Oregon Takes Wave Power to the Next Level

Last week found me in Oregon, hanging out with inventors and entrepreneurs who are focused on one goal: Turning the massive waves of the Pacific Ocean into a reliable and clean form of electricity. [...]

A Board Meeting with Tim Geithner

The blonde surf instructor clinched the deal with an offhand comment. We stood outside her shack a few blocks from the beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico, just after New Year’s Day, as I sized up a surfboard I might rent. “Tim Geithner rode this board just yesterday,” she said casually. The United States Secretary of the Treasury rented this thing, seriously? The man at the reins of our creaking economy, whose signature is on every freakin’ dollar bill, had spent New Year’s…surfing? [...]

The Wastewater Chronicles, Part IV

San Francisco’s wastewater treatment plant sits directly opposite the city’s most popular surf break, but the doctored water doesn’t end up there. Nowhere close, in fact. The effluent is discharged from a pipe four miles offshore and 90 feet down – in other words, a fish’s problem, but not yours, unless of course you [...]

The Wastewater Chronicles, Part III

What does it smell like in a wastewater treatment plant? Not as bad as you might think. A powerful chemical-detergent smell pervades, masking something the nose can’t quite identify.

These “climber screens” are the first line of defense, where things like rags and sticks are taken out.

Once through [...]

The Wastewater Chronicles, Part II

As news emerges of sewage emerging into San Pablo Bay, it is only highlights how little we Bay Area watermen and -women know about the waste that might reside in our water. That was the question that motivated my recent visit to San Francisco’s wastewater treatment plant, 11 miles south of the spill and opposite [...]

The Wastewater Chronicles, Part I

A few weeks ago I braced my sniffer and joined a tour of San Francisco’s wastewater treatment plant. No, I’m not mentally ill. The Wastewater Enterprise Oceanside Plant sits directly opposite the break at Ocean Beach where I occasionally surf, and I wanted to know exactly what I’m swimming in.

Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant. [...]

Virgin Territory

One headland north of my standard break is a beach called Rockaway that I have never surfed. I peer down onto it from Highway 1. The waves look inviting, but I have heard rumors of strange circular currents, huge sets, broken boards. I keep on driving.

My surf buddy Matt said the swell was small [...]

Back in Black

Today the wind whipped Ocean Beach into a frothy soup, so instead of getting wet I ducked into the Wise surf shop. I consoled myself with sport’s second-greatest joy, which of course is buying new stuff.

Yes, that’s me below, modeling the O’Neill SL Psycho Glove and the O’Neill Squid Lid, both in black. There [...]

Tiddley-Pum

Image Source: puddins-pictures.blogspot.com

If you’ve ever seen a surf video, you’d think that the song in a surfer’s head is pretty much electric guitars, drum machines, and a lot of screaming from a raspy-voiced grungestar with greasy hair. I am here to tell you that’s a bunch of marketing hoo-ha.

Today as I floated [...]

Slimed by the Goo Goblin

I was in the parking lot this morning at Linda Mar, waxing my board and eager for my first surf session in more than a week, when a cop in a black dune buggy drove up and yelled, “Beach’s closed!”

Last week’s oil spill in San Francisco Bay had finally reached my bread-and-butter break. Dead, [...]