Wednesday, April 29, 2009


i just got home from a week and a half in california. i was there to pick up a new board, stop into some surf shops on behalf of es.cent.ial wetsuits, have a meeting about a job, visit friends, shoot some photos, and of course surf.

the trip went well overall, except for the surfing part. right before i flew out there, i considered postponing the trip due to lack of swell in the forecast, but i went anyway...

i stayed with dave from almond surfboards for the first part of my trip. i picked up a new board that they had shaped for me... a 9'10". (the green and blue one in the photos). i didn't get a good opportunity in newport to properly ride it though. the waves went from good sized and super choppy to small and mushy pretty quickly.

it was great meeting dave and his friends. if you're in newport for any reason, stop into his shop and check out all of their boards, clothing designs, and starting next week, wetsuits. i'm sure he'd be stoked to chat about board design, etc. here are a few photos from around the almond shop...

he also took me up to shelter surf shop one day to show them the wetsuits. they made an order for summer suits (everything but fullsuits). shelter is another great surf shop, actually. it's different from almond, but both are non-standard shops, which is a really good thing... it's refreshing to see people realizing that not everyone wants only what the largest brands are offering.

after leaving newport, i went up to malibu to visit friends. it was awesome to catch up with several close friends, and it was great to be back in malibu. i love the area, i love the wave, i don't love the crowd at 1st point.

i've missed malibu since i left it two and a half years ago. i got over that a little bit on this trip. i'll still miss my friends, the mountains/nature, and what i know the surfing experience can be like if you get it on the right day...but i have no desire to surf there again for quite some time.

i just didn't get a chance to catch it on a medium a consistent waist high weekday, for example. it just went from almost flat during the week to a hyped up shoulder high + swell for the weekend, with seemingly no transition time.

i'm generally content to surf the inside and get mostly scraps, but i was barely able to even do that on this trip. i spent a lot more time watching the madness from the wall than i did actually surfing. injuries, crying, negative words, craziness.

i've heard a lot about hulls recently. during the swell at malibu, a few guys riding them were really fun to watch (see the photos). smooth style and intense speed. i picked one up to bring back to a friend in FL. the one i was bringing back was already a used board, so why not use it one more time, right?

on the last night of my trip, i went out on the hull in north la county. one last chance to get a decent session out of the trip. from the cliff, the waves looked solid...head high or so, long lines. mostly super fast lines/closeouts, but a few looked make-able. it was worth a try anyway, at least it wasn't crowded.

at the beginning of the session i passed up what one overly aggressive guy must have thought i should have gone on. he said something...i can't remember what. it wasn't pleasant, though. was there nowhere with good vibes left over there?? at that point, after the week and a half of surf i needed and didn't get, i was essentially done... done with surfing for a while.

i can only go so long trying to have a fun session, without really getting one (not just this week and a half...that was just the final straw...) i've managed to get fun single rides here and there...but it's been a long time since a whole session or day came together properly.

i was thinking it must be time to just stop trying...stop checking swell models, stop looking at the ocean every day, stop watching surf films... just let a good session happen when it was going to...whether it's a month from now, 3 months from now, 6 months?

then i got a wave, and the good session started to happen right then.

the way that board rode fits my style well, i think. apparently a lot of people dig rails when first try to surf those boards. they're used to quick movements on thrusters. i prefer single fins and drawn out movements, so it felt really natural to ride this board. the first bottom turn propelled me forward like i haven't felt before. it was loose...but stable at the same time, if that makes sense. i was able to make waves i may not have made on any other board... i was loving it. i got about 5 good, long waves that session, but those few waves saved my desire to surf.

now i'm back in FL...still day dreaming about surf, still checking swell models, still watching surf films... still hoping/needing another good session sometime soon...really soon.


Chris said...

echoed my friend... Maybe tomorrow. Until then, just watch Walls of Glass, Perch, or Another State of Mind. lol

Almond Surfboards & Designs said...

fantastic photos. top to bottom. glad you were able to come out here for a while.

knots said...

Very nice photos and a good read as well. Thanks for sharing.


resintint said...

Great post all around Keith, nice one!

Ryan said...

good read and good snaps

Russ Pierre said...

Amazing photos, so much style going on.