Words From Our CEO

Fancypantsme

Hello Wedgies! Or Wedganoids, or whatever else you are interested in being addressed as…

First off, as asked by my buddy Mulletkiller…What is going on with your site? No activity!

Well, I must report that I am alive and this is an excellent thing because the opposite would be non-productive to my site.

As evidenced by the two pictures below, I have been surfing but not as often as I would like.

 

So, now the business.

I will begin to post new content soon. I actually also now own a GoPro camera so who knows what kind of nonsense I can whip up with that. I can assure you it will not be anything filmed from the nose looking back at me jerking around like a convulsing mental patient.

On a personal note, I have a few domestic issues to take care of. I have a normal career and have been employed in the Hospitality Industry for a long time now. It would be nice to make a living off working in the surfing industry but that is not on the immediate horizon at this point in my life.

So hang tight. I will be writing my heart out soon enough!

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Meeting a Hero(The Wrong Way)

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Actual photo from the crime scene!

My last few weeks in Hawaii was bitter sweet. Our humble home in Ewa Beach had been packed out and all of my belongings (surfboard included) had been put into the storage units to be sent off to the mainland.

Fyard

Bye Ewa Beach!

We said our goodbyes to friends and we were sent to live in a hotel in downtown Honolulu until the time came to jump on the plane. This was not a bad deal! So what did a young kid want to do to pass the time??

Surf of course!

So I knew of one board rental place right by Kaisers Bowl and the next morning  my father, my sister, and myself walked down and met the employee. I began to inspect my choices…beat up tanker #1. Beat up tanker #2. Beat up single fin. Just put the prefix “beat up” in front of all my choices. After many minutes of cringe worthy inspections, I found a rather wonderful beat up, over-sized twin fin. A few minutes later, I was making my way out to the bowl for some fun on my awful surf vessel.

A few days later, I once again talked my pops into paying for another rental. So he grabbed his camera and we returned to the shop of surfboard horrors. The racks had the same awful choices so I scoured the racks for the twin fin I used previously. As I walked along the one rack, I suddenly saw a board just sitting there. I stopped. It was the most beautiful board. Better than my own board! This did not make sense. I pulled it out again…Surfboard Shaping Co. Along the stringer it said, For Chris.

I walked back to the guy and asked him if all the boards were for rent and he said of course!

All??

Yeah brah! All!

I smiled and my pops paid the guy and off I went!

The waves were not great by Town standards but this jewel just made it all the better! Dad popped off a few photos and left. I began to catch wave after wave.

What a day! The waves came and I started to look more west. I could see surfers out at Bowls. Game on!

There are a lot of spots between 3’s and Ala Moana Bowls and I surfed about anything that was breaking. I stopped at Big Rights and caught a lot of waves before settling in on Bowls. Later, I paddled all the way back to 3’s and went in. I was out for quite a while but this board made it all worth it!

When I got within sight of the rental place, I saw a small group of local guys looking around. I came up and one guy pointed at me and another guy began to jog toward me.

Oh my god! I am happy to see you kid!

The other guys came over. I looked over at the one guy and he looked very familiar. I looked at the board. Surfboard Shaping Company. Team rider…Bobby Owens. I looked at the guy in front of me. Crap…

Chris Owens. North shore charger. Brother of World Tour Surfer, Bobby Owens.

I immediately began to apologize and told him the story and how the guy told me to take any board. Chris just held his head and started to laugh.

Kid…I am so happy to see my board. It is my fault. I put my board in the racks and left for a few minutes.

I then told him that I know he is Chris Owens and I thought the whole situation was to good to be true.

Eh, tell me…How did the board go?

Your board was unreal! I was getting all the good ones!

Right on kid!

A few days later, I was back out at 3’s. Back on a junky, rental twin fin.

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Leaving Hawaii is always the worst!

Then it was good-bye Hawaii and good-bye home.

Florida…Here I come. Off for new adventures.

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Two Guys & a Boat

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Concentration. Photo by Dara Fetterhoff

Adam Henrich and I have been friends since high school. We would always skateboard and surf together and we also team up with our other buddies which would result in some adventures about the town. Adam and I also went on what was to be my first international surfing trip together as well which was told on my blog. It was quite an adventure and if you want to read what happened then here it is below. It is a 3 part story but trips like this deserve all of 3 entries!

Another Edition of…Surf Trip Stories! Part 1.

As time went by, we had to make some big life choices that resulted in the dynamics of our friendship changing. We took on jobs, married, had children. Eventually though, the miles would be diminished and Adam found himself back in Florida. We tried to surf together but the time factor weighed heavily upon us. Soon we were in about the same situation, living close by but barely seeing each other.

Until Adam stumbled upon something that piqued his interest: wakesurfing.

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Adam Henrich showing some fin. Photo by Dara Fetterhoff.

After our recent foray, I had to count my blessings. We do not wakesurf as much as I would like and adult life still at times tosses some roadblocks our way. But, when the boat does hit the water, we are transformed from adults tired from a long work week back to being kids again. Trying to pull off dumb tricks. Laughing and playing goofy music and just being ourselves.

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Steve Zima lip sliding. Photo by Dara Fetterhoff.

And more importantly, keeping our friendship going strong.

I may wake up sore the next day but it is a sore that makes me smile.

Thanks to Adams girlfriend, Dara Fetterhoff for the photos and also to Tommy’s for the boat and equipment. If you are in need of some new boards or even a great boat, you can visit their website here:

http://www.gettommys.com

 

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Tales from the Tour – Rain on the Parade

Gasnope!

It has been a long time since I have written anything about regarding the life on the WQS Pro Surfing Tour. We all face roadblocks. I have had many experiences that to me were just fun and entertaining. However, it is the times when things go off plan that help shape you as a person.

Time to Head North!

Starting in August, there was a short series of surfing contests that basically gave you almost an event every weekend. I had a job and I could not attend them all, so I picked out the local one and then picked out a few others that I could attend up north in a short amount of time to ensure I kept up my ratings points. Going over the calendar, I figured I could easily make the Heritage Pro in New Jersey and then the next week shoot down to North Carolina for the Outer Banks Pro.

As my plan began to take shape, I decided that as usual in that time period that I would drive up. I put in the time off request at work and it was promptly approved. Then I started to call my group of travel buddies. Oddly enough, none could go on that stretch. I made a few more calls and then just gave up. I would go alone. Which at this point was not a big deal because I knew plenty of hotels and I also had friends in New Jersey to stay with.

So the day came and off I went! Driving from state to state I kept a close eye on the news. It was the end of the summer season and it was prime time for tropical activity. True to form, there was a system moving up through the islands and taking aim at the East Coast of the United States and it was well on its way to becoming a hurricane.

We Are Off!

The event was nothing grand. The opening heat was in normal surf and I did not have to do much to advance. The next heat was good. The third heat I had to step things up and barely missed the cut. Done and out of the event, I had to head to Belmar, New Jersey to stay with my buddy Wild Bill. The problem was that separating myself from home was now a hurricane and it was expected to make an impact in the Outer Banks. I needed a place to sit things out.

I arrived in Belmar and the conditions had already started to ramp up. Big sets were coming in beyond the jetties. I paddled out and picked off a few bombs. Towards the end, the wind started to pick up as well. Bill and I ran back to the car to head home.

Waking up the next day, the news showed the devastation around Kitty Hawk and the contest site. It was painfully obvious that a surf contest was not in the cards for that area. Outside the window, the rain and wind began to hit the house. The news spoke about flooding on I-95 and portions of the highway being closed. For the moment, I was blocked. It was 10:30 a.m., and I had to just wait.

So Bill and I drove down to Eastern Lines Surf Shop and we made a day of it. We drove to take care of some errands and late in the afternoon, we returned back home. Watching the news, I saw my big break scroll across the ticker along the bottom of the news screen. I-95 is now open! Oh yes!! I grabbed my bags, gave some hugs to the family, and was off. Just outside Belmar, I stopped at the gas station and filled up the gas tank.

So at the time, I just had a cheap cell phone with no internet access. Who knows if Goggle Maps was an option at that time. It was now night. I was making good time although remnants of the storm were still on hand. The cities rolled by. Philadelphia through to a rainy run through Washington D.C. and then across the state line of Virginia. I wearily looked at the scenery.

Running on Empty

I pressed on and was starting to feel tired. I soon saw the 95 loop for Williamsburg and made my way onto it. I noticed the gas gauge was getting low so this would be my big priority. I would just have to find the next exit and get off and fill up! The big question was how much longer should I drive? I cleared my eyes and fiddled with the radio. Suddenly, I saw a road veering off to the side and my headlights light up a sign. What?? An exit? I kept going. Then it happened again. They just came out of nowhere in the pitch black. Why were they not illuminated? This was not going to happen again. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw cars lined up behind me. I seemed to be leading an auto parade. Once again, my headlights caught the green of an approaching sign and this time I turned off and made the exit. As I came down the ramp, I was greeted with…nothing. Black outlines showed in the distance. As my eyes adjusted, I saw the outlines of buildings, stores, and a darkened gas station. Why would they be closed? I looked at the gas gauge…Close to empty. Cars lined up behind me. I turned and made my way back to the highway. This played on over and over. What was going on!!!

I pulled off to the next exit and was greeted by yet another pitch dark town. As with every exit, there was a usually thriving gas station that was abandoned. I pulled up next to the pumps. The line of cars swooped around and kept on. Then it became clear. The hurricane hit the Outer Banks and moved inland and up into the Chesapeake area and that included Williamsburg. The storm had demolished the power grid. Everything was out. I picked up the phone and began to make some calls. Then I thought of my friend Jamie who lived in North Carolina. I called Jamie and he had an idea. He would get gas and drive up in the morning and he would give me enough gas to get going. So that would be it. I would just wait it out for the next day. I took in the situation. Out of gas. In a strange town, in a city with no power. Stranded. Despondently, I laid down in my car to try to sleep.

Over the next hour or so, I would try to sleep but would be interrupted by cars pulling into the station in desperation. I would lay down again. Then a car approached and the lights shown into my car windows. I looked up. A police officer!

I rolled down the window and greeted the officer. I spilled out my tale and how my car was below E. The officer looked at me and then told me that I was in luck! He knew of one local gas station that in a miracle was open 24 hours and had power. Literally, the only one in his area that he knew of. I could not believe my luck! The police officer told me the directions and I just had to turn right and drive several miles. With an escort, I felt better. The officer slowly pulled out of the lot. I turned the key. The gas gauge barely budged. My car crept forward. Then he turned onto the road…left.

I drove to the right. Why would he not show me the way!! So I pressed on. Stay steady to conserve gas. Minus the power, the night was dead black. I scanned the dense forest for a sign of a gas station. Only twisted trees. Come on! Suddenly, I passed a single lane veering off into the forest. Oh well. The trees cleared and off in the distance was a lone illuminated gas station sign. Was that the exit! What do I do! Thankfully it was late at night and the roadway was abandoned. I was now going about 10 miles per hour on the highway. In the dark, I saw the onramp winding down a hill coming to meet my highway. I quickly made a disjointed right turn straight onto the onramp and drove the wrong way towards my destiny in the distance. Please make it! Please!! A few more turns on the wrong side of the road and then a fast burst of speed straight up to the pumps!

I went inside and bought some snacks and drinks. What a relief. I was exhausted. It was now after midnight. I really should just call it a night and find some place to stay for the night. After filling the tank, I jumped back onto the highway and set my sights back on I-95. I rejoined the line of cars.

Empty to Full

Yawning, I pressed on. Soon, came an exit. I pulled off with the line of cars. Some were looking for gas but now I joined a new group which was the group searching for a room. The line nervously headed towards the first hotel. No power – No vacancy. We all moved to the highway. Once we got off the loop, after several miles on the highway came the first illuminated billboard. Power! Then a highly illuminated road sign. Off I went down the ramp. We all eyed the hotel. Some cars drove to the other side of the lot to try to shake the others. People jumped out of cars and ran to the door…and came out. No vacancy. Then off to the other hotel with the same result.

This went on for exit after exit after exit.

Then came yet another exit with people jumping out while I was trying to find a parking space. I drove to the side of the parking lot with still no open spots. Then I hit an elevated spot that looked over to a nearby town. I looked at the buildings. The stores. Then my eyes caught it…Best Western! I punched the gas.

I nervously looked in my rearview mirror. No one noticed me making a break towards the town. I pulled into the town and headed towards the magical sign. A quick turn into the Lobby parking area and I ran off to the front desk. The doors opened and the bleary-eyed agent greeted me.

Well…I only have one unit left. It is an ADA (a unit with disabled amenities) unit so would this be o-kay with you?

YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!

After finally getting a shower, I laid down into an economy room that felt as good as a stay in the finest 5 star resort. I sent out one message before shutting my eyes.

Thanks Jamie! No need for the gas. Talk to you tomorrow.

I have had worse experiences for sure. But times like these help one understand that things do not always go to plan. You have to calm down and press on and get past it.

Any travel disasters that would give me a chuckle?

 

 

 

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A Few Steps Forward

stepsfoot

A few days ago, I was at work counting down for the best moment to make my departure. The swell from the hurricanes was waning and I wanted to get in a few last drops of what energy was left. After changing, I hurried down to the closest main surf beach in my area which also happens to be by far one of the most fickle and is also prone to being the worst in the area.

I got out of my car and hurried down to the crowd of people playing volleyball and laying on towels. The wind blew in short bursts at my face and rock music blared from a bar on the pier. The surf was extremely poor. Small choplets broke in a confused series towards the shore. The sun was quickly setting. I had to paddle out.

Like everyone, you reach one of those points. Am I satisfied with how things are going? Is my employment giving me the fulfillment I think I deserve? What can I be doing to be better?

The past few sessions during the hurricane surf gave me hope.

A few turns that were sharp and impactful. Some linked up rides. A well set up barrel.

And a few that pointed out what I needed to work on.

A ride that I found every turn to be a bit to late and behind the section. I noticed that I was not doing enough floaters and pumping as wide as I should have as well. And one ramp that I hit to late. So I need to get into the lip earlier and do more rail work instead of just a late end move.

So I waded into the turbulent water. The only adult foolish enough to go in. The only adult who knows that surfing poor waves is the key to improvement. Even if every wave is a struggle to complete, there is a chance to work on something.

When I came in and made my way through the crowd, a woman stopped me. She was from Canada. She said that her daughter saw me surf and wanted to try it during the vacation and asked if I wanted to give lessons. At that moment, the answer was clearly no. My soft top had a damaged fin. I had to work the next day. And at that moment, I had only my tiny shortboard which she would not find easy to try on. So I had to direct her to a friend who gives surf lessons.

That moment did make me think.

There are other avenues in life. I can still compete at some level even if for fun. I can still coach and work harder to make that a reality. Write. The list goes on and on.

I just have to leave the predictable and monotony of the routine and step into the unknown. No matter the conditions or the time.

 

 

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Frame Work

LoriWilson3

This hurricane season will go down as one of the most catastrophic seasons on  record. These storms have done damage to many I know scattered from the mainland United States to the Caribbean. My heart weighs heavy for anyone whom has been affected.

For me, working on the coast in a resort has put surfing on a different priority. Once the resort and town are damaged, surfing must take a second seat to correcting and repairing the property in which I am employed. This happened last year during Hurricane Matthew. Instead of surfing, I spent long days helping to clean up down tree limbs and other debris.

For some though, the storms did deliver. Classic surf came to some spots and destroyed others. So at times, finding the best spot was a crap shoot. I would say that as far as myself taking on some challenging surf went: I completely lost out. I had two early-morning sessions in the most convenient surf spots which unfortunately were not as big as other spots. But, I did surf and I am thankful for that!

 

 

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Short sequence of me at my local spot

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So I bet you think that I am disappointed…

Not at all!

I rode a 5 foot 5 Tomo during this swell and for many middle-aged surfers; this would not seem like a good idea. I always receive questions about my board and I always tell people the same thing. If you focus on the odd nature of the board then you will never ride it well. I just catch the waves and do what my experience tells me to do and that is to pay attention to the wave and do the turn that fits in best with what the wave seems to be doing.

Going further to life in general, people spend to much time focusing outward. Asking questions such as what is my co-worker doing and how can they afford that? What if this goes wrong and someone decides to break the rules? Where is this person going?

The answer is that you can not control the actions of others. You can not make someone do what you think is right. You can not make someone vote the way you feel they should vote. You can not force people to be valiant or saintly.

You can control your own life and your own actions.

So I spent my day working on my surfing and making the choice to enjoy the experience with the other surfers who also came out. One guy came down from Massachusetts on a business trip which is a long ride so I made him feel welcome.

I also was grateful that I was able to surf with a few friends whom I have not surfed with years. One of them, Matt Sawyer, grabbed his camera and was cool enough to get a few shots of me riding.

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So yes, I did not get to surf the best waves of Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria.

I did get to surf with some good friends, get some photos taken, and enjoy a few relaxing days of practicing.

Talofa!

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Looking Inside

Dark

The last 6 months have been draining to say the least.

Looking at my drafts folder in WordPress, I have written at least 5 posts on some variation of my feelings in regards to those events. Some have social sprinklings. Some political. Some spiritual.

All written but none good enough to be considered worthy of a push of the Publish icon.

But I do have a big takeaway and it is worthy of a try. It is also counter-intuitive.

Battlefront

I will not lie. I have prepared for war. I gathered information. Wrote reports and was ready to drop bombs. My finger itched to get retribution. This mindset spread through my life. I found myself eager to go to social media and try to point out how other people had wrong views on our current social and social climate. This only caused more stress.

But on another level, my life was taking a different turn. I began to look to other mindsets and I stripped my ego and anger away and just pulled far back. Then it all fell into place.

In an environment of small-minded people. Back stabbers and pot-stirrers; I could turn my attention to them and become them or look in another direction. I turned my attention inward. The more I focused on myself, I could see the very people who thought of themselves as role models were merely average. And others in higher positions saw the same.

Your Model Life

Imagine buying a model airplane and some glue. Then taking every intricate part in one hand and the glue in the other. And now imagine yourself not looking at the parts but instead, you are focusing on the actions of your neighbors outside your window, your family, and the television.

What will the airplane look like once the last piece has been stuck on?

This plane represents the plane of your life. This is what you jump into daily and expect to fly off to a better way.

This is the problem of many.

We are bogged down daily with impossible tasks that only end with bad results. Trying to change the feelings of people around us who feel that they are right and that you are wrong. The end resulting in people unfriending us on social media or fights breaking out and nothing is solved.

Watching the actions of others at work or in public instead of focusing on what we can do to better our own lives. Then feeling shocked when the review comes back as average or someone else is promoted. Or the savings account is almost negative. Or we feel out of shape or depressed.

These are problems that you can tackle and solve. Problems that will have an impact far greater than worrying about terrorists or bogeymen. How long are Teds breaks and why he is going to the restroom so much?

The focus just has to shift from looking for problems outwards to looking inward.

 

 

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