Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Surf girls would go!

Yes... it happened yesterday!  We all kind of knew that
the 40 something surf girls would go and yesterday one
of them did.  Perfect  small waves, sunny skies, a mild 
December day, and a first brand new board how could 
they resist. One went, the other almost got in a fight with
her boss trying to get out of work to catch the mid-day
incoming tide.  One is stoked beyond belief, the other
still waiting, board yet to be waxed, yet to get wet.  The
clock continues to tick.  It's a long time before spring.

Surfing and the overall stoke that it can create is amazing.
Sharing the stoke and watching it grow in someone who'd
never expected to get bitten by the surf bug is a joyous experience.
Today on our morning beach walk all she could do was talk about
her first session on her very own board.  Everything, from how
"cool" it is that wetsuits actually work to how stable and light
the new board is, was described in detail.  Highlights of waves
came to life. The experience of  just how clear and clean the
water was relived. It's almost as if  we are following some primal
surfer instinct, something in surfer DNA that demands we "talk
story", talk about waves, experiences, joys.  It's as if those sessions
are imprinted in our brains permitting us to re-live them, to feel
them and carry them with us.  What a blessing.

One went - will the other go?  Eddie would go!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Yesterday was 60 degrees here in NJ.  What a nice late
December surprise.  It was the kind of day that the further
inland you were the warmer it was courtesy of a south wind
blowing at 20 mph or so.  Walking on the boardwalk or at
the beach was a cool challenge while walking a mile or so
inland where the wind velocity was broken was a spring like
pleasure.  What a variation.

Today brought bright sunshine, temperatures in the 40's and
a nice little south swell.  The break at the end of my street 
looked like Malibu with waist high peelers that went on
forever. The variation in the sandbars have made for this unusual

The ocean, the waves, the beach, and the weather all vary.  Our moods
can vary as can our outlook on things.  Accepting variations rather
than fighting them can add pleasure to our lives.  Appreciating that
things aren't generally the same can be a calming thought because
that means change is inevitable.  Some changes will be great and changes
we welcome while others might not be so good.  It's good to know
that everything eventually varies, everything eventually changes.  Nothing
lasts forever.

Friday, December 26, 2008

It's all relative

Yesterday we had a nice Christmas surprise.  We
awoke to find some fun waist to chest sized waves,
fairly mild temperatures in the low 50's, offshore
winds, and water temperatures just below 50 degrees.
Not too bad for the end of December.  Not too bad
is a relative term.

Terry Gibson is a dear friend and Florida native.  He
is one of the most passionate activists I know and one
hell of a writer and editor.  Terry is quite the fisherman,
hunter, and surfer and all around great travel partner. I
love that Terry can take being teased with the best of them.

Last week Terry was in NJ on a cold, blustery day when
Sandy Hook was breaking.  Now when Terry talks about
cold water or cold weather you must remember that he
is a Florida boy through and through.  Cold means wearing
a 3 mil wetsuit without booties in 60 degree water.  That's
his cold.  I'm still smiling after hearing  him tell me about his
experience at Sandy Hook.  " I don't know how you guys do it"
he said amongst other memorable things.

Einstein's theory of relativity may or may not apply to Terry.
I do know that for the entirety of Terry's session he was fully
experiencing the moment, fully alive and loving every cold
minute of it.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Connecting with the wave

Kelly Slater is amazing and might be the bast surfer
the world has ever seen.  Slater has the ability to
surf well and fit in to waves of all sizes.  As he matures
it is interesting to notice how his environmental
awareness and philosophical approach to surfing 

In a recent interview Slater talked about "putting
so much heart and soul into the moment".  A truly
Zen like way to look at life.  He went on to describe
his approach to surfing by saying "as a wave presents
itself, you do whatever you are asked (by it) to do".
You take your lead from the wave or life, rather than trying
to impose your will upon it.  In the same interview he
discussed "some kind of connection between people
and the environment, that when done the right way...
when you see people link things together in just the
right way, it's like that thing already existed, that was
what was supposed to happen.  My goal, all the time,
is to feel like I'm in tune with the wave and the environment".

Isn't that how we all should look at our behavior, our
connection with our planet and all it has to offer? We
must aim to fit in, be part of, and link with the environment.
The US Oceans Commission and the Pew Oceans Commission
recommended we take an ecosystems management approach
to looking at the ocean and its' worsening problems. Most of
those problems have come from us not being "in tune" as
Slater describes it,  not seeing our place as part of the
ecosystem, with our oceans, or our environment.

Strive to be "in tune", to "link" and to "put your heart
and soul in the moment".  Interesting thoughts from an
amazing surfer.  Thanks Kelly 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Surf girls get their boards

The "40 something surf girls" custom ordered surfboards
have finally arrived!  Sure it took forever for them to get here
and Bill Stewart and his gang in San Clemente should be ashamed
of themselves - (4 months, come on Bill), but the boards are here
and the "surf girls" are stoked!

What surfer will ever forget that first new board?  
Mine was a 10'2", orange, Lanai Kai pop out purchased for 
 $100 or so from a local sporting goods store. Why
I got a 10'2" I'll never know as I was probably weighed all 
of 125 lbs. soaking wet.  Who cared.  It was mine! 
I've had lots of new boards in the
45 or so years since then.   I probably would have a
tough time even remembering them all.  Ah but that first
board. I often search garage sales, flea markets, and craig's list
to see it someone might be selling it, selling an important piece
of my surfing life.

The "40 something surf girls" have displayed amazing patience
 and grace over the last months.  They've waited with great anticipation
and resisted getting angry or upset.  Sure they missed having
their own boards for the fall season, but the waiting almost
seemed to add to their stoke.  As one of them said the other day
before the news of their arrival came, " I can't get upset by things
like that, what good will it do? The board will come eventually."
What a great outlook.  What a great lesson.

It's a long time until late April or May when the water here in
NJ begins to warm up.  Let's see if their patience holds out,
after all the water temperature is still in the 50's and a 4 mil
wet suit works.  Let's watch and see what happens if we get a
sunny warm day with fun looking surf.  What do you think?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pick up 1 item

You know that I've been somewhat obsessed with picking
up bottle caps.  Today, unfortunately, was a banner day. We've
had quite a bit of rain during the past week.  I
filled up yet another 5 gallon bucket of caps.  As I gathered my
usual bounty I noticed yet another plague, plastic cigar tips.  They
are everywhere!  With no particular effort I picked up hundreds
of them this morning.

I don't know very many people who smoke those little cigars
with the plastic tips.  Sure I know they are a favorite of those
who smoke weed, but there can't be that many smokers can there?
It's enough to make you sick all this plastic.  Guess the guy in the old
movie  " The Graduate"was right when he hold the Dustin Hoffman
character that he had one word for him as he considered his future

If you haven't already please check out the "Rise Above Plastics" web site.
Join the campaign, take the pledge.  If you aren't ready to do that how
about beginning by exercising the power of one.  Next time you go to the
beach pick one plastic item...forks, spoons, straws, bottles, caps, cigar tips,
you get the idea.  Bring a bag and just pick up that item.  It might open
up your eyes and the eyes of those around you.  Maybe you can lead by
example and encourage everyone else to do the same.  Pick up 1 item, collect
it and realize the impact one person can have.  Paulo Fiere, a South American
literacy leader once designed a campaign to help educate people.  He called it
each one teach one.  Do what you can...please?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I don't like the cold

I must admit it I hate the cold weather and am not 
at all a fan of winter!  The older I get the more I come to
grips with that simple fact.  Winter, to me, is something
to be endured not enjoyed.  

This morning the wind was offshore and fairly strong.
The surf was in the chest to head high range and Loch
Arbour had pointbreak like waves peeling for 100 or so yards.
I must confess I was glad I had to go to work.  I'm sure
once I put on my 5 mil wetsuit, boots, and gloves, and actually
got in the water I would have had fun but... Perhaps it's the
awareness that I've just returned from Puerto Rico and will be
heading back in a month or so.  Perhaps it is my advancing age.
Maybe it's just my aversion to cold.  Perhaps it's the sum of 
all the parts.

Lots of folks have to endure much worse these days.  My office
is filling up with clients whose concerns are much greater than
mine.  Why I'm not as stoked to go surfing when the air temperature is
25 degrees with a wind chill really isn't much of a real important
issue in the bigger picture but I really don't like the cold.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The beach changes

It's amazing how the ocean can rearrange a beach almost
overnight.  The long groin(jetty) at the south end of Loch Arbour
goes through amazing changes from day to day and from season
to season.  Most people never even notice it. Never realize
how dynamic the ocean is.

LA now looks like a point break.  Sand has built up all
along the groin wide enough to walk to the end at low tide.
The dogs love it! The sand bar that has built up is huge.  
The waves now peak up at the usual spot and the end of the jetty 
and peel along the new sand bar just like a point break.  I can't
wait for the next south swell, predicted for this week.  My own 
LA will look, feel, and act more like Rincon, Malibu, or J Bay 
than the Jersey Shore.  How cool is that?

Noticing small changes in nature and in ourselves is all part
of being "mindful", aware of all that makes up our lives.  Try
being mindful, focus and take note of the little things you'd
usually never focus on like your breathing, your eating, your

Monday, December 8, 2008

A cold, calm, clean beach and a rubber candy cane

Yesterday the temperatures were downright cold here in NJ.
Add to that a bitter NW wind at 30 mph and you get a great day
to stay indoors.  Today the morning temperatures were in the
low 20's but the wind was calm.  The beach, thanks to yesterdays
wind was covered with sand from the dunes.  Not a footprint
in sight with sand like dry, cold, hard powder.  No one around.
Just me and Happy my canine companion.

Today was the first time I had to put on my winter ski jacket.
To Happy's surprise stuffed in the pocket, left over from last year,
was his rubber candy cane.  Seemed we'd both forgotten about it.
It took a nano second for both of us to remember just how much
he loved that candy cane.  Happy eyed it with the look that one
gets when seeing a long lost friend.  We both spent about an hour
or so on the beach with no one else around.  I walked, he dug and
when I'd gotten far enough away he'd grab the candy cane and come

Happy is originally from Puerto Rico, the dumpster at the Mayaguez
Home Depot to be exact.  He and I both prefer warm water, warm air,
and palm trees, but today was pretty special.  Guess we both found 
joy on a cold clean beach. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bottle caps

It's become somewhat of an obsession for me, so much 
that friends have noticed and are contributing to it.
I've become obsessed with picking up plastic bottle caps
from the beach.  I can't set foot on a beach without noticing
them and bending over to pick them up.  I've got 5 gallon buckets
filled with them stored in my basement.  I'm not exactly sure
how I'll use them before sending them to be recycled but I've
got a few ideas for a guerilla media event.  Imagine dump
trucks filled with these multi-colored caps being dumped at
the state capital?

These caps have become a symbol to me of a society and culture
gone wild.  I recently read about how much we consume here in the
US.  It is staggering something we each should be ashamed of.
We live in an obese country that can't stop stuffing itself with all
sorts of junk.  Junk food, junk water bottles, junk junk.  Our national obesity
is symbolic.  What will stop us?  How fat do we have to get before we
kill ourselves as a result of our consumptive ways? How
many tons of bottle caps will I have pick up before the ocean and the life
in it dies?

Look at your own ways.  Our planet and health depends on us all.