It must have been fifteen years ago that I came up with that law. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING that I eat before surfing comes back to haunt me while surfing, and it just isn't worth it, I would much rather be hungry.
I broke that rule thanksgiving day by having a chicken sandwich purchased at a gas station minimart at 4am when I got my two coffees for the drive up there. Good sandwich, nothing at all wrong with it.
I got into the water at 6:30am and an hour later (as well as the entire nine hours That I surfed), I had gut wrenching indigestion to the point where I thought it better to just throw up and get it over with. I didn't but I should have.
I attribute the discomfort of my otherwise strong constitution to the fact that when you are lying on the hard unforgiving surface of your surfboard while exerting abdominal effort continuously, the consumed goodies have pressure on them, and the gastric combo chooses the path of least resistance- up towards the back of your throat in an acidic sensation. I found the solution was to stop and sit on the board and do nothing.
Continue surfing as usual, and it isn't long before the sensation returns... all damn day long. Now I begin to wonder if that old ladies wifes tale about not swimming after eating for an hour is true.
The other ONE RULE I have about surfing is this: breathe ABOVE the water's surface ONLY. Seems obvious.
The one thing that I know I must do while surfing is maintain air passage integrity. No chewing gum in big surf in case something happens. No letting air out of my lungs until I pop up after falling/ditching. And from now on, never ever eat one god damn bite of anything before or during surfing till the wetsuit is off, it just ain't worth the discomfort or risk of drowning.
I drink anything I want-coffee, water, anything- liquids dont bother me. Absolutely no alcohol!!!
I've got nothing against pot but what the hell is wrong with those guys who smoke joints before surfing- I guess I like the wholesome natural world way too much to muck it up with mind altering drugs.
I'll stick to my favorite drugs- ENDORPHINS!!!
Add the high tide to this and you've got something. Add the fact that nobody is going to be there and its even better.
six hours of paddling on waves no bigger than head high. Waves n wind n tides conspired against us today
Its going to bebetter in the afternoon but crowded so I'll be in at dark for another morning session
What an inspiration for all! Little girl surfing before school, paddling around and CHOMP! There goes a huge shark with her arm. Long recovery complete with depression and sadness finally emerging at the other end as a HUGE inspiration for millions of people (including me!).
North shore Kauai, February 2008. I rented a house for a month a block from the beach. Pictures (below) show waves from afar. Yup, just waves when looking at them from this distance but when you strap on your leash to get out there, it takes almost 25 minutes. You paddle and paddle and paddle, passing green turtles sometimes so numerous you consider running from shell to shell on their backs instead of paddling. You can get so close to them you can smell their breath. It stinks.
When you get to those "just waves," you realize they aint "just waves," they are demons, each with their own destructive potential, gunning for you, wanting to destroy you and anything near you. They are a force to be reconed with, to be feared and respected. You gotta keep the mountain peaks lined up so that you can stay in the safe zone, realizing all the while that mother nature recognizes NOT safe zones- shes gonna throw in a rogue set every half hour or so. Keep an eye out for them. If you see everyone paddling like hell toward the horizon, dont think, paddle like hell also, for your life.
Ive paddled my ass off there often, scared of dying, to escape a monster staring right at me with angry green eyes. To escape, you have to paddle up hill...
One afternoon of surf like this I looked over and saw Bethany Hamilton about to duck dive under a huge wave. She was to my right as the wave passed. I thought to myself- nahhh, she'll get washed away with just one arm (board had a strap on it her pop drilled into board). When I surfaced I saw that she had done better on her dive than I did with my two strong arms.
Half an hour later I saw a wave coming n looked to my left to be sure that nobody was on it-saw Bethany and thought "she'll never make it" so I paddled, caught the wave, then looked to my left and who did I see? Yup! I did the UNTHINKABLE, dropped in on her! A world famous surfer chick with one arm! What a shit I was!
I saw her pull off the wave because my wake and spray had ruined it for her. I guiltily pulled off also, so nobody really rode that wave. I considered apologizing to her but I decided not to. I saw her on the beach the next day and wanted to apologize to her then also but decided to just "leave her alone."
I'll always remember doing that to her, and I'll always remember her professionalism and poise, durability and athleticism. She didn't yell "hey asshole, thanks a lot for dropping in on me!"
Some people you just have to admire. Who would ever think that a teenage girl could be an inspiration for a gritty old man?
These are the peaks at Hanalei Bay that we use to line up properly (stay alive). They save you from 94% of the destructive power of the waves. Its the last 6% you gotta watch out for. People die here all the time, sometimes just standing on the lava cliffs-huge waves just pluck people off the cliffs or waves will roll down from the mountains on trails and wash people into the sea, never to be seen ever again.
Turtle Bay on the north shore of Oahu, winter of 2017.
Last night my son had almost finished his homework and wanted me to check out his handiwork.
Its hard to imagine anything that occurs in one's life more satisfying than passing passion down to children who then embrace it.
Twenty years from now the roles will be reversed.
Just memories now, no surf in sight.
I mentioned a few times on this blog some of the cool sights I've seen while surfing. For me, surfing isn't just about surf like it is for a lot of other surfers. I've met few who comment on anything around them other than what happened to them on their last wave. Long after those discussions fade and are forgotten, my memories of one particular phenomenon persist.
I usually get into the water before the sun peeks up over the horizon. Traffic is nonexistent for my long drive, I have the whole place to myself usually, and I get my surf in then go to work, missing only half a day.
Sometimes the sky is so dark I can't see the waves coming and I've really got to be on my toes, OR ELSE! When the sky gets lighter and lighter and finally shows the sun, one of the most awesome sights in the world is ready to be seen by early birds like myself- seeing the sun through the wave if the waves are big enough and the wind is light.
I couldn't even find pictures of this on the internet, only the one above which is close to what I'm talking about, so it's apparent that I've got to get out the gopro and snap some myself and repost.
I actually remember each and every wave when I witnessed this. I remember where I was surfing when it happened, and really look forward to it happening again.
Got to where I wanted to surf in the wee hours. Nobody in the two more popular spots, good cause I want to go over to the left where there’s rarely any fighting or bitching between hotheads who lose sight of what’s important- having fun.
Its hard to have fun when meatheads young and old are assholes.
I never get involved in those stupid squabbles. I’m too old and too smart to be an asshole (others might disagree) yet there are some people in RI who need to have frontal lobotomies and chemical neutering just because they ruin everyone else’s karma. It’s often the same people, and it’s usually at those two spots. Obey the rules, don't be selfish, be nice and everything should be ok. If you mess up, apologize to the other guy. It's like driving your car, guys! Fighting in the waves is like road rage, nobody wins and both combatants look like jerks.
I Jumped off the rocks and fell eight feet on to the top of a rumbling wave that broke my fall. Paddled through the freight trains over to Greg, Peter and Matt who were already out, surprised to see them there because they usually surf at the other two spots. They’re the best surfers and testosterone does not affect them- we never see them yelling or fighting with others. Kinda refreshing to see great surfers rise above (Dave Levy was still in bed).
I knew it was gonna be big but I didn’t know it would be so big and perfect as well. Warm water, wind, giant waves, great surf, early morning.
Matt told me “paddle in on the foam ball and ride from there” so I did and he was right. The white water cradled me gentler than I thought it would, down the wave n on to the glassy part of the wave in front of me towering over my head. The four of us shared this great spot for a long time till the crowd came then I ditched that spot (I hate crowds and jostling).
I Surfed at the other two spots till two, got out n got warm, checked messages then got back in on the bodyboard with fins (arms were tired) and surfed for another two hours, getting an incredible amount of waves, afraid of nothing.
Theres a LOT to lose if you make a mistake at those two spots, with the waves charging towards the boulders, exploding upon them in a display of violence. One new bodyboarder decided to get out by climbing up those slippery boulders and with waves spaced at 12 second periods that gives no time. He was destroyed, wave after wave tossing him asunder till the set passed. I saw him get back in the water an hour later with blood all over his right arm, washing off with each dip into the water only to ooze back out moments later. Chumming. Not a day or a place to learn.
Then finally, the long-awaited assholes started yelling, swearing at each other over what I did not care or know. Realized my time had come- got into my truck and drove home, completely filled with my addictive endorphin drug after seven hours or so of surfing. Awesome day.
Hi, my name is
David Benjamin and I started swimming in Chappaqua, NY., swam for Badger swim team, Mercersburg Academy, NC State University, then Westport YMCA masters. I got bored of the ol' back and forth of competitive swimming and the high cost of skiing. Surfing took over and I never looked back.