A Surfer Story ; the first time I really popped my cherry!

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A Surfer Story ; the first time I really popped my cherry!

Message par JGONG » mar. mars 24, 2020 5:43 pm

Hello,

I am opening a subject on that first surf experience that changed your life.

This is going to be long…….. so get a coffee and get comfortable.

In these hard times where we all feel so ‘unlucky’ to be forced to sit home and even out of the water and there are real turkeys in Hawaii telling you to go get in the water without any understanding or consideration to limitations that are enforced by Law and Public Health concerns, and you are feeling a bit tense because you can’t get some water time. Well just remember your ancestors most likely lived through a million times worse and could not sit at home and use that time to numb their minds on the internet and in front of Netflix.

I think what people are actually afraid of is they might find out is that left in the dark and with nothing to do that they might really see that their grey matter is not as full of intelligence as they may have believed. And if they have nothing to occupy those hours with sports or other people’s ideas then they will find out that yes…. You are, in fact, just another ordinary and unexceptional person with just enough brains to get to the next paycheck.

Well hey! Welcome to the club and realize that you’re actually living in one of the greatest times in all of history. And that you get to practice the sport of Kings……….!!

Jack London in 1907 (published in 1911) The Cruise of the Shark…… “Ah, delicious moment when I felt that breaker grip and fling me. On I dashed, a hundred and fifty feet, and subsided with the breaker on the sand. From that moment I was lost.”……….. well, I can read that over and over… just that phrase…….. and I know exactly what I felt the first time I surfed.

And even as a SuckaSaurus Rex I still feel it today. The visceral alignement between mind body and nature.

Now I am far from the best surfer out there but I sure as hell have my fun... and in any case there is somebody out there that will always be better than you and happy to put it in your face. But i don't ride for the ego trip.... I ride for the same feeling Jack London had as so perfectly detailed above in an early 20th century English that some might not even understand today.....

It’s what I love about my job. It’s not meeting or talking to guys who ride well or who profess ‘expert’ when I ask about their riding skills……… those guys are fun to talk to but what I LOVE about my job is that average man, woman and sometimes even kids that have a conversation through their parents with me about what they need to start surfing and getting to follow their progression.


That’s what I love. I get to see and feel their energy through words, sometimes in an English that is as bad as when I write French, but is totally palpable. I know what they’re talking bout after they’ve had a summer vacation and got to take a few classes. The purity of the experience. And I know how to help them get it again!

What I love more is that I can get them onto the right equipment that will help them immediately. Not like my first experience….. which was some thick necked Long Island asshole who sold me a Board I never should have been on when I told him I was just learning.

I often get emails and family photos from my clients……. I have a better job than most of you out there because I get people coming back so happy and sharing their moments with me over something as random as a really good day in the water.
These people ask me for advice on everything and as such simple thigs as ‘how do I tie my Board on my car?’……….. for some many of you ‘hardcore’ riders these are questions for KOOKS……… but in soooo many situations I would rather be in conversation with them than an ego maniac who knows everything and has lost all desire to learn.

So even if I ‘only sell Surfboards’ at the end of the day I am helping someone, somewhere who is land locked keep their dreams of sunnier days alive and the day they actually do get to the beach they got something under arm that will give them the most moments in motion on wave that travelled thousands of miles away simply to offer them, even if for a moment, that feeling……….. which is more uplifting than anything you will ever feel…….. and all people should get that chance…… to feel the way we do…. The way you love to……..

And these days, now that we’re all locked inside…. Unless you’re a dick and don’t follow the rules.......... :evil: , well we can all use some ‘California Day Dreaming’ about sunnier and shinier days........ and sometimes it's nice to sit back and reflect on that time that changed it all for us.

Toilet/Coffee break :


Ok, like I said…… buckle in it’s going to be a long ride.

Why did I start this subject…. Definitely not to expose myself as a shitty Surfer and lead you to believe I don’t know my business………. Unless you’re incapable of distinguishing between humor and reality. Then in that case I’ll let you form your own opinion.

I stared this subject because I also want to know your secrets. I want to know about the first time you rode………. The first time you popped your cherry….. the first time that monkey jumped on your back……….I want to know and have you be true to your emotions and bare it all.

And I’m not talking to you ‘too cool for school’ guys who can’t remember the first time because ‘Brah… I was born in the water…..’.. blah blah……


The real subject is what was the first real wave you caught? The one that changed it all.?.... it's like sharing stories around a campfire under the moon.....


Me first :

Now I have rarely told this story to people but I hope you'll find it entertaining.


I started Surfing basically on my 30th Birthday, I was on a trip to Spain after having worked 14 solid months in NYC when I first moved there. I was in Conil de la Frontera…… most likely I’ll retire and die there if my evil plan goes the way I want it too…;)

My friend Juan had a Shortboard… there was about a meter wave… I got up… rode…… several times in fact. Got the bug but it did not give me more than the love I have for bombing a super steep powder field on my Snowboard back in Utah.

I got back to NYC and back to work… that was June 2001. My best friend for life and roommate, who was with me in Spain, both decided to get Surfboards and found out you could surf at the 96th Street Jetty out in the far Rockaways (A Train). It was a hard trip with surfboards on the Metro and ghetto kids kicking your Surfboards and saying ‘Kowabunga Dude’ every five minutes….but we did it every time there was waves. It was some seriously memorable times, working 2 solid shifts partying till late, waking up at 5am and getting on the train… surfing… back on train straight to work in the city for another double shift……..but I had salt in my ass crack and lots of cash in pocket!


Like I said before my first Board I bought was a very, very bad purchase due to the asshole at the surf shop…. And I did tell him where I was at as far as skill level. So, I left that one home and bought myself a 7’2 Fishtailed FunBoard from WaveTools.

NYC Metro Circa summer 2001 :

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The wave at the 96th Jetty is one that rolls in and jacks up very, very quickly due to the rocks there and beach break. I had a very hard time getting up there…… WAY harder than getting up in Spain where the wave is easy moving and unfurls in such a way that you can foresee what is going to happen down the line.

I got beat up… landed in the rocks…. ate sand…..had fights with Local New Yorkers (Long Island roughnecks that know real violence….. not like here in Europe where someone screams at you but doesn’t do shit when you yell back). I took a fall so hard from a wave that jacked up and doubled up so bad that I actually shit that Starbucks frozen Cappuccino out……. Good thing I was in surf trunks!!...;)… it threw me straight onto the bar.

But I kept at it…… got up super early… took the train… got my ass kicked-…….then did it again the next day and the next week. One time I actually, finally got to project the Board out from a sketchy bottom turn onto and up over the foam for my first floater………. Later to come off it, 3 feet in the air, where the Board flipped and came up between my legs and projected my nuts out the back of my head……….At that moment I’m pretty sure my Shakras were lined up perfectly in reverse order……OOOMMMMM.

I sat out there sometimes late into the night waiting for something, anything to roll in…… get screamed at by the local Black Fisherman casting right at me. JFK Airport planes come right overhead…. Anything heading to Europe goes straight over head. So one early morning, at 8 am, I actually got to see the very last Concorde leave New York and fly overhead……..a historical moment lived in the water catching ankle biters.

Yes I know….. some of you are of the age to not even know what the hell I’m referring to when talking about the Concorde…….lol…….like Trump says…. ‘So sad’…..

So…… my first real wave……. The first wave that could have actually taken my life…..the wave I didn’t even have the skills or knowledge (and by a real Waterman’s opinion) a situation that I should have never, ever put myself into. But none of you are really familiar with Jaime Rodriguez and the power of the Cojones……so of course I was out there. But it was the first real wave I rode…. and survived………and the one that changed my paradigm.

That ride happened for me on September 11th 2001.

A great big storm coming up from Florida had pushed some serious and massive swell up our way and we were on it.

4:30 am, Dunkin Donuts…… my Friend Vaughn picked us up in his Toyota and we were off.

We were in the water at about 5:30/6am….. got into my wetsuit then had to get out because my stomach did not like the shitty coffee from Dunkin Donuts and I was experiencing what one might call ‘the morning mud’……. So that sucked with no toilets around.

Before I got into the water I studied it….. I knew it was big….. very big……. But I was with friends I trusted who were as good as I was and old friends from Utah that I knew were reliable under serious conditions……. Snowboard buddies that I had taken Avalanche Awareness classes and CPR with…….. solid mountain peoples.

I counted the sets and got out in the lull…….. and really only tried to catch one wave…… which I pulled out of because how steep it was. The rest of the time I really just spent trying to stay out of everyone else’s way and not get sucked out by the massive current. In this very moment is where I learned how important Board volume was. For I was SSOOO happy to be on that 7’2…….which wasn’t at all made for conditions like that.

As time passed the fight to stay out of the impact zone became harder and harder. The currents were incredibly strong and the incoming waves, that on the horizon seemed to never ending, got bigger and bigger, the fight was real and incredibly challenging on my arms. Me and my best friend Randy stuck together and made a bad decision to move away from the herd off the shoulder where the waves were more scattered but ‘seemed’ to be less heaving. REAL bad decision… the outgoing currents were even stronger and the fight was harder… impossible to catch a wave and when you tried you just got thrown over the handlebars and almost died trying to get back out before the next one hit.

The only way I can explain it is like as if I had long trains coming on top of me sideways. That was the first time I really learned about the weight of water. I can’t even believe that Board never broke. Waves, from under them were as big as houses and jacked up so fast it was mind-blowing.

At one point, I noticed something and mentioned it to Randy. There were no more planes taking off. Usually at that time there is one every 10 minutes. But there was nothing. I also noticed that there were dozens and dozens of Police cars and Firetrucks blasting down the road in front of the beach. I understood that The Rockaways is a very much favored region and place to live by Cops and Firemen from NYC and has been so for generations… they actually make movies and TV series about it. I couldn’t hear them because of the deafening sound of the crashing waves around me…… but I could see them and I’m smart enough to put 2 and 2 together. I immediately thought there must have been a plane accident at JFK.

I was at the end of my physical limits, and so was Randy, I could barely paddle just to get out of the currents going out. We both came to the conclusion we were going to be up shit creek without a paddle. So, the decision was made to get back to the beach, on a wave or by any means necessary before we had no more strength. And we both felt it was a life or death situation. We were scarred, we both realized we made a very bad choice letting our ego get the best of us by getting in the water that day. So, we promised each other we’d do our best to help the other if everything turned south.

I scanned the horizon for the set….. I decided to take the second one since it seemed to be ‘smaller’……… I pointed my Board towards the beach and started paddling with every last bit of power I could muster up…… it burned so hard but I really was scarred….. fearful for my life and I paddled like a bat out of hell.

I only felt one thing next….my feet raise incredibly fast above me head…… the nose pearled for a fraction of a second and came back up and I felt the glide……. I took that second to pop up and get into my crouching tiger positon and I started off as fast as I had ever gone on a surfboard. I swear to all the Gods of time past that I heard no sound… that all time had stopped…… once at the bottom I looked up and behind me and saw the darkest, greenest, nastiest and meanest wave I had ever seen in person. I immediately froze up as I looked down the line and it turned straight into a closeout, my body movements must have somehow been the rights ones because I unhinged from the bottom turn back onto heel side and turn so fast the Board almost got away from me. My eyes never left the wave……

It came crashing down so hard, and literally, inches behind my back foot, and it exploded so hard that it pushed me forward about 20 feet. Then it came back on me and it literally pushed me all the way to the beach where I jumped off my Board and straight onto sand!!

I was so full of excitement I screamed hard but immediately thought of Randy and turned back to the Sea and found that he was coming down the face if an equally massive beast……holding his rail looking scarred shitless…… like me….. and the same thing happened….. he just barely made it down before it closed out and got pushed back into shore.

He jumped off his Board and hugged each other screaming ‘Oh My Fucking God!!!’……… I know, very American thing to do but back then nobody was saying ‘Ammaazzingg’. We said big words that expressed emotions.

Needless to say, our shared joy was immediately cut short. And cut short in a horrific way.

Our friend Vaughn came running down the beach at us, he had already been scarred out of the water an hour earlier because of the wave size, and he has some terrible news.

He had gone back to his car to change while we were in the water and also saw the Police cars and Firetrucks. He turned on the radio and listened to what was happening at the World Trade Centers………by time he got to us they had already fallen……..

Vaughn is really that typical American that would be hard for a European to like, it’s one of the reasons I like him….. because he is 100% non-apologetic and oblivious to world events outside his bubble. He was beside himself with panic and insisted we were going to War…. that we needed to get to the bank and get all out money out before the shit hits the fan. He said we needed to get to the grocery store and get food and also go ammo for his gun at home…….. but before that he said we needed to stop at a famous and local Cony Island Burger joint to get some food. Like I said…… hard for a European to like…..

I passed on the Burger and got a Breakfast Burrito from a Mexican place next to it.

We got in the car and proceeded to try and make our way back to Park Slope in Brooklyn where we all lived. I forgot to mention there was a Japanese Surfer/Artist who asked us for a ride home… he wanted a Burger and what was interesting about him is that he had an Art Studio offered to him by the City of New York to work, and that studio was on one of the top floors of the second World Trade Towers.. Not to live in but to work in…. which he ignored and lived in anyway. He told us that he was scarred because him and a bunch of friends partied the night before and they were all sleeping inside. He was afraid because when he left early to go surfing they were all sleeping and passed out from drinking until the early hours of the morning. After we dropped him off at the subway we only kept in touch once….. and that was for him to tell me that none of those people made it out and that he was going back to Japan.

The ride home was long since all bridges were shut down and people were panicking. I got real tired of Vaughn’s apocalyptic view of events and so I fell asleep in the back of the car with only one thing on my mind…….. that piece of magic, that photo in my mind of that beast bearing down on me before it closed out…….

I woke up in a hot sweat…… rolling down 8th Ave not far from my brownstone apartment building. Not a word in the car……. We were driving slow but there were hundreds pf people surrounding the car…….I rolled down the window. The gravity of the situation was immediately visible.

There are no words to describe what it’s like to see hundreds and hundreds of people walking in the middle pf the road, covered in ashes to the point that their faces and color of clothes are impossible to see……only the wetness of tears that turns the ashes black. What could be blood or vomit, impossible to tell.

All these people that had to walk home from ground zero because transport was frozen……. All these people who just lived through an indescribable hell. Two feet from my window…… looking at me in my sunglassed eyes, looking at the Surfboards strapped onto the roof of the car… the vacant stare somewhere between disbelief and disgust to see a car packed with long haired Surf Punks coming home from the beach.

We didn’t talk about the session as we unloaded our gear in fear of looking and sounding like assholes….. but I was dying to talk about it and scream in joy. Some guy in amongst the people walking by stopped and asked how the waves were….. if we got ‘Tubed’…..he was sincere…. covered in ashes…… his briefcase in hand…. ‘no’ I said, ‘just a couple small waves today’…… he said ‘better luck next time’… and started walking again.


Once me and Randy got in the house we turned on the TV to catch up on what was going on…… the phone started ringing… our parents and friends and family from everywhere…..concerned for our well-being.

We went up on the roof to find our neighbors there looking towards Manhattan. We were lucky because we had a roof top that you could see all that so well from. The direction of the wind was bringing all the smoke directly over our heads… there was burnt papers falling onto us… papers that had the names of business and headliners for professional peoples… all with addresses from the WTC……. It was very strange. I saved many of those brunt papers and sent them all to friends and family later.


That is when one of my neighbors stared screaming at me and tried to take a swing and hit me. He was enraged. ‘Why are you smiling!! Why are you laughing!!!!!!.... I’ll kill you!!’ His wife held him back.

I hadn’t realized it but I had one of the biggest smiles on my face that I may have ever had. Randy told me to stop smiling, that I was making everyone mad. I didn’t even realize it but I had been smiling like it was a party and I was having the best time of my life. I guess I was still on the high of the wave, but I couldn’t stop smiling, I was happy…. I was as happy as I had ever been. And I did feel the deep and profound sadness of the situation. But my mouth only wanted to smile. `

Image





The day was long and very hard……me and Randy decided to turn off the news and watch surf videos and we replayed and talked about both our experiences over and over. It was one of the greatest days of both our lives and we reveled in it.

Septembers in NYC are still hot, and the nights can be warm……. That night I had to sleep with my window open and all –night long the smoke and dust came through our windows and into our nostrils…….. the smell of metal, chemicals and other things I told myself was not flesh permeated my lungs. I replayed that wave over and over…… woke myself up out of a light sleep the way you would when you rode the rollercoaster fir the first time……… I laughed, then cried…….. then laughed and cried some more. And at some point, my body couldn’t take no more and I passed out.

I woke up the next day and went to work downtown passed in the danger zone where my job was. And I shared the pain and the joys of the events of those events with all my friends, lovers and strangers there and never felt so much unity in the face of confrontation before, or ever since. Between all races and all peoples, and you know in NYC everyone from everywhere is there.

And that’s how I know what we’re living now….. if we all act correctly, will get through this new bullshit.

Ok, so now you know about that one wave that changed it for me…….

I’m patient, I’m waiting…. And most importantly I’m wanting to hear your stories………

Tag you’re it…….

Thanks
Jeff Spicoli : All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine.

Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore : Charlie don't Surf............

Shane Dorian : I Surf to get a Tan.....

Master of Linguistics/International Sales at GONG.

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coolas
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Re: A Surfer Story ; the first time I really popped my cherry!

Message par coolas » mar. mars 24, 2020 6:42 pm

Whoah... the start of a writer career?

Français:
Ma première vague, ce fut tout simple. J'avais appris le Windsurf en 1975 à Fréjus (Var). Un jour j'ai senti ma planche (3m60. 22kg...) partir sur un gros clapot de 30cm, et ce fut le déclic immédiat, pour la vie. Mon prof, surfeur (Maurice Lejeune, qui a plus tard introduit le snowboard dans les alpes du sud) m'a dit "yep, c'est ça le surf, il faut que tu aille prendre un cours chez Jo Moraiz à Biarritz". Ce que j'ai fait...

English:
My first experience was simpler. I learnt windsurfing in Fréjus (Var) in 1975, one day I felt the 12' board taking off on a small knee-high chop. I was instantly hooked for life, and my windsurfing instructor, a surfer (Maurice Lejeune, who pioneered later snowboarding in the south alps) told me: "yes, that's surfing. You must go learn the basics in Biarritz with Jo Moraiz". So I did...
2017: 6'10" One Pro 125l
2018: Karmen 8'4" 120l
2019: 7'3" Fatal 105l, Alley 7'8" 105l & 8'1" 120l
Foil: allvator 80cm + SUP AS 6'10" 125l
Surf: 9'1" XTR proto cruiser

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