Crazy September Flash Storm at Tourmaline Surf Park

Crazy September Flash Storm at Tourmaline Surf Park

What a day!

I had just done an afternoon surf check and decided that it was time to pull out the 8'0" Challenger that I just bought a couple weeks ago, so a quick trip over to Crown Point was needed to grab it. The weather was muggy but cooling, the surf was 5-6' closeouts with the occasional shoulder to be found, and there were a few clouds gathering. Ten minutes later I was at my garage, and as I strapped Bobby's handiwork on my racks a couple of raindrops hit my car. I took off back toward Tourmaline northbound on Lamont, and by the time I had passed Garnet it was pouring buckets. By the time I reached Chalcedony Street the smell of smoke (!!!) was in the air and ashes were falling on my car in between the giant raindrops. Crazy! A quick glance up Chalcendony revealed a billowing smoke cloud and a crowd in the street. Had lightning struck an SUP and lit it ablaze? Was this Armageddon? Hahahahaaa

Tourmaline Surf Park Flash FloodBy the time I rolled down into Tourmo there was an inch of standing water in the parking lot. I threw on my trunks and wetsuit jacket and grabbed my water rig (Nikon film camera loaded with Tri-X 400) and took of toward the culvert. I ran into Billy Snyder who had just done some body surfing and had his digital water camera with him. We took off up the culvert and saw chairs, wetsuits, a bicycle frame, a surfboard bag (and later the matching board), and loads of other random detritus careening by at 40mph+ toward its final resting place, into our own local version of the great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Before I could finish the roll the rain stopped. There was a giant brown plume extending south well past the pumphouse. No surf at Tourmo for 3-4 days if you know what's good for you! 

The torrent continued down the culvert for another half hour or so, which gave me plenty of time to grab my digital rig and snap a few shots. I used a 20mm f/3.5 Nikkor, a 100-600mm Vivitar zoom, and my homemade version of a Lensbaby™ (a 35-70mm Tokina Pentax K Mount that I gutted and rubber mounted to a Nikon body cap) on my D200.

I've been surfing at Tourmo for 20 years and never seen a day like this. By the time the water is cleaned up this swell will be long gone. Bummer. At least I got these shots to remind me of what a bizarre day it was, indeed!


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Make the Music Go BANG!

Make the Music Go BANG!

I've been digging many of the bands who were scheduled for Make the Music Go BANG! for decades, so when my good buddy Gary Shuffledust called me at twelve noon on the day of, saying "Hey Vince, I got you an all access pass if you'll drive my ass up there!", it didn't take me long to decide to make the trip up from San Diego. Besides, I needed to get up to OC anyhow to pick up the new board I had put a down payment on a few weeks earlier at Icons of Surf. Grabbing my new stick on the way to see the Buzzcocks, X, The Knitters, Los Lobos, etc. was a can't miss opportunity as far as I was concerned. Arrangements were quickly made with my OC surf bud Shaner to stash the board in his van while we were at the show, and the plan was fully in place.

We got there late afternoon, by which time the sun had really put a good cooking on the crowd. Long lines had gathered at every food and drink stand, but as the sun started to set everyone started to get their second (or third) wind. I had my Nikon F with me, freshly loaded with one and only one roll of Tri-X 400 b&w and Dan Kramer's old 85mm/f1.8 prime. There was so much to catch the eye that I really had to be selective in my shooting, and overall I'm pretty stoked with what I got on that one roll. Pretty girls and hard nosed greasers were everywhere, and considering the high contrast setting, I think the choice to shoot black and white was a good one. I hope you'll agree. A second roll of Portra 400 might have been nice, but what can you do on short notice, right? Time to start stocking the fridge for such" emergencies"... hehe

By the way, two of the pretty girls I met were Brooke Becher and Sarah Borean, who were covering the event for the Long Beach Daily 49er. Their excellent article is here.


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