Troy Elmore



Troy Elmore surfing at San Onofre. Video courtesy of Jack Belli. I like the way he longboards.

Lobster Claws

I have terrible circulation. Ten minutes and my fingers are frozen. Useless digits. For years I surfed without gloves, though. I couldn't afford them. Recently, however, I happened upon a pair of 3mm XCEL gloves. Surfed most of the summer with them. A marked improvement. But last week, when Karissa and I ventured out in search of surf, with the ambient temperature well below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, I knew three millimeters of neoprene wasn't going to cut it.

Alex Knost: Single Fins



I'm not sure how I feel about Alex Knost. At first I was impressed. His style speaks for itself. Unadulterated. Unique. But on a short board? I'm just not sure. His rigid upper body and wild gesticulating. Looks alright on a long board. A little out of place on an egg. Just my opinion.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

For years I neglected to wash my wet suit. I would come home from surfing, climb into the shower, rinse my suit and hang it out to dry. Done deal. I never thought to wash it. It never smelled. But after a few months of surfing two to three days a week, with my suit sitting in a plastic tub night after night, it no longer smelled like butterflies. Enter Dr. Bonner.

Nathan Adams' Almond



Short video of Nathan Adams riding his self titled 9'9" Almond surfboard at San Onofre.

Surf and Snow

With snow on the ground, I slipped into my wet suit, put on my lobster claws and paddled out. It's a drug, these lefts, something you keep coming back for, no matter how cold it gets. You have one, then another, chasing the dragon until your face and fingers are blue and your feet frozen.

Summer Blues

A few weeks ago I asked Todd Fischer if he'd like to donate a painting to the 'Back in the Water' fundraiser we were putting together. He graciously obliged, donating not one, but two pieces. I bid on one of them. Didn't win. But seeing his work in person inspired me to pursue purchasing my own original piece.

On our way back from surfing on Saturday, Karissa and I stopped by Todd's home near Port Ludlow to pick up a painting I had purchased a few days earlier. Todd works in watercolor. He captures both the beauty of the northwest and the serenity of surfing. Browsing the paintings he had available on Daily Surf Art, I came across something that spoke to me, a piece titled Summer Blues.

I like sad stories. Not because I'm dysphoric, but because I find that when faced with the cold, dark reality of life, one can find solace in the simplest things. Surfing for instance. So when I saw Summer Blues, it reminded me that even the best of times don't last long. Like standing on the nose.

The painting measures 7" x 9.5" and is framed in drift wood. According to Todd, he painted Summer Blues while "listening to old records (vinyl that is), with a nice hot fire burning in the wood stove."

Click here to see more of Todd's work.

Invasion! From Planet C

Since its release in 2007, Invasion! From Planet C has garnered a cult like following. It is a "cinematic masterpiece," according to my friend Jeff ;) Shot in New Zealand, Costa Rica, Australia and California, the movie stars Mike Black as Gnar Gnar and Matteo Plummer as Casanova. The story, a strange mix of sci-fi and surfing, goes something like this: Planet C has run out of waves and in hopes of saving their planet, Gnar Gnar and Casanova travel to Earth to "mine the stoke." Not the most exciting surfing and a plot that doesn't thicken. But that's not what it's about. You don't have to understand, just enjoy. BLAST IT!

Tenuousness



My friend KEG is a one man band. He plays the guitar, bass, drums, sings and does flying side kicks. He wears tight black jeans, cowboy boots and eyeliner. He is both a talented musician and entertainer. But KEG's got nothing on Andrew Bird. Aside from their multitasking musical abilities, they have nothing in common. Bird was trained in the Suzuki method, a way of teaching music conceived in the mid-20th century by Shin'ichi Suzuki. He plays the violin, guitar and the glockenspiel. He released his first solo album in 1996 and four since then. Tenuousness, the fourth track on Noble Beast, is my favorite.

One California Day



When I stopped by Wave Hounds to pick up a new pair of gloves, I mentioned to Todd that I don't own any surf movies. He seemed surprised. It's not that I don't enjoy them, just that I have little time to watch them. Suppose everyone should own one, though, so I picked up a copy of One California Day.

An all encompassing look at California surf culture, One California Day features a number of different surfers, to include Alex Knost, Tyler Hatzikian and Dane Perlee, a former Pearson Arrow employee and son of the infamous Al Perlee, proprietor of The Surf Shop in Westport.

One California Day highlights a wide range of shapes and styles, and unlike other films that are, in my opinion, overwhelmed with bottom turns and "big air," features both long and short boards, big barrels and slow peelers. If you haven't already seen it, you should.

Peaks Brewpub

Peaks Brewpub is the only brewery in Port Angeles. They've been in their current location since April of 1999. It's a dive bar by all conventional measures; pool table, pull tabs and big screen televisions, but Peaks is different. Beside brewing their own beer, they also have a handful of guest taps, most of which are occupied by local brewers. The hamburgers are respectable and their french fries, which they bake instead of deep fry, are delicious.

Two Big

It's interesting how a spot can change. One weekend it's small and forgiving, the next it's overhead and angry. When we headed out on Sunday, we were ready for the later. You see, last weekend was the first time I'd surfed in the winter. Often preoccupied with shotguns or snowshoeing, I just hadn't been able to motivate myself to surf in the winter. But this year is different. I am determined to surf every weekend until the spring.

Sunday was big. Well overhead and windy. There weren't many people in the water. A friend of mine from Oly, one of the best surfers I know, won wave of the day, hanging ten on a head high left. I had my fair share. Surfing without a leash, my confidence level was about half of what it should have been. Managed to keep my shit together, though. Pulled into half a dozen overhead waves, the last of which took my board to the beach and forced me to swim to shore. You live and learn. Next weekend I'll bring a leash.

Grey Whale Sessions



Garrett Dutton, Keith Malloy, Tyler Warren and Chris Christenson driving an old Volvo down the Baja peninsula in search of surf?! Shit, I was day dreaming about a road trip to Baja when Karissa and I had our old Volvo wagon. We were a little worried that Swedish auto parts may have been hard to come by, but were willing to take the chance. Looks like we'll just have to head south in the Subaru.

Click here to purchase a copy of Grey Whale Sessions.

Rialto

The last time I was at Rialto there were telephone poles in the water. It was November and my friend Matt and I had decided to hike into the Hoh Rainforest. It rained the entire time and we drank a lot of whiskey. Surfing, on the other hand, never came up in conversation.

Third Beach

With a promising weather report and swells that were supposed to be overhead, we loaded the car and headed for the coast first thing Saturday morning. Instead of a day trip, I decided to rent a cabin at Three Rivers, a "resort" located some six miles east of La Push that I've stayed at since I was a kid.

West Coast Road Eats

While attending community college and looking for a place to develop my writing skills, I worked as an editorial intern for Citysearch, an online resource for restaurant and retail reviews. During my six month tenure at Citysearch, I worked under a young woman by the name of Anna Ross. As it turned out, Anna had attended the same high school I did and had since received an English degree from the University of Southern California, before taking a job as the editor of Citysearch's Seattle office.

She was quick to point out grammatical mistakes, happy to help when I asked for it and encouraged me to pursue projects that I might have otherwise neglected. Anna has since left Citysearch and is now a content manager for Demand Media. She is also the author of West Coast Road Eats, "the definitive guide to the cuisine of the West Coast."