Foggy Mountain Snakedown
06 March 1997
My friend, Tomas and I had never actually planned the week
trip to Montauk Point, but we each understood that when the
right, it would only be a matter of hours before we could
load up our
stuff and drive out there. On previous trips to Montauk we
had scouted out
several secret campsites, all of which were illegal and most
of them on
government or private property. The commercial campgrounds
were just too
far removed from our favorite break, Ditch Plains or just
It just so happened in late September of 1970, a really
strong swell from
a distance North Atlantic storm was producing promising
Eastern Long Island. Tomas and I packed our gear, knowing
full well if we
stayed the week, we'd use up all of our allowed class cuts
Somehow the reports of great surf made this a non-issue and
we sped for
the tip of the Island of Long.
When we got there our first task was to establish a camp at
which we could see the waves. Most of the property around
privately owned, though the beach itself is public. Tomas
and I trespassed
on someone's land to go out by the cliff that overlooks
Ditch to see what
we could find. While we were standing there discussing our
admiring the ever improving surf, we were approached from
behind by the
owner of the property.
"Hey you boys!! What are you doin' on my property?!!"
"Oh, excuse us sir, we weren't aware it was your land."
"Didn't you see the No Trespassing signs posted every 10
"Uh, well yessir, but we were just stopping by to check
the surf at Ditch
and didn't think there would be any harm. We're sorry, we'll
"Ya know I've had trouble with you surfers trespassing
before. I oughta
call the cops..."
Knowing we were screwed if this happened I said, "Please
don't do that
sir, we didn't mean any harm, we're just looking for a place
to camp for a
few days. We're very sorry."
Disarmed by my best Eddie Haskell impression, the owner
seemed to have a
change of heart. "Ok fellas, I'm not gonna report you. You
seem like nice
enough kids. So you're lookin' for a place to camp out? What
would you say
to camping out here on my cliff in exchange for some help
with a little
landscaping project I'm working on?"
We were stunned at our good fortune, "You Bet, Mister!"
"OK" he replied, "Pitch your tent over there and when
you're done come by
the house and we'll talk about the work. By the way, my name
"Tomas and Foonboy" I replied. "Funny" he said, "You
don't look Foonish."
After we made camp and checked the surf, we knew the swell
and wind would
take another day to organize and groom the waves. We went
and started to
help Joe with his project. It was agreed we could use his
surf all morning, but the afternoon we would work in his
Montauk was a magical place. 175 miles from Nu Yawk City and
stuck way out
in the Atlantic ocean. It could catch swells from three
directions and in
the Fall there was no better place on Long Island to surf.
conditions get fickle but the swells usually line up better,
last longer. On this day there was an occluded front sitting
providing little or no wind and allowing the swell to
interference. Later in the evening Joe came by to swap a few
share a few beers. He turned out to be a really nice guy.
The next morning I woke up to the distinctive but muffled
roar of rolling
whitewater. The stench of the ocean hung thick in our tent
and as I
brushed up against the canvas side, my hand was drenched
with moisture. I
threw back the flap and stepped out into.....a cloud.
Actually, it was
some of the thickest fog I've ever seen. Visibility was
about 20 feet. I
kicked Tomas awake and we stumbled off down to the beach to
try and see
what we were hearing.
Sound in the fog is very deceptive. The moisture laden air
seems to absorb
much of the high frequencies, but transmits the low. The
result was we
didn't hear so much hiss, as rumble when we got near the
shore. We could
only make out the whitewater in the very dim distance. I
told Tomas it
would probably be easier to see if we paddled out to check
it. We quickly
retrieved our boards and launched toward the sounds. If
paddled in dense fog, you know what a creepy sensation this
is. As Tomas
and I strained to see, at times we only had seconds to duck
around breaking waves. We proceeded slowly outbound to the
impact zone and
having gotten pasted by a few, had the distinct impression
the surf was
bigger than we originally thought. Little did we know....
Out of sight of the shore and our landmarks, Tomas and I
navigating blind. We got so disoriented, we had no idea
where we were, and
the erie lulls between sets made us crazy with fear. We
stopped where we
believed the line up would be only to see an 8 foot wall
come out of the
fog and break right next to us. We both scrambled out
another 50 feet and
listened. The density of the fog varied allowing us to see
from 0 feet up
to about 50 feet. I kept staring into the white cloud trying
to pickup a
clue like a shadow or an upward curve of water to alert us
to an oncoming
wave. We talked nervously about our situation and promised
to call out to
each other should we get separated.
Finally, Tomas worked up enough courage to go for one. In
the middle of
the next set he cut one out of the herd and stroked into a
wall that neither of us could see until the last second.
which way the wave would break, Tomas gashed a whipturn to
the right. I
immediately lost sight of him and within seconds heard a
then......silence, except for the constant noise of the
"Tomas!!!" I yelled! "TOMAS, are you OK??! TOMMMAAAASSS!!"
distance, obscured by the white fog, I heard a muted and
yell, "Foonboy!! (gasp, gasp) Don't take the RIGHT!!"
Now I was spooooooked! Sitting all alone in an ocean I could
beyond 30 feet and felt terrified that I could be at ground
zero for the
next big mackin set coming my way. I was starting to get ISC
Sphincter Cramps). I kept calling to Tomas, warning him
about every wave
that went by me or that broke in the distance. Finally he
appeared out of
the fog and repeated his story of being caught, calling it a
Both of us were now frightened out of our wits and I just
wanted to go in.
We agreed to catch the next two waves and go back to shore
until this soup
had burned off and we could see. But what we didn't make
known was which
waves we'd take.
All of a sudden (very) a large swell appeared in the mist. I
over my right shoulder and did not see Tomas paddling and
looking over his
left shoulder. The wave was on us in seconds and we both
simultaneously. I stood and looked left to see that Tomas
had snaked me
bigtime. My only hope was to rely on my weakest turn, the
hope for the best. With Tomas' warning in my ear I angled
Trimming up, I looked into the distance to see a fog
of water. My hair (this is when I had some) stood on end as
I viewed this
huge wall that disappeared in the distance, and up into the
Without much warning I took the whole load on my head, but I
grateful it was over. I leashed my board to me and souped
the next wave
in. Tomas had not fared much better, but he got a bit of a
ride before it
too closed on his head.
Late that afternoon, when the fog burned off, we were
working in Joe's
backyard. We could see the 8-10 foot faces peeling almost
Ditch with only 4 guys out. We each knew we'd get our share
when we were
done, but it would be a cold day in hell before either of us
ever went out
in the fog again. I still can't bare the sound of banjo
Have you been Surfnotized?
Mon, 10 Mar 1997
It happens to me all the time. I can watch the ocean for hours,
especially when it's moving, but I always get surfnotized. Last Saturday
I took up my usual lookout on our dunepath with a stogie and a pair of
binoculars. It was a cool and crisp, but sunny afternoon and I was out
for some fresh air and to check the condition of our beach break. A Nor'
East swell had begun to build slightly over night. It was very
rambunctious in the morning but it started to sort itself out after low
tide and got progressively rideable as the tide came in. Chest high on
peaks, it also offered an occasional workable wall for anyone willing to
brave the 40 degree water temps and 50 degree air temps.
Several young guys wearing appropriate heavy and hooded gear were up to
the challenge and most got a good workout between the closely packed
waves and a strong side current. The gusty winds made things even more
interesting, and cool. I kept looking for telltale signs of an improved
sandbar. There were several promising peaks at mid-tide which foretold
good possibilities with bigger or better swells.
Whenever I gaze at the ocean it is not long before I can imagine epic
days I've recently seen, or 20 years ago. Images are etched in the
brainpaths and along with those images come feelings, emotions, sounds
and memories. I can still remember a man I helped rescue 3 years ago
during a big swell at our beach. He got caught in a ripcurrent, sucked
out about 75 yards and then he panicked. I paddled over to him after he
started to scream in holy terror. I let him use my board to float while
we waited for a lifeguard to come out and get him. I'll never forget how
terribly frightened he was and the fact that...he smelled very bad.
I've often wondered about the adage that you can smell fear (anyone know
for sure?) This guy was petrified and he stunk.
I also remembered wonderful and terrible session all at once. The
difficult waves were wonderful when I made them, terrible when I didn't.
I've never seen an ocean with waves I did not love to watch or did not
provoke a deep inner thought process. I either became very analytical of
what I was seeing, judging wind, tide, swell and other factors, or
compared it to other conditions I'd observed in the context of great
surf or bad surf. What I love about the ocean and its waves are the
limitless varieties of shapes, sizes, colors, types, temperaments and
textures....sort of like people really. Just imagine that for every
person in the world, there is a wave out there like them.... And
everyone is different, and everyone is wonderful and the world is a
better place because of them. I could just watch all day.
"Hey! Yo, Foonboy!" I knew that voice. It was my neighbor, Elmer,
standing right in front of me. "Hey Foon, what's the matter with you
bro, you were in the zone, man. I thought you were in a trance."
"No Elmer, I was just watching the ocean".
Go ahead...give me 'the Finger'
March 12 1997
I lived 27 miles from Long Beach, Long Island. My friends and I surfed
the Azores and Grand Ave. on a regular basis. In those days there were
no surf reports, computer data, surfcams, or ocean weather reports to
check. The only way to know about the surf was word of mouth and...."the
In the early morning hours before dawn the trip to the beach would be
lightning quick. The route, etched in our sleepy minds forever, was a
succession of highways; Long Island Expressway, Wantagh Parkway,
Southern State Parkway and finally the Meadowbrook Parkway, which ended
in the toll booth to Long Beach. The same toll booth where Sonny
Corleone was ambushed in "the Godfather" (swear ta gahd)! Total elapse
time ~30 minutes which constituted breaking every posted speed limit on
It wasn't until we got to the swamps (now called wetlands or salt
marshes) at the end of the Meadowbrook, that we could start checking the
wind conditions. If it was too light to detect by the sway of the swamp
grasses, we checked the seagulls sitting on the parkway lamp posts -
they always faced the wind. If the wind was offshore at the toll booth
(25 cents), everyone in the car began putting on their wetsuits if need
be, because waves or not, it was only another 7 minutes to the break and
in those days if you drove like hell to the beach AND paid 25 cents, you
were GOING in the water.
Among the loosely knit tribe of nomadic teenaged surfers who frequented
Long Beach from all over Long Island in the 60s, there was a gentlemanly
tradition we all practiced. If you were leaving the beach on the parkway
and you saw another car loaded with boards heading there, it was
customary to give them a signal with your thumb indicating whether the
surf was up or down. Getting a thumbs up sign from another car when you
were going to the beach was cause for unrestrained pandemonium which
included shrieking, yelling, punches thrown and wedgies galore (try
driving while doing that!) If every window of an oncoming car displayed
multiple thumbs up, gesturing wildly, all hell would break loose and
several accidents were just narrowly averted until the driver could be
This tradition was practiced for years with minor variations of fingers
being extended. No matter which one was raised, as long as it was
pointed up, we all knew what it really meant -WAVES!!!
As with all good things, meaner times and stupider people began to
infiltrate our surfing culture. Toward the end of my golden years on
Long Island, wiseguys and Kooks would often take to giving false signals
causing much emotional trauma and dashing our faith in the character of
our fellow surfers.
But while the tradition lived, I can tell you now there was no better
feeling in the world on a cool, crisp, Fall morning than to be racing
down the Meadowbrook Parkway, watching seagulls facing offshore winds,
and seeing a car full of stoked surfers giving you "the finger" as they
went home. Biiiiitchhhen
"There are no facts, only interpretations."
Can Rick come out and Play?
14 March 1997
An attractive woman walks to the door of a modest home
Newport Beach, responding to the soft knock. She sees a
strawberry-blond, freckle-faced boy standing on the steps.
"Well hello Foonie, how are you today?"
"Hello Mrs.Ciaccio, I'm fine thank you."
"What can I do for you Foonie?"
"Well ya know Mrs.Ciaccio, we all miss Rick. Some bad
boys made fun of
him and his efforts to honor the Wedge, and they pissed him
off, now he
won't come out and play."
"Well Foonie you know Rick is a very sensitive boy and
badboys made fun of him it hurt his feelings. Maybe they
apologize to him."
"I don't think so Mrs.Ciaccio, there's only one guy who
the neighborhood and he apologizes for everyone else's
the guy from Ohio."
"Well Foonie, if someone asked him nicely maybe he would
come back to
the group and play."
"Well we really need him Mrs.Ciaccio, there are some new
badboys on the
block and they're causing all sorts of problems with their
and stuff. Rick is really the only one who can kick their
and we really want him to come out and hurt those badboys."
"Well I'll tell him what you said Foonie, thanks for
coming by. And
"Aren't you a little young to be smokin' a cigar?"
"Well actually I'm not that young Mrs.Ciaccio, and
kneeling here on your
steps in short pants talking like a little kid is not what I
mind. But if it gets Rick back in the group, I'll do it.
things I do for this group. I need a beer."
Foondoggy (Rick, we need ya bro)
International Relations -What a Hoot(er)
Thu, 27 Mar 1997
Mindless ramblings by yours truly - Fred you can skip this one.
On the threshold of World Surfing Day my mind (what's left of it)
naturally turns to things "international". I note with pleasure the return
of Bear and the increased presence of fellow surfers from the UK, Gidget
and others. Welcome everyone, Sandman needs new targets to beat up on and
Surff needs newbies to apologize to.
Having just returned from Atlanta, Georgia -the epicenter of American
Southern culture, I was met at home by three of Mrs.Foon's native German
nephews who'd come to spend their Spring holiday with us. The young men
all in their early 20s spoke very good English since they'd been schooled
in it from an early age. They only had trouble with a few idioms, "No
Yurgen, it's 'Seeya Dude', not 'I am seeing you Doot'"
Having never traveled outside Europe much less Germany the "boys" were
very interested in American culture. One was so enamored of Americans he
changed his name to "O'Malley" for the duration of the trip. Andreas was
the group computer whiz. He was due to graduate in June and begin a job
with EDS. He was amazed at the speed of our internet connections and the
powerful machines we had at our disposal.
Mrs.Foon and I formulated a plan to expose the boys to as much of what we
thought was really great about our country and the Washington DC area in
particular. I was ready to introduce them to the sport of surfing using,
videos, music, books, magazines, posters, webpages knowing they would just
fall in love with it.
The first several days were spent in a frenzy of activity to pack in as
much sightseeing as possible. We showed them the Museum of Natural
History, Museum of American History, the Air and Space Museum and many
more attractions including a few shows at the Kennedy Center. At home the
boys were endlessly fascinated with American television shows and would
watch with rapt amazement for hours if we did not turn it off.
I personally gave them a tutorial on surfing using the 2 Endless Summer
movies and several others to show the evolution of the sport. I gave each
of them several magazines and books to look at that further reinforced
what an incredible sport it is. I even took them to the homebreak to let
them see firsthand what it was all about. I should have suspected
something when they seemed to be distracted all the time.
We later found out the boys were on a secret mission that they had planned
for themselves, using the internet to gain information about this before
they came over. When Mrs.Foon found out what it was, she was slackjawed
with surprise. Whoota thought!!!
Suffice it to say what we expected to impress and entertain the boys with
did not turn out to be what they wanted to see or do. What they truly
enjoyed while they were here and what they really got excited about in no
particular order was:
- Malboro Cigarettes
- American TV commercials, especially the ones broadcast during the NCAA Final Four games.
- Fast Food - any kind and lots of it.
- Rock & Roll- " " " " " "
- Yours truly playing a Dave Weckl piece called "in the Pocket" on the drums.
- NCAA Basketball
- The Simpsons -they could watch it for hours
- MTV - they could watch it for hours
- ESPN Morning exercise shows with the leotard ladies
- And the most interesting of all - Hooters Restaurant!
This last one just about broke Mrs.Foons spirit. With all this great
country had to offer, she was absolutely amazed that their secret desire
was to visit every Hooters Restaurant between Washington and New York. In
6 days the managed to find and visit 10 of em and the folks at Hooters
played these boys like a violin. They bought and paid top dollar for
t-shirts, hats, mugs, posters, magazines, collectibles and group photos
(one smiling German guy surrounded by a dozen comely Hooters girls. $5.00)
Hooters - this mamorial shrine to bustlines and mediocre food, was all
they wanted to see. They'd found the homepage earlier in Germany and were
both fascinated and hooked. They searched for and found the locations of
all of them on the Right Coast. The day we went to my homebreak in the
hope of finding a firsthand demonstration of surfing by the local crew,
all they wanted to do was go to the local Hooters. I was very
Finally, Yurgen had to leave early to go home. At the airport I asked him
if in any way he was interested in surfing. He looked pained and said,
"To me it looks like a silly sport. There is no scoring or team
camaraderie, like soccer. Though the movies show it is a very beautiful
and graceful sport like skiing." Fair enough. I told him to comeback
sometime in the summer or Fall when we could go for a long ride down
South in search of waves (and Hooters). I shook his hand and said
goodbye. He smiled and said just before he turned to go, "Seeya Doot". I
laughed and said, "Yeah, Seeya Doot."
"No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American Public."
Love is a Beach
01 April 1997
A bit of Foon history, not for everyone. Skip to the next
Her name was Maureen with a surname as old as Irish history
When I started to go out with her she was only 15, the
eldest daughter of
a huge man who'd sired 4 boys and 3 girls and was the
vice-principle of an all boys Catholic High School in the
neighborhood in Nu Yawk City. To say her old man was tough
asking, "Is the Pope Catholic?" Her father was outraged she
would dare to
date a Protestant, but he warmed up to me considerably when
I offered to
drive his entire brood in their big Mercury wagon every
Saturday down to
the Church for confession. This gave him about two hours
peace and quiet
to nap. As much as he would thank me when I did this, I
always knew he
felt I wasn't good enough for his sweet Maureen.
Among my peers in public schools it was a well known axiom
School girls were the wildest and most repressed. Maureen
had been a
product of Catholic education since kindergarten and was
beginning to test
the waters of rebellion. I met her at a party one night and
when our eyes
met - KAPOW!! She reeled me in like a lazy trout, hook, line
She was more cute than beautiful, tall for her age and
hinting at the
sturdy Irish genepool she was a product of. Her blazing
auburn hair was
fine and shoulder length and her emerald green eyes would
when you accidentally tripped the hammer of her hair-trigger
Dating Maureen was an exercise in masochism, you never
really knew when
she would take your head off. But oh, what a wonderful girl.
Even at age
15 she possessed a body that could bring the New York City
Day Parade to a screeching halt when she bent over to tie
her saddle shoe,
because in fact, that's what she did once.
For three years she was my girlfriend, constant companion
and soul mate. I
never wanted to date anyone else. I don't think I've ever
been to the
beach with another woman (except Mrs.Foon) as many times. I
know few women
who I've ever seen spend so much time in the ocean. Though
learned to surf, I swear sometimes I thought she had gills.
times she'd swim out to the break just to bring me some
food, or talk
between sets, or remind me when her father expected us back.
After a year of (semi-innocent)teen-dating I finally saw
what a tremendous
influence the ocean had on her. One day we double dated
with my best
friend, Tomas, to an isolated beach on the South Shore of
Long Island (ok,
Fire Island). Tomas and I each took two longboards, not
knowing what the
conditions would be, and hoping too we'd be able to get our
out in the surf for lessons. When we arrived just after
dawn, the surf
was magnificent, 6-8 foot faces of hulking green giants that
boomed on an offshore sandbar. Tomas and I knew we had only
a few hours
until the conditions would deteriorate. We both scratched
like mad to
score as many waves as we could. When the wind shifted we
both paddled in
exhausted by our sprint to ride as we eyed the ominous and
Tomas and his girlfriend decided to walk to town and get
some food leaving
Maureen and I alone for a few hours on an empty beach. The
metamorphosized into a scene out of Victory at Sea. Huge
of waves and foam lit up the horizon. Violent cross currents
smashed together sending eruptions of spray into the air. As
picked up it began to get chilly so we arranged the four
standing on their rails, in a square creating a windbreak
and a private
space on the beach. We jumped inside, covered ourselves with
a blanket and
proceeded to watch nature's own liquid fireworks.
Within minutes the girl I thought I knew was on me with a
heretofore had never seen in my life. Timid kissing turned
into a monster
makeout, tender hugging became insistent grinding, it wasn't
(GASP) bathing suits disappeared. Naturally, the one eyed
worm was loose
and was he agitated!!!
Now least you think I was a rookie in these matters, let me
just tell you
at one time I had dated both of the Cushin twins!! And as
the saying went
at the time, "If your seeing a Cushin, you'll be doin' some
in all my tender teenaged years I had never been with a girl
who was such
a volcano of emotion. Before I could say, "What would your
(Meaning of course, how many ways will your Father manage to
before I die.) she had me pinned to the beach, helpless,
ultimately -terrified. But when it was over, I could not for
the life of
me wipe that stupid grin off my face. Until, of course, we
Maureen at home later that day.
As I walked her and her stuff to the house, I couldn't
beautiful she was and how lucky I was. Just then her Father
came out the
door and asked gruffly, "How was the beach kids?" I froze
like a statue as
Maureen blithely exclaimed, "Oh Daddy, you wouldn't believe
wonderful gift Foonboy gave me at the beach today!!"
Just then, my life condensed into a very small wet spot on
the sidewalk in
front of me as sweat poured off my nose. I never stared at
hard in my life. I prayed with all my soul, "Please God, oh
Please don't let her.... I will never do THAT again, I swear
on this wet
spot on the sidewalk, PUUUULLEEEEEESSSSE!" Maureen produced
beaded, braided bracelet I'd given her weeks before and
showed it to her
Father proudly. She almost burst out laughing as she glanced
at me and
noticed my very distinct painful expression. This was a day
I would never
forget. After all, how often do you get to surf great waves,
then drown in
an ocean of love?
I'm happy to say that though Maureen and I went our separate
ways and made
families for ourselves, years ago we got together to
reminisce. That day
at the beach took up a major part of the evenings
conversation and we both
knew it was something we would remember forever.
The surf wasn't bad either.
Foondoggy (And you thought I was goin to send this to
Penthouse didn't ya?)
"When I was young I could remember anything, whether it
happened or not."
"Everyone believes in his youth that the world really
began with him, and
all merely exists for his sake."
Blood is thicker than Waves
Mon, 07 Apr 1997
My sister called me the other night. After exchanging pleasantries we then
discussed her concern about Moms Foon's increasingly bizarre behavior:
"You wouldn't believe what she bought from the Psychic Evangelists
Shopping Channel Foonboy!"
"I don't wanna know, sis."
"You might as well, you're getting it for your birthday this year."
"Awww geee sis, gimme a break here." Knowing this was not a social call I
said, "Ok, cut to the chase. What's up?"
She started her pitch by telling me that since my nephew and five of his
surfing buddies were graduating from High School this year, the parents of
one of the boys had offered to allow the group to use their oceanfront
beach house in Cape Hatteras for "Senior Week", providing they could find
a responsible adult to accompany them.
"Since every adult they knew just happened to be busy," she said,"as a
last resort, they decided to ask you."
"Thanks, I think."
"They figured you'd be perfect. You love to surf, you know the Hatteras
area, and you're semi-responsible."
"I'm semi-flattered." I said, dryly.
"We all want the boys to have a week of good, clean, responsible fun," she
continued, "so for the privilege of using the house here are the
conditions - No girls, No smoking, No drinking, and No parties."
"Well that pretty much disqualifies me sis, I do all of those -quite well
"Look Foonboy," her voice rising to maintain control, "the boys need you to
be there so they can use the place, and I need you to be a good example. I
told the parents you could handle this. Do we have a deal?"
"Put the kid on," I said, "I want to go over the rules with him."
"Yo, Uncle Foon, whazzup? You wit da program?"
"Can the crap bub, it's me you're talkin' to. I want honest answers or
it's no deal. How many girlfriends are showing up?"
"OK, I can deal with that, where are they stayin'?"
"They'll be staying up the beach at another house, Uncle Foon, honest."
"OK bub, visiting is acceptable, there'll be no pajama parties. Next, how
many of your friends smoke?"
"There'll be no smoking in the house, no exceptions. OK, next. The first
one I catch drinking gets sent home immediately. The second one I catch
drinking, you all go home immediately, you understand?"
"I can assure you Uncle Foon," he giggled "you won't catch us drinking."
"That's what I'm afraid of kid, I won't catch you. You warn the others,
I've been where you guys are, I know all the tricks, and I've got radar
when it comes to sniffing out who's drinking. Finally, the most important
"What's that Uncle Foon?"
"No one cuts me off......................Hey kid, did you hear me?"
"Uh, sure Uncle, but that's gonna be a hard one to sell to the guys.
You're such a wave a hog."
"Life is tuff kid, that's the rule or no deal. Look, you can convince the
guys, they like you and Blood is thicker than waves, right?"
"OK, Uncle Foon, you gotta deal, seeya in June, and Pray for 'Canes!!"
"Right, now put your Mom back on."
"Hello Foonboy, what were you boys talkin' about?"
"Just the rules, sis. Let me get this straight. I get to stay for a week
in a big oceanfront house in Cape Hatteras for the 1st official week of
hurricane season, and all I have to do is watch over 6 hormonally
imbalanced teenagers? And you're sure you want ME?"
"Yes, Foonboy, but I have a few conditions too."
"What's that?" (oh shit here it comes)
"On Sunday I want you to make sure all the boys go to church."
(God damnit!) "Gee sis, even if the surf is good?"
"Well yes, why not?"
"Look sis, you're gonna have to give me a little wiggle room here. How
'bout if the surf is really good we go to the Church of the Towering
"That's a curious denomination. Is it Protestant?"
"Aquarian, something like the French Huguenots."
"Is it by the beach?"
"You could say that."
"Well I guess that's all right. You know Foonie, all those boys need to pray
"I guarantee you sis, if it's a big day at the Church of the Towering
A-Frame, they'll all be praying a lot more. Seeya in June."
God I love this job!!.
"I've never been drunk - but I've often been over served."
A Hot-dog of a Session
Tues, 08 Apr 1997
I was hanging out at the dunepath last Saturday after a cold and
disappointing morning session in waist high mush. The 15 mph onshores
managed to squash what was left of a promising swell. The air off the 47
degree water was chilly and damp and the weak semi-cloud covered sun did
little to warm my spirits. I decided to call it a day, go in and watch
golf. (No just kidding, I meant to say the Quilting Channel) As I headed
back toward home I noticed a group of 4 teenagers out by the dune,
standing there in shorts and light sweatshirts. Their shoulders hunched
against the wind, they were discussing the poor conditions and the
prospect of it getting better. I followed them as they headed back to a
late model Blazer with New York tags and noticed that the interior of
the truck showed all the telltale signs of a surftrip in progress;
camping gear, dripping wetsuits, junkfood wrappers everywhere, a few
surf magazines and a couple of bodyboards. There were 3 shortboards
lashed to the roofrack.
I said hello to the boys and asked where they'd been? They replied that
they'd just come back from Cape Hatteras and had left Long Island New
York on Easter Sunday just ahead of a late season snowstorm that had
pasted the area on Monday. They'd driven all night to check out the
Carolinas, and had scored some good surf in the beginning of the week.
They were now on their way home but didn't have to be there until the
next day. They didn't feature leaving early hoping for better conditions
in the evening when the wind might die.
By the looks of the group, it had been a tough trip. They all sported
scraggly beards, sun scorched legs and faces, and bleary eyes from lack
of sleep. They'd been staying at campsites but the cooler temperatures
had made that somewhat uncomfortable. None of them seemed to own a pair
of long pants. They all stood there shivering, eyeing the crumbling
waves and I sensed they did not want the trip to end on this sour note.
Impulsively I told the boys I had a couple of packs of hot-dogs at the
FoonPalace and invited them to come over for a late afternoon snack.
Hesitant at first, the cold wind convinced them to accept my offer of
hot food and a warm place to hang for awhile. We all piled into the
house just as Mrs.Foon was leaving to shop for our upcoming trip to
Mexico. I introduced my new friends from Nu Yawk and she told them, "Oh,
he's from Nu Yawk too, don't let him get started telling you about the
good olde days in Montauk." "Well take your time, sweetheart," I said,
"I suspect we'll be comparing some notes about Montauk."
I dumped the weenies in a pot of boiling water and broke out some chips,
dips, veggies and soft drinks. Those boys hadn't eaten very much on
their trip because within an hour we killed 16 hot-dogs and most of the
snack food in the house. I was glad to share, remembering the times I'd
been on the road and had benefited from the kindness of others. The boys
turned out to be wonderful company.
They told me about their adventures in Hatteras and I took note of the
breaks they thought would be good this season. (I also reminded myself
to check Cap'n Rons MojoCafe webpage to see about the proximity of
barbacue joints for future trips.) After a while I put on a video
highlighting the incredible Right Coast "Summer of All Time" in 1995.
All the boys had experienced that epic season and the video prompted
them to tell all their great sessions. As the boys relaxed and opened up
I was impressed with how well mannered they were. Initially they had
displayed a bit of surf dude attitude, but that disappeared quickly when
they realized I was and old time Long Island surfer, a native Nu Yawker,
and there wasn't much about the Island I hadn't seen or experienced. The
movie was a great catylst for conversation and I laughed and praised
their stories of surfing Long Island and New Joisey.
Too soon the afternoon was over and the boys reluctantly realized the
surf was not going to improve. They thanked me profusely for a good meal
and a good time and decided to push on that evening to try and score
some surf up in Jersey the next morning. As I walked them back to their
truck I came to realize what a good feeling I had about these young guys
and the future of the sport. These were good kids. One of them turned to
me and shook my hand, then gave me his address and phone number. "Thanks
for everything Mr. Foondoggy," he said quietly. "If you're ever up on
the Island this season, give me a call and we'll hook up for a session
somewhere." It didn't matter that I was an old bodyboarder, I was
considered to be a peer. If I do go up there this year, that's one call
I'm definitely going to make.
"I beseech you to direct your efforts more to preparing youth for the
path and less to preparing the path for the youth."