Well, it's been a lengthy stay in SD but what a stay it's been. Scott Reeder has sent over his last report as Phileas sets off to her next stop:
Phileas has been shipped off to Mattitude, and I already miss her.
I hauled our girl pretty much everywhere I went, including regular rounds through the medical machine. I’m dealing with a rare cancer, thymic carcinoid, triggered by a rare gene mutation, MEN1, and it’s a full-time battle. But what timing: Phileas arrived at the beginning of a three-week break from energy-sapping, nausea-inducing meds. And we sure did make the time count.
Her first couple weeks here, I had a blast documenting friends riding Phileas, each with his or her own flair. Then, more than halfway through her stay, I realized I hadn’t actually ridden her much aside from a few waves here and there. So we spent some quality time in the water.
I roamed the coast for more than a week straight, surfing Phileas every day in various conditions at various spots. Mostly reef breaks. San Diego County has loads of reefs, with some better suited to mats than boards, in my opinion. Of course she loved the good days, but I was really impressed with how well she glided through the smaller stuff and the slop. What a great all-around mat!
Though Mark [Miller] was able to make it for a couple of these surfs, I was usually alone. I tried to self-film, but the results are ridiculous. I’d aim the camera at the lineup as best I could, hit record, then rush out there. But our little Canon usually shuts off after 10 or 15 minutes. Much of that time is often used up doing the rock dance just to get to the lineup. There are entire clips where I never even make it into the viewfinder. Or if I do, it’s either as a speck off in the distance or as a quick streak in and out of the picture. Sometimes the camera quits mid-wave. My favorite is when the damn thing shits out eight seconds into my best session.
Nevertheless, it was always fun to plug in the disk at the end of the day and see what I got, if anything. And there were a couple nice surprises.
For me, the highlight of Phileas’ stay was the first of what ended up being four “Farewell” sessions, when I got my wife, Worm, and son, Maz, back in the water for the first time in months. It was 98 percent closeouts at SD’s most famous beach break, but we had so much fun screwing around, running into each other.
Sacred times, mate. Savoring it all. With some heavy treatments fast approaching, I’m so grateful to have got all this in the memory bank. Thanks again for including us, G. Can’t wait to see what she else Phileas gets up to along the West Coast …
Thanks again for being the perfect host Scott. It's been a joy to watch this adventure unfold. I'm stoked to see how Phileas' tats are coming along. Looking amazing!
Scott has taken stacks of photo's. I've added a few below so enjoy them. The SD video is great so will be out there soon as a stand alone movie.
Following on from her epic boat trip, Scott Reeder took Phileas to meet a couple of other friend, Alex and Cher. Scott picks up the story:
Later, I ran into our good mate Alex, the mellowest New York native I’ve ever known. Alex is a dedicated mat rider and a top bloke. One evening I lost my mat and ran out of breath trying to swim out of a deep channel. Alex rushed over and slipped me his mat before swimming in. He’ll give up his surf time to chat with curious elderly folks on the beach. Once I saw him use his very last piece of thread to sew the the wing back on an ailing gnat …
Another great thing about Alex is his hair. It’s perfect. When he gets out of the water, the way it dries looks more the work of a sculptor than of the wind and sun.
I’d tried to get Alex on Phileas the week before, but conditions completely fell apart. This day wasn’t much different. Yet Alex found some good ones. Cheers, friend.
The next day I was super jazzed to meet up with Cher Pendarvis, busy artist, writer, matriarch of the local surf community and more. Hip pain had kept her mostly out of the water for two months, so this was a special day. She returned to the ocean aboard Phileas. And she did great. She grabbed an insider, then kicked way out the back. Despite some lingering pain, she took off as deep as possible on some good sets and locked into the sweet spot all the way through. Cher and her shaping guru husband, Steve’s [Pendoflex Surfboards] wave knowledge freaks my beans.
The next day she was back at it on a 6’4”, with plans to bodysurf, mat or ride a board the following morning. Yeah, Cher! Inspiring stuff.
Thanks to Scott, Alex and Cher for more fun. Phileas isn't quite done in SD but she's going to be homesick for the place when she finally moves on. I just wish I'd packed myself in the box!
Looks like the wave quality has taken a bit of a dip in SD, although that's not stopped Kendog getting together with Phileas. Mark Miller and Scott Reeder were there to act as chaperon and took on camera duties.
By all accounts, Phileas and Ken had a blast making the most out of some pretty inconsistent lumps of water. Sounds like more is to come around there too before Phileas finally gets back on the road.
If Phileas makes it that is...
I dunno if she's traumatized by her recent assault at Phileas Fogg's but I'm worried she may be going off the rails.
Time for an intervention perhaps. Take care of yourself old girl.
Word from Scott Reeder and it looks like Phileas is having a blast. Scott has sent over some video clips, all of which will go in to the next video. For now I've got some screen grabs.
Before going on, it's worth looking at the events that took place before the session. Like good hosts, Scott and his wife Pam took Phileas out on the town. For the obvious reasons, but also down to wanting some "British" grub, Phileas was keen to visit Phileas Fogg's to eat out. They certainly seem to be trying to get in to the spirit of things with chips and gravy or curry sauce (although they do call them "fries" so they ain't that British).
One authentic addition though was a drunken Geordie. They say that Magpies are attracted to shiny things and before anyone could say "why-aye", said Geordie had grabbed a Sharpie and added to Phileas's growing array of tats! Thankfully, he actually made quite a sweet addition and I wonder if what seemed on the ground as threatening and aggressive may actually have been that lovable Geordie exuberance.
Looking at the shot above, I'm actually starting to wonder if the guy was from Newcastle afterall, what with being under 20 stone (280 lbs) and having his shirt on. Perhaps he's a Mackem.
Anyway, Phileas powered on through and groggily hit the surf with Scott and friends. Here's what Scott has to say:
We finally got Phileas in the water, G. Kendog talked us into heading up to North County, something we rarely do, and we actually found a couple waves.
As we arrived, Andrew Smith was already leaving! A busy teacher, writer, family man (and one of the first dedicated mat riders down here), Andrew never seems to have more than 15 minutes to surf. I just hope he enjoyed his 15 minutes. Next time, A.
Elder statesman Peter St. Pierre had first honors. Although the lineup was a bit clogged with surfboarders, he snagged a bunch of fun little runners, including an improbable connector. Forty-plus years of experience at this spot has its perks. Pinliner is the man, and Phileas is a “special gal,” in his words.
Mark Miller was up next. He and Phileas hit it off right away. The frame grabs describe their relationship better than I ever could.
I managed a few right before dusk. To goose a little extra horsepower, I gradually aired her down well below a 180 bend. That made for a couple wild situations.
Thanks for including us, G. Great mat!
So it seems that they've been having a blast and Scott tells me he's off to meet more mat riders and more footage.
Looks pretty sweet over there right now!