Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Late October Surf Recap:

We’ve had a fun week of waves up here on the rock. And by all accounts it was great everywhere else. Sadly, I didn’t travel – more on that later.

From October 21st through the 28th there were waves, a solid groundswell which segueing into a wind swell. All of New England was lit up. As for me it was hit and miss. I’ve been too stressed about money and where my next freelance job is going to come from. If there’s a stoke-killer out there it’s work headaches. Gotta work that hustle. My friends with normal work schedules get so envious, but surfing uncrowded lineups isn’t much fun if you don’t know how you’ll pay the bills.

Sorry, but times are tough all over. Even poor Jay buckled his board.

But Magnolia, and the beaches were fun, but 2 days were busts; Friday-Saturday when I missed the tide and chased closeout after glassy, chest high closeout. But a fun Creek side and a mid day weekday session at the Hotel side sure took the edge off. A trip to New Hampshire, Maine, or RI would have been time well spent if I wasn’t so broke. I must stay by the phone and be ready for freelance work with literally a few hours notice.

This is a perfect illustration of the classic clash between surfing, or any passionate activity, and career/money. The name of the game was quality, not quantity. Also, what good is all the waves in the world when you get out of the water, only to find your car has been repossesed?

This too will pass, a few more gigs and I'll be all super stoke again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What goes in to a surfboard?

Non-surfers and surfers alike are amazed about the amount of work and care that go into shaping a surfboard (aside: surfboards are shaped rather than made).

Here's a video of veteran shaper Terry Martin of Hobie fame. This gives a good idea or the work and expertise that's required.

And this is just the shaping phase! The board has to be glassed and polished as well, and that's an entirely different process, requiring an advanced skill set of it's own.

Now do $1,500 surfboards make sense?

Anywhoo, this is a nicely produced video I found on YouTube; watch and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Late October sessions.

There’s been some fun surf the past few days. The wind swell cleaned up and turned into some fun groundswell.
I don’t even know if this is Omar or what. I do know the waves were mighty big, and spots around here were all lit up. North shore living has its advantages.
Fun in Maine, Mags, and the creek. Enjoy the pics!IMG_2819a1.jpg

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Jam 1979

Probably my favorite group, which is such a tough call. I grew up being influenced by my older brothers, who were more classic rock inclined. From their hi-fi's up stairs I'd hear Hendrix, the Allman Bros., Santana, Clapton, Clapton, and more Clapton; etc. Good stuff.

But...in 1979 I was 14, and coming into my own musically. WBCN in Boston was the "New Wave" station. It was such a fresh change of air. No more arena rock, no more endless drum solos. Au contraire, the Ramones' singles were no more than 3 minutes and stoppped on a dime instead of dramatically fading away. They just stopped. How punk!

Sheena is a punk rocker!

They'd play Elvis Costello, Squeeze, the Jam, all those Brit ska acts, the Clash, the Ramones, Graham Parker, Devo, XTC, Television, Marshal Crenshaw, etc. The list goes on forever, you understand. I was glued to it, it was an obsession. Again, I was 14.

It seemed like this was all for me, a break for the old. My brothers had their music, now I had mine. It was such an exciting time from 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982.

Then something happened in '83 - '84. Was it MTV? Was it the fact that this new wave had caught up to the mainstream? Somehow the magic was gone. We had gone from the Guns of Brixton to Frankie Say Relax. Burp. Nothing gold can stay, can it?

It wasn't for another few years when the American hardcore scene came along from 84-89 (I was late to that party) that I felt so stoked about music, only to be replaced by corporate angst-rock acts like Pearl Jam in the grungy 90's. Double burp burp.

But the warm nostalgia of those glory years will always remain.

I put it to you, dear readers: have any major label acts been so original since this time? Seriously, it's all been re-hash after re-hash since. Please prove me wrong, I dare you, I welcome you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cyclo-cross in Gloucester

Gran Prix of Gloucester is a cylco-cross race held at Stage Fort Park. It’s been running for about six or seven years now. This year’s event has proven that the Gran Prix has come of age. Now I’m no cyclo-cross insider but I can say unequivocally that it’s a world-class event. Teams from as far away as Illinois and Canada were there. The bikes themselves are the coolest. Here’s what I could find out: Cyclo-cross bicycles are similar to racing bicycles: lightweight, with narrow tires and drop handlebars. However, they also share characteristics with mountain bicycles in that they utilize knobby tread tires for traction, and cantilever style brakes for clearance needed due to muddy conditions. They have to be lightweight because competitors need to carry their bicycle to overcome barriers or slopes too steep to climb in the saddle. The sight of competitors struggling up a muddy slope with bicycles on their shoulders is the classic image of the sport, although unridable sections are generally a very small fraction of the race distance.Having a big time event like this in here certainly adds a little sparkle to things. It’s fun seeing tables of riders and their crews at restaurants, they all love the event, and they get a real kick out of Gloucester – how flattering. I get a kick out of them, and cyclo-cross girls are as hard-core as it gets. Pretty cute too.Just one thing: Shouldn’t it be Grand Prix (Grand with a “D”), instead of Gran Prix? If that’s the way you want to do it, why not Gran Pree?

last requests

Sunday, October 12, 2008

About Quiksilver, Inc:

Quiksilver, Inc. (NYSE:ZQK) is "the world's leading outdoor sports lifestyle company, which designs, produces and distributes a diversified mix of branded apparel, footwear, accessories and related products. The Company's apparel and footwear brands represent a casual lifestyle for young-minded people that connect with its boardriding culture and heritage."

Friends, turn and run, and for the love of God, don't put one of their stickers on your car. If you do you're a tool. And if you wear one of their t shirts, you're equally worthless.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin: one of the leading designers of psychedelic posters in the 1960s. He was also a contributor to the underground comix movement whose work appeared regularly in Zap Comix. Griffin was closely identified with the Grateful Dead, having designed some of their best known posters and record jackets. He was also known for his work within the surfing subculture, including his comic strip about a surfer named "Murphy".

Griffin was born near Palos Verdes amidst the surfing culture of southern California. After attending high school, he worked on the staff of Surfer magazine where he created his surfing comic strip. In Los Angeles, Griffin met a group of artists and musicians known as the Jook Savages and participated in the Watts Acid Test held by Ken Kesey.

After seeing the psychedelic rock posters that were being designed by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelly, Griffin and the Jook Savages decided to move to San Francisco in the fall of 1966, where he designed posters in the living room of his home on Elsie Street in the Bernal Heights district. His first art exhibition was for the Jook Savages, but organizers for the Human Be-In saw his work and asked him to design a poster for their event in January 1967. Chet Helms was also impressed by Griffin's work and asked him to design posters for the Family Dog parties at the Avalon Ballroom, which led Griffin to create concert posters for The Charlatans. Eventually, a poster distribution agency by the name of Berkeley Bonaparte hired Griffin, where he teamed up with the leading poster artists of the 1960s.

In the 1970's he converted to Christianity. He published The Illustrated Book of St. John, a retelling of the Gospel of John with his unique illustrations. He also produced album art for Maranatha! Music, a Christian record label.

In 1991, Griffin was killed in a motorcycle accident in Petaluma, California.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Heart of Darkness

"This, too was once one of the dark places of the earth."
-Joseph Conrad

OK, Heart of Darkness it wasn’t, but a ride on a 70’s Grady-White in might as well been since things have been so dull for me of late. So a little embellishment of my non-story both here and in my mind is inevitable, so bear with me friends.

Guy took me out on his boat (he even let me take the wheel, see!). He has a cool old Grady-White. The voyage was from the Gloucester Marina up the Annisquam to Ipswich Bay and back. The purpose of this was to run his finicky motor, but for me it was the fist time on a boat (not counting Long Island ferries and Kayaks) in over a year. Pathetic when you consider that I had a USCG captains license.

It had been decades since I’d made this run, Annisquam and Wingaersheek were gorgeous. I had no idea there were so many homes along the river. They ranged from the obvious posh Summer estates to very cool little seasonal cottages and bungalows. Go up the river, you won't find Kurtz. But you will find Riverdale, Wingaersheek, and Annisquam at it's prettiest.

Heart if Darkness: Now that I think about it, it's a book I'll have to revisit. Mr. Zamore at Belmont Hill could not emphasize enough Conrad's brilliance. God was I thick. But 25 years later it has sunk in, his efforts weren't in vain.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hurricane Kyle

It had been raining since Friday, I can’t get too jazzed about surfing in the rain, and I’m definitely not happy about surfing in runoff. One trip to the ER is enough, thanks very much.

Saturday: Discretion is the better part of valour

Saturday was I took a pass with sheets of rain. But loads of locals around here scored if they chose the right spot. I passed, "live to fight another day" being my philosophy.

But on Sunday I promised friends I’d meet them down in Nahant.

Sunday: Nahant 101

Nahant is one of Boston’s oldest Summer colonies, and has a very cool old timey beach. More importantly, the beach is actually a fun break when there’s swell, with log friendly lefts and rights. A nice surprise indeedy.

With the rain still coming down I loaded up the Tyler 777 and headed south around 8:00. It looked so-so here anyway. It’s close, and I slid into a bunch of satisfying rights & lefts some as big as stomach high.

The mellow vibe alone will bring me back. And making the scene at other breaks? Whatever, friends, this is Massachusetts. OK, nothing epic, but new spots are always a rush.

Monday: Viva Maine!

The rain FINALLY cleared, and the swell actually peaked around here. Bad Harbour looked good at about shoulder high. All my favorite folks were there, Rich, John O, Jay, Karen & Jon, Diamond Dave, etc. But I’m so weary of ear infections, and a damn easterly wind was coming up. Phooey!

What to do? The 777 was still in the car. Higgins Beach it was, a gamble that paid off in spades. Arriving at the beach, the conditions were perfect. No wind, overcast skies, low crowds, and head high waves. The beach faces south and is far enough north that it picks up southeast swells (like Kyle) nicely.

What a wave! The 777 was amazing, I started off with a powerful left, and then another. That board catches the wave early, which is a big help at Higgins. The wave of the day had to be a right that took me straight to the rocks that surface on the dropping tide.

So a head high plus rightie comes through, all for me. It was a later take-off, but after cranking my turn I started to accelerate and accelerate and accelerate. I was freaking’ flying. Flying towards to rocks. Not to worry 777 was so loose I made the most stylish of pullouts. Talk about feeling like a Mack! That was one of the biggest buzzes in surfing I’ve ever had, straight up.

A few more gorgeous waves and I was done for the day. Have you ever known that super satisfied feeling? That feeling that you’re ten feet tall. That’s how I was. Just don’t tell your friends who have to work about it for a few days! Don't worry, at least y'all have regular work.

I wanted to scope out a surf shop in Portland, just 2 more exits up 95. Portland is such a pretty town. There’s a good mix of business and culture. Loads of funky little craft shops, yoga studios, bike shops, even a record store (yay!). But the objective was Corduroy Surf Co. and the adjacent Sebago Brewing Company. Corduroy is my kinda place, a surf shop for adults, artsy & designy but not pretentious. He sells clothes that I’d actually wear too. No Volcom, Quickie, etc. It’s the anti Ron Jon’s. Jim, the proprietor is a nice guy, into logs, single fins & fish. Corduroy: great shop that supports local artists with shows and receptions. I’ll be back there too.

Sebago Brewing Company is a fabulous brew pup with possibly the best burger in the world, as well as a full dinner menu with fish, steaks, and lobster.

Tuesday: Back to da Creek
After Monday almost anything would be a let down. All I had time for was a peek at the creek. That stupid easterly flow had come up yet again. But rather than being disappointed, my sense of satisfaction of going to Maine was reinforced. Viva Maine.