Saturday, December 19, 2015

KKs Vacay Day 3: Off to Kauai!! 111615

Surf Report: Kinda flat

Water: Warm

Winds: Trade winds

Atmosphere: Clear

I wake up and walk down to Bogarts cafe. It has been my go to while staying on the South Shore. I get the coffee and acai bowl. The day is slow, and I move along with the speed of Hawaii.

I talked to Hawaiian Airlines yesterday, and finally got a live person today. I'll have to get an invoice from the shaper and send Hawaiian Airlines the copy of the invoice.

B-sauce is up, and we talk about what to eat for breakfast. De-Roy invites us into his room, and we play some Capcom vs. Marvel. B-sauce kicks our asses again.

B-Sauce says he has a spot to show me that is right down the street.

The phone rings as I am trying to make a left. The traffic is backed up with a bus, and we are blocking the intersection. It's Hawaiian Airlines again. I'm on the phone, blocking the intersection, damn it. I go straight, pull into the gas station, finish my phone call, cut through the traffic and get across the street to a food truck.

The Banana Banan truck is open for business! This spot is run by 2x World Champion Carissa Moore's boyfriend. He greets us, and takes our order. I ordered a turmeric banan. B-sauce gets a green banan. A Banan is the puree'd soft-cream style treat of tropical bananas grown locally on Oahu. They are combined with various other flavors like coconut, turmeric, ginger, carrots, and many others. It was a great tasting treat to have before my flight from Honolulu to Kauai.

My flight. What time was my flight?

While eating Banan, I think my flight is at 1130 AM. I look at my itinerary and the flight is at 1110 AM. I had to be there thirty minutes ago!

I accept the fact that I am late, and drive back to the Dojo with B-sauce in tow. I gathered my stuff: clothes, hydroflask, ukulele, supplements, and snacks. I jam to my car, and start driving to the airport. I know I'm late. Oh well.

I get to the rental car return and forgot to fill the car up with gas. Oh well.

Checking in, the teleprompter says the flight is departing. The check-in kiosk tells me I am too late. I check with a kiosk attendee. She says line up there, pointing to a customer service line. Oh well.

So, I get a ticket on the next flight. They tell me to go to the gate, and NOT TO GO TO THE BAR. I politely oblige.

I text my sister on what had happened. She told me, "Classic KK move! Missing your flight for some hilarious reasons."

Then, I get a call from my future landlord. He asks me some questions about my job, and some things that were illegible. He says thank you and we hang up.

My flight to Kauai is smooth. I have to pee badly, so I am eager for the fasten seatbelt sign to turn off. Once it turns off, I rush back to relieve myself of the pressure in my bladder. A girl gets up too, and she races on ahead of me... Damn it. She closes the door behind her with a smile, as if to say, "I'm gonna pee before you~"

As soon as I pee like Seabiscuit, I return to my seat, only to find that we are descending. The seatbelt sign turns back on, and the flight attendants are collecting empty juice cups and water cups handed out. Did we even lift off the ground? I'm not even sure.

 Arrival on Lihue is smooth. I grab my uke, hydroflask, and backpack and head off to my car rental. The car rental aunty is a rather Rubenesque, heavy-set lady with dark shades on. Her large body and hidden face screams authority but is accompanied by a sweet voice. She tells everyone who brought more than one piece of luggage, "You guys tryin too hard! You're on vacation!!"

She helps haul in the last couples' luggage into the shuttle. The door slams behind her, and we are off. She explains to us where to go to check-in for our car reservation, where to return, how to return the car effectively by dropping off luggage and other passengers at the airport before returning the car, and for us to have a nice time during our stay on Kauai.

I get to the car rental, and line up at the counter. I get a sweet girl to help me out. She gets me my car, and wishes me a nice stay.

There is a dent on the car, and I mark the paper. But, no one is at the attendee's podium. I drive around, and no one is out. Da fuck? Did everyone take a break? I drive off the lot without handing them the ticket.

I think of a plan. My place that I rented is on the North Shore of Kauai. I'm not even sure how far that is at this point. One thing is for sure, I am hungry. So, I drive to the nearest town, Kapaa.

I stop into a few random places that have restaurants, Foodland, and another grocery store. I am getting hungry, but nothing tickles my pickle. I yelp a poke place close by, and there is a poke spot in a shopping center if I back track 0.2 miles.

I drive down and find the small shopping center. The shopping center is under construction, so I walk around to find the poke place. I peep into a few stores out of curiosity, including a local t-shirt shop, and go to the visitors center. They guide me to the right place.

I don't recall the name of the place, but it was near a hotel. The poke was $17.99 a pound. Damn that was expensive as fuck! So I get a pound, and a side of brown rice. The hot sun is glaring down at us as we try to find solace under the shade. The cold poke tastes great with the hot brown rice under the hot sun. The ahi is fresh, and the sauce is perfect: not too salty, a hint of sweetness, and a well-balance finish of sesame oil, sesame seeds and chives. One can tell it was made fresh since the shoyu hasn't soaked into the tuna, yet the taste of the sauce and fresh fish is equally delicious.

I drive up to a Foodland and buy some apples, some bananas, a small, "super sweet" pineapple, two avocados, a six pack of beer, and a pound of poke. I wanted to get some rest in tonight, and decided to head straight to the place I was staying. So far this Hawaii trip, I haven't been sleeping on a bed, let alone a whole night. Tonight, I had to rest.

I drive following signs that read North. I don't want to use my GPS for two reasons: sheer cheapness (data is expensive, man!) and I wanted to choose my own adventure. I wanted to get lost and to make a wrong turn. I wanted to find my Kauai.

I drive through Kapaa town, and it is CROWDED WITH PEOPLE. Holy shit, there are a lot of people, and cars!! It is all man-made traffic though. Much like that stretch of Kam Highway right by Chun's reef and Jocko's, because everyone is rubber-necking the break, jay walking the street, finding parking, leaving parking, and jacking off in their car. Kapaa was like that. Ok it wasn't that bad, but what followed after the exodus from Kapaa burns in my memory.

The drive up north was breath-taking. BREATH. TAKING.

The beaches were mostly empty. I couldn't believe it. There were waves out there, lifeguards on duty, and only one or two people out. Da boyz from the Dojo told me that Kauai will be empty, but I didn't think this empty. I couldn't believe how beautifully empty the beach was.

There was a stretch on the highway where the highway is covered over by gargantuan trees. The trees towered over measly humans and their concrete roads. Small gleams of light sparkled through as we drove forty miles per hour.

Driving forty five miles per hour was noticeably fast over in Kauai. I was stunned and also pleased to drive slowly, enjoying the serenity of the scenery. I had my iPhone connected to the cars system, so I had it going on random. There were some songs that I had always skipped over but I listened to them here in Kauai. They were songs of love, of rock and rolling, of Marvin Gaye.

I pay attention to the stores on my way to the North Shore. People have told me that everything shuts down at 900 PM here. So, if they are right about the empty beaches, I trust they are right about the 900 PM thing. So, if I need something and I know this before 900 PM, I should come to this spot.

Further down the road, I get enthralled by the rows of trees covered in symbiotic vines on their entire body, from trunk to branches. The dark green vines have huge leaves on them that fan over the branches. These trees have been here for hundreds of thousands of years, maybe even millions of years. It dwarfed the human ego inside of me. We humans seemingly act as though we know everything after a few decades of life. Mother Nature is and will continue to be living, thriving, striving, progressing, evolving, and overpowering. The mana of the Hawaiian islands is alive in the soil, the air, the trees, the mountains and the water. We humans must learn from Mother Nature. We must protect Mother Nature.

I near Princeville and start to read the instructions of where this vacation rental place is located. The instructions the manager wrote can only be seen on pdf, so I am having difficulty reading it. I realize that I had missed my turn, when I get a call. The phone reads, "Aisa."

Aisa and I met through a dating app called Coffee Meets Bagel, and we hit things off through our conversations in the app. I was myself, and she was herself. I made suggestive inappropriate innuendos in our conversations about life, traveling, and careers. She matched with equal passion in response. I got her number, and started to text her through t he phone.

Then our conversations halted. I thought to myself, "What the fuck? Ok, well, if she ain't responding... I can't do anything."

And here she is, calling me. I pick up the phone, driving the wrong way still.

She first apologizes about not responding to texts. She has been going through some tough times, and haven't been available. Understandable, since we all have been there. We talk, a bit while I drive around, make a U-turn, and head back to the right direction. Our conversations are breaking up because of the poor service available in Kauai. We agree to text each other back and forth, and we hang up. Perhaps the poor service is a blessing. We kept the conversation short, succinct, to the point, and agreed on texting each other while I was on vacation. Actually, it was me who asked if it was ok to text food pictures, hiking pictures, and the occasional sexy selfie to her, and she said that was ok, with a laugh.

I punch in the address of the place and give in to GPS technology. My GPS leads me through a gated community full of old, retired white people. Talk about a homogeneous population! There is a fucking golf course here... Fuck, where am I staying? The fucking retirement housing complexes??

I arrive at my place. It's across a fancy shmancy gated community. That's right, there is a gated community within the gated community. Way to out-yup the yuppies, Yuppy McYuppy. The complex I am staying in has a top unit, and a bottom unit. I don't understand how or why there is a bottom unit. Wouldn't that make the units underground?

I get to my unit, and the instructions are hard to follow in the dark. I can't open the key lock, and struggle to punch in the right numbers. Even after punching in the right numbers, I pull the tab and release it before the cover comes off. I finally manage to coordinate my pulling of the tab with the cover popping off. I am so smart! Ess emm are tee!!

I get inside the unit, and the living room is an open space taken up by the bed, a round dining table, a sofa, and a coffee table. The bathroom looks nice, but where is the cooking area? I start opening the closet doors inside the bathroom. Extra towels in one drawer, books displayed on an empty compartment. I open another closet, next to the living room couch, and therein lies the poorly put together "cooking area." The small closet had shelves in it with bowls stacked on top plates stacked on top of cutting boards, various utensils and bottle openers, some mugs for coffee, and a mini-fridge. Well, paying $100 a night in a gated community does have its pitfalls. I throw my snacks, fruit, poke, beer, and avocado in the fridge. I crack open a beer and start reading the manual. It says to make sure to keep the room clean, and move any furniture that we move. I immediately move the coffee table that had this manual on top out of the way. Finally, some open space to lay on and foam roll!

I unpack my backpack and set up my living space. My laptop and ukulele are out, and I start chugging my beer. It's been a long few days.

I see the balcony outside, and there is a huge drop into a valley of greenery that does not allow for any visibility to the ground. The lush valley is filled with chirps of birds and croaks of frogs. Across the valley, there is another few acres of lush green grass and more houses.

As time tick-tocks away, I decide to go for a walk. I might as well try to exercise before the sun sets. Perhaps I can find a way to get to the water. I walk down the street, passing by scenic overlooks from the cliffs to million dollar houses and condominium complexes. Jennifer Lopez once tried to buy out a few complexes to put her own mega-mansion on the land, but the people of the Land said no, and insisted she sell her properties at once. I'm not sure if she did or not, but the message was clear: Don't build anymore.

I see that there is another gated community further, but there seems to be a dead end. I walk along the sidewalk, and see a small walkway. Two surfer girls, probably in middle school, wait for their parents to pick them up. I back track a few steps and take the small walkway. The walkway is red dirt, wet with the previous rain. The concrete wall on the right side separates the iron gates on the left side. The concrete wall turns into iron gates too, covered thick in vine. I can hear the voices of four males talking on how fucked up they got last night, and how fucked up they will be tonight.

The path leads through a brush area, and there are small stairs. A surfer dude and his chick walk up. He is carrying a rental longboard. We exchange hello's and continue on our paths. I can see the Hanalei peak way off in the distance. The sun is setting over it. I make my way down the path, to see a rope along the red dirt path. The rope is there to help travelers of this path to travel safely without slipping. I am in my slippers, and try my best not to slip. I make my way down, not knowing where I am going to end up. The path keeps leading down, through huge trees that have overgrown the air space but still reach for the heavens. There is an area of brown, dead tree leaves scattered all over the ground. A senior couple walk up the path. The gentleman is wearing shorts and a polo shirt. The woman is wearing a black dress with blue shawl, holding her shoes in one hand and walking barefoot. The gentleman thanks me for sticking to the side and letting them pass. I smile and say, "You're welcome."

I finally get down to the sand, and it is a small, secluded beach of brown, grainy sand. There are two surfers out in the line up, and the waves are at most two feet, California scale. I sit, and breathe. I bury my hands and feet in the sand, letting the grains run through my fingers and toes. I sit and enjoy the moment of solitary freedom.

The water slowly crashes inches beyond my sand covered feet. It has been a long day… I should go for a swim. I take off my hat, my shirt, put my phone and keys under a fallen, yellow leaf, leave my slippers on the rocks and head for the bosom of Mother Ocean. I crawl into her warm, inviting arms, and start floating.

The sky was still a light blue, glowing with a tinge of red and purple. I start to swim around, going out to see. I open my eyes under water and watch the coral dance. They undulate with precise synchronization, never moving too fast or too slow. I float head down for a while and come back for air. I swim more, going between the coral reef below me. My hand catches the reef as I paddle since the coral is shallow. I get some small cuts on my left hand as a result. I keep swimming out to the reef, thinking maybe, just maybe, I can body surf one of these waves.

I see a girl paddle back in with her longboard. I can only see her cute butt from behind. She walks up the sand, and disappears into the woods.

I swim for a while longer, and head back in to shore. I sit again, contemplating about nothing. Soul searching on Kauai, and keeping my mind blank. This feels good.

Now, the sun is quickly setting, and darkness is falling upon the land. I gather my things, and head back up to the trail. I climb slowly, not cautiously but at my own pace, uphill. I don’t need to use the rope on my way up, even though my worn out slippers have lost their grip. I finally make it back out to the grassy clearing, and find my way back between the iron gates and concrete wall. I make it through the pathway, and start walking back to my place.

As I am walking, I see in the distance a group of tourists stopping and pointing at the sky. I look back, and see a gorgeous purple sky tinged with orange and violet red. I start walking back to an open area where I can soak in the view. A retiree walks by and says, “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

“I never get sick of it,” I replied.

I head back to my place and it is almost too dark. There really aren’t any lights around this place. Inside my humble abode, I turn on the Laker game and crack open a beer. I cut some avocado and eat it with poke.

Tomorrow, I’ll head into Princeville, eat some food, and head to Waimea Canyon. Maybe I’ll do a hike before I leave?

Mahalos Mother Ocean and Kauai!

Monday, November 23, 2015

KKs Vacay Day 2: Hawaii Has More Than Just Surf 111515

Surf Report: Flat everywhere
Winds: Windy everywhere

"You wanna jump in the water real quick?" B-sauce asks me.

"Yea, I need to," I reply. "I still feel tired from the flight, and last night was late too." I had woken up at 500 AM and couldn't go back to sleep. I watched the sun rise over the horizon, and did my yoga routine.

The Pioneer Wall
We decide on where to go to eat and jump in the car. We head down to Town and find a parking spot. We walk down to the sand, set our stuff down, and jump in the water. Instantaneously, my body feels rejuvenated and tired. We swim around for a few minutes, and go back to the car to head to Pioneer.

Pioneer is a new restaurant right down the street from the Dojo. I would describe it as Japanese style plate lunches. Justin and I order Miso Butterfish, Ginger Pork a la carte, and garlic salmon. The restaurant itself is set up like mess-hall style. Grab a table and sit with some strangers. There is wonderful decor of vintage tid bits in book cases, all for sale. There are old books from libraries, still sticky on the top and bottom of the spine, where the sorting stickers used to be. They sell postcards and stickers at the front near the register. The overall vibe is very calming and homely.

The Miso Butterfish, which costs $13, is a fucking steal. You get three pieces of delicious buttery Butterfish, hot off the grill. Their macaroni salad is off the hook. I'm not a big fan of mac salad, but this one is no joke: I eat the whole thing and wish there was more. The Ginger Pork is super juicy, and the garlic salmon is delicious. What a great, quality find!

After we eat, we serve it up with ping pong again. And once again, I fucking lose straight games. I can't get B-sauce to lose. He starts talking shit, and I fire back that I will get him back next time.

Alex is back home from dropping off his dad, and he wants to take me out to a quick hike. We go on a hike that is straight up hill, with some areas still a bit slippery from the rain. The trail itself is sheltered from the winds, but once we get into the opening, we are faced with gale force winds pushing us against the cliff.

"Glad this wind is blowing us against the cliff and not away, huh??" yells Alex. The wind is so gnarly.
Topple Off the Cliff to Become Ali'i

"The King used to bring up peasants as sacrifices, and toss them over that cliff," he points to a cliff we are facing. "If you survive the fall, you automatically become Ali'i. So when winds are blowing like this, there is a chance for the sacrificial peasant to live. Wanna find out if you're Ali'i?"

"Um, no, I'm ok not being royalty. I'll be a peasant," I reply with a smile.
Windy but great view!!

We continue all the way up to the top of the trail, and we rest for a bit. Francis wants us to come through to his house for a BBQ tonight, so I suggest we head back.

The way down, as I had feared, is extremely steep. I spend time on my ass at some points in order to stay low to the ground and not lose balance. One tumble and I tumble down for a while, I thought to myself. Alex is more used to this hike, so he is cartwheeling off the trails.

The path is still slippery from the previous rain, and I slip on the last part of the trail. My ass is brown with dirt.

"It looks like you shit your pants," Alex laughs.

We get back to the Dojo, and Alex jumps into the shower. We head over to Francis's house, stopping by Tamura's to pick up some poke.

"He never invites me to his house for a BBQ!" Alex complains on the drive over. "He moved up outta the hood man."

I didn't know that he moved up out of the hood. His house is half way to the North Shore. We park in front of his house. Francis and Nicole's house is HUGE! It looks gorgeous. The garage has all their surfboards, a washer and dryer, the rooms are filled with light and warmth, and the backyard has been redone with well organized plants. The dining room has pictures of shorebreak waves.

We eat, talk story, drink beers, and laugh our heads off. Nicole is taking an online test so she couldn't kick it. We stay until 1000 PM, and head home.

Friday, November 20, 2015

KKs Vacay Day 1: Gettin Served 111415

I'm back... Finally. Back on the islands of Hawaii. In light of the Paris attacks, the security was a bit higher. Everyone had to go through the X-ray machine. I got padded down, and my hands were checked for bomb residue, or whatever the fuck they check for with those wipes and machine.

The flight landed 30 minutes early, and we had tons of wind messing with the plane. The other passengers were a bit frazzled by the shaky landing, but to me, it was smooth. The pilots did a great job maneuvering through the turbulence. I started the round of applause on the flight, and the passengers seemed relieved and happy to finally be in Hawaii.

There is no surf on the islands right now. So, naturally I keep myself busy at the Dojo. Justin, aka B-sauce, is waiting for me at the Dojo. I had brought over three Chevapchichi (Serbian sausage) sandwiches, and one portobello mushroom sandwich from the Metro Cafe. We all devour them. Francis stopped by after his twelve hour shift, and we catch up. I hand some of the gifts I brought from LA, which included Stance socks for the boys at the Dojo.

B-sauce and I immediately get down on some ping pong games, and he serves me up donuts. I can't get a fucking win on him. I get close to beating him, but he gets game point, and he still beats me!

I check on my surfboards... and my biggest board, a Nezzy, has been damaged. I'm kinda pissed, but at the same time not. I'm in Hawaii. How bad could it be? I'll do a report tomorrow... 

The evening goes on and Kev, along with Ivan, and D-Roy, drive us up to the North Shore to Clara's house. There, we have a few drinks and great conversations. The girls, about four or five of them, want to go to the Surfer Bar to have more drinks. I am down, but most of the boys have work tomorrow morning. We all agree to go to the Surfer Bar, and get into the car. Ivan, who is driving the car, is hesitating to go to the bar. We see Clara's car veer left, and Ivan doesn't follow. We all give a long "Ohhhhhhhhhh," and laugh it off.

We should have gone, but hey I ain't drivin'.

The night ends with me knocking out at midnight.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Back At It 110715

Surf Report: 1-2 feet
Water: Cold
Wind: Off shore
Atmosphere: Sunny

I have been fighting a cold since Monday. Monday was the worst of it, but I wasn't able to shake off the cough and the body aches, so I haven't been surfing since Sunday. I get up feeling relatively well, with minimal soreness in my throat. I go to the garage and look for 3/2 wetsuit.

"Is it this? No... it must be this...?" I pick one out and feel the thickness around the wrist. "It's probably this one," I tell myself.

Matt and I are sending messages through the morning. He has a job interview today. I wish him good luck and that he will nail that interview.

I pull into the parking lot late. Chad, his daughter Maddie, and her friend Sunny are changing into their wetsuits. I pull out my wetsuit, flip it back from inside out to outside out, and pull my legs through. Something feels tight. It's my 4/3. Not my 3/2.

Oh well.

I throw on some sunscreen, and the metermaid, Kurt, is ticketing people. He goes up to one car and Bruce yells, "Stop! That's Mark's car!" Kurt stops.

"Is he one of your friends?"

"Yea, lemme feed the meter," Bruce replies, running over with a handful of change. "It's Mark, he's fishing right now. He should know better! He comes here all the time."

"Well, let me leave an empty envelope so he freaks out when he gets back," Kurt smirked, leaving an empty envelope on the windshield.

"Yea! That will get him, that will be good!" Bruce laughed.

"You gotta have some fun when you work!" Kurt beamed, looking at me. We both laughed.

I fed my meter, and headed down to the lower parking lot. There, Stocky Jon, Orlando, Jose, Robert, Ted, and Kim were gathered around. Orlando hugs me and tells me the news that his friend, Doug, has passed away.

"I'm trying to do a paddle out for him," Orlando said, in his thick accent. "Will you be here on Saturday? We doin a paddle out for him man."

"Aw, yea, I heard from Matt. I'm sorry to hear that dude. I won't be here though, since I'm going to Hawaii," I told him.

"Oh okay then that's ok. Bring me back one of those license plates yea?" he replied with a bright smile.

"I'll look for one," I told him.

The surf is small as fuck. But it's my first day back since Sunday, and I am happy to be here, burning up in my 4/3 under the hot South Bay sun. I am sweating beads in my warm ups, and jump in to icy water. It hasn't been this cold all summer, or fall. It went from summer to winter. El Nino indeed.

Chad and his girls are all riding foamies and longboards. They are further south of the tower. I stay a little north of the tower.

There weren't too many notable waves. I caught some one shotters and small waves that were fun, but the thing that stuck out to me most was the vibe. Everyone was chill, sharing waves. We were all cheering on Maddie and Sunny, and even the kids learning to surf from the Austrailian guy who has been teaching all year. Bruce was giving pointers to Maddie on how to go switch stance, and she attempted three times on her backside to switch stance. She got it twice! And her friend Sunny was going for waves that she usually wouldn't go for. The Aussie guy was on a left, but pulled out half way through his ride so that Sunny could have the rest of the wave. What a perfect day to have people of all abilities and ages to surf together and enjoy these little, fun waves.

Mahalo Mother Ocean!!!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Snaking a Local 071915

Surf Report: Small and clean
Water: Warm enough
Winds: Somewhat onshore
Atmosphere: Gloomy as fuck

This day was memorable because it was my last good day surfing on my Neckbeard. There was barely anyone out, and the waves came in clean if you were patient enough.

However, I remember that I snaked Toby's wife, the one with the blue streaks in her hair. Toby and his wife, whom I don't know the name of, are locals here, and I always let them have waves. Today though.... I felt greedy. And upon me snaking her, I had to leave. I didn't feel good about it, and I still don't feel good about it. I wish I hadn't snaked her on a left, but it was so clean! I got one good pump to separate us, and then went for broke on a rock n'roll floater. I didn't stick it, and ate shit right in front of her.

She had to ditch her board too, which made the situation even more embarrassing.

I had ordered my board from Don Kadowaki six weeks ago, and so I am starting to feel anxious....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Achilles 071315

Surf Report: 2-3 feet
Water: Cool/Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Marginal

Mel texts me at 0632 AM with a screenshot of Surfline with a poor to fair rating at Venice.

"In?" she asks.

"Still deciding. I think I'll go in 30," I text back.

We initially had agreed to surf Venice breakwater since that is closer to where she works. She gets back to me later saying that she is just leaving her house. I didn't see it until I am driving to breakwater though.

I text her back, "I usually park south of the pier. I was gonna go to breakwater though."

As I keep driving, I text at a red light. "What's the call commissioner?"

She doesn't answer back. She doesn't need to. I know where she'll be. We have a connection.

I park at my usual spot and get changed. Walking down the asphalt, I can feel the small pebbles bite at the bottom of my feet. I get to the sand, and scan the horizon for any sign of my sister from another mister.

I see a familiar paddle style on a familiar board, with a familiar wetsuit wedging the short-haired surfers' butt cheeks. MEL.

She's on her neon railed board, which I have ridden my fair share of times. I paddle out with my hair still dry, and dive under water. I sneak up to her, grab her board by the tail, and start shaking it. She yelps, looks back, and we both have a laugh.

It's been forever since we have surfed together. It's such a great way to start the day off to surf with friends you can call family.

Mel goes for a wave. In typical kamikaze style, she paddles hard, pops up, and eats shit. I see white water explode upwards as she disappears from view. She re-emerges, a bit frazzled, a bit rattled, but ok.

I paddled for a wave, and miss it. My arms are at my side, and Mel smiles and says, "It always looks like you're flying when you paddle for a wave!" Indeed, surfing is probably the closest feeling to  exhilaration of flying.

I go for a right, and fit in a few pumps before holding my hands out to try to make it past the last section. I stick both my hands forward, as if to reach out to grab the second section of the wave.

I gotta go to work, I think.

"I gotta get to work," Mel says. "One more?"

"Fosho," I say.

I go for a steep left, and fall midway on the drop. I felt that I psyched myself out on making the drop. I didn't believe that I could make the drop, when I had already made it down halfway. I need to stop doubting the drop. But I digress...

The board gets flung up and the inside rail is aiming straight for my left leg. My achilles tendon gets nailed by the rail. Third hit in a row, since Saturday, on my left side.

I shake it off, and try to catch a party wave with Mel. I don't get in on the wave she catches, as she pops up and stands on the wave, taking it all the way to shore on the white water, managing the up and down bumps on the inside.

I throw up a double shaka and she waves back from the shore.

I have to catch at least a good one to end the session. No way am I paddling in on a close out.

I go for right, and the thing closes out.

I go for another right, and only get a half pump on the white water.

I finally get a left and stick a steep drop. I get a pump in it before it closes out. It wasn't THE RIDE I was hoping for, but it was a satisfying ride to take that left. I take the white wash in and walk up the beach with my aching achilles.

Surf is like a bottle of wine. It's fine to enjoy by yourself, but the same bottle tastes extra delicious when sharing with a friend. Thanks for paddling out, Mel.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thigh 071215

Surf Report: 2-3 feet
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Marginal

After partying the night with Cheryl and friends, I woke up at a reasonable time of 700 AM. I headed straight to 26th Street, but was on the late shift. I didn't even bother checking the parking lot - I headed straight for the parking in the neighborhood up the hill.

The neighborhood was quiet and asleep. I parallel parked in front of a house with an iron gate awning the roman arch entrance. Pulling out my Neck Beard, I wondered if this was the right board for today. I had brought my Fred Rubble... but Neck Beard has been so good to me lately. Neck Beard it is.

The surf looks a little bit more consistent than yesterday. The water is still shallow though, with brown sand sucking up the face on the inside.

I paddle out with two duck dives wetting my hair. The anticipation of the sets boil in my stomach.

The current is pulling people North again. It's not as bad compared to yesterday, and so I paddle slowly to maintain my position. Ross, Roy, and Steve are doing the same, maintaining their position slightly South of the 26th Street Tower.

I was looking for lefts today, but I saw the odd right break nice and long, so I tried to sit North of the locals. The waves in front of me would break just about five feet to my right, and double up on a bump right in front of me. If there wasn't a double up, I'd be in perfect position for it, but they don't break most of the session.

The left though!!! It was a steep take off deep, a shoulder-hopper a few yards down, and draining the whole way. We definitely had to be picky though...

Roy was killing it as always. He was constantly trying to pull in or pump down the line and punt an air. 

I paddled for a right, and I was digging hard. But, the wave wasn't letting me in. I hear Roy hoot from the inside. I look up, and see Ross coming out of a ledgy left barrel.

"DOUBLE BARRELLL!" Roy yelled.

Ross takes the wave all the way to the inside. He took a long time to come back out.

Double Barrel.

A set approaches, and Steve is in position, However, a fresh face is diggin deep on the set wave. Steve pulls out, and the guy pops up. His board, a blue, wide, fatty thruster turns sideways, exposing its belly to us onlookers.

"OHHHHHHH!" I yell.

A mountain of white wash explodes ten feet into the air.

Steve is paddling for the second wave. It's a close out, so he pulls out and goes for the third wave, which was a close out too.

"I would have paddled for that first one, but that BARNYARD was going for it. I knew he's gonna eat shit!" he exclaims at Roy.

"Ey!! BARNYARD!!" He yells in the guys face. Terrified, Fresh Face looks away. "Yea, I was gonna go for that wave, but I knew you were gonna eat SHIT! So I didn't go!!" He looks straight at him.

Steve paddles away. The guy looks dejected, but trying to compose himself from the new asshole he got torn open.

Roy shakes his head without saying anything.

Ross, Roy and Steve are getting their quota of waves. I am doing ok for myself. I'm catching a few and trying to milk them as much as possible.

A rogue insider pops up, and I'm inside of Roy. I paddle battle him, and I get the position. Pointing my nose down the face at an angle, I take off fast. Roy pulls out, and I pop up on the wave. All my weight shifts to my back leg and slam on the brakes on the speed from the drop. 

"Don't you fall down! Roy backed out! Don't faallll!" I tell myself.

I stick the drop and make it to the bottom. My board automatically turns up the wave, and I shit my eyes from the board to the lip. I'm thinking, "Top turn, top turn, top turn." I look up to the wave, hoping to see a smashable lip.

The lip starts standing up. I change mid face to grab the rail and stall, much like Kelly Slater or Mick Fanning does on their backside. Before I could even grab the rail, I see the board start to shoot up behind me with my feet unstuck.

I close my eyes.

THUNK, I hear. A blunt object Charlie-horsing me on my left thigh.

I take cover for my head and wince in pain as I get thrust underwater. Resurfacing, I catch my breath as my numb left leg regained the throbbing pain of a surfboard rail nailing the tenderest of fat and muscle.

A wave washes over me, and I still have to catch my breath. I try to squat, but there is too much buoyancy in the water. I paddle in as motionlessly as possible. I unleash on the sand, and catch my breath a little more. The throbbing pain hasn't subsided. Well, lucky my board didn't hit my head. I try to do a few more squats, getting blood pumping into the area. Finally, I am able to do a few squats in a row, so I leash up and paddle back out.

I had to catch at least one more wave. It doesn't matter that the waves aren't that good, or that my leg hurt. I had made one of the best surfers at 26th Street back out of a wave, ate shit, and have to, no... NEED TO, catch at least one wave in the line up.

My last wave was a left, and I do a small floater to the inside. I take the wave as far as I can, and call it a day.

Up the hill, I find myself greeted by a kitten.

The kitten looked at me, and I looked at him. I meowed, and he meowed back. He moved in to get pet, and then moved on to my car. I put my board down, and he checks out my board.

He meows, and goes under a neighbors car in order to escape the heat.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Exfoliated 071115

Surf Report: 2-3 feet
Water: Cool/Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Slight on shore

I was psyched to get back in the water since I had not surfed since Tuesday before work. My work stress has been on the decline somewhat. However, I still don't feel safe enough to show up at work at 1000 AM and still feel like I did a full days work.

I had to find free parking up the hill since I woke up late once again. I make my way down to the beach, and see that the sunny skies have brought more and more new faces to 26th Street. The tide is still super low, and I could almost walk out to the line up. I start paddling, and make it out to the line up pretty quickly.

The waves stood up quick and that my board, my beloved Neck Beard, wasn't quite the board for steep take offs. On top of that, the current from the south swell was pulling every one north. I see an endless trail of surfers marching like ants along the coast, carrying their surboards under their arms and walking back to where they paddled out. The only few spots that were working were right in front of the tower, south of Mons Pubis, the Brick house, and allllll the way down to who knows where.

I did my best to maintain my position right in front of the tower. I swam after work on Tuesday, and swam with my dad on Thursday. I fairly confident at my endurance and paddle power, until Mother Ocean just threw a solid south swell in my arrogant face. I was back to being a barney and floundering against the current.

I started to do my "Mexico paddle" and kept up with the current. For Mother Ocean to be moving so much water, there were only a handful of waves. Not too many of them were ride-able, and the ones that were ride-able were drainers. I can see the millions and millions of sand sucking up before crashing into a big foam of white water obliteration.

On a smaller left, I popped up and tried to get to the face. The breaking white water caught my surfboard and flung me forward into the shallows. I went head first onto the sand, and exfoliated my forehead on the left side of my face. 

I must have paddled against the current most of the day. I remember Uncle Miles and Kim paddling out about an hour into my surf session. 

I got out with pretty much no memorable ride today. However, I still had tons of fun fighting the current, watching the merry-go-round of surfers exit the line up, walk around, enter the line up, and drift back down further away. The waves were risky today, but it was classic California conditions. The sun was out, the water was crystal clear, the water was moving, and I ate some shit.

As I walked back on the sand, slightly defeated and dejected but otherwise satisfied with my surf, I see my physical therapist and local surfer, Carlo and his son, Cayden.

"What's up Klaude? You ok?"

"Yea, I hit my face on the sand from a wipe out," I told him.

"OH, you're right, it does look a little red. Did you just do that?"

"Naw, I did it early in the session. Did you surf today?"

"Yea, I did. But it was a lot less consistent earlier than it is now. We're gonna enjoy the beach today!" He looked lovingly down at his son, picking up his tiny sandals as they walked onto the beach. "Don't you have PT today?"

"Yea, I have it at 1030," I told him.

"Tell everyone I said hi!"

"I will," I said, smiling.

At PT, Amanda worked on my neck. She feels that a lot of my shoulder pain comes from my bad neck posture, and so she has me do a lot of stretches for it.

I had to take a nap after surf, PT, a plate full of Hurry Curry, and a beer. I napped for a solid two hours, eyes wide shut. I woke up groggy but felt refreshed and watched the Lakers summer league play.

Cheryl had her second birthday dinner planned this night, so I went to celebrate. We ate at Gracias Madre, where Silverton (her hubby) and I laughed up a storm. I set my three drink limit earlier in order to surf tomorrow, and stuck by it.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Surf Before Werk 070715

Surf Report: 1-2 feet close outs
Water: Warm
Winds: On shore
Atmosphere: Sunny

Most of my pre-work surf sessions have been dismal. Not only do I have half an hour to surf, but I don't get to surf with my friends at Manhattan Beach. I surf Venice Beach south of the pier in order to make my commute to work less painful.

Surf today was terribly bad, but I had to get out in the water. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I couldn't even do a "ten quality wave" count. I had three waves, all of them close outs, all of them on the shore pound from the low tide, and all of them without one pump on the face. How could surf suck this badly at a beach??

But, it was better than doing my morning work out and heading straight to the office.

Mahalos Mother Ocean! 

At the Mercy of Mother Ocean 070515

Surf Report: 1-2 feet and blown out
Water: Who knows?
Atmosphere: Gloomy
Winds: Blowing the shit out of the waves

"If yesterday wasn't so fun, I would be surfing today," Vietnam Vet Mike said, with a wry smile.

"You're right. Yesterday was soooo fun! Today just looks sad," I replied.

The waves were just not cooperating at all. It looked like every other day in June where it was so dismal and junky.

This was a day for the desperate, the few who didn't score yesterday, the dry pieces of jerky who wished they surfed.

I watched the waves for a whole two hours and called it a day. I headed home at 945 AM.

Matt had told me that Bri and him had packed up early and headed back to 26th Street. They watched it from the hill for a while, and called a lay day too.

Cheryl's birthday is today, and the World Cup for Women's soccer was going on too. I had promised to spend time with my mom and dad, and then hand with Cheryl and company. I watched the USA womens team beat down on Japan in the first 16 minutes. In true samurai spirit though, the Japanese Women never gave up! They gave it their all until the bitter end, and held their heads up high, even if tears were rolling down some of their cheeks.

I headed to Cheryl's place and we all played board games for a good while. Silverton and I made sure that Jenga was played the correct way: by burning it to the ground in the first few moves. We were the first ones to take out the two bottom pieces and watch the tower topple over.
The Handsome Pull Out Artist

I wasn't mad I didn't get to surf today. I wasn't mad that Japan lost in such dismal fashion. In fact, I enjoyed my whole day being able to spend time with family and friends. Sometimes, you don't have to surf to have a good Sunday.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!

Ten Waves 070415

Surf Report: 2-3 feet and rippable
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Marginal

Happy Fourth of July! Fucking national holidays man... makes everyone come out. Surf schools, beach bums, wannabe beach bums, wahine's in teenie bikini's... everyone. I couldn't find parking at the lots so I made the OG move and parked up the hill. I finally secured a spot and skipped down the hill. The waves looked fun, and so I was hoping to score some waves finally.

I know I shouldn't compare myself to others, but I want to surf better, and so I am trying to steal qualities that I don't have with what other, better surfers do have. One that I have observed is the wave count of Roy and Ross. They always seem to get a 2:1 ratio of waves compared to the average surfer at 26th Street. So, I figured if I employ a more aggressive tactic of catching more quality waves, then I'll get closer to becoming a better surfer - a better version of myself.

So, I set out a goal: 10 quality waves. Not 10 waves, but 10 quality waves where I at least get a pump or two in, and an attempt of a maneuver.

I started to catch waves at my usual spot south of the tower. I would get a few pumps in, then bottom turn up and try a floater front side. Then I would go for some backside floaters. I would catch two close outs, and not count them. I got to five quality waves fairly quickly, and then his a road block.

I waded in the water, and watched others catch waves. All the locals were out: Bruce, Glen, Stocky Jon, Vietnam Vet Mike, Steve-O and Paul. A set wave approaches, and Bruce calls me out to get on it. "GO KLAUDE GOOOOO!"

I dig deep and paddle at a steep angle. It was the set of the day by all means. I pop up and almost lose my balance. I could feel the board almost slide out on the rail, but it catches at the bottom, and I gather my feet. I go straight into a bottom turn, putting all my weight on my right foot, and getting to the top. I jam all my weight back to my heels, and stick both of my arms into the wave face. The wave dies out, and my turn never felt completed. I count that as Quality Wave #6.

I catch three more quality waves, and I am psyched. It's not just my mind set that is changing today's session. The waves are actually good! I try for my tenth quality wave, and it doesn't come.

Be patient KK, be patient.

A left pops up. It looks like nothing, but I make it into something. I pump once and float it. I come unstuck and fall. Quality Wave #10, goal achieved.

I wasn't done though. The waves are too fun and I have free parking! I keep count with the "Quality Wave" mindset and catch five more quality rides. It was a good day to be in the water, and I felt rejuvenated, re-energized, and re-stoked. I felt like a surfer once more.

Matt and Bri tell me that there are good waves coming through San O, but the swell looks like it is dying. Not only that, but by noon the winds are blowing out the place.

I go to Santouka with my friend Stan. We talk it up for a good hour or so, and then head back to my place to talk more about drive, work ethic, and Lakers. I meet up my parents and other parents, the Morimotos, and gorge on more food. It's July 4th, but I don't feel like doing anything. I call it a night at 1000 PM, when most of my peers and neighbors are shooting fireworks into the night sky. I doze off into the abyss of stoke in hopes to score more waves tomorrow. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!

Do We Even Surf, Bruh? 070315

Surf Report: 1-2 feet dribblers
Water: Cool
Atmosphere: Over cast
Winds: On shore

I haven't written in a while. No excuses, I haven't made time for my writing. So, here we go again...!

I started the day off with physical therapy at Patty Brown PT. Carlo worked on my shoulders and I did my work outs until 930 AM. After ice and electronic stimulation, I headed down to 26th Street. Matt and Bri were headed to San Onofre on Sunday, so I figured I should try to surf as much as I could in the meantime and then I can join them on Sunday.

The surf was... miserable. I watched the waves for a good half an hour and I went back to my car and headed back home. I could not bring myself to surf that junk. It just was not appealing at all.

I stopped by Matt and Bri's house, and they were marinating. It was a rare day off for me on a Friday, so I lounged and watched Dane Reynolds clips and old Lakers footage as Matt made me a coffee and veggie smoothie. We talked on how disappointing surf has been, which contributes to why I haven't been writing too.

"Are we really surfers?" I asked him.

"I knowwwww right? It doesn't even feel like we surf anymore. We haven't had any good swell come our way." He replied. "So Bri and I are planning to go to San O tomorrow. We will give you a recon report and maybe you can head down to San O on Sunday."

"Okay, lemme know how the surf is," I replied.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Perfect Day after the Storm 051615

Surf Report: 3-4 feet and solid
Winds: Offshore
Atmosphere: Gloomy
Water: Cool/Cold

It rained like crazy Thursday. My dad and I swim on Thursday nights, and once we finished swimming in the indoor heated pool, we were greeted by a storm of water marbles falling from the sky. We ran to the car, with our damp towels being drenched by the rain. We rush into the car, laughing about how much down pour we tried to avoid.

"Maybe you should have kept your wetsuit on from this morning?" he asks me, chuckling.

These moments with my dad, running in the rain after our swim, I will cherish forever.

Friday rolls along, with another windy, rainy day. Bri voxes me to tell me that she is paddling out after work. I decline, saying that I have to coach.

However, turns out my kids were all sick that day, and I had to cancel practice. I called the two kids who were planning to come, and one of them said he still wanted to practice. So, we had practice with two kids and myself for a full hour and a half.

Saturday morning... Kitty wakes me up at 620 AM. I didn't plan to wake up this early, especially since the morning is glum outside my window, and it feels like it is cold.

Nevertheless, I get out of the house at 700 AM. I drive by Dockweiler and see that the winds are offshore. The water looks gray and murky, but hey, it rained last week, so how bad can it be? One week of sludge and run off ain't gonna stop me!

I score free parking in the neighborhood, and hit the sand by 730 AM. I can tell... my heart is beating faster... It is going to be a really good session.

First wave is a left. I pump the high line, tag a bit off the top, pump again and try to stick a backside floater. I fall. But man!!! The waves are so clean!!

The gray skies and murky water definitely looks bad, but the shape is good. No, the shape is great! And the craziest thing is that no one is out. Not Don Kadowaki, no Bruce, no Roy, no Ross... No Mr. Mike the Vietnam Vet, no Oscar, no Robert.

Orlando is out though. "Bratha! You should have been out here earlier! It was firing man!" he says.

"What are you talking about, it's still firing!" I tell him.

Today was just a day where all the factors leading up to the day, including the heavy rain, the windy days from before, the cloudy sky, the cold May weather, signaled NOT to go out, but we still did. Two turns on a wave was pretty much guaranteed.

Maddie and her dad Chad paddle out, and a foamie guy wearing a hat is pushing Maddie into waves. He is giving her pointers on how to surf. He is giving her lessons! Damn. I want lessons too. Or, to be pushed into waves. Maddie gets a nice left and does a small cut back. We all cheer her on it.

I kinda think I see Bri in the distance, from the way she is paddling, but she is riding a tiny board. I didn't think that was her until I saw her pop up. I paddle over to her and we both hug in the water.

"Dude, Matt's gonna go nuts when he hears 'bout today," I tell her.

"Ohhhh I KNOOOOOW. He's gonna be so mad, but psyched we scored," she says.

"And then mad again," I laugh.

The crowd never thickens for the whole session. It's really mellow and there are only locals out. Only the people who know each other are out here today. We all share waves and cheer people on nice rides.

I am paying more attention to the lines I draw from the moment I pop up. Not just to pay attention on taking the high line, but also to utilize my speed pumping up and down on the speedy steep sections. I have to trust my board to "stick" on the face of the wave even when it is steep, and believe that the vehicle I am riding will conform to the shape of the wave.

Honestly, it was like a skate park here today. I took a right, pumped, hit the first section, pumped more until I got to the inside, then tried to hit the oncoming white water section. I got to practice this same move three times in a row, in repetition. I messed up the finishing move the first time, but stuck it the next two times. The best part? Maddie saw my second attempt!

"Hey remember that time I snaked you?" she asks me in the line up.

"You mean the TWO times you snaked me, and then fell right in front of me?" I inquire.

"YES! That time, when I fell in front of you." We both laugh.

I start making mistakes towards the three hour mark of surf. The wind is slightly on the wave face now, but the waves are still good. I tell Bri that I'll be heading out soon, and she catches her last wave. I catch my last wave and look back at Mother Ocean. So beautiful, so clean today. I couldn't believe how perfect it was. 

Bri and I grab brunch at Good Stuff. We are seated at the table right in front of the entrance. We order our food, and when the food arrives, we get an extra side of fruit. Score!

However, our water only gets refilled once while we are there. They also forget to bring us our toast. Only once did they check if "every thing is ok" after we say that our toast did not arrive, which was actually towards our last bites of our meal.

"I'm not going back there for a long time," says Bri. I concur. We both hate leaving skimpy tips, but we leave $2 each off of our bill which was around $20 each. 10% tip. Fuck em.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Venice Shitty Surf 051415

Surf Report: 3-4 feet
Winds: Onshore
Atmosphere: Bit cloudy and ominous
Water: Cool/Cold

I haven't been writing a while because surf has been shitty. Today was no different.

I pulled out of bed, late, and did my morning routine. I threw my gear into my car, and headed to Venice beach for a pre-work surf.

I didn't even look at the waves and got dressed in my wetsuit. I knew the wind and rain was coming, so I better get on the surf while it wasn't so bad. To much of my dismay, the surf was jumbled up and the line up was empty.

I paddled out, and I'm getting worked on the inside. First time in a long time since I get worked by Venice Beach. The current is pulling me north because of the incoming south swell. I can see that the sets are closing out, while the inside offers reforms.

I sit in the line up and wait with another dude. He has a rubber hood on, and his paddle doesn't seem too experienced. Here I am, judging again. I should stop. But, I try to assess other surfers' skill level in the line up as to not drop in on the "wrong person," especially at a localized spot such as Venice.

I catch a close out left, and hop off.

I duck dive several double up drainers that dump on the shallow sand. The waves are breaking further out than normal, but without any shape... Is this dismal enough for you, KK?

I catch another close out and hop off.

I watch the sets march in, and shake my head. I'm ok on that. It is not fun.

I belly ride into shore.

Now, from the tone of this, readers may think I am disgruntled, unsatisfied, and maybe a bit pissed. But I was not.

On the contrary, I was happy I paddled out, caught two close outs, and got a belly ride in during my 30 minute surf session.

I woke up late, showed up to the beach late, but still got to surf.

Surfing is a privilege, no matter the conditions. If I was injured, or hung-over, or land-locked, I wouldn't be able to surf. I was stressed before surfing, and now I wasn't. I have surfing to thank for the switch in mood. Even if it was a shitty surf sesh, I got to jump in the water, get salt and sand shot up my nostrils and ears, and come back smiling to my car.

So Mahalos Mother Ocean.

Monday, April 27, 2015

An Ode to Shitty Surf

The days that we look at the surf report, and decide that it is "no good" to go out and paddle. That is a shitty surf day.

We look at the cams on Surfline, and say, "Holy shit, that is a fucking swamp," or "What the fuck, is this Lake Michigan?"

That is a shitty surf day.  

The days that are painfully small, completely blown out, mushy, frustrating, no shape, cold, clammy, rainy, and not worth the paddle out. That is a shitty surf day.

Going out by myself. Getting two close outs and calling it a session. Heading in after thirty minutes of surf. Not seeing one of your homies. NOT ONE!!

I love these shitty days of surf.


Because they don't matter, and do matter, that is why.

Shitty days of surf don't matter because I am already at the beach, while most are still waking up. Heck, some may just be getting home from a tough graveyard shift. People are lumbering out of bed, lethargically brewing up a strong cup of coffee, while I am already at the beach, looking out at the surf.

Shitty days of surf don't matter because I appreciate a one turn wave. I appreciate sitting out in the line up, waiting for another shitty close out. I appreciate getting one pump in. I appreciate a belly ride into shore.

Shitty days of surf just don't matter, because I can be in Wisconsin, where there is no body of water in hundreds of miles in each direction. Fuck that shit, give me some shitty surf any day then.

Why do they matter? Because they show one's dedication, one's grit, one's passion, one's desperation. It shows that no matter what, I am there to get wet. I am there to welcome whatever Mother Nature may offer.

Maybe I am just a nut? Maybe my thought process is not dictated by thought, but rather by feeling. I feel better, no matter what, after paddling out. Even after thirty minutes catching two close outs and being late for work. (Don't tell my boss.)

Or maybe I am just a novice that does not know any better. Small, safe waves are fun. Close outs are fun as long as I stick the drop, or try to pull in. I don't need five turns on a wave to have fun.

Just get wet.

Such is life where we only see pictures of smiling faces, expensive, decadent food on the instagram feed, and young, idealistic bodies of unattainable perfection. There are no pictures of when we fight amongst each other, bickering over stupid shit and then make up. No scenes of laboring hard, tending the fields, sweating over a hot stove, and preparing the food for four hours. Nor do we see all the work of a strict diet, constantly working out, and saying no to the temptations in life. We know so little of how much we put in to capture that moment of beauty and perfection.

So, here's to you, Shitty Surf. You may disappoint, waste time, and even piss me off. Heck, you may even make me not paddle out to do my favorite thing. But without you, I would not appreciate the beauty of the mediocre, perfect days in Manhattan Beach, or the challenge of a pumping, hollow day at Huntington Beach , or the gnarliness of a firing, barreling day in Hawaii. But, you will always be there no matter what, waiting for me to paddle out.

So if someone asks, "How was it?"

Answer, "Shitty, but fun!"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

KKs Vacay - Last Day of Gratitude 010715

Surf Report: 15-20 feet and Junky
Winds: Trade winds
Water: ???
Atmosphere: Cloudy and sunny

None of us can sleep comfortably this night. It is uncomfortably hot at night, and Alex and I are sharing the bed. We all knock out at 1000 PM, but I wake up at midnight. Apparently, Francis couldn't sleep either, and neither could Alex. Alex was snoring the whole night, and I would have to slap him on the chest to stop snoring.

Nicole has to wake up to go to work, which is in Molokai. Francis has to drop her off at HNL airport, and he asks us to wait for him to come back. We're up in about, like zombies, waiting for him. We warm up some coffee and eat some fruit that I cut up yesterday.

Sunset Beach - No one out, but everyone watching
I try to call Mitsuken Okazuya to order some garlic chicken to take home, but can't get through. It's the one thing my mom and dad look forward to when I come home from Hawaii, and I can't even order this... FUUUCK. 

Francis returns with some McDonalds, and we munch on that while we check the surf reports. It's upgraded from yesterday's 8-15 feet faces to 15-20 feet+, and building.

"It looks like Victory at Sea," Francis says, as we munch on breakfast. "No one is out in the water."


Looks like it's a day of no surfing. My last day in Hawaii, on a building day of swell, and I can't surf.

We opt to hike the Sunset pillbox, which overlooks the three peaks of Sunset, Backdoor, and Pipeline. It's a nice hike, easily done with slippers. We hike and check out the scenery below. No one is out. In fact, the famed Third Reef at Pipeline is breaking, and closing out the whole line up. We see the inside white water spit out a few times, but the view from atop is deceiving.

The view from the top
We climb back down, and check out the surf from the beach. Pipeline is packed with people, but it is just un-surfable. It's too gnarly... I doubt we can even get out past the second duck dive. We watch it for a while, and go to Pupukea Grill for lunch. By this time, it is impossible to get to Town, pick up garlic chicken, and then head back to Honolulu airport.

Third Reef Pipeline
I call my mom, apologize I can't get the garlic chicken, to which she replies, "It's ok, just get back home safely."
Pupukea Grill - BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadilla
I have all my stuff packed up and ready to go by the time we get back to the house. It is a sad Aloha with da boys. It always is. But it's not Aloha, it's A Hui Hou, or till we meet again. The doggy that has been keeping us company looks sadly through the stairs, and bids us farewell.

I hug Alex and Francis tightly, and tell them see you later. We all drive off into the North Shore traffic. There are two road construction sites on our exit of the North Shore, making it damn near impossible to go shopping into Town without risking missing my flight. I already did that last time, and I won't miss my flight again.
You're leaving already..? :(
I get to the airport two hours early, hauling my surfboard bag full of stuff around. I check my bag in, and head over to the bar. I grab a beer, some sweet potato fries, and marinate in my own thoughts.

This trip was different from any other trip I had. I didn't score perfect surf like I had in my previous trips here. In fact, the weather was super shitty the whole time I was here. I partied hard with da Dojo boys, and spent a lot of time fighting off a cold brewing in my lungs. I got to spend time with Francis and Nicole, Kev, B-sauce, De Roy, Ivan, and Alex. I met some new people, and reconnected with old ones. I had times of temptations and times of solitude. I had met new surfers and old surfers from previous trips. Yes, I only surfed three days out of my nine days here, and yes, it was cold as fuck, and yes, the windows blew down on one of those nights, but I had my fun. I had my surf bug tickled. And I had my share of hold downs and gnarly paddles characteristic of the North Shore.

A Hui Hou!!
This trip made me realize how lucky I have been in the last five years, and how fortunate I have been to score great weather and great surf the whole time. Even though Hawaii is "paradise," it can be gnarly and wet and wild, far from an idealistic paradise.

So, it has been a different kine of Hawaii, indeed.

And I loved every minute of it.

Except maybe the all night ragers.... Those I could do without...

But as Kev said, "Klaudey Laudy, did you have fun?"


Mahalos Mother Ocean! And Mahalos to all of my ohana that made my stay so amazing. And Mahalos to the magical land of Hawaii. It's always a pleasure to be within your giving bosom.

KKs Vacay - VLand with Wakita-san and Her Daughter 010615

Kook of the Day - Brazo wearing a full suit

Puuuuppy dawgs

Junky Vland Surf Check
Surf Report: Junky 4 - 5 foot faces at Freddie’s
Water: Cool
Winds: Howling Trade Winds
Atmosphere: Cloudy

My last full day in Hawaii, and I am searching for surf once again. I woke up in the morning, and biked down to Vland. It’s junky as hell.

I bike down to Sunset, and it’s not even breaking. No one is out. I bike down to Pipe, and there are a few people out, but it’s junk. I can’t believe it… but then again, the winds are just not cooperating along with the swell direction, coupled with the terrible weather of winter in Hawaii.

I go back to my rental, and drive to Foodland. I shop for some fruit, and return home in hopes that by noon, the waves will be rideable, much like yesterday.

Noon hits, and the winds already seem stronger. I don’t know if I’m going to surf today… and it gets me a bit depressed. The onshore winds are stronger now, and it feels like I’ve missed my window. I bike down to Vland anyway, and confirm that it is worse now than it was in the morning.

I return home, and start typing in blog. I finish a blog entry, but for some reason it won’t save. I refresh the page, and I’ve lost everything that I’ve just typed. I throw my hands up, almost falling out of my chair, and get frustrated even more. No surf, no blog, no nothing achieved today. I bike down again to Vland to check the surf, for a third time.

The winds are still the same - onshore and howling. There are some gross out, and a goofy-footed grom takes a wave without a turn all the way to the inside. He rides in, and paddles in to call it a session. There are moms and ke’iki’s chilling on the beach, side boob hanging out. Despite the winds, they are just lounging comfortably on the beach.

Just then, a mom and her daughter walk up to check the surf. The grom that got out walks towards us. I recognize the mom, and ask her, “You’re Wakita-san, aren’t you?”

“Yes. Oh! You’re the surfer from California!”

“Yea! We met last year in the winter. Happy New Year!” All of this is in Japanese. Wakita-san is the wife of a famous Pipeline specialist, Takayuki Wakita. They moved from their hometown in Kanagawa, Japan, to the North Shore in order to live the dream of surfing and raising their kids in Hawaii.

Last year, when I stayed on the North Shore, Wakita-san was out here every day charging the waves of Vland, and so she and I talked a lot since it is rare for a Japanese person to be able to speak Japanese in Hawaii, despite the big Japanese-American population here. I must say I am thankful for my mom to force me to Japanese school for so long during my adolescence.

“Oh, Happy New Year to you too! When did you get in? How long are you here?”

“I got in about a week ago, but I’m leaving tomorrow,” I tell her.

“Oh, did you get to surf at all? It’s been really bad this past week, probably the worst I’ve seen it in years.”

“Yea, I’ve heard this is the worst winter in about ten years. I’ve only surfed a few times during my stay.”

She and  her daughter stare off to the surf. Her daughter is on a skateboard, pivoting back and forth. The grom comes up to us, and introduces himself as her son.

We talk about the surf for a while, on how even paddling out in these conditions is practice, and that it’s good to go out even when it’s like this.

“Did you get some waves?” she asks her son.

“Yea, at Freddie’s. It’s ok,” he says.

“Well, it’s up to you,” she says, looking at her daughter. “If you want to paddle out, we should paddle out. Get your feet wet. Look, so and so is out there too.”

“Ehhh, but I’ve been sick,” her daughter says.

“Me too!” I add, smiling. “If you don’t paddle out, I’m going to make fun of you on your instagram,” I tell her. “Hope to see you out in the water!”

I turn my bike around and head back to the house. I get changed, throw on my rash guard, and walk down back to the beach. I do my light stretching, and start paddling out at Freddies. A local grom 

There are three beginners out in the water. How do I know they are beginners? Well, one is on a foamy with a GoPro, one is on an NSP, and another is on a seven footer. They are all muscular beyond surfers, and when they paddle it seems like they are uncomfortable in the water. They look like barney’s to me… And I don’t like to judge because I am a barney too, but man, I can’t believe they are in the water.

Wakita-san and her daughter make it out into the water. We share Freddies between the three of us, including two little groms about age 9 or 10, maybe younger. The groms don’t take the bigger waves, but they still catch good waves compared to the three other barney’s in the water.

I catch a wave that is about shoulder high, but wedges up perfectly in front of me. I get a wrap around cutback, and the wave mushes out. I see Wakita-san catch a left, but it doesn’t offer her up any turns. She tells her daughter to go on the next wave, pushing her to catch uncomfortable waves.

A woman paddles out in her spring suit on a fat, wide board, and she starts catching some good rides too. The three barney’s look in envy, along with me, of her long rides. She definitely knows the line up well.

The three barney’s are always out of position. They are just wide of the peak, and are scratching out on the waves. I mean, it’s not firing or anything, so it’s not that hard… but they are struggling. I smile at them every time I paddle by them, and they scowl. Sheesh, so serious. It’s just surfing, guys.

I compliment then woman on her fat, wide surfboard. She has a wedding ring on, so she is off limits. But she is super approachable, and introduces herself as Naomi. I compliment her on her smile, since there are too many “serious” faces in the water. She laughs. “Yea, c’mon, it’s Freddies! Have some fun!” she says.

I scratch into a left, and pop up. I initiate my bottom turn, and see Naomi racing towards me on the right. I jump off, and tug at my leash as hard as possible. We both resurface, and apologize to each other.

“I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you until the last moment!!” I tell her.

“I’m so sorry too! I didn’t even see you. Are you ok?” she asks me.

“Yea, I’m fine, sorry about that again,” I laugh, shaking my head.

It gets COLD. The winds seem to blow harder now, and although the water isn’t that cold, the winds make it pretty fucking cold. I keep looking across the channel to Vland to see if it’s better, but it seems like the same shitty, junky conditions over there too. I can’t believe last year I scored that place when it was firing all day, every day.

“Can we get out soon?” asks Sayuri, Wakita-san’s daughter.

“Five more minutes then,” she replies, with a stern face.

“Two minutes?”

“Three, if you catch a good wave.”

“How about ten?” Sayuri asks.


“Why are you increasing the minutes?” I ask her.

She laughs, as if trying to pull a fast one on her mom.

“One more good wave, and we can go,” says her mom. That’s pretty cool to have a mom that pushes her kid to surf well, even in these junky conditions.

I turn around and paddle for a wave. It’s a dumper, and I go just to make the drop and bottom turn. I take the wave in on my feet as far as I can, then get on my belly. The wave loses power, and I start paddling in to shore. The higher tide is making the shore pound gnarlier, and so I have to time my exit perfectly in order not to get hurt.

I finally get out of the shore pound, and head to the trees where my slippers are. I look back, and Wakita-san takes a wave, and her daughter takes another wave. They start paddling in. It’s a complete session.

That night, Fransauce, Nicole, and Alex come over to spend time with me. They bring over two bottles of wine, two pizzas from Papa Johns, and lots of laughs. We spend the night drinking and eating, watching Family Guy, and passing out at 10.

We plan to surf in the morning, before I leave Hawaii. The forecast is 8-12 feet on the face… Do-able, and the winds seem to be backing off a little bit. Hopefully we can dawn patrol it tomorrow….
Primo Beers!

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

KKs Vacay VLand Fun 010515

Surf Report: Junky 3 - 5 foot faces
Water: Warmer?
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Trade winds

I didn't do much on the 4th - Met up with my homegirl Joyce and her friend Tu to have breakfast, got my rental car, ate, met up with my homegirl Emiko whom I haven't spoken to in over ten years, marinated, and packed for the North Shore.

My first day on the North Shore, I am greeted to on shores, shitty surf. Shitty, shitty surf. There are people out at Freddie's, but it's so junky I am turned off by it. I bike down to Sunset, Monster Mush, and Pipeline, and they are all the same. Blown out, junky surf.

I get into my car, and check Haleiwa at Ali'i Beach Park. Same story... shitty surf. And it's crowded.

Monster Mush
So, I go to Haleiwa Town to grab some breakfast at Lanikai Juice. Low and behold, I see the one and only John John Florence there. I contained myself from gushing out, but still snapped a pic.

JJF!! He's tall as fuck
After breakfast, I go back to my place and check the surf at Velzyland.

Puppay Dawg #1

Puppay Dawg #2

The waves at V-land look doable now. I mean, it’s not the epic, clean surf I remember from yesteryear, but there are rideable waves, unlike this morning. I go back home and grab my Fred Rubble. I screw my fins in and attach my leash to it. The doggies here are chasing after me, as if to stop me from going out. “C’mon, play with us! We’re so much more fun than waves!!”

I walk down to V-land and Freddie’s, throw my sandals under a bush, and start stretching. I haven’t eaten lunch yet, so I’m trying to keep this session short. I want to eat sometime soon, since it’s about 100 PM already.

I paddle out in an unconventional spot, south of the channel. The paddle out isn’t so bad, just had to be weary of the duck dives early on since the tide has dropped out and the inside is shallow. As I make my way to the V-land channel, I watch the long boarders paddle into waves at Freddie’s. They are getting short, sweet rides. Mushy lefts break towards me, and I am tempted to play with them, but I have my goal set - surf V-land again after a year of surfing experience and eye surgery behind me.

There is a grom who is probably 11 or 12 years old. He is sitting wide of the usual line up of V-land. There is a bald guy with a bright yellow board, and older goofy footer with a blue railed surfboard, a Mainland surfer in a short wetsuit, and two older surfers on bigger boards. The water is still cooler than I remember, but at least the sun is out today, warming up our bodies.

First wave I go for is smooth and easy, and I get a glide in take off. The speed I get from the take off is immediately fed into the cut back, and the wave turns into mush. Some sets start to roll in, and I take them on the head. I open my eyes under water, and see the reef stare back at me. It’s not so shallow after all, I think to myself. I take about three waves on the head before getting back into the channel.

I watch the others catch waves - the goofy footed surfer takes a rare left, while the grom pulls out of a late take off. The others are out of position to catch any waves. I assess the skill level of the field, and determine I am able to be on the top of the pecking order.

The bald guy goes for a wave, but he is too far out. I put my head down and paddle for the wave, and I can see him back out by not paddling anymore. I catch the wave, and do a cutback. I slide so hard out of my cutback that I am laying back into it now. My body is falling, and I am desperately trying to hold on to my board with my feet. I can feel the wave try to push me back to my board, and my heels are digging into the wax. However, I can’t get back to my board.

I watch the grom take an air drop on a set wave. He sticks it, draws out a long bottom turn and gets around the section. He goes completely vertical on the section, sticks it, and continues his ride to the inside. This kid can surf!!

There is a stocky surfer that joins us now, and he gets a wave on his backside. He cutbacks twice before kicking out on the inside.

The winds have calmed down a little more, and it feels like the waves are a little more clean than before. I get a bit more aggressive on my take off spot by sitting deeper. I paddle for a wave that no one wants, since they are out of position. I am way too late for this wave, and it’s hollow from the take off. I can’t make it. I fall head first into the flats, and keep my eyes open. I can see the hollow face of the wave just take me under water. The reef tumbles over my head, and I am in the washing machine. Well, this isn’t that bad, I think to myself. It’s not even that shallow today. I feel like a Humuhumunukunukupua’a under water, just going with the flow of the current. I get released early, and come up for air. There are a few more coming at me, but it ain’t no thang like a chicken wang.

I get back into the channel, and wait for my turn to paddle for a wave again. The older guys with bigger boards are on the outside, and are out of position for the mid-sized waves. The bigger waves are all closing out from the outside, and they have to duck dive or turtle the wave. Today’s swell has a lot of west in it, and so the waves are breaking wider than what I recall. I remember last year I would line up myself a little further north of the wall, in between the two palm trees that are bunched up together, where the two palm trees line up into one palm tree. But today, I am lined up with the wall itself.

I catch another right, and do a wrapping cutback. V-land really allows me to practice my cutbacks, and I feel more and more confident putting oomph into them. My right foot starts to ache from the bottom turn + cutback combination, and then my left toes start to cramp up. It’s probably all the biking and walking I did all day today that finally caught up with me.

I try to massage it out, running my fingers through my toes, massaging my calf muscle, but nothing works. I catch another wave, and my cramp is temporarily gone while I ride the wave. However, once I kick out the toes curl up into a ball once again.

C’mon, just a few more waves, I tell myself.

Nope, says my toes. You’re done, dude.

I see the sets roll through again, and I give in to my body saying “No mas.” I paddle back in, and get washed onto shore right over the reef. I walk on the reef as carefully as I can with my cramped up toes. I finally get out and look back at the line up. It’s still looking like shit, but the winds are still light compared to the morning. More people are making their way out through the woodwork, surfboards in tow. Guess it was a good time for me to exit.

As I walk back to my place, the two dogs that belong to the owner of the house greet me. They are barking loudly at me, and then run up to be petted. The Chihuahua actually comes into my room and watches me shower. He is sniffing around my whole room to figure out who I am, and what I’m doing here.

I heat up left over chicken as he runs around the room with the other dog. I eat left over fried chicken for lunch, and take a nap. This is the life, I think to myself. North Shore, biking to check the surf, surfing, grinding on some fried chicken, napping… this is the life. This is my vacay.

I head to Town that night since Justin wants to take me to a new spot in Town. He swears it is an impressive place to eat Chinese food, and that I will absolutely fall in love with the place. However, turns out he has to stay later than usual for work, and so I can’t grab any dinner with him. So, I go to one of my favorite ramen noodle places, Yottekoya, and eat ramen. I should have ordered the large instead of the regular.

Yottekoya's Paitan Ramen - da beeeest
I drive back to the Country in the dark, satisfied and tired from the days’ events.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!