/*23 Breaths: June 2009*/

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The 4th of July

You just have to have a plan

Daytime high temps in the mid 70's nighttime lows in the upper 60's.

Winds 8 to 10 miles an hour.

Four or Five separate swells running from the south.

Two maybe three feet, better on some sets depending on the tide.

Chest high for most people, well overhead on the mat.

Summer indeed

What could possibly ruin conditions like these?

The 4th of July

Now I have nothing against the 4th.

Actually one of my favorite holidays

I never leave my dead end street
sleep in until noon
drink a couple of beers
light off the fire works
(it's OK I live in CM)

Then on the 5th I get up at the crack of dawn

go to the beach

fill my pockets with illegal fireworks left on the beach

and surf my brains out

while everyone else is nursing a hangover or arranging for bail

You just have to have a plan

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Art of the Surf Check

Checking the surf this morning and not finding much got me thinking about the whole process.

Everyone has their own rituals, with variations, to looking at the surf. Some people have to have coffee (with milk and sugar) or the whole process falls apart. Some use a car (much faster) others prefer a bike (slower but you see much more detail).

After years of watching swells at your local breaks you should be able to tell a lot about how other breaks may be reacting to a particular swell or combination of swells. So if spot A is showing a lot of South swell you can leave the NW swell spots off your list to check. Unless, there is so much South that everywhere is walled so you may want to check the NW breaks for a chance at a shoulder. OR the south swell is really a south east swell which only lights up a couple of beaches every 10 years or so.

An then there is the wind to consider. Every breath of wind provides a new piece of the puzzle. Different wind directions can groom it to perfection or blow it to ribbons.

The surf check is really a riddle.

The cams can help but only to the extent that you know a break already. Sort of like being able to tell how a Big Mac will taste by looking a picture of one. If you had one yesterday you have a good idea. If you have never eaten one, you'll have no clue.

In the end it always comes down to, "either go out or go to breakfast".

Happy trails and good hunting!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables at Shelter


The fine folks at Shelter will be hosting the first of their summer surf movie series this Saturday.

FFFRV or Fresh Fruit for Rotten Vegetables

Shelter Surf Shop on Saturday June 27th at 7pm for the US premier of Steve Cleveland’s new film Fresh Fruits for Rotten Vegetables.

They will also have a live musical performance by Long Beach’s Light Music and Surfboards/Art from City Fog. Bring the gang, the beach chairs and the blankets. Refreshments will be served.

7pm - 11pm at Shelter- FREE

Surf Shop Shelter Surf Shop is Located in the heart of Retro Row on 4th Street in Long Beach

Shelter Surf Shop

2148 E 4th Street

Long Beach, CA 90814


Monday, June 22, 2009

The Endless Solstice

This is my favorite time of year.  

As part of the Fathers Day extravaganza at my house I spent some time watching surf videos after the delicious dinner my wife made.

I have to watch Endless Summer. 

Best surf movie ever!

I couldn't decide which movie to watch next so I put in Ultimate Sessions.

I stumbled across the directors commentary option. 
In this case it's Sam George and Peter Townsend doing play by play, who was riding what that week and this wave chaged surfing forever.
Listen to this version the next time you watch it .

After that it was Five Summer Stories.

I have always liked FSS. The music, the short board surfing (pre leash), Lopez at Pipeline, the Huntington contest.

For me it was part fantasy, part scrapbook.

Here's to a great summer!

PS Summer surf movies starting up at Shelter this Saturday!
More details later.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

10 Things you need this summer

I try to live my life being not too dependent on things.  Well that's not right since I have a computer, a house, a car and so many other things that I couldn't count them all. So let's say I try to see how dependant on things I really am ;)

Painting by Harry Dean see more at his website

So with that disclaimer out of the way here are a few things that may need in your quiver of stuff for the summer.

  1. fins - With just a pair of fins, ok maybe just one all two is better but they don't need to match, you can conquer the world! Well maybe not but you can have a lot of fun!

    *regarding fins and fit and other stuff see my previous blog entry

  2. sunblock - Always a good idea but I have to admit I don't follow my own advice often enough on this one.

  3. flip flops -The classic summer go to.  Get a pair that fits.  Something you can easily find in the pile outside your friends house.  If you can keep track of these things get a pair that will last, if not just get a cheap pair from the drug store. Better get two cause they will fall apart.

  4. trunks - You need to wear something, there are places best left un-sun-burnt! Unless you only surf at Blacks...

  5. state pass - If the California state park system is still up and running the 130.00 annual pass works out to a dollar a trip. Cheap price for a place to park, a shower and a bathroom. 

  6. towel - You gotta have a towel! My current one is green and has a few dangly bits hanging off it (and needs to be washed!) 

  7. a hat - Especially if you are forgoing #2 sunblock. 

  8. a bike - Blogged a lot on this already.  As  long as it's not a car it's good!

  9. a book - Lots of classics at the bookstore for cheap (required reading for school) or free if you go to the library.

  10. a smile - What can I say?  If you have extras, give one away!  

    As always feel free to play the home game and add other things in the comments section.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mat Tastic!

As promised here are the new mat photos of Warren Pfeiffer of Yamba, NSW Australia.

All photos by Dane Peterson, see more or purchase photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpimagery/

Since these pictures came to me through a third party (Thanks Dale) I don't know anything about the day, the swell, the vibe, what Warren and Dane had for breakfast etc.

So the what I can tell you is that all shots are of Warren Pfeiffer and all pictures are by Dane Peterson.

I have traded some emails with Warren in the past and he is one of those guys who surfs his brains out and is always happy to share.

I have never met Dane but you have no doubt seen his work in the usually mags as well as his two recent cover shots on the Surfers Journal.  

Nice flight across the wall of this wave. He is using the tip of his inside fin to extent his water line as well as pressure on the inside rail to stay high and drive.

The speed from the shot above puts Warren in the tube and staying there for the foreseeable future.

The next wave starts with a nice turn off the bottom. His edge is set and he is flying!

He is using his inside fin to extend his line and gaining some altitude for the drive through the inside section.

Burning the speed from the shot above, Warren stalls and sets up the section. Check the spray coming off the bottom during the stall, also note the arch in his back.  He doesn't want to get to the party too early!

Warren about to enjoy the fruits of his labors!

Back dooring the tube, fins up to minimize drag for now, the mat is twisted to form a fast interface within the barrel. Warren focused and looking down the line.
In his mind he already there...

Warren, low focused and flying!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Opie rides a Mat!

Found this snap shot at my mom's house. 
Mom's a tech-no-maven so I used her scanner. Neat!

Judging from the shrubbery I would say this is 61 or 62.

I would drag the mat out as far as I could at the Huntington Beach pier, turn it around and scream straight in to the beach!

Learned about turning and shoulders much later.

Since then I have also learned to open my eyes, loose the rope and move a little forward.

On the upside it looks like I'm already using lower inflation.

PS In my possession I have some new photos of a world class mat rider taken by a world class photographer. Haven't had time to develop the full post yet. But it's coming!  

Monday, June 8, 2009

10 Things to do this summer in SoCal

1 Go watch the Wedge break As nice a freak as you will every want to meet. Try to pick a day when there is sufficient swell to make it interesting. DON'T go out

2 Go surf Malibu As close as Holy ground as California can offer. Expect it to be extremely crowded and for the local crew to not hoot you into waves. It's a pilgrimage ever surfer should make. Good luck finding a place to park and making it out alive.

3 Take a long board and go to SanO Bring your longest board. Bring lunch and stay to watch the sun set. Another one of those places everyone should travel to. Try to check out the mellow family vibe and bring that back to your beach.

4 Load your family and just about everything you own and take it to the beach for the day Cooler cooker a tent and all your gear including the kitchen sink. It helps if you have a trailer for this one to tow behind the RV. You will probably really like this one if you think “roughing it” is when room service doesn't answer by the third ring. (Not sure what the allure is for this one but can hundreds of thousand of southern Californians be wrong)

5 Take just your trunks and a smile and spend the day at the beach ok better bring sun screen maybe a towel. This minimalist approach is best if you really got a kick out of number 4 above.

6 If the circus comes to town (pro surf contest) stop by and check it out.

7 Ride something different! If you ride a board grab some fins If you body board grab a log If you log try a hand plane

8 Go Fish! Fishing off the public piers doesn't require a fishing license. A great way to spend the day with your kids or your parents. If you catch anything, throw it back, especially if it has three eyes. Instead opt for the pier burger, eaten outdoors on a nice day they are delicious!

9 Teach someone to surf. No don't. If you do you have to quit yourself. We are are aiming for zero surfer population growth (ZSPG).

10 Take some wood to the beach and have a bonfire. In a pit please and throw your trash away in the cans. The kids will love it.

11 Pick up some trash when you go to the beach, Every time! Thank you!

12 Yea I know I said ten things and we are up to 12 already. If you got this far you must have noticed I can't spell but you thought I could count? Number 12 is get a clue and don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

13 Go see a surf movie, preferably one shot on film and shown outdoors if at all possible. A surf film festival would be even better. They are around especially in the summer months. Shelter is showing a movie on June 27th. Patagonia Cardiff has some. Always a good time.
I could wax longingly about the old Surf Theatre in HB. Saw everything there in the 60's and 70's.

14 Find and old board in a trash can (or a garage sale) ride it a couple of times to figure out exactly why it doesn't work. Then strip the old glass off and reshape it into something interesting. Two things if it is long enough. I will probably post part two of this post. It's been fun. Let me know what you are doing this summer! Gotta go make pizza dough for dinner now

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Leashes killed surfing

Image: © Andrew Sarnecki/Brand X/Corbis

Somewhere in my past I have uttered this phrase.

On the surface it's hyperbole, something that is said to get attention or make some other usually obvious point.

Looks good as a bumper sticker.

Yesterday, I paddled out on a board, with leash attached and my friend mentioned that I had made the statement previously and so I was forced to think about what it is I was trying to express at the time.

All without the benefits of coffee mind you.

So I stammered something unintelligible, further cementing my reputation as a babbling old fool whilst making a case for the immediate elimination of all blogs whose owners can't pass some sort of basic cognition testing.

So now with a little time to reflect and a good strong cup of tea, let me begin.


No one thing can kill surfing, let's get that over with right away.

But the widespread use of leashes changed our collective approach to surfing in such a basic way that it deserves some thought and discussion.

Not that the all changes were bad.

Surf spots are ridden today that, do to shoreline or approach conditions, would be out of the question previously.

There is a very real safety benefit too.

A loose long board in the soup can do enough damage to visiting tourists that the local city fathers might want to reconstitute the black ball.

And no one wants that!

What saddens me is that with the advent of the leash whole generations of surfers learned to surf without learning to body surf. No time spent in the water without their boards at hand. The time spent swimming and body surfing in to retrieve your board gave you time to analyze your mistakes and did a fair amount for your overall conditioning as well. By the time you developed average surfing ability you were a better than average swimmer and had some knowledge of the local ocean. The time in the water also gave you a quick education in the motion of side shore currents, riptides and may have introduced you to a cute little sea creature we like to call the jelly fish.

Beautiful aren't they!

Perhaps one of the most troubling effects of widespread leash use is on the crowd factor.

Let say you have a group of 30 surfers surfing a lone beach break peak.
(I live in SoCal so this is entirely in the realm of possibility)
In the pre-leash days, you might have 10 surfers sitting and waiting for the next wave, 5 surfing, 5 paddling back out and 10 beginners swimming in after their boards.

Since the leash, you have still have 5 surfing and 5 paddling back out but now there is 20 people waiting for the next wave.

And half of them are kooks!

If you are talking about the summer months and live in Huntington Beach just add a zero to all the numbers and you have some idea of why I like the fall.

But that said, leashes are here to stay.

I even use one at the local sandy beach break, on occasion.

Photo courtesy of some paparazzi

But if you could stop ditching your board right in front of me just cause you get you board back right way I would appreciate it ;)

Monday, June 1, 2009

June Gloom - Three Views

For anyone not familiar with the Southern California phenomena.

A representative shot pinched from Flicker

Note the complete lack of surf and the coastal fog actually clearing up momentarily.
No idea where this is, could be anywhere, looks like everywhere

Something Scientific (along with a description)

The sun-seeking know to avoid southern California beaches in the late spring. A period known to the locals as May Gray and/or June Gloom often darkens the coastal skies of sunny southern California with a layer of marine stratus. During this time, the coastal clouds may remain all day but often give way to some hazy afternoon sunshine. The number of days during this two month period that are gloomy vary from year to year. Cooler ocean temperatures (La Nina conditions) usually foretell a gloomier period.

One for the art lovers

June Gloom in April courtesy of Stephen Scheffler

Funny no one mentioned the south wind that usually blows out any swell we may get.

Did the Beach Boys ever do a song to go with this?

Didn't think so!