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Posts Tagged ‘El Capitan’

SandSpit

Epic Sand Spit circa ’09. Pretty sure I was in the pit for the first half of this wave, then hit this section and pulled back into it. Photo: David Molleck

 

I found myself sitting on the break wall  at Sand Spit tonight watching one intrepid soul doing his best to make to the most of the meager wind swell on offer.  Though it was small it also looked a bit on the fun side.  Did I turn around and run back to my apartment to get my board for a paddle?  Not even.  I had a mediocre surf a Emma Wood in the morning that more then filled my surf quota for the day (Check out the April Surflog for more on that surf).  Then I remembered back eight years ago when I first came out here and didn’t even have a car.

I surfed some of the most deplorable Sand Spit one can imagine.  I would have been super stoked on a session that I was at the moment bearing witness to.  Eight years is a long time.  Throw in another three years or so of constant travel to some of the world’s best waves prior and one’s perspectives can really change.  Up until the past two years ago or so I never would have believed that I could even be considered a jaded southern Californian surfer.  I thought my east coast surf ethic would stay strong.  In a way it has still.  I with out a doubt paddle in far more conditions then my born and bread Californian friends.

Rincon22414

Near Epic Rincon Photo: Chris Lisanti

At the same time I have in the last eight years surfed nearly every single wave in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area epic at least once.  Spots like Rincon I have had so many days that would make any normal surfer grin from ear to ear and experience the wave of his life on that I have lost count.  These days such has almost worked to my own personal detriment.  It’s hard for me to get into average Rincon, or small Sand Spit, sub par El Capitan.  I have seen these waves at their best.  I have caught some of the best waves of my life courtesy of them.

There was a time when I first arrived here in Santa Barbara that I was constantly finding the “wave of my life”.  Today my causal expression when asked to describe the conditions is most likely “Best of the worst” or “better then not surfing I suppose”.  I still have plenty of stoke and love surfing more then anything else in life.  At the moment I am having a real difficulty finding that fire in my eyes that I used to have.  I want to recapture that.  I want to go out there and be stoked on two foot Sand Spit and an eight turn ride at Rincon.

Hollywood

Hollywood By the Sea absolutely going ballistic. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

What do we do when the magic appears to be running out?  I have been surfing 24 years, been a professional, challenged and pushed my limits.  Where do I go from here?  One thing that is for sure surfing is still the love of my life.  Every facet in my day to day is catered around finding the best surf I possibly can.  If I miss a day I still feel as bad about it as I did when I was eleven.  I guess I just need to reconnect with that inner grom that at the moment is ashamed of who he grew up to be.

I remember when I was fourteen I rode my bike 3 miles in February to the beach.  The air was maybe 2oF and the water I was furiously peddling to get to a balmy 38F.  I would get to the beach already frozen, pull on usually wet and cold 5/4/3 and paddle sometimes windblown knee to thigh high closed out dribble and it meant everything to me.  Lately I have felt lost and I think the main reason is because I lost my stoke, my soul.  I guess the new plan is to rediscover this, find my stoke, my soul and let my inner grom out and forget about this being an adult stuff.  I think I have let the real world cloud my priorities for way too long.

I am going to  get back on my bicycle, ride down to the beach and surf and forget about everything else cause in the end all that bullshit society has made me believe was important to me and suppose to make me happy hasn’t.  When I was sleeping on the couch at my current apparent back in 2007 with nothing but four surf boards and a back pack full of clothes just shredding anything and everything I could were some of my happiest times here.  These days I have nice things.  Friends are envious when they walk into my apartment.  All the while I am miserable.  Get ready, for a change is soon to take place.

Hollywood21115

The dream is still very real. It’s out there for the taking…Photo: Chris Lisanti

 

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The entrance to Yosemite Valley.  El Capitain is the closest formation to the left with Half Dome in the very background.

The entrance to Yosemite Valley. El Capitain is the closest formation to the left with Half Dome in the very background.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” These words were penned by Scottish immigrant John Muir in 1901 from the work Our National Parks.  Muir found his way into Yosemite in 1868 and the raw untouched beauty of the place stole his heart.  Thanks to his efforts, president,  Abraham Lincoln, who first declared the area a national park, President Theodore  Roosevelt and many others this magnificent natural splendor is still around for everyone to enjoy.
YosemiteThese days the geological anomalies may look the same as when Muir first laid eyes on it, but the park itself has certainly changed a lot.  I found Yosemite just like most other entities in California to be overcrowded to the extent that in many cases it ruined the effect of being in such an enchanting hamlet should have on one.  All of the most popular sites had full parking lots, traffic jams to get to and in some cases regular shuttle bus service.  At some points I found myself hiking in the middle of the forest with over 100 other people.  When I was checking out the giant Sequoias I felt like I as walking down an NYC street in the middle of lunch hour.

It took me nearly twenty minutes to get this picture waiting my turn with all the other big tree enthusiasts.

It took me nearly twenty minutes to get this picture waiting my turn with all the other big tree enthusiasts.

That being said Yosemite is the heaviest visited National Park in all of America and it is the summer time at the height of their tourist season.  The scenery is absolutely breath taking and for me it was unlike any other place I have ever visited in my life. Crowds aside the park is over 1000 square acres and there are plenty of nooks and crannies that are just as marvelous and way less visited.  If one is feeling a tad bit on the adventurous side it is more then easy to go off the beaten path, blaze your own trail and be alone in the wilderness.  I took so many pictures and saw so many amazing things I am going to break my Yosemite experience into two posts.  This one will focus on Yosemite Valley and its surrounding area.

Glacier Point

Half Down as viewed from Glacier Point.

Half Dome as viewed from Glacier Point.

My parents and I arrived in the park in the early afternoon, checked into our condo, which although not the best situation lived up to the promise of having ready to use kitchen.  Since I was to be my parents personal chef for this leg of the trip I needed to make sure we had the basics.  I stowed all the food so it was bear safe and off we went for our first Yosemite excursion.  Glacier point seemed the best option considering the amount of available daylight afforded to us.  From this bird’s eye overlook one could get an easy “pull up and park” panoramic vantage of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome, and Vernal and Nevada Falls.  No hiking or climbing necessary.  I love modern convince.  I bet Muir wished there was a road to the place back in his day.

Vernal and Nevada Falls

Vernal and Nevada Falls

This was our first look at the valley from above and some of the main draws of the park.  When we pulled up at the first overlook my dad pulled out the park map to see what we were looking at (we were staring right at Half Dome) when I noticed that what was a front also happened to be the photo on the cover of the map.  I must say I was rather impressed.  The lighting was perfect to get some really cool photos.  At this view point the crowd was some what light.
Yosomite Glacier PointFrom there we worked our way to the actual tip of the Glacier Point.  Here parking was a bit hard to find and people were in no short order.  I heard more languages spoken then at a meeting of the United Nations.  I am glad that America has become the bargain basement of travel for the rest of the world.  Despite the fact that there had to be over a hundred and fifty people I still managed to have my breath taken away by the 180 degrees view.  I also decided that if I ever want to commit suicide that is the spot Its going to go down.   There was even the perfect diving rock off the cliff.  Next stop the Yosemite Valley Floor.  Just think of the unscheduled entertainment all those Euro’s could go home and tell their friends and family that they got to witness a real live American suicide.  All the little children would have sworn they saw Super Man.

My future suicide bridge...its a bird, its a plane, its...SPLAT

My future suicide bridge…its a bird, its a plane, its…SPLAT

The Giant Sequoias

I have to admit I have a serious obsession with trees, especially old trees.  As a kid I was captivated by the California Redwoods.  Later while living in New Zealand the giant kauri trees were one of the craziest things I have ever beheld.  When I heard Yosemite had their own collection of larger then life trees that have lived for hundreds of years I just had to check them out.  Apparently hundreds of other visitors felt the same way.  As a matter of fact that section of the park was so full that we had to take a bus into the Sequoia area.

These Sequoias trunks are bigger then my dick and that is a feat in itself.

These Sequoias trunks are bigger then my dick and that is a feat in itself.

Taking the bus was fun.  I love pubic transportation.  If they would have thrown in a few smelly bums and some guy passed out in a puddle of his own vomit I would have felt like I was riding a local Santa Barbara bus to Isla Vista.  There were about another two bus loads behind me.  When I stepped out the line leaving the spot looked like the line to get on Space Mountain at Disney Land.  Then we began the 2 mile hike up to Old Grizzly the oldest of the the gang.

Old Grizzly

. Old Grizzly

There were all these signs about bear safety and what not.  since there were hundreds of new friends of mine meandering all over the trail I figured even if we got attacked by a pack of bears there was plenty of food for everyone.   Really I shouldn’t be sour grapes.  These trees were put on this earth for everyone to enjoy.  Maybe the problem is there are just too many people to enjoy them.  The tragedy of the commons has moved along way from the village.  Still at the end of the day I am glad to have gotten to see these grand trees and from what I have read there are plenty more in remote areas that can be accessed through a vigorous hike.

My mother and I at a foot tunnel cut in one of the living Sequoias.  I don't know who this dude is in the foreground.

My mother and I at a foot tunnel cut in one of the living Sequoias. I don’t know who this dude is in the foreground.

The Valley Floor

After the Sequoias my parents and I cruised down to the bottom of the Yosemite Valley to see the open meadows and get a feel for the vast size of the Sierras from the ground level.  You know sort of like when your in front of a sky scraper and look up.  The Valley Floor as it is called is also where the largest concentration of tourist accommodations in the park are located.  This equals even more crowds.  At this point I had it up to the top of Half Dome with people, but there were still some things to check out so I sucked it up and promised to keep my cool.

This tunnel is one of two that allow entry into Yosemite Valley, bored right through the granite of the mountain.

This tunnel is one of two that allow entry into Yosemite Valley, bored right through the granite of the mountain.

I had no idea that a place with such limited internet and cell phone reception could ever be so popular.  I guess I should be happy that so many people could embrace going back to their roots when man lived a bit simpler.  My parents on their usual obsession with Visitor center videos made sure we sat through the one there.  It was not much for content, but  amazing cinematography.  From there I was itching to make the hike up the base of Vernal Falls which happens to be the trail head for the John Muir trail.  The Muir trail runs 211 miles an impressive trek.
Yosemite Dome Valley Overlook

This climb was a pretty steep grade, but a well cut trail even paved a good portion of the way.  Just like everything else so far it was also very crowded.  Luckily by this point I had acclimated to the insanity and just pretended it was another day at Lower Trestles.  All three of us made it to a foot bridge about a mile into the trail.  Then my Dad and I went a bit further so I could get a better picture of the falls.  This portion of the trail was a semi treacherous stair case cut into the side of the cliff.  It was a rather vigorous climb and it felt good to be working at such a feat.  The pictures were worth the reward.  I only wish I had more time to climb even higher.

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

The view on the way back down the stairs.

The view on the way back down the stairs.

I know this installment sounded a bit on the negative side.  I really did cherish every minute I spent in this part of the park despite the crowds.  Yosemite National Park is a must see for everyone of this great nation before his expiration.  The fact that I waited six years of residency in California to make it to Yosemite makes me sad.   Now that I know what I have been missing I will be sure to get back there as much as I can.  Stay tuned for part two of my Yosemite chronicles soon when I explore the the Tuolumne Meadows area and find a much needed escape from people.
Yosomite8_13-243

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Could this have really happened?  That was my first thought as I compiled June’s surf numbers. I put an unprecedented amount of time in for a month that is usually barely ride-able at best.  The north pacific decided to keep the ball running through the bulk of June.  At the same time the south pacific graced us with just enough magic to remind everyone here in central California that south swells actually do exist north of Point Mugu.

Besides mother nature who is not even close to making up for the skunking we faced here in the 805 this past winter, there are a few other factors I need to acknowledge that allowed me to maximize the most out of my surfing in June.  First I must thank America for their great unemployment system, sure I only get around $230 take home a week, but I don’t have to work either.  Although it is a pain in the ass to fill out the five question form, put it in an envelope adhere a stamp and take it to the post office.  First off I am unemployed, so why is it that the government thinks I can afford a packet of stamps?  That shit ought to be postage paid.  Then do you know how hard it is to find a mailbox these days?  The post office near my house closed down.  How the fuck a U.S. Postal Office closes is beyond me.  Damn broke ass government.

I think they do it on purpose to make things more difficult for free loaders like myself to get those unemployment forms in.  I have to give a shout out to my girlfriend Heather for keeping me out of the Wild Cat more times then not.  I had no idea how much more time I could spend surfing and how much better I can surf when not hung over till 5 pm everyday.   My overly stoked surfing buddy Trevor whom with out his blind love for absolutely terrible waves and grom like surf stoke kept me in the water more then a few days I would have not even bothered.  Besides all of that it was a super fun  month of average to good California in surprisingly warm water.  Here are the numbers and as usual feel free to enjoy daily surf updates in the surflog.

Surf Sessions: 34
Days Surfed: 24

Total Water Time: 62 hrs
Total Waves Surfed: 932
Average Waves Surfed per Hour: 15

Spots Surfed:
Emma Wood: 9
New Jetty: 6
Santa Clara River Mouth: 6
Mesa Lane: 4
Lower Trestles, San Clemente: 2
El Capitan: 1
Rincon: 1
Hammonds: 1
Leo Carrillo, Malibu: 1
Oxnard Shores: 1
Pitas: 1
Solimar: 1

Top 3 Surf Sessions taken directly from the June ’13 Surflog:

3)6-27-13 AM Session: 4-6+ft, Santa Clara River Mouth
Time in Water: 2 hrs, 45 mins

Waves Surfed: 33
I knew it was going to be solid today.  Everything just depended on the wind.  I got to the Harbor and there was some WSW wind on it and things were really foggy.  New Jetty had a wave but it looked average at best and bit on the crowded side for what was coming in.  I took a walk down to River Mouth and sure enough there were clean enough peaks coming in.  It was hallow as hell.  I saw a wave spit while I was checking it.  I paddled and it was way heavier then I had expected.  Full on double up bowls and some creepy rouge close outs from the west.  I managed a handful of crazy barrels the first half of the session. As the tide came up it became a rip fest out there.  It was solid and super fun to surf in waves of consequence again.  I came in due to exhaustion from fighting the current.  I decided to kick it in the lot for a chance at another session in the afternoon.

2) 6-29-13 PM Session: 3-5+ft, Santa Clara River Mouth
Time in Water: 2 hrs 15 mins

Waves Surfed: 36
I got a late start today courtesy of a full black out at the Wild Cat.  I don’t even remember walking in.  I was hung over as  fuck all day.  The surf was firing so finally I manned up at the end of the day grabbed Heather and headed to surf.  Luckily the wind decided to stay down and the surf was firing.  Ryan met up with us and we trotted down to the reeds where it was going off.  Barrels, kill-able sections everything you would want out of a surf.  There was almost no crowd.  The sunset was amazing and water was warm. I must say it was another great day of surfing.

1) 6-28-13 AM Session: 3-5+ft, Oxnard shores
Time in Water: 2 hrs

Waves Surfed: 38
I decided to check Rincon first thing this morning and seriously almost vomited at the destruction the new highway expansion program has done to the sanctity of Rincon.  Of course it will not be till the winter when we find out if the sea wall extension will cause extra backwash in the bottom of the Cove.  Lets hope not, but hey who cares as long as there can now be three lanes of bumper to bumper traffic instead of two.  I was at the bottom of the trail when I ran into to regulars, die hard Rincon locals and good friends of mine.  Both were not very enthusiastic.  We were chilling up in the lot for a spell when I got a text from Ryan that Oxnard Shores was on.  Considering the tide and swell direction I figured he was spot on.  I booked it down there and as I was changing all these guys were getting out.  I was afraid it had already turned off.  The Shores is one of those very fickle spots.  To my shock they said it was firing and that they were just too tired to surf anymore.  Gordo pulled up and we paddled.  Sure enough it was about as fun as waves can get.  Head high to over head, glassy, perfect A frame bowls up and down the beach.  I got my first ten waves before the half hour mark.  It was amazing, not a drop of water out of place.  Not really hallow although there were a few shacks.  Just completely rip-able surf.  I went to fucking town.  Might have been one of the best sessions I have had all year.  Soo much fun.

Just another perfect end to another perfect day of surfing in the month of June.

Just another perfect end to another perfect day of surfing in the month of June.

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The-Wedge

I have had many request from all of my of my friends that I get off my lazy ass and do a bit more writing.  Some wanted horrific tales from the vault of the Lisanti Past, others were looking for recipes, and then some just wanted some new adventure tales.  I hope over the coming weeks to make everyone happy and a bit disturbed by the content as usual.  I thought I would start with the tale of a recent Lisanti adventure, a common California adventure at that; Chasing a solid south swell.

Summertime in coastal California is not quite what all the songs, pictures, media, movies and television would have you believe. Most of the time the weather is foggy, damp and cold. The ocean cold and windy.   The surf, unless you live in San Diego or Orange county is less then amiable.  Up here in Santa Barbara unless you have a boat, access to the ranch or a plane ticket to Indo you might as well put your surf board away and take up lawn bowling.  Unfortunately for me I have none of the above and left my bocce set at home when I moved from NJ.

If one of you readers wants to send me a bocce kit I promise to drink one for you at the Wild Cat!

If one of you readers wants to send me a bocce kit I promise to drink one for you at the Wild Cat!

What do I do?  I fucking get in my car and I drive at least 45 miles a day to surf sub par surf in a frustrating crowd.  Wait, isn’t that what the California dream is?   Shit folks the California dream ceased to be a dream 60 years ago if it ever really existed.  Its more like the California nightmare now.  We all know I love to suffer.  Actually this season has not been as bad as usual.  We had a month of NW wind swell that gave consistent surf and even a few epic days with some south swell thrown in for good measure. Check out the May edition of the Surflog for more on that.  In my book there are few things sweeter then a late season NW.

When the Queen looks like this you would have to be crazy to go anyplace else...or would you?

When the Queen looks like this you would have to be crazy to go anyplace else…or would you?

This story begins on May 28th 2013 down near Antarctica.  Antarctica?!? WTF! Truth be told that is where most south swells that grace California with their loveliness begin.  Of course on the 28th a south swell was the last thing on my mind.   I was too busy capitalizing on local wind swell to even notice any action in the south pacific.  Then a few days later Surfline.com had a feature on this crazy swell that rocked Tahiti.  At that point my attention was grabbed and I knew it was only a matter of time before it would show here.  From Tahiti the swell traveled to Hawaii giving the boys on the South Shore some fun ones.  Once in Hawaii it was only a couple of days.

By June 6th front runners began to show up.  The morning was still a bit down thus I decided to sleep in hoping for some action in the afternoon.  Solimar Beach was the spot for me after a great deal of deliberation.  This time of year surf is hard to come by and the wrong decision is a fate worse then death.  Every wave squandered is a flat day you will be kicking yourself in the near future.  I really wanted to utilize this swell to its fullest extent.  The reef had some solid rights to be had with a very light crowd.  I always seem to surf Solimar on the beginning of  large south swell.  It is a cool wave that bends around a horse shoe cobble stone reef usually covered by sand.  From the beach it always looks pretty mushy which keeps the crowd down. Actually its a pretty fast bowly wave when your on it.  It sort of reminds me of Noosa a little bit.

I got a solid session in and felt although deeming it “the best of the worst” a rather fun session.  The next morning things really began to get big.  Unfortunately for me too big for my usual south swell jaunts in the area.  When I went to bed I was dreaming of all time Santa Clara.  Instead I was faced with walled close outs and strange wind.  I wanted to go to Malibu and most likely should have.  I let the fact that it was a Friday and the immense crowds that goes with it keep me at home.  Later I would find out that even though the crowd sucked there were still plenty of waves.  Once again after lots and lots of checking  I found myself settling for the “best of the worst” at Pitas Point.  Through my binoculars down the beach it looked like it was firing.  After paddling my boy Ryan and I would soon find things to be a bit more sectiony then we would have liked, not to mention very inconsistent.

The only really worthy session of September looked something like this only bigger!

This the sort of Santa Clara I was dreaming of…

I had always heard these rumors up here that El Capitan, one my favorite right hand point breaks actually will see surf on a large south swell.  Apparently it sneaks through the gap between the Santa Cruz and San Miguel Islands.   I needed to see if the rumors were true and this swell seemed perfect for that.  I got up there a little later then I should have thanks to some chores that needed doing.  Afraid I had missed my window I was walking  to check it when a stoked older dude parked in front of me yelled “get your board and go dude, its on”.  Like that I found myself trotting down the trail.  When I emerged from the woods sure enough there were waves!  An older guy from Santa Barbara told me once while hanging out in the car park at Manu Bay in Raglan, New Zealand that one can tell a good point from a great point by how it holds its shape no matter what the swell angle.

El Capitan did just that.  It was only around chest to head high with a light crowd of local vets and very inconsistent, but my friends it was perfect.  I only caught 9 waves that session.  6 out of the 9 were wonderful keepers.  I can surf El Cap so well, I guess anyone can cause it is so perfect.  It is just one of those waves that makes anyone feel like Kelly Slater on it.  That is until you see Kelly Slater surf it…  Anyhow it was just one of those magical sessions that make you remember why it was you started surfing in the first place.  Later I would hear that the session of the day went down at C street that evening.  Fuck it, I hate that wave anyway.

God damn, why do all these swells have to fall on the weekend and a weekend where I had at least two party obligations to fill. A boys night on Friday with Bizarro and my boy Daniel’s going away party, which I was throwing for him at the Wild Cat.  As a result morning sessions were completely out of the question.  I know some surfers are reading this right now thinking “I can’t believe Lisanti is blowing it like that”, while I see it as a balance between the two worlds I exist in.  Balance my friends is everything in life.  It only took me 32 years to realize that.  Man cannot live by surfing alone.

Saturday I found myself a bit more hung over then I would have liked (still have not figured out that balance thing when it comes to alcohol consumption) causing a very late start.  I was still a bit sick to my stomach as I climbed the dunes at New Jetty where I heard the morning was near to all time.  There were long lines coming through, but overall things looked a bit soft and still very inconsistent.  My boy Pat hit me up that he was in Malibu all morning and was about to go back to surf Leo Carrillo.

I don’t go to Malibu on the weekend, ever!  He claimed the crowd was not bad and given I didn’t really have a better option I jumped in the car with him.  You know what it was a great call.  I got to surf the best Leo I have ever surfed.  By Leo standards and a weekend the crowd was not bad at all.  It was tough to get a set wave off the old guys and long boarders.  That was fine cause I enjoy the inside double ups better anyway, plus the sets were too big and most closing out.  I managed to put on a very strong backside performance holding it down for the goofy foot contingent.  Fuck, give me a wally lined up right any day.  That shit is my bread and butter.  Later Pat and I had a look at Hueneme Pier and he was frothing.  It looked decent enough.  I had to get back to the Barb for Daniel’s party.  It went down without a hitch.

By this point I was dead set on a Lower Trestles mission.  I had not been there since ’11 and I was thinking Monday would be the day.  I texted Trevor and planted the seed in his head.  My tires are bald on my car at the moment so the only way I was going to be able to partake in such an ordeal was if I had a driver.  Sunday I was in bad shape.   I cut down on the party and my body has totally lost its tolerance to take a beating and keep on.  I heard New Jetty was on again that morning.  I headed there for low tide.  Although very inconsistent there were a handful of decent lefts coming in.  I paddled it.   There were a few fun ones to be had among the lulls.  Later that night I returned home to a text from Trevor that he was in for Lowers.

The reality of surfing Lowers.

This is what a Lowers crowd looks like

Monday morning we made  the three hour drive south in high spirits.  We got there and it was way more crowded then I had hoped for.  As a matter of fact I can’t remember ever seeing that many cars parked on the San Clemente side.  It was decent Lowers in its own right.  The crowd was miserable and sets inconsistent.  That is a very bad combination.  My stoke was gone and part of me wanted to jump back in the car and just drive another 45 minutes south to Blacks Beach.  It was Trevor’s first time and who am I to rob him of a bad surf experience.  We paddled.  Despite a pack of annoying groms training for nationals next weekend we both found a few keepers.

Who can really hate on an entire day spend on the beach with your bud?  I fucking can.  I got sun burned.  My eyes hurt from all the sun and as of press time my back is sore from carrying all my shit down there, my neck stiff and my fucking knees hurt from too many really bad frontside air reverse attempts cause I suck at surfing.  In all seriousness it was a fun day and I am glad I went to remind me why I never go there.   At the moment it is flat with not much happening for at least a week.  Fiji just got some sick waves for the contest (congrats Kelly on another mind blowing victory) so its only a matter of days before we see the remnants of that swell. For more details on the surf sessions, party or swell visit the June Surflog.

Here's to the next good South swell and Go Slater for number 12!

Here’s to the next good South swell and Go Slater for number 12!

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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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Kooky’s time here is waning, closing in on just about two weeks.  I must say the kid has certainly grown on me these past few months.  I believe he has seen more sides of Chris Lisanti than anyone besides maybe my mother.  Kyle has experienced, angry Chris, party Chris, drunkard Chris, depression Chris, suicidal Chris, hard working Chris even relationship Chris.  Despite dealing with all my moods and insanity he has stayed true and loyal.  In this day in age it is a trait hard to find in another human.  I respect this trait for I myself am one of the most loyal subjects to be found.  Those that head me will get the same treatment in return.

I feel a bit like a proud mentor at this moment.  I have watched over the past four months a kid who I thought might get eaten up by the world learn how to survive outside of the realm of a book.  Knowledge gets you far, yet knowledge plus experience earn one wisdom.   Two months ago I had real fears for the kid over in New Zealand and in life in general.  He survived an extended stay in Lisanti Land at one of the heaviest eras in it’s history.   As I watch him command himself both at life and work these days I am honored to call him one of my brothers.  Kooky Kyle is going to make it in this life folks and its not going to be as drone as I once was afraid of.  I feel assurance that on the road of life he shall take the path less trodden upon.

What a month it has been since you last heard from me. I am still alive believe it or not. I surfed epic El Capitan and some really good Rincon with manageable crowds. I can finally surf a point as it should be surfed, linking turns and sections together. I am no master, but a wave is not totally wasted on me. After nearly four months here I finally got a real mattress and my room is my own, though Alfie still likes to use it as his litter box. Marc recently left, and left his sickness he picked up down in Orange County around the apartment. I am trying to dodge it as best I can. We now have a new couch mate, Dave. He came here as a guest of Chris, but now, I consider the kid a friend of mine too. I guess that is how these things work, shared roof, shared food, shared bar tabs, and shared friends. Gainfully employed, and secure in my living situation, I am now gearing up to leave Santa Barbara.

Why, you ask? First if I do not leave soon, when? Sure next month is a likely bet for some of the more elusive spots to turn on. After that the likelihood of scoring the points rapidly diminishes and what am I doing here? I have booked my ticket to New Zealand and will be there for forty days. I am really excited and a little nervous. Never in my life have I set off to be, as far from everyone I have known, as I am about to be. How can one grow though when they live in the shade of comfort? Even here in Lisanti Land I had a safety net of Chris and the Palace. Even though Chris and I joke about killing each other, I know he has my back as he has illustrated time and time again. Now do not get me wrong, I have grown here  My surfing has definitely improved as I have constantly pushed myself in the water.  I have also learned there is more to life than surfing. Surfing can be the avenue to what else there is in life or it can block you off to it. I hope that I can find the prior to be true, as I have lived most of my life so far under the later.  I will undoubtedly make memories and grow on this adventure. No concrete plans, no travel partners, it is just me.
After New Zealand I have a few things cooking. Some opportunities have come up that I want to take but would have to give up on others. It does look as though I will be returning to New Jersey and rounding out my last summer as a lifeguard.  It saddens me to think that my childhood is ending. I have spent every summer of my life with my extended family at our beach house. I spent more time there than many of my cousins, especially in these recent years. I made many of my best friends there, some of whom are more than friends now.  They are family. Alas, all things must pass. I stand on the verge of my adulthood and see the experiences that lay ahead and I embrace it.
If you are in New Zealand let me know I wouldn’t mind grabbing a beer or some waves with anyone.

Brothers from another mother.

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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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