Sunday, April 18, 2010

35 Years and Counting

Jeff Clark surfing at Mavericks on January 10, 2010, 35 years after first paddling out at the outer reef of Mavericks at the age of 17!

Photo by Frank Quirarte

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back in the Big Waves

A new swell hit over the weekend and quite a few of the big wave surfers were in town for the waves at Mavericks. The waves were little slow coming in the morning, but continued to fill in throughout the day. There were sets pushing over 40' during the day. At one point there were 48 surfers in the line-up. It was like rush hour traffic, frustrations were high as so many people were in the water all trying to get the same wave.

I jumped in the water and it took me about an hour to get a wave with so many people clogging the line-up. I did paddle for one that I missed only to turn around and see one of biggest waves of the day. I kept my head down and paddled as fast as I could toward this behemoth thinking , "If this wave lands on me it could be really bad, my breath holding will be tested as far as it can go." I focused on staying relaxed and focused on my paddling . The wave got to me and the lip of this 40 footer was coming down toward me. I did a push up off my board and plunged under the water as the guillotine of water just missed as it passed over me. I could feel the clean green water and the wave sucking up, I spread my arms out to try and keep myself from being dragged into the explosion by my board. My board started to drag and then the pull was so strong it was dragging me through the water like a fishing lure. It then got really strong and something broke. It felt like my leash. I then came to the surface and a rescue jetski came over and picked me up so I didn't get washed into the rocks. I was worried about my new board, but as we got to the channel I could see another lifeguard on his jetski retrieving it. I was lucky, the leash tie strings broke, so I replaced those and paddled back into the lineup. After about an hour of trying to get another wave the wind had started to blow hard, so I decided to get some breakfast.

Oh Yea! My hip resurfacing was a huge success. It is absolutely the best thing for continuing to live my life with no reservations about what I can and can't do. This was my first big wave test, and I would have to say that it feels great. Training on the SUP has improved my balance and stamina. I found that the SUP got me back in the water quickly, kept me occupied and brought me back into better shape than before the surgery. I now believe the more people we share this with, the healthier we will all be while enjoying the ocean. So, I've been shaping a wide range of SUPs, for beginners through big wave chargers. We also rent them at the shop complete with lessons and training out in the calm waters of the harbor. As for me, I've shaped a SUP big wave gun to charge on the bigger days.

I still get questions daily about the surgery and recovery, and I have to say I am very glad I did it. Some people have been inspired to get help for their own pain issues, and that's been gratifying. I've been amazed by my new-found flexibility and freedom from pain. And now with the winter swells hitting, I am stoked to get out and feel the power of the ocean.

Stay stoked, Jeff.

Photographer Ed Grant took the photo above of Mavericks on Saturday, Oct. 7. Check out the crowd.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hello Again!

Sorry for the lapse in writing. Life got kinda crazy when I found out they had removed me from the contest that I started ( Lots of meetings and not enough surfing. I have decided to work on the things that I can change. For me, that is time in the water, what I eat and the good that can come out of choosing to have a good attitude about everything. You might not come out of the barrel on the your best wave of the day, but how lucky are you to be surfing.

The last month has been one of decisions. Do you get caught up in the huge rip of negativity or use it to empower you to rise above it all. You just gotta believe in yourself , do the right thing and live well.

I am really stoked to be back in the water and making boards. I've been participating in fund-raising events for Cystic Fibrosis, "Pipeline to a Cure," to raise money for research for this deadly disease. I also am working with San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA) on their latest exhibit on surf art, life and culture. I have a display in the MOMA windows in downtown San Francisco, as well as 15 boards up at their Artist's Gallery in Fort Mason, alongside some great surf-related art and photography. What an honor.

My hip at this point is ready for the heavy training. I'm feeling better than I have in several years. And I am hearing from a lot of people who have similar stories or are looking for solutions to their health issues. Glad my little blog can help inspire a few others, and really glad to hear the success stories from those of you who have been down this road before.

All the best to everyone out there. Live big, jeff

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting Busy

It seems the more active I get the less time I spend in front of the computer. Went to San Diego last week to work on some new boards. We hit that last south swell head on. SUP'd some of the reefs in Encinitas. It seems that the kelp has come back with a vengeance over the last 5years. It was windy on the outside and smooth on the inside. The same kelp cycle has occurred at Mavericks as well with kelp so thick you can't swim through it.

I had gone to San Diego to participate in a gathering for Pipeline to a Cure for the battle against Cystic Fibrosis. All who attended had a chance to SUP with instruction from one of the best, Dave Kalama.

I decided to do the coast drive up 101 instead of 5. We saw south swell following us all the way up the coast. Sure enough it was here in HMB when we awoke Monday morning. I was so busy I didn't get in the water intil the last hour before dark. The best day I have seen in years was yesterday. The jetty had 6 to 8 foot A frame peaks and was really consistent.

The highlight of the day was picking up Greg and Laura Noll at the airport and driving down the coast through Pacifica to Princeton. We drove to the jetty, managed to see one of the best sets of the day. Legendary surfer Greg Noll is in town for the inaugural Mavericks Film Festival this week. His film, "Search for Surf" will be one of the films shown at the event, starting tonight at the Oceano Hotel in Princeton by the Sea. Greg and Laura really like the Oceano Hotel, which sits right on the harbor with easy walking to the Pier and restaraunts (and Mavericks Surf Shop). Greg has fished the West Coast for years after he put surfing on the back burner and shared some great stories about navigating through giant storm surf into the Pillar Point harbor at night. He'll be sharing more stories and doing a Q&A at the film festival, so be there if you can.

take care,jeff

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Six Week Check Up

Rolled up to UCSF to see Dr. Vail to have him give me the litmus test. I did some range of motion stretches that I couldn't do before. He said, "I think you're way ahead of the curve." Stoked. We talked about surfing, and Cassandra showed him a video of the surf we had over the weekend. He was happy to see his work going to good use.

We are off today to Newport to do a paddle for Pipeline to a Cure. Dave Kalama, Mickey & Peggy Munoz, Jericho Popler, Jason Lezak (Olympic gold swimmer) and others will be there to support the battle against Cystic Fibrosis. Studies have shown that saltwater helps the lungs and provides relief for those with cystic fibrosis, and so surfing is a natural way to reach out to those with the disease, have some fun and find relief until there is a cure. We went to one of their fundraising events last year and it was amazing to see the strength of those fighting that battle. It was inspiring to see the drive and spirit it takes to deal with this disease every day of life.

I must say it makes what I have dealt with seem so insignificant.

Everyone stay safe and get some of the new south that is hitting the coast right now.
Will be back up for the Mavericks Film Festival at the Oceano Resort in Half Moon Bay on the 17th. Check it out. Greg Noll and I will be there to greet guest.
All the best, jeff

Monday, June 8, 2009

South Swell

Woke up to a nice south swell on Friday morning. I couldn't help myself...first time in the water in 39 days. We surfed a really fun south facing reef on our stand up paddle boards. It is the best for me because I can't do the jump up like I want to. The risk of the unknown or unthinkable happening is much greater riding a short board.

My first wave felt like riding my old favorite bicycle. I wish I could say that I eased into the first bottom turn to see what it felt like on my new hardware that is in the right hip, but no, I went out into the flat from the peak and powered a bottom turn straight up into the lip. No problem, so stoked!!

I actually don't have any regrets about doing the surgery. The work Dr. Vail did at UCSF on my hip is great, and I can feel the progression every couple of days with things like range of motion that I didn't have before. Lance Harriman at Potrero Physical Therapy and their staff are working me over, making sure I am getting the hard to get to muscles strong. I am also benefiting from the work that The Holistic Health Center and Hide Minami have done on me. He is an accupuncturist that works on some of the bay area's highest profile professional athletes. He is very good.

The swell filled in on Saturday, and we surfed for another 3 hrs. It feels good to be that sore. Surfed with my wife Cassandra and my son Kevin. I was still on the SUP board. The waves were about 6ft on the face when the sets came through. Hope everyone got some.

Heading for my six-week check up today. I think I am ahead of the curve on the recovery, just have to pace myself. Slow and sure is the best bet, unless the waves are really good.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Getting in the water

Talked to Palo Alto Research Foundation yesterday, about the science of waves. It took me a moment to settle into my opening thoughts because we watched a clip of Mavericks going off. I got so amped about the waves that I was watching that it kind of scattered me for a bit. So stoked to have no pain in my hip. Going out Stand Up Paddling with my wife Cassandra this morning for the first time since the surgery. It will be 39 days since salt water on my skin but who's counting.
I think we will be taking the Go Pro to give you a visual report.