Author Archive for chris.ahrens

Why I hate summer in North County

Every year around this time, the Midwest moves here, and I think of moving there. Our town looks too crowded, too paved, too sterile, too anonymous. I realize that my moving would delight some of you, and I want to offer an apology for being so darned negative, so often. Then again, isn’t negativity (one […]

Paddleboards take surfers beyond traditional barriers

Surfers love the ocean, and yet their (our) knowledge of it generally extends no further than a few hundred yards off shore. Riding waves has proven so fun that most of us stay mesmerized and never move beyond the break, and into deeper water where new words await. Recently the interest in paddleboards has sent […]

Essential accessories for the journey

There must be a better name for surf stuff than accessories. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but “accessories” usually refer to those brown handbags that cost more than my last trip to Baja that some women carry, either because they want to get robbed or hope that others in the function-follows-form tribe will […]

New board shop, traditional family-business values

I’ve known J.P. St. Pierre for nearly as long as his parents have. I recall him eating sand and dirtying his diaper while his parents, Sally and Peter, took turns cleaning him up before paddling out to ride Cardiff’s south peak. What? That was more than 30 years ago? A few years later I remember […]

Goodbye to a true soul surfer

It looks like Cardiff is suffering sympathy pains for the Gulf oil spill, red tide coloring the lineup a muddy red until nighttime when the waves glow like a southern, aquatic version of the northern lights. Or maybe it’s not sympathy pains but tears, sad at the passing of one of the last true surfers […]

Life in Baja with the Scorpion Queen

My poor wife was tired of my petty whinings: May gray, real estate signs littering the sidewalks, massive sweepers shutting me out of Cardiff and the normally benign phrase, “Thank you so much” (drawing out the word “much” so that it becomes two syllables) primary among them. Each time I opened a door for someone […]

The legend of the great Kit Horn

With nearly half a century of surfing behind me, I have met most of my surfing heroes — the ones who hung on my bedroom wall in immortal stances, the stars of both “Endless Summer” movies, iron men facing aquatic mountains, assorted rippers, noseriders and tube dwellers. Usually, the closer I got the more the […]

The doctor is in — the tube

I didn’t know his real name and never bothered to ask. He was introduced to me as Blaze, and even those that know him by his professional name, Doctor Baniadam, agree that it fits. Well, maybe not in his medical practice, where he takes his time and treats each patient as a friend, but in […]

Local surfer, fisherman is a man of the ocean

I knew Robert Wald before I ever met him in the mid ‘80s. Well, not really knew him, but knew about him — mostly from that stunning photo of his, where his friend, the now deceased Stan Lewis, is seen rowing out against the ocean. If you’ve ever visited the old Fish House West or […]

Giving back to the lineup

So, there will be no surf contest at Swami’s. I, for one, am glad, but wish the best to those who want to hold the event elsewhere. And, like those who fought on either sides of this issue, I am tired — tired of fighting, tired of waging a war against my own tribe. Yesterday […]