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Posts Tagged ‘Kooking It’

Optimistic-Chris

Getting excited for the Swell of the Century!!!!!

Well that’s what everyone is calling it.  Most likely unless the Earth as we know it is completely fucked and global warning has finally taken its toll I suppose none of us will ever see waves like what graced the coast of California on Wednesday August 27 2014 for at least another 30 years.  As for myself I know I for one will never see a south east tropical swell like such while still in my prime.  I would love to say that I scored like the mother fucker in the above video at Sand Spit, literally a quarter of a mile from my apartment.  My friends I did not!

Nope, no sir.  I FUCKEN BLEW IT!!!!! Have I surfed good Sand Bar in my tenure here in Santa Barbara?  I certainly have.  I have gotten some of the best rides of my life out there.  Wednesday was not to be for me.  I was caught in what was once foretold to me as “adult” responsibility.  Up until Wednesday I had no idea exactly what that phrase meant or why it could cause anyone so much pain.  We all knew Marie was coming and that it was predicted to be BIG.  Of course whenever a tropical swell is in question here on the west coast one always cannot be sure how good it will really be.  No doubt the trump card spots like Trestles, The Wedge and New Port will be solid, but the rest of the coast is usually a crap shoot.

Up here in the 805, well its more like a sadistic game of pin the tail on the donkey.  I have literally spent an entire day driving over 100 miles from Jalama to Ventura to Malibu only to surf absolute crap cause I missed what never really was anywhere.  When I first saw all the models I was a bit of a skeptic (what me? NEVER! Call me captain optimistic).  Although I must say it has been one of the better tropical seasons up in these parts that I have seen in about five years.  Monday night I went up to Jalama with Mike after I got off from work and was figuring it would be fun background swell from the south at best.

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Jalama feeling the preamble to the big south with nice long period lines.

Sure enough the “J” was solid (you can read the August 14 Surf Log for the details) at which point I began to get excited for the new swell.  From the lines I witnessed I for sure thought Tuesday morning (8/26) was going to be on.  Pumped I went to bed early in anticipation.  I knew it wasn’t going to be the best of things early, but figured I would at least get decent enough Santa Clara River Mouth.  My buddy Adam from back in NJ was around and met me up early.  When we began the trek south to Ventura everything was small, barely chest high and poor quality.  We ended up surfing Solimar which was super tiny when we first paddled.  By the end of an hour session already there were new long period lines similar to what I had witnessed at Jalama the previous night coming in.

Solimar, the calm before the storm.

Solimar, the calm before the storm.

I went to work and through out the day I was constantly getting texts from friends letting me know how the swell was filling in.  I guess right at dark most spots began to turn on pretty solid.  I got home around nine and I could hear surf in front of my apartment.  I only live up the cliff from Lead Better beach so this is a common occurrence, especially in the winter.   This was more like fire works going off and the roaring of a great lion then the usual mellow relaxing white noise of tiny wind swell rolling up the beach.  I began to get excited so much so that sleeping became nearly impossible.  I woke up every hour, as most of us do when a special swell event is running, hoping it was light.

Awake at 6 am I found myself pacing around my apartment waiting for my boy Adam to show up.  It was his last day in town and what a last day to have.  He is actually the second person from New Jersey to show up to SB for a rarity of a swell.  The last time it was friends of Cory and I, Alex and Carleigh back in 2007.  That was a macker of a WNW swell, the biggest Santa Barbara I have ever seen or surfed.  It was also on a Wednesday.  Maybe I will write a throw back blog about that swell at some point.

This swell was way more rare then that one.  Santa Barbara gets WNW swells in the winter.  We don’t get south swells in the summer and we especially don’t get ESE swells basically ever.  On top of that most spots saw at least head high waves and then some.  My boy should have bought a lottery ticket cause his lucky stars were counted and lined up.  We had a look directly in front of my place at Lead Better and it was solid 8-10 ft, though rather crowded and average shape at best, classic Lead Better.  I thought about having a look at Sand Spit, but decided the swell was most likely too east for it and the summer sand would be no good.  Instead I went for Sharks Cove, which is always my go to spot for when town has waves.

Leo Carillo at first light, gigantic. Photo: Mike Astede

Leo Carillo at first light, gigantic. Photo: Mike Astede

I did the drive by from the 101 twice to get a handle on the place.  From what I could see there were only about five guys on it and was at least head high.  Hammonds looked huge.  We parked and made the run to the point.  To our surprise and utter dismay about twenty more guys had already beat us there and another ten were behind us effectively clogging the point.  On top of that it was not coming in very good at all.  If only five guys were out I would have paddled anyway, but I was not about to fight a crowd. We looked west toward Hammonds and Mira Mar and it looked nuts.

Hammonds looked like some crazy tropical reef pass and from our vantage,  just way over head freight training rights.  At Mira Mar we saw some guy drop into a wave that was at least three feet over head and it looked like he was skirting the barrel.  Out of time that was the call and up to Hammonds we ran.  As luck would have it when we got in front of spot and the right was way too fast and walled.  The left looked good, though some what crowded.  The wave also ended on complete dry reef.  I have broke two boards and lost countless fins/plugs to that left on average days.  I could not imagine what would have happened if I paddled it.  Most people out there were just getting destroyed on the left any how.

The drift was heading east to Mira Mar anyway so Adam and I jumped in at Hammonds and drifted our way down.  Pretty much all the way through Mira Mar it was still very very fast.  I was pumping with all my might and speed to get two or three fast turns in.  What we thought were guys getting tubed from a far were just people being forced to straighten off.  Then Adam managed to luck into an overhead peeler that he ripped the fuck out of all the way to the bottom of the point.  Right behind him I snagged the next one and got four solid back side hits on it.  From that point we had it wired till the end of our session when it go clogged with a bunch of kook ass long boarders and old guys, who’s modus operandi was to burn us on everything despite the fact we were making all of our waves.  Whatever we got a few and were stoked.

Santa Clara River Mouth, Ventura off the chain Wednesday morning.  Photo: Mike Astede

Santa Clara River Mouth, Ventura off the chain Wednesday morning. Photo: Mike Astede

Deep down inside I knew I had blown it and was blowing it by going into work.  What was I going to do?  My hands were tied.  It was the first legit day of the Westmont student meal plans.  I am the sous chef.  It would have set a terrible example if I called out.  The fucking swell was all over the news for days.  My bosses and everyone I work with would have put the facts together and knew I was not sick.  With my luck I would have gotten a clip on the news or in the paper.  My boss would see it while watching t.v. that night and I would be busted.

On a side note back in 2003 I was attending Monmouth University in New Jersey.  A sick hurricane swell was coming up the coast.  I called my professor and told him I was having a stomach bug and would not be able to attend class.  Meanwhile I was getting some amazing waves at my home break.  There were a bunch of photographers shooting.  Most were the usual surf paparazzi and I thought nothing of it hoping to get a shot so I would get paid.  One of the guys shooting I had never seen before and he came up to me and said he got some good ones and wanted my info, which I gave.  Next time I went to that class I bailed on the professor said that he hoped that I was feeling better then through a copy of the previous day’s newspaper on my desk.  I was on the cover six feet in the air on a sickie.  BUSTED!!!!

I did the responsible thing this time around and went into work where I slaved like a dog for nine hours.  Ryan scored Hobsons, one of my go to over flow spots when the points get to crowded and said it was like an Indo left.  I heard Father Johns went off as well.  Pat said Mondos looked over head and kill-able.  That wave is the biggest kook loving mush burger 365 days a year.  As we all know from the opening video to this piece Sand Spit was epic.  Trevor got some bombs at Rincon up at Indicator, which I heard was intense from a lot of people.  I also heard that Devereux had a left breaking to sands that was crazy.  My friend Trey went to El Cap at first light and said the point was about chest to head and fun. Basically it was a magically swell that made all sorts of epic little nooks and crannies go off.

 

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Gold Coast the day after the swell.

Thursday (8/28) there was still plenty of swell lingering.  I got up good and early to have a look around.  Unfortunately new wind swell had filled in over night and tore up the channel turning the groomed hurricane lines into absolute mess.  I drove around for over an hour before desperation paddling the Gold Coast near the entrance to Emma Wood.  For whatever reason Jordy Smith had decided to paddle and was absolutely destroying the choppy crossed up offerings.  I had a barrel or two,  but it was stoked to surf with him.  I guess it was a minor redemption to a major insult of blowing the  swell of the century.  If I were a Japanese samurai I think I would have had to commit seppuku.  As a surfing guru I almost felt inclined to anyway.  On further analysis though I realized that I have scored epic waves all over the globe and have many good years of surfing ahead of me.  Sure it will suck to talk about how I blew it every time the big south of August 2014 comes up, which it will for the next thirty years.  I did get to surf and that always beats not surfing and winter is coming….RINCON.

Another look at Santa Clara River Mouth on Wednesday morning going absolutely ham.

Another look at Santa Clara River Mouth on Wednesday morning going absolutely ham.

 

 

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This town is freezing.  I was very grateful to have even woken up and not have died of hypothermia in my sleep.  We had a slow start after the previous night’s gallivanting about.  I love nothing better then a good breakfast.  John brought me to this quaint little crepe place in his neighbor hood that was absolutely to die for.  They made like 15 different crepes, and then an assortment of other breakfast items.

I got what they called a California crepe stuffed with egg, avocado, mushrooms, green peppers, tomato and green onions, served over freshly cut home fries and a side salad.  Everything was super fresh.  It tasted amazing.  Then my tea was brewed from the actual leaves, no tea bag and I had to use this tiny strainer to pour it into my glass.  It was a most splendid eating experience.

From there we decided to do a little good old-fashioned hill bombing and street skating.  After all San Francisco is one of the great skate cities in the world.  I personally would put it just second to Barcelona.  “When in Rome…”.  We cruised to Ocean Beach where there is less traffic and an agreeable number of very long hills.  I am talking easily 15-20 city block bombs that took around 5-8 minutes to get to the bottom of.

Before getting into the skate session we took a quick peak at the surf, which courtesy of 40-knot onshore wind was complete trash.  The wind was so strong we could not even stand on the dunes to look at it directly because of the sheer volume of sand blowing around.  Street surfing would have to do.

Now I have not skated since John was living at my place over the summer and I must say I was a bit apprehensive about getting wrecked or run over by a car for that matter.  John had a good handle on the situation.  We took the street trolley up the hill in between each run.  These hills were massive and would have taken way to much time and been too exhausting to walk up.  First bomb I took very conservative just feeling things out.  By the last one I was power sliding all over the place, hitting banks, ollieing gaps and just having a ball.

When all was said and done John had a broken bearing and I had just about completely worn out the bushings on my trucks.  I would say it was a successful day of skating.  Neither of us got hurt nor hit by cars.  John even saved the world from a renegade pink stripped Victoria Secret bag that was blowing all over the street.

After the skate we just sort of kicked it the rest of the afternoon.  Did a little moseying around town.  That night one of John’s friends from school was having a party.  We planned to make an appearance.  When we got there the host had already passed out.  Turns out the event had started at 1pm.  There were still a hand full of good time seeking enthusiast about the place and John’s boy Whiter this crazy dude from New England, whom was drunk as a skunk, just brought three 12 packs.

Phone calls were made and a new venue was quickly acquired.  Whitter shows up out front of the building with this red 80’s ford pick-up truck.  The truck was suppose to usher eight of us to the new spot.  Being the gentlemen we are the girls got to ride in the cab while John, myself and one other dude laid down in the dirty, rusted bed with all the beer.  My first thought was this is a very bad idea then my adventurous spirit kicked in and I jumped in and held on tight.

Now we had no idea where we were going or how far it was.  All I know is we were getting bounced around in the back of the truck being operated by a very inebriated driver for what felt close to ten minutes.  The tuck comes to a stop and we get out in the middle of one of the swankier neighborhoods in the area.  I am talking fancy high rise apartments with door men.

Immediately I am under the idea that there is no way we are going to be let into any of these places.  Sure enough we walked right into the lobby of this gorgeous building that the rent had to be at least $4,000 a month, got in the elevator and went up to the top floor.  The apartment our group ended up at was a luxury one bedroom.  Expensive kitchen appliances, big flat screen TV.  The dude had an electric drum kit, 88 key electric piano, and two really decent guitars in his bedroom.  This kid was loaded.

The party was your standard house party.  Everyone there was super nice and I found it pleasure to make all their acquaintances.  Upon seeing the keyboard this chick visiting from Idaho claims she is a classically trained concert pianist.  Our host put her to task.  “Im a little drunk so don’t expect much” she said.  As soon as she sat down on the keys she started wailing Bach and Mozart.  It was rather impressive to say the least.  After that a group of us had a little jam session that was terrible, but with a few cocktails in us I guess it was an adequate jam.

On the tenth floor of the building was this outside lounge area that gave a 360 degree view of the entire city.  I went out there to check it out and it was exhilarating.  You could see everything.  The tall buildings of downtown, the Golden Gate Bridge and the ocean.  Must be nice to have that kind of money.

By about midnight the party was done.  John and I not quite ready to call it a night hailed a cab.  I get in and tell the driver “Take me some place we can meet pretty girls”.  The driver was an Indian guy and did not have the best grasp on English or just misinterpreted what I had in mind. Next thing we know we found ourselves in the middle of the XXX district of San Francisco.  The cabby looks back at me with a shit eating grin and says “There are very many pretty girls here”.

I almost died laughing.  Not wanting to spend any more money on that cab we got out.  At the very least there was probably some rat hole dive bar we could drink a beer.  As John and I are walking around this gaudy neon light driven block he mentions to me that he had never been to a strip club before.  I personally am not a fan of such places, although they can be rather entertaining more for the actual patrons then the girls.

I told him to pick one.  Every man aught to visit a nudie bar at least once in his life.  It is sort of a right of passage.  I always thought it was something everyone did when they turned 18.  We walk into this trashy little place called the I Club.  There was a $15 cover but being it was late and a Monday night the bouncer let us cruise.

Just as I expected it was a sleazy dirty bar with average looking and in some cases over weight strippers.  Luckily for us it was just a topless club or I think it would have traumatized the poor kid.  I went and cashed in $10 for singles and gave John six.  That is how those girls earn their money, ugly or not I was not going to cheat them out of their bread.

We stayed for three acts and then bailed.  I must say although not the hottest strippers I have ever experienced they were some of the best dancers.  The place had an eight foot high pole and two of the girls managed to climb all the way to the top and then slide down it upside down with out breaking their necks.  After 15 minutes we had seen enough and bailed.

John looked at me and said I will never go in one of those places again.  I patted him on the back and said that was a very good idea.  I think that may have been the lowest level of human degradation he had ever been exposed to.  I know I always walk out of such venues with a little less respect for mankind on a whole.  All I can say is I have been in San Francisco for less then 48 hours and already have had a crazy series of adventures.

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