Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hazy Memory 092114

Surf Report: 1-2 feet
Water: Warm
Winds: ??
Atmosphere: ??

I don't remember much of this session, only because it was small and there was nothing notable. The waves were mushy and gutless, and I surfed by myself. I had to go to a game that day in Long Beach, so I had to take off from the beach earlier than usual.

The game went well - we kicked ass once again. This team that we played is a well-coached team with a tough coach. We were up by ten points with five minutes left in the first half, and the other team went on a run and closed within two. I told my boys that there was no concern in my heart that we are going to win this game. We have to make some adjustments, but keep pushing them harder and harder. The opening of the second half was a thunderstorm upon the other team. We quickly built a fifteen point lead, and we pummeled their spirits into the ground. 

I had dinner with my roomie Mel this night.  We had a great heart to heart talk on our crazy lives right now. We talked about love, careers, music, relationships, death, and everything else in between. We both had a lot to vent out and a lot to take in. I am forever grateful to have my sister from another mister to confide within.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wall Barrels 092014

Surf Report: 2-4 feet
Water: Still Warm
Atmosphere: Cloudy with some sun shining through eventually
Winds: Slight offshore

Matt and Randy said they will paddle out today. EARLY. So I wanted to be on the early train too. However, I've been having trouble sleeping as of late, and I couldn't wake up early enough. Kenny was to join us too, but I told him I had to leave early because I had to coach early today.

So I get to the beach, and it's fucking PACKED. It was nut to butt, elbow to elbow packed. There was not a single square foot of space that wasn't occupied by a surfer today. And for good reason too: There are waves! A lot of them were close outs, but there were some waves to be ridden. Ross parked when I arrived, and darted towards the beach.

I took out my Fred Rubble today. My board that I rode mostly in Mexico. I feel very comfortable riding that board in punchy beach breaks. As I paddled out, I saw all of the locals that are usually there: Gene, Orlando, Jose, George, Oscar, Bruce, Joe, and countless others. I also saw a lot of fresh faces, newbies, and unfamiliar groms in the line up too. Where do all of these people come from?

Jerry (?) the stocky Philipino dude that wears a Rasta jacket, takes off on a left. He bottom turns and packs the barrel. It's a close out, but he has his balls to the walls, and I hoot him. He comes up smiling, a little shaken, but smiling. 

The locals call me into a wave. Immediately, I paddle for the wave, and start pumping on the face.  I don't get any turns, but I can see the wave throw out further down the line. I can't make it, but hey, not too shabby for a warm up wave.

In the far distance, I see a style that I know. He does a backhand carve, re-enters, and tries to do another turn but stalls. It's Matt. I have to go say hi. So, I paddle over to him.  We give each other man hugs, and I sit where he was sitting. There are too many longboarders to compete with by the Brick House. Plus, I need to surf with Kenny. Where is he? I opt to paddle back where I sat. "Use your local card!" I said to Matt. He paddles over to where I am, but he thought the same thing I did with his spot: "Too many longboarders, I need to surf with my brother." And so, he paddles back.

I had two stand out waves this day. One was a right where I consciously pumped the high line to be able to pull in to the barrel. I pumped twice quickly, and then crouched. I can HEAR the wave splashing over my body. And then for a split second, I had that glass room view. And the next second, my board gets kicked out from my feet, and I can feel the board flip fins side up. I fall and land on my fins. It HURTS. I get tossed over, and writhe in pain. I resurface, check my board, and see that it is still in one piece. Phew, I thought.

I paddle back out, and sit for another wave. Water starts to trickle into my springsuit. Crap... a hole. I know it. I fingered the hole near my ass, and sure enough, there's a nice gouge there where I got finned.

"It's a day of wall barrels!" Ross yells at me. "No turns today!"

I keep pumping as fast as I could on each wave, and pull into the barrel. I am unsuccessful on all of my attempts, but it feels good to be improving. I don't think I've pumped so quickly down the line off the take off like I did today.

Kenny shows up, and he waves at me from shore. I wave back, pointing at the board I left for him on the sand. He leashes up, and I see him paddle out.

I watch the locals take off on throaty lefts. We hoot each other into waves, and laugh if someone gets burned.

I see a small left form near me. I paddle to meet it, then flip around. It's small, but I now it will jack up and form a hollow wave. I pig dog it, and Kim is on the shoulder. She yells, "GO Klaude!" and paddles over the wave. I'm trying to keep the high line as long as possible, but when the wave looks like it's closing out, I let go of my rail, and straighten out. I'm still a newb. I should just stay in the pocket and pull in till I get gobbled up.

I finally see Kenny. "Dude, it took me half an hour to paddle out. These waves are just so gnarly!" he says.

"Yup, we've all been there. It's part of it," I smile. One thing's for sure: Kenny isn't a person who gives up.

There was a group of three, two guys, one girl, sitting closely. I start paddling for one wave, and buzz cut Mohawk guy drops in on me. I pump after him, but lose speed and bail out. He looks behind him after he eats it, and doesn't even apologize. Inside my head, I am angry as fuck. I want to yell at him. I want to tell him he's a kook. I want to throw chingaso's at this motherfucker for dropping in on me. But that all deflates. It's not me. It's not even worth it. It was a small wave, and it closed out. We're not at Pipe. We're at 26th Street. We keep the aloha alive here.

I paddle for another wave, and Mohawk's friend paddles for the left. He takes off cleanly, and I pull out. He takes the wave pretty far, and I wait for him to get back into line up.

"Hey, sorry for knocking off the top of the wave," I tell him.

Stunned, he looks at me. "What?"

"I said, sorry for knocking off the top of your wave."

He's dumbfounded. "Oh, no, it's ok," he says with a smile.

I paddle for a set wave. It's all mine. But at the last second, I see Mohawk in my way on the inside. I have to bail my board and get tossed. He dives deep under on the inside as I go over the falls. I grab my leash and yank it as hard as possible. We both resurface.

"Dude, sorry about that," I tell him. "You ok? Board ok?"

"Uh, yea, I'm fine. Thanks," he says, stupefied that I'm the one apologizing.

Kill them with Aloha. Be kind. Be humble. This is everyone's playground.

Kenny is able to take off on two waves. Well, he paddles and eats shit, but he attempts to catch some waves. He's still stoked too.

"DUDE did you see that??" he asks me after a wave which gobbles him up.

"Yea, I did! That was sick," I tell him.

"Oh man, this is so addicting!" he said.

I think we may have a new DRC member in the making.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Just Another Day 091614

Surf Report: 2-4 feet close outs
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Marginal

Today was a wonky day for surf. There was hurricane swell from the south hitting the bay, but I feel like the recent flurry of hurricane swells has messed up the bathymetry of 26th Street and moved a lot of sand. As a result, the waves are jumbled up and aren't as good in shape as they used to be.

Randy and Matt show up on the sand at the same time as I do. We are both on the Post Grom Patrol - the PGP. We walk past the 26th Street lifeguard tower and stretch. Mike, his wife and his friend Jack walk past us and paddle out further south.

Today was just a day of DROPS. Matt took the gnarliest drops in front of us. I didn't have a single wave that was memorable. Randy... just his mere presence makes me want to push my surfing. I know how gnarly he surfs, so I want to push my limit as much as possible around him. I was disappointed to not be able to show him my progress since the last time we three surfed together.

The last time we three paddled out, it was December 1, 2012. It was big and gnarly that day, and all of us got pounded. But it was a real turning point in my life, not just in surfing but my whole life. It's a day we will remember forever, and one that I cherish deeply.

But today... nothing. No turns, no big drops, no barrels. Just frustration and rip currents and close outs. I call it a day within an hour, and catch a belly ride in. I walk further south to where Matt is sitting, whistle, and wave at him. He waves back.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Wish You Were Here! 091414

Surf Report: 1-2 feet with the occasional 3 footer
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Trade winds blowing

I get home from the Quincenera around 1130. I fall straight to bed, not even blinking. Melting into my mattress, I have a doubt I'll make it out to San Onofre....

I wake up in a sheepish stupor. It's already 700 AM. I overslept. FUck. FUCK!! Well, better get my day started at least.

I put a pot of hot water on, and massage my stomach. I crank my neck around five times going clockwise, then five time counterclockwise. Man, I wanna go surf so badly... local can't be that bad... but I really want to surf with Matt and Bri. I haven't surfed with them in so long. Bri's been in Mexico, and Matt's been busy with family after his mother's death. I should go... but I'm so late. They're already in the water by now, and by the time I get there, they'll be out of the water. What a waste of time for both of us! They'll be packing up camp and I won't be able to surf. Well, come on... make a decision...

A small spider has set up his web along the wall of my room. I let her be for various reasons. One, I love spiders. Two, she's been eating all of these ants in my room. She's keeping it free of small pests. The spider as a spirit animal is a feminine sign, representing creativity and tactful choices. "Creativity," I mumble to myself. Am I making the right choice by going to San Onofre? Or am I making the right choice by staying local? I look at my phone, and unlock my screen. I hit the Voxer app, and listen to Donny Duckbutter's remaining message that I didn't listen to yesterday.

"Oh, and, we really wish you were here Klaude!" panted Bri.

"Yea man, wish you were here!" reiterated Matt in a worn out voice. The message ended.

"DONE," I said. Without wasting a second, I grab all my gear, basketball bag included, and head out the door. I jam onto the 405 freeway through the 90. I'm in cruise control. I'm driving down to San Onofre twice in two weeks, and I get to surf with my friends! My DRC family. Road dogs.

I jam to my Beatles playlist the whole way down, singing off key and loving it. I listened to the whole Abbey Road album and then Please Please Me.

I thought I should call them, but why bother? They're in the water. They don't have cell phones in the water.

I arrive just in time for Matt to begin cooking breakfast. He is frying up some eggs to perfection using a gentle touch with the spatula. Rick the Reptile greets me along with his wife, Tracy. Paige says hi and gives me a hug. Jane, looking very coy at first, finally said hi to me. Jordan was in the tent and just a cool "hey" as she went back to checking her Instagram feed.

Matt is worn out from surfing so damn much. He has surfed non-stop like he always does, and gives me a big hug. Bri looking gorgeous as always, gives me a big hug too.

I chit chat with everyone as Rick and Matt dance around the camp, cleaning up, cooking, getting coffee ready, and talking to everyone the whole time.

"Yea we surfed Lowers today too," said Rick. There was one chick who was out... I don't know her name though."

"Yea she was RIPPING," said Jordan. "Her name's um.... she surfs kinda weird."

"Like a stick is shoved up her butt? Sally," I say. "Sally Fitzgibbons."

"Yea her! Well, I dunno about a stick up her ass, but she does stick her butt out like this," Jordan mimics Sally's style, squatting in an awkward looking bottom turn but showing off her strong thighs nonetheless.

"Yea!! That's the way she does it!" I laugh.

"Well, she was ripping the shit out of everything!" Rick exclaims.

We eat a delicious meal of spam, eggs, and brown rice. ("We can't have breakfast until the rice is cooked. You understand, right Klaude?") The salty spam was just perfect with the rice and egg.

Then I watch Rick and his family deconstruct the whole campsite. I sit back and relax. I feel kinda guilty not helping, but I didn't stay overnight... so I guess it's ok? I'm not sure still.

Kahlil Gibran wrote in The Prophet, "Your children are not your children." I saw an allegory of this saying as Rick deconstructed the camp site. Matt helps out Rick deconstructing the camp. Rick is a father figure to Matt, so Matt has no hesitation in helping him. Ricks' daughters on the other hand... they are at best mediocre at "helping." They mostly fool around or complain about their mom not helping. Jordan is helping a lot, though. She's not blood related, but she is definitely one of Ricks' children.

The hours pass by and it's getting hotter and hotter. I'm not sure if I can surf now. By the time camp is cleaned up... it's around noon. I contemplate. You drove all the way here, didn't you?

"I'm gonna paddle out," I declare to Matt and Bri.

They drive me down to the military parking area. I thought they were going to leave and visit Orlando's camp after they dropped me off, so I just brought my board, leash, and keys. I thought I was going to walk back after they left, so why bother bringing anything else? Maybe some sandals... Definitely some sandals.

"Where you gonna paddle out?" asks Matt.

"Right here, I only have an hour or so," I reply.

"No fuss, no muss eh?" Matt says to me, "You should use the CeCe Peniston. She'll be great for now,"

I decline, saying, "Naw I wanna try my board first. Then if not, I'll switch to the CC."

We stubbornly offer and decline once more like brothers. 

I grab my Little Red, and head out to the sand. I do a light warm up since I don't plan to surf for more than an hour, and time is of the essence. I paddle out right in front, and hit the cold water. The water only feels cold because of the blazing hot sun. My skin has been baking the whole time in that t-shirt. Oh, the joys of cooling the hot body with a cool dip into Mother Ocean.

First wave, I catch a small wave that was hard to paddle into. Next three waves, the wave just rolls under me. I've had it. Matt was right, I need CC in ma life!! I paddle in to switch boards.

To my surprise, Bri is changed and ready to surf. Matt is getting Bri's board out.

"What's up?" asks Matt.

"Gonna switch," I tell him. "Gotta take CC out. You paddling out?"

He smiles. "Here, take it, I'll ride a different board."

"What? Wait what are you riding then?"

"The NSP," he says.

Bri's board... right. He wants to accommodate me and let me have CC. I thank him graciously.

Paddling out on CC, I feel like I'm on a boat. Just paddling smoothly on this thing like a longboard, only submerging my hands. I catch a small wave on her to get reacquainted.

Matt and Bri paddle out. Now, I know Matt, and so I know he's going to rip on my Little Red. He muscles into every wave, so Little Red will be perfect for him. And just as I thought that, he takes an inside wave and knocks off the top in a cautious backside snap.

I hole up six fingers for his ride.

Bri is paddling back from a wave.

I catch a wave. My timing is all off. I try to cut back but I'm too early. Then I cut back again, and I'm too late. I fall from losing my balance. Matt holds up four fingers.

Bri is paddling back from a wave, again.

Matt gets a set wave, and this time does a legit cutback and sends some spray back. He pumps further down, and does another finisher cut back. He's on shore now. I throw up six and seven fingers. 6.70.

Bri is padding back from a wave, once again.

She tells me, "Maybe Mons is doing alright?" And starts paddling further up the point. I paddle out further too.

I get a medium sized set wave, and do some better cut backs. Matt holds up six fingers for me. 

Bri is paddling back from a wave, once again.

A SUP guy paddles out. He sits at the top of the wave, and starts taking all the waves. No manner whatsoever. He snakes Bri. He snakes me. He is just like honeybadger, not giving one FUCK.

I start to look for my last wave. Make it a good one, KK, we drove all the way down here. Just. Be. Patient. The wave will come.

I waited.

and waited.

Bri paddles back from a wave, 1nce again.

and waited.

Finally, a wave pops its head out. I knew it. I paddle for the peak, and get into it easily. I start pumping immediately. I beat the first section and start pumping for home. Go CC GOOOO!

We reconvene at the car. Rick hands Bri and I an apple, and Jane offers us chips. We talk about the session, and I thank both of them for paddling out with me. We're all smiles right now. I want to rush, but I take my time. I rinse off, and hop into Matt's car, sitting on his changing pancho. Sorry for being dripping wet, Matt.

My nipples are on fire. I've been barebacking this past week. Why am I getting nipple rash all of a sudden?

"The Curse of CC!! She's a dream board to ride, but she has a price. It's the dream and curse of CC!" I exclaim. We all laugh. 

I say my good-byes to Matt and Bri, and hit the road. I have to coach a game now. I call some of the parents to let them know I'm going to be late, and so I'll need one of the parents to be coach until I arrive.

We end up winning the game. We actually destroyed the other team. The point difference was so great that they turned off the score. I was very proud of my boys.

To top off the day, Matt and Bri came over my parents house for some poke. A family friend of ours caught about five yellow fin tuna, each weighing about 18 pounds. My mom sliced it up, and so we had tons of yellow fin ahi to make into poke. Matt and Bri and my Mom and my Dad. Television was off, and we were all engaged into each other. This is what feels like family to me. This is what I cherish and value most. This feeling of warmth makes me feel at home no matter who or where we are.

Mahalos Mother Ocean and all my Ohana!!

The Local Card 091314

Surf Report: 2-3 feet and weak
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: marginal

Nicky's older brother, Kenny, had asked me if I could take him surfing sometime soon. I replied, "Of course! Just hit me up whenever you want to go."

"Is it cold? I can't do cold water really..." he said.

"Well, you should be fine, the water's been warmer lately."

That was in March of 2014.

He gets back to me during the week, and we agree to meet at my house early in the morning.

He arrives at 630 AM. He says he was up till 200 AM playing Cards Against Humanity with his family. "BUKKAKE" came up for his mom. She didn't know what it was, so they let her look it up on google.

"She pulled up the weirdest definition on some site that was like Urban Dictionary. It was so funny!" Kenny says.

We load up our stuff and head to 26th Street. Matt's been telling me how good it's been during the week, so I am optimistic about the waves. This is the earliest I've been out to surf in a long time. No sleeping in today! I'm on it, coach.

Kenny didn't bring a beach towel. Sigh... just like his brother. I lend him mine while giving him shit about forgetting a basic of beach gear. I am lending him Mel's board, a fat, thick pin tail. Hopefully he has some luck on it.

Joyce is in the parking lot, and I wave at her. Her friend Toru is parked across from her. I tell her that we'll be surfing right out front.

"What, let's go to Marine Klaude!"


"It's less crowded there, and I had fun last time!"

"Uh, no, I'm ok, I'll surf here. Come surf with us!" I tell her.

She hesitates. Her body language says it: I'm surfing Marine today. You have to join us at Marine.

We paddle out, and I start giving him pointers. He is laying on his stomach, and is listening intently. He tries to sit upright. The board boggles and wiggles, and he is back on his stomach again. He tries again, only to be side saddled and tossed off by the board.

"Ho, maybe she doesn't like you too much?" I chuckle at him.

He smiles back. He enjoys the new challenge.

I tell him the rules around here, the pecking order, how to look left and right while paddling... he hangs onto every word.

I introduce him to Ross, Bruce, Roy and some other 26th Street locals. He likes the vibe here a lot. "It reminds me of my Jiu-Jitsu class. Every one is so mellow and friendly. I like it here."

The waves today are small, but they have good shape. Actually, they have really good shape! I'm stoked. And, the crowd is not that bad. It's actually pretty manageable because I'm using my local card. I get my fair share of waves, while hooting others into waves.

Even some of the other locals start telling Kenny to paddle for waves. Gene, the ukulele lover and longboarder, hoots him in.

"GO KENNY GO!!" he says.

Kenny hesitates, and then starts to paddle. Too late bruh, gotta paddle earlier. I drop some knowledge on him: You must paddle for a wave like your life depended on it, especially if a local hoots you into one.

I contemplate pushing him into a wave so he can at least get on his feet. But I don't. He's a man, he can learn for himself. I'll just give him advice, like move up on your board, and paddle longer strokes. Kenny goes for one. He's late at popping up, but gets to his feet. The wave tosses him over, and he eats shit. He comes up smiling! "Dude, that was so fun!"

We surf until 930 AM. A good two and a half hour session. Kenny caught only one wave, but he is stoked. I'm stoked to have caught a good session too.

Back at the car, I see a text message from Joyce. "I didn't have fun today. Why didn't you surf with me? I'm not telling people that I'm going to surf anymore. I wanted to surf with you."

Wait, how does that make sense? We were already parked at 26th Street. Why walk ten blocks to surf a different spot that is of more or less equal quality? I have my local card at 26th Street. I don't have it at Marine.

"I thought we are supposed to surf together." I shoot back. 

Kenny and I decide to go to breakfast. I drive us to a spot called Red Bread right across the Costco on Washington Blvd. We find parking, and walk to the store front, only to find that the place has closed and moved to Santa Monica! Mierda!!!

So, we decide to go to a place called Flake on Rose Avenue. We get there to a line. I order an Acai bowl and a Cro-Jo sandwich. Kenny orders a Cro-Jo sandwich too. In fact, he pays for my Cro-Jo. We sit outside, talking over Jiu-Jitsu and surfing similarities. I tell him that I will love to try some Jiu-Jitsu, and he lights up. I can feel his passion from this guy about Jiu-Jitsu. He just absolutely loves it. He is very passionate and driven about Jiu-Jitsu, and I love it.

"I wanna come see you in your element," I tell him through a smile.

"Yea, come through! It will be fun!!"

We eat our Acai bowl and Cro-Jo. The Acai bowl... is good, but expensive as fuck. Getting extra berries on top is an extra $2, bringing the total to a whopping $10 Acai bowl. Coffee is $2, thankfully, and good! It's not burnt, tastes great black, and does the job. The Cro-Jo is awesome. Their special sauce is a cross between chipotle aioli and nut butter. I am thoroughly satisfied.

We drive back and I have to take a massive shit. Eric is outside, filling up his air conditioning fluid. Kenny starts talking to him, and I take the fattest deuce of the day. Coffee poops... yep, they feel great after a great surf and a great meal with great conversations with a passionate person. As I sit on the porcelain throne, I listen to a voxer message from Donny Duckbutter.

"Klaude, oh man.. we just got out of the water..."

"Is that Klaude?" says Bri. "Klaude! Klaude, I was clowning people today!! It was sooo good."

"Yea, dude, we had the same spot as always, and people would come, but we would just keep trading waves between the two of us, so yea, they all left. I'm so tired right now..."

And I stopped listening to the message. I had to get back out to Kenny and Eric, and get on with my day! I had to get to work, work hard, then head to inland Artesia and attend a quincenera! I give Kenny a trash bag to put his wetsuit in, we both say our good-byes, and I get ready for work. It's blazing hot today... and I'm kinda glad I'm going to an air-conditioned office.

Fuck... they scored. I should go see them in the morning... at least catch some surf with them and Rick.... haven't surfed with them in so long...

Mahalos Mother Ocean

GSD 090914

Surf: 2-3 with the occasional 4 footer
Water: Warm
Winds: Marginal slight on shore
Atmosphere: Sunny

I woke up waaaaay too late. I've been having trouble sleeping early and waking up early. I dunno why, maybe stress from tax season? Anyways, I can't make it to 26th today... I will be way late into work. I have to be at work at a decent time at the moment, since we have a lot of shit to do, and our family moto is GSD. GET SHIT DONE.

I throw all my stuff into the car, and drive off to Venice. I know it's shitty there, and I don't surf it all the time, but god damnit, it's convenient! And I want to maximize surf time. I can't believe I'm seeing so many cars on my drive to surf! What am I doing with my life?? I need to get my shit together, I think to myself.

I find street parking, throw off my shirt, grab my leash and board, kick my sandals inside my car, close the trunk, lock the doors, and head to cross the street. Funny how a little desperation kicks things into gear for me.

Why am I desperate to surf today? I have no idea. I feel.... wrong? Off? Unhappy? If I don't surf... Especially during a swell. And NO WETSUIT?? C'mon man! Get outta bed and start paddling!

Ok, so the waves at Venice suck. The pier's not even working. I'm sure breakwater is, but that place is mad crowded. I can't do it... I don't know, maybe I will sometime, but I just can't at this moment. I paddle out, and there are a few people with full suits on. By the way they paddle, I can tell they are noobs. Too far up on the board, too weak, too non-committal. But the waves are just really small on the inside, and the sets are all close outs.

I don't have any memorable rides this day. I remember that I was paddling for a wave that another person was paddling for. He had priority, but I had to try. I almost stand up, but pull out. As I pull the emergency break, the surfer on my inside shouts, "What! Are you doin...." and fades away his voice as he pumped down a close out. He takes the wave all the way in, and calls it a day.

I drive into work, not overly joyous, but content. I was in the water. The sun hit my bare back, and the water was so beautiful. The papers and file folders strewn along my desk in a disorderly orderly fashion doesn't look so menacing now. The day's going to be ok. I'm ready to GSD.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Timing 090714

Surf report: 3-4 feet with the occasional 5 footer
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: marginal side shore

I coached a basketball in Long Beach in the morning. We won, but I was unhappy with the way my boys finished the game. We stopped communicating, and we stopped TRYING. I felt like we should have killed the other team by 30 points, but we won only by 11.

I drove down further to meet Hideki to return his canopy and tent he let me borrow for my basketball team's beach day. We ate lunch at Islands and shared a beer. I told him that I had packed my board and that I was heading straight to San Onofre after this. He wished me luck as I dropped him back to his house. "Maybe Uppers or Cottons will be firing for you!" he tells me.

I made this solo trip because I felt it was the right choice to make. I'm already in Long Beach, San Onofre is only an hour away. Plus, there was swell in the water. Hopefully I can catch Middles with no one out...? I had to try. I also wanted some solo time so I can just be with my thoughts. I seem to love these moments by myself. Even when I'm feeling lonely, I feel like my own company is the best company.

I pull off the 5 freeway at Cristianitos. I haven't made this hike in a long time, but I'm up for it. I pray that there is a parking spot close by. I see a guy packing his stuff up as soon as I get off the freeway, but I see across the street that there is a space available. I whirl my car into the space, and down a coconut water. I get changed into my spring suit, and contemplate what I should take... Phone... sunglasses... not the good ones, the cheap ones... towel.... changing mat.... more coconut water.... yea that sounds good. I didn't want to take much because I don't like the idea of getting my valuable stolen. I've seen signs of STOLEN CAR- THIEF STOLE MY BACKPACK WITH MY CAR KEYS. PLEASE CALL whatever phone number. I feel better safe than sorry with my possessions.

I start my trek down to Trestles. I forgot how long this trip is... I'm spoiled with having a friend in the military who can drive me into Camp Pendleton and we can just park at Churches. The most we hike is three quarters of a mile to Middles. Not today, though... Today, I make the whole trip with my stuff.

A girl in a torn t-shirt and a black bra underneath walks by me. She's not carrying a surfboard or anything... what is she doing? Two guys skate down, and one guy stops. He tells her to get on the skateboard, and they carefully ride tandem, she squatting on the board Indian style, and he kicking mongoose. They disappear into the distance. A lot of people are riding bikes up and down the path. Maximize surf time, minimizing hiking time, I thought to myself.

The sun is blazing hot. I wish I had brought my hat. I'm wearing minimal clothing, but I am sweating balls I guess it's just the sun right now. I hear the gentle breeze rustle the trees like feathers of a bird. Small insects glide and buzz their wings. For a moment, I lose myself in the nature that has been untouched.

Finally, arriving at Cottons, I see that there are waves. It's crowded here though... I think it's because it's the first spot people see, they just set up camp here and paddle out here. Off in the distance, I can see Lowers, indicated by the Hurley scaffolding being erected in time for the contest. I start to make my way towards that area on the blazing hot sand.

Thankful that I wore sandals, I trudge along the coast sweating balls. It. Is. So. Hot. The Turkey burger and beer is catching up to me. Maybe it wasn't such a great idea to eat that before coming here.... I see Uppers breaking nicely. However, there are a lot of people on it. And it's super low tide. I've never seen so many rocks exposed here. It looks eerily inviting, as if Mother Ocean is daring me to make a risky choice in paddling out here.

I pass by Lowers to see the crowds of people gathered. There are so many photographers on the beach set up with big beach umbrellas and canopies set up. Tons of Pro's are out, and I see Jadson Andre suit up. He talks to a fine girl as he suits up. Mahina Maeda, a Hawaiian surfer girl in the Swatch Girls Pro as a wildcard, suits up into her red wetsuit. Her thighs look so thick and yummy... she's 17! One more year in California, but Hawaii it will be ok to be hitting on her.

I walk passed the scaffolding to see if any sets swing wide of Lowers. It seems like... there aren't any waves. I'm a bit disappointed. Churches is crowded as hell - I can see that from here. But Battle Positions?? No waves breaking?? Why????

I think about it... I think long and hard. I gather my stuff, and hike back up to Uppers. I set up my backpack and surfboard along a ridge and start to warm up. I get my Neck Beard out and start to do the cobblestone two step. I see some surfer chicks get out slowly and do the cobblestone two step too. They are both Japanese.

As soon as I get into waist deep water, I feel my knee tighten up. I start to paddle, and I can feel a cramp coming on. I toughen it out. I breathe as calmly as I can, and try to relax. My board needs more wax. I put on wax that I carried out with me, but the wax seems to be crumbling off as I apply more wax. Did I bring a tropical stick? What the fuck is going on? I stop applying wax because the bare spot is now bigger.

The waves are five feet on the face, but a lot of them are not breaking cleanly. There seem to be two turn waves, but they are scattered and hard to find. I paddle for my first wave, and get a clean take off. I bottom turn and try to drive off the top but my timing is way off, and I stall at the top and lose the wave. The cut back was badly timed. I should have done it earlier. I sit for another wave, and my left leg starts to cramp. I can feel my toes cramp, and then the shin muscle cramp.

I have to get out now. How. STUPID. Should have just waited after I walked miles and miles down to here. I was too eager, and so my body didn't have time to relax and rest. Now I'm doing the cobblestone two step on cramped up legs. What a kook I am.

I prop my surfboard atop the rock ridge, and lay down under the shade that has been created. I close my eyes and just listen to the waves crashing... the cobblestones rolling back with the ebb and flow of the waves... Just relax, KK. Right now isn't a good time for you to surf.

I'm not sure how long I slept, but I wake up refreshed. The tide is a little bit higher, and the waves are still breaking at Uppers. I brush off the sand and crack open my coconut water. I watch the waves and the crowd. The waves are persistent, much like the crowd's persistence to stay bunched up. I'm turned off by the crowd, and so I gather all my stuff and move back down past Lowers.

I put my stuff down at Battle Positions, and watch. The waves look small and inconsistent, when a three wave set comes. Two of them have shape, while the last one closes out. I can do this! Good timing, set waves... if they didn't come, I would have not surfed here.

I paddle out and duck dive the first few waves. I assess who are the rippers here, and who aren't. We are all about the same ability level, except maybe this older dude that is doing top turns going right.

An older surfer paddles out on his longboard. I watch him catch an inside right, but he kicks out and starts yelling at himself. "No wax on the board!! Shit!!!"

At this point, I remember Double D's entry at Jalama beach where a complete stranger hands him some wax when he needed it most. I can be that stranger right now...

"Hey, excuse me, do you need some wax?" I pull out half a stick of wax from my springsuit sleeve. "You can have this, I don't need it anymore."

"What... really? Seriously? I can have this?" the other surfer replies, baffled at the gesture.

"Yea, I don't need it. See, not everyone who surfs here is a dick!"

"Hahah!! You're right. Thanks brah! You can have any wave from me, ok?"

"Haha naw man, it's all good. We can share waves no problem!" I tell him.

So I just sit on the inside of everyone and wait for the sets.

My plan pays off immediately.

I paddle hard for a right. It's east five feet on the face. FINALLY!! A drop to get excited for!!! Only I realize, it's San Onofre, and there is no drop. As soon as I pop up, I can feel the wave is slopey and glides well under my surfboard. I get two pumps in, set up for a bottom turn, and see the lip coming towards me. I do a snap right under the lip, and the lip crashes onto my back foot. The force knocks me down and I fall off my board.

I realized that my top turn was bad timing. If I had committed earlier to the turn, I could have pulled it off. Instead, I was turning too late on the lip, and didn't fit the maneuver into the face of the wave.

I see the longboarder that I shared my wax with dig for a wave. He digs and digs and digs, but misses it. "GO GO GO!" he tells me.

I laugh, and start digging. I am too late, and miss the wave. I should have been paddling earlier and harder.

I look down at Lowers, and its machine like consistency is a wet dream for any surfer. The waves just keep breaking, perfectly, one after the other, with three people taking off on the right. The two kick out, and the surfer on the inside just shreds the shit out of it.

An American guy and an Aussie girl paddle out. He tells her how he is learning to duck dive deeper and time them better. Timing. Every thing is timing.

An older longboarder paddles way outside. He digs and digs and finally gets into the wave. I paddle so as to not get in his way. I hoot him and throw a shaka before I duck dive. He takes the wave all the way to shore and takes his time getting back to the line up.

The mood is mellow here as always. Sure, the shape isn't all that great, but hey, there are only a handful of guys out, and most of them don't even have the paddle power to get into these waves. The waves, albeit big, were mushy and slow-rolling. They required a lot of paddling and positioning to get into them. Again, I can't believe I used to surf blind. What the shit was I thinking?

As I sit in the water, I start contemplating about timing. Matt's girlfriend, Bri, and I had a conversation one time going to HB only to get skunked:

"So why didn't it work out with so and so?"

"Well, I asked her out, she didn't want to, so we stayed friends."

"You should have asked her again!" she told me.

"Naw, I'm about the moment. The moment was gone, and so I'm ok with that. She made her decision right then and there," I told her.

"No, it's about timing. I believe it's all about timing. The timing wasn't right," she said to me.

Timing. Every thing is timing. Sometimes we meet people just at the right time. Even just for a moment, it's the perfect timing to meet them, right then and there. And every moment should be cherished, for the timing may arrive for us to deepen our interactions. Just be receptive, open, and ready for it.

I get another right and start to pump as the lip crumbles on my feet. I can feel the water splashing over my knees as the white water tries to grapple at my feet with a thousand tiny hands. I get some speed, and drop down to the trough. Ok, bend your legs! I climb up the wave face. Ok, now look back down at the wave face! I carve off the top, and feel the lip pushing the bottom of my board. I push more with my back foot and then feel a big BOUNCE and then I'm knocked off forward, straight down to the flats. I brace myself, and get plunged to the bottom of San Onofre's cobblestones.

Well, at least I didn't touch bottom, I thought as the wave tossed me up and down. Hmmm... wonder what went wrong there? Bad timing on the turn, I suppose. I get out of the tumble dryer and get to the surface. Oh, another wave on the head? Why not. I dive down into the darkness of the warm water of San Onofre. I wait, and wait, and wait. I get back up, and start paddling back. I can see there are multiple waves in this set, and keep duck diving them. They aren't that bad... this place is just too mushy for any white water to be too gnarly.

Well, except for that one time... but that's a story for another time.

The scene, as I just get out...

I keep trying to do front side snaps and falling. I still need to time them better, to snap them stronger, and to land them. I feel like I'm not directly over my board and that I'm just throwing out the board too much. I catch my last wave in as the sun starts turning into a golden orb to the west. The clouds look just perfectly broken up to make a leopard like pattern.

I walk over to my backpack, and see a photographer getting the "shot" from where my backpack lay. He is shooting with a huge camera into the sunset, and was waiting for the surfers to do an awesome move in the foreground. After a few shots, he starts to move back towards Trestles. He is super ripped and toned. He must surf a lot too. What a job to have. I'm sure once it is a "job" it's not as fun, but imagine all the places he travels to and gets to capture great moments on a camera? It must be worth every effort.
The Money Shot

I pack up my stuff and start moving. I don't even get changed on the sand. I figure, I can change when I get back to my car. I stand by the scaffolding by Lowers, and watch the professionals tear the place apart. They are so fast and so precise. It's almost unfathomable of how well they surf, even in a huge crowd of people. 

I start to walk further down, and see a guy changing on the grassy area near the scaffolding. Great idea, I thought. I start to change, and get to see some of the most progressive surfing in the world. I can tell Jadson Andre's style, and watch him do three top turns, and finishing with a nose pick gouge at the end. He doesn't land the last move, but holy shit, he did some of the most amazing turns I have ever seen.

I see a butt I am familiar with. It has to be Coco Ho's ass. She runs past us, and disappears among the crowds of people on the beach still.

I keep walking down, and am in awe of the raw beauty of the sun and the horizon, melting together. I keep stopping in my tracks, just to gaze at the blinding sun. With every passing moment, the color gets more and more magical. I can't believe how beautiful it is. Great timing, I thought.

And just like that, the sun was gone, and the purple hues of the clouds got darker and darker with every passing moment.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Filtering 090614

Surf report: 2-3 feet building swell
Water: warm
Winds: marginal side shore
Atmosphere: Clear skies

Today was Matt's mom's memorial service. It was held at Saint Monica's Church in Santa Monica. I opted not to surf so I could make it to the service. The service was beautiful, and I felt the love and sense of loss emanating from every one in attendance. However, the moment I walked in, my right shoulder cramped up. It felt like the weight of the atmosphere just collapsed on me, and I felt the pain physically and spiritually. I'm not a believer in God, but I am a believer in a higher power, and today, the higher powers were present, imbuing the air with the dampened sense of loss of a loved one.

As a Buddhist ritual, I carried a small bag of salt in my pockets. As soon as the service was over, I paid my respects to Matt, Bri, and Matt's brother Randy, and walked out of the church. There, I threw some salt over my back in order to "cleanse" the area of spirits that might linger. And just like that, my shoulder pain subsided. Although I don't attend temple anymore, I still hold dear to the rituals I grew up with.

I went to work afterwards, and knew I had to jump into the water. I planned on going to Topanga since the South swell was incoming. I shot Matt a text, and he replied that he was drained from the days' events, and that he had a family obligation still that night to fulfill so he wouldn't be able to surf.

The dream of Andy Irons was still sticking with me, and I contemplated on what he had said to me. "I'm always here, wherever people need me to be."

Sunset beach looked mushy and small. The tide was coming up fast, so I knew I couldn't surf there for long. I drove by Topanga, and spotted a free parking spot. I busted a U-turn as quickly as I could, and parked. I watched the surf from the stairs, and the waves looked do-able. It was crowded, but there were some surfers leaving, so I thought why the hell not. Probably better than Malibu, right?

WRONG. The locals start to come out. And at a point break like Topanga, we can tell who are the locals, and who are not. This older lady, on a longboard, she's a local. Regular footed angry guy, he's a local. Goofy footed aggro guy with his chick, they are local. Little groms on the inside, they are local. Every one else? Guests.

I catch two waves today. I tried to pull into the barrel, and I get pinched, dragged, and thrown over the rocks. Oh well.

"Don't even look at my wave, ok? I saw you paddling on the shoulder. Don't worry about me not making the wave, I'm gonna make it. Don't even LOOK AT THE WAVE I'M PADDLING FOR, OKAY?" says angry local. Turns out he's Hawaiian Haole. He's yelling at a guy who has been paddling on the shoulders of waves.

Taro, the Japanese grom, is humble and fun loving. He speaks perfect Japanese, and has been surfing since he was 9. He's 12 now, and is trying to bust airs.

Goffy footed local with his chick - that's Shane. I've seen him here before, and he's scrapped with an outsider on a big day. He surfs here all the time, shown through his knowledge of the wave.

"Hey, I know you can surf, but you can't 'Hey hey' me. You can't do that, you're just a grom," Shane tells another grom.

"Hey Shane, he's just..." says an older guy.

"No, we're cool, I'm just telling him he can't do that to me. He's just a grom." Granted, yes, he is a grom, and yes, he shouldn't do that to a local, Shane is teaching this sort of treatment is fine to another generation. Children are like blank canvases, upon each of our actions and words paint a stroke.

Shane paddles quickly, and pushes his girlfriend into another wave. It's an okay wave, but she gets twice as many rides as I do.

I just go with the flow of the crowd. I don't like the vibe too much, but I deal with it, keeping to myself. I ebb and flow with the crowd, paddling with a purpose. I respect those that are "local" status, and try to get out of their way as much as possible. Feels like Hawaii, all over again. I try to filter out the negative chatter going on in the line up, and only take in the good.

My teeth start chattering, and so I start to go for everything that swings my way, sitting way too deep up the point. The waves mush out because of the backwash, and I get frustrated with my surfing.

Not filtered
I take a wave in, and make my way up the rocks. I get changed, and snap a picture of the sunset. The sunset was beautiful, but my phone didn't capture it correctly. However, thanks to the lies that we can set up with filters, my sunset now looks beautiful.
Filtered the shit out of this one

Much like how I tried to filter my way through the line up, I filtered the sun.

Mahalos Mother Ocean.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

bAckwAsh and dreams 090514

Surf Report: Incoming SW swell 2-3 feet
Water: Bath water
Winds: side shore
Atmosphere: Cloudy

I woke up late. I woke up suuuuuuuper late snoozing, and felt terrible, since Matt, aka Donny Duckbutter, said he wanted to surf this Friday morning. I sent him a message saying that I just woke up and I'm getting ready so I'll see you there.

I arrive to 26th Street, and... there are waves!! but NO FRIGGIN PARKING. I circle around the lot twice, and nothing. So, I wait for a guy to change and relinquish his parking spot. He told me the water was super warm, so I don't even bother putting on my shortsuit. For all I know, Matt and Bri are already in the water. Ain't no one got time to put on a wetsuit!

Once I hit the sand, the High School kids get out. Perfect timing...? There is a lot of water moving, and I can tell that there is backwash. I haven't seen the Ocean do this in a long time. I paddle out and the current carries me further North.

I see Roy take off awkwardly and fall from the backwash. Same thing for Ross. If they're struggling... then what does that make me?

There was one notable ride this session. I read that the waves were better if they were small, since they would jack up and become decent rides on the inside. This one left looked like nothing, but I got to my feet, and pumped twice, cut back, pumped again, cut back, and rode it to the inside.

Other waves were bucking me off like a wild horse angry at getting a novice horse rider on its back.

It was only about an hour of surf before work, maybe less, but I had my fun.

Later on in the parking lot, I see Joyce, meet her friend Toru, and see Dais, Khang, and Peter. 

I talk to Matt later, and he said that he circled around for parking and couldn't find anything. He conceded to park at 45th Street, and he apologized for not making it to 26th Street. 45th Street was the same garbage backwash. I wanted to surf with him, but oh well.

That night, I had a dream of being back in Hawaii. I was driving down the Kamehameha Highway, passing by Sunset Beach, and see the late, great Andy Irons. I pull over and hop out. He casually says hi and we chat. The area flashes bright white, and we are at his friend's house with an older lady and two little girls running around. We talk about his disappearance and his absence in the world.

"Man, it was just like yesterday I watched you win the Tahiti event, and then you disappeared!" I told him.

"Brah, I didn't disappear," he answered with a smile.

"Maybe you killed yourself from the public eye," I told him.

"He disappeared so there weren't anymore girls to trouble him!" said the older lady.

"What were you doing at Sunset?" I asked him.

"It's a good spot to surf," he tells me.

"I thought you'd be at Pipe or Backdoor," I tell him."Or maybe V-land, it was so good today."

"I'm always here, wherever people want me to be," he tells me with a gleaming smile. 

I woke up from the dream, thinking what I had just heard. Yes, it is in my head, but does that make it not real? No, it doesn't. Whoever dies in this world, never truly is DEAD. They only die when they are forgotten.

And so those of us who have lost loved ones, they are always HERE, wherever people want them to be. In our hearts, in our minds, in our souls, in our daily lives, in our dreams. Wherever you want them to be, they will always be there. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Therapy 090114

Surf Report: 1-2 feet closeouts
Water: warm
Winds: ON shore
Atmosphere: one of the clearest, most beautiful day

So, my roommates have broken up recently. I've known Mel for about seven years now, and love her like a family member. And her now ex-boyfriend Pat, I've known about since they started dating, but got to know him better since we lived together. They were a big part of my sense of "family" at home, and it broke my heart to see them separate.

I talk to Pat and Mel all the time. It is painful still, and it's just one of those things that life throws at you to remind you that you're not in control of anything. The only thing you are in control of is how you personally feel.

So, after a day working on Labor Day (yes, I work on Labor Day) I decided to go surf. I sent out the bat signal, but no one was able to come out. I visited my family friends, the Morimoto's, to say hi, and they were eating dinner so they sat me down and fed me. I stuck around for about an hour eating and talking to them. They fed me beer, grilled chicken, grilled peppers, and dessert.

I came home and laid in bed. I felt full, but empty. I was not in a good head space. I flipped a coin, and it landed on heads, meaning HEAD OUT to the beach. I gathered my surfboard, towel, and backpack, and headed out the door. It was going to be a minimalist session - just my board, the Ocean, and me. No gear, no sun block, no nothing.

I debated on going to Venice or Manhattan Beach. "Home is where the heart is," I thought to myself. Venice is my home, but my heart will always belong to 26th Street. So, I accelerate past Venice boulevard and Washington Place, and head to Manhattan Beach.

The waves looked good at Dockweiler, then smaller and smaller as I approached El Porto. By the time I got to 26th Street, the waves looked tiny and closing out. I pull into a parking space and wonder if I had made the right choice. The waves looked shitty, none of my friends are here, and I have forty five minutes until the sun sets. I look at the meter, and its green light flickered. Could it be...?

The minutes read: 00:45. Forty-five minutes of free parking! I got my surfboard out of my car, waxed it up, locked my car, and headed out to the sand. I stretched as I watched a body boarder and surfer catch close outs. Yes, it was shitty, yes, it was lonely, but god damn, it was so beautiful.

The sun was setting in the horizon as I paddled out. The tide was low, and on more than one occasion I duck-dived my board into the sand. The water was super warm, and it reminded me of Hawaii and Mexico. The orange hues beaming out of the big ball of fire on the horizon was gorgeous, much like staring into smile of the one you love as your foreheads touch.

Another surfer paddled out, and we sat far from each other with little interaction. Usually, I would talk to someone, but today... I just felt like being alone with my thoughts. All the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just all of it, and immerse myself and accept all of those thoughts. All of my family members and friends that I still have, all of those that we have lost this year and times past, and all of those relationships that soured over the years. All of it.

And for one fleeting moment, I felt the Ocean just touch me deep inside, letting me know that things are going to be ok. That this too shall pass, and that there will always be a next one, there will be another day following today.

I caught a belly ride in, and watched the sun get undressed for the moon. It was a strip tease, because once she revealed to us her true beauty, she disappeared from view and only left a luminous glow of her glorious allure behind the horizon. I bowed my head in thanks and walked up the sand.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!

The Ocean

There has been a lot of death circling my circle of friends this year. Four of my friends have lost their mothers this year, and another friend is on the verge of losing her father. It sucks, and at the same time, it makes me appreciate the parents I still have, and the fact that I can still tell them that I love them and spend time with them.

The following is a transcription of a message left by my friend, Donny Duckbutter, who recently lost his mother. I've been trying to get him out to surf, but it's been hard to get out at the same time. I went surfing one morning without him, trying to egg him on to come out even though he showed up, saw the surf, and turned back. It was a shitty surf session, but friends were out, and so that session was a good session for me.

I always say, "Surfing is always fun, but it's a hundred times more fun when your friends are with you." 

From Donny Duckbutter, aka Matt on August 28th, 2014:

"Yesterday… no, not yesterday, the day before yesterday, when I went to Trestles… I kinda realized that surfing definitely saved my life during the time when Lauren and I broke up… but to kinda clear my mind about my mom passing and everything, it was nice going out there but it’s definitely going to take more than surfing. 

I was out there, and I definitely didn’t feel comfortable staying out there, so I came back and cleared out my garage and did some other things that I wanted to do. But at the same time, it was nice today to just go out local and the surf really wasn’t that great, but it was so therapeutic.

When I got out of the sand and was showering off and I looked and the sun was just perfect, you can see the pier and conditions were just awesome… and it kinda made me realize that it’s easy being picky as a surfer, and be like, 'Aw, it looks like shit,' and then leave, but then you’re kinda cheating yourself on the experience.  It does suck to get skunked, but I think that’s part of the whole surfing [life]: Getting up early and driving in the dark, getting out there and meeting a couple of your friends out… you get your fill, like maybe one or two waves on a day that’s not so great, but it’s just so nice when you don’t have to travel so far for [surf] because you don’t feel like you lost too much.

I stayed local today and paddled out on such a beautiful day, and it was just a wonderful way to start it… it’s so therapeutic… I definitely… I can appreciate that more now."  

Indeed, surf isn't every thing, but it sure helps in our daily lives. When we're happy, we're glad we surfed. When we're sad, we're glad we surfed. We never regret paddling out and say, "Aw man I wish I hadn't paddled out today." Every session is beautiful. Every session we gain something we didn't have before. Every session is magical. And every session begins and ends with the Ocean. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean.