Author Archive for Chris Ahrens

Opening day, crowds and Nanook

I don’t recall when or why the term “opening day” was coined, but it was an agreed upon day when Swami’s broke, and the beach breaks closed out, and were left unridden until May. If memory serves, one criterion for opening day was that the waves needed to be ridden from outside Swami’s at least […]

Facing sun, wind & sea

If you spend much time outdoors, the largest organ in your body will take a beating. Each day sun and wind combine with stress and free radicals to conspire against your exterior in a never-ending war that hammers a surfer’s pliable skin into brittle shoe leather, or worse, cancerous scabs. Add surfers to a list […]

Crowds, kooks and sea creatures

I never thought I’d see the day when I was among the best surfers in the water. Of course I don’t mean when the waves are pumping and North County’s finest are out, but during the summer doldrums when the surf rarely exceeds three feet and turns are required to avoid the masses of drug […]

How Gidget Changed My Life

With so many dazzling computer games and new, exciting sports being invented each year, I often wonder what it is about surfing that continues to attract youth. When I was young, that was simple, sports meant teams and teams meant wearing uniforms, and running around a field, or, worse, over a wooden floor. For me, […]

Surfing’s little brother

Back in my boyhood, skateboarding was often called “sidewalk surfing,” or “surfin’” for the Valley cowboys among us. I, like most kids at that time, took apart a pair of metal roller skates and hammered them onto a two-by-four. As you might imagine, skateboarding under these conditions was hazardous and not really that much fun. […]

Friends on the path

I don’t recall the exact quote by writer/director John Milius from his film “Big Wednesday,” but it goes something like this: “The great rides and the big swells will fade, but we will never forget the friends we rode them with.” While not as poetic as Milius’ original verse, you get the point — friendship […]

My first surf hero

My first surf hero

Daryl Diamond only needed one name when I first heard of him in 1962. He was Daryl, the best surfer in Montebello, which is not much of a title, but there was something else about him that made him stand out in any lineup.

Sick Surfers: Part Six Kita Fit

I first became aware of Kita Johnson while taking a boxing class. And how could I not notice: tall, radiant, blond hair streaked with pink, zebra stripped boxing gloves rocking the heavy bag with each strike. This girl is bad.

Morning flatness

I’m actually glad there’s no surf this morning, since I can see my breath and the ocean resembles some sort of Siberian ice bath. Walking across the Cardiff bridge, I watch Rob Machado and NCP master paddle board maker Mark Szymanski stroke out on sleek racing boards, where to my surprise they spin around and […]

Closing out 2012

‘Twas the day after New Year’s