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California, Part II

Way back in February, while I (Chris) was surfing on the web, I found Addict Surfboards, based in San Diego.  After talking to Micah on the phone, I was convinced this guy would be building our short boards which we would need for our trip to Indonesia where the surfing is more suited to riding the shorter boards designed for more aggressive waves.  Micah was so stoked on our pending adventure and totally understood and relished the chance to build us boards which would take us through what we hope will be a huge progression in our surfing as we go from pretty beginner surfers to seeking out some gnarly reef break waves.

The best thing about Micah is how personable and stoked on life he is.  For those of you that know our good friend “The Vulture” (“Our Framebuilder”) you have a good starting point for knowing Micah, who we now only half jokingly refer to as “Our Shaper”.  These two share a real treasure of getting to build people their toys for their chosen passions, and they both take great pride in the joy they bring to us with their craft. A pretty cool gig.

So, on Tuesday, after 6 months of waiting, we went to the factory to pick up our new boards.  His and hers (so cute) custom made for each of us.  We showed up at the factory, met Micah and his crew and got the full royal treatment.  I guess, surprisingly, its not every day that a couple shows up with a Baja-prepped rig heading off on a year of surfing.  First thing of course, was grabbing onto the new boards, complete with custom paint jobs which we designed for ourselves.  Katy’s board is, of course, cool artsy and micro.  They’re both so light and we’re stoked.  Micah then spent a couple hours with us showing off his shop, purposefully designed for shaping, painting and glassing boards.  We were impressed to see the acetone recycler and other measures they have taken to reduce the impact of our new toys.

After leaving the Addict factory with our new boards we headed to Mission Beach to stay at “Ducey’s On The Lake” with our friend Dan Ducey (Dan is a Sales Rep for Metolius Climbing, where Chris used to work).  Dan has a rough gig as well, as he lives on the beach with arguably one the one of the best boardwalks in Cali.  We arrive and find some nice surf and building swell.  Gulp.  We quickly setup new boards and paddled out, knowing that the boards are tiny and we’ve got a long way to go to proficient at surfing these things.  Rough job, but oh am I looking forward to all the spills and thrills on the path to being a surfer.

Speaking of being a surfer – Today Katy and I were talking…when do you call yourself a surfer?  For me I think I’ll claim the moniker tomorrow.  Since I grew up in Southern California and my parents took me to the beach as a little kid, I always thought of a “surfer” as more of a personality trait rather than a skill.  For that reason, the first day I stood up on a surfboard a couple years ago in Mexico did not make me a surfer. In the same way, donning 5mm wetsuit in December in Oregon didn’t really make me a surfer either.  However, tomorrow we cross the Mexican border, really setting off on something we have both fantasized about many times in life:  setting off on a year of the surfing lifestyle.  We’re packed, loaded and finally its time.

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California, Part I

Okay, still trying to figure out the blogging thing…. apologies for the double posting, but here’s the complete post now.

After days of partying, packing, and moving out of our house, we have finally left town and are on the road.  We spent two nights on the road on the way down to Huntington Beach to see Katy’s oldest and dearest friend Jana.  As we negotiated through Orange County, we found ourselves in Katy’s old neighborhood in Costa Mesa, where she lived until she was 11.  What a trip!

Just to get our stoke on, we spent yesterday at the 2011 Hurley Pro surf competition at Lower Trestles with Jana and Joey.  Not only a beautiful world class wave in one of the last remaining “rural” beaches of Southern California, but the world’s best surfers in one place.  What a treat to see Kelly Slater, Josh Kerr, Owen Wright and so many other pro surfers up close and personal.  Chris reverted to a twelve year old kid, gazing up at his heroes, saying, “This is rad!  This is rad!”.

Today we finally got our feet wet in Huntington with a big crowd, small waves, long lulls, and many dolphins.  From all my time swimming in the ocean as a kid, today was the closest I’ve ever been to dolphins.  I could see the texture of their skin and could’ve stretched off my board and touched them as they slowly went past me.  Truly beautiful.

After HB, we spent a few nights at San Onofre at the San Mateo Campground.  We were completely surprised to run into some friends from Mexico, Mike and Tracy Day, camping three spots away from us.  They are flatwater paddle racers and were here for the Battle of the Paddle at Doheny.  This might be definitive proof that the Bryce/Kratsch household cannot go anywhere without seeing someone we know.

We are now camping in San Elijo, enjoying the sun and the beachfront camping.  There is a red tide, which makes for spooky daytime surfing in the murky water, but the electric phosphorescence at night is spectacular.  It’s like a fireworks light show in the water!

Oh yeah, Katy sold her Titus mountain bike in San Diego – to a nine year old.  I know this will make a lot of our friends laugh.  Check out the photo of the shredder.

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We Need to Talk About Your TPS Reports

As of today, the same day that President Obama revealed the American Jobs Act, we are both officially unemployed.  How ironic.  We are no longer doing our American duties by (cue the Marketplace theme song) “contributing to the economy” and helping “raise consumer confidence and spending”.  Sorry.  Bummer.

Chris’ last day of work was today, and I think I am more exhausted than he is now.  He spent 3 1/2 years, a blink of an eye mind you, in corporate cubicle world.  Every Sunday evening was spent working, getting ready for the week.  Working weekends and 12 hour days were normal.  And if he wasn’t close to poking his eyes out with an ice pick, I was ready to doing it myself just to put him out of his misery.

As we prep and pack, reality is setting in that we will be gone for while, and at times it is overwhelming.  I spent most of Tuesday aimlessly wandering around my house, trying to devise a plan of attack for getting everything cleaned, organized, packed and stored.  I looked at boxes, looked at my things and decided that maybe I should just check Facebook again, now that time is on my side after all.  I didn’t get anywhere that day, but I did find myself spending hours sifting through old photos, journals and mementos of past adventures, wondering how we made it this far being desk monkeys.

So here’s hello to new experiences and bye-bye to cubicle-land.

Una Mas Cerveza, Por Favor?

In planning for any excursion, whether its for the weekend or the year, you inevitably have a list of things to get accomplished.  The list is usually a range of things, from big to small.  For instance, our list looks something like this (Note: This is only a portion of it. The real list is about a thousand times longer):

  • Research and purchase insurance for truck.
  • Make doggie first aid kit.
  • Figure out a place to stay in Hong Kong.
  • Find someone to rent our house.
  • Get camp chairs.
  • Record all property for insurance.
  • Create wetsuit repair kit.
  • And so on…..

And then at the very bottom of the list it says “Learn Spanish.”  This is funny.

Curious person:  So, that’s cool, you are traveling for a while. Where are you starting?

Me:  We are going to spend six months in Mexico, driving through Baja, then crossing over to the mainland.  It’s gonna be fun!!!

Curious person:  Sweet!  You must speak pretty good Spanish.

Me:  Uh, yeah…sort of.  You know, I grew up in California, and starting taking it in 8th grade.  And I’ve been to Spanish speaking countries a lot.  And… you know, er, uh.

Yes, we really did make a “doggie first aid” kit, that’s how organized we are.  But the Spanish….Point is, we’ve had YEARS to brush up on the ol’ Espanol, and what have done?  Nada.  Ah, it’ll come back!  Right?

On another note, this certainly made me chuckle: Stuff White People Like #120 – Taking a Year Off.  Every time I say those words: “We are taking a year off. We need a break.”, I cringe inside because of this!

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