Spring has truly sprung. The daffodils and crocuses are in full bloom. The flowering trees are beginning to show their glory. The air is warming up and all of the little bees and creatures of the air are emerging. The birds have begun to make nesting spots to lay their eggs. The fishing season opened, much to the joy of many I am sure. Bubba Watson won the Master’s Tournament in professional golf and many of us amateurs made our way onto the links for a round or two. Most importantly for many of us down by the beach, the water temperature turned a corner and is climbing out of the frigid cellar it rested at in the coldest of winters we have had in decades.
The surf was up this past week, and intrepid surfers from near and far (met a few characters who drove out from California in an old VW Westphalia van and surfed town beach with us) made their way into the water sans hoodies. That is always a good sign. Spring surfing can be really amazing, and we have our fingers and toes crossed. We surf all year here, but springtime brings a breath of fresh air and bluer skies out on the water, and is much appreciated!
Today’s book is a wonderful collection of surf stories called “Good Things Love Water” by Chris Ahrens. The book was written in 1994 and is distributed by Chubasco Publishing Company out of Cardiff by the Sea, Calif. Herein lies a couple of dozen really fun, fascinating, informative and well-written tales of surfing and stoke. Stoke for the surfer is the amazing adrenaline rush that is felt when one launches into a wave and feels that moment, on this Earth, in that ocean or sea pulsing through the veins. That feeling is then continually sought, and the stoke spills over into daily life, guiding one along, always with the serious yet excited intention of getting another wave around the corner, as soon as possible.
“Good Things Love Water” is a perfect title for this collection. The phrase really applies well to surfers and water-people the world around. The name is from a quote taken from a John Steinbeck novel called “The Pastures of Heaven.” “Good things love water. Bad things always been dry.” Considering the make-up of the human body, 65 to 75 percent water, and the fact that the Earth is three-quarters covered in water, I would say, ‘get in it!’ We humans can only go without water for about three days until we may perish. Take a fish out of water and it only lasts a few minutes. Water is imperative for all living things, some much more than others. Steinbeck also suggests “bad things always been dry”…Well, perhaps, and perhaps not, but we will agree with the first part of the quote, and so did Mr. Ahrens when he chose it for his title. What is in a name? Usually more than we first digest.
Chris Ahrens writes wonderfully straightforward stories about encounters he and other interesting surf characters had throughout their lives. Surfers from the great Phil Edwards, to Mike Hynson, Miki Dora and Bob McTavish all share stories around the campfire after a good surf session. That is the feel of the book. The author requests you take the book to the beach, read in the back of your car, be sure to be barefooted and possibly wet from the ocean. He wants you to feel the surf life he has enjoyed for many years.
In an interview with the San Diego reader, Steve Sorensen wrote, “Chris Ahrens lives in the kind of house any surfer would love. It’s on the hill above Cardiff, with a view of one of the best reef breaks in San Diego County. Wetsuits are drying on the front deck, and surfboards are leaning against the walls. The doors and windows have been thrown open as if the occupants would really rather live outside anyway. Yard chores like sweeping the walks have been put off until the south swell fades. Ahrens, a happy, compassionate soul of forty-seven, has long black hair and an irreverent sense of humor that he's quick to use on anything or anybody—but most of all himself.
“I got into publishing much the same way I got into writing, thinking it would be a good scam that would allow me to keep surfing,” he says, sitting down at the kitchen table he calls “the world corporate headquarters of Chubasco Publishing,” a micro publisher with just two books. “That pays the bills. Enough said.”
The man figured out a way to live by the beach, surf every day, and enjoy life in the moment. Inspiring! Grab a copy of “Good Things Love Water” by Chris Ahrens and get stoked on the summer coming!
Enjoy and read on!
Kerry Wholey is a freelance writer living in Narragansett.