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Posts Tagged ‘California’

Life is just better in the barrel. This is a very old shot, but a great one.

“Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!”  I screamed as I cruised through a solid over head draining barrel coming out dry hair.  It was one of the many I had gotten.  My buddy Brennan shouted back watching the whole thing go down from the bank he was sitting on.  I came off the back shook the water off my hair and paddled over to Brennan.  “Its all time out here man” I said.  “I knew you were going to say something like that” he replied smiling.  “You know Brennan for me I would take a day of surfing like this over a night of sex with the hottest woman in the world” as I laughed in naivete jubilee.

Brennan opened his mouth to say something but before he could I was already paddling down the beach positioning for my next wave another kegger followed by a giant full rotation frontside ally-oop stuck cleanly to the gaping mouths of the two kids surfing the peak adjacent.  Everyone had this shit eating grin on their faces out there.  Why shouldn’t we?  After all it was solid 4-6+ft clean, hucking tubes and only six of us out there sharing eight different perfect peaks.

It was after 12pm too which made no sense at all because the River Mouth always blows out by 10.  My boys Brennan and Christian decided last minute to high tail it down to the Barb from SF for a stag romp chuck full of Lisanity and they definitely got what they bargained for.  We went to some janky Montecito garage sale where I scored a pair of binoculars and a copy of Camus’ The Stranger, one of my favorite short stories, and a vintage 1960’s California surf guide for 11 dollars.  Brennan picked up this crazy shirt with people dancing on it.  Christian scored some multi use pocket tool he kept bragging about.

Prior to that we had a good old fun night of drunken debauchery at the Wild Cat upon their arrival.  At that moment sitting there in the line up thanking the stars for allowing me to have such a great session nothing else mattered. My mind was clear and all I  could think about was my next wave and how much fun I was having.  How much fun everyone was having.  Surfing can be such a drag with bad conditions, excessive crowds etc, so much that it begins to cloud the reason why you do it in the first place.  Then a session like this happens and everyone out there is super stoked hooting and hollering like groms again.

I did not know anyone out there with me besides Brennan and I was as stoked to watch the other guys get amazing rides as much as getting them myself.  Everyone was just laughing and talking and having a gay old time.  Add a crowd of around 60 guys and less then stellar conditions and it would have been a totally different story.  Instead of stoked on one another we would have been grumbling, giving dirty looks, trying to be intimidating all because that guy sitting next to you, your brother may get the next set wave you had been waiting for the last half hour.

Unfortunately in our highly urbanized population sprawled southern California society the latter and not the former is the case more times then not.  It begins to wear you down.  I am not going to lie the world around me, “the real world” not Lisanti Land has been starting to take a serious toll on my psyche as of late.  Things didn’t work out at my new job.  My roommate Danny whom I really was starting to be very pleased with living here let me know he is moving.  My finances are in less then great shape as well at the moment.  Even my tireless quest to find love again has all amounted to more stress then I ever like to have.

By the weekend I was worn down.  I had not had a fun surf in nearly a week either which did not help things any.  Already in great spirits thanks to the arrival of my friends the surf was just the icing on the cake.  It was an amazing beach day as well.  It almost never happens that the wind, weather and waves all work together to create a perfect day.  I know surfing is all about the waves and conditions but there is something about surfing when the sun is out and people are enjoying the beach that just feels so right.

We were lucky to sneak in about two solid hours of surfing till the wind finally came up and trashed it.  I was fine with that cause I had gotten way more then I could have ever expected or hoped for.  That is one of the finer things in life, when you are thrown a brief lull in the midst of a terrible storm.  I could not have asked for anything more this weekend then to spend it with some of my better friends enjoying every moment.  After the surf we got food at my favorite Thai place in Santa Barbara. “Your Place”.

I was pleased since I almost never get to enjoy a meal out anymore. I think the last time I ate at “Your Place” was with Kooky back in March.  From there it was home for a little R&R before gaming up for another romp on the town.  It was another night that did not disappoint.  We talked to some ladies, did some dancing, Brennan found and lost the girl of his dreams.  I ran into my old friend Britters who was in town for a wedding and she was always one of my favorite gals to party with back in the day.  It was almost like a reunion of sorts for all of us remembering a time a few years ago when our lives were a bit more simple.

Things are constantly moving forward at at such a rapid pace that we lose sight of where we are going and even forget where we have been.  Every so often I like to stop and have a look back.  I think its hard to remember the direction we are trying to go with out taking a look at where we have been.

The stuff that makes life worth living…

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In the land of the right there exists at least one goofy foot’s last stand.

This week’s UCB makes a winner out of Mauriello taking a break from giving out lessons in good morals and instead throwing down good UCB topics.  He asked I write about a certain little wave that both of us have a spot for in our heart.  A surfing spot like none other.  One that has teeth, one that has its own certain charm of gnarl in and out of the water, a surfers surf spot, Santa Clara River Mouth in Ventura California.   I have decided the best way to explain this place is by giving you a run down of an average summer morning for me.

Summertime

An fun looking morning at the River Mouth

 

River Mouth (that is what the locals call the break) is located about a 45 minute drive south of my home here in Santa Barbara.  On a nautical map it exists a few feet below sea level and sticks out a bit further then most beaches in the area allowing it to pull in swell from all angles and then amplify its intensity thanks to the bottom.  In the Late Spring, Summertime and early fall River Mouth goes off courtesy of south swells that sweep down the beach and usually barrel.  Even if its not hallow the waves still throw out like a mother fucker.  On just the right swell angle the place can almost break like a pseudo left hand point break.

In the summer I have to get up pretty early if I want to score the place without wind.  Although Ventura Harbor, where the River Mouth is located is a swell magnet its also a wind magnet.  Usually by 10 am the wind will get on it and by noon the surf is completely blown out.  River Mouth is not one of those waves that you can surf when its windy.  Most of time it gets so messed up getting a ride is impossible.

My first alarm goes off at around 6am.  I like to call this alarm my ambitious alarm.  It was the time I used be to stoked to get up and surf at when I was really fit and living the surfing lifestyle.  These days I hit the fuck you button usually because I am fighting off a hangover from the night before.  The next alarm goes off at 7am, but usually I field at least two calls from creditors before who I owe money to since my pro surfing career went up in smoke back in 2008.  I mean seriously who would extend a $10,000 credit line to a guy who barely made $20,000 a year?  I think if your that stupid you get what is coming to  you.   My credit rating is fucked for life at this point anyway so I say suck it. Thanks for the wake up call though.

At seven I poke my head out of the covers, but summertime is also fog season meaning more days then not its all grey, damp, cold and nasty out.  This makes getting out of bed rather difficult.  Usually I crawl back under the covers for a spell till Alfie decides he wants breakfast and is all over me meowing, clawing my face, licking my face, basically letting me know if I don’t get up and feed his ass soon I am going to be his breakfast.  Not wanting to be eaten I usually comply by 7:30 unless I’m really hung over and then its every man and beast for themselves.  If I am really hung over it means I drank enough to kill most human beings and I feel so sick that I hope Alfie will eat me alive.

By eight I am finally out of bed.  I pull out my computer and check the buoy readings to see what the day is going to have in store for me.  Driving to River Mouth costs me around $10 in gas round trip so I like to make sure I am actually going to be able to surf.  I am not going to give away the readings I look for cause it took me years to figure that out and it is something that has to be earned.   If things look appealing to me.  I pack my board, suit, booties, fill up my water bottle, grab a banana, brush my teeth then cruise. Usually I hit my boy Ryan up to let him know I am coming if he has yet to get me a surf report.

On the way down I let my ipod shuffle take over.  I skip all the slow tunes only stopping at pump up music.  As I am coming up the hill past Sharks Cove in Montecito I do the look back of death.  Ofcourse it’s flat.  It is summertime and there is no way there is enough north west to break the place.  It is one of my favorite waves so I can’t help but pretend just for a moment that it could be going off.  As I drive by Summerland I check the beachie down there and although too small to surf it is a good indicator of the swell angle.  If things look good there I may pick up the pace.

Then when I get to Carpinteria Santa Clause Lane becomes my next indicator.  This is more or less for both wind and swell size.  If its at least knee high there I know River Mouth will have chest high sets.  If things look good there I pick up the pace even harder.  By this point I am cruising at 80mph weaving in and out of traffic pretending I am in the movie “Ronin” most likely singing at the top of my lungs to whatever music I am blaring.  I have the heat blaring as well cause I hate to be cold before a surf.  It just puts a damper on the whole thing.

Nothing like brown water to make you feel safe and healthy and remind me of home.

At this point my boy Ryan has most likely gotten back to me on what’s up.  His intel is very important cause I have to make a decision once I am past Rincon and La Conchita if I should exit at Sea Cliffs and go surf Emma Wood or continue on to River Mouth.  Rincon and La Conchita are also good indicators as well.  By this point I start getting sleepy and have to pinch myself, pull leg hair, pluck eye brows, whatever it takes to not fall asleep behind the wheel ending up flipped in a ditch somewhere.

Rincon can be a good indicator too if the left up top is breaking.  From there I drive past Stanley’s, Hobsons, Trailers, Father John’s and Pitas. There are usually terrible little waves along all these spots that come winter can be all time. Pitas actually does get south swell it just does not break well on them.  From there I pass the palm tree nursery before getting sight of both the Gold Coast and Emma Wood.  This is the moment of truth right here.  If there are waves at Gold Coast then there are definitely waves at River Mouth.

I drive past Emma Wood and laugh at the near thirty guy crowd.  South of Emma is Ventura Campgrounds or the top of the point at Cstreet.  Depending on how this spot looks I can pretty much tell with absolute certainty if I am going to score.  I always make sure to flip off Cstreet on the way by cause I hate that wave.  I get through the town of Ventura and the stub jetties of the state beaches and Pierpont come into view and always entice me with their siren song of waves that always look good from far but are far from good.

Finally I exit off the 101 and work my way to the Harbor at this point whatever direction those flags are blowing will make or break my morning.  If they are slack then its going to be glassy.  Usually they are blowing north west.  I pull into the Harbor and drive north toward the dunes.  I park in front of the highest dunes that are located halfway between New Jetty and the Surfers Knoll.  From up there I can see all the breaks of Ventura harbor and decide where I want to surf.

My surf check dune.

This dune and I have developed a very personal relationship over the years.  It has seen me jump for joy, cower in fear, vomit from the night before, drop to my knees and cry back when Adrienne and I first broke up.  I have taken many of pisses up there.  There is five years worth of decomposing banana peels up there because I eat my banana while checking the surf.  I have thrown a few angry tantrums up there.  Like I said its my dune.  I once whipped Mauriello really hard with a long dune grass vine and got all mad about it.  In consolation I whipped myself just as hard and he was right it hurt like hell.  I think we both had welts from the whipping for a week or so.

This mornings banana discard.

Looking North you have New Jetty and the far big jetty is South Jetty a wedgey right that almost never breaks and when it does is super hard to surf. New Jetty is one of my favorite waves in the area but unfortunately due to poor sand distribution it has been a deep hole all season.

This is looking south from the dunes. The closest wave is called Surfers Knoll which can be really fun in the late winter early spring, but usually too washy in the summer. Past that is the River Mouth sand bars which stretch about a mile or so south till you get to McGrath State Beach.

If I decide I am surfing River Mouth I repark  my car either in the Knoll lot if it is a week day and uncrowded or in the marina lot across the street if I am looking to be low pro and stealth.  The funny thing about parking in the marina lot is that there are all these no beach parking signs, but everyone parks there any way and they are not “strictly enforced”.  I also like to park in the Marina lot cause there are less crack heads, meth heads, bums and heroin addicts hanging around there.  My old photographer Dave and I once saw the cops come arrest this crack head in the Knoll lot.

It was pretty funny.  The dude broke free and took off to the bath room and flushed his stash.  When he came out there were six cops guns drawn.  Then they took him down with very excessive force.  He made some really strange grunt like squeal when then tackled him to the pavement then bashed his head.  There are robberies in the knoll lot at least once a week if not more.  I just try and stay out of that parking lot.  I have been robbed three times there.  It has gotten to the point where I have hallowed out a spot underneath my driver seat where I stash my phone, Ipod and money.  Its not quite north shore bad where you have to leave your windows down and your car open so they wont get smashed, but there is for sure a large number of degenerates who coagulate in that vicinity.

“Strictly Enforced” ha, the harbor patrol is too busy busting crack heads to worry about parking issues.

There are always sketchy things going on in the parking lot and in the marsh reeds that line the river mouth.  From what I have been told there is pretty much an entire bum civilization back there who feed off all the dead marine life and sea birds that constantly line the beach.  I literally saw five dead birds there today.  Four pelicans and duck.  Last year there were tons of dead seals all over the beach and I once saw a dead dolphin as well.  All the currents flow towards that place and the water quality is far from ideal.

Bum food…another one bites the dust…

Usually I surf a section of sand bars called the Reeds just before the actual river mouth.  I always seem to get my best waves there and its easy to line yourself up because you either sit on the north, south or middle of the reeds.  It is also a bit of a hike from the parking lot and most don’t bother to walk past the first few sand bars.

This is the reeds I like to line up with. Behind those reeds is Bumville.

Sometimes the banks further south in front of the River Mouth can be better on long period swell.  If your willing to walk that far you can be sure to beat most of the crowd.

Hmmm whats that in the far left corner you ask? Let me answer: A power plant and an oil field. Oxnard is a beautiful place.

The Tar

The 805 is constantly riddled with an abundance of tar that naturally and most likely not so naturally courtesy of all the oil rigs seeps up from the ocean floor, coagulates into balls and finds its way to the beaches.  River Mouth is one of those beaches that is especially bad.  Once on the beach the tar heats up from the sun and becomes a gooey mess just waiting for you to step in it.  I have giant tar stains on just about everything I own.  My boards are constantly riddled with the brown mess.  As a matter of fact I stepped in a nice ball of tar yesterday before my session.  

Currently my wax is all black and gooey with tar.  The only way to get tar off is with baby oil which works fine, but also makes the shower floor slippery as hell.  I once went down head over heels nearly hitting my head on the tub faucet.  That would be a really shitty way to be found dead naked on the bottom of the tub in a puddle of blood and baby oil.  The authorities would with out a doubt claim I went out in a crazy freak masturbation mishap.  

Winter Time

In the winter its a whole different ball game out there.

Winter is not really River Mouth’s best season.  For the most part the swell direction of the NW’s seem to just come into there as one giant close out as far as the eye can see.  The water is freezing, colder then any other spot in the area and there is no one around.  Even the bums hunker down for the most part.  The only upside to winter is the Off shores.  Ventura Harbor really kind of is the start of the flat plain that runs all the way till Mugu and as a result hard offshore wind sweeps across the open space grooming the surf.  

You know the winds are going to be good if all you can smell is manure from the fields.  Yeah it stinks but the air in the barrel is always nice.  On the whole even with the winds it is still very closed out and usually on a swell anywhere from double to triple over head and stacked as far as you can see.  If your getting out there you are going to take a serious beating.  You will get pitted, but it will most likely just be a big close out tube.  This is the place where the term PGCB (perfectly good closed out barrels) was coined.  You can read more about that in my “I Heart PGCB’s” blog.  It makes for good wide angle barrel photos except for the fact that the current is so bad out there its nearly impossible to stay with your photog.  Dave and I had many of frustrating sessions where we were both getting worked super hard and did not get one decent shot out of it. 

Usually by late winter some really good sand bars can set up more near the knoll and upper River Mouth.  If it is the right swell with the right tide and the wind is offshore you will get some of the best sessions of your life.  I have had some really amazing session on such.  It can be really frustrating too though if you get there too late.  Lots of times those sand bars only turn on for a few hours at best and if you get it at the end of the window you may get one or two amazing ones and then just be back in close out land.  The rips are really bad on theses bars as well.  You will spend the entire session paddling.  

If your diligent and you get first dibs on a good bank you will have it to yourself for maybe a day or two.  Once word gets out all of Ventura, Oxnard and Santa Barbara will be there.  On the whole these bars only last for a few days anyway before the wind goes bad or too big of a swell comes in and tears it apart.  When it happens it can be all time, as good as anyplace.  Here is a video of possibly the best the River Mouth has ever been courtesy of just the right swell angle, wind, rain and sand. It happened in 2005.  I was lucky enough to get two days of this cause I just happened to be here picking up some boards from Jason Feist over at J7 surfboards.

The reality of the winter is more times then not its nothing more then a big close out and if I am going to drive that far I am most likely going to go surf Hollywood or Oxnard Shores where the banks are a bit better that time of year.  The water quality is very poor in winter due to all the rain run off.

Opening the Mouth

The really cool thing about River Mouth is the fact that it is one of the few unfortified river mouths in a heavily populated area.  There are no jetties or controls on it of any kind.  The water flows under the sand naturally allowing for tons of great banks to get created.  On occasion as a result of heavy rain fall it will burst open and when it does great sand can be created.  That does not always happen.  Sometimes it opens and throws out too much sand ruining the spot for weeks.  If it opens and there is not a good swell direction or bad wind the bars wont form good.  This year we got screwed double.  First the mouth opened up way too far to the south and second when they dredged the harbor, which they do every year the sand from that got badly dispersed completely ruining New Jetty for the entire spring, summer and most likely fall season.

Forget about water quality when it opens.  I have had so many bad sinus infections, diarrhea, fevers and other complications as a direct result of surfing in the black water that is created when it opens.  There ends up being dead frogs, fish, birds, tons of trash that all floats out a river that flows for miles inland.  The pesticide run off from all the farms is intense.  We refer to surfing there during such times as “Brown Town”.  Its pretty disgusting.  If its on its totally worth the chance of contracting Hepatitis though.   

For a while a bunch of locals would get together before a swell and actually dig out the mouth to make good sand.  About three years ago Robert from Roberts Surfboards used to rally the troops to dig it out for every good south swell.  That was one of the best spring/summer seasons out there ever.  Even the fall was sick thanks to all the good sand.  I guess the harbor patrol cracked down on it and the last crew to attempt it got arrested and fined.  I don’t think there has been a dig out attempt since.  In the summer and fall it doesn’t rain so its not going to naturally open.

This barrel was a direct result of a man made river mouth opening. Thanks boys, this day was one of the best I ever had out there. Fall 2010 https://surfingruinedmylife.net/surf-log/2010-sessions/october-10/ 10-29-10 entry.

There you have it, my home away from home Santa Clara River Mouth.  I am sure I just pissed off everyone in the 805 for writing this.  You know what I don’t give a fuck. I am there nearly everyday all summer long and surf the place in both the good, the bad and the ugly.  Its a tough wave to surf.  I would not recommend it to beginners, but more moderate to experts.  There are usually tough currents and rip tides so if your not a strong paddler/swimmer drowning can be an issue.  Its an unprotected beach and out at the River Mouth there is not many people around so getting you medical help will take longer then most spots.

The wave itself is very heavy and even on a two foot day can pack a punch.  I have broken six boards there, creased a handful more and taken some heavy wipe outs.  It is sharky too as any river mouth can be.  Although I have never had an encounter I have heard stories and most of the larger marine mammals that wash up dead on the beach have giant bites taken out from them.  Half seals are not uncommon to see.  The water is murky thus confusing the men in grey suits.  

River Mouth is an acquired taste suited to the elite hard core surfer.  If your dedicated you will score.  If you read this and are stoked to come down for a surf good on ya.  I will gladly hoot you into a wave.  Please show respect and don’t pull up with a van full of dudes like a certain Santa Barbara surf school has been doing.  At Santa Clara the rule of two is in full effect.  Follow the code and I will be more then stoked to get tubed with you.

The lay of the land just to give you an idea of what we are talking about. I took this during a solid south swell last Summer 2011.

This is Christy’s my favorite janky luncheonette in Ventura located right across the street from the River Mouth parking lot. This place is rad all the tables have collages of pictures of their customers under glass. Kooky and I wanted to go put a picture of us under the glass. I still may. Waitresses are surly, customers strange and food incredible. I have ended more then one session there. Yum!

Its not all sunshine and roses out here. If you don’t like mornings then this is what you will be greeted with usually by 11am everyday if not earlier.

This is two trees in Ventura California and where I took that aerial photo of River Mouth. I had been surfing there for years looking back a these trees and always wanted to go up there. Finally I did some exploring and found my way up to them. Its really cool cause from that vantage you can see all the way to Pt.Mugu in the south and Emma Wood in the North. I met some old guy the last time I was there and he said the trees were planted in the late 1800’s so Mariners could find the way to the harbor. Its really cool there and a nice hike. I do it regularly.

Cant afford Christy’s no worries there is plenty of good eating up and down the beach. Looks like someone has already been gnawing on this guy though. Don’t fret I’m sure there are plenty of other dead animals with in striking distance of this unfortunate.


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May 2011 Surfing in Review

Considering we are 7 days, 14 hours away from the start of the “Summer of Alf”, which may be a benchmark in the history of Lisanti Land and will be described in detail on or around May 16th, the official start date.  I thought it would be right to finally close out 2011 and get the first ever year in a life of Chris Lisanti surfing stats.  In order to do that I first had to compile the stats from May of 2011.  Actually May was a very integral month in my life last year in a very negative way.

The “Summer of Alf” is going to be all about the positive.  Its almost necessary for this recap to happen nearly a year later.  May was it for Adrienne and I, the final cabash.  I spent the greater part of April trying to win her back and by May my efforts had become futile.  It was not long into the month that I found myself packing my bags and moving out of MY APARTMENT  as a result of the situation.  You can read “Bowing Out” and “One Last Perfect Day” if your new here and lost or just want to rehash my pain.  I know I link these regularly but that is because they were some of the hardest yet better pieces I have written here at SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.

The funny thing is when I read them looking back now it amazes me how messed up and confused I was.  As a result my surfing took a toll.  I missed some days, I was frustrated others and a few surfboards got destroyed as a result of drunken tantrums.  I still managed to stay wet as Nick the Kook would say.  I have said it before the only constant in my life in last 21 years has been surfing and I am thankful for every moment that has been bestowed on me in the water.  Here are the numbers of May 2011.

Number of Sessions Surfed: 16
Number of Days Surfed: 15
Time in Water: 27 hours
Number of Waves Surfed: 409
Average Waves Surfed Per Hour: 15

Spots Surfed:
Mesa Lane: 4
Rincon: 3
New Jetty: 3
Santa Clara River Mouth: 2
Emma Wood: 1
La Conchita: 1
Ocean Beach, San Francisco: 1
Waddel Creek, Santa Cruz: 1

Top 3 Sessions:

3. 5/30/11 PM Session: 2-3ft, Mesa Lane
Time in Water: 1hr 20mins
Waves Surfed: 25
After a morning of failed car surfing John and I decided to give Mesa Lane a look.  The wind was right and the tide was not too low making it a definite possibility.   Upon checking it there were tons of glassy little nugget bowls rolling in with a very light crowd.  It was bit on the low tide side but I was kind of frothy for a surf.  The surf was far from epic but I was in crazy surf mode and began pulling and sticking a variety of airs out of which I brought down three ally oops and one really fast backside air reverse.  It was a fun little session to say the least.

2: 5/29/11 PM Session: 2-3ft, Rincon
Time in Water: 2.5hrs
Waves Surfed: 28
Talk about late season crazy wind swell.  I checked the buoys this morning and they were spiking at 12ft.  I knew Rincon would have to have a wave of some sort.  Low tide was around one.  John and I cruised south and on the way down Santa Claus did not look very promising.  The parking lot at Rincon had a fair number of cars in it and some people were walking around with short boards leading me to believe that there might be some waves to surf.  Turned out there was some waist to chest high scrubby wind swell coming into the cove that was semi clean.  At first I as not too enthusiastic but then saw a solid set of three waves roll in that sparked my interest and had us all over it.  I ended up call boxing one wave and snagged at least three good ones and I saw John get a few good ones also.

1: 5/25/11 PM Session: 2-3+ft, North County, Santa Cruz
Time in the Water: 2.5hrs
Waves Surfed: 40
See Blog  Clearing My Head for more details. In short just a buddy of mine and I sharing waves in the middle of nowhere on a well shaped left reef pass.

There you have it the final recap that was needed to complete 2011.  Stay tuned for the entire stats from 2011, an entire year in surfing.  I’m excited.   Check out the “Urban Surfing” blog I wrote back in May of 2011 it some cool surfing and other adventures from this time period.   As always read the surf log for daily updates on my surfing and day to day.

Empty perfection. If you don’t surf then you probably don’t understand how precious this scene is. All you see is a pretty picture of a wave.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone although it is sort of a bull shit holiday that has been over dramatized and commercialized by America in order to sell tequila and cheap shitty Mexican beer.  Seriously Mexicans don’t even really celebrate it.  Many believe today is Mexican Independence Day.  If you thought such you would be wrong .  Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16th.  Cinco de Mayo actually celebrates some battle the Mexican Army won against the French in 1862.  Now it is just another bullshit drinking holiday so that the general public can feel better about going out and getting absolutely shit faced.  

I for one was planning on jumping on the bandwagon.  I mean who am I to pass up an excuse to drink?  Then as I thought about all the fucking idiot amateurs that were going to be out tonight, the incessant lines and excessive cover charges for that reason I quickly got over it.  I went out last night and had an average time at best.  I think I will leave tonight to all fools who need an excuse to get drunk rather then be honest with themselves that they enjoy to get plastered from time to time.   What is with all these drinking holidays falling on a weekend this year?  First St. Pats, now Cinco de Mayo.  They are way more fun on weekdays so everyone who works a normal Monday through Friday week can feel what its like to work the entire day with hangover like us weekend workers do.

America Fuck Yeah!

 

Enough about tonight before I change my mind and cruise to the bar with the idiots and on to my initial reason for writing.  A blog ago or so I wrote about my current lot in life and feelings (see Food for Thought).  In this blog I am going to explore some of my thoughts about moving forward in life.  Take some stock in the direction I would like to see things move for me.  

The Path to Enlightenment

“Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood carry water”.  This is an old Buddhist proverb I picked up in the brief survey I gave to the study of the religion.  I took from them what suited me and left behind the organization.  My religious views are not to be explored in this blog.  I feel this is a really good mantra to try and follow.  One who is truly enlightened knows he must keep at the path that got him to that point.  

I am constantly striving to find out more about myself, who I am, what I am about and what I am capable of.  I don’t believe many understand such entities of themselves or want to for that matter.  When you start digging into your mind, heart and soul honestly there is much there that is amazing, alarming and somewhat a bit unsettling.  Once you open the flood gates its not like you can turn back.  You must keep moving forward.  I have discovered a bunch about myself in the past few years and even more over the last year.  

The more I learn the less I know. “The wise man knows that he knows nothing at all”.  One thing I do know is that I know what I stand for as a person and what I do not.  I also know that I will not compromise this for anyone or anything and I never have.  I rocked long hair for nearly 16 years despite pressure from my ex-wife, family, society, jobs, etc.  Yeah I finally did cut my hair, but for me.  I entered a new chapter in my life and wanted a new hairstyle to go with it.  I plan on continuing this existential journey through my character and how it interacts both positive and adverse in our society making adjustments where necessary to suit me and no one else.  No one can tell you what you need or want besides you.  That my friends is how I intend to live out my days. 

The Short List
 

These are some things I wish to accomplish over the coming months or at the very least better myself in.  If you don’t have some type of direction then you are just running around like dog chasing his tail.  Here is to moving vertically.

Get Back into Music
I play the saxophones rather well and enjoy doing it.  At one point it was my job and that basically ruined the whole thing for me.  After a very short stint in that industry I burnt out and went rouge.  That was over ten years ago.  I have never stopped playing.  I did a little work last summer in the musical theatre genre that was a blast (see “A Trip Back East” Blog for more on that).  I really want to get back into Jazz.  I’m not even talking about performance.  I would just love to meet a few like minded people who would be stoked on pulling out a real book and blowing from time to time.  So if your in the Santa Barbara area and have a yearning to play some of that Jazz music please hit me up.

Learn to Speak Italian
This is more of a necessity to go with one of my other more long term directions, which I will discuss later on.  I am not sure as of late how to accomplish this task.  At the moment I am leading towards taking classes at Santa Barbara City College.  I was also thinking about trying some of those language tapes as well.  Any suggestions would be very helpful.  Maybe I will just kidnap an Italian, lock him/her in my hall closet, force feed him/her cat food and speak conversational Italian with me on a daily basis.  I could def think of one Italian here in SB that deserves such treatment.
 

Go Surfing As Much As Possible
This plan has already been put into action.  I have been really lazy as far as surfing is concerned over the past year.  Yeah I don’t do it competitively or professionally anymore, but it is my best source of enjoyment, exercise and therapy.  I know we are steadily approaching our off season here in the 805.  There are still plenty of waves that can be enjoyed by the intrepid and willing.  I was once both and want to be once again.  Its always more fun when your out there.  Visit the surf log for my daily surfing escapades and more.

Time to get my grovel on…

Read More Books
I have been very, very lazy on the reading front.  I used get to read nearly two novels a month.  Now I am down to around three a year.  This really puts a damper on my thirst to read as many great works of literature as possible.  I have a rather extensive collection of classics many of which I have sadly yet to read.  

Write More
This one goes all around from blogging, to my novel, to another writing project I have been working, to a possible cooking show my buddy and I are working on pitching, to short stories. I am also in the process of a SurfingRuinedMyLife.net redesign.   

Explore more of the greater Santa Barbara Area
It was not long ago, maybe two years to be somewhat exact that my boy Brennan and I set out to attack a list of 101 free things to do in Santa Barbara.  In the process we did and saw many really fun and amazing things.  Since then I have still been striking out to explore my home albeit not as frequently.  There are plenty of places with in a fifty mile radius or so that I have to check off my list and this may be the summer for it.  No matter what I’m sure you will get to read about the results here.

Just another Santa Barbara Adventure!

 Finish the Coffee Table
Ok this project has been going on for almost two years now and the odds of its completion slim, me ruining it in the attempt very good or finding a better one on craigslist most likely.  You never know at the moment I am feeling very ambitious. We never thought the renovations on the Lisanti Palace would come to pass either.

The current state of my coffee table:(

 

Drink and Party Less
How am I going to accomplish all this you ask?  Well one of the things I am going to cut out is the number of hours I spend per week getting hammered both downtown and at home.  When you drink and party all night you sleep and are sick all day or even days depending. The amount of money such a life style amounts to is preposterous.   That does not mean I am going all Mormon on you.  All it means is I am going to bring things down to a safer more manageable level before I end up dead by 40.  Everything in moderation after all.

The high life…Looks enticing huh? Its not all its cracked up to be.

Grow a Mustache

I DON’T THINK SO…Been there done that scared myself and everyone around me for one week too long.

That is the meat of what I think the “Summer of Alf” (what I am billing the summer of 2012) is going to be all about.  Stay tuned for some of my long term accomplishments soon…And of course regular updates, departments and other fun from Lisanti Land.


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April 2011 Surf Sessions in Review

Bare with me here, I know these stats happened nearly a year ago, but I just found out while trying to compile some yearly stats that I still need to write up the stats for a few months that went by the wayside back then for obvious reasons ( you can read “Bowing Out” if your new here and missed a major incident in my life).  April is always a rough month for surfing in the 805, plagued by constant winds, transition between NW and South swell seasons and extremely cold water.   Throw in a full time job, school and a falling apart relationship and it became one of the toughest months to surf of my entire life, let alone live.  Hey here I am still kicking.  I am not sure why I am still alive, but mainly I feel my survival these days is based purely on spite.   I am not quite sure whom it is I am spiting by staying alive, but I am sure there is someone out there who may benefit from my death and for the chance just to spite that person I will fight to live no matter what.  Survival for spite that is the new campaign for 2012, forget anything else I have mention previously.  Here are the stats for April 2011.

Number of Surf Sessions: 21
Days Surfed: 21

Total Time Spent In Water: 33hrs 45mins
Total Number of Waves Surfed: 636
Average Waves Caught Per Hour: 19

Spots Surfed:
Mesa Lane: 9
Rincon: 6
Emma Wood: 3
El Capitan: 1
Hammonds: 1
New Jetty: 1

Top 3 Sessions:

3.  4/1/11 Am Session: 2-4+ft, Emma Wood
Time in Water: 1.5 hrs
Waves surfed: 25
Talk about a double up barrel fiesta out there this morning and I was not even going to go surf when I woke up this am.  The weather was so nice and since I had got a lot of work done at J7 yesterday and an alarming potential for south winds in the afternoon led me to Emma Wood.  When I pulled up it was solid chest high with overhead suck up sets.  I saw a three wave set A-frame and barrel hard both left and right with only about six guys out.  I was on it and at least ten of my waves were solid dry barrels.  Then after about 45 minutes everyone showed up making it a bit crowded, but there were like six peaks working all going both right and left making for plenty of room.  If I did not have to get dings done at J7 today I would have stayed out till the tide drained.  Im so glad Emma has finally got her groove back!

2. 4/7/11 PM Session: 1-3+ft, El Capitan
Time In Water: 3 hrs 15mins
Waves Surfed: 49
On my walk to class this morning I noticed that Lead Better had some solid chest high waves hitting the beach break and even larger sets on the point.  I got home and checked the buoys and East Santa Barbara was reading 7ft  and the wind was hard WNW, off shore for El Cap.  Still I was thinking about Rincon when my boy from work Kevin called me and was all physicked on surfing in the avro.  With a partner in crime I said lets go to El Capitan and it was on.  We got there around 4ish and it was pretty small looking.  There were only about four guys on it and occasionally a chest high wave would roll in.  Anyway there were plenty of fun looking waist high ones coming through.  Thing about El Capitan is that it is a perfect wave no matter the size so even small it was still rather inviting.  We ended up having a blast.  I dont think I have ever gotten that many waves there ever.  Renowned surf board shaper Wayne Rich paddled out with these two mini-groms and two friends of his and he paddled right up to me, introduced himself and said “Hi my name is Wayne you are too good of a surfer to grovel this hard with all the hopping around, but just so you know I am really impressed by your surfing ability”. I was like are you serious, Wayne Rich a man who has seen so many greats surf was stoked on my surfing.  He ended up getting a bunch of good ones and everyone out there was just hooting a hollering; a completely different vibe then the last time I surfed out there with Kooky.  The waves were twice as good that time but the crowd was super heavy and people were all aggro.  See March ’11 of the surf log 3/17/11 entry for more details on that session.   All I can say was that it was a most splendid day of surfing.

1. 4/2/11 PM Session: 2-3+ft, Rincon
Time In Water: 1.5 hrs
Waves Surfed: 15
Sometimes I surf really well.  I think everyone has those sessions where they feel like god out there.  I dont care what skill level your at, when you have a session where you surf to the highest potential of your personal ability it feels incredible.  I had one of these sessions at Rincon tonight.  The funny thing about it was that going into the surf I was feeling rather lackadaisical.  I had just finished repairing my favorite board which got destroyed at some epic Rincon two weeks back  (see “Bad Decisions Lead to Great Out Comes” and“Yesterday’s (3/24) Rincon Session Revisited” for the skinny on what happened there).   Jason and I pulled the tail in about an 1/8 inch from my regular template and it has really turned my performance up a notch.  I love computer design programs.  It is so easy to make those minute details come out perfect.  I think the combination of a good board, fun chest high plus glassy bowls and a light crowd aided in a fun session.  I surfed the entire point spending the first half up at River Mouth were I snagged a nice little backside tube and stuck a solid backside section air.  The next half I spent in the cove absolutely owning it. By my 15th wave I was completely exhausted.  Besides the wind got on it a bit, the crowd picked up and the tide began to make things a bit swampy.  Timing is everything in life.
 

Me at Rincon Circa Spring 2011. Life may not have been working out for me back then but at least I still had surfing.

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December 2011 Surf Sessions in Review

With each session review I get closer to compiling enough data to bring a 2011 year of surfing in review to this site.  It will be the first of its kind and I must say I am rather excited to see the results of 12 months of useless surfing data.  I know I am crazy.  OCD is a terrible disease.  I guess one could say I am the Rain Man of surfing except I do not have the ability to count cards.

December started out slow surf wise then the north west swells just began to pour in and as of the moment really have not stopped. Believe me there are no complaints here.  My only gripe is with myself and the fact that I blew a number of potential surf sessions thanks to either pure laziness, partying too hard or due to injuries incurred from partying, all of which amounted to December becoming the most underutilized month of the year for me.  That being said there were still plenty of good times all around.

In life I managed to begin the renovations on my apartment, which at press time are just about finished.  Mentally and emotionally I worked through a ton of issues I have been harboring as well.  Maybe not surfing my brains out amounted to some positive in the end.  Only time will tell.  Here are the stats for December:

Number of Surf Sessions: 23
Days Surfed: 18
Total Time Spent in the Water: 35hrs, 25 mins
Waves Surfed: 442
Average Waves Caught in an Hour: 13

Spots Surfed:
Rincon: 8
Emma Wood: 3
Hollywood By The Sea: 3
Little Rincon: 2
New Jetty: 2
Oxnard Shores: 2
C Street: 1
Kooks Peak: 1

Top Three Surf Sessions:

3) 12/20/11 PM Session: 2-3+ft, C Street
Time in Water: 1hr
Waves Surfed: 1o
Mother fucking Cstreet, are you kidding me.  Is that really where I have had the best session in the last five?  Apparently.  Kooky and I car surfed down to Emma finding nothing.  The choice came down to running back to Rincon or going to Cstreet.  I had a feeling it could be fun at the latter so it was on.  Not even looking at it we suited up.  Out of time it was a make it or break it kind of session, sometimes the best ones.  There were two distinct peaks up at pipe.  Straight out of the gates I was nailing good waves.  I caught ten waves and eight of those had no less then six turns.  My last three were sick and some of the better backside turns I have done on my new board.  My last wave was so good I quit on it even though I still had easily another 15 minutes of light left.  Unfortunately Kooky not really knowing where to sit had a frustrating session.  C Street can givith and take it away just as fast.

2) 12/4/11 AM Session: 2-4ft, Oxnard Shores
Time in Water: 1hr
Waves Surfed: 17
Finally a surf and a good one at that.  I got down to Ventura Harbor and it was all closed out.  I was left with a choice of either going to a steadily draining tide Emma Wood or a gamble at the shores.  If I choose the shores and lost then I would have once again blew my gas on yet another wasted car surf.  My prayers were answered as I came up the beach to head high offshore spitting barrels in every direction I looked.  Kooky and I were on it.  What ensued was a full on barrel fest.  I had some drainers.  I saw Kooky get blasted out of a few good ones  too.  My last wave was one of the better left hand barrels I have caught in a long time. It may have been three days in the making but the first session of the month was on.

1) 12/25/11 AM Session: 3-4+ft, Rincon
Time in Water: 3hrs
Waves Surfed: 24
See a Christmas of Epic Proportions Part I and Part II for more details.

 Well there you have it another month of surfing in Lisanti Land folks.  As always you can keep a daily tab on my surfing sessions or just the gnarl that happens in my life that keeps me from surfing at the surflog.

Rincon on Christmas morning, the best session of the month with out a doubt.

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November 2011 Surf Sessions in Review

I know I am like two months behind, but what would any one who reads here regularly expect.  If you keep up with the daily updates in the surflog then it should not surprise you.   My life is crazy and my time spread thin.  I guess I will sleep when I am dead.  I am only getting this done today because I happen to be sick and called out of work.  I am too sick to surf even.  Trust me it is firing right now with some real nice WNW action.  You know I’m taking it hard if I am sitting out.  I have already missed an epic El Capitan session last night.  Whatever, I don’t give a fuck.

Back to November.  November for the most part was one big let down after another both for waves and life.  Kooky who came out here with high hopes of scoring great point surf got stuck more times then not at shitty New Jetty, which was where the majority of my surfing took place.  Now in the summertime that is common place, but in the fall it should not be.  There was still some choice days.  There were also some terrible drunken nights at the bar that cost me a surf or two and one surfboard that got completely destroyed as a result.   You can check out the November ’11 surflog for the details on the entire month.  Here are the session break downs.  Oh the joys of having OCD.

Number of Surf Sessions: 23
Days Surfed: 22
Total Time Spent in the Water: 35hrs
Waves Surfed: 521
Average Waves Surfed Per Hour: 15

Spots Surfed:
New Jetty: 9
Rincon: 3
Emma Wood: 2
Oxnard Shores: 2
Dredge: 1
Sharks Cove: 1
Sand Spit: 1
Little Rincon: 1
Silver Strand: 1
Gold Coast: 1

Top 4 Surf Sessions (I could not leave any of these out to only make it three)
4)  
11/25/11 PM Session2: 1-3+ft, Sharks Cove
Time in Water: 2.5hrs
Waves Surfed: 32
We were on our way to battle the immense crowds down south, when Kooky spotted out some waves breaking at Sharks.  I knew it would be a bit smaller there, but no one was out and I love that wave.  The place is so rip-able and its right here in town.  We decided to go for it.  Four other guys joined us crushing my hopes of a solo session, but I knew one of them and everyone took turns and was mellow.  It was a bit smaller then I would have liked.  Only about waist to occasional chest, but it was perfect.  I had a ton of really fun waves out there and it was just the mellow session in the midst of a hectic weekend I was looking for.

3) 11/21/11 AM Session: 3-5+ft, Rincon
Time in Water: 3hrs
Waves Surfed: 23
I love bounce back swells.  This one hit the Islands and came upon us at a perfect angle.  There was a dropping tide and light winds.  Rincon was flawless.  When I first got out there I was in the cove with about 30 people.  An hour later I was sharing the place with a solid 200 crowd spread over the entire point.  I had some great ones.  I got burned on some that would have been great ones and I burned a few along the way.  Classic Rincon.  I did stick one huge six foot long gap air that I totally cleared an entire section on.  I had a near 540 as well but landed on the back too far on the shoulder to ride it out.  Minus the crowd I was stoked.

2) 11/24/11 PM Session: 4-7+ft, Little Rincon
Time in Water: 2hrs
Waves Surfed: 27
Oh another Turkey day west swell.  I wanted to surf Rincon but it was over 300 hundred heads strong.  I tried a gamble and lost with El Capitan.  Little Rincon had a decent enough wave with only about thirty or so guys on it.  It was a bit stretched and racy, but there were some good ones.  I was having a good time till I went on this dude who was clearly not going to make the section he pulled into.  Kooky said he was falling as I dropped into it.  The guy paddles over to me and tells me “If you do that again I am  going to break something on you”.  ”Were you really going to make it” I replied.  ”Thats not your call to make” he said.  ”No it was the waves call and it was not having it” I retorted.  He got mad and told me that when he is on a wave I don’t go.  I apologized and left it alone.  Then he deliberately burned me on my next wave to prove a point.  The old Chris would have gone into the beach.  Went to my car, got the tire iron out of my trunk and beat the bejesus out of him.  The new Chris  just took a deep breath and let it go.   Whatever I got a wave from the hotel at Mussel Shoals all the way to the beach break at the bottom of the highway.  We clocked it in the car on the way home and  it was just under 7/8ths of a mile.  Never done something like that there.  My legs hurt so bad by the end of it I could barely turn.

1) 11/7/11 AM Session: 2-4+ft, Oxnard Shores
Time in Water: 2hrs
Waves Surfed: 28
Oooo there is nothing I love more then a good old fashioned barrel fest. Not only that but a Hatteras style barrel fest.  Lindsay and I pulled up to New Jetty and it was crowded, at least thirty guys deep.  Lakey Perterson was out with her little grom crew and camera.  The whole place was a scene.  On top of that it was a bit walled and wonky.  Not nearly as good as the previous day.  I noticed the wind was trying to go offshore and with plenty of combo swell still in the water, plus a dropping low tide I made the call to try the shores.   The place loves such conditions.  I pulled up to the closest spot to Ventura.  There was some movie being filmed up on the beach with all their stupid Hollywood hoopla.  Right in front looked marginal at best.  Then I looked down the beach and was pretty sure I saw spitting barrels.  Upon driving a few blocks south my eyes had not deceived me.  All I could see in every direction was left and right bowls unloading on a shallow sand bar.  I am talking throaty double ups.  I got my ass seriously kicked by a few I did not make it out of.  The crowd was about twenty strong but spread among an endless amount of peaks. Bobby was surfing the peak next to me just getting absolutely pitted off his skull.  I had my share as well.  It was a fucking great session.  It lasted a solid two hours before the wind came up.  What a session.

Oxnard Shores delivering.

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