Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Row Row Row Your.... Ummm Paddle Board

"If in doubt, paddle out."
Nat Young

Growing up I always had a dream of living by the ocean, but the caveat to this is I grew up smack dab in the middle of Iowa which ironically sits in the middle of the USA. Geographically I could not have lived further away from either coast. My mom grew up surfing Malibu in the 50's and would tell us stories about going to the ocean every day. At that point in my life I could only compare her stories of epic swells to the ripples of the muddy Skunk river near and dear to my inland adolescent heart. Although landlocked, we still managed to mess around with my mothers vintage Bongo Board in the basement while watching ALF re-runs. At the ripe old age of 8 I saw the mighty Pacific Ocean for the first time at Zuma beach. It was an amazing experience and all I remember is from that point on the ocean and I were simpatico. Fast forward about 25 years and I finally made that dream a reality. The family and I moved to Carpinteria, CA; a sleepy beach town in south Santa Barbara County. Carp is hands down one of the last great surf towns in the US.

Upon arriving in California I picked up my Costco foam top surfboard; this board is basically the training wheels of the surfing world.  I soon began the controlled drowning which I would call, "learning how to surf." After a few months and a fine hand shaped Matt Moore custom board latter , my controlled drowning began to look more like actually surfing rather then a shark attack. The peace of sitting in the water waiting for the next wave or just watching the sun go down was like nothing I had ever experienced. I consumed my time living by the coast like the massaman curry I had for lunch today, but just like that delicious Thai goodness my time by the ocean came to end.

I may have moved away from the salt water (Great Salt Lake does not count) but my love of the water carried over into the fresh variety. Although there is nothing like riding a wave; the zen of the experience comes from being on and surrounded by the water. Upon moving to the inter-mountain west, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. I saw paddle boards on what seemed like every other car.  I must admit when I lived by the coast I had no love for the paddle board. To better understand my point, imagine your diving a Mini Cooper and a Tour Bus is bearing down on you. This is basically how it feels when you are out surfing and paddle board is heading your way. After my first summer living landlocked and getting over my schmug surfer prejudice I decided to give it a go. After my first cruse on a mountain lake I reconnected with the Zen moment I found sitting off C Street in Ventura watching the sun go down and seeing the water go from blue to purple to black.

I have my yearly surf trips to the coast and my subscription to Surfer Magazine with the purpose of maintaining my poser surfer image. Defaulting to the realization that I will be landlocked for the foreseeable future, me and my SUP are getting along just fine. This past year and after a ton of research I purchased a Tower inflatable board and love it  If you are in the market, I highly recommend this fine peace of equipment. If have any questions shoot me an email and I will give you the low down, but lets just say everyone I know who has one is pleased as punch. 

Maybe this is all part of my quest to Justify the F Word and maintain some form of coolness in my otherwise middle aged life, but I say it goes much further then that. Being that 71% of the earth is water and life on earth began in the water, there is and has always been a primitive pull that drives man back to our liquid home. If you have never tried it, rent a SUP and give it a spin. I highly recommend going out around dusk with a mind full of thoughts. Once you are on the water you will soon realize what Bear meant in the iconic surf movie "Big Wednesday" when he prophetically declares "That's the lemon next to the pie."   

Like what you have read?  #justifyingthefword or follow me on Facebook @

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summertime Rolls And The F Word Version Of Kerouac's "On The Road"

As the last days of summer are passing as quickly as dollars through my bank account while back to school shopping, I wanted to take a second to reflect on how sweet summer really is.  To set the mood of this post, queue up my favorite summer anthem, "Summertime Rolls" by Jane's Addiction. Now that the mood is set, let’s go for a swim....

 Summer has different meanings during each phase of our lives. For example, when I was 14 I had, quite possibly, the greatest summer of my existence. Life was pure innocence and all we did was skateboard, listen to bad punk rock, fish, and swim in the river (OK, there were a few weeks of indentured servitude in the corn fields mixed in with youthful bliss). Responsibility was basically non-existent, but we were old enough to have a sense of independence and moped licenses.  The combination of the two crafted the perfect non-repeatable "Sandlot" summer of my youth. With the bar set high at 14, I have since had summers of vagabonding from town to town throughout South America. I've spent summers playing 4 to 5 nights a week with a band.  Finally, and most exciting of all, living through summers working 60 to 80 hours a week and having the season blaze by me like quality forest fire. 

Although recreating the great summer of 14 is basically impossible, there is a certain bliss that is found when the weather stays warm and Mr. Sunshine hangs out a bit longer. Having a family of my own has caused me to do reality checks from time to time in-order to insure that I do not get so lost in work and life priorities, that I fail to help my kiddos have the kind of experiences that I did, and will forever remember. 

Reading Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" in my early 20's, fueled my already overindulgent sense of wanting to take in the world, and I did. The theory of Kerouac's life experience is sound, but different stages of life require different types of involvement.  Being realistic and no slight on Mr. Kerouac, beat poetry and living with migrant workers is not on my almost 40 year old ticket. At this stage in my life, "On The Road" consists more of "road tripping" in our minivan and slinging idol threats about leaving my kids at the next truck stop, than an introspective cross country hitch hiking walk about.

While I will always look back with fondness and envy to the summers of my youth, I do not wish to be 14 again.  There is, however, no reason why we as a justifying the F word nation, cannot create amazing summers! We can have memorable summers, not only for ourselves, but also for our minion clan.  Please post a comment at the bottom of this post about something you did this summer that justified the F word!

Like what you have read?  #justifyingthefword or follow me on Facebook @