Thursday, September 28, 2006

Adventure Status

Lots of crazy new tails from my end of the pond. Work has been super busy and I'm fighting a battle to be "allowed" to persue a project in Seattle. The funny thing is, the Seattle project really wants me to join! I bring these specialized skills in marketing and web knowledge that is valuable and they recognize that, along with my interest. Unfortunately for me, I was randomly placed in a group at my company that does not share resources with this other group. Yeah, kinda sucks... I've offered unique solutions and even tried to move and switch groups permanently but to no avail. I'm getting the shaft from corporate America...

So, to take my mind off of these challenges I've tried to refocus my energy on other career paths, new companies, and reptiles. Yesterday I drove over to Berkeley to pick up an old pair of Northwave snowboard boots at a shop called Destination 1440 (they were sopposed to be fixing the laces with Northwave - factory defect). So I get this call that after two months that nothing has been done and my boots are basically just rotting away on some dirty shelf. So I get the boots and decide to explore the area a bit since it's been a while since I lived in Berkeley and it's the middle of the day on a weekday, all the shops are open.

I spot this jungle-like storefront and decide to enter the shop. "Berkeley's Secret Garden" is the name of this joint (pun definitely intended). They sell all sorts of grow lamps mounted to fans that spin with cooling devices... Lots of neat fauna there but really... This is California? Who would need to grow plants inside? And why would they want to cool the bulbs delivering the nutrients? Anyone familliar with police work and infra-red technology should be able to answer that...

Okay, so I actually like plants, legal ones, and so I ask the clerk if they have any terrariums instead of these big light spinning fan contraptions. He tells me that his other job is working at the East Bay Vivarium (one of the largest reptile stores in the nation). I'm stoked like a schoolgirl at this remark and I blast on over to the Vivarium, yum. Fancy my luck, it just so happens to be feeding time and all the animals are going nuts! I got to see these tiny 3" turtle babies snarfing down lettuce and of course the ever-exciting cricket hunt that some of the lizards were enacting.

It was a good day, I got a lot done and I've been sick so it was nice to sleep in a bit and try to rest up. I'm stoked to do a few aM updates with video and teh site should be coming alive again soon. One of my old CU journalist friends wants to do another story about us and our recent interview with the Campus Press should be online soon.

posted by Court @ 3:46 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Friday, September 15, 2006

Surfing away my budget...

Today marks my third boarding accident for the past two weeks. It all started the day before I had to go to Chicago on a business trip. I was charging hard that Friday afternoon... It was a hot day and the beach was super crowded, I ended up catching a ton of great waves but half way through I was swollowed up by a huge set and my board hit a friend of mine and a fin busted off (wrecking the fin casing). At first I didn't realize it and I just thought I lost the fin, I kept surfing for a while and actually did pretty well considering only two fins (the middle and left fins) but I knew I would have a busted board on my return trip from Chicago which was a bummer since I didn't have time to drop it off for repairs before leaving.

So this past weekend I just got back from the trip and I knew I couldn't take my board out again because the foam would obsorb water and make a repair even tougher, so I just rented a shop "demo" board. The rental was a nice epoxy 6'5" swallow tail fish and the owner of the shop said he wasn't totally sure if it was a demo or one of the guys who worked there, but he gave it to me anyways, and he warned me "you break it, you buy it" which freaked me out a bit at $400. So I took the board anyway and the next day I had a blast on it! The waves were huge and the board performed very well. Unfortunately I crashed it into an oncoming surfer and totally jacked the front of the board... Epoxy boards are sopposed to be stronger than normal boards (they look like plastic on the outside instead of clear) and my friends in the water said if it wasn't epoxy it would have snapped the nose right off! All of this "fragile" crap is new to me because I'm used to snowboards that NEVER break unless you ride strait into a rock and really put the grind on.

I guess I was stoked to have the board in one piece after the accident but it wasn't a very fun experience returning it to the shop... It turns out it wasn't really a demo board, it did belong to one of the shop workers and he was totally bummed that I dinged it. So, I was left with surf board ding repair number two, and I haven't found out how much either repair will cost yet.

While all of this was going on I had been visiting the local shops a pretty frequently, checking out the used board selection. One board really caught my eye, the Channel Islands Al Merrick Flyer... One of my favorite local shops "Kstar" had this board used and it was an epoxy version! which was awesome because as you recall, epoxy is stronger than foam and normal glassing. Since the rental was thrashed and my board was still in for repairs (number seven in a line to be repaired by the shop) I decided to shell out the cash and buy an extra board. The Flyer was perfect, not only due to it's strength, but also because it's a more advanced shape and I wanted to step up my riding a little bit.

When I went in to buy the Channel Islands Flyer I ended up meeting the owner of the store "Keith" and we got to talking about all sorts of cool stuff including ABSTRACTmall. He mentioned that one of his good friends owned the exact same Flyer model that I was looking at used and he might be willing to sell me his for the same price as the shop's (and his friend's board was in way better shape). I was interested in the offer, so Keith sent word and his friend "Tony" drove right down to show me the board. Now... Tony had owned this Flyer for a long time and he really loved the board, he had even named the thing, "Plastic Fantastic" and he was a bit concerned when he heard about my previous two boards. At the end of the day however, when push came to shuv, I flashed the cash and Tony put out... Keith took his cut in the deal and Plastic Fantastic was mine!

This is what Plastic Fantastic looks like :D

How does the story end? Well, today I went out to Rockaway Beach which is a bit rougher than Linda Mar... The waves were really going off and I almost got bashed into the rocks just trying to launch, I actually ended up back on the beach after taking off to swim out and my fins dragged in the sand! Maybe I should have heeded the warning signs, but I was way too stoked to let a few bruises and scratches get in my way. I finally made it out and caught one amazing wave. It was really powerful and I got a lot of tight turns in. Unfortunately, the fun didn't last long. It was a bit eerie out in the water with yellow foam and a pod of dolphins slowly circling me and the other guys. It was also a bit lonely and intimidating because there were only three guys and we really didn't know eachother. Everyone was way spread out and I felt totally isolated. The fog was rolling in a bit and Rockaway, being surrounded by cliffs, was echoing with the sounds of the crashes waves.

As I attempted my second big wave of the day I leaned a bit too far forward trying to get on and I was dropped down onto the face with tremendous force. I had one of those "oh shit" moments where you know something bad is about to happen and you feel like a tiny child being tossed hard with no control. If I had a tail, it would have been tightly squeezed between my legs. I balled up and was whipped around in all directions, I was so tense that both of my calfs cramped and I felt the searing electric sort of pain that only comes from freezing cold water, exhaustion, lack of air, isolation, and cramps. As I was losing control under water, Plastic Fantastic bashed my upper theigh and I felt a sharp gouging tear as one of the fins dug into me. When I finally surfaced and streteched my legs out I pulled on my leash and flipped my board over to find one of the fins missing... the right fin, just like with my first board. Not only was the fin gone, I also had a huge ding all the way through the epoxy and into the foam.

Deja Voo just doesn't do the experience justice. I didn't completely give up (althought maybe I should have) I stretched my legs out and paddled back into the big waves. I caught one more good one and made a few decent, if not squirrely, turns. Since I cut left when I surf the missing right fin wasn't too much of a problem.

I'll be stoked to have my two boards back soon, but it's a bummer I can't surf for the rest of the week... I wanted to get some pictures but since the damage to the second board was a rental I didn't have time to get it back for photos (and I didn't want to dissrespect the owner). It's been a good second month here in Pacifica and I think I might be moving up to Marin County next month. Marin is sopposed to be cool for surfing up at Stinson and Bolinas but the sharks are a bigger problem there (since the beaches border a bay inlet where fish and nutrients flush out) so I might have to bust out my australian made electric leash... More on that later.

posted by Court @ 3:34 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Friday, September 1, 2006

A day in the life.

I tossed together this short video/slideshow of my last couple of days in San Francisco. Life is fast paced here, alarm clock shock at 5:47am BART station by 6:55, work starts at 8 and ends at 5 if you're lucky. BART home to meet friends and hit the waves. Snap a few pictures along the way. Surf till dark, go home and eat, crash... wake up... repeat...

Yesterday just also happened to feature my grandfather (you see him near the end) who drove out to visit me from Sun City Arizona. We ate spegetti and talked about family and life, it was good.

If you are using a Microsoft operating system and the video doesn't play, you should download the latest version of Apple Quiktime

posted by Court @ 3:46 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

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