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Optimistic-Chris

Getting excited for the Swell of the Century!!!!!

Well that’s what everyone is calling it.  Most likely unless the Earth as we know it is completely fucked and global warning has finally taken its toll I suppose none of us will ever see waves like what graced the coast of California on Wednesday August 27 2014 for at least another 30 years.  As for myself I know I for one will never see a south east tropical swell like such while still in my prime.  I would love to say that I scored like the mother fucker in the above video at Sand Spit, literally a quarter of a mile from my apartment.  My friends I did not!

Nope, no sir.  I FUCKEN BLEW IT!!!!! Have I surfed good Sand Bar in my tenure here in Santa Barbara?  I certainly have.  I have gotten some of the best rides of my life out there.  Wednesday was not to be for me.  I was caught in what was once foretold to me as “adult” responsibility.  Up until Wednesday I had no idea exactly what that phrase meant or why it could cause anyone so much pain.  We all knew Marie was coming and that it was predicted to be BIG.  Of course whenever a tropical swell is in question here on the west coast one always cannot be sure how good it will really be.  No doubt the trump card spots like Trestles, The Wedge and New Port will be solid, but the rest of the coast is usually a crap shoot.

Up here in the 805, well its more like a sadistic game of pin the tail on the donkey.  I have literally spent an entire day driving over 100 miles from Jalama to Ventura to Malibu only to surf absolute crap cause I missed what never really was anywhere.  When I first saw all the models I was a bit of a skeptic (what me? NEVER! Call me captain optimistic).  Although I must say it has been one of the better tropical seasons up in these parts that I have seen in about five years.  Monday night I went up to Jalama with Mike after I got off from work and was figuring it would be fun background swell from the south at best.

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Jalama feeling the preamble to the big south with nice long period lines.

Sure enough the “J” was solid (you can read the August 14 Surf Log for the details) at which point I began to get excited for the new swell.  From the lines I witnessed I for sure thought Tuesday morning (8/26) was going to be on.  Pumped I went to bed early in anticipation.  I knew it wasn’t going to be the best of things early, but figured I would at least get decent enough Santa Clara River Mouth.  My buddy Adam from back in NJ was around and met me up early.  When we began the trek south to Ventura everything was small, barely chest high and poor quality.  We ended up surfing Solimar which was super tiny when we first paddled.  By the end of an hour session already there were new long period lines similar to what I had witnessed at Jalama the previous night coming in.

Solimar, the calm before the storm.

Solimar, the calm before the storm.

I went to work and through out the day I was constantly getting texts from friends letting me know how the swell was filling in.  I guess right at dark most spots began to turn on pretty solid.  I got home around nine and I could hear surf in front of my apartment.  I only live up the cliff from Lead Better beach so this is a common occurrence, especially in the winter.   This was more like fire works going off and the roaring of a great lion then the usual mellow relaxing white noise of tiny wind swell rolling up the beach.  I began to get excited so much so that sleeping became nearly impossible.  I woke up every hour, as most of us do when a special swell event is running, hoping it was light.

Awake at 6 am I found myself pacing around my apartment waiting for my boy Adam to show up.  It was his last day in town and what a last day to have.  He is actually the second person from New Jersey to show up to SB for a rarity of a swell.  The last time it was friends of Cory and I, Alex and Carleigh back in 2007.  That was a macker of a WNW swell, the biggest Santa Barbara I have ever seen or surfed.  It was also on a Wednesday.  Maybe I will write a throw back blog about that swell at some point.

This swell was way more rare then that one.  Santa Barbara gets WNW swells in the winter.  We don’t get south swells in the summer and we especially don’t get ESE swells basically ever.  On top of that most spots saw at least head high waves and then some.  My boy should have bought a lottery ticket cause his lucky stars were counted and lined up.  We had a look directly in front of my place at Lead Better and it was solid 8-10 ft, though rather crowded and average shape at best, classic Lead Better.  I thought about having a look at Sand Spit, but decided the swell was most likely too east for it and the summer sand would be no good.  Instead I went for Sharks Cove, which is always my go to spot for when town has waves.

Leo Carillo at first light, gigantic. Photo: Mike Astede

Leo Carillo at first light, gigantic. Photo: Mike Astede

I did the drive by from the 101 twice to get a handle on the place.  From what I could see there were only about five guys on it and was at least head high.  Hammonds looked huge.  We parked and made the run to the point.  To our surprise and utter dismay about twenty more guys had already beat us there and another ten were behind us effectively clogging the point.  On top of that it was not coming in very good at all.  If only five guys were out I would have paddled anyway, but I was not about to fight a crowd. We looked west toward Hammonds and Mira Mar and it looked nuts.

Hammonds looked like some crazy tropical reef pass and from our vantage,  just way over head freight training rights.  At Mira Mar we saw some guy drop into a wave that was at least three feet over head and it looked like he was skirting the barrel.  Out of time that was the call and up to Hammonds we ran.  As luck would have it when we got in front of spot and the right was way too fast and walled.  The left looked good, though some what crowded.  The wave also ended on complete dry reef.  I have broke two boards and lost countless fins/plugs to that left on average days.  I could not imagine what would have happened if I paddled it.  Most people out there were just getting destroyed on the left any how.

The drift was heading east to Mira Mar anyway so Adam and I jumped in at Hammonds and drifted our way down.  Pretty much all the way through Mira Mar it was still very very fast.  I was pumping with all my might and speed to get two or three fast turns in.  What we thought were guys getting tubed from a far were just people being forced to straighten off.  Then Adam managed to luck into an overhead peeler that he ripped the fuck out of all the way to the bottom of the point.  Right behind him I snagged the next one and got four solid back side hits on it.  From that point we had it wired till the end of our session when it go clogged with a bunch of kook ass long boarders and old guys, who’s modus operandi was to burn us on everything despite the fact we were making all of our waves.  Whatever we got a few and were stoked.

Santa Clara River Mouth, Ventura off the chain Wednesday morning.  Photo: Mike Astede

Santa Clara River Mouth, Ventura off the chain Wednesday morning. Photo: Mike Astede

Deep down inside I knew I had blown it and was blowing it by going into work.  What was I going to do?  My hands were tied.  It was the first legit day of the Westmont student meal plans.  I am the sous chef.  It would have set a terrible example if I called out.  The fucking swell was all over the news for days.  My bosses and everyone I work with would have put the facts together and knew I was not sick.  With my luck I would have gotten a clip on the news or in the paper.  My boss would see it while watching t.v. that night and I would be busted.

On a side note back in 2003 I was attending Monmouth University in New Jersey.  A sick hurricane swell was coming up the coast.  I called my professor and told him I was having a stomach bug and would not be able to attend class.  Meanwhile I was getting some amazing waves at my home break.  There were a bunch of photographers shooting.  Most were the usual surf paparazzi and I thought nothing of it hoping to get a shot so I would get paid.  One of the guys shooting I had never seen before and he came up to me and said he got some good ones and wanted my info, which I gave.  Next time I went to that class I bailed on the professor said that he hoped that I was feeling better then through a copy of the previous day’s newspaper on my desk.  I was on the cover six feet in the air on a sickie.  BUSTED!!!!

I did the responsible thing this time around and went into work where I slaved like a dog for nine hours.  Ryan scored Hobsons, one of my go to over flow spots when the points get to crowded and said it was like an Indo left.  I heard Father Johns went off as well.  Pat said Mondos looked over head and kill-able.  That wave is the biggest kook loving mush burger 365 days a year.  As we all know from the opening video to this piece Sand Spit was epic.  Trevor got some bombs at Rincon up at Indicator, which I heard was intense from a lot of people.  I also heard that Devereux had a left breaking to sands that was crazy.  My friend Trey went to El Cap at first light and said the point was about chest to head and fun. Basically it was a magically swell that made all sorts of epic little nooks and crannies go off.

 

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Gold Coast the day after the swell.

Thursday (8/28) there was still plenty of swell lingering.  I got up good and early to have a look around.  Unfortunately new wind swell had filled in over night and tore up the channel turning the groomed hurricane lines into absolute mess.  I drove around for over an hour before desperation paddling the Gold Coast near the entrance to Emma Wood.  For whatever reason Jordy Smith had decided to paddle and was absolutely destroying the choppy crossed up offerings.  I had a barrel or two,  but it was stoked to surf with him.  I guess it was a minor redemption to a major insult of blowing the  swell of the century.  If I were a Japanese samurai I think I would have had to commit seppuku.  As a surfing guru I almost felt inclined to anyway.  On further analysis though I realized that I have scored epic waves all over the globe and have many good years of surfing ahead of me.  Sure it will suck to talk about how I blew it every time the big south of August 2014 comes up, which it will for the next thirty years.  I did get to surf and that always beats not surfing and winter is coming….RINCON.

Another look at Santa Clara River Mouth on Wednesday morning going absolutely ham.

Another look at Santa Clara River Mouth on Wednesday morning going absolutely ham.

 

 

Summer Reading & Beyond

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I have recently gotten a few messages/comments about what happened to the book club.  Some even asked if maybe I have killed so many brain cells from all the drinking and black outs that I might not even have the capacity to read anymore.  Never fear my friends I have not turned into a blabbering idiot just yet.  (hmm…do I even read most of what I write here cause all this site is composed of is the rants of a blabbering idiot).  Anyhow for those who have been wondering what literary works have recently tickled my brain here is what I have read over the past few months since the last time I decided to write a book club entry. In chronicle order from when I read it.

Book XXVI: The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain 1882, Bantam Classic Edition, October 1982, 219 pages.

What can I say I love satire, fuck my life is one.  Mark Twain has never failed to write a satire I have not enjoyed.  His wit in my opinion is surpassed by few.  In this classic he takes on the absurdity of the English monarchy and rule in the mind 1500’s in a story of a case of mistaken identity.  The Prince of Whales inadvertently switches place with a common London impoverished youth whom he looked similar to.  The novels plays out the misadventures of both as they become accustomed to their new lives.  I wouldn’t call this the best Twain novel I have ever read, but it is a short andan enjoyable read.  Certainly good beach reading.  Ironically I pretty much finished this waiting for the tide at Emma Wood.

Book XXVII: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin, 1956, 224 pages

“People who believe that they are strong willed and the masters of their destiny can only continue to believe this by becoming specialist in self deception.”  This was actually a Heather pick.  I make very few forays into modern literature on my own accord.  If someone in my life gives me something to read that was import to him/her then I make it the next book on my list.  I have found you can learn a lot about a person by what he reads or doesn’t for that matter.  Don’t ask me what I learned about Heather from this one cause I still can’t put my finger on it.  Giovanni’s Room takes place in 1950’s France and is the story of a bisexual early twenties male’s struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality, which eventually becomes him and his lovers undoing.  Baldwin does a masterful job of writing about the some what unpleasant and unsettling subject of homosexuality as it pertains to Americans in the 1950’s yet I would say still to an extent holds true today.   As for me the book reminded me of one two many nights at the Wild Cat.

B00k XXVIII: Persuasion, Jane Austen 1818, Signet Classic Edition, 1996, 285 pages

“She Learned Romance as she grew older-the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.”  Austen’s portrayal of 18oo’s England and its upper class is always so remarkably splendid.  I love the manners and the courtships.  All the little acts of politeness that has all but been forgotten in today’s crude society.   I can escape to Austen’s world any time I like just by picking up one of her books.  I am pretty sure at the time I read this I needed such.   Persuasion  was her last novel and was not published till after her death.  Anne the middle daughter of three from a falling yet good standing family is forced at an early age to break a love engagement with a Naval officer as he is not considered an appropriate candidate for a women of her rank.  Years later he is thrown back into her life except this time as a man who has made his fortune.  At the same time another suitor, a family relation who would make the perfect societal match also steps into the game.  Anne is torn between her childhood love and saving her family’s good name.  Like I stated earlier Austen is always a good read and I enjoyed Persuasion as much as any.  Totally worth a read if you feel in the mood for that romance thing.

Book XXVIII: As You Like It, William Shakespeare 1599-1600, Signet Classic Edition, 1998, 227

“With a priest that lacks Latin and a rich man that hath not the gout; for the one sleeps easily because he cannot study, and the other lives merrily because he feels no pain; the one lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning, the other knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury.  These time ambles withal…With a thief to the gallows; for though he go as softly as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.”  So do you notice the pattern here.  I got lost in Austen and then subsequently lost in my own turbulent love life (see “I Still Wear My Heart on My Sleeve” blogs, PART I, PART II, PART III).   Shit maybe I should have read Dostoevsky instead and my current state of things would be a bit more palatable.  Anyway with the state of things at this time in Lisanti Land Shakespeare made sense.  I chose As You Like It to get lost in the “Forest of Arden” for a while.   Orlando’s quest to find and win Rosalind’s heart seemed a perfect fit since I was sort of in the same parallel.  Actually a funny thing happened to me about two days after I finished the play.  I was playing my Saxophone down at Leadbetter Beach in front of my house, a common occurrence for me whenever I find myself in hard times of introspection, depression, or just plain boredom.  Those of you who complain I don’t perform enough find your way down to Leads after dark and you just may her me blaring hip jazz into the darkness of the night.  I had finished blowing and was walking back to my apartment when I was stopped by a woman who had been listening to me play for a bit.  We got to talking and turns out As You Like It is one of her favorite Shakespeare play of all time.  We ended up talking till nearly 5am.  She moved to Oregon or something like that directly after our conversation and is now engaged and doing well.  Crazy right?  The power of Shakespeare.  Anyway I know most people get down on him because of the language, but it really is beautiful and once you get used to reading it you find yourself engrossed in his amazing stories.

Book XXIX: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Baroness Emmuska Orczy 1905, Pocket Books Enriched Classic Edition, 2004, 356 pages.

“Strange extremes meet in love’s pathway”.  My life ended up leveling out into a sort of crazy semblance of its former self only completely different as I embarked on yet another very serious relationship and all the stupidity, anger and frustration that goes with such. Oh yeah and I suppose there were some good moments too, though I stress the word moments.  Wait, I am still stuck in it at press time.  “Stupid is as stupid does” classic Forrest Gump.  Who know we could learn so much from a retard.  The Scarlet Pimpernel is a swatch buckling good time (ok, it said that on the cover).  In all seriousness it is a really cool historical fiction work about a league of English gentleman who took it upon themselves to save French aristocrats who were destined for guillotine during the French Reign of Terror.  Its a roller coaster ride of narrow escapes and near encounters with death.  Throw in a little love story for good measure and you have a winner in my reckoning.  Definitely worth a read and is a very high paced novel that can easily be read in a few short sittings.

Book XXX: Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana, Jr. 1840, Signet Classic Edition, 2000, 391 pages.

I am not really a non-fiction reader though at the moment it seems that has been the bulk of my reading, soon to change.  This novel is basically Dana’s first hand account of his own personal sea going voyage as a common sailor after he had dropped out of Harvard due to health related issues.  His journey took him around Cape Horn to trade for cow hides in California during the 1830’s.  As a new Californian myself I found his descriptions and commentary on California coast rather intriguing.   It is also a perfect historically accurate look at what a sea fares’ life during that time period was like.  Dana spares no detail in his descriptions and insights making the book a bit of a slow read though very interesting.   Eventually the book was responsible for the early US settlement of the state.  Its not the most thrilling read but if you ever wondered about California or sailing during this time period you will be hard pressed to find a more thorough account then Two Years Before the Mast.

Well there you go, every book I have read over the last six months or so.  Normally I would have read double that amount, but I have been crazy busy and my life super hectic.  Currently I am reading Fates worse then Death, by Kurt Vonnegut.   Wow this was exhausting.  I need to try and stay on top of this blog more.  Thanks to John Mauriello who on my recent San Francisco trip mentioned that I had not wrote about what I had been reading in quite some time.

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Yes I have become one of those crazy book people. At my current rate I will be dead before I get to read all of these novels.

Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach

***Initially this trip took place in February, my lazy and busy ass never got around to finishing the saga.  I have a moment right now and am about to do such.  I am going to attempt to write it as things were experienced and feelings that were felt then, despite my attitudes on certain issues are at press time.  If you are a surflog reader keep that in mind if you feel my mood inconsistent with such.  If you have just stumbled upon this piece and want to be brought up to speed before continuing on or need to refresh your memory on where we left off check out Part 1: Big Sur, A Land of Endless Possibility , Part 2: Blind Exploration , Part 3: Testing the Waters.  Its old and dated, but worth the read so enjoy.***

Ahh the beauty of the wilderness.

Ahh the beauty of the wilderness.

My final day up in Big Sur country I was besides myself on what to do and how to make the most of it.  It’s true that few people, with the exception of my father can pack as much activities in a trip as I can or a day for that matter.  Don’t get me wrong, few can be as lazy as me either.  I can spend three hours sitting on the couch staring into space.   It just depends on the particular day, week or year.  At the moment I have been in high out put mode leaving little time for nothing days.

In all truth I wanted to run around looking for more surf.  Isn’t that always the agenda when surfing is involved?  One of the surfing’s rule book main rules is “never bring your girl friend on a surf trip if you really want to score”.  I have never really toted around a non-surfing girl friend before and had no experience with such.  Normally if she doesn’t surf then we always travel separately.  It sounds a bit selfish, I know, but as I wrote in the very first installment of this Big Sur saga I have a surfing problem.  Surfing always comes first, always.  No point in me ruining her trip or  her ruining mine.

Thus far this trip had been the same thing.  What I had initially wanted to be a semi-romantic weekend and a way for us to try and do some relationship damage control after the incident on my birthday (see the February2014, the 2-2 and 2-3 entries) began with me dragging Heather all over the coast trying to find some kill-able surf.  In her defense she was a good sport about the whole thing.  Feeling a bit guilty I decided that we could drive into Carmel on our last day.  She mentioned multiple times (woman have a way of doing this) that she would like to go there.  Besides I figured that there was beach there too and where there is a beach there are probably some surf-able waves.

Making the most of the meager offerings at Carmel Beach

Making the most of the meager offerings at Carmel Beach

I also had not realized that the drive up to Carmel was only about thirty minutes or so making it very do-able.  After two days of being in the woods I was about ready for some civilization anyway.  We got there uneventfully, though scenically whimsical.  Being the asshole I am I managed to get us right to the beach.  Coastal access signs might as well be like a dog whistle for a surfer.  We pulled up to this really grand beach.   It was as gorgeous as a beach could be.  The sand was bleached white, the ocean was a coral blue, to the north was nothing but the green of a golf course and all around were these lavish estates.  It looked like a scene out of “Life styles of the Rich and Famous”.

People say Santa Barbara is Beautiful and it certainly is, but I think Carmel has us beat.  Really, what I think it is, is the fact that it rains there so everything is green all your round, while here in SB we go through long periods of brown.  This particular beach also had a wave that was not bad.  The wind was sort of side shore/off shore and surf was about cheat high plus with A-Frames.  There were a handful of people scattered up and down the beach.  I was on it.

One of the many section floaters I did to get me to more close out.

One of the many section floaters I did to get me to more close out.

As I was stretching on the beach some “local” tried to give me some shit about going back to Santa Barbara (J7 is a Santa Barbara brand).  He yelled some hardly audible bull shit at me.  I looked at him, waved and smiled and then paddle out about a 100 yards down the beach from him and his buddies.  Like I said there were peaks up and down the beach all rather similar looking.  I saw no point in causing a raucous.   I got a few, but it was a little more walled then I would have liked it to be and all the sets were closed out with few corners.  I did a quickie as to not piss off Heather too much.  I was also interested in seeing  a bit of the town.

The main drag, Carmel.

The main drag, Carmel.

I was really impressed by the town of Carmel.  Cleanliness wise it was so much nicer then Santa Barbara.  I saw very few homeless.  The place just felt a bit more classy to me all around.  I think it is because Santa Barbara is really broken into three shopping sections, Downtown, Montecito and  Upper State, while in Carmel they just have a few block radius.  I am not being a hater on SB, it is my home after all, I just think if we could clean up some of the bums and panhandling on State Street it might class the town up a bit.

Carmel

Carmel

We meandered about the town for a bit taking in all the sights there were to see.  It was mostly just strolling along window shopping considering the fact that we could not afford to eat or buy anything due to the upscale nature of the town.  It was nice to take in some of the architecture and enjoy all the little parks through out the town.  I would call it time well spent.

Large fig tree in Carmel.

Large fig tree in Carmel.

Cool Charlie Chaplin painting we came across on our walk about.

Cool Charlie Chaplin painting we came across on our walk about.

It was getting late.  I wanted to check out the Mission, but we also had a long drive back to Santa Barbara ahead of us.  It would have to wait for another trip. I am always fine with leaving something more to do.  The plan was to stop at the local grocer in town and pick up supplies to do a little beach front BBQ on this chill little spot I found along the PCH the previous night.  It seemed a great spot for a sunset BBQ.  I noticed there was also the possibility of some surf potential too.  Always the ulterior surfing motive.

The problem with doing a BBQ when you have nothing is the fact that you need to get everything or get innovative.  The food was the easy part.  I bought a pair of cheap tongs and found some plastic silverware.  I still need a cutting device.  I bought a pack of razor blade edges for a buck.  It would do.  I got some veggies,  two nice steaks,  some mesquite and strawberries for dessert.  It was on.
MillCreek21414We got to my little spot and sure enough not only was it the pristine picnic spot I had thought, but it was all I had hoped in a surf spot and more.  I had stumbled upon the wave completely by accident the previous day when Heather had to use the restroom.  I had found a Big Sur Emma Wood.  From the actual picnic area the surf spot is invisible.  If you follow a little dirt path, cross a small creek, you will come around a head land into a small cove about 400 yards wide.  The cove had cliffs on both sides and some boulders on the outside to the south.  The entire cove was protected from the wind.

I am sure in a rainier season this creek runs a bit faster. On this day it was easy crossing.

I am sure in a rainier season this creek runs a bit faster. On this day it was easy crossing.

At the southern corner of the bay there was a left coming in that looked more then kill-able.  It would feather off the outside boulders before standing up on the inside sand bar creating an end section that is a high performance surfer’s dream.  Airs, hits, reverses, anything was possible and the best part was the landing was in sand.  There was even a right that the left would reform into on the other side of the peak.  I stuck mainly to the left.  I had a fucking ball.  It was not bigger then head high, but super fun.  I bet with the right wind it would barrel.
MilCreekSeq1I had an hour of light left and the cove was situated perfectly for evening light too.  Heather pulled out the telephoto and ran off a few shots while I went to town.  Sure it was a little on the crazy side to go surf some off the beaten path spot in the middle of shark land during peak feeding hour, but how could I not go slay some peaks.  It ended up being the best surf of my trip so I am glad I did.
BigSurFeb14_2-332After the surf I lit up the grill and cooked a fine meal of roasted vegetables and steak.  We even indulged in a nice bottle of syrah though I was only able to take one glass off of it since I had to drive us home.  It was a great ending to an interesting and fun trip.  While most couples were spending Valentines Day at some restaurant that was over crowded and staff over worked spinning their wheels for an oblivious clientele who were duped in going out as a result of a made up holiday, my chick and I spent it eating in the sunset and drinking under the stars.  I even  bought her a rose while she was waiting in line at the butcher counter and surprised her with it at the table.  Sometimes even a scoundrel like myself can be romantic.
BigSurFeb14_2-526On a final note I would like to say that I was very taken with Big Sur and will certainly be looking to spend some more time there in the near future.  The surf potential is really endless.  All your ability to score is dependent on is your commitment, dedication, time and level of crazy.  I for one plan on making many more surf excursions to this special piece of the California Coast.

 

*For those of you who don’t know of Kooky’s latest adventure in Tanzania check out “He’s alive” and “Good Bye Kooky“.  They should bring you up to speed.*

How is the food in Tanzania? It is dumbfounding to me that it hasn’t conquered the world like italian or chinese food. One word comes to mind, amazing.   The best part about Tanzanian cuisine is you can loose weight if you stick to the diet, even if you eat all you can. I have lost between five and ten pounds. Please note that this only applies to men and all the weight lost will be muscle, not fat.

The base of the food is ugali which is boiled corn flour. It has the consistency of play dough and tastes like what you would imagine. It is served for most meals aside from breakfast. To eat ugali you break a ball off with your RIGHT HAND.  This is very important cause your left is the hand you wipe your butt with, also they don’t use toilet paper and normally no soap… You then take this ball of vaguely corn flavored dough and  try to pick up beans and greens that have been cooked until they loose their ability to be solid. You might get lucky and have some additional protein for dinner which could be one of a few things:

I did a google image search for Ugali and every picture pretty much looked like this.  Looks like a giant ball of masa.  YUM!

I did a google image search for Ugali and every picture pretty much looked like this. Looks like a giant ball of masa. YUM!

First we have daga which are little dried fish that are salted. They are about the length of your pinky.  If you walk within 40 ft of a pile of daga at the market you will know recognize it quite steadily. Daga, as I have seen it are usually served in a tomato based sauce.  You could have fried fish. These aren’t battered and fried pieces of cod or other nice white fish, it is river fish that have been fried whole until the  thing is crispy, even the meat. Tanzanians eat the whole thing, scales, bones, fins, guts and all.

A pile of Daga at a Tanzania market.

A pile of Daga at a Tanzania market.

In the world of poultry we have the ever present chicken. It is as fresh as you can get it right out of the back yard. these are gnarly chickens they are not the fat happy ones you might see over the fence of your neighborhood hipster. These chickens are fighting each while sifting through cow shit in search of worms or running like hell to not get raped by a rooster. They are also fried until thoroughly crisped. The head and liver are usually reserved for guest.

Next we have red meat. I have had beef for the first time in my life over here and those of you who say I don’t know what I am missing, now I know, and I don’t regret not eating it for 25 years. Goat is delicious. Half the joy I get out of watching baby goats romp and play is knowing they are going to be dinner one day and it will be amazing. The cuts of meat Tanzanians like are the gristly ones. The other day I got the sirloin of a cow and the butcher looked at me like I was crazy. Ribs, joints, and gristle are the prime cuts over here. Karibu is choice meat. Goat and beef are usually stewed in a garlic and tomato broth and it is quite tasty, if not reminiscent of chewing on a tire with bits of bone it.

Breakfast usually is either vitambu which is rice cooked down until a paste and then fried. The other option is mandazi, which are like over cooked triangular doughnuts.   These are not really drained out of the fat very well and are very greasy. They are typically served with delicious piping hot tea that has enough sugar in it to make a donkey walk out of it’s hooves.

Mandazi

Mandazi

They also love soda. America might be the second fattest nation, (thanks mexico for taking that torch) but Tanzanians diets are about on par with an American fast food diet nutritionally speaking.

If you wish to try a delicacy from the Tanga region where I was living, I am giving you the recipe for tambi, their version of pasta.

you will need:
1 package spaghetti
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup sugar.

boil the pasta until it is just past al dente.
then add the oil and sugar.

bon appetite

Tambi

Tambi

No blogs, just surf

No blogs, just surf

June came and went with not a piece of writing here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  For that I must say I am sorry.  I thought I would take a moment to explain myself a little bit.  First off things have been a bit on the crazy side.  Alright, when isn’t my life on the crazy or hectic side?  Normally by July I have hit my stride of chilling on Uncle Sam’s nickel.  That was exactly where I saw myself by now.  Unfortunately my superiors at Westmont had other plans for my summer.  While I would usually find myself living on the dole of unemployment with a little hustle and flow on the side I found myself stuck in the kitchen four days a week.

The Westmont Grind

Back in April I had been asked if I wanted to work May term hours.  May term is a one month micro semester Westmont runs for it’s students.  Like any institution of higher learning this means they compress classes into a short time period but still charge students the same amount of money per credit for the normal semester.  The motherfucking business of education.  “Hey come spend all your money and go into debt, then graduate with a useless degree and have to go work for minimum wage for some idiot like me”.  The only difference is I too am a well educated idiot working way outside of my degree or education for way less money then I should.  I think I just summed up every American from 22-35 at the moment.  Ain’t this country grand.  America land of the free only if your rich while the rest of us have become the in debt slave laborer. Sorry for the rant but it has been a while.

I did the math and realized if I worked all of May and saved the bulk of that money I could kick it on unemployment for the remainder of the summer and still have my “extravagant” or lack there of life style with out any change, unlike my usual summers where by August I am eating out of the trash and basically sucking dick for crack.  Well maybe not that last part, but you get what I am saying.   The fuckers stuck me on the morning shift meaning I had to get up at pretty much 5:30 every morning and leaving me forced to surf windy blown out shit in the afternoons.  It was only temporary…or at least that is what I thought.

May term came and went and I began getting even more hours as an influx of camp and convention groups came in.  Apparently Westmont whores out its campus to anyone willing to pay for it all summer long.  This sort of makes me a prostitute for the institute I suppose.  Whatever, dollar bills!   I have been working about 25-40 hours a week, work depending since May.   My schedule changes week to week which is certainly a pain in the ass.  I still manage a surf everyday and am stacking some mean paper while flipping burgers.

Reaping the fruits of my labor.  Your looking at a bacon double cheese burger for yours truly.  You think I would feed the customer this well, as if.  Yes that is a plastic plate on top a 350 degree F flat top grill.  Safety as always is my number one concern.

Reaping the fruits of my labor. Your looking at a bacon double cheese burger for yours truly. You think I would feed the customer this well, as if. Yes that is a plastic plate on top of a 350 degree F flat top grill. Safety as always is my number one concern.

Also it looks like I may actually become the full blown sous chef this fall considering that our old sous chef and my fellow friend in suffering Geoffrey is taking off a few months for hand surgery due to old age.  The guy is like 62 and been a war horse in the kitchen for over 40 years.  I am bummed to see him go as I have been able to learn so much from him and he over the past  six months has become sort of a mentor to me not to mention a great friend.  Honestly I don’t really want his job.  If I get impressed into it I am looking at twice the head ache, three times the responsibility, 100% more bull shit for if I am lucky $2 more an hour.  Whooooooooooooooot!!!!!!!!!  I am actually going to have a sit down with my general manager this week to see what is going on with the fall semester.

Catering

This was close to 150 salads for a wedding at some Hollywood directors 30 million dollar estate in Montecito.

This was close to 150 salads for a wedding at some Hollywood directors 30 million dollar estate in Montecito.

Those of you who frequently read the surflog know all about most of everything I have written and will write in this blog.  Basically I may not write blogs everyday or even monthly these days, but I do however write in my surflog, my online journal, daily.  So if you have not discovered it yet give it a peruse every now and again.  My boy Trevor recently became Executive Chef for a local catering company here in Santa Barbara.   I will not disclose the company so as to not cause any problems that this blog so often does in my life when I name, names.

He asked me if I would help a brother out for a bit while he got on his feet there.  At the moment I am currently his sous chef.  I am a double sous.  Always a fucking a bridesmaid and never a bride!  On my days off I am stuck either at an event busting my ass or in his kitchen prepping for an event.  Its a good learning experience and even more paper to stack.  At this point I am doing the best I have monetarily in about eight years or so.  Last night I took Heather out to dinner, where I proceeded to get sloshed and told her “MONEY IS NO OBJECT”.  And you know what?  It wasn’t…

Here we are at the Palace toasting to Trevor's new found success

Here we are at the Palace toasting to Trevor’s new found success

And we cooked up a surf and turf feast for the occasion.  That is grilled tri tip, Grilled fresh local prawns, orzo and roasted vegetables, and goat cheese horse radish bruschetta

And we cooked up a surf and turf feast for the occasion. That is grilled tri tip, Grilled fresh local prawns, orzo and roasted vegetables, and goat cheese horse radish bruschetta

DING REPAIR

Look at the ghetto set up I have going here.  My board is propped up by a cooler in the ally way on the side of my building.  I like to call what I do no guerrilla surf board repair.

Look at the ghetto set up I have going here. My board is propped up by a cooler in the ally on the side of my building. I like to call what I do now guerrilla surf board repair.

It never fucking ends. Just when I think I am out I am always sucked back in.  I don’t even have a space to repair boards.  I literally glass boards in my bathroom and then sand them in the ally next to my building.  Its a fucking pain in the ass and I hate it.  Yet for some reason surf boards keep showing up at my house to be repaired.  It’s true that  I am always breaking my own boards and needing to fix those.  I have four spares meaning I only really need to fix boards a few times a year when I have destroyed all four.  Usually in that time period I end up getting a new one anyhow.  My quiver is in reality a bunch of destroyed boards with one or two good ones.

People still show up at my house with dings.  They hit me up on Facebook.  “Hey so my boy said you fix dings…ummm can you help me out bro?”  My own friends are constantly hitting me up to repair their boards.  “Please Chris, don’t make me go to a surf shop, your the man”.  I am the man who hates fixing surf boards.  I even get phone calls on occasion from people in New Jersey who need a board fixed.  WTF.  It will never end will it?

Just in case you thought I was exaggerating.  That is a surfboard about to be glassed IN MY MOTHER FUCKING BATHROOM!!!!!!

Just in case you thought I was exaggerating. That is a surfboard about to be glassed IN MY MOTHER FUCKING BATHROOM!!!!!!

Surfing

I have actually been surfing up a storm.  Jalama has been the best it has been in ten years.  The kelp is good, the sand is decent and there have been waves thus I have been staying wet.  A normal day for me goes like this.  I wake up a 5:30am, go to work and make food for about eight hours.  Then I get off at around 3 pm, meet whomever hit me up first at my apartment to go up north with me.  I only take one person and its first come first serve, no nepotism.  Read The Rule of Two blog for more on my philosophy on that.
Jalama7314-173

I change out of my work clothes, load up the car and shove off on the hour or so drive to Jalama.  When we get there its not over, oh no.  There is about another 25 minutes of walking on the beach to get to the spot, maybe further, swell and crowd depending.  Then we surf for two hours, make the walk back, followed by the drive.  If I am with Trevor we always stop at Denny’s in Goleta for a post surf dinner.  If it is a party night then my day is not over.  I come home, take shower, suit up and cruise to the Wild Cat.  As you can see by this account of my day to day there is not very much time for blogging.
SpringSurf14-524I managed a perfect month back in May surfing every single day of the month 31 sessions in 31 days and a few doubles as well.  I don’t think I have accomplished such a feat since I lived in New Zealand.  It was fucking exhausting and I surfed all sorts of garbage in all sorts of dumb crowds.  You can read the May surflog to find out all about that one.  Basically I have found a renewed love for surfing and my performance is off the charts. I may be surfing better right now then I have ever surfed in my life.  Maybe I will write something about the perfect month here if I ever find some time.
Jalama61214
I guess that pretty much should bring everyone up to speed on what has been happening in Lisanti Land.  Heather and I are still together.  Even I don’t understand how or why that is.  At the moment it is actually going along at steady calm.  Whether or not I am doing the right thing for me or her is yet to be seen.  Just as I felt at the beginning I still feel now completely uncertain and confused.  Then again who really gives a fuck anyway cause at least I am surfing every day.

My cooking partner in crime Calvin finally moved back out to Santa Barbara and is currently living on the couch here at the Palace.  Where would I be with out a guy on the couch?  Him and I are in the process of the early stages of planning that Italian restaurant I always talk about opening.  He moved here with the intention of getting this place off the ground with me.   With any luck our goal is the try and open it by July of next year.  Lets keep our fingers crossed.  Expect to hear more on this from time to time as it begins to consume my life.

Here is some homemade potato gnocchi in a meat sauce to get your mouth watering.  This is just a taste of what I will be serving up at my restaurant.

Here is some homemade potato gnocchi in a meat sauce to get your mouth watering. This is just a taste of what I will be serving up at my restaurant.

What can you look forward to here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net?  Kooky actually wrote a Kooky’s Korner for me to publish.  Of course this happened about a month ago or so, but my lazy ass never got around to publish it.  Since I have not heard from him since he may be dead in Tanzania right now, though he will live on here on the blog.  Nick the Kook was nice enough to write some of his recent adventures in Chile.  He wrote these like two months ago and I never posted it.  I am sure at some point I will rant about some bull shit like how I got a pimple on my right ass cheek and now it hurts every time I sit down to take a shit (that has not happened).  There you have it,  the last 45 days or so in my life.  Glad you still decide to read the trash I put out here.  Bye bye for now…

Calvin, Mark and I doing some R & D for the restaurant at the Wild Cat.

Calvin, Mark and I doing some R & D for the restaurant at the Wild Cat.

Surffight

I find myself once again at a loss to completely grasp what happen at Indicator Left at Rincon this morning.  Lately when such occurrences go down I just feel so let down by my fellow man and then maybe a little bit by myself for feeding into it.  This morning being that I was off and there was a severe lack of surf according to the buoys I decided to sleep in a little bit.  Fuck I have been having to get up at 5:45 most days to go to work.  Working back on mornings is a real bitch, although I have found it actually may allow me to get a bit more water time then working the dinner shift.  On the down side I am fucking tired all of the time.

I got up around 9am and was about to figure out some breaky when I got a text from my boy Trevor that he was going to paddle Indy Left and that it looked better then the grovel we had there last night (you can visit the surflog for more about that session, the 5/13/14 pm session entry).  Whatever, my plan was to go have a look around Ventura Harbor in the distant hope of scoring small, fun off shore Santa Clara.  I wanted to go to Jalama, but I lost my debit card in the atm machine last week and still have not gotten my replacement.  With no more then $23 to my name I didn’t want to burn up all my gas, especially at an average of $4.15 a gallon.  WHY?!? When I look out my window all I see in the channel is a line of oil rigs and I am constantly picking tar out of everything I own and off my body.  Citizens of the 805 should get some kind of gas discount for the inconvenience.

I decided to cruise to Rincon to have a grovel with Trevor.  I really didn’t have anything to do and it was already hot as fuck out, over eighty, might as well go cool off in the ocean.  I needed to kill about two hours to get on the other side of the high tide.  Sure enough Indy looked fun and Trevor was out there all by himself.  I paddled.  While I was stretching this other guy came down with his dog and decided to bare back it.   I know the air may have been warm, but the ocean up here is still just pushing the high fifties and that is being generous on most mornings.

Trevor enjoying the short lived solace of his solo session.

Trevor enjoying the short lived solace of his solo session.

He paddled right to the peak and started hassling and even burning Trevor.  I was doing a slightly extended stretch feeling a bit more stiff then usual from helping my buddy Anton move the previous evening.  I jumped in and since there was three of us and not a ton of set waves coming through wanting to warm up I proceeded to scrap the insiders.  They were fun and punchy reminding me of the tiny surfs I used have in the summer time back in New Jersey.  About thirty minutes into the surf or less this set wave comes right to me and I am in the perfect position for it.

The left at backside Rincon is tricky to line up as it shifts all over the reef with little notice.  I found that my current position had me a little deeper then I wanted to be for the size of the wave thus I paddled a little for the shoulder.  While I was doing this the other dude out there  decided to use my current situation as leverage to paddle around me from the outside.  I was deeper first and he just had three set waves in a row.  Technically it was my turn.  Being that there were just three of us out we were following or at least I thought we were, the principles of low crowd surfing etiquette.  It was after all the “gentleman’s shift” in which most of the participants follow good surfing conduct.
If you are able to surf between 9am to noon then odds are you have  custom tailored your schedule for a surfing life style as Trevor and I and most of the people I surf with. Most of the time we are pretty mellow dudes out in the water stoked to be enjoying a surf with like minded surfing enthusiasts.  This guy was on a whole different program giving us attitude out there from the get go.  Not looking back I committed to the wave and I guess “Mr. Angry” (as I will refer to him for the rest of this peice) did too.

Rincon514

Rincon Left is the only real easy access wave in close proximity of Santa Barbara that breaks in the summer. With that in mind it gets crowded fast and only offers a few peaks and a tight take off zone.

I felt him on my heels, but since paddling around is a dick move any time unless the spot is packed beyond maximum capacity (at which time I will bail or not even paddle out) or your in a contest where it is still a questionable action.  I have been in many of altercations when younger for paddling around. I did not pull out.  Indy Left is a short wave, three turns at the most and if someone drops in then you might as well just pull out the back cause even if they kick out the wave is pretty much over for you anyway.  With that in mind I up pumped and hit the lip.  Mr. Angry decided to kick his board out at me.  It hit me in my back leg though I was moving rather fast and it was not a hindrance to my riding the rest of the wave.

When I kicked out the back dude was paddling straight for me with an angry face.  I figured it was going to be the usual stare down, yelling and splashing match that can frequently happen in those situations.  More times then not the two guys involved have it out.  Paddle back out all mad at each other and two or three waves later realize how stupid the whole thing was and become friends or at the very least surf the session civilly.   As soon as he came paddling over to me he slapped me in the face and spit at me.  Immediately things took off to a very bad foot.  It appeared I was going to have to defend myself.

Keep in mind this guy may have been a tad taller then me and a solid 200 lbs and well built.  I was most likely going to get my ass kicked here.  He screamed something at me about how he was “born here in 1972 and that he remembers when I first moved out here and was a little Globe bitch and how I burned him at Rincon back then”.  Now what he is referring to with the “Globe bitch” thing is that when I started spending a ton of time out in SB around ’07 my main sponsor was Globe shoes and apparel.  By 2008 when I relocated out here full time Globe was attempting to take the surf industry by storm and had built a very solid team.

Here in Santa Barbara they picked up like six of us and we surfed together as group to make filming easier a good deal of the time.  It was not uncommon that if one of us paddled out we would be followed by at least two others if not the entire six and a camera.  Yes, that can get annoying to the regular surfing public.  At that time the surf biz was booming and half the guys in the line ups of California up and down the coast were sponsored so it was not like it was all that uncommon for a team to mob a break.  Ultimately the bottom fell out on the surf Industry by the summer of 2010 leaving 90% of us in the cold.

There is nothing like really good Rincon.

Me back in my Globe days at Rincon

Since I was not from Santa Barbara and always wore stupidly colored wet suits I seem to take the brunt of the negativity for the era of guys sponsored by Globe.  Whether I burned this guy at Rincon or not it was like 7 fucking years ago.  I have no recollection of the incident at all nor did recognize this neanderthal that was now attacking me in the water over a  shitty wave on a two foot day with three guys out at Indicator.   This is not the first time I was in such a circumstance.  I had a similar altercation with some crack head at Hollywood Beach back in October of 2010, which steadily got out of hand.  You can read about that one in the blog entry “Another Altercation in the Line Up“.

I blocked the next slap that came to my face and this time was knocked off my board.  Before I could come up Mr Angry was holding me under water in a futile attempt to drown me.  I bit his finger while he was in the process and broke free from the hold.  Gasping for air I surfaced a little disoriented in time to see Trevor paddling to my defense.  At the moment Trevor not being a small guy himself and currently rocking a scary beard got right in this dudes face.  I guess from what I was told he took a swing at Trevor.  The two of them started fighting and splashing water.  With the same “Your not from here”,  claimed Mr Angry; “I was born in Carp”, said Trevor.  This went on for bit till I tried to intervene with “lets just shut up and surf guys”.

There were some fun set waves coming in and we were missing them as a result of our tomfoolery.  This of course brought the wrath back to me where I was being berated with “where are your from”, over and over again.  Oh and I got slapped again.   At this point I was over it and called the dude out to the beach.  At that he splashed us, spitted at us and paddled  away.  Trevor and I paddled back to the peak and the whole thing started all over again.  Mr. Angry kept provoking Trevor calling him my lap dog and me his bitch.  Then he attacked Trevor again and at that point Trevor I called the guy out and we went into the beach to wait for him.  I picked up a solid rock that fit and was easily concealed by the palm of my hand.  This guy was obviously crazy and I was not about to take any chances.

We stood there at attention, arms folded across our chests waiting for Mr. Angry to come throw down with us.  A few sets went by and he didn’t.  I was temped to throw his stuff on the beach in the ocean in retaliation.  Trevor calmed me down.  After about 5 minutes I began yelling out to him to come in and fight.  There were a handful of Rincon regulars on the beach, whom I am in pretty well with.  They had seen the whole thing and asked what happened.  None of them really knew this supposed born and raised Rincon local.

He never came in and with added support from others we paddled back out.  It didn’t take long for it to heat up again.  He kept calling me a bitch.  I said “your the bitch, too afraid to come to the beach and fight two guys smaller then you and picking on a dude half your size over an incident that happened 7 years ago”.  He then told Trevor something incoherent on how “he was backing up his boy from New York on the slopes of Colorado” (Trevor lived in Colorado for a few years).  Finally an older guy I surf rather frequently with all over the area paddled and immediately got our backs helping refute the idiocy of Mr. Angry.  He started with the “1972 local since” crap again.  This older guy said to him “1968 bud, been surfing since you were in diapers”.

Then a handful other guys I also know who are also Rincon Regulars paddled out.  With no leg to stand on Mr. Angry bailed forewarning me that he was going to make a point to get me when I least expect it with out my friends to help me out.  Considering I have never seen the dude before in my life I am not too worried about it, though I am going to surf Indy for the rest of the summer armed and will cut this mother fucker if he tries anything on me again.  Quote of the session was “Maybe my dog should have fought his dog” from the older guy who paddled out pertaining to the whole incident.  The rest of the session I was a little worried the idiot was going to smash up my car in the lot or be waiting for us with reinforcements or god knows what.   The last thing I wanted was to have my car destroyed or be killed over knee to waist high Rincon Left.

Trevor and I made sure we left together back to the lot and were ready for anything.  Luckily Mr. Angry was gone and our cars were unscathed.  Unfortunately I am sure this is not the last I will have to deal with him.  What a bunch of bull shit.  All I wanted to do was grovel a few fun ones then go get some at Santa Clara River Mouth.  After he left I got a pretty cool little tube that I came out of.  Fuck negative people.  I feel sorry for their sad plight in life.

Was this really worth fighting about when it could have just as easily been shared?

Was this really worth fighting about when it could have just as easily been shared?

Untitled-1

 

***If you have just stumbled upon this piece and want to be brought up to speed before continuing on or need to refresh your memory on where we left off as a result of my lack of diligence and procrastination as a blogger check out Part 1: Big Sur, A Land of Endless Possibility and Part 2: Blind Exploration***

This wave definitely looked kill-able and from what I could tell although I was rather high up on a cliff.  I have learned many of time in my life that it always looks twice as inviting from a hundred feet up or so.  I eve had an idea on how I could get down to it involving an annoying but not terrible hike.  If I had a keen surf bud with me and not a girlfriend in tow I think I would have went for it.  Next time...

This wave definitely looked kill-able from what I could tell although I was rather high up on a cliff. I have learned many of times in my life that it always looks twice as inviting from a hundred feet up or so. I even had an idea on how I could get down to it involving an annoying but not terrible hike. If I had a keen surf bud with me and not a girlfriend in tow I think I would have went for it. Next time…

Finally after much traversing south down the Pacific Coast Highway 1 we came upon a small nondescript parking lot that by location appeared to maybe be Sand Dollar Beach.  I would also like to note that I had began to notice for the past few miles lots of areas that appeared to be surf-able while driving past.  Sand Dollar, being completely unmarked happened to be the first parking area I came to since I had started to see lots of surf.  I pulled up to a gate house that was closed, though the lot was open with an honor box for the $5 parking fee.  I was at a loss to understand what exactly I was paying five bucks for considering it was an unprotected beach, and unattended parking lot with no amenities other then a sketch ass water less prison style bathroom.

Its funny that in a place as remote as Big Sur there is still room to have your money taken from you around every corner.  I was surprised a fucking squirrel didn’t try and extort ten dollars from me to watch my car and “keep it safe”. Whatever, at this point my long search was over and surf was found.  Just to be sure I ran half way down the trail to the beach to make sure it was surf-able before donating my five smackers.  Yes, I am that fucking cheap.

Sand Dollar  Beach Big Sur

The $5 view. Certainly far from epic, but it was clean and surf-able. I was on it.

By this time it was early afternoon and a rather splendid one at that, especially for central California.  The sun was still out and the temperature warm.  Heather and I were stoked to spend a chill afternoon on the beach.  I pulled both my boards, my 5’10 and my 6’1 step up.  With no one out and nothing around except for huge cliffs and rock formations I had no way of gauging how big it was out there.  I don’t know what it is about once one gets above Point Conception, but all scale for actual wave size and power are out the window for me.  I guess I am and always will be a pampered Southern California surfer.

I love when I am about to paddle out at a surf spot and am greeted with a warm sign like this...

I love when I am about to paddle out at a surf spot and am greeted with a warm sign like this…

We loaded up and headed down a trail about 200 yards or so down to the beach.  As we descended down to the beach  I was able to get a better lay of the land.  As far as wave height, I still had no idea.  Could be head high, could be double overhead.  I would find out soon enough.  After coming down a few flights of stairs we found ourselves standing in the middle of a large beach closed in by a massive cliff headland to the north corner and a series of copious rock formations to the south end. The sand was of an almost dark green pigment.

I pulled out my step up since now at beach level the surf was with out a doubt a bit more size able then I had initially intended.  I did not know for certain, yet estimated that it was surely over head on the outside.  In a futile attempt to get the lay of the land I took a walk to the south side of the beach to see if there was anything with more shape then what the break had to offer.  Maybe I would find some tucked away reef or wedge between or even inside of the rock formations.  I found nothing of the sort, but between two of these enormous rocks was a deep water channel that looked as though it could provide an easy paddle to the outside.

Unsure of the potential hazards of taking that route I decided against it.  I really had no idea what was under the water there and to be honest did not want to find out.  The paddle out from the middle of the beach where we laid camp looked annoying and long, but seemed to me to be the safest way to go.  Also I have a saying I have always lived by my entire surfing life by: “if you cant make the paddle out through the impact zone then you have no business being out there”.  This mantra I especially try and hold to in places where clear channels exist.  The last thing any one who surfs should do is put himself/herself in a situation that is beyond said surfer’s skill or fitness level.  If you can’t handle the beating it takes to make it from the beach then you probably should not be out there in the first place.  I have seen and even saved one kook too many that got in over his head as a result of an easy channel access.

Sand Dollar Beach looking toward the north side.

Sand Dollar Beach looking toward the north side.

Keep in mind that the place was pretty deserted aside from one or two other couples on the beach.  The one dude that did have a board with him, had a long board and was bailing.  Judging from the conditions I assume he had a look and decided to not paddle.  Ironically the place is pretty much written up as the most user friendly beach for surfing in all of Big Sur, maybe with a jet ski.  It looked far from friendly, cold and a lot of work for little reward seemed more like it.  While exploring the beach I found all these pale greenish little rocks rounded and smooth from the ocean that looked like jade.   I am pretty sure it wasn’t although I read later on some where that Sand Dollar Beach is also called Jade cove because of the green stones that litter the beach.  People do on occasion actually find pieces of jade down there.  Whether the few I took with me are jade or not is beyond me.  They looked cool and fancied by them I slipped the little green rocks into my pocket and walked back to where Heather was chilling.

By this point I didn’t know what to do.  As I was watching it the surf conditions were steadily becoming more rough by the minute even though the wind was dead still.  Literally ten minutes prior it was glassy.  Big Sur, go figure.  The sensible part of me was ready to bag it.  I didn’t come up to Big Sur to surf anyhow and at least I tried.  It had been a fun a day.  Why not just hang out and enjoy the beach with my girl?  Unfortunately the obsessive compulsive side got the best of me and I found myself suiting up for no other reason then the fact that I was there and the initial objective was to get wet and that was exactly what was going to happen. I for whatever reason decided to put my step up away and pull my 5’10.

An unexpected yet exactly what I expected of the Big Sur surfing experience.  Big, windy, scary conditions with no one out but me.

Making the most out of the mess that it was out there.

I walked to the water’s edge all suited up hood and all.  I figured the water had to be cold and with nothing but white water as far as the eye could see I knew I was going to be spending more time under the water then on top of it.  The waves were breaking way out side as I began to work my way through the first inner bar.  Then I moved on to the second.  By the time I cleared this I had no idea where I was.  The current was all over the place.  From that vantage I had a good look at what the outside had on offer.  Overall it looked like a bunch of giant close outs that I did not have enough board under me to even deal with.  Meanwhile the second bar I was sitting on was offering some head to over head reform that was pretty sick looking and way cleaner then the outside.  It was a bit hard to line up with all the turbulence and current, but I made the most of what there was to surf.  I figured at the very least it was worth a twenty count.   Heather had the camera out and somehow managed to get a few shots despite all the mess.
BigSurfSeq2Believe it or not it was not as cold out there as it looked.  After an hour or so of working my arms in search of kill-able reform and figuring I pushed the shark attack envelope enough for one day I opted to call it quits.  I accomplished my goal and found a few waves.  I also learned a bit about the erratic and volatile conditions of Big Sur.  In particular an age old lesson I get constantly schooled on whenever I am north of Santa Barbara is that the surf is always way bigger, way meaner, way trickier, way more powerful then it looks from the beach.  You think by now after all  my travels, trials and tribulations this would have hit home by now.  It never does though proving Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.  I sort of feel like that is exactly what surfing is all about.  Sometimes we do get different results.  Maybe surfing is insanity?

A glimpse of what is to come...

A brief moment of victory in a session that was for the most part filled with defeat.

I floated in stoked to have gotten wet and ready to make the most out of what was left of the day with Heather.  To her credit she took all of the surf photos of that I have used in this piece.  Who would have thought a chick from Ohio with no beach or surf background could manage to snag some decent pics?  Go figure.  I came in and shed off my neoprene.  It was still warm and sunny on the beach.  Since I never have to time to actually hang out and relax on the beach at home this mini vacation was the perfect time.

I thought I left the hood behind along with New Jersey.  Cold water is still cold water.

I thought I left the hood behind along with New Jersey. Cold water is still cold water.

My plans of a nice sunny afternoon on the beach were quickly thwarted by a crazy dense fog that rolled in with the blink of an eye.  With this fog came a very eerie bone chilling cold air.  That was it for us, we were done.  Heather and I packed up and headed back to the car.  Both our tummies were rumbling for a repast back at the cabin in front of the fire place.  Of course we had absolutely no food and no idea where we could buy the antipasto spread we were looking to enjoy with our wine.  Our first stop was this chill bakery/restaurant ironically called “The Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant, where we procured a cup full of fresh local olives and two specialty croissants.    I figured just in case we find nothing else at the very least we could make a meal out of that.  I must say from the little I saw and ate from there I would highly recommend and I will with out a doubt stop there my next time through.

The warm fire we couldn't  wait to get in front of.  Unlike the broken hot tub that let us down.

The warm fire we couldn’t wait to get in front of. Unlike the broken hot tub that let us down.

Then we came across a bull shit deli/market that was technically hardly one or the other.  One thing I will tell you about Big Sur the scenery may be free, but everything else is far from it.  Be prepared to pay top dollar for everything.  Even though its only 30 miles from Carmel one  would think it was on the fucking moon with how over priced everything is.  Long story short (ha, that’s a laugh with anything I tell) we spent a combined $70 on olives, croissants, a cucumber, two tomatoes, cheese, salami, prosciutto, bread sticks and a bottle of syrah(which was one of the cheaper purchases).  That being said I made a pretty bad ass antipasto platter that paired great with the wine.  It was excellent way to end a fun day of adventuring.
bigsurplatter

 

Day two of our fun tilled Big Sur adventure was over.  Tune in next time for part 4 of this epic saga of a romantic getaway gone wild!  Well as romantic as a trip with a surfer can possibly be.  I promise more great pictures and maybe even some tamer surf?  Find out in Part IV: The Final Juant.

A glimpse of what is to come...a northern Emma Wood?

A glimpse of what is to come…a northern Emma Wood?

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