Monday, June 29, 2009

Sometimes a FAIL is really a SUCESS

I try not to write much about my dating life, or should I say sometimes nonexistent dating life, but this story is too good to pass up. The best way to tell the story is to explain the plan and then explain how it actually unfolded. The plan was something like this:

Take Friday off from work. Savannah girl* drives down and arrives around noon. She brings her two dogs so we decide a great way to introduce her dogs to my dog (Tucker) is taking them to the dog beach. After a successful play date at the dog beach we head back to my place, wash off the dogs and trade them out for a few longboards and hit the inlet for a fun surfing session (yes, Savannah girl surfs). Then we get cleaned up just in time to head out on the town for a nice dinner and then drinks at a local music venue. Saturday is left open for a variety of activties, but the real plan is to just keep it simple. Savannah girl heads back on Sunday.

Sounds easy enough, right???

Well, here's how it really unfolds.

Thursday evening a text message comes in from Savannah girl. It reads something like this:
"I just realized I have to doggy sit for a friend Saturday night so how 'bout I come down tonight, we have all day Friday and I head back Saturday afternoon? What do you think?"

I'm in the middle of a gold party, but since she is 3-hours away I'll be finished well before she arrives. "That's fine with me. This just means I get to see you sooner :-)" I reply.

Around 11 p.m. I call Savannah girl to see how her drive is going. She's tired and rightfully so as she's been up for about 18 hours at this point. She is a nurse and worked a 12-hour shift prior to heading out for her leap of faith dating adventure with me. One of dogs is carsick and throws up. Her car smells. I talk to her on the phone until she arrives around 1 a.m. Friday morning. We are both so "out-of-our-minds" tired at this point we introduce the dogs and go to sleep. The dogs sniff each others asses and try to hump each other briefly and seem to get along just fine.

Improvsed date weekend begins!

Saturday morning Savannah girl sleeps in for a while, but eventually wakes up. We cook a "Swedish pancake," which is basically a super unhealthy egg dish that hits your stomach like a rock, but it's definitely yummy! Savannah girl, who is really from Vermont, balks because I do NOT have any REAL maple syrup in my house. Hey, she's lucky I even have Aunt Jamima! I hardly ever eat anything that you put syrup on in the first place. So we leave the house in our pajamas to drive around the block to the farmers market. It's almost noon. Apparently since Florida is not anywhere near the land of REAL maple syrup the farmer's market only carries fresh honey. So we head to the nearest grocery store in our pajamas and find REAL maple syrup and I'll have to admit it does taste a hell of a lot better than Aunt Jamima!

Breakfast with Savannah girl = SUCCESS!

Time for the dog beach. Bruski, Papi and Tucker are loaded into the Jeep Wrangler and Savannah girl and I are off. First problem - it's high tide and the dog beach is underwater and crowded with too many people and dogs. Adding some local knowledge I suggest we walk down a few hundred yards further and it's less crowded and not underwater. Second problem - after 5 minutes of fun I notice a thunderstorm appearing out of no where and heading right for us! I tell Savannah girl that it's going to hit us in 5 minutes and it's a 10 minute walk back to the Jeep. We waterproof our cell phones and head back only to get absolutely soaked 5 minutes later. Savannah girl is laughing and we're carrying on about how brilliantly our date is going and basically being fools. The dogs are all giving us the WTF look. The best part you may ask? The Jeep has no top so we are forced to drive home in the rain.

Play Date at the Dog Beach = FAIL
Causulties = 1 lost tennis ball

As soon as we get back to my place the sun magically appears and the skies turn blue again. We trade the dogs out for surfboards and head to the NSB Inlet to catch some waves. Earlier in the day just before breakfast Savannah girl took two perscription allergy medicines along with a muscle relaxer. She had never done this before and obviously had NOT thought it through. The doctor told her to take the allergy medicines (one for indoor and one for outdoor allergies) at night before bed in case they make her drosey. She was in an accident several months ago and hurt her back, hence the reason for the muscle relaxers, which she thought would be helpful since we are planning to surf. She missed taking the allergy meds the night before since she didn't dare take them before driving down on such little sleep so why not just take them all at once? When she did this I thought, "man if that was me I'd be out like a hypernating bear," but everyone is different so who knows? Looking back at the experience and laughing about it, I love it because it's just the kind of mistake I usually make myself or have made in the past; something so crazy and innocent, but unlucky at the same time. Five minutes after we leave the house for the beach we are caught at the drawbridge. Savannah girls says, "Whoaaaa... man, I'm soooo tired all of a sudden." It's like the drugs are hitting her all at once. She's in a daze. We get to the inlet and I start to pull the surfboards off the rack. Savannah girls says, "I just need to lay down for a second." We lay down on beach towels and she's asleep within five minutes! I consider the situation. It's become quite overcast (she's not going to sunburn). We're in a safe area (she's not going to get run over by a car). Screw this I'm going surfing! I paddle out and surf for about 30 minutes before another, YES, another thunderstorm appears out of no where. The beach patrol clears the water. Savannah girl wakes up and just can't believe she has been out for about 40 minutes. She asks what the plan for tonight is and I offer to take her out some place nice or cook dinner at home. She jumps on the cooking dinner at home idea. She loves to cook at home and I'm completely stoked because I love to cook too! Then we get absolutely hammered by another thunderstorm. We duck into a grocery store to 1.) escape said thunderstorm and 2.) buy supplies for our planned dinner cooking date. The grocery store is absolutely freezing because we are both soaked like sailors in a hurricane.

Surfing date at the inlet = FAIL
Causualties = 1 drenched and short circuited garage door opener

Dinner goes well. It's chicken brocolli afredo and Savannah girl shows me how to make afredo from scratch, something I've never done. I make white sangria. We gorge ourselves and each drink a couple glasses of wine and then have some white sangria. After dinner we sit down on the couch and Savannah girl is again so tired it's almost as if she has been shot by a tranqulizer gun. I feel like an idiot for not realizing that the wine would intensify the allergy meds. She says she could take another nap. Thinking that another nap could help her get all those drugs out of her system and she might be better able to go out on the town, I think it's a good idea. She naps, I clean up the kitchen, the garage, feed my dog (I have to seperate him from the other dogs or he will not eat) and take a shower.

Cooking Dinner Date at Home = Partial FAIL (the food and time we spent making it was awesome)
Causulties = most of the white sangria went to waste.

An hour later she's up and we're chatting away on the couch, but she's really upset with the way she feels and the fact she can not do anything about it. It's obvious that going out to see a band play and drinking more alcohol is completely out of the question. I suggest we hang out and watch a movie. She makes it about 5 minutes into the movie and falls asleep again. I fall asleep about 20 minutes later and the night ends.

Night out on the town/improvised movie date = FAIL

Saturday morning arrives and we're both in great spirits! Savannah girl is back to her normal self, the dogs are hyper and stoked to be alive and we decide on taking them to the Spruce Creek Park (a forest with miles of jogging, horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking trails). We hike with the dogs for about an hour and enjoy the wilderness and make nice conversation. The dogs are worn out so we take them home.

Doggy date trail hiking = SUCCESS

Since we're both hot from the hike we try the surfing thing one more time, but this time I decide to use the pickup truck and not the exposed Jeep! It only took two thunderstroms to each me this lesson! The inlet is flat. I'm talking so flat it's just sad. It looks like Lake Atlantic! Despite the serious lack of swell, Savannah girl and I paddle out. Since there's really NO waves to surf we just paddle around, float next to each other, talk and enjoy the relaxing feel of gently floating on a surfboard several hundred yards out from shore. Just when all seems to be going well.... yup, another thunderstorm appears on the horizon and forces us to take shelter in the truck. We cruise the beach for a while as the thunderstorm pelts us with wind and rain. The conversation is good and we laugh about this and that, but it's about time for her to head back north.

Second attempt at surfing date = partial FAIL

Before heading home Savannah girl and I get some ice cream and I give her a kiss goodbye. We decide that despite the slew of epic FAILS we should meet up again soon. I'm impressed as absolutely nothing went as planned, but through it all Savannah girl took it with a grain of salt and actually had fun. Yes, she had FUN. I had fun just spending time with her and the fact that she had fun too makes me happy. So we'll see what kind of epic FAILS the future may hold, but honestly I don't see how the next time could go any more astray.

*I met Savannah girl several months ago when she came down with a mutual friend of ours for a visit. At the time I had another female friend staying with me for a week and she thought I was "with" her and I thought Savannah girl was seeing someone else as well. The true is it turns out that we are both single so I told her that I thought she was a good thing and seeing how I've let a lot of "good things" pass me by in life I didn't want to let her pass by so I convinced her that we should go out on a date.

UPDATE - Just a few hours after posting the above blog I receive a random text message from Savannah girl that reads, "I want to start off by saying I had fun Thurs and fri. But I just don't feel a "spark". I would rather be upfront and honest. I am going to NC this weekend."
How the hell could she feel any spark when she slept for an entire day. Seriously? SERIOUSLY, what would she have done if I visited her on a first date and overdosed on two allergy drugs, a muscle relaxers and an anti-depressant (to "lose weight"). Yes, that's right I didn't mention the other drugs she took all at once right in front of me since I really did like her, was giving her the benefit of a doubt and for fear she might Internet stalk me and find my blog. How the hell was I supposed to act or create a spark when faced with that kind of adversity? For what it's worth, I think there was something there between us, but some outside factor happened when she went home to cause her to shy away rather abruptly. Oh well, her loss. Just a few mintues ago I was telling my crazy story to a long time running friend of mine and she's already trying to hook me up with one of her other running/biking/triathalon friends that ironically has the same real name as Savannah girl. Life goes on...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It all started with a 1-legged surfer

Today has been so random! I decided to sleep in my board shorts last night so I could have a few extra minutes of sleep before an early morning session at the inlet (made the decision to surf instead of run just before bed due to forecasting).

As I'm about to paddle out I look down the beach and there's a short guy probably around my age walking with a slight shuffle/limp about him carrying a surfboard. I look down toward his leg and notice it's not a leg but a metal stick with a fake foot. Yes, he was wearing a prosthetic leg and he's going surfing! How freaking awesome is that! So for all you nay-sayers out there that think they can't surf this guy is walking proof that if he can surf with only one leg you can surf with both your legs!

We didn't get his name, but he said he has been surfing for about 6 or 7 years. Props to you 1-legged surfer dude! I'm still amazed thinking about how hard it would be to surf without one of my legs!

By the way, the surf wasn't all that great this morning. I found myself wishing for my shortboard to surf the inside, but was stuck with the 9'0" paddling back and forth from the mushy outside to the crowds of the inside where I was shot some dirty looks from the shortboarders, which I find absolutely hilarious. I decided to shoot some photos while waiting for JB and Allison to finish their sessions and before having to go to work. Here are a few, one of which is a girl that gets the two thumbs down award of the day. I understand that girls have to be a little more aggressive when surfing in a wolfpack in order to get some waves, but my God this chick was all over the place with a loud mouth that needed a sock or something else in it to shut her up! Bet she never knew she was having her picture taken. I guess respect comes with age.

Random encounters at the beach for the day - Check

A short time later I'm at work and receive word that an lowball offer that a customer made yesterday on a foreclosure has been accepted! You may ask how is that random? It's a rare day that offers get accepted on first try so yes, that is random!

Then I receive word that we are one step closer to closing a land deal I have going on some personal property that if closes, will enable me to reduce my debt enough to move to Puerto Rico for the winter to surf and learn Spanish (but that's another blog).

Then I get a call from a friend that wants to set me up with another friend's super hot daughter (not sure how I feel about this, but I'll take what I can get at this point, haha). But before I even go there I've got a fun packed date weekend ahead of me starting tomorrow (no work on Friday woohoo) with a super fun nurse friend that just happens to surf!

Yes, it's a pretty good day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Save a buck, fix that ding yourself!

A few weeks ago I officially broke in my new Anderson 9’8” Josh Farberow noserider longboard.

No, “breaking it in” is not riding it for the first time. Not at least in my book of surfology. Breaking a surfboard in for me is exactly that -- breaking it, or more specifically “dinging” it with part of your body.

I can easily point out each ding on my Neilson shortboard and tell you exactly what part of my body and what hurricane swell caused such ding. I’ve been riding the Anderson for more than a month at the time and still not even a scratch from even the most minor closeout collision between the board and my body. I was doing great. I was making all the right decisions. I was NOT hesitating. And then it happened; I decided to go all old school by ditching my leash in an effort to work on style and control.

The idea is freedom. Freedom from the leash. Freedom to walk all around on the board from nose to tail, but with freedom comes more responsibility, better decision making and more “thinking” about control. By surfing without a leash I have to exit the wave in complete control or else I’m swimming for a lost board. This can be tricky at New Smyrna Inlet as 1.) it’s a beach break with very little consistency in the waves between one set to another, and 2.) it’s one of the most crowded spots in Florida so there’s the very real chance of someone being in your way as you wipeout with thousands of pounds of water pushing you in their direction.

It’s funny because this time I don’t remember the exact wave that broke in my new longboard. What I do remember is suddenly realizing a sharp pain in my right shin as a rush of adrenalin wore off. It went something like this:

*Lift leg out of water and rest on board to examine.

*See 1-inch gash of flesh and blood trickling toward foot.

*Tell a nearby friend that “I’m bleeding” and hear him say, “dude, get away from me.” (after all, NSB is the shark bite capital of the world).

*Continue to surf while being puzzled at how this happened.

Later, as I loaded the board into a truck, I notice flesh and hair caught in a dinged section of protruding sharp fiberglass along the rail of the surfboard and the mystery is solved. I simply slammed my shin into the rail while trying to hold on to the board inside a breaking wave. Presto! Board is officially “broken in.”

Now what to do about it?

The economy sucks and I’m low on funds. I work in real estate, which means I have LOTS of time on my hands. Hmmmmm…. Seriously, it can’t be rocket science to fix this myself and not have to dish out $40 to a surf shop?

Here’s what I did thanks to some Internet research and the help of a fellow surfing buddy. Feel free to correct any errors or make suggestions or use yourself as a guide to fixing minor dings in your boards.

First, you'll need to buy some supplies. You can buy the more expensive ding repair kits at a local surf shop OR you can head to the nearest hardware store such as Home Depot or Lowe's and pick up the same stuff separately at only a fraction of the cost.

The "Ding All" brand is from a surf shop.

However, buying "All Purpose Fiberglass Resin" will save you a few bucks and get you more resin.

Ok, so what you'll need as seen above is as follows:

1.) Clear Fiberglass Resin

2.) Liquid hardener for polyester fiberglass resin (if you're board is epoxy make sure you are using epoxy resin and hardener).

3.) Masking tape or some type of tape to hold molding strip (unless you have a ninja to hold it for hours for you).

4.) Popsicle stick (for spreading resin)

5.) Several different grit sandpapers (I used 65, 100, 120, 200 and 400)

6.) Clean thin piece of plastic (for molding the resin).

7.) Viking Helmet to protect your head from aliens.

For more severe damage you'll want to use fiberglass cloth with the resin and perhaps even some sort of filler, but since my ding was relatively minor and did NOT require that I'm not going to get into it in this post. Here's what to do next!

Place your board on a stable surface like the Surfboard Horses shown in the picture below. Take the lowest grit number sandpaper you have and sand the hell out of the ding. If you've got hairy legs like myself make sure to remove the flesh and hair from the ding!

Make sure to rough up the area around the ding. This allows the resin to stick and set to the board. Clean the area you just sanded and use your masking tape (or ninja) to prepare the thin piece of plastic to be taped over the ding. Follow the instructions on the liquid hardener and prepare the resin and apply it to the ding using the popsicle stick. Some resins will harden quickly so be prepared!

Next, mold the resin over the ding using the thin piece of plastic and tape to board. Wipe away any resin that spills out from under the plastic.

Let sit for several hours if not overnight. Once the resin has set, remove the tape and begin sanding. Start with 100 grit and slowly go higher and higher until reaching 400 grit. By this time the surface should be smooth and flush. It should be difficult to feel the difference between the repaired section and the original surface of the board. Congratulations, you've just fixed your own surfboard!

Waala! Go Surf!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

3 sessions, 6 hours and a crowd oh my!

We've had a little "bump" of a swell the past three days and if you're a surfer within say 100 miles from Ponce/NSB inlet you probably know about it.

Thursday was amazing. Head high waves (on me) with super long lines and beautiful clear emerald green water. Friday morning was only slightly smaller with no wind and glass. At 8 a.m. I'm one of the first cars on the beach as they open the gates. By 9 a.m. the entire state of Florida is in the water and being "over" the crowd I paddle in and go to work.

After talking with one of my surfer buddies I formulate a plan to arrive at the Dunes Park at 7 a.m. Saturday (well before the beach is open to cars) and walk the boardwalk over the dunes to the inlet and avoid or beat most of the inevitable weekend crowd. What I do NOT know is apparently the park is open much earlier than 7 a.m. as the parking lot was almost full when we arrived. At first sight of the break it obvious that my brilliant idea is NOT by any means original. There's already 200 surfers in the water at 7 a.m. and as we paddle out I see EVERYONE that drove down the beach with me on Friday. Great minds think alike. "Oh well, take what you're dealt and make the best of it," I say to myself!

Three sessions and six hours later I'm spent! Being calorie starved, I call it a day and leave the beach in search of food. I realized several things today.

First, I'm more confident that I've ever been surfing in crowds. My confidence level in surfing is at an all time high (now if only I could achieve that with women). I look around and just "believe" that I'm better than half the guys out there. Whether that's true or not doesn't matter because as long as you're not cocky about it, the added confidence it gives you shows in your demeanor and that definitely scores you more waves as other surfers "give them up to you" and the more waves you surf the better you'll get in both physical ability and experience. I feel more confident in my wave selection and positioning than I've ever known. This feels to me like I'm busting down a major door and ready for the next level whatever that may be...

Second, props to the dude out there today that was wearing white colored zinc oxide all over his face (even his eyelids) and sporting the long dreads and full facial beard. You look like an aborigine man (although you are white) and I know Halloween is four months away, but that was pimp and I'm sure it "scared" a few beginner surfers out of your way.

Third, two thumbs down to the 300+ pound guy with "man boobs" wearing a effing speedo and surfing a massive florescent orange longboard. Not cool at all man. Nobody really wants to see your stuff when you look like that... perhaps a dress would cover you up better and at least it would be funny.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trail running in Oregon

The last two visits to Portland my cousin has spoke of an awesome running trail in the Forest Park that is pretty much surrounded by the city. This time we ran the trail, or at least part of it. The park runs about 8 miles or so parallel to the Willamette River along a mountain ridge line from downtown Portland to where the river flows into the larger Columbia River. There are many trails for jogging, biking and hiking that range from completely flat to almost vertical. My cousin says the trails we ran have about 600 feet vertical difference in elevation. I estimate we ran about 4 miles. I learned several things during this exercise.

1st -- Look far ahead of you on the trail as it comes really quick going downhill, plus it is possible to give yourself motion sickness if you're looking directly in front of your feet and not where you're going!

2nd -- Stretch and stretch again.

3rd -- If I had terrain like this I would have the most amazing core muscles and NO MORE chicken legs. As I'm writing this it's four days past and certain stabilizing muscles in my legs are still sore! Trail running terrain like this is an excellent cross training for surfing!

4th -- I wanna do it again!

I attempted to video some of the experience. It's hard to see the elevation changes that are occurring and the incline/decline of the path, but you can see the beauty of lushness of the forest.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thank you sir may I have another.... Flying sucks sometimes

My recent lack of posts is due to another passion of mine - traveling. In the last 9 days I've traversed 4 states and about 6,000 miles using planes, trains, automobiles, boats and even a kayak. I WILL have lots more to share this week, but amongst the chaos of returning to the old grind I'll share only the last 19 hours or so of my adventure first.

It went something like this:

0445 hours: Awake to the sunrise (yes it's already light at this latitude) and remind myself I'm in Seattle at Kim's house.
0620 hours: Ride with Kim through some bullish Seattle traffic to her work place and switch to a taxi to continue on to the airport.
0730 hours: Check in at airport. Find some food. Board Delta Boeing 757 jet airplane.
0830 hours: Sit on taxi way for 45 minutes awaiting late takeoff.
Sometime in route: Discover "in flight trivia" game on touchscreen headrest TV in front of me. Win trivia game!
1647 hours: Land at Atlanta International Airport 45 minutes late for connecting flight leaving for Orlando at 1655 hours. Tighten the shoe laces on my Merrell cross trainers and secure my backpack for the impending dash.
1653 hours: Released out of airplane. Discover connecting flight is two yes TWO terminals away. Start running. Feel extreme soreness in legs from trail running previous weekend.
1658 hours: Arrive at connecting flight gate only to learn the door was shut 3 minutes ago.
1700 hours: Realize how far I've run in such a short amount of time, catch breath (gasp, gasp) and ask if there's another flight.
1701 hours: Receive a boarding pass for a FIRST CLASS seat on an 8 p.m. flight to Orlando. SWEET! Also receive a standby ticket for a flight leaving at 1755 hours.
1720 hours: Allergy attack begins. Nose turns into Niagara falls. Take several allergy medicines surely to induce "loopiness."
1755 hours: At the gate for stand by flight. In the mood to just "get home." Announcement made that Delta Boeing 767 is down to only 1 air conditioner and they are holding off boarding process to try and let jet "cool" down.
1830 hours: Boarding process begins despite 85 degree temperatures inside aircraft.
1845 hours: My name is called. Give up "First class seat" at 8 p.m. for a middle seat in 85 degree aircraft to "get home" sooner.
1900 hours: Sit on taxi way for 1 hour awaiting late departure. Play more trivia. Win trivia game again.
2000 hours: In route to Orlando. Yay! Temperature drops to about 80 degrees. Allergy attack continues along with lighted headed loopiness. Begin to think that said "loopiness" is making me a better trivia player as I win again!
2001 hours: Captain announces we are headed west over Gulf of Mexico to avoid severe thunderstorm covering entire middle area of Florida.
2030 hours: Enter holding pattern somewhere above Gulf west of St. Petersburg as Orlando is not accepting any aircraft due to thunderstorms.
2045 hours: Unsuccessfully try to get moody flight attendant to sell me a vodka ginger ale.
2115 hours: Leave holding pattern with "plan" to head south to Naples, cross state, return up the Atlantic and come in behind thunderstorms from the north.
2120 hours: Apparently there's not enough fuel for the "plan" so new plan is made to divert to Tampa for more fuel.
2200 hours: Land at Tampa. No one gets off the plane alive! Temperature back up to 85 or 90 degrees. Take on fuel. Sit on taxiway with all the other planes that diverted for same reason for 45 minutes to take off again.
2300 hours: Exit trivia game and change my player name to "FML." Continue playing trivia and win yet again! Catch dude two rows up looking at my seat number to see who is named FML.
2310 hours: In route to Oralndo.

It reads: "Congratulations.... FML is the winner!"

2345 hours:
Land at Orlando International. Passengers clap, hoot and holler. Get the hell off airplane. Pick up luggage that somehow beat me to the airport. Good Riddance Delta.
0100 hours: Arrive back to New Smyrna Beach and crash in my super comfortable king size bed for the next 9 hours!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Noseriding sucess, Thunderstorms and #9???

I've had an interesting day.

Once again the plan was to get to sleep early last night, get up early today and surf my new fin and see if helps me on my quest to become a better noserider. Once again that plan got shot to hell in a hand basket when some friends suckered me in to coming out (this time Flagler Tavern) last night, which ended around 2 a.m. Once again I was up by 7:30 a.m. with a different crew of friends and headed to the beach feeling like a bucket of crap!

The waves were fun. My bucket of crap feeling quickly dissipates as I paddle out. It's high tide and as the water starts to drop it really turns on for some really long rides down some glassy waves. I succeed in getting both feet up on the nose.... it lasts about half a second before I cross step backwards or become the next Red October. I really think the fin is helping, it's just I need a slightly better wave so the waiting game for better conditions has officially begun.

Around noon I looked to the west and see a dark thunderstorm approaching. Not a big deal since I'm exhausted and ready to leave. The only problem is everyone has the same idea and the ensuing traffic jam to get off the beach becomes my downfall.

For the record my beach car is a Jeep Wrangler. It's older (1993) and a little beat up, but perfect for the beach. I didn't like the soft top. It was a major pain to put on and take off. I threw it away years ago.

Minutes later I find myself driving through the most intense thunderstorm ever.... in a Jeep Wrangler with no top! The wind is so strong I can't tell where it's coming from. It's all Forest Gump on me and coming from every direction. Lightning crashes upon a palm tree about 50 feet from me. My windshield wipers are full speed, but useless due to the rain hitting the inside part of the window! For all you pilots out there I feel like I'm IMC with no instruments. To give you an idea of what it felt like I've included a little picture I found on the net (a slight exaggeration, hehe)

But you know what? It's exhilarating! I don't even wash off anything or take a shower when I get home. Besides from being a little "cold" I am overall super stoked about the rush and also having such a fun wave riding day!

After warming up I check the mail (forgot to yesterday) and find my new copy of Surfer Magazine waiting for me. Yes! Today is a good day. I immediately notice the headline teaser at the top of the cover, "Top 10 American Surf Towns, the best places in the U.S. to eat, sleep, work and shred."

Hmmm, probably all California and Hawaii.

I flip it open to that section and am not surprised to find Hawaii and California in the first five, but number six is Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. First of all, where the heck is that?!?! Second, maybe there's a chance for a Florida beach. Seven is back to California, meh... but wait, New York is number eight? No way! And there it was at number nine on the list:
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Number ten went back to New Jersey and that was it. No Sebastian or Cocoa Beach?
Finally, NSB is getting some recognition.

I haven't read all of them yet, but it was nice to see New Smyrna Beach. Now I wonder how the "work" factor works into their equation because as far as I know we are a BYOM (bring your own money) area and for the average Joe decent paying "work" lies else where (Orlando, Jax, etc.).

So I saw a little test at the end of the article. It reminds me of something you see in Cosmo, but instead of being something retarded about relationships it's "which town fits you?" I quickly answer the questions, add up my total and find out that New Smyrna Beach does NOT fit me. Not even close by this test. However, the two beach towns that do fit me are San Clemente and Malibu, both in California. What? I laugh to myself and then think for a second; perhaps I would fit in better out there. Malibu is a great longboard wave. Definitely something to think about a little further and I am headed to Northern California, Oregon and Washington this coming week to visit friends and family. I'm saving the rest of the magazine to read on the airplane. I'll have lots of time to think about things then, but for now I seriously need a nap.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

10-inches and hangovers!

There's no better way to get rid of a hangover than going surfing. Yes, it sucks dragging your butt to the beach, but once you're in the water you always feel better.

Today was one of those days. Last night a few friends and I went to a local bar to hear some original music by a band we like called Whole Wheat Bread (crazy name I know). I had planned to only have a few drinks and come home by midnight. Somehow my plans always get thrown in the trash and set on fire along the way. One too many drinks later and half past 2 a.m. I finally hit the sheets. Luckily for me, a surfer friend called at 8 a.m. to wake me up and let me know how good the waves looked. It was hard, but 20 minutes later I approached the inlet in my Jeep.

The water was cold for some reason and that was all the better with the hangover, but I was definitely off my A game. The waves were glassy waist to chest high sets rolling in with perfect lines for longboarding. For the first 30 minutes it was fun, but by 9 a.m. all of Florida had showed up to surf a half mile section of beach. I've been riding the 9'8" Anderson noserider pintail sans leash for a few weeks now, but I still get nervous in crowds without the leash so I paddled in...

My nose riding is progressing quite well. I'm able to cross step on the board now instead of shuffling back and forth. The cross stepping was uncomfortable and awkward at first as I had to force myself to do it, but now it's becoming a smooth movement and actually feels more natural than shuffle stepping. I'm able to get one foot up on the nose very consistently, but the few times I try both the board feels like it's about to give way and pearl. I realize New Smyrna Inlet isn't Malibu, but other guys are doing it on the same waves I'm riding. After sitting through a mundane home inspection this afternoon (yes, I'm a Realtor and actually do work) it was raining so I decided to stop into a local surf shop. Picked me up a shinny new fin!

It's a Mikey Detemple 10 inch RFC (clear color) and it has a little less rake than the 9-inch Josh Farberow Flex Fin (blue color) that I've been using, but I think the extra inch and the wider base will give me that little extra edge to support me on the nose for longer periods of time. I'm super excited about it and if I wasn't so dang tired from lack of sleep and being hungover I'd hit the waves this evening, but it'll have to wait until tomorrow morning!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Surfing Pause for an old passion....

Before my surfing epiphany three years ago (another story I'll have to explain in a future post) I was a running fool. Yup, down right running addict. I didn't run races. Nope, I ran for myself. Feet pounding asphalt or beach sand; there seemed to be nothing better to expel the tons of excess energy I was stuck with each day from a past of not being able to sit still for too long. Running was also a time to reflect, gather my thoughts, and in a way relax my brain. In recent years I find myself surfing instead of running. Not that I don't run anymore, but it's just less frequent.

Last weekend I found myself at a friend's house. After drinking an unknown quantity of beer the topic of running was brought up.

Then it happened.

"We're going to run the Disney Marathon," my friend and his wife announced! A book on marathons was promptly put on the table and their training program hashed out to my ears. Being slightly intoxicated and also excited about their news for a healthier life of exercise, I jumped up and proclaimed to the world that I too would run this marathon!

The next day I had to ask myself if I was really serious. Running has always been about me, myself and I and not a race. I realize the bottom line in running a marathon for most people is about self accomplishment and NOT a race and I think this is what attracts me to the idea. I've always thought that I should run one before I die and now might be the time if I have a few friends that are going to do the same. The Disney Marathon is in January and if my plans of moving to Puerto Rico for the winter come through I'll have to fly back just for the race, but that's something I'm willing to do, besides it's only a two hour cheap Jet Blue flight away.

The surf is still flat for the most part so for the past two days I decided to test myself and go for a run first thing in the morning (the Disney Marathon starts at 5:50 a.m.)!

Yesterday went something like this:
7 a.m. -- Alarm clock sounds off. Sylvan punches it sending it to its silent death upon floor. Dog barks in reaction.
7:30 a.m. -- I discover my iPod battery is dead as I start my run. There's nothing worse than the feeling of carrying the extra weight of an iPod with you when the damn thing doesn't work!
7:40 a.m. -- Obviously, I need to acclimate to the humid Florida summer. I've only gone a mile and a half or so and I'm freaking soaking wet! Do I sweat this much when I surf???
7:55ish a.m. -- finish my standard 3 mile loop through the golf courses and back to my house. Jesus it's hot this early in the morning!

Today went something like this:
6:30 a.m. -- Alarm clock sounds off. Sylvan first realizes he is sore from yesterday's run. Then he feels pity for the alarm clock and turns it off gently.
6:45 a.m. -- determined, stubborn or just stupid I am off again this time iPod fully charged with a mix of Disturbed and Pappa Roach for motivation!
7 a.m. -- It's not as bad as yesterday, but it's still "hucking fot" for this early in the morning! I just must not realize how much I sweat when I surf being covered with water!
7:15 a.m. -- done with the run, begin stretching and ready to start the day.

Now it's evening time. I'm sore, but I think that's a good thing. Tomorrow I think I'll rest. Tonight I think I'll go out and catch some cool sounds of Whole Wheat Bread (an Orlando band) at Beachside Tavern. If there's one lesson learned this week it's this:
Running a marathon is going to be a huge endeavor. It's not something I'll back down from once I'm committed, but at this point I'm not 100 percent sure. I'm close, very close, but just not there yet. Only time will tell the future. . .

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Waves When it's Flat and Wakeboarding Beatdown

It's flat.
The long range forecast shows no sign of any swell in the water as summer is officially upon us. Bring on the hurricane swells! I was thinking recently how the inlet here in New Smyrna Beach almost always has some waves that you can ride even when the forecast says it's flat like the past few days. Last week for example, most computer generated forecasts (i.e. MSW & Surfline) showed poor conditions with 1-2 foot waves, but in reality it was waist to chest high at the inlet with offshore winds every morning of the week. Sometimes you just have to go surfing and forget what the computer says!

Sunday was my first experience wakeboarding. A couple friends just got wakeboards. I just happen to own a boat.

"What a great thing to do when it's flat," I thought to myself upon checking out these snowboard looking things called wakeboards! Before I ever knew how to surf I was water skiing, knee skiing and being pulled on just about anything that floats behind boats. This was basically my entire childhood. I immediately gandered up a romantic notion that I'd be an instant pro on the wakeboard doing massive ariels and 360s across the wake behind the boat in no time. What really happened was the best and most humbling beat down I've had since my childhood. There was no instruction available. I got in the water, hung on to the ski rope, the boat took off and Sylvan proceeded to take about a gallon of saltwater in his mouth and out his nose. This happened about 15 times before I figured out I was supposed to bend my knees, brace my elbows upon them and twist out of the water (pop out), but by this point the muscles I didn't know I ever had in my arms that give me the ability to hold on to things were completely useless rendering me helpless to hang on to the rope any longer. I must say I didn't submit to complete destruction as I did get up once. Once up, I knew what to do and was comfortable and adjusted quite well to the shorter (if any) fin set up of the wakeboard. So the past few days I've been sore as all hell. A friend of mine told me it's just weakness leaving my body. Yeah.... I'll just keep telling myself that until it goes away!

So to try and curb the soreness I opt for a longboard session at the inlet after work yesterday. It was fun. The forecast said there were no waves, but alas, there was something to ride at the inlet! The current was sucking in the inlet with the tide causing a slight paddle fest in order to stay near the one area with the peakiest waves, but what the hell... weakness leaving the body!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How to Make Your Own Surfboard Horses!

Have you ever tried to fix a ding yourself at home?
Or maybe you've hunched over your surfboard out in the yard until your back aches all in the name of switching that warm water wax to cool water wax come winter time...

I have and being 6'6" sucks when you have nothing sturdy to rest your surfboard on other than the ground and are forced to squat, kneel, sit or stoop in an awkward position.

I've seen objects in surfboard shops and in shaper's workshops that work perfectly to hold any size board both horizontally and vertically in a stable manner without risk of damage to the board. By the looks of it, it's not rocket science and to prove it I've out to see how cheaply I could make this object from henceforth I'll call "surfboard horses" for lack of a better name.

Budget $15

What you'll need:
  • 3 - Pressure Treated 2x4x8s (if you want to leave outdoors and live in a humid environ like Florida) - cost $2.25 each
  • 1 - 60lb bag of ready mix concrete - cost $2.99
  • 1 - box of 4.5 inch wood screws 8 count - cost $2
  • 1 - box of 3 inch wood screws 20+ count - cost $3
  • 2 - 5-gallon style buckets (I used some old cat food buckets bummed from a relative) - cost free
  • 3x3' section of carpet (I found some on the trash curb outside a house being remodeled in my neighborhood) cost - free. Note: You could also use large pipe insulation, but unless you can find some it'll cost you more at the hardware store.
  • Drill - for screwing in wood screws.
  • Circular saw - or something that can gnaw through 2x4 at both 90 and 45 degree angles.
  • Tape Measure
  • Sharpie Pen or pencil (for marking measurements)
  • Razor blade - or perhaps a samurai sword to cut through the carpet
  • Shovel & Wheel Barrel with water supply - for mixing concrete (if you're desperate mix the concrete directly in the buckets with a stick or perhaps the samurai sword)
  • Staple gun or some roofing nails (to affix the carpet) - free if bummed that roofer friend always in the line up when it's raining because the work day is shot.
  • NorsmanViking Helmet - so your neighbors will think you are crazy.

Total $14.74

So let's get to work!

First, a note to Stand Up guys or Paddle Boarders. If you ride anything thicker than 3 inches (the thickness of two 2x4s) near the nose or tail section you may want to modify these instruction for a wider opening so you're board will fit in the vertical position.

With your circular saw (or 2x4 gnawin' device) cut off two 32 inch sections and use several wood screws to attach them to each other. This will be your post section of the surfboard horse.*

Now cut off two more 18 inch sections of the 2x4s. These will finish off your main surfboard horse post and provide the opening for your board to fit in the vertical position.

Take the two 18 inch sections and place then 7 inches deep along the sides of the main surfboard horse post. Use the long (4.5 inch) wood screws (two in each side) along with several smaller ones to screw the 18 inch sections into the 32 inch main section. See picture.

Cut out two 11 inch sections of the 2x4s.

Now attach these two 11 inch section to the top of your surfboard horse post as shown above at a 90 degree angle with wood screws.

Set your circular saw or 2x4 gnawing device to cut at a 45 degree angle.

Cut out a section of 2x4 with the 45 degree angle. This will be a supporting bracket for the main resting tray.. To ensure a 45 degree cut on both sides correctly line it up after the first cut and draw a line where you want to target your second cut. Pictured left. Repeat until you have two supporting brackets. Screw them in place. See picture below.

Cut off a small section of 2x4 (approx 6 inches) not exceeding the width of your buckets and affix to the bottom of your surfboard horse. This will strengthen the grip the concrete will have on your post. See picture to right.

Now cut out a section of your carpet long enough to cover the exposed areas of the surfboard horse that will contact your board (approx 6.5 x 23 inches each) and attach it tightly using your staple gun or roofing nails.

Now repeat the process until you have two surfboard horse posts and drink a beer! You're almost done!

Last step:
Take the ready mix concrete, follow the destructions (I mean instructions) on the bag and mix it with water until it's ready for use.

Once you've done this you are ready to pour. Place surfboard horses into each bucket and use your shovel to slowly pour concrete into bucket around surfboard horse posts. If you have a level you can make sure your horse is straight, if not just eyeball it.

Let concrete set for about a day before using your shinny new surfboard horse. If you can score some spray paint unleash your inner artist upon your creation! Drink another beer and enjoy, you now have surfboard horses!

* Don't forget this is the blog of a tall surfer! If you are less 6'6" tall you may consider shortening the main post size of your surfboard horse from 32 inches to 25 inches or less to ensure the working area is not too high for you.