Goin' Right in Sri Lanka



Our buddy, Banjo McLachlan, surfing a few fun (warm) waves somewhere in Sri Lanka.

(L)ater (A)lligators

Los Angeles was interesting. Sort of like an assortment of mismatched socks. You like them each individually, but together they really won't work. At odds. Now, I'm not saying you can't take a few fuck-it-all pills and rock said assorted socks, I'm just suggesting that sometimes you want things (your feet in this analogy) to look - and feel - a certain way. And so LA... where everyone's an actor and dreams go to die, can be similar to both the conservative gold-toe socks (all business, who cares for comfort) and also the Surfing Santa Claus socks Steve and Fran bought me for Christmas (works that week, not really applicable all year). It can be a place where incredible things happen. Surprising things. Big business deals and talk of television shows. It can also be a place where you can become complacent. Sun, surf, decent drinks, alright eateries... Why leave LA? But now, having escaped it's golden grip, it seems all too easy. All too obvious. And I yearn for more. More Malibu. More rooftop BBQ'in. More late nights in an odd apartment. More tacos. More Thai food. More Monday nights at Little Dom's. More Monkey Glands at the Alcove. More Chet Baker with breakfast. More of so many things... But I'll be back. Sooner than expected, I suppose. But I won't let LA do what I know it wants to do - grab hold and never let go. I'll escape, often. But I'll be eager to go back. Because it's an epicenter, and at this point it's what I want, or maybe what I need.

Lola In The Neighborhood



Lola Mignot enjoys a sunny San Diego morning with Mick Rodgers. Brought to you by Bing.

Mistake Making

Perhaps like a lot of people, I am haunted by my mistakes. The choices, be them good or bad, that have defined who I am at this moment. Accelerating when I ought to slow down, avoiding the inevitable, or not stopping when I should. It’s a rough road. And sometimes you need to be certain you have the right type of tires. Instead, I push down on the pedal – automotive references abound. “Driving fast on empty streets,” as Dr. Thompson once said, “with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested.” I’ll pay my penance. Wish I wouldn’t have, or whatever.

But then I wake up each morning, unable to recall what kept me up most of that evening, and make myself a cup of coffee. Unbeknownst. Its noon before I remember what was wrong... what is wrong. That thing I didn’t need to do. That comment I may have made. Retraction! My mistake. Perhaps I shouldn’t have... And yet I continue, making the same moves, saying the same sorta shit. Lesson: not learned. So how do I remedy my insatiable desire for idiotic endeavors, massive mistakes and countless poor choices? Start from scratch? No. One must always remember their roots. Look back on the bad and prevent it from happening henceforth.

So, what the fuck am I talking about? I can’t say for certain. Perhaps simply that I am at one of those big Y’s in the road, where either direction may, er, will lead to something substantial, or something sad. An example: my father has a friend that he’s known for years, who on his first patrol in Vietnam came to a fork in the road, literally. He went left. Ten feet forward and he had stepped on a booby trap that blew half his ass off, LITERALLY. He was sent home shortly thereafter. And life went on, but certainly not the same.

I’ve heard that story more times than I can count, and I suppose it has played a rather important role in how I make decisions. You see, either direction leads to the inevitable. Be it good, or bad. Fate? No, that’s not my sorta sauce. More like luck. Some people get it good, while others, well, others are fucked from the start. And so when it comes to making mistakes, the kind that will haunt me from here on out, I suppose I am not sure how to stop myself from making more. But they say realizing you have a problem is the first step to fixing it... So I suppose you should wish me luck?

Too Many Mahalos



Hudson Ritchie surfboarding water hills and skateboarding swimming pools in somewhere in So-Cal.

Mike Black's Math Lab

An article I wrote regarding Mike Black's "Math Lab" is currently featured on Slide Magazine!

Click here to see the full feature.

The Moments - 9ft & Single



The first of many short films shot during Deus Ex Machina's fourth annual '9ft & Single' festival.

Morning Wood

I pull into the parking lot, pay the guy at the gate and then find a spot for Fargo. Most mornings are a mess. Weekday, weekend, holiday, who knows. The crowd is always out there. Increasing exponentially as the day drags on. My earliest experiences were awkward. Where do I wait? How deep should I sit? Can I drop in on this kid? He looks like he knows what he's doing... Wait... No! He doesn't. Dammit!

High tide keeps the kelp from fucking with your fin, and also offers a fun inside section, where you can get waves if you wait. I slide my board out the back, slip into a short suit and walk down to the beach by myself. I knew no one those first few weeks. Surfing solo. I watched the old guys on the end snag some of that 'low and slow' stuff. And then a set would show up. Three, maybe four if we were lucky. Everyone at attention! Some people share. Some get upset.

This place gets a bad rap. Crowded with kooks, angry assholes and grumpy old guys. Sure some of that is true, but if you're willing to accept that you - like everyone else - is there for the same reason, it becomes better. Bearable. Dare I say... Fun?! Like Alex Swanson said to me in Seattle at the end of last summer, "I don't know why everyone gets so upset, we're all just playing in the ocean." Too true.

And so after a few months of surfing Malibu in the morning, I'd like to reflect on all the fun I've had, the waves I've caught and the people I've met. From Joel Tudor and Kassia Meador, to that old guy from Indiana, and the eye surgeon from San Clemente (who did not suck at surfing). Good people. Good times. I will also miss my morning routine: peanut butter toast, two Oreos, a cup of Cuban coffee and the 45 minute drive from Los Feliz to the lagoon. I'll even miss the mayhem. Sharing a wave with four or five people, dodging tourists, or blocking boards. And the ones I had on my own.... They were few and far between, tis true, but better than just about anything, or anywhere else. I'll be back, 'Bu. Promise.

So Cal Daze



Jared Mell surfing some of his favorite spots in So-Cal. As seen on Longboard Retro Days.

Andy Wauman

I inadvertently met Andy Wauman one morning at Malibu. He was surfing the inside section on a rather interesting piece of equipment. A stick that was shaped while he was living in Indonesia shooting a short film. I'm not sure how it all happened - Andy and I exchanging our information - all I know is that by the end of that afternoon we were standing on the sand sharing stories and discussing the aformentioned film he'd recently finished for Deus Ex Machina.

Andy was born in Belgium. His artistic life began with painting, however, according to Jack Taylor "his fascination for language steered him towards other mediums of expression." Since escaping Antwerp, Andy has spent the last ten years traveling the world "on a personal artistic exploration." Andy’s solo exhibitions have been displayed in galleries all over the world, including Europe, the United States and Asia. Gutterdust, his alias, is a creative outlet which covers his work in the field of analogue photography, film and sculpture.

Since our initial encounter, Andy and I have become thick as thieves - surfing Malibu in the mornings, eating tacos in the afternoon and shooting photos for an upcoming adventure I intend to embark upon at the end of October. So, before Andy left Los Angeles, I sat down and asked him a couple of questions...

by the water



Beautiful bit of film featuring Alessandro Ponzanelli. Brought to you by Bing Surfboards.

What Awaits

This is difficult to do. Harder than you might imagine. But it has to happen. You see, this blog has been a place for me to share my stories. Photos and a few words from weekends spent searching for surf, camping and cooking, drinking way too much whiskey and sleeping in the mildly modified cargo van Karissa called Fargo. Three years. Every weekend. From Friday evenings on the ferry to Sunday mornings surfing bullshit because it'd be another week till we saw the water again.

She was with me every weekend. My wife. She drove, I rode. She cooked, I consumed. We took turns taking photos - standing on the shore in our wetsuits, operating the camera with frozen fingers. We had our issues, like a lot of young couples. Arguing at times. Frustrated with our future, or perhaps our past? But in the end we all reflect on what was, as well as what could have been. Better? Almost certainly. Bad? Not at all. But things have happened. Unfortunate things. And so I float solo, kicking my feet and keeping my head above water. Because in the end, this is still a place for me to share my stories, both the good and the bad.

And as unfortunate as this certainly seems, I'd like to look back at this blog and reflect on everything that happened ahead of all this - those cold nights in the cargo van, cooking over a campfire, sampling ciders, watching Futurama on an iPad when there weren't any waves, scaring gas thieving meth-heads with my Glock, eating dinner at Angel's, wearing wet wetsuits, complaining about the cold, finding secret spots and enjoying the company of all the kooks we call friends. It was wonderful. But it's over. So here's to what awaits.

Knost Split



Short bit of film featuring Alex Knost. Shot and edited by Jack Coleman for Mollusk Surf Shop.

Lessons in the Lab

The more time I spend with Mike, the more I realize he's experiencing the true state of Stoke. The fully immersed. All the way out there. He's disconnected in one way, and yet completely hooked in another. He works during the week and surfs on Saturdays, which can suck, but somehow stays Stoked. He doesn't let the little things sour his mood. He moves on. He picks a pig. And when it too big to slide the swine, he pulls out his piglet, puts on a pair of fins and gets fully shacked at the San Clemente pier. We showed up late to The Lab this particular night. I wasn't sure if he'd be up for an evening. Boy was I wrong. We drank plenty of IPAs, played 'Siete' - that goddamn game I couldn't recall a couple of weeks ago - listened to Slayer (on repeat) and entertained the animals. It was an epic evening. Unlike the last, and yet somehow very similar. Perhaps because Mike is magic and his Stoke is kinda contagious.

Sherman



What I've been listening to lately...