My life .... is an ocean
From the a concrete, glass and steel monolith which is the physical
embodiment of a vision quest I've had since I was 13, I stare - without
distraction- straight out to the ocean. It is almost dusk. My view is an
almost perfect 180 degrees; the horizon appears absolutely flat and the
surface of the ocean is unblemished - there are no people playing in the
surf, there are no commercial vessels plowing the shipping lanes
offshore, and no pleasure boats speeding by throwing frivolous wakes of
fun. Not a seagull in the air nor a dolphin in the water can be seen. At
this precise moment my view of the ocean is as pure as it can be.
My life....is an ocean. As I stare almost hypnotically at the changing
surface of the sea, I recall major episodes of my life. There are those
that are hugely significant, like some giant cargo ship that plows
steadily and relentlessly on it's course, impossible to ignore. Some are
barely noticeable, like the little ripples that occur when a gust of
wind touches the surface of the water.
I think of the many people who have come into my ocean. Some I have come
to love and cherish like an unspeakably beautiful sunset over the sea.
Others I have learned to loath and distrust, like an ugly oil spill of
anger. Many are benign entities that enter my life and exit, the water
of my ocean closing behind them as they leave- never revealing they were
I remember events in my life that raged like a huge storm, creating
towering waves of turmoil and fear, causing great dark clouds of
anguish. Then I remember that some of my happiest times were weathering
or recovering from those storms. I reveled in the healing calmness that
The waves of my ocean have been both a blessing and a curse to me. Some
have lifted my spirit to unimaginable heights of joy and happiness.
Others have hurt me....badly, making me fearful and sad. I have at times
mastered the tricky skill of carving a bottom turn on a wicked bowling
section. Then paid the price of false confidence by being hammered by a
stealthy and harmless looking wall. Throughout my life the waves have
always been there, gently and not so gently reminding me what is
important....that my life....is an ocean. At the same moment it both
changes and remains exactly the same. The tides change, the waves
break, storms rage, and tranquillity comes.
My life....is an ocean. And whether you know it or not...yours is too.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
"Life, we learn too late, is in the living, in the tissue of every day and hour."
If you live in a cave like Sandman, or have just been on vacation to
another planet, you're probably the only one who hasn't heard of the
phenomenal $250 million PowerBall lottery that has transformed many
people in this country into blithering idiots.
PowerBall, or as my accountant calls it, "the Stupid Person's Retirement
Plan," is a nation-wide lottery, which at it's current prize level, is
the biggest lottery to every happen in this country. At 80 million to
one odds the likelihood of winning is infinitesimal, so naturally I
bought a ticket at Dinky's Deli in Delaware. Dinky is a crusty old coot
who sells lottery tickets generously, always telling you you've bought
the winning ticket, at the same time he short changes you and puts the
wrong ingredients on your sandwich (No Dinky, I didn't ask for Grey
Poupon on my Peanut Butter and Jelly on Rye) Nevertheless, he always
asks everyone what they're gonna do with the money?
It is a provocative question, since $250 million spread over 25 years in
an annuity, or the cash up front option of $137 million could let you do
nearly whatever you want. I've given it some thought and come up with
The Top Ten things I would do with $250 Million.
10. Through a grant from the newly established Foondoggy Foundation,
fund the Surfrider Foundation and other environmental groups whose
purpose is to clean up and preserve surfing breaks and other endangered
beach areas. The funding would be perpetual based on a trust fund set up
in their names.
9. Through the Foondoggy Foundation invite other worthy organization to
present requests for additional grants for charitable causes. (Save our
Drummers take note)
(ok, enough of this goodie two shoes crap, let's get on with it)
8. Buy a Roll Royce Silver Cloud and make it into a Stretch Woodie.
7. Plan a world tour of the best Bodyboarding breaks and pay Sandman and
Surff to be my board caddies. Neal Miyake will be the official tour
photographer. Doc Milliken will be the official grizzled tour hanger on
and sage (BTW Doc, this is quite an honor). MrsFoon and a team of
doctors from Cedars Sinai will be official Medical Team. Tour T-shirts
will show a happy looking hound dog bodyboarding a big giant wave of
6. Fund research on the terrible disease of Clumsiness hoping to find a
cure before I kill myself.
5. Buy the Pipeline (shit, I'll buy the whole damn North Shore) and only
let my friends ride there. (Did I mention this list is satirical, no?
Well then flame away).
4. Take stand-up surfing lessons (I can hear the huge sigh of relief and a
few cruel laughs out there)
3. Buy Fang a decent house for her property in Western Oz. The thought of
her living in a surf camp hovel, eating grubs and roots pains me deeply.
2. Hair transplants? Nah, too late. How bout a really nice pair of
boardshorts (size 38) from the new fabulously popular "Surf Free or Die"
surf sportswear company. (Eat your heart out Tommy Shitflinger)
1. Pay for internet access, finally.
I could do another 20 things, but I tire easily when I spend money
(another tragic personality flaw according to MrsFoon). What would you
FabulouslyUnrichFoon (If I actually do win my lawyers tell me this post
is legally binding - you lucky people)
"Money can't buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy,"
"I have never been in no situation where havin' money made it any worse."
"The darkest hour of any man's life is when he sits down to plan how to get money without earning it."
We aint dead (yet)
I was as surprised as anyone this weekend and I don't even care where
it came from. I suppose something weather related set up a short fetch
NE flow that sent those waves to the Delmarva Peninsula. But at the risk
of over analyzing a gift from Huey, let's just say starting Saturday
morning, the Foonbunker beach was rocked with a substantial if short
lived swell. Bodyboarders ruled since no one else would risk the
demolition of a body and a surfboard to the dumping and unruly monsters
that visited us.
Local forecasters called it 5 feet. Ahuh - it was every bit of that and
more by my first hand inspection. The waves were as tightly packed as a
rack of ribs from Nick's, only meatier, and bulging with plenty of plant
you ass in the sand power, judging by the total scrubbing I took on
several close inshore crushers. The swell was grossly unorganized and
further corrupted by a 15 mph NE wind, that helped build the swell over
two days, but never allowed it to clean up enough to let us call it
The Bunker beach actually experienced some welcome erosion as the ocean
claimed back a chunk of the beach replenishment sand, depositing it
woefully close offshore. The size of the swell would actually let you
believe you were catching a large lazy peak offshore, until it moved in
over the shallow sandbars. Then you'd watch in horror as the wave would
throw out and you'd be surfing air for the fraction of a second before
the lip would cut you in half then pound you into the bottom. Lanky,
loose, and flexible teenaged bodyboarders, who had nothing to live for
and cared less about laying down in front of 6 feet of free falling water
showed that our testosteronally enhanced local crew was as hard up for
surf as anyone in the East. They were taking off on ridiculous peaks,
barely making turns before they got drilled. I kept mouthing my mantra
"Closeouts counts (repeat 3 times)" But never believed it once as I'd
surface from one pasting barely in time to grab a breath for the next.
Simultaneously both the high and low point of my Saturday afternoon
occurred on a larger than comfortable wall that I managed to fool myself
was makeable. The problem started when I took my eye off the wave as it
walled up on the sandbar to look inside hoping I would not be landing on
anyone. In that fraction of a second my body and board when fully
vertical, head down. Then as the lip pitched out and I began to look
down into empty air below the wave, my fins took the brunt of the lip's
forward motion catapulting me and my board in a full layout flipover
that landed me on my back, at the base of the wave, looking up at what
was coming down (shudder). I bounced off the bottom, which wasn't hard
since I was in all of 2 feet of water, and struggled to remember my
named -that's the first thing the Emergency Medical Techs ask
My session was short-lived since it became painfully obvious to me that
successive plantings were detrimental to my health. As I walked from
water I passed the lifeguard stand and told our guy to watch a
particularly nasty looking rip that was developing down the beach. I
predicted by high tide, with so much water moving out on a rebound wave
that was reflecting off the two foot erosion wall, that he'd be making a
rescue. I was within 30 minutes of picking the time, but missed by 5 the
number of rescues due to that rip. Luckily, on the beach were some
regular citizens who had lifesaving experience. They swam out and pulled
in at least totally clueless people from coal country in Pennsylvania.
Sunday was smaller but no less manageable. I did my paddle out for
exercise routine, caught a bunch of unmakeable slam dunkers then came to
dream just how good it would have been elsewhere if the winds happened
to be offshore. It could have been one of the better days this summer,
if not this year. God bless you Huey for a little taste of action. There
are hundreds of Right Coasters still in the hunt. God bless you makers
of Motrin IB, I will survive another day, hopefully to surf the good
stuff. We aint dead, yet.
Joe is gone
For those who remember my post, "the Last Good Wave," I am sorry to
report the subject of the story, Joe, has succumbed to cancer. In the
past 6 months I have gotten to be with Joe just a few more times and
each time learned something new and wonderful about the man. Over the
4th of July he managed to visit me at the Foonbunker though he was
confined to a wheelchair, and we spent a glorious afternoon on the
balcony overlooking one of his favorite beaches talking story and
reminiscing. His wife called me later and said how much he appreciated
the occasion. I felt badly since it was no big thing, I wished I could
As the Boomer population of surfers ages, more and more of our friends
may need the company and comfort of each other during bad times. I have
two more friends battling this heinous monster and I try to keep up with
their lives as best I can. Don't forget your surfing brothers, even if
they can no longer ride due to illness. They just may teach you more
about yourself than you can find out in the ocean.
Slater on CNN
Last night on CNN's Headline News they did a short piece on pro surfers
The bit showed Slater, Machado and Peter King noodling some tune in a
radio station and then talking about recording music about and for
surfing. Blah, Blah, Blah environmental this, Blah, Blah, Blah, feeling
the ocean that.....blah, blah, comparisons between classic surf music
and what they are doing- cue 20 seconds of Kelly warbling some lyrics.
Yawn. (Reach over and turn up Hendrix's "Spanish Castle Magic" on the
FoonReview: Don't quit yer day job boyz.
They mentioned a CD they've produced called "Songs from the Pipe." I
can't imagine what it's about? I can tell you this, the lead guitarist
from a bar band I was in during college also made a demo tape of tunes
he called, Songs from the Pipe. Only his pipe was some Liquid Nitrogen,
Cryogenic Bong (According to him the coolest draw you've ever tasted,
like freeze drying your lungs with the Mother of all Menthol cigarettes)
and naturally, he was some kind of Science Major.
Good luck boyz, but I don't think the next tour you'll be on will be
Foon (Available to sit in the drum seat if you do)
Gray dogs 'n donuts
The dream began as I suited up with a bunch of friends. We were in the
gravel and mud parking lot at the foot of the cliffs at Mavericks. (So
like, already I know this is a nightmare).
Several groups of guys were doing the same thing and the low volume
murmur of conversation could be heard, punctuated with sharp bursts of
nervous laughter. To make things worse, a heavy drizzle was falling,
coating everyone with a damp, cold blanket of moisture. The dark, clouds
of a February sky gave no hint of any sunshine to come, and a pack of
wet, smelly dogs ran around the parking lot barking and yipping at each
I'd forgotten my boardshorts and had slipped into my wetsuit sans any
means of support. I suppose it didn't matter. The relentless explosions
from Mavericks outside reef had caused my body to absorb both of my
testicles, and what was left of my equipment was looking for a good
place to hide. I tried to imagine just how gross the port-o-potties at
the end of the parking lot were. Surfers had been shuttling in and out
of them since I'd arrived. I wondered if anyone had actually shit in
their wetsuits while paddling out at Mavericks and figured there
probably wouldn't be any prize for being the first. My colon had gone
liquid when I first peered into the mist and saw what looked like 10
feet of whitewater rolling in out of the fog.
Word had come down from the battery of photographers up on the cliff by
the radar station that Mavs was dumping heavy today. The thick drizzle
had made seeing it clearly difficult, but there were rumors that the
first pack of guys who'd gone out got bombed by two monster sets, 20
minutes apart. Two takeoffs had resulted in serious wipe-outs and half
the pack had been seen making their way back in. Conservative estimates
put the set waves at 25 feet.
The false bravado among men who are about to enter the danger zone is
manifested in peculiar ways. Some talk too loud, others are artificially
jovial, some stare off in the distance, hypnotized by some far off
point. Many nervously ask questions that have no answer. The dogs
continued to bark and bite at each other rushing around in loose groups,
making a terrible racket and putting everyone on edge. Wouldn't it be
interesting if humans adopted the dog custom of sniffing each others
butts as a form of friendly greeting?.......Maybe not.
The first survivors came ashore and spoke dramatically of monstrous
gray mountains moving in out of the mist. I immediately thought of a
statement in the newsgroup defining wave height in increments of fear.
Several who came back looked almost shell shocked, not unlike the
survivors of heavy combat; not speaking, some twitching, several staring
at nothing in particular. A couple peeled out of their wetsuits, threw
their boards on their trucks and flew out of the parking lot spewing
gravel, not wanting to answer the frightened questions of those of us
who were planning a trip to the mountains.
Without warning a huge ruckus exploded as one of the dogs, attacked
another. A big, gray Mastiff had managed to attached himself to the neck
of a smaller white dog with red and brown spots all over him. The
smaller dog now lay perfectly still, still breathing, in the grip of the
larger dog. The owners of the two dogs squared off yelling and screaming
at each other. The Mastiff's owner warned everyone not to try and pry
his dog off the little one, or he would just bear down and kill it. The
owner of the little one begged someone to do something. Finally someone
suggested distracting the Mastiff with his favorite food, a big fresh
donut. I immediately thought of the box of Krispy Kremes I had in my
truck for after the session and wondered if I should offer to get it?
At that point Jeff Clark, veteran master and discoverer of Mavs pulled
into the parking lot. After a quick look see, he declared it suicide to
try and ride that day but he was going out anyway to see. In an instant
the anxiety level went off the meter as everyone who'd suited up knew it
was the moment of truth. With shaking hands and nerves of jelly, I
hoisted the 10 foot, bright red elephant gun I'd borrowed and headed for
the water. Someone shouted about the dogs and asked if they could use my
donuts to break up them
up? I turned abruptly, furious at the trivial nature of the request in
light of my current crisis of courage and.......
"Foonboy!!! wake up!!" MrsFoon was shaking me gently.
"Whaaaa what?? Whatsamatter?" I mumbled bolting awake in a cold, heavy
"You were yelling in your sleep."
"What, what was I saying?"
"Well you were mumbling about big gray dogs and mountains."
"Oh, sorry. I was having a bad dream."
"Well it couldn't have been that bad."
"Well the last thing you yelled was, 'DON'T GIVE HIM THE CHOCOLATE
I pondered this for a moment, still half asleep and wondered if I would
need a dream therapist to tell me if I was the donut, or the little dog?
Relentless heat and humidity makes you do weird stuff. It's been a long,
hot, surfless summer on the Right Coast. It's no wonder we have
nightmares about sniffing each other butts.
"He was a brave man that first ate an oyster."
"Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage
unless you're scared."
Re: Gray dogs 'n donuts
Voice of God wrote:
FOON MY SON, LAY OFF THE PICKLED HERRING AND JELLYBEANS AT BEDTIME AND YOU WILL NOT BE TROUBLED BY THESE SPURIOUS VISIONS!!!!!!!! AND YES, OF COURSE GOD TYPES IN ALL CAPS, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT!!!!!
OMNIPOTENTLY, OMNISCIENTLY AND OMNIPRESENTLY YOURS
G O D
God? Is that you? Damn....I mean darn! It's been a long time since I
talked you to. Last time was that big day in '95, paddling out on a huge
swell from Hurricane Felix during the afternoon. Remember you sent that
cleanup set in at Assateague Island? Remember when I begged you not to
let that 10 footer land on my head? I couldn't understand why you didn't
listen to me......it really ruined my day. Then Moms Foon explained to
me that you hear all prayers, it's just that sometimes the answer
Well I wanted to thank you for keeping me alive up to now, I really
appreciate the fact that I can still surf, even if it's only on a
bodyboard. But there's a few things I want to complain about too (no
offense). This getting old stuff really sucks. I mean sometimes after a
session I hurt in places I didn't know I had. And all this disease and
stuff going around makes me feel....mortal. I don't mind going
eventually, but just between you and me, I'd like the quality of my life
to be better toward the end.
Oh and one last thing, and it's not really a complaint, just an
observation. My life would have been a lot better if you had given me
bigger feet. These little size nines are not great for balancing a 6'2",
215 lbs. body around and as a result, my natural clumsiness, combined
with my predisposition for tipping over, has resulted in a lot of
falls....and some of those hurt. I never was much good at stand-up
surfing, and I fault my tiny feet and my natural clumsiness as a
damn....er I mean darn good reason. Hey don't get me wrong, I'm not
unhappy with the blond hair, blue eyes and freckles. It kinda makes me
unique. But this falling down stuff is getting real old, and I don't
imagine it's gonna get better as I get older.
Oh, and you of all deities should know it wasn't pickled herring and
jellybeans I had for dinner that night. Don't you remember the Beef Chow
Foon I got from Chef Hong's carryout. That's the overcooked shredded
beef, limp spring onions, and mushy, wide steamed noodle dish drowned in
brown sauce. What's that? You are what you eat? Easy for you to say big
My sister and Mom say I should spend more time at your house, but it's
only open on Sunday, one of the few days I get to surf. So if it's ok
with you, we'll just talk when I'm out in the break, ok? And please
don't send anymore of those cleanups my way, I promise we'll be talking
again soon, no need to push it.
Tom Keener wrote:
From todays paper, business section:
"Surfer Publications has been acquired by Peterson Publishing Co of
LA, and about 15 people - 25% of the company- lost their jobs after
the sale. Those handed pink slips worked in the accounting and
circulation departments of the San Juan Capistrano company, whose
38-year-old flagship magazine, _Surfer_, is considered the industry
bible. Peterson bought Surfer from For Better Living Inc., an Auburn
manufacturer of precast concrete."
Tom Keener - keensurf_at_cts_dot_com
I guess my bid of $23.72 wasn't considered? It's just as well. I would
have turned it into a real surfing magazine with real people doing real
The pictures would be other than endless shots of airborne, pretzel
postured boys, or deeply barreled muscular men surfing in places the
average reader can't pronounce let alone visit. The target audience
would change to those with an IQ higher than 65 and a reading
comprehension level over third grade.
There would be more features of real surf brothers traveling to places
we may actually have heard of and the photos would be more realistic not
the digitally enhanced color manipulated "art" shots that passes for
professional surf photography these days.
There would be actual stories that had characters and plot and by god a
message or at least a point, that when the reader finished they would
think, "damn, that was good reading."
The letters would be answered with respect and knowledge and not by some
snot nosed, wax brained assistant to the assistant of the co-editor who
replies with a stream of inanities or in jokes no one but the staff of
the magazine knows about.
The technical columns would be written by actual people in the industry
and not some hoser who's just has a fucking opinion about something and
an axe to grind.
The contest coverage would consist of the name of the contest, a list of
the winners and one shot of the heat winning wave.
The demographic of who is featured in major pictorials would range from
out all the way up to geezers getting out there, and everyone in
between. Spot light features would include real people with real day
jobs and guys or women with real families who do a whole bunch more
stuff than surf.
An advice column answering real and sincere questions would take the
time to discuss an issue and maybe invite other readers to give their
opinions. (Damn, that comes real close to alt.surfing)
An finally, the Reef Brazil photo spreads will be personally shot by me
:) And damn it, if I wanna shoot 15 rolls of film, I will.