In the summertime, California traffic and weekends permitting, I can be found bobbing on a board at beside Huntington Beach, staring into the horizon, wondering if my skills are a better suited for eating pancakes at Ruby's Diner at the end of the pier or gasping for sets out in the sea. When winter has come, I become a wet-suit phantom in Northern California, haunting the beaches of Mill Valley, desperately seeking lessons.


HEAT WAVES, HUNTINGTON & A TROPICAL STORM NAMED FABIO >

I celebrated the start of the 2018 SoCal surf season by slathering myself in SPF30 in record 116 F degree heat. Los Angeles, Huntington Beach and the vast shores of Orange County were sweltering, Tropical Storm Fabio tossing up choppy and unfriendly waves intolerable of shaky human buoys like myself.

That and it took me two days to regain feeling in my shoulders again.

  Credo for practice, execution, commitment, trying again.    

Credo for practice, execution, commitment, trying again.

 

  Rejuvenating with amazing lattes and breakfast sandos at Sessions West Coast Deli.    

Rejuvenating with amazing lattes and breakfast sandos at Sessions West Coast Deli.

 

  Leaving me and my quads high and dry.    

Leaving me and my quads high and dry.

 


SURFING BEGINNINGS >

I thought it only appropriate that I learn surfing on the islands where the sport was invented.

So when I first climbed aboard a longboard in Waikiki four years ago I realized two things:

(1) Catching a wave is exhilarating.

(2) I'm out of shape.

I've taken lessons all over the place, but owe the most growth to my time spent with Bill Sharp and his crew at the Huntington Beach Surf School. Getting 1:1 instruction and then being allowed multiple repeat visits to pound their boards into the surf were key elements in me getting better.


SINGAPORE >

Squeezed into a rash guard in 2010 in Singapore and got my surf on in a wave machine before paddling around in 75 F degree weather in December. It was my first experience in a wave simulator.

A couple hours + a broken finger later, I was on my way. I was so stoked I didn't realize my finger was broken until I returned home (probably too many Singapore Slings at the historic Raffles Long Bar, where I went to celebrate my waviness).

  Waiting on deck, taking a gulp of air to calm the nerves before taking multiple gulps of water as I floundered my way around my first wave machine.

Waiting on deck, taking a gulp of air to calm the nerves before taking multiple gulps of water as I floundered my way around my first wave machine.

  Post wave machine experience (my finger was broken, but I wouldn't "realize" it until days later).

Post wave machine experience (my finger was broken, but I wouldn't "realize" it until days later).

  Celebrating a day in the sea like a proper tourist should: in the Long Bar of The Raffles Hotel, home of the Singapore Sling.

Celebrating a day in the sea like a proper tourist should: in the Long Bar of The Raffles Hotel, home of the Singapore Sling.


BODY SURFING IN CHILE >

Hawaii was my first stand-up wave, but my wave riding extended more than a decade prior, when with a surfer-tour guide, I bodyboarded with classmates off the coast of northern Chile.  I wasn't even trying to catch a way (nor did I know what catching on entailed).  I was simply flailing around on a body board and suddenly, I was being propelled forward by the forces of the sea. I left with a scratched up chest, badly sunburned shoulders, and a memory of something resembling flying.

 


AND THERE WAS SKATEBOARDING... >

Comparing skateboarding to its progenitor, surfing: ocean water is kinder to your skin & bones than downhill grades of hot asphalt on humid Tennessee summers.

  Between skateboarding and BMX biking, this photo was a rare childhood moment when my knees and elbows weren't covered in Band-Aids, dirt, grass, pebbles, blood, scabs, twigs, metal shavings, etc.

Between skateboarding and BMX biking, this photo was a rare childhood moment when my knees and elbows weren't covered in Band-Aids, dirt, grass, pebbles, blood, scabs, twigs, metal shavings, etc.

  Thanks to the splendid cultural microcosm that is the Circle A Skate Shop in San Jose for inspiring me step back onto a board, defying logic, gravity and the furrowed looks of disapproving adults.

Thanks to the splendid cultural microcosm that is the Circle A Skate Shop in San Jose for inspiring me step back onto a board, defying logic, gravity and the furrowed looks of disapproving adults.

  With modern day Renaissance skater and shop owner Bob, who has been a part of skateboarding since its start, having been active from movie cameos and skate mags to the early community building days of the first major skateboarding pros and their brands.

With modern day Renaissance skater and shop owner Bob, who has been a part of skateboarding since its start, having been active from movie cameos and skate mags to the early community building days of the first major skateboarding pros and their brands.

The Raddest Archive >

In an act of cultural preservation and awesomeness, Transworld Skateboarding scanned in an archive of every issue ever published of the original Skateboarder Magazine: every Interview, every Val Surf mini-catalog, every Who's Hot.



 Thanks to the tireless scanned-in Skateboarder magazine archives from Transworld...the wheels: "they grip." I wonder how this board would ride with two pairs of   Blood Oranges   bolted on...

Thanks to the tireless scanned-in Skateboarder magazine archives from Transworld...the wheels: "they grip." I wonder how this board would ride with two pairs of Blood Oranges bolted on...


Waves were the playing field. They were the goal. They were the object of your deepest desire and adoration. At the same time, they were your adversary, your nemesis, even your mortal enemy. The surf was your refuge, your happy hiding place, but it was also a hostile wilderness — a dynamic, indifferent world.
— William Finnegan, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (2015)

 

SURFING ADVENTURES (TO USE A STRONG WORD) ARE CHRONICLED ON MY TUMBLR PAGE >

...a combination of surf reading I've found interesting, a few adventure shots and general surf-culture inspiration.