Monday, April 11, 2005

Shake Yer Bootie

It's friggin' cold right now.

The weather is great - warm, sunny, & pleasant. It's the water that's freezing. Newport clocked in at 51 degrees yesterday (that's cold, even for Norcal).

So, for the first time in over a year, I dusted off my booties and surfed two days in a row with rubber feet. It wasn't bad - the traction is great and you stay nice and toasty. But it wasn't all that good either.

For me anyway, the more rubber you have to wear while surfing just separates you that much more from the ocean, and that progressively detracts from the overall experience. Maybe a strange sentiment coming from a guy who, along with every other guy in Socal, is pretty much wrapped in some form of rubber or another (from 4/3 fulls to 2/1 tops) 10+ months of the year.

But there's just something about booties that crosses a line.

Guys from Hawaii or New Jersey would probably disagree in a big way that booties are some kind of neoprene line of demarcation, but think about it. We're talking about your FEET...the direct link between you and your surfboard. And when they're covered up, well, I don't want to get into the whole sex/condom thing, but you get the picture.

Even if you're wearing a fullsuit, there's just something about having bare feet the provides a key sense of interaction with what you're doing. It's like fingerless gloves (or crotchless panties, for that matter). The business bits are left exposed to, er, take care of business.

To be honest, I didn't notice it that much yesterday when the waves were decent sized and I was out on my fish. Similar to a shortboard, you're up and you're planted. Fucked up stance? Better luck next wave.

It was today, logging it, that I really noticed the difference. Crosstepping, cheating five, turning, trimming...your feet are so much more actively involved in the process (in the "dance", to get all Dave Parmenter on your ass) that booties really muffle the whole deal.

I think back to my trips to Indo and I recall that everytime I was out in the water and saw a white guy paddle by with bare feet (my friend Derrick did it the whole trip last spring), I felt a mixture of envy and shame. Shame because I felt like a puss for being afraid of a reef that ain't exactly Great Barrier-esque. And envy because he had the balls to do it, and was enjoying the true tropical experience: board, trunks...and that's it.

There was just something wrong about wearing rubber in the tropics.

(Then again, fear of one's own blood will conquer shame and envy on an Indo trip anyday. Especially after straightening out at Impossibles, doing the long jump off your board, and landing feet first in knee-deep water. I would've kissed my O'Neill Super Freaks...but that would have meant taking them off.)

Bottom line is that the less you have to wear while surfing, the better.

So this afternoon, I happily hung up my booties knowing that the wind hadn't blown hard in a few days, the upwelling had stopped, the swell had dropped, and that tomorrow would most likely be a bootie-free day.

Besides, I like having a bare ass white body, tan face, tan hands, and tan feet. It's the reverse Mickey Mouse look and the girls DIG IT.

K, few more ramblings before the sign-out...

The surf racks in my garage came tumbling down last week, along with half my boards.

Being the lazy Homer-fucking-Simpson that I am, I originally stuck the racks directly into the drywall using special self-screw drywall anchors that are supposed to carry up to 50 lbs a pop. I guess it didn't occur to me that I wasn't exactly hanging a picture and that I'd be yanking boards in and out on a daily basis, wiggling the screws back and forth, day in and day out.

The day it happened it was like that scene at the end of the Blues Brothers where they get out of the Bluesmobile after the all-night car chase, slam the door, and the entire thing falls apart. I literally touched one of the boards, and 4 or 5 of them, along with 3 or 4 of the racks, just came smashing down in one fell crunching swoop of drywall dust and fiberglass shards.

My 2 year old son thought it was hilarious. "Soofboard...BANG!"

So yesterday I finally got out my trusty stud-finder (although I still believe in the knock n' drill method) and redid the whole damn setup with some 8 inch deck screws.

The damage was done though - the worst victim being my 9'6" Dewey Weber log, which lost a fin and a chunk of the tail. It's now in the pile with the board with the hole on the bottom from the dipshit who couldn't get out of my way in time and decided to duck dive UNDER me instead...surfacing, tip first, right under my board.

The flipside to this is that I just ordered two new boards - a rocket fish and a new 6'6" - from Greg Sauritch down in San Diego. Greg has been shaping boards for me for years, and he's a classic guy. He's been making boards in North County for, like, 40 years now. He was Machado's original shaper and always has young SD rippers on his team before they get snapped up by the Merricks and Rustys of the world.

I don't usually plug people or things in this blog, but Greg is way overdue a mention

The Colonel says, "New boards rule."