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Posts Tagged ‘Pro Surfing’

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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Normally I save all the day to day surf experiences for the surf log but I felt the last two sessions I have partook in were worth a more insightful recount.  Not the actually surfing or conditions although I must admit yesterday Emma Wood was rather fun and Cstreet did offer up a few waves this afternoon as well.  What I would like to talk about here are two instances that I found amusing.

The Abstruse Rob Machado

Last night I was super stoked at the sight of clean chest high Emma Wood, super bowly lefts and rights with only three guys out.  I tore on my wetsuit and ran down the trail so that I could take full advantage of the miniscule moments of daylight left courtesy of the time change, thank you 100 year out dated customs for making my life even more annoying.  As Im boring down the path I see a very familiar looking persona behind an open hatch back of a mini van.

I get closer and notice it is some strange looking scruffy dude with a fro fooling with a blow up mattress.  Then when I was with in fifty feet of this character I realized it was none other then once world number two, goofy foot aficionado, free surfer extraordinaire Rob Machado.  He looked right at me and I exclaimed “whats happening bud” in typical Santa Barbara surfer speak.  “Not much” he retorted and then jumped into the back of the van, closed the hatch and that was the last I saw of him.

I guess Rob Machado was going to spend the night sleeping in his van in front of Emma Wood.  I would have thought he would be in Hawaii by now for the Triple Crown.  Its not like there was a good swell in the water that he was trying to chase.  Im sure there must be more then a dozen people he could have called to crash at home in either Santa Barbara and Ventura, yet the dude was going to sleep in the van.  Shit Im still kicking myself for not inviting him to come home with me and crash in my spare room.  I guess Rob and I are destined to cross paths in the strangest of circumstance.

Those Darn Groms

Today after work I thought I would take advantage of the NW/SW combo swell in the water down at one of the Ventura beach breaks.  My buddy claimed it to be light winds and with the mid tide Emma was out of the question.  Stoked I hauled ass down the 101 and sure enough the wind was pretty light.  That was of course till I got with in earshot of Cstreet.  From there South it was howling WNW.  At that point I was not left with any other options besides Cstreet and there I found myself.

The surf was not bad solid chest high with the bigger peak or so, but the line up was mobbed with grommies.  I mean there had to be at least fifteen after school specials frothing all over the wind blow rights.  I took my time getting dressed for what was a forced paddle out.  Upon getting in the water I was equally let down by a sudden upwelling making the holey 4/3 I chose to wear a bad choice.

I sat out there for the first thirty minutes or so feeling rather un aggressive as the groms swarmed all around me poorly slicing and chopping away at the broken up lines.  All of these factors were enough to send any sane person running for the hills, but I stuck it out and actually ended up getting a handful of five and six turn rides.  I knew most of the groms out by face from both Emma Wood and New Jetty, just stoked Ventura kids.

Towards the end of the session one of such paddles up to me and says “I remember you, you used to rip New Jetty all the time, what happened?”  I did not quite now how to respond.  I still rip New Jetty somewhat regularly and was not sure to take his words as an insult or just plain stupid grom ignorance.  Before I formulated a replied he continued with “How come you don’t have any stickers on your board any more?”

Ahh it all made sense now.  I must not surf anymore cause Im no longer sponsored.  I tried to explain to the kid how Globe and Body Glove dropped me and that I was kind of over the whole thing anyway, tired of starving.  I did my best to try to annotate that I was now living life after “professional surfing” (in my case meaning I helped to pay into the profession of other surfers and industry type people) and have more fun surfing now then I ever had when I was a logoed rider. Now when I paddle out I have nothing to prove or contests to train for and other things of that matter.

I just get to go out and surf and surf however I want.  If I want to spend the entire session boosting airs I can.  If I want to fuck around in waist high close outs trying to perfect the drop in floater basically making a fool of myself kooking it its my choice.  I can surf rights, lefts, straights, wherever I want, however I want, whenever I want and because I work I have money to boot (ok that last part is a lie Im still pretty damn poor).  I did my best to construe my situation on him, but at 16 years old he just could not grasp how I could give up “living the dream”.

Then he caught a wave and about five minutes later a different grom paddled up to me and we basically went through the same saga.  I don’t understand these kids.  I suck at surfing, especially by California standards of performance.  Why would any of them believe I could still be a pro surfer?  Shit all I want to do is surf as much as humanely possible and cook food to support my living.

Speaking of Rob Machado in strange settings...

With awesome moves like this it is a wonder no one wants to sponsor me...

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