Category Archives: Left Coast

I’ll send you a postcard…

Happy belated Labor Day.

While everyone else is back to work and back to school, I’m officially on vacation. (Well, I mean, working vacation, but it’s still glorious. Because it’s that good kind of work that I mentioned.) I’m sitting at Arabica in Portland (Maine) (the original one–settled in 1633, according to the infallible Wikipedia) with beautiful people with beautiful tattoos, probably within a mile of Bill Clinton, contemplating surfboard builders and California rollers.

Tomorrow morning, I’m heading west! I was thinking, this will be my first flight in almost a year, which is insane after hopping from airport to airport on a pretty much weekly basis the year before that. It’s funny the way something can become second-nature and then slip right back into novelty territory. I find myself asking questions like, “Do I need a passport to fly domestically?” “How much time should I give myself at the airport?” To be fair, I usually do need a passport and the [international] standard 1.5 hours before boarding when traveling. I know, I know, douche jar.

Anyway, after my wicked busy summer, I’m so looking forward to reuniting with the Left Coast. And having the time and energy to write more. Look for dispatches from the West and new stories soon. Right now, though, I’m going to pack up the MacBook and go sip some Allagash, straight from the source.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

All good things…

I left San Clemente on August 30th. It was a Monday. I woke up early and drove down to the jetty at Oceanside, where I found not-so-excellent waves. Carlsbad wasn’t really any better. The water, however, was probably warmer than it had been all summer, and ridiculously clear. Initially, there was one other guy in the feeble lineup, presumably trying, like myself, to squeeze in a mediocre (but still satisfying) morning session. He soon got out and left me in the company of an enormous lone seal. Later, everyone I told this to would say, “Oh. They can be nasty, you know.” or “Seals attract SHARKS!” But at the moment it seemed pretty incredible. And it was definitely a first for me.

Back in SC, I returned my rental car and shipped some cargo to the right coast. I still had a few hours to kill, and I spent those hours surfing super fun waves with a bunch of enthusiastic, long-haired 12-year-old boys. It didn’t matter that the time I had alloted for packing and showering was fast dwindling; I just didn’t want to get out of the water. When I finally did, I’m sure I looked like a crack head: bloodshot eyes and a blissed out expression on my face.

Dearest California,

I think I might be in love with you. I didn’t want to leave you, but it was something I needed to do. Let’s make the best of this separation and reassess our situation in a couple of months.

Yours with unwavering adoration,


Tagged , , , , , , ,

I Would Do This Job For Free All Over Again

Today is my last day as a SURFER intern. Last night, I sat on the floor of my sparsely decorated bedroom and packed some movies and t-shirts into a cardboard box. I think I got some dust in my eyes or something.

It's in the mail.

As most of you know, I am an incurable optimist, so I’m trying to look on the bright side. Sure, New Jersey is not as sunny as California, and the waves are quite a bit less consistent, but the water is warmer. So is the air… this time of year. New York is a lot more exciting than San Clement-y. Jersey gas is cheaper (and I don’t have to pump it). Some might call this a con, but I AM TRYING TO BE POSITIVE, HERE. Dan supplied: “Talk is cheaper in NJ. And if you have fists, you have to pump them.” Okay, that works–fist pumping is a hallmark of good cheer. We get epic thunderstorms on the East Coast, not just dreary drizzle. The tri-state area is where most of my friends and family are located. And maybe above all, I only have one semester left before earning my MA and then, theoretically, I can go wherever/do whatever I want. Probably, where I will want to go is here and what I will want to do is this. But we’ll see. The world is an aphrodisiac. Or whatever. Buck up.

P.S. If this is anything like when I left Paris, and I suspect that it will be, you can look forward to lots of cynical posts in upcoming weeks. Hey, at least they might be funny.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Limited Guts, Zero Glory. But My New Board Is A Babe.

I believe I last left you with heckling my shaper (Ian Wright) and “going for it.” Luckily, both of those things have to do with my yesterday.

After trying (and failing) to be the perfect, patient board commissioner, my shaper (yes, that’s right, Stuart) called me on Thursday and said, more or less, “Jesus, woman, you can come and get it tomorrow. Sheesh.” So the next day, I drove through LA county traffic in August heat to get my penguin. This is a rough facsimile of the conversation that ensued… edited for brevity. And stuff.

C: It has my name on it!

I: Well, yeah, it’s a custom board. If I ordered a custom board and it didn’t have my name on it, I’d be pissed.

C: I didn’t even think about it.

I: That is why your hair color is blonde.

C: I really am sorry if I was a pain in the ass, I didn’t mean to rush you…

I: [Straight-faced. Probably kidding. I think.] You were a real pain in the ass, actually. I was starting to get pissed. I called everyone at SURFER and told them so.

C: Well, anyway, it really is beautiful. [Gazing, starry-eyed at the gleaming white glass.]

I: You’re not gonna sleep with it, are ya?

C: Maybe. Here’s what was left in my bank account.

I: Thanks.

C: Hasta la vista, baby!

I: Ciao.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , ,

How I Came To Be Boardless. Count To Zen.

On Sunday, I found myself sitting on the beach. Reading. No surfboard next to me. A weird combination of factors and events contributed to this unfamiliar scenario. Read on.

numberONE: The water temperature was freakishly low:

“Holy fuck! The water is freezing today!” — Actual text message.

I believe 55 degrees is a confirmed figure.

numberTWO: “Now once upon a time not too long ago,” I hid out at Strands for an entire day (after strong-arming a hoe) and enjoyed the departure of June gloom. Yes, it’s August. Anyway, I spent the day surfing some fun ant hills. On my first wave, my ancient leash snapped. I took the opportunity to teach myself what everyone from California and Hawaii seems to know: how to surf without one. In other words, properly. With “situational awareness.”

numberTHREE: Within a few days, I was actually feeling comfortable without a leash. I was also feeling disgruntled the following Tuesday afternoon and all I wanted to do was surf–despite the fact that the waves were miniscule. I headed to Creek, which I thought might be better than the Pier (SC), which wasn’t even breaking. Creek was the least crowded I had seen it all summer. So there were about 6 guys in the water. The only rideable waves were to the south, by the rocky point that I usually avoid… you see where this is going, do you?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday at Trestles

Uppers blew up Tuesday afternoon. Check out the rest of the pics here.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Semi Mixed-Up Midway Ruminations

Here’s some nonsense from the intern log I had to write for NYU:

I have sand in my car.  In the cup holders and the back seat.  I have sand in my sheets, though I just washed them.  I have sand on my bedroom floor and in my backpack.  The ports of my computer are jammed with sand.  There is sand in all of the pockets, of all of my clothes.  In my ears, in my eyes.  I’m sure there’s sand in my sinuses.

I arrived at LAX for the first time on a Sunday, around lunchtime.  I procured my criminally overpriced rental car and managed to find my way to the 405 South: what seems to be, upon initial inspection, the most unstable freeway in the continental United States.  The weird, grated concrete feels a lot less safe when driving a borrowed Ford Focus between hurried Californians hurtling along at completely unreasonable speeds.

With a sigh of relief, I pulled off the freeway into San Clemente.  There were literally surfboards everywhere.  I saw an old Porsche with a board strapped to the roof and fell in love a little bit.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Surf 24

I can’t tell you how awesome it was to see Shaun Tomson or Sam Trammel at Surf 24 on ISD.  But I can tell you how eerie Huntington Pier, weirdly, is not at 3 a.m.  I can tell you how there were guys in mummy bags sleeping (or trying to) on the sand, and how tired watchdogs were checking for wristbands, but unwilling to chase anyone down who couldn’t show one.  I can tell you that the waves were slightly sloppy, about waist-high.  That they crept out of the darkness and picked up many a resolute rider, powering through the witching hour.

I can tell you that Billabong ultimately won, but that the mood, at least in the middle of the night, was one of drowsy solidarity.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,