THE ROAD ALONG THE COAST
By Thomas Takao
The City's festivities were coming to an end with a full moon lighting the darkness out in the water. A surfer who is out in the lineup at a local surf break is paddling for a wave he could barely see, the size is about 4 feet, maybe 5. Catching the wave and going by instinct, he stands and glides toward the bottom. There are three other surfers out in the water sitting on their boards but are situated further in and along the path of the wave. Each spaced out fifty feet apart holding a Kukui torch at their location in the water, they are lighting the way for the surfer. The surfer passes the first torch holder, an old man waving slowly as the surfer sees him from the corner of his eye. After passing he looks back and the flame has gone out, darkness follows him to the next torch.
Focusing back around, he sees another torch holder, twenty feet away, as he glides by he could see the contour of the wave in front of him. A middle-age person waving his free arm in a circular motion as to say hurry the white water is near. After passing him the surfer looks back and all he sees is darkness behind him as he travels on. Getting nearer to shore he passes the third person with a torch and could see it is a younger person, a teenager that looks like himself. Holding his arm as if to say slow. Looking back once again and sees the light from his torch is still on.
Slowing down as he nears the beach, the lights from the distant buildings was the background for a young boy with a flashlight waving it back and forth. Knowing he had reached the end of the ride as the white water collapsed onto the beach, he stepped off his surfboard. Off in the distant parking lot, he sees silhouettes of people and hearing an alarm. Opening his eyes, he hears the alarm clock next to his bed. Awaken from his dream Nitro is lying in his bed half-awake thinking about the dream and what he has to do before getting out of bed and going to school.
Still feeling sleepy, having stayed up late to study for the final exams, he fall asleep again before his senses tells him to get got of bed. He looks at the time and sees he snoozed off for half an hour longer than he should have. He gets up, puts his clothes on, and has a quick peanut butter jelly sandwich and milk. Having overslept, he rushes over to his neighbor's house to catch a ride to school with his friend and mother. His friend Charlie asks "Are you ready for the tests today." "I stayed up late and studied what we learn this semester," Nitro said. "Good for you," Charlie's mom said.
"I could barely keep my eyes open while studying late and after falling asleep, I had a weird dream of surfing at night and three other surfers were out in the water with me. They were holding torches and lighting my way on the wave that I was on. After reaching the beach a small kid with a flashlight waving it back and forth. Then I woke up" Nitro said.
"You saw your life before you, at each stage of the ride. Instead of growing older, you were going back in time when your family uses to spend time together at the beach when you were young. My parents did the same, instead of the beach it was at the park having picnics and other events when growing up. Those memories are within your mind and they will be hidden from you until you least expect it" Charlie's mom said. "Look at that brand new 63' Chevy Impala," Charlie said as Nitro turned his head to watch it drive by. Arriving at school the guys got out and both thanked Charlie's mom for the ride. "See you at lunch," Charlie said to Nitro as he went to his locker.
Nitro waved and went straight to his first-period class of woodshop, where he was working on his miniature surfboard. It was his major project that he decided to do for the second half of the semester.
The miniature surfboard was 20 inches long and was made of different pieces of oak, redwood, and maple glued together. The skeg was a replica of one of the versions that were on the surfboards at the local surf shops. The skeg was slotted and glued into the place by the tail of the surfboard. He had already finished sanding the entire small surfboard and was ready to put on the final varnish coat.
The class instructor stops over to Nitro's work area to compliment him. "Nice work Nitro, one of the better projects in the class. It looks like you are almost done with your project and all that's left is varnishing. It's best to do that at the beginning of the class, so you better start cleaning up the period is almost over " Mr, Barber said. "Thanks for reminding me Mr. Barber, I will start cleaning up now," Nitro said.
After his second-period class, there was a break of 20 minutes before the next class. Going to the cafeteria area Nitro sees his girlfriend Kathy talking with her friend. He walks over and Kathy's friend excused herself and went over to talk to someone else. "How's your day been?" Nitro asked. "Not bad, how's your day going so far?" she asked. "Good, took the test in my last class and have two more to go for today. Oh, Joey's parents are going out Friday night and he is having a party, can you go?" Nitro asked "I don't know, why don't we go to a movie" Kathy replied. "Ok, let me know what you want to see later. I will meet you back here and walk you home," Nitro said as he waved and went to his next class.
After school was out Nitro and Kathy are walking over to a catering truck parked near the school. The menu on the side of the truck had shaved ice with different flavors of the rainbow, Nitro would get 2 of the rainbow snow cones with all of the flavors, paying 15 cents apiece. Walking down the street holding hands, Nitro would stop at the Magic Island surf shop and both would go in. "Hey howzit Manny," Nitro said. "Good, summer is just a few weeks away, it should start getting busier," Manny said. Anyone doing any glassing next door, the blinds were closed?" Nitro asked. "Yeah, Bob is about to glass a board for Barney, a patent-pending design that Barney designed," Manny said. "Oh, ok is Dave around?" Nitro asked. "He and Doug went surfing, the waves are good at Queens," Manny said.
"Anyone in the shaping room?" Nitro asked. "I saw Al earlier, he might be in there. Why do you want to know?" Manny asked. "My dad got me a blank and I want to shape it, but I don't know how to," Nitro said. Manny looked at Nitro and said "I've been watching the guys occasionally and you need a template to draw your outline and then a saw to cut it out" Manny said seeing a customer come in and went over to help out.
He returns to Nitro and Kathy and resumed where he left off "They are just looking, where was I, Oh yeah after cutting it out you will use a surform, take the excess foam off to match your outline. Then you will need an electric planer to mow the foam to the thickness that you want for the nose, middle, and tail. Then use a surform again to take out the grooves you made with your planer. The tricky part is making the rail contour of one side to match the other side. Finish it off with a block planer and fine sand the entire board. That is what I know about shaping. Then you have to glass it, I'm not sure how to do that. You can watch Joe do a board through window if the curtain is open."
"Well, I know I will have to talk to my dad about getting the tools, and he will tell me to get a job and pay for it. Hey, would you guys need a person to do clean up around the shop?" Nitro asked as he looked at Manny. "I can ask and see, but don't know what the boss has in mind about that. Come back tomorrow and I will let you know" Manny said. "Ok, I will check back with you tomorrow, thanks to Manny," Nitro said as he and Kathy left the shop.
They continued to talk about whatever came to mind as he walked her home. In his parent's garage, Nitro's Walker foam blank that his father had bought on sale for cheap was on two sawhorses. Nitro was thinking what Manny had told him earlier and was pretending in his mind that he had outlined the blank, then cut it out and began shaping it. Flipping it over and looking at the bottom, then back over to the deck again. After a few moments he breathed a sigh of not knowing what the future would be without the tools, but he knew he was going to shape this blank.
The next day Nitro talked with Manny and the owner had told him to tell Nitro to meet him on Saturday for an interview. Nitro was there that day and the owner hired him to do cleanup around the shop factory and help around the salesroom. He would work after school cleaning up and on Saturdays, helping Manny with whatever needed to be done. Before starting work, Nitro, Kathy, and Charlie had been going to the beach on weekends. They would go to Canoes and watch the regular surfers surf and the tourists learning how to surf.
Charlie got his board a few months before the end of year prior and Kathy's parents gave her a surfboard for a Christmas present. She didn't have anyone to surf with until she met Nitro. All three enjoyed the beach scene and being out in the water. Nitro got to know some of the Beach-boys and talk with them, occasionally a few of them would let Nitro use one of their boards. Other times he would use Kathy's or Charlie's board when they came in. Learning to paddle and catch waves was something they learn to do together. Nitro learned the basic faster than Kathy or Charlie and started to do some of the other things that the advanced surfers were doing.
The following day after his first day of work, Charlie, Nitro, and Kathy were getting a ride to the beach by Charlie's mom Mrs. Alfonzo. She would be taking them, as she had done since Charlie got his surfboard. She knew having fun and being out in the fresh air was healthy and didn't mind taking them. "How was your first day at the shop?" Charlie asked before they had picked up Kathy on their way to the beach. "It was Ok, I help Manny at the front counter showing boards and answering the phone when he was busy with a customer or watched the shop when he would help people with their surfboards out to their cars. If it got slow, I would go to the shop out back and do some clean up there. If someone was back there I would observe and learn a process" Nitro said as they traveled on Kalakaua Ave. nearing the beach. Mrs. Alfonzo pulled over near Canoes and they unloaded the surfboards.
Mrs. Alfonzo said, "I will pick you up at 3 o'clock here." Charlie said "Ok mom, see you then" as she drove off and they walked over to the beach. Nitro was watching someone do an angled takeoff on a wave as he placed Kathy's board on the sand along with their towels and other items in Kathy's beach bag. Charlie walked down to the water with his board, and Nitro did the same for Kathy and her board. The day flew by and Charlie's mom was there to pick them up. "How was your day Charlie," she asked. "Getting the hang of it mom and so are Nitro and Kathy," Charlie said. "Yeah Mrs. Alfonzo, we had a fun time," Kathy said as Nitro put her board in and helped Charlie with his board into the station wagon.
After getting back home, Nitro went into the garage and reorganized the workbench, made racks for the shovel, rake, and catcher, and a few other tools and items. After the clean-up, there was more room to work around the blank. After cleaning the garage Nitro would go inside and watch some TV and think about what he was going to do. Back to school the following day and the daily routine of going to class and working at the shop after school.
Seeing Kathy at the break in between classes they talked about the day before and how he was going to build a surfboard. But before that, he was going to see if he could get a used board at the shop for a discount since he was working there. "That sounds like a good idea, see you at lunch," she said as they held her hands as the bell rang to be in class. Rushing to his PE class, he changes into his shorts, tee-shirt, and tennis shoes. He gets a stare from his Gym coach as the class was doing their calisthenics.
Back at work, Nitro is cleaning the shaping bay when Dave walks in. "Hey kid, heard you started working here last week. Nice to meet you my name is Dave and yours is?" Dave asked. "My name is Nitro," Nitro said. "Whoa, you got an explosive name," Dave said. "I know, but I've gotten used to it. Changing the subject. I was wondering if you give me some tips on how to shape. My dad bought me a blank and I want to make a surfboard" Nitro said. "What kind of blank did you get?" asked Dave. "I got a Walker Blank," Nitro said. "Yeah, Bob got some as well. They were on sale, something about the company wanting to move back to the mainland. Ok, If you are interested and want to watch me shape, go over to the doorway and watch from there" Dave said. "Ok," Nitro said as he went over the doorway.
Dave got a blank from outside of the shaping room and brought it inside and placed it on the racks. "Ok, look at the blank to see if it's level on both sides of the stringer. Sometimes they don't glue up the pieces just right and it doesn't align with a stringer. One side might be offset by a half-inch compared to the opposite side. This one here is Ok. What you want to do is put ab outline on the bottom of the blank. Let me take a couple of cuts off the bottom with my planer first before I draw an outline" Dave said as he puts on a particle mask before using his planer.
"You have to know what kind of wave you will be riding and what you want your board to do on that wave. That determines the shape of your design" Dave said as he took a couple of cuts off the bottom. "So, if I'm going to shape a board for small waves, I would make the outline more rounder and make the rail softer with more contour. The rails affect the turning ability of the surfboard" Dave said looking over to the wall and sees a template that he will be using.
"You start by knowing how long your surfboard is going to be. Start by placing your mark using a pencil at the start of the length from the nose area. Then pull your tape measure to the rear of the blank to where the length of your board will be and put a mark there. Then put your tape measure at the back of the blank and measure a foot from the back mark towards the middle. Go to the front again and do the same thing from the mark at the nose to 12 inches from there. Not sure who came up with this way of doing it, but everyone I know does it this way" Mike said going to the middle area of the blank.
If you want a fuller nose the dimension will be wider in the middle. The narrower the dimension at the nose is for bigger waves. The tail section for small waves is a wider tail, the bigger waves the narrower the tail. After deciding how wide you want the board to be near the middle or at the middle. After you are satisfied with what you see. Then go ahead and draw your outline. If you are ok with it then cut it out. If not, then redraw the outline until it looks good to you" Dave said as Manny came into the shaping room.
"Dave, Tony called and said Arma Hut is breaking good," Manny said. "Got to go Nitro, see you later," Dave said leaving the blank on the racks and went off in a hurry. Nitro went over to the glassing room and Bob was doing a few boards. "Hi, I'm Nitro, I just started working here last week," Nitro said. "Nice to meet you Nitro" Bob said with a smile and continued to monitor the boards resin going off and begin to harden. Touching the resin on the tape, it was time to cut the overlap on that board that he had glassed. Knowing to check in 10 minutes he would be cutting the second overlap and another 20 minutes for the third. "You'll have to excuse me, I have a few things I have to do," Bob said as he began cutting the edge of the tape where the resin and fiberglass is on the foam.
"Ok, I will be going back up front, nice to meet you, Bob," Nitro said as he waved and walked past the sanding room where he heard the sound of the sander grinding away and dust coming from the room. Nitro began getting used to the shop and knowing when to talk and when to walk away when people in the factory were busy. After getting home Nitro would called Kathy and talked about what he did at the shop and getting to know what it took to make a surfboard. Kathy talked about what was happening at school with some of her friends and things she wanted to do.
Going outside Nitro see Charlie in his front yard with a coffee can with melted paraffin wax, and a medium-sized paintbrush. He is brushing the wax on his surfboard with it. "Hey Charlie what are you up to?" asked Nitro. "I took the old wax off which was getting slippery and put new wax on," Charlie said. "I know what you mean Charlie. I slipped a couple of times last week using your board" Nitro said. "What did you do today?" Charlie said.
"I helped Manny and place some new boards that were finished in the salesroom. Someone came in and traded his used board for a new surfboard. I liked how it looked and asked Manny if he would ask Al the owner if I could buy it on a monthly payment from my wages. He would ask and let me know tomorrow" Nitro said. Well, I think dinner is almost ready, have fun tomorrow at the beach" Nitro said. "Ok, I will check with you tomorrow to see if you got your board" Charlie replied as he notices that he talked too long and his paintbrush was stiff with wax. He left it in the coffee can and put it and the surfboard back in the garage.
Getting to the shop at the same time as Manny who was opening up. Nitro says "Good morning Manny nice day." "Hey, got good news, Al said you can have that board you wanted and he will take a certain amount from your paycheck each month until its paid for," Manny said. "Oh great," Nitro said with a grin from one cheek to the other. "Put it in the back and take it with you when you leave today," Manny said. It was a typical Saturday and the day came to a close with Nitro walking home with his new used board on his head.
Flying over to the Mainland
After getting home Nitro goes into the garage and places his board onto the sawhorses, putting his blank in the rafter joists for later. Looking at the board and needing wax, he goes over to Charlie's house and knocks on his front door, and waits as Charlie appears. "Charlie got the board at my house and it needs some wax. Would you have a bar or two of paraffin wax leftover that I can use?" Nitro said "Sure I have a couple of bars, I will go get it and the can, it's in the garage," Charlie said. After giving the wax and can to Nitro, Charlie goes over to Nitro's garage to see his board. Meanwhile Nitro is heating the can with the wax in it on the kitchen stove. Nitro takes the can using an oven mitt out to the garage and starts to put some wax on his new used board.
"What do you think Charlie," Nitro asked as he starts brushing on the wax. "It looks like a fun board," Charlie said as Nitro got halfway through brushing the wax on. "Yeah I know, I can hardly wait to take out into the water tomorrow," Nitro said while hurrying to brush the wax to the nose of the surfboard.
"What time are you going to the beach tomorrow?" Nitro asked. "About 8, is Kathy going?" Charlie asked. "I think so, she said she was," Nitro said while finishing up applying the melted wax onto the board. Sunday came and they were at the beach with the wave around 3 feet. Nitro was excited about having his own surfboard and was paddling faster than Kathy and Charlie. "Hey, wait up," Kathy said as Nitro slowed down and waited for the two to catch up before paddling alongside them. Looking to his left he sees a canoe with tourist on it going to shore as they approached the takeoff spot.
On their first wave of the day, all three took off on the same wave and surfed toward shore together. Each making comments and laughing. The wave rolled to shore and started to phase out. Kathy sat on her board as Nitro put pressure on the tail section of his board and did a funky stall kick out. Charlie came to a stop standing up and jumped off his board to turn it around. All three would paddle back out again. After being out for a couple of hours Charlie and Kathy went in while Nitro stayed out a half an hour longer.
"Well, how did you like your board?" Kathy asked. "I like it," Nitro said knowing this was his first board and not knowing the difference between what is good and not so good. "Can I try it when we go out again?" Kathy said. "Sure, it feels like your board, but a little looser" Nitro said. "Yeah, I would like to try it, too. Maybe not today but the next time" Charlie said as they laid on the towels and watch the different people on the beach. Not knowing where they came from. After getting hot on the beach they decided to go back out and Kathy would try using Nitro board. While Charlie and Nitro caught waves and practiced their turns and cutbacks. The afternoon glare affected seeing the waves coming to shore. Using their hands above their eyes helped some, but after a while it got annoying, so they went in and waited for Charlie's mom by the street.
Nitro was getting used to working after school and looked forward to it. The school was getting out for summer and surfing was becoming more popular. From young and old, many were taking it up and were going surfing. The same was happening on the mainland. The orders at the shop started to pile up and the owner needed to increase production, so Doug showed Nitro how to sand, he would have Nitro sand by hand the rails and skeg, then train him on the power sander. After a week Nitro got the hang of sanding and was paid piecemeal, which is being paid for each surfboard that he sanded. He got good at it and when Doug decided to return to the mainland, Nitro would work full time as a sander during the summer and help around the shop.
One day Nitro asked Dave "Could you show me how to shape again?" Dave thought it over for a minute and asked "When were you thinking?" "When you are not busy. I have that blank and wonder if you could planing it down to show me how it's done, just to refresh my memory and after that, I could surform, sand, and screen it" Nitro said. "Bring your blank over by Wednesday and I can show you how on Thursday. What about your sanding?" Dave said. "I can do some after you show me, and catch up with my work in a day or two," Nitro said. "Alright, Thursday morning at 8," Dave said. Thursday came and Dave showed Nitro how to use the planer by doing the first cut then letting Nitro do the second and third cut on both sides. Then gave a lesson on the rocker principle, of where and how much to have.
Nitro watched how Dave lifted the blank to see if both sides of the stringer were the same or not. After outlining, Dave took the saw that was hanging on the wall and began cutting the foam along the line. "After you get the blank down to your thickness. Then you can start on the rail sections by making cuts with the planer for the type of contour you have in mind. Most beginners cut way too much and change the concept of the design and make do of what has occurred. Where someone who knows what they are doing has a better idea or way of staying within the parameter he has set for the design" Dave said. Nitro nodded his head to indicate that he understood and doing his best to remember what was said. After explaining the basics, Dave said "I need to rough shape a couple of boards for the shop." as he put Nitro's blank to the corner of the room, and got another blank to work on.
"Thanks, Dave, I'm going to go sand some boards," Nitro said as he left the shaping room and went over to the sanding room to sand a few boards that needed to be sanded. After a week of going in and doing some shaping in his free time and not getting in the way of the other shapers using the room, the blank was finished and needed to be glassed. Nitro would watch Bob a few times and ask about the resin and catalyst ratio regarding the temperature. The cutting of the overlap, number of the layer the bottom and deck should have. How to do glass on skeg, and the procedure of putting a sanding coat on.
After getting a good idea of what to do. He would buy the materials from the shop and set up a glassing stand in his father's garage. Nitro glassed his first board. It had a few air bubbles in the cloth and the overlap was a little crooked. The skeg was not aligned and was off a 1/8 of an inch. So when he tried it out at the ocean, it pulled to the right when paddling. But it rode Ok for being his first shape. He would sand off the skeg and realigned it and after the repair, it paddled straight. After his first shape, he would concentrate on sanding and not do another shape for 2 months. Nitro was making more money by sanding and before he knew it, he had enough money to buy a used car. He would buy a used 1957 Chevy Bel Air station wagon that needed some work done on it. It ran, but a few things needed to be replaced and new tires were needed. After the repairs, It got him where he wanted to go.
Whenever Nitro had the chance, he would watch Dave shape and get more insight into shaping. Then slowly he started building his confidence in how to shape. Making a shaping room at his parents' garage Charlie and Kathy had him build them their surfboards by buying the materials. Before Nitro knew it, his other friends wanted him to build them their surfboards. Word got around that Nitro made surfboards and he became popular with his classmate and they wanted him to make them a surfboard as well. With each board Nitro shape, the better he got. Since he was the type of person who enjoys making things, he learned more about glassing by watching and asking questions to Bob. By next summer when Nitro was graduating from high school, he had a following of people who wanted his boards.
One day out at Kaisers someone asked "Are you going." as a set approached. "Go ahead," Nitro said as he waited for the third wave of the set, which turned out not to be, as it turned out to be a one-wave set. The guy comes back and says "Thanks, it was a fun wave. My name is Tork Fields, what yours?" he asked. "My name is Nitro Gleason" he answered back and a conversation developed. Tork told Nitro he was from the South Bay and was visiting friends on the island. "I work at Bing Surfboards in Hermosa Beach and I do the sanding there," Tork said.
"What a coincidence, I sand at Magic Island Surfboards. Who shaped your board?" Nitro asked. "Bing did. Who shaped yours" Tork asked. "I did," Nitro said. "Say can I try your board for a couple of waves?" Tork asked. "Sure," Nitro said as he slips off to the side and treaded water as Tork did the same and each pushed their board at each other. After both rode a couple of waves, they gave back the boards. "Your board was fun, nice shape," Tork said. "I like the board Bing shaped you, he makes fine surfboards" Nitro responded. "If you are ever on the mainland I can show you around at the factory and the beaches," Tork said. "I might just do that. When you go in let me know and I can come in and get the info on how to get a hold of you" Nitro said as they continued surfing.
The guys went in and Nitro got the info and waved goodbye. After that Nitro wrote a few letters to Tork and he wrote back. Nitro would save enough money to go to the mainland and surf the waves there and check out what was happening there regarding surfboards. He would visit Tork and stay at his parent's house. He planned to stay there in the South Bay for two weeks before returning home and back to work at Magic Island surf shop.
He had Charlie take him to the airport in his car and Kathy would go with them to see Nitro off. They went into the waiting area and talked about good times before Nitro had to board his flight. Kathy gave Nitro a kiss and a hug and said she would see him back in a couple of weeks. This was the first time for Nitro to fly over to the mainland and would be taking Western Airlines. Nitro is sitting back with his eyes closed and thinking about being one of the best in making surfboards and starting his own brand, Nitro Surfboards.
He drifts asleep into the sub-consciousness realm of dreams. He is wandering around in a hazy situation with the thought of surfing and people whose faces are a blur. A tap on the shoulder and he open his eyes and see the stewardess standing over him saying "Mr. Gleason, Mr. Gleason, please move your seat in an upright position and fasten your seat-belt, we will be landing soon. Thank you."
In the baggage claim area waiting for his suitcase and surfboard to appear, Nitro is reflecting on how he got where he is. Thinking back to the day when he was out surfing Kaisers, when he sees his suitcase on the carousel and then his surfboard being brought out from the back. As he was going out to the curbside he notices Tork approaching him to give him a hand. "Hey Nitro, how was the flight" Tork said taking a hold of his surfboard which had its rail wrapped with cardboard and a flat piece of cardboard on the deck and bottom taped to the rails. "Ok, just have to get use to the daylight saving time difference," Nitro said.
"You will get used to it. Follow me, I will show where I parked" Tork said. About 40 minutes later they were in Hermosa Beach at his parent's house on Loma Ave. Parking on the street Tork took Nitro's surfboard and was walking to the guest house. "You will be staying in the guest house out back," Tork said as he walked around the house with Nitro following. After getting situated they took a bike ride down to the beach. Tork had his and Nitro would ride one of Tork's friend's bike that had been left there. Standing on the small wall along the Strand at 8th St., Tork pointed south.
"There's the Breakwater, it more of a winter surf spot, just like the Cove and other spots around here, sometimes there are waves during other parts of the year. But mostly winter and spring. Over there is the pier, the same thing about surfing there too. The south swells are happening so Malibu, Huntington, Trestles, and San Diego are happening. Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz is another place, but I don't have the time to go up there and surf, so I just stay local. Let's take a ride to Second Street" Tork said as they got off the wall and rode down to 2nd street. Making a left to Hermosa Ave. Tork says "See that small cafe there, Pete and Repeat, that where some of the guys go to have breakfast. Most of the grom get the 25 cent hash browns and water after coming in after surfing.
Continuing on to Hermosa Ave. they make a right and stop at Mickey's Deli. "I'm going to get a coke, do you want one?" Tork asked. "Sure," Nitro said. Going back to the Strand they stop by the bench and drank their drinks. Taking the bottles back to get a 5 cent refund for each bottle. They rode back up the Hermosa Ave to 6th street and went up to the factory where Tork worked. Going inside Tork sees a few boards being hot coated and 6 ready to be sanded. Nitro looks at the shapes and sees some noseriders in the batch, along with some regular shapes and contours.
Looking into the glassing room he sees someone glassing the bottoms of a few boards. The resin is kicking off and the smell of the fumes rises up and out into the hallway. "Let's go outside and talk," Tork said as he led the way. While talking about sanding techniques a Ford Econoline van pulls up and a guy gets out. Tork knows him and says "Hey Don, what's up." "Just checking to see how many boards need to be shaped," Don said as he went inside to look at the list. "Well, let's go up to the retail shop," Tork said.
Going up to the retail store on Coast Hwy. The guys park their bikes in front and walk-in. They see another person Tork knew checking out the boards there. He was one of the team riders and Tork says to him "Chris how do you like your new board with the extra-large outline of the Bing decal?" "It rode great, I like it" Chris said. "How's it feel to be in the Bay County Surf Club?" Tork asked. "It's fun to be in a club with lots of good surfers. The only thing I don't like is getting called out for breaking a rule and getting a swat" Chris said. "This my friend Nitro, he's from the islands," Tork said as Nitro shook hands with Chris and said, " Nice to meet you." "Alright, we are going now," Tork said. "Yeah, nice to meet you Nitro," Chris said as Nitro lifted his arm and said back "See you around."
They rode their bikes downhill on Pier Ave. when Tork said, "Looks like Dale D is showing a film about Hawaii at the Pier Avenue Auditorium" as they rode by. "Hey, the guys back home at the shop were talking about him earlier this year of him filming on the North Shore. I would have taken you out there, but it was flat in the summer months" Nitro said remembering the name of the surf movie photographer. Riding up to the pier and checking out the fishermen with their poles against the railing looking down to see if anything is below by the barnacle on the pilings. One fisherman is yelling out to one of his friends saying "Bring the net, I got a halibut. Maybe 5 lbs."
Riding to the end of the pier and turning around to go back to the Strand, then riding back to Tork's house as the sun was setting to the west. After cleaning up they rode down a couple of streets from the house to the Taco Bell on Hermosa Ave. and order a couple of taco and burritos, each at 15 cents apiece. Eating it on the concrete table and bench while watching the cars drive by. Low riders and hot rodders showing off their custom cars with different types of wheels and paint jobs. There were regular cars with a bunch of guys in it, checking out who else was cruising. It wasn't bumper to bumper yet, but the night was still young. Going back to Tork's house they were watching TV in the guest house when friends came over. Tork your mom said you were back here with a friend, so we came around to see what's up" Brian said.
"This is Brian, Jeff, and Harry. This is my friend Nitro from Hawaii" Tork said pointing to each as he introduced them. "Nice to meet you," Nitro said. "Hey, how are the waves in Hawaii now?" Jeff said. "It is small 1-2 feet. They'll expect another swell soon" Nitro said. "We are going surfing tomorrow to Huntington, wanted to go Tork," Brian said. "No, I have to work tomorrow, but Nitro might want to go. Care to go surf with these guys tomorrow?" Tork asked. "Yeah, Ok. What time should I be ready?" Nitro asked. "Be ready around 5 am" Brian said as he would be driving. Then they started talking about the new edition of Surfer Magazine that was at the shops and what was happening around town.
The next morning Nitro had his board, towel, and trunks ready in a bag that he had brought with him on the lawn in the front yard. When Brian, Jeff, and Harry showed up, Nitro was ready to go. They were off driving down Pacific Coast, just a bend of the highway at the Torrance Beach and the downhill drive towards Lomita, they stop at the Winchells Donuts and get some milk and donuts for the drive to Huntington Beach. After making the turn at the Traffic Circle towards the coast, it wasn't long before they were stopped at the signal at Main Street Seal Beach. "We are not far from the surf spot where we usually go to in Huntington, it's called Bolsa Chica," Harry said. They parked along the highway and walked from there to where they could see the waves.
"What's that big-looking pipe in the break," Nitro asked. "It's called a caisson pipe. It was used for some sort of construction. Which I don't know what it was for or why it was left there in the surf" Harry said as they watched the surf roll in. "It looks uneven, lets check out the surf further south," Jeff said. So, they all got back in drove along the cliffs area, and looked at the surf. "Hey there is a left, and it has good shape and nobody out. Let's pull over and check it out" Harry said as Brian pulled over. After 10 minutes, they decided to go out.
After changing they walked down a path and slowly walked in between the rocks so as not to stubbed a toe or get a cut or scratch on the path that led to the beach. Nitro was feeling a little chilly, so he had the towel wrapped around his shoulders. The guys made it to the beach and put their stuff on some rocks and proceeded to the water's edge. Not knowing what to expect of the water temperature, Nitro takes a step into the oncoming surge of the white water. His eyes opened wide and felt a sting of cold on his feet. The water temperature was 60 degrees and he was in for an experience.
"This water is cold," Nitro said as he was in waist-high water getting onto his board to start paddling out. "This isn't so bad. My feet turn purple in the wintertime said Brian smiling as he looked over to Nitro who was paddling fast to get his body temperature up. After making it out and checking waves their minds were off of the cold and more towards catching waves and having a fun time. "So what's the water like in the islands," Harry asked. "Compared to here, it's like bathwater," Nitro said as his teeth started to chatter waiting for the next set.
"Heck, when I first started, I tried wearing a work coverall or a wool shirt. It defeated the purpose both got waterlogged and I was still cold. I hear some guys are wearing rubber vests, others are wearing something called a short john, where it covers your chest and your lower body to your knees, but not your legs. I'm going to get one, but waiting for the legs" Brian said. "I'm going in" Nitro said as he sees a set coming towards them. He paddles and catches the wave and feels a little stiff at the leg as he makes the turn. After a few moments, Nitro cuts back and gets into a prone position so he doesn't fall off his board. As the soup of the white water nears it end, Nitro gets off his board and carries it to the rocks where his towel is.
Drying off and still feeling cold, he notices someone else had lit a fire and was warming up. He walked over and asked if he could share the fire. "Be my guest, I know what you are feeling. My name is Bill" said Bill. They got acquainted as the sun popped out from the marine layer and Nitro began to feel normal being next to the fire. Seeing the other guys had gotten out, he thanked Bill for the fire and went back to his friends. "Who was that guy over, did you know him?" Jeff asked. "No, just needed to use his fire to get warm," Nitro said as the guys didn't seem too cold after getting out. They talked for a while before walking back up the rocks to the path and to Brian's car along the highway.
Back on the road again, driving south towards the pier. Brian is talking about seeing some boards at the Vardeman Surf Shop next to the Golden Bear. Driving past Main street they notice someone taking pictures of some surfers out front of the shop. They decided to make a U-turn onto Lake Street, then go around to Walnut Ave, make another left then north to 5th St. then another left, and back onto Coast Highway north to Hermosa Beach. Stopping at Gordie Surfboards, they looked around at the new boards, while Nitro was taking in the outline, the rocker, and rail contours. "What do you think Nitro about the boards here?" Jeff asked. "I like the shapes," Nitro said as Gordie was watching them as he was talking to someone he knew who had stopped by.
"Let's stop at Harbour Surfboards since we saw Gordie's shapes" said Brian making a left-hand turn onto Main Street, Seal Beach before anyone could respond. Walking into the shop they could hear a planer's distinct sound in another room. "Who is shaping," Nitro asked. "Rich," said the salesman. "Rich who," Nitro asked again. "Rich Harbour the owner, that who. Those are the latest of his shapes" the salesman said pointing to the rack.
Brian and Harry walked over to the rack to check the boards out. "How are the waves out front?" asked Jeff. "They're small about 1-3 ft." the salesman said. "Water must be cold," Nitro said. "Yeah, but not on the channel side of the jetty it's warm there" the salesman added. "How come," Nitro asked wanting to know the difference from one side of the jetty to the other. "The power plant over by the bridge. They use the water coming in from the San Gabriel River to cool off their generators and discharge it back to the ocean" said the salesman. Nodding his head to say he understood, Nitro said "Cool" as he and the other guys were through looking around the shop and were leaving. "Thanks," Nitro said waving, as he was the last guy out.
DALE KOBETICH PHOTOGRAPHY
Turn for the Better
The guys were on their way back to Hermosa Beach and driving through Lomita just before Torrance. "Brian there was a Chinese restaurant I saw on the way down and I think we are going to be passing it soon. Can we stop there, I would like to get something to go" Nitro said. "Sure, we can all get something to eat, I'm hungry myself. There it is the Golden Noodle Chinese Restaurant, I’ll pull into the parking lot" Brian said.
They got out and went inside, the cashier said “Sit where you like, a waitress will be with you.” It was between lunch and dinner, only one other person was seated and having his late lunch or early dinner. They went over to a wall booth and had a seat while looking around at the Chinese artwork of dragons and castles in the clouds. They order the lunch special and were served within 10 minutes. "Well, how did you like the Cliffs, Nitro?" Harry asked.
"The waves were fun, but I'm not used to the cold water," Nitro said as he grabs the shoyu from the center of the table. “When did you guys start surfing” Nitro asked. “I started a few years back in 61’ when my dad bought me a Dave Sweet pop out” Jeff said. “I started out using my neighbor’s Velzy balsa, that was in 59’,” Brian said. “What about you Harry?” Nitro asked. I started in 62’ on a used Hobie my dad bought at a garage sale. When did you start Nitro?” Harry asked.
“I started in 62’ also at Waikiki borrowing boards from my beach boy friends, after that I used my neighbor’s board, before getting my own board” Nitro said. The conversation turned to what it was like surfing there in Hawaii and how it is in California. “This choy-mein lunch special is pretty good, and for 95 cents you can't complain" Brian said as everyone opened their fortune cookie and read it out loud.
“I’m going to be happy at what I do” Brian said. “I will seek wisdom at a laundry mat. What?” Jeff said. “Mine says I will travel to far off lands” replied Harry. “Whats your say Nitro?” “It says be prepared, for you will see the light and profit from it” Nitro said as he remembered his dream of a few years back of the 3 surfers with the torches.
“Ok lets give the waitress a tip, a dime each will be ok” Brian said. “I’ll leave 20 cents since it was my idea to stop here” Nitro said as they went to the cashier to give her a dollar each. Leaving the restaurant Brian looked across the street and sees the price of gas over at that station. They're having a gas war and their price is 17 cents a gallon. Half the price compared to the beach towns, I'm going there to gas up. Driving straight across the highway from where they were at, he pulls up next to the pump. An attendant comes out and asked “How much?”
“Filler up” Brian said. The attendant remove the gas cap and places the hose nozzle into the gas tank opening and places the switch to the on position as he washes the window and check the oil. He hears the click from the nozzle handle and removes it, and places it back to the side of the pump. “That will be $2.36” said the attendant. Brian paid the amount and they were on there way home. Dropping Nitro off at Tork's parents house, Harry said "It was fun surfing with you Nitro, we should do it again if you haven't taken off back home." Nitro waved and said “Thanks you guys” as he watch them drive away.
After taking a shower and watching TV, Nitro fell asleep while watching TV. He was dreaming of shaping a surfboard in a shaping room with no walls, floors, or ceiling. Waves were breaking off in the distance in front of a pier where a roller coaster was traveling up and down it’s tracks. He would watch the coaster accelerate towards the bottom before flowing around the u shaped curve into the rise and fall of some moguls in the track. A surfer next to the pier does a bottom turn and is going back up the face of the wave. His surfboard slaps the whitewater of the breaking wave and is pushed down towards the bottom as the coaster carts zooms by and disappears.
"Hey Nitro," Tork said as Nitro woke up to see who was calling his name. "Hi Tork must have fallen asleep watching TV," Nitro said looking at the TV still on. "Just got back from work, there were few more boards than usual today. The movie at the Pier Ave Auditorium is showing at 8 pm wanna go?" Tork asked. "Sure, what time is it now," Nitro asked. "It's 6:30, I'll go get ready and we can go in about an hour," Tork said. "Ok, that sounds good" Nitro replied. "Where did you guys go today?" Tork asked. "We went to the Huntington Cliffs and stopped by a couple of shops, Gordie's and Harbour's," Nitro said. "How were the Cliffs?" asked Tork.
"It was fun, but I froze my toes off. Not use to cold water, but got used to it. Then after a while, I got cold again" Nitro said. "Yeah, there is a cold current that flows along the California coast. But sometimes there is a warm south current that happens. You never know, just like the fog, it comes and goes. One day they will probably forecast it and the surf on the radio, Oh well" Tork said.
Finding seats near the side aisle as the movie began. The title of the film and those involved in the making of the film scrolled by as a scene of being on a jet flying in the clouds. The mood shifts and Waimea Bay is breaking and surfers are wiping out and going over the falls. Then the narrator starts describing where they are at before changing to the next location where the waves were breaking and spitting sprays from the tube. "Here is the Banzai Pipeline" the narrator commented as a few surfers were wiping out.
Then the narrator said "And here goes Butch. The most unreal tube ride ever" as he takes off and goes to the bottom and makes the turn. The lip of the wave goes over his head as he races across the wave breaking in front while being in the tube which seemed like minutes to the rider, but seconds for the viewer. He exits the tube and cruise onto the shoulder of the wave before flowing out of the wave. The crowd in the theater went wild. Hooting and whistling, shouting "The wave was huge, unreal." Then the scene switches over to Sunset Beach and the surfers there riding the waves. The film would have an intermission and the second part would start after 15 minutes.
Driving home Tork asked, "Did you surf those places in the movie." "I only surfed Haleiwa and Laniakea, when I went out to the country a couple of times. It was small when I went, so those places in the movie, I didn't get to surf" Nitro said while thinking about it and saying to himself that he would when he got back. “Hey, just remember. Another friend at work is going surfing to Trestles. We have to sneak in, do you want to go?" Tork said. "Sure, I'll go" Nitro replied back as they reached Tork's place. The next morning Steve showed up in his Mercury station wagon. "Nitro, I have an extra backpack you can use to stuff your belonging into. I'm going to bring some food and water to drink while we are there" Tork said. Steve took the 405 freeway to the I-5 freeway, then to San Clemente.
Pulling off to a side road, they would park it with some other cars that were in the bushes. Getting their backpack on, after putting on their trunks. They followed the path from the cars to where the cattail plant next to the water's edge. "Ok, this is where we start paddling down the creek without a canoe paddle," Steve said jokingly as he placed his board onto the water and pushed off. Tork followed and Nitro did the same, the threesome made their way to the trestles bridge and paddle under to the other side. This was quite an experience for Nitro. "Kinda like the Jungle ride at Disneyland," Tork said trying to remember what ticket code he used to get on that ride.
"Steve, do you see any marines around?" Tork asked. "No, it's all clear," he said as he stepped into calf-high water and then onto the sand. They noticed the waves breaking with 5 other guys out. "We need to hide our backpacks, there is a driftwood trunk near the bushes. We can put it there" Steve said as Tork and Nitro followed Steve's instructions and were ready to go out. Nitro was expecting the water to be like the day before but was surprised when he stepped into the water and the cobblestone rocks. It was warm compared to Huntington Beach he thought. "Hey Tork, this water is warmer than yesterday at Huntington Beach," Nitro said. "Yeah, the water came with this swell. Guess we are kinda lucky" Tork said.
Most of the guys out were waiting for the bigger sets, so being 15 yards further in Nitro turns around and catches a 4-foot wave that the other guys didn't paddle for. It developed in front of him as he climbs and drops on the face of the wave. Getting a hundred-yard ride, Nitro was stoked as he paddled back out. Thinking this place is fun and well worth the paddle down the creek to get there. Everyone was sharing the waves, where there was enough to go around with the sets having 5 waves. Tork paddled over and says "How do like the waves here?" "This is great" was Nitro's response. Steve paddled over and said, "It looked like you were exploding off the top while doing a roller coaster, it looked hot." Nitro stop to think when Steve mentioned roller coaster and flashed back to his dream he had the day before.
"The next break further down is Lowers, it's a really good wave also. Sometimes a marine patrol will come by along the beach. They will take you and your board to their brig on base and have you call your parents to come to get you out and pay a fine. They say everyone who gets caught uses Mickey Dora as their name. I don't know how true that is, but that's what they say. I feel reluctant of making the walk for that reason, but the waves are well worth it" Tork said as he sees a set coming and starts paddling further out, followed by Nitro.
"It's been glassy all day," Steve said. "Yeah, and I'm really glad for it. I'm going in and get a bite to eat and come back out after that" Tork said looking over at Nitro who was listening and who nodded his head to suggest he would do the same. So, when the next waves came they went in, while Steve was surfing with just 2 other guys as the wave were getting better. Having made two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a bag of potato chips and a thermos filled with milk, and two paper cups. They watched Steve catch wave after wave as they ate their lunch.
Looking around and seeing vegetation with hills in the background and bluffs in the foreground with sandy beaches spread into the cobblestone shoreline. Adding to the serene atmosphere were seagulls and pelicans flying and gliding by. With all that around him, Nitro thought to himself about all the days the waves went unridden and just native Indians would walk the coast looking for their next meal. Waiting about 15 minutes after finishing their meals, they were back in the water to surf some more. With the afternoon sun heading towards the horizon, the guys were surfed out and decided to go home. They gathered their stuff and placed the trash in their backpacks and proceeded to paddle back to the car.
After getting back from surfing, instead of putting his surfboard in the living room of the guest house, Nitro decided to put it in the garage. He sees a door that was to another room. He twisted the knob to see if the door was locked. It opened up and he looked inside, he sees shaping racks and a light brown colored blank in the corner. "There you are, oh I forgot to tell you about my brother's shaping room. Since you are only going to be here for a short time, I didn't think it was necessary to bring it up. But anyway, he was going to shape his own, but got sidetracked and went into the service. He has been in for a year and is stationed in Germany. I tried shaping a board and messed up, so I threw the blank away and haven't given it much thought after that" Tork said.
"How many boards did he shaped," Nitro asked. "He shaped two, and both were kinda funky. So he threw them away and didn't pick up his planer since" Tork said. "He had a planer?" Nitro asked. "Yeah, a Skill 100 is in the toolbox under the shelf. He was all excited at first and got what the other shapers had, surform, small block planers, a couple of templates, different grade sandpapers, a saw, and a few other tools of the trade. Plus the room has sidelights on either side of the shaping racks as you can see. Say, do you want to shape that blank over there. My brother was going to shape it, but change his mind and it's been in the corner since he left" Tork said.
"Did he have a particle mask when he shaped?" Nitro asked. "No, that was one of the reasons he got discouraged. The foam dust got in his eyes and he held his breath while planing the foam. He didn't have the gumption to be a shaper" Tork said. "Do you think he would mind if I shaped that blank in the corner?" Nitro asked. "No, go ahead, the blank will just get browner. But, don't use the planer in the morning or evenings. The neighbors might complain" Tork said. "Ok, I will do it on a weekday. Tomorrow is Sunday so I will wait till Monday" Nitro said.
Tork went into the house to do a few things and Nitro went into the guest house to take a shower and watch TV. Tork came back and he had some TV dinners "Nitro, here some TV dinners I got from the freezer. This should hold you over until you go to the market and get some groceries" Tork said. "Oh, thanks. I appreciate your hospitality." Nitro said putting two TV dinners into the freezer and left one out to defrost before putting it in the oven. After his meal, Nitro started to sketch a few ideas for the blank in the shaping room.
Early the next morning Nitro and Tork went for a bike ride. They decided to go down to the Strand and ride up towards 22nd St. The guys didn't talk much, but just looked out the ocean and a few people they pass by on their Sunday morning walk. Thinking about back home and the places he had recently surfed Nitro was in a trance of what had been as he passed the houses on one side and the beach on the other. He sees someone else on a bike bracing a leg on the small wall that separated the beach from the strand, checking out the surf.
"Hey Harold," Tork said. "Hey Tork, Howzit," Harold said back. "This is my friend Nitro, he's from the islands like you" Tork said. "Nice to meet you Nitro, where about's are you from?" Harold asked. "I'm from the McCully side," Nitro said. "You know Al, Bob, and Dave at Magic Island Surf Shop?" asked Harold. "Yeah, I do the sanding there, just on vacation visiting Tork here," said Nitro. Tork was nodding his head to say he was. "Have you been to Hawaii?" Nitro asked. "I grew up there before coming here to make boards for Velzy then Dewey," Harold said. "Where have you surfed here?" Harold asked. "Huntington Beach and Trestles," Nitro said.
"You should surf Malibu with this swell that is happening now. It's a good fun wave" Harold said. "Where is Malibu?" asked Nitro. Pointing north up the coast, Harold says "Just pass Santa Monica, it on the Coast Highway you can't miss it, the beach is next to the road. I got to be going, nice talking with guys" as he pushed off the wall and rode off towards Hermosa Avenue.
Nitro and Tork turned around and started peddling back towards the pier. Nitro was thinking about Malibu and how to get there. "Have you been to Malibu Tork?" Nitro asked. "Been there a few times and it's a crowded wave" Tork said. Riding up to the house Tork sees another person he knows walking from the house to his car. "Hey Kenny howzit," said Tork. "Just stopped by to see if you wanted to go to Malibu to surf" Kenny said. "Nitro this is Kenny, Kenny this is Nitro," Tork said. "Nice to meet you, Kenny," Nitro said. "Nice to meet you too" Kenny said.
"Wow, we were just talking to Harold down by the Strand about 15 minutes ago and he was saying Malibu is good right now. What a coincidence" Tork said. "Harold who?"Kenny asked. "Harold at Dewey's," Tork said. "Oh, that Harold. Now I know who you were talking about, he's a good shaper and busier than all heck these days" Kenny said. "Kenny is a good shaper too!" Tork said as Nitro looked over to Kenny with more curiosity. "Well, let's get your boards on and get going," Kenny said as Tork went to get his board and Nitro did the same. Placing their boards on top of Kenny's, they were on their way up Coast Highway.
Pulling up to Malibu, Kenny sees someone pulling out of a prime parking location and flips a U, and pulls right in. "Ta-da, perfect timing," Kenny said as he put it into the park. They all looked at the waves and were peeling along, at 4 to 6 feet with 2 to 3 people per wave. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm going out," Kenny said as he got out and wrapped a towel around his waist, took off his pants and put on his trunks, and unstrapped his board. Before Tork and Nitro got their trunks on, Kenny was walking up towards the Point.
By the time Tork and Nitro were waxing their boards, Kenny had caught a wave and was walking up to the nose and noseriding through a section when Tork said "Wow, look at Kenny go." As Kenny back-peddled and went into a drop knee cutback. Regaining his flow, he was back on the nose cruising along on a wave that looked like it was made from a machine. Kicking out close to shore, Kenny gets out and starts walking back up the beach, as Tork and Nitro caught up to him and were complimenting him on the ride. "Well the whole gang is out in the water, there goes Miki with a guy in front of him. Poor guy, wait till Miki gets close" Kenny said as he sees Johnny and Dewey taking off on the following wave behind him.
After paddling out Tork caught a few waves with a few guys taking off in front of him and the same thing happened to Nitro. On the beach, the local beach-goers were lying on their towels watching the surfers with their transistor radios on. One channel was playing a Beatle's song "I want to hold your hand" as the surfers rode the waves together. Nitro caught an outside wave and was yelling hey, hey I got it and the paddlers backed off. Climbing and dropping, bottom turning and cutting back. There was a smile on Nitro's face, all the hassles Nitro had to go through before catching this wave had disappeared behind him, with nothing but wave in front of him.
Going in after that wave, Nitro sat on the beach and watched Tork and Kenny on the same wave doing go behinds before Tork fell and Kenny had the wave to himself. Swimming in after his board, Tork would come in after getting his board. Drying off, Tork looks out and sees Miki had just caught a good size set wave. "Nitro, look Miki caught a good one, look at him ride the wave like a Maestro conducting the flow of the music," Tork said. "Yeah, he got this placed wired" Nitro said looking around at the different types of people at this beach. Some were celebrities he had seen on television, and others looked like they came from inland with a distinctive attire of dress shirt, slacks, and shoes.
Kenny comes in and puts his board down on top of Tork and Nitro boards. Nitro is looking at the outline, the rail contours, and how the rocker foils into the overall design. Walking over to it and lifts it and feel the rails. At the same time, he is looking at pieces of wax on the bottom of his board. "Kenny, what do you call this rail contour?" Nitro asked. "It's a 50/50 combination. I have a little more tail rocker compared to the nose" Kenny said. "Clean board Kenny," Nitro said putting it back down on top of Tork's board. They would go out for an afternoon session and return home. After another day of surf, Nitro is making a grocery list of items he will get. Leaving the list on the coffee table, he goes over to the shaping room.
Putting the blank on the racks, Nitro gets a pencil and tape measure out and places it on the blank. Looking at the templates that Tork's older brother had, he takes them all and looks at the curves, and places them on the blank. He draws an outline on the marks that he had placed and looks at it on the racks, then takes it outside next to the garage to see it in a different light. He stares at it from nose to tail and wonders if he should make the tail wider and the nose less rounded. He takes the blank back into the shaping room and left it on the racks. He thought of giving it more time and have a fresh mind to tackle the new project.
The next day Nitro and Tork take a ride down to the Breakwater in Tork's car with their boards. It was small, breaking 2 to 3 feet with some fun-looking waves breaking in front of the large parking lot where the lifeguard headquarters was located. They decide to go out and surf for an hour before Tork goes to work. Having a fun time, even though the water was cooler this time out. "See that bend in the breakwater, there is a jump-off spot over there (pointing to the location) when the waves are bigger and you can't paddle out. That's where to go, to get out on big days" Tork said being informative about the spot. "Oh, ok, that's good to know," Nitro said as he paddled for a wave.
"Let go in, I have to go to work," Tork said. "Ok, I'm going to shape the blank today," Nitro said thinking about shaping the blank in the shaping room. After getting back and taking a shower Tork went to work and Nitro started planing the bottom of the blank before redrawing the outline and cutting it out. The planer was going on for about an hour before Nitro had the thickness and rocker that he wanted and was ready to do the bans on the rails. After surforming the rails he started to sand the grooves out and knock down the stringer with a small block plane before taking a break. After taking a break, Nitro was back into the shaping room and spending another few more hours fine sanding and blending the rails.
After getting back Tork went over to the shaping room to see what Nitro had done. Nitro was looking at the contour while lifting the tail up and down looking forward. "Hey Nitro, howzit going?" Tork said. "Just about finished," Nitro said looking at the rails then at Tork before putting the tail down on the rack. "Hey, it looks really good. What size is it?" Tork asked. "9-0 square tail. Do you think the shop can sell me some materials to finish her off? I want to give you this board for your hospitality for me staying here" Nitro said. "I don't know if they will, but I know another place that will. There is a place in Gardena where we get our supplies" Tork said.
"Let's go there and not have to bother with the glasser getting upset about things being used. I'm off tomorrow, so we can go then" Tork said. After getting the supplies, Nitro did the glass job and Tork sanded it at the shop. Nitro glossed it in the garage. It was Friday when Tork came back from work and saw the polished board with its rails rubbed out. "Wow, that board is bitchen Nitro, thanks a lot," Tork said while lifting it and feeling the rails. "Glad you like it, you will need some waves to find out how it will ride," Nitro said. Just then, Brian, Jeff, and Harry stopped by and were walking in. "Whose board is that?" Harry asked. "It's mine, Nitro made it for me," Tork said with an excited tone in his voice.
"Will you make me aboard. I will pay you for it" Jeff said. "Me too, I can sell my board and get one from you Nitro" Brian replied looking at Tork and the other guys. "Sure, 15 for the shape and 25 for the glassing you guys pay for materials," Nitro said. "Alright, I will get the materials tomorrow," Brian said. "I'll go with you and get my stuff at the same time," Jeff said as he picked up Tork's board and got excited. The following week 5 other friends of Brian and Jeff wanted a new board by Nitro. Nitro called home and told his mom that he had to postpone his departure back to the islands to work on the boards that people wanted him to make. He also told her of a fortune cookie that he had after surfing and it told him of his good fortune would be coming his way. Also he wanted to let Kathy know that he would be staying longer.
Meanwhile, Tork rode his new board and was stoked. It was the best board he ever had and it rode terrific. He told everyone he knew and they wanted a board made by Nitro. Before Nitro knew it, he was getting orders for 5 boards a week and increasing. Back home Charlie and Kathy were going to the beach as usual and began dating. After a while, she lost interest in Nitro and fell in love with Charlie and him with her. Not thinking much of Charlie and Kathy, Nitro was getting busier and was starting to make a good income.
Having got some rice paper, Indian ink, and a small brush. Nitro made a logo of a wave being exploded with a surfboard in the center. Under it was Nitro Surfboards Hermosa Beach. After a few weeks, Nitro knew he had to get a business license and do the whole 9 yards of a bigger shop and more safety equipment like fume masks for glassing, eye protection, buying wholesale and having insurance. All of this was running through Nitro's minds after a few weeks of being on the mainland. The local high schools around the beach areas and in Torrance made order take off. Nitro called home and told his parents that he was starting a business in the South Bay. He asked about Kathy and his mom told him she was going steady with Charlie.
Kenny stopped by to see Tork and went to the garage to talk to Nitro "Be careful the commercial guys are talking of you being here and they may call the building inspector on you. But it looks like you are on the right wave and the torch has been passed on to you. Keep it lit and go for it" Kenny said knowing others have gone into business and fell from the ride. "I once had a dream of people holding torches as I surfed by. What you said made me recall it and now I'm holding the torch. I appreciate your advice and if I have other questions, can I get your advice?" Nitro asked knowing he didn't know everything there was to know about running a business.
From Here to There
After talking it over, Nitro and Tork became partners. Tork would do the ordering of materials, hot coat and fin, sanding, and polishing. Nitro would do the shaping and glassing. The first thing they had to do was to find a location where they could set up shop. Which they found next to the Torrance Drive-in Theater by an open field that Tork knew about through a friend. A small shop of 1000 sq. feet and the rent was $50.00 a month. They talked it over in how to set up the rooms and where the supplies would be situated. Using the shaping racks, and the other items that Tork's brother had, which they would reimburse him when they got situated and had a steady flow of income.
The glassing room would use steel pipes for glassing stands and wooden dowels for horizontal and vertical side racks. A supply room for resins and other chemicals was indentified and no smoking was allowed. The sanding room was separate from the polishing room with the restroom between the shaping and glassing rooms. Windows had custom bars across them for additional security. A large closet was converted into a record-keeping cove with a chalkboard and a file cabinet. It would take a few weeks to get things up and running with water and electricity.
They went to a local lawyer to draw up the partnership agreement and came up with the name, NT Surfboards. After taking care of the name, bank account, business license, and a few other items on their list, they were ready to get their feet wet in the realm of business. While in their lawyer's office the lawyer says "Well good luck and happy surfing. I'm looking for another board and heard you guys are making good surfboards from my friend who referred you to me." "Just let me know what kind and we can go from there," Nitro said as he and Tork shook the lawyer's hand.
Sitting at the guest house Nitro and Tork are having a business meeting and talking about people coming over to buy and pick up their surfboards. "My parents said I need to find another place to sell and pick up their surfboards," Tork said. "Do you want to go look for a place ?" Nitro asked. "Yeah, let's go take a look," Tork said. "Ok, let's look around on Coast Highway first and see if we can find a place.
They both got into Tork's 62' VW van that he had just bought and drove down to the Coast Highway. Looking for any sign with a for rent or lease sign in a window or on the building. "Hey, there’s one, a for rent sign on that window," Nitro said as Tork drove back around and parked it in front of the store near 2nd Street. Looking through the window and measuring the width of the room by walking outside from one wall to the other, it came out to be about 15 ft. and looking inside, they guess the depth was around 20 ft.
A phone number was on the for rent sign and Tork called to find out more. After his conversation with the owner, Tork and Nitro rented the shop and had a sign made up by a local artist who was a friend. They would need a salesperson to run the retail part of their operation, so they put an ad in the local Breeze paper. They got a few inquiries and finally chose a young woman who surfed and was a salesperson at a clothing store at a large mall. "Well, what do you think of this applicant. Her name was Celsius and wanted to work in the afternoons because of her classes, she is going to a fashion merchandise school in Los Angeles" Tork said.
They interviewed her and both liked her answers. The guys agreed and welcomed her to their company. Celsius would give her input on how to layout the inside of the shop should be. "The holiday season is a couple of months away and not to go overboard, but still have a few items other than surfboards, something you guys might want to think about" Celsius said at one of their meetings. "What did you have in mind," Nitro asked. "Tee Shirts, trunks, walking shorts, surfboard racks, and maybe some skating wheels without the shoe," she said. "What kinda wheels, I saw some Chicago clay wheels and even metal wheels that kid can nail or bolt on to a 2X4 board or something," Celsius said.
"We never thought of that before, but it sounds like a good idea. Sidewalk surfing, I could make some plywood shape boards looking like surfboards and sell them separately or together with the wheels" Nitro said remembering his days in the woodshop. "We can advertise locally first then go larger if things prove successful" Tork added. Their retail items were selling fast and the idea of finding a larger store came up. They found one a couple of street up and moved into it the following spring. The threesome worked and surf together and soon Nitro and Celsius were doing things together as a couple.
Celsius would take Nitro to a few of the fashion shows to get him acquainted with clothing and what other retailers look for when stocking their stores. Taking it all in, Nitro was impressed and was expanding his views on what the surfing community might do. He and Celsius talked about their situation and what other shops have already done. Nitro rented an apartment near Knob Hill in Redondo Beach and Celsius moved in with him.
Tork and his girlfriend would go on double dates and enjoy each other's company. A month before summer Tork had advertised in Surf Mag and orders started coming in for Nitro Surfboards from around the different southern counties. Celsius suggested mail-order sales and the guys agreed. The guys made Celsius a partner and the three of them were setting bigger goals with their surfboards, skateboards, and clothing lines. Orders started coming in from the East Coast. Celsius suggested to Nitro that they should purchase a small apartment building that came up for sale in Hermosa Beach, so Celsius and Nitro agreed. Celsius had some money saved up and Nitro had extra that he was accumulating. The rest of the money would come from Celsius's parents who were an accountant and a doctor.
Nitro and Celsius got married and would go to Hawaii on their honeymoon and visit his family and friends. After visiting Hawaii they would use one of the rooms at the apartment until they bought a house in Palos Verdes a few months later. With their business growing, they broaden their views on the Orange County surf market and planned on opening a shop in Huntington Beach. Nitro's strategy was to sub-contract the glassing to a glassing company and have a stall of shapers working for him at a couple of locations in the South Bay and Orange County. Tork and his girlfriend Judy got married and were living in Manhattan Beach. Judy got Tork into other ventures that included the Stock Market, fast-food franchises, and real estate.
While having dinner to celebrate his 21st birthday at a Polynesian-style restaurant, Tork, Judy, Celsius, and Nitro were enjoying the moment. Nitro was saying "Southern California sure has grown and how Tork and I were lucky to have caught this wave of opportunity." Their wives smiled knowing they too caught the wave. "It was just a matter of chance when Tork asked me for a wave and I let him have it. That proves to be the wave of the future" Nitro said explaining how he and Tork met and got started.
"What do you think about the shortboards a few of the guys are riding?" Celsius asked. "It's part of the movement for more maneuverability surfers are interested in nowadays. We will continue designing what sales" Nitro said as he waved at the waitress, who came over. "We would like to have another bottle of wine for us," Nitro said looking at everyone at the table and feeling older and able to drink legally.
"Changing the subject and not trying to be a party pooper, I got a notice that I've been drafted into the army," Tork said. "You know I might be next," Nitro said. With a startled look, Celsius took a drink of her wine and asked "When did you find out Tork." "This afternoon," Tork said as Judy suddenly had a sad face. "Will you be sent to Vietnam?" Celsius asked. "Don't know until after boot camp" Tork said. Celsius then looked at Nitro as the waitress brought over the bottle of wine.
Nitro looked over the waitress's shoulder as she leaned to place the wine bottle onto the table and could see a torch, one of many in the restaurant. But the one he was looking at went out, he thought for a moment and realized the torch represented his younger days that has faded behind him. Tork poured the wine into everyone's wine glass and said "A toast to us and the journey we are on" as everyone lifted their glass and said, "To us and the Journey."
Nitro was drafted and went up to Monterrey to do his boot camp. Tork had gone before him by a month and was shipped out to Germany. Celsius was at the ceremony of Nitro's graduation from boot camp, his orders came in after that, and got the news of being shipped off to Vietnam. Having watched the action on television while on leave and now would be there in the thick of things within weeks. His travels before then would take him to different air force bases of Travis, Hickam, Wake Island, then onto Clark before arriving at Da Nang. After getting acclimated to his surroundings and the sound of gunfire off in the distance. Nitro and his company would do the patrols, and one such patrol 6 months later. At a particular time before the monsoon season, they were ordered to guard a hill, strategically overlooking a valley.
Being off watch, he is writing a letter to Celsius. "After all that I have been through to get here, I wonder what life has in store for me. From happy days to what else could happen in protecting our position. I long to be with again" wrote Nitro as he stopped and folded the letter. He placed it in his shirt pocket unfinished. He could sense an attack was about to happen as his Sargent whispered "Get ready I smell an attack is going to happen" as he moved to the next guys in their fox hole saying the same.
The fighting began and would last for over an hour. As the smoke cleared, a Huey copters came onto the scene after the Phantom jets had made their runs. Nitro was airlifted back to base. He had been wounded on the left arm and would soon receive attention to it. His time in the war ended and will be discharged from his duties. Returning home to Southern California Nitro had a different perspective on life and how he viewed certain things that he took for granted. Being glad he had made it back to his wife, business, and surfing. He took each day as it came and Thanked God for his well-being after all that he had been through.
Nitro had his business but wanted to get away from the big city where the protests of the war and the memories of friends that he met there would not be returning to their loved one was fresh in his memory and had affected him. He still wanted to shape and surf but not in the South Bay. Talking it over with Celsius about how he felt, she understood what Nitro had gone through and the days she worried about him. She had built their company to the size that it was and had gotten her BS at the same time. Not to be hasty in their decision, she went to see a few consultants and get advice on the best way to approach their situation. She got a good idea of how they could still enjoy what Nitro had in mind and have a sound future with what they have.
Nitro and Celsius moved to Cardiff in North County San Diego overlooking San Elijo Lagoon. Celsius didn't mind the move, she would commute and coordinate with Judy on her schedule. Nitro converted the garage into a shaping room / blank storage and has a carport made for their cars. He felt alright being there and would surf the local spots nearby. The backyard had a Koi pond with a waterfall and a small greenhouse. Where Nitro would start his vegetable seeds and transplant them to the outside grow-beds nearby.
Along with the seeds, there was an area on the northern wall of the greenhouse where he had a few Orchids, and Bromeliads. Outside of the greenhouse, there was a bonsai juniper tree on a twisted wrought iron pedestal emerging from rocks at its base, hiding the concrete foundation that was holding it in place. The main branch of the miniature tree was cascading down. It was representing the starting point on the sidewalk, where the journey took place. A small plaque was next to the door of the greenhouse with the words of Robert Frost's poem "The Road not Taken".
Both Nitro and Celsius would find time to spend their moments growing plants for their garden. Though, more so for Nitro compared to Celsius who had a busy schedule to contend with. The designer within Nitro would keep a watch of the different trends in shaping and what the surfers out in the water were doing. Staying on the wave of change, Nitro would shape 10 to 15 blanks a week and take them up to his glassing shop in Costa Mesa. Small fishes, Rocket fishes, Roundpins, Winged Swallowtails, Sting shapes that were becoming popular, all under 7 foot with an occasional longboard, standard and the noserider types. He had a couple of other guys doing the shaping for the local market and overseas orders
The seasons came and went and with it, ideas of more wings, more concaves, and the thought of 3 fins floated to the surface by what the surfing magazine was saying. With that in mind, Nitro shaped the designs that he thought would sell and the average surfer would want to ride. Celsius with her background in Readywear fashion was ready to compete with the Big Boys in surfwear. She and Nitro would have a meeting with Tork and Judy at their motor yacht in King Harbor about her idea of launching a campaign for their clothing line. Discussing what they will present in boardshorts, trunks, dress shirts, T-shirts, and a variety of other items in certain styles and colors. What hot surfers to use and where the background location in their magazine ads would be, also including girls and women's line of dresses and bikinis.
After their meeting, they went over to the restaurant next to the Breakwall and talked some more about other things that came to mind. So, Celsius got the ball rolling and within a year they were ready to start their campaign. Having got a 4 wheel drive truck for recreational purposes, Nitro was making trips into Baja and surfing K55, San Miguel, 3 M's, and a few other locations he kept secret. Lately, he had been bypassing Seaside, Cardiff, and Swami's and had been surfing D Street. With all the things going on in their business when Nitro was out in the water, he left everything on land without a care in the world, except catching waves. Once back on the shore his mind started racing of what, when, where, why, and how he was going to do it. Closing his eyes for a moment as he taking a shower to rinse off the saltwater from his wetsuit, opening them and seeing the ocean as he walked away from the public showers, going back to his truck.
Returning home and checking his answering machine. Nitro decide to shape a few blanks, then mow the lawn and clean up around the house. He gets a call from Celsius and she is on her way back early after stopping at the Surf Mag office with their photos and info to be placed in the next month's issue. And was also going to go to the store in Hermosa Beach, but wasn't feeling well and would be returning home. She went to the doctor's office the next day and they told her she was pregnant. With that in mind, she started to give more responsibility to Judy for the clothing line and began planning on having their child and started preparing.
The clothing line was a success and was doing well. With the increase in their income, they bought a few apartments in Oceanside and Carlsbad and had them managed by a property management company. Being well to do from it, the Gleasons would travel to Europe and see the sites around the Mediterranean countries. Other times they would travel to Asia and Australia to see what was happening there regarding the surfing culture. By now things were getting busy with their name-brand clothing lines.
Their children had started pre-school and kindergarten and Nitro had their son Cali the oldest of the two, take swimming lessons and would teach him to surf. He would teach their daughter Gem how to swim first, then surf a couple of years later. Cali was like a fish to water and wanted to do everything that Nitro would do. Celsius would say whenever they were around each other "Like father, like son." Cali started on a 5' 6" square tail and as he grew the boards would get a bit longer.
The years went by and their two children were in grade school. They sold their interest in the surf shop, and clothing line. They bought more apartments in the Solano Beach area and had a sizable collection of apartments in North County and commercial buildings in San Marcos and San Diego. With the popularity of the 3 fin Thruster design, Nitro shaped a few for himself, Cali, and Gem. Celsius had a longboard Nitro had made her and on Sunday's they all could be at Pipes, or D St., or Carlsbad for the day.
As a freshman, Cali got on the high school surf team and was one of the top surfers on the team. He and his friend Morris who was one of the smartest guys in his class went surfing together all of the time. Gem got interested in Fashion Design and Celsius did all she could to guide her and share her views on the subject matter. Before long Gem was staying at her parent's apartment in Hermosa Beach and reducing commute time to school in Los Angeles. Cali went on surf trips around the world and his friend Morris would get a scholarship to a school back East.
Nitro would continue shaping a few boards for himself and what he didn't want to keep, he would consign it at Tork's shop in Hermosa Beach. He and Celsius would play golf at their country club twice a week and go surf when the wave was to their liking. One such time was when they were at the San Elijo campsite stairs from the beach. They had just gotten out from a surf session and would be walking up to their car parked along the Coast Highway. Stopping in front of the stairs that lead up to the campsite. They were talking about computers since both had learned DOS on their Intel 80286 processor computers a couple of years back "The future of the PC will be with Windows and Apple operating systems" Celsius said.
Nitro was listening and at the same time watching a lifeguard telling a few surfers who had started a small fire to keep warm to put it out. The surfers tossed sand onto the fire as it went out. Nitro thought back when he first came to the mainland and made a fire at the Huntington Cliffs to keep warm with Tork's friends. Then thought of the next torch to go out in his dream when the middle-aged surfer waved as he passed by in his dream.
One Thing leads to Another
After surfing and doing a few chores around the house, Nitro was looking at the Sunday paper and happened to be in the real estate section. He noticed a property for sale in Fallbrook. It had a picture of a 3 bedroom ranch-style house and stated a 50-acre orchard of avocados was for sale. Being interested Nitro asked Celsius if she would want to go for a drive out to Fallbrook. "I'm meeting a group of people at the Market for a lunch meeting. There will be a general discussion on the improvements of the park nearby. I have to pass on going" Celsius said. So, Nitro drove out there by himself.
Driving up the driveway of the property, Nitro sees an old man walking with a dog to his garage. The old man stops and waits to see what Nitro was going to do as his dog started barking. Getting out of his truck, Nitro introduced himself and said he was interested in seeing his property. Bill the owner of the place said "Usually you would have to go through my agent, but since you caught me here, what can I help you with." "Could we take a walk around your place?" Nitro asked. "Sure, wait here I'll be right back. C'mon Sargent let's go to the backyard" Bill said as Sargent the German Shepard followed. Returning with his golf cart "Get in Nitro, we will take the cart" Bill said as he took the dirt road next to the driveway.
"These trees are the Hass variety in this section and are about 30 years old," Bill said pointing at the section and continued "Over there is the Fuertes variety, and next to that is the Pinkerton and beyond that on the other hill is the Edranol. Have you done any farming before?" "No, but was interested in doing some" Nitro answered back as Bill had a slight concern for him. Nitro looks reminded Bill of one of his sons who had passed away in a car accident. "It's hard work and at times can be stressful if there is a severe frost. But that's part of the agenda in running a farm" Bill said as they continued driving around the property. Bill drove up to his water pump "Had her worked on a few years back. She'll pump close to 200 GPM with the mainline being 5", reduced down to 2" at the last section. I use Netafim micro sprayers for each tree and at each section is a master valve where the injectors are tied into" Bill said looking at Nitro who was nodding his head in agreement.
"Are you sure you want to do something like this? The reason I'm selling the place is to go fishing in Idaho and get away from the changes this state is having. I just want to enjoy life with my wife and not have to deal with all this red tape and taxes. Our kids are gone and doing the things that they want to do. I figured I'll do the same" Bill said sharing his reason for wanting to sell. "You know Bill I might be in the same boat as you and I just wanted to do something different. Perhaps you are right about me wanting to do something I have no experience at and should think twice before jumping into a new project" Nitro said as Bill smiled and drove back to the house. "If you are still interested just call my agent. It was nice meeting you Nitro" Bill said as he walked over to the backyard to let Sargent out. Nitro got into his truck and waved to Bill and Sargent as he drove off.
"How was your trip out to Fallbrook?" Celsius asked. "It was good. It made me think about certain things that I let slip by on the way to where I wanted to be. Yes, it was good to have gone. Bill the owner was like a big brother who was looking after me" Nitro said and not bringing the subject of farmland after going there. Nitro and Celsius went to Hawaii for a vacation and would be staying on Oahu. After getting situated at their Ko Olina hotel, they went to visit his old friends Charlie and Kathy Alfonzo in town. "What a long road it had been," Nitro said as they were greeted by Charlie on the front porch of his house which once belongs to his parents.
Looking next door and seeing the house he grew up in, Nitro had fond memories that came back to him as he and Celsius went inside. "Aloha, welcome back," Kathy said as she gave them both a hug. They sat in the living room talking about how it was and what they have been doing. "You know Nitro, we are ok for now with my pension and our security payments. I sense it won't be enough in the years ahead. It's not like it used to be" Charlie said as Nitro looked at him and wonder of the future as well. "How time flies, it seemed like yesterday we were going to Waikiki and surfing the summers away," Charlie said as Kathy looked at the both of them and smiled as she nodded her head briefly before getting up and went to get some ice tea for her guests and her and Charlie.
"Our children have grown and had children of their own. They would visit on special occasions and holidays. But most of the time Charlie and I go about our daily routines" Kathy said. Nitro looked at them and thought to himself, he would be in the same situation if he hadn't gone to the mainland and started his business with Tork. They spent a couple of hours talking about old times and what they had done and where they worked at. It was time to leave and do other things that were on their schedule. Nitro and Celsius said their alohas and mentioned they will see them again when they return to the islands. Surfing the west and south shore for a few days and playing golf a few times. Their stay was soon over and they flew back home.
After getting back Nitro is out a Swami's, the swell was from the Northwest and in good shape. With his back to the shore, he looking out at the horizon and is waiting to see if a bump will appear. "Hey Mr. Gleason," said another surfer paddling up to him. "Why Morris, I haven't seen you since your high school days, when you and Cali were surfing together," Nitro said. "How is Cali, is he around?" Morris asked. "No, he is in Indonesia on a boat trip. He's been living on Kauai for the last few years. He is a real estate agent there" Nitro replied. "I haven't seen him since he went to school in Santa Barbara," Morris said. "Who shaped your board and what have you been up to?" Nitro asked.
"Steve at Backyard boards, and I went back east to MIZ and got my MS in statistical analysis. I was offered a position at a big bank, but turned it down and came back here to surf and do some freelancing for different companies in San Diego and LA" Morris said. "What does that encompass?" asked Nitro as he turned and started to paddle further out. "Trend lines, candlestick analysis, and Fibonacci retracement," said Morris as he sees a set coming and paddle more towards his left where the peak of the wave was. Being distracted by which wave he would paddle for, Nitro looked around to see where Morris was, he had taken the first wave of the set right at the peak. He did a late take-off and free fell a few feet before his board landed on the face of the wave. Regaining his stance after the weightless drop, he went to the bottom of the wave and did a bottom turn. He was off and racing down the line. Nitro was watching the wave as Morris's head would appear and disappear along the top of the wave.
Missing the second wave, Nitro went for the third wave and caught it. Doing an angled takeoff, Nitro places most of his weight on his rear leg while making the drop. Aiming his board at a certain location,
Nitro is going down the line doing a few short up and downturns before making a slight fade to the bottom before cranking a hard bottom turn which propelled him up the face of the wave. Looking out for other surfers paddling out in front of him. He adjusts his weight to the outside rail as his board veers off just enough to be aiming behind the surfer. Just after passing the surfer paddling out, he leans and makes his turn again to pick up speed to make the next section. Turning up the face doing a lip carve before going back down the face to do another turn. "Right on Mr. Gleason," Morris said paddling back out. Still riding the wave Nitro decides to go in as the wave becomes a rolly wall moving without breaking, until it went flat. Still 50 yards from shore Nitro paddles in.
After getting back to the take-off spot Morris looks around to see if Nitro is paddling back out, he doesn't see him, so he assumes that he went in. Another friend of his paddles over and starts a conversation during another lull. Most of the local guys out in the water know that Morris is one of the best local surfers out there and lets him have the waves of his choice. On top of the bluff at the parking lot, a local surfer is checking out the surf while chewing bubble gum and blowing a bubble. It popped and was sticking to his face. He wipes it off and spits the remaining piece in the nearby trash can. Looking down over the cliff, he sees the crowd out at Swami’s and the other surfers out at Boneyards.
Then the people on the beach were sauntering in the tide pool. Nitro walks by them as he is heading toward the stairs which lead up to the parking lot. Ascending the stairs, he thinking about shaping a new longboard and going to San Onofre the next day. A few minutes later after resting halfway up and looking back out. He sees a closeout set catching a few people inside. Imagining if he had stayed out and was paddling out, he would be one of those guys out in the water sliding off and pushing his boards away. He continues up the stairs and reaches the parking lot. Laying his board down and getting his car key from his wetsuit pocket, he opens the passenger side door, and gets his board bag out, and puts his surfboard inside of it before placing it in the back of the truck.
He grabs his gallon jug of warm water and pours it on his feet, then onto his head and the rest of the body. Looking back at the waves and sees the guys catching waves as a few more surfers paddle out. A car pulls up in the empty stall next to him. The guy gets out and looks at the waves and says "How was
it out there." "Not bad, I had fun, It might be getting bigger" Nitro reply. Just then the guy gets a call on his cell phone. "Hello, yes, what, what do you mean. What the hell. Ok," the guy hangs up and turns to Nitro who was drying off his head with a towel.
"What a day," the guy said after hanging up his cell phone and needs to talk to someone about what he was told. Looking at Nitro he continues "My friend says the stock market had just crashed. Now I have to take a running start and jump off the cliff. I'm just kidding, but I do need a stiff drink instead" he said. "There's a bar up the street, I think it's open," Nitro said with the top half of his wetsuit off and is wrapping a towel around his waist before taking his wetsuit off. He continued "Well there goes my new surfboard" the guy said. Nitro had his wetsuit at his ankles and was bent over, wedging his hand between his ankle and his wetsuit leg opening. Pulling his leg out and pushing down on the wetsuit. "It dropped 85%," the guy said as Nitro got his wetsuit off and was tossing it into the back of his truck. He get his board shorts that were laying on the driver's side seat and he puts it on.
"Well, some were mentioning it would happen," Nitro said as he put on his T-shirt. "Do you own stock?" the guy asked. "Yes, but I'm okay, I sold most of it last week," Nitro said. "Well it looks like a lot of people are up shit creek without a paddle, including me," the guy said shaking his head sideways. "Is your friend sure about what he told you?" asked Nitro. "Yes, he is my stockbroker" answered the guy. "Well, got to be going, I have a few things to take care of," Nitro said as he got into his truck and drove off.
Getting back to his house he goes in and gets online to see what the guy at the beach told him was true. Celsius comes into the room. "Nitro the Stock Market has crashed just as you mentioned," Celsius said. "Well, I'm glad we sold our most vulnerable stocks. We have a good broker" Nitro said as he started writing down a list of things to do and looked up videos of the 1930's Great Depression on the computer.
"I saw Morris out at Swami's," Nitro said. "Oh, it's been a while since I heard that name. How is he doing?" Celsius asked. "He's doing well, he says he's into analysis or something like that and surfing. He's riding a backyard surfboard and still a very good surfer. I told him about Cali being in Indo and living over in Kauai" Nitro said as he continued to surf the web. The guy Nitro was talking to at the beach whose name is Roger had returned home and was going over his emails and some margin calls. He has a bottle of "Good old Charlie" next to him and trying to figure out what to do next while being intoxicated. He goes out to his patio and takes the bottle with him. Morris has gotten out of the water is driving home. The other surfers out in the water are oblivious to what is happening around them until the following day. By then the Fed has started QE and the markets are back on track.
Morris found out about the market chaos after getting home and got online. Doing some surfing on the web he came across a posted message by Satoshi Nakamoto. It was titled Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper. Morris became interested in the concept of Cryptocurrencies and found Bitcoin's White Paper and read it. After doing so, he kept a lookout for more information about it whenever he got on the web.
Signing the Shape
Nitro wasn't feeling well and had developed some discomfort in his body. He went to see his doctor and took some tests to see what might be wrong with his health. He was given some medication to help relieve the discomfort. After the test, he was told to watch his diet and to drink less alcohol. He began taking more daily walks when he wasn't surfing. Slowly, he began to lose interest in shaping. He finished the blank that had been on his shaping rack for two weeks.
After signing what would be his last shape, Nitro took a walk to clear his thoughts of foam dust and recollect his accomplishment in a different frame of mind. He thought of surfboard builders during the last fifty years. Remembering shapers and glassers before him and those of his era and the next bunch of guys and gals who would continue after him.
He had walked a block before deciding to turn back and go home. He saw a young boy on the sidewalk, who had been riding his bike and had just fallen. Looking at the bike, its front wheel had gotten into a rut between the sidewalk and the lawn caused by a broken sprinkler. Nitro asked, "Are you all right?" "I think so," the boy said looking at his knee, which was scraped and bleeding. "Where do you live?' Nitro asked. The boy pointed three houses down from where he was sitting. "Can you get up?" Nitro said. "Yes, I think so," said the boy as he stood. "Ok, let's go to your house. I will walk your bike" Nitro said as he picked it up and they walked over to his house. His mother had just come out of the garage and began to hurry, seeing her son walking with Nitro. Walking up to her, Nitro explained what had happened as he walking by. Grateful for his help, she thanked him, then saw the bleeding on her son's knee.
"Go inside the bathroom and wash that scrape and put a band-aid on it, Keith," said his mother. "Ok, mom. I think I lost my new flashlight. I had it in my hand and was looking at it before I fell" Keith said. "I know where he fell, not far from here. I will go back and see if it is there" Nitro said as he walked back to the location and spotted it in the middle of the lawn. While walking back to the woman, he thought of the flashlight and the kid waving it in his dream long ago. Returning it to the mother, Nitro said "Are you new to the area?" "Yes, we moved in a week ago, we're from the east coast. Well thank you for helping Keith" said the mother as she took the bike and flashlight into the garage.
Walking home to his house Nitro thought of the torches and the flashlight. He had lived through those symbols he had dreamed of when he was in middle school and wonder what was next for him. Almost home, he sees Celsius had returned from her grocery shopping and would help her bring the bags into the house. Telling her about the boy named Keith who happened to had a flashlight when he fell off his bike, the next street over. With a curious look on her face, she said "You have come full cycle about your dream you told me when we first met." Nitro smiled and said "You know, this was my destiny to share my dream with you" as they went into the house.
The following day, while surfing Beacons, Nitro saw Morris on a wave coming straight at him. Morris did a light cutback as not to spray water on him. At the same time, Nitro had lifted his arm to suggest he might grab the nose of his board. With a smile, he continued out to the lineup. Sitting and looking around for Morris, Nitro sees him paddling over. "Hey Mr. Gleason, what are you up to?" asked Morris. "Oh, nothing much, just thought of getting some waves. I finally switched from Vista to Windows 7. Talk about late to the party. What have you been up Morris" Nitro said.
"Besides the regular work of programming. I got interested in this thing called Bitcoin and learned that it was created by someone named Satoshi Nakamoto. I bought a few of them for 6.25 cents apiece. If it should drop and crash I would lose my investment. But I have a feeling it might raise in price and I could make a pretty penny" Morris said as he sees Nitro paddling toward his right as a peak was coming their way. After catching the wave Nitro paddles back out and notices that Morris had gone in on one of the waves after his. Being occupied with the waves that were happening, Nitro would surf for a couple of hours then go in after the tide went high and the waves became inconsistent.
A week went by and Nitro wasn't feeling well and called his doctor. His doctor told him to come to his office again and was told of his test results. He had sclerosis of the liver and it had stopped functioning normally. His doctor sent him to see a specialist who told him he had about 2 to 4 months left to live. Celsius was waiting outside in the reception room and was told by Nitro of the bad news. Without saying a word, she hugs Nitro and began to cry. After finding out about his condition Celsius drove Nitro home.
Two months later Nitro went into a coma and would soon pass away. A Paddle out was arranged by Tork and a few of their friends. A month later a Paddle out in the remembrance of Nitro was held at Cardiff by the Sea. His family, close friends Morris and his wife were there and saw Cali talking to a few people. He walked over to him and mentioned "He was a great guy, like an uncle to me," Morris said to Cali. "Thanks for coming, yes he thought of you as part of the family," Cali said feeling sad, but maintaining his composure. Celsius was comforting Gem who was heartbroken during this time of remembrances. Celsius was doing her best to comfort her family and accepting the condolences from everyone there.,
The wave was breaking 5 to 8 feet and in good shape. The guys got their boards and went into the water. It took a good half an hour for his friends and acquaintances to paddle out. The group of 40 were determined to make it out, a few were unable to do so and came in and watched from the beach. They could see the gathering making a circle by holding hands, Tork would give a speech about his friend. The circle was about 50 yards further out than the break. The guys began splashing the water around them after Tork's speech in honor of Nitro. At the same time wanting to paddle in at the take-off spot and catch some fun-looking waves. The day passed like a warm summer breeze, with many surfing days away as the sun faded into the horizon. Most of the group had gone home hours ago with a few still honoring Nitro by staying out. It turned out to be the best day of the year for surfing there. Tork would remember it to be just that as the tears blended with the saltwater on his face.
Morris gets a phone call and it is Cali "Hey Cali, what's up?" Morris asked. "The waves are still pumping, care to go surf?" Calif asked. "Sure, let meet at Igor's, I think that might be the place to go," Morris said. "Ok, see you in 45 minutes" Cali replied and hung up. Morris had gotten there before Cali and was putting on his wetsuit. Cali drives up behind Morris's Van. Cali sees the wave breaking and hurries to get his wetsuit on and wax his board. "Getting used to the water. Was out last week while my mom and sister were arranging with Tork the paddle out. I feel stiff wearing this old wetsuit of mine" Cali said.
Walking down the path to the beach Morris asked "How're things in Kauai." "Busy, sales have been steady and there is quite an interest all over the island. Started shaping again, made a shop next to the garage. What about yourself?" Cali wondered. "Been getting work from some companies up north in LA and some interest from Florida. Going over there next week to talk with some people, Will be there for a few days to a week depending on the surf after the meeting. Also been interested in mining stocks, and been collecting physical precious metal" Morris said. "Precious metals?" Cali asked. "Yeah, gold and silver, but mostly silver," He said.
"I didn't mention it yesterday, I wasn't in the mood but, I got some crypto-currencies as well. I found out today they went up another dime a piece" Morris answered thinking it as a long-term investment. "Can you show me how you get them" "Cali asked? "Sure after we get out, we can go over to my place and I will show you," Morris said as they stepped into the water as the surge wrapped around their lower leg. Walking out some more before laying on their boards, as they began to paddle out as the white water from the waves approached them. The nose of their boards floats over the first row of dissipating white water. As the second and third rows came at them, they plowed into them with their heads down. It wasn't long before they were duck diving out.
Sitting out in the lineup Morris sees another friend out in the water. "Hey, Jake how are the waves?" "Hey, Morris, good, got some good waves. Hey isn't that Cali?" "Yeah, he's over for a short while, his father passed away," Morris said. "Sorry to hear that," Jake said looking over at Cali who was paddling over. "Hey Jake, long time no see," Cali said. "Sorry to hear about your dad, Cali" Jake said. "That's life, here today gone to, you know what I mean. What have you been up to?" Cali asked. "Sanding boards up on the hill. It's work and I get to surf during the day and work at night" Jake said as Cali nodded his head to say he understood.
"Here comes the set," Jake said as he started to paddle further out, as Morris and Cali did the same. Cali turns and starts paddling for the wave as Jake and Morris continue to paddle further out. Cali catches the wave and starts flying down the line. Climbing and dropping until he catches up with the shoulder and does a semi-roundhouse cutback, cutting the maneuver halfway before resuming his climbing and dropping race to get as much of the wave as possible before it closes out at the end of the ride. Looking back out he sees Jake and Morris a couple of hundred yards away, further out.
Set after set, lull after lull with the tide going low, the shape of the waves had changed and the wind came up. Paddling in Cali and Morris are on the beach walking back to their car and van. "If I don't see you again, it was nice surfing with you. Let me know if you come over to the islands. We can go surf" Cali said. "I hadn't given it much thought, but if I do, I will let you know. Is the cell number you called on the best way to get a hold of you?" Morris asked. "Yes, that's my cell number. I forgot to get your number yesterday, so I called one of Gem's friends and got your office number. Let me give you my card" Cali said.
Going to his rental car, Cali gets a card out of his wallet and hands it to Morris "Here's my card" Cali said handing his card to Morris. Morris looks at it and goes to his van and gets his card and writes his cell number on the back of it and gives it to Cali and says "Here's mine with my email address on it also." "Funny, I'm giving you my card and you yours. I remember the time your dad took us to San Onofre and he did the same with someone he knew from Hawaii, I think his name was Paul" Morris said.
"We sure did go on a few trips with my dad. Those days were so much fun. He would hurry on finishing the boards he promised his friends, at the same time get our stuff ready for the trip of a few days" as Cali was having a flashback from those days. Jake came up after getting out and says to them "Nice seeing you Cali, have a safe trip home. See you around Morris." "Where you off to Jake?" Morris mentioned. "Back to work," Jake said as he continued to his car.
"Oh, that reminds me. Still want to learn on getting some Bitcoins" Morris said. "Yeah, when's a good time to come over?" Cali asked. "I have a few things to do when I get back home. What about in a couple of hours. Give me a call and we can go from there" Morris said as he watched Jake pulled out and headed towards the State Park. Twenty minutes later Jake was driving up the driveway to the shops on the hill and sees a few people leaving. He knows who they are and waves at the guys and they wave back.
Pulling up to the parking stall he sees a couple of guys taking a drink from their bottle of beer. After getting his masks and walking by them, one of them said "Jake, theirs about 7 boards needed to be sanded. How was the surf?" He asked. "It was fun, 4-6' some bigger sets. What have you been up to Brian?" Jake asked "Nothing much just put in some Futures and FCS boxes and hot coated 4 boards. Thinking about going out myself at Pipes" Brian said. "Alright, see you guys later. Oh, have you seen Steve" Jake asked as Brian looked down at the other end of the building? "No his car is not there, he might have gone home," Brian said as he took a sip from his beer at the end of his workday.
Jake went into the sanding room and looked it over. Putting on his portable headset and began listening to his tunes on his iPod. He turned on the exhaust fan and started grinding the overlaps of all the boards that were going to be sanded. After which he got out the sander with the soft pad and 100 grit disc cutouts and began doing decks and bottoms, before sanding the rails. After a few hours, Jake went outside to take a break out in the empty parking lot. Gazing out at the night's sky and wondering what surf tomorrow will bring.
The Flip of the Coin
Jake went back inside and finished his sanding and called it a day at 10 pm. Week after week as the months flew by and the Summer's Solstice had arrived without much fanfare. Jake was there at the beach to greet the moment just like the day before. After watching the waves for about 5 minutes, he decided to go out and surf with the few guys out at Boneyards. Walking down the beach for about 10 minutes, before entering the water's edge. Jake had his new 5' 11" Monster Mash surfboard shaped by Clark and would ride it for the first time.
Before placing it on the incoming surge, he is holding on to both rails feeling it contours once again as he had done when he first picked it up. With the confidence that it will ride just as good as the other shapes he had shape by Clark, he lets go of it as the surge has passed him. Walking it out until the next surge comes along, holding onto both rails as his feet pushes off the sandy bottom and begins to paddle out.
He notices someone he knows, on a wave going left. He was climbing up the wave's face and at the point of the wave feathering. His board takes off and is in flight, a few seconds later he returns onto the wave's white water. Under control, he refocuses to see the wall is lining up. With a few pumps forward, his momentum is once again at top speed and racing down the line before it completely folds and a cutback was in order.
Still paddling as the current pushes Jake slightly off course, he finally makes it out to the takeoff spot. Jake sees Morris floating around with a few other guys. "Hey Morris, it's been a while since I last saw you" Jake said. "Yeah, that was after Nitro's paddleout," Morris said. "That's right, it seemed like yesterday when Nitro passed away," Jake said seeing Dave paddling over to him. "Hey, Dave nice wave you caught." "What's up Jake, how're things at the shop?" Dave asked. "Not much, Randy had to let me go yesterday and he's thinking about closing the shop. Some people up north whose boards Randy had done, couldn't pay their bill. That was a big order Randy had to eat. The rent at the shop went up by a few hundred and his wife is divorcing him. All that happens to him this month, talk about winning the tri facta of WTF" Jake said.
Morris being a couple of yards away was listening to what was being said. After hearing what Jake had said, he turned to the horizon to see if any waves were approaching. Thinking to himself of what he knew about the economy, that it was going to get worst before it got better. "They say it's going to be hard times for everybody, except for the well to do," Dave said. "I think I heard that too," Jake said. Another guy sitting nearby was also listening to their conversation mentioned "The Fed has painted itself into a corner. The more they print, the more the dollars lose it value. A currency reset is supposed to happen, but without something backing it, it will be the same as before" said the guy who started paddling backward on his board.
"What is this reset you are talking about?" Dave asked as the guy stopped back paddling. "The reset is when the paper money is either replaced by another currency, be it physical or digital. Most likely a digital currency will replace it. Something like what China is trying to do. The Fed wants to do the same with their digital currency reset. It will be controlled by the central banks and they will know everything about the transition, I mean everything. The amount, time, where, to whom and a few other bits of information from then on. If you owe a penny to the government they can shut down your account and you could be in the streets penniless" said the guy looking at Dave and Jake.
"How do you know about all this?" Jake asked. "I'd use to be an advisor to a Wall Street investment bank before I left that company years ago and been freelancing ever since," he said. "What's your name?" Dave asked. "I'm Pete," Pete said. "I'm Dave, that is Jake pointing to him, and the other guy over there on the longboard is Morris," Dave said as Morris lifted his hand in a friendly gesture and said, "Kinda like Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies."
"The Fed and the others central banks have been printing like there is no tomorrow, our governments are giving it out to the people for free lately. The analogy that is being mentioned on the web is when the Roman Empire was collapsing, their politicians knew it and would try to prolong the inevitable by giving the people bread and circus. A show for the people to watch other people and animals being killed to take their minds off what was happening around the empire. It will be a wave once it hits" Pete said putting his hands together and putting water into the chamber of his palms. He squeezes his hand as water shots out like a squirt gun.
"Yes, it's going to be an invisible Mount Everest size derivatives tsunami that is supposed to hit the banking system some are imagining. When it hits, the poor and middleclass will be wipeout like the Great Depression of before, but way worse if history is any indicator" Morris said as Jake and Dave's had frowns on their face looking at each other. "If we can't see this huge wall of uncertainty hitting us and the devastation that it will do when it hits and the years after. What can we do Morris?" Jake asked.
"Have food, water, and other necessities, plus security" he said as Pete nodded his up and down indicating that he too was in the same boat and said, "The magnitude of this global debt collapse is going to be horrific." "That's it in a nutshell," Morris said. Jake and Pete were dumbfounded as a set approached. Jake paddled over and got into position to catch the first wave as Dave mentioned "Go Jake I'm right behind you."
Dave and Jake would catch the same wave and go in. "What are you going to do as this economy collapses, Morris?" Pete asked. "I had some backup plans in place. My wife and I have been prepping for a year by buying food and froze and dehydrated whatever fruits and vegetable we could. Also having bottled water and other items that we will need for the long haul. I kept my expenses simple and my credit card debt to what I can pay for the following month" Morris said.
There was another person further out listening to what was being said. He would miss the waves that had just happened. He soon paddled down the coast and went in. "What are you going to do Pete?" Morris asked. "The politicians here are not for the people, so they will continue to raise taxes. I'm moving to Puerto Rico. I sold my place here two weeks ago and bought a place in between Crash Boat and Wilderness so as not to be too far from the surf, just like here. I also speak Spanish, besides English and French. I have an interest in a food company in Mayaguez, so I should be Ok for now" said Pete.
"What line of work do you do Morris," Pete asked. "I'm a computer programmer," Morris said. "Say, I have some inside scoop of what is going to happen in the mining community. Care to talk about an idea I have about that" Pete said. "Sure" Morris replied with a curious look on his face. "Ok, let's schedule a meeting and talk about it some more. Let's go in and I will give you my card and I can get yours to set something up" Pete said as a set of waves approached. Pete caught the first wave in and Morris caught the third wave, which was the biggest of the set.
A month later while at the supermarket, Jake noticed an increase in people entering the store. He was in line to check out his items that were in the cart. He was wondering why more cars were filling the parking lot. After paying for his items, he was leaving the store when he asked someone coming in if something had happened. "The news is indicating something drastic is happening. The dollar has lost its value and many are selling their stocks and bonds. I have to hurry to get what I can before it is gone" said the stranger with a worried look on his face as he stopped talking and rushed in.
Jake left and went home, still not knowing how bad it was going to be. Putting away his grocery, Jake turns on the TV to see what was happening. The major channels were describing governments around the globe had gone into monetary meltdown due to the 5 quadrillion dollar derivative market implosion.The major banks have closed their doors and a giant freeze of capital was occurring. Medium to small banks, large and small businesses had shut down. The announcer of the new's cast didn't seem things were going to get better, but worse. Jake felt somewhat safe since stocking up on supplies that will last him at least 4 months. But was concern after that time period, hoping to figure something out by then.
The magnitude of the moment started to sink in and he wonders about his family and friends. He drove to his bank and it was closed. There was a crowd in front of the ATM bashing it with metal pipes. It looked like a scene from a Hollywood SHTF movie with Chaos written as the title. He had a balance of $84.79 in his account and figured it might be a lost cause trying to get it out, so he turned around and drove home.
Watching the TV and changing channel after channel. He got the impression that this was the futuristic Grape of Wrath, where the people weren't moving to California, but instead moving from it. After a week of staying home, he started noticing gangs of teenagers and adults breaking into other people's houses. Stealing food and other items that could be used to barter with. Jake had a 22 rifle from his days hunting with his dad when he was younger. He had a box of bullets that were partly used for target practiced. Now he had it loaded for the unexpected intrusion by anyone trying to get in during the day or at night.
Parking his car in the garage, instead of on the street, so that he could keep it better guarded against those wanting to steal his gas and other items from the car or the car itself. Not knowing if water and electricity would be turned off. He washed his trash can with soap, water, and bleach. Double-lined it with plastic trash bags and fill it with water. Knowing he would have to boil the water before drinking it. With just 350 gallons of water for drinking, washing, and other uses. Having a bucket filled with water next to his toilet to fill, just in case if the water was off. What he took for granted no longer was his way of thought. Everything became part of his low-budget way of thinking and wondering of the day when the water and electricity would be shut off for however long.
Jake's cell phone is ringing and he sees who it is before answering it. "Hello Billy, what's up," he said. "How're you doing, strange times we are living in," Billy said. "Yeah, you can say that again. Been staying up late and watching out for other guys coming around. What about yourself?" Jake asked. Some guy down the street got shot breaking into someone's house. The guys from Pendelton are in full Marshall law mode and the police department has also hired more officers. No surf for a while, until things get under control" Billy said.
"Government is trying to get something going with the currency. Since they couldn't stop the collapse" said Jake. "When I run out of food, I'm not sure what to do. I sure hope the supply chain starts up and the truckers start bringing in food to the markets. Otherwise, I'm screwed I have one month of food left" Billy said. "I'm in the same situation of running out of food myself," Jake said looking in the direction of his pantry, knowing he had 4 months of food supplies left.
After five weeks, supplies started to flow and food banks started giving out supplies to the needy and those who were on the edge of running out. The government sent out EBT cards to everyone and the major supermarkets were getting their supply chain back in order. But the banking system was still out of service and bartering was being used to get things done around the communities and businesses.
What will take Place?
A meeting of mining companies was being held at a hotel in Cocoa Beach, Florida. A few individuals from the oil industry were also in attendance. They were discussing the demise of the dollar and what it meant to their products. One of the guest speaker for the meeting had just finished his outlook and was walking over to the corner of the room, where a group of individuals were in a heated discussion.
"What if the dollar did collapse overnight, instead of next year. What will be the value of our product if that should happen" Craig of Tin and Copper Manufacturer (TCM) of Arizona said. "What other currency could take the place of the dollar?" Noah of Ark Mining (AM) asked. "They print money out of thin air like there is no tomorrow and expect little inflation. Then add to that another Pinocchio statement of the economy is doing just fine with so many people unemployed. The PetroDollar is riding into the sunset with the theme song of Happy Trails to You is being song in the background" Lawrence of Arabian Oil (AO) of Libya said.
"China has their digital and paper Yuan and is in the process of backing it with gold. It has the strength to be a reserve currency, but after taking over Hong Kong and wanting to do the same with Taiwan, other countries are cautious in dealing with them" Herman of Moby Investment Mines of Canada (MIMC) said. "Bitcoin is already established and could takeover without having it go through the grind of becoming trustworthy and spearhead the movement" said Stanley of Northern Yukon Mines (NYM) another Canadian firm.
"Somehow you get the feeling that the Big Banks are manipulating it, using some kinda derivative in price and slam it whenever they feel like it" Charlie said one of the guest speakers from New York. "What about oil-backed cryptos as well. Since the Petrodollar is fading, why not Bitcoin Oil or Crypto-Oil?" Aman of Middle West Oils (MWO) of Kuwait said.
"If we as a group do back bitcoin with gold, silver, copper, or oil as suggested, how could that be accomplished. Wouldn't some countries prohibit the use of it, in favor of using their digital currency or paper currency? Take for example some countries in Asia, South America, and the Middle East, they say one thing and do other things that make their people suffer. Where India, US, Uk, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and Brazil are in another circle, but could easily outlaw it as well" Stuart of Global Mining US (GMUS) said expressing his views.
"Will politicians want some sort of handout to make it happen or not?" Noah asked. "Yes, most likely and hide it under the table," Todd of the UKK Mines of the UK said. Somehow, if the transaction were on the blockchain, wouldn't that be more transparent" Harvey of S&G Mines of Germany said. "So, with crypto-currencies already established and if it could be transformed from dollar base to gold base. The economies of the planet could stabilize and regain stern footing for the future" said Rocky of Caribbean Galaxy Mines (CGM) who was one of the brothers who had arranged the meeting. "Then to make the leap from the dollar to gold without falling into a quagmire of confusion is what we need" Otto of Mountain Alp Yellow Bullion Exchange (MAYBE) of South Africa said.
There was a silence of around 24 seconds before Noah a basketball fan took a shot at the question "If countries back the usage of crypto-currencies in an unforeseen way with their gold reserves. I don't know how, but if they did and mining and oil companies accepted it, would that be the start of what we are looking for? Noah asked.
Rick a geologist who was one of the guest speakers asked: "Will that be good for the next 75 to 100 years or will it get corrupt?" "I don't know. This is just a suggestion, it might not work out" Noah said looking around at the others. "We need to give it more thought and have another meeting on this subject next month. Perhaps San Juan, Puerto Rico or another location of choice by this group" Rocky of CGM said. "All in favor of the next location in San Juan, say I" Harvey of African Mines who was the chairman of the meeting said. There were 29 Yes's and one No. "San Juan it is. On the third Friday of next month" Harvey said looking at Barry of United Siberian Resources of Russia USRR who was looking up and around.
Raising his hand before standing up "Oh, if there is anyone interested in playing some golf and surf, Rick, Herman, and I are putting together a contest just among ourselves. This major conversion to the next Reserve Currency is going to take some time for us to iron out. So why not have some fun while doing it, let me know if you are interested and I can take your contact info and get back to you about the specifics and fees for the events" Rocky said as seven of the thirty in attendance walked over to Rocky's seat to discuss it some more as the meeting came to a close.
Aman (MWO), Otto (MAYBE), Herman (MIM), Jacinto of Peru Mines (PM), Todd of (UKK), Delbert of Aussie Precious Metals (APM), Rainy of Pyrenees Mines (PM), and Rocky (CGM) went to the bar of the hotel where the meeting was held at and sat at a table to talked some more about the surf and golf tournament. After taking Rocky order the waitress went to get their drinks. "We will hold the golf tournament at St. Thomas US Virgin Islands and the surf contest will be a boat ride across to Cane Garden surf spot in the British Virgin Island the week after the general meeting. You will be my guest aboard my yacht Hot Diggity" Rocky said.
The waitress returns with a few bottles of Dom Perignon Champagne and eight wine glasses. A loud "POP" went the cork and the bubbly moment was poured into the glasses. Lifting his glass Rocky made a toast "To wherever this new horizon may take us for the good of all" and everyone lifted their drinks and said "Here, here, you betcha, right on, Fore" as everyone took a sip and the conversation flowed as the bottles became empty.
The following month the group of mining and oil companies met with the addition of a few more companies in the same fields met in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The same arguments came up, but the meeting seemed to be headed in the right direction and another meeting was scheduled. This time the location would be Huntington Beach, California.
As the men and women of the meeting left the conference room to their destination. Morris and his wife from Encinitas were having a late lunch with Pete and his wife. Pete and Morris became friends and Morris wanted to see what Puerto Rico was like and was thinking about making a move from his location in Encinitas as the economy was getting worse for the middle class in California.
"Pete, what this I hear that the mining and some oil companies are trying to back their commodities with crypto-currencies?" Morris asked. "Yeah, if they can pull it off, there is money to be made. I'm going to keep an eye on that. I Will let you know what my contacts have to say about that and will let you know" Pete said as they discussed where they would go sightseeing around old San Juan. Morris and his wife are staying with Pete's location on the other side of the island in Aguadilla.
Many of the attendees to the mining and oil meeting have departed back their countries. Meanwhile, those who would be in the golf and surf contest have flown over to St. Thomas in the US Virgin and would be landing at Cyril E. King Airport. Rainy and his wife Charlene would be one of them. Waiting at the baggage claim carousel for their luggage and his clubs and surfboards. It was Tuesday mid-morning and they were to be picked up by one of Rocky's employees and taken to his yacht where the others involved with the surfing and golf would be staying. The only other person yet to show up was Delbert and his wife. They were on the next flight in.
After everyone was on board and getting acquainted with their guest rooms. Lunch was served on the stern area of the boat with 3 tables laid out for the occasion. Rocky thank everyone for attending and introduced his wife Janice, who would let the other wives know about the boat from a woman's point of view.
"Some of you may know of my family's history in the precious metal market and some might not. My father and our adopted uncle purchased an island not far from here, less than 90 miles away. They had a long-lasting relationship and were partners in business. My uncle made his fortune in real estate and our father in gold , silver and investments. We will stop by there before taking you all back to San Juan and your flight home" Rocky said taking a sip of his wine.
"Are your parents still around?" Rainy asked. "Yes they are and so is my uncle his wife, our aunt," Rocky said with a smile and continued "Captain Ron will be weighing anchor soon and will be sailing over to Tortola. So, enjoy your stay and if there is anything you need, just asked Lisa your hostess" pointing to the person at the starboard hull entrance.
There was a nine-hole practice round scheduled that afternoon. The two-day tourney was going to happen the next day on Thursday and finish on Friday. They will sail over on Saturday and hold the surf contest on Sunday. The guys were driven out to the course and played the back nine. Rocky and Jacinto were in the same golf cart "You know Jacinto, we are just in front of the hurricane window happening in a few weeks. The forecast off of Africa looks busy. But we will be Ok for now and the surf contest on Sunday" Rocky said as he was on the tee box on the 14th hole, while Delbert and Rainy were in their cart waiting for Rocky and Jacinto to tee off so they could drive up to the green.
Jacinto nodded his head and looked out at the ocean, then the cliff next to the par 3 green and the surrounding area of the green. Watching Rocky address his ball, before going into his backswing and pulling the trigger. It sounded good, as they watched the arch of the ball going towards the mountainside. A few seconds after making the hit, Rocky says "No, no straighten out, oh crap, I hooked it." As he and Jacinto watched his ball go over the side and disappeared into the vegetation along the cliff.
Jacinto replaced the iron he had on hand and got one club lower. He hit his ball on the slope behind the green and it rolled back onto the green. Rocky would tee off again and do what Jacinto had done and got on. Jacinto parred the hole while Rocky got a double bogey. Delbert and Rainy would bogeyed the hole. Walking off the green Jacinto says to Rocky "Triangulo del Diablo Rocky (referring to the holes before and after the par 3 14th Hole, as the Devil's Triangle) " Rocky twisting his head sideways with a smile as they went to the next hole.
The two rounds of golf on Thursday and Friday at Teak Run concluded with Aman taking first with a combined score of 161. Rainy would take second, Delbert third, Jacinto fourth, Rocky fifth, Rick sixth, Todd seventh, and Herman eighth. Since it was winner take all, Aman had won a monster box of gold krugerrand coins that was presented to him on the yacht where they had the golf presentation and dinner.
The following morning Captain Ron had the crew take the lines off the dock and slowly motored out from its berth at Long Bay on Charlotte Amalie Eastside. The ladies were wearing casual wear and the guys were wearing T-shirts and board shorts. A slight breeze developed from the southwest as Hot Diggity motored southeast. It wasn't long before Captain Ron had his crew put up the mainsail and the code zero on a starboard tack.
The guys went over the procedure for the surf contest the next day, in the main salon. Some of the wives sat in and listen, while the others went to the stern or bow areas of the boat and enjoyed the sail over to the BVI. Rocky went over the conditions there at Cane Garden, the tides and size of the waves and how they would be dingy over to the shore, and how the judging will be done. "There will be 4 in a heat lasting 30 minutes. With the two top scores advancing to the final 4 where the heat will last an hour. With the winner taking all and the prize will be another monster box of Gold Eagles" Rocky explained. After the formality of the contest was taken care of, the guys went to be with their wives and girlfriends. Rocky and Todd were at the Nav station discussing what was happening in London.
"There is uncertainty in the air and some of the Big Boys are worried and are buying up as much as they can," Todd said. "With the days of global fiat growing shorter, I wonder where the mad rush into will be?" Rocky said. "How're things at your dad's and uncle's island?" Todd asked. "Frank and I are in charge of it, but our dad still has the final say if it of importance, along with our uncle," Rocky said. At one of the guest rooms, Victoria is talking with Delbert "I wonder how your mom is doing" Victoria asked. "She has been distant lately since dad passed away. That reminds me, I will need to call her in a few hours and give her a chat" Delbert said.
As the day progressed Hot Diggity was soon nearing her anchorage. Captain had his crew drop anchor, while the guest was looking at the waves breaking across the edge of the bay and the cobblestone shoreline. "Oh boy, 6 to 8 feet, I will go ask Rocky if we can get a dingy to take us out to the lineup," Jacinto said. "She is all set Rocky," Captain Ron said as he turned the engine off and Jacinto came walking up. After a brief conversation, the crew got the dingy out and would be taking a few of the guys and their wives and girlfriends out for a late afternoon surf session.
With the colors of sunset disappearing into evening's twilight the guest was having dinner and talking about what was going on in their life and what was said at their last meeting in San Juan. Then Herman mentioned something that most of the others didn't know.
Herman was near the stern steps on the starboard side looking down. Rocky comes over and says "Is there something bothering you Herman?" "Rocky, after our meeting in San Juan a person walked up to me in the lobby, I asked if there something I can help him with. He said no and explained that he was sent to inform me that certain members of our group will be in danger if we continue on the path that we are on. Many would not want your group to succeed in coming up with a way of developing a different monetary system. After conveying his message the stranger turned and walked out of the lobby door and into the night" Herman said.
"What do you make of it Herman?" Rocky asked as he started to think of what group would send a messenger to persuade them to alter the agenda that they were on. "Not sure, I had a similar situation happened to me once before in a mountainous town in Bolivia. When a member of a criminal organization working for a corporate interest threatens me with harm, if my company should pursue developing a mine there" Herman said. "What did your company do?" Rocky asked.
"We discontinued our pursuit in that mine. Later we found out another company entered the area and the manager and his staff were murdered and a shady company took over. They had ties to some government rogue intel group. The person I talked to recently was wearing a suit and tie and was well-groomed. He had a European flair about him, perhaps he was from the Netherlands?" Herman said looking out into the darkness. "Let's go back to the gathering, I will arrange to have security for you and your wife on your return flights back to Canada. I will take over the chairmanship of the meeting as well. Let's keep this incident of outside influence under wraps for now" Rocky said.
Joining the others without being too noticeable, Otto looking at Herman asked "Are you Ok." "Just felt a little stuffy, needed some fresh air to snap out of it, I'm Ok now," said Herman. "Please excuse me," Rocky said as he walked to his stateroom while everyone else was enjoying the night's moment. Rocky made a call to his security manager at his island home base. He mentioned to Roger who is in charge of security of what had happened to Herman and to make arrangements for the couple's security on their flight home. Then had Roger look into who might be involved. After his phone call, he went back to the dinner party and went over to Herman. "I made arrangements with my security team to watch over you and your wife" Rocky said. "Thank you Rocky, that's a load off my mind," Herman said with a smile as
Rocky padded Herman on the back and said "No worries, my friend."
The next morning the guys were up early and getting ready to go ashore. A few of the guys had their coffees earlier, while some were still in the process of having it and some light breakfast. The surfboards were taken to shore before the competitors and their wives and girlfriend would go ashore. The group got into the large dingy, one by one. After the last person steps onboard, everyone is bobbing up and down, with a little splash hitting the side of the dingy. The helmsman pushes the throttle forward and the dingy slowly started to move away from the boat before giving it some gas. The spray from the bow departed to either side of the dingy as they traveled from the deepwater anchorage to the calmer shoreline around the bend where everyone would disembark.
A smaller dingy was on the beach as a standby vessel in case anyone needed to return to the boat or used to go out to the surf lineup. It was tied to a makeshift rope post on the beach. The judge's table and chairs were situated, along with the other necessities such as separate his and her's tents with a bio compost toilet and a tent for surfboards with racks. The four contest judges were local guys who had done a few contests before.
The local crew had assembled the tents, plywood flooring for the judges and an inflatable walkway from the dingy location to the tent, and another walkway from there to the water's edge where the guys would enter the water from. If the guest wanted to go to other locations around the area, they would do so by walking gingerly on top or sides of the cobblestone line beach. It wasn't a hop, skip, and a jump, but more of a don't twist your ankle sort of a moment to and from wherever they were walking to.
Before the contest, arrangements had been made with the local authorities that a contest would be held and the fees were paid two weeks in advance. The contestants were informed of the first part of the contest, and that they would be using longboards. The second part of the heat consisted of using shortboards to test their ability to go long or short. With four finalists chosen from the two-part heats. The final was in two parts, the first 30 minutes had shortboards and the second half had longboards. Where the previous competitor would be caddying the finalist's longboards at the dingy, which was stationed outside of the surf break to hold on to the boards, not in use, the switch would happen when the horn sounded for the shorts to go long.
With the rules taken care of, all eight would wear two sets of 4 different color jerseys. The first heat contestant was predetermined onshore when the horn sounded the first time and again at the end of the heat. In heat one was Otto, Delbert, Raniy, and Aman. The second group of Rocky, Jacinto, Todd, and Herman would wait their turn out beyond the take-off location and would watch and talk about whatever came to mind until it was their time to surf.
The horn sounded and a three-wave set came rolling through with Delbert taking the first wave, followed by Aman on the third wave. Rainy and Otto would be given priority on the next waves. Delbert made his bottom turns and started his climb up the face of the wave, before reaching the curling point of the face, then doing an off the lip cutback, dropping back down to the bottom curvature of the bottom, and once again doing another bottom turn and picking up more speed for his next maneuvers.
Starting to outrace the shoulder section, Delbert goes into a short cutback before thinking about his repertoire of moves he might do. The four judges had their attention focused on Delbert at first, then watched Aman from the corner of their eyes. Then switching back and forth, jotting down numbers on their pad. Rainy is paddling for a wave as Delbert is paddling back out. "Otto here comes one now," Todd said from his perspective. Otto sees it and goes after it. The guys watched Rainy's head move across the top of the wave. Half a minute later they see Otto's head flying by similarly.
Rainy trying off the lip in a critical section further down the line, his timing was off, and catches a rail and falls backward into the white water. Coming back up for air as the next wave rolls over him. He grabs his leash near his right ankle and holds on while being pulled along underwater by the white water. He comes back up for air and notices Otto racing towards him.
It was a split-second decision for Otto. To go for it and ride in front of Rainy or cutback and playing it safe and not to ding up his board or running over Rainy. Otto does a cutback as the white water of the wave goes over Rainy once again. Otto scored some points on the wave but would have had more if Rainy wasn't there. To Otto, it was better to be safe than sorry. Since he had been in that situation before. He jumps off to the side with his legs tucked to stop his progress towards the beach. Being careful not to step on the bottom and not to cut or injure his feet. He gets back on his board and paddles back out.
After their first waves and paddling back and sitting in the lineup, all were out of breath at first for trying harder than they usually do. Aman started paddling for the next set of waves that were coming towards them, he catches the wave and is off and running. The guys in the first heat caught a few more waves before the horn sounded to end the heat. After 10 minutes another blast from the horn and the next heat had started.
Jacinto does an angled takeoff and is gliding down getting into position for a bottom turn, he puts pressure on his rear leg as he pushes forward with his body. Within an instant, he is riding up the face of the wave and the next instant, he is slashing the top of the wave and dropping back down. Rocky with local knowledge knew where to take off. He does a two-paddle takeoff and is free-falling down with his arm out to his side as he is gliding for a few seconds, before landing on the side of a ten-foot face wave. He cranks a hard bottom turn and shoots straight forward, before he goes into a stall, as the lip of the wave goes over his head. Being cautious, letting his instinct take over. His board is picking up speed as the lip of the wave is way out in front of him. After 7 seconds he reappears and comes shooting out of the tube and does a cutback on the thick portion of the wave as it begins to slow down. Rocky does another bottom turn and climbs up and down on the wave before kicking out.
Herman had caught a few waves, and seemed relaxed, and was enjoying being out surfing. Todd had a couple of good waves and so did Jacinto. The horn sounded to end part one of the heat and the longboard competition. The shortboard part was about, to begin with, the sounding of the horn. The guys in the previous heat had gone in and gotten their shortboards and had paddle back out for part two of their heat.
The shortboard heat had begun and the judges were busy watching them go through their maneuvers and a different set of scoring procedures. While the second group came in to rest up for their shortboard heat. The wives had towels and bottled water for them. Back out in the water, the waves were rolling in from the horizon. After the two shortboard heats the guys were hanging around the tent. Waiting for the scores to be added up. Doug the head judge walked over to the guys and gave the results of the longboard scores. Delbert came in first, then Rainy followed by Otto and Aman. Rocky had won his heat followed by Jacinto, Todd, and Herman.
The shortboard results from the third heat were Otto came in first, Delbert second, Rainy third, and Aman fourth. There was a tie between Otto and Rainy and Rainy had a higher combined point total, so he would advance to the final. On the fourth heat, Jacinto took it, followed by Rocky, Herman, and Todd. The finals would be starting in an hour. The regular surfers who surfed there had the place for that hour. When the finals started they paddled in and went to the tent to be compensated for their cooperation.
It was Rocky, Jacinto, Delbert, and Rainy on their shortboards. Rainy caught the first wave of the heat followed by Jacinto. Rocky and Delbert, who were paddling further out after noticing a big bump on the horizon. Delbert caught the double overhead wave after scratching like crazy to catch it. It was a late takeoff, free falling a few feet before his inner fins grabbed hold and stabilized the rail for him to go into a bottom turn, of which he nursed the first half of the turn before sensing it had grabbed and gave it his all. He shot up to the top of the curl and did a lip slid a couple of yards before going back down.
Knowing he was coming into the section of the wave where it got ledgy. He tucked his body down. Bending his knees and condensing his body into a ball position. Within a couple of seconds, the lip of the wave was tubing over him for about 5 seconds before flying out and continued down the line. The waves of the heat were consistent and the guys caught their share of long rides. The other guys knew Delbert had the leading score and would most likely win if they didn't have a spectacular ride. Rocky almost got air on one of his waves but fell on his landing. Rainy and Jacinto had some 5 and 6's but Delbert's first wave being a 9.3 gave him the edge to the end of the finals.
The judges and the other local workers who helped out were paid and they returned to their homes. The crew disassembled the small contest facility and cleaned up the surrounding areas before going back to the boat and putting the items away. After cleaning up and sitting around the stern's lounge before dinner. The guest talked about the day and what their new surfboard might be. Some kidded around and suggested something from WhatsCo. Everyone was enjoying the evening, with laughter and the wives talking about their latest vacations. Everyone was not paying much attention to the slight shift of the current of their anchorage or what mountain the sunset disappeared behind while enjoying their drinks.
Rocky had a glass cup in his hand and tapped it a few times and said "Here are the results of the contest. It comes as no surprise that Delbert took first on his Lynchie Design, I came in second on my own made board, Jacinto took third on his Wayo design and Rainy took fourth on his Guethary Surfboard. Delbert comes on up here and accepts your prize. It's another monster box, I was told that the price of gold had gone up by $5,000 an ounce earlier this evening." Delbert was all smiles and had a very cheerful acceptance speech after which Rocky continued "The boat will be motoring over to my family's island this evening and should be arriving around ten tonight. A tour will be given the following morning and everyone will be flown from our airport, back to San Juan to catch your flights back home" Rocky said.
Herman was sitting next to Rocky and looked at him. Rocky got the hint and said "Ladies and Gentlemen, I have something else to mention. It was a recent decision, due to unexpected events, that I will be taking over the chairmanship of the meetings from Herman. Also, what the association will be going through may surprise some of you" said Rocky while looking at Herman and then at Otto.
"The association has chosen Otto to be in charge of a group of programmers who will be developing a crypto-coin for our association. It will be back with gold, silver, copper, other precious metals, and oil. Those individuals with the stock of the mining companies or who have physical precious metal can transfer their stake or holding into a debit card that will be part of the blockchain that it will be of. They can use the value of their account which will fluctuate with the current price of it in the crypto sense and be back by the association's blockchain assets. Those without the first means of exchange will barter their services or items to an exchange where the transfer of service or items will be placed into their debit card. Developing an exchange has to be thought out. Employers joining the loop can exchange or purchase the crypto-currency and give it to their workers. In turn, their crypto accounts will increase or if they spend it, will decrease. Those that are unable to have debit cards on the first level, will have to apply on the secondary level. The gathering of their history and using it to start over will be one way of getting back into the new system. This concept may not be the right solution, but we will use other crypto concepts and build from it. If other things become known and works, we will try to use it as well to build a sound system from which we can go forward on" Rocky said. There was a moment of silence, then the questions filled the minds of everyone there.
"When will this take place?" Delbert asked. "It started after our meeting in Cocoa Beach. And we were told to keep it under wraps until we finished our golf and surf tournament. We have most of our programmers coming from the US, Asia, and Europe with a few from other locations. It will take some time to develop, but personally, I think it's the right road to be on" Rocky said pausing for a moment before continuing.
"Something needed to be done before the global market goes into a tailspin and we all lose in the chaos that will follow is what I was thinking when this association was made up," Rocky said. Aman who was seated at the same table "Excuse me, Rocky, I would also like to mention that Barry of USRR was in the process of getting people in the oil field he knew to join us. He would be getting back with us at the next meeting to whether or not if it is feasible for them. I think they will join" Aman said.
"I too, have been in contact with a few friends of mine and they would be interested to see what may become of our idea. If it does make sense, they too would like to be a part of it and fuse their industries into something bigger" Jacinto said. "Alright, we can talk about it some more tomorrow. For now, let's enjoy the moment. I have a few musicians on board to entertain us" Rocky said while waving his hand to Lisa to bring on the entertainment.
Arriving at Galaxy Bay, the guest would stay on board in their rooms and Rocky would go home to see his wife who had been visiting her parents in Panama. The next morning the marina was busy with the various project being worked on while Rocky would introduce his wife to everyone during breakfast. Meanwhile, there were two vans parked in the parking lot of the docks for everyone to ride in."We will start the tour at my father's observatory, before coming back down to different parts of the island and then to our headquarters near our small airport. My crew will gather your belongings onto the company plane and the plane will fly everyone to the airport in San Juan for your flights back home"
Pointing to the new warehouse being built near the marina. "That is our new shipbuilding warehouse, where we have a few projects lined up. It should be completed in a year from now," then pointing to his and his brother Frank's fishing boats. "My brother Frank is in Alaska on a business/ vacation trip and will be back in a week. The island is around 15 square miles and my father and Uncle chose this location 30 years ago" Rocky said looking around.