Spike in Swell

Swell started to show yesterday…came a day early in fact.  Waves were breaking as far out as the eye could see, all of the headlands had bombies peeling along its shores, Maverick’s was breaking and being ridden and all sheltered spots were going off.

Today it has started to back off a bit, and there were even a couple fearless chargers out there trying their luck on the shifty windblown peaks.  The hot air and sun gave a false feeling of mellowness quickly dashed by the heavy water.

It was hard to not be mesmerized by the beauty and raw energy.

From the beach it’s always hard to get a full appreciation for the size and scale, shifting peaks, rips, wind intensity and other dynamic aspects of trying to surf OB when its on.

Lots to contend with.  A true test of a waterman’s skill and perseverance.

A challenge like few others.

A bit of cat and mouse, a bit of strategy, and a zen like composure.

The last part for me, since I run out of breath quick and have to practice my breath control when its gets sizey.

As the swell drops, I’m hoping the beautiful weather sticks around.

Summertime in the city!

Summer is Back

We had a great little run of warm weather and waves that lasted nearly 7 full days, and then it seemed as if Winter was upon us.  Two weeks where we got a taste of rain and weather and then it all started to come together.

Summer came back, just in time for Halloween and our Giants to win the World Series.

This guy is punting in celebration!

So many fun peaks to choose from…right or left you can’t go wrong.

Look at how fun this is.  I think of all the different equipment choices you could play around with, all offering up a different kind of glide.

There were some bigger sets here and there, warmish water, and bright sun.  Was really nice to take it all in while pelicans zoomed by on the up drafts.

November 1st started off in perfect form.  Slightly overhead sets poured in with little drainers at low tide.

How’d you like to be this guy right now?

Or this one!  Not  drop of water out of place.

As the swell goes up to 30 ft today, we all get a chance to slow down and reflect.  Slowly coming down off the high from last nights big win and the string of good waves.

Ho Brah!

You gotta love this town!

Rode out the swell…thoroughly surfed out!

What a week!!  6 straight days of sun and swell and then another day of swell but without the sun. It would hardly be fair if Aeric didn’t get a taste of the fog at some point. After a few solid days out here at OB and some really fun waves down south that will provide memories to last a lifetime.

Last full day of Aeric’s University exploring surf trip was underway as we decided to take a scenic trip down Highway 1 on our way to the birthplace of surfing in Northern California.  We brought five boards from 6’2″ to 9’6″ and headed out prepared for anything that came our way.

Was pleased to find some remnant south swell mixed in at the first stop on the central coast tour.  All the local legends were out, mixed in with pros and semi-pros warming up for the Cold Water Classic coming to town.

Aeric was super stoked to get out and hooting and skipping around as he tried to slip into his cold suit that never had the chance to dry all week long.

Some nice little waves were coming through as we watched Flea and then Barney showing the line-up how they do. Ratboy waxing up and the guys putting up the scaffolding for the big show. It was quite the introduction to the Westside.

With all the talent in the water, it was hard to get a wave to yourself…here’s Aeric practicing his stink eye below.

I told him if I got one that he could drop in on me so that he could get extra waves.  He dropped right in on me on a good one and Flea had to regulate by giving him a little bit of stink eye and paddling super close to lay on the thick intimidation. Flea was unaware that I had given Aeric a free pass to smoke me. Pretty classic!

Charging from day one, I could tell he was in heaven with the dry hair paddle out and nice long groomed lines.  A stark contrast from the punishing paddles he endured all week long up north.

Here he is on a good one…I snapped a bunch too soon and then the camera had to process so I missed the best part of this wave.  He was rippin! This was on hour three too…I got out and opted to take some shots so that we’d have some proof.  He caught a bunch more, but I was too busy surfing to get any on film. That’s usually the way it is though.  There is usually little to no proof of the best sessions.

This shot below could be Aeric on his next visit…he got quite the education this past week. Looking forward to seeing him out here again soon.

Thought this was a very appropriate saying on the famous Santa Cruz lighthouse.

This shot below was for you Dawn.  Thanks for helping him to get out here and make this trip a reality…although he hated these types of shots he was a good sport about it.

Safe flight home Aeric!!  Till we ride again.

Summer in Fall

What a week!!  Beautiful summer like weather with consistent overhead swell.  This morning before work was greeted with the most beautiful sunrise and picturesque line-up.  Spitting lefts and rights and sheet glass conditions.  No pictures today of course…but we did get a dawn patrol up the beach a little yesterday that enabled me to snap a couple as I was driving off.

Nothing spectacular, but still a really nice way to wake up.

Check out the whips of choice.  Binlang is back!!

Aeric Z of the Z Boys

Indian Summer once again in full effect…finally!  Much anticipated and long awaited by me.  Aeric Z of the Z boys fame is all grown up and in town for the week and ready to charge.  He timed the arrival perfectly to coincide with high pressure and solid swell.

After being out of the water for about a year and having to get used to a very tight 5/4/3, he powered through the defensive line that is Pactown shorebreak. Strength and persistence paid off in the face of good sized sets pouring through and unleashing relentlessly on the sandbar at a pretty good frequency.

After a grueling decision making process he lines up a good one and gets ready to let loose.

The proof is in the smiles!  Good times and a great warm up for the coming days.

Winter in Fall

Been a wild week of big swell and wet fog, a bit like Winter weather after that hot spell last week.   I’ve been busy with life, work and healing up from a nearly broken nose and toe;  I know the toe is a weird thing.  I keep stubbing it repeatedly skating and longboarding…bad form.  Need to do more yoga and stretching in general as I drag it when I stand up.  My nose got hurt when I smacked it again with the tail of my board during a wipeout on Saturday.  The force broke the skin and bruised the base of my nose bone where the nose meets the gums.  Any lower and I would’ve knocked a tooth or two loose and any higher and my nose would have been busted for sure. I got away with a bloody nose and sore face.  I still surfed for another hour or so after it happened though.  The cold water felt good on it.  Figured I needed to chill a bit this week and recover.  It’s been 5 days since and the scab on my nose is healing and the black and blue soreness in my toe is nearly gone and so I’m itching to get wet.

Today seemed to be the first day of semi-clean waves out there.  Bigger in some parts than others, but overall looked like a ton of fun.  I had familial duties, so it was a bit painful to watch except when I saw the ocean dishing out beatings…then I didn’t feel so bad.

It’s hard to convince yourself that its not that good, especially when you are watching little gems go off unridden.

Or even ridden for that matter.  There was a tight little pack out there in the middle of the beach catching some hollow ones and it was fun to watch them extend way out onto the flats as they drove hard off the bottom.

It’s all good though.  We are expecting consistency through the weekend and next week, so plenty of waves in my future.

On a side note, I’ve started work on a new board for my younger brother.  I cut out the rough shape last night and have high hopes for this one.  Excited!!

It’s going to be a 7’6″ single fin egg.  Stoked on the shape…just hope mine comes out as clean as I want it to.  My first one I think had to be beginners luck. Want to try some color this time too…maybe some Jackson Pollack influenced goodness.  We’ll see.

Gonna put some soul into it, like the guy below.

Bob Bishop 1947-2010

I was deeply saddened to hear that one of our brothers passed away last Saturday while surfing along the east coast of Taiwan.  Initially it was unclear as to whether or not it was due to head trauma or something else, but details that I’ve gathered thus far say that it was the result of cardiac arrest.  He took off on a wave and when he didn’t return to the line-up the two friends he was surfing with, long time Taitung local and expat John and his daughter Kaylee, noticed him floating face down unconscious.  All efforts made to resuscitate him turned out to be in vain.

I first met him back in 2000-2001 when he began splitting his time between Shanghai and Taiwan to manage his surf apparel and accessories factories. He had impeccable timing and I knew that when Bob was in town that we would score. He was to me, someone who had life dialed.  Down to earth, fun, and as his friends would say ‘the oldest grom they knew’.

One of my all time favorite images from Taiwan is a shot I took of him paddling out during a Typhoon swell. I have it hanging on the wall in my living room.  I looked at it long and hard when I heard the news. There Bob is, first one out, paddling into some of the best waves of the season.

There is a planned memorial ceremony in October and a few tributes in the works.  I have asked friends to send me photos, memories, or anything else they would like to share to help heal the pain and loss within the surfing community in Taiwan and beyond.

The surf community has lost a great friend and inspiration. My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, business partners, colleagues, and fellow ocean brothers and sisters. Rest in peace Bob!