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Archive for April, 2012

Citrus Torte finished with Marsala Cream...Yum!!!!

Citrus Almond Torte

Yep as you can see I am cooking for pleasure again, well wait I think I need to rephrase that.  I am always cooking for pleasure.  Most days of the week I can’t believe I get paid to cook in the environment I do.  Getting into the food service profession as a career finally has been the best decision I have ever made in my life.  Back to what I mean by cooking for pleasure.  At Westmont I do my best to be as creative and stickler for quality as possible, but given the size of the portioning and ingredients given to work with, plus the time allotted I at times find myself producing a product I am less then proud of.  Still I do the best I can.  

  For a long time I had no one to cook for but myself leaving me severely unmotivated.  Given the clean up and effort I just could not bring myself to do it.  It is for that reason I started having weekly dinner parties here at the Lisanti Palace.  For starters it brings back the grandiose family sit down dinners I grew up accustomed to as a youngster and second it allows me to try out possible recipes for my my restaurant I hope to open someday.  Look for a blog on that really soon.  

These dinners have allowed me to try out all sorts of items, from entree’s to appetizers to sides to even dessert.  Some of the recipes are family secrets and I wont give them here.   Others I have taken from different sources and tweaked them to my liking.  Those are the ones I will post here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  Please don’t feel disgruntled and instead respect the integrity of recipes passed down through my family from Naples, Italy for generations for as long as anyone in my family can remember. 

I know the last five recipes or so have been desserts, but that is an area that has always been weak for me and one I am slowly getting a handle on.  Also the dessert category of Recipe D’Jour was lacking and I wanted to beef it up before the eventual redesign I am working on for this entire blog (that too is another blog for another day).  This Citrus Almond Torte is one that is rather simple to create, wont break your bank and can be made in a reasonable amount of time.  Did I mention it is rather tasty as well. 

Serving Size: 8-10
Total Cost: $11.50
Prep Time: 35mins
Cook Time: 45mins
Cool Time: 1hr 30mins

Ingredient List:

  • Torte
    • Butter – 4oz (room temperature)
    • Sugar – 3/4 Cup
    • Large Egg – 1
    • Egg Yolk – 2
    • Almonds – 1 cup (toasted, ground)
    • All Purpose Flour – 1/2 Cup
    • Orange Juice – 2 Table Spoons
    • Lemon Juice – 2 Table Spoons
    • Orange Zest – 1 Table Spoon
    • Lemon Zest – 1 Table Spoon
    • Coriander – 1 Tea Spoon
    • Salt – Pinch
    • Egg Whites – 2
  • Marsala Cream
    • Chilled Whipping Cream – 1 Cup
    • Confectionery Sugar – 2 Table Spoons
    • Marsala Wine – 2 Table Spoons
  • Orange Sauce
    • Orange Juice – 1 Cup
    • Corn Starch – 1 1/2 Table Spoons
    • Sugar – 1/4 Cup
    • Orange Zest – 1 Table Spoon

Step 1: Get Your Ingredients for the Torte Together – Take two eggs and separate the yolks from the whites, you will need both parts at different times so do not throw away either.  Zest both your lemon and orange.  Use actual fruit for your juices needed.   Whip egg whites till stiff but not dry, make sure if your using an electric mixer beater is clean.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Butter and lightly dust with flour an 8inch springform pan.

Step 2: Mix Ingredients – Beat butter in a large bowl until fluffy.  Cut the butter into small manageable pieces to make process easier.  Gradually add sugar till blended. Add the whole egg, then the yolks one at a time beating well after each addition.  At low speed beat in almonds, flour, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, coriander and salt.  Be sure to scrape down bowl as many times as necessary in order to have a conform mixture.  Fold egg whites into batter in two equal parts.

The finished batter.

Step 3: Bake in Oven – Pour batter into your springform pan, place in oven preheated to 375F for 40 minutes or until you can put a tooth pick inside its center and it comes out clean.  Cool at room temperature for an hour and a half.

Torte after coming out of the oven.

Step 4: Make Marsala Cream – Beat whipping cream and confectionery sugar till soft peaks form.  Mix in Marsala. Refrigerate if holding

Step 5: Make Orange Sauce – Whisk orange juice and cornstarch in bowl till cornstarch is completely dissolved.  Melt butter in heavy sauce pan over medium flame.  Whisk in sugar, orange zest and orange juice cornstarch mixture.  Whisk until sauce boils and thickens, should take around five minutes.  Remove from flame and cool.  Refrigerate if holding more then a few hours.

Step 6: Serving Options – When serving this Citrus Torte you have several options.  First and the simplest way is to cover the top of the torte with powdered sugar and then if desired serve either the Marsala Cream or Orange Sauce or both on the side.  Second you can use the Orange Sauce as the topping of the Torte.  To do this just drizzle entire Torte in Sauce till you get the desired covering (pictured below).  Finally you can use the Marsala Cream to actually Ice the Torte as shown in the opening picture and then serve the orange sauce on the side or if you are plating it by the slice I like to drizzle the sauce over the middle of the slice after it has been placed on its side.

Torte Served with just the Orange Sauce.

 

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It was last Wednesday evening that things began making sense to me again.  One year ago my life was in absolute shambles. I had plans, the means to execute those plans and high expectations.  I had this mental imagine, a dream have you of the way the rest of my life was going to pan out.  If I learned anything from Steinbeck its that “the best plans of mice and men may go astray”.  Shakespeare has always warned me to “beware of the ides of March”.

At that time in my life I did not head either great writer’s advice.  When things went awry I had no where to turn in my mind but the bottle.  Anyone who reads regularly can attest to the less then stellar results that have come out of such.  If your new here just peruse some blogs exactly a year ago and maybe a few from the summer and fall.  They will fill in all the blanks immensely.

I was lucky in that I had a strong support system of friends who were not about to sit around and watch me destroy myself.  You know what I am still here and sure I still drink a bit too much, but “kill all  my demons and my angels may die too”.  In all seriousness I have been working on reducing my alcoholism back down to a safer level.   I must say it has been a crazy, scary yet invigorating ride to arrive at the point I am at now.

There I sat out in the middle of a very disorganized lineup at New Jetty with two other guys out making the most of the crossed up lefts that were coming in.  It was more then just a surf.  The sun was going down, the lighting perfect to allow the mountains to reflect all the colors of the sunset.   I looked up the coast line, one where the mountains literally meet the ocean, then back out to the horizon at the channel islands ominously floating in perpetual solidarity.   The world around me is so breathtaking.  That is why I live my life.  That is why I always have.

I let myself get so dragged down into the mud that I forgot what being alive was all about.  I still have no idea what is going to happen, but then again it really is not my place to know.  If one knew his own fate would his life still be worth living?  I know I have been lost for a while now, maybe the last four years of my life even.  I had put all of my cards into surfing and as that ticket slowly ran out I was unsure of where to turn.  I think that was where Adrienne came into the picture.

She kind of gave me a new reason to live.  I was wrong to put all my eggs in someone else’s basket and ultimately I don’t really know how happy I was with our arrangement anyway.  I spent so much time trying to glorify it and living in a constant state of veneration of what we were that I clouded what our reality was.  The truth is Ade’s and I lived very separate lives for a couple and both of us let a lot slide with the other cause it was not worth arguing about.  When I look back on things now I realized that we almost never fought and I know on my side of things and I believe on hers too it was because neither of us cared enough about any topic to make it worth our while.  All the big issues we never resolved just pushed under the rug.

I was never good at compromising and I am pretty sure it is a skill she lacks as well.  I know right now your reading this thinking why is he rehashing all this?  The answer my friends is that sometimes I need to put things into writing when my thought process on them has finally reached a conclusion.  Call this my final closure on the Adrienne issue.  I have been stewing on these thoughts for a year.

So basically the reason we did not work was because neither of us found it worth while to put the necessary effort in that two people in relationship have to in order to keep it moving into a forward direction.  Ultimately we hit an impasse and by the time I realized it things had already spiraled out of control.  Looking back objectively now things sort of went down hill steadily after we moved in together.  Much of that is due to many factors that we never bothered to address.  Its like a car, over time there are certain maintenance issues that need to be regularly handled for the vehicle to remain functional.  If you miss oil changes and regular service eventually that car will break down no matter how strong it was initially.

In our a case neither of us really gave a shit about making things work.  Now that I see that clearly it is no wonder what happened happened.  I mean could the situation had been dealt with better sure, but I guess what went down was in true Lisanti Land fashion. In my world there are only extremes and nothing in between.  I must say I would not have it any other way.  Insanity or as Micheala put it Lisanity becomes me.   I think the moment I went wrong was when I tried to compromise what I am about.

Where does that leave me?  My new roommate Dan put things in perspective perfectly a few weeks ago after spending just a short time in Lisanti Land.  This guy lives in the palace full time and those of you who have spent time here know exactly the level of ridiculousness that goes down on a normal week.  To my readers if you think you get the full story here you don’t know the half of it.  There are plenty of instances that go down that are either too embarrassing, incriminating , just plain wrong to put on any kind of public record or go lost in the mix of all the other craziness.  Those are the stories you  have to come to the palace to hear from my lips to your ears.   Then live your own adventures with us.

Dan being a complete outsider to my world.  I mean I could not have found a roommate who comes from such a different walk of life then myself.  The guy is on the total opposite of the spectrum.  I think for me he has been and may be the necessary evil and contrast I need in my life.  An outsider looking in can often better observe what is going on then those directly involved.  About two weeks ago he said to me that I am an artist at life.

That is what really got me to understand myself and my entire reason for being.  On greater thought he is one hundred percent correct.  I am an artist at living and the entire world has been my canvas.  Since as long as I can remember I have custom tailored ever facet of my existence to suit me perfectly.  Every detail down to the color socks I wear, the type of bed I sleep in,  the club I frequent, the drinks I consume, etc has been thought about with meticulous detail.

My life has been always about not compromising and you know what I am proud of that.  When given the option of doing something I did not really want to do and be with friends or being alone I have always chose the latter.  Does that make me selfish or narcissistic, I don’t really know.  I know for the most part I get the most out of every minute of my day I can and always have.  If I seem angry, sad or frustrated at times it is because things did not work the way I saw in my head.  In other words I could not paint the picture I wanted.

The reason I have calmed down a bit in recent years is that I have learned that sometimes I have to learn to paint with in the parameters of the rest of civilization, but still manage to make the statement I intend.  I hope some of this makes sense to you.  It is a bit confusing even to me, but I finally do understand more about myself then I ever have.  Forget living out of spite cause the only person I was spiting was me.

Over the next few weeks I have some new long term possibilities (I’m not going to call them goals or plans anymore cause that seems so final and definite) I want to explore here.  And yeah I don’t know whats next.  I can promise that I am going to continue my art, that is the art of living and living well.  I always said one of my best characteristics was that no matter what I always knew how to appreciate the finer things in life.  As summer is upon us I would like to declare the summer of 2012 “The Summer of Alf”.  There will be more explanation of what that means soon.

A surprise barrel on an other wise less then optimal surf day is definitely one of those finer things in life.

Ready or not "The Summer of Alf" is upon us.......

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I got big things to say here really soon.  I know I took a break for about a week or so.  I must say it was well needed.  As everyone knows I like to stew on just about everything that happens in my life.  I finally have an explanation for that.  I am not going to give that out tonight.  Nah….  I am however going to write about this song “Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye.  You will just have to hold your breath and wait for the next News From Lisanti Land for the big story.  Please don’t hold your breath I don’t want anyone to die on my account, although I am pretty sure unless you put a plastic bag over your head or a louse around your neck the human body will force you to breath.

This song was actually introduced to me about two months ago by a lady friend who despite all my attempts to make her become someone I used to know has managed to still stay an unhealthy part of my life.   Let me rephrase that.  She may actually be a very healthy part of my life at the moment.  I don’t really know and truth be told has been one of the many things I have been stewing on for some time.   Shit I have been stewing so long on this one it might have broken the crock pot.

She was obsessed with the song and after hearing it a few times I really did enjoy the groove.   After some research I found out apparently Gotye is doing all the work on the tune himself.  I have to respect a man who can proficiently play everything.  Since then I have heard the song in saturation, on the radio, at the club etc.  Still I found it rather enjoyable to listen to.  My cooking partner in crime and I always turn the shit up in the kitchen when it comes on.

Last week I actually stopped and listened to all the lyrics and realized how beautifully terrible they were.  Then I realized how fitting they were to my own life and most other people.  Nursing a broken heart is not easy as many know, although I feel these days romance has eluded the majority of the population, but that is another blog for another day.  When a relationship ends that maybe one thought was the love of his life it is a terrible blow.  Its only happened to me three times and as much as it stung it made me realize a ton about myself.

Its really hard to understand yourself till your are tested.  Ironically, and we all know how much I love irony, that was what the Christians always told me that short stint I spent in there rapture.  They  said I was being “tested”.  Their God was not for me, but once again I feel I have passed the test.   Here I am a year later still here and going strong.  For the first time in a long time I believe I know what I want.  You will have to wait a day or so for that answer.

Adrienne crushed me.  You know what I let her.  Not making any excuses for her behavior cause it was unacceptable on any level of human decency.  I never really expressed how I felt about her till it was too late.  That is where this song comes in.  “You can  become addicted to a certain type of sadness”.  You know I had become addicted to feeling sorry for myself  and the subsequent depression.  Everyone around me got tired of it so I ostracized myself.  Who lost out? I did.

Then the female singer comes in at the end and she presents her side of the case and it put everything in perspective for me.  While I pine over the good times we had, Adrienne looks back at all the times I was a son of a bitch to her.  Despite everything we had together it is over.  No matter how sad I get or how pathetic I am or whatever she will never be in my arms again.  In her head it was two years of misery.    In the end I guess she really is just “Somebody  I Used to Know”.

Thank you Gotye for putting everything in perspective for me.  Thank you everyone here for indulging in my ridiculousness.   Stay tuned for my new plan in life.  For now enjoy Gotye.

This is pretty cool too:

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Well folks there are two types of people out there in this world:  Those who go out and live life to its fullest potential despite their own personal fears, discretion, insecurities and the abrogating of popular beliefs.  Then there are the drones who sit in their happy little safety blanket they have created around themselves living half asleep and vicariously through the first group.  For the longest time I believed Kooky Kyle was a member of the drones and then he broke out of his shell and was awakened in his recent traveling adventures.  First in Lisanti Land and then New Zealand.  

His adventures abroad have finally come to an end.  I think the kid came a long way in the last six months and hopefully will take his experiences, life lessons and other things from this past tenure and use it to enhance his regular life.  Knowledge plus experience equals wisdom.  Here is kooky’s take on his last days in New Zealand.  Enjoy…Lisanti

I am for the first time in 6 months sitting in my parents Maryland house. The contrast in swell between my first few weeks and my last few couldn’t be greater. Last you heard from me I was just out of Piha and unsure of where I was going to go. I met up with a friend of a friend in Auckland for a beer and with any luck a place to stay for the night.  “Sorry mate, I asked my girl if you could stay and she was not having it. Sorry” I sat there confounded.  It wasn’t too bad, the swell was going to be too big up there anyway.

What was I to do?  The sun had set, and there was no way I was finding the way back out to Piha and the Backpackers out there in the dark.  Staying around was going to be a exercise in surfing closed out beachies. The East coast, out of the question for a storm was lashing it like Kunta Kinte. Taranaki was too far.  The swell was actually looking really good for Raglan.

I called Sarah up and got myself a spot back at Solscape despite the busy Easter weekend. I raced down to rags that night on a mission. Thursday the swell was still down so I got back into the swing of things at Solscape. Friday morning the swell had just started showing and that evening I surfed some fun Indies. Saturday morning the tide was a bit full so Sarah and I surfed Manu.  It was good but inconsistent and overly crowded with Easter. I got my share thanks to my time in California. We got out as it was really getting swamped with heads and the tide.

The afternoon session I paddled out to a light crowd with some devil winds back at Manu. I was sitting in the line up and before I realized it I had drifted on to the Ledge (the Ledge is this heavy30 to 50 yard section at the very top of Manu that is most times unmakeable except on the best of days.  It is also really shallow and when you fuck up you get tossed into the rocks and then left in shallow water with no channel.  If you make one through it is pretty sick.  I broke a board there in an attempt to make one.  So did Scotty B and my boy Pete.) .

I realized this when a wave swung towards me. Dropping in I pulled into the barrel before a bit of the devil wind chop bucked me.  When I came up this grom paddled toward me and said “There are some fucking sick ones out here! I reckon we can make some of them!”.  FUCK YEA! He got me fired up and it was on. With a dearth of competition out there he and I threw ourselves into anything that looked remotely make-able. I got rolled on the rocks on a few, and I didn’t make it out of many, but I got some great views. As the tide dropped the wind turned and the ledge got too gnarly for me. I shifted down and surfed the rest of the point. It was definitely my best Manu session of the trip.

Sunday morning was head high and a half, picture perfect Indies.  The boys at outsides threw me a wave and Phil, the owner of Solscape even complimented one of my waves I got. That evening the winds turned side then onshore yet I still got some good waves and was pretty stoked on the session. Monday dawned and while there was still some size it was breaking into the point and the whole ride I was basically avoiding hitting the rocks.  It was clear the swell was done. The forecast wasn’t showing anything for Tuesday and I had a ride to Auckland so I concluded my stay in raglan and shoved off.

There was part of the trip where I was definitely skunked and had regretted coming, but since the swell before I left for Taranaki things turned on (aside from a day or two) definitely leaving me stoked I took the trip. The final run of swell was great.  Phil and the locals had even commented that it was a very good swell as they usually don’t get that many days in a row of waves with good winds. I am definitely going back and will not make the same mistakes I made this time, namely coming with enough money to buy a car and not be tied into a location like I was.  All in all I met some great people, surfed some great waves and learned a lot.

So what is next for Dear Old Kooky? Well right now I am sitting at my parent’s Maryland place and am taking care of business this weekend. Then I am looking for a job to last me until lifeguarding starts. I am planning on visiting some friends who are graduating this May. There is sure to be some partying and there may even be a surf trip to be had before I start my final summer of lifeguarding.  After that the real world awaits, or at least my deranged version of  Dexheimerdom.

Indicators on a really good day.

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My motivation has been deplorable at the moment.  As a result the writing here has suffered a bit.  Truthfully I am at the right now somewhat  lost in the rapture inside myself.  I have lot on my mind and at the moment no reconciliation on any of  it.  If there is nothing up here for a few days new I apologize in advance.  If you are in Lisanti withdrawal read the surflog which I update almost everyday and is the true life journal of my daily exploits anyway.  In the meantime I think this video says it all.

That was heavy and what is crying with out some laughter.  This one of the directions I am pondering to take in my life here:

Good times folks, good times…

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Today as a result of my extreme laziness, me lazy…noooooo, never.  Mr. go getter over here, about to become the next Rockefeller.  I am going to combine both the UCB and Groovin’ High.  Now I know what your thinking: “Chris you can’t do that”.  Its my blog and I will cry if I want to.  Alright that really did not make any sense at all sort of like this opening paragraph of complete ramblings of an idiot.  In truth I do prefer asshole as I tried to explain to the girl I kicked out of my bedroom last night cause I wanted to go to sleep.  “Sorry, you need to leave now cause that pillow is where my cat sleeps”.

Now that every female subscriber has clicked the unfollow button on my blog let me get back to the point.  Wait what was I writing about again?  No in all seriousness I am not a womanizing prick.  I am actual a hopeless romantic who has been maliciously manized a few times too many and am now jaded, discontent and at this point rather disappointed in both sexes of humanity, male and female on the whole.  Thus I am forced to lash out in at times an inappropriate manner in order to achieve a petty vindication of sorts.  Basically I am an asshole, at least I’m not bitter, I just get better.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way.  John Mauriello in one of our usual Facebook chat sessions, which by the way may become a monthly segment here if I ever get around to it, yep that lazy thing again.  He posted a link to this funny little surfing short Dane Renyolds posted on his blog Marine Layer Productions.  He put the video to this bizarre song, if you can even call it that.  The singing sounds like a chorus of ally cats crying late at night.  Musically it is probably one of the worst songs I have ever laid ears upon.  The lyrics on the other hand are priceless.

Here is a mental image for you.  I was drinking a cup of tea when I played the video, mid sip mind you.  I ended up snorting tea out my nose I laughed so hard.  It was a fucking mess to clean up.  Mucus, blood and tea, but hey now my sinuses are clear for the moment.  The video for the song is rather fucking funny too.

It reminded me just how much working sucks.  Maybe not my job.  Find a job that you love and you never work a day in your life.  That being said I cant stand having to be somewhere for eight hours at day at a certain time till a certain time.  Then being yelled at for coming an hour late sometimes, showing up intoxicated or disheveled from the night before, yelling at customers, having too much fun (yeah my boss told me I needed to calm down cause I was scaring some of the other employees with the antics I hatch in order to amuse myself), throwing food, throwing knives, starting a fire.  All honest mistakes right?  I guess that sort of stuff is only ok on your first day at work, but now its been a few years since that for me.

Like the song says “Today your boss is nice to you, tomorrow he will be mean to you”.  If you laughed at this blog then this song and subsequent video should have your rolling on the floor.  If by reading this bull shit I have just wrote you found yourself offended in some way then get over yourself and stop taking life so seriously.  Either that or “KILL YOURSELF”. Enjoy “First Day At Work” by Daniel Johnston.

Then watch this a Groovin’ High daily double!  Actually it is in honor of the fact that in a few hours my old and best wingman I ever had, great friend and overall enjoyable dude, Brennan will be in town with his boy Christian.  This means I am going to get sloshed tonight.   Whooooooooooooot!!!!!!!!!!  This is also for John Mauriello cause it was our song two summers ago.  Nick the Kook gets a mention since he introduced us to the song.  Kooky Kyle cause he used to sing it at work on a Tuesday in order to pump me up to go party with him.   Finally my perfidious ex-girl friend Ades who loved this song dearly especially when sung so beautifully by Mauriello and I every Friday and most other days of the week for that matter.  “Ooooo I put on my shoes and Im ready for the (insert high pitched tone) WEEKEND”!

“Ready for the Weekend” by Calvin Harris

Nobody messes with Alfie's sleeping spot...

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Mt. Taranaki

When we last heard from our surf adventuring friend Kooky Kyle he was getting ready to cruise out of Raglan in search of greener pastures and new emprise in Taranaki (read about his last entry “A Change of Venue“) .   Taranaki for me was a very magical place.  It is basically one  big semi circle type peninsula that was formed by the volcano Mt Egmont or Taranaki as it is more popularly known.  As a result the entire coast line is made up of volcanic rock reef breaks with a few point and beach breaks thrown in.  The beauty of Taranaki is that the coast runs 180 degrees in direction allowing for different wind and swell directions to work with different spots leaving lots of options.  

As far as surf spots go there are upward of I would say at least 1000.  Access to some is quite easy where others involve long hikes through cow pastures, over electric fences and ample beach and rock hikes to get to.  Its usually the ones off the beaten path that allow for some of the best experiences.  I know when I was there, I went for two weeks on one occasion and then three on the other.  I surfed in total close to 50 different waves.  I mean there are lefts, rights, barrels, mellow waves, slabs, monsters,  you name it Naki has it.  The only downside is all the driving that one has to do to explore the place properly.  Gas was not cheap when I was there seven years ago.  I can only imagine what it cost a liter now.

It really reminded me of a rocky version of the Outer Banks, North Carolina as far as different coastal facings, open space and crowds.  The beautiful imagery of the place is amazing.  Before I let Kooky run away with this thing let me paint a mental picture for you while you read about his endeavors.  Imagine waking up, whipping the dew off your window and looking out over green grass and hedges.  You clean off your wind shield and head to whatever spot the current conditions seem best for.  Its all a crap shoot any where there since the weather is so erratic and changes hourly at times.   To your east is Mt Taranaki in all its ominous splendor.  

As you drive you think about how it is still an active volcano and for all you know could erupt and level the place at a moments notice.  There is snow at the top of it.  Winter is on its way easily discernible by the cold dewy  mornings.  Soon the entire mountain will be covered with snow.  You turn west at a giant boulder with the words Stent Road painted on it.  At the end of the that road is a rather fun right point break, a handful of A-frame reef breaks and a few left reef breaks as well, although Stent is the gem.  Driving the 2km it takes to get there you pass nothing but cow and sheep pastures with to odd modest little farm house.  

Nearing the end of the road you see the azure blue of the ocean, the color amplified by the black rock beach and bottom.  In the grass parking lot there are a handful of cars.  The waves are chest to head and glassy. You made a good choice.  Once in the water there are wispy clouds in constant motion overhead to remind you just how small you are out in the middle of the ocean.  Behind you is the giant volcano in hibernation and in front of you is a perfect right hand peeler about to dredge and barrel.  Things could not be better. ..Chris

Taranaki is basically a big wheel with tons of little tiny fingers of boulder reef jutting out into the ocean. No wind protection, only a change in the orientation of the coastline. Man, there are a ton of spots there not in the surf guide.  The Thursday after my last post I hopped in a rental car and booked it down there. A guy I met at solscape had a house in Opunake and said I was welcome to crash at his place if I was in the area and felt so inclined.

I took him up on the offer. The only problem was he didn’t have a cell phone and only left me his email address. It was cool though, I had met a French Opair who said I would be welcome to stay with her in New Plymouth. The plan was to stay with her and when I got in touch with the other guy to go to his place. As it turns out she was busy and couldn’t get me a place to stay.  She insisted before I left that we must meet up for tea or beers (We met up for tea). Here is the million dollar question, leave your opinion in the comments. Do you think Kooky banged her out? 5 to 1 odds that he did not.  I spent the night at a local back packers, woke up and went straight to Stent Rd.

It was super fun, a little overhead, slight offshores and never more than 7 guys in the water my whole session. Half way through, who paddles out but the guy from Raglan. He told me how to get to his place and to pick up any groceries I needed in New Plymouth. When I showed up at his place it turned out he had no kitchen,no electricity, and no hot water. It was basically camping in a makeshift back building of the house he owned and rented out.  Not quite the Lisanti Palace. It was all good, a free place to stay makes those dollars go a lot farther.

Down in the southern portion of Taranaki I had a hate session at Sky Williams. Sky Williams is a left hand reef point that looks sick from the parking lot but is one of the most frustrating waves to ride I have ever come across.  It is like Lead Better but a left.   I scored a  fun time at Arawhata (Arawhata is a right reef pass with some other scattered reef passes up and down the beach.  Its very consistent and playful although never epic), got yelled at for walking down the trail after my session at Mughume (Mughume is a right reef on the other side of Sky Williams that throws pretty hard although is very shifty) and surfed a few secret spots. The first secret spot was only a little outside of Opunake and was a lined up right reef that had a solid wall and the odd barrel. I left with a wind storm looming on the horizon.

 On my way down into Taranaki I saw a sign for a wood turning studio, needing a wedding present for my cousin I  followed the signs and went in. It turned out that the guy was coming home from work, but his wife invited me in for a ginger cordial while I waited. They were very friendly and he offered to make me a piece by tuesday and told me if I need a place to stay I was more than welcome to stay with him and his wife. After the swell faded out of Opunake I cruised on up the coast and took him up on the offer.

I killed the day by surfing and exploring the coast up in Urenui just north of New Plymouth. It was small, but this wave would hit the seacliffs at the end off the beach and bounce back out to sea. As it did, it would feel the bottom of the beach and wrap back in and break like a little right point. If another wave was coming in at the same time, it would wedge and pitch out in the form of a super square stomach to chest high barrel. It was really cool. After my surf I took a wander up the coast and found three spots that with another meter or two of swell have incredible potential, none of these are in the surf guide. Ask me in person and I will draw you the treasure map.

That night I had dinner with the wood worker and his wife.  We talked about  where I was going in life and how he had done his travels on the backpackers trail through South East Asia. We talked about his time in the military and how he would always figure out the best way out of work. He was also a coxswain when he was younger(the person who steers a crew boat and yells at everyone). As it turns out he was one of the craftsmen for the Last Samurai that was filmed in Taranaki and he even got to be in the film for a few seconds. He is pretty sure it is because he is short and wouldn’t make Tom look his real size.

After a lovely dinner and great conversation I spent the night in their guest house.  In the morning I drove all the way up to Piha, a surf spot on the West coast just outside of Auckland. A tropical system was lashing the east coast with 30 kt on shore winds and those were offshore in Piha, which was throwing out some solid left barrels.  Piha is a good wave.  It sort of breaks in the middle of this semi protected cove thing with a huge rock in the middle of the beach. It is usually rather crowded due to its proximity to the city. I managed to not kook it on two but most either went fat or I got swallowed up when I pulled in. Anyways I only have a few days left and I will update everyone on what happens when I get back to the states in a week…Kooky Kyle

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