/*23 Breaths: October 2011*/

Monday, October 31, 2011

Locals Only - If You Don't Live Here Don't Surf Here

I read a lot of stories about 
locals and localism

I consider myself a local
of several spots really
but more than just surf spots
as much as
the small strip of coast where
I grew up
and still reside

I like to think of a local is someone who works to develop, 
over a period of time,
some personal sense of place of an area

With some knowledge of the history of a place.
A feeling for the geology of a place
how it is moving in geolocial time

In terms of the meeting of land and ocean
an how that interface changing
Since it is always in flux
always moving
there is quite a bit to take in

Then there is knowledge of the 
flora and fauna of a place,
as well as
things like climate.
Are we in a drought this year?
Last year?

Explictly important to surfing and surfers
but equally important to fisherman, boaters etc
What swells reach the coast? What directions do they come from
Where are the swells born and what seasons produce which swells.
Oh and how is the wind that time of year?

So a more than passing knowledge of
the characteristics of a place

not just where the locals park
(although thats good too)

not just a drinking relationship
with the current pack of
supposedly Alpha males

should characterize
a true local

but that's just me

I hope the next thing
I read about locals
is that they organized

a local
"Clean up the Beach" day


from drowning
by paying attention
to some visiting non-locals
an by using their "local knowledge"
to identify a dangerous situation
and safely extracted a visitor from harms way.

As to behavior in the water
try to keep in mind
that no one owns the waves
not even the locals
and that everyone out
is there
for the same thing you are
so share

When you develop
a sense of place
you can appreciate
the beach
the water
the day
as much as the waves 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yes officer that is the weed that did it!

The one just to the right of the shovel

So I decided that in order to do some more fall planting I needed to do little weeding.

I was almost done,

done being a relative term as one is never really  "done" in the garden,

when something started screaming in my lower back.

The scene of the crime

I crawled into the house and I started following the usually protocols.

I'm not sure which is more irritating,

hurting my back or

having done it so many times

that I know what to do when I have done so


Yes my little pet you must endure confinement for a few more weeks 

So while my ice pack and my heating pad duel for BFF status I am out of the water.

Which for the rest of you sea creatures means that a great swell and good conditions is eminent

On the plus side I have that walk like a zombie shuffle down cold!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Frost on the Pumpkin

Mid fifties at night mid seventies during the day with a little swell but you need to catch it before the tide comes in.


I've seen this video everywhere on the net.

Well everywhere but here, so here it is.

Good Stuff

Get to the Beach! from ***** on Vimeo.

A short film by Alex Kopps for the Bodysurf Classic to be held at Ocean Beach on November 5th, 2011.

I especially like the left hand drag on the wave face.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Riding a mat

Photo by Ken Samuels

Riding a mat is not like riding anything else,
but at times it's like riding everything else.

It's not like a body board.
Yes, you have fins. Yes, you are treated like a lower life form for no good reason. But there is a whole lot more going on with a mat that isn't with a body board. You do reshape the body board as you ride but not nearly to the extent as you do on a mat.

Mattitude off the top at speed, while reshaping the mat and getting ready for the next section
photo by Ken Samuels

It's not like a short board.
First there is no ER or ING so there is no mass marketing machine telling you how cool you are if you have the right tee shirt and surf the right way. But seriously, when you are riding a mat you are surfing the wave in a more intimate way than you could possibly do when riding a fixed fin hard board. You can't really say you reshape your short board on the fly to fit the ever changing wave face, can you. The "moves" are a lot more subtle and aren't really maneuvers at all but optimizations to fit the context of the wave at the moment.

It's not like a long board.
Well maybe it is more like a long board. Position surfing, working with the wave, an emphasis on trimming and finding those spots on the face that provide bursts of speed. And the tube riding, eh well then again, maybe it's not like a long board.

Sideways thru the end of the outside waiting for the inside section to set up
Photo by Jason of Daily Bread
It's "like jet-propelled bodysurfing".
This is right from the horses mouth. Some people say that a mat is a good thing to ride when it's big and bumpy. And it is a good thing to ride when it's big and bumpy. But it is even better when it is dredging and pitching. Don't take my word for it. Go look and any of the George Greenough's tube shots. Most were done while he was riding a mat. There is a feeling of connectedness with the wave that really helps when you are trying to sit in the tube. You can see the wave changing ahead of you and you can feel it, thru the mat, underneath you.

Photo by Harold Ward 
(He's that dot in the channel remotely activating the camera on George's back. He has his hands full) 

I have kept you a long time but here is one more comparison.

I surf in one of the more crowded areas of Southern California. But I surf alone. I surf it like it a early 60's longboard, lots of soul but maybe not that exciting to watch. But I am having a blast! As much fun as those first days as a super stoked grimmie in the shore break at Huntington. I hope to, someday, be a part of the mat revolution. Faster, more turns, more "total involvement". But right now it's like the 1950's or early sixties and I don't see another mat rider for miles and if I saw someone with a mat I would pull my car over and chat because I either know them or I share something very important with them.

So my final comparison is that mat riding is a lot like surfing used to be, a simple, joyful pleasure shared amongst friends.

Chiledub, Tom, some kook and Ken Dog. Post session conference

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Americans listen up!

It seems that the 1% have been reading the US Constitution and have come up with a few changes that they feel would be better for them.

Like where in says in the First Amendment

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."


Ok, so there is no law against free assembly

The work around is that when the people exercise their right to free assembly they can expect the local police to attempt to disperse the crowd around midnight with tear gas and "projectiles".

"Exxon Mobil posts quarterly profit of $10.3 billion, a 41% increase from a year earlier, on higher oil and gas prices." (source CNN)  and still doesn't pay any income tax.

People say that the Occupy movement is just a bunch of kids that don't want a job and are just lounging around.  That there is no clear message from the protesters.

I  would like a government that represents the people and not just the corporations.

You might say that corporations are people too (the dumbest thing I've ever heard btw and just a dodge to get around campaign contribution laws) and should be able to go out and sell a product and make a profit.

OK, fair enough, but I want to go out and sell my time and make a profit too so why don't they pay income tax an I have too?

Why do the people pay their share to educate the population, pay for roads and police all the services.

The corporations take advantage of an educated workforce, manipulate the government, ship jobs overseas, get enormous tax breaks (enough to shelter  10.3 billion a quarter), get bailed out if their profit plan bankrupts their market segment all while the rest of us working people pay the tab.

Why are we bleeding the national treasury dry with multiple foreign wars?

Sometimes it comes to a point where you just can't turn away from the things you see happening.

What is that old saying?

"The more things change the more they stay the same"

This isn't over and I don't see it ending well.

I'll be back tomorrow with more surf related drivel.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The purpose of any avant garde movement is to change the way of seeing or participating in an act so that any preexisting barriers between the act and the participates/observers are broken down.

More simply, to remove barriers that keep observers from being included in the act itself.

Stay with me on this...

People started riding waves doing what we now call body surfing.

Stand up surfing, generally on longer boards, created a barrier of space because you were no longer "in the wave". In many ways surfers were just observers. Not that observing a wave is bad in some way. I spend more time "mind surfing" waves than really surfing them.

After decades of riding long boards there was a revolution of materials and thinking that led to the modern short board and the surfing associated with it.

Although the short board revolution aimed for total involvement, in the end it fell short and todays hottest surfing maneuvers uses the wave merely as a ramp. (Amusingly enough this is called "getting air", something mat riders already have)

Obviously all surfing has merit regardless of device but I think surfing on a mat strives to remove the boundary between what was wave and surfer/rider/observer and allows a more direct connection to the wave.

While we are talking about waves this may be a good time to point out that the waves we ride are only to a small degree moving water. Waves are really energy in wave form that storm winds transferred to the water. We ride them at their terminal end when they break on the shore but the same waves can be ridden out to sea as unbroken swells.

Something to think about the next time you ride an energy wave with your under-inflated air cushion.

Feel the energy, be the wave, you are the avant garde!

ONEMATWAVE from Vyusher La Kali on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A slow meander to the beach

I normally surf in the mornings
after the stillness of a watched breath
the stillness of the new day unfolds
slight off shores
the dawn reveals nuggets of peaky goodness

But the Fall,
she has other ideas
foggy mornings
side shore winds
ridiculously fat morning tides

Fall suggests I change my tact
maybe a slow meander to the beach
arriving around the crack of noon

The tide is out
and the air temp
has risen to a respectable level

Light winds
have replaced
morning glass
with a slight texture

Too bad it's still flat!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tom Waits' Private Listening Party - Bad as Me

I have been listening to Tom Waits' for years, no make that decades and this gift with music is intertwined with his ear for language.

The between song batter with the audience is a performance piece all it's own and serves to tie the songs, their stories and Waits' performance character together in a complete package.

In recent years he has discovered the internets, and his video work on these album (did I just say album?) teasers are first rate.

Tom Wait's - Bad as Me is out today

If I had an IPod this would be on it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Turbo Time II

Some of you may have seen this before but it's good stuff and worth another look.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

CH or HW at the SHF on SAT!

So if other obligations keep you from seeing Come Hell or High Water at any of the previous shows you still have another chance tonight at the Surfing Heritage Foundation in San Clemente at 7pm.

Definitely worth seeing, when you add the handplace exhibit, the art and the Surfing Heritage Foundation collection, you can't miss it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall in the Garden

Seeds planted last Sunday are already starting to appear!


This is what I'm after.
All Winter and most of the summer, my wife and I dine on home grown Swiss Chard.

The last batch lasted almost a year and when it was finally finished it went off in a big way.

Like green and red fireworks
 that go slow enough
 to get a good look at

The Chard stocks were almost as tall as the giant Sunflowers when they reached their full height.

For now I can only wait and be stoked this stuff grows like weeds in the backyard

Mat Meet Update -

The surf is looking pretty small over the weekend for a mat meet so it is on hold until we have some more swell.

There has been a bunch of San Diego Matters getting meeting up on the Facebook group "In George we Trust".

I think regional chapters are forming (or have formed, I am usually out of the loop on these things) but the point I wanted to make is that if you would like a note here on 23B to notify people that you "will meet at the Denny's parking lot at 6am" before heading off to terrorize the local spot, let me know.  I'm glad to help out. If I can make it I might be in the parking lot too.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

You were flying on that last wave! Really

How many times have you said that to your mat buddies?

Check out this video sent to me by Mattitude

Jeb Corliss wing-suit demo from Jeb Corliss on Vimeo.

Around 1:14 in the video there are shots from the bottom of the craft.

Looks just like a mat!


I don't want to encourage anyone to jump off Mt Everest on their surf mat,

but if you do

send pictures!

Way out of time this morning and so yes I have "reposted".
This stuff still blows my mind though.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Earl Grey Flyers

It seems that a new mat is available on the world marketplace.

Combining the Paul's Blue Streak 4GF and Cornwall's favorite son Grayman's "S-FAHT Stippleback  system"

Details here and here

Unconfirmed at this time but the S-FAHT Stippleback system is believed to be a product of Gman's collaboration with buccas, knockers and piskies.

23B will have a complete report as soon as I can figure out how to convert dollars to pounds.

I also need to decide between the Standard and the Fatty as both are available as Blue Streaks.


One more thing,

Matt Beard is only going to be in town for another week. He still has some fine original work for sale.

Why no one has snagged this beautiful  piece of the north side for their Huntington town home I don't know.
The outside working on what could only be a combo swell and that right on the inside sandbar going off as well. This should be the official Huntington Beach painting!

Check out more of his work

You can see his work in person when you are at the Come Hell or High Water screening at the Surfing Heritage Foundation this weekend. You are going aren't you?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mat Meet and Fall Swell Review

Some of us in the United States Matting Federation or USMF if you prefer have expressed interest in another mat meet.

Well not really, Surf Sister demanded one over on Facebook. But be that as it may, I have no objections in principle to gathering together for some communal wave sliding.

We are now in the fall of the year here in SoCal a season that can be many things for many people. I can be the best of times and it can be the worst of times

Blah blah blah blah

So if we have all recovered from my literature brain freeze I will continue, so here is the deal,  fall can be great with both northern and southern hemispheres churning out swell, which if fortune smiles upon us can lead to crossed up perfection.

It can also mean that we are stuck in the doldrums for weeks where neither hemi does anything interesting but just sits and sloshes about.

So here is the mornings sat gifs. I always go with the ones with the pretty colors although I have no idea what they mean having lettered in the droll science instead of something practical like meteorology.

While it doesn't look particularly bad or anything maybe some wind swell over the next couple of days, the swell of the decade isn't going to happen in the next few days. At least one coming from a NW direction. After that maybe, there may be something on the horizon (in this case both a literal and figurative reference) if that reddish hue on the edge of our globe goes medieval the event could be on!

The northern hemi being covered, more like cloaked in uncertainty lets move on. So then you have the southerlies, we enjoy two variants, local south swells generated by hurricanes off Mexico and  the thunder from down under, massive storms that travel huge distances to delight us here in the US.

Local - too soon to tell, while "tropical cyclone activity in not expected in the next 48 hours" I do like the looks of those dark spots on the weather graph. They look like claw marks and that has to be good, werewolves and zombies being so the rage this season.

I am notoriously bad at doing any sort of predictions so please don't book your travel arrangements to Mexico and then blame me when the only waves you find are the ones in the pool when that drunk gringo fell in.

So moving on.

If you live on the west coast of  South America you have already have waxed up your big wave boards.

We may get some of this depending on what this blob was doing during the last 48 hours when I wasn't paying attention, preferring instead to spend time composing bad poetry and blowing on dandy lions in the vast rich meadows and forests which surround my palatial estate.

So if you have read down this far you will be expecting some sort of summation, a few words of wisdom to but things into perspective, perhaps some signs to watch out for in the coming days.

I got nothin

As my Gram Gram used to say to me, "Prana, we'll just have to wait and see..."

I we decide on a date and a location for the next mat meet I'll post it up.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Where did the weekend go?

Cold clean sand underfoot
Makes that special “cruch” you don’t hear anymore
With so much dirt in the sand

But it’s here this morning
Welcoming me back
As I walk along
My favorite stretch of beach
You can still beach comb

The swell isn’t as good as earlier in the week
The tide a little too high
But it’s my first surf in months
So I don’t complain

The ceremony is the same
The surf check
The suit up
The walk

My wetsuit is dry
Dry as my whistle
Dry as my gills

I stretch and walk
The water surrounds my ankles
And I’m home
After a long absence

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cosmic Children part II

For some reason the part I of Cosmic Children has "unauthorized music" but here is part II

Then Jamie Budge's film THE CALIFORNIANS

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Walkin around the back yard

The temps have returned to the normal fall mid 70's from the low 100's earlier in the week

So it's time to get the backyard in shape for the fall garden

But first a quick walk around with a hot cup of tea this morning to see where we are

We have an spot by the fence you can see from the living room. These California natives are going in the ground soon.

The fig tree is doing well we got a lot of figs last summer.  

 After years of waiting the avocado is finally producing!
In the immortal words of Robin, "Holy Guacamole Batman!"

Fluffy the garden troll.

I love the big sun flowers and the local squirrels love the seeds.

The pumpkins go in the compost heap and so there are always volunteers sprouting up where I use the compost. 

Fall tomatoes. After a summer with a huge crop of tomatoes I just can't eat those red things the store sell as tomatoes. No flavor. So I put in three bushes and hope for the best. Last year we had tomatoes thru Thanksgiving (the end of November).

Volunteer tomatoes growing over by the compost heap.

As a kid I was all over the honeysuckle. You pull off the flower tear the end off and pull the stamen back thru the flower. If you are lucky you get a drop of nectar.

After a record number of blossoms 
from the cereus 
another fall bud. 

Cher and Steve gave us this beautiful orchid, it hasn't stopped flowering 

Strawberry's still flowering

My birthday present

The hibicus are wonderful but seem to get a lot white fly.
Just not as cool as Black Flys but a beautiful flower still. 

The number of Sage varieties is staggering. 

of natives.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sacred Craft - 2011 - Wrap Up Edition

The 2011 Sacred Craft Expo honoring Carl Ekstrom was a hoot

Lot of interesting shapes everywhere and I had a great time talking to exhibitors, attendees and old friends.

People keep asking what one booth was my favorite

I can say my three favorite booths were


Matt Beard -

I love his plein aire work. A subjective call certainly. But it's art and I know what I like.

I bought a couple of prints, had them matted and framed, and they are fighting for wall space in the man cave as we speak.

Entropy Resins -

Bio-based epoxy resins. We are plum out of dinosaurs and we need to look toward renewable sourced products in all areas. Surfboards and other surf equipment (wetsuits, fins, etc) have traditionally been made from petroleum based materials. Surfings "dirty little secret" is that for all the tree hugging, ocean loving  we do our toys are, for the most part made from non renewable resources and don't break down after their life expectancy is over. These guys are offering an alternative.  I think it's a step in the right direction and I'm stoked they are offering an alternative.

Enjoy Handplanes -

I had the opportunity to talk to Ed Lewis and Kipp Denslow for the first time at Sacred Craft. It was obvious from the get go that these guys are on the vanguard of surfing's new direction. Their handplanes are recycled from broken boards. The foam is already here so instead of chucking it into a landfill one board is being recycled into several handplanes. This is what is meant by Reuse in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle waste hierarchy.  The shaped blanks are then glassed using the bio-resins from Entropy (see above). Did I mention that the shapes are sweet and are blast to ride?

Super stoked on their energy and the direction they are heading.
Big lessons to be learned here by the rest of the surf industry.
I can only hope they are paying attention.

So there you have it the Sacred Craft Wrap up.