess Jay was going through a "fuck-em-all" Suicidal Tendencies super-punk stage. Drinking and doing drugs and getting in fights and "not having a good night unless I ruined someone else's night." Apparently one night he was out in the streets of Venice Beach with a group of punk friends when they saw an interracial gay couple holding hands on the sidewalk. Jay approached them and started yelling racial and sexual slurs and began pushing and trying to start a fight. The black guy stood up for himself and Jay and one of his friends beat them down to the ground. Then all the punks descended and began kicking and punching the two guys. Eventually the black guy died. Jay went to prison, but only for 6 months.
Also reading a book called "Chasing the Trane," by J.C. Thomas. It's a biography of John Coltrane, spattered with tons of first-hand quotes from his friends, cohorts and his own mouth. Some Coltrane facts that you may not have known:
- Suffered excruciating tooth pain. eventually removed many of his teeth.
- Alcoholic and heroin addict until he quit both cold-turkey by locking himself in his room for one week and subsisting on water supplied by his wife.
- Loved sweet potato pie.
- Studied classical music (Bartok, Debussy, Stravinsky)
- Interested in Eastern philosophy/culture (yoga, raga, Islam)
- Played Alto, Tenor and Soprano sax during his career.
- Also played Clarinet and piano.
- Loved Harp music.
- Lived in Philly for a long time.
- Practiced like a man possessed. Tons of theory, scales, harmony, etc.
- Played in Dizzy's band, Monk's band, Miles' band and others before heading his own band.
- That's his voice at the end of the opening track of A Love Supreme.
Coltrane is the man.
Cool GVB post over the weekend about the great art show at Soularch (between 45th and 46th and Judah):
Uh...__, E - the title for the show is copyrighted. Sorry. I have to sue.
Thanks for the review. Venue small and oddball. Art good. A friend yesterday said that art was dead and that I was beating a dead horse and havn't we been through this before and how much did it cost you and will you make any money?!
Beat downs and long paddles - humiliation and glory in the water. Far and few between. It's only a ride; a great wave, a shitty good wave, a frosty down-the-line - 100 yard run, an off the lip. a big floaty drop; endless paddling - freezing cold. It's all good. Charlie Callahan is the artist painting the sea creatures.
Bring a check book to SOULARCH ------
Simba shot some killer photos of Pipe
There's a little art gallery in my neighborhood.
From time to time they have openings and i'll poke my head in if i happen to be walking by.
Last weekend I noticed a small gathering of folks at the gallery so i checked it out.
Included in the show were finely wraught abstract wooden surfboards.
Moody paintings of the sunset district.
One where the fiery blaze of the setting sun shone on the tracks of the N-judah.
Impressionistic interpretations of the surface of the ocean.
Beautiful large-scale paintings of crenullated sea creatures.
Wave photos of a dream-like curl.
The show is called "A Beautiful Thing."
Curated by Bob Carillo (BVB, Agnes, Local415).
An inspiring show Bob, thanks for putting it together!
cool photo of MR
Bulky voluminous lurchers
Booming, growling caverns.
Quiet, low-key solitude.
Ninja bombs out the back.
Opportunities for glory.
Steep, consequential drops.
Don't puss out.
Bumpy, shifty imperfections.
Heavy, groundswell significance.
Scratch to get over the ledge.
Position to be under the ledge.
Years of preparation, intrigue and love.
Hours and hours of video.
Yoga, pilates, diet and skating.
Conspire for one blessed moment.
Artwork at Upper Playground (from fecalface.com)
Mexi's friend Matt Proehl took these photos in Argentina.
Peeking into the expansive unknown.
Fresh tracks in milky white virginity.
Self-expression laid bare.
Nuanced, refined, delicate mastery.
Chance-taking, danger and risk.
Tumbles, spazzes and burns.
Launching right past common sense.
Soon you'll encounter the churn.
Tickle illogical rhythms.
Flaunt primordial moons.
Pickle space-age conundrums.
Daunting, meticulous blooms.
Coltrane, Satie and Debussy
Heisenberg, Husserl, Derrida.
Zappa, Medeski and Ponty
None were afraid to break out.
Abstract advanced mathematics.
Elegant, spiritual prose.
Innovation through risk and disorder.
New ground through the knowledge of old.
Check out grommetsurfstyle.com if you need that last-minute holiday gift for your little nephew. (Lerm's site)
Well, surf is still surfy out there. Looks like there are some waves out to be ridden today. We got some E winds on the local bouys and the swell still looks to be hangin around with come decent size. I didn't surf this morning so I got nothing for ya on the first hand account. Local forecasters call for the swell to die the rest of the week but there looks to be something pretty significant for the 17th/18th. I am not weather guru but I imagine there should be some more concrete evidence on this in the next few days.
Waves were pretty good this weekend. I only have first hand account on Saturday. As I am sure we all know by now, the swell came up pretty fast on Saturday morning. Wise reports and Surfpulse called for shoulder to head high waves. Either everyone was smoking crack or they looked at the beach early because it was clearly OH+ by mid day. Anyway, good times, lots of good waves, some throwing top to bottom near low tide. I am sure some spots were bigger then others.
Here are a few shots for a place south of here:
I am dying to surf that left...
Tranquil turquoise sheen.
Distinct easygoing undulates.
Body surfing pinnepeds.
Bonzer surfing Kaiser Sosé.
Hunting for the good ones.
Finding a few.
So much of the art of surfing occurs before you even stand up and ride a wave.
Positioning, vision, wave-knowledge, anticipation, focus.
Each subtle aspect contributes to your success at ripping.
Do you often sit too far outside and miss-out on the churning inner bar?
Do you take off on too many closeouts and miss the good ones?
Do you let the current pull you off the semi-consistent peak?
Do you gravitate toward other surfers and therefor lesson your wave-count due to crowd pressures?
Do you hesitate slightly on suckout drops?
Can you predict with precision which waves will fire down-the-line and which will shut down?
Do you favor your frontside?
Do you stinkbug?
This morning there were waves a-plenty.
Probably 95% closing-out violently on the inner bar.
It was a morning of dodging bullets and rapid-fire decision making.
Putting yourself in the eye of the dragon... right on the cusp of harm's way.
Thick barrels cracking and roping.
Mellow, light crowd.
Dave Turner photo of Derek Ho at Pipe
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi
Foamy, sandy close-outs.
Massive crowd to the north.
Wild, untamed jungle on the inside.
Opportunities for pits.
Lean back and hit the lip.
Mexi snapped some B&W photos last week
Some tranny kook namer claimer scrub dotcommie stinkbugging alien interloper.
Small, languid, smooth.
Scattered pockets of goodness.
Crystal clear sunrise.
Occasional lilliputian perfection.
Rythmic, easy strokes through the unreal glassiness.
Blowing on hands.
Vibrantly lucid view of Marin, point reyes, the farallons.
Seagulls wrestle and gawk at each other. Mating? Fighting for food?
A nice, head-high left glides in.
Tuck and trim down the line. some minor turns.
Paddle back out.
Waiting for the next set.
Watch offshore-whipped shoulder-high Indo-wannabee waves crack and almond-barrel down the line.
Once in a while.
Otherwise waiting for those to come to you.
Blowing on hands.
Surfing by yourself is a very different experience than surfing with friends or with other people in the lineup. Nobody is watching your rides. Nobody is competing for waves. Nobody is small-talking about this or that. Nobody is hooting. No stinkeye. For better or for worse. It's just you and the ocean. You can attempt the most unorthodox maneuvers, ride waves on your belly, do handstands on the bottom or just eject huge farts in your wetsuit. Nobody's the wiser. It's also constructive to be firmly in control of where you paddle out and where you line up. When surfing solo, with nobody around, you can't use other people as a gauge for what's happening. I also like the mental temperament you enter into while surfing solo. No crowd-induced anxiety. No stress about positioning relative to the crowd. Just a natural flow with the waves. You notice that the waves are gulping-out a bit steeper a few hundred yards north... so you paddle over. Look at that wedge on the inside... go chase it. Stare at the pelicans as they glide inches above an unbroken wave. Catch a zippy right, pump down the line. Claim the hell out it.. doesn't matter when there's nobody else out there. Just relax, find your groove and enjoy.
RIP Malik Joyeux - Tahitian ripper who died at Pipeline over the weekend.
Bruce snapped a few photos of a local skatepark (do skatepark namers get owned too?)
Knowing the ocean would be brimming with fecal matter this morning, i stayed at the music studio until after midnight last night. It's a strange feeling to stay out late, knowing that you don't HAVE to get up in the morning to surf. kinda nice. Anyway we spent about 4 hours recording two songs. We have about 10 original songs that are fairly well pieced together and we're trying to get each of them recorded before the New Year. It's fun as hell to lock down the structures of the songs (we'd previously played them pretty loose) and then put the headphones on and lay down take after take.
One of the people in my band was a sound-engineering major and has all this equipment. We have a separate little sound-proof recording room next to the main studio where the soundboard and monitors are. Before we began recording we had to check and set all the levels. Each drum has it's own mic (kick, snare, high tom, mid tom, low tom, ride cymbal, high hat, crash. Then the guitar amp has a mic. The bass amp has a line-out that goes directly into the soundboard so the bass cabinet isn't on when we're recording. The sound from the guitar amp bleeds into the drum mics but, otherwise, each track is pretty clean.
We began by laying down just the bass and drums for the first tune (Playing in the Foam/Return of Snuffy). I sat in the recording room with the engineer guy and hotboxed while we listened to the takes through the monitors. There is a microphone in the recording room so you can communicate with the people in the main room through their headphones. We would often yell encouragement through the mic, "Awww yeah" and such when they nailed a smooth transition. While listening to the 4 or 5 takes I psyched myself higher and higher thinking about the guitar part i was going to lay down. Just amping. Singing in my head exactly what i wanted to play. We'd been working this song for months but i thought of a slightly new meta-groove for guitar while listening to just the bass and drums last night. After the drums and bass were set the bass player and i played along with the best recorded version of the bass/drums and laid-down the guitar (didn't record the bass being played). I've been playing a shitload so everything has been feeling light and easy. I liked my first take the best so decided to keep that. We then went through the same process with a second song (Oasis). Now we have to mix everything down into a stereo version and burn the sucker to CD. I should have versions on niceness in the next few weeks.
Then as i was talking to my girl on the cellphone in the hall Lyrics Born and his girl walk by. I said, "Love your music man!" and he nodded and said thanks. His girl is the asian soul-singer who sings with him on albums/concerts. She's stylish and beautiful. They looked very happy and in love. The Latyrx song, "Baby don't take no." is probably my favorite rap song of all time.
anyway.. sorry for the ramble.. just thought i'd describe what's going on in the studio in case anybody's interested.
(Humpty Hump (shock G?) was also spotted in the studio last week. Spotlight Studios in West Oakland.
in surf news...
Beautiful, brisk, still morning at the beach. At first i thought it might be firing.. but.. i saw white caps from my house. Didn't get the first-hand look... but...
There has been a change in the status of one or more of the beach
monitoring points in:
Foot of Sloat Blvd Station - Posted
Foot of Vicente Ave. Station - Posted
Foot of Pacheco Ave. Station - Posted
Foot of Lincoln Way Station - Posted
Foot Balboa Ave. Station - Posted
Great contrast and light in Awe fshore's photos
Confidence can often provide the extra push necessary to accomplish things.
Making the drop.
Passing the test.
Singing the song.
Making the sale.
Getting the girl.
Two people with the same skills, one confident in his abilities and the other not, will often achieve different results. Confidence also affects the way you frame things within your own mind. A person lacking confidence might think, "I suck at this job. I don't even deserve to be where i am. I won't say anything at this meeting because my ideas are worthless. I'm an idiot." A confident person in the same situation might think, "This job is difficult but i can rise to the challenge. I know i can do this i just need to push myself. After careful thought i think this idea is relevant, i'll voice it at the meeting."
It's easy and tempting to fall into the hole of poor self-confidence and self-defeatism. It's easier to admit that you suck at something and therefor shouldn't pursue it than it is to admit that you may not be a natural but with diligence and determination you can improve.
Don't underestimate the power of the human mind. Don't underestimate the power of hard work.
I'm not sure why i'm writing this other than to try to give myself a pep-talk of sorts because i've been wallowing in a stew of self-loathing despair. Thoughts of "you suck, you have no future, you've wasted the last 8 years, you have no career path, you're friends and peers are out-succeeding you, you suck at everything. blah fucking blah." It's easier to feel sorry for yourself than it is to pick yourself up, make difficult decisions and push onward. That's what i'm trying to do.
maybe i just need some waves.
thank you john coltrane. lifting me up every day.