/*23 Breaths: June 2010*/

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quicksilver Messenger Service

Before the rag biz they had a band

no really

well maybe not..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things you need this summer

This may be somewhat different from what you might expect but if you stay on the bus we will arrive at our destination safely.

If you are a Dr. Who fan you will, of course recognize this as a Dalek!
No that's not right but the resemblance is remarkable. A real Dalek below for your comparison.

The object in the top photo is a compost barrel.

You put your various garden "scraps" in the barrel and they turn into beautiful mulch.
No need to buy plastic trash bags to fill and no need to bury more trash in some land fill.

Is it really that easy Prana?

Yes it's really that easy.

(BTW that alien being in the right of the photo is my trusty gardening assistant Ambie. Nothing happens in the garden without her supervision and approval, just so you know)

Not all compost bins resemble Daleks so if the shock of coming around the corner and seeing space invaders in your garden is entirely too off putting simply get one in another configuration.

Next on the list of must haves is the following

The tool above is my beloved Felco #2.  
Sonnets have been written about this garden tool, and for good reason. There is nothing quite so satisfying as using a quality hand tool. You may only need one in a life time so get a Felco and not one of the imitations!

(BTW I don't actually garden at night like this photo suggests. Although it would explain the look of the shrubbery after a good pruning) 

So at this time of year these two item will see a lot of action so I won't add anything more to the list right now.

Surf Report (without having looked) Heavy marine layer, south wind, waining SE swell, low tide.
Looked about the internet for a picture of cold blown out surf and couldn't find one that quite fit the bill.

Here is what it doesn't look like

Monday, June 28, 2010

Le Tour de France

I have been following the tour or Le Tour or even The Tour "day" France for a number of years now

The tour, if you don't already know, is a bike race around France
(and the odd other country in the EU) for the better part of the month of July

Everyday (yea I know not quite)
they get up, eat 10000 calories,
get on the bike and ride a hundred plus miles

On a good day, the course is only hilly

on the "bad days" you get to climb an Alp
or two
or three

It's arguable to call any of the days on the tour "good days" really.

There are a couple of "rest days" during the tour when there is no racing
but the riders have so much lactic acid in there muscles they have to ride some on those days too.

Or risk, what I can only surmise would be the rider spontaneously combusting in their hotel room.

The race has one winner, the rider with the lowest total elapsed time for the day races
but it is really a team sport, trust me.
(didn't make any sense to me either until I followed alone for a few years)
but their are hotly contested winners for :

King of the Mountains - Red Polka Dot Jersey
Kind of odd but the riders that do well in the mountains usually don't sprint well
probably has to do with the amount of fast twitch vs slow twitch muscle fiber etc

Fastest Sprinter - Green Jersey
The symmetrical corollary to the rule above but the riders that sprint well don't do as well in the mountains

Best Young Rider - White Jersey
Did I mention that the CPA has proposed a minimum salary of  $76,160 for pro cyclist? Thats over 50000 euros if you are keeping track that way. So being the Best Young Rider in a big race like the tour would up that amount quite a bit. Contracts for the rest of the Peloton vary greatly but its not a bad gig over all. Not the NBA but what is?  I wonder how many mats you could buy for 76,100?

The teams themselves while representing a national corporation or two employ an international mix of riders.
So you can't really get too whooped up along national lines
Which makes it a nice cool down from the current World Cup.
Did I mention that there aren't really any referees in cycling?
Not really, there are Tour Officials but they tend to go in for drug busts and leave the competition to the riders,
which is nice

This year there is a grudge match between an older yet wiser rider and the latest in a series of young, gifted riders that can ride like the wind up hill and down but haven't grasped the one inviolable rule in cycling.


So there you have it, as nice an overview and preview as you will find in any newspaper.

Since June gloom may very well last thru to August
I have my month pretty well planned out

High carbohydrate dinners followed by liberal doses of the local red

There is a nice balance to it

I sit on the couch watching high lights on TV

They participate in the most grueling epic in all of sport

If you want to find out more, check here

Sunday, June 27, 2010

On Any Sunday

If you haven't seen it, On Any Sunday is another masterpiece by Bruce Brown.

This time Bruce turns his lens, his considerable story telling skills and his sense of humor to several of the many facets of motorcycling.

A guaranteed hit with the whole family even those who may not eat spokes and gears for breakfast

Here is another clip. In OAS you get a glimpse of trails champion Malcolm Smith. His edge and weight control, the effortless use of subtle motion makes me wonder how he would do on a mat.

Fun for the whole family!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Surf Check

Photo by Steve Conti

Coming to a full and complete stop
I start to rummage thru my dashboard
Looking for
I need to clean this car out someday

My hands foraging thru the flotsam and jetsam like a rodent on patrol
A faded old map folded into a post apocalyptic Origami animal of some kind
Some empty matchbooks, bits of twine, tin foil, a minor collection of sand toys
The cool sea shell (is that tar on it?)
The bumper sticker I never attached
McGovern in ’72?
I really need to clean this car out

Some crinkling sounds coming from the
Fast food wrappers
Did that just move?
Some pristine McDonald’s fries
I haven’t eaten there in ten years
How do they do that?


My state park pass!

Good morning Mr. Ranger Lady Sir
It’s time to check the surf
Now where is my coffee?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Endless Bummer

Waiting for the summer to start
watching morning winds
small local wind swell
feeling parched
something to help pass the time

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Omnem dimittite spem, o vos intrantes

FLASH! - This just in from the Long Beach Press Telegram

LONG BEACH - The City Council approved funding an extensive four-year breakwater feasibility study Tuesday night, moving the city a step closer to a possible reconfiguration of the rock seawall.

Read more here about plans to allow surf back into Long Beach!

I have been stopping by the Frog House in Newport Beach as far back as I remember
(ok that's not too far but TK has had the shop open for decades)

And every so often they repaint the mural on the parking lot side of the wall.
(another in a series of post apocalyptic surf themes)

I like the Frog House because it's a real surf shop.
Not a sport action retailer with a few boards as props.

There is a vast collection of new and used boards.
A used fin barrel to replace a lost flipper
and a rack of  kneeboards!
How many shops have a rack of kneeboards?

Of course you can get a bar of wax, trunks, tee shirts, wetsuits and all the usual stuff as well.

The Frog Shop may be the only real surf shop left in the surfing epicenter that is the Huntington / Newport Beach / Costa Mesa areas. (There are a few others, to be fair) Which is really sad in that surf shops used to have incredible local characters.  Today surf shops are clothing stores that specialize in the "southern-california-active-sports-life-style" and are staffed by smiling clones that while very competent in the "rag trade" have never ridden a board that didn't have three fins and don't own a pair of swim fins. OK official end of rant.

Warning, depending on the mood of the staff, the time honored practice of grom abuse is still  practiced at the Frog Shop, said practice may also be extended to tourists, regular customers and passers by as well.  

Abandon hope all ye who enter here

(but don't miss it)

PS Sorry quick post today.  Rumored to be a SE swell and I have to hurry down to the secret spot!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

lo-tech* hi-JOY - Dolphin Surfing

As a was taking my morning constitutional, surfing thru the internet

I came across a great new blog

lo-tech* hi-JOY  is centered around handplanes, surfmats and alaia's.

That's always good stuff so check 'em out!

While perusing  lt*hj I came across the snap at the top of the post.

The photo by Tim McKenna is from his website Dolphin Surfing

I really love this perspective in a body surf shot.

I should mention that he sells these shots along with others thru his website.

Make sure you stop to read the piece by Jack McCoy on the Dolphin Surfing page.

His body of work is really amazing!

(PS Hyper links are the crack cocaine of the internet.  I really need to get to work getting to work)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice!

Just back inside the house after dancing naked around the backyard
welcoming the sun!

Forgive the quick post but now I'm of to check the surf 

The sunflowers are starting to open!

The local papers promise 64-67 degree water temps
But they are know to lie like a rug and given the pre-dawn breeze I think the full rubber may still be in order

Either way
Enjoy the Day
Happy Summer Solstice!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Best Fathers Anywhere

Another Hallmark Holiday
That said I gave my dad a case of Coors last week and he seemed pleased
Carry on

Oh and great movie by the way, see it with your kids

Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Wide Mat Tour


An over 50 Association of Mat Surfing Professionals (O50AMSP)

With major sponsorship by AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)

The mat tour would travel the world surfing all the major waves.

Additional sponsorship from,
Aspercreme (who come up with a water resistant version just for matters),
Rogain (a sunburn on top of your head is so painful!),
Sloan's Liniment (for all those trips paddling back out to the point),
Viagra (cause there will be mat groupies won't there?)

Even more minor sponsorships by,
Beano (anti gas pills and using gas assist during a heat is illegal),
Maalox (for that queasy feeling in your stomach before a heat or any time really),
Denture Adhesive manufacturer (if you have ever lost a set at sea they can be expensive to replace),
there is even rumors of an adult diaper manufacturer tossing around money,
and of course
QuickSilver Silver Edition.

Contests would start around noon because no one can get up early enough to make a 7 am heat and everything has to be finished by 3pm so we can all make the 4pm "Early Bird Special" at the local all you can eat buffet.

Tales of after hours parties and revelry would have to be pure fiction written by any surviving members of the San Clemente Mafia.

I don't think so
No commercial potential

On the other hand,
If it does work out
I reserve the rights
to start "Mat Surfer"
then sell the mag to a Big Media Conglomerate
and move to Maui.

Friday, June 18, 2010


GG surfing at an advanced level

"The funny thing about mats is that they're the easiest thing to surf
on a basic level, but they're the hardest thing to surf on an advanced
level. It takes 10 years of experience before you can drive them
anywhere near their potential..."  George Greenough

Two points I would like to make regarding the statement above by Mr. Greenough

First, It's super fun the whole time! 

Second, I am so stoked to look forward to the future. Not only in my own mat riding which no doubt has a ways to go but in the groundswell of mat riders I am beginning to see form "outside".

Matting may have always been the "fly fishing of surfing". Surfers would see it and while a few would jump right in, most would pass and stay on the standard craft of the day. 

I think more media exposure is going to change all that. You may start seeing people at the beach riding mats that you don't even know! 

We need to look at the development of board surfing as a model of one way to manage the growth of the sport.  

We can welcome new comers and share the joy in the ocean experience. We can honor the mat riders and the mat makers of the past while encouraging innovation in the present


we can have sportswear companies tell us that the most important thing it that we all ride the same mat as their sponsored pro rides at Teahupoo while wearing the latest in mat surfing fashions. 

My point being that if we stick close to the experience we can grow and change without mat riding being exploited as just another profitable niche market.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Total Involvement surfing

I was discussing mats with a friend and mentioned that for me the best times with the mat were those times,

 "At lower inflations it makes the jump from mat riding to bodysurfing tool. That is you stop riding the mat and start riding the wave with the mat acting as a unobtrusive interface."

Dale came up with a photo that, I think captures that moment perfectly. True this guy is body surfing and not mat riding.

Using his inside "rail" as well as his hands and fins for precise control of his line as well as the focus down the wave.

This is what I shoot for on every wave no matter what surf craft is in the mix that day.

In the mid sixties, surfers wanted more from the long boards that they were riding.

The size dropped, the fins changed and there was a revolution in surfboards.
Photo by Tom Threinen

Back then they called the shift to the new surfing "Total Involvement Surfing" as the new boards let them be more involved with the wave and less involved with the board.

Fortunately, some people with the same goals of more freedom, took one step back (to body surfing) and one step to the side (surf mats) to reach the goal.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sea of Darkness

This gritty documentary tells the compelling story of early surf explorer Mike Boyum and the tangled web of drug trafficking and hair-raising adventure that characterised his travels.

Directed by Mike Oblowitz, Sea of Darkness has already taken out the New York Surf Film Festival and has been wowing audiences around the world. It also recently screened at X-Dance, as part of the Sundance Film Festival.

Boyum has been a shadowy legend of surfing folklore for years but Sea of Darkness uncovers his intriguing story in vivid detail. From the early days of pioneering the famed wave of Grajagan in Indonesia, Boyum’s tale grows ever darker and more twisted. The central theme is the extreme lengths Boyum and others went to in order to fund their surfing lifestyles. At the core of the film is the fork in the road many surfers of this generation arrived at - whether to go down the dark road of drugs and crime to support their travels, or whether to go into legitimate businesses.

"Sea of Darkness" has won the Best Feature Film Award at the inaugural Yallingup Surfilm Festival

Here is another trailer, slightly longer

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Best Surf Car - Who you gonna call?

It's time for another round of "What's the best surf car!"

Some of you may think that in these times, a 1959 Cadillac may not be the best option.

Given the current state of the environment and that petrol based transportation may soon be on the decline.

That's precisely why this thing is going to makes a perfect base of operations!

Show up at the beach with siren and lights flashing,
and just park it for the summer.

You and a ton of your close personal friends can live in the back,
with plenty of room for long boards, short board, SUP's, kayaks, body boards and anything else you might require.

Mats would get lost in the cavernous interior of ECTO1 so take special care where you stash them.

Also remember to bring your bike for any short trips you may want to take as this beauty in not on the Sierra Clubs list of cars getting a decent MPG rating.

While this is not the most off road worthy car you can still take over any of the more urban surf centers the coast has to offer.
The Ghostbuster proton packs are sure to mellow out the most wild locals.

I would suggest using one to torch the lifeguard tower soon after arriving at the beach.

That will resolve any issues with the county about that silly law against riding mats at Malibu!

Make up a story about the ghosts haunting the tower and you will be sure to get an invitation to some of the more interesting New Age parties at the Colony that season.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Bedtime Story

The following story was published as "A Bedtime Story" on Dale's website a few years back.

It`s nearing dusk, and you're airborn on takeoff, drifting down the
face of a newly discovered secret wave. As your craft finally touches
the surface and begins to find its line, you roll into a long, smooth
fade to the left, toward the strange, angled base of this thickening
maul. At the outer edge of your vision you see the peak thrusting
itself skyward. As the shadow of the lip passes overhead, you quickly
straighten and aim deep for the bottom. 

There is silence in the moment before impact, and then heavy thunder
lands close to your left. But looking away, your focus is on the oddly
swirling water just ahead. The surface pulls tight, pouring off the
rock shelf to meet the incoming wave. At the last possible second you
twist completely over on the inside rail, banking so far to the right
that you can`t see much of anything, straining to raise your head as a
great unseen force drives you firmly into the deck, and the tightening
arc of your turn throws you over the watery glaze of the reef and back
up across the face.

Your grip relaxes as you level out, skimming across the vertical upper
third of the inward-bending wall. Far ahead, the inside bowl rises
ominously, stretching out, the wave growing larger and thicker than it
was when you first caught it. 

Now is the time to let go, pressing down, unwinding at full power, the
soft chattering of your craft changes to a whispering hiss, as you
strain into the highest possible line. As your velocity increases you
wonder if this is what a seabird might feel as it soars across a wave
sensing invisible pathways to maximum speed.

Fast approaching the inside section, turbid boils and broken kelp hint
the end is near. Without prompting, your vehicle accelerates,
descending toward the surging base, falling deeper into the coiling
hole. Lightly textured backlit bluegreen hues become dark oily slick
and the water feels hard. 

As if trapped in a slow motion dream, you watch the massive roof of
the tube heave itself outward and far ahead. Racing higher again you
flatten, leaning closer to the uprushing wall. Surprised and amazed
by the mysterious pull of the building momentum your grip tightens
instinctively. You`ve never ridden anything, anywhere this fast. 

Streaking toward your wave's last escape portal time finally slows to
a single moment. And just before the opening winks shut you look back
at your spiralling, shimmering track, swallowed up by the swirling
darkness, and surrender to the unnerving suspicion that this mat of
yours is somehow... surfing itself!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another dreary day

I sit staring out the window watching the clouds and drizzle
Painting by Jason E. McPhillips
This local weather pattern is so common it has a name

June Gloom

Low clouds that can hang around the beach all day

South winds that blow all night and thru the morning hours

occasionally working themselves into huff that clears the clouds by mid afternoon

Nothing for me to do but make another pot of Yerba Mate
wait for the sun to come out

and dream about summer
"Remembering How" by Peter Max

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Super Secret Spy Edition

As many of you know I use the enormous money I make on this blog to fund an international tiger team of espionage professionals to bring you the latest in the cloak and dagger world of surf mat development.

Late last night I received the following encoded message from one of my operatives. 

I am still working on decoding the text that came with the pictures...

Next up is a picture taken by the 23B spy plane

To give you a sense of scale, the perfect little left pealing off just beyond the mat is a solid 8 to 10 feet.

Which would make this mat roughly the size of a cruise ship

This photo gives us our first peek at the "hydrophobic non skid Shark Skin" developed for use in the Krypt MT5 mats.

This is the type of classified information you get when you spend untold millions of dollars on the very best in espionage technology as we do here at 23B.

Or you could just do a Google search and check the Krypt Surf website

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Interesting Bits

Normally I put links to interesting bits I have found on the net at the end of the post

I fear that you might just disappear into the ether(net) and never return

But the surfmat video over at Surfmatters this morning is fantastic!

After starting off with a local threatening the camera with a rock

(If you don't live here DON'T SURF HERE)

The video continues on to show Mr. Dirk putting on a clinic of high line driving and fine edge control at an unnamed right point.

A jazzy sound track too!

This is one I'll spend hours watching in slow mo, trying appreciate each little subtly.

(Just kidding about the threatening local, the young man is just sharing a treasured beach find)
(I read too many surfing magazines)

So that said on with today's regularly scheduled post.

The surf session you plan for is sometimes not the surf session you have

The current surf conditions include side shore winds, fog, and a variety of swells with and increasing tide for most of the morning hours.

But as hope springs eternal I ventured out in hopes of catching a wave or two before spending the rest of the day searching for employment here in Orange County.

After giving the local twenty miles a good thorough look, I ended up surfing the first place I had checked earlier.  Apparently I will never learn.

My concern with the mornings intersection of wind swell and tide was that while a rather interesting peak would form and pitch out for a few yards, the rest of the ride was sort of thick and mushy. If I wanted thick and mushy I would just spend more time contemplating my midsection. I have ridden this type of surf before and I spend all my time trying to get in just the right position for that first pitch. The problem being that along with the lip, I end up getting pitched more often as not.  Lucky for me I had brought my big UDT fins along with my hand platter.  I have decided to call it a hand platter because it's twice the size of and average hand plane.  The larger size (13 X 20) let me position myself at that point where the peak would pitch and barrel for those sweet few yards.

No pictures of the day but the view was excellent! Not unlike this.

There are times I could really use a GoPro Cam

But as with many things, the piper must be paid.

I ended up tweaking my back.

So it light yoga and green tea for me today.

But it was so worth it!

Now back to the job boards

Monday, June 7, 2010

The future of surfing mats

Scott Kurth on his Neumatic at Matland. Photo by Ken McKnight

For some reason I have been pondering this lately

Lots of changes going on,

Paul has his new Fourth Gear Tracker Roundtail

Dale is always cooking up something new

Still waiting to see how Mark's new mats turn out.

But I wonder,

are we still at the very beginning of the Golden Age of Matting

or well along the path at this point?

I suppose it doesn't matter.

But still,

What will mat riding be like in 50 years?

A platform for commercial advantage?

A springboard to evolutionary advancement?

Or just super fun to ride?

I guess we'll have to wait to see.

PS There is some new mat footage from Musica Surfica over at Cabinessence RORER 714

PPS The young lady in the photo above is my hero.
Every go out, my goal is to have this much fun.
On the good days I do.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

You say you want a revolution

It's great to surf a craft that is still evolving day by day.

Paul Gross has a new mat design called the Tracker Round Tail.

Check out Surfmatters for the whole scoop.

The Surfers Journal has done a post on the story and design work for the new mat as well here.

Could mats become (gulp) popular?

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's Oil Tanker Friday!

Thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday's "Which one would you choose" post.

If you merely played along with the home game that's OK too.

I'll do some more of those later.

Some waves,

Some boards

maybe even some,

given these two bums,

which one would you give a quarter to?

(You know I'm slipping my picture in on that one!)

In other news,

The Surfing Heritage Foundation is having an opening reception tonight at their museum and gift store in South Coast Plaza! Check the link for the full skinny.

Tonights show, entitled "Surf and Sculls"  features the work of Shawn Griggs

Before we get too far with this the photo above and below is comedian Bill Bailey

Although the resemblance is uncanny!

He one of the stars of my new favorite comedy "Blacks Books".
It's a British show and it absolutely brilliant!

No word, as yet, as to Mr. Bailey's mat inflation preference.