Saturday, December 31, 2011

More Pics from My Last Surf Adventure of 2011

My Last Surf of 2011

This shot was taken at about 11:30am on Wednesday, December 28, somewhere in Northern New Jersey. I say somewhere not so much to protect the spot as that I actually do not even know where this is. Yes, I paddled out and yes, I surfed rights similar to this one, but I only have a rough idea of where I was because it was only my second time surfing down there. Clearly I need to surf there more, but I think it will take at least another year to figure where the spots are and to know where and what I'm actually surfing. As it stands I just kind I drive down and poke my car around in different corners looking for the best thing going, in a reasonable amount of time. After checking about 4 other spots my buddy, Juan, and I pulled up to this spot and watched the two dudes out there get shacked silly. Not wanting to spoil their fun, we checked another spot just up the beach, but it wasn't as mechanical, so we flipped back around, parked and paddled into this gorgeous lineup. The original two guys had gotten their fill of perfect shacks and had left, but there were now about 4 to 6 other guys their stead, only two of whom could actually surf, which made it pretty easy to get in position for the spinners. My second wave was the best backside barrel I've had in ages — since I left San Francisco definitely. I just sat there with my bum on the face, almost Indian style, watching this brownish green cylinder throw out in front of me with no sign of clamping shut. I came out of that first section, saw a second, and got greedy trying to do a fancy layback and then got sucked over. I was a bit mad at myself for ruining a perfect ride, but still, it was sick, and I shouldn't be too hard on myself. I was also shocked at how I can go from two weeks of academic sedentariness into 4-5 tubing backside pits with little to no awkwardness. There's always a little anxiety at first, but it disappears after the first wave, when the competence has been proven. After that sick one I got a bunch of long barrels that closed out on me near the shore (it's so cool how dark and deep the barrel gets when you're riding into the bottom of it). After a few of those I slid into another magic one and made sure not to try any fancy stuff at the end — just keep the line and come out clean, which is what I did. I am still trying to recollect all of these in my head. The silence. The vision. It all happens so fast. Just gotta go do it again. Or write about it. Or bring a photographer along. Pick one or combine a few. Definitely bring a buddy. I saw Juan do some sick backside hacks and witnessed him emerge from a rare left barrel (frontside for him — we're both goofy) that he found down the beach. At that point the tide was getting too low and the swell was dropping rapidly, making the rights too fast to make. As fun as closeout barrels are, they get old after about the 10th one. Still I highly recommend them to anyone working on his/her tube skills. The best way to learn how to barrel ride is to pull into closeouts. We surfed for about two hours then came in and still hungry for surf, changed half way (left the bottoms of our suits on) and drove around looking for another wave. But nothing really spoke out to us. We wanted ramps and walls to carve on and instead were offered fast, small racy rights with hard offshore winds. Looked great for bodysurfing, but not worth it with how cold the 30 knot offshores were making the air. I will post some photos, however, of the spots we checked, and they do look pretty darn good, but I'll admit right now, most of the waves are closeouts. At any rate, it was a great way to have my last session of 2011 and reminded me of why I was stoked to move to the East Coast: any time you move somewhere new it's like you're living your own version of The Search. Even though there's people who know Jersey and all other East Coast spots like the back of their hand, it's all new and adventurous to me. Keeps perspective fresh and inspired. Here's to "discovering" more waves in 2012!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Post Pipe

Pipe is over. Kieren Perrow won the thing. John John had the highest heat tallies throughout the event, but sometimes the guy with that stat doesn't win. Slater had his heat of the comp against JJ, and in my opinion totally legitimately beat the kid. Word to the wise: do not let Slater have priority when he needs an 8+ ride. KP was on fire the whole event, and if I would have read my pre-pipe post a little more closely I probably should have taken my own observations from that winter watching pipe and put my money on him. Hindsight always 20/20. And now the moment all the guys on tour and all the fans of surfing have been waiting for for 9 months is here: the break between ASP seasons. The guys on tour can chill with their families and the rest of us can stop watching contests online and get some real work done. One thing I kept hearing/seeing/reading over the past few weeks is how the surfers really feel that they "have the best lifestyle" of any one in the world. Every time I hear that I get a bit jealous - I feel like I am not in it enough - I don't surf three times a day any more. But then I sit back and remind myself that even though surfing is not my sole occupation any longer, it is still a massive part of my life. I mean I am not being flown around the world searching for perfect warm water reef passes, but I am in it. Every session gives me enough joy to last at least till the next one, clears my head, invigorates my limbs, and sends pulses of stoke through the core of my being. And at the end of the day after this PhD coursework is all done and dusted who knows, I just might write my dissertation in between sessions at random firing locations. All that said, surfing is a great lifestyle, definitely one of the best, but I'm sure there are some other folks out there that are pretty happy with the paths they've chosen, and good on them for that. If there is one thing that I agree with Aristotle about it is that happiness is both fleeting and relative. -D

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pipe Updates

And so the final day is upon us. The quarters are set: Parko v. J.O.B.; Slater v. John John; Valiere v. Bourez; Perrow v. Medina. I have 4 out of 8 of my FS surf team into the quarters. Would have had 5 if I wouldn't have dropped J.O.B. like a retard. But all along I would have gotten a fat 0 for picking Freddy P, whom shall no longer be picked at all since he has fallen off of the WT. I lost Wilson, Wright, and Payne in Round 3, which will severely damage my FS score this round. Come OZ time Payne and Pattachia will definitely be nixed from my list in favor of the new arrival, Andino. Wilson, Medina, Wright, Andino, and Florence will be my core team - Medina and Wilson's values have already shot through the roof since I first put them on. Slater is a variable at this point. If he does the tour, he stays. If he's off I'll have like $12,000 more to work with. At any rate, I'm not doing horrible at Pipe. If John John doesn't win I'll be shocked. Looking forward to watching the webcast today. -D

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Double Oops!

Well I blew it. Read the directions incorrectly. The FS rule is that ANY surfer has to make it through the first round in order to score points regardless of whether they're on the WT or not. So my drop of J.O.B. was totally retarded. Trading him for Dusty Payne, however, might not have been that dumb, but I guess I should've dropped Freddy P cuz he lost in the first round, thus gaining me ZERO points for that choice. Fortunately all my other pics are in Rnd 3 already, so I'm safe there. Waves are nuts in Hawaii right now. Bummed I have to work tomorrow - would prefer to watch Pipe go nuts. -D

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The reason why I signed up for twitter in the first place: to help me play fantasy surf. Just learned that the wildcards will win you a big fat ZERO points no matter how far they go at Pipe. According the FS rulebook, if they're not currently seeded in the top 36 they cannot add to your total score. So those Hawaiian specialty guys like J.O.B. - forgetta bout em. Just switched out J.O.B. for Dusty Payne. At least there was one other Hawaiian to pick from on tour! Oh and it looks by the cams that the waves turned on this arvo. Was stuck in meeting and car is still on the island. Shoots! Get em next time. -D

The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For......Pipe!

Well the surf never materialized last Tuesday - that day I said I’d pack up the books and camp out at the beach all day. It materialized on Friday - the day I had my oral examinations for entrance into the PhD program at 10am. The exam lasted an hour and at the end of it I received two “high passes,” which means that I am now a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. It also means that I can start asking them for more money (as it is the New School has horrible funding for grad students, but the education is unexcelled - it’s a battle-picking issue). On any normal day I would have headed straight to the beach to celebrate, but this wasn’t a normal day. R. and I had to leave for Miami early the next morning and still had gifts to buy for the in-laws, clothes to pack, errands to run, and I had to be at the waiting tables gig at 4:30pm. Just before work, around 3:45pm, I looked at the Lincoln cam on Surfline and watched a guy pitch a perfect trim across a stealthy little left hander and sighed. But with this test out of the way and the trip to Miami behind me I am now geared to be on the next pulse - if one comes (last winter was surprisingly flat).

Friday was also the final day of the Vans World Cup of Surfing (total misnomer) at Sunset Beach, and man did they score. It was 8-12 feet all day and seemed to turn on most for the final heat. I didn’t get to pay very close attention to the Sunset action, as I was sneaking peaks on the AspTogo app on my iPhone at work, but after the shift I sat down with the heat analyzer. I had an intuition that John Florence would take it and that turned out to be true - he was clearly on fire at Haliewa and if you’ve been watching pro surfing at all in the past three years you would have seen his first few goes at the Pipe event - this kid can read a Hawaiian wave like Dick Bernstein can read Hannah Arendt. All bets are on him to win Pipe.

I have surfed Pipe once. I was living on the North Shore in the late winter of 2000/early spring of 2001, just coming off a broken wrist - I had been in a cast from June to November of 2000 (the damn thing refused to heal - I am pretty sure it was because I was vegan at the time). I went over to Hawaii with a friend from growing up who turned out to be a total creep and a wuss when it came to bigger waves - pretty much the worst combination ever. On the brighter side, I was staying in front of V-land with some wackos including this gnarly bodyboard lady, Carol, and her convict boyfriend (whom the FBI ejected from the house one night when we were all sitting up playing cards). Hmm, that’s not quite bright. Well I had a blast surfing V-land. Mason Ho was about 10 at the time, already wearing a gold chain, sporting a funny fro, and shredding. Perry Dane scowled around the line up and visiting pros stopped by frequently to do enormous floaters over the inside bowl (namely a young Dane Reynolds). As I said, my surf bro at the time was a total wuss and I was coming off this injury so charging Sunset and just checking out some heavier North Shore stuff wasn’t happening for me that year. I surfed Rockies and Ehukai and some stuff in between there, but mostly camped out at V-land. Carol offered to take me out to Pipe one day though and I took her up on the offer. It was only 3-4 foot and very shifty. I didn’t really know where to sit - and was wearing a wrist brace. I caught an insider (no barrel) and turned around to have the biggest set of the morning (a rogue 5-6 footer) looming above my head. I had watched Pipe a number of times and no one tries to duckdive - you just ditch. I ditched my board, popped under water, opened my eyes and saw only reef. It was about 2 feet deep and it looked like I had nowhere to go. Then I started swimming along the bottom when I heard a crack louder than bombs above my head. Seriously this might have been the most frightening sound I’ve ever heard. I felt the power near my legs and thought, “I made it,” when all of a sudden a finger of whitewater picked up my stick-skinny body (still vegan at the time) and pulled me over the falls, pile driving me back into the reef heel first. From there the wave proceeded to hold me down on the reef scrubbing me like a kitchen sponge on a pot that has oatmeal stuck to the bottom. I came up spitting water and another wave broke on my head. My leash snapped from this one and I had to swim in with my gimp arm. Once on the beach I noticed I had a nice chunk of flesh taken out of my heel and some lovely scrapes on my thigh (thank god I was wearing shorts and not just a bathing suit as Carol had suggested). And that was my first and last time out at Pipe. I have been back to Hawaii once or twice since then, but have never been in the right mindset to give Pipe another go. It’s a shame because if I’ve ever felt ready or skilled or confident enough to hold my own on the North Shore it would be now - now that I’m not trying so damn hard to be a pro surfer. Ironic, yes, and the reasons comprise an entirely different blog post regarding my personal relationship to pro surfing and the surf industry. But enough of that dark matter. I have surf Pipe - I got my ass handed to me on a small day, which serves to show that the people that rip and charge it are on another level all together. (A small disclaimer for myself: I surfed Ocean Beach for ten years after this Pipe incident. Again, a shame I never gave the whole North Shore thing another whirl, but c’est la vie.) I love watching that wave and would sit there many times on my stay(s) at the North Shore when it was 8-12 feet on the second reef. I remember being impressed by Kieren Perrow, Ross Williams, and that Japanese dude Takayuki Wakita (I think that’s his name). And I still like to watch the webcasts - I have distinct memories of every Pipe event since they’ve been running the tour online. The most memorable to me was the year Kelly won on a 5’9” in brown barrels against Chris Ward. That was perhaps the most mental performance I’ve ever witnessed in a surfing competition.

And so Pipe......“the most respected wave in the world”.........the final event of the highly chaotic 2011 ASP World Tour, is finally upon us. The event starts tomorrow morning, with a first call at 8am Hawaiian time (1pm EST). A good NW swell is on the forecast and rumor has it that the swell that graced Sunset Beach took some much needed sand off of the reef. I have a funny fantasy surf team for this event, but I’m sticking to my guns: Wright, Slater, Wilson, Medina, J.O.B., Florence, Patacchia, and Parko. The most uncanny picks are Wright, Wilson, and Medina, but the thing is with fantasy surfer you’ve got to get a core team that you believe will excel in any event and these guys, plus Slater are my core team. Not only that but Wright and Wilson have already shown us that they have what it takes in thumping pits (Teahupoo and Portugal), and with Medina, well, I’m giving it a go just for the hell of it. Slater is a no-brainer - with 11 world titles, a tube sense beyond belief, and enough confidence to cure an entire ward of clinically depressed individuals, he’s definitely the man to beat. As for wildcards, I only picked J.O.B. (Jamie O’Brien) because according to himself and to everyone else he is an undisputed Pipe Prince. He and John Florence are two white Hawaiians who grew up on the North Shore and have channeled all the native mana from from the mountains, sand, and sea. Same thing for Bruce Irons. Beyond their pipe skills all three have crazy smooth styles. I’ll be rooting for Bruce, for sure, unless of course he lines up against someone on my team. Everyone is pulling for him, especially since this event, like Teahupoo, is dedicated to the memory of his brother, the late great A.I.. Then there’s my other two picks, Fred and Parko. Hard to bet against either of them in Hawaii. Until this year Parko’s won three triple crowns in a row. Also I’ve been noticing a fire in Fred that I think might just be able to build enough momentum to take the whole house down - at least I hope this is the case. At any rate, Fred can surf both Pipe and Backdoor, and is a necessary Hawaiian stalwart on the ASP World Tour. I would love to see him and John in the final. That would be epic.

Now I must get back to the things that need taking care of: editing papers for the journal I publish at school (editorial meeting at 1pm today), reading Freud, writing papers, and going to pick up the car from the mechanic in Long Island (little issue with burning oil - nothing too major). You can bet I’ll have the live webcast minimized with sound off whenever the event’s on GO, unless of course I happen to be at work or surfing. The forecast out here for the next week is pretty grim, however, but I’ll maintain my watchful eye. Until next time, stay stoked! -D

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Musings

T-minus two hours till I’m headed to Long Beach for the second surf lesson of the weekend. Nice to be booked the last weekend in November! Yesterday’s lesson saw amazing conditions. Once I again I was transported nostalgically back to my many years in California - water in the mid-50s, air in the low 60s, clear blue/green water, and not a soul in sight. The waves were one foot longboard perfection. My pupil, M., had no expectations other than to get to feel comfortable on a surfboard. It was her first time ever. So amazing how many muscles are used (that people don’t even know they have) in order to just keep oneself balanced in the middle of the board while paddling. For those of us for whom laying on a surfboard is second nature it’s all unconscious - that is until you begin to teach and then your student makes apparent to you all of these tiny things you’ve mastered over the years that are really quite difficult for a beginner. M., like a lot of people, got out the back fine, but then when it came to sitting on the board and maneuvering it, it looked like she was wrangling a bull. After many capsized efforts she finally tamed the beast and started looking comfortable. There was a slight eastward current, which meant that she also had to paddle west quite often, and this knackered her about an hour into the session. But she was all smiles. It was such a gorgeous day and we were pinching ourselves that we were just a forty minute drive away from Manhattan.

M. met her goal for the day and I managed to snag a few knee high spinners all the way across the beach. The amount of time it takes for me to catch a wave in a lesson and make it out the back to my student is about 30 seconds. With no one out in the water, they need to see an example of surfing, and who better to provide this than yours truly? Exactly. (Disclaimer: I am not “surfing” during the lesson. As I mentioned in a previous post, when I “surf” for myself I do not talk, let alone sit out the back patiently guiding a person in their paddling skills, board control skills, and wave judgment. In a lesson I catch about 5 waves in an hour. In a real surf I’d catch about 30 - especially on a longboard in knee high surf.) M. called it a day after three whiter waters and then we lugged the longboards up the white sands and proceeded to the bimmer’s trunk to de-neoprene and re-clothe. M. remarked that the wetsuit bit is it’s own part of the lesson. I laughed and agreed - it truly is. Wetsuit entrance and exit is another one of those little skills us lifers take for granted until we have to help someone else.

The drive back was quick and painless. My little N. Conduit to Atlantic to Eastern Pkwy to Flatbush over the Manhattan Bridge route is almost fool proof - this is also because I never drive it at rush hour. We had a nice chat about the importance of patience and I told some stories about Moss Landing back in the day - the tribal nature of it all (M. studied anthropology and is interested in surfing from that perspective - she was actually worried about surfing near locals and experiencing that aspect of surf culture. Fortunately for the both of us, people are much nicer on the east coast, and no one was out surfing anyhow). It was a smooth drop back off at Saturdays in Soho - they were crazy busy with their usual ultra hip crowd. I dropped Charlie’s board off in the back yard (I didn’t want to ride my fish and Charlie’s in CA so I borrowed his log and left my fish for collateral), but I held onto big red and stored it in my apartment building’s confined trash area (the super knows its my board, but I never leave it there for over 24 hrs), so I only have to make one trip to Saturdays today, not two.

When I got home I stuffed down all the Thanksgiving leftovers and went to my waiting tables job, which was rather slow and painless, and of course provides a little extra income stimulus for which I am very grateful. It’s actually so cool that they let me work there only 1-3 days a week. I seem to be the only non-jaded employee. Hmm, I wonder why...........

At 10:30pm I received a text from my best friend and total shredder, Andrew Dolan, that he had surfed from 10am to 5pm in Moss Landing. I haven’t had time to get back to him and needless to say I am a bit jealous. But I know how to counteract this emotion. Tuesday is supposed to be epic. I have PhD exams on Friday. So....I am going to drive out to Long Beach on Tuesday and bring all of my exam material with me - surf a couple of times and study in between. I don’t know why I haven’t already employed this method more often.

Last but not least, for you pro surfing fans out there, the Triple Crown is well on it’s way. Haliewa is complete - Taj nailed it. He should have won the contest based simply on that soulful lay back tube ride in the quarter or semi finals (I can’t remember which it was). The World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach is geared to start today and they have a bunch of good swell expected. Carissa Moore’s got entrance into that one - so look for her heat. She can totally hold her own with the boys. After Sunset comes Pipe, and let’s pray for swell and big barrels. I have my Fantasy team all locked in and don’t plan to change it at all. More on that as the time nears.

And so now I bid you adieu. I need to eat more than coffee and get all the gear together.
Pax. -Di

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Surf Like This

Take note everyone. This is how you do it. Any board any wave any time. Soul style. Unidentified (could be you) in Bali by Stacy (A-Frame) as found on

A Surf in the Life

REALLY FUN WAVES TODAY! I saw it coming like a week out. I woke up at 5:30am, made my cuppa French presse coffee, gathered booties and wetties, yanked clothing over my hazy self, and walked out the door with two boards under my arms at 5:50am. The fish is back in action, and I knew I’d probably end up on that, but I brought the standard shorty just in case it was really really really good (which it wasn’t - it was just good, which is good, but not the same as really, really, really good aka sick, firing, or going off - and there needs to be a lot of steep face to work with if I am going to ride the standard shorty - it's just more fun in those kinds of waves). It was foggy in New York, which never happens. I felt nostalgic for Moss Landing while driving over the Williamsburg bridge - that was bizarre. The funny thing about east coast morning fog, however, is that the sun is rising in the east, so the fog is actually already burning off at the beach. Not so much in California. Opposite in fact. I arrived at my favorite little spot at just shy of 7am and was greeted by 3-5 foot glassy groomed predominantly left-hand peaks. I snapped a few “evidence” photos with my phone, and ran down to the car. As I said earlier, my setup would be: 3/2 with hooded poly pro shirt and 3mm booties. I hate booties but they were a welcome addition today. The tide was super high and I saw the potential for burgering so I predictably rode my 5’6” Channel Islands first generation maroon colored glass-on finned fish. The thing is an absolute wave magnet. Out in the water the feeling of nostalgia hit me again. How many times in my life have I been surfing 3-5 foot waves in 55 degree water? Counting would be futile. There was a gaggle of pre-work super dorks doing lovely cockroach dances and epic drop flails all over the place. They had “paddle-around-me” written all over them, and so I did. Now this is not a skill that I take lightly or that I necessarily recommend, but like all secret weapons, it is called for in extreme situations. These situations are when you are a very skilled surfer in a large group of non-skilled to intermediate surfers who clearly aren’t locals, but who have figured out where is the best place to sit and catch waves. They surf in large groups, which makes me think they found each other on SurfGrindr or some such app, are generally jovial, but in most cases, are just in the way. I always look out for the decent surfers, locals, etc. and make sure that I take turns with them, don’t drop in on them, and generally just keep my safe distance. These types are easy to spot as well because they don’t chat a lot, and they make all of their drops with ease. There were two such guys out there today - Leo and his friend - older dudes who were pretty darn surf stoked. Leo was a little chatty - that’s how I know his name - but this happens to me a lot. For some reason East Coasters doubt the ability of their homebreak to generate good surfers so they usually paddle up to me and say something like, “There’s no way you can surf like that and be from here. Where are you from?” Then I say, “Monterey Bay California.” And they reply in no particular order: “What are you doing out here?” and “Aren’t there a lot of sharks there?” Then I say “graduate school” and “yeah, there are sharks there,” and then I probably catch a wave. I don’t like to chat for too long. Once you start chatting you stop surfing. Surf lessons are a completely different story here of course - in a surf lesson I’m chatting nonstop about wave judgment, etc., but not too much about life details (plenty of time for that in the car). So there’s a bit of lineup politics for you. Needless to say, I caught a ton of waves, and ruffled zero feathers. The only feathers that were ruffling were mine from the sheer speed at which that fish travels down a wave face. I love the glide! Seriously there is no better feeling than achieving a neat trim on any piece of wave craft. I do prefer, however, trim with fins. I love that feeling of your back foot firmly planted over the fins, which lends stability, control, and turnability. But hey that is primarily on account of the fact that I’m really a shortboarder at heart. A longboarder or alaia rider will tell you different. And their stoke is just as valid. Oh and to continue the thought regarding people paddling up to me - I find their shock at my ability weird because there are shredders from New York - serious shredders. Maybe it’s the addition of being female - not sure - but I guess it used to happen to me in SF too, so yeah, hmm, I dunno what’s up with that. Back to the session: head dips ala Rob Machado (my favorite kind - I seriously watched videos with Rob in them for like ten years straight); fin release cutties; white water climbs; and one really good fly away kickout to straight dive. I went left all session until this wedging right came straight to me. I took it and got a little Larry layback backside under lip action. Love that view of the lip! The waves were still good when I left and I know they pumped the rest of the day, but I have some serious exam studying to do, so it was back to the village for me. I swooped in at 10:35am just in time to grab a sweet post alternate side parking (9am-10:30am) spot on W11th st. Had a breakfast of eggs, sweet potatoes, yellow bell peppers, english muffin, and tea with my love, then right when I needed to do work I zonked out on the couch for two hours. Freakin surfing - it can be pretty draining. Now I’m back to life, with a copy of essays by Hannah Arendt a friend bequeathed to me on my birthday this year. One of the questions for my PhD entrance exams is: What is action in Hanna Arendt’s philosophy? And so, after an action-filled first half of the day, I’m wrapping my head around the conceptual nature of that. I may have a surf in me tomorrow, but I’ve also got to fit in about four hours of Aristotle. We shall see!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DMatt Rankings Post Ripcurl Pro

Excuse the font size and type switch up. Little tweaks sometimes elude me.

The Ripcurl Pro Search at VFWs is over. The 17-year-old stylish air-hucking and power surfing protege, Gabriel Medina, took the thing. Yep, he was on my team and will be for the rest of his career. In fact, I’ve had someone on my team in the final in every event (except Jbay where I did soooo horribly - had both Kelly and Dane on my team). In SF came in 190somethingth place, still leaving me at 1700something in the overall rankings.

Medina surfed SF better than I’ve ever seen anyone surf it, except another Brazilian, Alex Martins. Truly all the guys hacked and boosted and floated so well out there, but then again, all but Medina fell a lot and had off and wonky heats, proving that OB is no easy slice of pie even for the world’s best. I bet a lot of OB surfers felt vindicated after watching the event whether live or online. Marcus Sanders’ article on Surfline seems to point in that direction. I know I was sure feeling good about myself. Not that I’ve ever surfed OB as well as Gabriel and Parko et. al., but I’ve had some pretty darn good surfs out there in the past ten years. It’s also more fun when “junky” than most people suppose - which the world’s top 32 made crystal clear. And bad surfers can make OB look really BAD, which happens probably about 200 out of 365 days a year. No offense to the locals, most of whom are decent, but hey, it’s a big city. Big cities have a high kook/beginner factor - it’s just the way the kookie crumbles. (I did make myself laugh right now.)

If I were to power rank the top 32 after this event I’d still have Ke11y at #1 because of Teahupoo. Until we see Gabriel in pumping pipe pits we can’t place him above #3, even though on the beachbreak circuit he’s clearly #1. Who for #2 then? You know, Parko is a cheeky devil, and he’s still got all the tricks plus retarded awesome style. He will be deadly at Pipe, as I think will Kerr. We’d nearly forgotten about Taj and Mick in the SF comp with old dogs like Knox and Perrow throwing tons of power flash and young pups like Pupo, Muniz, and Medina showing us that they clearly have the whole bag. Without much explanation this is how I’d rank the boys after SF:

  1. Kelly: 11x world champ. Nuff said.
  2. Parko: The age-mate gets the nod. Good in all conditions. Looking solid for Pipe.
  3. Medina: Most stylish and well-rounded surfer to ever come from Brazil.
  4. Wright: What happened in that quarter final?!! Otherwise, solid.
  5. Kerr: Is going to put it together. Extreme consistency. Needs to push past 1/4s.
  6. Muniz: 3 semifinals. Vertical backside merciless hacks. Retarded rotations.
  7. Wilson: Has multiple wins in him.
  8. Knox: Power is not dead. We all knew that. It just took Knox + OB to remind us.
  9. Bourez: Eye of the fking tiger. Stop whining about beachbreaks. But deadly.
  10. Taj: What are you doing this far down?
  11. Fanning: The hoody is ugly. Take off the booties. Pipe watchout.
  12. Jordy: We’re still waiting for complete rib injury recovery. 95%
  13. Wilko: Madman. Tailwafts to die for. He’ll grow up and cut the hair eventually.
  14. Pupo: 2nd most stylish and well rounded surfer ever to come from Brazil.
  15. John John: If you don’t put him on your team at Pipe you’re an idiot.
  16. De Souza: Determination and all the moves. Lacks style - always has.
  17. Simpo: My favorite surfer from CA right now.
  18. Jadson: Pupo and Medina make him look choppy, but he still rips. Watch the kids!
  19. Perrow: Barrel master. Best barrel of anyone at OB in the whole comp.
  20. Freddy P: Elite pro surfer of the middle ranks. Surfs better than you.
  21. Durbidge: Also surfs better than you, but not better than some of his mates.
  22. Davo: Wildcard. Thought OB was his jam. Forgot to butter the bread first.
  23. Ace: I love Ace’s surfing. It’s not boring to me, but he’s not winning.
  24. Gudauskas: So weird to me that he’s not up in the top 15. But he’s not.
  25. Monteiro: 3rd most stylish Brazilian. Pipe darkhorse.
  26. Dusty: Too Volcom Hawaiian for the tour. Btw, it was a dolphin.
  27. Logie: In France we believed. In SF we doubted.
  28. Ottz: One o’clock backside hacks. He gets the worst heat draws.
  29. Ross: Power in plenty and a bit of flash. Something stiff in the lower back region.
  30. Pires: Another age-mate I want to see put it together. Wave selection!!!
  31. Flores: Injury, otherwise in the tens.
  32. Heitor: Injury, otherwise in the teens.
  33. Dane: make Tshirts and ride weird boards. We still love you.

So that’s my rap. Didn’t surf today actually. There are little nuggets and I do have a surf in me this week.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Firing Long Beach and Ripcurl Pro Update

I drove out to Long Beach this morning with Anya (a photographer who is also my nephew, Sasha’s, mother). I knew the waves were going to be good. I knew it was good on Wednesday, but I opted for a crazy uptown adventure mission: trying to get to the little red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. I almost surfed yesterday and was closely monitoring the cams on my iPhone (Surfline Premium app) from 7am until 10:30am. Jersey was firing. I never want to drive to Jersey. I need a super motivated surf bro for that because I hate driving alone on freeways. One person and I’m good, but with only myself in my head I get tunnel vision. Hard to find a surf bro in NY whose schedule matches up - it’s crazy out here - everyone is on a schedule and if they aren’t then, well, that messes up your schedule. Long Beach and Rockaway were ugly side shore with huge bands of chop running vertically down the beach. I saw a few smashable pockets but there was a neat academic fashion conference (I realize that the words “fashion” and “academic” are hardly spoken in the same sentence - I guess I am trying to change that) happening at FIT, and I was scheduled to work at the restaurant starting at 3:30pm. Not worth it. Plus Anya had free today.

The trip out to Long Beach is so short in a car. I picked Anya up in Williamsburg at 9am. I was listening to NPR. The EU is scared of Italy becoming “the new Greece” and current investigation has found that NY cops have been altering and tampering with violation tickets for decades. Astonishing. In forty minutes I was running up the boardwalk with strong offshores at my back. I looked up. Yep. Firing. 3-4 foot lefts. Back to the car. Today I wore my 3/2 fullsuit with a poly pro hooded longsleeve shirt; no gloves; no booties. Water temp was around 60 degrees. Air 50 or so. Maybe 45 with windchill. A guy told me I was crazy. I told him it was like a summer in California (except the offshores).

It looked super barreling but they were really hard to squeak into. The tide was quite low and it was obvious that you would have to be very deep and very inside to grab the good ones. I started off quick and caught a few runners. I felt a little rusty on my shortboard, but was paddling strong. I saw a handful of guys blow what seemed to be very easy takeoffs. To their credit, the wind was pushing hard up the face. But I didn’t want to blow drops or miss opportunities so I vowed to takeoff no matter how late I thought I was. I still missed the two best sets of the day because I was out of position, i.e., out of rhythm. Years of surfing and especially the past five years paying close attention to professional surfing has taught me that this happens to the best of us. Yes, even Kelly has bummer heats. I’ve seen them. They’re rare, but they do happen.

All in all it was so great to be in the water attempting to slide down tubes of universal energy until my feet got cold and the sets became fewer and farther in between. But there were still waves. And there probably still are right now. But for today two hours was enough. Anya and I ate at the LBD (Long Beach Diner) and then I picked up my fish from ding repair at Maritime Surf. The guy, Mike, did a fantastic job. They weren’t gnarly dings, just old ones coming undone, a little rail gouge (SUP idiot in Montauk), and the points of the tail had simply ground down over the 5 years I’ve owned the little magenta wave magnet.

The drive back is never as fast. We left Long Beach at 1pm and I arrived in the West Village, after dropping Anya off in Williamsburg, at 2:40pm. But I immediately got a parking spot less than half a block from my apartment building - not bad for NYC on marathon weekend’s eve.

In Fantasy Surf news, the Ripcurl Pro in SF has been on hold for two days. I didn’t do as hot has I had hoped in rounds 2 and 3. As expected, Dane Reynolds lost to Bede Durbidge. It was dumb to pick him, but then again, he’s just so unpredictable - it seems as though he might just freakishly win any random contest he enters. Anyhow, Dane’s the only man I lost in round 2. In round 3 Kelly, Owen, Gabriel, and Miguel advanced. They’re all on my team. But I lost Julian Wilson to Brett Simpson (who was on my original SF team because it can be like Huntington sometimes), and Davo to Parko, which if I was at all good at math or stat I might have been able to see coming. I remember almost wanting to put T. Knox on my team, and in hindsight that might have been a good idea. OB suits him well. Same with KP. Very stoked to see him beat Adriano, who rips to high heaven, but whose style makes me wince. Pupo and Medina are the next Brazilian level - they are so casual - I like it. Oh and I am still waiting to see how Kerr goes in round 3. Would love to see him put it together and take the thing. Him v. Slater in the final would be sweet.

Next surf for me is looking like Tuesday. I’ll wear the same set up except this time with booties.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Start of the Ripcurl Pro SF

Hooked on watching the surf comp in SF. I have three fantasy surf guys in Round Three already - Slater, Medina, and Davo. Now I need Wright to beat Dean Brady; Julian Wilson over Tommy Whits (feeling good about this one); Dane over Durbo (not feeling good about this one); Kerr over Logie (hard to say); and Pupo over Ottz (not feeling good about this one). Owen’s got it, so I’m now four for four, and need the remaining guys to make it and not match up against one another in Round 3. Feeling good for Davo or Slates to take the comp. Davo was a last minute pick, but when I looked at his fantasy surf profile and thought of his personality and his surfing, I realized he has SF all over him. Punk rock power and gritty determination. Is there a better combination? Besides that no one is landing their airs or end section floaters, as expected of course. For this reason I have been looking forward to seeing whether or not this would be the case because I had so much trouble all those ten years surfing there to pull off end section maneuvers. When I did, however, it always felt sweet as candy and also boosted confidence like a spike in blood sugar. My rotator cuffs are probably worse for the wear after those same ten years, as anyone watching the event can see - the water moves at a minimum of 15 knots on a good day. Where would I be surfing this day? Probably would’ve given VFs or Sloat a go around 10am when the waves were good, and if I had another sesh in me I’d be down in Lindamar right now surfing sideshore hightide reforms. Tomorrow morning has Fort Point and heckling written all over it.

Listening to Owen’s interview right now: “Hardest heat I’ve ever surfed. I was duckdiving the whole time.” Damn straight.

The New York event definitely had better waves and is making me feel pretty good about the city I have chosen to complete my PhD in.

As per Dusty Payne’s “sighting”: sharks don’t bite in SF. If you see one he has food in his belly. I’ve seen three there and it is scary, but for whatever reason there is just no history of attacks at OB. Go north thirty minutes and it’s a different story. Or go south thirty minutes and you’re more likely to be “investigated.”

Back to the New York front of things: three days of sick waves forecasted Wednesday-Friday. I’m going try to get two out of the three days in. Stoked to pick up my fish from ding repair at Maritime Surf and have half a mind to throw down on a used Takayama 6’6” egg so I can give the fish a break when I teach lessons.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Epic Lesson Yesterday

Yesterday's lesson was so epic I have to write about it. We will call my pupil "AC" for the sake of internet privacy. AC has taken lessons from a few different schools - in Costa Rica and in New York. She has her own board and suit and has given surfing a few gos on her own before contacting me for private lessons. The first two attempts we made at a lesson were gnarly to say the least. The first one the waves were 3-5 foot with 25 knot on shores. AC made it out the back a few times and took a few on the head with gusto, never losing the board except when close to shore. After about an hour we called it a day and rescheduled. Lesson two, two weeks later, was much smaller but the winds were even harder - probably about 35-40 knots with gale force out of the southwest. I thought, "Well when you're learning it's good to just catch a few whitewaters even if it's blown to bits." So we suited up and went down to the beach. The 9'6" red tank was like an airplane wing. It felt like some kind of Navy Seals training drill carrying it to and from the water. I started to doubt our plan, but New Yorkers don't have much time, so I figured for her sake and mine it was still worth a go. We tried catching a few whitewaters but it was so jumbled and chaotic that that ended shortly. Then we paddled out the back. The wind was so strong it was pushing us eastward so I had AC grab onto my ankle and I paddled us in. I pushed her into one wave which she stood up on and then we called it a session. On the way back we concluded that we'd keep a close eye on conditions for the third lesson. This means I'd text her an hour prior to heading out - so that I could be sure about winds and swell. Yesterday everything (except traffic) seemed to align perfectly. The cams were clear: 1-3 foot, light side shore, low tide going high. My fish is in ding repair so I just brought the red tank and AC brought her board - a 7'10" Al Merrick tuflite (surf tech). The was actually the first lesson that she had her own board - it was up in Boston the previous two. On those occasions she rode the tank and I was on my fish. This time it seemed best for her to get to know her board and if it seemed too small, she could hop on the tank and I could ride her board and get a feel for its strengths and weaknesses. The weather was nippy first thing in the morning, but by the time we got to the beach the sun was beaming and the temp seemed to get up to about 60 degrees. We did the obligatory surf check and to our delight saw empty peelers with light winds. Surf lesson on - we suited up both in our 3/2 full suits (no hood, no gloves, no booties), put on plenty of sunscreen, I donned my yellow surf lesson trucker cap, waxed the boards, and headed down to the beach. We went over more style points on the beach and I explained our strategy to AC: first we'll paddle out the back and practice more board control, then we'll head into the whitewaters, you'll catch a few, and we'll take it from there. She paddled out on her board and I on the tank. When got out the back we sat on our boards both relieved and stoked that it was not a kazillion miles an hour onshore. She was a bit unstable on her board but didn't have problems paddling it out. After twenty minutes of turning in circles we headed inside to catch a few. She did stand up a few times on her board but it didn't have the glide or the weight to carry her inside with ease. I made a decision: you're riding the tank. We switched boards and walked out into waste deep water. AC caught a white water, stood up and cruised all the way to shore. Stoked, but she was crouching a little too much and looked a little stiff. In an effort to undo a few bad surf lessons from previous schools and instructors, I suggested she try to surf parallel stance (both feet facing forward) on her next wave. This she did. It looked great. When she was walking back out I caught a few waves on her board and was reminded why I hate surf techs: they are way too light. It was not difficult for me to catch waves on per se, but I did have to use a ton of strength and forward momentum to get into them. When on the wave you ride too high and floaty, never really feeling your rail sink in the way you do on a fiberglass board. Also putting myself in the mindset of a beginner, this board is just too light for someone who is still developing their paddling abilities and wave judgment skills. The same size, the same shape, just in a big heavy fiberglass finish, and with a single fin instead of tri fin set up would be perfect. Probably wouldn't hurt to be about a foot longer too - anywhere from 8'6" to 8'10". No offense to AC on the purchase - there was at that point no way for her to know this. At any rate, it was clear that I'd keep AC on the tank for a majority of the lesson. After she came back out I coached her into a few more whitewaters. The cockroach crouch, like cockroaches themselves, is hard to squash. She definitely wanted to revert back to that, so I said, "On your next wave just try to stand as tall as feels comfortable while staying relaxed." And that she did and it looked excellent - like Daizy Shane at the beginning of Glass Love (well maybe not that good, but getting close!). We had to make a few adjustments to the way she started paddling for the whitewaters - off kilter to the right a bit - it just took a little more guidance from the outside right hand on the tail of the board. Since she was progressing so rapidly I knew it was time to learn to crouch with style (almost in the barrel stance, but not that exaggerated). We went onto the beach and I showed her the body movements for going from an entirely crouched to an entirely upright stance. It takes a lot of hip twist and flexibility in the back knee and ankle. Many people want the back knee to fold outwards, when what is really needed is for it to fold forward with the back foot sort of pivoted on the ball and toes - heel up just a touch. I went out and demonstrated on a few white waters. Then we went back out and she did it herself. From this point on the cockroach had been finally squashed. It was time for her to start paddling for and catching her own waves without standing in waste deep water. I asked if she wanted to try it on her own board, just to see. She said, "yeah," so we switched again, but it became readily clear that it wasn't going to happen after about 3 or 4 tries. Switched back. And she successfully paddled out, turned the board around from the sitting position, and stroked into a few, stood up, and surfed gracefully towards shore. Her feet were getting numb. The water was about 60 degrees. Still not cold enough for the full winter get up. I didn't get cold. Sometimes it's all about individual circulation. At any rate, it was time for her to catch her last wave. We came into the beach and I said, "You're going to paddle out on your own, judge your own wave, turn the board around, catch it and ride in. I'm staying on the beach to watch. You got it." This of course is the highlight of the session. She paddles out and sits down. I see a set approaching then I see her start to turn the board around. I'm thinking, "She sees it! She's going to go for it." She gets the board facing shore in one fluid movement, lays down and starts paddling. The wave has broken out the back and she catches the whitewater, stands up casually and surfs in, getting bobbled off close to shore. So rad. It is amazing to see this sort of progression in such a small time frame. Next up for AC is green waters, rail grabbing, and getting the pop up to be even smoother and faster. In a sense, the first two lessons weren't for nothing. If anything she gained valuable paddling and ocean knowledge, which set her up for such success this third go round. Every time I teach I seem to get a new insight into techniques I employ usually without thinking. The student forces me to make these techniques conscious to myself and thus I learn how to explain them clearly. Well that's the end of the surf part of the story. The drive back was bit traffic-y but it was cool to go over the session and AC taught me about her job in finance and about the crazy stock market, Bloomberg machines, and why you might want to invest should Greece default.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fantasy Surfing Etc.

This is a pic I took of Owen Wright at the Quik Pro New York. This was on the first day of competition. I surfed down the way at Lafayette but it was completely mushy. Then I went and did the obligatory comp check. Was great to hear the fog horns - reminded me of the days when I used to compete. But then it started raining and the guys all looked like little specs of black and I realized that I was going to be really late for my 1pm meeting, which I was. I also realized that I prefer to watch the comps live online in high def with running commentary and instant replays. Otherwise I'd just rather be surfing. But I must admit that I am addicted both to surfing and to watching ASP world tour events online. If any of you reading this have taken a lesson with me, you know that part of the lesson is a complete explanation of the way pro surfing works and its history on the car ride home. And for those of you thinking of taking a lesson, well then, perhaps one of the benefits is said breakdown. I also play that dumb fantasy surf game because I think it makes watching the comps a bit more exciting. The stalwarts of my team for the latter half of the year are Owen Wright, Kelly Slater, Julian Wilson, and Gabriel Medina. The other four slots I just kind of mix up each event. It's not working for me that well - I started the year rated 1400th and now I've fallen to 1700th (at least it's out of 14,000!). I think this is due to the fact that I am horrible at stats. I always have a guy in the final but I lose a lot to friendly fire. At any rate, it's fun to play when you're as big as a surf nerd as I am. As for lessons, weekends are pretty open going into late October. Water is still 65 degrees. For those of you thinking Spring will be warmer - you're wrong! If you want to get in while it's not ice blocks out there get in now. You have about another month or so. Then it's hardcore only until June. But I am more than happy to teach you then.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Marine Layer Productions

Hello All!!! Wanted to share with you one of my favorite surf blogs: Marine Layer Productions. It's Dane Reynolds' surf blog and features awesome videos of him surfing and other random stuff. Was having a conversation with a student yesterday about surf style after finding out that the surf schools around here are instilling the cockroach style of surfing in their beginners (arms and butt sticking out, wide stance). I want this to stop! Keep your arms near your body! Watch Dane in the "Sperm Whale" video. Surf like that! Well we can't all surf like Dane, but there's no reason not to try to mimic his fun board approach. Dude's oozing style. Keep him on your radar if you aren't already.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great shot of me cutting back against a Rockaway/Long Beach backdrop during Hurricane Katia's wonderful swell. This was the day they also held the final of the Quiksilver Pro. I was obviously too busy to watch it either live or on the computer. Photo by Meg Haywood-Sullivan. Check out her websites here and here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More Scheduling Details

Sooo.....I'm planning on visiting my mother from October 2nd-5th. I plan to leave on Sunday afternoon, which means that I have lesson availability on both the 1st and 2nd of October. A few people have already expressed interest in the 2nd, but nothing's in stone yet. As far as the forecast is concerned, waves are looking in the 1-3 foot range for the weekend. All lessons that went out this weekend were awesome. Great weather, great waves, and lots of learning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Surf Forecast Sept 20-Oct 6, Travel Plans, Etc.

Hey all! Thanks so much for your inquiries about the lessons. I've decided to add a surf report for this coming week. First of all, my first availability to teach would be this Friday at 8am. The surf is going to be in the 1-2 foot range, perfect for lessons. I am booked this weekend, the 24th and 25th, but for those who have scheduled, if you happen to check this, it is also forecasted to be in the 1-2 foot range, once again perfect for lessons. And on the outlook, well, the Surfline Lola prediction is for another week of 1-2 foot surf, and again, perfect for lessons. The water is in the high to mid 60s. I wore a 2 mil yesterday and was totally comfortable. It should be dropping as we head into fall, but we all should be fine in 3 mils until mid to late October. As for the first weekend in October, I am not sure if I'll be in town. My mom is coming to the East Coast (she lives in Tiburon, CA) to care of the house she owns in Baltimore, so I am probably taking a trip down to Maryland either Sept 26-28 or Sept 30-Oct 2 . I will be sure to update this as soon as I know for sure, as that definitely cuts into lesson scheduling, but I as I am sure you all concur, it is important to visit your mother. Well maybe I'll just speak for myself. But my mom drove me to all my surf competitions as a kid and has been supportive of me throughout, and now we live 3,000 miles apart, so I snap up any opportunity to visit with her. To sum up, the waves will be in the 1-2 foot range for the next week and a half, the water is still warm, and I have a few scheduling issues, which will be worked out asap.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Certification and Montauk

I forgot to mention: I am cpr certified. This is only kind of certification one can have as a surf instructor. There is no surf authority that bestows surf instructor badges. The other kind of certification might be beach permits or something like that - I don't have those but because my lessons are private and use a hard board, so we just look like two people out in the water - a friend teaching another friend to surf. Also I switch up location depending on swell and sandbars. Nice and low key. Also, I had a lot of inquiry about giving lessons in Montauk over the summer. I finally went up there and sussed it out. I found a few good places to give lessons and have a nice hook up on a cottage I can rent up there, but the price is going to be steep. For a lesson in Montauk it'll be $300 a pop per person. Still includes ride and all that, but in order for me to teach up there I have to pay for lodging and gas from NYC. If I lived up there full time things would be different. Even so, I'm down to do it, so if Montauk's your bag don't hesitate to set something up.

Surf Lessons in NY Magazine!

I assume this blog might be getting a bit more traffic from the NY Magazine article on Urban Surf Lessons. I am stoked on their write up. They did a good job getting down the gist of my lessons and of course you can always come here to learn more. What I'd like to say in defence of what they have called my "slow, steady approach" as opposed to other "more aggressive" approaches is this: no matter how aggressively an instructor is in getting you stand in your first few lessons it simply will not translate to when you go try surfing on your own. They are helping you with wave judgement, which is the most difficult skill to learn, and which, I am sure, all of the surf instructors mentioned in the article have mastered for themselves. The trick is imparting the skills of wave judgement to the beginner(s), which is what I believe I do quite well, and which is only ascertainable through a "slow, steady approach", which will eventually amount to years of dedication. Also, I did not notice that any of the other schools focus on style. Being so few urban surf schools, I sure hope they do and that NY Mag simply left that out of the article. Any one can eventually learn to stand up on a board, but who is to make sure that they are doing it with style? From the perspective of an experienced surfer, regardless of tha fact that I am also a surf instructor, it pains the surfing community to see beginners and intermediate surfers with wide poo stances, which is the most common style mistake, and is a result of bending at the waist and moving the front foot to far forward in a false sense of stability. It only takes slight adjustments to learn an aesthetically pleasing technique that works for your body type (there is more than just one way to surf with style as there are also a number of different body types and physical dispositions). At any rate, I hope this clarifies what I mean when I say that I focus on style. I look forward to the possible buzz generated by this article.The water is still warm, but it's hurricane season, which means lots of waves for better surfers and a few windows of small waves for beginning. The water should stay reasonably tolerable (fullsuits) through October and November and sometimes into early December, so I'd say I'm open to teach until then. I myself surf January through May but it can be pretty brutal getting in and out of all that wetsuit in below zero temps. If you have further questions or would like to set up a lesson do not hesistate to call or email.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Here is Nik holding my board after her second lesson. As you can tell she is as stoked as can be. We ran paddling drills in between the 64th and 65th St. jetties to build up paddling comfortability and board control. Nik caught a few nice waves, but as always there is still more work to be done! She's an ambitious sous chef so I have no doubts that she'll succeed at surfing and at all else she tries her knife to.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lesson Updates

Hello all. I expect a few of you will be directed here by the boys at Saturdays. Good on them for that. Much appreciated. As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, I have been getting lots of hits for lessons. Most people's first question is price. Lessons are $200 per person for the first lesson and $120 per person every thereafter. I do not do discounts for groups or raise/lower rates for weekdays vs. weekends. I teach up to 2 people at a time, no more than that. For those looking for a more bargain deal out of Manhattan hold tight - I am working on a surf camp that will span a weekend and will include lunch, stretching, surfing, and other awesome shenanigans. For now my rates stay as they are and I can guarantee you that you'll be getting the highest quality private surf lesson available in the NYC area. I have been surfing for 25 odd years and teaching lessons for 11. I competed at the professional level and simply have a massive desire to share the intricacies of the sport with others. But with this desire comes an enormous care about making sure people are introduced to proper style and etiquette, surfing ethics if you will, and this is what sets my lessons apart. Hear from you soon! -Di

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Your Ride to the Beach

Oh and this will be your ride to the beach. What more is there to ask? Riding in style 24/7.

An Image of Success

Here's an image of a recent surf lesson. This is Oli. He stood up on his first wave, but this is probably his 7th or 10th wave of the session. This is in New Jersey, where I don't normally teach because, as you can see here, the waves break really close to the shore. Oli managed to deal with the sand pretty well, running off when he reached the shore. A total success! In other surf lesson news, I've heard from a number of you inquiring about lessons. Just wanted to say that I'm still here whenever you're ready to go. You won't receive one on one surf lesson expertise of the sort I provide anywhere in the NY area, so I just want to remind you all that lessons are well worth the price and the time and the energy. You will get back ten fold and be progressing much faster than those who simply try their hands at surfing on their own or in group lessons where there is little to no attention to detail. Really, it's just like any other sport, if you are serious about getting good it pays to get an expert instructor or coach. This is especially true with surfing where the environment is much more dangerous and dynamic than in any other sport. Plus it's a lifestyle and you'll want all the tips about the risks and rewards of adding surfing into your life. Take the plunge!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yours truly with my recognizable "surf goth" zinc and my Al Merrick fish. Photo: Anya Chibis at

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Surfing!!!!!

Hello everyone!!! Here's a pic of the board storage situation at Saturdays. It's epic. The board I teach with has the yellow fin. The other big board is my friend, Charles'. I have used that once for a very successful double lesson, but plan to add another log to the quiver by summer's end. Sooo, hopefully a few of you will just be visiting this blog for the first time, as I went down to Saturdays yesterday to make sure they had the url, as the email address on my old cards is severely out of date. Due to client feedback, I have done a small shake up to the surf lesson package. This is what has changed: First lesson is $200 per person. If you commit to four lessons, each following lesson is $120. I want to stress that these are the highest quality surf lessons you can get on the east coast. I will not be sending you out into the chaos of the crowded summer surf in a blind fashion. You will learn all about how to avoid and maneuver around crowds using maximum board safety and control. This will be a key component in your development as a stylish, graceful, and stoked surfer. Email me at to schedule your lesson(s) today! I can also arrange pickup if you live in Brooklyn. No problem. -Di

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This is a Blog about Surf Lessons

Hello to my two followers and to anyone who checks this site because you've picked up my card at either Mollusk Surfshop in Brooklyn or Saturdays Surf in Soho. This blog was about style, music, etc., but now I have a tumblr account: for all that fun stuff. This blog is now solely about my surf lessons, which, yes, are still happening and are going to be more awesome than ever as the days roll forth. On April 1 I am moving from Brooklyn to the West Village. Thus I will be more centrally located in Manhattan, making meeting up pre-lesson a much easier affair. We will now meet at Saturdays Surf on Crosby and Grand, and head to the beach from there. Lessons are $200 a pop, which includes all equipment, ride to the beach and back into town. It's about a 3-5 hour affair, so you must definitely plan for that in your day. Weekends are definitely do-able, but you will find that if you can break away on a weekday morning you will be able to get the most out of the lesson, as there will be many less people to contend with in the surf. I will teach 2 people at a time maximum. I do not believe in group surfing lessons. It is too dangerous a sport for those kind of shenanigans. Remember that if you chose to take a cheap ($60) group lesson you will most likely not get any attention and the instructor is also likely to have minimal experience. I have over 20 years experience surfing and over 10 years teaching private lessons. Like a well fitting shirt, my lessons are tailored to each individual's level of comfort and experience, and you'll be able to take this experience to enhance all of your future surfing endeavors.