Archive for May, 2021

365 Days of Surfing

This is something that I have been keeping under wraps outside of the surflog. My reasoning for such was because I didn’t want to as per usual tout some lofty goal for a new year and then a month later give it up and look foolish.  Not that I have ever cared about playing the fool.  Looking foolish is one of the things I am best at.  What am I rambling about you ask?  The dream; surfing 365 consecutive days in a year. 

Ever since I was kid it has been something I have always dreamed of doing.  I remember seeing that crazy dude from northern California, Dale Webster in “Step into Liquid”, he had surfed 14,642 days, roughly everyday for ten straight years!!  Webster did it having to brave some really cold, really stormy and very scary conditions. I live in Southern California. Surfing 365 days straight should be easy.

With waves like this who wouldn’t want to surf everyday?

As a kid growing up in New York with out any transportation I was relegated to summers and weekends when my parents felt the benevolence to take me.  Luckily for me my mother had an affinity for the beach even in the winter.  With such effort in my early surfing life I believe I grossed about 90-100 days a year.  By high school my family and I moved to Manasquan, a small beach town in New Jersey.  Living only three miles from the beach and being older this allowed me the freedom to get to the ocean whenever I pleased. 

The only problem with the East Coast is although there are some epic days of surfing by anyone’s standards it is not surf-able 365 days a year.  On the contrary it can literally go flat as a lake for weeks.  At this point in my life my dream of surfing everyday for an entire year was moot.  The best I could do was never miss a day of surf, to which I held pretty steadfast minus illness, injury or the occasional (or in my case regular) school detention.  I had one physical education teacher Senior year who never forgave me for breaking her stapler during a marching band practice my freshman year.  When I had her as an instructor my senior year she always found a reason to give me detention and then forced me run the track for two hours after school.   I think she was sexist of the fact that even at that young age I was a bourgeoning Adonis.  That is an entirely different story all together.  During these years I would estimate I surfed around 200 days a year.

After my schooling years one might think it should have been easy, especially when I was a professional surfer.  Except one forgets that there is a great deal of travel and expense involved.  I either missed a day or two as a result of being in transit to the next contest or photo location or I was grinding through a few weeks of hard labor back at home to earn enough dough to get to my next event.  Thus is the reality of the bottom feeding pro after all. Through out my twenties 365 days of surfing eluded me.  I dare say I probably averaged 290 days a year during this time.

By the time I was thirty my professional surfing career had dwindled to little more then a surfboard sponsor who kept me around cause I helped with ding repair and other duties at the shop and a wetsuit sponsor who sold me suits at a hefty discount out of legacy respect.  I was living in Santa Barbara full time at this point and that year I could realistically say I put in around 330 days plus.  There were two weeks I went home to see my family in Jersey where I did not surf for a few days, an injury where I cut my foot open and missed a week and five days I spent snow boarding up in Tahoe.  Then an odd day here or there for various reasons.  This would be the closest I would come to my goal for ten years.

My thirties, if you have been a long time reader or know me well, were spent living hard and fast in the Santa Barbara party scene and beyond.  More then a few days were lost to multiple day benders, hangovers and other bullshit that looking back if I had any real regrets it would be to not have wasted so many years away.  Despite all that calamity and insanity I bet I still managed 300 plus days a year.  Not too Shabby.

Talk about a party monster!!!

2020 was supposed to be my break out year.  My gig as a high end event chef was taking off.  For the first time ever I had more money then I knew what to do with and I considered it a rough week when I averaged over 20 work hours.  I was getting married in the spring to an amazing woman and we were going to have the wedding of weddings considering it was my business.  My wife and I were also looking at buying a beach house down at the Silver Strand.  Then Covid came along and kicked me and a great number of other Americans down to the ground. Instead of 2020 being my year I was relegated to waiting on line at the food bank twice a week in order to survive.  Scroll down a few blogs to hear all about that. 

All of a sudden 2020 turned into a wipe out

I found myself December 31st 2020 sitting in my Tuxedo on my couch next to my new wife dressed in a beautiful gown with a bottle champagne by ourselves making it the lamest New Years Eve of my life since I was twenty when I fell asleep on a couch in Florida at 10 pm.  I woke up that New Years morning back in 2000 and vowed never to stay home on NYE again.  It took a global pandemic to break that vow. 

My occupation was cut down to US Postal Service Processing Plant Custodian and salary at a laughable income for most places let alone California.   As we counted down to 2021 I knew there was not going to be a whole lot to look forward too except for more let down and heart ache. I needed something to get me through what posed to be yet another hard year.  A goal maybe…5..4..3..2..1…Happy New Year!

The most lame NYE ever. At the very least we were well dressed.

Then it clicked at the exact time my champagne flute clinked onto my wife’s.   I stood up and made a proclamation:  I am going to surf every single day in 2021 no matter what it takes.   Today May 28 2021 marks 148 consecutive days of surfing (technically I had not missed a single day in December 2020 either, but for the purpose of this quest we will focus on 2021).  I have almost made it to the half way point of the year!  Don’t think it has been easy thus far.  There have been lots and lots of terrible conditions, some painful injuries I have had to surf with, and at times a very upset wife.  Just read the surf log, which is updated with my day to day surfing almost daily.  You can follow my progress there. 

There have been plenty of absolutely terrible days of surf

All I can say is that my hat is off to Dale.  148 days has been exhausting.  I can’t imagine 14,642.  Here is to another 218 days of surfing to a successful Goal.  Being that it is my 40th year of life and come August my 30th year of surfing I couldn’t think of a better time to fulfill a childhood dream.  Unlike the rest of my bull shit proclamations I plan and seeing this through to its fruition.

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