Why old guys surf
Wed, 30 Oct 1996
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.
"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."
25 November 1996
It came this week, only 6 weeks after my birthday. The
straight from the mail order house so I knew there would be
wrapping or card. Moms Foondoggy is fastidious about getting
cards and gifts to the recipient on time, so I knew this
delay was not
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
There had been many years when I wondered what planet my Mom
since most of her presents were outta this world. Due to her
she did all of her shopping by catalog or shopping networks,
virtually anything could show up.
There was the year I got five pairs of cheap flip flops - in
colors; or the time I got the red Hawaiian shirt with bright
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
who was caught hiring hookers to take pictures of); or who
the 6 foot tall, blue plastic palm tree?!! There are others
to explain but every year I wonder how she decides to send
me what she
As I opened the small box I could see a peek of blue fabric.
soared as I thought, "Finally!! a normal shirt!" I picked
the shirt up
by the shoulders and shook it out - I THOUGHT MY HEAD
Staring back at me was an X-large t-shirt with the most
graphic design I think I have ever seen. Pictured was a
looking, couch-potatoey guy balanced precariously on a giant
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
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
think this one's better than the 'Drummers know how to Beat
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
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
JUST GOT THERE!!! Why I'll sue those.......
Wait a minute Mom, I'm curious. What made you think of me
when you saw
Well you know dear, I know you still do that surfboarding
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
church. Any time you're not at the beach you sit in front of
complaining about my TV remote control.
That's not true Mom and anyway, all you've got programmed
psychic network, every shopping channel and 24 hour
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
about getting waves when I travel. He skunked me twice on
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
to your local Surfrider Foundation in my name? Please?
That would be great for Christmas, Foonie! Say do they
sell them little
How 'bout them Hawaiian Shirts with the explodin
volcanoes and canoes on
Wait, do they have them florescent frisbees that glow in
Mom....gotta go, you take care and we'll see you at
Foonie, how 'bout a nice set of golf clu.......click.
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
The question begs asking from this distinguished group,
what is the
best, worst, most unusual surf-related gift you've ever
My best was an O'Neill Legend wetsuit I got from Mrs.Foon
My worst, uh most unusual, was a 10 lb slab of paraffin wax
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
awakened at 3 am by a huge commotion at our neighbor,
Cindy's 19 year old son, Jim, had decided to have a party
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
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
buddies and by 3 am something went wrong.
First, there was loud screaming and shouting, then 4 boys
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
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
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
they found out the place was owned by Jim's Mom, they asked
phone number to notify her (SOP). Instead of giving the cops
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
that in fact, all the kids were underage including one young
girl who was a runaway, and all their parents would have
notified. Jim and a few of his friends were arrested on the
was discovered Jim had two outstanding traffic warrants and
one of the
cops found a small amount of weed on his person. Bad move
As he and his friends were being placed in squad cars, Jim,
obviously watches too much professional wrestling, decided
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
wrecked. There were thousands of dollars worth of damage and
have to contact her insurance agent to make a claim. Cindy
down and poured her heart out.
She'd had so many problems with Jim since his Dad had died
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
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
feeling sorry for the boy, but this time he'd really crossed
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
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
trash. On the way to the dumpster I glanced out at the
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.
crested the top of the dune I thought, "God, there is
One of the underage partygoers, who had bailed just as the
arrived, drove his big K5 Blazer down the dune path onto the
escape. Being more than a little inebriated, he'd forgotten
the 4wd and drove into a fairly large berm of soft sand. In
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
police because no towing service would come down on the
the cops permission since, DUH, driving on the beach was
illegal! The boy could just not come to grips with the
this situation. It turned out he'd borrowed the Blazer from
As dawn approached I offered to call the police and reasoned
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
lesson of consequences.
When I see things like this happen to young people, I feel
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
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
to come to grips with this incident.
I recalled my own youth and gave thanks that the worst thing
done (that I got caught for) was accidentally snapping the
a Nassau County police car as I leaned against it while
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
dormitory and I was fined $200 for destruction to a county
got off easy. I'm afraid Jim is going to pay a heavy price
for his bad
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
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
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.
'tis the Season
December 16 1996
I built the small fire on the beach with a few pieces of
hardwood, some broken hurricane fencing and with what passes
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
they'd give me for drinking on the beach. I took a sip from
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
- like a flaming shot of acetone. Who'd given me this Mule
(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
still and the smoke from my fire floated limply overhead,
moved out toward the glassy ocean merging and then
disappearing into the
low lying clouds. I love the smell of burning oak at the
moderate chesthigh waves broke occasionally, helped by an
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
chair within the halo of warmth from the fire, sat down
reached for a cigar from my gearbag. As more of a habit, I'd
board and wetsuit down, knowing full well the 3/2 Legend
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
foot injury that threatened to end my participation in the
forever. I remembered (and I'm sure some of you do too) how
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
What a difference a year makes. I look back on the past
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
stoke of riding some good waves, thankful I was able to
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
Hurricanes Edouard and Hortense brought their waves to the
and finally, thankful I could turn to alt.surfing almost
daily for some
good information, some good laughs, a provoking thought, to
ideas and to communicate with some fine (and not so fine)
I get a certain stoke knowing that at the lofty age of 47,
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,
least I can survive it. I'm thankful too I have the wisdom,
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
swells to be cherished and bragged about. Who could forget
Hortense and even Lili? There was that 9 day mystery swell
in July that
just about killed me with consistency, I'm not complaining!
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
My attention was diverted by a couple of really good waves
me from my favorite sandbar. I glanced back over the dune to
Mrs.Foon was watching me and noticed that a few of the year-
residents had turned on their cheery Christmas Lights.
Though this part
of town is usually deserted this time of year, a few of the
folks still do it up. I especially liked the halfsized,
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,
into the cold air. I realized it had started to drizzle and
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
seeped into my thin wetsuit I muttered, "Foonboy, you moron,
think you're getting a little old for this shit?!"
The answer came as I stroked into my first wave and felt the
lip breaking squarely on my back. I raced the falling water
head off and thanked God I made it Dry Headed!
Have a safe and stoked Holiday everyone (Yeah, even you
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
the recent thread on alt.surfing about breakfasts and did
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
find a much more exotic product called "Mueslix" which is
"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
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
labels on even the "healthy" cereals I was still amazed.
claimed no or low fat and no cholesterol, they were just
sugar. I was glad then I eat mostly fruit for breakfast and
I came upon an old childhood favorite of mine. Kellogg's
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
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
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
aisle and you will witness the worst form of propaganda
it's aimed at children! Talk about child abuse!
Oh, What's the bad news? It appears Tony is also a
Foondoggy (When's Fang coming out with her Frosted Kelp