Tuesday, December 4, 2012


So every time Tyler of SMASH NYC puts up a video on Facebook I pretty much link it on here. Tyler finds some real gems. Here we have a 14 year old Slater and early 20s Curren breaking down what stoke means. Epic footage and words.

Friday, November 30, 2012

TC at Pilgrim

I won't be able to make this. I'm going out of town this weekend to get some writing done. But if you're around it looks to be a one of a kind surf culture experience on the East Coast. Tom Curren is a man of few words, so here you have an opportunity to see him express himself (not in the water, but at something else he rips at). This is the after party to the benefit at the Wythe where those who pay the price get to see a live screening of Searching for Tom Curren, a film that was influential in my own and many others surfing experiences. Oh and ps: the Vans World Cup of Surfing (the second jewel in the Triple Crown) is set to run at Sunset today and tomorrow. Always a good show in Hawaii.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Relief Benefit

Tyler Breuer and the boys at SMASH have teamed up with Tom Curren and Sonny Miller for a screening of epic radness. Ticket prices are steep, but it's a great cause and a great film. I won't be there, but if you can swing it, contact the boys at Pilgrim Surf + Supply and claim your seat.  


Hurrican Sandy | A Glance From Above from Etan Blatt on Vimeo.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Figuring Things Out

Yours truly soul arching out east. Photo: Andrew Mattison.
Hey world! Coming to you loud and clear from my kitchen desk at 30 Charles St. Spent the last two days out east scoring a few tasty shacks with my brother and collaborator, Andrew Mattison. He was in town for 10 days. We got to spend some quality time discussing the plans for the Costa Rica retreats, bbqing, surfing, and getting him stocked on gear. I booked my flight(s) and am amping to go down there. Post Sandy things are really starting to come into focus. I've got the longboards at ding repair out in Montauk and will be moving all private lesson operations out there until things are back up and running in Long Beach and the Rockaways (this could take quite a long time). If you still want some private instruction through the cold months simply email me with your situation and we'll see if we can work something out. I've got a place to crash out there and will be looking into a rental cottage of my own by springtime. Now that that's sorted, I've also found some time to volunteer at Long Beach. Thanks to SMASH NYC, Wax Mag, Surfrider Foundation, and Patagonia Soho, a few buses are leaving Manhattan and Brooklyn tomorrow for an all day clean up and volunteer affair. I am super glad that I can finally lend quality energy to the relief effort. I think the seats are all booked for the Manhattan bus, but if you're still interested, again just contact me.

Water quality update: things were a little dirty out east, but the word is it's upwelling from the strong NNE winds. All of the debris was going from North to South and not vice versa. I've heard some terrible reports of stomach and ear infections from those that have surfed Long Beach. I highly recommend not surfing there for quite some time.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Conatus Surf Club + RDA Take II

View from the deck at RDA.
Yello everyone. Booked my ticket to Costa Rica today. Decided to shake the dates up a little bit. There will be two retreats: #1 Jan 14-19 and #2 Jan 19-25. Both are five nights stay at $1850 for all lodging, meals, beverages, travel and surf activities. Book your own flights. Try to arrive at and depart from San Jose Airport (SJO) in the afternoon (12pm-4pm). All inquiries please contact us at conatussurfclub@gmail.com or andrew@ranchodiandrew.com. Oh yeah and for the whole deal just go HERE.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Another Relief Link


More Sandy Relief Links





Cleaning Up the EC, GO-Bama, and Surf Update

Good morning! I am writing this after almost driving out to Long Beach this morning to volunteer. I have admittedly not been out to the beach communities since the storm hit, but I have been holding all of those affected in my heart and have been trying to think of ways that I can help AND get my work done (grading papers, preparing lectures, studying for a PhD exam in Latin, writing four other papers, running a journal, completing the research I was hired to conduct, the list goes on). Fortunately there are others in this world who dedicate themselves to finding immediate and physical solutions to problems such as those caused by Sandy and we should be grateful to them. I am sure you have all seen a number of facebook and twitter posts about ways you can help and donate. I strongly urge that you do. A program that has caught my eye as having a significant plan and ability to impact the clean up and rebuilding situation in a major way is Waves for Water's Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative. They have a timeline and an easy way to donate/get involved right there on the site. I have decided that I am going to hold a raffle in the coming weeks to win a surfboard and a few surf lessons. I first need to get the paypal account associated with Conatus Surf Club established, but that shouldn't take too long. All proceeds from the raffle will go either to Waves for Water or to another fund which I see as having a direct impact on improving the situation affected by the storm. It is getting colder, the sewage is overflowing into the ocean, there is debris everywhere, etc., etc., etc., very bad. People aren't working and a lot of them did not have flood insurance. At the end of the day, the insurance of human community is a far better system anyhow.

In other news, there was an election and it was a big deal. Obama won. I am overjoyed at the result. I do not have the space here to elaborate on why I feel that this is so awesome as well as Rachel Maddow already has, so you can watch her break it down right HERE. So inspiring to see a politician who is willing to face facts and deal with them (not that the conservative dinosaurs still in the House and Senate aren't going to make things hard for him—oh they will—but in this case it's the statement of truth that is most important).

Last, surf lessons are pretty much done in NY for the winter 2012/13. Had Sandy not rolled through there might have been a few more weekends to eke out some quality water time. But now there is no water quality clean enough in the foreseeable future to go surfing close to Manhattan. And all gas spent on a trip out to the beach should be utilized in the clean up efforts anyhow. As much as I myself don't want to admit it, considering time constraints of city life, the sewage problem, the gas crisis and the amount of help needed in the beach communities, surfing (not just lessons) is over for NY surfers for the time being. I think it may be clean enough out east and down in North Carolina, but then you have travel and time to contend with. Trips away from the East Coast (PR, CR, DR, CA, HI, EU, UK, etc.) are probably better options if you need some quality surf time. That said, Conatus Surf Club at Rancho DiAndrew is still planning to run January 5-12; 12-19; 19-25.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Conatus Surf Club + RDA

Good morning people. First off, again, my heart goes out to all effected by Hurricane Sandy. Just found out my friend, Joe Falcone of Grey Ghost Surfboards, had his family home and shaping bay destroyed. Joe is working with others to clean up the Rockaways. I'm still in Brooklyn. Power is expected to be restored in Lower Manhattan by tomorrow night/Sunday morning at the earliest. This is a tragedy to say the least but life does go on. As soon as I regained internet I began solidifying plans with my brother, Andrew, for the Conatus Surf Club Retreat at our property in Costa Rica, Rancho DiAndrew. We've put together a comprehensive package that includes transportation while you're in CR, pickup and drop off at the San Jose Int'l Aeropuerto, meals and beverages, lodging, and lots of other radness. We aim to accommodate 4-6 guests per retreat. The first retreat is January 5-12 and the second is January 12-19. To inquire further please email conatussurfclub@gmail.com or andrew@ranchodiandrew.com. To be clear you can check out the whole package HERE. We will be taking 50% deposits via paypal.

A note on the name changing: as with any budding business I've been working hard to have my name fit my brand. As some may know from lessons and conversations with me, Conatus is Latin word that I take from the philosophy of Spinoza (especially from his major well-known work the Ethics). It denotes the force within a being that seeks to endeavor to persist in its own being. Another way of saying this for us humans is that we seek to increase our capacity to act. Our capacity to act is made greater when we share knowledge with one another. This is the underlying principle behind the name and thus the brand. I was working with some hand-drawn logos when the consultant/graphic designer suggested that 'academy' is perhaps to institutional for the vibe I am after. I immediately saw his point and decided that 'club' is much more up my alley, especially since I'm all about community and encompassing a greater sense of belonging. And so there you have it, at least now provisionally. I am not going to change the url of this blog because that is too much of a hassle at the present moment. I'm just going to wait until I have a new site. I also hope to have a few stickers, tees, and patches made sometime in the not too far off future, and will definitely have some speciality items made for those that participate in the Conatus Surf Club + RDA Retreat in January.

Last note on water quality in NY: the water is nasty. Sewage plants cannot process and it's running out into the harbor/ocean. The best bet right now, if you have enough gasoline and gumption, is to get to the nearest community in need and help out if you can. If you cannot the best thing to do is to conserve energy and to share time with loved ones.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Updates

First pulse of Sandy Swell on Sunday. Good fun before the beach got swallowed 24 hrs later. 
Good morning to all reading this. To those that can't because you have no power, internet, or cell service, I feel for you. I am writing from a friend's apartment in Brooklyn. Here's my Sandy story: I surfed on Sunday (see pic above) and the waves were incredibly fun. Definitely the most powerful surf I've paddled in since Hurricane Ike (which nearly or maybe did break my nose). When I pulled up to Long Beach townspeople were scrambling to get sand into bags and the parking lots were jam packed with seekers of aquatic thrills. I had been texting my surf buddies all morning. They had all got to the beach at 7am. I didn't want to mess with that bombing early am high tide and so I wasn't motivated to surf at all. But then around 8:45am my friend Tyler sent an irresistible shot of a righthand barrel and I jumped in the whip solo and sped east. I had a dream session. Caught ten waves or so in the course of an hour and a half and managed to never get worked—I did get barreled and I did get a wave the length of the beach with all of my friends watching. I had no clue when the storm was to set in and wanted to avoid trouble, so I considered that a job well done and drove back to the city. I couldn't do any philosophy work. I just followed Sandy predictions on Facebook and the Weather Channel. It clearly didn't hit Sunday night (so then kicked myself for a few hours because I probably should have surfed again). Then Monday morning I also knew there was surf, but was too worried about stranding my vehicle or getting caught in the middle of the impending doom. Plus that mega tide was messing with things early again. Knowing what I know now, I guess I could have attempted to surf Coney Island around 11am, but still maybe too sketchy. I stayed in Manhattan and once again followed the news on the net. I kept all electronic devices plugged in and downloaded three episodes of the newest season of Boardwalk Empire (ironic to say the least). My girl and I went for a walk around 5pm to get a feel for the strength of the system. We had slices at Gino's on Christopher. Never knew they made such good pizza. Then walked down in our rain boots to the see the Hudson entering the West Side Hwy. Mini waves lapped through the railings and walk bridges became submerged quickly. The storm still hadn't officially hit. After a lengthy stroll around the hood we were hit by a few big gusts. At that point we went home for the duration of the storm. The building shook at the biggest blasts. Power went out at 8pm. We got through the third episode of Bwalk and the computer died. We awoke on Tuesday to downed trees. The car was/is fine. No damage to our property unlike many others who were closer to the water. We spent Tuesday at Buvette restaurant, which is owned by our good friend, and "helped" them get rid of food that was going to go bad. After another night without power and reception, yesterday (Wednesday) we decided to take up our friend's offer to stay in Brooklyn. So we packed the car with a few things and headed over the Williamsburg Bridge. We realize now that we forgot a few things over there (my surfboards!, my girl's glasses, and some other stuff), but can't go back in the car because traffic is so gnarly. So for now we're "stuck" in Brooklyn. We may, however, try to head back in later, but still not sure if it's worth it. Just may wait for power to be restored. There are a few more things I want to update about—the surf retreat I'm planning in Costa Rica, whether it's safe for us to surf right now due to water quality, and yet another slight name change (Conatus Surf Club)—but this post is long enough for now. I'll get back about all those in a bit. Be safe everyone and say whatever kind of prayer you may say for those that have lost everything.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The D. Hynd NY Sessions

As promised, I put together a little iPhone flick of the Derek Hynd talk with Jamie Brisick at Pilgrim Surf + Supply. Dane Reynolds and Marine Layer watch out! this is way jankier than your productions. Ha. And a bit longer. I know 14 minutes is an ask for an online short, but there's just way too many good nuggets in Derek's talk to have cut it shorter. Here he addresses his own career, Occy's rise, the founding of the Search and Tom Curren's role, and gives a hilarious anecdote about Damien Hardman. With a guest appearance by Nick Carroll on airs. Enjoy! -D

Monday, October 22, 2012

Epic Week and Plans for a Surf Camp in CR

Saturday was perfect. 
Things are finally settling back down, but only slightly, just enough to speed up again. The whirlwind week of surfing with Derek Hynd ended with a trip back out to Long Island, another to New Jersey and the last was for a lesson in the Rockaways. The highly successful surf meetup happened in the in-between. And this reminds me that I still owe you all that write up on the importance of surf buddies. I can only promise it will come as soon as I've nailed about 60 other pages of writing. I mentioned at the meet up that I will be running a camp in Costa Rica in January. I am now working on the details of cost, accommodations, capacity, and dates. I can assure you it will be after January 4th. It's a plan I've hatched up with my brother who has also been teaching lessons using my method for the past six years. As some of you know, he and I own a nice piece of land in Uvita, Costa Rica called Rancho DiAndrew. We have cabins on the land and a main house. There is tons of wildlife and waterfalls in walking distance to the property. He cooks up some amazing grub, some of the produce for which is grown directly on the property. We're working on rounding up a bevvy of boards right now. This camp is not going to be one of those identical softtop and rashguard affairs. We are going to have a variety of boards so that people can figure out what suits them best. We might even be selling some back to students if they just happen to click with one (this is a plan I am also hatching here in New York—I want to start getting different lesson boards and selling to students). We will also continue developing ocean knowledge and lineup awareness. So yeah Conatus Surf Academy at Rancho DiAndrew is in the works! Warm water and an authentic surf trip vibe. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Whirlwind Week and Meet Up Tomorrow

Juan and Derek post surf. 
Hey world. A little brain dead over here after surfing for four days in a row. The first two days I arguably could have done without surf-wise, but a strange turn of events had Derek Hynd on board for a few surf missions. The first two days, Monday and Tuesday, were not that great. The muck before the real swell arrived, but he was supposed to head to Chile on Monday night, so at that point it was then or never for a surf in NY. I knew the waves were going to be terrible everywhere with a howling SE wind, gusting to about 30 knots, and this filled me with a bit of that "damn this a bummer" sense, but then I picked myself up and thought, "well dammit you get to surf with one of your surf style heroes and that doesn't happen every day so just figure out the best place to go." I picked Juan up at 8th Ave and 14th St and we discussed the surf on the way up to 27th to scoop Derek and a fellow named  Murray. Juan is a very keen observer of wind and swell conditions and made the call for a spot out in the Hamptons. If we bee-lined it would could get there in 1.5 hours and it was just 6am. So we scooped Murray—who turns out is both a surfer and a photographer that runs a site called The Sprout Daily— and Derek on gritty Fashion Ave. and headed straight out there. We ran into a bit of road flooding trouble with the high tide on the sound—but thankfully my car is amphibious and we survived. We arrived at the destination and it looked like absolute hell, but a walk up the beach revealed a decent enough right hander. For this trip you can visit Murray's site where he posted a few pics. There's one of me on a bomb (probably the best wave I caught that day) exhibiting a somewhat suspect safety style. My back knee is not dropped nearly enough, but it's a nice wave, so I'll take it. At any rate, even (and especially) surf instructors need to check themselves. I promise to lean back and tuck that knee in next time. So I'm not going to tell the next two days worth of stories, because that would take up far too much time that I've already lost on my coursework. Let's just say the next day wasn't that great either, but yesterday was superlative.

In closing, I am hosting a meet and greet for surf students tomorrow at Spain Bar and Restaurant on 13th St. between 6th and 7th Aves (closer to 6th). Would love to see you there!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jamie Brisick on Derek Hynd

Well I trolled the net for not too long to find you some surf footage of Jamie Brisick, but I couldn't find anything because he stopped doing that whole thing (pro surfing) well before the age of youtube. But there's a lot of great writing out there. Here's a piece from his blog that he did on D. Hynd to give a bit of back story: http://jamiebrisick.com/article/the_long_twirl_three_decades_of_derek_hynd_in_the_surfers_journal

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Derek Hynd All Flow

This is a little warm up for the talk to be held at Pilgrim Surf + Supply on Saturday, October 13th, at 8pm between this stylish man, Derek Hynd and legendary surf journo Jamie Brisick. Watch this and see why you'd like to ask him a few questions about how he comports himself in and around the ocean.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More on the Future of Professional Surfing

Anyone interested in the future of professional surfing should read Surfer Mag's write up on the ZoSea takeover: http://www.surfermag.com/features/leap-of-faith/.

Monday, October 8, 2012

J. Hall Surf Board Design Wisdom

Here is my very amateur attempt at film making. The talk was over an hour long. I just pieced together a few of the highlights. There's a lot of wisdom in these thirteen minutes, so you might want to take note. Remember that Josh is a shaper from a certain lineage (his mentor is Skip Frye) and that he has his own view of how waves ought to be ridden and what kind of equipment is optimal. He says that your first board should be egg-shaped and three feet over your head and that you should always have something super big in your quiver. I would tend to concur. I think I am going to find an 8'0 egg to add to the lesson quiver to see how the lighter folks go on that. Even so, I still tend towards the thinking that it is better to err on the side of bigger on account of the fact that I've seen plenty of people just struggle to paddle and sit on top of the 9'5"s that I use. Anyhow, building a quiver and experimenting with boards and fins is both a luxury and a necessity if one is to progress at surfing. Enjoy the film.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Board Design Talk Tonight At Pilgrim Surf + Supply

 Josh Hall of Josh Hall Surfboards is giving a board design talk tonight at Pilgrim Surf + Supply from 7pm-9pm. This is a great opportunity to learn about our wave gliding prosthetics (aesthetic extensions of our being) and to meet fellow surf nerds. Free beer. Free knowledge. What could be better? See you there!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wetsuits Part I

Wetsuits generally: Wetsuits are made out of neoprene, which is traditionally a petroleum product. Most brands are trying to figure out more environmental ways to manufacture them. Most suits are designed either in the US or Japan and made in Thailand or China at factories. I may do some research on each brand or you can yourself, but for now let's keep it at that. Wetsuits are spoken of in terms of millimeters of thickness, usually ranging from 1.5-6mm. The thicker the mm the more cold the suit is supposed to withstand. Many feature a combination of thicknesses, so that you have more warmth in areas you do not move, and more flexibility in areas that you do (gussets, etc.). Wetsuits should always be tight fitting. Brand is a very personal thing and I will let you do your own research. Here is a list of brands (without links) in order of mainstream to retro: Oneill, Billabong, Ripcurl, Quiksilver, West, Hurley, Xcel, Isurus, Beull, Hotline,  Matuse, Patagonia, Axxe, Amsterdam, Nineplus. I am surely missing a few here, but this is just a start for where to start looking.

What I wear: Instead of tell you what to get I am going to just talk about what I wear year round. I grew up in 50 degree water and have been wearing suits for the past 26 years. I like a bit of neoprene no matter how warm the water is. I am used it and I feel it gives me a little added protection from rib bruising, the sun, and whatever may lurk beneath me. Also, I have ear problems, so as soon as the water is cold enough to give an occasional ice cream headache, around 55 degrees, I'm wearing a hood of some sort.

September: In the beginning of September I'm in a 2mm spring suit, long john, or short armed spring. It can still be hot and the water is up in the high 60s, low 70s. On the colder mornings with offshore wind I'll don my 3/2 fullsuit for the first time.

October: I'm usually wearing the 3/2 all month.

November: The 3/2 still gets a bit of action and I may add a polypro hooded shirt. Towards the end of the month, depending on the year my hooded 4/3 comes into action. I am usually reluctant to wear gloves and booties. I won't wear them unless the water is under 50 degrees and the air is under 45.

December: The hooded 4/3 comes into action, as do the 3mm booties and 1.5 mm gloves. By mid-month or towards the end of the month I might already be in the 7mm booties and 5mm gloves.

January-March: Hooded 4/3, 7mm booties, 5mm gloves. [Caveat: a lot of people wear 5/4/3s or 6/4/3s but I haven't found them necessary in the three winters I have surfed in NY. I prefer the flexibility of the hooded 4/3 over the stiffness of the thicker suits. The key is to really protect your extremities. Also the thicker the suit the harder it is to get in and out. When it's cold you usually want to expose your skin for a minimal amount of time.]

April-May: The hooded 4/3 is still in effect, but I can start pairing down on the booties and gloves. As soon as the water hits 50 degrees my feet and hands come free. I'll also start wearing the 3/2 full suit with the hooded poly pro shirt.

June: 3/2 fullsuit and if we're lucky the 2mm springsuit and long johns or wetsuit jackets can come into play.

August-July: Bye bye fullsuit. Spring suit, trunks with a vest, jackets and surf shirts.

So in the end my ideal wetsuit quiver for NY is:
- 1 wetsuit vest or neoprene jacket/surf shirt ($25-$100)
- 2mm spring suit, long john, or short arm full ($99-$200)
- Poly pro hooded shirt ($75-$100)
- 3/2mm full suit ($100-$250)
- 4/3 hooded full suit ($200-$550)
- [sometimes a 5/4/3 or 6/4/3 hooded full suit for trips up north ($200-$600)]
- 1 pair of 3mm booties ($50)
- 1 pair of 1.5 mm gloves ($50)
- 1 pair of 7mm booties (rounded toe) ($50)
- 1 pair of 5 or 7mm lobster claw gloves (you need these to surf in the winter at all) ($50)

In the end it depends on your dedication to surfing year round and living in NY. In my mind, it is a worthwhile investment. Most suits last 2-4 years and many companies have repair services, so you won't have to spend this amount every year. There are also a variety of glues that you can use to repair your own suit with.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Updated the Links and the Quikky Pro France

Good morning peoples. Just writing to say that I've updated the links with some of my favorite surf websites and other useful sites for buying gear and getting forecasts. Also, if you follow pro surfing at all, the Quiksilver Pro France is running this week. It's into Rnd 3 (the best round to watch in my opinion). The time difference with France can be rough if they run in the morning (6 hours ahead, so 8am in France is 2am in NY). Contest director Miky Picon has been running at high tide which is currently early in the morning and in the mid afternoon. Right now the comp is on hold until 2:45pm France time (8:45am NY time). To watch heat recaps or to check back for the live feed go to http://quiksilverlive.com/profrance/2012/. Yesterday the French afternoon/NY morning saw some ├╝ber heaving barreling shore pound. The guys were in full gladiator mode, which is usually the best kind of comp surfing to watch—these were not ideal conditions and probably terrible for the average surfer—the kind of conditions you just wish a pro would paddle into to see if indeed some of those waves are makeable. A few 10 point rides and plenty of cringe-worthy wipeouts. Voyeuristic sadism at its finest. My pick for the win is Julian Wilson or Mick Fanning, but Slater and Parko are deadly right now. We shall see! Last note: teaching a few lessons this weekend. If I've failed to get back to you please email me. Been a little crazy with lesson inquiries, Greek/Latin translation, book review writing, paper grading, and philosophy reading. That said, back to it. Enjoy the week!

Kelly Slater on the Future of Surfing

Ripped this from PhiloSURFical's site. Pretty darn insightful.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Surf Like MP

All those weird hulls and single fins you see at the shops: this is how you're supposed to ride them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Grammar of Surfing

Good stormy morning everyone! I had to cancel a lesson today due to an unruly sea. So instead I am wrapping my head around Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations and Stanley Cavell's comments thereof. Every time I pick the book up it makes me think about surfing and how I am always explaining to my students that learning surfing is learning a new language. In Wittgensteinian terms surfing is a language, or surfing has a grammar all of its own. I want to share this quote from Cavell's Excursus on Wittgenstein's Vision of Language with you all because I think it clearly represents what I am up to in the way that I 'initiate' people into the grammar of surfing:

"Instead, then, of saying either that we tell beginners what words mean, or that we teach them what objects are, I will say: We initiate them, into the relevant forms of life held in language and gathered around the objects and persons of our world. For that to be possible, we must make ourselves exemplary and take responsibility for that assumption of authority; and the initiate must be able to follow us, in however rudimentary a way, naturally (look where our finger points, laugh at what we laugh at, comfort what we comfort, notice what we notice, find alike or remarkable or ordinary what we find alike or remarkable or ordinary, feel pain at what we feel pain at, enjoy the weather or the notion we enjoy, make the sounds we make); and he/she must want to follow us (care about our approval, like a smile better than a frown, a croon better than a croak, a pat better than a slap). "Teaching" here would mean something like "showing them what we say and do", and "accepting what they say and do as what we say and do", etc.; and this will be more than we know, or can say."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

2 Week Forecast

Here's Surfline's 14-day LOLA forecast for Long Island. As you can see, Sunday and Monday look the biggest for the Hurricane Leslie swell. Then we have a drop next week on into next weekend. And then it picks back up the following week. Those days when it's reading 1-2 and 3-4 are the best for those of you new to the sport of kings. I surfed yesterday at Rockaway and while it was not anywhere near life-threatening it was still way too much juice and bump for a beginner to handle. Even the whitewater was a bit out of control. That was on a buoy reading of 7ft at 14secs. Also, I've received a few more lesson requests. Just want all to know that scheduling becomes difficult this time of year due to the increase in swell and my graduate student schedule. I am still instructing throughout the fall, but am sticking to weekends, and primarily Saturdays, only. My weekdays are now consumed by writing, reading, prepping for the class I teach, running a student journal, and surfing for myself when the swell is up. This last thing, I am sure you will understand, is very important in the development and nurturing of my own surfing skills and mental stability. I will, however, respond to each of you in turn and will try my best to schedule as many lessons as philosophy and the hurricane season allows.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What Is Wrong With Surfer Magazine's Style Post

Once again surfers say that style is "not doing too much" when the exact opposite is true. Sure it looks like you're not doing too much, but even that is a learned behavior. You're actually doing quite a lot: paddling efficiently to get into waves at the right moment, positioning your hands, looking in the direction you want to head, reading the wave, and feeling out the whole ride. Furthermore, people like Craig Anderson and myself, who have been surfing for most of our lives, have had exemplars we look up to and whom we have imitated in order to achieve effortless-looking surfing. And as Anderson's style shows and proves, one of the key aspects to good style in surfing is an ability to fold in one's back knee. If the back knee cannot or does not drop deeper than the front what you get is a twofold knock against your surfing: less power and a poo stance (because if the back knee doesn't fold then you're bending at the waist and therefore sticking out your bum). Next to back knee foldage, hand placement is also crucial. There are a number of ways to hold one's hands in surfing and how you do will solidify what kind of style you have. Some surfers know for "creepy fingers" are Bruce Irons, Rob Machado, Joel Tudor, Alex Knost, and Ando himself. Gerry Lopez had/has some of the best hand placement in the game. So yeah not looking like you're doing much is key, but so is intentional imitation of past style masters and attention to key physiological truisms.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Told Ya So!

Here's an article in the NYT about the importance of paddling in surfing: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/riding-the-wave-of-surfer-fitness/

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Few Websites You Should Have Bookmarked and Other Stuff

I just wrote an email to a student, the main thoughts of which I think ought to be broadcasted on this blog. It regards where to go to practice paddling/surfing when you're not in a lesson and don't have a car or a board. I've also been getting a lot of inquiries about how to go about finding a used longboard, so I'll address that here as well. First off, for paddling and whitewater catching practice I recommend that you take the train to 67th St. in Rockaway. There's a new shop there called Breakwater Surf Shop. It opens at 9am (one hour earlier than Boarders) and has rental boards. Now, be warned, their rentals are bottom of the line foam boards. I've ridden them myself and am not a total fan, but they will do the trick as far as paddling practice is concerned. The foamies at Boarders on 92nd St. are much better, but that means you'll have to surf 90th St. with a gazillion people. Boarders opens at 10am and you'll need to take the A to the S shuttle to 90th St. The third option is to take the LIRR to Long Beach and rent a foam board from Long Beach Surf Shop, then walk three blocks to the beach near Lincoln Boulevard. All of these rentals are going to run you $20-$30. We have one more week until Labor Day weekend which means that surfing is still restricted to only a few beaches. To see which beaches these are in Long Beach check this website: Long Beach Surfing Schedule. In Rockaway you can surf 61st-67th streets and at 90th. The hours are 9am-6pm, so if you want to surf wherever you can go before those hours, but you'll need your own board because the shops won't be open. Wherever you choose to surf, find the channels or lanes or spots in the water where you see the fewest amount of people. If it is crowded figure out who are the best surfers and do your best to stay out of their way. Do not go for set waves. Remember that it is okay for you to be on the "outside" when you are resting or practicing paddling, sitting on the board, etc., but when you want to catch a wave go to the inside and try a whitewater or an inside wave. Do not stay there, however, because you will be in the way if there are other surfers out. Just go back outside and rest and then go inside again to catch waves. Remember that  the ability to navigate a lineup with speed is going to make you a better surfer. Don't hesitate and don't lolly gag. If you are taking a wave that others are paddling for remember to give whomever is closer to the peak the right of way. If you are nervous about other people seeing you struggle, I recommend finding the emptiest spot of beach that you can. This will all get better after Labor Day, when surfing will be open at all beaches and at all times, until Memorial Day 2013. Still, if you are renting a board, you must go when the surf shops open. I recommend getting there right at the time they open to get a big enough board. Get anything from 9-10 ft. The bigger you are, err on the bigger side with your board choice. As far as going when the waves will be small enough, everyone needs to get comfortable and proficient at reading the buoys. There is one buoy that I use for surfing in our area of New York and norther New Jersey: Long Island Buoy. Make a bookmark folder called "Surfing" and put it in there. That is the buoy for Long Island. You look for the reading that says x amount of feet at x amount of seconds. The first reading is called "wave height" and the second is called "interval". Both bigger wave heights and longer intervals mean bigger waves. So if it's 2 ft at 14 sec, it actually might be good sized; likewise if it reads 8 ft at 5 sec, it will also be good sized, but in a different way. Ideal buoy readings for beginning surfers have wave heights from 1-4 ft. and intervals of 5-10 seconds. It's also good to check the buoy before you go and even if it doesn't quite translate right off of the bat, just go to the beach and you'll see what that reading translates to by looking at the water. You can also check the cameras. There is a great new camera stationed at the Allegria Hotel in Long Beach (National Blvd.) and it gives a wonderful perspective on what the waves and wind are doing in the area: Allegria Surf Cam. There's also Surfline.com, which has link on this site. Surfline has 14 day forecasts. Those are what I use to schedule lessons. I have a premium membership at $70 a year. I find it to be incredibly useful, especially since I get live streaming cameras and forecasts on my iPhone. If you don't want to pay, however, the LI Buoy and the Allegria Surf Cam will do. If you use Surfline, be warned, they highlight days they say are going to be Fair-Good in green and since everyone uses the site those days can be really crowded, regardless of whether Surfline made the right call (believe it or not they are often wrong, and a little empirical research goes a long way, so just go to the beach yourself). All that said, it is still best if you get your own board so that you can go surf whenever you want, or at times that suit your schedule. Some of you have cars, some don't. I've told many people that Mint and Zip cars are awesome for surf missions. All you need is a pair of soft racks and your board. Now I am at the board part. None of you beginning surfers should be on a board less than 9 ft long. You need the length to get the right speed paddling, so that you can develop proper form and actually have the stability to stand up. If you want to ride shorter boards after you've become proficient that's totally fine. You'll still probably want to keep that longboard around for really small days. Always err on the side of bigger. If you see a 9'8" for $400 you should probably buy it. Some of you will have storage issues. Well, you can get on the list for a locker at Boarders and Breakwater is going to install units this winter. I think there might also be another board storage option out there. I've yet to research it. As for finding the boards, here are your options: Craigslist (NY/NJ), EBay (look for boards selling in NY/NJ), Saturdays, Pilgrim, Maritime, Unsound, Long Beach Surf Shop, Atlantic Beach Surf Shop, and Sundown Surf and Ski (in Levittown). I just found my 9'5" Pure Fun at Sundown for $440. They have a huge stock of new and used longboards. It's a hike out onto the island, but totally worth a check. As you all know, Saturdays and Pilgrim have very nice longboards, but they're quite expensive and a little less beginner friendly. Something of an investment for the very keen or very experienced. Nice boards, no doubt, but most of you have expressed trying to find something in the $300-$600 range. The last option is to buy a board off on Craigslist in San Diego or LA, ask the owner to buy a boardbag for it (you pay), and have them drop it off at the Greyhound station for $50. This is the cheapest shipping option. I've heard it works, but haven't tried it myself. I'd be interested to see if any of you give it a go. And last, to end this long post, I am planning a hangout for my past students, so that you all can meet up and make connections. Having surf buddies is crucial. I'll talk more on that in my next post, when I've set a date and place, etc. Until then good luck getting all of this stuff dialed. Be safe! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back: Out of Town, Hurricanes, Paddling, and Fish Mode

Everyone has pretty much guessed that I'm back, as I've been teaching non-stop lessons ever since I arrived on New York soil. About to head out to another as I write this. Just a little update to say that I'll be out of town next weekend, August 25th-26th. My birthday is the 23rd and school begins on the 28th, so gotta get one last out of towner in. I'm around for Labor Day. It's starting to book up. I'll do my best to keep everyone in the loop. Hurricane season is upon us, but we haven't seen anything real yet. It's currently just real small and real clean. Perfect for beginning and staying in paddling shape. When the real waves arise I advise all my students to go down to the beach and just sit and watch great waves.  Try and read the line up. See who's getting what, who's surfing best to your eye, etc. Watch for patterns in the ways the waves come in. Count in between sets. Prepare yourself visually. Do not paddle out. Many of us have sat and watched days that were over our heads at the time. For those that are still green it's best to keep going paddling on the small days: making sure your legs are together, your lower back is arched, and that you are making clean and even strokes. And I repeat: always keep your legs together! Surfing is all about paddling. A lot of people have skateboarded and snowboarded before taking lessons with me and these people always ask, "Does it translate?" My answer: only partly. In the beginning, not so much, because surfing is the only board sport where you start laying down and in which you much pull yourself into a moving circle of energy and then stand up upon it on the board on which you are laying. Sounds easy. It isn't. Learning to paddle efficiently is the first stepping stone of becoming a graceful surfer. Some might even argue that you have no business going for waves until paddling becomes a thing of effortlessness—when being on the board and with board become a second nature. I usually refer to it as "fish mode". No particular reason except that I get this feeling when I have been away from the water too long that my gills are dried up or something and then when I jump in—no matter how long it's been (1 day; 3 mo.)—everything just clicks and I am in my element. I named that feeling "fish mode" or "ocean mode" about 6 years ago. It's a phenomenological shift in attunement—a different, and valid, way of comporting oneself in the world. I hope for all of my students to one day find this. This is essentially what I mean when I say I teach "new ways of seeing". All of the articulation to this is of course still under development and I am using this blog to explore it and because I feel that it necessary to share this info with my readers, some of whom are past students, some of whom are future students, and others who are lifelong surfers who deeply care about surfing. The mystery of the radical indefinability of surfing is what keeps a lot of us healthily at it and which also makes a lot of us frustrated at some of its oddly ugly manifestations: crowds, aggressive locals, poorly structured competition and sponsorship systems, corporate greed, bad styles, entitlement, the list goes on. The cool thing is, however, that at the base of this activity is a supreme joy and in the end it is really that joy that brings us back to surfing over and over again. Part of the joy is that it is precisely an activity. And the beauty of this activity is that you are simultaneously passive when it comes to the whims of the sea. Surfing has the capacity, the potential, to blur all of those distinctions we like to make and see. More later.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Currently in CA and Other Stuff

Noticed that my last post was July 3rd. That's pretty despicable blog upkeep. But when the waves have been looking like this: 

and I've a ton of research to do, all that matters is that I post at all, and that when I post I provide pertinent information. For example, on the day pictured I surfed for 5 hours. The buoys were reading 8.2 feet at 10 seconds (with a forecast to drop throughout the day). Picked up the star team rider in Billy Burg at 6am and banched out to Rockaway. We surfed for five hours. A doctor in residence from Hawaii was tearing it apart. Fastest surfing I've seen on the East Coast barring the star team rider. Had to cancel lessons because it was too big for beginners. Other surf instructors from the Rockaway schools had also cancelled theirs. They run a pretty nice outfit down there. I would never do it that way myself, nor do I plan to, since I prefer surgical strikes to all day camp outs because I believe that to be good at surfing you must embed it into your daily life (thus requiring said strikes). A daily surf mission is not vacation. Well it is. But one can vacation and work as well. Like now, I'm writing from a cabin in Northern California, having swam in a lake all day, but I still find time to get work done. Work and play must be in balance. Both ought to be both challenging and fun. Take the doctor I spoke of as another example. He arrived to the beach at 6am, blew the tops off of chest high lips for 3 hours until 9am, when he went in to check his pager (haha doctors still have pagers). He then came back out for 5 more waves or so, then he drove off to the Bronx to work in a hospital for the rest of the day. And that's how it's done folks. Daily surfs are possible. Or at least tri-weekly. Seven days of surfing in a row is vacation. 

Other notes:
1. Taught two awesome body surfing lessons. I thoroughly enjoy teaching people how to ride waves without boards. 

2. I'll be back in NY on August 9th, not 8th. I'll start answering email inquiries and scheduling lessons tomorrow. 

3. Am planning my own camp/surf school of sorts, which has more of a seminar quality—surfing history, board design, structure of competitive surfing—for both kids and adults. 

4. Also offer tutoring in Ancient Greek. That's random, I know, but hey, if you're interested, I teach that too. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Board Walking and Montauk

Photo: Anya Chibis.

Here's proof that you don't need much a wave to go surfing. This photo was taken last Thursday at Long Beach.

Also wanted to say again that if you are going to be out in Montauk or the Hamptons this summer do not hesitate to email me for a private lesson. I might even go up there of my own free will because the waves are fun and the city is too hot, and will therefore already be available to help you out whether it you are just beginning or are an intermediate working on positioning, turning, and reading lineups. Oh yeah and I'll be out of town in California from July 25-August 8. I am going to attempt to head out east a few times in the last few weeks of August too. Shoot a line!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Because You Love To Read

Posting for the sake of posting. The intense heat of the New York summer has firmly taken root. Today is my first day of rest in about 6 or 7. I just spent the last 3 waking up before 6am (as early as 3:30am in one case). My sister-in-law and amazing photographer, Anya Chibis, has been in town for the past four days and we've done a total of three photo shoots. I have styled for and mugged in two previous photo shoots with Anya, so this was our third stab at it. The purpose is mostly artistic—to collaborate on something that both of us can use—but also professional—she to show that she keeps putting out fresh work in the lifestyle/fashion photography arena—and I for my blogs, surf lessons, and any potential work of various sorts in the fashion industry (styling, consulting, designing, and what the heck, even muggin' if the price is right). Some of the highlights and b-sides will be aired here and on my other blog: http://burningfromtheinside.tumblr.com. We did a little surf stretching sequence, so that I can share with all of those beginning seekers of surf stoke how to properly warm up and prepare for a life dedicated to wave sliding. In that vein, I am still around for lessons and can teach out east if desired or required. The re-branding of the surf school and possible T-shirt project is still on the board and being sketched out. If anyone wants to take a stab at helping me create a new blog/website in exchange for lessons please do not hesitate to send a message.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

International Surfing Day

Hey all. Happy International Surfing Day!!!!! A few updates: First of all, here is a great example of how to surf the white waters with style. You can see how relaxed and calm she looks cruising in on this little wave. Riding the white water with grace is about the third step in anyone's surfing path (the first being comfortable in the ocean generally, especially without a board; the second being able to paddle efficiently). All of these skills, moreover, are constant works in progress.

Second, I was mentioned in NY Magazine's Summer Issue: http://nymag.com/guides/summer/2012/water-attractions/ Go check it out or pick up a copy in news stands. Very stoked that the nice guys over at Pilgrim Surf recommended me for this. And for those that are directed here, yes, again, I will give bodysurfing lessons. It is a crucial skill. I've been doing it my whole life and feel that it really helps one understand wave mechanics and how waves and bodies interact with one another.

Third, I am working on rebranding the lesson business. I am going to offer comprehensive packages and also have some plans for some really cool tees, hats, and sweatshirts in the works. I have long had the desire to also have a fashion line, but I am going to start small and build the brand with my surf school. I do have a new name in mind, but I'm going to keep it under wraps until I develop the logo and get going on a new website. Definitely stay tuned. I am really excited about it and think it's going to be the perfect marriage of all of my passions: surfing, philosophy, and fashion.

Last, always thanks for reading and for inquiring. Surfing is such an immense gift and such a great way for one to increase one's joy by learning to see in new ways. I remain dedicated to helping others develop this vision and to learning how to make room in their lives for wave riding.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fiji Pro

Hey all, not sure if you've been watching, but there's a live professional surfing contest happening in Fiji today/tomorrow (it's tomorrow there -- they're 16 or 17 hours ahead of us here in NYC). Yesterday they only ran two heats -- the last two heats of Round 2 -- and then left the big stuff to the gnarly free surf big wave pros who wanted it. There were a handful of the top 34 surfers in the world out there as well. They're on today at the back-up spot, Restaurants, which is a pretty much a long perfect barreling left. Should be great to watch. There are a lot of pundits on Twitter that claim otherwise, and their tweets are worth reading, if only for entertainment's sake. I have found myself spitting my water all over my desk from laughter at what some of these guys and gals are writing: @Rottmouth, @werdson, @gravys, @dumbthchronicles -- and just find some of the people they communicate with to see the running drivel. Seriously funny. Here's the link to the event: Fiji Pro.

Body Surfing

Was just interviewed re: body surfing lessons by NY Magazine. Not sure if I'm going to make the article, but I want to let everyone know that I have begun to incorporate bodysurfing into my overall surf lesson schema. I will even go as far as to give 100% body surfing lessons for those so inclined. This will not be the case for regular surfing lessons, we will move to the board after you have swam into a few waves. Will keep updating should the article run.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Surfing Has Officially Begun

Surfers of all sorts, summer has a arrived on the East Coast and it's a bag of mixed treats.

First let's start off with personal news: I have my phone back, so calling and texting are firmly planted back into daily affairs. I am still writing papers from this past semester: one on the style of William James, another on Heidegger's Being and Time, and the third on narcissism in the early psycho-analytic works of Sandor Ferenczi and Karl Abraham. I hope to be finished before mid-June. One never quite knows, but yes, I'd like to get them out of the way. Any who have taken a surf lesson from me know that it is not without a few philosophical musings. I consider this a major upshot.

I have taught a nice handful of lessons in the last few weeks of May. All quite successful. All wonderful people per usual. Many return clients from last summer looking to get back into the swing. Lots of people still paddling with their legs apart. Minds in stomachs people and pull those legs together! The body should form a straight line down the middle of the surfboard and should be held taught by the amazing band of muscles near your solar plexus (often called your "core").

So summer. It's more crowded this year than ever, which means lessons are really going to focus on the social aspects of surfing—how to find waves to yourself, maneuver around crowds, communicate with other surfers in the water, read lineups, etc. This aspect cannot be underscored enough especially since the sport is growing and looks to continue to grow despite what grumpy old carps may have to say about it. Long Beach has added many more beaches to its surfing rotation. A full schedule can be found here: Long Beach Surfing Schedule. All beaches in New York can be surfed and are free for entry before 9am (except a few like Gilgo and Lido must be arrived at before 7am). For this reason I want to schedule all lessons as early in the day as possible. Parking also becomes an issue on the weekends. For daytime surfing, the only free beaches available summer-long are 67th-69th and 87th-92nd at Rockaway. As close to the train as they are, these are bound to get nutso on the reg. You better have your crowd surfing skills in check to stay calm, catch waves, and not get hurt (or hurt anyone else). Early mornings are still uncrowded (New Yorkers being the party animals that they are), so I highly recommend owning your own board and getting on the dawn patrol.

I have decided never again to use the word "pop up". It makes it sound as though getting to one's feet on a surfboard happens all of a sudden in a kind of jerky motion. We shall call it getting to one's feet. There are a variety of different ways to go about it, some more efficient and graceful than others. Most of all it is important to take it easy and breathe even in this most crazy of moments—you've just caught a wave, it's exciting, but you need to slow down and pull yourself together. Surfing is all about taking in the tiny moments and appreciating them.

I think I'll leave this post off here. The above picture of me was taken at Fire Island by my pal Thad's dad, Dennis, with my iPhone. I'm riding that Forstall mini Simmons doing a little float. Such a blast! Upcoming posts will concern surf techniques, links to vids and websites you should be watching, and other cool surf snippets.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lost/Found Cell Phone

I went to Baltimore this past Sunday/Monday and thought I had lost my phone. It turns out that I left it in an antique shop and my mom's friend has recovered it for me, but it's still en route to New York. So for all lesson inquiries simply email me. Should have it back up and running by Saturday.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Family Business

Surf lessons are in the Mattison blood. Check out my brother's operation in Costa Rica: http://ranchodiandrew.com/?p=744. Poetry and photos by our illustrious father, Richard.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Now that I think about it, you should just go over to Hydrodynamica and read the whole site. Here is the link: http://hydrodynamica.com/

Mini Simmons Love

My friend, B.'s, brother, G. and his brother's friend, M., picked this board up at a surf swap -- they all three kind of co-own it -- in a sense it's a community board. It's a 4'11" Mini Simmons shape by Steve Forstall. The Mini Simmons was designed by Bob Simmons. Simmons was a pioneer of surfboard and skeg design. Surfline has a very concise history about him that you can read here. The little gem pictured above was my first encounter with such a shape. I saw it first at B.'s loft-warming party in Bushwick (no joke -- as a digression I am also doing research on the origination of the hipster phenomenon in Brooklyn -- I am having trouble deciphering whether I am one and then that makes me think that the category is far too large). It was love at first sight. I could barely talk to other people at the party. I knew that I had to go out with it some time. Then B. came down with a gnarly case of ingrown toenail so he was out of commission from February thru April. Time passed and I put the hope of riding this board out of my mind. Then May swung around and B.'s toed healed up. Of course he never stopped monitoring conditions and thus he shot me a surf text the day before a fun little swell was predicted to arise. A mission quickly formed and set. I picked up Th. and T. first in the Lower East Side, then cruised to the outer Wick to scoop B. He had two boards in hand: his 5’6” simmons-esque quad and the above 4’11”. We did the 6am hustle out to Long Beach and were greeted by hazy 3-4 foot peaks. I rode my thruster for the first hour or so. Got a few sneaky head dips, but nothing too special. The tide came up quickly and the waves started to bog out. We had left the little wonder on the beach -- first come first serve style. When I went in to make the switch B.’s quad was in its place. So I took that out. It’s really skatey but a bit too loose and stiff for my taste. Just doesn’t have that magic zip. Still I rode it a bit until I saw that B. got tired and went in. The time finally arrived for me and the 4’11”s first date. Everything that followed was pure bliss. Paddling was cake. The thing absolutely zooms into waves. I caught wave after wave, weaving and dashing into the shorebreak. I hadn’t felt that sort of speed and responsiveness since the first time I rode my CI fish (which still goes great by the way -- just a bit of a different feel). This board provides the kind of surfing for me where I don’t need to think too much. Its curves and my style have a natural symbiosis. I have surfed it twice since then and those sessions were equally as enjoyable. The new dilemma: how do I own one for myself? I will get more chances to ride this one but I definitely need one of my own. I’d also like to experiment going smaller -- like 4’6” or so -- real biscuity. I have since looked at other Mini Simmonses and they all have this bulky and heavy look to them. I like that this one is made out of very light epoxy and has shortboard-esque rails to it. I do know that this board used to belong to Montauk shredder Mike Detemple (whom I don’t know personally), and I’ve tried to contact him via Twitter to see if he has any others for sale, but no dice. That’s cool. I might just have to dig harder. Thinking about getting Steve Forstall to shape me one. I did some research on him (see link). He was very influenced by this design in his early shaping days and has immense knowledge about east coast waves, plus he shaped this wonder, so he’s definitely worth contacting, but then I dunno how I’d get it to NY from Florida on a gradstudent budget. I think a good route might be to talk to some surf shop bros or to just find a longboard, saw the nose off, find some skegs, and make my own. Whatever route I take, I am determined to make something like this mine. Oh and if you want to read/see more info on such like boards check out Hydrodynamica’s cool little piece on them here.

Open Season for Surf Lessons!!!!

Here's a pic of the pick up of my first lesson for this summer. Davith's wife, Lexi, bought him two lessons for his birthday. Here they are getting ready to go to the beach in front of Saturdays on Crosby. The lesson went super well and we're all looking forward to #2.

I've also started receiving a lot of other calls and emails regarding lessons this summer. Start booking now to ensure you get your slot! Also, remember that my lessons are not so much focused on getting you to stand up on the board but are more about the overall experience and knowledge and style of surfing. Surfing is 95% paddling, seeing, judging, and navigating and 5% standing up on a wave. Summer and its crowds makes this even more true. I see so many beginners every time I surf wander into an area where they should not be. You can avoid this kind of catastrophe by learning the right way the first time. You will also get better faster because you'll learn how to find waves where others don't.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A photo my friend Steve took and put on his instagram. It spoke to me so much I commented that I wanted to “reblog” it, so Steve sent it to me in an email attachment. This is so real to surfing and so indicative of the type of lifestyle and culture that the masses barely even think of when surfing comes to mind. I grew up in a heavily localized area—definitely more localized than Rincon. Watched guys put sugar in people’s gas tanks, pop tires, start fights, run guys out of the water, throw sticks at people, and just general malingering and hate-mongering. I don’t find it as nasty on the East Coast so far. Dudes in Jersey are a little grumpy, but nothing matches California localism. What makes CA localism that much nastier is that “Team Kook” can apply to the locals themselves. Some guys/gals who don’t even surf well act all hard. In Hawaii (or Australia for that matter) it is clear who the top dogs are because they rip and have a firmly defined spot in the lineup and the pecking order and so you stay away from them and pick off inside waves they aren’t even looking at. Kooks aren’t allowed to regulate, but somehow the laws of bro-dom make it possible in California. The real kooks aren’t beginning surfers. The real kooks are the guys/gals with stink ass style who get all nasty at people who are just trying to have a good time; who overcompensate with their poor surfing skills with crappy attitudes and negativity. This is why I’m never a local anymore. I surf a ton of places and just catch the waves no one even sees, which (hint hint) are usually the best waves anyhow.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Out of Rhythm -- It Happens.

I am sitting in my blue chair. There is a distinctive ache in a number of places in my muscles and bones. My tail bone is bruised. It hurts to walk. My triceps, deltoids, upper back, calves, and quads all have lactic acid surging around them. My left forearm has a small sore spot on the bone. All of these are a result of getting my ass handed to me at a mysto beach out east. It wasn't that big. Maybe 4ft. But it was thick and square and shallow and I was slow and out of rhythm.

With my busy grad student schedule I have either two half days or one whole day a week to surf. Last weekend, when I wrote the post "Tal Vez", I over-amped on Dane Reynolds videos and pulled the trigger prematurely. I surfed the crappiest day in the window. Don't get me wrong—I still had a blast at gusty west wind Long Beach. But the next day Jersey fired and I was stuck at home doing research. C'est la vie as they say.

Yesterday was the beginning of my spring break and the only day in the next few weeks with swell, so I decided that an all day surf mission was in order. My buddy Juan and I drove out of Brooklyn around 8:30am and went straight to 67th St. in Rockaway. The dawn patrol crew was just coming in. It was waist high and starting to get closed out. We decided to keep looking. We skipped the Long Beach jetties, which in hindsight could have been a bad move. I know it was good there, but I surf there all of the time and craved a different kind of wave. We kept checking spots further east and then further east still. Nothing was quite right and the winds were starting to funkify, which looked ominous for an all-day driving mission. Fear of getting skunked set in. But there was plenty of pulse and more pulse the further east we drove, so I kept my hope alive.

After a million text messages (from Juan to friends—I was driving safe), we got a healthy tip. At 1pm after about 4 hours of searching we scooted up to a Hamptons moon-scape and to heaving top-to-bottom rights breaking in about 1 foot of water. The winds were pretty strong out of the Northwest, but they curved around just right for this little zone. There were three of us—all goofy. Rubber space men with three-finned probing tools. The water was in the 40 degree range. Icebergs to the face. Just being out there seeing these slabbing pits made all of the driving worth it. There was no where on our journey that offered waves that packed this many pounds per square inch. Juan picked up a few off the bat. I got a left soul arch close-out. My left should was behaving funny. I knew I was out of rhythm immediately. Connor, the local with the knowledge, scored the backside barrel of the day. I refused to know limits, and despite the fact that I was out of rhythm, continued to chucked myself over the ledge with abandon. While Juan was getting little pocket rides and slashing cutties I was getting pitched into oblivion. I have not had such an off session in ages. To top it off I swung on one of the bigger, squarer sets and fell from the very top straight into the sand, right onto my tailbone. The shock that rang through my body at the moment was tremendous. I got absolutely trashed and came up hogtied. Clearly hurt, I continued to surf. I had one redemptive wave at the end where I picked the right line and stayed in the pocket, straightening out at the very end. When the tide pushed in the waves shut down. Sore and limping, I walked back to the car.

We checked another spot after. It looked to have massive potential. Instead of hitting it immediately we warmed up in Connor's car. He told us a story about a Russian gangster buying boats from he and his dad's company. The gangster needed to make sure that blood didn't stick to the deck. He made Connor deliver the boats to sketchy spot in Queens, and also made him drive to the Bronx, and had his hit man sit with him the whole time. After Connor told us this crazy story we checked one other spot. By the time we got back to surf the wind had switched onshore. We paddled out anyhow. The ocean was hating me. Rip current; white water spray in the eyeball like a paint gun; arms that felt heavy and wouldn't move. I saw Juan catch a few, but even he, who had a good run at the previous spot, had a few sections deny him. It was just funky.

In the end, I am glad to have spent the whole day searching for waves and checking new spots. The world just opened up a bit for me and I've finally started exploring the east coast thanks to my new found surf buddies. Next time with those winds and those conditions I'd probably stick to Long Beach, but now I know. It is small this way today. $20 says the spots we surfed yesterday were probably fun as heck this morning early.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tal Vez

There might be surf this weekend. Fingers are crossed. All of this Quik Pro action is making me want to put the fish down and get on the tri-fin.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Darkwaverider Speaks! Women's World Tour Preview

Chris Grant over at Jetty Girl.com gave me the opportunity to write a forecasting report for the Women's 2012 World tour. Check it out! http://www.jettygirl.com/blog/2012/02/27/di-mattison-previews-the-2012-asp-womens-world-tour/

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Surf Like: Tom Curren and Conner Coffin

Had to post this video of Tom Curren and Conner Coffin just so it will always be in this blog roll. So freakin epic. You can't even tell who is who. Would be funny to add Dane to this, then it'd really be confusing!