Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BA's Surf Turf Tours

LA JOLLA — Only miles from the scenic vistas and celebrity mansions that draw sightseers from around the globe -
but a world away from the glitz and glamour - a bus tour is rolling through the dark side of the city's embattled surf zones.

Passengers paying $65 a head Saturday signed waivers acknowledging they could be crime victims and put their fate in the hands of tattooed surfers who say
they have negotiated a cease-fire among rivals in the most localized surf turf in the world.
If that sounds daunting, consider the challenge facing organizers of La Jolla Surf Wars Tours:

Trying to build a thriving venture that provides a glimpse into surf localism life while also trying to convince people that surf gang-plagued communities are not as hopeless as movies depict.

"There's a fascination with surfers and their localism," said founder Bill "BA" Andrews, a founding member of La Jolla's Satin Swell Surfing Association©.

"We can either address the issue head-on, create awareness and discuss the positive things that go on in these communities, or we can try to sweep it under the carpet."

Several observers have questioned the premise behind the tours, and some city politicians have been more blunt.

"It's a terrible idea," City Councilwoman Ima Dorkette said. "Is it worth that thrill for 65 bucks?

You can go to a (surf) movie for a lot less and not put yourself at risk."

More than 50 people brushed aside safety concerns for Saturday's maiden tour to hear how notorious surf turf gangs got started and bear witness to the struggling surf neighborhoods where tens of thousands of kooks, barneys and donkeys have attempted to crash the lineup.

The chartered coach, plastered with logos from every surf company in the world, wound its way through coastal La Jolla.

The first sight was a stretch of beach and a thatched hut featured in such movies as "Another Wave" and "Southern California Son" where countless splotches of gray paint conceal graffiti that is often the mark of surf gangs and tagging crews.

After that, it was on to the West End, home to many a thug and some of Mac's ashes.

Serge Lumpkin, 46, an American Studies professor from the University of Freiburger in Germany, said she enjoyed the opportunity to interact with present and former gang members.

"It brings to life the class divisions you have in America," she said. "This is an area that's blocked out of my mental map of the States. It's important to get a firsthand account of the area."

Junior high school teacher Priscal Rickshaw, 37, was of two minds about going on the tour after reading critical blog comments about it being "surf ghettotainment."

But ultimately, she was pleased she went, and said she appreciated the focus on trying to help the community.

Andrews, 105, a has been / never was surf activist, has worked with the lack of faith-based Church of Endless Waves and Smaller Bikinis to distribute hundreds of surf rules to low-IQ kooks across La Jolla's beaches, left surf gang life about five years ago.

He stresses the aim of his nonprofit company is to bring jobs to communities along the route and to reinvest money through micro-loans and scholarships, though he's not sure how the tour will accomplish that.

He also stressed that he accepts cash, checks, money orders and Pay Pal contributions.

He also eventually wants to start a gallery, surf museum, and another Red Mountain Inn.

He said the tour will create 10 part-time jobs, mainly for ex-surfers working as guides and talking about their own struggles and efforts to encourage violence in the lineup.

The tour is initially scheduled to run 3 times a day, depending upon surf conditions, sobriety of the surf tour guides, and parole enforcement.

No tour quite like this runs elsewhere in the country. Chicago has a prohibition-era gangster tour, and another San Diego group buses people to infamous crime scenes, and good Mexican fast food joints.

Andrews faces a quandary as he tries to show the troubled history of the area once known as Barrio La Jolla, before politicians renamed it just La Jolla in 2003 in an attempt to change its deep association with surf turf strife.

The tour is billed as "the first in the history of San Diego to experience areas that were forbidden." But tour leaders don't want it to be voyeuristic and sensational.

"We ain't going on no tour saying, 'Look at them WindanSea guys, look at them Shores Guys, look at them Bird Rock Bandits'" said Frederick "Mooks" Smith, an ex-surfer helping narrate, who helped broker the cease-fire among the Nautilus Crips, El Paseo Grande Bloods, and the New Jersey Reef Walkers.

Out of sensitivity to residents, passengers are banned from shooting photographs or video from the bus.

The only place that is allowed is near the end of the trip, at the far north end of Black's Beach, when they can step off the bus and film an outdoor area where nudity is permitted.

If done right, the tour could highlight the decades-long struggle to solve the localism problem, said civil rights lawyer and gang expert Rod Kingfish.

"If it is carried out well and carefully and carried out with the consent of the community, it could teach people about the very entrenched culture that surf gangs now have in La Jolla," Kingfish said.

City Councilwoman Barney McDonkey said he would rather tourists see the development potential in the neighborhoods that make up part of his district. About two years ago, he organized his own tour in the area for about 200 real estate agents and business representatives, resulting in the development of buildings with homes and businesses.

"I'd prefer we focus on showing the community in a positive light," he said.

All credit for this latest load of crapola belongs here

Knowing the San Diego Union as I do, I was a paperboy in 1958, they will eventually will archive the above link - I certainly ain't smart enough to come up with an idea like this on my own!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

La Jolla's Animal Farm - Part One

BA's Notes -
You gotta be kidding me - I don't know if I should laugh, cry, throw an epp, or???

Was the New Year's Resolution for every donkey in San Diego County to become a La Jolla surfer?

I was thinking that maybe, because I've put a billion photos up, that it was all my fault, but then, on second thought, as egocentric as I am, I ain't that much of a driving force.

I've watched surf spots between Black's and South Bird go from when it was rare to see more than 3 or 4 surfers in the water at the key spots, to now, when it's rare to see fewer than 25 people out at second tier spots at 6:00 AM

Oh well, the barn door's wide open, the donks and turkeys are free ranging it.

Finally gone thru today's Animal Follies Photos - What other sport can you mix a brew of expert participants, barney participants, and throw 'em into one lump?

AND then, of all things, have a swimmer and his personal photo eddie in a board surfing line-up?
By the way, we got kicked out of Boomer, North and South, in the early 60's - no boards allowed - ouch!
BarnYard Photos 1
BarneyLand Photos 2
MoonDonkey Photos 3

I have friends who quit surfing in the early 60's 'cause the Gidget and Moon Donkey became popular.

I have even more friends who quit surfing in the early 70's because every barney in the world became tethered to their board.

I'm getting a couple of new boards next week, it can't get better for me - we may have lost a few battles the past few weeks - but the war goes on.

It looks like we are gonna have a few days of rain - polluted water - stay home - be safe -

For you, all my little barnyard friends,
I will become your Hep C magnet, I will sacrifice my health so you may surf another day.

Stay home - stay well - be safe - if you're over 18, get your tribal band tattoos updated, have a few kids, and if you're over 21, drink gallons of booze, often.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Riding The Silver Stallion

"Hey BA, where were you today, surf too big for you - you little girl?"

No - you're right when you say the surf was too big for me, but, I have an excuse, I was riding a modern version of The Silver Stallion.

About 300 BC, when I was performing the saber dance with melanoma, the docs ran a battery of tests to see if I might live more than 6 months.

I told one of my co-workers - a little old guy who looked like Santa Claus -about one of the more fear provoking upcoming tests.

He laughed and said, "wait 'till the doc goes 'around the corner'!"

So, when it was test time, I bent over and rode the Silver Stallion.

No problem, so I laughed a bit.

Doc sez: "What are you laughing about?"

I say: "Well doc, I got this mental picture of my Santa look alike co-worker in the same position I'm in, this ain't so bad!"

Doc sez: "Wait 'till I go around the corner!"

Yowza - not a lot of fun.

So, stupidly, I've been avoiding the procedure since then.

"Modern fibre-optic proctoscopes allow more extensive observation with less discomfort."

Fast forward to 2010 -

Prompted by the fact that of my friends, John Brower, just died of colon cancer, plus the fact that my oncologist kept insisting I do The Test -  I went to the father of the most tubed surfer in the world - Dr. Roseman.

Tested on Friday, 15 Jan 2010  - passed with flying colons, err, flying colors.

I got a 10 year pass 'till the next one.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Hey BA - Why Are You A Half Man?"

It has taken me almost 5 years to get over the fact that I'm kneeboarding rather than vertically surfing.

After multiple broken bones and multiple surgeries for a variety of issues, I have finally come to grips with the fact that when the waves are hollow, I'll be on my knees.

I started kneeboarding when I found I was letting good waves go by because I did not think I could stand-up quickly enough to make the take-off.

After all, the stoke I've always had from more than 50 years of surfing was the take-off, the drop, the first turn and then setting-up for...hopefully...a bit of a tube ride.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When Passion Trumps Common Sense - or Sense of Any Kind

The squid run begins

The yakkers' run begins

The lifeguards begin saving the yakkers

Don't be stupid - it's a 40 MPH onshore wind - and even the commercial boats aren't chasing the squid!

It's better to leave and come back another day [alive]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Last week, especially 22 May 08, the surf at The Shores, at least in my surf world, was pretty darn good.

The paddle-out was not a lot of fun, in fact my offer of paying someone, anyone, the big $$ just to paddle my board out and leave it far outside the lineup went untaken.

Anyway, I finally did make it out [far south of the lifeguard tower] and as I paddled north towards Outside Emmett’s, I passed more than one longboard surfer.

Luckily for me, if the waves at The Shores even approach a few feet overhead, most of the longboarders [JALs (Just Another Longboarder)] who surf there [The Shores] don’t make the trek to the fun area in front of The White House – whew –

However, since my trek thru Archie’s to The White House started south of The Tower, I had to paddle through a number of JALs.

A pretty decent wave came thru and one of the JALs paddled kindda half-ass for the wave – no success in catching the wave.

I was in a pretty good mood [for me] that day, so rather than call the JAL a ****** or ****, I offered a friendly bit of advice: “Dude, you gotta paddle like you want to catch the wave.”

The JAL’s response: “I was really ambivalent about that wave.”

I didn’t know what he meant by ambivalent, so I just kept on paddling north.

I waited until I got to work later that day, and Googled ambivalent:

WordNet - Cite This Source - Share This
uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow; "was ambivalent about having children"
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Anyway, I began to think – ouch – about the 2 sentence conversation earlier in the day.

I thought: how could anyone be ambivalent about the surf that day, or even more puzzling to me, was why would anyone be ambivalent about most things in life?

I won’t bore myself with my musings about my life’s lesson learned, but I just gotta say, if one is riding a longboard, with a leash, you are taking up a radius in the lineup of close to 20 feet [10 feet of surfboard + 10 feet of leash].

My suggestion: Please take your 20 feet of ambivalence and find a place where you can surf with like minded friends, and please stay out of surfing areas where those in the water always want to improve their surfing skills – meaning every wave one catches has a purpose, and finding that purpose will help you to get better, stronger, and more skilled in the lineup.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Opening Season 2008 in La Jolla

Well kids, it's that time of year again -

Summer is almost here and the La Jolla beaches will be packed with:
Stingrays, boogers, cell phone [while looking for a parking place] yappers, beginning surfers [we all used to be one], JAKs [Just Another Kook] [I, for one, tried to get out of the JAK Class as quickly as possible], surf schools [we're all jealous 'cause we ain't making any $$ on the wannabe surfers], checkered flags, screaming kids, screaming lifeguards...

Anyway, the Unwritten Rules of Surfing have been printed many times over, here are a couple of my favorites:

1. The shoulder of the wave is not the on ramp for the wave -

2. Hold on to your stupid board - you're roped to it - it [the board] ain't going anywhere

AND - most importantly - if you're surfing La Jolla Shores and you DO NOT see any kooks in the water - YOU are probably the kook - please stay out of the way!

Oh - I almost forgot - The La Jolla Reefs are packed with hostile locals, the waves are NEVER any good, and for good measure, the water's always polluted.

Oh - I almost forgot 2 - there is a BIG difference between a KOOK and a BEGINNER - if you gotta ask what the difference is, I'm probably not the one to ask!