Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Totally '83

The Colonel has nothing to rant about today, so Mr. Peabody and Sherman will be filling in for him while he thinks of something else to get pissed about.

"Mr. Peabody, where should we go today?"

"Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1983."

"Who's that, Mr. Peabody?"

"That's a young man posing for a surf magazine, Sherman."

"Wow, he looks like a dork, Mr. Peabody"

"Actually, Sherman, he was quite cool back in 1983. Notice the angled sleeves, the rolled pants...red, of course. And, well, the dog. A nice dog. Men in the early 80's, you see, were sensitive."

"Wow, Mr. Peabody. Are men sensitive now?"

"No, Sherman. Men are badass now. They wear black wetsuits and have lots of tattoos."

"Wow, who's that Mr. Peabody?"

"That, my boy, is Richard Schmidt?"

"Is he sensitive?"

"No, Sherman, but he does have white hair and a white mustache...which is mostly just weird. Then again, he's from Santa Cruz."

"I like his wetsuit, Mr. Peabody."

"Yes, Sherman. In 1983, everyone had colorful wetsuits. It was a colorful time. Richard, here, is actually rather subdued considering the colors young surfers were splashing about in in 1983."

"Wow, Mr. Peabody...what's THAT guy doing over there?"

"That, my boy, is a snowboarder, circa 1983."

"Is that like surfing?"

"A bit. Much like skateboarding was originally called 'sidewalk surfing', snowboarding was originally developed to replicate surfing in the snow."

"Wow, it looks like fun."

"It was, only I have I'm not sure how this lad keeps his back foot attached to the board. It appears to be black grip tape, much like a skateboard."

"Is he shredding, Mr. Peabody?"

"No, Sherman, not really. I think mostly he's trying to keep his back foot on the board. A bit silly, really."

"Who's that in the white and red wetsuit, Mr. Peabody?"

"That's Rockin' Fig, Sherman."

"Who's Rockin' Fig, Mr. Peabody?"

"His real name is Rick Fignetti, Sherman. He's a local Huntington Beach surfer. He also does the KROQ surf report on the radio."

"Does he do the KROQ surf report in the future?"

"As a matter of fact, he does, Sherman. He also runs a small surf shop next to El Ranchito on Main St. and writes a weekly column about surfing for the local newspaper."

"I like his wetsuit, Mr. Peabody."

"That's very nice, Sherman. Now what else do you see?"

"I see a lady, Mr. Peabody!"

"That's correct."

"Who is she, Mr. Peabody?"

"That's the Gotcha lady, Sherman."

"Who's the Gotcha lady, Mr. Peabody?"

"The Gotcha lady was a new wave icon used by the surf company, Gotcha, in 1983?"

"What's 'new wave' Mr. Peabody?"

"New Wave was a style of art and fashion and music that came out of the late 70's, Sherman. Many of the surf companies in 1983 adopted that style. Although for anyone that was truly hip, this look was a bit tired by then."

"I'm tired, Mr. Peabody. Can I take a nap?"

"You can take a nap in 2006. Now look around. See anything else?"

"Oh, I see a man surfing, Mr. Peabody."

"Do you notice anything in particular about that man surfing, Sherman."

"Is he surfing in the air?"

"That's correct. That's Kevin Reed surfing at Ano Nuevo, north of Santa Cruz in 1983."

"Do other men surf in the air in 1983, Mr. Peabody?"

"A few, but not many. Years later a handful of younger surfers took the credit for introducing 'air surfing', Sherman. But this young man, Kevin Reed, deserves much of the credit."

"What does he do now, Mr. Peabody?"

"I think he has a job, Sherman, and surfs on weekends."

"That sucks, Mr. Peabody."

"Quiet, you."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hola, Eddy

Who knows what a Coastal Eddy is? Raise your hand.

Yes, you. The kid eating the paste in the corner and picking his nose. Please stand and tell the class.

"Coastal eddys are basically just small low pressure systems that develop some nights out over the Pacific off the Southern California coast. This small low pressure system spins up moisture from out over the water eastward and onto our coastline. The result is usually a cloudy, breezy start to the upcoming day. BURP!"

Excellent. You may sit and resume picking and eating.

So, for the past week or so, we've had COASTAL EDDY CONDITIONS here in Orange County. In other words, every morning it's cloudy with light onshore winds.

Which kind of sucks.

BUT, we've also had waves. I don't think we've had a single day in over a week that hasn't served up at least a few head-high sets.

Which, as Carl the Assistant Groundskeeper said after being told by the Lama that upon his deathbed he'd receive total consciousness, is nice.

So what else is going on in HB?

In a lot of ways we've just sort of settled in to this kind of late Spring holding pattern. Decent (enough) waves, funky weather, warm (enough) water, and small (enough) crowds.

On Saturday morning, Dwyer Middle School was having their end-of-the-year surf team contest. It was fun watching the little groms splash around in the dumpy shorebreak, especially during the "air contest", during which ONE kid actually managed to coax his fins partially out of the water.

I'm actually not sure which was more entertaining for the handful of tourists on the beach - the 13 year-olds trying to get airborne in 3 foot shorebreak, or my 3 year-old son in his size 3T wetsuit, running to the water's edge, face planting, running back up the beach, face planting in hole I'd dug for him in the sand, and running back to the water (repeat 12-14 times until in need of juice and pretzels).

Oh, and BTW, Timmy Turner paddled out the other day for the first time since he got sick. Good for him. HB needs more surfers like TT - a worldly, creative, international ambassador, and not the usual tatted-up dirtbag or ex-con born-again (ok, he is a born again, but we'll let him slide since I don't think he spends his time in Indo trying to "convert the savages").

Big up to Dixon, a classic SD mate and a fixture at the South Mission Jetty. The skinny-legged one is getting hitched and some of the boys will be getting a few houses at Las Gaviotas in Baja this weekend. It has actually been a couple of years since the last Mex trip, so that should be fun.

The Colonel says, "Relajar, por favor."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ahoy, Hoy

I deleted that last post.

I hate when bloggers or columnists or webmasters do the whole "under construction" or "be back soon, promise!" thing and then, of course, the construction never finishes and they never do come back soon.

Which is exactly what I just did.

So, apologies for that. But the Colonel is back, so let's get back to business. So much has happened, surfing-wise, in the past 6 months that I'm not even sure where to start...

Right now there's still a solid swell pumping into Orange County. It's a little weird, little funky, little closed out, and a little bumpy, BUT...at least there are waves.

Saturday was funky and mixed up with HB's patented northbound current doing its Mississippi River impersonation. Sunday was slightly heavier - solid overhead - with more water moving around and nastier sets. Yesterday was the cleanest day so far, with clean A-frames but so much goddamn high tide water moving around that almost every set came complete with backwash speed bumps and bonus warbles.

The super warm weather and warm(er) water over the weekend also had unreal crowds at the beaches, which was actually kind of nice because the lack of parking favors the big families who show up early from Riverside. The weekend wave warriors show up, see the chaos, and splinter off in various directions. Then guys like me squeak through the crowds, park our bikes, paddle out at the pier through 50 obese teenagers in jean shorts and soaking wet size XXXL t-shirts, and then get any wave we want.

Sometimes membership, even in a concrete surf city metropolis like HB, has its privileges.

Christ, has it really been 6 months since I last posted? I can't get over that. Where did the time go?

As we all know, a few days after December 19th, 2005 (the date of the Colonel's last entry), that macking super swell slammed into the coast. On the 21st I walked out on the pier with a buddy and watched massive, glassy, double-overhead walls slam into the pilings and shake the pier like we were at Candlestick, October '89.

Which brings me to a familiar topic - the surf media. How many of you surfed that giant swell? Especially those first few days, when almost every spot from IB to OB was CLOSED THE FUCK OUT? I already know the answer. Not many of you.

I'll tell you who DID surf. Every professional surfer in Southern California showed up at Sandspit in Santa Barbara and crawled over each for photo ops in dirty, dredging, wedging tubes off the jetty. The sun hadn't even gone down and every surf media outlet in Orange County was posting that day's video of Curren and Dane Reynolds with ridiculous headlines like, "EPIC DAY OF SURF ROCKS SOCAL!"

Um, yeah. Epic day if you were Curren or Dane Reynolds at Sandspit.

Yeah, there were a few other spots happening...Black's, Swami's, and all the rest of the usual big wave winter suspects. But I mean, for the average guy, even the average guy who's a pretty good surfer, it was basically 3 weeks straight of closed out, unrideable beachbreaks.

Yes, even I eventually got off my ass and got into my car and went in search of more structured surf spots. In my case I went up to Ventura and surfed C-Street with my brother-in-law-to-be for 3 straight days. And I know that tons of people got tons of great waves at every point break you've ever heard of.

But the media...oh, the fucking surf media. Every day it was another inane headline - "Best December Ever!", "The Swell of the Decade!", "3 WEEKS OF PERFECT SURF!"

Which, I guess is all true if you're Chris Brown with a tow-board and a photographic entourage. But for the other 99% of us who surf, those 3 weeks amounted to a little bit of surfing and a lot of not surfing.

It just further illustrates how completely out of touch the former pros who run the mags are. I mean it's bad enough that they're "celebrators of the lifestyle" posing as journalists. But the "lifestyle" they celebrate isn't even in tune with the vast majority of their readers. It's really a celebration of the "surf industry lifestyle", where Sunny Garcia's white collar tax wipeout (thank you, Scotty Breauxman) is buried in a PR fluff piece, and yet another Volcom self-congratulatory circle jerk "party" warrants an entire page with photos and connect-the-bro-brah'isms. Toss in some meathead from Hawaii in linebacker pads towing in to a stunt wave and, hey bro, let's call it a great winter.

Wow. I just got pissed fast.

Guess the Colonel is back in action. Again.

At ease.