Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Slater’

As per Usual the crowds turned out in mass this year to watch their favorite professional surfers slog it out in two foot trash.

As per Usual the crowds turned out in mass this year to watch their favorite professional surfers slog it out in two foot trash.

I have to admit when it comes to the topic of the US Open of Surfing I kind of feel like a schizophrenic.  The hardcore anti establishment bad ass  surfer in me hates it worse then getting poison oak on my penis.  The entire event is everything that is wrong with the current state of surfing and the world for that matter.  What is the Open but a bunch of commercialism bullshit where large corporate sponsors fill their pockets while the athletes themselves for the majority go home with pennies.   Sure the men’s first prize was $100,000, but the rest of the crew went home with very little and on the women’s side the winner took home a measly $15,000.

This sounds great when one considers the fact that the money earned was for a day of surfing.  Compare the prize purse with that of the US Open of golf or Tennis and its a joke.   These days the contest draws crowds upwards of 200,00 to the Huntington Beach shoreline and millions watch the webcast at home.  With that kind of attendance and media exposure it seems absurd that the prize purse be so low.  Unlike a WT event not everyone at the open has a giant sponsor contract.

Money aside to add injury to insult, lets hold the event at one of the worst waves in California, Huntington Pier.  It’s not like one of the best surf spots in California and the world, Lower Trestles is only about a thirty minute drive south.  As I have heard and the media constantly makes a serious effort to point out “The US Open of Surfing is not about the surfers but the fans”.  I am a very big fan of competitive surfing and I personally found nothing stimulating about watching competitors on the final day of the surfing competition sitting idle for the better part of 30 minutes staring blankly into the horizon.  It’s cool though, the webcast “pervert cam” panned out on plenty of scantly clad females for me to beat off to while I waited for some one to catch a wave and milk it to the beach.  Oh and Chris Cote’s checkered bow tie was pretty entertaining too.

Despite a valiant effort 2013 was not Slater's year at the US Open.  Maybe it was because he was over being reminded how bad the waves he grew up riding in Florida are.

Despite a valiant effort 2013 was not Slater’s year at the US Open. Maybe it was because he was over being reminded how bad the waves he grew up riding in Florida are.

Then there is the former professional surfer side of me that remembers just how much fun the US Open can be.  It is true none of the fun I speak of happened in the water.  That was a bunch of frustrating bullshit trying to make a 6 out of a wave that should be barely worth a three.  I must note also that I absolutely suck at surfing Huntington Pier.  Every year the US Open comes to California there is this energy that big things are going to happen.  It is the only contest of the year that really makes one feel like surfing is as legitimate as any other sport.  Part of me is proud to see how far the sport of surfing has come.   Lets talk about the actual event.

The Backers

First off I would like to give a shout out to both Vans and Paul Mitchell for stepping up and allowing the whole event to go down.  In the wake of Nike turning its corporate back on professional surfing regardless of the consequences left behind many were worried about who would pick up the slack.  Guess what we got along just fine with out those clowns in the past and are better off with out them again.  One would think Hurley (a Nike brand) would have still had a hand in the comp considering at the moment the majority of the surfers competing were Hurley riders including both eventual winners and 3 out of the four finalists.  I remember, it is because all the Nike riders still with contracts were honored by Hurley for their duration.

The Men’s Side

You 2013 Men's US Open Champion Alejo Muniz

Your 2013 Men’s US Open Champion Alejo Muniz

What can I say about the men’s prime event besides the fact that with the exception of Julian Wilson’s massive backside 360 air reverse I was bored to tears.  There were plenty of upsets, but who really cares when the waves are inconsistent and fucking tiny.   The fact that it had nothing to do with the world title race and that I didn’t care about the bubble guys who may or may not re-qualify left me rather over it only watching when I had nothing better to do.  Had the waves been fun here in the 805 I would have most likely missed the whole event.  Unfortunately if Huntington is flat so is the rest of California.

The judges did decide to give us a story book ending.  A real Cinderella story in the form of Brazilian and this years champion, Alejo Muniz who in his own right surfed a solid run to the final.  Its surprising more Brazilians have not won the Open considering the waves always suck just like their homeland.  I must play devil’s advocate and make a quick comment on the judging in the final.  Keep in mind I am far from a Kolohe Andino fan.  I find the kid’s surfing about as interesting to watch as my cat pleasuring himself.  His opening wave in the final where he landed that huge inverted air reverse was grossly underscored.

That shit was huge.  He got a solid turn on the outside then coming into to inside close out launched an easily 3 feet out highly inverted front side air reverse and landed it cleanly.  The air was bigger then the section he did it on.  For that the judges awarded him a slightly better then average score.  Meanwhile Muniz grabbed a larger wave out the back and did four similar front side hacks and fell on his last finishing turn.  Any decent surfer could have pulled such off and he dropped an 8.5.  I thought Andino’s wave considering that score should have been in the nine range then or at least a high 8.  It was the move of the final.

The judges have apparently decided they are going back to the old antiquated format of three to the beach and have added that if one falls at the end of the wave it is extra flair points to the criteria as we have seen most recently in the case of Parko in Bali and Fanning back at Bells in 2012.  I wish that rule was in effect when I was a pro surfer cause I could have won the world title.  You know what Kolohe has enough money anyway so at least now Muniz will be in good shape for next year.  I am always a fan of the underdog even if it comes from bullshit judging.

The Women

Carissa Moore showing why she has been a prominent figure in modern women's surfing since she was ten.

Carissa Moore showing why she has been a prominent figure in modern women’s surfing since she was ten.

I hate to say it but I had a better time watching the women compete at this year’s open then the men.  They were just way more exciting.  Most of their heats were nail biters all the way down to the final which until ten minutes after the buzzer no one knew who the winner was going to be between Carissa Moore and Courtney Cologne.  I for one was glued to the score board.  The whole final everyone thought Carissa had it in the bag till the last ten minutes when Cologne went nuts.  In the end Moore took the cake and the current world number one spot.

The Riot?!!!!?


Sadly the most excitement of the entire US Open happened after the whole kit and caboodle was over Sunday evening on the 29th of July.  Apparently a bunch of idiots decided to trash Main Street Huntington Beach in a post surf contest riot the likes of which has not been seen since the US Open of 1986 at the same venue.  Although not nearly as severe as the ’86 riot damage was done, 8 people were arrested, police injured.  I for one was outraged when I heard the news this morning as I was trying to enjoy my breakfast.

We have come so far to legitimize surfing as a sport to the world stage.   The majority actual view surfing in a positive light as well.  The US Open is a perfect venue to spotlight all of this being attended by so many and watched at home by many more.  Instead of the mass media picking up the results of the contest all I was bombarded with was pictures of a bunch of dumb ass imbeciles who most likely don’t even surf destroying property and wreaking havoc for absolutely no good reason all the while making surfers and surfing look like a bunch of lawless bafoons, a stereo type I believe we have all been trying to get off our backs since the movie Point Break.  Two steps forward, ten steps back eh?

Well that is all I have to say about this event.  Tahiti is next.  Lets hope for some gut wrenching barrels that only a wave like Teahupoo can dish out.

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John John Florence reminding us that surfing is a progressive sport.

John John Florence reminding us that surfing is a progressive sport.

As many of you know the Oakley Pro Bali Pro recently concluded in less then stellar waves in a less then stellar final with less then stellar judging.  I don’t know about you folks but for me I was at a loss to understand why this contest sucked so much.  It was at Keramas a wave every single person on the WCT with maybe the exception of the Irish guy, who’s name I can’t recall (but who cares since he will most likely not be on tour next year anyway with his weak ass game) has spent time at.  The performances should have been mind boggling.  I for one thought it would be nothing then the most progressive airs and maneuvers seen in competition yet.

Then I remembered that Dane Reynolds is not on tour anymore and that the wild card was awarded to Bruce Irons a man who with out a doubt deserves all our respect for his years of being a freak.  Lets face it since he fell off the ‘CT years ago its been a slippery slope in the man’s surfing.  To think that he could keep pace with the top 32 was laughable at best just like the Bali local wild card and the 15 year old Aussie grom.  Honestly can we not get some wild cards that actually shake the tree now and again?  I know its nice not to have upsets in Round 2 and 3, but does anyone remember the Dane/Parko heat in the Quicksilver pro at Snapper two years ago when he made the guy look like a kook?  If you missed it lets just say for a brief moment everyone in attendance knew who the best surfer in the world actually was.  Of course then in the next round he lost with a combined wave score of 3.24.

This turn looks rather impossible but knowing Dane he made it.

This turn looks rather impossible but knowing Dane he made it.

Unfortunately for us Dane decided he would rather surf 2 ft onshore Emma Wood then mix up with the worlds best.  To each there own.  Lets go over the venue.  Every morning for about two or three heats Keramas was sick with perfect tubes and rampy sections.  Then the wind would come up and it looked like an average blown out day at Huntington Pier.  I was confused because I thought the US Open was not until July.  Thanks impart to these terrible conditions many were dealt a raw deal.  We saw Slater get bested by a very inform CJ Hobgood in such conditions despite the fact that he still managed to find two solid barrels.  Jordy found an early exit as well.

To CJ’s credit he killed it the entire event.  Between his performance here and Fiji I will be the first to say after a few lack luster years on tour the asterisk world champ is back.  As for his brother, well I think Damo is going to find himself with plenty of time to go fishing back home in Florida in the near future.  Too bad for CJ as he fell to a very in form Josh Kerr in the Semis.

CJ probably has the best back hand in the business.

CJ probably has the best back hand in the business.

How about our friend and 11 time world champoin, Kelly Slater?  I must admit he surfed better then I had thought him to do in this event.  Given the fact that Slater seems to only really shine these days when the waves are absolutely firing.  Fuck his performances at both Kirra and Fiji had everyone wondering what planet this guy was really from.  The man is 41 years old now and from what I understand was fighting some tendinitis of the knee.   That being said the he still surfed rather incredible and if you ask me I think the judges have been very hard on him all season long.  With Tahiti coming up you better believe if it is solid this man is going to school more then a few.  I still think a twelfth world title is very with in his grasp this year.

For a man supposedly surfing with a bad  knee it certainly did not slow him down.

For a man supposedly surfing with a bad knee it certainly did not slow him down.

While I am on the subject of injuries it seemed a very good portion of the Mens top 32 were dealing with Injuries.  One of which was Freddy P showing everyone that he still belongs on tour.  With an ankle injury he still managed to put on the best goofy foot performance of the event.  His exit in round 5 was a bit questionable to Mick Fanning causing him to make an uproar Bobby Martinez style.  I am sorry I thought Mick out surfed him in that heat and overall was very impressed with his surfing this event.  Even if the judges have been sucking  his cock all year.

John John’s Air

“The biggest air ever done in a WCT event!!” That was what everyone was touting it as.  To his credit the air was huge and clean.  The media loves to make lofty claims then run away with it.  Slater threw up two huge fucking 360 airs at both Bells last year and New York the year before that.  Both were equally huge.  John Johns might have been bigger.  Who knows, its hard to say.  Either way it was sick and I was glad to see that at least someone stuck a big air in the event.  You be the judge.  Here is the clip from Bells:

and  this one from New York:

Parko’s Perfect 20

Kooky Kyle coined the phrase the “Parko Push” which refers to how the judges constantly over score Joel’s mediocre at best surfing.  It won him a world title last year and then Keramas this year.  Were those two barrels he got worth two perfect tens.  I must beg to differ.  Think back to Slater’s perfect 20 based on barrels in Fiji this year.  Maybe the second one was a ten but the first not eve close.  It should have maybe been a low 9.  It was the most exciting heat of the entire event that in my opinion could have gone either way.  Both him and John John put on an excellent show.  The judges ruined the entire heat by boxing themselves into a corner five minutes into it.  So they ultimately gave the win to Parko.

Then in the final they handed him the event when in my opinion Mickey Bourez should have taken the cake.  I guess the ASP Championship Tour has pretty much become professional wrestling.  In the last three years the judging has gotten so sporadic no one including the athletes have an idea how the scoring works.  At this point I believe they either have a tick tack toe playing chicken picking the scores or the judges just pick the winner of each heat out of a hat.  Which ever the case these guys get paid a ton of money and need to shape up.

An ASP Judge hard at work...

An ASP Judge hard at work…

Tahiti is coming up next August 15.  Lets hope its solid for a change so that we don’t have to watch our boys getting head dips and doing turns.  Till then I guess we will have to look forward to the US Open on July 20th at wonderful Hunting Beach, California, a surf contest that has absolutely nothing to do with surfing.  There is nothing better then watching all your favorite surfers slog it out in terrible waves at a terrible surf spot in a terrible place while there is a motor cross demonstration, skate jam and grand stage with musical performances going on in the background.  Just the kind of scene Mickey Dora loved.

What you mean this isn't the first though that comes to your mind when you think about surfing?

What you mean this isn’t the first though that comes to your mind when you think about surfing?



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This weeks UCB and the first of the quarter makes a victor of Kooky Kyle, who by the way has already accrued one bonus point in the surflog.  With this win he is already starting out strong with 2.5pts.   He asked I write about how to successfully bring tail free reos back into the wave face.  Well Kooky the answer is quite simple: Don’t suck so bad a surfing.  Either that or “Kill Yourself” (what song and by what artist is that from for 1.5 UCB points, answer in the comments and link the you tube video and I am looking for one distinct song.  It should be obvious if you know it).

In all seriousness tail free surfing is one of the hardest maneuver inversions in surfing to control and successfully complete.  At the same time if you can pull one off it both looks and feels sick.  The old school guys like to call it “flicky surfing” and in a way that is true.  I mean when you blow the tail out in most instances you are burning a lot of speed and taking away from the energy that say a full rail hit might incur .  For me personally I would rather blow my tail then do a huge gaff any day.  If you can get them down eventually you can add power and finesse on top of radicalness to them.  Just look at the tour guys like Slater or Wilko.  Dane Reynolds’ tail free hits are power and insanity.  I am constantly overwhelmed on how far he can take a tail free turn and come back in.


Freeing the tail Frontside is all about being out of control yet in control all at the same time.

The first step to a good tail free maneuver is just the same as any lip related move, a good bottom turn.  Drop into a wave and make sure it has a steep section with a lip that is going to throw out.  It is near impossible to do a tail free hit on a mushy or flat section.  As your bottom turning, pivot off your toes and lean into your inside rail.  On larger waves it helps if you even touch the water with your back hand almost pulling yourself back up into the face.  Watch any clip of Mick Fanning for a perfect example.

In this frame I am at the end of my bottom turn, all my weight is on my toes and I have just shifted the bulk of my weight from my front foot to my back foot. This will allow me to climb up the face of the wave towards the lip. If you notice my head is looking toward the cascading lip I am about to hit.

Although this is not the same sequence this is what the next step from the above bottom turn would yield. At this point I have climbed up the face and have about half my board above the lip and have began to put all my weight on my heels. I am about to also kick the tail and rest of my body up over the lip. Which you will see in the next two frames.

The pivot will allow you and your board to begin to climb back up the face of the wave.  As your approaching the lip wait until your nose is beginning to come over the lip before counter acting the turn as shown in the above frame.  At this point counter your weight over the outside rail by leaning on your heels.  If you over exaggerate at this point you will be forced to come back in lay back and in most cases losing the wave in the process.  Be sure also not to over throw the hit or you will just be pushed off the back of the wave.  By overthrowing I mean waiting too long to counter act the turn.  Also when finally approaching the lip as shown above you must kick the rest of your weight and board forward by pushing up toward the lip with your legs while keeping your upper body straight.  The below sequence demonstrates this.

In frame one I have just finished kicking the rest of my board and body out of the wave and am about to become tail free. At this point all of my weight is on my heels and I am about to shift it back over my toes to counter act the kicking out of the tail.
In Frame two I am completely free of the wave except for my inside rail. Keep in mind this is a very inverted look at the maneuver. At this point you should just be loose and wait for the rest of your board to catch back with the wave.

At this point you are completely weightless and it is a rather awesome feeling and sight if you have done it correctly.  By that I mean your posture should be in tact even though the only thing left inside the wave is your inside rail sort of as demonstrated in the above second frame or the very first photo in the beginning of the fronside tutorial.  Now you just need to wait for the rest of your board to catch back into the lip.  This is where the hard part comes in, keeping your body   over your board.  This is the one of the most important things in all facets of good surfing.  At this point you want all your weight centered in the middle of the board and on your toe tail.  All your weight on the re-entry should be on your back foot or you are going to dig your nose and pearl or dig your outside rail and fall over it.  Try not to recover in a lay back or in most cases it will be the end of your ride unless you are on a perfect wave such as Lowers.

By this point my board has caught back into the wave and I am ready to put my weight back over my board and onto my toes so I can recover and go into my next maneuver.

Once your weight has been center back over your board free fall back down with the lip if your are still in it.  In the case of many inversions you may have actually destroyed the lip in the process and are now in the flats.  Either way it is no problem.  Stabilize yourself for impact.  Once you hit regroup and gather your balance, put your weight back over your toes and go into your next bottom turn.  Or if you did one so gnarly that the wave is done or it was a close out hit claim it.

Everything has reconnected and I’m a just waiting to come back down to the bottom with the wave. Notice all my weight is on my back foot here cause I have buried my nose a little bit and I don’t want it to catch on the way down.

Backside Tail Free Reos
Backside is very similar to frontside with the only real variation being that every thing is opposite.  Once again start with a good bottom turn except all  your weight should be on your heels. Maybe it is because I am goofy foot but I find backside tail free maneuvers way easier to pull off.

All my weight is on my heels and I am spotting the incoming lip.

For the rest of this I am going to refer to the following sequence.
Here is a perfect example of the rest of a clean back side tail free reo.  In the the first frame my weight is all on my heels and I am climbing back up the face.  My nose is pointed 12 o’clock and is above the lip. The second frame is the larger one in the seq. and is the shifting of my weight from my heels to my toes and am about to do the kick up motion we discussed in the front side tutorial. Frame three is the actual kick up motion.  I am pushing my entire board and body over the lip with the force of my legs.  Notice my body is stabilizing the motion, not going with it. Frame 4 my tail is free and I am just going along for the ride.  Frame 5 I am beginning to shift my weight back over my board as my rail and tail catch back with the lip.

Frame 6 is where backside and frontside differ.  On a frontside hit you actually open your body up on the recovery.  Backside is the opposite, you want to crunch up into a ball for the free fall  keeping the majority of your weight over your toes.  Once you begin to fall with the lip open your body up and put your weight back over your heels.  Stabilize your landing and go into your next bottom turn.

No one blows the tail quite as gnarly as Dane.

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It has occurred to me that I missed the January version of my monthly surf recap.  That is a little sad considering it has proved to be the best month in surfing of the winter season, which is about to close shortly.  February was a crazy and rather frustrating month to be a surfer in Santa Barbara.  It seemed that for every great day there was a flat day and for ever good run of swell it was followed by a flat spell.  Plagued by bad weather, diligence was key.  There were plenty of days where a great session went down but only for a short period of time at a certain location.

I found myself surfing a wide variety of spots and even a few rather unlikely places.  We had a head high SW wind swell that is unheard of anytime of year.  Overall though compared to last February this one was a bit unfortunate to say the least.  If you notice, in this surf summary there are a few more stats and that is because I have diligently been keeping track of the number of waves and amount of time of each session.  Im not going to get into that here.  Look for a blog all about my new wave to time in water stats soon.

Number Sessions Surfed: 21
Days Surfed: 21
Actual Time Spent in the Water: 32.5 hrs
Number of Waves Surfed: 556
Average Waves Surfed per Hour: 17 waves

Spots Surfed:

Rincon: 7
New Jetty: 5
Emma Wood: 2
Santa Claus Lane: 1
Stanley’s: 1
Solimar: 1
Bates Beach: 1
Oxnard Shores: 1
Mesa Lane: 1
Santa Clarita River Mouth: 1

Top 3 Sessions:

3: 2/18/11 PM Session – 3-5ft, Bates Beach
Waves Surfed: 30
Time in Water: 2hrs
South East wind swell in Santa Barbara?  And Rincon of all places!!!  JD and I sat around all day waiting in vain for the wind to change.  Finally by 2:30pm we set off on a wing and a prayer to check every semi north facing spot I could think of.  After three less then stellar surf checks in the pouring rain we ended up at Bates Beach (the top beach at Rincon).  Turns out there were solid chest to head high lefts peeling down the beach and barreling.  I was all over it.  JD however was not enticed opting to stay and nap in the car.  I however went out there and snagged a hand full a great barrels sandwiched between some pretty shitty beatings.  It was a classic New Jersey side shore day although it also reminded me of North East wind swell Frisco.

2: 2/19/11 AM Session – 2-4ft, Solimar?
Waves Surfed: 19
Time in Water: 1hr
This morning was another surf I had not planned on.  I thought I would have been too hung over to even get out of bed in time for work at 11, but thanks to things not going as planned I ended up making it an earlier night then expected.  As a result I was up early and since the sun was out and there still a bit of that SW wind swell on the buoys I figured I would just head to Emma Wood.  JD was awake for some reason even though he got home way later then I did and we gave it a go.  On the way down there were some fun looking waves at both Santa Claus and La Conchita.  Part of me just wanted to stop and surf either one of those, but I really had faith in Emma.  Turns out Emma was terrible, too bowly with the mix of NW and SW swells.  We were cruising back to see about the top of Pitas when I noticed that the north side of Solimar right before the houses start if your coming from Santa Barbara, looked punchy as hell.  We pulled over and saw a few dumpy, heaving shore breaky nugs with one guy on it.  Out of time we decided to give it a go.  To be wholly honest I did not think much of the wave while putting on my suit but as soon as we hit the beach we saw this wave wedge up, A-frame and then heave over spitting both left and right.  After that we were full on frothing.  I ended up getting a bunch of sick left hand barrels and hit a super clean backside indy grab air.  It reminded me of the grinds in Buxton, NC on the outer banks.  JD had a ball also.  It was so good I ended up being ten minutes late to work, but a lot of me thought of not showing up at all.  Sometimes you can find waves in the most unlikely of places I mean technically that is not even really a surf spot.  Soooo Stoked!!!

1: 2/17/11 PM Session – 4-7ft, Rincon
Waves Surfed: 23
Time In Water: 3.5 hrs
See blog Big Name Pros, Stupid Car Surfing and Aggressive Line Up Tactics

This picture of a kid sliding into a cheese grater pretty much sums up how February worked out for surfing.

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My Best Shot from the day. Rincon February 17 2011, Photo Don Jayne

Last week I wrote a surf session blog called Big Name Pros, Stupid Car Surfing and Aggressive Line Up Tactic involving super fun Rincon, my boy JD finally having a good session (probably his best of the trip) and professional surfers Kelly Slater and Sally Fitzgibbons.  If you missed it I suggest clicking on the link and checking it out. It was a pretty entertaining surf blog.  Occasionally I find other blogs, photos or internet type stuff that links in with a blog I wrote.  When that happens I like to post it here.

This one was actually found by my former roommate and lurking partner in crime Brennan (Brennan has recently gotten some play here in the last two blogs:  The Paradoxical Plight of the Eunuch Cat and The Great Escape from Mission St. those are worth a read too if you missed them, more the latter).  This link comes from SantaBarbaraSurfer.com and has been featured on the both the myspace.com blog and SurfingRuinedMylife.net.  I really should feature them in my link section but have been too lazy to bother with it.   Its a pretty cool blog completely devoted to the Santa Barbara surfing community.

There is some text relating to the session similar to my blog on the day.  If you read you will notice the author also ran up to El Capitan for a surf like myself, except he must have gotten there about an hour earlier then I did because he actually was able to get some water time.  The slide show is pretty cool.  It shows you how the cove was on the day in question.   There are some amazing pictures of Slater, Sally Fitzgibbons, J7 friend/team rider Arson, Tom Curren’s older son and even three shitty shots of yours truly, Chris Lisanti.

In the comments he mentions something about even running a few pictures of the guys with “stinky style” when he gets the occasional shot where they are not embarrassing themselves.  Im sure I fall into that category.  Whatever, I have a ton of fun, even if 90% of the time I am completely kooking it, flailing around like a wounded condor. I have shots #33, 86, and 87 in the show. There are some pictures of the crazy equipment Slater was riding as well.  If you got a minute I would check it out: http://www.santabarbarasurfer.com/index.php/news/article/thursday_at_the_con/.

Kelly Slater always brings out the admirers.

Here is a classic example of what they call "Stink butt style".

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It must be just another day at Rincon and more trials and tribulations with the occasional pot of gold at the end of the rainbow here in Santa Barbara.  It all went down yesterday (2/17/11) in what I thought was going to be a complete and total skunking.  The night before all signs pointed to some very good conditions for a surf on this faithful day.

There was plenty of WNW swell mixing in with new NW swell and the winds were suppose to be somewhat light or variable.  Early on the wind was down, unfortunately I had class making a dawn patrol out of the question.  I got home at 9am and the wind had already changed to SW, or the devil winds, as we like to refer to them here.

Distraught, since the thoughts of getting either El Capitan or Sand Spit dancing in my head since the previous night were now shattered, I decided it best for us to wait for the tide to drop and hope for the best.  The wind went more WSW and JD and I made the Hail Mary play for El Capitan despite the poor winds.  Sometimes miracles happen and back when I worked at this NJ surf camp we always told the kids to live by the phrase “you don’t know unless you go”.

Indeed go we did.  As soon as we got up to the Gaviota Coast the wind was whipping twice as hard and El Cap was an absolute mess to our dismay, but was as I expected.  We watched it feeling rather dejected before opting to make the run back south to Rincon and just make or break it there.  As soon as we got to the Rincon the wind let up a bit and the sun came out.   The surf was solid head to overhead with bigger sets up top and side shore off shore conditions.  Upon checking it we saw someone surfing regular just destroy this head high wave through the cove making a near impossible first section across high Cove.

Then I noticed there were three cameras on the beach and put two and two together.  It was none other then Kelly Slater doing what he does best, killing it.  For JD it was a real treat to surf with the champ in person.  He had on this weird ass blue and black wetsuit with one white sleeve and gloves, but no boots.  The crowd was still rather light only about twenty five guys or so in the Cove and maybe another twenty up top.

JD gave the top a go while I as usual hit up the cove.  I jump in just as a solid set was approaching.  This overhead one comes right to me and I was the deepest. I saw Slater paddling in on the shoulder and was like man maybe I should give the wave up to the champ.  Then I thought fuck that he gets tons of great waves everywhere he goes.  This one is mine and besides out in the ocean he is just another surfer just like anyone else trying to get waves.  Rincon is my spot now so fuck it and I went.

I was pretty deep and was not sure I was going to get around the foam ball anyway.  I came around the foam ball just as Slats was starting his first cut back.  I hit it straight up and down behind him.  Then he did another whip around and as he was coming out of the turn he got hit by the spray from my second reo.  He gave me an aggravated look and then pulled off.  I hit that wave another fifteen times taking it all the way to the call box.

On the paddle back out I was definitely getting stares by people and heard whispers “That guy just picked one off Slater”.  Some kid, probably from the Valley or LA (same difference) said to me “I can’t believe you just took a wave off Kelly Slater”.  I looked at him and said “Who’s Kelly Slater, just another surfer like you and I” and paddled away.  Then I started thinking maybe that was a bad idea and I should have given the wave up to him like everyone else does out there.

I think Slater should be able to appreciate the fact that I want to surf a good wave as much as he does.  Then three waves later I did it again, but Slater did not go this time.  He pulled back as soon as he saw me drop into it twenty yards deeper then him.  That one went all the way through too.  There was some crazy modeling shoot happening mid point that has been going on all week, super professional too.  It looked like a pretty serious shoot.

Slater kept stopping at that house every lap up the point for whatever reason.  About my sixth wave, a real bomb might I add about mid cove on the paddle back out, I was beat on paddling back out and way too far down the point anyway.  I made the walk back and as I was walking up the point Slater’s videographer looked right at me and I though he was going to give me shit for taking that wave off Slater.  Instead he yells “Crazy backside attack, so nuts”.  I was stoked to be acknowledged by a dude who films surfing all day long and someone of Kelly’s esteem.

Female pro Sally Fitzgibbons was out absolutely destroying it.  JD actually had a great session for a change.  It was a solid day of surfing.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been if there was less wind and chop, but then the crowd would have been triple.   I ended up surfing almost four hours and could barely walk when I got out of the water.  What a day.

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This weeks UCB makes a champion of John Mauriello asking a very apropos topic considering the theme of the last few blogs.  He asked I tell about the time Slater gave me one of the best waves I have ever gotten at Rincon and my in my life as well. I actually have two good Slater stories to tell both from the same time of year.  Truth be told both of these have been bloged about back in the myspace days but since it is near impossible for me to look up those archives thanks to Myspace.com’s terrible redesign I believe they may be lost forever.  I guess I will have a lot of retelling to do.

February 4 2008

It was my Birthday and my first winter at Rincon.  At the time I was sleeping on Cory’s couch and just sort of bumming around Santa Barbara.  I hated Rincon up until this faithful day.  Every time I went there I always got burned on the good ones and never seemed to pick the right ones.  This is a common novice complaint at Rincon.  To utilize the spot to its greatest potential one really needs to know where to sit and how to work the crowd.  Two entities that take plenty of time to figure it out.  Im still trying to get it wired.

Every time Cory and I would check Rincon I always bitched and moaned till we went some place else, usually Pitas, Little Con or Cstreet.  This day as we were passing by Rincon it was flawless 6-8ft with off shore winds and looked like a picture a day dreaming slacker would draw in his note book during math class.   Im talking waves as good as waves get.  The crowd looked heavy but the waves pretty consistent.  Against my will Cory forced us to surf it.

He jumped in at the cove as usual, while I went up to River Mouth.  As I was walking up there I noticed some one in a white wet suit directly in front of me.   People were taking pictures and videos.   It could be none other then Kelly Slater.  Him and I paddled out basically side by side through the river mouth and he snagged the first wave.  I had a couple of waves but nothing spectacular.

Then this solid eight footer swung wide and I was in perfect position.  I took off on the thing and it immediately walled up as it hit the sand bar and folded over.  I found myself standing straight up in a wide tube.  Im super deep but steadily making my way out as I went down into a pig dog for more speed.  As Im riding this thing in the barrel for an easy fifty yards people are screaming at me as they are paddling by.

Then right when I was about to come out I fell backwards but some how caught myself in a lay back thus running even deeper in the tube.  By the time I was mid way through this barrel section I looked out and saw Slater look in at me from the shoulder.  He hooted and threw a shaka my way.  Stoked I stood up and pumped out of the pit.  At that point I was at the top of the cove.  I hit the lip as I was passing by Cory who was all hoots.  I ended up call boxing that wave.  It was the first wave I ever call boxed at Rincon and it was on my birthday no less.

When I paddled out into the lineup Slater looked at me and said “that was a sick one”.  Im sure I blushed like an embarrassed little girl.

Mid Fed 2009

This is the story John was asking for.  Those of you who have been part of this blog from back in the Myspace.com days probably remember what a mess I was that year.  Sindia and I had just split up and I was for all extensive purposes partying way too hard subconsciously attempting to drink myself to death.  This session came about courtesy of my boy Brennan, whom with out his motivation would have never left the couch.  It was a Saturday afternoon in Mid-February and Im sure I went way too hard the night before thus sleeping in till well past one.

Brennan showed up around two-ish looking to surf.  I was just sitting down to breakfast at the frat house (it was not a real frat, but since nearly 12 guys ended up moving into my apartment it became an unofficial one).  At like 2:30 thirty we cruised to Rincon.  I did not even know if there was swell running or not I was so out of the loop.  Like I said back then I was a bit unfocused thanks to my mental and emotional state of affairs.

We walked down the trail and it was solid 6-8 ft Rincon super glassy and only about 100 guys out on the entire point.  All of a sudden I went from unmotivated to pure froth.  As I was running up to the river mouth I saw Slater snag one and just rip the shit out of it.  My first wave was a bomb up at low indicator.  This thing had to be solid ten foot if it was an inch.  I barely made the drop/bottom turn on my little 5’10.  When I came around the first section and into my reo some dude completely burned me.  I was moving and it was flawless Rincon so the sections were not too racy.

This dude and I ended up changing tracks a few times and just have a good old time for ourselves.  When the wave reached the cove, he pulled out, gave me a smile and I ripped the thing all the way to the highway falling off just forty yards from the call box because my legs were so tired.  After that wave I ran back up the point to do it again.

Upon paddling back out I saw Slater sitting up at low Indicator.  I sat next to him and made the usual surfer small talk as if he was no one special.  I most likely said something like its pretty fun out here and so on and so forth.  The stock standard surfer lineup bull.  This set came in and it was another group of solid ones.  We let the first one go and the second was just perfect lining up to be another epic ride.  Slater looks ate me and says do you want this one.  I was like really?   Then I turned and went for it.

That wave ended up being amazing.  I had something like two barrels on it and over twenty hits riding the wave from low Indicator all the way to double call box.  When Rincon is flawless it is more then possible to get rides that long.  To this day I think that was the best wave I have ever caught out there.  When I pulled off my wave l looked back and saw Slater finishing up on the one behind it.  I think I only had enough leg power left in me for a dozen or so more.

I ended up paying Slater’s kindness forward towards the very end of my session.  I was in perfect position for this eight footer in mid River Mouth.  As I was paddling for it I saw this chick having a look and I knew for a fact she had yet to get a good one.  Once I saw her paddling I gave her the nod and she got that wave all the way in.  I saw her out later that session and she was very appreciative and said it was most likely the best wave of her entire life.  You see what goes around comes around.  I can only hope that some day she returns the same kindness to some other frustrated surfer in need.

There is nothing like really good Rincon.

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Your never know what you may stumble upon in the great outdoors.


Today I experienced a most unexpected delightful, yet strange afternoon.  3:30 finally came closing out a rather hectic day of nothing working out as it should.  First someone accidentally turned off the oven containing the bulk of my roasted vegetables, a catastrophe I discovered at 10:45am when I checked on them to make sure they were not going to burn up.  Now roasted vegetables take around 25 minutes to cook and I needed them for an 11:15 service.  Luckily I had one axillary pan in a separate oven and it was just enough to get me started.

Then my mashed potatoes came out a little too dry from my liking and a bit on the bland side since we were all out of fresh garlic.  How does a professional kitchen run out of fresh garlic?!!!!?  Finally someone must have bumped into my rotisserie oven and mistakenly turned off one of the motors thus keeping an entire side (four racks containing 50 lbs of turkey) from turning.  One side was completely charred.  I made out like a bandit in this case also because after cutting off the burnt side the rest was still usable and actually still quite tender all things considered.  My meal was serve able and as it turns out was completely eaten.

If all that was not enough my boss thought it would be best utilize my skills for cleaning the entire kitchen for the last two hours of work.  Needless to say when that clock striked 3:3o I was more then jubilant to get the fuck out of there.  After missing a surf yesterday (see surflog for details) I was chomping at the bit to get some water time so it was off to Rincon.  I knew the swell was down from the previous days, but I had hopes I could find something to surf.  Unfortunately for me as I passed Santa Claus I noticed a serious lack of waves, strong onshore wind and a -2 low tide.  That being the case there was not going to be many places to surf besides either Rincon or Cstreet and since Santa Claus is a Rincon indicator I immediately lost my enthusiasm.

I cruised to the Con just the same and strolled down the trail to see if there were any grovel able waves.  It was super small maybe knee to waist high, but clean and long lines, plus there was only three guys on it.  Still not decided I began to bumble my way up the the top of the point to see what was coming in up at both Indicator and River Mouth.  About mid way up the point I noticed this gathering of people chilling on the rocks just about adjacent to where one would line up to surf proper cove.

As Im approaching this ensemble I hear one of them say “lets ask the chef’s opinion”.  Immediately proceeding the hollering of  the word chef in my direction.  At first forgetting that I was still wearing my coat and work uniform I did not realize it was myself to whom they were addressing.  I meandered my way over to them and saw they had quite the quaint little spread going on.  This gang of out door enthusiasts had a splendid little picnic going on right in the midst of one of the best right hand point breaks in the world on a day off.

They had the most adorable little round coffee table made from roth iron with a little removable bamboo wood finished round top.  On the table they had a loaf of olive bread, a giant bowl of guacamole, an opened bottle of Chenin Blanc, a silver decorative platter with these roasted tomatoes with mozzarella balls and basil on it and next to that another large silver decorative bowl with a mix greens chicken salad.  Under the table was a copper ice chest filled with a type of fruit salad dessert and another two bottles of wine.  Like I said it was a real classy set up.

I walk over there and the first thing they ask is if I would like to join them, sample their foods and give my “professional” critique.  Little did they know that Im hardly a chef being nothing more then a lowly bulk food line cook, but I can play any role and since I will be a chef in a few years figured a white lie could not hurt anyone.  I sat down and enjoyed a gourmet afternoon snack with interesting strangers at Rincon while debating on whether or not to paddle.

I ended up hanging out for a half an hour enjoying wine and food and getting to know my benefactors.  There was this older English guy totally grey with a Sean Connery beard (maybe he was Sean Connery Im always in such I fog I would not know the difference anyway).  He was wearing a super nice grey with black poke-dote smoking jacket, nice slacks and loafers.  Totally rich man casual.  To his right was this older couple in their fifties who brought the food and owned an avocado farm in Carpinteria  thus explaining the big bowl of guacamole.  On their right were these two twenty something lesbians from San Fransisco (no surprise there) both of which were quite hot.  Sitting next to them was another older guy who owned an antique shop in Carp and next to him was this crazy old hippie woman wearing a tunic.

Sean Connery had an interesting group of friends and as it turns out lived in one of the houses right there in the Rincon Point exclusive community.  I must say the food and company was most refreshing.  I had a great time.  While I was sitting there I noticed a few really good sets in the close to chest high range come in and peel down the point now with only one other guy out.  Derek Hynd on his crazy fin less board he has been riding at the Con the past week and his lady friend were just exiting the water.  He kills those crazy fin less boards.  You would not believe the speed he gets out of them until you see it in person.  What would you expect from a surf icon of his esteem.

If it was good enough for Derek it was good enough for me (Im just glad he was not with Jack Johnson like he was the night Slater was out.  I hate Jack Johnson.  See The Champ has returned blog for more details).  I suited up and paddled out.  I ended up getting tons of great waves and few classic larrels as well as two legit barrels.  I had a ball.  There was a picturesque sunset. I stuck a perfect two foot out nose pick air reverse and met a chill guy named Donovan who gave me a free bar of wax before getting on his scooter and riding away sitting on his surfboard.  What a most spectacular afternoon.  It was definitely one for the books or for the blog in this case.  I dont really know why things like this always happen to me.  It could just be a right time right place coincidence, but it happens so often that I have to think there is more to it then that.

Sean Connery always knows how to have a good time.

One of surfing finest, Derek Hynd and his fin less wonder.

Speaking of strange things......

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After work tonight I cruised to Rincon for the last hour of light.  There was a new NW filling in, but strong NW winds had picked up tearing the ocean to bits.  Driving down I could see nothing but white caps.  I knew the cove would be somewhat protected and the conditions would at least keep the crowds down.  I pulled into the lot and there were ten cars at the most.


I got a close parking spot to the trail and began turning my suit right side in when I noticed a rather large congregation of people on the other side of the parking lot.  They were taking pictures and all scrambling around something. Then I saw the man, or legend, ten time world champion Kelly Slater in midst of this mob.


Ironically I was just thinking yesterday after watching some video of him surfing Pipe recently on surfline.com that I had not seen Slater out here in Santa Barbara yet.   I was being to wonder if he was going to find his way here at all this year considering the surf has been less then average.  What a shame it would be if he did not put some time in at Rincon.  There is no one I would rather watch surf it then him.  Of course he would come here now its almost time for Snapper and he always says that Rincon is his favorite training ground for the Gold Coast.


Upon seeing him I smiled to myself, but was saddened as well.  You know I understand that Kelly Slater is a huge pop icon as well as surf these days and is a celebrity. You think though at a place like Rincon on a Sunday afternoon with shitty two foot blown out surf and almost no one around Slater could have a moment of peace to get dressed, run down the trail and surf a few waves.  No that was not the case; the poor guy was mobbed by his own kind, brothers and sisters of the ocean.  If anyone should understand it should be surfers.


I mean the guy just wanted to go shred some waves.  Maybe he just got in town today and it was his first surf back in Santa Barbara.  I have not seen or heard that he was in town so I am assuming such was the case.   I know when Im fresh off a plane the first thing I want to do is hit the ocean. You could see it in his eyes that Slater wanted to get in the water, but he had to spend over 15 minutes shaking hands, taking pictures and signing autographs.  He finally got into the water, but with only a half hour of light.


What is the big deal?  I love Kelly Slater and would probably take a bullet for the guy if I were ever called into such action.  I have surfed with him a number of times at various locations all over.  Never once was I temped to go over and be a fan.  I respect him as a fellow surfer first and a pro second and understand that when he is not shooting photos or surfing in a contest all he really wants to do is surf and be treated like any of other surfer in the Rincon lot.


How important is that photo of you and Slater anyway?  And why?  So you can hang it on the wall (post it on facebook.com) and show all your friends how cool you were to go bother the poor guy when he was just trying to have a surf?  Or wouldn’t it be cooler to just know that you shared a session with the greatest surfer who ever lived and it was like surfing with anyone else except the dude absolutely killed it.  Isn’t it better to tell Slater as he is changing next to you “some funs out there eh?”  Instead of “dude your Kelly Slater let me take a picture with you”.  I will let you be the judge.


All I can say from my own personal experiences with Kelly is that he loves to surf first and foremost even after all these years and amazing waves.  Here it was an absolute shit day at Rincon by local standards and an atrocious for someone of Slater’s standards yet he was stoked to be there.  He sat out in the line up and did not jockey anyone.  He waited his turn, got his waves and from the smile on his face had a good time.  Just think a few days ago he was riding firing Back Door and today he was groveling with me at Rincon.


I guess all I am saying is that maybe when we see high profile pro surfers just free surfing we should try and treat them as we would any other surfer out surfing and let them enjoy themselves, not making a big deal about it.  Their lives are so sold out already with all the commercialism bull shit that has made their careers.  Be stoked they are out with you and that they rip, but please just let the guy surf.

Slater enjoying a far better day at Rincon then the one in this blog.

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Kooky Kyle takes this week’s UCB in what I have to say was a hard fought battle.  There were so many good suggestions this week it took me nearly a half hour to go through and select one.  Ok that’s a bit of a lie I was also chatting with like three people on Facebook as well.  Thank you everyone for taking it up a notch from the poor showing of the previous week.

Apparently the ASP World Tour is planning on doing one of the “World Tour” events on the East Coast US to go along with world class venues such as Pipe, J-Bay, G-Land and Trestles.  Kooky asked my opinion on the situation.  Being a former professional surfer and resident of the east coast I find myself more then qualified to give thoughts on the subject.  For more information about this event or the WT and ASP click the following links: http://blogs.surfermag.com/office-blog/the-world-tour’s-next-stop-east-coast-usa-2/ and http://www.aspworldtour.com/ .

I guess the first major issue would be is the east coast a viable contest destination for that caliber of surfing.  It certainly can be. There are some serious beach breaks very comparable to France or Brazil two places that both host a World Tour contest.  There are reefs and point breaks up in the New England area that are more then able to produce world class waves on the right day.  The key word is “right day”.

The East Coast is fickle with a swell window that travels the wrong way making it very short.  Weather is tricky considering that your heaviest surf usually comes in the frigid late fall early winter time period and I don’t think the top 32 surfers in the world are about to don a 5/4/3 when they could be at a handful of other destinations with as good if not better quality.  That is a guarantee.

Why is the ASP entertaining such an idea then?  Let me be the first to say its not for the quality of waves, but the quality of the market.  Over the last four years the tour is constantly getting more commercial oriented moving away from the “Dream Tour” surfers once fought hard to achieve.  Face the facts the ASP is a business and so is professional surfing.  The more fans, the more t-shirts that get sold and the more money that is produced.

This is how the world works.  The east coast of the US is a huge market, a rich market and a stoked one.  Overall surfers on the east coast care way more about surfing and having the latest gadgets/paraphernalia then out here on the west coast and with all the down time between swells have more time to think about it.  Shit I know when I lived out there I bought all tons of useless crap and over priced clothing because I thought that was what a surfer was suppose to wear and do.

It was not till I moved out west where surfing became an everyday occurrence that I realized what a crock it all was and began wearing $3 dollar Kmart t-shirts if it meant more time surfing and less time working.  Take the Brazil event as a perfect example the last six years they have held it at Santa Catarina, Brazil, one of the most consistent waves in the country, yet this year they are moving it to Rio, a way worse wave location.  Rio is a way bigger venue, which will bring out more crowds and sell more advertising space.  Remember there was a time back in the 80’s when the ASP held a contest in a wave pool in the middle of Pennsylvania.

Where and when should this event take place?   To me the answer is obvious and should be held either the end of September or any time in October.  The water is still warm and at this point there are both Nor’easter swells and hurricane swells on offer.  As far as a location goes I think a mobile Hatteras or Outer Banks, North Carolina event would work the best.  Cape Hatteras Light House is arguably the most consistent spot on the East Coast and then there are also plenty of other options depending on swell and wind.

Certainly the beach breaks there as good as France.  During the time period I have mentioned it is very rare to go a week with out a decent wave.  I remember years where I would get ten to twelve days out there of straight surf at least chest high or better.  Out of all my travels it is still one of my favorites to visit and one of the entities I miss the most about leaving the east.

People would be stoked too.  No body loves surf stars like east coasters do.  I know I still get star struck when I see Dane Reynolds paddle out and blow up Emma Wood, an everyday thing around here.  I nearly fall over every time Slater or Tom Curren make everyone else look like kooks at Rincon.  It would definitely be a moneymaker and you know what that is why there are commercial sporting events in the first place; to make money.

I am all for a WT East Coast event.  I watched my favorite pros surf shitty waves at nearly every other venue on tour even some of the ones that were suppose to be all time.  Why not see them grovel in my old stomping grounds.

Hatteras. Good enough for the pros??????

You be the Judge.

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