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SURFING : Bogus Weather Brings Out Grumps

February 04, 1993|RICK FIGNETTI and DAVID REYES

Were we a little TENSE during those recent rains that kept most of us indoors and away from the ocean?

I was tense, and I brought up the subject of The Grumps to Rockin' Fig.

The Grumps, you ask? Oh, don't play coy. On days when the rain subsided, didn't you think about going surfing? Didn't you latch the surfboard to the car, head for the coast but didn't get in the water because there were high winds and bumpy conditions?

Hey! It was frustrating! You fantasize about surfing only to turn around at the coast and head for home--or ease the frustration by stopping for some doughnuts.

I didn't do too much surfing. It was so bogus for so long. I, well, I was a little tense.

Figgy, what do you do to ease that tension?

Grab a basketball and go play hoops with da boys. That always works. I guess the next best thing is grab a snowboard and head for the mountains.

We asked Rick Karren, a 45-year-old Huntington Beach surfer/artist who airbrushes surfboards for a living, what he does to handle the Big Gs.

"I keep working. That's what I do. Have longer hours and make more money. This gives me more time to save up money to plan longer vacations," Karren said.

Hey, Rick's a traveler. Karren lived in Hawaii for 11 years, spent lots of time in Australia, and he's been to Costa Rica. In fact, he's heading back there in a couple weeks.

Costa Rica? Yo, was it easy to keep working, Rick?

"Well, pretty much. I just keep my thoughts focused on where I'm gonna go next and all the money I'm going to make and save. I've got goals and priorities: Sometimes I have to sacrifice surf and snow," he said.

Karren said that in Hawaii, it would rain for two weeks straight. Wouldn't stop, except for short periods. Ironically, it would get glassy. Sometimes. A good time to be in Costa Rica is spring, because the weather is still dry. Only problem is there are so many mountains and hills, and it takes a long time to get to a surf spot.

Karren said he surfs Witch's Rock and likes to set up a base at a hotel near Tamarindo Bay.

"I have been on trips where I've been skunked," Karren said, "with literally nothing to do. But in Costa Rica it's fun because there's so much to do, like exploring. There's jungle there, and they have monkeys; you can fish or just daydream."

Both Fig and Karren talked about the hunger for a nice 8-foot swell. Karren prefers high-performance long boards when he surfs competitive areas such as Huntington Beach Pier. He owns about half a dozen boards, ranging in size from 7-foot-7 to 10-6. But he's also a patient guy, one willing to wait for weeks until a good swell hits.

Listening to both of these industry insiders is like sitting in on a meeting of the Great Vultures Society. Here, take a hit:

"I think Fig and I both like big swells. If it's a 8-foot day, I hope that means a lot of people crashing their boards, breaking em' up, so they hafta go to the shops and buy all new boards," said Karren, who could always use the business.

Yeah, that's what we need, a nice BIG BOARD-SNAPPIN' SWELL!

"That's exactly what we need," said Rick.

These guys have no shame. But listenin' to em' sure beats the Grumps.

Contests: Bill Medina, competition director for the Doheny Longboard Surfing Assn., said plans are under way to co-sponsor a second annual Pro-Am long-board contest for Salt Creek. This year's event will be part of Dana Point's weeklong whale festival Feb. 20-28.

The amateur event is by invitation only, but it's a spectator happening. Medina said the association has spent a year reaching out to long-boarders with environmental consciences. Its network has grown large enough to field teams from different groups in the state that plan to have teams of 12 men, three women and three juniors. The proceeds from entry fees and a raffle will go to the San Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation. Pro entries are being handled by the Professional Longboarding Assn. For information, call Henry Ford at (714) 492-1085.

Rockin' Fig is Rick Fignetti, a Huntington Beach surfer/shop owner. Times staff writer David Reyes has reported on U.S. surf teams that competed in Bali and Brazil.

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