Tag Archives: malibu
No matter how much you hydrate or listen to your coachs’ words of encouragement, it’s always tough being down at haltime 12-1.
I surfed Malibu this morning. It was 3′ and a south wind was making it a bit bumpy but it was good to get in the water again. Afterwards, while I was shooting this tailgate portrait of Joe, Ned Evans parked a few spaces next to me. Our kids went the Westside Waldorf School about a hundred years ago. We see each each at the beach a few times a year. We talked about the wind, how beautiful the day was and how tough and sometimes painful it is to be a parent. We both agreed that it all sort of melts away when you are in the water.
I started shooting these portraits a few months ago. It didn’t start out as a planned project but everyone seems to be responding well to the images so I’ll see where it goes. When I’m surfing with my boys, I am usually the first one out of the water and most definitely the first one dressed. I’m usually waiting around while they get out of the water and watching them struggle to get out of their wetsuits. It’s pretty funny watching them hopping up and down in the parking lot or rolling around in the backseat in various states of undress. I usually have a camera with me and there’s always some grip stuff in the trunk of my Volvo wagon so one morning I clamped this small painted backdrop to the tailgate and took a few portraits while waiting.
Yesterday, Debbie and I had a meeting at Malibu High with Henry and some of his teachers. We took two cars so I could surf for a bit before the meeting. The water was warm and clear. The sun was out and it didn’t seem fair especially since Sam told me it was 18 degrees below zero with the wind chill in Grinell this morning.
While driving home, my Volvo sputtered and back fired up a hill with with one last push and came to rest at 25000 Pacific Coast Highway. I checked under the hood. The water and oil levels looked good, all the hoses seemed to be connected, and no smoke was billowing so I went back into the car and turned the key but the engine wouldn’t turn over.
I called AAA, felt old as the dispatcher thanked me for 35 years of membership and said a tow truck would be there in an hour. After 1 1/2 hrs of sitting in my car listening to an audio book checked out from the library and practically finishing carving an egg from a piece of wood I got up and stretched my legs. It was a clear day, the wind was offshore and through some kudzu crawling up a wrought iron gate I could make out Catalina. The wood I was carving was reportedly reclaimed from the football bleachers at Stanford University years ago. The bleachers were made from trees grown and milled from Leland Stanford’s personal grove of Port Orford cedars. The smell of the wood in my hand was good and strong and it blended nicely with the smell of eucalyptus and wild coastal anise.
When the tow truck driver finally arrived and put my car on the flat bed, I was sitting up high next to him in the cab he apologized that he hadn’t taken a shower and that he might smell. I didn’t smell anything and I thought to myself what the hell was a guy who tows cars supposed to smell like anyways? The driver told me he just moved back to Oxnard from Seattle where he was apprenticing with his uncle who was a cobbler. His uncle had a successful shoe repair business and he learned the trade from him but moved back here after his uncle died of lung cancer. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw my car perched on top of the tow truck with my longboard strapped to the roof like the space shuttle strapped to a 747.
It’s not Dawn Patrol, but it’s still early enough to get the Early Bird Special for parking- 3 bucks. I usually park on the beach side so I can prop my board on The Wall and at least think there might be some sort of energy through the ages coursing through the bricks and mortar.
The water is warm. I’m in trunks and a 2 mil. top as I paddle out into the small surf. Sitting in the line up the anxieties of land slowly seep away. Sam going off to Iowa for college, Henry starting high school, all the other boys starting new schools all weigh heavily on the land.
I’m riding my 9′-6″ Lance Carson which I got used many years ago. It reportedly belonged to Clark Gable’s only son. The board was one of the few items I saved from the 1993 Malibu fire. My Ironman comics #’s 1-10 weren’t quite so lucky. The surf is small but I manage to get a few nice waves to myself. The board feels heavy under my arm as I walk back to my car with a big dopey smile on my face.
Back in the parking lot I prop my board back up against The Wall. A guy in a van pulls in next to me. A little grom pops out the back. The guy asks me how the waves were and I say, “I had fun.” I ask him if he wants my parking permit and he says, “Thanks for spreading the wealth.”
If you surf you know what Dawn Patrol is. Somehow the alarm clock went off at 4:00 am instead of 5:00 am. Sometimes you surf this early to beat the crowds which have made surfing frustrating at times lately. But mostly you surf this early to watch the sun coming up through the pier on your left and the moon setting on your right as you paddle out.
Today was real nice, 2′-3′ with an occasional shoulder high set and offshore conditions. The kind of day where you catch long waves and paddle back to the line up with a big smile on your face.
What else can you say. Nice small crowd, warm water, nice waves- a nice morning.