Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Preparation Stoke

True: you can tell a lot about a person by watching them surf.
Possibly Truer: you can tell more about them by how they get ready to surf.

--Trust me, the presence of this 7'10 egg will eventually make sense--

A local at my local drives to the break wearing his wetsuit, board strapped to the bare roof with a single piece of rope. He springs out of his car, pulls off the board in one motion, smiles at us suckers with exposed skin in 30 knot wind and sub-45 temps, then jogs down to the water.

My buddy Reynaud has three jugs of water, all of differing temperatures that he pours over himself sequentially, starting with the coolest, as he suits up. His cigarette stays lit as he does this.

The Guy With The Blue-ish Dog has his gear packed in individual crates. Each of his three wetsuits are as soft, pliable, and fresh-smelling as the day he bought them. He has a Semper Fi tattoo on his arm.

My lovely wife begins her preparations in full modesty, then, after a prolonged struggle with neoprene, ditches ditches towel entirely. Casual passersby are enthused.

Some guys never paddle out, opting instead to drink coffee and wear oversized flannel. Some spew to The Boys on their cell phones. Some sit quietly in their cars, watching the ocean. Some lack wax, some have extra. Sometimes there's a dude all suited up, tending to a fire on the beach.

There isn't as much variance with post-surf rituals. For the lifers, there's usually a little friendly banter, a remark or two about the conditions, then the drive home.

It's the getting ready that's interesting. The preparation. The window into someone's soul as they contemplate the cold, or the power, or the wind, or the sun, or the bliss.

The board order process is a similar window. Last week there was a cryptic, gravely voicemail:"Name's Don. Need a replacement step up for M___ _h__. Nineteen inches wide. No f@#$&ng color!" This message terrified my two year old daughter.

Sometimes the entire order is taken care of in the water. "Make me one of those," someone will say in a parking lot or during a paddle out, pointing to my ride. "I'll call when I'm ready to pick it up."

Sometimes, like with Santa Cruz D and the above 7'10" Quad-Plus-One egg, the process is entirely electronic (we exchanged 34 emails before a planer ever touched foam), though no less indicative of character. Through the course of our preparations for his new ride, we discovered in common: babies, birthdays, occupations, and a love of blood oranges. Speaking of which, this one's getting some color work, so stay tuned for the post-Fatty pics...


pushingtide said...

Love it. Preparation does tell a lot about a surfer.

Some dudes have to drive thru the lot twice looking hard and rewinding their favorite song so everyone hears it.

Some dudes have to check every single spot before suiting up.

I drive to my chosen spot, change in the car so no one sees that a surfer is going out and run.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I can't wait to see the finished product. I was wishing I had that out at the point this morning. It has been a great experience working with you.

HeadHighGlassy said...

You too, Danny. Just so you know, Leslie left a voicemail message for me last night in the form of delighted giggling. I think this may have something to do with your board...

Anonymous said...

You tease! I had a dream about it last night and it looked amazing!

Anonymous said...

I was up at the Fatty Shack on Friday before the Easter weekend grabbing my finished board and caught a glimpse of the blood orange board. The bottom looks amazing. It reminds me of the intro to Dexter when he cuts the grapefruit open...

Anonymous said...

I got a sneak preview of the unfinished job by Leslie and it looks insane. Can't to get my hands on it. I love the Dexter reference, that image was part of my inspiration when ordering the resin work.