Fearlessness, and the absence of fear Courage is a positive force. The absence of fear is a negative force. Fearlessness is a subcomponent of courage and therefore a positive. Because courage can not exist without fear. To site a personal experience I had a long night out before a day that I really wanted to surf. So I ended up going straight to the beach being that if i went to sleep I would be sleeping for the day. I showed up at dawn to shoulder/overhead short interval stormy but rideable surf. With no fire in my belly I paddled out. Ducking my first wave I immediately perceived the absence of fear. Duck diving in shallow sand I frequently worry about the wave splashing off the bottom and forcing the board out of my grip and into my face. But now I did not have the energy to care. And I pushed through the outside easily. Similarily on my first wave, too exhausted to think I took off and flew down the face backside like it was a glassy 3ft. roller and finished by just letting the overhead wall knock me off the board without bothering to turn towards or away from the oncoming close. It was like fallling into a waterbed. I did not know or care where my board was in the foam and surfacing was not even a thought in my mind, things were just happening. That was a very short session, for obvious reasons I could not sustain. Thinking about that session I can see that utilizing negative energy, a lack or even denial of fear can open some doors. However I also notice that without courage, without positive energy one can flow but not actualize. In that state I could not have done anything but what I did. So without using exhaustion as a strategy I realize that positive force tempered with negative can generate energy and flow. To make this work sometimes one has to set aside logic and move on straight intuition but as I apply this emotional discipline to my surfing it seems to yield results.
Groveling â€“ more than one way to skin a cat Groveling is at its essence a term of derision. But at this moment in surfing a change in terminology would be most appropriate. Used to describe a kind of false intensity or imply a desperate quality of trying to rip a small wave into a higher score or experience depending on the context the word is a security blanket for the uninspired. Not that the phenomenon is not real. We see it all the time. But if a long boarder can make music out of a three or four foot peeler than so can a short boarder. In the final heat of the Hurley pro 09 Dane Reynolds v Mick Fanning, Dane could not put it together to challenge Micks fire. However Danes last ride was punctuated by a crisp skate like air off of what had to be a two maybe three foot end section. Though too little too late it showed an intensity for the whole wave not just the best or meatiest section that alludes to the idea that it is not just the surfer drawing from the wave but also answering back natures call from a creative echo within. I wouldnâ€™t really call that groveling, would you?
local style in hawaii it is my limited understanding that back in the day the land was divided in radiating pieces from the center of an island to the ocean. Proponents of localism could take a lesson from this.
Action over admiration In many aspects of our culture we worship the maverick, the rebel the non conformist, weathered and weary from a life spent bucking the system. In surfing especially we tend to lionize these characters. Its no small wonder though, that many times the heroic struggles of these warriors involves drugs, alchohol and other self destructive vices. While I empathize with the mysanthropic righteousness of the misfit savant it also occurs to me that we who have managed to eek out a viable existence in this joke we call society are a part of the malignant force that condemns the so called non conformist to a life of hardship. The fact that we glamourize just as the victim rationalizes is a coping mechanism. On the one hand for complicity, on the other for denial. What Iâ€™m saying is that non conformity implies choice, when really there never was one at all. When moving through time and space we need to mind our basic laws of physics. One of which is that two bodies can not occupy the same space at the same time. So the social space that I inhabit, the job I work, the home I live in, the friends I make etc..will exclude another body from occupation, Which is fine assuming that there is room elsewhere. The assumption is that society being a construct of our imaginations as such can accomodate an infinite number of beings. This is false, society as we know it, the paradigm we have generated has a limited amount of space. It does not have to be this way but that is the way it is. And here in lies the great crime of our complaceny and the sin of martyrdom. It is the idea that pure individualism can only exist on the outside. Alienation is not a choice it is an imposition. And admiration from a safe distance is simply putting a positive spin on the sentence. I think if we could all make more of an effort to be our own heroes then we wouldnâ€™t need someone else to live under a boardwalk, or in a tent on the beach as a symbol of what we wish we could have. If we all made more of an effort to go ahead and have it, then maybe there would be more energy and will to help out our brothers and sisters who suffer needlessly for a cause that really should be a burden shared by us all.
The tribe For me surfing is a tribe not a fucking sport This quote taken out of a recent issue of surfer magazine has me thinking on the state of tribalism in surfing. While the author is bit larger than life a and beyond my analytic reach I do feel his words illustrate a pervasive mindset, which is the schism between competitive surfing and well, I hate this phrase but lets just call it soul surfing for now. Its easy to see the athletic/competitive component to surfing as godless. Especially on a professional level I would imagine that the business side of peoples careers could become really overbearing and the culture around that downright stifling. But I am attracted to competitive surfing. I feel it serves its purpose in nourishing the spirit of the culture even though on the whole I don’t see surfing as a sport either. The thing is that tribes can be exclusive to the point where the expression gets inbred. And the idea that on any given day of a pumping swell that people are not competeting, not just for waves, but energy and shine is naive and in some cases dishonest. Take the etiquette of surfing. These rules are observed for our safety and so that the palette of a wave is not ruined by our chaotic behavior. But actually etiquette is a guidline, the real underlying principle is judicious sharing. True enough that any old a-hole who paddles out does not deserve a wave but if an individual is legit then there is no reason why a guy who just got a ride should paddle back around deeper and take another wave first just because by law he is entitled to do so. What is the motivation? It’s a stilted psuedo competition based on a skewed interpretation of the „rules“ to suit the whim of the prevailing tribe. This sucks. It makes the surfing at the break crappy and mutes the soul. There are lots of stupid things about surf comps and the business around them no doubt. But there is also something democratic in the criteria. You don’t need to be liked, you don’t need to be in with the tribe. Although favoritism does exist, in theory its about letting the surfing speak for itself. Pushing each others limits in the name of growth as opposed to blind progress is at the heart of the matter. Sometimes this is best exemplified by a contest and sometimes it is better expressed at a session where like minded individuals are getting their flow on. Stay focused......
The stiffness of skill Im starting to notice something...I am a hater. Well I didn’t just notice that I’ve been aware of my douchebaggery for a minute now. So yeah sometimes I spite the next guy for being better than me in the water. But what I’m noticing is that the intentionality of peoples surfing affects my perceptions. I think I tend to resent those people who use elaborate moves to master the wave, it looks very punctuated and the rides tend to look like –insert maneuver here-. Yet there are others who seem to be getting loose when they bust out and I become downright inspired. I guess it comes down to attitude and style, or maybe haircuts.....
Riding the subway to work one day I saw a woman who was riding the express 5 train all the way uptown without leaning on or holding something for balance. It reminded of an old teacher I had. It also made me think of the difference between reef break and beach break. In particular the shifty sand bars most of us surf here. A reef break is a study of experience over time as articulated through a breaking wave. So as different swell directions run through one learns about its behaviour. Where it bowls, what are the lines that can be drawn and this becomes the discipline. Certain beach breaks seem to be about the absence of discipline. To embrace the spirit of this may hold some potential for drawing more workable lines in unpredictable conditions. But this gets me thinking of the woman balancing on the subways of New York City. The train must shift in an irregular fashion. And to file the variations of each line at the different traveling speeds of the train would be impossible to index in the mind. But when falling into a rhythm recognition must kick in. It might do well in the line up to clear the mind and let memory recognize for itself.
In following competitive surfing both at the CT and QS level I have noticed that marketing developement of an individual surfer can and does have an effect on how that person is scored in events. At first I viewed this as an unpleasant fact of life. It did not seem fair. Why should one person who is more heavily sponsored and promoted have an edge over his or her fellow competitor. It seemed unethical. But as I myself spend more time seeking out video parts on the net for surfers who are mentioned in articles and other media that function as cogs in the promotion machine I realized that the situation is a bit more complex than it looks at first gloss. The judgement of a surf contest can seem quite arbitrary. Each surfer is stringing together moves in an effort to paint a line. At the end of the day it is about the preference of the judge as to what aestetic they think is more valuable. But in all fairness some lines are harder to understand than others. Take art for example. Abstraction can look ugly at first glance. And personally I believe it is the perogative of the viewer to dismiss what he or she chooses. But if the onlooker has a bit of education on the subject it may further ones ability to appreciate what at first glance is not immediately apparent. So when a surfer is being promoted through publicity and the use of video sections yes on the one hand its just plain and simple spot lighting but on the other hand it can help judges enhance there sensibilities, advancing the mechanics of scoring by fostering a more complex understanding of the art they are viewing so to speak.
BOOK REVIEW Saltwater Buddha by Jaimal Yogis. A friend of mine gave me this book to read so I read it. Itâ€™s about the relationship between surfing and Zen. I have to admit I was ambivilant just on the title. Both of those activities are heavily loaded and about as prone to fantasy as self analysis. In fact often thats just what they are as an exercise. But then writing a book on the experience is akin to directing a documentary about oneself. Its unlikely to yield a nutritional part of the fruit. But wisdom is latent in Buddhism and making a connection with surfing regardless of the narrative has the potential to unlock some doors and indeed this proved to be the case. It is possible that this is a skilled infusion by an author who may be knowledgable on the practice. The work on surfing though could be contrived. It really seemed that surfing was being used as a frame to hang the buddhism on.
DANGERS OF THE SURFING MIND Surfing is a force and forces are neither good nor bad. They are positive and negative. Empty and full. Tread wisely........
Cold war When is the cold too cold. When it seeps into your mind. Tolerance varies and technology improves. But one is always exposed.
My new job One of the pitfalls of a career doing something you love is turning your passion into a job, or so they say. The pressure to perform and produce consistently. The fear being that the romance will disappear, the adventure, almost like the difference between falling in love and being married. You don’t want to suffocate the magic. Having started surfing late in life (ancient by some standards) I look back a realize my attitude has always been vocational. When I set foot on the sand I’m punching the clock. For some people bringing that kind of intensity to the lineup is a drag. Surfing is there time to runaway. To get away from all that. Surfing is a time and place to decompress. Well I believe in live and let live and certainly I don’t want my vibe to have an adverse effect on someone elses experience (with some exceptions). But me personally I hate my job. In fact I’ve always hated my jobs. In my entirely life (I’m 36 years old) I have not worked at any one place for more than a year. And I’m not talking about existing as a freelancer. What I mean to say is that I hate work. Its way to abstracted for me to see the connection between having a job and the need for man to carve out a material existence in the world. It feels like a waste of time and certainly in practice is an exercise in absurdity. Kind of like the MTA. Yet there are still people who love their jobs. Which seems ridiculous considering some of the stuff that people do to make a living these days. None the less live and let live I guess. Except when these people show up to the beach looking to bring that into the water. If you love your line of work so much why do you need to decompress? Why do you need to come to the beach to have fun? I thought your job was the fun? I take issue with the fact that some people need to make surfing meaningless and trite so as to make there professions seem profound or worthy. If your job sucks and you need a surf just get a little humanity back in your soul I get that. I just can’t stomache the well adjusted types. I don’t need surfing to be fun. Life is inherently fun. Its this bullshit paradigm we live that everyone chooses to call reality which makes it seem like simple pleasures are a privelege. I’m through spending my life working jobs I hate. I’m getting a new job and that job is surfing. If I gotta be a wage slave to fund my occupation so be it. My boss me pays me good money to do this surfing thing. In fact he pays me everything he got. So yeah when I punch in on the sand I feel like its time to get busy. I can’t see living life on my days off or mornings before work. Surfing is the work and my employment is just where the money comes from. I’m very luck to have a job I love, most people will live out there entire existence and never have that. Thank god.
ISSUE # 2 Content Art piece board ad interview perceptions Art work painted man from phone broadway tag pic jessie surf
Iâ€™m not strong enough to make the journey alone. I can not even begin to imagine traversing the open ocean in a row boat by myself. But to the other side we all must. I need a ship. And the ship needs sailors. A pirate ship. I saw on TV that bucaneers maintaned the most democratic society of their time. In combat yes the Captain was law but in quiet seas it was the will of the vessel that commanded the ship. I have not researched if there is any truth in this. But it doesnâ€™t matter, I want to believe that shit. In fact I need to.
Jesse interview Desicions I want to ask you about the decision making process of short boarding. How you flow with your choices. For me it feels like Iâ€™m always reflecting on the wave just past because each choice has an impact on how far I make it down the line and sometimes entails even sacrificing the rest of the wave to engage one single maneuver. The best things in life are not free. The best things in life are sacred Pay like you weigh
Sometimes we need to howl at the moon. But it can become an act of self destruction. I wonder though what is it that we are destroying. Our bodies and minds can certainly become casualties. Yet it takes poison to kill poison. Surfing is not howling at the moon. It is a mirror bringing forth whatever you bring to it. We can not right ourselves through it. But a dose of truth beyond linguistic cognition or mental construct can yield strength. The world is fucked up. I donâ€™t mean war overseas, oil spills or crimes against humanity. Iâ€™m talking about the basic social contract (which I donâ€™t remember signing by the way). Animalism is something that is sold in a shot glass or sniffed out of a bag. Thats unfortunate but its on us to fight through it. Its not an inner demon, its just the wolf inside who deserves to roam free.
VCC The soundtrack of surfing Much has been made of this Modern Collective. But how about that music? Talking it over with some friends some interesting points have been made on that. It seems that everyone agrees, it’s well...a bit crap. But it really sets a tone and serves as a well defined middle finger to both the self rightious and the old of heart. The old I speak of is whowever is still tracking electric metal and rock guitat solos to shortboard ripping. Lets just say I haven’t been surfing long enough to know when that was hot and trying to push that on the youth is downright insensitive. And then there is the groovy. Melo vibed out music that’s tellin’us „relax, its all gonna sort itself out cause it’s all been done before so don’t bother trying“. Yeah I used to dig that till I realized that was coming from dudes who use headless booty bots in thongs to sell sandles. So safas and ozzies ripping to techno, corny yes but honest. Lets face it, for all the bad and mostly deserved rap the guys from down under get, no one can deny they know how to party. I’ve done my time in the New York party scene and then some, its refreshing to see these cats lose their cool on a wave and the soundtrack speaks to that. Now I have yet to attempt tracking down any of that junk on itunes but I respect the vibe. In its mindlessness it actually approaches the zen of no mind more than a Machado acoustic cutback. Cause at the end of the movie it ain’t a mantra its just music, as it should be.
Rock stock and barrels. A second hand report. I was not there, for reasons that shall remain unexplained. But I hear tell it was a day. Good vibes down at the beach. Big up to Pops
Follow your nose. I ride a short board for the movement. It engages the wave in a way that requires the rider to constantly be in motion. Of course its much easier to funk out with bad style because of this but thats an occupational hazard. With all that motion though it can be a bit challenging to get good rotation on the turn. Both coming off the bottom and the top. One should look where you want to go its true but you have to bring the board with you. It helps to keep a focus on the nose of the board. This itself can be problematic in that the board is so short you donâ€™t want to be surfing with your head down. So coming down the line I just keep it in my lower peripheral. But as I load the turn bending my knees I let my vision drop slightly and then lead the nose by tracking my line of site just a bit ahead of it. As the turn engages there comes a sharp acceleration where I loose eye contact. Once the direction is stabililized I recover the visual reference and repeat this process on the top turn. This technique can help keep the body stay lined up, as in the heat of the moment our ambition can lead to over rotation of the torso causing loss of balance.
The elegance of a single wave as opposed to many. When does one catch just one wave? When there is only one wave to catch. Each time we go out for a surf we are seeking some type of affirmation. A moment in time that makes sense because for it to work it has to. Summer time flatness. There is a slight pulse in the water, breaking as a ripple in the sand. Anyone who values their fins would not bother riding it. But a nice day for a paddle. The sun is hot and the water is cool. A few laps later its time to head in. In the deep it seems like the microswell has enough on it to steal a quick slide off the ocean. But coming back to the shallows it becomes apparent that it was an illusion. Maybe wait in the waste high water a few moments longer, no trash nor seaweed, why not? Then something appears, it has just enough to drop knee crouch cover and punch through the back. It last all of 3 seconds from start to finish. A mere blink of an eye. Just like our lives. Affirmation......
Less is more I look at shortboards kind of like I view a skate deck. It is not imbued with the same sense of individual identity as other shapes. This is the case in general but even more so with boards that bear the mark of a major shaping brand. One board is easily substituted for the next. This is partially because the design permutations are narrow. A little too much width and you go from thruster to mutant fish. Also the demands of the riding style keep the options tight. If you are going to forego the obvious advantages of other shapes in regards to ease of entry and wave longevity then it really needs to do what it does. I know of one shaper locally who is putting out a shortboard that is a variation on the standard outline. It’s different but not beyond the bounds of its given functionality and the guys riding it are doing a hell of a job making it look good. I appreciate that. Finishing up my latest creation I have to say its your standard thruster shape made by me for me to bring my surfing to a more precise and higher level. There is some soul in that but it’s still just a deck. It’s not a sword it’s a dagger. Like a skateboard with nose to tale grip tape more or less indistinguishable from the next persons. So what’s the upshot? Understanding. So let’s understand that a shortboard does not represent –high performance- if it’s possible to catch air on a longboard then I think it’s safe for us to go ahead and throw that image in the trash. Honestly the difference between the myriad shapes in the surfing universe is rythm. And this is the creative well which we can look to draw from. More than other styles, people attracted to thrusters tend to vary from academic to downright conservative. This can be attributed to the fact that to stay in rythm with the wave venturing out of the zone can leave you behind the foam. But it’s about risks, quick decisions consequences and payoffs. Its a thinking mans game, figuring it out, peeling the layers solving the riddle. Its really what the thruster denies you that makes its value. Because it won’t do it for you then the rider has to figure out where to draw speed from on the wave, what the relationship between turning and projection is, the balance between committment and catastrophic failure.
LOLO MANO rough boards for rough waters
Party at the 8 million Saturday july 17th 2010 - Walking down 86 st. Saturday late afternoon fresh off my shift. Jumping on the 4 train to connect the A hoping the service is not messed up. 6:30 pm Fulton and Nassau – Guess what? no brooklyn bound A to transfer to. Uptown train pulls into station. I get on it thinking to connect at another station likely W 4th. We roll out with no anouncement of how to get to where the fuck I want to go. Big surprise. 6:45pm West 4th – Brooklyn bound back on track. Racing to beat the sun. 7:00 pm Bungalow 8 – The party is already started, music coming from the shop food drink and people all around. I cut through give some dap to my man and make a run for the beach. The sun is getting old and the night is about to be young. 8:30 pm Ocean – Waves are shit but the water is warm and the sky is beautiful. There is rides to be had. A few people is out, nobody I know. I surf the sticks then paddle to the Jetti then the sticks again. Its completely dark. Shadows jack up out of the black. Its just me and one other guy on a fun shape splitting left and right. Hanging around for one last proper slide on the oil. 10pm High and dry back at the 8 mills. Band is rockin’ and the crowd is dense. I’m working with vodka on ice for the night. Ruminating with Noah on the state of things in and out of the water. There is a conoli in the hot dog water that’s how we know it’s a party. Band music shifts to Ipod dj. Mixing of Ska tech and reggae vibes. Doesn’t ignite the scene but gets a good melow on. 11:30 pm It’s on the boardwalk now. Pete’s fresh out the water with a purple board that looks like pure magic. Plastic cup is in my grip . A swim seems in order so I strip to the draws and jump in the drink (wish I would of rocked some flyer shorts). Its refreshing for sure. My guy is heading in from the city, soda bottle of rum for his late night ride. No catch up required. By now its a murder of crows on house steps. We lose a few here and there. After a quick check to Connellys and Bungalow bar my night is retired as well (actually we never made it inside Bungalow, appartently denim shorts are a no go, although I’m pretty sure it was the drunk assholes in the shorts itself that was the problem). The party with its life of its own must have raged on but without me. 2 am Hotness the only thing that keeps me sleeping is the drunk but once it turns into a hangover I have to wake up. The 8 million is empty except for the new guy and I. I’m hungry but can’t stand to eat. A bit of surf is the thing. My boy roles out grabbing the communal boat to learn on. At the beach I shove him off and tell him to stay out of the way. He submarines around the lineup and manages to stay out the way, good on him. 11am Rock Taco - 3 fish delux, man its good. Give a call to my main scallywag, he’s at Tommy the tents boardwalk camp. 1 pm Third and final session. Noah and I Norman the new guy and Erica are in the water. All day we’ve been at it. The hangover is off and the game is on. Now I can paddle like I got a pair. The wind is up but there is still a wave. In a blink its on the A train sharing laughs and clowning our jobs as we head home. Then its me alone walking down broadway in Williamsburg towards a setting sky. The week ends........8:30pm
SEAMLESS We don’t know how we got here and we don’t know where the fuck we are going. With most things you can have a sense of construction. You may not know how a plant works but the mind can grasp the understanding that it was grown that it’s roots were born of some type of seed. The most sophisticated technology may elude the intellect but can easily be discerned as made. Life itself on any scale coordinate or state is beyond our ability to process. Our consciousness seeks out activity that renders some type of approximation of truth that can be known through the senses. Surfing is to play with weightlessness more or less. It is fleeting, unreal in its possiblity and yet transpiring nonetheless....... One morning I spent 2 hours half my session taking an emotional and physical beating. The waves were waste to chest high a little bigger on the sets but hollow for the most part. Conditions like that offer two choices. Scope out the workable wave which means finding the spot where the wave offers an entry before the linear close. Patience and observation is the name of that game. Conditions like that it’s going to be one in every ten to fifteen waves that open up. Or you drop in and get started early. Here the challenge is mental dexterity. Deconstruct the moment time and again still the solution refuses to materialize. Position paddle coast drop bank splash smack! Wave slapped over and over. Get beat enough times you lose mental acuity leaving you to rely on instincts you don’t yet have. In hind site you realize it’s a two fold committment, distinctive moments blurring into one instance. You can’t burn all your concentration and courage on the drop. After discent it’s neccessariy to jump in the vein directly in the path of the closing face. It’s a sketch move because the board is not really underfoot yet. What will happen is the rising water will come to your aid. What appears to be risky is actually the only sanctuary to be had. Peace through motion stability by discarding the one sense of balance for something which becomes but in no way reads as the same. Counter intuitive true but from the beach one seamless motion.
The surf for the month of July has been good as far as summers go. More often than not there has been something to work with. But I’m getting stoked for fall. I would not speculate on what the forces of nature will bring but stepping up the board is in the air. There is a tangible difference between going out on what we would locally consider to be a bigger day and actively engaging the swell. It’s on each surfer to scope out the wave that has our name on it. Personally I don’t go for people calling me into waves, it’s like back seat driving. And peer pressure isn’t courage as the saying goes your food don’t make me shit. Also pushing ones own limits at home is different. I’ve traveled and surfed but there is nothing like scaling the mountain in your backyard. I’ve seen novices stroke into bombs just on heart a little bit of extra length on the deck with more than a sprinkle of luck. Personally if someone leaves the beach with a vivid memory or great story then good for them. But making that set wave your wave, marking it not running from it but running to it. Not just dropping but riding, riding out whatever the ocean is dealing that day, that’s rounding a corner. This is a path well worn but never tired.
Speaking to a friend of mine from the Big Island something stood out to me. He said that for him the experience of surfing was greatly impacted by body language. Although at times in the water surfing becomes a contact sport it is not meant to be. And yet the psycology of aggression along with dominant posturing are prevalent. How one is able to adapt and internalize the language of the environment directly effects such material benchmarks as wave count and wave quality. Even in secluded out of the way breaks it is only a matter of time before someone else roles up. One hopes for the best always but if you make yourself vulnerable than your vibe, or stoke can easily be stamped out by someone elses presence. Through the everyday lessons of life most people by the time they reach adulthood have become completely desensitised both in and out of the water. We have to survive out here. Time spend considering intentionality is time and energy wasted. Recently I watched the movie Inception, which I enjoyed. Putting aside whether it has any merit a piece of cinema or not there is concept put forth in it that draws my attention. That an idea is born as a seed which is planted in its most basic possible form, whose growth is imperceptable until it becomes so pervasive that its presnence can hardly be distinguished from existence itself. Which is to say that reality as we know it is just an idea. That we canâ€™t identify it as such is no proof of inherency. It is nearly impossible to deconstruct the mental environment of a surf session. Without a ball to be passed or hit, bases to be run or goals to be scored the linguistics are too primal. It is just too convincing to the participants that they are not singnaling through their surfing. But we are though. A guy paddles into a set wave on a smaller day which means there is something to work. But fall his adeptness at marking and catching the wave he trashes the ride itself, drawing nothing and kicking out for another. The quality of the session suffers but for a great many surfers in the lineup a sense of comfort is derived from the that lowering of the bar. Standing out becomes a provencial ritual of the most common and elementary maneuvers. And most everyone is happy. And thats when its time to start dropping in. The status quo is heavy and its time is over. The idea has run itâ€™s course.
- I see you traded boards - Yeah this board fuckin’ sucks, I want mine back. I can’t paddle into shit with this thing. I had to laugh. I understand the attatchment to riding something made by your hand that works. For me shaping is a soft science for others its math. It’s all things to all surfers. My new stick has been working for me. I have to say the emotion that was invested in it’s creation and expectations built up made for a potential heartbreaker. And indeed on it’s first outing I was troubled to say the least. I have no learning or skills to speak of in shaping. I don’t even use templates, it’s all crude measurements and eyeballing. At this stage in my life I realize this is the way of me. For some reason my sensibilities have me planing the noses down to a thin degree. I don’t realize I’m doing this till I take the board into the water. Several times already I’ve created vehicles that pear on the drop. This last one was no different, to my disappointment. However my intense desire for this board to work caused me to make adjustments to my surfing which in turn actually improved my technique, tremendously. I used the sharpness of the nose to cut me into the face early giving me a head start on the drop. To address pearling in the flats I had to ride from the back of the board. But you can lose some drive that way which forced me to stay fluid with the movement as a split second coast to set my stance was no longer possible. I had to be faster and smoother. The interesting thing is that this is exactly where I wanted to take my surfing. For someone else this board might be a complete catastrophe. They might
feel that they were working for the board as opposed to the board working for them, and who could argue with that. But for me it was a key to a gate and apparently some type of consiousness that I was unaware of was leading me down that path. In some narrow way this has given a bit of mathematics to my unruly creative equations. It makes me wonder what secrets lie in the unsuspecting minds of surfers looking to try their hand at shaping.
The triangles Perceptions change. A subtle change and now you travel down a wave differently. Sometimes one can feel stuck to the face and its a struggle to unglue yourself. Other times we feel relegated to the flats bottom turn after bottom turn never really taking charge of the section. In between these two is the triangles. A series of evolving ramps that keeps you in the wave.
1. Opening day A deeper bigger wave. Nothing epic but some size and punch. The bigger sets running too fast to make it down the line except for one dude taking it down to the sand. A crowd but good energy in the water. If willing to work for the wave there was plenty money to earn for everyone to burn. Beating the close outs thats thing. Either threading through the breaking lip or circumscribing the wash to make the next section. Thatâ€™s the story of right hand wave riding at rockaway. On average the rights are usually considered to be good for a hearty drop to detonation. But every now and then someone shows up to prove the faint of heart wrong. Such was the case this day. One surfer stepped up the game for the rest of us and pushed the collective ability forward. It is not uncommon for people to scrabble for set waves. There is a good number of people who paddle out on good days looking for a bit of glory. They stroke into the set waves whether it looks good or not, one object in mind, making the drop. Although I donâ€™t go for that I have to admit that in a variable beach break setting many times you just have to go. The waves will hold open at random, and rolling face can mutate into a dumping wall in an instant. Consistency. When one individual can engage the wave down the line time and again, through turns and cutbacks, barrel riding and lip smacking re-entry its a boost of confidence for everyone who is present. When someone is riding like that we all get some.
2. WE HAVE TO LIVE HERE – done! We can not go on with our lives if we are constantly thinking about death. That would ironically be the death of us. But it is the truth, probably the ultimate truth and we make our way hiding from it. What are the stipulations of our existence? There are some which are universal, like food air and water. There are others which are general like working, which most of us have to do. And so it goes down to the facts of life that comprise one individual’s being. Some things are acceptable others are not. What should we tolerate and what should be denied? It makes all the difference, you could end up falling into a rabbit hole and never be seen again. NOTE – PICTURE OF TUBE OR RIDER IN TUBE. ALSO NOTE – CONTENT PAGE WITH CREDITS
Repressing the wave Ecstasy is blinding washing over the moment. When induced naturally it flows and ebbs in correct proportion to the productive action. But in some cases it desensitizes us. When we are inhaling the beauty any type of physical suffering or pain endured is suppressed. But not erased. We are carrying it and it needs to come out. But we are not well practiced in discharging the things inside of us that hurt. Burial is the tradition. Dig a deep hole and drop it in. But if left down there long enough like all seeds it will start to grow. What type of tree grows out of pain? If we look around at ourselves we see it grows into all types of things. Not always bad. We are planting. Nervous energy. Sweeping waves of it, takes it toll on the body. Who would of thunk surfing provides no peace. I guess we should have known. Since when did anything consisting of love make our lives easier? But it does and always had made our lives better. Connecting to reality is the purpose, the reason, we are not meant to know.
committment What does it take to make a committed move when you are floating on water that does not want to support your wait or intention? That’s at the heart of enjoyment on the short board. It doesn’t matter how it looks. Astetic and skill tend to meet somewere down the line. What does matter is how it feels. Riding up to the point of execution we walking on egg shells. High anticipation delicate preparation. Effort is not measured by how hard you try but how much you channel. Luke skywalker can point at his x wing fighter all he fucking wants, it aint gonna make that shit levitate. My Yoda is green and knarly looking too. It makes me feel like an asshole when I can’t get it right also. But teacher knows best. And besides learning is just a factor of time. Surfing doesn’t take aptitude. Repetition, muscle memory, mental reflex. After doing the something over and over again for an extended period of time where’s the credit to take? What is the pride to be had? Yeah you did it, clearly despite yourself. So when we committ to that move what are we committing to? The crosshairs are on solid momentary contact. For one instant we can stomp on a wave like it was concrete. And then hop off before the earth gives way to a quaking avalanche. We fall like this down the line, free fall sliding to our next connection.
The same sex A few years back (i think? not sure im bad with time) some while ago an interesting thread appeared online about gay surfers in the water. It more or less resolved as a don’t ask don’t tell protocol. It’s cool to each there own but we’re all just surfing so let’s all stick to that. There is some wisdom to that, if it were entirely true that is. The fact is we are not just surfing. When you are watching the webcast of a contest and the camera leers on some chicks rear end or when you tell some smokin’ hot chick –howzit? and then paddle out directly behind here for a glimpse of heaven, or the bond of mutually perverse admiration as the whole lineup tracks a sublime ass that is swallowing a string for a bikini. Hetero sexual affirmation is built into the machine. That’s why some people find it necessary to extrovert there sexuality to feel free.
Thicker than water My brother and I pulled this one out the other day when he over to my house. It’s strange. I had not seen it for a long while. When I first saw the movie some odd years ago I was impressed as I’m sure most people were with the progressive nature of the surfing. Watching it a good while later I was expecting it to appear atleast a little bit dated. What surprised me is how checking out this old flick made me realize what a re-packaging job has be done on modern surfing. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, that’s the way of all industries. It just go to show how deeply perspective figures into reality. Anyone will tell you air have been present for a very long time in surfing. What I think is important is that whenever the first legit air was pulled (whenever that was) the fire was ignited and the flame has never stopped burning. Proggression is just about the placement of the torch. It’s kind of re-assuring actually.
Deep down I think we all just want to be surfers. But thats not who we are. We are people, surfing is just something we do. We have complex behaviors that we don’t understand. An activity is hollow. There is nothing to it, that is it’s purity. Our humanity fills out wave riding, we are the souls of the vehicle. It’s hard to live the life. Most of us can’t do it. Understand this has nothing to do with being a professional or not. Quantity in no way effects quality. The issue is the same thing that every human being deals and struggles with. How to see past oneself and just let our lives proceed. Its like life is one long explanation of what the hell we are doing here but we keep interrupting because we want our answer now. So we strive to keep the faith. The answers are coming. The best way to listen is to not be a surfer.
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Central park the XX is playing. We are not near the stage, shit we aint even in the venue. Lucky for us itâ€™s summer stage and it would seem to me that right outside is even better. We can hear the music just the same and park ourselves on a blanket under the summer night sky. Chairlift opened before them I dig their tracks too, actually I liked their music better live. The XX is cool, Iâ€™m not crazy about them but I get into the groove. The song intro reminds
me of an interpol joint called untitled that I really like. As the night went on it got kind of dense under the trees, people drinking beers and taking nitrous hits from some balloon totting drug dealers.
Articles iss 5 scoring discussion â€“ per noah , hurly pro heat owen wright kelly slater, 9 vs 6 50 yr old surfer ju jitsu story wave comparison for swell surfing for days â€“ kinship wave architecture relax underwater freedom and damage
Working backwards. My thing with surfing is how much you put into the wave. Not to be confused with effort. Its more like the width of the spout, how much can pour through. My focus in shortboarding has always been how to get busy. This is the ass backwards route. Understanding the things that are not possible through failed attempts and moving towards fundamentals by neccessity. Moving towards simplicity, posture. Working posture, the improvement of which is already swinging doors wide open. Moving in many different directions catching glimpses, amassing understanding without ability. Some people believe peace is to move away from the cerebral, the tendency to mentally grasp at objects. I find that the brain sets me free.
I don’t surf big waves. I get down on the big days out here which can be punishing but I’ve never been rag dolled by a mountain of water. You always hear how important it is to relax under duress. It’s true struggling can squeeze the air out of your body like a baloon. But straight relaxing is not the thing either. You need to get out. You also need to maintane structure. There is a time to fight and a time to be passive. Like I say I have not surfed the giants. But the worst beatings I have taken have not come on the drops. Some bad ones come to mind but the speed of transition from positive action to failure is so rapid that it spares the mental plane of fearful anticipation. You are committing because you believe you can make it. It doesn’t sink in that you are in trouble till the beating is half over. But when the wave is lurching in front of you and you know the sets are stacking behind it on a day when the outsides number more than three, your mind has plenty of time to ruin itself. To have you out of breath believing that the final judgement has arrived. Yes we need to relax, it is imperative. It’s just that the word relax has been robbed of its true meaning by self appointed couch potatoes and cowards. We need to relax like Bruce lee relaxes his foot into Mr. Hans face. If you don’t know what I am talking about google that shit bro. Hilarious....
Back to back swell running one behind the other. It makes a difference to surf day after day
after day. Somehow boredom does not come into play. Obviously fatigue does but there is also kinship. In all things in life we commune with other like striving creatures. What does a charger on a bigger wave have to do with me? What can the most progressive surfing provide my eye besides amusement? I’m stuck at home struggling with the bills why should I take interest in the world travelings of someone else? These and many other silent questions are answered through the act of riding a swell up and down. In these parts more often than not this means showing up to an initial late afternoon day of windblown drivel. Followed by a morning of chopped out chunky shit, then a late day build to shifty dumping peaks with a little bit of size and plenty of wind. The sun rises to massive glass walls breaking 100 yards outside the lineup. It’s funny no matter how many times I wake up to this I’m still surprised. The contrast of textures in an east coast build is really something. What happens next is depends on what the weather systems are doing. The swell could peak and die out from one day to the next or it could pump. Whenever the decline transpires it tends to be rapid. If you can get 5 days of solid surf without having to travel more than 20 miles off your home break thats a really good run of waves. If you are blessed to have that block of time off from work so as not to have to surf cram sessions that’s gold. Above anything surfing is a form of knowledge. The most important bit being knowledge of self. That’s the common, the bond the link. That’s the charger, the ripper, the grom beginner and new guy, the contest, the freesurfer, the soul rider even the kook. There is a stream of consciousness to all things but for me surfing especially so. But streams need to be fed or else they dry up. That’s why so many people in this world are losing their humanity.
I don’t know exactly how the scoring on the world tour works. But I know that as a system it is struggling. And it’s not just me, most people who check in on events notice strange discrepencies. Surfing as a sport is unique in the sense that the only people who take interest in spectating are actual surfers themselves. If you look at football or basketball this is not the case. I’m sure most ballplayers follow the sport at the pro level but the majority of sports fans are not practicing athletes. If you don’t surf however it’s hard to register the difference between one competitors wave and another. In theory over time one should be able to cypher the code by the way each run is scored. But this is not the case. Though the judging format is starting to embrace progressive surfing it’s rare to see a traditional approach and modern approach scored in close proximity. It seems that if a traditional wave gets highly marked that a modern wave does not the opposite being true as well. This thinking is mirrored in the out with the old in with the new mentality of the industry in general. From advertising to journalism (and I used that word very loosely) thinking appears monolithic. Complexity is what the judges need to embrace. They seem to want to define a clear victor in each contest. But they betray themselves. It’s the hazy blur of creativity versus tradition that is the most exciting thing to happen to competive surfing in years. Truth be told there is strong conservative pulse in the culture. Unlike skating which is defacto modern the sport of kings in ancient by comparison. This breeds a parochial tendency even as surfing itself supposes to be counter-culture. Which it is, at times... We can let this thing be whatever it needs to be because really its only alive in the doing of it.
Just say no – royksopp – in space – ravoenettes – i want to be adored Sometimes you have to say no to the water. The ocean may be our mistress but I don’t want
to be it’s slave. Nothing in nature can be our master. It’s like that guy who tried to live amoungst the bears. As humans we only want to see the beauty but deny an equal balance of cruelty. On the flip it’s the thing is not to try to tame it either. We give way to what is ulitmately, the greater force, our home, our mother, our creator. I’m not a religious man but the saying goes god helps those who help themselves. Purity and addiction look almost the same...from the inside that is.
The bank robber is a reductive symbol that roots us back to primal existence. A way of being that is immediate. A good movie about any genre of crime is a lesson on how to proceed with life, in general. Animal Kingdom paints a picture of a criminal family struggling to survive both itself and a murderous police force. Through the pressure of impending destruction the youngest member of the tribe, tender yet somewhat indifferent is forced to grow. The story unfolds and we can learn his choices through the trajectory. Or we can just be entertained which is valid too. Because the movie is heavy, suspensful and intense. If you dig this flick I recommend another movie called A Prophet.
When I move through the system I move with purpose. Itâ€™s not that I need to be where I am
going. It’s just that I don’t want to be where I am at. A crowded train station, a bus, transitional space. I don’t mess with anyone handling my food. So when I’m at the juice spot ordering my drink, I wait. I don’t go in there much but the few times I’ve been, the people have been nice if not a little spaced out. In a transaction there’s is no need for the service end to hop to it. But none of us are the masters of our pace. Quite a few like to think we move to the beat of our own drum. But if that were true I’d never show up to work and neither would you if you had the sense god gave a rock. I’ve never seen a 20 minute apple juice before but I spotted one in Rockaway. It was epic. I heard there was some type of movie short about that corner of the universe. That’s the culture I guess. But people gotta work, people got places to go and if you want to set my pace then you can pay my bills. We can work together on slowing down shit around here but as long as I don’t have to be late about it. Cause if that’s the thing, the MTA has blessed us with that wisdom already.
issue # 6
proportion. It’s not just the size of the wave but the size the self also in relation to. Shoulder high, overhead, depends on posture and position. Make moves on the micro it’s like surf yoga. Compressed channeling, core flexibility. It’s fun to see what you can juice out of a wave that barely exists, that is almost not moving. Low crouch sqauttin into the face, squeezing a turn in that tiny pocket that actually projects you, just feel your nose bogging down. Not that you are pearling, it’s that the water is so slow, it has not caught up to the board yet. But it’s all telling. It goes to understanding the mechanics and proportions of regular swells. Sometimes things happen so fast even on a moderate swell that you don’t know what the fuck is happening. I guess it’s center of gravity that is moving with or against the wave. Likewise the wave itself most have some median, some equator. You can definately feel being above or below the line of force. The key to making microwaves work is tapping that. It’s hard to get a pulse on a smaller board. But there is a nice little jolt when you manage to close the circuit.
The morning was good, you always hear that. On a small swell the low tide can suck the life out of the wave. I came late, surfing it from mid day to late afternoon. We did are best checking all the options looking for something that would turn on with the pulse. Something that would break yielding to a legit ride. No such luck, a couple of fun ones but thatâ€™s it. Heading back I opted to go in one more time. The was setting, just a couple more before the end. In the twilight the wave finally shaped up, in the darkness it got even better. The best thing was that warm quiet of darkness on the beach, walking out of the water breathing that sigh of relief.
Mid October we are in a serious dry spell. The first reflex is to jump on a plane. Scan for some cheap tickets check the swell with the delusion that I can just appear where the waves are. The spontaneity means we’re talking fantasy, there is no money saved, no plan, no way. Its just an impulse, knee jerk reaction to a bleek outlook. But on some real shit accepting the situation gives way to reflection. Thinking on it a break is in order. Late summer to early fall, early fall to the present, the surf has been good. The elements have blessed us. The weather and water have been warm and as the ocean goes flat the temps are finally starting to drop. Which is well because the seasons are supposed to change. I guess if I really tried I could make a run for it. I’m not sure but maybe. However I would be missing something, something here. The chance to catch up on my life, the chance to enjoy the memories I created in water. There is a rhythm for traveling, a time to go. But I think I’ll stay for a bit. Dust off the old winter suit, make some art, cross train some, shape a board for the winter. My aunt is dying, I am grateful for some quiet. Perspective. Life is long and life is short, simultaneously so. Visiting her was a lesson in courage. There’s all the time in world to surf, all the waves in the world to ride and then suddenly there is none.
goal for the next year. Surf small pipe line. I had a dream that i surfed pipeline and beat up kala alexander. funny. TV review Mad men This is one of these shows I was into at for a hot second but then dropped midseason. I would follow the goings on of Don Drapper of and on. Mostly second hand gossip about a guy that does not actually exist. However this season I have been checkin’ it more or less full episode style. I’m digging it for sure. I like to see this dude with his impulse control issues and self delusion who can’t seem to master himself go about the business of building the visual and mental mechanism that will in turn capitalize prey upon the human impulse at large. All the while swimming in liquor. I feel like this show is kicking some real shit to me. This man Don D is wild with his frame of mind. I know some people in advertising think they shape the world around us. Some of these folks really believe the world might stop turning if they didn’t show up to work. Truth is it might. TV shows come and go, good movies bad movies, crap music cool tunes, whatever, the constant, what never changes is the message in between the lines. The commercials. The subject ourselves to the sermon daily. It doesn’t matter if we make individual decisions in a given frame of reference. Our identities exist in a abstracted world crafted but mad scientists. Mad men as the show would have it. A constant revolving door of happiness.
The abstraction of groveling Learning to surf in some places you learn to take what you can get. On days when many surfer simply wouldn’t bother we find ways to take the lemons and make lemonade. Have fun as best as we can. In New York City there is no shortage of distractions. Plenty of trouble for the idle hand. So if any type of wave appears who is to pass it up. Shit it’s something to do in a city that is all about a dollar. It’s reason to be in the ocean after warms leaves the air. Surfing is an addiction. Anyone will tell you that. The water calls you. It can actually stop you from enjoying the thing you actually love, which is not the ocean but life itself which is lived at it’s best riding a wave. Groveling effects how we surf. The act of trying to draw a ride from a lackluster swell. Fitting a square peg in a round hole. Obviously there is a fine line. To see someone make art out of a tiny wave is inspiring. It’s easiest to pars out the truly gifted surfers in a given lineup in the extreme, small or large. On the micro days I’m straight finger painting. It’s important not to abstract the perspective. The scale of tiny wave makes the consciousness loom larger. Which can really have an adverse effect the next time you show up to the beach if the swell is up. Discipline. Sometimes allowing yourself to have fun is a discipline. Denial no real art can come from that. The best most interesting part of our selves is the inequity within. So while it is important to remain light of heart, one can not be artificially so. Pressure it’s what drives competetion but also ignites the creative spark. So that abstraction which clouds the vision also informs the soul. Because there is nothing in the world which is not true. Just many things which are misunderstood.
Morning heats The first time I saw a surf comp in person was in Portugal. They were hosting a 2 star event at Guincho. A beach outside of Lisbon a short distance from Cascais where I was staying. That was a turning point for me. Prior to that I had an anti competition frame of mind. Like many people I felt that it detracted from the purity of the endeavor. What changed my mind was the stoke. Dudes were ripping one heat after another. Guincho I was told was more of a windsurfing spot, but on that day the wind was not a factor and the waves were glassy, not pumping but highly contestable. Sitting there boardless (my deck never made it into the country, that’s another story) I realized that not even on a good day most breaks would not yield this density of talent. I decided then that I wanted to participate, to see what it was like for myself. The next several years I worked at slowly building some type of skill set that would allow me paddle out for a competition. I also set a deadline for myself that I would enter by whether I was ready or not. That time came and went and I did indeed paddle out. How the heat went is a story for another day. One of the things I took away from the experience was feeling the pressure of time. Twenty five or thirty minutes is nothing. From the beach time moves slowly, in the water it is speeding by. For me a person who tends to overthink it was a great albeit challenging exercise. I hate surfing before work. It is fucks up the flow. It’s an unworthy distraction. But it is neccessary. Having a job not only keeps a roof over my head, it keeps me from floating away into the abyss, which we are all prone to. The time frame for a pre work surf is similar to a that of a heat. The range can vary from having a warm up and doing back to back heats to literally running in the water and surfing one 25 minute stint. The idea of competition is not to highlight an individual at their best. It’s to focus on the moment, right here right now. Who cares what you did yesterday, who cares what you will achieve tomorrow. When we make art we don’t always like what we see. That doesn’t make it untrue. Before I go to work sometimes I surf like shit. Half an hour to an hour is not always enough time for me to get it together. Which is a good thing.
I have seen many a board fly into the air, especially long boards, which axe down from above
just barely missing the unsuspecting dolt under it. Funny that it should have happened to me not once but twice. The second instance framed your amusement above, from a recent session which was windy as hell and washed out but actually shaped up very nicely on the dropping tied. Two hours later I was bumped by something underwater which I believe to have been a small shark. I never did see a fin but something was definately making passes at my legs. Having suffered earlier for the payoff later I was too stubborn to leave the water, fuck a dog bite. I realized later there was a slight stream of blood dripping from my head all the while, guess that didnâ€™t help either.
Journey to pipe
Pipeline has never been on my radar. I am in the habit of setting up impossible goals for myself which I use as a fantastic mechanism to pleasure my identiy. I am a day dreaming fool. The thing about pipe is that unless your surfing it at it’s lethal proportions then you really aint saying nothin’. There are barrels the world over, dry reef hollow crushers, where a surfer can see if he or she is worth his or her salt, minus the claim to fame. The thing is I had a dream that I was surfing small pipe. When I woke up I felt the calling. And so I contacted a friend on Oahu and it turns out he had recently surfed it for the first time on what is considered in those parts to be a small day. That sealed the deal for me. My sights are now set on surfing small pipe before the North shore goes flat. That gives me till late winter early spring at most. I’m not sure what it will mean to me or if I can actually get it done. The immediate challenge is to take better care of my body which may itself be a lost cause. But we shall see. I’ll be keeping a journal of my progress or lack thereof. The record of one mans journey to where many men have been before, that being the truth of it regardless of the outcome.
Who the hell would want to stay on the beach and film while I surf? Its a gamble but I just
hide the camera under a towel and hit record. Several problems....If there are passing clouds the exposure changes which can leave long sections of washed out tape. Next is the framing, without someone manually following the subject it needs to be as wide as possible. But the result is insects playing in the ocean, no disguishable person. Finally targeting, on a beach break with shifting sandbars, wind and drift, wherever the lense is pointed is sure to be where the surfer is not. Nature of the game. Oh yeah and there is also that other thing, someone casually lifting my shit off the beach. I’ve never had anything stolen from me at Rockaway. I’ve had clothes pissed on while I was surfing in weather that was so cold I had to wear them home anyway and flip flops blown away on a windy day. But the closest thing to theft I have experienced is when an old beach comber with a metal detector started rifling through my stuff. I ran out of the water and stopped him at which point his most excellent apology was –I thought I hit the jack pot!smiling and walking away. Idiot. None the less everytime I leave my camera on the beach as well hidden as it may be I can never really surf in peace. Fortunately I don’t tape more than an hour at a time. On this day the sky was blue and the wave a small but solid puncher with a bit of a barrel on the take off. After an hour of taping and surfing with about six other guys somehow I manages to catch not a one person on film. Disappointing but atleast I could turn of the camera off, pack it securely and get on with the session. Without the equipment being slightly exposed under the towel my level of anxiety drops and I can focus on the wave. Speaking of which in that short sixty minutes the thing had died down alot. No big deal the morning was super fun. So now it’s just me and Noah surfing. We have drifted apart so we are about 50 yards away from one another. Someone is now walking by my stuff. It seems to be a condition of human attention that if there is something on the beach the brain draws a path right over it. I have had bags on a huge empty beach but somehow a family strolling along the ocean manages to walk within two feet of it even when it is nowhere near the water line. I don’t believe it is purposeful but nevertheless it is disconcerting. Right as this individual is walking by the camera a small pulse pushes by me consequently abstructing the view. It’s maddening, the timing of it. He could have a ten second head start running up to and over the boardwalk because of this. About to stand on my board the wave breaks and I can finally see he has passed. I return my attention to the horizon. A set approaches, I paddle to it then set my angle towards land but the wave washes out without breaking. Facing the beach again I see the same person a young man it looks like now standing in front of my stuff. Immediately I start paddling in. There is nothing to carry me to shore and although the distance is short I can’t close fast enough. Then he sits down almost on top of my things. He’s about to make his move. Now I’m yelling – YOOOOO!!! YOOOOOO!!!!! If he knew what was in that bag he probably would have took off already. But he was playing it cool. Maybe he thought the owner was on the beach. Whatever the case I knew the play he was going to make. A few more seconds near the bag would legitimize him walking away with it using proximity of association to establish possesion. As of yet he had not registered my screaming but Noah was alerted to the situation and he too was paddling through the mush and yelling as well. Between the two of us he became aware. The would be thief had a decision to make. Break for it and hope for enough of a jump to make a clean break or go possum, walk away and bank on being let off the hook.
He chose the later, to his wisdom. He was about 200 feet away when I made it to my bag. I checked it to make sure the camera was still in it. I looked up and started screaming to him – Is this what you wanted?! Yo you want this?!! He turned around. I was walking towards him. I could see he was by my years a child but still a young man. I definately wanted to have a word with him because it looked like he was just going to make his way down the beach for more of the same. I don’t get too bent out of shape on the concept of justice especially when it comes to material shit. I’m also not super communal when it comes to my fellow surfer except when it comes to stuff like this. It aint cool for people to pray on our trust being that leaving shit on the sand in NYC is a neccessity. That and a fellow human being drowning. You can hate on a kook all you want till you see he is in trouble, then the trivial gets superceded by the imperative. So now he is doubling back, pulling his hood off. Thieves of this ilk sometimes after getting caught red handed go hyper aggressive implying that I can still take it if I want it so don’t press your luck. A kid of this size could only pull that off on a grown man if he was packing. But that’s what it looked like he was doing. At twenty paces he put on the screw face and started barking that he hadn’t touched my stuff and then opened his jacket. I braced for the worst hoping the wetsuit would give me a decent enough edge on a blade to over power his smaller frame with minimal damage sustained to myself. Although my caution was up I still barked back the message had to be clear – Yo don’t fuck with peoples shit on this beach! Whatever he was going to say next was put on pause when he realized he had mad a fatal miscalculation. Apparently he never saw Noah exiting the water who had just closed on his six a mere two feet behind him. To make matters worse I think it was evident that I was prepared for a fight. I’ve been in more than a few dust ups in my day, and have been through some fairly nasty business but all in all fighting is not my thing and I will go out of my way to avoid violence. I believe this young man read this on me. But I think he also read the signal that Noah was sending, which was straight aggression. I don’t care what anyone says, fighting consists of cruelty. It’s an unpleasant reality of inflicting violence. You have to desire to be cruel to another human being to win. And my friend Noah once shared his philosophy with me in a bar over beers in no uncertain terms. It went something like this –Yo bro, I’m here to win...! He said this and I saw that he meant it. The kid looked in my eyes and saw I was in fear. Not for myself but for his safety. I almost felt like apologizing for him but he beat me to the punch. -Yo I’m sorry man. I didn’t mean to get all close to your stuff Another reprimand and we sent him on his way. I don’t know if that was the right thing to do from a practical point of view. A beating might have made the message indelable. Might have. I guess I’m a believer in mercy, for him and for our souls. As far as Noah and I go I know it was the right thing. We don’t need that violence in our heart. For the community maybe we let a predator walk away unchallenged, or maybe we turned a would be viper back into a viable person who knows? I know I saw the fear of god in the windows to his soul and that should be enough for him get right. Buckle
My boards have taken a beating this season. I buckled one in a duck dive gone wrong during a bigger day on the low tied nearly breaking it’s back. Another one of my own making had it’s trailer fin ripped out, probably due to shotty construction. It’s sister, also made by my hands took one to the gut from my friends long board. That one is still ridable but is the most fragile as the glass job is paper thin, I’m not sure what my thinking was with that decision. Finally I’m left with my quad fin Mitsu board that my brother got for me off the rack in Hawaii. That one being both the strongest and most versatile but also the oldest is now showing signs of its age. I have a nice sturdy blank which I plan on shaping for winter duty but have not been able to make the time for it or the shit ton of repair work I have to do. I hope the Mitsu can hold on for just a little longer.
Pipe log 2 – the night
This being a combined issue there a second entry. Health wise I’m making some headway. Still on the drink but I have been able to tone it down alot. Work has been non stop, it’s seasonal so feast or famine is the way. Sometimes it feels like work can take the piss out of you just as much as a hard night out. There is something about stress and human contact that can frazzle. The labor is physical which has it’s pros and cons. My upper body strength, especially shoulders and arms is being mantained by the work but I have also tweeked my bicept and elbow somehow. With one day of rest in three weeks my body can’t right itself. A solid swell ran through. My feeling afterwards was positive. I had a short surf with some decent rides. With a serious drift and heavy outside bombs it was both mentally and physically challenging. Far from commanding the situation I held my own which was encouraging. Size wise it was not extra big but the wave was thick and juicy. Financially it’s looking much more dubious. But I’m not sweating that yet. It may be a heavy winter on the North shore which would give me some extra time. I’m trying to catch the tail end of the season when I can sneak into a smaller day. It’s just about the calling.
The night of games
Air hockey in a bar. The players would probably body check each other if they were a little closer to one another. It gets downright aggressive. The puck banging the rails with that high pitch resonance of plastic hitting plastic. I had played a few rounds with suprising success considering how intoxicated I was. There was a guy who beat and a rematch was in order. Our game ran to a tie and the table clocked out. The stalemate took too long. We had each put a dollar on ourselves to win. -20 dollars says my boy takes it My friend Iowa had now put me into a winner takes all situation. The opponents friend hesitating -You don’t think your boy can do it?, says Iowa. That was it. 20 dollars a side air hockey to the death. I thought I had it but truthfully he was the one who beat me initially. That last game ended even so I had yet to prove my superiority. But still I felt confident. Iowa flipped the puck. Possesion went to the other guy who quickly slammed one in. My girl and her friends watched with Iowa and Carlos. Just then their female entourage piled in the arena. It was definately do or die time. Twenty dollars was at stake for one, for two I needed to bring one home for the team. Air hockey moves fast so in the blink of an eye it was 3 to 3 with an exclamation of victory or defeat with each score. I could see he was losing steam though. He wasn’t fighting, he was fighting back, I knew I could end him. And that’s what I did. There are many ways to vanquish a man. But sound of the table dying table after the winning point is scored, the constrast from the breathing machine to the stale mechanical corpse really drives the nail in the coffin. It’s over.
Searching for darkness – surfing winter in NYC
It is cold, early in the morning and very very cold. The wind is blowing spray into my face every time I paddle for a wave. I can’t see and it hurts. My feet were icy in my boots even before I got into the water, standing on the white and tan frosted beach. I am afraid of this ocean, not the size it is not a big day, but what it represents although in truth the air is much colder. When I duck the wave I feel like Im in a tomb. And yet I am happy to here. Floating in a paradox. Surfing is creating memories that we instantly forget. I have lost count of the times that I’ve come off an amazing wave only to paddle back out and not be able to piece it back together, in my mind. It’s a strange feeling to be happy in the midst of drawing a blank. It’s an ecstatic confusion, I wonder if it is not disimilar to what an animal feels before it gets ripped apart by it’s predator. I’m am only five years old in surfing time, an adolescent approaching young adulthood, but in life I am approaching the mid point of my existence depending on how long I am to be. For all I know I may have passed the half way mark long ago, one can never tell. The sets today are closing out on the low tide. But I can tell already there will be no second session, no waiting for the rising water line to fill out the wave. Fifteen minutes in and I can already feel the impending surf hangover. I catch one and run the line on my toes, my feet never fully planting on the board. The close is curling towards me. I turn into it meaning to hit the spinning lip but end up floating the edge with that conservative rotation that articulates the desire not to fall. I make it down the breaking face my feet squarely on the board but for some reason bail right after landing. Not that there was anyplace to go, but the circuit does not quite close when you fail to ride out. I surface unsure about why I was unsure and remind myself to believe. Frequently blind faith is the cornerstone of good surfing. I get another chance to get into a right which on this day entails paddling over side chop to slip into a vein that will push me in before the thing folds over. I’m up again on my toes my feet in this temperature feel like blocks of cement. The memory repeats itself except for a minor rewrite. I hold on and end it riding the wash just long enough to know, for myself. Although difficult to recall the immediate past sitting in the crisp winter air pale blue with tiny particles of snow barely falling, more like drifting to the waters surface, old memories haunt my cold bones. They say a person should live with no regrets but I say if you have no regrets then probably you have not really lived. In this time and place we are in, it’s really hard to get it right. And when confronted with the elegant simplicity of riding a wave, and the affirmation of doing it in the dead of winter, of making a correction, executing said correction with success and the liberation of meaningless joy, its easy see how not right I have been. We waste our lives. Because we don’t understand the true currency of our existence. Mostly we don’t understand that at the heart of it all is not a will to live but a desire to die. We are not home. People paddle down avalanching mountains of water risking life itself, why? It is not for me to say becasue I don’t do that. But I know the pain of not being in possesion of your own mortality. Of living in a world that demands we forget, where we come from which is in fact where we are going. Surfing is a legend. A story that we retell to ourselves over and over again. Im waiting for the one last wave to bring me in. My face is wind burned and my core is losing heat rapidly,
my extremeties are disintegrating into numbness. I have not taken a set wave today even though there is almost no one out. That happens in the winter. The relationship can become adversarial to the water. The site of a monolithic wall approaching makes me feel like the ocean wants to bury me. I have to force myself to paddle and if I don’t make myself go over the edge then I won’t. It’s a story I tell myself over and over again. I should be saving money to cop a ticket to Puerto Rico. Instead I am in a bar burning a hole in my pocket. Three guys who work together for shit pay getting tore up. One of my coworkers calls on his boys to scoop us up to a party in Manhattan. They roll up in the all white trailblazer. Nice enough guys to hang out with but their presence is unsettling. I’ve been here before, these are dangerous people. Violence is a monster that requires constant feeding. A monster that would chew off it’s own limb rather than go hungry for a minute. I don’t want to be part of that biology, for fear of being canabalized. It’s happened before. I run with them anyways. The party is jumping but I feel weak. With a woman at home already there is nothing here for me. Wall to wall eveeryones antennas are up broadcasting and receiving. I can’t hear or see above the static. The anxiety of the dance driven by desire and fueled by poison. It is time to go. Sure enough we can’t get out of the place without someone catching a beating. Some poor soul makes the mistake of spilling his drink on my co-worker. Im not in it. The wolves split him up and leave, licking their gums as they go. I wake the morning regretful feeling that I have betrayed the legend. I can only hope that I was meant to stall, to suffer the cold instead of surfing the island, for a reason. For salvation through judgement. There is no hipocrisy in the frozen atlantic waters only paradox. I sharpen my sword to kill my enemy but when it comes time to fight I run. I am a rabbit searching for a dark place to hide.
bio resume Manuel Huth was born in the lower east side of New York City. He lives works and surfs here the year round. Between jobs as an animal care technician at the ASPCA Berg memorial animal hospital and driving for the chefs agency catering company he authors the surf driven website allpaths.net. In addition to this he is an artist with a string of video pieces on view via you tube under the tag c67509. He also shapes and rides his own crudely crafted boards and has participated in one asp wqs event, the 2009 vans pier classic scoring a solid 0.8 for the momental achievement of standing up. His most current project is a film about beginning to make a life of surfing as a grown man in the city of New York. surf doc youtube clips and one man show wqs contest website face in book one man show board shaping
movie ideas you have to have a certain skill set to experience surfing.
issue 7 1 people paddling behind the peak on waves they know they will not make how that causes drop ins 2 knifing down the wave dion surfing review music review people dancing on the train facelift for website, more visual more art music abstraction
Wondering Hearing about a swell over the phone. Each day I check in with my friend to see how things are going in Puerto Rico while we are buried under snow and being blasted by icy wind. The storm that just hit us was supposed to be a noreaster but now it’s being described as a winter hurricane. Meanwhile the island is having a major swell event. I can hear it in his voice. The warm. The waves are on the heavy side and although he is familiar with the breaks out there it’s not like a second home or anything. Which is to say it’s not all fun in the sun. But still the climate allows you to face the challenge with a single mindedness that is much more difficult in deep winter conditions. Sometimes you have to tell yourself that you are no less a surfer for not being able to surf. Winter dry spells hurt the most. You don’t just feel denied you feel ridiculed. So many places in the world people surf all day, in and out of the water taking breaks to eat and maybe shelter from the sun during the hottest hours. I’m sure skaters don’t wonder what the hell is going on at a skate park half way across the world when shit sucks at their spot. But when you live someplace where the swells are inconsistent you are constantly wondering about somewhere else.
What would compel somebody to paddle for a wave they know they are unlikely to make? Lack of options for one. If the particulars of the swell are not producing rideable choices then why not go? roll the dice, every now and then a questionable wave will hold up. But what about when it’s consistent? Some guys like to wait for the outside bombs., they are fewer and farther between. There is a rhythm to surfing like that. There also seems to be an implied hierarchy, a materialism to those bigger deeper waves. It seems the dudes who put themself into that zone do not want to let anything blow by. Even if it means taking off behind a peak the opposite way. It’s widely understood to let a set sneak by is a waste of a precious resource. But dropping down straight behind an impassable wall of foam is no remedy. I have to think that where I surf is pretty up there in terms of poor etiquette atleast judging from the places I have have been. This being New York City the vibe of desperate thirst for space probably contributes to that. I tend to sacrifice better waves for space. But Rockaway is a big place and taking a little walk aint a bad thing to do before or after a surf. However on this day I elected to park it off the jetty, the center of the drop in universe in these parts. Mostly because there was almost no one out, almost.. Taking off on a bomb I noticed something that explains alot about the way things are where we surf. After a wave passes a certain size which does not need to be too big the rider has to committ. You put yourself in front of it or you don’t and once you are in you are in. Of course you want to take a look to make sure no one is coming down the line. If someone else has the right of way on the take off one still wants to stay in till the last possible moment because that person may not make it. And therein is the impitus for the behavior we see so much at rockaway. On the sets where a level of committment is required staying in means going in. But when you are surfing with guys who are taking off behind peaks that they know they are unlikely to make why back off? When someone goes from behind the peak and can make it past the was they ruin that wave for everyone else. If that happens more than once people will start dropping in and would say the blame is on both parties. When surfers claim everything that goes by it is like irresponsible governance. The population becomes lawless and unruly. Everyone has to eat. When the population of france was strarving in the street the queen said –let them eat cake-. That didn’t work out so well for her.
I try not to reflect on my life in a linear fashion.
Published on Feb 20, 2012