An unknown waveslider mining the stoke on an empty stretch of sand not very far at all from where you sleep.
Surf Addict’s Journal
In Search of the Cowabunga Nectar
Thursday, November 18, 2010
South-facing, usually flat pointbreaks be damned; Santa Barbara is a surf town. World Champions and wannabe world-beaters grow up here, move here, and retire here. Underground legends of all ages haunt our craggy coastline while annual crops of college kids swap notebooks for boards and paddle out seemingly more than they show up for class.
Then, of course, there is everyone else — the sandy-toed, salty-eyed, sunblocked, and stoked masses who ditch responsibility and clog the lineup on each and every sign of a so-called swell.
There is nothing new about this mix; the swirling mosaic of our internationally known surf scene has been around well before Gidget and, Mother Earth willing, should still be here whenever the Jetsons finally show up. Its tiles are the men and women and boys and girls we call neighbors, coworkers, brother, sister, mom, and dad. In short, they are us as much as they are Santa Barbara.
For this year’s annual Independent surf season kick-off, we turned the reigns over to one such particularly glowing young member of this community — a regular-foot named Travers Adler. Twenty-four years young, Adler is a born-and-raised Santa Babylon by the Sea waveslider with a particularly thoughtful and artistic lean. Doodles, paintings, guitar riffs, poems, songs, infectious goodwill, and riding surfboards of all shapes and sizes are the primary currency in his weird and wonderful world. What follow are his shorthand memories from this season’s first swell earlier this month, accompanied by some fresh-off-the-presses photographs of Santa Barbara surfers by Santa Barbara surfers. Hope you dig it, and as the author so often says, “groove on.” — Ethan Stewart
Seth de Roulet
Tuesday, November 2
I look at 17ft.com in the morning, and the swell appears quite big in the North. I wonder if it will swing into the S.B. channel and figure Rincon will probably snag some of it. The tide — medium and getting lower — is going to be ideal in the afternoon. The anticipation to get out there and have the Queen doing her thing, it’s like a buildup on a snare drum.
Early afternoon, and on cue, I get a text from Kyle: “good waves con now.” I hit the coast highway in the Miniature, blasting the Stones’ “Factory Girl” and another song from that album I’ve just borrowed, over and over, hollering along with the parts I know and the parts I’m getting to know. Make it there, and stroll — perhaps run — down the trail. The head-high waves are parading to shore, and people have flocked to experience it. Kyle’s Goin-Steady Ladyfriend, Gilda, and I warmly greet at the hangout spot amongst the ice plant and cobbles. She is relaxing after already having a surf.
Seth de Roulet
I fly into my wettie and get out there. Straight off, I see the wild-haired Demi “Vixen” Boelsterli pumping with a wave, the two of them racing each other into the Cove. Neck-and-neck, Vixen brings her feet together, her hips swinging forward, and her body arched. Her forward hand is raised ever so gracefully into the air while her back hand lags behind feeling the crumbling lip. It’s a playful race, a dance amongst the crowds. Another friend mentions that he’ll be prepared for tomorrow’s crowd by dressing up in his friend’s spandex American Gladiator suit, complete with the padded jousting baton and perhaps a cushion helmet, riding a stand-up paddle board.
Later, after a stroll up the point with some friends, I’m back in the dusky sea. The mustachioed Kyle Albers and I get to talking about developing a Cowabunga Meter to measure one’s stoke. “On a scale of One to Hang-Ten,” he says with a chuckle. As darkness settles, we make our individual ways through the Cove. I get a final ride on a little wave and stay in a squat most of the way down the line. Feeling with my fingers the water, we move along, passing each other over and over. It occurs to me that it’s the little, final rides in that I remember to enjoy it all — the sights, the wind on the face, the mountains and such … peaceful, content, it makes me want to say thank you. Thank you.
Later that night, my brother Will tells me of Andy Irons’s passing [Irons was a 32-year-old former world-champion surfer from Hawai‘i with family ties to Santa Barbara who died unexpectedly from dengue fever during a flight layover in Dallas, Texas, on November 2]. Odd when someone famous dies. Bukowski has a poem about that — I think it was about Marilyn Monroe’s death — and I feel like he described it well. Sometimes death reminds me of what’s important, what I care about, and how I want to live.
I remember a quote from Andy I heard once where he said something along the lines of “Sometimes I catch myself trying to surf like someone else, and it doesn’t work.” And I remember footage in the movie Raw Irons where he’s going for these off-the-lips on some huge gnarly right. Just goin’ for it.
Thinking these thoughts, I meet up with the guys to jam in a basement. I imagine really playing wild and loud, sort of like Andy and the way he surfed.