Surfing Vancouver Island  

Foondroppings 12  

Foggy Mountain Snakedown

06 March 1997

My friend, Tomas and I had never actually planned the week long camping trip to Montauk Point, but we each understood that when the conditions got right, it would only be a matter of hours before we could load up our stuff and drive out there. On previous trips to Montauk we had scouted out several secret campsites, all of which were illegal and most of them on government or private property. The commercial campgrounds were just too far removed from our favorite break, Ditch Plains or just "Ditch".

It just so happened in late September of 1970, a really strong swell from a distance North Atlantic storm was producing promising reports from Eastern Long Island. Tomas and I packed our gear, knowing full well if we stayed the week, we'd use up all of our allowed class cuts at college. Somehow the reports of great surf made this a non-issue and we sped for the tip of the Island of Long.

When we got there our first task was to establish a camp at Ditch from which we could see the waves. Most of the property around Ditch is privately owned, though the beach itself is public. Tomas and I trespassed on someone's land to go out by the cliff that overlooks Ditch to see what we could find. While we were standing there discussing our options and admiring the ever improving surf, we were approached from behind by the owner of the property.

"Hey you boys!! What are you doin' on my property?!!"

"Oh, excuse us sir, we weren't aware it was your land."

"Didn't you see the No Trespassing signs posted every 10 Feet!!??"

"Uh, well yessir, but we were just stopping by to check the surf at Ditch and didn't think there would be any harm. We're sorry, we'll go now." "Ya know I've had trouble with you surfers trespassing before. I oughta call the cops..." Knowing we were screwed if this happened I said, "Please don't do that sir, we didn't mean any harm, we're just looking for a place to camp for a few days. We're very sorry."

Disarmed by my best Eddie Haskell impression, the owner seemed to have a change of heart. "Ok fellas, I'm not gonna report you. You seem like nice enough kids. So you're lookin' for a place to camp out? What would you say to camping out here on my cliff in exchange for some help with a little landscaping project I'm working on?"

We were stunned at our good fortune, "You Bet, Mister!"

"OK" he replied, "Pitch your tent over there and when you're done come by the house and we'll talk about the work. By the way, my name is Joe, What'er yours?"

"Tomas and Foonboy" I replied. "Funny" he said, "You don't look Foonish."

After we made camp and checked the surf, we knew the swell and wind would take another day to organize and groom the waves. We went and started to help Joe with his project. It was agreed we could use his property and surf all morning, but the afternoon we would work in his garden until dusk.

Montauk was a magical place. 175 miles from Nu Yawk City and stuck way out in the Atlantic ocean. It could catch swells from three directions and in the Fall there was no better place on Long Island to surf. Weather conditions get fickle but the swells usually line up better, stronger and last longer. On this day there was an occluded front sitting just offshore providing little or no wind and allowing the swell to develop without interference. Later in the evening Joe came by to swap a few stories and share a few beers. He turned out to be a really nice guy.

The next morning I woke up to the distinctive but muffled roar of rolling whitewater. The stench of the ocean hung thick in our tent and as I brushed up against the canvas side, my hand was drenched with moisture. I threw back the flap and stepped out into.....a cloud. Actually, it was some of the thickest fog I've ever seen. Visibility was about 20 feet. I kicked Tomas awake and we stumbled off down to the beach to try and see what we were hearing.

Sound in the fog is very deceptive. The moisture laden air seems to absorb much of the high frequencies, but transmits the low. The result was we didn't hear so much hiss, as rumble when we got near the shore. We could only make out the whitewater in the very dim distance. I told Tomas it would probably be easier to see if we paddled out to check it. We quickly retrieved our boards and launched toward the sounds. If you've ever paddled in dense fog, you know what a creepy sensation this is. As Tomas and I strained to see, at times we only had seconds to duck or paddle around breaking waves. We proceeded slowly outbound to the impact zone and having gotten pasted by a few, had the distinct impression the surf was bigger than we originally thought. Little did we know....

Out of sight of the shore and our landmarks, Tomas and I were basically navigating blind. We got so disoriented, we had no idea where we were, and the erie lulls between sets made us crazy with fear. We stopped where we believed the line up would be only to see an 8 foot wall come out of the fog and break right next to us. We both scrambled out another 50 feet and listened. The density of the fog varied allowing us to see from 0 feet up to about 50 feet. I kept staring into the white cloud trying to pickup a clue like a shadow or an upward curve of water to alert us to an oncoming wave. We talked nervously about our situation and promised to call out to each other should we get separated.

Finally, Tomas worked up enough courage to go for one. In the middle of the next set he cut one out of the herd and stroked into a oily-glassy wall that neither of us could see until the last second. Not knowing which way the wave would break, Tomas gashed a whipturn to the right. I immediately lost sight of him and within seconds heard a shrieking scream then......silence, except for the constant noise of the whitewater. "Tomas!!!" I yelled! "TOMAS, are you OK??! TOMMMAAAASSS!!" In the distance, obscured by the white fog, I heard a muted and weakened voice yell, "Foonboy!! (gasp, gasp) Don't take the RIGHT!!"

Now I was spooooooked! Sitting all alone in an ocean I could not see beyond 30 feet and felt terrified that I could be at ground zero for the next big mackin set coming my way. I was starting to get ISC (Involuntary Sphincter Cramps). I kept calling to Tomas, warning him about every wave that went by me or that broke in the distance. Finally he appeared out of the fog and repeated his story of being caught, calling it a "nightmare working".

Both of us were now frightened out of our wits and I just wanted to go in. We agreed to catch the next two waves and go back to shore until this soup had burned off and we could see. But what we didn't make known was which waves we'd take.

All of a sudden (very) a large swell appeared in the mist. I was looking over my right shoulder and did not see Tomas paddling and looking over his left shoulder. The wave was on us in seconds and we both caught it simultaneously. I stood and looked left to see that Tomas had snaked me bigtime. My only hope was to rely on my weakest turn, the backside and hope for the best. With Tomas' warning in my ear I angled right. Trimming up, I looked into the distance to see a fog enshrouded mountain of water. My hair (this is when I had some) stood on end as I viewed this huge wall that disappeared in the distance, and up into the sky...

Without much warning I took the whole load on my head, but I felt almost grateful it was over. I leashed my board to me and souped the next wave in. Tomas had not fared much better, but he got a bit of a ride before it too closed on his head.

Late that afternoon, when the fog burned off, we were working in Joe's backyard. We could see the 8-10 foot faces peeling almost perfectly at Ditch with only 4 guys out. We each knew we'd get our share when we were done, but it would be a cold day in hell before either of us ever went out in the fog again. I still can't bare the sound of banjo music.


Have you been Surfnotized?

Mon, 10 Mar 1997

It happens to me all the time. I can watch the ocean for hours, especially when it's moving, but I always get surfnotized. Last Saturday I took up my usual lookout on our dunepath with a stogie and a pair of binoculars. It was a cool and crisp, but sunny afternoon and I was out for some fresh air and to check the condition of our beach break. A Nor' East swell had begun to build slightly over night. It was very rambunctious in the morning but it started to sort itself out after low tide and got progressively rideable as the tide came in. Chest high on peaks, it also offered an occasional workable wall for anyone willing to brave the 40 degree water temps and 50 degree air temps.

Several young guys wearing appropriate heavy and hooded gear were up to the challenge and most got a good workout between the closely packed waves and a strong side current. The gusty winds made things even more interesting, and cool. I kept looking for telltale signs of an improved sandbar. There were several promising peaks at mid-tide which foretold good possibilities with bigger or better swells.

Whenever I gaze at the ocean it is not long before I can imagine epic days I've recently seen, or 20 years ago. Images are etched in the brainpaths and along with those images come feelings, emotions, sounds and memories. I can still remember a man I helped rescue 3 years ago during a big swell at our beach. He got caught in a ripcurrent, sucked out about 75 yards and then he panicked. I paddled over to him after he started to scream in holy terror. I let him use my board to float while we waited for a lifeguard to come out and get him. I'll never forget how terribly frightened he was and the fact that...he smelled very bad. I've often wondered about the adage that you can smell fear (anyone know for sure?) This guy was petrified and he stunk.

I also remembered wonderful and terrible session all at once. The difficult waves were wonderful when I made them, terrible when I didn't. I've never seen an ocean with waves I did not love to watch or did not provoke a deep inner thought process. I either became very analytical of what I was seeing, judging wind, tide, swell and other factors, or compared it to other conditions I'd observed in the context of great surf or bad surf. What I love about the ocean and its waves are the limitless varieties of shapes, sizes, colors, types, temperaments and textures....sort of like people really. Just imagine that for every person in the world, there is a wave out there like them.... And everyone is different, and everyone is wonderful and the world is a better place because of them. I could just watch all day.

"Hey! Yo, Foonboy!" I knew that voice. It was my neighbor, Elmer, standing right in front of me. "Hey Foon, what's the matter with you bro, you were in the zone, man. I thought you were in a trance."

"No Elmer, I was just watching the ocean".


Go ahead...give me 'the Finger'

March 12 1997

I lived 27 miles from Long Beach, Long Island. My friends and I surfed the Azores and Grand Ave. on a regular basis. In those days there were no surf reports, computer data, surfcams, or ocean weather reports to check. The only way to know about the surf was word of mouth and...."the finger".

In the early morning hours before dawn the trip to the beach would be lightning quick. The route, etched in our sleepy minds forever, was a succession of highways; Long Island Expressway, Wantagh Parkway, Southern State Parkway and finally the Meadowbrook Parkway, which ended in the toll booth to Long Beach. The same toll booth where Sonny Corleone was ambushed in "the Godfather" (swear ta gahd)! Total elapse time ~30 minutes which constituted breaking every posted speed limit on the way.

It wasn't until we got to the swamps (now called wetlands or salt marshes) at the end of the Meadowbrook, that we could start checking the wind conditions. If it was too light to detect by the sway of the swamp grasses, we checked the seagulls sitting on the parkway lamp posts - they always faced the wind. If the wind was offshore at the toll booth (25 cents), everyone in the car began putting on their wetsuits if need be, because waves or not, it was only another 7 minutes to the break and in those days if you drove like hell to the beach AND paid 25 cents, you were GOING in the water.

Among the loosely knit tribe of nomadic teenaged surfers who frequented Long Beach from all over Long Island in the 60s, there was a gentlemanly tradition we all practiced. If you were leaving the beach on the parkway and you saw another car loaded with boards heading there, it was customary to give them a signal with your thumb indicating whether the surf was up or down. Getting a thumbs up sign from another car when you were going to the beach was cause for unrestrained pandemonium which included shrieking, yelling, punches thrown and wedgies galore (try driving while doing that!) If every window of an oncoming car displayed multiple thumbs up, gesturing wildly, all hell would break loose and several accidents were just narrowly averted until the driver could be restrained.

This tradition was practiced for years with minor variations of fingers being extended. No matter which one was raised, as long as it was pointed up, we all knew what it really meant -WAVES!!! As with all good things, meaner times and stupider people began to infiltrate our surfing culture. Toward the end of my golden years on Long Island, wiseguys and Kooks would often take to giving false signals causing much emotional trauma and dashing our faith in the character of our fellow surfers.

But while the tradition lived, I can tell you now there was no better feeling in the world on a cool, crisp, Fall morning than to be racing down the Meadowbrook Parkway, watching seagulls facing offshore winds, and seeing a car full of stoked surfers giving you "the finger" as they went home. Biiiiitchhhen


"There are no facts, only interpretations."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Can Rick come out and Play?

14 March 1997

An attractive woman walks to the door of a modest home somewhere in Newport Beach, responding to the soft knock. She sees a little strawberry-blond, freckle-faced boy standing on the steps.

"Well hello Foonie, how are you today?"

"Hello Mrs.Ciaccio, I'm fine thank you."

"What can I do for you Foonie?"

"Well ya know Mrs.Ciaccio, we all miss Rick. Some bad boys made fun of him and his efforts to honor the Wedge, and they pissed him off, now he won't come out and play."

"Well Foonie you know Rick is a very sensitive boy and when those badboys made fun of him it hurt his feelings. Maybe they should apologize to him."

"I don't think so Mrs.Ciaccio, there's only one guy who apologizes in the neighborhood and he apologizes for everyone else's mistakes. That's the guy from Ohio."

"Well Foonie, if someone asked him nicely maybe he would come back to the group and play."

"Well we really need him Mrs.Ciaccio, there are some new badboys on the block and they're causing all sorts of problems with their bad attitudes and stuff. Rick is really the only one who can kick their butts verbally and we really want him to come out and hurt those badboys."

"Well I'll tell him what you said Foonie, thanks for coming by. And Foonie....?"

"Yes Mrs.Ciaccio?"

"Aren't you a little young to be smokin' a cigar?"

"Well actually I'm not that young Mrs.Ciaccio, and kneeling here on your steps in short pants talking like a little kid is not what I had in mind. But if it gets Rick back in the group, I'll do it. Christ, the things I do for this group. I need a beer."

Foondoggy (Rick, we need ya bro)

International Relations -What a Hoot(er)

Thu, 27 Mar 1997

Mindless ramblings by yours truly - Fred you can skip this one.

On the threshold of World Surfing Day my mind (what's left of it) naturally turns to things "international". I note with pleasure the return of Bear and the increased presence of fellow surfers from the UK, Gidget and others. Welcome everyone, Sandman needs new targets to beat up on and Surff needs newbies to apologize to.

Having just returned from Atlanta, Georgia -the epicenter of American Southern culture, I was met at home by three of Mrs.Foon's native German nephews who'd come to spend their Spring holiday with us. The young men all in their early 20s spoke very good English since they'd been schooled in it from an early age. They only had trouble with a few idioms, "No Yurgen, it's 'Seeya Dude', not 'I am seeing you Doot'"

Having never traveled outside Europe much less Germany the "boys" were very interested in American culture. One was so enamored of Americans he changed his name to "O'Malley" for the duration of the trip. Andreas was the group computer whiz. He was due to graduate in June and begin a job with EDS. He was amazed at the speed of our internet connections and the powerful machines we had at our disposal.

Mrs.Foon and I formulated a plan to expose the boys to as much of what we thought was really great about our country and the Washington DC area in particular. I was ready to introduce them to the sport of surfing using, videos, music, books, magazines, posters, webpages knowing they would just fall in love with it.

The first several days were spent in a frenzy of activity to pack in as much sightseeing as possible. We showed them the Museum of Natural History, Museum of American History, the Air and Space Museum and many more attractions including a few shows at the Kennedy Center. At home the boys were endlessly fascinated with American television shows and would watch with rapt amazement for hours if we did not turn it off.

I personally gave them a tutorial on surfing using the 2 Endless Summer movies and several others to show the evolution of the sport. I gave each of them several magazines and books to look at that further reinforced what an incredible sport it is. I even took them to the homebreak to let them see firsthand what it was all about. I should have suspected something when they seemed to be distracted all the time.

We later found out the boys were on a secret mission that they had planned for themselves, using the internet to gain information about this before they came over. When Mrs.Foon found out what it was, she was slackjawed with surprise. Whoota thought!!!

Suffice it to say what we expected to impress and entertain the boys with did not turn out to be what they wanted to see or do. What they truly enjoyed while they were here and what they really got excited about in no particular order was:

  1. Malboro Cigarettes

  2. American TV commercials, especially the ones broadcast during the NCAA Final Four games.

  3. Fast Food - any kind and lots of it.

  4. Rock & Roll- " " " " " "

  5. Yours truly playing a Dave Weckl piece called "in the Pocket" on the drums.

  6. NCAA Basketball

  7. The Simpsons -they could watch it for hours

  8. MTV - they could watch it for hours

  9. ESPN Morning exercise shows with the leotard ladies

  10. And the most interesting of all - Hooters Restaurant!

This last one just about broke Mrs.Foons spirit. With all this great country had to offer, she was absolutely amazed that their secret desire was to visit every Hooters Restaurant between Washington and New York. In 6 days the managed to find and visit 10 of em and the folks at Hooters played these boys like a violin. They bought and paid top dollar for t-shirts, hats, mugs, posters, magazines, collectibles and group photos (one smiling German guy surrounded by a dozen comely Hooters girls. $5.00)

Hooters - this mamorial shrine to bustlines and mediocre food, was all they wanted to see. They'd found the homepage earlier in Germany and were both fascinated and hooked. They searched for and found the locations of all of them on the Right Coast. The day we went to my homebreak in the hope of finding a firsthand demonstration of surfing by the local crew, all they wanted to do was go to the local Hooters. I was very discouraged.

Finally, Yurgen had to leave early to go home. At the airport I asked him if in any way he was interested in surfing. He looked pained and said, "To me it looks like a silly sport. There is no scoring or team camaraderie, like soccer. Though the movies show it is a very beautiful and graceful sport like skiing." Fair enough. I told him to comeback sometime in the summer or Fall when we could go for a long ride down South in search of waves (and Hooters). I shook his hand and said goodbye. He smiled and said just before he turned to go, "Seeya Doot". I laughed and said, "Yeah, Seeya Doot."


"No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American Public."

Love is a Beach

01 April 1997

A bit of Foon history, not for everyone. Skip to the next post.

Her name was Maureen with a surname as old as Irish history itself. When I started to go out with her she was only 15, the eldest daughter of a huge man who'd sired 4 boys and 3 girls and was the disciplinary vice-principle of an all boys Catholic High School in the toughest Irish neighborhood in Nu Yawk City. To say her old man was tough was like asking, "Is the Pope Catholic?" Her father was outraged she would dare to date a Protestant, but he warmed up to me considerably when I offered to drive his entire brood in their big Mercury wagon every Saturday down to the Church for confession. This gave him about two hours peace and quiet to nap. As much as he would thank me when I did this, I always knew he felt I wasn't good enough for his sweet Maureen.

Among my peers in public schools it was a well known axiom that Catholic School girls were the wildest and most repressed. Maureen had been a product of Catholic education since kindergarten and was beginning to test the waters of rebellion. I met her at a party one night and when our eyes met - KAPOW!! She reeled me in like a lazy trout, hook, line and zinc-nose.

She was more cute than beautiful, tall for her age and hinting at the sturdy Irish genepool she was a product of. Her blazing auburn hair was fine and shoulder length and her emerald green eyes would actually spark when you accidentally tripped the hammer of her hair-trigger temper. Dating Maureen was an exercise in masochism, you never really knew when she would take your head off. But oh, what a wonderful girl. Even at age 15 she possessed a body that could bring the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade to a screeching halt when she bent over to tie her saddle shoe, because in fact, that's what she did once.

For three years she was my girlfriend, constant companion and soul mate. I never wanted to date anyone else. I don't think I've ever been to the beach with another woman (except Mrs.Foon) as many times. I know few women who I've ever seen spend so much time in the ocean. Though she never learned to surf, I swear sometimes I thought she had gills. There were times she'd swim out to the break just to bring me some food, or talk between sets, or remind me when her father expected us back.

After a year of (semi-innocent)teen-dating I finally saw what a tremendous influence the ocean had on her. One day we double dated with my best friend, Tomas, to an isolated beach on the South Shore of Long Island (ok, Fire Island). Tomas and I each took two longboards, not knowing what the conditions would be, and hoping too we'd be able to get our girlfriends out in the surf for lessons. When we arrived just after dawn, the surf was magnificent, 6-8 foot faces of hulking green giants that blasted and boomed on an offshore sandbar. Tomas and I knew we had only a few hours until the conditions would deteriorate. We both scratched like mad to score as many waves as we could. When the wind shifted we both paddled in exhausted by our sprint to ride as we eyed the ominous and foreboding gray skies.

Tomas and his girlfriend decided to walk to town and get some food leaving Maureen and I alone for a few hours on an empty beach. The surf had metamorphosized into a scene out of Victory at Sea. Huge crashing wedges of waves and foam lit up the horizon. Violent cross currents and swells smashed together sending eruptions of spray into the air. As the wind picked up it began to get chilly so we arranged the four longboards standing on their rails, in a square creating a windbreak and a private space on the beach. We jumped inside, covered ourselves with a blanket and proceeded to watch nature's own liquid fireworks.

Within minutes the girl I thought I knew was on me with a passion I heretofore had never seen in my life. Timid kissing turned into a monster makeout, tender hugging became insistent grinding, it wasn't long before (GASP) bathing suits disappeared. Naturally, the one eyed worm was loose and was he agitated!!!

Now least you think I was a rookie in these matters, let me just tell you at one time I had dated both of the Cushin twins!! And as the saying went at the time, "If your seeing a Cushin, you'll be doin' some pushin'". But in all my tender teenaged years I had never been with a girl who was such a volcano of emotion. Before I could say, "What would your Father think." (Meaning of course, how many ways will your Father manage to kill me before I die.) she had me pinned to the beach, helpless, hopeless, and ultimately -terrified. But when it was over, I could not for the life of me wipe that stupid grin off my face. Until, of course, we dropped Maureen at home later that day.

As I walked her and her stuff to the house, I couldn't believe how beautiful she was and how lucky I was. Just then her Father came out the door and asked gruffly, "How was the beach kids?" I froze like a statue as Maureen blithely exclaimed, "Oh Daddy, you wouldn't believe what a wonderful gift Foonboy gave me at the beach today!!"

Just then, my life condensed into a very small wet spot on the sidewalk in front of me as sweat poured off my nose. I never stared at anything so hard in my life. I prayed with all my soul, "Please God, oh Please God, Please don't let her.... I will never do THAT again, I swear on this wet spot on the sidewalk, PUUUULLEEEEEESSSSE!" Maureen produced a little beaded, braided bracelet I'd given her weeks before and showed it to her Father proudly. She almost burst out laughing as she glanced at me and noticed my very distinct painful expression. This was a day I would never forget. After all, how often do you get to surf great waves, then drown in an ocean of love?

I'm happy to say that though Maureen and I went our separate ways and made families for ourselves, years ago we got together to reminisce. That day at the beach took up a major part of the evenings conversation and we both knew it was something we would remember forever.

The surf wasn't bad either.

Foondoggy (And you thought I was goin to send this to Penthouse didn't ya?)

"When I was young I could remember anything, whether it happened or not."
Mark Twain

"Everyone believes in his youth that the world really began with him, and all merely exists for his sake."

Blood is thicker than Waves

Mon, 07 Apr 1997

My sister called me the other night. After exchanging pleasantries we then discussed her concern about Moms Foon's increasingly bizarre behavior:

"You wouldn't believe what she bought from the Psychic Evangelists Shopping Channel Foonboy!"

"I don't wanna know, sis."

"You might as well, you're getting it for your birthday this year."

"Awww geee sis, gimme a break here." Knowing this was not a social call I said, "Ok, cut to the chase. What's up?"

She started her pitch by telling me that since my nephew and five of his surfing buddies were graduating from High School this year, the parents of one of the boys had offered to allow the group to use their oceanfront beach house in Cape Hatteras for "Senior Week", providing they could find a responsible adult to accompany them.

"Since every adult they knew just happened to be busy," she said,"as a last resort, they decided to ask you."

"Thanks, I think."

"They figured you'd be perfect. You love to surf, you know the Hatteras area, and you're semi-responsible."

"I'm semi-flattered." I said, dryly.

"We all want the boys to have a week of good, clean, responsible fun," she continued, "so for the privilege of using the house here are the conditions - No girls, No smoking, No drinking, and No parties."

"Well that pretty much disqualifies me sis, I do all of those -quite well too."

"Look Foonboy," her voice rising to maintain control, "the boys need you to be there so they can use the place, and I need you to be a good example. I told the parents you could handle this. Do we have a deal?"

"Put the kid on," I said, "I want to go over the rules with him."

"Yo, Uncle Foon, whazzup? You wit da program?"

"Can the crap bub, it's me you're talkin' to. I want honest answers or it's no deal. How many girlfriends are showing up?"

"Uh, four."

"OK, I can deal with that, where are they stayin'?"

"They'll be staying up the beach at another house, Uncle Foon, honest."

"OK bub, visiting is acceptable, there'll be no pajama parties. Next, how many of your friends smoke?"

"Uh, three."

"There'll be no smoking in the house, no exceptions. OK, next. The first one I catch drinking gets sent home immediately. The second one I catch drinking, you all go home immediately, you understand?"

"I can assure you Uncle Foon," he giggled "you won't catch us drinking."

"That's what I'm afraid of kid, I won't catch you. You warn the others, I've been where you guys are, I know all the tricks, and I've got radar when it comes to sniffing out who's drinking. Finally, the most important

"What's that Uncle Foon?"

"No one cuts me off......................Hey kid, did you hear me?"

"Uh, sure Uncle, but that's gonna be a hard one to sell to the guys. You're such a wave a hog."

"Life is tuff kid, that's the rule or no deal. Look, you can convince the guys, they like you and Blood is thicker than waves, right?"

"OK, Uncle Foon, you gotta deal, seeya in June, and Pray for 'Canes!!"

"Right, now put your Mom back on."

"Hello Foonboy, what were you boys talkin' about?"

"Just the rules, sis. Let me get this straight. I get to stay for a week in a big oceanfront house in Cape Hatteras for the 1st official week of hurricane season, and all I have to do is watch over 6 hormonally imbalanced teenagers? And you're sure you want ME?"

"Yes, Foonboy, but I have a few conditions too."

"What's that?" (oh shit here it comes)

"On Sunday I want you to make sure all the boys go to church." (God damnit!) "Gee sis, even if the surf is good?"

"Well yes, why not?"

"Look sis, you're gonna have to give me a little wiggle room here. How 'bout if the surf is really good we go to the Church of the Towering A-Frame?"

"That's a curious denomination. Is it Protestant?"

"Aquarian, something like the French Huguenots."

"Is it by the beach?"

"You could say that."

"Well I guess that's all right. You know Foonie, all those boys need to pray more."

"I guarantee you sis, if it's a big day at the Church of the Towering A-Frame, they'll all be praying a lot more. Seeya in June."

God I love this job!!.


"I've never been drunk - but I've often been over served."
George Gobel

A Hot-dog of a Session

Tues, 08 Apr 1997

I was hanging out at the dunepath last Saturday after a cold and disappointing morning session in waist high mush. The 15 mph onshores managed to squash what was left of a promising swell. The air off the 47 degree water was chilly and damp and the weak semi-cloud covered sun did little to warm my spirits. I decided to call it a day, go in and watch golf. (No just kidding, I meant to say the Quilting Channel) As I headed back toward home I noticed a group of 4 teenagers out by the dune, standing there in shorts and light sweatshirts. Their shoulders hunched against the wind, they were discussing the poor conditions and the prospect of it getting better. I followed them as they headed back to a late model Blazer with New York tags and noticed that the interior of the truck showed all the telltale signs of a surftrip in progress; camping gear, dripping wetsuits, junkfood wrappers everywhere, a few surf magazines and a couple of bodyboards. There were 3 shortboards lashed to the roofrack.

I said hello to the boys and asked where they'd been? They replied that they'd just come back from Cape Hatteras and had left Long Island New York on Easter Sunday just ahead of a late season snowstorm that had pasted the area on Monday. They'd driven all night to check out the Carolinas, and had scored some good surf in the beginning of the week. They were now on their way home but didn't have to be there until the next day. They didn't feature leaving early hoping for better conditions in the evening when the wind might die.

By the looks of the group, it had been a tough trip. They all sported scraggly beards, sun scorched legs and faces, and bleary eyes from lack of sleep. They'd been staying at campsites but the cooler temperatures had made that somewhat uncomfortable. None of them seemed to own a pair of long pants. They all stood there shivering, eyeing the crumbling waves and I sensed they did not want the trip to end on this sour note.

Impulsively I told the boys I had a couple of packs of hot-dogs at the FoonPalace and invited them to come over for a late afternoon snack. Hesitant at first, the cold wind convinced them to accept my offer of hot food and a warm place to hang for awhile. We all piled into the house just as Mrs.Foon was leaving to shop for our upcoming trip to Mexico. I introduced my new friends from Nu Yawk and she told them, "Oh, he's from Nu Yawk too, don't let him get started telling you about the good olde days in Montauk." "Well take your time, sweetheart," I said, "I suspect we'll be comparing some notes about Montauk."

I dumped the weenies in a pot of boiling water and broke out some chips, dips, veggies and soft drinks. Those boys hadn't eaten very much on their trip because within an hour we killed 16 hot-dogs and most of the snack food in the house. I was glad to share, remembering the times I'd been on the road and had benefited from the kindness of others. The boys turned out to be wonderful company.

They told me about their adventures in Hatteras and I took note of the breaks they thought would be good this season. (I also reminded myself to check Cap'n Rons MojoCafe webpage to see about the proximity of barbacue joints for future trips.) After a while I put on a video highlighting the incredible Right Coast "Summer of All Time" in 1995. All the boys had experienced that epic season and the video prompted them to tell all their great sessions. As the boys relaxed and opened up I was impressed with how well mannered they were. Initially they had displayed a bit of surf dude attitude, but that disappeared quickly when they realized I was and old time Long Island surfer, a native Nu Yawker, and there wasn't much about the Island I hadn't seen or experienced. The movie was a great catylst for conversation and I laughed and praised their stories of surfing Long Island and New Joisey.

Too soon the afternoon was over and the boys reluctantly realized the surf was not going to improve. They thanked me profusely for a good meal and a good time and decided to push on that evening to try and score some surf up in Jersey the next morning. As I walked them back to their truck I came to realize what a good feeling I had about these young guys and the future of the sport. These were good kids. One of them turned to me and shook my hand, then gave me his address and phone number. "Thanks for everything Mr. Foondoggy," he said quietly. "If you're ever up on the Island this season, give me a call and we'll hook up for a session somewhere." It didn't matter that I was an old bodyboarder, I was considered to be a peer. If I do go up there this year, that's one call I'm definitely going to make.


"I beseech you to direct your efforts more to preparing youth for the path and less to preparing the path for the youth."
Ben Lindsey

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