Saturday, June 28, 2008

Support Surfrider and Sissyfish!

A few months ago, Ian from Wend Magazine asked me if I had any artwork that I'd like to include in the Surfrider Foundation benefit art show at the Lizard Lounge in Portland's Pearl District. I was going to do some digital prints of Sissyfish surf art, but instead opted to frame up this original painting/drawing I did in Nicaragua. It's a picture I drew right after a session at the very hollow Playa Colorado beach break, done in Caran d' Ache watercolor crayons (with some sand from the beach there probably mixed in). I'm asking $300 for it, half of which goes to Surfrider. Also for sale there are the infamous "G*s Ch*mb*rs" tees that were the subject of much debate HERE. Those are hand-signed on the bottom hem. They are $20 with half going to Surfrider. The show opened tonight, and unfortunately I was out of town, but stop by and check out some cool surf art. If you're interested in the painting, I'll ship it. Just let me know. Happy 4th of July!

Watch Out Joe Curren

Nico had his eye on this little fish when we walked into the surf shop today. Too bad it has wheels on the bottom. That wild look in his eye tells me that he'll be outsurfing me in a matter of months. Pure stoke!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where Do Wetsuit Farts Come From?

Funny you should ask! Come on over, son, and sit on my knee. Pull my finger and I'll tell you a tale...

According to extensive scientific research involving garden hoses and gas masks, wetsuit farts occur when the airborne petroleum molecules contained in neoprene are "inhaled" into a surfers rectum during a session. If the surf is particularly hairy, more of this "neo-steam" intake occurs, due to increased tightening of the sphincter muscles.

This noxious gas, as denoted by the green clouds in the diagram above, is held in the colon and lower intestine for an hour or two until expulsion occurs later in the day. The resulting flatulance--or "farts," to the layman--have a distinctive rubbery odor that reminds the surfer and anyone else within whiffing distance of his morning go-out.

Tune in next week kids, when delayed sinus drainage is explained in, "Is There an Ocean Up My Nose?"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lucking Into It

I picked Saturday morning and lucked out, no doubt. Dawn patrolled with Nash straight to this spot at 7:30, nobody out. A perfect a-frame was firing at low tide, no wind. The picture above is of a wave that only tells half the story. I parked myself on the left side of the peak and grabbed one long left after another that just fired on the inside, kicking up into a consistent shoulder-high tube. Every time I'd paddle back out, I would stare down the barrel of an almond shaped green cavern tumbling toward me. Of course, I would try to squeeze into it again and again, getting throttled in the process... but there was this one:

I dropped in really late and almost pearled at the bottom. Had to turn hard off my back foot to avoid losing momentum in the trough and getting clipped. As I got back up to the pocket, the lip whizzed over my head and I heard this splashing echo. Bracing myself for another beating, I suddenly felt the board accelerate and before I knew what was happening, sailed out onto the open face. Confession: I may have closed my eyes. Before I could assess what had just happened, I saw the whole wave start to throw in a 25-yard section. Tried to turn again off the top, but should have kicked out. Got pitched, but it was worth it. I'm not going to claim "tube ride" here, but damn whatever happened felt good.

At around 11:00, the wind began to ripple the surface. In 15 minutes, it completely killed the surf. I stayed out for another hour anyway.

Top photo via Nash and picture above used without permission from Raw Waters & Cedar. If you look closely on the outside (two over from the janitor), you'll see me angling for the next set wave. Thanks, Gaz!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Which Day Would You Surf?

Dilemma. Swell from the south, winds pretty mellow in the AM, high tide in the 3ish area. Which dawn patrol would you bet on? Before you say "both," just know that's not an option.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Case of the Mondays

I'd been planning to hit it Monday morning since seeing the predictions of a little long interval south swell last week. But souths never usually materialize too dramatically up here, and such was the case today. I checked the buoys at 6am and saw that the interval was only reading 5-6 seconds, as compared to the 18 second pulse that was projected. The wind was supposed to be whipping by noon as well. My hopes for an epic spring session were further dashed when I looked at the cams and saw flat seas and a negative tide.

Against my better judgement, I packed my gear, filled up my car with gas, bought some coffee, and headed west. There were only a couple places that I thought might be working. The first one was tiny, but glassy. I checked another spot and saw two guys out. On queue, a set rolled through and it looked about waist to chest high (see above). It was enough to get me into my suit and down to the water. I needed to get wet, regardless. On my way to the spot where I planned to paddle out, I saw a giant bird just standing at the waterline. When I got closer, I realized it was a huge bald eagle. I was tempted to run back to the car and get a camera, but decided to get surfing instead.

The two guys paddled in pretty much immediately after I got out there. Amazingly, a couple good sets came through and I got some nice rides. I stayed out about 2 hours before the wind came up and the tide filled all the way in, causing the surf to lose any semblance of potency. I wondered if anywhere else was working so I stopped by Cannon Beach surf shop. The owner, still in his wetsuit, said he caught an hour of decent surf as well, before the tide and wind killed it.

Looks like this week is even going to be smaller. Isn't it a little early to be singing the summertime blues?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wassup, Daddios?

Happy Father's Day to all you surf dads out there: Mark, Porky, Gaz, JP, Jeff, Whiffleboy, Patchy, Pete, Kyle, Twinfin, Lawless, Writer, Glayfin, Brownfish, Kono, Totor, David, Mick, Jason, and anybody else I missed. We don't all have to be as committed to "the life" as Doc Paskowitz above, but here's to the joys of sharing our love of the ocean with our kids... And of course, big shout to my own Pop, who threw me into the waves way back when we were still Californians.

Last I checked, Surfwise was actually playing in Portland. I may go peep it tonight in honor of Father's Day.

Oh yeah I remembered (while surfing today) that I forgot Doc and Dubstar, who is new to the brotherhood of surf dads...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Overhead and Classy

Look up. Notice something different? I got a nice surprise in the comments section of my last post - a custom Pinniped version of the Sissyfish banner, courtesy of Seamouse! I love it, man. The Swallow Tail Society blog has featured some great original banner art since its inception, and now I'm thinking that all us "surf artistes" in blogland should start trading banners...
Check out the Pinniped Studios blog for more amazing surf-inspired art (like the knight above), straight outta da UK. Then go buy a tee-shirt at Uber.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Did you see that?!"

"Did you see that?!"

We both asked the question at the same time. As if we could have missed it. The tide had dropped so low on Sunday morning that it turned a monolithic rock way out in the ocean into a left point break. This was a true mysto spot, one that we hardly ever had to share with other surfers, purely because it rarely actually worked. But the minus tide was working some magic and it switched on like a light. Head-high sheetglass barreling lefts for two hours. Just Nash and me (and some other dude who must have spotted us through the trees, but he didn't seem to want to catch waves). This was Sunday, by the way, a day that I was going to write off because the reports read 5 ft. at 9 seconds...

The picture above was from the first spot we checked. Not as good as the second, but you get the idea.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shark Week Bites.

But it's almost over, so let's celebrate with a beer...

(Bottle opener available (on sale) at After 5. Notice how the single fin can also pop the top!)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Shark Fins Vs. Viagra

Apparently, aside from deeming this tasteless cartilage to be a rare a delicacy, some cultures think that eating shark fin soup is an aphrodesiac that increases male virility. The process of harvesting shark dorsal fins can be pretty disgusting though. Called "finning," hunters hack the fins off sharks and throw the mortally wounded animals back in the water to bleed to death, drown, or be eaten by other sharks. The reason for this is because shark meat is relatively worthless in comparison to the fins, so keeping the rest of the shark would take up valuable room on a ship that could be used for storing the dorsals. It is estimated that an average of 38 million sharks a year are slaughtered in this way. You can read all about it HERE.

I snapped this picture at a Chinese restaurant in Portland called Wong's King. The dorsal fin in the middle stands about three feet tall and is adorned with gold leaf and an ornate sign. I can't read Chinese, but I think it says something like: "Hey, limp-dicks, get your shark fin soup here!"

Friday, June 06, 2008

Whatever Happened to El Duque?

The last issue, from Summer 06, had a great interview with Brian Anderson of Seaside, who was bitten by a great white shark in December 05. A quote from Brian gives a firsthand account of the incident and tells what you should do in case you have a run-in with the man in the gray suit:

"I was paddling and duck diving to get into position, waiting for a set to come in. All of a sudden something swam up and bit my leg. There was a sharp pain in my foot and then in went numb. I thought, this can't be going down. I was holding on to my board, I looked down and it was right beside me. It took a few seconds for my mind to be like--that's a great white shark! It had my foot in its mouth. It has surfaced and it was looking at me. I started swearing and punching it. It was latched on, but after a few blows it swam off...

"I thought it was going to be the last day of my life. It seemed like ages going by, like slow motion. I was thinking of my son Christian and my wife Lynette. Sometimes it can take 15 minutes to get back in. It was kind of a miracle, a wave picked me up and put me on the rocks. Once on shore, it's about a five hundred yard walk over rocks. I was hobbling around and couldn't stand on my foot. There were big blood blobs coming out of it. I grabbed my leash and tied it around my shin."

Step 1: Punch it (and swear at it).
Step 2: Get to shore and tie your leash above the wound.
Step 3: Get to a hospital.

The magazine's website is down, but you can purchase back issues of El Duque, the long lost underground Pacific Northwest surf 'zine, HERE.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Poem with Teeth

It's not the toothy monsters in the water
Or the rocks near the shore
That I worry about.

It's the toothless monsters
Throwing rocks on the shore
That really freak me out.

(Original drawing is a Foulweather 'Zine outtake...)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sharks in Troncones Are Pissed

They're seeing red and are hell-bent on ruining our next vacation. After a fatal shark attack a month ago, Mexican authorities decided to use baited hooks to kill sharks who seemed to be acquiring a taste for surfers down there. As if they were saying, "up yours" to the hunters, the sharks killed another surfer on May 24 and maimed a third (biting of a thumb) last week. Get the story here. That's three attacks in a month for the Troncones area, a high number by even the standards of Oregon surfers, who may hear about one attack a year on the whole coast line. Experts are blaming this new sharkiness on global warming--yet another reason to kick the douchebags out of the Whitehouse and ride your bike more.

I'm taking this personally because we've already booked tickets and a vacation house in Troncones for next month. Since hearing this gory news, my wife and family have forbidden me to go in the water down there, and quite honestly, I'm not to sure how comfortable I'd feel sitting in the lineup with fresh blood still tinting the waves.

It looks like we're going to lose our deposit on the beach house, which I guess is understandable. I thought I had covered my ass by buying insurance for my airline tickets, but it doesn't look like bailing on a trip because of "the fear" is actually covered. By canceling my trip, I'm not going to be the only one losing money. This strange series of shark attacks will take a serious toll on the tourist industry in Troncones. I wish I had the balls to go anyway...

What would you do? More importantly, where would you go as an alternative in July, knowing you'll probably be starting the vacation almost a grand in the hole?