Posts Tagged ‘Cold’



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

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

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

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

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

Sand Dollar  Beach Big Sur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sand Dollar Beach looking toward the north side.

Sand Dollar Beach looking toward the north side.

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

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

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

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

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

A glimpse of what is to come...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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OB blowing it up.

After our shenanigans the previous night we were left to yet another late start.  I woke up and noticed the wind was rather light.  When I got out of bed the first thing John said to me was that we should check the surf.  Off to Ocean Beach we went.

Ocean Beach is this four mile long beach break at the western end of the city.  The place is pretty much a ghost town.  It is really weird to be at the beach looking back at a major metropolis.  Sure enough there were some less then perfect chest to head high waves coming in with rather light winds.  It looked a bit on the mushy side, but I was sort of interested to give it a paddle.

Of course we did about an hours worth of car surfing and another half hour milling around the parking lot before actually hitting the water.  We gave it just enough time for the wind to come up a bit harder making it even less desirable.  This was a relatively small day for OB and let me tell you what a bitch of a paddle out it was.  I could only imagine how much it sucks when it is double or triple overhead.  No thank you, I think I will just stick with Rincon.

Overall it was rather poor quality.  I managed to snag 11 waves, which believe it or not is pretty good for the place.  Most waves were nothing more then a drop and cut back.  I had one or two that offered up a little bit more but overall it was far from killable.  The water was freezing.  I wore a hood and was still cold the entire session.  After an hour or so we were over it and retreated back to the warmth (or lack there of) of the beach.

I was pumped to surf in the heart of the city. For how terrible it was there were easily twenty guys out.  I guess surfers are frothy for garbage everywhere.  Straight from the surf it was grub time.  I noticed this all you can eat Indian lunch buffet not far from John’s pad for $9.95.  There is nothing better then gorging yourself with massive amounts of Indian cuisine after a vigorous surf, or paddle in this case.

John and I are big eaters so you can bet your ass we did some serious damage to the place.  He did three and half heaping plates and I ate four.  We definitely got our moneys worth. The food was rather decent to.  I must say eating wise I am so far very pleased with this trip.

Following all that food John was beat and went into an immediate food comma for two hours while I entertained myself with internet porn (no, I was writing yesterday’s blog).  Around six I woke his ass up cause I was bored and wanted to explore more of the city.  He took me to Golden Gate Park where they have a really cool art museum and a science museum as well.  They were closed but the architecture of the buildings was worth a look in it’s self.

The science museum had a self sustaining roof mad of dirt, grass and solar panels and the art museum was this crazy shape of twisted metal with lots of cool sculptures around its perimeter.  Then there was this cool walk with three complimentary fountains.  It was a chill place to cruise about.

I promised John’s little fifi Elise that I would cook a meal for all of us before I left and last night was the night.  She is a vegetarian (except she eats fish, since when have fish been considered a vegetable.  I mean I know they put halibut genes in strawberries so they can grow in colder climates, but that is a whole other can of worms not be opened in this blog) so I decided to make this new dish I am perfecting (stay tuned for a recipe soon) with the hearts of anise, and a creamy Bechmel sauce over linguine with artichoke hears, fresh basil leaves, mushrooms and tomatoes.  I had to leave out the tomatoes because apparently John doesn’t care for them.

The meal came out superb.  Fifi brought over a nice bottle of resling from Napa and dark chocolate and sugar covered ginger for dessert. All and all I would say it was a most splendid evening.  Since the last two nights had been so out of control we decided to kick it in with an early night.

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I don’t really know what is going on the with the weather this year but in the last two weeks I found myself right smack in the middle to rather unusual weather phenomena.  Last week I was home in California just starting my cozy little three week winter break vacation.  Friday the 17th was my last day and also what became the start of a six day monsoonal like rains and wind. When all was said and done, over 28 inches of rain later, the warm sunny California weather I moved there for returned. Conveniently the morning I had to catch a flight for cold dismal New Jersey.


It was not so bad; the storm brought fun waves and light crowds thanks to a combination of shitty weather and near toxic water quality.  Sure it would have been fun to enjoy some sun and out doorsy type adventures before traveling to frigid weather that would for sure have me cooped up inside, but tis how things work out at times.  I caught my plane and headed back east for the Holiday’s.


Christmas was fun.  I realized I like my family when I only see then once a year.  Nostalgia is always great in small doses. Went out Christmas night visited with some old friends, got faded (see Ohh that Nick the Kook blog), who could ask for more.  So far so good.  I had other visits and odd ends to tie up in the remaining two days I would be in town for.  The trip was a quick smash and grab job.  The smaller the increment the more likely I am to come back to this shit hole.


Then the mother fucking snow came.  A little taste of snow I though might be cool.  Its been years since I have seen snow.  Maybe one inch or so, that could have been festive even.  21” fucking inches!!!!!!!!!  Are you kidding me, one of the biggest blizzards in New Jersey history.  What are odds?   In Lisanti Land I guess pretty fricken good.


My back injury finally worked in my favor for a change allowing me to slink out of any shoveling and there was a ton of it my friends.  Not only was there the drive way but since the town neglected paving the streets (as it turns out two out of the three plows possessed broke down in an vain attempt at clearing the night before) my parents in earnest to get out to the airport tomorrow decided to shovel the street as well.  Ironically the plow came by a few hours later.  Patience is a virtue my friends.


As it stands now looks like Im on a plane to Florida at 10 am tomorrow as planned. Time will tell how that goes. The last time I was in New Jersey I lacerated my foot to the bone on a knee high wave and vowed never to come back.  Two years later I give the place a second chance and it dumps more snow on me then I have ever seen in my life.  New Jersey I get the point, you don’t want me here.  Don’t worry I don’t have any plans to come back soon.


If I missed anyone on this visit Im truly sorry.  I was very eager to catch up with so many different people.  The sand in the hourglass has just about dropped.  Maybe some other time, can’t tell you when that may be.  Those of you whom I missed and you know who you are will always be welcome to visit out west where we may get earth quakes, wild fires, crazy mud slides and toxic water, but one thing I can guarantee is that there wont be any snow, unless you want to go find some.  And anyone who has come out can attest there will always be good times.

My sister Val standing next to a five foot high snow drift.

Those black things in the background are cars buried up their roves in the street

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