Category Archives: El Guapo

A Very Surfing New Year


Today’s Music: The Ramones – Surfin Bird
Days Til Spring: 79
I’m generally the quiet type. I don’t talk a whole lot. Because when I do, it invariably gets me in trouble.
Despite the fact that it was below 30 degrees farenheit this morning with a water temp of maybe forty deg F, I’d been saying I was planning on surfing new years day for several weeks. Enough to the point that A Frank Angle, on his list of “national…” days listed wednesday as El Guapo Surfing Day. Enough to the point where my boss sent me a happy new year email, closing with “don’t drown.

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Wish I’d been wrapped in a blanket like my board…


So despite the frigidity of the weather forecast, and the fact the the surf forecast was one word – Flat – I’d backed myself into a corner.
To be honest I was still planning on going when I went to bed at 2 last night. I’d cut myself off after two (delicious) beers so I wouldn’t be hung over. I even packed my bag with gloves, booties and hood and pulled out my wetsuit.
I woke up bright and early at 8 am, but my wife (The Most Wonderful Girl in the Universe) was so warm and snuggly that I stayed curled up with her until 9. But then my innate “me”ness kicked in.
By 945, I was in my wetsuit at dunkin donuts getting coffee.
By 1015, I was on the beach, freezing my butt off, looking at an ocean surface only slightly rougher than glass.

Don’t let the ripple in that pic deceive you. That wave, and all the waves were breaking so close to the beach it was like surfing in sand.
But don’t let it be said that I am a victim of common sense!

My wetsuit-clad leg, ready for battle.

My wetsuit-clad leg, ready for battle.

The waves were so low, and breaking so late, that I stood a few yards from the beach. When I saw the few surfable waves roll in, I hopped n my board and rode them the five yards into the sand.
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Those drops of water on the board are good atlantic ocean drops.

So I stayed in the water about 45 minutes. When I first got in and the water trickled into my glove, it was so cold that it took about five minutes until the water warmed up and I could move my hand again.

The waves? Crap.
The weather? Freezing.
The surfing? Horrible.
But New Years Day, I spent the morning doing something I love – sitting on a surfboard in the ocean on a beautiful morning.
And if that ain’t worth it…well then, the crazies who ran into the water in bathing suits (and a tutu) 10 minutes after I got out was totally worth it.

And you thought I had problems???

And you thought I had problems???

Happy New Year to each and every one of you to your families, and to your loved ones.
And I hope every last one of you catches your wave, whatever it might be.

How to Make A Guap: Fire


Today’s Music: Red Fang – Number Thirteen

An irregular series on some of the misadventures – the highs and lows along the way that made me who I am, in case you’d like to make your own.
As always, these stories are true, or at least as true as I remember them.

This story takes place somewhere around 1980. I was between nine and eleven, I guess.
It was summer – the very beginning.
School had just let out.

Such a beautiful day. What could possibly go wrong?

Such a beautiful day. What could possibly go wrong?


I remember it being an exceptionally beautiful day. It was warm, the sun was out. Birds were singing, and I had the whole summer to play.
But first, I had to tend to the end-of-school chores. All the notebooks, the handouts, the loose papers and tests all had to be put away, or my parents would get very upset, and I’d have to spend the summer cleaning my room.

So I gathered them all together and put them in a garbage bag.
A paper garbage bag.
And then decided (like the young miscreant I was) that instead of throwing everything out, I could just burn them.

Next thing I know, my bed was on fire.

So a few minutes later, my sister sees me running by with a full teapot in my hand, turning and rushing up the stairs.
“What are you doing?”
“FIRE!” I shouted, heading to the blaze.

It had grown beyond the capabilities of a teapot.

I just had to ask...

I just had to ask…


So my sister grabbed me (thank god one of us had brains) and got both of us out of the house. At this point, you could se the tower of smoke coming out of the back window of my room.
My sister left me on the front lawn and ran up to the corner where she pulled the handle of the fire callbox.
Our next door neighbor was on the sidewalk just before the trucks came, and heard the sirens and saw the smoke. He thought my sister had been smoking, and that’s what caused the fire.
I have no idea how she answered.
20 minutes later, I was lying on our neighbors couch where he’d given us shelter. The firemen were in the house doing what they do.
My neighbors daughters, about my age, were giving a running inventory of stuff being hurled out the window of my flaming room.
“There goes a bed.”
“Oh, and some blankets!”
“Are those books?”
“There’s a lot of stuff…”

I may have asked them to shut up.

Eventually, the fire went out, my parents came home, and we headed back.
Somehow, my parents were kind enough to let me live that I could tell this tale all these years later.

One final note – for all the kids reading this: If you do something like this (please don’t) and live through it (you won’t, at the time, feel good about that), if your mother tries to ease herself and your dad by saying “well, we needed to change the carpets anyway”, DO NOT(!!!!!) say, “Oh, so this was kind of a good thing!”.

Trust me on that.

Yeah, there are easier ways to get one.

Yeah, there are easier ways to get one.