MY NEW FRIEND LARRY

So I might have a new favorite rapper. If this was a youtube video, the title would for sure be clickbait. I don’t think I’ll ever have a favorite rapper other than A$AP Rocky. But I do constantly have a rotation of new and old acts alike flowing through the airwaves. Sometimes I might listen to a ton of more artists than Rocky, but I just know he has lasted the test of time and always will be. But finding a new sound that you really mesh with is something special.

I have a pretty funny music group DM that fires on all cylinders just about everyday (I am apart of the problem). There is constantly someone dropping something in there that almost everyone scopes and has an opinion on. I can definitely say I’ve been put on to a slew of good music from the people in the chat. Anyway, if someone really is giving someone high praise and is ten toes down with an artist, I feel obliged to give it a go. I had someone who definitely meshes with most of the sounds I like (shoutout Tom) mention a guy by the name “Larry June.” He was claiming Larry was his best friend.

I was so confused, but had a little drive queued up so I took a playlist he made me and let it rip front to back. If I really am interested, it’s not hard to lock in and listen. And I usually give it a solid go if I am going to bother. I was about to listen to the whole 40 song playlist, no skips. By the time I was 5 songs in I was on it. This dude was sliding over the crispiest beats. I was so floored. This was going to be easy and enjoyable. As time went on, I figured out details that made sense why his sounds appealed to me so much and needed to call Tom to profess my love for Mr. June. 

There are two aspects of his music that REALLY make me ride with Larry June. And this is the first one: lyrical content. The things Larry raps about are things both so similar yet so distant to me that it is almost comical. Definitely a street dude that is rapping about cars, watches, money, and so on, there is a whole other side to his lyrics. Larry is pretty much a health coach to some extent. Adlibs like “Good Job Larry” or You’re Doing Great” are positive affirmations he is telling himself, something no rapper would be so vulnerable about. You also can gas yourself up off them as well. To double down, he raps about more literal health. Green juices, all organic, and smoothies often grace his beats. Going back to him rapping about money, Larry completes the wellness triangle with the third health: finances. Larry raps about how important having a good credit score is. He raps about owning property and business. He raps about worrying about making money rather than spending it frivolously. Larry is your health coach with some twang. He tells it to you in a language we understand and digest so easily: music. 

The second aspect are his beat selections. Larry has roots from both ATL and SF, two hip-hop areas of dominance. That’s the mix of beats and delivery that sounds so good paired with his bars. The producers he works with are some of my favorites. To sidestep, I grew up on Wiz Khalifa, so around the second listen of Larry I looked at the credits and it made sense. Cardo, Sledgren, and Harry Fraud. It’s been a while since I heard wiz on a beat by some of them, and I think it’s because Larry has been swooping them up. The songs sound so good in the car, as I am sure Larry made this a point as he loves cruising around. The beats also lend heavily to his features. It’s not uncommon to find fellow west coaster Dom Kennedy or equally-as-chill Curren$y on the track. 

Speaking of chill, the way Larry lays the bars over the beat is so chilled out and easy to listen to. Never is Larry rushing through the bars or losing the pocket of the beat. It sounds almost too easy to him. He really lets the beat breath. I think a way he can pull this off also are his array of awesome adlibs. After a couple songs you get the ad libs stuck in your head, and in the funny delivery in which Larry sends them to you. Larry loves to eat good. Larry loves mojitos. Larry loves to take girls to Benihannas. Larry loves Tito’s Vodka. And I love Larry. After listening to him for the whole forty songs, I knew exactly what Tom was talking about. Larry is also one of my best friends now. I think our friendship is meant to last. 

Meet Your Next Surfboard

Besides Asher Pacey, this is the benchmark for high performance fish surfing (Asher’s boards have a lot more high-performance attributes to them, whereas Burch rides more traditional fishes, what I am trying to get you on).

To keep something fresh, sometimes changes need to be made. Mindset, environment, etc. The list goes on and on. Some people might fear change. This is definitely a problem, considering no man or woman has achieved greatness by staying stagnant or true to their routine for too long. Sure, having something dialed feels good and if they are good habits and routines keep them going. But the old saying goes “variety is the spice of life”, so incorporating things outside of your comfort zone is essential for development. 

Hard cut. 

Everyone should own a fish. And no, not a gold or beta fish. A surfboard fish. It can be a twin fin or a quad fin fish. Ideally, start with a twinnie. If you happen to be my friend and ever talk about what board you want next, you’ve heard of this spiel. Unless you have a concrete image of the board you want, I always recommend a fish. A fish is classic. A fish has truly lasted throughout the test of time, and are having a huge resurgence. You probably see just as many fishes as shortboards in the lineup of recent (especially back home, where waves are tiny and weak).

There are two main reasons I recommend someone starts riding a fish. The first one is that it gets you in the water when the waves don’t look that fun. Personally, I think fishes tend to almost work best on medium to bigger canvases. It’s hard to fit such a wide and voluminous board in such small curvers. But having a short, wide, chunky twin fin fish can get you out there when it’s two-feet-and-firing. The glide these boards give you is unlike any other. The fish can help get you in the water when it is tiny. Take off and instantly you get a burst of speed. Catching waves is also a breeze, and you have to catch small waves first before you can surf them. Also in the bad wave spectrum, super fat reform waves are also the bread and butter for a fish. Generating speed easily and having the float and glide to get back to the power source or hop to another power source on the same wave are how the fish fries fat waves. A low rocker and middle to front of the board wide point help you catch waves and glide effortlessly. 

Now on the other hand, owning a fish and riding it in both good waves and bigger waves can really open a new realm to your surfing. Riding different boards forces you to draw different lines. And the line you can draw on a fish is a fast one. Whether it is highlining a section instead of going low or getting in front of the wave before burning speed going back to the lip are things a fish is more conducive to rather than your standard shortie. Since the board isn’t as sleek as your regular shortboard, having a bigger more slopey than steep wave really grants you a blank canvas to paint upon. Riding a fish in these waves makes it really hard to get back on a regular board afterwards. And I know I am not the only one who feels this way. 

The lines you learn to draw on your twinnie can really open up new routes and ways to plane when you hop back on a shortboard. Also in this same realm, getting the feel of the twinnie and then hopping to a quad fish will just elevate the ability to rip the same lines. Currently, I am stuck on quads. The amount of speed you can generate is incredible, and works quite well at walled beach breaks or gutless reforms (unfortunately the bulk of what I surf). Surfing your shortboards with the same flow and routine you might on your twinnie will eliminate extra pumps and help you draw cleaner, smoother lines. You will learn how to ride the contour of the wave for speed instead of hopping around pumping. In surfing, speed is your best friend. So gaining it effortlessly is always an added bonus. 

If you don’t have a fish yet in your quiver, get on it. This is for my friends on both the east and west coasts. Getting those sneaky fun sessions when no one is out (almost impossible in California but very apparent in New Jersey) really keeps the stoke high. The days when you don’t expect a surf and end up scoring a fun little 30 minutes or hour are when you leave the water with the biggest smile (only tied with when the waves are absolutely cooking). I know, surfboards aren’t the cheapest things in the world. But next time you are looking to grab a freshie, looks towards the fun twin finned fish to round out your quiver.

This is more realistic: smaller waves with no push featuring Mr. Burch.

It’s Already August…

Vector calendar for 2020 year on black background. EPS10.

Wow, time flies. 

We constantly are spending hours out of the 16 hour machine, assuming you get a recommended 8 hours of sleep. I feel like 6-8 hours of sleep is pretty solid for someone who is trying to function properly and keep their body healthy. Let’s not get distracted though. We are almost in a time machine right now (not the hot tub kind). Days come and go. Weeks come and go. Seasons come and go. Blink twice and it’s a new month. What have you guys been up to? Staying productive? Keeping it G? I want to know. Just a heads up, there isn’t much substance behind this post. I am just giving you fair warning before you continue to move forward. But nonetheless, I felt like checking in. The year is past the halfway mark. We are almost out of 2020. 

Can you believe it is already August? How fast time flies. The saying goes “time flies when you are having fun.” Are we having fun? The easy answer is no. How could we be having fun right now? The world is in a shitstorm (cite this as my tenth time referencing the state of mother earth). So why is time flying? We surely aren’t enjoying every minute to the fullest. Or are we? I look at it this way: there isn’t a lot we can’t do in this situation. We can definitely voice our opinions and fight for causes we believe in, but as far as COVID-19 and certain situations regarding work, we are just making due with what we’ve got. The playing field is leveled to a certain extent. We either take advantage of what we can or wait patiently for things to get back to normal. But how long will it take?

Hopefully not long (this is wishful thinking). It seems like certain states and zones are doing a lot better than others. But this thing is so big and prevalent that I don’t see it ending in the near future. Some places are doing quite the opposite of the better performing zones, instead taking steps backward instead of forward. As someone living in Southern California, specifically Orange County, I don’t see an immediate remedy for us. There has been a second outbreak that shut most things back down while they were only open for less than a month. It’s still quite weird, since it is summer and places are bursting with people all over on the weekends and even during the week. The lineups are crowded and it’s as congested as if there wasn’t a virus. Like I said earlier, it seems like a lot of people are just rolling with the punches and trying to have some fun. We are trying to make the time grow wings and fly. And if the indication of how fast this year has gone by means anything, it seems to be working.

It’s crazy to think 2021 is around the corner. It feels like we just started 2020. Soon enough fall will be easing in, and the heatwave (for some places) of summer will be long gone. The crowds will dwindle and we will be back to the start of this crazy year. The year starts in winter, and is going to end in winter, cold weather and holidays included. How will our fates be decided in these next couple months? Will there be a halloween? Will Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations be dwindled down because of this state of the world? Are these even important things to care about? There are huge problems in the world right now. And while these things that are directly in our orbit seem important, there are definitely other things to focus on currently and direct our attention to. It seems like every couple weeks something truly catastrophic happens, and the memes about canceling 2020 start popping back up again. No matter how bad we want this year not to count or be a joke, it’s very real. All we can do is take what we’ve got and run with it. It’s already August, soon it’ll be September, and don’t blink: or it’ll be December. Keep it going. Keep moving forward. 

Living in the Paddle Battle Capital

ABOVE: AN EXAMPLE OF PADDLE BATTLING AT IT’S APEX (AT LEAST IT IS FOR A LICK OF WORLD CLASS WAVES).

Southern California is a tropical paradise. Ok, tropical paradise might be a little bit of a stretch. But in my short life and sheltered viewpoints as far as travel and locations, California really has it all. Nice weather most of the time, fun surf, nice beaches, cute girls. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I have longed to live in California since I was a child. Sure, I might like the beaches back home in NJ more. And the pizza is not as good out here. Back home, Summer time was crowded and congested. Where I live, it is even worse. Southern California definitely has a crowd problem, both in and out of the water. Nothing grinds my gears more than trying to navigate an uber-crowded lineup or waiting 45 minutes to get into a bar just to order 2 drinks before it’s time to go home. Fun stuff. All this bitching and moaning aside, California for now has my heart, and it’s not too hard to see why. 

But let’s hone in real quick. If I had to have ONE major qualm with the golden state, it involves surfing. California single handedly has to be the paddle battle capital of America. I’m sure you make the argument that peak season on the north shore might give it a run for its money, but California 365 days out of the year has to have the most wave hungry surfers. In some instances I get it. I know that if I am going to surf a battlefield like Lowers or pumping 56th street, it would be cute to think I wouldn’t have to get in peoples space and take waves. I think that’s maybe where it starts: having to actually take waves in order to catch them when it’s crowded. I like to think I give people a decent amount of waves. And I don’t get many given back to me. On a rare occasion someone that isn’t my friend will chest pass me a wave. I always make it a point to thank that person afterwards, much like if someone gave you a free coffee or something like that. It’s just basic etiquette. When I am not catching waves and no one is giving any waves away, this is when it gets eggy. I think this sometimes brings out the absolute worst surfer in me and others. While I always am respectful and never burn or heavy back paddle people, sometimes I give out absolutely zero handouts and sweep up every wave that comes where I am the deepest (unless a friend is on the shoulder). 

Now I can recognize this and slow it down, but for the most part if I am being respectful I don’t see too much trouble in it. No one bitches at other people when they are catching a ton of waves, but for some reason I tend to cop it on the head pretty often. Certain places require this cutthroat mindset, as much as you dislike having to throw it on. The problem arises when people resort to shit etiquette to catch waves. Getting super close to someone while paddling for a wave, telling them to fuck off, or just blatantly burning someone is when it tends to cross the line. The best part: the people who resort to this definitely are in the bottom of the talent pool when it comes to ability. They can only catch waves by doing these strange actions. Or their uber-macho localism shines through and they just feel they have the right to deliver fades left and right. Luckily, it is not like every session we have to deal with this. But if the waves are good, the chances of a lineup altercation or getting torched increase exponentially. 

Even on the smallest and most dismal of surfs, I can find myself getting paddle battled to catch a two foot closeout. In these instances, we just need to lighten up and laugh a little. Nothing is better than really wanting to catch a wave (a shit one at that), making sure the person trying to shoulder hop sees you, and then that person lets out a sarcastic statement or still decides to go because maybe you’ve been getting a bunch of waves or they haven’t gotten one in 20 minutes. Often people like to say shit just for no reason or fade you just because fuck it. There are a lot of bad eggs in the California lineups. No matter how shit of a session I am having or how crowded it may be, I can proudly say I rarely fade people. 

Lowers is in a whole different universe in itself, like we touched upon earlier. People will do anything to get a wave out there. And I have been on the receiving end of a lot of these strange exchanges. In my mind, if I can’t get a wave the right way, without back paddling anyone or doing anything that would label me as cheap, then I might as well just not catch that wave. I have caught plenty of sets there without any foul play. It’s not the hardest thing to do. Unfortunately, a lot of other people do not feel this way. There are so many tactics and ways to appear like you are in the right, but at this point I just kick out. People really can get offended if you call them on their bullshit, even if they are blatantly in the wrong. Some people really just don’t get it. Or really think their ability or some other defining factor about them makes it ok to act up in the lineup. 

However, I think this passage might be painting the wrong picture. As my years of living in California lengthen, I tend to know the nooks and crannies to enjoy a peaceful, quiet session as long as it’s under head high. And there are plenty of times everyone is smiling and sharing waves. We just came off a pretty fun run of swell, and it seems like everyone has had their fair share of waves. With a long flat swell incoming and summer crowds still looming their ugly head, I am positive the next solid swell we will have plenty of  people that are going to be going mad to subdue the wave-stricken appetite of not surfing a head high wave for a while. If you find yourself tangled up in one of these strange altercations next time you are in the water, just shrug it off and keep surfing. Like I said in my last post, surfing is so fun. Don’t make it not so fun for the others around you. 

Surfing is so fun. 

man-surfing_1f3c4-200d-2642-fe0f

Surfing is SO fun. 

You’d think for how much I surf, I would write about it so much more. But if you breeze through this blog’s past, there aren’t a ton about it. There are a handful of ones that are reposts of some of my academic work, which I leaned on surfing as the subject matter like a crutch. Sure, I had a lot of classes where surfing couldn’t fit the subject matter or examples. But any class where I could take the bulk of the writing any direction, I flung it at surfing. It’s so easy to write about what you know. And it’s easy to write about something you do so often. Like for me specifically, I could write about drinking coffee, listening to music, etc. for hours easily. Just everyday shit. 

So here I am, penning a piece about surfing because it’s just been so fun. Surfing is always fun, but sub par conditions, bad weather, or surfing solo a bunch can make it harder to have a ton of fun. But right now that definitely doesn’t apply. The water is warm, and can be enjoyed in boardies or a spring suit. This already makes the average surfer stoked. Add in nice weather, decent conditions, and a positive attitude and you can have a ball. I’m getting to surf with a ton of my friends, and getting to see stoked faces more and more. Everyone just seems happier in Newport when there’s swell around. I could be wrong, but I like to think it’s true. There’s always one or two sour apples out there, but that’s just California.  

Surfing is a ton of fun because you can ride different boards to experience a completely different ride. From as simple as coming off a log to your first shortboard or jumping from different styles of board, the difference in ride can bring a smile to your face. You can try and emulate your favorite surfer, or work on different parts of your surfing. And all this time it’s any level. I know because a ton of my friends caught the bug, and are frothing even harder than me to catch a session. Hearing their stories get me stoked and chomping at the bit to get some water time. Whether it’s them wanting to switch up the ride or me jumping from fish to shortboard to soft top, there are an array of possibilities.

A great example of using different paint brushes on a canvas.

Surfing is so fun to watch. Whether on a computer screen or in the lineup. Finding myself surfing good waves and specifically Lowers means the sideline show is almost as fun as the main event. Seeing your buddy get a sick one or cheering on a random person is another way to enjoy it. Sometimes the most fun sessions might be because of the company you are with, not so much the wave quality. In the opposite sense, sometimes there is nothing better than surfing alone. It just feels right sometimes. Surfing alone in a crowded zone sucks, but surfing with not many others around and having your own little chip peak is a sure-fire way to crack a smile. It’s when the euphoric feeling of surfing is most prevalent. Just you and the ocean, and if you manage to fit into a vortex at this moment, you might think you are dreaming. 

I think the final reason surfing is so fun is the same reason surfing can be so torturous. Torturous might be a strong word, but nothing can eat away at you (or maybe this is just me) like blowing a good one or just having a shit surf. The same way having a great surf can put you way up, this can put you way down. The learning curve is the final reason surfing is so fun. Nothing is more exciting than learning something new or performing something you are proud of. Conditions pending, you can always take a new approach or learn new techniques while you are surfing. There is an infinite learning curve, and factoring in equipment changes really makes the possibilities endless. With that being said, once you know what a good wave feels like or how a good turn feels, every time you come up short can slowly eat away at you.

In the long run, the best way to enjoy surfing is to be thankful you can do it (this is in reference to when you are having a shocker or just not surfing as good as you’d like to). Some people live in less wave-rich spots, some can only get out on the weekends, some don’t live close to the beach at all. No matter how shit of a surf you have, thinking about just getting in the water and enjoying nature in its purest form is an easy way to turn that frown upside down. Take it from me, I find myself having to do this pretty often (unfortunately). But not recently. There is a tribe of us that is only growing stronger and stronger. Surfing has reached peak popularity, and more and more people frequent the beach for a quick pre-work surf. While sometimes this drives us crazy, seeing others enjoy the fruits of the ocean and being able to share moments with them is something special. Ride something different. Draw new lines on the wave. Work on technique. Just got surf. Good waves or bad waves. Big waves or small waves. Just go have fun, because surfing is so fun.