Tag Archives: surfboard

Monday, September 15, 2014. 10:22 p.m. (I think.)

“Do these things work?”

I looked around, surprised. I hadn’t realized that he was talking to me. I looked some more: Tall, teal eyes, nice kicks. He glanced at my phone.

“Oh,” I said. Mobile boarding pass. Right. “Yeah, it should.”

“Okay,” he said, adding, “I don’t fly very much.”

I asked him where he was from, where he was headed.

Seattle (it’s not always rainy), Seattle (he was just visiting his brother)

“Are you flying directly?” I asked.

“I wish. Through San Francisco.”   Continue reading

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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.

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ESPN Gear Review: NSP Coco Mat Longboard



Some superfluous info for ladies interested in the 9’2″ Coco Mat:

The best thing about longboarding at Snapper is that you can, basically, surf all the way down to Kirra. Which is about 1 km and it’s amazing. The walk back, however, will leave you disinterested in lathering your shampoo and shaving your legs. On a side note, a whole bunch of good-lookin’ dudes will offer to help you, which is good for your girl self-esteem (if, in fact, you’re a girl) and bad for your surfer ego.

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(Wind + Bike) + Board = ¿

Every time I come back from a surf (or finish work, or exit the post office) I am astonished that no one’s made off with this gem.

The other day, I put it out there into the ether (uhh… I tweeted it) that riding your bike in the wind, while grasping a surfboard, is damn near impossible. Unless you’re a trained circus performer. My friend JoAnne responded, “Fins first!” JoAnne, you are a genius. This seems like a fairly obvious strategy, at least to try, but it’s always the obvious that’s overlooked. Think about it: why the hell would flipping the board over make it any less awkward or more streamlined? If anything, I imagine you’re thinking, those pesky fins would collide with your handlebars and make an even bigger mess! Not so. For whatever reason, not so. I like to think this is one of those invaluable pieces of information that is passed on from one generation of bike-riding surfer to another, only in times of need. And then everyone just smugly rides their bikes to the beach, to the wonder of the unenlightened, saying nada about their completely evident (yet untapped) tactics, until some poor and frustrated soul says, “Fact: Unless you’re a carny, riding a bike while holding a surfboard is nearly impossible in the wind.” If you know one of these people, please just pass this along to them. But definitely don’t share it with someone who hasn’t earned it by asking for help.

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Circumnavigating Part 5: Separation Anxiety

Penguin in London (less useful than in Hawaii).

I’m video chatting with Jackie and she says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you took your board all over Europe and you didn’t have it in Hawaii?”

Yes, Jac, that would be hilarious. And I would cry. And it is a real possibility.

I arrange for a courier to retrieve my board in Pottsville and deliver it to Jon’s house in Coogee. Supposedly, it will take two days. Supposedly they will pick it up tomorrow. At the end of tomorrow, Rita texts to inform me that nobody came for the board. I call the company from Canberra and they say, “Well, let me just call the driver and get back to you in a few minutes.”

An hour later, as their office is about to close, I still haven’t heard back. When I call, I ask for Mike (the guy I talked to before) and the woman says, “Ah yes, I think he mentioned you.”


“Let me check if it was picked up,” says entirely unhelpful Mike.

“I can tell you that it wasn’t.”

“Yes, the driver said he didn’t have time and it will definitely be picked up tomorrow.”

“Okay, great thank you.”

The following day, I have a very similar conversation.

Like four days later, I’m in Sydney and leaving the country very, very soon. I have talked to the shipping company countless times in the last week and a half. I’m finallllyyy notified that the board will be in Coogee on April 5th. My flight to Kauai is on the 6th; if I fuck this up, I really won’t have a board in Hawaii.

As it’s a weekday, both Jon and Danny are working. I no longer have keys to the apartment. Furthermore, I have no idea what time to expect this delivery, and I definitely have to sign for it. How could I possibly botch this?

Continue reading

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Circumnavigating Part 2: Sydney and The Subs

You know how sometimes on those red-eye, trans-Atlantic flights, 7 hours doesn’t quite cut it? By the time you’ve had your lasagna, watched Nicholas Cage’s latest, and, finally, lulled your brain into a state somewhat resembling sleep, you’ve got to put your seat in an upright position and prepare for landing. Sleep be damned. This is not an issue on the flight from London to Sydney.

Also not an issue: The condensation of time. I leave London Friday night and arrive in Sydney Sunday morning. Just go with it. “We’re not spending much time in Saturday,” Nick says casually. Nick is the amiable British guy to my right. He and his girlfriend, Kate, will be splitting five weeks between New Zealand and Australia. They ask me how I liked London and when I hesitantly say something along the lines of, “It was cool…” they inform (as if it is a fact) me that people in England get friendlier as you climb in latitude. Interesting.

In our stout Saturday, we experience Suvarnabhumi International Airport (and what is visible of Bangkok through the windows) as hot, hazy, and lush. The sun sinks into evening as we begin the second leg of our flight, after just an hour and a half on solid ground. Qantas serves dinner, but I’m still full from breakfast. Somewhere between Thailand and Australia, in the middle of the night, I look out one of the few open windows and observe a stupendous display of lightning: It’s bouncing off the clouds and it’s orange.

Stepping into Australia is like napping on that incredible couch you used to have in that apartment you used to have: Slightly disorienting but oh-so cozy. It’s just after 7 a.m. in Sydney and I am greeted by a chatty man in passport control and a smiling customs officer. And sunshine.

After arriving too early to access my first ever hostel room, I stumble upon Darling Harbour, by which locals seem unimpressed. I think it is beautiful. I can’t believe how many fish and likely poisonous jellyfish are visible right next to the dock. By 4:28 in the afternoon, I am completely exhausted and completely enamored with Sydney.

The hostel, on the other hand, is not doing much to win my favor. The girl at the front desk gave me the wrong change for my key deposit and when I told her, she had to check the surveillance camera to see whether my claim was accurate. They don’t allow alcohol in the building. I feel like I’m back in freshman year at Rutgers. Except there are five other vagabonds in my room, I need a swipe card to use the bathroom, and I’m pretty sure the bedroom door doesn’t really lock.

With sleep-deprived eyeballs, I decide to watch Drive Thru Australia because 6:37 p.m. is clearly too early to go to bed. I don’t make it much past nine, and am wide awake at four the next morning.

The Tim Tam Chiller’s one flaw is that it doesn’t actually have any coffee in it. However, by adding a shot of espresso, it is rendered the perfect way to keep cool in summertime Sydney. Another great way to keep cool is to roam the streets and let copious amounts of wasted energy wash over you: Every shop seems to blast the A/C whilst maintaining a literal open door policy. Not that I’m complaining–I think this is the hottest week that Sydney will see all summer, and at one point, I hover in the doorway of an under-construction bar and chug a half litre of water.

In miles and miles of walking, I note that people in Sydney are damn good-looking. And they look like surfers: sun-tinted. It’s funny, though, because I don’t think the majority of them are. I’m sure there’s some kind of statistic that reveals that while 98% of Sydney residents have, at some point in time, found themselves on surfboards, only 40% of them actually surf regularly. Surf mags are also surprisingly hard to come by. And they cost $9–$14 if you get the “Air Freight” [CURRENT] issue.

Continue reading

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Circumnavigating Part 1: Paris and London Plus Board

The Inertia kindly published part one of Circumnavigating a few months ago. In case you didn’t see it, here it is. If you did (and enjoyed), look for part two tomorrow.

Against all logic and airline stipulations, my board and I traveled from New York to Paris, to Metz, back to Paris, to London, and to Sydney (via Bangkok) without paying a single baggage fee. Unless you count needing a bigger-than-standard taxi in Paris. And actually, the board got me some free first-class Chunnel seats.

Friends at home kept suggesting that I just ship the Penguin straight to Australia and forget about dragging it around with me, for the sake of expediency and cash flow. I insisted that taking it with me would be a “funny” thing to do—and would probably be cheaper. To those friends, I say… “Wait a second, I was right?” Okay, only half right, maybe.

The guy who checks me in at the Iceland Air counter gingerly presses a “Fragile” sticker onto the bag and says it is light enough to fly for free. The very image of hospitality. Nevermind that I will shiver through the entire flight, there will be no food served, and Icelandic sounds like a mash-up language.

Continue reading

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How to Feel Like You Surf GOOD (Even When You Don’t)

Step One: Surf in Australia.

Many of Australia’s beaches are world-renowned, and I guess owing to the fact that Asia is so darn close, that continent’s tourists really enjoy this continent’s beaches. Now, Asians and I have couple of things in common–the most notable being unhealthy loves of both bubble tea and photographic equipment. And landmarks. Yes, those too. Accordingly, when you visit Bondi or Byron or Surfers Paradise, you will find lots of camera-clenching excursionists (I like that word) with a duty to obtain evidence that they were there. (I know the feeling.) Get ready for the best part: What cooler form could evidence possibly take than a snapshot of a real, live surfer? If you have a surfboard on the east coast of Oz–nevermind whether you are actually using it–you WILL be photographed by a traveling Asian, and then you will receive a grateful nod or wave. You will feel like a rock star. This foolishly unexpected, yet brilliant, bonus to surfing some of the world’s most famous beaches is, alone, worth the plane ride.

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