Oct 13, 2019

From Jonathan


Hi Paul,

I intended to write an account of my time in Raglan for your blog, but the truth was, surf-wise, it was pretty unremarkable. I just wasn’t feeling like the experience I had (which was more focused on my friends and the quiet beauty of the place than on the surf) would have fit the surfmatters bill.

But now I’m home, dog walking full time. The contrast was profound upon returning. I’ve included a few pictures that might be nice for Surfmatters.

When we were talking about mat riding in artificial wave pools a while back, this is what I was living in! Without a lot of good surf on this trip, I though a lot about the broader picture of what “surfing” meant to me… and it was appreciating the whole experience, the environment, the journey to the shore, the weather, the animals, the people. Steve Pezman wrote something I agree with in a recent Surfer’s Journal to the effect that surfing was all these extramural things; that wave pool surfing was something, but not surfing.

There was SOME quality wave riding though :) 
Right at the end of my trip. I had to go find it away from Raglan, dog-sitting down in the same fertile wave zone as last time. That vacation-within-a-vacation delivered good, uncrowded surf every day. I only brought mats - my Lotus, and the two I left for my friends four years ago, my Standard and my first ever mat from you, the Tracker Roundtail, circa 2010. Both these mats still held air :) and both went great! Those sessions were like dying and going to heaven - long rides without crowds or even anyone at times (!), and plenty of room to refine/explore how to maneuver and make it down the line. Mostly at the long left hander in the photos, pictured on different days in different moods. My go-to spot, five minutes from where I was staying :)

The messy right hand point reminded me of the spot Nat Young and GG rode in Crystal Voyager.

One funny story to go with one of the photos: the golden retriever I was sitting was pouting because his family was away, and then he disappeared overnight. I was terribly worried, and emailed the owners the next morning. They told me to get in their car and head out like we were setting out for his walk. Not 30 seconds down the road, the damn guy appeared in my review mirror INSIDE the car - he’d spent the night in the back! WTF!!

Another photo shows the ripples running along the inside of the harbor. The little waves made a sublime sound, something like a bucket of water pouring, an almost laughing sound... incredibly soothing and relaxing.

Also included a few images of some of the more choice book covers from the little bookstore I worked in.

Anyway, this was meant to be brief :)

Really hoping you guys are well, and that we all make this gnarly section that’s looming ahead….



Geoffrey Levens said...

Jonathan, thank you! That was a real breath of sanity in the mostly psycho world of what now passes for "surfing".

misterdirk said...

Beautiful account. I can almost relate -- I spent a few long stays at Raglan in the 80s and 90s, but was riding my Lis fishes, not mats. Also spent 6 quite feral weeks at Kiritehere; ragged surf but a grand experience overall. I'd love to return with only mats before I'm too old for it.

Geoffrey Levens said...

Misterdirk, when I lived in Santa Barbara in the mid-late 1980's I frequently saw a guy out at Rincon named Snodgrass I think. He was well into his 80's I think. (PG might be able to shed more light.) I remember him laughing in the lineup saying that his wife would complain that all he ever was interested in were surfing and sex. So theres hope for us all! I think mats are less taxing on the body than standup boards so that should push our window into our 90's, "Lord willing and the crick don't rise."

Paul Gross said...

Snodgrass was a retired dentist named Dr. Rae. (At least, that what I heard.)

He was decades ahead of his time...sitting (to the consternation of many in the lineup) out in the ocean a big board, and gliding into swells 50 yards outside of everyone...like an SUP or a Frye 12 footer today.

Once, out at Rincon, I complained to him about the south wind that was blowing, and he tore me a new one. He said something to the effect that we we're all going to be dead in 100 years, so enjoy whatever we had now!

Geoffrey Levens said...

"Once, out at Rincon, I complained to him about the south wind that was blowing, and he tore me a new one. He said something to the effect that we we're all going to be dead in 100 years, so enjoy whatever we had now!"

HAH! Yeah, that's the guy!!!