Surfing Vancouver Island  

Foondroppings 10g  

Why old guys surf

Wed, 30 Oct 1996

goob wrote:

Here is the question. Why should a middle aged guy, ie over 40, surf?

Foondoggy's Top Ten Reasons Middle-aged Guys surf!

10. Cool Clothes: At our age no other sport allows us to be so fashionable wearing baggy shorts & shirts, sweat stained ball caps, and praying mantis rainbow shades.

9. Cool Cars: Living in suburbia living vicariously off of surf movies, we have no good reason to own a fully tricked out HUMMER. But if we're going on a surfari to say, Central America (or just braggin about going), then a guy's gotta have the appropriate wheels. Right?

8. Cool Language: It's not often in our high level business meetings we get to say, "Dudes, Mackin, Worked, Housed, Floater, Airs, Kooks." So surfing allows us to enrich our vocabulary and syntax.

7. Cool Magazines: Guys get tired of reading Forbes, Money, Fortune and Golf Digest. The surfing rags have more pictures, so we don't have to read, plus once a month you get a nice butt shot of the Reef Brazil girls. (Did we mention "Woodie" in the language part?)

6. Long Boards: Riding the big ones (boards and waves) announces you're at the top of the food chain in surfing. They paddle easier, catch waves sooner, and you don't have to throw your back out turning them like you do on those damn potato chips.

5. Travel: There's nothing like a good swell as an excuse to blow off the weekend "Honey-do" list and go to the beach.("It's only this good once a year sweetheart, I can clean gutters anytime!) For those who can get away with saying you're going to some South Pacific island that has only thatch-roofed huts, no running water or electricity and only raw fish for food, having a Tavarua brochure on your coffee table has a certain cache to it. Of course, most of us won't go since there are no hot tubs or places to buy cigars.

4. Male Bonding: Though not normally a team sport, surfing seems to be dominated by guys. So if you're so socially maladjusted you can't find a girlfriend, there are plenty of guys out in the break between sets you can bitch to about women.

3. Virility: Scientific studies by Dr. Peter Amschel have proven conclusively that straddling a surfboard in very cold water causes the gonadal tissue to contract and shrivel, thereby stimulating and increasing the production of testosterone. Though surfing is a unique activity in which this occurs, you can always dip your balls in a bowl of ice water, but it's not nearly as much fun.

2. Three Words - Chicks love Surfers!

1. Alt.Surfing: A great newsgroup to brag about your surfing exploits, even if you live in the armpit of Ohio, and because basically people who really know you wouldn't believe you anyway.

Foondoggy ;^)

"They tell you that you'll lose your mind when you grow older. What they don't tell you is that you won't miss it very much."
Malcolm Cowley

The Present

25 November 1996

It came this week, only 6 weeks after my birthday. The package was straight from the mail order house so I knew there would be no gift wrapping or card. Moms Foondoggy is fastidious about getting greeting cards and gifts to the recipient on time, so I knew this delay was not her fault.

As I began to open this birthday present from my Mom, I got the same old feeling I always do when they come. "What the hell did she get me this time?"

There had been many years when I wondered what planet my Mom was from since most of her presents were outta this world. Due to her arthritis, she did all of her shopping by catalog or shopping networks, so virtually anything could show up.

There was the year I got five pairs of cheap flip flops - in neon colors; or the time I got the red Hawaiian shirt with bright yellow pineapples on it (size medium, I'm an X-large); or the year I got a subscription to the Jimmy Swaggert newsletter (this was the evangelist who was caught hiring hookers to take pictures of); or who could forget the 6 foot tall, blue plastic palm tree?!! There are others too bizarre to explain but every year I wonder how she decides to send me what she does.

As I opened the small box I could see a peek of blue fabric. My heart soared as I thought, "Finally!! a normal shirt!" I picked the shirt up by the shoulders and shook it out - I THOUGHT MY HEAD WOULD EXPLODE! Staring back at me was an X-large t-shirt with the most repulsive graphic design I think I have ever seen. Pictured was a chubby, pasty looking, couch-potatoey guy balanced precariously on a giant TV remote control which was sliding out of the mouth of a monstrous tube of a wave whose surface was made up completely of the logos of all the cable channels - HBO, CNN, ESPN, MSNBC etc. Underneath this brain deadening image were the words, "CHANNEL SURFER".

I was dumbstruck. By God she had done it now! Mrs.Foon took one look and just about died laughing. After she caught her breath she wheezed, "I think this one's better than the 'Drummers know how to Beat IT!' shirt from '86. And I think she got the size right this time."

That did it, I was going to have to call Mom and settle this. I picked up the phone and dialed............12 rings later she picked up.


Hi Mom.

Who's this, please?

Now Mom, how many men call you and say "Hi Mom"?

Wouldn't you like to know you rascal? How are you Foonie?

Fine Mom, I just called to thank you for the birthday present, it just got here.

JUST GOT THERE!!! Why I'll sue those.......

Wait a minute Mom, I'm curious. What made you think of me when you saw this shirt?

Well you know dear, I know you still do that surfboarding stuff cause every time you come to visit you take off with your nephew and spend the day at the beach. You know son you're keeping that boy from going to church. Any time you're not at the beach you sit in front of the TV complaining about my TV remote control.

That's not true Mom and anyway, all you've got programmed are the psychic network, every shopping channel and 24 hour religious programming. Aren't you interested in the news?

Oh what do I care about news. The end of the world is coming in 2000. Our time is short Foonie. I've been meaning to tell you again son, that you need to get Right with God.

I know Mom, I've been having this running feud with Huey all Summer about getting waves when I travel. He skunked me twice on the Left Coast.

Whoooey who?! Left What? What are you talking about?

Nevermind. Mom, look I wanted to thank you for the shirt but I really don't need anymore clothes. How 'bout in the future you make a donation to your local Surfrider Foundation in my name? Please?

That would be great for Christmas, Foonie! Say do they sell them little surfboard keychains?


How 'bout them Hawaiian Shirts with the explodin volcanoes and canoes on waves?


Wait, do they have them florescent frisbees that glow in the dark?

Mom....gotta go, you take care and we'll see you at Christmas, OK?

Foonie, how 'bout a nice set of golf

Mrs.Foon looked at my face and said, "She's on a roll again, eh?" I nodded and sighed.

"Did she give you any ideas for Christmas presents?" She said, trying to hold her laugh.

I thought for a second then, "No, but I think for Christmas I'm gonna have her committed."

Mrs.Foon looked at me mischievously and said, "How 'bout for Christmas you buy her....a brand new Surfboard?"


The question begs asking from this distinguished group, what is the best, worst, most unusual surf-related gift you've ever received?

My best was an O'Neill Legend wetsuit I got from Mrs.Foon last year. My worst, uh most unusual, was a 10 lb slab of paraffin wax for canning from you know who.

-Foondoggy (It's the thought that counts, but that usually requires the ability to think)

the Young and the Witless

02 December 1996

The Friday night after Thanksgiving, Mrs.Foon and I were suddenly awakened at 3 am by a huge commotion at our neighbor, Cindy's house. Cindy's 19 year old son, Jim, had decided to have a party without his mother's knowledge or permission at her beach house and it all of a sudden got out of hand.

Jim, who is a lifeguard in the summer at a nearby town, and a student at a nearby college during the year, sometimes used his mother's beach place during the holidays and also lived there in the summer. This time he did not tell his mother he was having a party with his college buddies and by 3 am something went wrong.

First, there was loud screaming and shouting, then 4 boys came piling out the side door onto the deck. Three of the boys were trying to subdue Jim, who was drunk out of his mind. Mrs.Foon recognized trouble instantly and called the cops. To the credit of the police, we had 4 uniforms and 3 cruisers on the site in under 5 minutes. The sirens and lights caused most of the underage kids to bail, but when the cops got up to the house things turned bad.

A few relatively sober boys tried to downplay the incident. Unfortunately the cops recognized that most everyone was underage. When they found out the place was owned by Jim's Mom, they asked for her phone number to notify her (SOP). Instead of giving the cops her number, Jim decide to take a swing at the biggest cop. Bad move Jim. In a flash, Jim was eating splinters off the deck as the cop took him down with one arm and cuffed him. Soon backups arrived and the investigation revealed that in fact, all the kids were underage including one young teenage girl who was a runaway, and all their parents would have to be notified. Jim and a few of his friends were arrested on the spot. It was discovered Jim had two outstanding traffic warrants and one of the cops found a small amount of weed on his person. Bad move Jim #2.

As he and his friends were being placed in squad cars, Jim, who obviously watches too much professional wrestling, decided to headbutt the arresting officer. Bad move Jim #3. Charged with assaulting an officer, with any luck Jim will get fined and probation. If the Judge chooses to change Jim's bad attitude, he may be spending part of Spring semester in County detention.

Cindy, who lives in a nearby town, showed up about an hour later and she was devastated. We went over to help her out only to find her house wrecked. There were thousands of dollars worth of damage and she would have to contact her insurance agent to make a claim. Cindy just broke down and poured her heart out.

She'd had so many problems with Jim since his Dad had died suddenly 4 years before. Jim was known locally as a talented surfer, but a bit of a wildman. Cindy had bought him a Jeep Wrangler Safari with some of his father's life insurance money hoping, in some way, it would help lessen his loss. Jim could be seen around town with various young girls and his bright red shortboard lashed to the windshield and rollbar of the jeep, blasting rap music at top volume. Everyone sort of cut him some slack, feeling sorry for the boy, but this time he'd really crossed the line.

Of course the place could be fixed up and things replaced. But what Jim had thoughtlessly destroyed was the trust his mother had in him. It will take a lot of growing up for him to rebuild that trust and I doubt very much he'll be allowed to use the beach place next summer.

We spent 2 hours trying to help Cindy clean the place up, but it was way beyond what we could handle. I filled 4 garbage bags full of empties and trash. On the way to the dumpster I glanced out at the shinny moonlit ocean to see some glassy waist high waves breaking in the cold dim light. Someone was going to get some good waves at dawn, but it wouldn't be me and it most definitely wouldn't be Jim. After we did all we could I was too wired to sleep so I bundled up and headed for the beach. As I crested the top of the dune I thought, "God, there is justice."

One of the underage partygoers, who had bailed just as the police arrived, drove his big K5 Blazer down the dune path onto the beach to escape. Being more than a little inebriated, he'd forgotten to engage the 4wd and drove into a fairly large berm of soft sand. In his feeble attempts to free his vehicle, he'd managed to bury the wheels all the way up to the frame. There he sat, terrified of the prospect of being caught by the police, and not knowing what to do. I walked over to the boy and pointed out to him that in about 4 hours the tide was going to be washing up on his car. I suggested his only option was to call the police because no towing service would come down on the beach without the cops permission since, DUH, driving on the beach was totally illegal! The boy could just not come to grips with the inevitability of this situation. It turned out he'd borrowed the Blazer from his father without permission.

As dawn approached I offered to call the police and reasoned with the boy that he did not want his fathers truck further damaged by the water. He agreed but it was obvious he was having a hard time accepting this lesson of consequences.

When I see things like this happen to young people, I feel both sorry and perplexed about their behavior. Common sense says you do not do a lot of these things, but when that is clouded with drugs or alcohol, I guess you can get yourself in a bad situation. Luckily no one was hurt that night, but Jim and his mother were going to have a long hard time to come to grips with this incident.

I recalled my own youth and gave thanks that the worst thing I'd ever done (that I got caught for) was accidentally snapping the antenna off a Nassau County police car as I leaned against it while watching an antiwar protest in 1970. The police arrested me on the spot but let me go when the crowd threatened to "liberate" me from the car and torch it. (POWER TO THE PEOPLE!) The police came and got me later at the dormitory and I was fined $200 for destruction to a county vehicle. I got off easy. I'm afraid Jim is going to pay a heavy price for his bad judgment.

I hope he learns the lesson that every action has a consequence, it can be good or bad, the choice is yours. Don't be young and witless. Enjoy your youth, but think before you act. It can be the best time of your life - or the worst. The choice is yours.

A sad footnote to this was an e-mail I received this morning telling me of the heroin overdose of a guy I'd worked with for years. He was a young man who had a lot going for him and it seemed he had his head on straight. Not one person suspected him of having this problem, even his wife. It was a shock.

-Foondoggy :^|

'tis the Season

December 16 1996

I built the small fire on the beach with a few pieces of seasoned hardwood, some broken hurricane fencing and with what passes for driftwood on the Right Coast - branches and scrapwood. I didn't care if the cops gave me a ticket for the fire, they could add it to the one they'd give me for drinking on the beach. I took a sip from a small, dented, piece 'o crap, hip flask I'd had since college and gazed out at my gray and somber homebreak. The Cabin Still Bourbon went down smooth - like a flaming shot of acetone. Who'd given me this Mule Piss anyway? (My bro-in-law) It did start a noticeable glow in my belly as the liquid fire stripped off a few layers of stomach lining.

In the late afternoon of a damp, chilly December Sunday, the air was still and the smoke from my fire floated limply overhead, then slowly moved out toward the glassy ocean merging and then disappearing into the low lying clouds. I love the smell of burning oak at the beach. Some moderate chesthigh waves broke occasionally, helped by an incoming tide, with enough quality that, had it not been 47 degrees in the water and 50 degrees in the air, I'd have jumped right in. I moved my old beach chair within the halo of warmth from the fire, sat down creakily, and reached for a cigar from my gearbag. As more of a habit, I'd brought my board and wetsuit down, knowing full well the 3/2 Legend didn't have enough warmth to let me go in comfortably. Plus, I didn't have a hood (hate em) it was getting too late, too cold, and too dark to go in. For all practical purposes, my season at the homebreak was done.

A year ago, almost to the day, I'd ended my 1995 season with a serious foot injury that threatened to end my participation in the sport forever. I remembered (and I'm sure some of you do too) how miserable and cranky I was during what was arguably the worst winter in 30 years on the Right Coast. It was the winter I almost gave it all up.

What a difference a year makes. I look back on the past season and feel.....well thankful. Thankful I didn't chuck it all and take up golf, thankful I was able to continue surfing on a bodyboard (Let's just not get into again my friends, it's the holidays and we've all taken a swing at this topic, let it be), thankful I could experience the thrill and stoke of riding some good waves, thankful I was able to visit and appreciate the surf scenes in both North and South Cali (even though I got skunked in both), thankful I was at my homebreak to ride when Hurricanes Edouard and Hortense brought their waves to the Right Coast and finally, thankful I could turn to alt.surfing almost daily for some good information, some good laughs, a provoking thought, to exchange ideas and to communicate with some fine (and not so fine) people.
Thanks, everyone.

I get a certain stoke knowing that at the lofty age of 47, I've rediscovered a sport I took up at age 13. It makes me feel good to know I still have the desire to charge a wave I think I can make, knowing at least I can survive it. I'm thankful too I have the wisdom, experience and Fear, to pass on those I know will crush my butt, because as much as I love this sport, I love living more.

As the afternoon darkened I reflected on all the good sessions I'd had this year. Despite the lack of many big storms, there were some great swells to be cherished and bragged about. Who could forget Edouard, Hortense and even Lili? There was that 9 day mystery swell in July that just about killed me with consistency, I'm not complaining! There was Hurricane Fran, that terrible Bitch of a storm, that tore the heart out of my beloved, Wrightsville Beach. I still feel very sorry for my family and friends in Wilmington, NC. It will take years to recover from Fran.

My attention was diverted by a couple of really good waves that taunted me from my favorite sandbar. I glanced back over the dune to see if Mrs.Foon was watching me and noticed that a few of the year- round residents had turned on their cheery Christmas Lights. Though this part of town is usually deserted this time of year, a few of the retired folks still do it up. I especially liked the halfsized, plastic Santa decked out in baggies, holding a body board. As I looked back out to the ocean another wave in the small set broke perfectly. "Damn it Huey! Ya skunk me on most of my surf trips this year and now, knowing I'm a pussy in cold water, ya rub my nose in it!"

I figured there was about an hour of daylight left. I flicked my cigar butt into the fire and watched some burning embers jump up, floating into the cold air. I realized it had started to drizzle and with a nervous shudder and a sigh of resignation I began to strip out of my warm clothes. "She's gonna kill me" I thought. As the first cold water seeped into my thin wetsuit I muttered, "Foonboy, you moron, don't you think you're getting a little old for this shit?!"

The answer came as I stroked into my first wave and felt the tumbling lip breaking squarely on my back. I raced the falling water screaming my head off and thanked God I made it Dry Headed!

"Apparently Not."

Have a safe and stoked Holiday everyone (Yeah, even you vxlmd)

Foondoggy :^)

Tony's a Surfer! and that's the good news

20 December 1996

Last night amidst the first !%)?$#&%! "snow event" of the winter on the mid-Atlantic, Mrs.Foon asked me (oh so sweetly) if I'd go to the store and pick up a box of her favorite breakfast cereal. I immediately remembered the recent thread on alt.surfing about breakfasts and did not recall anyone mentioning a popular brand of cereal.

So off in the truck on slippery roads I went, to make my dear wife happy. It had been several years since I spent any time browsing the cereal aisle in our store. Mostly, if I eat cereal I grab a box of mini-"shredder"-wheats ;^) and I'm gone. But I was sent on a mission to find a much more exotic product called "Mueslix" which is German for "freeze-dried hedge clippins".

When I got to the cereal aisle I was literally overwhelmed by the wide range of choices. Upon closer examination I was more disgusted with what I saw. Many of the brightly colored boxes of cereals specifically targeted at kids are no more than CANDY!! You might as well load your kids up with chocolate bars. It was amazing how much sugar, fat and crap is in those cereals, and how little nutrition is provided. As I read the nutrition labels on even the "healthy" cereals I was still amazed. Though they claimed no or low fat and no cholesterol, they were just loaded with sugar. I was glad then I eat mostly fruit for breakfast and not Fruit Loops.

I came upon an old childhood favorite of mine. Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, with the world famous mascot, Tony the Tiger.(He's "GREEEEAAAAAT!!") After I gagged on the nutrition label, I looked at the front of the box and was amazed to see Tony cranking a whipturn on a surfboard, over a bowl of cereal. Hey, did you know Tony's a goofy-foot!!? I didn't. I looked at more boxes of these thinly disguised candies and many box covers showed sporting themes on the front. What is the message here to the kids? If you eat this shit, you'll excel at a particular sport? We are bare-faced lying to our kids if we urge them to believe eating some crap from a box with Michael Jordan on it will make them a better athlete.

I didn't believe it was possible I would think that advertising could be more evil and unscrupulous than I did. Just take a walk down any cereal aisle and you will witness the worst form of propaganda imaginable. And it's aimed at children! Talk about child abuse!

Oh, What's the bad news? It appears Tony is also a Shortboarder!.

Foondoggy (When's Fang coming out with her Frosted Kelp Krispies?) ;^)

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