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Posts Tagged ‘Santa Cruz’

Yesterday (5/6) Artist and former Professional Surfer Shawn Barron died at age 44 in Santa Cruz.  I didn’t know him personally, but growing up he was a major influence on my surfing life.  I remember watching the above clip of him doing a barrel roll in one of Volcom’s early surf films.  It blew my mind.  Barron surfed so different from the rest of the pack.  The man pulled some of the gnarliest airs, charged crazy Mavericks and from what I gather was an all around good guy.

Barney came out of a time when surfing was so open and diverse stylistically.  He was at the forefront of the aerial revolution.  It was guys like him who paved the way for all the seeming impossible stuff that is being pulled today.  I had the pleasure of meeting Shawn briefly at an autograph signing and surf demo back in 2003 in New Jersey. I just remember him being full of life and he even pushed some of the groms into waves after the demo was over.  Its a shame of his untimely passing, but I think there is not one of us around who can’t say the man didn’t live a remarkable life.

043015_barney3_promo

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Is that a barrel? Nope just a "PGCB" (don't know what that stands for yet? Read this.

Is that a barrel? Nope just a “PGCB” (don’t know what that stands for yet? Read this.)

Its sort of funny how fast this summer deteriorated on the surf front.  Usually it is the opposite.   June and early July are the hardest months for surfing here.  So far it being ten days into August and I have only surfed twice and both were in waves just over waist high I will be the first to declare that I have officially given up on the summer 2013 as being anything more in the books then marginal at best.  I thought July was pretty fruitful, but as I just looked over my stats I beg to differ.

I will say I was rather diligent and made the most out of just about whatever ripple the Pacific did decide to send my way.  I got off my lazy ass and even did a bit of surf adventuring first up in San Francisco with Mauriello (if you missed the tales read here) and immediately following, Bizarro and I cruised down to San Diego for a few days where I met up with West for some Blacks Beach action (for that scoop read here).  With out jumping on a plane and traveling half way around the world or to a different hemisphere I did my best to stay wet.  Here are the numbers and top surf sessions from July.

Surf Sessions: 27
Days Surfed: 18

Total Time Spend in the Water: 47 hrs
Total Waves Surfed: 788
Average Waves Surfed Per Hour: 17

Spots Surfed:
Blacks Beach, San Diego: 7
Emma Wood: 4
Santa Clara River Mouth: 3
New Jetty: 3
Grey Whale Cove, San Mateo: 2
Waddel Creek, Santa Cruz: 2
Lower Trestles, San Clemente: 2
County Line: 1
Oxnard Shores: 1
Scripps Pier, San Diego: 1
Davenport, Santa Cruz: 1

Top 3 Surf Sessions:

3) 7-21-13 PM Session: 3-5+ ft, Blacks Beach , San Diego
Time in Water: 2.5 hrs

Waves Surfed: 31
West and I wanted to grab one more session together before I leave town tomorrow.  After the terrible morning session I was not expecting anything.  I figured worse case scenario we go out there and shoot the shit while we grovel.  As it turned out the wind died, the swell was holding and the crowd was slowly dropping off. Everyone was sitting on the north peak so we went and sat the top of the canyon.   There were plenty of really fun ones.  As the evening wore on it just got more glassy.  I managed to get a barrel down the entire length of the canyon and came out.  The swell seemed a bit stretched on many of the set waves.  Still it was prob the most fun I had of the trip surfing.

2) 7-22-13 AM Session: 2-4+ ft, Blacks Beach, San Diego
Time in Water: 1.5 hrs
Waves Surfed: 22
I find it very fitting that on my last morning here Blacks was about as good as Blacks gets condition wise.  The surf was solid chest to head high, glass, nice lines, good corners and pretty consistent.  The crowd was on it making it a bit rough at times to get a good one.  I paddled more down on the north end of the canyon.  There were really good rights and lefts.  This was finally after days, the Blacks I drove 200 miles to surf.   I had one really deep sick frontside barrel, stuck a few good airs and overall was finding plenty of good ones.  The wind came up around 11am and that was fine cause I had already gotten more then my fill.  Good times.  Looks like I am back on the road home again.  I can’t wait to get home to the Barb and see my lady.

1) 7-13-13 AM Session: 3-5 ft, Waddel Creek, Santa Cruz
Time in Water: 2.5 hrs

Waves Surfed: 42
Once again Waddel looked the best.  I was feeling a bit hung over after last nights little visit to Fancytown.  This time we gave the reef a go where we saw a fun looking left peeling down the north end of the reef.  Turns out it was a bit soft, slow and lully.  After three waves I floated to the beach break which was a barrel fest.  I had the place to myself the whole session while everyone else surfed the mush burger on the reef.  Then John paddled over and it was a full on froth shred sess.  I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a session with so many barres and kill-able sections.  So much fun.  And we got to heckle Nat Young in the parking lot cause we are stupid like that.  Most likely they just thought we had a learning disability.

There you have it another month of surfing in the can.  As you can see its been nothing but monkey cock her in the 805 considering my top three sessions all came from out of town.  Please feel free to follow along with both my surfing and life adventures in the surflog. Get the full scoop on July there.

The theme of July was GROVEL. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

The theme of July was GROVEL. Photo: Christopher Dunlea

 

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North County always reminds me that one can find empty perfection anywhere. Even in crowded ass California.

North County always reminds me that one can find empty perfection anywhere. Even in crowded ass California. Btw, its a bit bigger then it looks…

What a spectacle!?! Who what have thought such a thing would go down?  Certainly not I.  There I found myself with compatriot John on the beach at Davenport in the mist of an innocent surf check.  To be honest the surf was pretty bad at that point, the tide was a bit too high and getting fatter by the moment.  The wind had picked up out of the north west causing a bump and crumble from hell and the swell had appeared to have backed off, or was just not showing so great on the reef.  We ambled around the shingle for a bit in the hopes of seeing something magical.  What we ended up getting a look at was more like starring into the sun as she bent down to pick up a shell.  “You take a quick look and then you look away, it’s too risky otherwise”. I will just leave the rest of that up in the air for imagination and a laugh between John and I that pretty much set the pace of the entire trip.

Ahhha ha ha ha ha, pardon my brief sinister laugh.  I just was unable to contain myself.  This story all began just like many other summertime tales that involve surfing on the West Coast of the America, down off the coast of Anartica in the shape of some storm that sent crazy huge surf to South America, while gracing California with a nice groomed long period south swell.  My initial plan was to just stay home and take my chances with both Ventura and Malibu.  The period of the swell was a little long for River Mouth, but one can always find something to surf if he is keen.

Then on Tuesday July 9th the day after another less then stellar Trestles mission I found myself bitching to my boy John up in San Francisco just how much I hate the fact that I suck at surfing Lowers and dealing with the crowd there.  He mentioned the possibility of renting a car for the weekend and cruising down to either Santa Cruz or San Mateo in search of some empty reef surf.    It didn’t take much convincing to get me to make the drive north to join him in his endeavor.  Just like that I found myself on the 1o1 north heading to San Francisco.

You always see something interesting on the interstate.

You always see something interesting on the interstate.

I got up there in record time actually cracking city limits in just over four and a half hours.  Thanks to not properly following John’s directions I quickly became lost on the complete opposite side of the city.  Luckily with a little help from John I was back in the right direction and at his place only  with a thirty minute detour.  It was good to see my old friend and former surf shop minion.  I seem to find my way up there to see him once a year these days during either the spring or summer.  Santa Barbara pretty much sucks in the summer time anyway being that there is no surf to speak of and the majority of the town’s population, primarily made up of students bails for the summer.  Plus I don’t work and have nothing better to do either.

Early to Bed, Early to Surf

Just another empty cove off PCH. This one offered a very tricky to access right wedge.

Just another empty cove off PCH. This one offered a very tricky to access right wedge.

There are some places in the world where the surf actually stays clean all day or is better in the afternoon.  California on the whole with certain exceptions is not one of them.  This means if one wants to catch the best surf of the day he usually has to get up with the sunrise.  At one time in my life I was quite the early bird.  I used get up at 5:30 every morning when I was in my late teens early twenties, then it became 6:30, then between 7 and 8.  These days if I find that if I am out of bed and brushing my teeth by 8:30 I call it a “damn patrol”.  Hooray for laziness or maybe I just like surfing shitty blown out waves so that I can blame the conditions for the fact that I suck at surfing.  Whatever the case I can’t tell you the last time I have been up before 8 am for a surf.

As it turned out John was short a roommate in his place at the moment thus I actually had my own room instead of a spot on the couch.  I don’t really know if you could call it a room for that matter.  It was more like a walk in closet with a nasty stained full sized mattress on the floor that may or may not have wished to give me a social disease or two.  All of that was renting at the “bargain price” of $950 a month and I thought Santa Barbara was insane.  I have slept on a lot worse in my past.  Around 7:30 am there was a knock at my door and it was John looking to shred.

It was fucking freezing out.  I know Mark Twain once penned “The coldest winter I ever spent was in San Francisco” but this was ridiculous.  I am lucky I didn’t freeze to death in my sleep.  My poor dick had just about crawled up into my body like a scared little turtle.  What better way to warm up then to pull on a 4/3 and boots and jump into equally freezing water.  Oh and I guess one can completely forget about seeing the sun up there.  The entire time I was in the city it was foggy and grey.

Lefts galore. Just another empty beach break.

Lefts galore. Just another empty beach break.

We loaded up and headed down the PCH to find something to surf since Ocean Beach was not doing it one bit.  That was fine by me.  I love that stretch of coast  between San Francisco and Santa Cruz.  The Pacific Coast Highway just weaves in and out of all these cool pristine beaches, coves, points, reefs and river mouths.  On the whole most are unscathed by the stain of man.  Its food for the soul in my book.  The thing about this coast is that there are actually so many options to choose from it can drive a surfer mad.  My rule of thumb is never drive away from something fun.

From the get go we had Waddel Creek in north Santa Cruz County in mind because of its variety.  The place has an array of reef peaks, a river mouth peak and a beach break all with in walking distance of one another.  There is something there to suit any surfer of any level.  For the entire trip the place did not disappoint.  From fun rip-able reefy lefts to left beach break keggers, to kill-able walls to boost-able stupid close outs.  It was a party that allowed us two very keen sessions.

A kegger about to scream  down the line unridden at Waddel Creek.

A kegger about to scream down the line unridden at Waddel Creek.

Thanks to hard afternoon on shores we had to settle for a small protected cove in San Mateo County called Grey Whale Cove.  This wave was average at best and reminded me lots of Mesa Lane here in Santa Barbara.  It was consistent and had some really good corners.  I had two good sessions there, where poor John on the other hand had a hate session.  All and all I would say surfing wise I could not complain.  For details on these sessions consult the July ’11 Surflog dates 7/11-7/15.

Grey Whale Cove, this place looked like Point Dume except it broke more like Mesa Lane.

Grey Whale Cove, this place looked like Point Dume except it broke more like Mesa Lane.

Fancytown is a State of Consciousness (or lack there of), Not a Specific Location

Now how could I ever visit a major city or anyplace with booze for that matter and not party?  Friday night after an amazing day of surfing, charged up, John and I bought a bottle of Bacardi from the corner bodega and decided to cut loose on the town.  Unfortunately time and bus schedules were not on our side.  We had to make due with the legendary (according to Kooky Kyle, whom I found out had never actually been there) Buck Shots, John’s old college hang out.  College season is over at the moment thus leaving us in a dive bar with a barely palatable DJ, dingy picnic tables across the bar, dead animals on the wall and two forms of skee ball.  Shit, I might as well have been in a shit hole in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Speaking of dead animals here is a picture of a sea otter skeleton that we decided to put sandals on.

Speaking of dead animals here is a picture of a sea otter skeleton that we decided to put sandals on.

I got wasted so who really fucking cared in the end anyhow.  I went to the bar to order a drink.  They had $6 double shots of Bacardi.  As the bar tender was pouring the top fell off the bottle and I ended up with a brimmed glass.  He was going to pour it out and start a fresh one.  Luckily I caught him and got way more then I bargained for.  From then on I was on the out skirts of Fancytown the rest of the night.  Besides a game of skee ball against John, which I got my ass whooped in I would say it was a most uneventful night.

Saturday night one of John’s friends was throwing a birthday party in the Mission.  We assumed it was going to just be an apartment event on the small side and in my opinion lame.  When we got there the party was in an auto body shop with cars and everything.  Apparently they rented out the whole space for the night.  It was packed and there was an open bar.  Things were looking up.

The bar was packed so we ran across the street and bought a large flask of Captain  Morgan to satiate.  It was not long before I was in full on Fancytown and not long after that when I became the president.  At one point towards the end of the night I found myself behind the bar downing whatever was alcoholic, just fiending.  That was about the last thing I remember before winding up in a puddle of my own vomit on the sidewalk in front of John’s apartment.  I totally ruined my suit.  From what I heard I was pretty much a full fledged shit show and John was barely able to get me home.

Next morning I woke up around 1 pm still drunk and an absolute mess.  John had this look mortification in his eyes, still a bit taken aback never having seen me in full on Fancytown before.  As the day wore on and I sobered up I found that I must have hurt my foot in one of my falls on the way home.  There was no surfing that day for I could barely walk let alone surf.  I  probably would have drowned. John’s friend Marc said he got “white girl drunk” that night.  I suppose then I must have been crack whore drunk. You have to pay hard to play hard sometimes.

Styling in my suit before Fancytown took over.  Lets just say the majority of that outfit found it's way into the trash.

Styling in my suit before Fancytown took over. Lets just say the majority of that outfit found it’s way into the trash.

The Impromptu Jam

Sitting at John’s kitchen table hating my life Sunday afternoon I noticed he had picked up his roommate’s base and began noodling around.  His roommate, Jesse got behind the drum kit and shit got real.  Jesse had a saxophone and although a beat to shit student alto with a crap mouth piece and tattered reed I decided to pick it up and give it a whirl.  It had been two years since I have jammed with anyone and John and I have never played together in all the years we have been friends.

Sure we played nothing earth shattering and most of the time it was out of sync, out of tune and out of tune.  I was still drunk for most of it and was just thriving in the moment.  I think if we laid tape there would have been a riff or two worth something.  We jammed out on “I want you back” by the Jackson 5 for like ten minutes that sounded pretty tight.  After years of lots of serious play it was great to just kick back and make some noise.  Almost made me stoked I drank to much to surf that day.

All and all despite some adversity and a port-a-potty or two from hell it was a “most excellent adventure”.  Life can get pretty stagnant if you stay in one place all the time.  Every so often even if its only a few hundred miles away I must change things up a bit.  One thing is for sure when I ever I leave Santa Barbara it feels that much better to get back.  When I got home I cooked an amazing Shrimp Scampi (click here for my Scampi recipe) for both Heather and Bizarro and all was well, business as usual.  I am actually headed to San Diego with Bizarro for the next four days for some surf, party and Comic Con fun.  Look for a fun filled adventure blog on that trip soon or follow along with the surf log while I am there.
July_SF-095

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Even in over crowded California there are empty line ups for the intrepid.

Even in over crowded California there are empty line ups for the intrepid.

This blog was originally published on November 22 2009 on myspace.com.  About a week ago or so Kooky Kyle dug it up from my archives and recommended I reblog it here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  Its funny cause its only four years ago and my life has changed in so many ways, yet in other ways certain things never change.  At the time my professional surfing career (or lack there of) was teetering on the cusp of extinction being paid  more  for my life style then surfing ability.  To supplement my meager income I worked a dead end job as the night attendant at a gas station in Goleta where I pretty much got paid to sit around read books, write my blog, listen to the same 50 tired hip hop songs all day on 103.3 The Vibe and be rude to customers.  Ever see clerks?  I was that guy.

Adrienne and I were just in the honeymoon stages of our to become tragic romance.  Two years down the drain.  “Better to have loved and lost then to not have loved at all”?  You can read Bowing Out if you want to rehash my misery cause that’s the only place your going to get lamentations about her.  I’m over it and can honestly say I have completely moved on with my life.  I think a year of mental and emotional torture on the subject was enough thank you.
Garden of Eden Parody

The 2009-2010 Season was an El Nino year and some of the best surf I have ever had the privilege to surf in the 805.  It might have been the best season of surfing for me personally in my entire life.  I was in the prime of my game, had curbed my drinking  and thanks to my easy schedule was always on it.  I met this dude Mark who stowed away with three of my boys from New Jersey on a trip from San Francisco to San Diego.  My old friend Alex was in medical school up in SF and was moving to SD for his residency.  Two of my other boys Sweet Charles and Dave, the Spring Lake crew, met up with him for an adventure down the coast.  

Mark another Spring Lake kid had just recently moved to Santa Cruz to loosely attend college but mostly surf and thus ultimately stopped going to class altogether.  The boys met up with him in SC then worked their way down to Santa Barbara where all of us scored some great sessions.  I should dig up that blog too for a blast from the past at some point.  The boys hung around for a few days till the swell backed off.  Mark offered his couch to me anytime I wanted to come up and surf Santa Cruz.  

After a lack luster week of surf and bad winds I browsed the forecast for Santa Cruz and sure enough it looked like a decent run of surf.  I called my boy Malone another Jersey guy who came out for the season and was living with Cory at the Palace.  He had wanted to come on one of  my crazy surfing jaunts for a while.  Just like that the stage was set for another imbecilic Chris Lisanti endeavor.  I apologize ahead of time for all the crazy different text size and fonts.  It pasted over from myspace all fucked up and I was too lazy to deal with the coding issues.  Any notes in “red” were added as hindsight notes.
North County Santa Cruz

November 22 2009

I woke up Bundled in all the clothes I was wearing the night before under a comforter and two blankets and was absolutely freezing starring face to face with Mark’s roommate’s tiny little cat Boodle sort of thinking maybe I should have stayed in the Barb.  Mark was already up boiling some water for tea and coffee psyched to be going on a mission up north since town was still pretty small and bogged with the tide.  I had driven the PCH up that stretch between Santa Cruz and Pacifica before and knew the raw potential of that coastline, just bursting with reefs, points and beachies, not to mention plenty of sharks.

Mark and Boodle

Mark and Boodle

 We got Malone up, warmed our insides with some tea and hit the road.  As expected the Lane was super high and completely un-ride-able.  We gave a check from the road on 4-mile (another tiny reefy point outside of town).  It was better there but had a few guys on it and was nothing special.  With 50 miles plus coastline to explore it seemed a waste to go for a paddle there.  Once out of town we checked a spot just North of Davenport, which was decent but had a few long boarders on it and was a bit fat looking. On a later trip Mauriello, Mark and I would score that place pretty fun.

Past there we drove for another ten miles or so before coming to a dip in the cliffs exposing a beach break and outer reef break with a handful of guys on it. There was plenty more size there, overhead at least. We drove on another mile or so and pulled off at this look out point on top of bluffs a solid 150 feet high. Below we spied out a series of reef breaks each having something to offer. The closest one to the previous break we passed had like three or four guys on it and was a somewhat fun looking right reef that we determined was well overhead after a watching someone get a wave.

What really interested us was this other reef about 100 yards north from the one being surfed.  From the looks of the set up it was a perfect A-frame reef with a short slabby left that appeared from our vantage point to end in a bit of dry reef.  The right meanwhile set up a heaving thirty yard barrel section before opening up to allow some turns.  This wave looked unreal, but the real tricky problem was figuring out how to get to the thing.  After about the first forty yards or so there was nothing but sheer cliff easily 100 feet down.  We gave it about ten minutes of deliberation on ways to get to the slab before deciding it too much work. Time was wasting and Malone was getting antsy. Every time I am up there I check this wave and have never seen it as good as that day.  I still have yet to surf it.

So perfect and yet so hard to reach.

So perfect and yet so hard to reach.

The vote was to move on.  Mark claimed he knew of a pretty decent beach break a bit further north near a lumber mill that he scoped out a few weeks back on a school excursion.   It was worth a shot.  Sure enough we pulled up to this beach break that looked about head high (in reality it was solid overhead) from the cliffs and there were peaks up and down this 500 yard stretch of beach.  It was rather breath taking.  All around us were these pine tree covered hills, on top of one was this lumber mill permeating the air with that saw dusty/pine smell. The beach was surrounded by cliffs except for a small section where there was a small river mouth that forced a break in the cliffs allowing easy access.

One of the reefs near the lumber mill.

One of the reefs near the lumber mill.

 I could tell right away that this was a beach/reef break mix by the way the waves were breaking.  On the southern most corner of the beach there was this right hander that was from the cliff anyway peeling off for a solid 50 yards or so bowling around itself the whole way down the line.  It kind of looked a bit soft, but certainly the best wave with accessibility we had seen.  At this point all three of us were bugging to get some surf and the decision was made to give the reef a go.

Some of the scenery at the spot.

Some of the scenery at the spot.

We suited up and walked down the refreshingly gradual trail to the break.  As we got closer the wave just kept looking more and more fun.  There was one guy on it and he was going left most of the time.  The left although much shorter was certainly punchy, worth a turn and a rampy close out section.  I paddled out and snagged a left off the bat, went for a hit under the lip and got destroyed and then proceeded to get caught inside for an eight wave set.  This is not very fun when the water is hovering in the low 50’s. 

 I got back out there and picked off a decent right, got tubed off the drop then hit it four times before the wave petered out in the channel.  After that I had a few more decent rides.  Both Mark and Malone were getting their share as well, Malone opting for the outside bombs, while Mark hung on the inside for the racy double ups.  The reef was pretty sick.  The wave would come in and go square off the drop, then it would bowl around itself for like another 30 yards or so giving a decent section to get at least two turns in.  The bigger ones were a bit mushy off the drop but then rolled into the slab and threw out super wide.

The beach break/river mouth combo

The beach break/river mouth combo

 After about thirty minutes of having the place to ourselves five other surfers paddled out, it was no big deal , there were still plenty of waves.  I was sitting pretty deep on the reef when this sizable set, probably the biggest yet popped up in front of me.  I took off on the second one a little deep.  I got to my feet, dropped in and next thing I know Im flying through the air upside down waiting to get destroyed by the lip.  The fucking thing hit me hard and sent me real deep.  I cant remember the last time I got hit by a wave that hard and held down that long.  Turns out according to Mark who had front row seats to the whole endeavor I dropped into a lip on top of a slabby double up causing me to eat shit. Come to think of it I got worked pretty hard the entire session only ridding a 5’10 when I should have had something more substantial. This has become one of my favorite spots in Northern California and I make it a point to surf there if its fun whenever I am in the area. 

We ended up surfing the place for a solid three and a half hours till it started to turn off a little with the lower tide, although it was still pretty decent.  From there we headed further north down the windy PCH as it followed the cagily coastline.  We passed numerous setups and spots that had potential.  There were just waves everywhere.  We pulled over and checked this beach break called Gazo Creek that just looked like there were perfect right peelers breaking off this river mouth reef thing.  Still cold and tired from our last session we decided to keep on the search.

What we were greeted with in the lot at Gazo.  As we would later find out that wave was more then double overhead and heavy.

What we were greeted with in the lot at Gazo. As we would later find out that wave was more then double overhead and heavy.

The boys and I ended up going all the way up to Pacifica and at that point I found it prudent to take Malone and Mark to Mavericks, which would not be breaking but at the very least they could get a look at the famous set up.  We got to the parking lot and some dude was suiting up to charge it.  Sure enough when we got in front of the cliff it was tiny (by Mav’s standards) maybe only 15 foot or so and just barely clearing the rocks, but strong enough that one could really get an understanding of how serious of a wave it is.

Mark Foo was a world class big wave rider who lost his life at Mavericks back in the early 90's.  This rock stands at the foot of the break in his memory.

Mark Foo was a world class big wave rider who lost his life at Mavericks back in the early 90’s. This rock stands at the foot of the break in his memory.

With waning light we decided our best bet was to truck it back to Gazo Creek and try our luck at the beach break.  We got there a little after four and by now some thick ominous gray clouds had moved in obscuring the sun set session we were hoping to relish.  The surf still looked really sick though and I had a feeling it was way bigger then the 4-6 feet we thought.  Malone opted out claiming it looked like a lot of work to put on a cold wet 4/3 to only get a few waves before dark and added he did not want to feel like fish food either.

Pacifica Peir

Pacifica Pier

 Mark and I were still up for the challenge and suited up.  Keep in mind this is a big open beach in the middle of nowhere in the wake of this old lighthouse not too far up the coast from it.  With every passing minute it was getting darker.  I handed Malone the camera so he could document our potential attack and subsequent death and we gave it a paddle.  As soon as Mark and I got down to beach level we knew we may have bit off more then we could chew (no pun intended).

Still looking somewhat inviting although a bit on the creepy side.

Still looking somewhat inviting although a bit on the creepy side.

 The shore break was solid head high and the white water on the inside was overhead.  There was a lot of water moving around and the sets were with out a doubt double overhead if not bigger.  We jumped in and immediately were fighting a current and thrashing our way out through the immense white water.  At first I was not sure if we were going to even make it to the lineup.  Finally after a few minutes of cold heavy ducking diving and paddling in place a channel opened up. Before we knew it we were out there.

Just to the north of Gazo is  Pigeon Pt and its subsequent self named light.  Pigeon Pt is also one of the biggest seal rookeries in California.

Just to the north of Gazo is Pigeon Pt and its subsequent self named light. Pigeon Pt is also one of the biggest seal rookeries in California.

 Im not going to lie at that point the surreal setting of the place began to get to me and I realized how small and insignificant I was in the food chain.  I had no way to judge the lineup not knowing if I was too far out or in.  I panicked and brought down Mark with me.  We decided to get one and go in quitting while we were ahead.  This break was in the middle of nowhere, it was sketchy as hell, we were in the heart of shark country during feeding time and the nearest hospital was easily a 45-minute drive away.  All of this was in my opinion a really bad combination for disaster.  Yeah these were all entities I should have considered before the actual paddle out, but when have I ever been one to sufficiently think anything I do through.  

There was not too much time to think about it thanks to a set that sneaked up on us out the back. To our dismay we took it on the head as a result of being out of position too far inside.  After the set passed I snagged an overhead in between wave that I got a hit and a floater out of.  Mark was right behind me on a smaller one that peeled all the way to beach giving him three solid turns.  We debating going back for more but ultimately chose to call it a day so we could live to surf tomorrow.  Both of us thought about those waves all night and the next day.  It did not help that as we walked up the beach we watched set after set of perfect double overhead rights peel down the beach.  On a pair of 5’9’s there was no way we could tackle it.  This spot would have to be conquered some other time.  We never conquered and I still have yet to surf there again.  As a matter of fact we were in a surf shop in town later in the trip and when we told the surf shop employee where we surfed he freaked “You have to be a nut to surf there.  There are more sharks then fish in the ocean at that spot.  You two were lucky to get out with your lives.”

The small non-set wave I caught to make my escape.

The small non-set wave I caught to make my escape.

That night Mark took us to this killer Mexican restaurant after which we went back to his place.  There we warmed ourselves with a cup of tea huddled around a lit stove burner. Over tea we excitingly conversed on  the day’s events and what the swell would bring in the morning. With that kind of sensory overload the three of us passed out in complete and utter exhaustion.  I cant remember the last time I slept on the floor so well.

There are nothing like little adventures like this that are relatively unplanned and enjoyed by the seat of one’s pants.  These days I am so locked in it seems I have less and less opportunity for adventure.  Every time I am in Santa Cruz I stop and eat a meal that Mexican joint.  I hope you enjoyed this reading this re-post as much as I had reliving it in my head when I edited it.

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May 2011 Surfing in Review

Considering we are 7 days, 14 hours away from the start of the “Summer of Alf”, which may be a benchmark in the history of Lisanti Land and will be described in detail on or around May 16th, the official start date.  I thought it would be right to finally close out 2011 and get the first ever year in a life of Chris Lisanti surfing stats.  In order to do that I first had to compile the stats from May of 2011.  Actually May was a very integral month in my life last year in a very negative way.

The “Summer of Alf” is going to be all about the positive.  Its almost necessary for this recap to happen nearly a year later.  May was it for Adrienne and I, the final cabash.  I spent the greater part of April trying to win her back and by May my efforts had become futile.  It was not long into the month that I found myself packing my bags and moving out of MY APARTMENT  as a result of the situation.  You can read “Bowing Out” and “One Last Perfect Day” if your new here and lost or just want to rehash my pain.  I know I link these regularly but that is because they were some of the hardest yet better pieces I have written here at SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.

The funny thing is when I read them looking back now it amazes me how messed up and confused I was.  As a result my surfing took a toll.  I missed some days, I was frustrated others and a few surfboards got destroyed as a result of drunken tantrums.  I still managed to stay wet as Nick the Kook would say.  I have said it before the only constant in my life in last 21 years has been surfing and I am thankful for every moment that has been bestowed on me in the water.  Here are the numbers of May 2011.

Number of Sessions Surfed: 16
Number of Days Surfed: 15
Time in Water: 27 hours
Number of Waves Surfed: 409
Average Waves Surfed Per Hour: 15

Spots Surfed:
Mesa Lane: 4
Rincon: 3
New Jetty: 3
Santa Clara River Mouth: 2
Emma Wood: 1
La Conchita: 1
Ocean Beach, San Francisco: 1
Waddel Creek, Santa Cruz: 1

Top 3 Sessions:

3. 5/30/11 PM Session: 2-3ft, Mesa Lane
Time in Water: 1hr 20mins
Waves Surfed: 25
After a morning of failed car surfing John and I decided to give Mesa Lane a look.  The wind was right and the tide was not too low making it a definite possibility.   Upon checking it there were tons of glassy little nugget bowls rolling in with a very light crowd.  It was bit on the low tide side but I was kind of frothy for a surf.  The surf was far from epic but I was in crazy surf mode and began pulling and sticking a variety of airs out of which I brought down three ally oops and one really fast backside air reverse.  It was a fun little session to say the least.

2: 5/29/11 PM Session: 2-3ft, Rincon
Time in Water: 2.5hrs
Waves Surfed: 28
Talk about late season crazy wind swell.  I checked the buoys this morning and they were spiking at 12ft.  I knew Rincon would have to have a wave of some sort.  Low tide was around one.  John and I cruised south and on the way down Santa Claus did not look very promising.  The parking lot at Rincon had a fair number of cars in it and some people were walking around with short boards leading me to believe that there might be some waves to surf.  Turned out there was some waist to chest high scrubby wind swell coming into the cove that was semi clean.  At first I as not too enthusiastic but then saw a solid set of three waves roll in that sparked my interest and had us all over it.  I ended up call boxing one wave and snagged at least three good ones and I saw John get a few good ones also.

1: 5/25/11 PM Session: 2-3+ft, North County, Santa Cruz
Time in the Water: 2.5hrs
Waves Surfed: 40
See Blog  Clearing My Head for more details. In short just a buddy of mine and I sharing waves in the middle of nowhere on a well shaped left reef pass.

There you have it the final recap that was needed to complete 2011.  Stay tuned for the entire stats from 2011, an entire year in surfing.  I’m excited.   Check out the “Urban Surfing” blog I wrote back in May of 2011 it some cool surfing and other adventures from this time period.   As always read the surf log for daily updates on my surfing and day to day.

Empty perfection. If you don’t surf then you probably don’t understand how precious this scene is. All you see is a pretty picture of a wave.

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October is usually a crazy month for surf around here.  This one was rather average, although there were some choice days.  I had a few keepers at Rincon and plenty of beach break action.  I think this may the be winter of the beach breaks unfortunately.  October marked the return of Kooky Kyle to Lisanti Land, this time joining the court at the Palace for an extended stay.  You can check out Kooky’s Korner for his take on things from time to time.  Kooky and I went on a 24 hour idiot mission up to San Francisco to surprise our boy and UCB all star John Mauriello, surfing a few spots on the way up.  Besides that I kicked a second heroine addict roommate out of my house.  Third time is a charm I guess.   Business as usual here in the Land of Lisanti.  Here are the stats and yes I know I am posting October’s stats in December.  I am month behind.  Always a day late and a dollar short.

Number of Surf Sessions: 21
Days surfed: 20
Time In Water: 34hrs
Number of Waves Surfed: 497
Average Waves Surfed Per Hour: 15

Spots Surfed:
New Jetty : 8
Rincon: 7
Waddel Creek, Santa Cruz: 1
Moss Landing Montery:  1
Surf Beach: 1
Santa Clara River Mouth: 1
Emma Wood: 1
La Conchita: 1

Top 3 Sessions in October:

3. 10/27/11 AM Session: 2-3+, New Jetty
Time in Water: 1.5 hrs
Waves Surfed: 25
You know those sessions when you feel like  God? I had one today.  It was only about chest to head high and a bit crumbly with the wind on it, not to mention a larger then optimal crowd.  I was on and that was all that mattered.  Every good wave seemingly came right to me.  All my turns were crisp. I stuck a bunch of airs.  It was just one of those days.

2.  10/18/11 AM Session: 2-4+ft, Surf Beach
Time in Water: 1hr 50mins
Waves Surfed: 27
Ahhh, Surf Beach and just about the one year anniversary of the fatal shark attack that happened there. With minimal swell and a need for adventure Kooky and I threw caution to the wind and went up to the wild north.   Upon pulling into the lot we were greeted by fun looking glassy chest high plus bowls with out a person in sight.  As we got changed this crazy old man who had to be over eighty and was born in Lompoc in 1924, lived there his whole life, began telling us all these gnarly stories of way back in the day.  He lost his wife of like thirty years last year and found himself a bit lonely these days.  I always find it really sad when old people lose their spouse after all that time.  I could not imagine the heart break.  Turns out he should not drive cause he has dementia but does anyway cause he does not give a fuck.  First thing he said to us was “I’m 86 years old and lost in life, maybe I always had been”.  Those words always win me over.  Then as we were about to paddle out this lady whom I have surfed both there and Jalama with claimed some guys saw a 12 foot great white there yesterday. I told her “well that was not today now was it” and paddled out.  Turns out the session was super fun and both Kooky and I scored some sick waves.  I got a few barrels.  We stopped at the Jalama Cafe for Lunch,  my favorite eatery in the area and ran into that same old guy.  What an awesome day.

1.  10/13/11 AM Session: 4-6ft, Rincon
Time in Water: 2hrs 45mins
Waves surfed: 27
Oh man, Rincon.  Today was the first day I have to say Rincon really cooked for me this season.  Kooky and I got there and the lot was packed.  I was going to drive away, but my rule of thumb is that if I can get a space in the front lot then I will surf the place regardless.  I ended up snagging a spot and was stoked I did.  The place was on.  I started up at River Mouth and surfed from there down three times.  I had some sick ones.  Out of the 27 waves at least twenty had no less then 9 turns.  I got two from high River Mouth to Low Cove and called boxed one from high cove.  Killian was out and had some guy filming him with a 35mm.  I had so many sick ones it was incredible. I love Rincon.

Well there you have it the month of October in surf sessions.  As always if you enjoy reading these little session reviews check out the surflog where I post some type of insanity about both my life and surfing every single day.

Alright this was not taken in the month of October. My boy Dave's girl Roo shot it at Santa Clara River Mouth back in March. Its still a sicky though.


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Empty Waves of north county

When I initially decided to travel to San Francisco I had a few must visit items.  Alcatraz was one of them and the giant redwoods was another.  Alcatraz was out because upon research the cheapest tour was $26 and just a tad to pricey for John’s and my budget.  Yesterday the plan was to meet up with my old roommate Brennan and go up to the redwood forest.

Being from Santa Barbara I never even thought to check the weather report before plotting out how I was to spend each day of my trip.  In Santa Barbara 300 days of the year you can count on sunny days where the temperature always gets above 70 degrees F.  In San Francisco however things are well a little bit more fickle.  While on the phone organizing the day’s festivities with Brennan he mentioned I should check how the weather was going to be.  Sure enough rain was forecasted and upon waking up it was raining and miserable out.

“When one is given lemons why not make lemonade”?  It may have been cold and rainy out but the wind was light for north county Santa Cruz and according to the surf report there were waves.  I love surfing north county and driving the PCH south from SF to Santa Cruz is one of the most awe inspiring rides a person can embark on along the California coast line.  The road traverses along steep cliff side banks with the vast expanse of the blue Pacific Ocean to the west and green rolling hills with scattered eucalyptus tree forests about them.

Along the road one also dips down into all these quaint little coves and valleys where a collection of beaches span out offering solidarity and a variety of river mouth, reef and beach breaks usually empty for the taking.  One must be an intrepid soul for although there may not be another human in sight there other creatures who lurk beneath that my not be so kind.  The men in gray suits ask no question and are non-discriminate in who they decide on taking.  I’m talking about sharks folks.  That whole zone is part of the red triangle and a seal rookery.

We started our way south from Ocean Beach down the Great Ocean Hwy and passed a number of almost adequate looking waves.  With 60 miles of road and over 100 surfing possibilities not to mention a guaranteed pay off at Steamer Lane John and I were not about to settle for anything less then great.  In my head I still had a vendetta to settle with a certain river mouth fed beach break called Gazo Creek back when I visited Santa Cruz in the fall of 2009.  Check back to the Myspace.com blogs for that one.  I may post it as a Blast from the Past at some point.

Long story short my boy Mark and I paddled out there just before dark and it was solid 8-12 ft and macking, but near perfect.  The paddle out was a nightmare and when we got out it was way bigger then we thought and both of us were on 5’9’s completely under gunned.  We freaked out, took one wave and came in.  A surf spot had not beaten me like that in years.  Ever since then like Captain Ahab and his whale I have sworn redemption from this wave.

Before getting to Gazo’s we stopped at this tiny road stop Greek pizzeria called Odyssey Café in Moss Beach just about 20 miles south of San Francisco.  I love little hole in the wall mom and pop type places that serve nothing but comfort food.  Some people are all about gourmet and fine dinning.  Sure that has its place in society but for me it’s all about places like this and I spend my time seeking them out where ever I am.

Odyssey did not disappoint and kept the good eating streak alive.  The place had four tables and offered pizza, Greek specialties and sandwiches all at a very affordable price.  I had a gyro and John got a chicken sandwich, both of which were delicious.  Did I mention they had an eight-foot rusted out metal sculpture of Tyrannosaurus Rex out front?  It was a most pleasant dinning experience.  From there we headed to Gazo Creek.

Gazo’s was small and although a few scattered lefts and rights hardly worth the shark risk.  I knew of spot a little farther south just on the other side of Ano Nuevo that I thought could be fun.  It has a name but for this blog’s purposes and the fact that I would love to surf there again with out being pummeled by angry locals I am going to call it The Saw Mill.   Basically the place has some scattered beach break peaks to the north and to the south about four reef breaks with on premiere right and left.  I had surfed the right back in the fall of 2009 and scored it.

On this particular day the left looked very appealing.  It was far from the best wave I had ever seen but no one was out, it was about chest to head high on set and peeling at least fifty yards down the reef.  I had a couple five to seven turn rides.  It was a bit soft, but every now and then there was the occasional double up and it was glassy.  As we got on our suits the sun came out.  The water was colder then yesterday except it was so much fun out there I did not even care.

John and I had a ball surfing for a solid two and half hours the entire time having the break to ourselves.  In all truth it was near perfect for about an hour and then the tide and wind slowly changed breaking up the lines.  It was still fun but not as easy to make all the connections.  It was by far the best surf session and most fun I have had in nearly a month.  My head has been so clouded lately with lamentations of my failed relationship with Ades.  I think she only popped into my head three times the entire session.

Oops I guess I am going to have to get a punch in the arm from John for that.  I have been obsessing over Adrienne for the past six weeks and now that we are done I need to get her out of my head and mouth.  I told John to punch me whenever I bring her up.  I know it’s a bit inappropriate but it has been helping.  Sometimes I mention her with out even knowing it.  Both my arms are getting pretty black and blue.

After the surf we headed back to town.  Brennan was to come up to the city and meet us for a night of more party shenanigans.   John and I had dinner at this random Chinese food restaurant in his neighborhood.  We ordered chicken chow mien, pork fried rice and General Tso’s chicken.  The General Tso’s was delicious the rest was edible.  I always make it a point to eat Chinese food when I’m in San Francisco.

We met up with Brennan and headed downtown.  I was really excited to go downtown since partying in downtown Santa Barbara is fun I could only imagine how crazy it would be in a major city.  I know it was Wednesday night but I’m sure in New York one can find some very happening parties going off.  John’s fifi being a San Francisco native knew the scene well and gave us two places to go.  The first was a club called Infusion.

At the door there was a small line and the bouncers were pulling that ratio bullshit the guys were pulling on Sunday night.  What is with this town?  Are there no females here?  In Santa Barbara the ratio is solid with out any bouncer interference.  The promoter lady tells us the ratio is 1:1 and unless you have a girl with you the chances of getting in are slim.  If I already had girls with me why the fuck would I need to go out anyway (I had a girl and blew it for just that reason, but that is why I am a fool and am suffering).  The three of us are on line when the promoter tells us to leave.  “Get off the line guys cause your not getting in”.  Meanwhile this pimped out escalade full of gangster looking Mexicans pulls up, all dudes and they walk right in.

I thought she was joking, but then she proceeded to get angry and told us to beat it or they were going to have to take adverse measures.  I have never in my life been kicked off the line at a club before.  We were three well dressed good looking guys that any club should have been happy to let into their establishment.  We went on to the next place, but they wanted $15 to get in on a Wednesday night, Brennan tried to talk the bouncer down to $15 for the three of us, but it was to no avail.

Beaten we went to some other place that had about 35 heads in it, 25 dudes and maybe 10 girls out of which maybe six were not taken and out of that there were really only two decent ones who every other guy there had already hit on.  Brennan always told me how much more fun partying in Santa Barbara was and now I believe it.  All I know is that I hate that I have to resort to going back out to meet people.  Being single sucks. I forgot how little fun the game is.

We bounced out of that place and stopped by an Irish pub that was filled with couples and people over 40 before making our way to a 24 hour diner.  Back in New Jersey I always ended my nights in a late night diner.  It was just the place to brighten up the night.  John was bummed out because he felt he let me down and I was bummed out like I am every night.  We were seated by this very attractive foreign waitress.  She was terrible at her job but good to look at.

It was a classic dingy dinner with terrible food and even worse staff.  Just what the doctor ordered for a smile.  Brennan starts running all these “what if” scenarios like he used to do when we lived together that got all three of us laughing and smiling again.  We ended up hanging out there shooting the shit for nearly two hours.  It was great to be out with two of my best friends and just laugh.  My life for the last two years had been adjoined with another’s and maybe somewhere along the way I lost sight of myself absconded in the collective us.

Now I am finding myself again and it should be a very interesting journey that I need to embrace and not cry about anymore.  John may have been bummed about not finding me a woman up here, but that is not why I came to San Francisco in the first place.  I came out here to celebrate his graduation and be among my genuine friends.  Mission accomplished.

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