Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Corner of the complex my kid lives in up in Olympia WA

I do sort of have an excuse for slow posting what with the season and all. I spent way more time packing books and DVDs than surfing, that's for sure. I did get out on the first big swell. The beaches were closing out like crazy and the points were wall to wall so it was less fun than it should have been. That first pounding of winter is always a strangely gratifying time, although as the photo shows some were pounded in totally the wrong way (the windstorm in OR/WA did this). The right-before-Xmas swell was less than it could have been due to the tide swing, but I still got out if only to give my arms some exercise. Christmas eve morning at Santa Monica was strangely good though- I wound up in a spot where the bigger ones (chest to headhigh) would rear up like the usual dumping closeout on the outside then seemed hit a hole as they just stayed walled and rolled on through before going up and over on the inside. So I sat way out, took off on a few I misjudged and got my share of down the line runs. A fine Xmas gift I must say.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dream Quiver #2

Neal Purchase Snr. 'Schnub'
6 ft range, here with a widow setup but the Horan winged keel works well on them we're told. I love fin options.

Thanksgiving been and gone with a few good days on the sand and a few mediocre, all so long ago now it seems. I like the cooling off, I like the threat of waves. Our first big hyped swell has hit and was not too bad. North, headhigh and over at times but oh the crowds. Then back to the city and a pass on on the South Bay closeouts. Fun to watch though, big and thumping and it's winter all over again. We're planning the next central cal trip for after the xmas onslaught.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


'From The Backside (Santa Barbara County)'
Peggy Oki

Man I need to update this thing more often. Saturday before last I went up to Santa Barbara to see Peggy Oki's opening at the Sojourner Cafe. She's one the original Dogtown skaters and a great person. She does these nice watercolors and is very active in a bunch of marine mammal preservation charities, so if you're in the SB area before December, check it out. Stopped at Ventura on the way up and hit C-Street for some slighty blown out chest high chunkers. Fun surf and was glad for the Matt Moore board as it was bumpy as hell. I did get a decent right to throw some turns on, and as it petered out I had to dodge a paddler with a hard turn that put me into a zippy little left closeout on the very inside- right and left on basically the same wave is a fine old time. Since then I've hit the Ocean Park beachie a few times for the usual South Bay mixture- a fair bit of mush, lots of closeouts and few gems-Monday AM certainly had it's moments and best of all, I get a new wetsuit this week so as it cools off I get more comfortable for a change!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Wave

Photo: Jamie Brisick

"Plunging breakers are the most impressive. Their principle characteristic is very rapid release of energy from a wave moving at high velocity. There is a sudden deficiency in water ahead of the wave which causes high velocity currents in the trough as the water rushes seaward to fill the cavity beneath the oncoming crest. When there is not enough water to complete the wave form, the water in the crest, attempting to complete it's orbit, is hurled ahead of its steep forward side and lands in the trough. This curling mass of falling water will often entrap air and then, as the upper part of the wave collapses, the air is compressed. When the compressed air finally bursts through the watery cap, a geyser of water is hurled into the air- sometimes over 50 feet."

Willard Bascom, from 'Waves & Beaches: The Dynamics of the Ocean Surface' 1964

No plunging breakers for me this week, but we went and hiked the Devil's Canyon trail in Angeles Crest so I am content.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Fooled myself on Weds. The long suffering Missus went shopping with a friend and I ran errands then made use of a free day to go North as the points have been good I'm told. None looked that good, next thing I'm at County Line so there I surf. All that driving and it really wasn't that great. OK size, shape not so great and sort of mushy. Longer rides for sure, but not any more fun than Friday at Santa Monica- different though, so I guess that counts and I liked the drive. Came home to the news that Porto had cleaned up and been pretty damn fun. These things happen.

Monday, October 16, 2006

doin' well

Bobby Piercy & Bunnies
Photo Glen E. Friedman- from 'Fuck You Too'

My 2 weeks out of the water ends soon and it's not been too bad as I doubt I would have been able to get in the water given the rain and the flat. I have managed to use the surfing time to do website work, hence the Glen picture.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


This time it's two weeks out (although really only one week now) and last Sat I had a fine morning to go out on. Porto looked sucky, Dockweiler was OK so checked Santa Monica on a tide hunch and it was OK, waist high with a few bigger ones and not dumpy. Crowded though, and it got more and more so. I'm a grumpy antipodean and don't understand the logic behind paddling out to sit right inside of someone. To make it worse the worst offenders talked loudly about their friend's surf art thing- 'A Surfer in Southern California'-very original, and how cool it was in 'Mex'. Crowds are one thing but lousy manners quite another. Still got some good rides and it felt fine. Since then I've tried (not too successfully) to be on the work and website stuff. I did the 'Way Of The Bird' page hence the shameless picture plug.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dream Quiver #1

6' Dain Thomas Widowmaker
Not mine but I wish I had it yesterday.
Went for a low expectations surf, too lazy to drive to Porto so I hit Santa Monica and it wasn't nice at all, chest high, very walled and dumpy. I'm amazed by my own forced positivity- 'there's corners out there and I'm here, so...' Oddly enough, there were corners, it got quite ridable for 45 minutes or so and a sea fog rolled in so I couldn't see the buildings I line up on. I just drifted with the current, chased peaks and got a few decent lefts, a fun late drop on a closeout and even a speedy right. A nice morning without anyone within 100 yards of me and I was late to work. Right now I'm roasting pork and listening to Dean Martin. It's all good.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Two quick surfs in little waves, Sun and Mon. It managed to be waist high and dumping, but the weather was gorgeous, the water glassy and the crowds not too crowded for at least a short while. No surf for 2 weeks from Sat so I live it up this week. Went to the LA County fair and saw a giant steer and ate fried food, then that same night went to the Magic Castle and saw magic naturally. Pretty good week so far.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


So I kissed the talented one and the little dog goodbye on Saturday morning, packed them off to work, threw the Lynch and the Fish in the back of the truck and south I went. It looked promising at Onofre, and Trestles was showing definite lines, so I left the 5 at Tamarack and things were good. Not great, but a lot better than LA has been for a while. Fun was had and waves with some push and a face that stayed open for more than 4 seconds were duly exploited. Reveling in the freedom of a wealth of breaks I ambled on and hit it again at Leucadia where I couldn't find the friends I was due to meet. Again fun although conditions had taken a knock and it was decidedly bumpy and blown. Still, nothing like staying low through the drop and getting that fish on a rail so it just powers out of the bottom turn. Even with average waves it was what it's all about- a beautiful day, warm, clear water and a few full throttle runs to keep me interested. (And a good one on the head, but you need that now and then.) Time was running short, the waves were getting worse so back on the road. Past so many spots I wanted to stop at- Solana, Cardiff, Swamis, La Jolla- but I was good and made it to SD only 45 minutes late. Mr. Kenvin had it wired there- ALL the Swift boards were represented- I'd happily ride every one of them and really need at least 5 of them. Absolutely beautiful craftsmanship on display, and along with the Swift array were gems like the board Pat Curren shapes in Glass Love and one of the Simmons replicas from Hydrodynamica. I hung out, talked flex and fins with Steve Pendarvis, listened to a gypsy band that were pretty good and had a fantastic time. There will be photos and more in further posts as I organize myself I'm sure, but believe me it was good.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Garth Dickenson from 'Glass Love'

Couldn't be happier- new truck so I've been mobile the last week, at least some showing of swell- not the biggest or best shaped, but that's OK as the fish works and it was still nice, trunkable weather. I even scored Saturday parking spots and surfed 4 hrs yesterday. Besides the truck the time out of the water was due to work, and the Andrew Kidman book is go. A selection of Andrew's work from 85 to 06. Interviews, articles, photography, movie stills and even some of his lyrics. No final title yet but Andrew has sent a few images and they are awesome. (Like the shot of Garth above, riding a MIchael Mackie fish I believe.) It's a wy off, summer 2007, but damn it's going to be good.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


We'd arrive at Makaha and be the first ones out. The ocean was scented by kukui nuts that had floated down the river from the mountain valleys above. As we surfed, the sun would peak over the Waianae Mountains and eventually become a full-on glare. With the light, other surfers would arrive. We knew and we were friends with all of them.........
As the sun set, the beach again became deserted. The boys would make their way mauka up the riverbed and return with big, juicy watermelons. There would be no traffic on the road at that hour , and the watermelons were thrown up in the air and allowed to burst on the pavement. They were delicious eaten right off the road, Farrington Highway. It was the most fun time of my life.

from 'Kimo- A Collection of Short Stories' by Kimo Hollinger.
Published by Anoai Press (

Saturday, August 12, 2006

DT going Fast

Daniel Thompson putting a fish into 5th gear. Broken truck = no surf = annoyed (and soon to be broke)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You can see our room from here...

Crescent Beach Motel, Crescent City CA
The far north. (Cali style anyway) We stayed 3rd from the right and it was a nice little place with all that beach out front. Good fish shack style restaurant next door too, I like this place alot.
Surfed Sunset Point on Mon but not as good as I'd hoped- still some decent swell but with more tide than it needed it was closing out on the bigger ones. Still, no-one dropped in on me and rides were had which makes it a good day all told. Topanga looked good but overcrowded and I'm sure Malibu was just horrible. I'm feelng the need for another holiday, but instead will go on an evening hike up in Angeles Crest.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Quiver #2

7'6" Matt Moore with a glassed on widowmaker fin set up.
Matt's a god in the Rincon area and I see why- this is a great board even with my wacky fin specs grafted on. Needs a bit of power/size to really work but chest high + and it's a fast, responsive board. It drives and tracks a bit like a single fin but you can hammer it into a turn and it holds. I love the widowmakers, and the fact that they sort of evolved through Terry Fitzgerald to Dave Parmenter makes me love them more . The swell was here but not so clean and shapely, and my window of opportunity wasn't the best- afternoons only when the winds had started. Porto and Hermosa were pretty blown out but with some size on Weds, and Thurs at Santa Monica was nuts, big closeouts and onshores, but what the hell. The weather was nice, the water comforatable and I could pretend I was in Hawaii for the drop. Not much you could do about the punishment when it closed out on my head 3 seconds later, but that's urban surfing I guess.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


One of the common shorebirds we see in summer, but a good one none the less. Along with the willets and the tiny little sanderlings it's these guys that are happily eating the little clams and sand crabs on most SoCal beaches. At Venice I've also seen ruddy turnstones and surfbirds, both of which I like because of their names and because the page they are on in the Peterson Guide To Western Birds (a truly useful and entertaining book) is headed Rock Loving Shorebirds. Maybe the Whimbrels are more into jazz. My terns the other day were almost certainly least terns which I've never seen before. Swell's here a little late, but it's here and I'm going to make use of it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Two Years Before The Mast

"...the great seas were rolling in in regular lines, growing larger and larger as they approached the shore, and hanging over the beach upon which they were to break, when their tops would curl over and turn white with foam, and, beginning at one extreme of the line, break rapidly to the other, as a child's long card house falls when a card is knocked down at one end."

R.H. Dana Jnr., 'Two Years Before The Mast'

An excerpt (describing the surf on Santa Barbara beach) from one of the finest books about the California coast, and a book I'm amazed more Californians aren't familiar with. For those who haven't read it, Dana was a Boston fancylad at Harvard who's eyes began to give out on him. In 1834 to effect a cure he signed on before the mast as an ordinary seaman on a brig involved in the hide trade with California. He survives shipboard life, rounding the Horn in winter and spends a year sailing the coast (then part of Mexico) between San Diego and San Francisco gathering hides. He's an intelligent, literate writer and documents the then VERY different life in California beautifully, as well as giving a very human look at life as sailor in that time. San Francisco is little more than a Presidio and a shack, Los Angeles was even then a town of drunks and lawlessness, and the old Monterey Dana saw is still faintly visible in it's current form, albeit covered with a few other Monterey's (the fishing boom, Steinbeck, the yuppie boom). I took this book on our recent drive up the west coast, and even the 11 year old found herself drawn into the fascination with how different things were 170 years ago. A pretty essential tome I think.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Music From Southern India

Another excessively hot LA day, but one I got much done. Shipped books, paid bills and sorted a phone company problem amongst other things. This is all good. Seemed like a good idea to play the music of a hot land while I worked, and this was oh so good. All traditional stuff recorded by David Fanshawe whode made many great polynesian field recordings. If the hindus are right, I'd like to come back as a great tabla player (although it's more likely I'll come back as something who's skin will get made into a great tabla) Feeling proud of myself, I went and surfed smallish Santa Monica closeouts. Such a scene, it seems half LA was at the beach. Still, I got an hour of a peak with rare corners to myself before the crowd thickened and the water was nice and cool. Some small terns were fishing just outsie of me, making these amazing controlled spinning dives and hitting the water hard. Made me feel more clumsy than usual

Monday, July 24, 2006

Quiver: #1

A 5'10" Swift Movement fish made by Larry Mabile
This is a wonderfully fast board when it has some face to play on, even in small waves.
A week or so ago I rode it in blown out mushy waves in Crescent City and it was a lot of fun.
I'll ride tomorrow in probably equally bad Santa Monica bay waves and hopefully it'll be fun again.
I'm always amazed at what a brilliant piece of functional art a good surfboard is.