February 28, 2006
Elephant

Pressure.
Responsibility.
Movement.
Madness.
Sex.
Voodoo.
Melted wax.
Flickering light.
Escape.
Relief.
Divinity.
Monstrosity.
Obscurity.

Life binding shackling crucifying.
Life rampaging destroying exploding.
Life blooming parading transfixing.
Life humming assuaging repairing.

Arc.
Sunshine.
Sycophant.
Elephant.
Palm Tree.
Coral Reef.
Fanged Teeth.
Fetal Breech.
Old Man.
Old Thoughts.
Old Fears.
Round and Round.
Again and Again.

Pancho is the man!

Posted by Ethan at 09:06 AM
February 27, 2006
show reviews

Ned Rothenberg with Paul Dresher and Fred Frith at the ODC theater
- This show blew me away last weekend. Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey were playing at Cafe Du Nord on the same night so it was a tough choice, but whenever Fred Frith is involved, you really can't go wrong. The ODC is a comfortable little theater in the mission. It has that independent/hipster/cooperative feel to it. 6 of us all piled in at the last minute but we got seats no problem. The show opened with Ned Rothenberg on a bass clarinet. The room was silent and the acoustics were fantastic. He began with a brooding, eery, off-kilter melody. Very slow and deliberate. His improvisation slowly grew more and more intense. He started to lay down this Indian-like drone using circular breathing to maintain a constant tone. I'd never really heard a non-didgeridoo player use circular breathing but Ned Rothenberg used it to great effect and continued to use it throughout the evening. As his solo improvisation continued, he began hitting all these weird harmonics and overtones that sounded a bit like some of the squeaky noises of late-period Coltrane or Zorn. But where Coltrane or Zorn squeaked and squawked often for emotional emphasis, Rothenberg would somehow coax these unusual overtones out of the squeaks. he would basically have the low level drone going, then pick and meander through a melody of squawky harmonics. really cool.

Rothenberg at another show

Anyway.. then Fred Frith came out for a duet with Rothenberg. Holy shit Fred Frith is the farking Man!! damn. Irrational, ground breaking, innovative uses of the guitar all over the place. Stick a drumstick between the strings and the neck, then pick little melodies on either side of the drumstick. Play melodies by plucking open strings and then twiddling the tuning machines. Laying the guitar on his lap and playing it with paint brushes. Placing a metal bowl on the strings and hitting the bowl with various instruments. Vibrating the bowl with a violin bow. Wicked, rapid-fire fingertapping mayhem. Barefoot, masterful double-volume pedal manipulation. Rhythmic, percussive, strange, soaring melodies. Weird, twisted looping on loops on loops. I actually talked to Fred after the show and asked him about his gear. I'd always been curious about this black box that is fastened centimeters above his first fret. It turns out that it's another humbucking pickup. Facing down, right above his first fret. It allows for super-sensitive fretwork.

Fred Frith

You can see the upside-down pickup on the first fret in this photo

Sooo... then Paul Dresher came out and began playing a large, homemade instrument. It was about 20 feet long. made of metal and wood. It was basically a gigantic, oversized lap-steel guitar-type-thing. He played it using a cello bow, but also used a metal ball which he rolled along, and various other objects that he picked and plucked with. The first few feet of the instrument had a homemade fretboard underneath, but the rest were just the four strings floating in the air. He ran the signal through various boomerang echo and loop devices and generally created a lot of deep, bass-heavy drones over which Frith and Rothenberg improvised. It was fucking tripppy!

this is Paul Dresher with a prototype of the instrument he played last week. This one is about a third of the size.

Then i saw Buckethead on Saturday night at the Great American Music Hall.
This band wasn't as good as his band with Brain on drums, so a bit of a letdown in the bass/drums department. but the Bucket did not disappoint as he laid down hours and hours of blistering, tech-heavy, metal dirges interspersed with light, flighty, elegant retreats. The Bucket has insane guitar chops and is truly a guitar player's guitar player. A bit like Joe Satriani on acid, or Steve Vai without the cheese and with more METAL! There were a group of folks near me who were seriously having the best time of all time. This one guy in particular danced like a sweaty, deliriously happy madman THE WHOLE SHOW! He was smiling and raising both arms in the air in triumphant gesticulations with each of Buckethead's earth-shattering voyages. The three dudes were hugging each other and slap-happily jumping into the mosh pit and rolling around on the floor and just going hyper-ape-shit. It was awesome. If i had to guess i'd say a few licks of LSD mixed with copious amounts of alcohol for that crew. They brought great energy though, and kept the vibe high.


Fernando de Noronha photos

Posted by Ethan at 08:58 AM
February 24, 2006
baby dolphins!

A beautiful morning for a swim in the ocean.
A smattering of tide-compromised fatties rolled through.
Not too much to get excited about wave-wise.
Glassy, small, backing-off.
A few kernals amidst the mush.
At one point, sitting out there alone, i felt the Landlord vibe.
I could have sworn that something swam right beneath me.
Yikes!
Seconds later a fin poked out of the water...

... attached to a rounded back!

Yay!

Turns out a pod of about 10 or 12 dolphins swam by, all around me.
Majestically arcing up to the top of the water.
Blowing through their blow-holes.
Breeching in unison.
Then i noticed a little baby dolphin surface with its mom!
Awwwww..
Super cute lil' guy.
The dolphins were about as close as i've ever seen them, maybe 10 feet away.
They lanquidly made their way south.

Awesome.

Then it was some Kafka-esque experience trying to get to work. The N-judah stopped because of a gas explosion at Cole and Stanyon. Hundreds of folks were trying to pack into the 71 bus or walk to Geary. It was pandemonium in the inner sunset. I watched three packed-to-the-gills 71 busses cruise by without stopping before i finally tracked one down by doubling back and jogging back toward the mid-sunset. The 71 I was on got super packed by the time we got to Stanyon. People were banging on side of the bus trying to get in but the bus driver didn't even stop at the bus stops. It was crazy! argh MUNI!!

European niceness correspondent Alain sent some great photos
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Posted by Ethan at 10:14 AM
February 23, 2006
Bagel's new comic

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Posted by Ethan at 10:03 AM
February 21, 2006
Arctic Surf

Frigid, itchy-hands cold.
Empty, groomed, thumpy mini-anvils.
Mesmerizing, sculpted, violent, shallow, barrel action.
Aqua green, swept clean, kinda mean spicy beans!
Teahupoo-wannabee inner-bar suckfest.
Spitting, sandy, throaty, distempered cylinders.
Fat mellow peelers in the mix too, here and there.
Cold.
Saw Elias meander into a nice coverup yesterday.
He stalled on the takeoff and tucked up high, waiting for the barrel to encapsulate.
Watched him fucking thwack the lip with authority on another one.
Niceness.
Watched Bagel take off on a shapely one, disappear for a while and then blip above the lip, all crouched low with stooped shoulders, going about mach 20 down the line. Pretty rad.
Yours truly could have led a clinic on kookitude all weekend.
Here's how you blow a beautiful wave.
Here's how you choose the wrong wave and get tossed over the falls.
Here's how you do that again.
Here's how you carve a frontside turn and catch an edge and biff huge.
Here's how you take 35 minutes to get rejected Saturday morning.. then walk down the beach and try again.. finally get out after another 20 minutes, take one tiny wave.. then get caught inside again and not be able to get back out!! argh!
Here's how you catch a nice backside wave, then hold onto the pigdog too long instead of firing off the bottom, then exploding into the lip... if only in my dreams.
Still fun!

Also.. in shitty Stinkeye Cruz news. a few friends were surfing a little spot north of Santa Cruz on Sunday. They were having a good time with no vibes in the water. They saw this strange guy gaze out toward the surf zone from the top of the cliff with a mean, sinister look on his face. When they finished their session they climbed back up the trail to their cars only to find that all 4 tires of both cars had been slashed and were completely flat! Who does that?

Oh Mexico.

Ripper chick

Bagel Wave

Bagel paintings

This is what i want my turns to look like.

Jeff Anderson photo again (from A-frame magazine)

Love this shot


Posted by Ethan at 10:05 AM
February 17, 2006
Aquatic Light and Magic

Get into the wave early.
Slip to my feet.
Frontside.
Offshore wind grooming the face smooth.
Steep, fast, critical pocket.
Punchy inner-bar smacker.
Jam down the line as the wave continues to suck out.
Gets more and more concave.
Gulping.
Stand there in a crouch holding my line.
The wave trips and buckles on a shallow spot.
Tosses up a nice narrel.
Aaarghgh.. race along.. barely holding on.
Lip throws up and over.
Crouch, stall, get in there.
Sun-licked turquoise lip.
Squatting briefly in the spot.
Kookily catch an edge and get churned.
Maybe could have come out if not a spazz?
Doesn't matter.

Thanks Mamma Pacific.
Thanks for the sustenance.

Mexi's friend Matt took some nice photos
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Posted by Ethan at 10:06 AM
February 16, 2006
Smoooooke on the waaater

People often allude to the halcyon days of surfing. Maybe it's the pre-Gidget, pre-leash, pre-wetsuit, pre-crowded era of Dora, Malibu, Topanga and Rincon. Maybe it's the pre-contact days in Hawaii and Tahiti, where both villagers and chiefs surfed magical south pacific waves on huge wooden boards. Or maybe it's just the days of your own early adolescence, when you'd hang out on the beach all day with your friends. Surfboards, boogie boards, skimboards, paddle ball, checking out the high school chicks in bikinis, eating sandy sandwiches you brought from home or cruising down to the little boardwalk where they had hamburgers and frozen charleston chews for a few bucks. Any way you cut it; "those were the days!!"

Jeff Chamberlain put together a photo collage of his own halcyon surf days. It was the early 70's. California. Wetsuits finally made cold-water surfing doable but that fact hadn't yet spread to the masses. Mysto spots were still mysto. Exploration could actually turn up previously unearthed finds. Ganja, single-fins, long-hair, airbrushing and improvisation were on the ebb. Smoooke on the waaaater... fire in the sky!!

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Posted by Ethan at 09:32 AM
February 15, 2006
War of the Buildings

My bike ride to work began very peaceful and beautiful. The ocean looked incredible. It cast a deep, rich, blue, mesmerizing hue. The onshores powered me eastward toward the city. Through the forested park. Past the bums in the Panhandle. Up the hill to Alamo Square, where i saw the Olsen Twins and also Bobby Bouseleil from Charlie Manson's gang. Bobby was trying to herd the Olsen twins back to the Spahn movie ranch in the desert. But.. anyway.. then down the hill toward city hall. That's when things started getting freaky.

I noticed that the dome atop city hall looked to be moving and shaking. Thinking it was an earthquake, i pulled off the road and got off my bike. But the ground didn't seem to be moving, just the building. Suddenly the dome rose up about 100 yards and turned around. The patterns of the building took on a decidedly face-like appearance and seemed to smile. But moments later i saw the smile turn to a grimace. I then saw the Asian Art museum whip out a giant samurai sword from it's bowels and plunge it into the gut of City Hall. We're talking a sword the size of a football field. I couldn't really believe what i was seeing but nevertheless there it was. The wound on the side of City Hall started bleeding people and it was then that i realized that humans, the life-blood of the buildings, were at stake in this apparent war between the good buildings and bad buildings of SF.

Over the next 30 minutes I watched SFMOMA, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Marriot, The Ferry Building, Pac-Bell Park and the Legion of Honor gather together on the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park, right around hippy hill. I also watched Hastings Law School, Candlestick, Crazy Horse Gentleman's Club, The Hustler Club, the DPT (Department of Parking and Transportation) building, and the entire Marina neighborhood all gather in the heart of darkness in the Tenderloin. Soon an all-out-battle was happening. The Hustler Club and Crazy Horse had their huge slime guns and were dousing the SFMOMA and Legion of Honor with amassed munitions of discharged sperm and other disgusting body juices left over from years of sin. I thought i could overhear Crazy Horse yell, "take that you sorry excuses for high art!" But then the Transamerica Pyramid removed its pointy cap and thrust it into the chest of the two houses of ill repute. They were toast.

Meanwhile Pac-Bell and Candlestick were squaring off hard-core. Candlestick was trying to freeze Pac Bell with it's arrows of freezing wind.. but eventually Pac-Bell broke it's Coca Cola bottle in half and used it as a slashing dagger, rending Candlestick into a criss-crossed mash of forgotten fame. Hastings Law school, small but mighty, was being very sneaky with it's strategy. It was trying to use its political clout to get the electricity and water shut off in each of the good-guy buildings. But the Ferry Building saw Hastings being sneaky and started firing gourmet olive pits and overpriced sandwiches all over Hastings. Hastings was done.

SOo.. this battle royal went on for a few hours before The Golden Gate Bridge came over and plopped down between the two sides. It told of a greater battle brewing, one between the various cities of the nation. The conservative cities of Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Topeka had launched a sneak attack on Chicago in an effort to get control of the middle of the country. New York and Boston sent out an urgent message to San Fran and Seattle to help.

The warring sides of SF looked at each other and said, "Let's do this!"

Ian's scene in the land down under

Posted by Ethan at 10:20 AM
February 14, 2006
just another day in surfland

Surf stoke waning then growing again.
Waaaanningg..
Grroooooowinnng!
New TW surf arrived last night.
Sierra Nevada, pretzels and TWSurf post-work, oh yeah.
Start anticipating the morning session.
Call Lerm and prep him for possible charging mission.
Stretch a bit.
Get psyched.
Look at photos of the Solomon Islands.
Glassy peeling head-high reef-break tropical barrels.
Sleep.
Pick up Lerm pre pre dawn.
Start driving and checking spots.
hrm.
hmm..
oooo..
nah...
maybe??..
next..
hmm..
Ok.
Finally found a doable spot.
We weren't sure where we'd end up so we had guns on the car as well as shortboards.
We used the shortboards.
A few punchy, smooth rideables.
Craptastically gratifying.
Smattering of folks.
Mellow vibes.
Leaky wetter.
One nice steep racy wall.
Click over the ledge.
Pump and zoom along.
Zippy.
Ride up into a weak (but fun) little floater thing.
Blah surfing blah.
Sit in the ocean.
A few colorful birds yap at each other.
Lerm takes off on a left.
More stuff happens.
More people come out.
We leave.
Surrrrf!

UK

we didn't find waves like this

we saw a few waves like this.. but not as good and more gnarly

Lerm caught about 20 of these!

Psyyyyche!

oooooh!

daaamn!

still one of the best photos ever

Coltrane!

Posted by Ethan at 10:37 AM
February 13, 2006
happenstance

Sandy post-session ear canals.
Morning skate-down surf check.
Exploring rhythmic personalities.
Pursuing sonic malformalities.
Snowblind surreptitious salamandering.
Mission hipster burlesque show.
Twirling, taut ta-ta's.
Tweedle-dee google-eyed bathroom laggers.
hmmmmm...
Jim Beam goes down just fine.
Flying Tomato airborne huckfest.
Jersey-style Nor'easter icicle pits.
Sunday morning smoothie, bagel, NYTimes, blanket, girlfriend.

Sun Ra says God isn't dead, "God is Death."
Andre 3000 says to "marinate on that for while."
Jimi says, "Machine Gun, tearing my body all apart."
Cyprus says, "I want to get hiiiiighh.. soooo hiiiigh."
Modest Mouse says, "It all will fall, fall right into place."

---------------------------------

I'm the science reporter for the Contra Costa Times in the east Bay Area, and I'm working on a story about a foam developed at Sandia National Lab in Livermore. It was designed for use in nuclear weapons, but the researchers think it would be perfect for surf board blanks. They've tweaked it to match many of the physical properties of Clark Foam and it has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly and non-toxic (no TDI). They're looking for businesses to partner with to manufacture blanks and I was hoping to get thoughts of local surfers about this idea. What would people think about material from nuclear weapons research being used for their surf boards? How do people feel about the closing of Clark Foam and the hole that has left in the industry, and how would they like to see the void filled? What was so special about Clark Foam? Is there an emotional attachment to the product in the surfing community?

Anyway, Adam of SF Surfrider suggested I post something on your website to try to find some folks who'd be willing to talk to me for a couple minutes about this. Preferably they's be from Contra Costa County, but Alameda County will work too, and anywhere in the Bay Area is fine if someone has some good insight or comments about the issue.

Any chance I could put a plea out there? My deadline is Monday afternoon, and my contact info is below.

Thanks,
Betsy

Betsy Mason
Science Reporter
Contra Costa Times
(925) 847-2158
bmason@cctimes.com


---------------------------------

Tom Spader photos

Posted by Ethan at 09:50 AM
February 10, 2006
Snorfle Blumber

Inspiration, from where does it come?
Can you open yourself to it?
Where does the kernel of creativity lie?
For what reason human expression?
For what reason human life?
Each of us ejected from the womb.
Open to the vagaries of consciousness.
Pounded by the blows of existence.
Strained by the reality of survival.
Haunted by the mystique of happiness.

Small islands of joy amidst a sea of struggle.
Brief moments of jubilation within the onslaught of gravity.
Haters, fighters, doubters, bullies.
Know-it-alls, Better-than-yous, tough-guys and blow-hards.
Push through the morass of negativity.
Through the deeper webs of self-induced self-doubt.
Latch on to the specks of goodness, significance, beauty.
Reflect on the courageous, the selfless, the deep.
Stew in a quagmire of forlorn weary pity
Or raise yourself, lift yourself, pull yourself up.

No gods but our own.
No limits to knowledge.
No ultimate right.
No chains on the spirit.

sam flores

Posted by Ethan at 10:23 AM
February 09, 2006
Lineup dynamics.

Reflections on surfing tight, crowded reefs, points and peaks:
Survey the scene and don't rush to the main takeoff spot.
Paddle out by yourself or stagger if with friends.
Know who's who, or make a good guess.
Ease yourself into the flow.
Position yourself for inside scraps and leftovers? maybe.
Set up wide and outside for the bombs?
Jostle with the local boys in the hopes of getting a few gems?
Who are the locals?
You can generally just tell.
And you're not one of them. (unless you're one of them).
If you work your way into a nice wave and kill it, you get respect.
Deep barrels and charging get respect.
Insane takeoffs get respect.
Taking off deep with panache gets respect.
Mellow, non-hassling lineup demeanor gets respect. (or at least tolerance).
Biffing take-offs puts you at the end of the line.
Kooking out or displaying poor style - end of the line.
Aggressive jockeying tactics - end of the line (and serious stinkeye).
If you spoil the flow of the lineup by inexperienced/kooky positioning/paddling/anything - that's bad.
Stay out of the way.
Don't drop in.
Stay out of the way.
Don't drop in.
Don't shoulder-hop unless you think there is a real chance someone deeper will fall or not make it.
Try to have fun and project good vibes.
It's easy to start taking it too seriously.
Have patience. Don't over-yearn for waves.
Look for alternative opportunities.
Another spot way down the line where nobody is sitting?
Maybe sit way inside and take the big sets on the head but pickup the wedgy little scraps?
Let the pack froth for the first 2 or 3 waves of a set while positioning yourself for the hopeful 4th or 5th wave?
Know who in the lineup is going to make waves and who might not. Position accordingly.
Know your abilities.
If you charge, then fucking charge charging chargeables.
If you're not so chargy.. then sit down the line or don't paddle out.
Be patient. Let other people catch waves.
Chill.
Stay out of the way.
Don't drop in.
When you see a chance. Take it. Don't hesitate. GO!
Paddle hard and commit. Don't hesitate. GO!
Enjoy your rides.
Savor them.
Paddle back out slowly.
Look for opportunities down the line.
Re-scope the lineup while paddling back out.
Sometimes you can nab 2 or 3 waves in succession on your way back out.
Dudes in the lineup are looking out to sea, not down the line.
The main takeoff is not always the best.
People glom where other people are. Take chances and try new micro-areas.
Charge.
Stay out of the way.
Don't drop in.
Have fun!

stinkeye photo
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Posted by Ethan at 10:06 AM
February 08, 2006
In Through the Sea Plane (Part II)

Zeke and Dr. Lane contemplated the end of their magical session on the remote Alaskan outer island. The early-autumn sun was beginning to set and they still had an hour hike through the woods back to their camp. They sat in the lineup and tried to absorb the beauty and grandness surrounding them. Verdant, green, thickly forested islands dotted the horizon. Some of the islands were actually giant mountains extending high into the sky. Cloud-scraping snow-capped peaks could be seen in the distance. The water, partially protected from the fury of the north Pacific, was tranquil and smooth. They looked at each other and said, "uno mas ola!" Dr. Lane caught a large, bulbous set wave and worked it all the way down the line. Zeke caught a smaller, steeper insider and pumped for speed while watching the black rocks zip only a foot or two beneath the surface of the water. They scrambled to the boulder-strewn beach, changed into their clothes and began the trek back to camp.

As they entered the forest, everything immediately became darker and more ominous. Zeke and Dr. Lane were filled with a sense of foreboding. Dr. Lane gripped his shotgun tightly. They continued in the direction they thought was correct, though the rugged, up-and-down nature-of the terrain made it difficult. They were constantly forced to zig-zag up and around cliffs and impenetrable tuffs of forest. Just as they rounded a particularly dense nettle of ferns Dr. Lane saw the glittering speck in his peripheral vision that he had seen, or thought he'd seen, on their morning walk to the surf. This time he didn't move so as not to lose sight of it. He continued to observe it out of the corner of his eye. It looked like a large, neon dragonfly. Dr. Lane slowly turned his head to get a better look. Yes, it was some large, glowing air-born insect. Zeke saw it too and the two of them just stood there, transfixed. The wings of the creature made an unusual, rhythmic vibration. It looked to have three blinking black eyes atop two-inch antennae. It also appeared to have a smirking mouth that wordlessly repeated the phrase, "beautiful wave." Zeke and Dr. Lane exchanged a quick glance and when they looked back to the creature it had disappeared.

The two friends continued walking toward camp without saying anything for a few minutes. Finally Zeke said, "that was real.?." Dr. Lane agreed. Visibility was low and they were beginning to stumble over branches and whatnot. They silently pushed forward, making slow progress, tense with fear and anxiety. What was that? Could we have both imagined the same thing? Are we in danger? Just then they stopped dead in their tracks as they heard that same buzzing vibration. They nervously looked around but didn't see anything. Suddenly they heard a branch crack and they both turned around frantically to behold the biggest white wolf they had ever seen. It stood in a little clearing about 50 feet away from them. Bigger than any dog or wolf they had ever seen or heard about. This creature glowed with the same neon intensity as the little dragonfly-thing. The only feature un-wolf-like about it was the three blinking eyes attached by antennae to the top of it's head. Zeke and Dr. Lane were horror-stricken. Dr. Lane couldn't even move to raise his shotgun. But. the wolf-thing didn't necessarily look as if it had malicious intent. It looked to be wordlessly mouthing the same phrase as the dragonfly, or something similar, "beautiful cave." it mouthed, "beautiful cave." Just as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared. Zeke and Dr. Lane turned to each other in panic and were like, "What the fuck was that!?!" Now they were freaked. They had originally planned to stay the night and surf all the next day.. but.. now they were having second thoughts. But, first they had to make it back to the plane.

Now they were basically running through the forest, back to their camp. Bushwacking. Cut and sliced from thorns and branches they didn't have the patience to creep around. They finally made it back to the beach and saw that the plane was safely in the bay. Exhaustion, tension, panic and fear rippled through their minds and bodies. Flying at night through these islands and mountains is generally considered a very bad idea. Dr. Lane didn't want to do it. They decided to sleep in the plane and assess the situation in the morning. They packed their stuff on the inflatable raft and paddled back out to the plane. They loaded it in and then sat in the seats wide-awake and amazed at the seemingly supernatural things they had observed. They stayed up talking late into the night. Weighing various scenarios and replaying the events that had unfolded. Just as the sky began to lighten with dawn they started to doze off. If they would have been looking out the window they would have seen that the water all around their plane was glowing with that same whitesh neon glow. They were quickly roused by a rumbling and shaking. Oh shit!! They looked all around and then looked out the window and saw what looked like a gigantic whale the size of two football fields, glowing radiantly white, with three behemoth antennae eyes rising slowly out of the water.

----------------------------

Machado wins Pipe contest
"Without doubt, the entire event will be remembered by Machado's perfect 10 of the final, which unquestionably eclipsed all others. Enjoying a rare moment of sitting alone in the world's most prestigious surf lineup, a dark line pushed forward from the horizon, arriving onto the reef as a flawless, A-frame peak that pitched skyward with a wave face of at least 18 feet. Machado threw himself into a free-falling drop, hooked his left hand into the face of the wave to allow his surfboard to connect on the bottom turn and then pulled up into a heaving tube large enough to be a car-wash. After breath-taking seconds, Machado was blown out of the tube with the spray, in disbelief.

"I was that close to pulling back," said Machado, of the take-off that drew an audible gasp from the beach crowd. "I just threw myself over. I was like, 'This is the final. Who cares if I (wipeout), break my board, break myself? That's why you're in the final!'

"I kinda free-fell for a second, stuck it, and just tried to set my rail and pull up - and I did somehow. I just knew it was a big barrel, held on tight and the thing blew me out - it was great."

Hossegor niceness
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Great Mavs photo (photo: deborah lattimore)
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Posted by Ethan at 09:50 AM
February 07, 2006
In the best of all possible worlds...

I could work for a few hours this morning.. then drive down (or up) the coast for the low tide. The swell is beautiful and well-defined as evidenced by well-overhead bombs cracking on the outer bars of VFWs this morning.
White water could be seen cloudbreaking about a mile out from the middle of the beach.
Powerful, energetic swell.. but.. also heart-warmingly refined and groomed.
If i could i would grab the 7'8 gun that goodmorning gave me (goodmorning you friggin rule!) and hit either a picturesque point-break north of SC, or maybe cruise in to town where hopefully everyone would be in Half Moon Bay watching Mavs.
Or maybe drive up the coast a few hours to a magical spot that needs a solid swell to break. Whip out the gun, paddle out just as a set is coming through.
Watch as the 6 or 7 folks in the lineup each score sick huge ones. Get outside with nobody there and the set still firing. Turn and start stroking into a beast without even sitting up on my board. Paddle the gun like mad, nearly blind from the raging offshores.
Wave steepening and getting feverishly large. Fuuuckk..
Start paddling down the face of the wave.
Hear the hoots from the guys paddling out.
Finally feel the tell-tale tic.
Stand up and start tracking down the double-overhead face.
Drop drop drop drop drop.
Fade back.. faaaaaade.
Botttoooooommm tuuuuurrrrnn...
Then stand tall as a humongous slab of NorCal aquatic-meat launches over my head.
Just stand there in the pit.
Look down the line at the sculpted, tapering, quivering point-break wall stretching out ahead.
Get deeply barrelled for about 3 seconds.
Get spit out.
A huge, exaggerated pump for speed.
Carve a gigantic turn through the face of the wave.
Roundhouse rebound off the whitewater.
Start pumping for the shallow/rocky inside section.
Get barrelled again.
Big floater at the end.
Paddle back out for more.
3 hours later exit the water, exhausted and deeply satisfied.
25 waves under the belt.
10 of the deepest barrels of my life.
Huge insane drops.
Good vibed crew.
A day that will go down in history.

Or....
sit at the computer all day working through code.

yeah!!

MSG posted this photo

ankors shot of lindy yesterday.. dagnabbit!!!
niceness

Posted by Ethan at 09:49 AM
February 06, 2006
Happy Monday

Winter is here. Crisp offshore winds. Giant swell just beginning to pump. Epic crowds if you pick the wrong spot. Legendary scorage if you pick the right one. I found a few waves over the weekend. Nothing insane... but a few narrelesque moments, a few uncoordinated spazz-outs, a few tight pocket rides.

Watched some skimboarders launch airs and get barrelled on Saturday. Pretty impressive and shreddy.

Watched one of the all-time roughneck local toughs yell "Party Wave!" as he and 4 others surfed a nice set-wave all the way down the line. 5 wave-riders all turning and weaving and yelling and having a good time of it. Pretty cool.

Anyone know why there generally aren't dawn-patrol low-tides in the winter? Sucks for us dawn-patrollers.

Looks like the Mavs contest is on for tomorrow.

-------------------------------

Donovan Frank'n'furter posted this over the weekend:

I was cruisin'' down PCH the other day listening to my latest release on my cars 8-track (cost me boocoo bucks to digitally unmaster the CD to analog bro) when I got a call from Marty Thomas at Sanuk that really harshed my buzz. He said that my hippy stoner/ surfer/ Belgian beer swilling musician/ artist image was played out and that if I didn't get something new going they were going to drop me and I'd lose my next Fuel TV Drive Thru episode where we tour all the Great Lakes surf spots in an old psychedelic school bus while teaching Trey Anastasio to surf. So I immediately call Machado to ask him what I should do. Well I hung up on him before he finished his first sentence 'cause the battery on my cell died while waiting for him to answer me. So I'm wracking my brain on what the next soul surfer image the industry will buy and it hits me.... that whole androgynous, ambiguous gender identity trip man! I'm bettin' the bongwater on this one. So I'm movin' up to the city to polish my act. I was a little surprised to find out that the old Family Dog venue at the north end of the beach was gone but I did manage to secure the Sea Bowl in Pacifica and will be having an open casting call for my brand new production of Rockaway Horror Picture Show. I'm in negotiations to get BVB to play Brad Majors and blakestah to play the Criminologist. Truelove turned down Meatloaf's role as Eddie with a vague "Get the fuck away from me.", but the rest of the spots are wide open so come on down. As usual, you can find me by my bottom turn.

charge those charging chargeables

Posted by Ethan at 09:42 AM
February 03, 2006
Ian update

Yo E. Hope all is well my friend, look forward to hooking up with you when I get home for a few beers! I haven't been able to check the blog much, but I hope all the jokers are joking, and the lurkers still lurking. Anyway, my friend PJ, who is from NJ sent me this email. I thought, you being a creative writer, would enjoy the way PJ gives an account of his "experience" in Tahiti. Get some waves my man! I have so many photos to share when I get home and may put together a small book, so I'm stoked. I put a few ohter shots on the blog, if you've got a few minutes to kill. Anyway, I gotta go shoo these cockatoos away, sitting at my patio door, before going out for a big night out in Sydney. Take it sleazy homie!

Mahalo,
Ian

(PJ's story):

Life certainly is interesting. Sometimes, very much so. I had planned to meet my parents in Tahiti to spend a week sailing around Polynesia. I arrived in Papeete a few days early, and had a few days to kill before meeting the Ps. I was hanging out in a "surfer" bar one night, and noticed a couple guys that looked like Rob Machado and Shane Dorian. For those of you who don't know, these guys are serious professional surfers. Veritable surf icons.

Having been traveling for the past 5 months, and being devoid of all inhibitions (translation: after a few beers), I approached them and introduced myself. We got to talking and shared a few rounds. Machado (I got to know Rob pretty well and everyone calls him by his last name) took a particular liking to me, and after the requisite amount of alcohol, reluctantly spilled the beans. He said that a solid 5'-7' "sneaker" swell (one that didn't garner the attention of the entire competitive surf world) was on its way to Tahiti, and would begin to show the following day. He also said that he and Dorian escaped the United States without anyone knowing (not even their sponsors). They said that they had arranged for a local jet-ski driver and a boat to take them surfing (tow-in style) to Teauhpoo the following day. (For those of you who are not familiar with Teauhpoo, please open a new window immediately, Google "Teauhpoo" and look at the pictures of this insanely freakish wave).

I felt really cool hanging out with these guys and shooting the shit about surfing. After a few more beers, I began to exaggerate about my surfing ability. Not sure, but I think I may have even told them that I had some experience with tow-in surfing. In my mind, I kinda figured that my snowboarding prowess combined with my "skurfing" experience (water skiing on a small surfboard instead of waterskis), was enough qualify me as at least a "novice" tow-in surfer. After a few more beers, Machado actually invited me to join them at Teauhpoo. I had to promise to keep things quiet. Of course, I accepted. At first, I thought I would just be sitting on a boat in the channel watching the carnage, maybe taking a some photographs, but this was not the case.

They picked me up the following morning at 4:30am, and we headed to the North end of Tahiti where some local guys were waiting with a jet-ski and an 18' Panga (i.e., island style boat). On the way, Machado and Dorian were psyching themselves up, drinking Red Bull and talking all kinds of surf nonsense to relieve the tension of soon being whipped into massive cylindrical death barrels. They then started to advise me on the finer points of tow-in surfing at the legendary Teauhpoo, including proper timing of letting go of the tow rope, and how to fall "shallow" to avoid (or minimize) the damage of coming in contact with the razor sharp coral reef below.

All of the sudden, it dawned on me. They didn't expect me to just watch. I was shitting my boardies, but tried to stay cool. We boarded the Panga, and headed out to the reef pass. The wave was breaking at about 5' to 7' on the sets. It didn't´t look too bad. To be honest, it looked surfable - even for me.

I watched Rob and Shane take turns towing into to perfect waves, and having a ball. For a while, we were the only surfers out there. Not long after sunrise, however, you could see other boats making their way out to the pass from the lagoon. Soon the place would turn into a zoo, and when people found out that Rob and Shane were free-surfing Teauhpoo, the photogs would converge on the place like rabid paparazzi.

Machado was anxious to get me into a wave. He paddled over to the Panga, and handed me his tow-in board. My heart was beating so fast that I almost lost control of my bodily functions, but again, I tried to stay cool and barely managed to do so. So many thoughts (most of them in the form of clichés) clouded my ability to think clearly. I started to rationalize, and I figured that I was on "the trip of a lifetime"; "opportunity only knocks once"; "the only thing to fear is fear itself" and on and on. Looking back on things, I can not believe that I gave into those canned, manufactured justifications for risking my life. So it goes.

I jumped into the water without too much hesitation, strapped on Rob's board, grabbed the tow rope and gave the jet-ski driver the "thumbs up." Away we went. I got to my feet quickly as I am used to water skiing and skurfing. The driver (a Tahitian local named "Mani") flew behind the pass, and yelled something over his shoulder. I didn't hear what he said. I looked over my shoulder, and saw a set on the horizon. Mani yelled again. This time, I only heard portions of what he said, but that was enough. What I heard was "whip you in". . . . . . "third wave". . . . . . "let go of the rope."

The first wave passed, and I watched as tons of water drained off the reef, and then the deceptively small back of the wave explode on the reef with the fury of a small atomic bomb (if there is such a thing). The second one was identical to the first. Then without warning, Mani gunned the ski and we started picking up speed. Mani turned to look over his shoulder, our eyes locked, he gave me the "thumbs up" sign, and waited for the same from me. Reluctantly, I gave the "thumbs-up," and he gave it more gas.

Before I knew it, Mani, being an experienced jet-ski driver, had slotted me in perfect position for the third wave of the set. I rambled through a quick "Hail Mary", and let go of the tow rope as soon as I felt the power of the wave take hold of me. I dropped into what seemed like a bottomless pit, and tried to ignore the rapidly appearing coral reef below my feet.

The first couple seconds of being on the wave were exhilarating, and I was kinda frozen with fear. But, soon my surfing instinct took over and I just started surfing as fast as I could to get to the end of the wave. Then, the lip folded over, the light disappeared, there was no sound, and as they say, "time stood still." I found myself inside a cavernous tube, the likes of which (being from NJ), I never thought I would ever experience. Then, time suddenly started ticking again. I started to notice the thunderous crash of water all around me. Confusion set in. The only thing I could see through the spray and foam that surrounded me was a small light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. "This is the end", I thought. I´m dead. Weird images flashed in my brain: Cabbage Patch kids having sex; the "Kool Aide" guy heeding the call of thirsty kids, and crashing through a brick wall; Menudo?; Eddie Murphy's skit in RAW where he introduced that annoyingly cruel phrase. . . . . . . . . . PSYCHE! The real story follows.

I didn't surf in Tahiti. The swell and the winds just did't cooperate. Spent 6 days on a 43' sloop with my parents. Sailed from Raiatea to Bora Bora. Then to Tahaa and back to Raiatea. It was amazing. We had a Skipper, but I helped sail the rig most of the time. Did a lot of snorkeling and fishing. Visited a peal farm. Ate and drank like a King. After Tahiti, I flew to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) where I did get some great surf. I am on mainland Chile now. I will update on Rapa Nui and Chile soon. Hope you enjoyed this little diversion. Peace.

nicness

phil roberts artwork
nicness

Posted by Ethan at 10:02 AM
February 02, 2006
In Through the Sea Plane

Zeke had been anticipating this trip for months. His friend Dr. Lane had it all hooked up out on Umnak Island. Dr. Lane worked as an emergency room physician on the small Alaskan spit of land, dealing mostly in the grisly results of drunken bar fights and fishing accidents. Zeke and Dr. Lane grew up surfing together in coastal Washington. Cold, wild, unpopulated. That's how they liked it. Dr. Lane eventually grew dissatisfied with the increased population density and moved to the great white north. His love for the raw, authentic lifestyle eventually led him further and further along the chain of islands stretching into the Bering Sea.

Dr. Lane virtually abandoned surfing for his first 5 years in Alaska. But a few months ago he flew his sea-plane to a remote island at the request of a local shaman who communicated with the police on Umnak island via a distress radio signal. The shaman described in his best broken English that he was in need of the aid of western medicine for a dying villager. Dr. Lane flew out there along with a police officer. In the air above the island he noticed the tell-tale signs of surfing nirvana. A finely sculpted point-break with gently wrapping spokes of swell funnelled along beautifully. Seductively peeling. Dr. Lane did a huge double-take, noted the location of the island, and then kept flying to his destination.

Months later Dr. Lane noticed the same configuration of weather and tide lining up as on the day he witnessed the mystery wave. He phoned his old surfing pal Zeke (whom he'd prepped months before) and told him to fly up asap.

Zeke arrived a day later and he and Dr. Lane quickly packed up their camping equipment, food, 6mil wetters, hood, lobster claws, 7mil booties, shotgun, hatchet, shortboards into the little sea-plane and took off for the island. A few hours later Dr. Lane began to smile. He and Zeke looked out the window, down toward the thickly-forested, mountainous island below, and saw the storied point, complete with rifling offshore-licked groundswell lines peeling along like clockwork. They slapped huge high fives, like 20 of them in a row. Then Dr. Lane circled around and landed in a little back-bay a mile or so from the point.

They pulled all the gear out of the plane onto a little inflatable raft and paddled to shore. They decided to make camp on the sheltered beach so they could keep an eye on the plane and so they wouldn't have to lug all their shit to the break. They then took the boards, wetsuits and shotgun and started bushwacking through the undergrowth. Excitement soon grew to consternation as they got lost in the rugged, steep ravines and ungainly vegetation. After about an hour they took a quick break to drink some water and get their bearings. Dr. Lane was sipping from his water bottle when he looked to his left and thought that he saw a shimmering object that quickly disappeared. Alarmed, he stood up and grabbed his gun. But nothing further came of it. They again began hiking in the direction of the wave and eventually came over a final rise and through a stand of gigantic Cedars saw stacked-up, overhead point-break perfection reeling along. HELL YES!

They surfed until they could surf no more. Countless marathon runs down the feathering, fast-pace walls. Epic high-speed rides and big chunky turns into the meat of the north pacific groundswell. Zeke even worked his way into some memorable shacks. However, it was getting dark, and they still had to hike back through the woods to their camp. And that's were the trouble began...

Posted by Ethan at 10:43 AM
February 01, 2006
Mellow little session

Woke up in the pre-dawn darkness.
Drove in the misty rain.
Down the coast, around some bends.
Bush State of the Union. Gah! more like...
Sun Ra Arkestra vamping through the speakers.
Yeah.
Finally arrive at a tucked-away spot.
Still dark.
Not much happening.
A few smaller ones coming through... maybe.
Rainy and a bit ragged out there.
Kaiser arrives.
We decide to hit it, regardless of lackluster conditions.
Two-man session.
Catch a few gutless peelers.. but.. still feel the magic.
Kaiser takes off on a bigger one. whooot.
I catch a weird warbler.
Bumpy take-off. Check off the bottom. Slow turn off the top.
Waves a bit mushy.
One nice set comes in after about 40 minutes of surfing.
Some pretty waves.
No more sets during the session. argh.
Steady rain on the noggin. Dig it.
A few drops. Lots of waiting.
Nobody else comes out.
A few seals pop their heads out. Curious.
Time for work.

Posted by Ethan at 10:15 AM