Surfing Vancouver Island  

Foondroppings 10  

A Good Day on God's Day

05 March 1996

The smell of coffee interrupts your dream about the gorgeous blond with the f--- me pumps, short/tight minidress and the big boo...ooooooom

Big Boom? hmmmmmmmmmm

The noise, like the muffled sound of an artillery shell exploding in the distance, makes the sliding mirrored door in the bathroom medicine cabinet rattle, ever so slightly. One eyelid slides open. The bright red digital numbers on the alarm tell you it's, SUN 5:30am. The eyelid slides shut and you return to the vision of those perfect...


You slowly raise yourself to a vertical position and turn to glance at your wife sleeping quietly in the dark. I wonder what she would look like as a blond with a pushup...? Never mind, something else is happening today.

You shuffle into the kitchen, grab a mug off the rack and pour a big cup of coffee. Thank you, Mr.DiMaggio, for putting a timer on your machine. Sliding the glass door open to the deck you step out into the sultry, warm darkness. Toward the East the faint light of dawn begins to redden the horizon. The beach break looks deceptively calm, only a few small waves are evident in the still air. Was I dreaming or...? Your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness as you sit on the swinging bench and sip at the steaming cup. In a few minutes there is movement in the distance and you sit forward to watch.

A set begins to take shape and the first waves find the formative drag and pull of the sandbar. Oh, this looks good. And the next one is very nice too, a little sectiony...but. The third is - now we're getting serious and finally - oh my. You stand up and stare in disbelief at what you just saw. You are not a very religious man but suddenly you realize that here and now, God Almighty has spoken directly to YOU!!

"Use the Pintail"

"Yes sir", you mutter as you snatch your trunks and rash guard from the rail, still damp from the previous evenings session, and trip down the stairs that lead to the beach. Dressing quickly under the deck you grab the pin and head for the break, hoping the caffeine will kick in REAL soon.

You reach the water's edge and kneel as if in thoughtful prayer, but really just to attach the leash. Your peripheral vision detects movement and you look to see only a flock of seabirds up the beach. It is deserted. The water is surprisingly warm as you step across the shallows of the sandbar. The next set begins to evenly unwind on the outer edge of the break and you realize it's much bigger than you thought. The first rays of sun backlight the emerald green walls and for a minute you stand and watch in silent awe of the power of the first visitors from a storm named - Felix.

Paddling out through the break it occurs to you that you are going to worship in, "God's own Liquid Cathedral". Brothers and Sisters, can I get a BIG AMEN!!! Thank yooouu Jeeeezus, say Hallelujah!!!!

You spin turn around to pick off the final wave of the set. Suddenly your religious fervor shrivels as you realize that the blond in your dream was really Mrs.Werely, YOUR 5TH GRADE TEACHER!!! (minus the glasses)

As you drop in the wave throws out over the sandbar revealing just how seriously hollow it is. Oh shit -- God is gonna get me for this.....

...and he does.

It is Sunday, August 20th, 1995, the Right Coast's Summer of All Time.

Reverently Foondoggy +

How will we pass on this Sport?

26 March 1996

One of my oldest surf bras, Dropin Vin, is a single Dad. He has custody of his two boys, Justin age 12, and Chris age 9, every weekend, most school holidays and all summer. He also attends their other school functions like soccer, and every Sunday they all go to church (they pray for surf, natch). Vin has made huge personal sacrifices to stay in his boy's lives and though he holds an important job, every nickel he can spare is for the betterment of the boys. Among them they own about 10 surfboards, all short except a Dewey Weber noserider, which they foist off on me when I visit. The sport has created a very strong bond between Vin and his sons and he has tried to teach them to be good surfers and good people.

Every summer the boys live at Vin's house. When he's at work, they are dropped off at a local beach club where they are closely watched by friendly lifeguards and staff. The boys surf whenever they can and perform odd jobs around the club when it's flat. This is an incredible life for these kids and they just love it. In the mornings, evenings and weekends, Vin, the boys and various surfing bras, prowl the area breaks for anything rideable. Vin has taught the boys well, they are fearless riders but know their limitations. If they get creamed on a bad one and feel shaken up, they know to take a break and paddle in. On big days, everyone watches out for the boys like a family. I've seen both boys take major league wipeouts (especially last summer) and they come up spittin' and scratchin' like anyone else. Though they are experienced, they don't mind taking off on some hairy kamikaze walls just to polish their "go for it" chops. Like all kids, they seem to have limitless energy.

What is most important, I believe, is the exposure the boys get to their Dad and his friends (they call me Uncle, though I'm not). They seem so much more mature and confident in the water. Their behavior and decision making show that they have indeed benefited from being around the older surfers.

When I see kids acting up and doing something stupid or dangerous in the water, I can't help but think that they need the guidance and experience of someone to help them. I've had several young kids come up to me in the water and ask for help; like how to catch a wave or how to paddle out? By observing me and others, they seem to sense even a relic like me knows what I'm doing. I could blow these kids off and ignore them, but I'm concerned that this sport be passed on the right way. I always answer their questions thoughtfully and honestly (kids have the best bullshit radar on earth) and I always add a little surfing etiquette to make certain they understand the rules of the sport (Don't EVER take off on the old dude with the baseball cap!!) Often in bigger surf, I'll paddle up to them to make sure they're all right or to point out some dangerous condition they don't have the experience to see. Many do not have an adult male figure in their lives and they appreciate any attention or information they can get. Some have come up to me later on the beach and we'll chat surf stuff. One tried to set me up with his divorced mom. (Mrs.Foon loved that one).

For the last two years Vin has taken, at some considerable expense, his sons on a Spring surf trip to Barbados. This is such a treat for the boys, they talk about it all year. Last Fall Vin mentioned to me he didn't think his equipment was up to the challenge of the conditions they might face (big, hollow, fast, point/reef break) and he wished he could get a new stick; he had just bought new boards for the boys, they having outgrown their old ones. I noticed how interested Justin was in the conversation and he questioned his Dad closely about the problems with his current ride. For Christmas the boys presented Vin with a new board, custom shaped by a top Right Coast surfer. The boys had saved up enough money from allowances, tips, odd jobs, and gifts and had collaborated with the shaper to get their Dad what he needed for the trip to Barbados. Though the shaper knew Vin, he worked on the board in secret and got a special job done on the artwork and finish. I could tell Vin was a little choked when he told me (me too).

When Vin and I started in this sport during the dark or enlightened ages (take your pick), we didn't have to be so careful about people we hung around with, and it was always the older surfers who showed us what to do and not to do. I wish all kids starting in this sport today could have a mentor to teach them right. The kook factor I think would be much less.

Vin and the boys will always have the sport to thank for great childhood memories and experiences (we still talk about trips we took 20 years ago). I'm sure the boys will pass on to their kids what they have learned from their Dad. Through the sport they have learned valuable lessons about life, friendships, and personal responsibility; and above all else, how to do it right. (Vin has told them never to take off on me, so they only do it when he's not looking, and I never tell.)


Born again, on Good Friday

05 April 1996

Crucified on the cross of injury and sickness, and after 112 days of surfless misery, I rolled back the heavy stone from the tomb of painful physical therapy and emerged, born again, to the sport of surfing!

Now God may forgive me for that shameless metaphor, but surely many of you and definitely my very religious sister will NOT! Hey, I PRAY for surf regularly, even though I don't partake always.

It occurred today, Good Friday, when I tentatively made my way down to the shore amidst the jeers and boos of some local kids on Easter Vacation and some of my dearest surf bras. Fully suited (still leaking too), I eschewed the Gath since I was determined to fully experience the sensation of getting back to it (right Pete?) and I hate those things anyway. Luckily the weather was just changing from mild to cool, but the water was a tad brisk at 42 degrees.

I endured the first exhilarating moments, as we all do walking in, then pissed to compensate for some very cold water gathering in my groinal area. Months of doing laps in a pool made it possible for me to zip out to the break dry headed. The adrenaline was giving me a buzz.

The waves, clear faced and waist high (Overhead on a sponge!) but nothing to brag about, were just beautiful to me. I kicked effortlessly into the first one, angle turned into the face, and took the whole thing on my back. The instant pain of an "I scream" headache was a startling wake up call, which shrieked, "WELCOME BACK!!" I cursed Pete Amschel for making me think I could get away with a hoodless session.

The wetsuit, leaking and too thin, took some getting used to with the added weight and restriction, but after 5 waves I was camping out on the tail of one of my friends who, when he snaked me for old time sake, just "knew" I couldn't catch him. So he was sort of surprised to feel me nudging him from behind seconds later.

My foot cramped up badly in the cold water, but I kept putting it too the test to be certain it knew what all the therapy was for. Eventually, it realized that this was no longer laps in a pool, this was the real deal. Occasionally spike like pains shot up the heel warning me I still had a way to go. The pain was a vivid reminder to be careful.

The drought is over, I can now return to posting about something more than my wet dream surf sessions from last year (I can hear the shrieks of joy throughout alt.surfing now). But there are no guarantees, anything can set me off and I may get inspired by Sandmange and Surff! I look back at some of my posts and realize how far from the alt.surfing path I got sometimes. I'm sorry - and thanks for tolerating the ramblings of a hurtin, frustrated, cranky guy who's had to come to accept the fact we all begin to die the day we are born. But, it's not when you end the journey that counts, it's how you make the trip. As for me, though the trip may be prone on a sponge for a while, I'll still be screaming down that barrel of life, stoked on - Surfing!!!

Too much? Yeh, I thought so too. Sue me, I AM stoked!

My new ride is frighteningly fast. I know it will cause me to try for waves I have no business going for. This could be my downfall in big surf since I normally use the board to launch myself off the front or back, sort of running leaping wipeout.

This spring surfing stuff is COLD! I hope to head South soon in the mean green surf machine to find new spots, check the old one's, get some authentic pulled pork barbecue, and reacquaint myself with the friendliest folks on earth, Southern Belles!

Foondoggy (I'm prone to go surfing again, eh?) :^))))))

Golf and Surfing - Two totally different Sports, or are they?

10 April 1996

Golf has been described as "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection."

That's why I could never do it. It's totally different from Surfing - or is it?

  1. Golfers and Surfers both get up early to practice their sport.

  2. They both spend hours (weather permitting) practicing their sport.

  3. They both would gladly ignore family, friends and work to practice their sport.

  4. They both travel extensively to exotic places in search of new experiences in their sport.

  5. They both wear funny clothes while practicing their sport (Lime green golf pants vs. Neon green board shorts).

  6. They both spend hundreds of dollars and more buying the latest equipment designed to enhance their performance.

  7. Both sports require specialized equipment for certain conditions (Woods, irons, putters vs. Guns, pintails, thrusters).

  8. In the 60s both sports had Cadillacs as a status symbol (the first surfwagons were often hearses which were usually Cadillac Fleetwoods).

  9. Both are not generally team sports.

  10. Organized competitions are usually dominated by a few top names who compete in weekend tournaments.

  11. Both sports are showcased by a few major periodicals (Golf Digest, Surfer)

  12. Both have been ridiculed in movies (Caddy Shack, Gidget or Point Break)

The perfect course, the perfect driver, the perfect putt.


The perfect wave, the perfect board, the perfect ride.


nah, there nothing alike.


PS. I was going to add that at the end of each session they both wash their balls, but I figured the Surfing Sisterhood and Mrs.Foondoggy would kick mine (flamingly speaking, of course).

The Devil Waves of Santa Barbara Made Me Do It!

24 April 1996

We drove up 101 from LA to Santa Barbara on a Friday morning. It was one of those Golden Fall Classic California days where the coastal clouds burned off by mid-morning revealing a brilliant blue sky. By noon the Santa Ana (Devil) winds were moving gently down the canyons pushing offshore. The air was dry as a tic, crackling with negative ions. We checked into one of the oceanfront hotels downtown on the main drag. Mrs. Foondoggy and I were in town as guests at my cousin's wedding on Saturday. Outside it was hot.

Cousin "Raymoondo" was the brother I never had and a lifelong friend. I was here to participate in his second wedding and to make up for my bad behavior at his first.

That's another story and another time, but suffice it to say that when he first got married in Redondo Beach to the sister-in-law of the then-owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Clint Murcheson, the episode with me and one of the Dallas cheerleaders, who was also a bridesmaid, did not endear me to the family. Nuff said.

Raymoondo's current fiancee was the middle daughter of a prominent Santa Barbara psychiatrist, whose plush cliff side home overlooked the Pacific, and would be the outdoor site of the pending nuptials. Thirty thousand dollars had been spent on flowers and re-landscaping the yard. This was to be a first class blow-out.

From our window I could see some wave action building out front of our hotel. I guessed that Rincon might have something to offer. I was anxious to burn off some energy and I had borrowed a too short board from the bride's younger brother. I wished Mrs.Foondoggy luck in finding the perfect dress shopping downtown and pointed the rental wheels for Rincon.

Paddling out at Rincon to the break with the most bodies, the waves appeared vapor thin, but they had a real nasty, evil quality to them that I immediately liked. The moderate but long-line swells and hot offshore wind combined for some devilishly mean-spirited surf and I tore the faces out of my share.

I was maniacal in my need to abuse and destroy the beauty folding before me! It had to be the wind, I've never surfed so possessed in my life! Wave after wave came through and were picked apart by the pack. Screaming walls, slash and burn shoulders, inside cover up sections, you could do no wrong except trying to stand up through the lip. (Got me twice) The crowd was in a feeding frenzy as each rider challenged the rest to "TOP THIS!" In two hours I was tapped, yet uncommonly agitated.

The rehearsal dinner that night was a casual affair to meet and greet friends, relatives and guests. My cousin announced that all men participants had to go to the local formal wear shop the next morning to pick up our tuxes. The future bride had forbidden any type of bachelor party so I gratefully hit the sack early and had vivid dreams of vicious waves in a blood red ocean. The Santa Anas were blowing stronger, hot and very dry.

The next morning at 9:00am, Raymoondo drove three of us downtown to the tux store only to find out that a minor adjustment to his pants was needed. While we waited I suggested we pop down the corner to a little Cantina for a beverage. I was parched. The little bar was very cozy and we ordered some Bloody Marys. After two rounds the best man decided to make some toasts to the groom using shots of Cuervo Gold. Not soon enough, we realized we had to get back, fast.

Staggering back to the shop and picking up the clothes, we then rushed back to the home of the bride. As we tumbled up the front stairs the door flew open and there stood the bride and her Mom. We had delivered the groom two hours before the ceremony - whacked! The look on the bride's face drilled a hole in my already aching head as she said, barely moving her lips,

"You have 120 minutes to make this man right. If you don't, he will regret it the rest of his life. I will make sure of that!"

We looked at Raymoondo and asked, "Cold shower, or cold ocean?"

He slurred, "Ocean!"

And off we went with the bride's brother, some boogie and surfboards, some strong coffee, and ok, a few beers, in search of the closest beach. The cuz was a trooper, he actually managed to paddle out before he blew chunks, and later said he felt so much better after he got a major hosing by a cleanup set. With 60 minutes to go, we deposited him back with an empty stomach and a new attitude.

By time the ceremony everyone was mostly OK. Raymoondo looked green but he was holding up. Luckily for me we look so much alike (we've been mistaken for twins) a lot of the distant relatives and friends who'd only seen pictures of him, mistook me for the groom. Got some nice congratulatory kisses from a few young female relatives on the bride's side.

(Yo Ray, I can tell you now that one of her younger cousins slipped me some tongue! You missed it dude, you shoulda seen her face when YOU took the long walk and not me!)

The wedding was perfect. I made a little speech which sounded coherent to me when I said it, but Mrs.Foondoggy said was laced with references to Devil Waves and Hot Winds.

The bride said to me later that if Raymoondo hadn't been up to the gig by showtime, since I was the only male cousin, I would have stood in for him and had to explain to the entire congregation why he couldn't.

She promised it would be one of the worst days of my visit.

Midway through the party, the bride's brother got a call. Rincon was going off, epic! Having already had a brush with the Devil Waves of Santa Barbara, I couldn't risk leaving the reception to surf.

It already was the worst day of my visit.


Pedro Says, "You are a Beeg Weener when you stop at - SOUTH OF THE BORDER!!"

May 08 1996

There's probably not a Right Coast surfer who's traveled along I-95 on the way to Florida who doesn't know what this means. This legendary landmark of RestStop tackiness has been at the North/South Carolina border, near the town of Dillon, since the early 1950s. It remains today, much bigger, but no less an adventure for the late night traveler.

When I first started driving to Florida, I-95 wasn't even finished all the way down and you had to get on State Rd. 301, to get to South of the Border. But since it was the only road South, you passed this godforsaken place there and back. Years later, the story has it, I-95 was designed to bypass the town of Dillon rendering SOB obsolete as a stopping place. The powerful and influential owner (a Jewish guy from of all places, Nu Yawk) persuaded State politicians with the judicious use of heavy campaign contributions, to lobby the Transportation Dept. to adjust the path of I-95 to pass right by SOB. Imagine that!

How can I describe this place? Unless you've seen it, the word tacky would be giving it too much credit. It sort of mutated over the years building by building from a dinky little reststop and fireworks stand, to a stupendously ugly yet interesting point of interest. It's aura is the same as the reason people stare at car wrecks when they pass by.

What set SOB apart from every other cheesy roadside stand (including Howard Johnsons and Stuckeys -anyone every actually eat a pecan sandie?) was the billboards. Starting about 200 miles away from SOB, virtually every 2-3 miles there was a billboard painted neon green and yellow announcing that South of the Border was only X-miles away. This was done exquisitely using the grossly racist and stereotypical mascot, "Pedro", who as the lazy Mexican, was always announcing on billboards in phonetically Hispanized English, things like the title of this post. In those days it was no big deal to insult an entire ethnic group in the name of advertising. It took sheer willpower NOT to stop at this tourist trap after being bombarded for hours along with way with come ons. SOB had every piece of tourist junk you could imagine, in addition to the world's worst food, watered gas, and terrible (but roadworthy) coffee.

Bad as it was, there were many non-stop surfing trips (21 hours) to Florida in my friends VW van, stacked with longboards, when we would eagerly anticipate stopping there. In the wee hours of the morning there was no better place to drain the vein, pick up some fireworks, eat some runny eggs and lumpy grits, wash down some high test coffee and get psyched for the last stretch. With that kind of buzz, you could make Sebastian in another 9 hours, if you survived the two lane horror of driving Georgia's deathmarch Route 17. 10 foot wide lanes, no shoulder except swamp, and huge Semis making a fresh peach run to the North at 75 mph. Without a balls to the wall caffeine jolt and a new driver, this was a suicide run.

My one and only truly scary memory of South of the Border occurred in 1969. We had left Nu Yawk in the early afternoon trying to hit Sebastian by midmorning the next day. We got to SOB at 3 am, road crazy and urine possessed. My friends headed directly to the diner for bladder relief and some food, while I waited for "Pedro" to fill the tank. I wandered across the road to the fireworks factory to take a look see. To this day I don't know why, but amidst huge "NO SMOKING" signs everywhere, I walked in the front door of the place and, surrounded by tons of explosives, stopped to casually light up a cigarette! The lone cashier, a sweet-faced Southern beauty, turned chalk white and soundlessly gasped as she pointed to me and then the signs. It took longer than normal for my road-fried brain synapses to connect, but slowly it dawned on me that the speechless little girl and I were dangerously close to sharing our last moments on earth since I was holding a lit butt less than 2 inches from some big ass skyrockets! I very slowly walked backwards out of the place, then sprinted for the diner, because something soon would be oozing down my leg. I never told the guys, but I'm sure the little girl had a lot to say about that "stupid Damn Yankee" when she got home.

These days I don't make the speed run to Florida (I fly) but when I'm on I-95 I can still see the cars with boards and roadcrazed surfers flying down the interstate in search of waves. Now, when I'm cruisin the Carolinas I take I-95 south to Dillon, SC, visit my friend "Pedro" for old times sake, then hang a left and head for Myrtle Beach. From there I take the slow and wonderful Rt 17 North looking for new and exciting ways to practice my favorite sport - eating barbecue!

-Foondoggy (the trip and pulled pork are so close I can taste it!)

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