Last night my precious evening sessions commenced in front of my newly established home in San Clemente. As soon as I parked my car, with one eye on the sunset, I pulled on my wetsuit, grabbed my board and booked it down the street as fast as my legs could carry me.
Beach season will soon be alive and well! Bikinis and boardshorts of all shapes, sizes and colors will grace our beaches like newly designed couture on a New York runway.
As much as I love a cute colorful bikini, sometimes I sketch about the attention it attracts:
You know him…or her, even. They blatantly stare at you, jaw agape, while you change and check the surf. Even though you pull your wetsuit on as fast as you can, they slowly inch their way towards you, eyes not moving from your bod. They’re usually just hanging out by a trash can or a lifeguard tower, a place where you have to cross paths on your way to the water. Though you don’t make eye contact, their stare burns your skull as you calmly make your way to the safety of the water’s edge. For your sake, let’s just hope it’s high tide.
One evening before my usual surf sesh, some creeper stood directly in front of my peripheral, smiled and stared at me as if I was a juicy rib eye while I put on my wetsuit.
He stood there long enough to create an uncomfortable silence and I knew what was coming next.
“You come here often?” he said.
I rolled my eyes and breathed a heavy sigh while I zipped up my suit.
I could feel my face burn and my fists clenched as he continued on with his ‘overly-stoned surfer hippy’ facade.
“Nope,” I curtly stated.
<This is the only time I justify a lie.>
While his pathetic attempts to make conversation turned to more personal matters, I assumed an aloof disposition coupled with short answers and minimal eye contact in hopes to drive him away. Didn’t work. He was from L.A. Go figure. Hmm, what to say, what to do…
I used to teach preschool and it was the most fun job I’ve ever had. However, establishing boundaries among the little ones is essential, unless you want to go crazy. Like children, it seems the male-dominated surf culture needs a few boundaries.
Some guys think because women wear bikinis and/or revealing wetsuits, it gives them the ‘okay’ to make a pass or two…or three. Wetsuits, bikinis and the like are merely a preference in expressing how proud we are of our bodies we work so hard for..or simply because we want to minimize tan lines. Respect that.
However, I will say some of us wearing scantily clad items definitely ask for the unwanted attention.
Regardless of what we choose to wear in the agua, here are a few guidelines that either gender might consider when some hottie passes through their radar:
1.) STOP STARING!!
Didn’t your mamma ever tell you it’s rude?! Just like pointing, in most cultures, it is rude to stare at someone while they are trying to change in their wetsuit…or walk down the beach…or paddle out..or duck dive a wave. If you think they’re hot stuff, perhaps leave it at that. If you stand a chance, decide your angle and make sure it’s AFTER their attire is on. Be respectful and avert your eyes. If you cross my path and stare while I struggle to get my wetsuit on, my glare will cut you like a katana blade.
2.) Watch your mouth.
Really? You’re dropping one-liners? Dude, I left one-liners at the bar…three years ago…and even then, they were dumb. Their coolness factor died in middle school…circa 1998. How old are you, again?
3.) The wax on your deck is not for writing numbers on.
On more than one occasion, some guy thought it would be cute to write my number down in his wax via fingernail. Can it not wait ‘til I get to the beach? Most of the time, I don’t like giving my number out on the beach, much less in the water. I ain’t thinking about yo’ punk ass whilst I be throwin’ spray!
4.) Just because I’m being nice does not mean I want to share waves with you!
For every wave you decided to ‘share’ with me, you lose 30 minutes of my time. Several local guys will be dropping in on you shortly.
5.) Quit talking balls to me.
You’re so badass because you surfed Uluwatu, huh? How big was it, again? 14 feet or 4? The scar on your face ain’t from the reef, sweetie. I can tell a a bitch slap when I see one. A very wise man once told me: “A musician never tells you how good he is, he shows ya how good he is.” Can we translate that into surfing? Hmm? Humbleness is waaaaay hotter.
6.) Unless you’re Dave or Chav, I don’t like being sprayed in the face by your cut-back.
Good for you, you can throw buckets! Now, can you aim it at the guy who was dishing out the one-liners?
7.) Gettin’ aggro does not make you cool.
While I’ll admit there is a time and place to be aggressive, unless you’re at Lowers and 10 people decide to ditch their boards while you paddle out, chillax. Yelling at groms does not get you brownie points, either…unless those groms have dirtier potty mouths than a 60-year old sailor…which is possible…at Lowers.
8.) Yes, I have been to the gun show…
…repeatedly, thanks to you and 20 other dudes.
9.) No, I don’t want you to shape me a board.
I just met you. Besides, I have a shaper…and he’s the jealous type.
Not just me, but also yourself. …when you can’t respect yourself, who else will you respect?
Now go forth, former creepers!! Quickly become un-creepified before someone knocks your front teeth in!
We’ll all know you really didn’t hit the reef.
Ah, the land of beards, flannel and weed connoisseurs! Humboldt, Calif. is an area of the golden state that is anything but dry and brown. Noted for it’s beautiful temperate rainforest, rocky coastline and, well, all different types of greenery, Humboldt is not a place to pass up …or puff-puff-pass the day away. Go outside.
All rain and stoners aside, I drove the 950 mile stretch solo to visit a good friend, score some waves and hug some trees. It didn’t take any THC-induced revelation to figure out the five essentials you can’t go without. Ladies and gents, other than your paraphernalia, don’t forget to pack these:
1.) Waterproof Jacket:
Despite the fact that the ocean is chilly and chances of a swim/surf or (whatever your fancy) are less than that of Hawaii, you will get wet. Loosely considered the Pacific Northwest, Humboldt is rainy place. The coast varies only 10 degrees summer-to-winter and has an average rainfall of 40-100 inches per year. Coupled with humidity, this can create some wet (and not too cold) conditions. I was recently converted to Patagonia’s down jackets. To an extent, most of them are waterproof, but can be costly–trust me! I was hunting for months for one to go on sale! If you find one on sale, go for it. It’s well worth the bucks. If $$ is not an issue, put your chump change to the test and buy one–Patagonia is a solid company and does great things for this planet. If $$ is an issue, there are several comparable brands that are decimal points less than the pricey “Patagucchi.”
2.) Hiking Boots:
To state the obvious: there are beautiful trails you NEED to explore in Humboldt. However, rocks, mud and rivers are aplenty, so hiking boots are nice to have to climb over trees, boulders and gravel. If you’re like me (semi-hippy-ish) and you like playing in the mud, try trekking a muddy trail barefoot! A lot of people walk about Humboldt without their shoes…and, apparently, skivvies! I met a fellow hiking in a kilt, traditional style….meaning: no undies. How I found out? When he squatted down to take a picture of me and my friend, all of his glory flashed before my eyes. It’s safe to say this shot was a candid one.
But— If you do nothing else, go for a walk in the woods. You’ll thank me later.
You will see trees wider than your walls and beautiful scenic forested areas that are thousands of years old…coastlines engulfed in fog, huge waves, majestic Elk…and banana slugs. Tell me you don’t want to recall the time you ventured into the Humboldt “shire” and have beautiful emerald green images! Again, rain was a factor for me and my camera lens, so it would be wise to bring a lens-friendly wipe.
Some hiking spots might look familiar, too…Jurassic Park/Star Wars ring a bell? Ewoks/Hobbits/Aliens/Dinosaurs…a director’s wet dream for fantasy land should be on your photo priority list.
I’m not part of any NRA…In my world, a gun is: a big board for riding big waves…Small by Humboldt standards is six feet. The day I got there, it was maybe two-to-three occasional six feet…winds and high tide made conditions a little wonky, but the next day, the surf climbed to staggering double-to-triple overhead heights. This translates to: 10-to-18 feet. If you plan to surf: bring a gun.
5.) Five millimeter wetsuit/Hood/Booties
My friend Sean told me: “If you don’t have a hood, you might as well not come up here.” The water temperature can range between 48 and 52 degrees, on average. It may not be Alaska, but it is pretty cold. Obviously, when you are in cold temperatures, it behooves you to have something to contain the heat that will escape through your dome. This worked like a charm, although I will add: the 5 mil wetsuit was also a great help! And as much as I dislike booties, I wore them…with much gusto.
Don’t hesitate to buckle up, suit up and strap in for fun times up there. Be wary of road ADD once you hit the forested areas and don’t touch the banana slugs. Apparently their slime is very hard to wash off. One thing you absolutely MUST try is their local lager, Eel River IPA. It’s freakin’ amazing!