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 or 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 or 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.