Category Archives: Surfing

Otra vez

For my 25th wedding anniversary, my husband bought me a new surf board and an 11 day trip to Mexico.

Certainly not what most women would enjoy, but to me it was better than diamonds.

When I last went there this summer with Bill and Mia, my board was too small for me so I had a really hard time catching those Pacific waves.  I caught waves, but I felt very waves starved when we left.

This time, that didn’t happen. Warning: flood of surf pictures below.

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There are more, but you get the gist.  I was most certainly not wave starved on this trip.

That my husband did this for me speaks volumes as to how well he knows and loves me.  He wanted me to go down there and get some waves and have some fun with just myself to worry about and no one else.

Mission accomplished.

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Wild Bill

I have never had the opportunity to see my husband surf waves like this.

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When he went to Costa Rica for a week this past January, I was jealous.  Not because of the great folks he was with, but because they got to see him surf those waves and I didn’t.

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Now I have, and it was better than raw oysters, girls.

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Hubba hubba!

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Where in the world….

We went somewhere pretty epic.

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And we were gone for a long time.  My 3 sons held down the fort quite nicely and allowed for Bill, Mia and I to head way, way south for the trip of a lifetime.

On this trip we did lots of this….

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and this

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and this

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More to come…

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Take off

My daughter can fly.

I can see her scoping out the section here.

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She eyes the spot and makes the turn.

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And it begins….she shoves off

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And flies over the falls.

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She loves to do this and I am glad I got it on film.  My surf coach mom would rather see her eye up that section and go off the lip and back into the wave, but the fun side of me was cheering her on when I saw this coming.

Fun in the sun, sweet waves and an adventurous heart.

That’s my girl!

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Finned

It was a small wave.  It is ALWAYS the small waves that I get hurt on.

Went to kick out of a maybe waist high wave and hit some chop, fell, the wind picked up my board and slammed it into my forehead…..fins first.

I knew it was cut before I even touched it. The fin hit at an angle, so it basically sliced down to my skull and made a flap of skin.  When I reached up, I felt that flap and the gaping wound, and pulled it back together again.

That is when the bleeding started.  Head wounds bleed.  Badly.  So, I am sitting on my board with blood pouring into my eye, down my face and onto my board..and the water.  Lots of blood.  Blood in the water while you are sitting in the middle of it is not a great scenario at a fishing pier in the ocean.   I yelled out to someone “My session is over” and turned to head to shore.  The waves were soooo fun so it was really hard to leave.  I decided to catch one on the inside as I headed in and rode it with blood pooling in my eye.  I was laughing and thinking “Act your age, woman”.

I rinsed my face off in the salt water and headed for my car to do damage control.

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Nice.

When I got home, Bill was waiting and checked things out.  He decided no stitches and we would glue it…..when he got back from surfing.  Yes way.

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I carried on with my day, and blood pooled under the flap, clotting and making it look worse than it was.  My kids were so grossed out.  I have to think what I would do seeing my mom like that, and honestly can’t conjure up the image because I don’t recall my mom even exercising let alone getting hit in the head with a surf board.  (Seriously, the image of my mom on a surf board paddling in the water?  Not happening.)

Anyhow, by the time I finally had time to shower and scrub the wound with Hibiclens (I know, right?  I had to use a washcloth and scrub the heck out of it to get the blood clots out…nails on a chalkboard folks) it was close to 7pm.  At that point Bill, who was now looking at it and re-thinking the stitches and was wonderfully surf-satisfied, said “Let’s go take care of that”.

INSERT: If I did not surf, this would have made me question his priorities.  But people, chest to head high waves vs stitching up your wifes forehead.  Good Lord have mercy, head high waves of course! I often wonder how and why surfers marry non-surfers.  Seriously, it takes one to know one and unless you have been around surfers you might not understand what this means. It means when there are waves, everything else is on the shelf for a bit.  I have heard stories of wives losing their minds about their husbands always surfing.  I have even heard a story of one taking a knife to her significant others surf board.  It is the other woman/man. LOL!  For us, we both surf, so there is a mutual understanding.  When I don’t get the house clean, and shirk my duties during the week because BY GOD THERE ARE WAVES!! Bill never gives me a hard time.  Even if he has to go to work and I am at the beach all week.

Back to my head.  My man is not just an awesome surfer and hawt.  He is also very good at stitching up his wife Frankenforehead.  5 stitches later and I was good to go.  No surf for me for 3 days, but was able to run as long as I kept the sweat off of it.  Not to sound like a commercial, but this is one of the main reasons I love Headsweats….the terry cloth band around the inside of the hat.  It absorbs the sweat and keeps it from rolling down your face.

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This one is the Swim Bike Run Race hat and it is on clearance for $12 if you need a good go to hat for all your outdoor needs.  Get one! At that price get 2 for crying out loud! I did!

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Image by www.gscottimaging.com

I missed The Best day of surfing the next day because I was a good girl and stayed out of the water to allow the edges to fuse.  Apparently if you go in salt water, the edges stay soft and slough off creating a big scar, so I did my time of pier Purgatory and took pictures of Mia surfing.  Here is one.

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And another.

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Okay, one more.

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Last one.

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Her surfing has seriously turned a corner and she is charging whatever comes her way now.

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Stitches were in for 3 days and on the 4th day, Dr. Doom taped it allowed me to surf.

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It has now been two weeks and the scar is very slight.  My man is da bomb at stiching his girl back up.

And this is the End of my epic war wound story.  Its time to go surf.

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Houdini

Now what? This is what happens when you have to take a wetsuit off with cold hands.

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Once you get to the shoulders its a wriggle fest to get it down your torso. I imagine it looks pretty funny from the non-surfer observer. Crazy surfers.

It’s officially wetsuit weather here now. We’ve been suiting up in them for a couple of weeks, but yesterday the weather was gorgeous with all the southern warmth sucking up from the norther that arrived today. I surfed and only had on a wetsuit top with bikini bottoms and got a tan.

Today, a blast of cold air came through and now the temp are nearing the 30’s and the water temp will for sure drop to a chilly level in the next few days. I have whiplash.

That is typical for Texas. Next week may be sunny and in the 80’s. Try and figure Texas out, why doncha.

And on a random, final note….this is what happens to hair after surfing, when you don’t have time to take a shower until bedtime. Curly whirly, rasta mama.

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My kids are out of school for the next 9 days and we have family flying in from out of state. Time to partay! I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving. Eat Turkey!!

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Wild places

We have been living here now for going on 7 years. I will NEVER get tired of this view. Same pier, same bay, same setting sun. I’ve seen it hundreds of times.  The thing is, the colors change like in a prism. Some times there is more blue, sometimes pink. This day it was surreal. The clouds had the setting sun glowing with a golden-green hue and it bounced off of everything, setting even the tiniest shell ablaze.

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Then on the opposite shore, like a different continent, everything blue.

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This place is magical.  The colors of the sky ever changing and rainbows arching from one end of town to the next.

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When we first moved here and started exploring our environment Billy said to me “I’ve lived on the Texas coast my whole life and I didn’t know anything like this existed anymore”.

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This area has been preserved in time. Trees are not permitted to be taken down without a permit. Animal habitats are protected fiercely.

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The diversity of animal life here is huge.  Sea turtles, endangered whooping cranes, fox, raccoon, cougars, deer, bobcats….the list goes on and on.  It is one of the last wooded and wild habitats left along the Texas coast……..

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…..and we intend to keep it that way.

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Land

Sometimes it feels like the weekend is an island sanctuary in a sea of work-a-day, school-a-day, chores and business. We paddle towards it all week and with relief, drift up onto its shores on Friday afternoon. Free to explore all the little island has to offer, we begin.

Saturday morning ferry ride. We watched this pelican stand like this in the stiff north wind, laughing and wondering what he was posing for.

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Mia and I competed in a longboard contest together.

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We were even in the same heat together.  Neither of us surf longboards, so it was pretty funny.  I tried coaching her into waves, and finally decided that I better catch at least one wave in my heat.  I didn’t want to beat her, so I just caught a small one.  After we paddled in I took off to go free surf for an hour or so. When I came in, I packed all the boards up to head home.  I was pretty sure we placed way down, so I hadn’t bothered to look at the results.  Turns out I got 2nd in our heat and moved on to the finals. LOL  Okay.  In the finals I ended up placing last. Those longboards are a bear.  I think I will stick to my 5’5″.  I am sore all over from carrying that thing up and down the beach.  Its a monster at 9’3″ and super heavy.  The best part of it all was being out on the water with Mia for our first mom/daughter contest together.  Too fun.

Saturday evening I took Mia and her friend to the outdoor movie at the local haunted house.  It’s not really haunted, but the kids think it is, which adds to the fun of the evening.

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There was popcorn, old fashioned candy sticks, sodas and glow sticks for the kids.  They played Hotel Transylvania, which is such a fun Halloween time movie and a perfect choice for this event.

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The air was cool so we had blankets and pillows to snuggle under.

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Clouds were moving swiftly through the sky, and the palm trees were rustling in the gusts of wind.  It was a perfectly spooky evening at the mansion and we look forward to next year.

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Over the weekend we had a little visitor.  My heart is so full.  We celebrated his birthday on Sunday with BBQ ribs, chicken, baked beans, rolls and ice cream cake.

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Happy birthday Little C-man!!

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After he left to head back to college, I took off for a skate on my favorite trail.  3 miles of riding my Carver, then back home for showers and bedtime routine.

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Now this morning we are all paddling back out into the weekday sea.  Our days at sea are not bad.  There are football games, quiet evenings at home with just our family, and there is the familiarity of routine.  It is good.

But come Thursday you can bet I will start looking for land.

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Her name was Karen

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She came into our world of water with a purpose. Right off the bat, all the models showed her swooping up into the northern Gulf, bringing lined up swell marching across to the west and northwest.

We waited with anticipation. Would it be as good as the predictions showed?

Friday it began, and Saturday we hit the beach, boards waxed and ready.

The parking lot was packed with cars, surfboards stacked on top or single fins hanging out the back of pickups. Surfers from all across Texas; a range of skill levels had converged on the coastal bend.

Texas was about to go off and no one wanted to miss it.

She did not disappoint. Waves ranged from chest high to several feet overhead. The swell marched toward shore in rows; silhouettes jagged across the horizon. There was tremendous power surging in with that swell. So much water moving through the pier! Paddle out was done on the north side right up against the pilings to take advantage of the rip pulling us out. Once out to the breaking sets you had to stay in the nook of the t-head of the pier or you would be swept away from the good break. That happened to me a couple of times before I figured out how to snug myself in where I needed to be.

We surfed until we were absolutely exhausted. 4 hours in the water. My arms were shaking the last time I paddled out and I thought “This is the last of it for you, Jody”. When we paddled in Bill said he had nothing left. Done. Cooked. Happy.

Completely depleted, we left to get some fuel. There is absolutely nothing more satisfying than a good meal after a fantastic surf session. Burgers at our favorite local joint were on the agenda. And what surf report would be complete without a picture of said food?

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While eating, we shared stories of our waves, talked smack to each other, as usual, and mulled over TS Karens gift. I recently started riding Billy’s 5’5″ thruster. That is pretty short, but I knew I could do it if I put my mind to it. Saturday I was able to really try it out and put myself to the test. I have found a perfect match for myself finally. We had been looking online, searching for a new board for me to try and finally Bill said “Just try mine and see how you like it”. I had a great time on it the first time I rode it, so he gave it to me and is going to order himself a new board. Seriously, a man who gives his favorite board to his wife. Right there makes me fall in love all over again.

There were a few waves that stood out for me as stellar rides on Saturday. One I caught while some friends stood on the pier above and cheered me on. That meant the world to me. Another one I caught really walled up and I pumped my board and shot down the line…when I paddled back out Billy was giving me the thumbs up and screaming something over the noise of the waves. I have no clue what he said, but the look on his face said it all. He was proud.

I am going to be turning 49 in a few months…almost half a century old. Thats no spring chicken for sure. I told Bill while we were wolfing down burgers “I fell on this one wave and really got rolled. While I was getting churned around under water, I swear the thought that went through my head was “I wonder if a 50yo body is sturdy enough to be put through this.” He said “Apparently it is for now”.

At the coast, we have a love/hate relationship with storms. It is a quandary because we know the damage they can cause, but also know the waves that march in with their entry into the Gulf. This time we were lucky and got the good waves without anyone getting slammed by her fury.

Sunday we were completely exhausted still. Achy and just wiped out. A cold front came through so we stayed home in our jammies most of the morning, eating donuts and drinking coffee.

I put on a pot of borracho beans to cook all day, made some buttermilk cornbread…

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…and some pumpkin ghost cakes.

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I went for a run to work out the kinks, then we snuggled down and watched a movie together on the couch.

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That right there was the exclamation point on a fantastic weekend full of surf. I am pretty sure that for us, it doesn’t get much better.

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Volcom

Mia competed this weekend in the Volcom Bushfish QVS in North Padre. This is one of our favorite contests of the year. Last year she placed 5th overall in her AG and this year the 10 and under division had around 35 kids, so she had her work cut out for her.

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Getting in the water to practice before her heat

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One of the things that makes this contest so fun is that it is geared to the kids and Volcom does not disappoint. They really show the kids a great time. Flour bags to throw flour at each other, bottles of chocolate syrup to pour in each others hair and slip n slides with baked beans to slide through. Yuk, is it gross but the kids just LOVE it.

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Mia got 3rd in her first heat, so she moved on to the semi-finals, where she got 3rd. From there she moved on to the repo-recharge finals, where she again got 3rd and moved to the finals.

Waiting for the awards. She was nervous.

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She got 6th place in the finals and was stoked to get a cool trophy and a bag full of Volcom goodies.

Thanks you Volcom for putting on a great contest year after year for Texas surfers!! You guys rock!! See you next year!

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So long goodbye

Cool winds blew across the sand this past weekend and with them we had 4 days of fun in the warm salty Gulf.  Mornings brought a chill to the air and long sleeve rash guards were scavenged out of forgotten corners where we store surf gear.

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There is something perfect about this time of year. It feels like our beaches become private sanctuaries just for us. The tourists have gone home and with them the noise and chaos of a crowded beach. It is like another world.

There is a question that I often hear about the forest: “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, did it make a noise?”. Can questions like that be asked about the seaside after the crowds are gone?

I have to wonder if, once all the people leave, do the waves make a sound when they fall upon the sand bars, crashing and churning; the drums of the sea? If no eyes are watching, do crabs dance across the sand in a slow waltz instead of in a fearful sprint from hole to hole? Does the shadow of the pier fall across the sand in perfect geometry without obstacles hiding in its shade? Will the waves sigh in relief when they no longer must erase footprint scars gashed into the sand? Do turtles float on the surface of the water instead of quickly surfacing and dashing back into the safety of the sea? Can sharks swim lazily through the shallows without hundreds of legs to navigate through and can the jellyfish glide silently, tentacles streaming behind in a veil without disturbance? Do the sea gulls cry out and become beautiful, graceful sea birds again in the absence of mankind labeling them the rats of the sea?

Yes.  The crowds are gone and the music carries on…even more so.

Alone, I walk with my board down the beach and I hear the waves crashing as they have done for hundreds upon thousands of years. Heavenly sounds that enchant me and make me fall deeply in love. Sadness washes over me as I see the sea push trash up on the beach as if to say “Take it from me please. There is so much and I have to go back for more”. I reach down, pick up a plastic milk jug and let the wind carry my words across the water; “Winter is here. Rest easy and recover my dear friend”.

How arrogant we are to think the music of the forest or tides does not ring true with solitude. Sound is not dependant upon human ears. The music of the tide is always playing. It plays for the dolphins, crabs, turtles, sharks and rays….yes, even the jellyfish.

Its notes float across the lonely dunes, happening upon my doorstep, beckoning me like a siren to come to its empty, winter shores.

Like the sailors of old, I am helpless to her call.

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1st place

Last year Mia surfed up into the next age group at her surf competitions. It was a great year for her of learning and evolving her surfing skills. She had a great group of friends to surf with and they really took her under their wings and helped her get the confidence she needed to compete at this level. She was so very small and paddling out into bigger surf than she had ever ridden.

Before she had surfed the 8yo and under division and at that age most of the kids are being pushed into their own waves.  Mia was just learning to surf on her own, and wanted nothing to do with us pushing her in so moving her up into the next age bracket really was a good fit. She still surfed the 8yo and under group, but she really enjoyed surfing with the 11yo and under girls better, even though they were way ahead of her in their surfing skills.

She ended up placing 4th in state, and even though there were only 4 in her finals at state (5 competitors throughout the year, but one girl moved away), she was thrilled.  It wasn’t about winning that year but about learning and growing in her skills.

This year her surfing has really taken off. Her confidence is soooo much better and she is much more bold in her wave choice now.  She decided that with the bigger waves, she was ready for a traction pad to help with foot placement and maneuvering the board better.

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Here is one proud little grom.

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She got a chance to try out her new pad at the first Open contest of the season.  She surfed 11yo and under but this year all of her friends had moved up into a the next age bracket, so there were 6 new girls that she had never surfed with before.

Wonderfully, they all hit it off right away and are quickly on their way to becoming good friends.

As for the contest….she got 1st in her heat, and went on to place 1st in the finals overall.  Go Mia!!!

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It is going to be a fun, challenging year for her.  There will be ups and downs, but for sure all around beach fun!! Can’t wait to see how she grows with her surfing skills this season.  Keep your eyes peeled for more contest news!

 

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Las tres amigas

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These 3 girls are great friends and they surf against each other in contests. Estos tres amigas. They paddle out during a heat and do their best to beat each other, then paddle in to shore and play in the sand together. Mia is a new comer to their division, and the older girls have taken her under their wings and help her along, rooting for her and helping her pick some choice waves during the heats. There is a 3 year age gap between the oldest and youngest.

Surfing and love bridge the gap. We should all take notes from them.

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North meets South

This is what happens when a fierce Gulf of Mexico meets up with a Norther.

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Right before the front the waves were chest high to overhead + and gnarly. All that water moving to the beach and then the Norther hit. Man, it was epic. Girls were surfing and I turned around to see that dark line moving toward us from the north. Mia had already paddled in, and I hoped her friend would see it and paddle to shore as well, which thankfully she did. It hit us as we were walking out of the water. Literally. So grateful, as the chaos that erupted was unreal. Waves got huge. We watched some monsters roll in from the Gulf. Someone got hit in the head with a SUP board and cut his head open. A SUP BOARD! Winds like that can pick up the heaviest of boards and fling them like matchsticks.

This morning I sat on Mia’s bed and we talked quietly as sleepy eyes adjusted to the morning. We talked about how mighty the ocean is, and how awesome our God is for making the fierce wind and waves. I am so thankful for little moments like these.

And for the big ones living here allows us to experience.

She got to see a clash of the Giants.

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Liquid Salt Magazine

I was so very honored and excited to have my writing featured on Liquid Salt Magazine back in December.

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Bill and I had gone surfing with Mia, and I just can’t describe how beautiful the day was.  When we came home, I sat down at the computer to write, and when I finished it Bill said “You need to publish that” and he got on the computer and brought up Liquid Salt and said “Send it to them now”.  And I did, along with this explanation of the text to the editor:

We had just bought a new longboard and hit the beach on Black Friday
to avoid the crowds and craziness.  Water was clear and the waves were clean and
glassy…thigh to waist high.  I watched from my board as my husband and
daughter rode tandem on the new 9’3″ long board.  Such joy!!  Later she paddled
out to the outside with us and surfed those waves on her own board…paddling in
fiercely, and not allowing any help from us. She’s a very small little girl,
just shy of 4 feet tall and 50 lbs dripping wet.  Waves were about chest high on
her and she had a blast. It was an amazing day and I can’t for the life of me
imagine a different life for my family….that salt life.   I  thought about it
and realized that the love of the ocean and the desire to be near it is, for
some of us, a yearning that goes beyond the love of the beach. It helps define
us and our life revolves around the ocean.  My husband and I were both born with
that strong, strong desire to be near the sea and  it seems my daughter feels
the same way.   We also have 3 other children…..3 boys ages 18, 15, and 12.
Only the 18 year old shares with us the love of surfing and the ocean.  These
differences in our family had me thinking, so I sat down and wrote a bit.

To my surprise and absolute stoke the editor replied that evening:

Thank you for writing to us.Today was sunny and warm and the waves were small, but once in the water, I was struck by the clarity of the ocean and the colors. Around me in the water and on the beach were families with kids learning to surf with their dads. I happened upon your email as I got into my car after drying off from a good paipo session. Needless to say it hit me with a lot of impact. I enjoyed every line of your ode and resonated with its meaning in a deep way.  I would love to run your piece on LS……

And he did.

Above anything I have published, this one makes me the most proud.  Not because of the writing…. but to be included among some of the most beautiful and soulful surfers and artists from around the globe.

I  hope you will enjoy my ode and if you’d like, leave a comment there and let me know if it resonates with you too.  Be sure to flip through the pages of Liquid Salt and soak up some of the beautiful Aloha sun, surf and soul found there.  You may look up and realize you have been reading for hours!

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Ubiquitous Costa Rican surf pictures

Because it was a surf trip, after all:

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The surf there was big and gnarly most days, so we would walk down the beach to a much smaller section for Mia to surf. It was just too heavy for her at the main break. She surfed there the first day and got rolled a couple times hard, so she was hesitant to go back out. I don’t blame her. We got a coach to help her into the waves above. She was NOT happy with that at all. She had 90 minutes with him and at one point came out of the water and sat on the beach and said to me quietly “I am DONE with the coach. I don’t need one. I know how to surf”. LOL!!  That a girl!

I took a beating while there for sure. My friend got rolled and her board hit her in the face.  She had blood coming out of her nose and the cut that it caused.  Her husband took an awesome pic of her coming out of the water all bloodied up. Badass!! (say that out loud). Waves were steep, fast and heavy. I probably rode 5 waves the entire week. Not that I didn’t try. I was out every day, several times a day getting worked over. I caught umpteemillion, but would pull out at the last minute. I would scream out in my head “BARBIE!!!”. It is daunting when you are looking down from a 6-10 foot drop and it is slamming over in a barrel. Some days, a few rogue sets would come in that were double overhead. I got rolled again and again. I was frustrated beyond belief….to tears one day while sitting out in the water. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT ALLOWED. Do not EVER cryyy in the water. For shame. I told Bill and he rolled his eyes and said “You did NOT!!”. Yes, I did. Silent, little, Barbie crocodile tears.

Since we had no phones, Billy had taken over my Facebook at home, and we talked on my wall daily. He followed along with our trip via photos and updates. He encouraged us and shared some hilarious status updates of his own, entertaining Mia and I and everyone on my friends list….and they were always in caps. “I LIKE MY SUSHI FRIED!”, “PEACE, LOVE, PUKA SHELLS” and my favorite “YOUR EGO IS NOT YOUR AMIGO”. I wanted to punch him for that one. ;*) When we got home, I said to him “take me surfing tomorrow. I need to surf”. We went, caught waves and had an awesome day. Sitting on my board out in the cold water, I turned to Bill and said “I was beginning to think it was a dream that I could actually surf!” He replied “Me too” and I splashed him in the face with our beloved Gulf waters.

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We are going back to Playa Grande very soon. This time with the whole family. I cannot wait to share it with all my boys. Bill will egg me into the waves by pushing my buttons and I will surf. I have no doubt about that.

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And I can’t wait to see him tear into those waves. That will be, for me, the best part for sure.

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Pura vida

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We are home and trying to acclimate to being back in the mainstream. It is like going from 0-80mph in a heartbeat. The trip was just awesome.

Sunset in Costa

What an amazing, otherworldly place.

Croc

Something in me shifted in a good way. Just a small deviation to the right, but enough to give me that sense of chill again that I have been needing badly. Bill asked me if I had gone “Tico” on him.

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Could be. Could be. ;*)

More pics to come.

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Preparation time for a surf trip

Carver

This weekend flew by in a flurry of preparation for an upcoming trip we are going on. It will involve surfing, warm sand, clear water and a few cold beers no doubt. Until then it is a scramble to get ready to head out of the country.

One aspect of prep for a surf trip involves packing the boards for the flight so they do not get damaged. Bill was head board packer. He’s done this a few times before.

Man of the day

The fins are removed (under the supervision of the littlest surf rat)

Little supervisor

And then the boards are placed in the plastic case with bubble wrap, towels etc to cushion them.

Case

Got a problem in the nose of the case? No problem. Just send in the Gidget’s to do the repairs where no adult would ever fit.

Sending in the midget

Midget repair crew

Here, have some duct tape.

Reparis on the foam

Done!

Packed boards

So, now that boards are squared away, the rest of the week will be packing our clothes and getting the details done. Postings may be scarce for a bit, but keep your eyes peeled for some images from Central America!

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Physics lesson, or magic?

Gravity defied

There is a man who makes these balls and balances them all over the beach near the pier where we surf. Little architectural wonders for us to enjoy. He rides his bike to the beach, then sits in the sand and rolls balls and defies the laws of gravity with them.

I would be lying if I said that I knew how he did it. To be honest, I don’t really want to know. I want to believe that a round ball can perch on the tip of a stick and stay there in 20mph winds without falling.

I want to believe in magic.

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Sunday surf

It is funny how the week crawls by, but the weekend is like a flash in the pan.

Waxing

We had a great weekend filled with surfing, running and lots of kids in and out. Saturday was spent at home doing this and that.  Cabinet doors opening and closing, lots of cups on the counter. Dried, winter grass tracked across the tile. Spend the nights, shrimp tacos, a 5 mile run through the trees.  Exhausted that evening, we watched Netflix while a little one fell asleep beside us.

Tired angel

Sunday was filled with sand and sea. Surfing with Bill and Mia is like escaping to another continent. It really is. A land of endless blues, greens, whites and shades of beige, melting into each other to form our world for a day…for a moment.

Sunday surf

And now we are back to the Land of Reality. School, drivers ed (another driver? oh em gheeeeee), work, chores. We get past Monday, and on to Tuesday for Bill’s half day (ahhhh)….then the countdown to Saturday begins.

3, 2, 1……..

Silver

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Best Ripcurl wetsuit evah!

We went surfing yesterday and met up with the man who wanted to give us a wetuit his son had outgrown. Here is Mia rocking her new Ripcurl E-bomb Pro wetsuit that a complete stranger gave to us.

Ripcurl wetsuit

The generosity of this just blew me away as these are top of the line wetsuits and very expensive. The best part of this is that now the stranger and his family are our friends. Surfers = Ohana. It’s as simple as that.

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Ghost shells

There are sand dollars aplenty on a winter beach. You just have to walk the shoreline and be aware of them peeking out of the sand.

I see so many tourists walk right past a beautiful one hiding in the edge of a lapping wave. I usually call out to them and say “Look down and to your left” and they cry out and quickly reach down and pick up a perfect sand dollar. I rarely pick them up and hand them to the person….it’s not the same unless you pick it up yourself. Many say “thank you! I have been looking for one all week long!!” and I am baffled as to how they can’t see them. I will walk that same beach and pick up 30 or more in an hours time.

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I think to some they are just ghost shells. They are that sought after treasure that eludes them every time they come to the beach. Maybe they just look too hard; not seeing the obvious.

It is Friday. The go, go, go of the week needs to come to a screeching halt. Kids are out of school and the work week is over. I see many people try and cram in activities to keep busy and ‘have fun” only to have Sunday arrive and they feel like they missed the whole weekend. Where did it go? They are exhausted and wish it was Friday all over again. That down time so desperately needed was never found. They had sand dollars spread over their whole weekend but they never saw them.

They tried too hard and missed the obvious. The beauty was lying right there in plain sight, at home, in the simple things. Cooking meals, wearing slouchy socks and talking. Watching a movie with small feet peeping out of warm blankets. Reading together. Taking a bike ride. Listening to the sound of guitars playing in your children’s bedrooms (and maybe some arguing as well…just keeping it real) while you cook. Really, it’s all the little things.

Being together and being content. I think it is a treasure we should ALL spend more time allowing into our busy lives.

I hope you can find something intangible this weekend to treasure. Don’t look too hard…..it’s probably right there in front of you.

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Dedication, or more accurately…stoke.

Air temperature 43ºF. Water 56ºF. Wind 15mph with gusts to 20. Surf waist to chest high on them. Current running north to south. 8 and 11 years old, paddling next to the pier…..the tiny one following her friend like a little duck. This is what dedication looks like. Me? I stood on the beach shivering, with frozen, numb hands thrust in my fleece jacket, eyes on the girls; a sentinal. They paddled out into the ocean, boards running sideways to the current; Mia struggling to stay near the pier and finally allowing the current to take her away from her stronger friend to the breaking surf. She caught the first wave that came to her. I pumped my fist in the air so she could see that I was watching.

Remember this image the next time you worry about your child on the high slide, the monkey bars or licking a cake spoon with raw eggs in the batter. It’s all relative.

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When Mia came out of the water and walked to the warm car on wooden feet, another surfer was grabbing his board to get in the water. He saw Mia and said “Hey, how old are you?” and she replied with numb lips “I’m 8 years old”. The man said “I have a $350 wetsuit that I bought in California for my son. It’s really nice. I want you to have it. My son outgrew it. I have been waiting to give it to someone who really has the stoke. You surfing in this proves you do. It’s yours!”

And so it is with surfers. They are like this. They give freely to pass the joy…the stoke…on to those who understand.

It is a family of strangers.

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After school fun

Mia gets out an hour before the other kids, so we have some quiet time to do homework, listen to music, prepare dinner or get crafty.

She found an old box the other day and made a “car”. She decorated it with various surf logo and played while I made dinner.

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Still a little girl and I hope she stays that way for a few more years.

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Bone cold

December chill

Winter blew in. Her cold air meeting with the Gulf’s warmth, forming fog in protest. It sends a chill down into our bones. We walk with bare feet on sand so cold. Wetsuits are stretched on and they still don’t keep out the icy waters. You wade out gradually, feet numbing, cold water seeping into the seams. Your body warms the salty sea trapped between neoprene and skin….for a bit. It is not really the cold that brings a surfer in, shivering. Okay, well, technically it is, but what truly brings us in is the numbness. Bone chilling numbness…when you can’t feel your hands, your face or your feet.

The waves are good so we stay out as long as possible; huddling down into the icy water to escape the wind and keep warm. We paddle to get the feeling back into our hands and have regret when it does; pain flashing. Finally, even with a nice set rolling in, there is a realization that the point of being “cold” has passed. The body is now frozen. You catch the next wave and ride it to the shore.

Running up the beach on ghost feet and reaching back with stone hands to try and grasp the zipper to undo a wetsuit is comical. Fingers are defiant to the grasp signal coming from the brain; they feel like chunks of wood. At the car the heater can not be turned on fast enough (if you can move your fingers to do it), and the struggle to remove a skin tight wetsuit, without the use of fingers, begins. When the shivering starts, you might as well give up.

Once the blood runs warm in your limbs again, you get that winter surfers glow…..flushed cheeks, salty skin, and hands that are a bit icy to the touch for hours. It makes a warm cup of anything that much tastier. After you are warm, you don’t regret it at all (emphasis on AFTER). You remember fun waves that were good enough to challenge you to get outside your comfort zone.

My threshold for cold is when the air temps dip below 50 and the water temp below 60. And the only way I will tolerate that is if the sun is out and shining bright. I am aware it is not really cold by some standards. I have surfed in much colder conditions, but I can’t say I liked it. I hate to admit it, but I am a fair weather surfer. There, I said it. I just can’t get out in the really cold stuff and enjoy myself. In my head, surfing should not be a sufferfest.

Today the water temperature is 58.8 degrees and the air hovers at 43. It is raining off and on. No sun at all. A cold wind is blowing.

We are home, warm and dry; dreaming of warmer days to come.

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Winter beach

A cold front marched through and cooled things off last weekend and instead of snuggling in the house we loaded up to go surfing. The temperature was not too bad, maybe in the 60’s? But with the water temp down into the 60’s combined with the wind, well, it was chilly.

I went out surfing and then spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get warm. The back of the truck made for a great wind break.

Warming up

When the fog rolled in, the boys got a fire started. A friend brought some yummy chili and after hours of surfing for the kids, it sure hit the spot. We also brought stuff to make s’mores.

Fire and 'smores

Here I am back in clothes and still feeling brrrrr. Once I get cold, I pretty much stay cold and it is pretty hard for me to warm back up. Huddling next to Bill helped…..oh, and the fire too.

Beach couple

The best part of the day was being with good friends. Friends who share like interests are worth more than gold.

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I don’t think s’mores could ever taste better after having them over a campfire on a winter beach. Sand and all. The two girls spent the entire afternoon surfing and must have eaten 10 ‘smokes each in an effort to replenish the 10,000 calories they must have burnt surfing and shivering. I have no idea where they get the energy from. *cough*marshmallows*cough

Making 'smores and keeping warm.
Making ‘smores and keeping warm.

North winds are marching through and beach days will be fewer in the coming months. Cozy days at home will be the norm for January and Febuary but there will still be days here and there to freeze our butts off enjoy the beach and a cold surf on a sunny day.

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Tiny surfer

Don’t let her little size fool you. This weekend she paddled out to the outside with the big girls and competed in the 11yo and under division at a surf contest. She placed 3rd!!! It was her first time to paddle out in a contest without a parent in the water with her. The plan was that she would surf on the inside so we could get to her if she needed help. Apparently she had other plans. They all paddled out together, and instead of hanging on the inside break closer to shore, she kept going. I honestly wigged out and got in the water and tried to swim to her, calling her name and trying to get her to come back. It was super unnerving for me, especially since there were larger waves on the outside and if something happened I could not get to her! Everyone was on the pier watching her and cheering her on as she paddled, and the photographer talked her through where the waves were breaking and told her how to ride the rip out right next to the pier. I heard people saying “Go little girl!!!!!”.

The other girls turned around and saw that she had made it out to the lineup and they were like “Mia, what are you doing out here??” She paddled over and settled in next to her friend, who is an amazing surfer and one of Mia’s BFF’s. I realized there was nothing I could do in the water and that there were 50 people on the pier who would be in the water in a heartbeat if she got in peril, so I and went back to the beach to watch.

A set came through and her friend told her to turn around and paddle for it. We all watched as she paddled hard, caught a wave, stood up and made the drop that looked to be at least head high on her as far as we could tell from the beach. She turned and rode that thing like she owned it. People were screaming, clapping and hooting for her on the pier and on the beach. It was awesome and I will never forget it. I know she won’t either.

Afterwards, we went to the awards ceremony and when they called out that she got 3rd place…competing against 11 year olds…we were so jazzed. She earned it for sure. I have never been more proud of that child. She is headstrong and determined and it will get her far in life, even if she gives her old mom a heart attack here and there.

Earlier that day she had found a shell as we were walking down the sand to the water for her heat. She was holding her surfboard and said “Mom, see that? Get it for me please”. It is a perfect little orange striped shell and I slipped it in my pocket. Later at the awards, I reached in and found it still there. I pulled it out and peered down at this tiny shell that came from so far away to end up in my palm. I look at my tiny little girl and see the same thing. She came to me from the mystery of creation and the depths of love and heavenly mercy. I decided that I would make a necklace out of it. When I put it on, I will remember that day and I may never take it off again.

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Thanksgiving weekend surf

I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving! We drove to Galveston for the day and spent it with our family. I took zero pictures. Zeeeero! I recorded Billy singing in the car on the way there, which was hilarious, but not another pic snapped. If you beg, I might post it here. ;*) Instead I left the camera in the car and enjoyed my day, which started with one of my BIL’s famous Bloody Mary’s. Mmmmm.

We were anxious to get home for a restful, long weekend, so we left late that afternoon. On the agenda was surfing.

We surfed on Friday and had a blast on some little Thanksgiving swell. Bill bought a new longboard on Black Friday (our contribution to the idiotic chaos of that day was to drive to the island and buy a board from our favorite surf shop and immediately go surfing on it. Better than fighting for “stuff” at the stores.), then we hit the beach. Mia surfed on her board, and then she and Bill got up and rode tandem on the new one. I sat out on my board in the lineup watching them and I swear it was the best day ever. I really don’t think there is anything better than being out there, surfing with your husband and tiny daughter. It was adorable watching them tandem on the log. She also came out on her board to the outside with us where the water is way over her head, and paddled into her own waves! Again, I have no pictures. Just snapshots in my head.

On Sunday we hit the beach early. The swell had really died out but we still had some little waves rolling in so we got out there and enjoyed them. We went with some good friends and had a blast.

This time I brought my camera!

Here is Mia paddling into her own waves and surfing like she owned ’em. ;*)

This paddling into her own waves thing is kind of a big deal to us, as it means an end to pushing her into them ourselves. That part of our surfing life with her is over now. Her doing this means she has crossed over into a new phase of surfing. She calls it “real surfing”, and I have to agree with her on that. As a non-surfer, you may not be able to understand how hard this is, especially on that tiny board. Her board is only around 16 3/4″ wide and 5’2″ long. That is one little surfboard! When the waves have some power, it is not too hard, but on a day like Sunday where the waves are little and moving slow, it can be a bear. She did it with ease. We are so proud!

Here she is paddling into her own waves.

It was a beautiful weekend of surfing, oyster eating, chatting and laughing with good friends and being one with that amazing thing called “island time”.

Hau’oli La Ho’omakika’i!!! (Happy Thanksgiving!!)

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She was initiated into one crazy club

The first real cold front has arrived, and with it we pulled out wetsuits. I take Mia and her friend surfing after school once or twice each week. We went yesterday and not only was the air temp around 58F and the water about 70F, but it was also raining and no sun at all. With the air so cold, the water felt like bath water, so the surfing was fine……it was the getting out that was freezing! Chattering teeth, blue lips and fumbling fingers that were too cold to work on wetsuit zippers and such. Brrrrr. Thank goodness for heaters and warm sheepskin UGG’s to slip our feet into.

There will be more warm days to come, so I dont think wetsuits are it from here on out, but yesterday they were certainly in order.

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Don’t let that smile fool you. She wanted nothing to do with having her picture taken. All she was thinking of was the heater in the car. Her little legs were mottled blue and she could not stop laughing. It was her first cold front surf and in spite of the sufferfest that getting out of the water was, she had a blast surfing. We were laughing and laughing because my fingers would not work to snap the picture. She stomped her frozen foot and said “OMG Mom, just take the picture already. I’m frozen!!” After numerous tries and threatened mutiny from the little surfer girl, I finally got a picture.

I just had to have a picture because there is something magical and inclusive that a day like yesterday brings. There are not many people who will get out in the ocean on a day like that. Only a soul surfer will put up with that kind of discomfort to catch a wave. It’s like she became part of the tribe yesterday afternoon. I am so grateful to have been there to share it with her. As much as taking that picture aggravated her, one day she will see it and remember that afternoon at the cold beach.

And I would bet my life that she smiles and remembers that feeling. That stoke to be a part of something so special. That surfing life.

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Getting her first custom board

We spent the summer researching what kind of board to get for Mia so she could have her own board and surf consistently on it. One issue she was having was that she is so tiny, our boards were just too big for her to carry and making turns on a wave was hard for her because there was so much width for her tiny frame. Not to mention paddling. They were too wide for her to really get her arms into the water to dig in and paddle hard. She was also scared to fall on a wave because she was worried about the big boards hitting her in the face or head.

So in early September, with great anxiety, we pulled the trigger and bought her a board we thought would be the right size for her and the right shape to work well in the waves here in Texas. I say with great anxiety because we took a chance and ordered an older model board that has since been replace by new technology etc. It is a tried and true model that works well in Texas coast waves, big and small. The company talked with me about her size, and they scaled one down to her little frame and got started.

It was a long 2 months for a little girl to wait to get her first board. They had a page on their website, and she had a code that she would type in to follow the shaping process and see how far along her board was. Every day after school she logged in and checked her board.

I got the call on Halloween day from our surf shop that the board had come in. Obviously we were busy that day so I told them we would be there the next afternoon. We didn’t tell Mia as we wanted to surprise her.

The next day I told her we were going surfing after school. We do try and do that once a week or so. I pick up her best surfing buddy and we head over to the beach and hit some waves before sundown, so we told her that this was the plan that day. I also told her that I had to stop by the shop and get wax on the way in.

When we walked in, the shop had set the board up on a rack behind a display so she didn’t see it. The girls ran over and got some wax and when they came back over I said “Hey Mia come take a look at this” and she walked around the rack and got her first view of her new board. She stared at it and said “Oh my goodness, that’s mine isn’t it?!!!!” Haha!! Yes it is!!

Getting a new board is like no other feeling. The whole process is so fun and I had such a great time watching her experience it for the first time.

Fins go on! We got her some Flex Fins so if she gets hit with them they will bend and not cut her.

Then the stickers go on. She is a team rider for our local surf shop!

The girls waxed the board up and we hit the beach. See how she can carry her own board with no problem?

Checking out the waves and getting her leash ready.

And here she is surfing on it for the first time. I was worried that she would have a rough time at first because it is so narrow and small. The smaller a board is, the harder it is to ride. But as you can see, she got right up and had no problemo, even on the super small surf that day! All our worry was for nothing.

Big thanks go out to Channel Island Surfboards for making a beautiful and outstanding board for Mia. She LOVES it and it and is so stoked to surf it!!

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A big day for a little girl

Mia lives to surf these days. Its all she talks or thinks about it seems, and she is really getting good at it.

The waves in these pics were, on an adult, probably about thigh to waist high, but for her they were waist to neck high. Its all about perspective. When you are less than 4 feet and a Gidget (girl-midget), 3 foot waves are BIG.

Gidget and Goliath

It rears its mighty head,
a mammoth of the sea
And rises up before us
So wild, so fierce and free.

Fish stream across the glassy face
in harmony they flow
Aquariums of nature
A flash of silver glows

Water surges up and gathers
A steep wall with frothy crest
Eyes wide,  she turns and paddles
Strong willed to meet the test.

I smile,  she stands so quickly!
Glides down the smooth, strong wave
A tiny little surfer
So strong, so true and brave

See, it’s all about perspective
I see a wave so small
But it really is a giant
When you’re on only 4 feet tall

~ Jody

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Dawn patrol and surfing with the pro’s

What is dawn patrol? It is basically getting out of a warm bed before the sun rises, and heading to the beach to get some early waves.

For us it meant a 5 a.m. wake up and being on the way by 6.

Not everyone is a morning person.

We had to leave early, as Mia wanted a slot in the Hurley Rip My Shred Stick contest. She needed to be in line so she could be sure to get one of the limited spots.

It was so worth the early morning. Hurley did a fantastic job with the event. No charge, no booth selling anything. It was purely for the kids and those guys made a great day for everyone. The day was full of energy and fun. Mia was excited at the prospect that Rob Machado would be there. She wanted to surf with him, and he did not disappoint. He was there bright and early with his team mates and Mia spotted him right off the bat and asked for a picture.

Time for her heat!

A shot with her bros who came to cheer her on.

And then she was off to see if she could get Rob to help her in the water. She paddled over and he grabbed her board and walked her out.

She asked him if he could take her out with the big kids, so he did. He told her to be sure and bend her knees etc etc.

Here she is getting pushed into a wave by ROB MACHADO!!! You have no idea how epic this was to watch.

He pushed her into many waves and spent almost the whole heat with her. I was watching from the beach and thinking “Unreal. Rob Machado is pushing my girl into waves in the Gulf of Mexico. Once in a lifetime happening right now and I get to watch”.

I love how he is watching her in these pics. He applauded for her and cheered her on.

He took her out again and again and she had a blast with him.

She has always been a bit afraid to be out over her head in the water, but not this day. She asked him to take her way out and she did great.

They had tons of games and fun on the beach.  The kids played “corn dog” where they got themselves wet, then rolled around in the sand covering themselves head to toe in it!

They gave away lots of stuff to the kids….each one getting a bag filled with Hurley goodies.

What a great bunch of people they are. Rob Machado signed the kids Hurley hats (they got those in the bags), and was just so gracious and kind to everyone. He has a calm and gentle spirit that was inspirational. All the pros (Rob, Pat O’Connell, Noah Snyder) went out in the water with the kids and stayed out for over 4 hours, pushing them into waves and surfing with them. I can wrap it up simply by saying “Hurley ROCKS“!! The Coastal Bend thanks you guys for putting on such a great event for our kids!

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Summer of surfing

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Summer has been in full swing here. I have meant to get on here and post about all the fun we have been having, but honestly, the fun got in the way. Lots of surfing has been going on, trips to the ranch to hunt arrowheads, pool, beach, movies, cooking. Its been good and we still have 6 more weeks of it to go!!

In the next few days I am going to try and play catch-up here and post some of the highlights so far. This pic is from a long, fun day of surfing. After coming in from our session, Mia and I walked down the pier to watch Billy catch some waves. There is nothing like watching him surf. Be still my heart.

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And He walks to me across the Water

2011 was the year that we stopped going to church on Sundays.

It was not something that we schemed or thought out. It just happened. Bill was working very hard over the spring, baseball was going full speed ahead and Sunday became the only day where we had an opportunity to sleep in and catch up on some serious down time.

We did not stop altogether….there were days here and there where we went to our old church, and days we went to a new one. We love our home church and the people in it. Our pastor is wonderful and it was nothing in particular that had us wandering away. When we moved here, finding that church was a blessing to us. We walked in the doors and immediately felt comfort. The kids felt safe and loved getting to know everyone. They were pretty much the only children in the congregation, so the attention they got was a God send amid the chaos of newness.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and as I sit here typing I have to compare it to the security of the small town we moved away from. It was like slipping out of the familiarity of the womb. That nice, soft, safe environment. To this day I am still discovering what God’s intentions were in leading us away. I think that sometimes when you are enveloped in contentment, it is hard to grow in Gods love.

Although why we left is important, I am writing about the journey afterward and the revelation I have had that God was calling us all to know Him deeper. Sometimes, coming off the mountaintop is the only way to fall deeper in love with our Creator. After all, we can’t make the journey to the top if we are constantly there.

I am not sure I have anyone that I would consider a close friend here. I have met people that I enjoy, but outside of Billy and the kids, I have resisted a bond. I don’t know why. I used to be a pretty social creature. I think maybe I was afraid to get hurt. I sort of gave up on people and what their motives are. I really, really lost myself for a great number of years and I needed to collapse into myself and focus on getting to know who I am…who God made me to be from the beginning. I needed to stop concentrating on the voices from all directions telling me who, what, where and how the spirit of God is in my life. I stopped going to bible studies, although I didn’t really know why I did that at the time. I sort of just fell off the grid. I had to get to know God and my relationship with Him in MY life. Not anyone else’s.

Spiritual growth is life long. I just had a conversation with a dear friend and she said basically “I always question people who say they have the answers already and are sure of what God is all about and how we are supposed to worship Him”. I agree. There was a time I felt sure of who God was and I felt that I knew Him……until I was isolated here, went through a challenging illness last spring, and had a month of surfing in September and October that grounded me and opened my eyes. Three days stick out as nothing short of Holy.

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

It was one of those days that you know are special from the minute your feet sink into the warm sand. You squat, waxing your board, looking out at the water and can’t believe that there is not another soul out there. The air temperature is in the 70’s, water in the 80’s. It feels sensuous on your skin as you wade out, jump on your board and paddle out to the waves.

The water is like glass. Waves are rolling in around thigh to waist high and they are peeling off toward the pier just for you. There was this one wave I caught….a nice set came in and it was bigger than the others. It as probably waist high, and it was perfect. A long ride, and peeling off behind me. I looked down and saw clear water to the sandy bottom. Fish swimming fast along with the wave. It was surreal. I paddled out again and sat, just feeling ethereal. I put the palms of my hands on the surface of the water and really felt it. Pelicans landed all around me, floating in the water like angels. It was heavenly and I felt the presence of God hovering above the water….there since the beginning of time. He came swirling around me with the light breeze. A pelican flew by me and I got goose bumps and cried out to it at the top of my lungs “Do you have any idea at all how beautiful you are?!!!”

Another day I sat in similar conditions, smaller waves. A mama dolphin and her baby swam around me. I sat up when I spotted them about 15 feet away and after they dove under, I could feel the water swirl around my feet in little, watery tornadoes…..evidence that they swam under me. They stayed close to me for a bit, then swam off to feed. I would like to imagine she was saying to her baby “The ones sitting on those long things and playing in the waves on them? They are okay. They won’t hurt you.”

The third day the waves were small and fun. What a beautiful day it was. I surfed some fun little waves and at one point I watched as a dolphin came right up to me while I was sitting on my board waiting for a wave. It spy hopped with it’s mouth open them swam by and I reached my hand out and it passed 2 inches from my fingers.

I think sometimes, euphoria is God bursting forth from us in a rush of exaltation. I just could not contain it any longer. I was slapped hard with beauty and divinity.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you….the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (Corinthians 3: 16-17)

I personally could not imagine feeling the spirit of God like that in a brick and mortar building. We have made structures and try to define God in a tangible way because it is our human way of trying to understand and be aware of His presence. We worship together inside and sing beautiful songs of hallelujah directed heavenward. We commune and remember Christ’s sacrifice for us and it is GOOD.

But……truly, He can’t be contained inside!

“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24)

The Lord of all the earth is all around us. Every day. We just have to hold our hand out and touch someone else who is hurting and, just like that, we are in Church. We can forgive someone for a wrong and we are worshipping. You can’t define God. Our rules of worship and rituals are beautiful, but they do not make us Holy. It is God who makes us Holy. It is the blood of Christ. I don’t know what worship is right for you. How you commune with Him is a VERY personal journey that leads through the mountains and valleys….but you can’t hear Him speaking to you until you hush the voices around you.

I want to scream His name over the roar of the ocean. I want to be bathed in the water He created and be surrounded by His creatures. Without the voices of humankind whispering what they think is discernment into my ears and drowning out the voice of God, I want to be acutely aware that he has placed his hand deep in my heart and is stirring my soul to Holiness. Once again.

I sit on my board and I sing hallelujahs that walk on water out to sea, passing over whales and dolphin….to the ears of God. I hear Him answer me in the wind that curls around the tip of a breaking wave. He whispers: “All of this is mine and I give it to you all to enjoy. No matter where you are in your journey to be one with Me, you are always Mine, forever.”

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**someone asked me if I felt going to church was important. Oh my gosh, yes, I do. I grew up in the Episcopal church and I find great comfort in the traditions and service. My Catholic roots go back to Rome, Italy with my grandmother Balducci, extending back since the beginning. My mother and her family were Roman Catholics, so it doesn’t get much more Catholic than that guys. BUT!! I don’t think that going to church means you find salvation. Salvation comes from Christ’s death on the cross. Period. No strings attached. When you take Him into your heart, and truly live life with Him inside you, acts of mercy and love become natural to you. You want to walk in His steps. Faith without deeds is dead. You can’t love Christ and not try to be His hands and feet. It is a natural extension to loving Him. Loving Him and ignoring suffering is rejecting Him. You can’t have one without the other. Having said that, you cannot earn Gods Grace by doing deeds and attending church. Savvy?? Church should not be your focus. God should be. Christ should be. Christ died on the cross and that justified the grace God gives to you freely. A Catholic priest once told me “Don’t be like a dog that when I point at something, looks at my hand instead of where I am pointing.” Church is not the means. It is a place where people gather in His name and worship Him. Many broken people come to know Christ in church. But many come to know Him through talking with individuals who are His hands and feet. THAT is Christ’s Church. Not a building. Not the rituals. Christ’s church is you. It is me. Every day. It is all of us acting and moving to bring an end to suffering and pain. It is called mercy. It is empathy and patience. It is LOVE. I hope this makes sense.

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Wax on

 Water and air temperature the same. Sun bright above. A bikini. The cool breeze on your skin. A fresh bar of wax…..the tropical smell it gives off as you rub it in circles across your board.  This act, and the promise of salt water and the euphoria it brings, is why, IMHO, it’s called Sex Wax.

свети георги

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Surf’s up for Mia

Mia competed this weekend in her first ever surf competition. It was a beautiful day, but very small surf….just right for Mia. She dominated! She got 2nd in her first heat, 1st in the semi-finals, then on to the finals. She ended up getting 2nd in the finals! 2nd out of 16! Not too bad for a girl (mixed gender heats). She smoked the boys. She paddled into her own waves and the two times Bill tried to push her in she got mad at him. Almost all of the other kiddos (one little girl was also paddling in mostly) were being pushed into the waves by their parents. I was so proud I could bust. She is HOOKED. When she came came in from one heat she said to Billy, “Don’t sign me up for soccer. I want to do THIS!!” So begins our first Texas Open circuit. She has high hopes of going to the Nationals next summer. We will see…..

икони

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Winter surf

I know! You are like, “How many times do we have to see your husband surfing Jody?!!” My answer is “at least a couple thousand times”. Seriously, how could anyone get tired of this:

Or this:

I obviously have a thing for surfers. It has been an illness of mine since college. Tans, nice and lean, broad shoulders and strong arms from paddling. I like the blond variety, hand down.

When I first started dating Bill, he showed up at my garage apartment one cold January evening after a winter surf session. He came inside and propped up his board, then curled up on my futon with me to watch a movie. He was all chilly, blond hair wet with salt water, skin salty and smelling of the ocean. I! was! HOOKED!!!

In the winter the water temps here are in the 50’s for the most part, and the skies are gray and dreary, so Billy is in a wetsuit …and I am on the pier freezing my buns off taking pics. Winter surfing can be rough, and although I own a wetsuit, I prefer sunny skies and warmth for surfing…..water temps in the high 60’s and air temp warm enough that I don’t loose feeling in my hands.  Billy surfs all the time. Cold front? He’s on it. Rain and cold? If there is surf, he’s out there. He does prefer the warmth of early fall, spring/summer surfing to the cold, and loathes getting in and out of a wetsuit, no doubt…….

The following images were taken by Jennifer Kidd of Marinedreams, Port Aransas on a sunny day. Aren’t they great? Look at those arms…hubba hubba

……..I loath one on him too. I think wetsuits cover up far too much. ;*)

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53 degrees

Saturday kicked up some great surf for us here at the coast. Too bad for me that I have been hacking and coughing my brains out for a week now, and was not up to immersing my body in 53 degrees of salt water on a cloudy day with temps in the 50’s as well (and for this I am being called a poser at every opportunity since). Lucky for me, my husband is a maniac and he got in the water and caught some great waves for me to photograph.

You can get an idea of the wave height here. Chest to shoulder high?

I love it when he runs his hand along the face of the wave.

Getting out of the water was fairly painful. He got to the car and his hands were completely numb and he could hardly use them. Here he is trying to put on a shirt and remove a wetsuit without working hands. I was really helpful snap, snapping away! I think he said something like “come on, cut it out”. When the numbness wore off, the pain set in, and from a man who rarely curses, I think I heard the “f” word at least a kazillion times.

His body was convulsing with shivers and he continued to do so for easily 45 minutes. I am sure he has close to zero percent body fat, so all he had to keep the cold out was the wetsuit. I would have fared much better, as my body fat is……..um, much higher than his……so I am like a seal. Or a bear. I am my own furnace. But dang if watching him didn’t make me frozen. I was up on the pier taking the pics and hollering down at him “Whooo hooo, can you feel your hands baby, because I can’t feel mine?” which I know went far to making him feel all toasty and warm.

I did finally contribute to his thawing out by climbing in his lap and wrapping my arms around him and putting his hands on my back.  Salty skin, exhilaration from the cold water and waves. (sigh) I love surfers. Especially shopping for new boards with one. The smell of surf wax, surrounded by every board imaginable. “Um, honey, what do the fins on that board look like?” Quicksilver jeans are one of man kinds greatest creations…..

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Robert August, dude!

Roberto

On Friday, our family had the absolute pleasure of meeting one of the surf communities true legends, Robert August.

When he was 18, Robert August and his friend Mike Hynson were documented in the filmThe Endless Summer produced by Bruce Brown, as they circled the globe following summer and finding surf that had never been ridden before.

Meeting him was a pleasure, as he is just such a nice person. He is a vacation local here, and spent the late morning talking with us,
Chatting

and Mia enjoyed playing with his daughter.
Mia and her new friend

He signed Cory’s cap, and a shirt for me. We were going surfing after the visit and had our boards in the truck so I was all “You HAVE to ask him to sign your board, Bill! How cool would that be??”, but Bill kept waving me off. I finally bullied him into allowing Robert to sign his board. Bill now has a Robert August surfboard, signed by Robert August himself. Too cool.

A pleasure

Signed by Robert August

Thank you Robert for your hospitality and kindness. We might just take you up on Costa Rica this summer.

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How it feels

Bringing you right there into the lineup.

Paddling out
Paddling out

Waiting for a set
Waiting for the next set

Catching the wave
Catching the wave

Surfin’!
Surfing

Walling up

Can you feel the salt water on your face? Can you feel how cold the water is, but you are having so much fun it doesn’t matter? Can you feel the power of that wave as it walls up and breakc? The real thing is 100 times better, but for the armchair surfer, this is as close as I can get for you. Enjoy.

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Oh baby

I got my husband another surf board for Christmas, because, well, you can’t have too many when the stoke hits. It doesn’t matter that he had just bought a 9′ Robert August board a month ago, oh no. See, this one is a high performance 9′ board. The nose is slightly turned up, like a snob, and she has beautiful angles. You might just have to trust me on this.

I didn’t plan on buying the board. I planned on getting him a wetsuit, but when I got there and called him to ask what size and style he wanted, I also asked which board it was that he had been obsessing over for the last 30 days. He replied “Oh, no, don’t buy a board…………..but its a Robert August Saber”.

And yes, I bought it. And the wetsuit. And lots of wax.

On the way home I glanced in the rear view and thought “how do you hide a 9′ long surfboard from a surfer in his own house”. I mean, it is not like it would fit in our closet behind my clothes. It certainly would not go in the attic. There was no way to just slip it in underneath the other 4 boards. So I called Billy and chit chatted on the drive home. About 10 minutes into the conversation, I said casually:

“Hey, I was just sitting here thinking about something”
Billy: “Oh yeah, what are you thinking?”
Me: “I was asking myself how to hide a 9′ long log from my husband, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions”
Billy: “You did NOT buy that! No!”
Me: “Are you mad?”
Billy: “Are you serious?”
Me: “Oh yes. The nose is leaning up against my head right now.”
Billy “You should NOT have done that.”
Me: “Do you want me to take it back?”
Billy, very quickly: “NO! Don’t do that.”

When I got home, we unloaded it and he unwrapped a bar of wax and, with something like reverence, began waxing his virgin board.

Oh baby

It was hilarious to watch. I felt like I needed to fan myself. Whew.

Wax on

Why did I do this? Because he would not have done it for himself. It made me feel like laughing and clapping my hands when he saw it.

“But he already had a surf board”, you might say! “And the economy!!! Jody!! you are insane!” Well, you know what? Now he has a nose rider and I went with him to the beach and watched him ride it every day last week. I watched him wriggle into his wetsuit, walk down the beach with his Saber, attach his leash and paddle out into the line-up with all the young guys 1/2 his age….and he smoked ’em. When he came in, his skin was salty and chilled, and as I kissed him I realized that you can bring yesterday back around. And it is better the second time.

That was worth every damn cent.

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Surfer

Saturday Billy and I watched as our son zipped on a wetsuit vest and entered the chilly water to go surfing. *GASP*

Billy said “Now he doesn’t just look like the ultimate surf rat”.

You really have to love surfing to go out after a cold front hits. I mean, it is a suffer fest like no other, and not an activity for those who “say” they are surfers. You can “dude” me up and down, and wear all the right clothes, but until you step into a wet, cold wetsuit, all I see is “KOOK”.

Only a masochistic, addicted surfer would wade out into the Gulf during a cold front.

When Billy comes out of the water after a winter session, his body is cold to the touch for hours afterward. It lowers your body temp that much. I love the way it feels to wrap myself around him after a winter surf session to warm him up. His skin is cool and tastes salty, his face is flushed, and he chatters on and on about the waves. Mmmm. (sigh)

Oh, where was I? Oh yeah. Ahem.

So, to see our son wading out into the chilly surf, we knew he was hooked.

It only took 14 years of watching us to finally feel the stoke. I was pretty sure it would not happen as he was fairly ticked off at us for moving here. I know he avoided the water the fist year for the most part just to spite us. The problem is, it is in his blood, and the kid just didn’t have a chance. He had to surrender to the pull of Nemo.

Now the big question……did I zip up and wade out into the cold-ass ocean for some surf? Not this time. No way. You see, I don’t think my wetsuit fits anymore. I bought it when I was 24 and weighed something like 105 lbs dripping wet. Wetsuits are meant to be tight, but not as tight as I imagine this one will be on me 20 years later. And, no, I won’t go surfing in a bikini and rash guard when the water temp is 65 degrees and the air temp is in the 50-60’s. Brrrrr.

I did try some on at the surf shop and I happen to know that Santa was watching.

I just might find one under the tree this year.

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Stoke

stoked- from Urban dictionary

“stoked” – adjective – to be “stoked” is to be completely and intensely enthusiastic, exhilirated, or excited about something. those who are stoked all of the time know this; being stoked is the epitome of all being. when one is stoked, there is no limit to what one can do.

This, my friends, is the definition of “stoke” in pictures:


Dad gives a little shove into the wave.

Wahine Mia gets right up on her feet.

She checks the little waves out…

Then up she goes.

And down she goes…(see that smile? She is even stoked while falling).

But her stoke is burning.

She grabs the board.

Drags it back out.

And tells Dad “I want to ride another one!”

So Billy takes his little surfer girl by the hand

and she catches another little wave on a perfect fall day at the beach.

It’s just another day in paradise.

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Parents day out

Billy celebrated his birthday just a week or so ago, and as a gift to himself, decided that he wanted to join the long boarders club. After weeks of painstaking research, he is now the proud owner of a Robert August 9′ log and surfing has moved right up there with sailing as a free time filler.

After spending so much time in the water lately, I have my surfing mojo back…..or basically I have found my groove. I feel comfortable on my board again, and not so much like a kook. I pretty much can catch every wave that I paddle for, and it feels so great.

I think that having lost a bunch of weight has contributed much to my balance on a board. It is hard to describe, but I will try. When Billy had the board made for me about 18 or so years ago, I weighed about 105-110 lbs dripping wet. The board was custom made for me. I learned how to surf on it, and had it wired.

Fast forward 40 lbs and you have a very off kilter surfer girl. Everything was off. Paddling was harder, catching the wave was harder. As a wave approached, I had to turn and paddle my ass off to catch it (or not, as the case was 70% of the time). My balance was totally off. I was a kook.

Now subtract 20lbs. Paddling is that much easier. I can literally turn and bury my board as the wave approaches and let it pop up in the momentum of the wave and voila! I have caught it! Yesterday Billy and I went surfing alone together, and I rode every wave that I attempted.

It was so fine.

What was even finer was my honey sitting on his board and “whooping” out loud when I caught a wave. I wish that every married couple could feel the thrill of that kind of bond. There is just nothing like it.

Your friends can’t fill it. Your parents can’t. Your kids can’t.

Foster your marriage my friends. Don’t take your husband or wife for granted. Make him/her your best friend and treat them as such. They deserve nothing less.

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Duck dive

I love watching Billy paddle out into the line-up. He gets on that board, and it appears so effortless to me. His arms stroke the water evenly and his board seems to move as if it is being towed by a boat.

In the photo above, he is about to “duck dive” under the breaking wave. He raised up on his arms, pushed the board underwater and “dove” through the wave. When he got to the other side, he resumed paddling just like that 10 foot wave he just plowed through was never there.

It was a long paddle to the line-up. The images that you see above were shot with a 70-300mm telephoto lens, and I took them from the T head of a 1,240 foot pier. The man is going to be 51 years old in less than 3 weeks.

Sure, it looks effortless to me. I am standing on the pier watching. The reality is that it was hard, and by the time he got to the line-up he was tired and it was difficult to paddle hard to catch each wave.

Still, he made it look effortless.

That day he paddled out there for 3 different sessions. I imagine he burned somewhere around 34,000 calories. He was exhausted, and eating everything in site. I gained weight just watching him eat. It was spectacular.

This summer the kids went to their grandparents for a week, and Billy and I were able to do some things alone that we normally cannot with small children. Surfing together was one of those things.

I had forgotten how much fun he is out on the water. He is so at home there….like a seal. For every wave I caught, he caught 5. We laughed and horsed around, and…..well, I just can’t describe it. It is a different culture all in its own, and we connect there. Billy is the fun, blond, blue eyed surfer boy I always knew I would find.

Ike is making his grand entrance into the Gulf in the next day or so, and as we watch anxiously to see where he will make landfall, as surfers, we just can’t stop thinking “I wonder what kind of waves we will get this time?” A babysitter just might be in order.

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Gustav

When there is a hurricane in the Gulf, the first thing we do, after making sure it is not coming to us is…..check the surf report.

The waves were head high, some big sets that rolled in were several feet overhead. It was fabulous. I made it to the outside once, but the current was really strong, and it did my arms in trying to paddle and paddle to stay out there. I ended up on the inside, and caught some smaller waves there.

Bill surfed until his arms fell off, so I had to drive home. ;*) Just another day in paradise.

**the whole Gustav surf set can be seen here.

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Defying gravity

I love this picture. Why? Well, for one thing it has a hot surfer in it. But you knew that, right? Slim, broad shoulders…ahem.

It is a baby wave….nothing spectacular. Kinda sloppy and mushy as waves go, to tell the truth. But I love it because it is so typical….the arm flying out, sometimes grazing across the water. The way his body leans at angles that defy gravity. How relaxed he is on a board. I am not sure if I can say that I have ever seen him fall.

I love this picture because it is my definition of contentment. Laid back, healthy, hanging on a board on an island in the sun.

La flippin’ buena vida, baby.

On an island in the sun, we’ll be playin’ and having fun. And it makes me feel so fine I can’t control my brain. ~ Weezer

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Introducing the newest grommet of the family!

Wading out into the surf with her dad

Are you ready? Here you go!!

Steady!! You can do it!

Almost up!!!

Whoo hoo!! Go wahine Mia!!

And down she goes…

She was so stoked, she turned the board around and was ready to do it again.

She pretty much stood up on every wave Bill pushed her into. Bill would shove her into the wave, and run behind her, so she was safe. It was a blast to watch….and a bit nerve wracking. The board flipped over and landed on her at one point, but she stood up, flipped it around and was right back out there again. She is tough as nails.

At the end of the day she told me “I want to go home and watch “Surfer Girls” (Blue Crush) with you, Mom.” (imagine my heart exploding)

There is no doubt about it…….she is hooked.

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