National Get Gnarly Day
When the shaman is blowing tobacco up not one but both nostrils, that’s gnarly. And not to mention the follow up ointment dropped on my eyes in succession. Or how ‘bout driving thru Mainland Mex with guys toting machine guns and a bottle of Tequila standing roadside. Or sitting in LAX and drinking some really terrible coffee only to find a cockroach on its back lying at the bottom of the cup.
Shark Pit * Point Reyes National Seashore/Tomales Bay/Dillon Beach
Sometimes ‘tis hard to tell the difference between heavy and gnarly, as was listening to a story the other day from someone who had paddled across the mouth of Tomales Bay to surf Shark Pit, and that was after a morning sesh at Mavericks (how was your day btw ?) These days apparently the hipper/more tuned in phrase is “savage,” or just “sav.” Maybe something like when your friend’s friend thinks it’s fun(ny) to throw aluminum cans into the ceiling fans, making for random rapid fire shrapnel most anywhere in the Puerto Escondido hotel room. Or when another friend of the same said friend thinks it’d be funny to ransack our “friends” hotel room near Rio Nexpa, only to have that other “friend” having recently befriended the local mayor’s daughter, and having the local policia in on the case/chase.
Yvon Chouinard, author of Let My Peoples Go Surfing
Recall reading of Yvon Chouinard wherein he described adventure as a journey from which you may not come back alive. Like walking down to Blacks for dawn patrol, to find the beach fogged in and that I’m the only one paddling out, and soon with the sense that something is moving under my board, and nearby. Or surfing alone in the fog at my local break and something breaks the surface close by, completely unexpected and anything but comforting. ‘Twas a seal, but I was still spooked and got outta the water.
Gnarly or as some of us like to paraphrase things as “gnar gnar,” is oft associated with swell from mixed up directions, waves that tend to be abnormal or perhaps rather unpleasant/unattractive in appearance, with things like boils, ledges, double ups and in general looking questionable and on the dicey side, and perhaps best left for at risk youth who deem pulling in when most would bail, their best line of action.
Shipwrecks, Nusa Lembongan , Indonesia
Mainski Resort, Nusa Lembongan
For instance, seem to recall surfing Nusa Lembongan and realizing I’m the last guy left out at a bombs away reef break, the tide dropping dangerously fast, getting my last wave, unceremoniously dumped at takeoff, with wave exploding all around, and coming up minus one booty and in receipt of a rather bloody toe souvenir, and in Bali where it’s rather easy to get your cut infected (thank you tea tree oil). Or better yet when my lip was hanging from my mouth after being hit upside the head with my pea green (Rick Surfboards) oversized log (thank you again for the ride to the hospital Ursie).
And pardon the ramble as another fave remembrance is when the place you’re staying in Rica only agrees to the $15 price if you’re outta there by 6am, and when you’re not cuz it was already late and you had to stay up an extra hour or two knocking out all the mozzies, and then he’s banging a pipe on the pole making sure you leave when you said you would (I didn’t). And/or when the underside of your (rental) car goes flush with the road, two hours from the nearest paved road, and sitting in the ditch to the side, right at sunset and right after countless squadrons of mozzies have just been cleared for takeoff (20 bucks later and muchas gracias to the locals with the red jalopy milk truck that went down the near cliffside full of bananas and ‘bout six or seven hombres, only to return with cement bags, and before graciously lifting me from certain peril).
the surfer * surfer tarot
(didn't really find a card that matched up w/the above so am going w/the below :)
original artwork by Zen Del Rio
Surfing makes you whole. As we dance upon the ocean, with wave as partner, we seek out different waves and become the whole surfer. The deepening of our relationship with our Mother Ocean lends itself to a deepening of our relationship within ourselves, giving rise to the union within, of the whole surfer. Surfing allows you to become your own person, to become who you are. As surfer our spirits are of the Ocean Divine. We take a vow to her. The surfer is ocean lover. In relationship to the ocean, we discover a “most rigorous spiritual practice.” A reorientation of our surfing based on a relationship with the ocean develops our feminine side and grows the newlywed, surfer initiate, into the Intangible. As romantic seeker of truth, the surfer finds inherent romance and consequence, out upon our romantic wavescape. We find solace and salvation in relationship with our Mother Ocean. She teaches us love and we in turn are willing to follow her way. In union with the Ocean Divine we embody love.
Spiral Love by Victoria Trujillo, watercolor & ink
In riding waves the surfer accumulates intimate moments with the ocean that translate into a personal sense of well being. The ocean is holding down a part of our lives that is maintaining a self that is always renewing. As the ocean is complete in and of itself, we real eyes a sense of peacefulness in relationship with the ocean. Our harmony within is a union of opposites. And yet, with that said, and even with union as our primary intention, we are nonetheless, drawn to whitewater. We find chaos as necessary opposition, and know the coast as where opposites meet in an “emotional forum for creativity.” Our wave is a reconciliation of opposites, land and sea, ocean and earth. This conjunction of feelings leaves the surfer in the waveface of emotional choice. We draw a deciding line between chaos and order as our surfboard cuts through waves of emotion. Our air mind meets water emotion, as Father Sky meets Mother Ocean, at her soul or sea level. Male and female come together in creative union, as her moon tides ebb and flow with the sea, and as his sun rays rise and set in the sky. The surfer moves from conscious to unconscious and then back again. He has been working all his life to get all the closer to this sensuous freedom, as he well knows the wonderful exhaustion of sensual surrender.
Surfing is self indulgent sport. In love with the ocean, the surfer is given the freedom to be different. She is nonchalant and nonserious, but can be ridden by guilt. While’s she’s out surfing, the whole world is at work. She is pro-choice, he pro-life. She can be fearful, he reluctant to engage in the real world. She’s just floating, he’s not immersed. She is infatuated with her surfer image, but has yet to touch of its mystique. In his surf vanity, he thinks he is “Surferman.” His whole professional and personal life is organized around its demands. “So individualistic that nothing can alter his inner being, he will walk away from job or woman to surf.” His is an obsessive love for surfing. “It’s my life, it’s my wife.” Surfing is another woman. His seafaring mistress is the forbidden romance. Breakup and separation loom on his horizon. His infidelity answers the questions, “love or wealth, youth or age?” As cultural guru he follows his “feeling,” and is not to be tamed; but there is internal discord. There is tension between the tangible and intangible, the conscious and unconscious. Bipolar predicaments beget an imbalance within. His tantra is tantamount to a hairstyle not hidden by mystique. As longhair, the surfer is symbolic of the wildman or “our son” Jesus Christ. With shaved head he is prisoner of war, or green jade Tibetan priest. As mythic figure, our romantic beach archetype has abandoned the social order.
original illustration by Alexandre Flores Torrano
Regardless, there is price to be paid, as fury swells from the impending storm. But the ocean, in her calm after the storm, is of the wayward and intractable mind. Her tides recede from us, and her swells diminish before our very eyes. We are betrayed by the wind and sense an absence of love. But as it is not good that the man should be alone, he returns to the romance of the rank and file, only to recall the broken dream and boredom again. As unsurfer we are back again with the “Legions of the Unjazzed.” But the surfer leaves only to return. He prevails despite his dualistic uncertainty. He is fooled by wave, but never by ocean. The choice between ocean or woman of choice, is for some, between virtue or vice; but as surfer he knows, that “struggle between passion and conscience,” resolves evermore, into an ocean of love. She knows there is a rhythm to love, and in love a responsibility to allow another the freedom to be who they are. “We surf to learn to love.” As surfer we accept the fleeting nature of happiness, and acknowledge that “without ocean nor wave, we are not ourselves.” Emotionally numb and spiritually void, the beach heathen, surfer extreme, must not skirt his issue of intimacy, nor sally forth, without developing his relationship skill.
Lover's Perch by Patrick Parker
The more you learn about the ocean, the more you deepen your relationship with her. Deepen your experience. There are always waves breaking. Romance yourself. Paddle to where the waves are breaking. Your wave will find you. Use your imagination and play with what your wave has to offer. Have fun. Take the plunge. Fall head over heels in love. Take pleasure, indulge your surf jones. A surfing residual is the release of tension and anxiety. Enjoy the ride. Love your Mother. She prefers you surf every day. Design your life around surfing. Surfing is a celebration of the heart. Surf your wave to the fullest. At least go out and have a look every day. Work on the country surfer model: even if you don’t come home with a tuberide to share, at least you’ve had your day at the beach.
Share what you have with others. As ocean clan, the surfer as collective entity, is the international good vibe tribe. We share companionship and a cosmic joy. Within the surfing community there is a sense of belonging. In communion with our Mother Ocean, the surfer is free of compulsive attachments to money and success. As the surfer cultivates our wave garden, she is cheerful and of charity. In her, he sees the perfection of imperfection, and knows that “God must be a surfer.” He becomes more tolerant and learns to be unselfish. Passion and wisdom become one. We learn that “when you are one within yourself, you will then be one with everything.” The whole surfer leads a highly conscious life; and as the surfer of peace, knows that peace on our Water Planet, must first start with peace within each and every individual surfer. Do you know your own way? The way of the surfer is to go within. Go find yourself within and restore the union of the whole surfer. Our love for ourselves is indicative of our love for another. Gift yourself the freedom to be who you are. “Can you be love?” Treat yourself, and treat all your relations well.