Life of Lou – Part I


When he felt his back go pop, Louie shrugged it off as a consequence of his job in the ever-demanding iron working industry. Surely the bumps and bruises came with the territory. But this was neither bump nor bruise. And when his back continued to affect his surfing and his livelihood earlier this year, a doctor’s visit revealed an emergency back surgery was necessary. Couple the surgery with a probationary sentence and a meager disability check and some would have given up the boog altogether given his troublesome position. But instead Louie made it his prime motivator for a full recovery.

When the first pics surfaced from Louie behind the lens a few weeks later you knew the passion was still there. And it sure didn’t take long for the kid from Grover City to make it out in the water himself in limited action. Stories continued to arise throughout summer from the Pismo crew about Louie’s steady progression and reincarnation into his old recklessly controlled surfing form.

Well, I got to see it in person a few weeks back while visiting the 805. The local dropknee crew was in full effect with most everyone out milking the more predictable and lazy outside peaks at the local beachie. Not Lou though. He was back in the shorey where he belonged, giving it go after go with that all too familiar playful grin. He hadn’t skipped a beat.

Along the way Louie kept good documentation of his past year. Fishing, camping, lurking, and photography kept him busy during recovery down times. His luck would finally change when he was cleared to surf. Happening upon an abandoned GoPro in the Oceano dunes meant he could now capture some of the local action in motion. Below are his two first edits from the new rig. We’ll show some of his surfing photos in the next update.

The other West Coast

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Full write up to come, but to sum it up. 6 days in Peniche, 3 nights in Porto, 2 in Santiago, Supertubos, empty beach breaks, lucky reefs, 5 germans, 1 kiwi, 2 fins, lost keys, Una guapa Portuguesa, hair in the sheets and Galatian wind.

Rummy Nights, Groundhog Daze – Mexico 2009

The Wave by Louie Robles
Our first look at the ocean was almost hypnotic after our long travels. But that was nothing compared to what we were to wake up to the next day, “perfecto” DOH uncrowded vomiting monsters. I mean…the thickest chunkiest projectile vomits with literally not one person out. I think Wonka was the first one to get in the water. After watching him battle a furious current we knew where not to paddle out. Everyone was getting sick ones. Alex was just blasting through barrels like a camel, Wonka was dropping in to monsters like a pelican, baby seal was doing what baby seals do and suicide Joe, just…the name says it all.

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The Crew by Joe Statom
Waiting in line at LAX, I’m starting to get amped for Mexico. Not only because of the swell forecast, but also because of the crew that we had assembled for the trip. I see three guys walk into the airport with huge, overstuffed board bags on their backs. Louie, Willie, and Frankie: DKers straight from the dropknee hotbed of Pismo Beach. Yes! The time is approaching! Me and the other two brothers Camel were also in on the action. Here’s a quick rundown of the crew:

Louie “Salt-tooth” Robles was ripping the first couple days of the trip until a set wave lipped him and a knee injury forced him into permanent cameraman duties. His habit of putting salt on everything he ate was very influential upon the whole group. I now have become addicted to salt-covered ice cubes.

Willie “Perfecto” Richerson’s fluent Spanish and apt use of the word “perfecto” whenever possible saved us many times from almost certain death. His early win streak in our nightly rummy games led to marked cards and extremely high tension. He also recently earned his second straight photo atop the rookiesusa home page which is no small feat.

Frank “Down Syndrome Stretchy Pants Elephant Seal Baby” Robles is quickly earning a reputation as the newest edition to the Pismo Dropknee Parthenon. Although his Spanish skills won’t be turning any heads, his bodyboarding skills will.

Alex “Robot-Foot” Statom’s feet began amassing duct tape, puss, and pepperonis at such an alarming rate that by the end of the trip, there were many who weren’t entirely sure if he was human or a cyborg sent from the future to kill us all. He also scored more barrels than anyone not named Harry Hop-Up Henderson.

Nick “College Kid” Statom had to fly in a couple days later than the rest of us after about a month of hanging with notorious Rookie James Murdock and doing research for Scripps in Hawaii. Even though he claimed to be rusty after his surf hiatus, it was clear that he was still at the top of his game.

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The Deck by Alex Statom

Upon exiting the airplane we were blasted with a wall of tropical heat and humidity that immediately put all sweat glands on overdrive. Luckily the acclimation only took a few hours and by the time we reached our final destination we had embraced the salt and grease that would steadily accumulate throughout the trip. Soon the filth was looked upon as a badge of honor. Showers were looked at in disdain, shaving was blasphemy, and putting on a new tee was cause for insult and mockery.

Our home base was all you could ask for on a Mexico trip. All frivolous luxuries were washed away and we were left with the bare essentials of surf travel. No TV, no fridge, 3 worn mattresses, and a sketchy shower/shitter combo were all just afterthoughts to the main attraction: a big second story deck with some old lawn furniture and the best view $40 dollars a night can buy. For the second consecutive trip we had scored the best room around with a 180 degree view of the offshore spitting peaks just a hundred yards away. After finishing a surf it was the perfect place to come in and claim your best barrels, describe your worst thrashings, cackle at each others blown waves, or heckle the Stepoff Stans outrunning barrels in the distance. And once the afternoon surf session and dinner scrappage were complete, the deck transformed into the home for our evening entertainment. Frank brought a mini speaker system for his iPod and it provided a classic rock soundtrack to our increasingly intense rummy games. Corona megas were slammed into our bellies and occasionally onto the ground. Tensions mounted as Willie’s win streak continued and his inflated ego chaffed at ol’ Lou’s hide. Luckily, confrontation was avoided as Willie hit a well-timed cold streak and his relentless heckling finally came to an end.

Sure the surf was insane, the adventures into town and up into the mountains were fun, and our big night out at Club Glass was literally a blur. But for me the deck was the essence of this trip. With your cards in one hand and your Mega in the other, spitting sunflower seeds on the ground while talking trash to the other shady characters around the table as perfect beachbreak tubes crashed in the dark just a stones throw away… you can’t ask for much more from a Mex trip.

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The Culture by Willie Richerson

The Drunken Troubadour
Everyone on the bus sat silent, waiting for him to get up or at least move. Louie, Frank and I wondered if the drunken old man had died as he fell into the aisle, his head contacting metal with a loud crack. He had sung a heartfelt song at our breakfast table just minutes before. We had tipped him enough to get a bottle of coke to accompany his tequila. Did we really hear his final song?

Slowly his legs stretched out and two men helped him to his feet. He mumbled something as thanks and immediately he began strumming his guitar and belting out the same song he had played for us earlier. A great recovery, but not a single person tipped him and he stumbled off the bus into the scorching mid-day sun.

The Biting Fish
The local bus station dumps you straight into the central market where you can get an epic meal for under two bucks, some sweet new clothes, or a big raw chunk of beef or pork, unrefrigerated.

One afternoon we took three separate buses, past the giant cement factory, to a natural spring called Los Amiales. The water was clean and clear, and felt great in the mid-afternoon heat. All of the sudden Alex let out a girly shriek when something began biting at his ankles. The round wounds from his fins looked like small pepperoni, an inviting snack for the small hungry fish.

Besides the surf, riding the public buses, windows wide open, catching glimpses of the simple lifestyle enjoyed by these smiling people, makes any trip to Mexico feel like a true vacation.

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The Nightlife by Nick Statom
Well, there was the weekly Tuesday techno bizarro bonfire with the world’s best vegan ski teams getting extra enthused about their tow partners just a stones throw from our suite balcony. But we resisted the urge to partake despite persistent growls from the Gremlin. Instead we opted for plan B: surf our brains out all week while keeping it mellow during after hours in hopes of an XXL night on the town come Friday.

That’s not to say that the simple pleasuries of dinner at Tsunami followed by Corona Megas, fistfuls of sunflower seeds, and roust-fueled rummy games was a depriving affair in the interim. In fact, this option became a rather welcome routine throughout our stay and five simple ground rules became readily apparent after the first night: (1) DO NOT drop your Mega, (2) DO NOT leave an oversized discard pile for Willie to pick up, (3) Roust the fuck out of Willie if he picks up said pile, (4) Wear bug spray – lots of it, and (5) Keep the iPod jams rolling at all times. Such refreshingly simple forms of entertainment were not a bad way to break up the long, humid nights and relax while recounting another days’ pumping surf with five of your closest amigos.

When Friday did finally come we did not forget. Transportation plans to our nighttime destination of Glass were made days in advance. Megas and bottles of Jimador were purchased. Appropriate clothing for the club was tracked down. Local girls were enlisted. Pepperonis were concealed. We were ready, Freddy Got Fingered style.

The two hour transit huddled in the bed of Edgar’s truck wouldn’t kill our buzz. Neither would the tropical deluge that struck around the halfway point. Nope, a week’s worth of buildup and a potent Squirt/Jimador combo carried us onward, and carried us directly to the doorstep of Glass in a drenched, dazed Pismo heap.

Unfortunately the insides of Glass didn’t quite live up to our collective hype. There was no dancefloor, a crowd that was a little too posh for our filthy third world expectations, a cover and pricey bottle service. But we had turned that corner long ago and went right to work nonetheless.

Alex peaked way too early and we propped him up on various pieces of lounge furniture a la Weekend at Bernie’s to avoid getting 86’d. Joe didn’t need any propping to find himself double fisting local scenery with his suicidal tendencies. Louie wasted no time in establishing a pseudo dance floor within our own growing entourage with some spectacularly unexpected Grover City house party moves. Willie delighted and charmed the locals with his perfecto Spanish; Frank’s lack thereof made for some classic one liners. Frothing in unbeknown territory, the Pismo sum outweighed the individuals on hand as we fed off the distinct personalities of our posse and let loose until the wee hours.

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The Food by Frank Robles
The grub in Mexico was too legit to quit to say the least. Eggs and bacon for breakfast, tortas for lunch, then topping it off with chicken tacos for dinner I meeeean fuuuck it was heaven. There would be multiple smoothies taken down each day by the crew which now have taken a special place in my heart.

Fortunately no sorry soul was struck with the crypto creep on the trip, just some pretty heavy morning tequila shits after a couple long nights of getting weird. There was one particular night that the crew took a big roll of the dice by taking down some pretty sketchy tacos on the way back from Colima. I thought for sure one of us was going to be wounded in the morning after those tacos but our shit stayed solid. Mexico was insane so many memories and good times, I am sure we will all be going back soon for round two.

* * * * * * * Mas Fotos * * * * * * *

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all you can link buffet

aidenYou know its been waaaay too long when Andre’s gone hare Krishna, Jono’s made a comeback, Aiden turned uno (flashback), and Adam landed back in Espana. Shit, even Tom “Corpse” Robinson got a new nickname, scored a cover, and underwent multiple makeovers since our last transmission. God we’re so out of the loop. If the internets were Vegas eateries, we’d be that sketchy offstrip buffet in comparison to the Spongercities, Transitsurfers, and Spongewarriors of the booger world. Our links are a bit older, opinions a little more biased, and news a little less relevant, but fuck our bacon and eggs really are the shit. So grab your fork and dig in as we cover lost ground and cure our summerlong hangover.

bubz-fish-photos-09-058It’s been a busy summer for the Central Coast crew. Kellen’s been fishing, Adam’s been saving lives, and Ralphy’s been getting weird when not getting all Wayne Cochran with his clients’ pompadours. Good news from Murdock who recently graduated to two fins (not one!) after recovering from ACL surgery. He claimed that there were a couple Backdoor OS nugs during the most recent big Hawaii swell which is always a good sign this early in the season. Speaking of one fin, rumors have it that Roldan got his Red back, still ripping the CC on one blunt after his fateful ankle injury last winter. Cale Moore just got back from Nica with plenty of pictorials to come in a future update/interview. And finally the Mexico invasion with the brothers Statom, Louie and Frankie Robles, and Willie Richerson also was a successful mission. Here’s a tease. We promise more in a coming etcetera. Until then here are some links to hold you over:

– To get the Mexican juices flowing – no not those juices – check the Expedition Series’ new Mex installment. (p.s. Jacob’s still got the steez.)
– Bodyboarding and Bullshit. Check the new 805 homepage. You know that it’s not totally defunct if even Post Surf gives the forum a mention.
Le Boogie, a new zine with Toinz as its mastermind. Promo vid.
– Get your buttfuck on. The Schneekloth blog has arrived.
– The Waldron Bros made a full fledged site for their podcasts here. Check the teaser for the upcoming Winny mini-series. Winny Interview.
– Our friend Pez has been working hard behind the lens both in Mexico & Cali of late.
– He wears face paint and cuttoff jeans but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. Thrash’d The Movie by Todd Barnes. Wowie this should be a good flick. Thrash leftovers.
– Blogosphere: Botha, Feast, Stone, Robinson, Hubbard, Skipper, McBride, Galagher, Smith, Lackey, Wright, Gurney, Max, Bunting, and Jackson all have updates
Free Asthmatic Giant! show, Delmore BIA
Trent Mitchell photo essay gold. Regular site. Interview. He can surf too.
New glaser site, photo of the year
FOCUS Bodyboarding unveils some top notch Reunion talent: Charly Chapelet, Yoan Florantin, Dropknee
Morey adds Cali boogies Erichson, Creed, Sani, English and Meyer to their growing team. Twitter.
– Pics: Zenfilmz Hawaii, Peniche Sumol Pro, DKS09, Bodysurf.com, Riptide Exclusives, Bodyboard Cover, Riptide Cover
– Vids: Knights comp highlights, Feast is a beast, Sintra Pro 1 2 3, EBB Pro, Paused, Knights Pro, Honeybone, Julien Miremont, Sherwood Teaser, Ewan at Sterns, Pastiche Leftovers, Stalk II Promo, Mickey Smith standup vid, P L C, Evoke the Stoke Teaser, Brazos, 662, Softcore, Clap PLC/BP
– If that wasn’t enough check these randoms: El Nino?, IB09, GoPro HD, Canon 7d, Dane Williams Memorial contest, Winners blog, new Youriding, Crysis online, SenNoSen

Link of the Week: Ben Lee rules.

Notes from the Rock ‘n Roll Expressway Volume IV

Asthmatic Giant! Tour Diary
By Darren Delmore

7/25/09 – The Hotel California, Leucadia, California
Hellmore brings his alibi to visit a haunted man in Northern San Diego County.

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The driveway to the sober living farm snakes up a mysterious wooded hillside in rural Leucadia, California. I follow cardboard signs reading “50¢ Reed Avocados” while The Beatles’ Abbey Road plays in my Enterprise rental. I’d cut a privately booked Asthmatic Giant! performance short at Emilio Estevez’s Malibu estate to get here before visiting hours were over. Luckily, Heinous Chanus performed the last half of the three hour paid time slot under his new electronica moniker Skeletal Pelvis, with his girlfriend on the banjo and the chick from The Wine Loft on synth. It was good money.

Many of us have been in this position before: when a person close to you says “no” to life. When a close friend lands themselves in the hospital with slashed wrists or drug stuffed livers, crying out incomprehensible message board screen names and vineyard sites when the I.V. administered medication starts running low. Like many geniuses before him, it finally happened to Taras of Surfing photography fame. Last week he was found stumbling on Highway 246 in the Santa Rita Hills with a belly full of Herman Story “On the Road” Grenache and a good month’s supply of Soma and Darvocet.

I was the second guest Taras had requested a visit from at the farm. The first was Danny Bridge of La Jolla, whom I was told by the receptionist was never allowed on the grounds of the recovery center ever, ever again. “Piss on Daniel Bridge,” the old woman summed it up.

Back in December at Casa Dulce studios wherein Asthmatic Giant! was recording, there were no red flag indicators about Taras’ now notorious nervous breakdown. He had just come off his “Quality Suites Encounters 2008” World Tour as DJ Ukrainian Cellphone and had an eyebrow raising amount of cocaine and cash on him. Our triple LP self-titled release was two months late, thanks to a sex-related back injury on my part and a number of passionate and drug related outbursts by the front man of our group, including the night he broke my Gibson SG electric across my head over the debate of whether “Hossegor” would be a synth or guitar based jam (he obviously was leaning toward synth). With Taras in tow, we had to rush through “El Corazon de Pete” and “Ode to Poe”. The tracks were recorded live. He didn’t seem to mind the frantic pace, laughing a lot and drinking through a case of Hug’s 2007 Patchouli Clitoris Vineyard Pinot Noir, with The Ojai Vineyard Bien Nacido Chardonnay palate cleansers thrown in for good measure.

Months later during the final mixing of the vocals at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, H.C. and I exchanged a heavy look of profound realization at the soundboard over Taras’ contribution to our album. The wailing on these cuts sounded very much like a nerve-rattled man who’d seen the very head of Van Curaza pop up from his toilet at first whiz in the morning light, chewing him out for not cropping out the backdrop of Lighthouse in Surfing Magazine. Our record label famously canned “Ode to Poe” because it chose not to shell out the royalties to the dead dark poet, but “El Corazon de Pete” became the emotional crowd pleaser we continue to close sets with, thanks to looping his harried vocals in.

As I pass the Mission estate house with its red curled tile roof and the words “Hotel California” painted above the front entrance, I see bandanna wearing hippies to my left working an heirloom tomato field in tank tops. Large avocado trees form a wall around the parcel. An older woman wipes the sweat from her brow as she passes with a pail of water. I drive around the back, following the printed directions from the doctor’s receptionist. At the dead end I see two questionable cottages, and the one on the right is allegedly Taras’. With ease, I envision a crime scene here with an ambulance and paramedics pulling out a stretcher and a news van and police officers raging. In short, my good friend could well die here.

I get out of the rental and walk up, opening the waist high white picket gate. The skull of some animal is hanging like a wreath on the front door, a big black painting covers a smashed out front window, and broken camera equipment and annihilated surfboard parts are all over the place. I notice variously stained boxer brief’s scattered around the yellowed lawn. All is not right with the world, according to this scene.

After my all time most tentative knock, Taras opens the door shirtless, with white thermal pajama bottoms on and bandages up and down his arms. He’s grown a beard and his eyebrows are well connected with a touch of grey. He smiles and shakes my hand, and his face looks normal almost. I feel just like old times for a moment, until I remember what this place is and why I am here.

He leads me in across a floor covered in ants, old Wall Street Journals, cans of paint, Surfing Mags, and vinyl album covers of The Beatles and The Who. Suddenly out of a pile of Orange County Registers something squeals and hisses and rushes by. “What the hell was that thing?!” I ask him, lifting each foot up off the ground. “Oh you know that’s the possum,” he replies calmly. “That’s my friend, Darren.” Talk about uncomfortable silences.

The walls of the tiny room have become one large mural, with the faces of everyone Taras knows plus weird celebrities and obscure musicians on there in a crowd. “So man,” I start and fail. Speaking with a recently suicidal man is not exactly the easiest conversation to initiate. What do you say? “So you’re still uh… you’re still here.”

“No two faces are the same,” he says, repeating himself a handful of times as if I’m gone now, with his wild eyes on the mural. I locate me on there and I’m holding a bottle of Clos Pepe with wine stained lips and my glasses on. I’m next to Elliot Smith. Two red fountains of consumed wine are spraying out of both of my nipples onto the faces below me, which include Casey Koteen from Transworld and Jamie Brisick. A Jeff Tweedy album plays on the record player. I walk over into the kitchenette area and notice the Lex Records contract for U.K. vinyl reissues of DJ Momma’s Kitties on a small table in the kitchen unsigned.

“God they buttfuck me here, Darren,” he quickly whispers to me. “You have to get me out of here.” I turn around and he looks dead serious. His fists are clenched. “They force feed us space cakes at sunrise, and a half hour later they come in, put on Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and buttfuck everybody.”

“Whoa Taras, that sounds horrible.”

“They stuff organic vegetables up my hole at night sometimes.”

“Well at least they’re… you know… don’t have pesticides on ’em.”

“I wake up with ants in my anus.”

“Man, just-just settle down a sec. Wait, this is a uh… this is rehab, right? Like, come on, an accredited establishment with… with rules and a business license, isn’t it?” My first instinct is to rush to his aid, but I don’t entirely believe him.

“I have every ice cream on the market in my freezer,” he says, opening up the freezer and proving his point with hundreds of dollars worth of ice cream. The rest of the refrigerator is empty.

“Do you uh, do you really live with that possum? In here, man? They let you do that?”

There is a shift in the energy of the room then, and his face goes white and mortified. He clutches himself in a psychotic pose before wailing “Camel Caps Lock Faggot!!! Bandito Del Agua! I’m gonna buttfuck you Thisismyusername!” Two thick older men in blue doctor getups rush in and push me aside, grabbing Taras and rushing him into the back room. They restrain him on his hospital bed. I stand at the doorway and say “He’s-he’s all right fellas. He’s okay.”

“Visiting time is over!” the guy with the ponytail shouts at me.

“Beat it!” says the red haired freckly one.

“Buttfuck! Buttfuck!” Taras wails as they hold him down. “They’re gonna buttfuck me!”

“Give him an IV of the Romulan!” the ponytailed doc yells out, taking off his pants and grabbing a jar of lube. “Quick!”

“Buttfuck! No!”

“Shut it, artsy fartsy! You’ll be seein’ all them pretty colors you love seein’ so much in no time. Give it to him.”

A green liquid is injected into his left arm and suddenly his eyes look up to the ceiling and his body turns to jelly.

“Turn him over,” the red haired doctor says. “I got sloppy seconds last night.”

Speechless, I back out of the doorway. As I scramble with my keys to the rental car, I hear the wailing. It’s the same wailing made on “El Corazon de Pete” if you listen closely to it. It is in essence the heart of Pete, and that heart is blackened for now, and forever more.