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Posts Tagged ‘Death Wish’

Fuck the 4th of July, what a terrible day.  As far as Im concerned it could be whipped off the calender altogether.  I mean whoopty fucking doo for America and all, but I think I will sit this one out thank you.  That being said the initial plan for the day was to sleep for majority then move on to heavy drinking, moving on to straight up black out drunk.  Even the best plans of mice and men go astray in life.  I awoke at 6:30 am with a shitty head ache from drinking till I passed out the night before (aint alcoholism grand folks?).

The sound was excruciating in my ears, likened to a blaring knife piercing my ear drums deep into my brain.  Then I realized it was just the sound of my cell phone ringing.  Lindsay being the persistent little one she is kept calling till I got reluctantly got out of bed to take her surfing.  I checked the report and buoys and things looked less then appetizing.  On a hail Mary mission I decided to strike out for Jalama.  I had yet to make it up there this season and what better time then on a Holiday when it was bound to be crowded, small and windy.  Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Also I have been dying to test my car’s handling capabilities on the Jalama road.  Since Im still alive we can safely agree that it passed (Death wish foiled #1).

Upon arriving to the bluff over looking Cracks it became obvious that the tide was way too low and the SW wind already taking a toll on it.  On the plus side there was almost no one out.  Against my better judgement (who am I kidding I knew exactly what I was about to get myself into.  One phrase: Death Wish Baby!) and Lindsay’s mortification I made the call to run up to Surf Beach.  For those of you who don’t know about surf beach it is this sketchy, sharky, cold, unruly beach break just north of Jalama on Vandenburg AFB.

Surf Beach was featured in many of the old myspace.com blogs and just recently here on surfingruinedmylife.net in the blog: When We Become Food, about a fatal shark attack that happened there in October of 2010.  Since that incident I had not surfed up at Surf Beach.  The place has always been known to be sharky and the entire time out there one is constantly looking over his shoulder in wonderment of what may be lurking beneath.  Its a deep water spot out in the middle of no where and more times then not it is super foggy and there is no one surfing.  I have soloed it there too many times to count and let me tell you all those times I was pretty much shaking in my booties the entire time.

I pretty much avoided the place like the plague for the past nine months.  This morning I found myself standing on the dunes above the lineup staring out into an empty ocean with a solid marine layer making the outside bar unrecognizable.  I saw four guys paddle out but never saw them again once they entered the fog bank.  Lindsay was dead set on not surfing and I was hardly motivated.  The only redeeming factor for me was that I wasted the time and gas to get up there, when I could have already had polished off my first bottle of wine for the day.  Bye bye liver, hello dialysis (Death wish plan #2 foiled).   Nah, if my liver goes I’m just going to sharpen up the Samurai sword I found in the trash outside my apartment and commit seppuku.

Ultimately we saw a set of rights run down this sand bar that got us frothing and we decided to forgo our original hesitations, shark or no shark we were on it.  The water was surprisingly warmer then I had expected and was fairly tolerable.   Lindsay and I got out there and the fog immediately got thicker and the four other guys whom we had seen paddle out were no where to be found.  After nearly twenty minutes of strenuous paddling I made it to the outside bar.  I looked back for Lindsay but she was no where to be found.  I managed to get a few choice rides out there before realizing I had fallen victim to the intense current and needed to get out and walk back up the beach.

Im not going to lie I was a bit scared to be out a few hundred yards from the beach with forty feet of water under me and a fog bank too thick to see more then five feet in either direction.  The first thought that went through my head was that if I got taken no one would even find out till Lindsay gave up on me.  Then my death wish instincts kicked in and I was well at ease.  Of course with my luck being the way it is I survived unscathed by the mouth of the sea’s most vicious predator (Death wish #3 foiled!!).  We surfed two drifts before calling it a day.  After the second drift we had not realized the current had shifted polarity thus walking the complete opposite direction in the fog for an easy 500 yards.   Surf Beach is like the mother fucking Bermuda Triangle.

Lindsay was a bit freaked out by the whole experience, meanwhile I was rather proud of myself to finally get over the fear I have harbored for Surf Beach through the last nine months.  It always feels good to conquer any type of  adversity.  I also realized that I guess I’m just not going to die.  For whatever reason no matter how hard I push the envelope God just wont let me leave this earth.  Everyone says its because he has a higher calling for me.  I just think he wants me to rove across the planet for all of eternity perpetually pathetic and alone.  Whatever the case as long as there is internet you will be able to be entertained by my daily torment, the torment of living.

On the way home I pushed my luck even further by giving a ride to a sketchy character who had just gotten off the train from LA and needed a ride into Lompoc.  I guess he had been shot down by everyone else in the lot.  I looked at it as a prime opportunity to get that stabbing I have been hoping for out of the way (read the opening paragraph of A Guilty Pleasure to get the lowdown on that).  Turns out John was a really nice guy who had just moved to Lompoc and is studying business at SBCC.  He used to work as a cook back in LA.  He was a totally chill guy whom I was able to stoke out without doing anything more then giving him a ride to a destination I was passing through anyhow (death wish #4 foiled).  Lindsay was super against it and all I had to say to her was that there may come a time when she is in need and would be so lucky to be graced with a similar kindness.

After that I treated us to a victory lunch at a spot John recommended called the Jalama Beach Cafe.  All I can say is that the food was superb and the service top notch.  If you ever find yourself in Lompoc be sure to stop in to the Jalama beach cafe for a bite.  I know it will be my new spot for every Lisanti Adventure Tour that makes its way up there.  That folks is how I turned what was to be one of the emotionally hardest days of my life into a bit of positive.  As Biggie Smalls says in Juicy “I love my life because I went from negative to positive”.

Fun surf, but what lurks beneath?

Spared this time...

Just about as gnarly as a shark attack, seppuku.

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Lombard Street from the bottom. The difficulty level here is no joke folks.

If you’re not familiar with Lombard St it is this crazy windy street in the Russian Hill district of San Francisco completely made of bricks.  The street is a major tourist attraction and a major skate destination for hill bombing enthusiasts alike.  I have seen this street in skate videos, read about it in skate magazines and it was even used in the X-games a few times.  Ever since I was a kid I always thought it would be cool to go and bomb it.

Up until I was about 15 years old I spent the bulk of my time and efforts with skateboarding living about twenty miles in land from the nearest waves.  Once I moved to Manasquan, New Jersey I was only about two miles from the beach and redirected my focus onto surfing.  Leaving most of my skateboard dreams unsatisfied.   I practically gave up the sport till I was 23 and then thanks to a job managing a small surf shop got back into it.  I will save the history of Chris Lisanti skateboarding for another blog.

Due to my circumstance (see blogs, Bowing Out and One Last Perfect Day if your not up to speed) I found myself coming to San Francisco with a bit of a death wish.  No, I’m not suicidal or anything, although I did think of a great way to turn the trunk of my car into a make shift guillotine.  I just kind of showed up with a reckless abandoned not caring if I lived or died.  With this mentality surfing in heavily shark infested waters and bombing streets I would have never dreamed of became a very real possibility.

For that reason I found myself standing at the top of Lombard Street with a skateboard in my hand, fifty tourists pointing and taking pictures and my heart in my mouth (or what was left of my heart for that matter).  The funny thing is I really did not think I was ever going to go through with it.  Especially when I got face to face with the beast.  According to the books Lombard is a 17% grade.

When I had a look down at it I was rather intimidated.  I mean the street was nuts.  I had never seen anything like it before in my life. It was a man eater for sure.  Not to mention the fact that there were easily like 50 tourists all over the street taking pictures and a steady flow of cars driving down it. Lombard not only traversed like a slithering snake but on each side there was nothing but a sheer four foot drop off to a steep flight of steps.  Basically I was looking at getting hit by a car, taking a terrible spill due to lack of control or falling over the side and then tumbling down thirty flights of stairs.  Either way I was going to get very messed up.

John made many rational attempts to keep me from doing it and the bare truth was I really did not believe I had the skill level to complete the task.  Then I got a rush of adrenaline and remember that in order to achieve greatness one must take a leap into the unknown regardless of the consequences.  With that in mind I decided to give the bomb the green light.  I went back to my car and fully padded myself.  I’m talking helmet, elbows, and knees.  I wanted as much protection as I could get.

Mauriello was going to film it so he went half way down to document my death.  I told John he was responsible to tell the world my story if I did not survive.  I really did believe that I might die. Now we had observed the street for about twenty minutes or so and realized that when a sight seeing trolley came by it blocked traffic at the top of the street giving a three-minute window or so to bomb it.

I was standing at the top with my board preparing for the bomb and waiting for the next trolley (apparently they ran every ten minutes) when there was a noticeable break in the traffic.  John signaled me to go and I was pretty antsy to get it over with.  I ran to the middle of the street to the delight of the many tourists, hopped on my board and began to descend into oblivion.  I got about ten feet down the first turn and fell flat on my face in an attempt to power slide it.  I heard ooos, ahhs and laughter from the crowd as I got up and dusted myself off.

Determined to make it down to the bottom at all costs I jumped back on my board and kept moving down hill.  I made it through another three turns or so before falling again, but not as dramatic this time.  The entire run is around 10 switch back turns.  I ended up falling four times.  With a grade that steep you get moving very fast in a very short interval of time.  The only way to really do it is to pull super big power slides.  Most of the slides I was doing slid for twenty feet.

When I got to the bottom there were around another 30 tourist cheering and taking pictures.  I guess I gave all of them a story to tell. I came out of the last turn, did a big power slide in the middle of the cross street and then spiked my skateboard on the ground.  I turned and looked back up at what I had just done and reveled in the feat I had performed.

Then John came running down the steps all stoked as well.  “I think you should do it again,” he said.  I had already decided I was before he even mentioned it.  The second time went a lot better.  As soon as I got to the top a trolley pulled up chuck full of more tourists, who began point and yell as I bomb dropped onto my board right in front of them.  I had my rhythm worlds better this time around and only sort of fell once, although I did not lose my board.  My back foot just came off while recovering from a big power slide.  I bet if I gave it a third run I may have made it down flawlessly.

I did not want to push my luck though.  Also I was not sure my wheels could handle another run.  They had already lost two years worth of life from the previous two runs as it was.  I guess I will have to save it for next time.  I was super pumped just for the fact that I actually did it.

So many people in this life think about doing things like this and then let rationality talk them out of it.  I am not a skater by any means and Lombard St. was with out a doubt way out of my ability range.  I had an opportunity to realize a dream, do something great.  Yeah bombing a crazy hill on a skateboard is not as great as helping starving orphans or something of that aperture, but for me at that moment it was a heck of an accomplishment.  It is another check off the list.

What I am trying to say is that when an opportunity comes your way you should seize it no matter how scary or difficult it may seem.  I have always believed that anyone can do anything if they wanted it bad enough and I meet and see other people all the time who prove this to be true.  Maybe this blog will inspire you to go out and take a chance, do something you always wanted to, but have been hesitant for whatever reason.  Life is short and we are only here for a limited amount of time.  I think we owe it to ourselves to get the most out of it we possibly can.  I have said it once and I will say it again “You miss 100% of the pitches you don’t swing at”.

Stay tuned for a video of my SF skate adventures and more photos from Lombard soon.  They are on John’s Camera and he left it in San Francisco.  Click here for the video of my Lombard Bomb.

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