Surfing Vancouver Island  

Foondroppings 10b  

This ain't no Party, this ain't no Baywatch, this ain't no Foolin' around!

29 May 1996

Memorial Day weekend was a stone cold washout for much of the Mid-Atlantic with 58 degree water temps at our beach and a strong NorEasterly flow that would just not calm down. With temps in the 40s at night we actually had to crank up the long dormant fireplace. Out the window I could see 5-6 foot victory at sea peaks with side rips in the 4-5 mph range.

Saturday marked the last day of testing of lifeguard trainees in our town. Twenty-three applicants had been checked and schooled in the proper techniques over the last weeks and now it was time to put that knowledge to the test.

Last year I wrote a letter to the local paper praising the brave and courageous efforts of the lifeguard service who performed exceptionally in a very difficult hurricane season. The head of the service, Carl, called to thank me and he mentioned how instrumental surfers had become in helping his crew cover the 10 miles of beaches they were responsible for. He flat out stated if it hadn't been for rescues performed by surfers, there would have been far more fatalities last season (we had only nine out hundreds of reported rescues). Carl invited me to watch how the new guards were tested and even suggested I participate as a drowning victim. So with my wetsuit and fins I showed up on a cold, dreary, rainy Saturday to be, as one guard trainee phrased it, "a drowning test dummy".

I was told to swim out into the 4 foot surf about 100 yards and wait for the person being tested to come drag me back in. The drill required the guard to sprint a quarter mile along the beach first, then swim out and drag with a float, or using a rescue hold, bring me back in. The rigorous early testing had weeded out what Carl called the "Baywatch Wannabes". These were the one's who imagined themselves getting the chicks and doing those quick splish splash rescues you see on TV. The field had been cut to 12 and you could tell from their expressions they were dead serious (and cold).

The first few guys who "saved" me dragged me in using a float. I splayed my fins out to create more drag, but most of them were helped by the floatation of my wetsuit. All of them drag/pulled me up the sand to the designated finish line. Carl told me I was being too passive and should present the next few candidates with a panic situation, but not enough to endanger the person. My next trainee was Tim, and he got spooked when I refused the float and continued to tie up his arms in a death grip. I outweighed him by 50 lbs. He finally gave up.

My next trainee was a 21 year old female named Pam, (NO! Not Anderson) who at 5'8" and 165 with legs toned by months of running on the beach and weight training, seemed to be up to the challenge. As she swam out I splashed and yelled. She gave me the float but I only used it to drag her toward me. I quickly grabbed her around the waist and headed for the bottom. The move caught her by surprise, but instantly her strong hands found my forearm and she pressed with both thumbs on a pressure point just below the elbow. I felt very intense pain, then my arm went numb. In a flash she moved out of my grasp as she spun around and had me under the arms. She yelled quite loudly with not a shred of fear or panic, "Be still, I have you!" She towed me into the shorebreak with the rescue hold then said, "If you promise to behave yourself, I'll carry you out." Sure enough, using a classic fireman's carry, Pam hoisted all 210 lbs of me and walked me up the beach to the hoots and applause of everyone.

Later, after she passed the rest of the testing she came up to me and thanked me for the challenge. I asked her where she learned the pressure point grip and she said her brother, a policeman, taught a self defense course. I congratulated her and said I'd be looking for her on the beach and in the water this summer.

I admire the courage and skill of everyone on the lifeguard service. Carl said it's not always the stereotype athletic kind who are the best guards. He looks for someone who is smart, fit, responsible, dedicated and observant. But the most important quality is desire, never willing to give up. He wants someone who will go 200% on every rescue.

Carl knows as well as he has trained his crew, he will never be able to be everywhere. He recently asked in the paper that all surfers be his backup guards and to watch others in the water. If someone seemed in trouble, they should just paddle over to that person and let them rest or hold onto their board until a lifeguard came to get them. Having everyone watch out for others in the water would be a big help. I helped a guy last year by letting him rest on my board so he could swim back in. And just this last week 2 kids were swept out over 200 yards in a rip current. Guards were not on duty yet and surfers brought them back in.

I thank all of you in advance for watching your brothers back. Let's make this a safe and sane summer, and


-Foondoggy (Our guys don't wear speedos either).

Alt.Surfing - The Final Exam Spring Semester

04 June 1996

Testing time: 45 minutes (with apologies for wasted bandwidth)

Multiple choice - each question worth 4 points:

  1. What is "the Wedge"?
    a. What you ask your caddie for when you intend to two-putt for par but wind up in a bunker.
    b. The prank that strikes terror into the hearts of every freshman who ever took a gym class with all seniors.
    c. For Orthopedic Surgeons specializing in spinal injury, in a word, "Business".
    d. Rick Ciaccio's personal surf zone.

  2. What is Fang?
    a. A new breakfast cereal shaped like sharp teeth, from the makers of Count Chocula and aimed at readers of Anne Rice novels.
    b. A Blood Flavored, Red energy drink for very aggressive surfers.
    c. A welcome presence on the Testosterone Zone called alt.surfing.

  3. Who is Tom Necfy?
    a. A Malibu Surfer.
    b. A Good Malibu Surfer.
    c. A stupendously talented and likable Malibu Surfer.
    d. None of the above.

  4. What is Coastal Carolina?
    a. Home of the best pulled pork barbecue in the World.
    b. Birthplace of the prettiest girls on the Right Coast (But their Daddys all have GUNS!!)
    c. Site of the future oceanfront retirement home of Foondoggy and arguably some of the best surf on the Right Coast.

  5. Who is "the Sandman"?
    a. An incredibly talented but overtly arrogant, egotistical scribe who's self promotion is exceeded only by his genuine brilliance and verbosity.
    b. Alt.surfing's own inventor of the FlameForm, and a useful tool, (No not him! The Form.)
    c. The next president of his own tortured World (Remember Sandman in '96?)

  6. A Soul Surfer is?
    a. A person who surfs alone.
    b. A surfer who is unblemished by the crass commercial aspects of the sport and who prefers to contemplate the gestalt of primary man in essential concert with his oceanic environment.
    c. James Brown going backside at the Pipe! Watch Me NOW!!

  7. What is Malibu?
    a. The weekend home of 10,000 valley cowboys.
    b. The weekday home of 10,000 Malibu "locals".
    c. A beach Mickey Dora invented.
    d. The best model Chevy Super Sport during the Muscle Car years.

  8. What is "the Endless Summer"?
    a. The summer that exists for anyone who flunked high school Latin and must make it up before the Fall semester.
    b. Will likely be judged as the most seminal movie in the history of surfing cinema.
    c. The most fervent wish of every surfer.

  9. What is Surfer Magazine?
    a. The most informative, sophisticated and influential periodical about the sport of Surfing.
    b. Birdcage liner.
    c. All of the above.

  10. What is the perfect Wave?
    a. Every surfer's dream.
    b. Every hair stylists dream.
    c. What Miss America contestants practice hours to master.

  11. What are Short Boarders?
    a. The evolutionary triumph of the Sport of Kings.
    b. A festering pustule on the ass of the Sport of Kings.
    c. The family of midgets who are renting the basement apartment at your Mom's house.

  12. What is Australia?
    a. A country down under known for its natural beauty, stark isolation, strong individual character, independent spirit, gorgeous women, rich anthropological history, incredible surf conditions and skin cancer.
    b. Is populated by beer swilling, boastful, pugnacious braggarts, who descended from murderers, rapists, thieves, and who crawled from under a rock on the shores of the cesspool of civilization.
    c. My kind of place!

  13. Kooks are?
    a. A hazard to every dedicated surfer.
    b. Always sitting next to me in the line up.
    c. All likely to resemble "Pete Amschel".(Since he refuses to wear any thing rubber, do you think he is the Father of them all?) Extra Credit.

  14. What is "Getting Air"?
    a. Anytime someone drives away from Los Angeles or Elizabeth, New Jersey
    b. What your average shortboarder calls a wipeout.
    c. When a bloke from the UK gets transplants from the back of his neck to the top of his head.

  15. Do you remember CORTICAL, aka Roger R, aka Roger Raffee?
    a. No.
    b. Who?
    c. Hell no!!

  16. What is the Windansea Surf Club?
    a. A group of responsible and social-minded surfing enthusiasts who, recognizing that good, safe, surfing environments are scarce, are promoting the most efficient and practical use of a public beach to benefit the interests of properly skilled and safety conscious people who ride hard surfaced surfcraft.
    b. A self-serving elitist clique of mean-spirited fascists so motivated by territorial imperative, they seek to establish and preserve their own private effete surfing enclave and exclude anyone who does not satisfy their narrow and discriminatory definition of a surfer.
    c. My kind of club, where do I join!

  17. Essay Question: 35 points 15 minutes.
    In 257 words or less, trace the sport of surfing from it's earliest Polynesian origins to it's impact on todays modern culture. Be sure to document the evolution of every model of surfcraft and cite the influences of such people as, "the Duke", George Freeth, Tom Blake, Preston Peterson, Bob Simmons, Joe Quigg, Ron Stoner, Buzzy Trent, Dewey Weber, Hap Jacobs, Hobie Alter, Greg Noll, Mickey Dora, Lance Carson, but NOT Corky Carroll (any mention of him - points off).

Remember, be specific but do not exceed the word or time limits.

This test is self administered and graded. If you think you passed, reward yourself with the surf trip of your choice. If you didn't, try again next year or you might want to switch to another newsgroup like, alt.village.idiot.

Have a good summer.

Professor Foondoggy, bfd.

The Thrill is Gone!

No, Not Surfing, you Bozo! The Net! Just recently there have been a flood of articles whining about the unfulfilled promise of the internet. One Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post stated that half as many homepages are shut down each week as are started up including some biggies, Web Review and N.Y.Times. Vendors bemoan the commercial failure of the net to rake in the big bucks and parents increasingly fear and monitor their children's use. Horror stories are rampant, every day brings a new and terrible episode in the wanton abuse of this magnificent tool.

I have seen things I never wanted to see - autopsy photos and accident site pictures including dismemberment and decapitation. And learned things I could live without - 60% of all men over the age of 50 have some form of Prostatic cancer. (I get checkups, so should you).

I have wasted many hours of my own time (not my employers) researching things I thought I'd be interested in, and was not. But also I found some very cool stuff I did not expect to find. I've bookmarked pages I've never gone back to see (the Cigar Page, the Jack Daniels homepage) and cursed when I did go back to some and found they were gone or under construction.

Through this newsgroup and many surfing pages I have joyfully renewed my interest in our favorite sport, met some nice people, and reacquainted my self with some old surf bras from years gone by. When we get together we always seem to reminisce (like geezers do) about surf sessions years ago. They always seem better than they actually were, yet we never tire of talking about them. I know it's not the conditions that were important, it's the camaraderie and friendships that have lasted all these years due to a shared and wonderful experience. Surfing with friends is one of the best and most long-lasting of life's joys. (old man talkin' here). Something you won't find on the Net!

My net cruisin has gone way down. I check here once a day, and maybe a few weather sites to learn about hurricane producing tropical depressions (none yet, damn it!). But between my old tech reading (papers, magazines, books) the bombardment of radio and TV and the few cool things I see on the Web, I'm starting to feel a sensory overload.

During my weeklong surfari to the Carolinas I was very insulated from the normal excesses of information, and I did not once miss it because what I was doing was experiencing something so much more important and real. I realize now it is much better to do and experience things in a real sense, limiting as that may be, than in a "Virtual" sense, and the unreality that it gives. I do not want to become one of those fat, pasty white, introverted netdrones who's every waking moment is spent gazing zombie-like into the flickering images of a computer screen. Don't laugh, I know two people receiving counseling for net addiction.

Get up, turn off your computer, call your best friends and go surfing. Don't check the conditions on the net, don't look for a picture from some remote camera taking shots at 30 minute intervals, don't spend hours puzzling over the swell potential profile, and don't tell your wife you'll be home for dinner. You'll get home when your done surfing (remember the thread on Surfer's time vs. real time), hopefully with your best friends, and hopefully in good waves. But who Cares, you're doing it for real and not in a virtual sense.

(But it's ok to come back and tell us all what a good time you had. I mean we all live a little vicariously.)

-Foondoggy (Got so excited here I just spilled a very real and hot cup of coffee into my lap! Is this an omen? Call my lawyer, I'm gonna sue myself!)

Da Gahd Fadda of Waves

12 June 1996

When I was in college I met and fell in love (lust?) with a beautiful Italian girl from Brooklyn. Little did I know that Denise came from a family that made the Corleone family look like the Brady Bunch.

At the end of the school year we both went home but promised to call and write everyday. Soon we were so lonely for one another she invited me down to her family's summer compound in Long Beach, NY to meet her family.

The day I arrived I was cleared at the gate of a gorgeous oceanfront group of homes by a thugish looking fellow named, what else, Tony. Soon I was being introduced to all manner of cousins, Uncles, Aunts, siblings and parents. I felt very welcome. There was a huge party going on that day with tons of food and drink. I took one look at their private beach and knew I was really in love. Off a long rock jetty, perfectly clean, and tissue thin waves were peeling, untouched by anyone.

After an hour I begged Denise to let me get my board to try them out. She agreed but first she said some of her Uncles wanted to talk to me in the kitchen. The little meeting consisted of me, Uncles Tony, Guido, Salvatore, and Louis sitting around a table drinking beer and asking questions about my intentions.

Guido started. "Ah you Catlick?"

"No, I'm Presbyterian."

"Would ya convert?"

"No, why?"

"So whadiya gonna be wen ya grow up?"

"I thought I'd try teaching for awhile."

"How's dat gonna help da Family?"

I wanted to say, "Maybe I could teach you all to speak English," but what I said was, "What does what I do with my life have to do with helping the Family?" There were significant stares all around the table, meeting over.

Soon I was stroking into some excellent chesthigh peelers, working them over with my McTavish deep V. After every wave I'd looked in and waved at Denise who was sitting on a blanket on the beach. I was in Luuuuuuuvvvvve. These waves were the "you could make any mistake" kind. Big and juicy enough for a lot of fun, but if you slipped up, they wouldn't kick your ass too bad. I was swooning with pleasure.

After an hour or so I looked in and didn't see Denise. I took my last wave and started walking toward the compound and was met by Uncle Guido.

"Where's Denise?" I said. "She hadda go." "What? Why?" Guido looked at me, "Look kid, her Gahd Fadda, has decided dat for reasons of your healt, you shudn't see Denise anymore." I countered, "There's nothing wrong with my health." Guido continued to stare at me until I could contemplate what I had just said. Then he took me gently by the shoulder and ushered me toward my car saying, "Yeah, it's good now, and we wanna to keep it dat way don't we?"

I was crushed. I had lost what I thought was the love of my life, AND access to a private break that pumped perfect lefts! I called Denise several times after that but she never returned my calls. She transferred from my school and went to a private college upstate New York.

Years later from friends I found out that the family was a major spoke in the New York City crime wheel, that many of the members were under investigation, and several had gone to jail, one for murder (Guido). I learned also that Denise had met a young Italian med student who attended med school in Italy at the family's expense. I guess the family needed doctors to fix those bullet holes. Also, after Denise married this guy she became a babymaking machine and had ballooned into a big Italian momma. Sometimes life takes weird turns. In retrospect, failures are sometimes lucky breaks.

I met a new girl at school who owned a 427, red Firebird, convertible, who loved to let me stick that bright green McTavish behind the seat, and race to the beach. But her family didn't have a private beach with great waves. Such is life.


"Life can only be understood backwards; but must be lived forwards."
Soren Kierkegaard

School Daze

26 Jun 1996

In High School five of my best surfing buddies were in my own homeroom. Each morning we were to spend 15 quiet minutes of the day listening to announcements and getting ready for classes. Our homeroom teacher was a huge man named Mr.Williamson. He was an athlete (swimming coach) a summertime lifeguard, and a well respected waterman in the community. He was also strict as hell and frequently assigned detention to anyone who screwed with the rules.

One day Mr.Williamson intercepted a note going around among us which spoke of the 5 of use cutting school the next day to go surfing in what was guaranteed to be great waves. He never mentioned he had gotten hold of the note. The next day we all dutifully left our homes for school, then met in a parking lot and bolted for the beach.

We'd been out about an hour when we looked in and to our horror saw Mr.Williamson paddling out on a big rescue board. We were shittin'! He calmly paddled over to us and thanked us for tipping him off to the great waves, then proceeded to ride rings around us. Who knew Mr.Williamson could plant a cheater five at will and punch through some tough sections on a rescue board!? Soon we were lending him our boards and then he really put on a clinic. We surfed all day and had a great time.

The next morning, as always, he asked everyone who'd been absent the day before, to bring up their excuse notes from their parents. Each of us slowly walked up and gave him what he knew was a totally counterfeit note, but he never said a word until he got to me. As I placed my bogus excuse on his desk he said softly. "Nice Sunburn, Foonboy." Terrified, I looked up at him and said. "If you'll remember Sir, I never once took off on you." He laughed and said, "I'll remember that."

Foondoggy (Swear to God, ask Bob, Tommy, Phil, Steve and John)

"The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself."
James Thurber

"I generally avoid temptation, unless I can't resist it."
Mae West

How do You Pray for Surf?

27 June 1996

By this time last year the Right Coast was well on it's way to an Epic Season. To date, we've had one Tropical Storm which left us mostly depressed.

What I need to know is what are your local customs or rituals for "Makin it Happen!?" I don't care if they work or not, we'll try anything. The following worked fairly well last year:


  • Late night at the Foondoggy Surf Shrine.
  • Paraffin is bubbling on a sterno burner.
  • Original dayglo version of the Endless Summer poster is suitably Blacklit and framed by seashells. Post-it notes with the names of former great Hurricanes are placed on the poster.
  • Cheesy little surfboard clock from Mrs.Foondoggy's trip to Manila marks the time (incorrectly).
  • In the background plays a pre-recorded tape of yours truly performing the drum part to "Wipeout" in one quarter time on the big Ludwig floor tom.
  • Ritual Dress: Original Katins, 10 yr old Reefs, a Mrs.Foon made Hawaiian shirt with print that shows breaking waves and erupting volcanoes, and the newly acquired "Surf Free or Die" baseball cap. (Shades optional)
  • I sit in a 15 yr old canvas sling back beach chair and sip tentatively from a tepid glass of "Cujo Mescal", the worm is still dead.

The Prayer begins:

"All powerful and divine Ocean Spirit of indeterminent religious persuasion, I, Foondoggy, your most humble and half-bagged servant do beseech thee to hear my plea. By this time last year, you had blessed us with an abundance of rideable waves. We worship and praise your infinite power to bring us such wonderful conditions and pray take pity on us once more. Your humble servant (me) will be on vacation next week and face the bleak prospect of sitting on the shore while thousands of vacationers urinate in your sacred waters. I pray you will provide moderate wave turbulence which will cleanse and purify your holy waters and give me an opportunity to cut up the mob one more time. It would also be nice if it was big and glassy in the morning so that we dedicated dawn patrol worshipers were rewarded for getting up so early to sing your praises and ride your waves. I do not ask for much, but if you could make it gnarly enough so the tourists think twice about going out, I'd really appreciate it."

"Please, oh omniscient one, I beg thee to grant this request. In return I will never ever watch an episode or rerun of "Baywatch" or access the unauthorized Pamela Anderson Homepage (the good one with nekked pichers!). Also, I'll take back every nasty comment I've ever written on alt.surfing (except about Corky Carroll and Pete Amschel) and send an apology to Laird Hamilton for my "Pretty Boy Laird" post of a few months ago."

"These things I do solemnly swear, Big Kahuna"

"Cowabunga and Amen".

Ritual Ends: Bite the Lemon, shoot the Mescal, bow three times to the Endless Summer Poster, change the tape to the ES 2 soundtrack by the Sandals and stare, zombie-like, at endless replays of Gerry Lopez at the Pipe.

So how do you guys do it?


"The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful, and has nobody to thank."
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

"If there were real justice in the world, people would be able to fly over seagulls for a change."

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