by Corky Carroll
Fa la la la laaaaaa kiddies. Yes, it’s that joyful time of year again when you are in a snit over what to get that surfer in your life for Christmas, Hanukah, or just because everybody is giving and getting gifts and you wanna be a part of it. Yeah, many remind us that “it’s not about getting presents.” I say don’t be a baa humbug grinch and get ready to burn some plastic. Fret no more because I am here to save the day, yet again, and give you some extremely helpful suggestions on the perfect holiday gift for a surfer. Of course many of you are surfers yourselves so you already have a good idea on this, so this is aimed more towards non surfers who trying to figure this out.
Normally I come up with a list of what I think would be the best choices, but this year I am trying something new. I posed the question to my friends on Facebook and got way more answers than I had counted on. From the hundreds of comments I picked these little tidbits for you.
A subscription to SURFLINE. Corkys new book (available soon on Amazon). Membership to SURFRIDER FOUNDATION. Subscription to SURFERS JOURNAL. Reef safe sunscreen. Wetsuit. Wax. Remote controlled Tiger Shark to patrol the lineup and bump people just before you paddle out. (I like that one.). State Park Pass. Terrycloth hoodie changing robe. “Endless Summer” book and box set. Trip to Hawaii. Surf leash. Stickers. Astrodeck. Good set of fins for bodysurfing. Surfing DVDs. Blue Mango t-shirt or anything from bluemangosurf.com. (that is a good one).
Dry bag for transporting wet stuff in your car. Flip flops. Sunglasses. Ugg slip-ons. “Surfboards and Stratocasters,” great book on the Beachboys from BALSABILL.COM. Gift certificate for 2-hour surf photo session with John Lyman Surf Photos. Gift certificate to any good surf shop. New surfboard. New Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). New paddle for SUP, ( I like Quickblades). Travel Boardbag. Paddle Air rib protection vest. Pass to Kelly Slaters wave park in Lemore, Ca. (these go for 25k per day). Ear Plugs. Lock Box for your keys. Hang Air wetsuit dryer. Tide chart calendar. Beach chair and umbrella. Portable water shower. Beach towels. Hawaiian shirt. Ding repair kit. Quick Fin Release. Rail Grabber from Linda Benson (these are great for carrying your board). Tanker surfing adventure with Captain James Fulbright, (note: this is in Galveston, Texas. Super cool experience, Jimmy Buffet is a regular).
O.K., those were the highlights that I got from the Facebook survey. I would like to add a few ideas of my own to this list. You can never go wrong with surfing orientated t-shirts. Surfers live in t-shirts. Always get one size bigger than you think too, we like em loose. Straps to tie boards on cars, always come in handy and are easy to pack for a trip. All sun care and after sun products, I cannot stress the importance of NOT getting sunburned. Hats, some reason. For those interested in the new “foils” I just read about a new product called a “Fliteboard.” This is a motorized foil which allows you to ride one in any body of water. You can get info at us.Fliteboard.com. My recommendation is to NOT go anywhere near other surfers on one of these puppies though. Foils are getting more popular these days but still look pretty dangerous to me.
I also recommend surfing coffee table books, and there are a number of them out there to choose from. And, of course, there is always surfing lessons for beginners and private coaching for those more advanced. Got a kid getting ready to start surfing competition? Get him or her some competitive coaching to help get going on the right foot. A good water watch is a great one too. I just got a new Apple Watch and it’s set up to record and measure all my rides, how cool is that?
Of course my ultimate suggestion, and this is where I get to toss in my once a year plug, would be a one or two week surf adventure package to come stay and surf with me at my getaway casa on Mainland, Mexico. Totally all inclusive and includes personal surf coaching if desired. Just email me for info at email@example.com.
To wrap this up let me also suggest that you try to find out what he or she really wants, or needs, ahead of time and that you know his or her sizes. Have fun shopping and HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
By Corky Carroll
I spend way too much time on Facebook and I know it. But, in my defense, I get a ton of info there and come up with ideas that would not surface if I didn’t. As I spend way more time more or less “off the grid” than on it, tucked away at my happy and warm little tropical getaway, the internet and social media keep me at least somewhat it touch with reality, or at least the current state of what people are thinking. Lately there have been some photos posted of the late great Butch Van Artsdalen and suggestions that I write something about him. I have done this, but it was decades ago and I guess it’s time for a redo, or at least fresh look.
Butch was a very wild dude, anyway you slice it or dice it. He was an amazing surfer and just one of those all-around gifted athletes. He lettered in Baseball, Basketball and Football three years in a row at La Jolla High School, after moving to San Diego from Virginia at age 14. He took up surfing at Windansea, one of La Jollas heavier surf spots, shortly after and within a short amount of time was one of the standout locals in the line-up. He started surfing in most of the contests here in California in the early 1960’s and also was a solid paddle board racer. The dude was ultra-competitive.
During the winter of 1962-63 Butch went to Hawaii and became the first guy to really ride the famous “Pipeline” in a dominant kind of way. It had been ridden before him, but he was the first to really do it well. He was nicknamed “Mr. Pipeline” after his performances there, which were well documented by tons of surf movies and magazines. This was later passed down to the great Gerry Lopez some years later. But it was Butch who really showed us how to ride the place in the beginning.
I met him at a few of the surfing contests but didn’t really get to know him until I started working at the Hobie shop in Dana Point when I was about 14. Butch did repairs in a little shed behind the shop and also lived right down the street from where I shared an apartment with a couple of pals. I loved the dude, he had a great personality and was easy to laugh, my favorite trait. But, I learned really fast not to stop by to say hi much after dark. Butch surfed hard, worked hard and drank hard. Mister totally cool could turn into Mister really mean really fast. Best to avoid that part of the package if possible.
Although, on the North Shore of Oahu, where his life more or less had to take him, this kinda worked in his favor. His fearless hard charging surfing in the biggest and most gnarly waves combined with his love for drinking, fighting and general all out rowdiness was endearing to the local Hawaiians, many of whom shared the same kinda approach to life. The dude just was one of those “go for it at all costs” kinda people. He was super fun to surf with, especially when the waves were really big. His total “isn’t this incredibly fun” kind of attitude could spill over onto those of us who were kinda, well lets be honest, scared. Many times I took off on waves steeper and deeper than I might have if Butch hadn’t been yelling out, “yeaaaah, GO FOR IT!!!!” And he would give me a hoot if I made it or laugh his butt off if I ate it like a rat. To him it was all fun. I think Butch would have made a great pirate if he had lived in different times.
He became a lifeguard on the North Shore, probably the most dangerous lifeguard job in the world. He was one of the few people with the nerve to charge rescues in the most challenging situations.
Butch lived hard and died just as hard, drinking himself to death in 1979 at the young age of 38. A big ceremony was held for him at Pipeline and his ashes were scattered into the lineup, the rightful place for him. One of the greatest surfers ever.
by Corky Carroll
After ten plus years of scribbling out notes I finally just finished writing my autobiography. A few months ago my pal Brad Fiedel, great keyboard dude and composer of movie soundtracks, asked me how it was coming. My response was, “not done yet.” He said that would be a good title for it. Yeah, made sense to me. The book is done, but I’m not. So, perfect title. I will let you know more about release dates and all that when I know, well, all that. In the meantime I thought I would share a tale or two from the book with you here.
Today I thought I would talk about back in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s when I used to spend a lot of time on the North Shore. One of my best friends was Billy Hamilton. Billy lived right in front of “Pipeline” with his girlfriend Joanne and her son Laird. Eventually they would get married and Laird would take Hamilton as his last name. I always stayed with Mark Martinson, who live right up the street from Billy and Joanne, and was often called for babysitting duty when they wanted an evening out. Laird was just a young kid, but already was showing the sort of competitiveness and aggression that would later make him into probably the greatest big wave surfer and innovator of all time. So, here is a little snippet from NOT DONE YET about my adventures babysitting Laird Hamilton.
“My pal Billy Hamilton had moved to the North Shore and was living in a house right in front of Pipeline during those years. He had met a great girl named Joanne and she was living with him, along with her son Laird. They called him Laird-John when he was young, the “John” part got dropped sometime later. When I was staying on the north shore during the winters I sometimes got called into babysitting duty for Laird when Billy and Joanne wanted to go out and nobody better qualified was handy. Babysitting Laird, who was really young but already ultra-high energy and super competitive, was an adventure. He liked to play Checkers. Playing a board game with Laird was sort of an art form. If you beat him he would sulk off to his room and before long checkers would be pinging off the back of your head, followed by the checkerboard itself. If you let him win he would know it and the same result would happen, only he wouldn’t bother with sulking off to his room first. So the challenge was to sort of make it as even as possible. Barely win one, then let him barely win one and sort of keep it really close with him coming out the eventual “grand champion.” I remember that Joanne liked to play “Jacks.” One day I was driving past their house when all of a sudden a whole bunch of jacks came flying out the upstairs window and hit the windshield of my car. I had to laugh. Obviously Joanne had just beaten Laird. I got outta harms way before the little rubber ball or anything else rained down on me. It wasn’t unusual for Laird to toss a chair or even a couch, the kid was pretty gnarly. When Billy and Joanne got married Laird took Hamilton as his last name. That kid grew into the greatest and most fearless big wave, no….GIANT wave, surfer of all time. I have been in constant awe at the things he has done over the years and have proudly pointed to a few checkerboard scars on my head a number of times and stated, “Laird Hamilton?, yeah I know that dude.””
Stay tuned, I will try to get you a few more of these little bits from the book before it comes out. Cowabunga.
By Corky Carroll
Most of the time when I sit down to knock out one of these amazing wanderings into the wild and wacky world of wordage I have a subject all picked out or event to talk about that is time sensitive. Today was not one of those days. So, I did what I do when this situation comes up, I went to the list of emails that come in where people suggest storylines for me to tackle. And right at the top came the idea to write about the almost lost art of “side-slipping.” Hey, great call.
For those of you who don’t know, side-slipping is a surfing maneuver where the surfer breaks the fin, or fins, free while riding a wave. This causes the board to go into a side slip and lose forward traction, instead sliding sideways down the face of the wave. Then when the fin catches again forward progress is resumed. The reasoning here is that this is a sort of stalling thing done to reposition the rider in a better spot on the wave and/or to keep from outrunning the curl. It’s also pretty cool looking and if done correctly with a reasonable degree of control and style it will surely impress most onlookers.
The first time I saw anybody do this was in an old surf movie in the early 1960’s. It was Mickey Dora at Malibu and I don’t remember which movie it was. He was doing these very subtle and slight little slips in and around the curl, just sort of rocking his board slightly while about a foot back from the nose and, even though the slip was quick and slight, it looked to be a pretty functional way to stay near the pocket and not outrun the wave and have to do a cutback. It was sort of an alternative to the cutback.
Gerry Lopez came to the U.S. Championships at Huntington Beach in 1969 and amazed the crowds by doing a series of tail-based sideslips right next to the pier. These were more “stall” maneuvers than those that I had seen Dora do at Malibu. He would turn quickly at the top of the wave and rock his board just at the right time at the end of his turn. This would break the fin free and he would slide down the face just enough to stick himself right in the curl of the wave, usually getting a nice cover up just before going into the pier. Crowds went wild.
Probably the all-time king of the side-slippers would have to be Herbie Fletcher. Herbie got so good at it that he could pretty much slide the fin out at any time on any wave and stay in control even in very extreme situations and big and gnarly waves on the North Shore of Oahu and at Honolua Bay on Maui. It just became part of his routine, just as turns and cutback for the average Joe.
When long boards came back onto the scene during the 80’s and 90’s there were those who like to ride very thin and narrow boards with a ton of rocker. They were billed as “high performance” long boards. I hated those things and thought of them as anything but high performance. But, that said, one of the things these boards did was spin out (out of control side slip) very easy when you walked the nose. This was due to the extreme amount of rocker. Once gaining control of the slide a surfer could easily just let the thing keep going and do a full 360 rotation of the board, also called a “helicopter.” This became a favorite for competitive long boarders. Some people have taken to surfing with small fins in order to achieve the same result, but sacrificing a lot of power turning in the process.
I was watching a long board event not long ago and noticed that there were a lot of helicopter moves but very little creative side slipping. Maybe they just figure that doing the whole rotation gets more points. None the less the cool looking and functional factor of the basic side slip is still a valid surfing maneuver, at least for long and midsize board riders. Short boarders just fly ‘em outta the water and get air.
And, yes, you can side slip on and Stand Up Paddle board. The extra added advantage of having the paddle to stick in the wave and lean on gives you a bit more freedom and leverage to pull off a good variety of slips and slides.
On top of the cool look and functionality of doing the side slip is the fact that they are just plain fun. Fun is good.
by Corky Carroll
Everybody loves to talk about their favorite surfers and who is doing, or has done, what in the sport of surfing. But there is way more to it than just those who are riding the waves and winning the contests. There are those who dedicate their lives to the craft of building, designing and refining the boards that they, and we, ride. And each year International Surfboard Builders Hall of Fame recognizes a select few to be inducted into this extremely exclusive fraternity. This year is the twentieth anniversary of the ISBHOF and the induction ceremony is slated for this Saturday morning, October 19th at 9 AM. The site is the Pier Plaza on the north side of the Huntington Beach Pier. Admission is free and it will be well worth showing up for if you are a surfer, a fan of surfing or just want to attend something cool on a fall morning.
This years inductees represent one of the strongest groups to date. Leading off with my lifetime pal Mark Martinson, 1965 United States Surfing Champion and one of the coolest dudes to ever ride or shape a surfboard. Mark grew up in Long Beach and was one of the best surfers in the world thru the 1960’s and early 1970’s. He moved to the North Shore of Oahu in the mid 70’s where he worked as a commercial fisherman and started shaping surfboards. He eventually became one of the most respected shapers on the planet and had his own signature model with Robert August Surfboards in Huntington Beach as well as shaping zillions of production boards that went through the factory in the 1990’s.
Next up would be one of the most famous shapers of all time, none other than Dick Brewer himself. Another Long Beach dude, Dick also moved to Oahu and burst onto the seen in the 1960’s with Surfboards Hawaii. He would later design and build a line of big wave boards for Hobie, the legendary Hobie Dick Brewer guns. I had one of these and can attest that it was the state-of-the-art big wave board of its time. Jeff Hackman won the first Duke Kahanamoku Invitational on one of them in 1965. After that he had runs of shaping for Harbour Surfboards in Seal Beach and with Bing Surfboards in Hermosa Beach. He was a huge influence in the development of too many top name shapers to even try to list here and has remained a “go to” guy for big wave boards.
Also getting the nod this year is one of my favorite people ever in surfing. Lance Carson. This would take a book, so I am just going to say that Lance is without a doubt one of the best surfers, shapers and by far one of the most colorful dudes EVER in surfing. Period.
From Huntington Beach comes two classic shapers and surfboard innovators. Herbie Fletcher and Carl Hayward. Herbie is one of the really true individuals in surfing, I love this guy. He was a year or two behind me at Huntington Beach High School and already an incredible surfer by the time he was in his mid-teens. I recruited him for the Hobie Surf Team where he gravitated towards Phil Edwards type speed boards. Although he was successful in the surfing competitions in California he was looking for more “juice” in his life and also moved to the North Shore. It was there he learned to shape and design boards as well as refining his own free flowing surfing style, known for his amazing ability to “side slip” in just about any type of condition. He would go on to be one of the first to take a jet ski out and ride giant waves on the offshore reefs, refine surfboard “deck patches” with his own company “Astrodeck,” make a series of surf movies promoting his products, have two sons that have become legends in their own right (Christian and Nathan) and become a sought after artist with a recent showing at a well-known gallery in New York City. Herbie is full tilt and just keeps coming.
Carl Hayward was a local hot surfer in the lineup at the Huntington Beach Pier and would open his own shop and shape his own line of boards back in the early 1970’s. He was one of the few combo expert surfers as well as expert shapers. His most recognized contribution to surfboard design was his “Rocket Fish,” which was his own take on the “twin fin” design and is still a valid part of surfboard technology even today. Carl was not only a great surfer and shaper but was incredibly popular with everybody that ever was lucky enough to meet him. One of those people who died way too young.
Bill Frierson is another guy who came up surfing on the Hobie Surf Team with us back in the mid 1960’s. He lived in Virginia Beach on the East Coast and represented the Smith and Holland Hobie shop there. In 1967 he started shaping for Wave Riding Vehicles (WRV) and that began what is now an incredible career of building boards that is 52 years long and still going. Bill and his wife live and continue to make boards in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina.
Rounding out the list is Nev Hyman. This is a guy that I really don’t know that much about on a personal level but have respected from a distance. From Western Australia, got well known building boards in Queensland in the 1970s and known for a great sense of humor as well has his shaping talents, stuck with it for decades and finally hit it big with “Firewire” Surfboards in the past ten years.
That’s it, bit class this year. Hope you make it to the ceremony.
CORKY CARROLL firstname.lastname@example.org
by Joel "Dr Wireless" Saltzman
This is a bit subjective as there are lots of different ways to approach this question. Today, surfers watches are a lot more than just a wrist watch that is water resistant as in the old days. For years, surfers ended up buying watches that were designed to be used by divers, sailors, and/or pilots. Many of these watches were chronographs and able to do a bit more than just tell the time, and date. Back then, the priority was knowing when to get out of the water to feed the meter, or risk getting a parking ticket.
This first category of watches we're going to consider here are traditional watches (Automatic movements) These watches include timepieces from Rolex, Patek Phillipe, and thousands of other brands right down to the Invicta's, knockoffs, and cheap imitators. I've worn the two watches below for over a dozen years. The benefit of these types of watches are durability. They are virtually indestructible and can be worn everyday 24/7. These automatic movements just require some body movement to wind so no batteries are ever needed.
With the advent of digital watches, prices came down and exciting new features were now available. About a dozen years ago, "Surf Watches" began appearing. SurfLine has partnered with many of the leading surfing watch brands like Nixon, and Ripcurl and some others to include surf spot information like tides and winds.
About five years ago, Ripcurl introduced their first GPS Search watch. Although enormous and butt ugly, this amazing watch was able to use GPS coordinates to actually track your number of waves, speeds, wave distance traveled, paddle distance, GPS coordinates, and a lot more. These watches could even identify where you where surfing by the spots name in most cases and you could compete with your buddies and check the pros stats.
Even cooler, you could sync this to an iPhone and/or computer and get your statistics. Dawn Patrol, the company behind this amazing technology only had Ripcurl aboard initially, I loved my RipCurl Search watch in the water but it was way too big and not stylish or comfortable enough to wear when out of the water. In other words, if you want one watch to wear 24/7, this ain't it.
I had two of these while waiting patiently for a new improved model that never seemed to come. Well, last year it did finally come and it's smaller and better than the original. I hope they improved the screen because the original one was cheap plastic and scratched too easy. The band was also non user replaceable and falls apart over time.
Dawn Patrol is the third party GPS application that makes all of this cool GPS stuff possible. Just when I was getting ready to order the new RipCurl II, a funny thing happened. Surfline notified me of a new feature they are offering called Surf SESSIONS. During the initial launch, Apple's watch was the first to get this technology. RipCurl was slated to be next.
As a premium member of Surfline, I was always able to go back and look for my waves on video from their surf cameras. This was always time consuming though and hardly worth the time and effort. Well Surfline just introduced a new technology that picks up the unique algrythm in each watch and then identifies the watch to Surfline's 500+ cameras. If one of their cameras picks you up, Surfline sends you each wave, They begin the recording 10 seconds before you caught it and end it 10 seconds after it ended. It's called Surf Sessions and is pretty cool. The concept is fantastic but the reality to Surf sessions is that even with 500 cameras, Surfline's camera quality for most spots is mediocre. The closeup cameras are better for this but what good is it if your watch shows you went 300 yards but the camera only caught the first 20 yards before you end up going off screen? I look at the Surf Sessions feature as icing on the cake so if they get a good one, cool.
So there you have it. The best two "Surfing" watches are powered by Dawn Patrol and Surf Line. Which is best for you? Well, that depends. I'm going to utilize the Benjamin Franklin Approach and list the pros and cons of each.
As I have not yet used the RipCurl Search II, my experience was with their original model. The biggest benefit to the RipCurl Search models is they are made for surfing, period. The watch is not cluttered with a zillion applications and features, just surfing. As I mentioned above, if this watch was smaller (like the new version) and a bit more stylish, I might have been able to wear it out of the water too. The biggest benefit to both Ripcurl models were being able to use them multiple sessions before needing a re-charge. In fact, without using the GPS feature, you could likely go a month before needing a charge. If you surf long wavesw like the above example, every couple of days is needed for charging. Both came with a USB charger which is simple enough. I hated the cheap plastic screen that scratched easily and sure hope the newer model is mineral or sapphire instead. The orignal model had a band that fell apart so hopefully that was also improved.
As you can probably tell, I elected to go with the Apple 4/44m model, even though the Apple Watch 5 just came out. I got tired of changing watches every day when going surfing so I decided to try a watch that I could wear 24/7. Granted, it is nowhere near as stylish as a traditional chronograph but not ugly either. I really don't care about answering calls, reading messages, checking facebook, listening to music, or all the other crap this thing does. I do like to check my heart rate periodically which I can do with the press of one button. Apple let's you choose your own face and complications which is awesome. As you can see, I have Start Surfing, Wind Direction/Speed, temperature, date, heart rate and unread text messages.
So far I see only two downsides to the Apple watches. First, like all iPhones, their batteries suck! I have to charge my Watch every night if I want it to be there when I need it. The other is value. When you buy a Rolex, Breitling, Patek, Audomar Piguet, etc, it's like buying a home. These classic watches are timeless and generally appreciate in value over time. With an Apple watch, think yacht or boat. No matter how nice or well kept, it can only depreciate. How much do you think the Apple Watch 1, 2 or even 3 are worth. It's the exact reason I waited for the Apple 5 watch to come out before buying the 4.
I hope this information helps someone. If you do feel compelled to go out their and get a top of the line classic automatic, I see that Kelly and Breitling just partnered.
by Corky Carroll
OK, before we get too deep into this let me lay some groundwork here. It was suggested to me by a longtime loyal reader that I do a story on, in his words, how to pick up girls at the beach. This sort of lit up my long dormant imagination with ideas on the way I would have approached this subject a zillion years ago when I was first writing these columns for the Register. The title that sprung to my heard was “A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SCORING HOT CHICKS AT THE BEACH.” That is the way I would have approached it way back then. But, as we all know, times have changed. RADICALLY. I am pretty sure you can’t say that kind of thing anymore. Yeah, I know I just said it, but only for the purpose of explaining what I am attempting to talk about. The fact is you can’t say much of anything about anything or somebody is gonna get upset. Gone are the days of even the thought of mentioning hot babes in floss string bikinis or even anything close to that. When I first got this suggestion to do this story I figured that the best way to proceed was to get a lot of different opinions. First off, I am old and married and haven’t even thought about this subject in centuries. Yeah, I might have had some moves back in “the day,” but all those moves have, well, moved on. So I posted the idea of this story on my FACEBOOK pages to get comments. And I got tons of them, many warning me that this was gonna be a tricky subject to weigh in on given the current state of political beyond correctness and in this delicate, some would call conservative, medium.
“You can’t use the term ‘chicks’ anymore.” See, I didn’t know that.
“You can’t say ‘pick up’ these days.” Who knew?
“You can’t limit the story to girls, what about girls wanting to meet (I changed “pick up” to meet) dudes?” Should I change dudes to guys? And then this line of thought led to pretty much any kinda person wanting to hook up with any kinda other person, it is 2019. You can’t single out anybody or you will get called a “sexist.” Hey, this is all new ground for me. A learning curve, if you will.
So, after getting schooled in what can or cannot be said in today's media, I still dare to bring you the results of my survey and what might or might not be helpful hints in the event that you might be one of those who are thinking the beach might be a good place to meet somebody new and interesting. It was pointed out that, due to that fact that mostly everybody isn’t wearing a lot of clothes on the beach, it’s a great place to “shop” (not my word) because you can see what’s goin’ on without the camouflage of a pile of clothes covering up the “goods,” (again, not my word). But, let me point out here one important thing. There are people who are just looking for a “hook up.” These are the ones who are the “shoppers.” But, there are also those who are just wanting to meet somebody else and maybe strike up a friendship that might lead to more, or not. Of course, not everybody is even in “the market,” so to speak. One lady pointed out that she has a teenage daughter who goes to the beach and doesn’t need to be a “target for boys.” I see where she is coming from, but then it is probably fair to assume that people are people and people are attracted to other people so that more often than not, and at any location including the beach, there is always gonna be some sort of “looking.” Am I wrong on this? Or are we just not supposed to talk about it anymore?
Anyway, all this what we can say and not say aside, here, at last, are a few popular suggestions on meeting somebody at the beach.
Most popular answer from girls for guys was to offer to teach them to surf. This came in at about five to one over any other suggestion. And they also said to NOT offer to rub sunscreen on them.
Most popular answer from guys to other guys looking to meet girls was to take along a puppy. No, really, this was by far the most posted advice. My immediate reaction was who takes a puppy to the beach? But then, what do I know? They said girls always melt over a puppy.
Most popular suggestion from guys to girls was “just show up.” I have no idea how to address that one.
If I had to venture my best advice on this it would be really pretty simple and cover everybody. Smile and say “hi.” See where it goes from there. I had a pal that would always say, “A few of the right words and “the look” always does the trick.“ But, if you are not sure what a few of the rights words are and have no idea how to do “the look”, just smile and say “hi.” I don’t think you can get into much trouble with that simple opening.
Good luck on this, in case you might be one of those who might find this useful. And I am sorry if I couldn’t give you a bit juicier advice, you might have to consult “Cosmo” for that kind of thing.
By Corky Carroll
It’s that time of year for my annual visit to the wonderful world of “SURFERS EAR,” the laypersons term for EXOTOSIS. This is a boney growth in the outer ear canal that is very common with surfers in our area, the beauteous Orange County. My super expert on this subject is the leading doctor on the planet, and beyond, on this subject, Dr. Carol Jackson from Newport Beach. I asked Dr. Jackson for an update on what is currently going on with this extremely not fun to have ailment and she sent me the following info:
“I’m often asked about certain notions about exostosis which is known as surfer’s ear. Some are outdated or simply wrong. Exostosis is the ear canal blockage from years of cold water pounding against the ear drum. The benign bony grows begin as small speed bumps then enlarge. Canal occlusion of more than 80% leads to ear plugging and low grade then painful acute infections. It’s preventable by wearing ear plugs in the surf.
Myth: Using isopropyl alcohol ear drops whenever I’m in water will keep my ears healthy.
Wrong. Alcohol is too drying for frequent use. It removes protective skin oils, causes dryness and cracked skin leading to infection.
Myth: Wearing ear plugs when surfing will throw my balance off.
No, although some surfers feel reduced spatial awareness or even mild claustrophobia. However, membrane ear plugs or those with small vents can help and also allow better hearing when worn.
Myth: Having my exostoses removed will make them grow back like weeds.
Incorrect. The growth rate depends on individual susceptibility for which there is a bell curve for individual susceptibility plus cumulative hours of unprotected ear pounding by cold water.
Myth: Once my exostoses are removed, I’ll need them removed again every few years.
Not true. If repeat removals are needed, the exostoses were probably not completely removed. With total removal, particularly with laser, re-growth to needing removal doesn’t occur for fifteen or more years. Wearing ear plugs prevents or arrests exostosis. See an ear specialist, otologist, who uses a microscope for your ear care and can show you your exostosis, canal, and ear drum on a monitor screen. You may request photos of your ear.
Myth: My surfer’s ears didn’t develop until I took up SCUBA diving and wind surfing after 20 years of surfing which I had stopped.
Unlikely. Most patients with exostosis have a substantial surfing history. It’s forcible flushing of cold water against the ear drum that is the strongest stimulus for exostosis formation. Cold air and gentle flow of cold water in the ear are highly unlikely to stimulate large exostoses.
Myth: Ear wax is dirt I should clean with Q-tips or over the counter wax removers.
Wrong. Cerumen is nature’s water-repellent moisturizer over thin ear canal skin. It is protective; like wax on a surfboard. The ear is self-cleaning unless it’s too dry or gets trapped in ear canal irregularities, as with surfer’s ear. Over the counter agents have drying chemicals and can result in ear swelling or flushing wax deeper. I recommend baby or other prescription oils.
Myth: When water won’t come out of my ear, I should use Q-tips or alcohol.
Incorrect. Use an air blow dryer to evaporate the water while preserving the moisturizing oils.
Myth: Exostosis removal requires an incision and scar behind my ear.
No longer true. With the technique I developed and have used for many years, exostoses are completely and safely removed through ear canal incisions which, with local grafts, reduce healing time.
Myth: Surfer’s ear surgery is painful.
No, it usually is not. More than 90% of our patients are comfortable taking Tylenol, ibuprofen or nothing for postoperative discomfort.
Myth: Surfer’s ear causes permanent hearing loss.
Not usually. Plugged hearing that occurs in surfer’s ear is usually temporary and due to retained debris, infection, foreign bodies including sand, exostosis, and swelling. Of course, it can add to other causes of hearing reduction and with advanced exostosis, the column of water forced to the ear drum with falling into waves, can be traumatic, like noise, and add to hearing loss.
Surfers may also have reduced hearing due to hereditary and other factors, noise exposure and age over 60, which is not be improved with exostosis care. With today’s improved technologies, affordable hearing instruments help over 90% of wearers when amplification and improved speech clarity are needed. Many models are rechargeable and can link to TVs or cell phones.
For a baseline or an ear problem if you enjoy surfing or have ear concerns, it’s prudent to see an experienced ear doctor with an office microscope. Also, have a hearing test in a sound-treated booth by an audiologist or hearing professional. If you take care of your ears and health, you could enjoy surf sports into your 80’s and 90’s like some of our patients!”
For contact with Dr. Jackson and more info go to www.myeardoctors.com
by Corky Carroll
As the first “Freshwater Pro” surfing event was just completed at the infamous Surf Ranch in Central California, the event that the World Surfing League canceled the “Trestles” event in San Clemente for, the subject of competition, and just surfing in general, on artificial waves came up at our dinner table last night. We have a few surfers visiting this week and it was interesting to get contrasting opinions. One guy said he would really love to surf there, to try out that perfect wave. Another said, “That’s not surfing, I would never go there and I doubt many others would either.” This kind of surprised me, so I asked why.
“Surfing is being with nature; I want to be as far out into nature as possible and being in a wave tank is just NOT that. It has no soul.” And no matter what anybody else said he stuck with that opinion. But hey, I get it. Yes, I would choose to be sitting off a beautiful tropical beach, miles from nowhere and away from everybody else while getting all the perfect waves I wanted with just a pal or two out there with me. We all want that. But, for me, I would still like to ride that perfect wave to at least see what it is like. Plus, if I lived in a land locked area and a wave pool was the only place that I could surf then of course that would be where I would surf. The question being do I surf or not surf? I surf.
This kinda got me thinking. Wave pools are not really the only “man-made” waves on the planet. Yes, they are probably the only artificially made waves, if that is what they are really. But there is more than one way to make a “surfable” wave. This being a wave that already exists that you turn into a wave that you might want to ride. Places such as Ala Moana in Hawaii were created when they blew a channel in a reef to make an entrance to a boat harbor. This created perfectly peeling waves coming off the shallow reef as they rolled into the deeper water of the channel. Sometimes Jetties do the same thing as sandbars tend to form on one side or the other and actually create a well shaped wave where there was only closed out beach break beforehand.
There have been many attempts at actually building a surf spot. Remind me to relive the story of the ill-fated “Drumonds Reef” off Capistrano Beach to you one day. Most attempts at creating an artificial reef to form a surf spot have not met with much success, at least so far. I have often set on my deck looking at these big closed out shorebreak walls that are between my house and the point, a few hundred yards down the beach from where I live, and thinking that if I could just dump a few hundred old tires in the right spot, tied together so they wouldn’t move, that they would anchor themselves in the sand and create a shallow spot that would cause a nice peak to form. But, this is just me fantasizing.
But, lo and behold, turns out that there is a guy in Western Australia that has just come up with, what seems like anyway, a workable and environmentally friendly inflatable reef. I read about it on magicseaweed.com. He is set to test it out this coming November. IF this works it could be a real game changer. Much better concept than old tires tied together, and probably less smelly. Plus, you could move it.
So, as you can see, wave pools are not the only way to create surf spots. They are a really good way, and could bring surfing to anyplace on Earth, but not the only way. Heck, as I think more about this, you could also create a great surfable wave in a river by building the perfect underwater formation. Find a good fast-moving river, stick something underwater to make a shallow spot and you get a standing wave. Lotsa ways to make waves. Are any of these a substitute for the real thing? Probably not. But if you are not near a real one, and you wanna surf, why not?
by Corky Carroll
Yes kids, today is going to be one of my ventures back thru time and space to the beginning of what has been called “the shortboard revolution.” This joyful period began roughly late 1966 and the bulk of the “evolving” took place thru the early 1970’s before it tapered off and became more of a general consistent slow progress of “tweaking,” leading up to todays high flying speed surf machines. One of the great stories from that period was the short lived, but highly publicized Australian “V-bottom” design.
Let me lay some groundwork as to how this all came about. In my opinion the short board revolution began when Nat Young showed up and won the 1966 World Championship in San Diego riding a slightly shorter board than everybody else. It was still a long board, but smaller enough to make a big difference in the way he surfed it. In short, no pun intended, it was obviously better. This inspired a few of us to immediately throw out everything we were working on and change direction. Shorter boards were the future of surfing as I saw it. By the end of that year I released my “Mini-Model” from Hobie Surfboards. A few others were working on shorter board designs too, but for the most part the real impact was still a year or so away. I was the only one riding shorter boards through the next competition year here in California, maybe a reason I had one of my best years ever. That winter I took a quiver of minis to the North Shore. I will never forget local shaper Dick Brewer looking at them and proclaiming boldly, “They will NEVER ride short boards in Hawaii, PERIOD.”
Fast forward to the next winter. By now mostly everybody is riding shorter boards of one form or another. A group of surfers, including Mickey Munoz and Skip Frye, went to Australia making a movie called “The Fantastic Plastic Machine,” and came back raving about these amazing new “v-bottom” boards that guys like Nat Young and Bob MacTavish were riding down there. In the late fall film emerged of Nat and Bob ripping the heck out of Honolua Bay, on Maui, on them. The media was ablaze with reports of this new design that was going to take over the surfing world.
The real proving ground for how legitimate, or not, a surfboard design really was in those days was always the North Shore of Oahu. We were expecting the Aussies to show up with these new boards and were wondering how they would work in real power surf. Well, to make a short story even shorter, they did and they didn’t. The Aussies showed up with the boards and they DID NOT work. AT ALL. They just spun out all over the place. It was pretty horrible. Also of note is the fact that right about that time Dick Brewer made an 8’11” “mini-gun” for a kid named Gary Chapman, from Newport Beach, and to this day claims that was the first one and that he invented the whole thing. Now, no offense to Dick, who I totally respect as one of the great shapers of all time, but that claim has a lot of holes in it. I am not saying that I invented anything, but there were more than one of us who had them well before then.
So, what was the deal with the v-bottoms and why didn’t they work? The design was basically a huge deep “Vee” though the back half of the bottom of the boards. It created one turning radius, and when you hit that exact radius it gave you kind of a power steering feel. Pretty cool when it happened, but it had to be just the right turn on the right wave. The powerful and faster waves in Hawaii were not the right waves at all. After everybody saw what happened on the North Shore the design was greatly modified and actually was incorporated slightly into many bottom contours and still is used in different ways, but the glorious deep v was deemed a failure by the surfing world and totally disappeared very quickly.