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.
C: Hasta la vista, baby!
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?
I was lucky enough to watch Rich Luthringer rough shape one of his beautiful boards a few weekends ago. It’s crazy to see a perfect, little swallowtail emerge from a pretty primitive blank. Luthringer has made thousands of boards- literally, he stopped counting at 3,000. Sawing and sanding are second nature to him now, and he can (amazingly) feel imperfections in the boards by running his hands over the foam. Then he simply smoothes them out. No big deal.
“I could probably shape a board blind,” he says.
“Yeah, I just wouldn’t use a planer blind.”