Monday, May 12, 2008

Harbour Owner Society at San O! Pics by JDuck

Saturday morning 4 a.m. I pulled into the already 4 deep car line of San O, feeling good.

Jeff (Slider) was asleep in the overhead bunk of the Millennium Falcon, and I planned on getting another bit of sleep before the gates opened. But it wasn't long before the rumble of Todd's truck, John's van and the regular San O crowd started to pull in, so I was too excited to sleep.

Todd's Big Rig and my RV set up nicely in front of Four Doors, and the Harbour members rolled in, then it was into the surf to beat the crowds.

The morning swell was fun, with some good sized sets giving us plenty to ride. (Some shots form Sunday may be uploaded soon, when I get them). After a strong and tiring morning of surf, it was time to initiate the new HOS grill.

As usual, Todd and Jeff stepped up beyond the call of duty, with Jeff supplying the rib-eye and Todd supplying everything else (keep buying the gear all), the two master chefs created a phenomenal feast. (That's Slider, putting the pressure on with his Mad Dog look, killer tattoos, and tough guy swim trunks.)

Let's face it, there's tons of paddling at San O, and after a double session, we were wearied, tired and very happy.

The never tiring Todd, fires up the grill again, for the second round of grub; burgers, more steaks and Brats...very tasty, very tasty indeed. He seems to work best when approached, just as the embers go dark, and someone (like me) asks..."Can you cook me a steak?"

The crew gathered around, telling stories, before the picture. Many more showed and surfed, including a whole new crew for Sunday, but these are the members hanging around Sat. afternoon.

That's me, wondering how my back got old so fast.

A few of us enjoyed yet more cuisine Saturday evening, at San Mateo campground, with tri-tip tacos, and award winning Cabernet. Thanks for the hospitality James Clan.

I must say, I'm always stoked, by the "locals" of San O. For many, they've had their spots for years, they have their routine, and they have their locations to park; yet they welcome the Harbour Owner Society, and make room for our occasional gathering there. From the warm welcome at 5 a.m. in line, to the proper policing of mega-rigs taking 10 spots parallel parking, to the Hawaiian Surf Club...a great class of people. Thanks!

Another great event with fantastic friends--all who enjoy riding the wonderfully crafted vessels that carry the Harbour name.

Monday, May 5, 2008

1st Florida Harbour Day!

April 27th. Sunday. Morning. Oh-Dark-Thirty:

My friend Tom "Snake" Kelly arrived at the house as instructed - with no board. This was to be a Harbour only day and since he loves Harbours (but hasn't bought one yet - egads!) he was due to ride the Banana. I had loaded up my wife's Chevy Guzzler Gigantus (Suburban) with several boards the previous night so we were ready to go on his arrival. I had packed the Gatorade, he had brought a prodigious supply of Twinkies. Ready to roll.

Destination: Ponce de Leon Park, Melbourne Beach, Florida. Time alloted for journey: 2 hours:

Burnin' up I-95, slowing only for the many patrol cars. Munching onTwinkies, MojoBrew cafe Cubano and Rolaids, whilst listening to Warren
Zevon sending lawyers, guns and money... We arrived, well, late. Eight thirty to be exact. Ponce de Leon park is actually nowhere near any of the east-west corridors that bring you from the interstate to the shore. So, once you get there, you've doodled down the coast for about twenty minutes taking in the sights; condos, condos, scrub palms, condos, bikini clad lovelies, condos, ah... a park... nope wrong one, condos, bikinis, condos, palms, the park! The upside of being a bit of a distance is the lack of crowds. Das ist goot. Muy bueno. Etc.

As we unloaded, we spotted a fellow taking video of the waves [which we
had suspected were non-existent as we were driving down A1A (the coast
road) - fortunately we were wrong about that]. He wasn't wearing a
Harbour shirt and there was no indication he was a "Harbour Guy" - we
do blend in fairly well - but my extra sensory perception lead me to
believe that he was, indeed, "one of us." It might have been that he
saw my Harbour shirt and came over to us introducing himself. I prefer
to think it was the ESP thing. Anyway, it turned out he was Tom
(Longboard727) from St. Petersburg, which is on the Gulf coast of
Florida (our West coast). AKA The Land of Even More Pitiful Waves Than
South Florida Or Maybe Utah. He had traveled all the way across in a
tiny Toyota which was dwarfed by his San-O on a soft roof rack. Risk
taker; I knew we were in trouble.

We readied the rides: Tom - 9'6" San-O, Snake - 10-0 Banana, James -
10-0 Sol (okay so the waves were seriously underpowered for the Sol but
I had promised to bring it for Gordon to try). The Banana was ideal but
I didn't want to stick a friend with an inappropriate board, so I got
to look like a kook (okay it wasn't much of a stretch for me) instead
of Tommy (Snake). I am such a nice guy.

As we were waxing up Gordon ran up. He had been in the water for a
while and was coming up to switch boards out. He introduced himself. He
must have ESP too, because he came right over to us (naturally it
wasn't the three boards with big triangles on them). I wasn't sure I
had actually met him because I think I blinked and he was back in the
water. I am a bit sluggish in the mornings.

So, I didn't bring a wettie. Actually, none of us had. Except Gordon. Smart. It was cold. Not California cold. Florida cold. Which is to say, about 70 degrees. After about fifteen minutes the brain freeze had worn off and it was really very pleasant. Central Florida has the nastiest looking water. The bottom is all silt and rock so it is never clear when there are waves, and bacteria joyfully find their way into any exposed orifice... sinus infections run rampant in this part of the state. Plus there are sharks. Lots of them. Big ones too (someone caught a 12 foot Tiger at a spot I surfed - on the day I surfed it. Not an uplifting thought really). None made their presence known today though.

We finally made it into the water and we were welcomed by waist to chest plus peaks. Lefts and rights. Tom (727) and I stuck together and traded off waves, occasionally doing a me-go-right-you-go-left deal. Fun stuff and fortunately we knew our rights from our lefts so no collisions. Drops were nice but you had to work the faces to make it through the trough between the reef and the shore. Gordon said it was better earlier. Natch.

The Sol is an awesome board and loved the drops, but the tail is too narrow for mush and it took a lot of cutting back and trimming waaay forward to keep it going in those waves. Tom was catching some awesome rides on his San-O - getting up to the nose even with a sprained ankle. I hate that kind of talent. Eventually we traded off and I quickly found out why Rich has size charts. A 9-6 San-O is a shortboard for my 205 pounds.

Eventually a steep enough peak cam along and I took off right, almost lost it on the superfast bottom turn and managed to work the wave all the way into the shorepound where I politely backed off the wave (okay, it dumped me me off the back of the wave - two left feet, I swear) so that Tom's board wouldn't get bounced off the inside bar. Tom had some trouble with the bottom turns on the Sol at first because of the tail and the mush, but he worked it nicely and really enjoyed the board, methinks. He followed me in and we walked back up the beach - there was a bit of a drift on it so we were about a 1/4-mile up. We traded boards after I let him tote my much heavier Sol up the beach for me. Sneaky.

Tom went back in and Snake and I wended our way back to the Guzzler. Me for a different board, Snake for a Newport. I was eyeing the Banana that whole time because I had observed him getting a LOT of waves (not surprising - he did earn the nickname after all). Since he's a smoker, I bet I could've grabbed his board and reached the water before he could catch me. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor (he's also mean when he's mad), I instead reached for the Fish. 6'6". Yikes! I had taken it out for the first time two days earlier and, having decided that there was no way I could ride something so tiny, I was sincerely shocked when I popped up and skated the thing down a face and cutback into the curl - on my very first try! Woohoo! Same for the twenty something waves that followed. Four-foot shorebreak and fun as all get out.

My confidence was up. So here I was, paddling out on the 6-6 and I had lost Tom and Snake but ended up next to Gordon on his Quatro which he had switched to from his HP-1. Needless to say Gordon's wave count was about four to one. Well, maybe ten to one. And smooth? He does his Harbours justice. I managed four waves on the fish and didn't do as well as I had in the minichop two days before, but I was still happy that I was standing on a such a small board and having a blast. Went in and traded out for longer equipment again and saw Gordon rushing off for work - sadly, he never got to try out the Sol (next time). I paddled back out and managed to hook up with Tom once more. The waves were seriously deteriorating as the winds came onshore and really bumped them up. My Twinkie high long since gone, tummy rumbling and fatigue setting in, I said "one more" and proceeded to wait another 45 minutes for it.


I am so stubborn in my refusal to paddle in. But then, out of nowhere, a headhigh peak arose. I spun and took off, gliding down the brown, sunlit wall. Reading the way the rip disrupted the face and broke it in two, I pressed my heels into the rail and swept back into the curl, straightening out for a second before pushing my weight back onto my frontside rail and hooking into the reform, accelerating like a bat out of hell into what fast became a booming shorepound. I pulled out and proned in. Looking back I saw Tom raise his arms in a two-handed salute and I waved goodbye. A great end to a fun, fun session.

Back up at the cars, Tom packed up his board (he had taken the next set wave in and gotten a good noseride) and decided he had to get back over to St. Pete rather than join us for lunch at the local food shack - DaKine Diego's which serves pretty-darn-close-to-authentic Costa Rican cuisine. Snake and I packed up and headed over after bidding Tom a safe journey. We were all stoked on the camaraderie and decent surf and wished only that there had been more of us there and more time afterward. We will plan another one with more time to decide on a date so that more folks can come.