Friday, August 30, 2013

A Clear Sense of Things

American poet Wallace Stevens penned the following lines about fall:
After the leaves have fallen we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir.
Sorry, bro!
(by the way, I looked up savoir so you don't have to: a personification of death)
Fall means many things to many different people up here in Northern California, but 'inert' isn't one of them. Winemakers and grape growers boost their heart rates to 'high alert', poised on the edge of a gargantuan push to kickstart one of the most wonderful processes in all the world.
Steelhead, feeling increasingly more funny in their netherparts, burst from their upstream feeding grounds in pursuit of saltwater and sweet, sweet love. Fishermen, feeling a similar tingle,  spool backing onto fly lines and fantasize about #8 egg-sucking leaches and depth-charge nymphs.
Young 'uns lay out new clothes and feel awkward and try out for sports and theater productions and wonder if their fresh haircut will grow out by picture day.
And surfers. Eager to transcend the thigh-high windchop and socked-in, wool-sweater fog of summer, surfers begin mindsurfing the inevitable pulses of North Pacific energy.
Know who's ready for Fall?
Lucas, as evidenced by his new Sparkplug.
This thing has fall in Northern California written all over it--clean lines, no-nonsense shape, no frills glass job by Pico and the good folks at Northern Light Surf Shop in Bodega.

To be fair, Wallace Stevens was living in Central Pennsylvania when he wrote A Plain Sense of Things.
And, in a sense, we, too, return to a Plain Sense of Things in fall--attentions shift wherever they had been for the spring and summer, and come into a sharper focus. The Pacific Ocean stirs, and things start happening. Surf. Weather. High pressure. Low pressure. Pulled pork in the crockpot. Red wine and Islay single malts. Socks. Unmanageable surf. Highly manageable surf.

Lucas is a man who thinks ahead. He'll have his Sparkplug quad dialed by the time the first overhead wave spins toward our rocky shoreline this fall, bringing with it the hopes and joys of Pacific Coast surfers, and a beginning, rather than an end, of imagination.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Keeping it Bronson

Jordan's a good guy. He agreed to meet at my favorite Outer Sunset baking company for a mind-blowing breakfast sangie, then handed over some monies and a mind-blowing Highland single malt--perfect for summer!
In return, I only had to hand over this surfboard: 9'4 single fin Bronson.
If trimming were currently-gentrifying mid-sized cities in Northern New York state, it would be Rochester. You get the picture.
It feels very good to ride this surfboard on waves (they're made by wind!) in the ocean.
True to the Bronson legacy, Jordan kept it classy: cedar stringer, clear with a gloss-and-polish finish, volan deck patch, neapolitan mixed-wood tailblock (cedar, bass, balsa, redwood). Tight.
I recommend pairing this wave-riding vehicle with Jordan's generous gift: Ancnoc (pronounced uh-knock, which is great for creating Ancnoc-Ancnoc jokes)12yr. It's first casked in bourbon, so you get the toasty vanilla and caramel notes of a fine American whiskey, then finished in sherry casks, so you're not at a loss for rich fruit and mulling spice flavors. Highly recommended after a summery-but-foggy California/Baja shred session. The malt will work its way down from your head while the feeling of a locked-in bottom turn works its way up from your feet. They'll meet right in the middle, coating your heart with a malty mixture of blissful warm stoke. The undeniable harmony of a single fin, a single malt, and cold, cold water. Ahhh, summer.