Friday, November 30, 2007

Curse of the Bambino

So my friends all came into town for the holidays and, of course, they wanted to go surfing last Saturday. I heard the forecast was looking good, but I haven't checked buoys since I came to terms with the fact that I won't be getting wet for awhile. Gee (on a homecoming from LA) swung by my house, said howdy to Nico, and borrowed my quad. I'd be lying if I said it didn't sting a teeny weeny bit, but--I swear to you--one huff of baby smell makes my temporary land-loving ways beyond bearable. He's awesome.

Anyway, I'd actually forgotten that all my chums had gone out when my phone rang in the early afternoon. It was Gee...

"Dude, I have no idea what happened," he said. "The forecast said 5 feet at 10 seconds, but I haven't experienced waves that big in a long time. It was hairy!"

He told me about how there were some macking waves to be had, but also a lot of closeouts that made the prospect of throwing your juevos over the edge a little sketchy. Between all of my friends on this Thanksgiving surf reunion, only one wave was ridden--and that was if you added all their failed rides together.

I was actually cradling the phone between my shoulder and ear when he called, because I was rocking Nico in my arms as I watched a college football game. I looked down at the infant, who was sliding in and out of dreamland, and imagined that he had somehow influenced the elements from the magical unconscious place.

Winter has made its wet, windy presence known now, and I can't think of a better time to have a bambino and be an Oregon surfer.

Pylon - Working Is No Problem

Monday, November 26, 2007

Surf in Art: Bwana Spoons

I've been a fan of Bwana's since I met him at his little store/gallery Grass Hut here in Portland. His drawing style is really inspirational... I especially love looking through the little mini comic he makes called "Soft Smooth Brain" where beardy dudes like the artist himself reside. I don't know if he really surfs, but waves, surfers and sea life appear in much of his work.

He even did an art show called "Welcome to California" with Grass Hut co-proprietor Scrappers with a killer flyer where the artists are getting shacked in tandem. That's Bwana in the front. Nice.

If you're doing some Christmas shopping, stop by his website or the store and buy some art, or maybe even a pair of killer sneakers!

David Bowie - Kooks
(This weird Libertines shrine video is all I could find with Bowie's original Kooks.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Minnow

I spent the morning listening to reggae with my new best friend Nico. His favorite song is "Night Nurse" by Gregory Isaacs.

"...I don't wanna see no doc

I need attendence from my nurse around the clock

'Cause there's no prescription for me

She's the one, the only remedy

Night nurse

Only you alone can quench this Jah thirst..."

Nico arrived Friday morning at around 8am and he's proven to be a bit of a night owl. So I'm getting used to his schedule. Late-night binge drinking seems to be his favorite pass time; it's been awhile since I've pulled an all-nighter, so I'm working on my stamina. Handling him reminds me of the first scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones transfers a bag of sand onto a stone scale that's the exact weight of an idol. Very careful, or there are some extreme repercussions.

Anyway, Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright and baby Nico's doin' alright too. Dims? 7lbs, 70z x 20" long. Thanks to everyone who has given us support, snacks, love, champagne, and Cohibas.

Gregory Isaacs - Night Nurse

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One California Year

Going through some old boxes in my basement, I found a notebook with papers from my freshman year of college. I went to LMU film school for a year and a half, fulfilling the California dream I'd formulated in middle and high school. I brought a surfboard, but only surfed once or twice at windblown El Porto. I didn't have many friends down there. None who surfed. So I did the typical freshman thing: drinking, studying and walking around Hollywood.

I took my film classes pretty seriously, discovering Wim Wenders, David Lynch, Jarmusch, vintage Coppola, Scorsese, Truffaut. I made a short movie in my Film Production 101 class that was selected to be shown on the campus big screen. It was a super-8 vignette about an epileptic painter named Rabo.

But film seemed too production-oriented and formulated for me. Too much organization and delegation to others between the initial creative impulse and the final work. And Hollywood freaked me out. The next year, I quit film school and moved back to Oregon to study painting.

In the basement notebook I found some critiques of my first films from fellow students. One name in particular stood out: Jason Baffa. I remember him well--we hung out on occasion, as a matter of fact. I borrowed his film splicer/viewer to edit one of my films. He was one of the more motivated and articulate guys in the class. He was also a surfer. Now, he's making some of the most artistic surf films out there, including One California Day and Singlefin Yellow.

Thinking back now, I'm pretty sure he offered to take me surfing. I wonder what would have happened if I had gone to some better breaks with him and gotten obsessed with surfing back then... totally obsessed like I am now. Would I have stayed in California, surfing my way through film school?

The making of One California Day.

The Byrds - My Back Pages

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tree Talk

I have these two tall trees out in front of my house that are the same species, but one always keeps its leaves about three months later than the other. So while the first litters the sidewalk early in the fall, the more hesitant one stays green late into the winter. I imagined what the leaves might say to each other if they could talk and wrote it in a marker pen. Several weeks later, I noticed the "death" one face up on the sidewalk about halfway down the block.

Neil Young - Old Man

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Left to right:

1. Red Shred Sled (22x22)
2. KG Quad Fish (5.8)
3. Mandala Winged-D 2+1 (5.11)
4. Aleutian Juice Occ-ster (6.1)
5. McCoy/Pautsch Nugget (6.2)
6. North Pacific Rounded Pin (6.4)
7. Hammer Evo (6.6)
8. Plastic Banana (8.?)

(The McCoy and Hammer are for sale...)

Band of Horses - Is There a Ghost?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Gimme Shelter

For some reason, I felt a bit desperate on Sunday. I keep thinking that every session could be my last for a while. The baby could come any day (we're 3 weeks away now) and because many of the breaks I surf are out of phone range, I worry that I'll miss a call saying the water's broken.

So Sunday felt a little strange; the water was choppier than I would have liked and I couldn't seem to position myself on the shifty peaks. Every once in a while a speedy left would roll through way outside to the south, so that's where we ended up, away from the crowd that battled for a more consistent (but poorly shaped) right. After more than an hour, I'd only snagged a couple sloppy waves and was starting to get frustrated. My internal clock was ticking.

Finally, OS, Rye and I decided to paddle far outside and wait for the next big left that would roll through. Bobbing around out there, we commented that getting on one of those rifling set waves would make the session. So we waited. We thought we were too far out, then we got caught inside. Closeouts shut down across the cove. The tide went out. Rye grabbed one that looked pretty good. More time passed.

Then, finally, a set wave approached that showed potential. I paddled hard for it, made a late (and somewhat sketchy) drop, set my left rail, then burned along, taking a high line. It felt good. About halfway though the ride, I saw a guy paddle onto the shoulder and drop in. "Hey!" I yelled, "Douche!" The obvious tunnel vision of a newbie. He jumped off and I avoided his board, pumping back up the face.

I ended up about halfway across the beach, so I hoofed it back down to the rip on the south side to see if I could grab another. You know what? I did.

The photo above is kind of weird. I was on my way in after my last wave of the day, just bellying on some whitewater, and the wave just smoothed out and reformed. So I popped up, did a quick little turn, and noticed that it was going to pitch a bit so I tucked into the little closeout. I guess I'm trying to extract as much nectar from the session as possible. Rye had gone in and was playing with my camera on the beach. OS is on the left with a new Black Beauty under his arm.

Ah, precious moments.

Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter

Friday, November 02, 2007



Guided by Voices - Official Ironmen Rally Song