Saturday, January 29, 2011

Real Big Fish

What does this have to do with surfing, surfboard shaping, or surf culture NotB?
Not a goddamn thing, but I have a few in me and like this picture of my second-born daughter's first excursion to the SF aquarium.
That's Mrs. HHG's nose resting gently on the back of that sturgeon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Perfect Storms

Who was it that said, "I love it when a plan comes together"? Hamlet?
B.A. Baracus?
No matter, the enduring aspect of a quote isn't the first person to speak it, but the latest person to speak it. Up here, it's got to be Northcoast shredster Shawn, who just got this:
And along comes this:
And this!
Up here NotB, we have a name for this trifecta of stoke: The No Fu@#ing Way, or the NFW.
In Shawn's case, it would be uttered slowly, almost breathlessly, with emphasis on the final syllable.
Other instances the NFW could be employed are when the wife/girlfriend tests positive for impending daddydom--correct pronunciation in this instance would be long pauses between each word accompanied by a wide-eyed stare into the distance.
Or, a macking set on the horizon with you in exactly the wrong spot. In this specific case, there is no preferred pronunciation--elocution will be specific to the size of approaching set, quality of the utterer's wetsuit, and one's personal prediliction for being held down in the dark, dark, cold, deep for extended moments.
Hope you score some.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


If you live in Sonoma County, chances are your surf commute looks a lot like this:
We have greenery, we have a wild, wild ocean, and we have cows.
Perhaps the countless pre-dawn miles logged between SebTown and B-Bay put the zap on Bobert's melon--they say that the imprinting impulse of the human brain is equal to that of ducks and geese.
Mathematicians would undoubtedly reference the Transitive Property of Equality: if stoke is associated with waves, and waves are associated with cows, then cows are the proprieters of stoke. Or something. I was an English major.
And I just finished my second homemade margarita.
Regardless of the principle, the thinking is sound, and what better thing to represent our local surf culture than the Holstein cow? Holsteins are described by an unnvervingly deep-voiced narrative on my daughter's first-season of Sesame Street DVD as, "warm, calm animals," and they are.
Until you piss them off. Then they become much like our local surfers: territorial, aggresssive, and improprietous.
Just kidding. Sesame Street had them pegged at warm and calm. I'll add curious, but that doesn't really strike fear into the hearts of interlopers. Unless they're from a Red State.
So what does this have to do with Bobert's new stick?
Nothing, yet. The initial order was standard: 8'3 Northcoast rounded pintail e-winged five finner with a beefy stringer to withstand our punishing surf conditions. It looked like this:
Then, things started to happen. Bobert began, appropos of nothing, to refer to his new stick, resting gently on the racks at Leslie's, as the Bovine Board. He initiated an email thread amongst his surf crew, extolling his enthusiasm for the cow.
This may not have been wise. The crew, eager to pounce on deviations of any stripe, responded.
Images of unicorns appeared in subsequent email. The winged beast Pegasus was attached several times. There were rainbows and wings and equine nuzzling and a disturbing, anatomically correct (?) manhorse named Steed. There were references to Disney and Trapper Keeper notebooks and, worst of all, Celine Dion.
But Bobert had a vision and, like all visionaries he let the jokes, the chides, and the castigations fizzle.
Bobert endured. He had a vision, and it was good.
The Cowabonza.
The Cowabonza is both in and of NotB. The shape reflects long paddles, steep drops, and frigid, lonely, zero visibility mornings. The glass (and keep in mind all color is done by Leslie Anderson with pigmented resin) reflects our past, our ideology, the basic building blocks of who we are.
And who are we?
We are lovers of place, of ocean, of community. We are smitten with tradition, and innovation, and hand made things.
And it helps if these hand made things are useful, and lovely, and help you get over the ledge at S__m__ _re__ on a morning when nobody else will see you through the fog, or the wind, or the rain. And if someone you don't recognize comments on your CowBoard in the parking lot, just remember you are of this place: a warm, calm cow angling through the pit of an overhead grinder, hardened against the Northwest winds and glassy-capped ocean surface, dancing with the dark green. You are a warrior, and a cow, and I just dove into my third margarita so I'll shut up now, as I am a small man with a small tolerance for all things alcoholic.
Fresh limes from your own tree are the key.
Lots of stuff coming up in 2011!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

West of Eden

Sorry West Coasters, but the East has us beat in this department:
They also have us beat in the old-people-falling-down-on-the-ice-and-breaking-a-hip department, so it balances it out.
The Holiday Season, however, is not really known for restraint, as evidenced by my in-laws family dog, Jack, who has to endure this treatment every year. It seems not even our pets are spared a healthy dose of holiday shame.
Speaking of dogs, shame, and succombing to temptation (as I did with a lovely bottle of Lagavulin 16 presented on X-mas day by the lovely Mrs. HHG), this pair awaited me this morning outside my shop.
Why do I shape with non-matching footwear? Because my previous dog struggled with restraint.
Why do I no longer shape with non-matching footwear? Because my current dog, Ben, dances with the same demons.
I had a moment of nostalgia thinking about the 200 or so boards this pair helped me carve out (as I unceremoniously tossed them into the dumpster), but reminded myself that Ben is just passing on the New Year's message that it's time to move on. Auld Lang Syne asks if old aquaintances should be forgotten, then answers its own question: nope.
Instead, it asks its audience to grab a pint, join hands with a friend, and commemorate Old Times (the translation of the song's title) by downing the draught although, "seas between us broad have roared."
And speaking of roaring seas, word on the street is that the ocean's been smiling lately up here NotB. I'm not going to personally verify it's been good or bad.
But it ain't been bad.
Happy New Year.