Aging - Athletes
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                                                             Glory Days


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Photo By Tom Servais                       40+ Athlete David Jenkins

Surfing Mex in the 70"s, Good Old Gringo Ramblings

Where to start. Dios Mio.

Baja – Ensenada (California Trailer Park) and Hussong’s, San Miguel and Hussong’s, Salsipuedes and Hussong’s, K-55’s and Hussong’s, Quatro Casas, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, San Blas, Santa Cruz, Sayulita, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Barra de Navid, Petatlan, Zihuatanejo, Acapulco or Puerto Escondido?

It was the grandest of times.

Hawaii and California were hot in the 60’s. Mexico in the 70’s. Californian’s, Hawaiians, and Mexican’s all loved surf’n Mex. in the 70’s.

It was magical. I first moved from the U.S. to Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco in the mid 60’s.

I feel compelled start with Puerto Escondido (Mexican Pipeline) since it has earned its status as one of the premier breaks of Mexico. A pioneer of sorts in Puerto, I recall vividly seeing my beloved Puerto in Surfing Magazine. Famed photo master Woody was Johnny on the spot shooting pics of the "Surfing Magazine Boys" as they made their way back to the U.S. from Costa Rica. The article was supposed to just be about Costa Rica. My secret spot was no more. I couldn’t believe it!

The trailer park on the beach in town was damp and quiet but for an occasional falling coconut. Here is where I would meet “Coop” for the first time. As if thrust from the sky wrapped in a giant snowball he melted into the sand here in Puerto; about the same time each year. Hard core to be sure, back home Coop jumps out of his van races across ice and snow to jump into the freezing Atlantic sea in desperate search of two bottom turns maybe three.

In Puerto, Coop was this pent-up cat ready to do battle with Mother Nature in unnatural ways that clearly defied hang overs and the deadly monsoon storm conditions. We were always out at first light, swells often times pick - up between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. Sometimes the swells tripled in size during this time period.

One’s forced to wake up awfully fast when surfing with Coop. Especially when one first paddles out burping tequila in say 4 -6 foot surf. Then rather rudely one finds oneself surfing 15 foot waves. Coop was intent on over - powering whatever the ocean threw his way. His wipe-outs were legendary. Dropping in without regard to the waves behind him; he often times pulled off an amazing bottom turn followed by a merciless beating for 30-40 minutes. Once back in the line-up he just smiled. Nobody caught more waves than Coop. He literally never met a wave he wouldn’t drop in on.

Be “Selective” was my strategy. Counting the waves in each set, traditionally taking off on waves five or six of a seven wave set. Carefully picking the moment to paddle out albeit Chanel - less which left one feeling vulnerable, and exposed. I recall paddling with tremendous urgency accompanied by a sinking feeling in one’s stomach. Also the feeling of one’s heart pounding loudly, chest ready to explode, paddling super hard straight up quickly steepening, bone/board crushing faces. My eyes would first open up wide, then close tight, again, again, washed back in. Again, again until finally I’m outside, breathless.

My brief calm is chased off by distant rolling mountains that first cast a shadow, then growing silently they darken the horizon. Already a mile from shore I paddle furiously farther and farther out to sea. I spy a broken board spinning round and around in a rip. The oceans powerful energy roars then quickly unwinds racing towards shore.

The lack of continental shelf and the promise born out of excited hoots send chills up and down my spine. With each breath much needed adrenaline is pumped throughout my system. Momentarily this levels the playing field. Too big to slide – slip today. I drop in without looking, better that way.

Living in Mexico

Growing –up in mainland Mexico was a real eye opener. I saw some crap. It was in Mexico that I was introduced to the pool hall, slaughterhouse, cockfight, whorehouse, bullfight, jail cell, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the murder in Gringo Gulch.

I met Zihuatanejo's legend “Jim” a black professional football player and his then controversial white wife. Then there was the Brother’s family, alcoholics of an extreme nature, oh how they dearly loved their drink. They owned and drank their restaurant into the ground. There was the U.S. retired cop living with his young pretty Mexican wife, owning and managing the trailer Park at Pie de la Cuesta, just outside Acapulco. Living in Mexico for years he refused to learn a single word of Spanish and often took off for months at a time hitching rides south to the Mayan ruins with just a few pesos in his pocket. And of course I can’t forget “Cam” short for Cameron who was Sammy Davis’s right arm man. He too lost his restaurant but not to drink, instead to a Puerto Vallarta real estate scam.

Then there was the doctor from Acapulco who came to Zihuatanejo and immediately went about the urgent business of examining each and every women’s genitalia under the pretense of a health epidemic. Weeks later he was found floating face down in a lagoon just north of Acapulco. Then there were the countless Yachties, and the fat Gringa that dressed like Honey West, even used a cigarette holder. She built her house in the tropics one brick at a time, one sweaty man at a time. There’s the old man that swam with the sharks for money, and the exiled son of a Mexican millionaire, a real party boy.

I lived in disaster areas during the monsoon seasons, witnessed frequent green flashes, mono, the runs, hepatitis, mosquito's the size of small birds, snakes, a 2 pound rat crawling across my back, scorpions in my shoes, a tarantula walking up my arm and across my chest, NO HAY AUGA, NO HAY LUZ, MANANNA, rescuing tourists from the sea, my own near death drowning’s, the often times deliberately sunken boats, one time even a Yacht. I also survived burglars one time leaving my father within inches of his life.

I drove and took buses all over the country, one night I slept on a public park bench in the town square with the winos in Paracho, Michoacán. One night I slept in an abandon school filled with terrorists high in the remote mountains of Guerrero. I was once a runaway wanted by Mexican police and one time became stranded in the middle of the Sonora desert. I was also one of the first people to survive the newly launched and soon thereafter terminated “Operation Intercept” at the U.S. Mexican border.

I worked as a coyote I hustled tourists to hotels and perhaps more importantly met their daughters. I learned to play Fronton (Jai alai), Carom bola (billiards), climb coconut trees, and ferment coconut milk into liquor. I was a bellhop, boat taxi driver, I dove for turtles, turned turtle shells into coffee tables, dove for urchins and sold the expensive orange meat to Yachties, and speared fish. Terrorists, drug dealers, hit men, con men, smugglers, ex - pats, drop-outs, space – outs, hippies, writers, artists, Federals, and surfers were all thrown together in a lovely 1970’s Mexican cocktail.

What a HOOT! Honestly the only thing that really scared me in all my years in Mexico was dropping in at Puerto Escondido when the place was really going off.

A couple Hawaiians once claimed over cervezas the take-offs I was making were more difficult than Pipeline in Hawaii. I had always dreamed of surfing the real pipe and assumed it must be tougher than Puerto. I don’t know if they were blowing smoke but I did see waves over the years that defy description. The old “you could drive a truck through it”, barrel, was no exaggeration. At times every drop of water was in its place, perfect glass, deeper and deeper tube rides, no off the lips, never a cutback contemplated, just deep blue, stand - up, back - arching barrels over and over again. The power of the place was legendary with boards broken regularly in two - three foot surf. Keep in mind we often glassed our own boards back in the day. Texans and Floridians were afraid to go out. This was big wave “Soul Surfing” at its Mexican best.

After our early morning session we’d scarf beans, rice, tortillas, hot sauce and scrambled eggs. We’d sleep in the hammocks until midafternoon and then make our move. We had to be back to the beach break well before sunset to catch the glass – off. If the swell was giant we’d head to the left point outside of town. It was against the law to park one’s car out there. So we’d take a taxi reaching out the windows holding onto our boards; burning our hands on the sizzling roof. Access to the point was through a farmers gated roadway, otherwise one’s forced to walk along the beach several miles from the beach break which is a good way to pass – out from heat exhaustion especially after an epic session.

The taxi driver agreed to return for us at the appointed time, greetings were extended to the Patron, and a few pesos later we were surfing the Trestles - like point to ourselves. The place could really hold a swell, the afternoon wind, and only broke on a 10 foot swell or bigger. I often rode a big egg, a buddy rode his fish on the inside sometimes. Easy take-offs provided a much appreciated break from the hellish drops at the beach break which were only attempted on brightly colored 8 ft. “6” and bigger pin tail guns, real rhino chasers. It was here in this empty perfect left point, where un-ridden waves peeled off all afternoon to our delight.

Early afternoons when the swell was small we’d head in the opposite direction out of town to a then secret spot offering a little right. We’d park high on a cliff and walk down a hidden trail so no one would ever know the break was there, perfectly hidden thanks to some giant rocks. The girls would sunbath topless, we’d surf, smoke pot, and drink cerveca, and it was so casual. Surfing this spot after the beach break in the morning was like getting off the most intense roller coaster ride at Magic Mountain and then riding in little kid train for the rest of the afternoon.

Occasionally we’d get the rarely surfed break really perfect. It was near town, just before one’s crosses over the rocks to begin one’s trek along the beach to the main beach break. Very few people had ever had the pleasure of surfing it. The conditions had to be just right for it to break but when it did it was flawless. Tubes one can literally bust through and keep standing. Gentle, sometimes even delicate lips were anxious to envelop you.

I’ll never forget this guy who surfed it for the first time. He got so stoked he called his boss back in the states and quit his job the next day. It never broke again that summer. He hung on as long as humanly possible, until he was eventually forced to sell his last remaining possession, his frying pan. Then he hitched a ride back to the states with a young hippie couple smuggling drugs in toothpaste tubes.

Puerto Escondido in the day was extraordinary. As the summers passed more and more international tourists, French, Germans, and Dutch folks began appearing along with a few hard core gringo surfers. The local Mexicans were learning to surf and the vibe was fun -filled excitement.

It was here I also met a French Canadian Anthropologist in her early 30's. She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. We chatted in the hammocks, walked along the beach, she’d come watch me surf at sunset; and we’d slowly walk back to town. A recent High School grad and way out of my league, moonstruck, and an eternal optimist I was forever believing we’d end –up in the sack. She had shared that her husband had permitted her such indiscretions in the past. Once formally introduced I knew within seconds he was not about to agree, no way, not to this young - blonde - long - haired - surfer - boy, no chance in hell.

The following morning I returned from my early morning surf session to discover they had suddenly checked out of the hotel. I was told they had left for Cuba, apparently something Canadians did regularly via Mexico. I was devastated.

Slinking up to my room, fighting back tears, I discovered a letter on my pillow. Opening it revealed that it was scented and in French. Frantically I searched the town until I found a French lady to read it to me. The letter was long and personal. I felt better after hearing it despite the fact my translator kept tearing – up making things a bit harder than they had to be.

Days later I finally smiled again, grateful for the experience. Ce le vie!

The Moment That Changed Surfing Forever

Encinitas, CA

Beacons parking lot, a new white convertible caddie pulls -up with the tooth paste drug smugglers hair blowing the wind. Son of bitch slept on my couch in San Blas and didn't even recognize me. I had to smile. Swell was building. 4:00 AM departure is confirmed for four. We travel in a beat - up Corvair. Gas money collected in advance or no go. Make our way to Salt Creek then up to the Ranch with maybe a session at Huntington Beach pier. Everything depends on what we see when we pull up. No such thing as surf report. Much of our lives are spent exploring, searching for waves to no avail. Like Jessie James time was stolen regularly. Officially the start at VG donuts, throw cold damp wet suits in the dryers next door. Cruise north on highway 101 eyes closed until the appearance of the sun. With the sun rise came anticipation, squinting to see lines, hoping, hoping, god hoping for waves. FOG & BLIND PADDLE - OUTS!

Donald Takayama, Mike Hynson, Skip Frye, Rusty Miller, Butch Van Artsdale, Hobie Alter, Linda Benson, L.J. Richards, Pat Curren, Mike Doyle, Dale Dobson, Phil Edwards, Micky "Da Cat" Dora, Margot Godfrey - Oberg, Woody Ekstrom, Hoppy Swarts, Don Oakey, and Mike Diffendefer who shaped my first board.

Just few of the local cats who belonged to the infamous Windansea surf club. Personally I liked Big Rock best but I'm a goofy foot. It was then we first started surfing fishes thanks to David Nuuuhiwa at Newbreak - Sunset Cliffs. I preferred Rock Slide, Lescomes and Ralphs if we could get out there.

Surf Clubs were out. Dead. Soul Surfing was in. Rory Russell was watching my slide show of Puerto Escondido at the Paloma Theater in downtown Encinitas before his film was to debut. We always paused when the train passed bye, suspended in time, together however briefly. He was so wasted he had to be escorted from the balcony to the ground floor for safety reasons. I was disappointed given my elevated view of the 2nd Master of the Pipe, the 1st being Jerry Lopez. We used to read surf mags like porn. The folks filling these pages were gods.

Nobody thought surfing would ever be anything. We surfed not to compete but to live. We lived to surf. We were outsiders and we liked it that way. Then we got wax and leashes, custom fitting high tech material wet suits. Got your blanks at Mitch's in La Jolla. The planet was wide open, search, search, and search again. Listen to stories, rumors, check them out. Search over and over again. Your status was based on how tough you could hang, waiting for the swell that might never come in the most difficult of situations imaginable.

You only became memorable by the number soul - arching tube rides you completed. And perhaps by catching the biggest wave of the day and not saying a word. Maybe by side - slipp'n down the face of wave way too big to be side slipp'n on only to catch a fin and catapult up into a barrel grinning from ear to ear. If you weren't deep in a barrel you were nowhere, nobody.

That's why I had to get back to Mex and soon. That's where the real barrels were for the taking.

Punta De Mita, Drugs and Real Shark Bait

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I couldn't believe my eyes! Somebody was surfing the place besides me. Hurriedly I reached the cliff and looked out across the reef and saw no one. Perplexed I walked over to the colorful VW Bus.

There I discovered a hippie chick in the fetal position, crying but no sound came out of her. Speaking softly and then more loudly she slowly became aware of my presence. As if plucked out of the sky she began to come back down to earth. Eventually she explained that her boyfriend had been eaten by a shark and she didn’t know how to drive a stick. Attempting to teach her how to clutch was futile. She became more and more hysterical with each failed attempt so I changed my approach. Leaving my vehicle out at the point I drove her and the VW bus back into town as she clutched the remaining half of his surfboard displaying monstrous teeth marks.

Reporting the incident to the Police brought smirks and eventually remarks that led the poor girl back into uncontrollable whaling. After all anybody especially a gringo spending time in the water off Punta De Mita was crazy, asking for it. Everybody knows that.

I helped her sell the van and got her on a plane home that evening, never knowing her name. The following day I asked a buddy to drive me out to the point to retrieve my vehicle. I really didn’t feel like surfing even though the swell was building. I kept thinking of the many sharks I’d seen out there, actually out racing (surfing) a couple of aggressive ones at low tide. If I had fallen I would have suffered the same fate as her boyfriend.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Two large palm trees lay across the road, only one road in and one road out. Getting out I started toward the trunks to investigate when suddenly I was surrounded by machine gun totting Mexican army types. The guy in charge shook his head and whistled, my buddy screamed for me to get back in the car, keeping eye contact with the guy in charge, I raised my hands and slowly walked backwards, and literally jumped into the back seat as we raced away in reverse.

I was later informed, rather matter of factly that the point was being used as a landing strip for the cartels and the road was going to be blocked until they were done. I wasn’t able to retrieve my vehicle for several days. Each night I dreamed of the damage being done to my vehicle and of course most importantly my surfboard.

When I finally did get my car back it was in good shape, my board had been used as a bench but seemed no worse for the experience. The experience changed how I surfed the place, constant 360 degree surface scans, strategic positioning sometimes resulting in missing waves. Now whenever I saw a shark I got out of the water and did not return which was not my usual custom. It was another three months before I saw any surfers out there again. I was quick to tell the story. They broke camp immediately and headed back into town. I loved surfing the place alone even with the sharks.

Before Anyone Ever Surfed Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Jim was a man. 6”4 220 pounds and a black professional football player. He used to teach me how to high step in scorching sand at noon. Our only neighbor on playa Madera he played jazz albums, raised his daughters and kept a low profile until the day he became a legend. I used to watch him swim across the bay at every sunset forced to use binoculars as he became a small dot on the horizon before returning to shore.

Mild mannered his physical presence was anything but. He slept in the hammock between the door and his wife and children. They crept through the bathroom widow using the early AM showers to cover any noise. Cat burglars on the prowl.

Jim surprised them jumping out the hammock instead of the bed grabbing both intruders in headlocks bum rushing them out the door where he proceeded to beat them both within inches of their lives. In fact they suffered the towns ridicule for years displaying scars as constant reminders of their infamous stupid decision. Stories were told in bars all over town of the beatings, the super strength of the man, Jim now and forever known as “El Negro”.

Nobody ever messed with Jim and his family after that night. He never achieved the status of “Don” as I did for single handedly saving Zihuatanejo from starvation during a particularly wet monsoon season. But Jim was respected by all. He could walk anywhere in the dead of night, even the guerrillas that lived outside of town refused to get involved with Jim. His abilities had been blown up in stories to such a point everyone believed it impossible to kill Jim. The Jim I knew was a gentle as they come.

One morning a gringo family (tourists) showed up on the beach asking about my surfboard. The bay held no waves I confessed with conviction. I was happy to let them paddle about splashing noisily. The Dad kept pumping me for surfing Intel. Never mentioning the waves peeling off around the point a quick boat ride away I played dumb. Soon they would be gone. Being the only gringos living in Zihuatanejo in the mid 60’s besides Jim and his family was priceless.


San Blas, Mexico

After weeks of rights I was itching to go left so bad I was unable to sleep. The beach break in town was out – of - sorts due to weeks of swells too large for the spot to hold. The sand bottom was all messed up. Stoners was closed out. Surfing Mantachen Bay was becoming routine, even boring.

Catch the connector wave between first and second point. Rest in the line-up of second point briefly then ride the mile long right all the way to the Hotel at the end of the bay. Calf cramps were followed by getting picked up and driven back to first point. Fish tacos and beers, then paddle back out to first point and start all over again unless it was your turn to drive.

It was my turn to drive and I hung out with the Hawaiians. I was often poked fun at for being the professor. I sought to understand how these exceptional surfers managed to surf so much better than the rest of us. After many questions and beers this grasshopper finally understood the importance of finding energy in all the parts of the face. I was to learn to ride this energy. It was almost as if the ocean says here is a path, and depending on your mood you may accept and follow that line. First it’s a discussion and then it becomes a dance. The steep drop and powerful bottom turn suddenly seemed passé.

Being the only goofy foot I was charged with finding the left if it was to be done at all. Nobody else cared given that we were blessed with more rights than we could ever surf at the bay. I had heard of a place an hour maybe two away that might have lefts.

Unable to get the boys up for the drive I settled for the company of one the spacer dudes. His name was worth, we often times called him Worthless. He could really surf, and was super surfer cute, the chicks all dug Worth; at least for a while. He was funny at times. Mostly just stupid, acting – the - fool.

Driving south we kept seeing a point up ahead or a cove or a rock every time hoping it was a break. This repeated itself until Worth started whining about the bay going off. He tried grabbing the wheel, pulling the keys out of ignition but I wasn’t having it. I needed to go left bad, one more backside off the lip and I would barf, hurl for sure.

Smoking a joint and telling stories of surfing Acapulco distracted Worth long enough to get to the place up ahead where I’d seen the rode disappear to left. Dropping down onto a narrow winding road it exhausted itself onto a river bed. There on our immediate right was Santa Cruz. 6-8 foot plus walls stacked up neatly each waiting its turn to peel, ruler edges, blue sky and clear water. One guy was out. Suddenly taking off he raced, skipped across the top of the wave illustrating perfectly the lesson I had learned recently from the Hawaiians.

Paddling out this perfect rock reef left break was so adrenaline pumping my chest was about to explode. No wind, smooth faces, not a drop of water out of place, a fast wave, a perfect line-up. I chatted up Carlos who was happy to have mates to surf with. Then I took off on a 7 foot Dreamliner, gliding, side slipping, staying up high then a stall, hand in the face, tuck, get under the lip, smile big, eyes wide as saucers, pump my board almost up to my chest flying through barrels of pure Mexican delight!

Worth and I didn’t speak until we got our banana bread and ice - cold milk. Standing in front of the wood burning oven overwhelmed my senses. A local told me about the swimming hole.

We had it to ourselves. Swinging on an old truck tire we would let go and drop into cool crystal clear water. Ridding ourselves of the salt, the sunburn, wax burn, the mosquito bites, and the sweat of the tropics was glorious. The freshly baked bananas were sweet and heavy, encased in sticky warm dough. Coconut oil soaked brown butcher paper littered the car. The milk partially frozen melted slowly in our mouths. We debated whether to tell others of our find or keep it our secret. In the end it didn’t matter. Later that night after beer and tequila Worth could no more keep from talking about Santa Cruz than attracting girls. In fact they both went hand and hand.

I surfed the place with Carlos many times. It was in Santa Cruz that I put into play the notion that finding the right line offered to you by the wave and riding it to its natural conclusion was the best way to stay in the flow. The best way to surf. Carlos had figured out what the Hawaiians knew. Now too I was armed; a soul surfer with a couple of new wrinkles. I learned about different places to ride on the face of a wave. I had a couple of tricks, call them side- slips tucked up under my sleeve.

Jelly Fish, Urchins, Giant Waves, Giant Shrimp and Giant Headaches

Mazatlán, Mexico

The seven of us arrived in two separate vehicles and pulled into the seemingly deserted trailer park just past 4 A.M. I vowed to myself never to do this again. Sleeping till 11:00 A.M. or so I and the others were sweaty, restless and so very tired of driving. I drove from San Diego to San Carlos. Exhausted; unable to drive further, I reluctantly turned the wheel over to Richard. Without even the chance to close my eyes, Richard ran a red light getting hit by a local. Police station, insurance agents, angry locals, mechanics, body shop guys, drunken disorderly and theft charges at the hotel that night all left me numb. Stealing chase lounges from the pool, really? Driving all night dodging burros, I knew better. It was like I had entered the Gringo twilight zone.

The coolers were full of beer, we had some chips so breakfast was served. Within an hour we were loud and boisterous again. I made my way over to the office and paid for the previous night plus one more. The owner seemed put out by us yet the trailer park was virtually empty. Making my way back into camp I discovered we had a guest, an aging yet pretty senorita who had been around the block a few times. She had a beer in her hand, I noticed the tattoos on her as she was making conversation with all the boys. We exchanged greetings and she recognized immediately my accent (southern Mexico) and began working me hard. I figured she was crazy probably just got out of prison. I really didn’t care, let the boys have their fun. The drinking and flirting continued and then she isolated her prey usually in the showers and got busy.

The look in the eye of the owner when I paid worried me. Looking back in that general direction I scanned the park to discover two Mexican guys hanging out by a pick – up truck obviously not guests and not workers. They avoided my stare and began acting like they had forgotten something in the back seat quickly turning their backs.

I turned to the boys and told them in no uncertain terms to pack it up fast while the senorita was in the shower with Richard. It was time to surf. Making our escape Richard was forced to flee the showers and run barefoot to catch up with us. Making a left on to the main road I saw the senorita swearing, screaming at us to come back for her. I floored it.

The beach breaks were closed out. 10 foot swells slammed onto the shore sucking up tons of sand making things brown and ugly. Wild currents and low tide made for noisy thumps that shook the beach. Both excited and discouraged we headed into town. We scarfed ceviche, shrimp, octopus, and avocado smothered in salsa and lime from a street side cart vendor. The boys looked dejected.

I told the boys to follow me. Winding cobblestone lead along the malicone and ended at Canons. Above the break high on the cliffs stood old canons once used to protect the port from invaders.

We sat on barnacle covered rocks watching violent sets slam into the cove. A washing machine to be sure but no so brown given the lack of sand. Several locals showed up and hung - out waiting to see what we would do. The boys were in their element, they were being cool giving away surfing magazines, decals, and even a T-shirt. The locals were stoked.

The heat was oppressive, the dust from the road thick in our lungs. Suddenly the inside became ride - able. Not that it really was, we just talked ourselves into it. Paddling out we were all laughing uncontrollably being pushed about like corks in a washing machine. We’d turn and take – off just to avoid the crashing waves beating down on us from different angles. Suddenly Worth was nowhere to be seen. Fearing the worst I started searching for him only to discover he had made it all the way outside.

At that precise moment the tide shifted and the wind stopped. It was magical watching Worth take off on his first wave in Mainland Mexico. You would have thought he’d surfed the place a hundred times. He liked making faces and acting crazy when he was in town. This was unacceptable. But man he sure could surf! He made the drop and couple of nice turns before kicking out and scratching back out for more. I hollered to the fellas and we paddled out to join in the fun.

The waves cleaned up fast, 8-12 foot swells gained mass quickly with the rising tide. We all caught bigger and bigger waves. Huge faces, multiple off the lips, tube rides on the inside, wave after wave until we were breathing hard. Nobody stopped, this what the drive and the hassles were all about. We had the place under control before others started paddling out. Mostly locals just a couple of Gringos. They hooted as we tore – the – place - up.

It was at sunset before we finally made our way back to the vehicles. I was getting a headache again. Worth and Richard were whining about the urchins that broke off in their feet. Everybody was screaming bloody murder about the numerous jelly fish bites. Watching these guys piss on themselves, then get bit by mosquitos, and jump around was pretty funny.

But like little girls they wouldn’t shut up so eventually I could take no more of it and drove them to the doctors. Back at the trailer park armed with medication and smiles we got cleaned up and headed back into town to party. I insisted on separate vehicles and warned Worth to drive carefully and stay out of trouble.

We entered the “Shrimp Bucket” one my old man’s favorite restaurants. We ordered clay pot after clay pot of jumbo shrimp. Split down the middle butterfly style, breaded, and deep fried these 7-12 inch monsters were sweet and juicy. The boys broke all records eating like a Samoan football team at the $6.99 buffet.

Stuffed we parted ways in search of chicks and general mischief. We hit a few spots but returned to the trailer park tired, surfed out. Closing my eyes for the first time earnestly I was awakened by loud screams. Worth was back, this time with three surf chicks. There at his feet was a burlap sack. He was screaming at the top of his lungs I got a bunch of grass man, I’ve got good shit man, while dancing around in a circle.

I was on high alert again. Worth had scored alright, not a joint or two, not a lid or an oz. or two. No Worth purchased a kilo, 2.5 pounds of harsh Mexican pot. I was so pissed. I sensed eyes were on us. Pulling everybody but worth into my stare I explained we needed to make a move quickly. Several of the boys were picking up on my most serious of moods. I laid out the plan which everyone followed to a T, except Worth.

Poor Worth, I’d rained on his parade. I walked the three drunk surf chicks to the street and sent them back to town in a cab. Upon my return I pulled Worth off to the side. I asked him plenty of questions regarding the transaction. He was so pissed, why was I making such a big deal about nothing, this is Mexico. I didn’t bother to explain that in Mexican jail one starves to death if no one brings you food. A kilo meant you were a drug trafficker, smuggler.

I calmly explained to Worth that if he did not follow my instructions immediately I would kick his ass. He was wiry and would never give –up but I was at the end of my rope. If I had to fight him I would, he’d earned it.

Eventually he gave in due to peer pressure and we packed up and headed out into the dark tropical night, drunk, scared, and ever foolish. I found another trailer park. I paid a wino to go find the owner and I paid for the night. Once the owner had left we took the two spaces farthest from the entrance. Fortunately the place was pretty much empty.

Using both vehicles as cover we proceeded to dig a deep hole using extra surfboard fins and buried the drugs much to Worth’s chagrin. Muddy we covered our tracks as best we could. We then drove into town each group spending the night in cheap motels in different parts of town.

The following morning we all met for breakfast. I explained I was splitting and happy to take up to 3 guys with me. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Taking my surfing buddies to Mexico after High School graduation for the summer was a mistake. I wanted to head south much deeper into Mexico but I couldn’t continue like this. After much grumbling it was decided two of the boys would continue on with me the rest would stay with Worth.

Relieved I headed south firmly in control of my destiny. I had only the two boys to be responsible for now and they were relatively well behaved, listened to what I had to say and generally made good decisions.

For two months we surfed epic Petatlan, Acapulco, and Puerto Escondido. When we got back to San Diego we found out Worth and the boys made it back to the U.S. a couple of weeks after we split up. They returned via bus walking across the border, begging for change until they could call Worth’s Dad who picked them up. His Dad was less than thrilled since it was his VW van that worth had lost in Mexico along with all their other possessions. Typical. The farthest south they went was to Puerto Vallarta but they didn’t surf because they didn’t know about Punta de Mita or couldn’t find it.

Worth never forgave me for making him bury the marijuana. They discovered it had been dug up by somebody when they returned for it later. Yeah, dug up by the same guys that sold it to him, the same guys who sent the senorita into our camp. Those same guys were using that same kilo to set up the next group of gringo surfers to roll into town. Worth was lucky he made it home in one piece.

I kept this to myself, why waste any more of my breath on good old Worthless.

Cliff Diving, Caleta Cove, Las Brisas, and Surfing in Front of the Princess

Acapulco, Mexico

Playa Bonfil and Playa Revolcadero in front of the Hotel Princess offered the best surfing. Fun waves peeled in both directions depending on the swell. The breaks were laced with a local vibe, plenty of Mexican surfers around. Even Mexican girls started showing up wearing bikinis like the gringas. This was unchartered territory in scandalous Mexican waters.

Acapulco was in its hey - day, surfing wasn’t the game in town. Jet setters from around the world came to party. Beaches wrapped around the bay inviting visitors to stay and play. Pie de la Cuesta, Playas Roqueta and Marin, Playa La Angosta, Playas Caleta & Caletilla, Playas Manzanillo & Honda, Playa Tlacopanocha, Playas Hornos & Tamarindos, and Playa Icacos were littered with hot bodies as far as the eye could see.

The guy at the Pemex station knew we were watching closely and we avoided the overcharge. Pulling out of the station the surf jackals were hot on our trail. They would follow us waiting patiently for the opportune moment to steal our boards. This was before the days of locking racks. Lock them inside and invite a broken car window in addition to a lost surfboard plus boards were too big back in the day to fit many inside a vehicle any way. So it was cat and mouse games, strategic parking, carrying one’s boards around and crazy driving aimed at losing our pursuers once and for all. We knew each other well but never spoke.

My old man and I used to cruise all the beaches in front of the finer hotels. Being gringos we were free to hang – out with the tourists at the pool, under a palapa, or on the beach. All meals and beverages were charged to somebody's room, an actual guest of the hotel. We stayed at inexpensive, clean family run hotels a few blocks back from the beach. We also had a gringo friend who owned the trailer park at Playa Pie de la Cuesta. He always had a place for us. It was nice enough when there was a breeze off the ocean. I enjoyed listening to the waves before falling asleep.

Our favorite place in Acapulco was Caleta cove. I never grew tired of the stories of him and my Mom in Acapulco in the early 50’s. My old man caught the second largest Marlin in the world in 1952 in an epic 8 hour fight outside the not - so - famous Acapulco Bay. Fresh out of college he was offered the opportunity of a lifetime. He would own Caleta cove. He didn’t have the money but his father did. The rub was he’d be forced to work in his father’s law office, his name was already on the door. He called back to the states several times always hanging up before the international operator completed the collect call.

Sipping cocktails in the hotel bar over – looking arguably the finest beach in Acapulco we often debated whether he could of hung on to it. It wasn’t bad, like my cousin Irwin in Beverly Hills a promoter for Capital records with a shabby office on Sunset Blvd. It was here in this hole in the wall place of business that he kicked the Beatles out of his office tossing the demo into the trash. He was never the same after that.

It wasn’t bad like that. My old man chose his freedom over the promise of riches. But I knew it bothered him. We’d sit and talk to folks in the bar about Acapulco back in the day and I could hear it in his voice. Sometimes he’d just smile a certain way and I knew.

The place was packed with tourists and mariachis. We watched the divers working together to ensure the proper timing of the dive. The heights, sheer cliffs, shallow water, wave surges and deadly jagged rocks below all had to work together to keep death at bay.

She was beautiful. I sat close to her hoping I could steal a better glimpse of her spectacular barely - covered chest. The groom was in the bathroom. Half way through my tourist guide day I savored my good fortune. These folks had bought me an expensive lunch and were fun to work for, not in a hurry or pushy like so many of the others. The Honeymooners were happy to be together in Acapulco.

She began fidgeting and glancing towards the banos with increased frequency. It could have been a minute or an hour who knew, I was lost in her grand canyons. Suddenly she rose out of her chair without a word and disappeared into the back of the restaurant. Bored with nothing to focus on my eyes drifted back out the cliffs and the divers. I squinted and my jaw dropped at the sight of the groom talking strategy with the other divers.

The bride returned with a worried look on her face, where was he? Had he been with another woman, got lost, nothing made sense. Saving – the - day I pointed him out on the cliff. He was now in position with another diver using hand signals to yet another diver below. Her scream froze the entire restaurant. She screamed at him to stop, he could no more of heard her than the man in the moon. She screamed at me to go stop him. Rising from my chair I saw the hand signal and he was in the air.

It was the longest dive of my life, seemingly took forever. He wobbled nearly missing hitting the cliff and barely entered the water in time to avoid certain death. Everybody cheered, raised their glasses to the crazy gringo.

Ashen - faced and stoic she gritted her teeth pounding her tiny fists on the table. Marching out without paying I explained to the waiter we’d be back soon with the cash. That never happened. It was an excruciating, painful drive back into town. She wanted a divorce. He wasn’t in the dog house that would be a significant improvement over his current situation. It mattered little what he said. Eventually he cried and she stared out across the bay, cold; like a jagged rock protruding out from the cliffs of Acapulco. She wanted a divorce no and’s if’s or butt’s. It was one hell of a dive!

Beach boys, coyotes, hustlers of all shapes and disguises worked the discos and beaches of Acapulco. Out smarting the traffic cops pretending not to speak Spanish was all part of the game. My buddy a pocho (half Mexican half American) and I had a strategy that was pretty simple and so was our schedule. After surfing we’d hunt pink jeeps from the famed Las Brisas Hotel known for them. They actually were included with the room which provided great marketing/branding 24/7 all around Acapulco.

Jumping onto passing pink jeeps we’d smile and fast talk our way into being their guides for the day showing them the way to all the jewels in the crown of Acapulco Bay. It was a matter of time before we caught our fish artfully dodging the traffic cops always hot on our trail. In the end it was pretty straight forward, they had jeep, and we knew where to go. It was a great way to get fed after surfing and make enough dough for the evening that lay ahead.

The guy must have weighed 400 pounds. Racing towards the water amidst screams from onlookers I dove in pushing to get under the first wave. Instead I was stuck in a giant trough between the beach and the sand bar. The waves at Pie de la Cuesta are violent. Crashing onto the shore created steep slopes at times shaking everything up to the palm trees. Loud and powerful the place produced rips like nowhere I’ve ever seen. UN – surf -able.

I knew what I had to do but it sapped my strength a bit and took a while before reaching him. His eyes were crazed. I told him everything was going to be alright, I’d get him back to shore. He just stared at me so I moved closer and he jumped me. Shoving me down he tried crawling on top of me digging his feet into my shoulders pushing down my head.

So I dove deep fast and did a zig sag or two. I had learned to hold my breath from the turtle fisherman in Zihuatanejo. Then I waited some more and popped - up - between the victim and shore. He sobbed, apologized, begged and more. It reminded me of when I saved the guy in Zihuatanejo. I wearily extended my arm. He grabbed on for dear life.

This guy was huge what was he doing in the water? Probably stuck his toe in the water got smacked by a wave, fell and then dragged out to sea in a powerful rip. A strong swimmer I knew there was little chance we’d both make it back to shore alive. My only chance was to pull him into a wave, and pitch him over. Hopefully the impact of going over the falls would loosen his grip on my arm which was becoming increasing painful.

The Spirits must have been listening for it was not too long before that perfect sized wave 4-6 foot appeared precisely at the right spot. I shouted for him to swim and pulled him into the pitching lip which bounced him off the bottom and pushed towards shore. Once back on the sand bar he could walk it was only knee deep. Like a white whale red - faced he collapsed onto the beach not moving for the better part of an hour. His family was all thankful and everything but I never saw him again.




Contact Information

Thanks for visiting! I look forward to hearing from you.

First Name:

40 + Aging Athlete, Waterman, David Jenkins



Roger O'Keefe, M.A.

I’m an old school gym/surf rat turned retirement educator. My background is in education and finance. I’m a published author, photographer and former radio talk show host. I proudly belong to the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council, NCPC. An Aging-Athlete, I’m writing my second book and reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.


        GOT BACK PAIN?




For the aging - athlete it is all about staying physically active. Every aging - athlete is different. Discover how you can best carry your weight, prevent injuries, and stay active. Reduce your back pain and you’ll likely work - out more and lose a few pounds which leads to even further back improvements. Learn how you can best carry your weight, strengthen your back, reduce back pain, and stay active forever. 


                    Easy Program Most Anyone Can Do!

                    Say Good-Bye To Stomach Crunches!

                      Reduce and Keep Back Pain Away!

                Back Health 101

Class Topics:

  • Overview of Lower Back Research
  • Back Injury Prevention Strategies
  • Lower Back Visualization Techniques
  • Simple Stretch, Movement - Exercises


                           For Active  40 + ATHLETES




                                   Roger O’Keefe, M.A.

Earning a Master’s in Education I’ve provided instruction in
K-12, and University settings. I’m a 58 year old aging – athlete and back fitness coach.

 “Back Pain” was inevitable, I figured I would always live with it. Working with I discovered something unexpected. There really is an easy way to reduce back pain, it’s not hard and it feels good. I help aging – athletes stay active and now I want to help you too!




The consequences of living with back pain are many. Back pain affects one’s mood, ability to be active, and one’s outlook on life.

There is no such thing as a magic bullet when it comes to lifelong back fitness and happiness. But this class comes pretty darn close. Give it a try and if in two weeks you don’t feel improvement you should probably visit a doctor.



                                                New Sequence

           Trends in Music in the 1970's

In North America, Europe, and Oceania, the decade saw the rise of disco, which became one of the biggest genres of the decade, especially in the mid-to-late 1970s.[1] In Europe, a variant known as Euro disco[1] rose in popularity towards the end of the 1970s. Aside from disco, funk, smooth jazz, jazz fusion, and soul remained popular throughout the decade. Rock music played an important part in the Western musical scene, with punk rock thriving throughout the mid to late 1970s.[2] Other sub-genres of rock, particularly glam, hard rock, progressive, art rock, and heavy metal achieved various amounts of success. Other genres such as reggae were innovative throughout the decade and grew a significant following.[3] Hip hop emerged during this decade,[4] but was slow to start and didn't become significant until the late 1980s. Classical began losing a little momentum; however, through invention and theoretical development, this particular genre gave rise to experimental classical and minimalist music by classical composers. A sub-genre of classical, film scores, remained popular with movie-goers. Alongside the popularity of experimental music, the decade was notable for its contributions to electronic music, which rose in popularity with the continued development of synthesizers and harmonizers; more composers embraced this particular genre, gaining the notice of listeners who were looking for something new and different. Its rising popularity, mixed with the popular music of the period, led to the creation of synthpop.


Donna Summer at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2009

For many people, disco is the genre of music most readily associated with the 1970s. First appearing in dance clubs by the middle of the decade, (with such hits as "The Hustle" by Van McCoy), songstresses like Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and Anita Ward (in North America); and Dalida (in Europe) popularized the genre and were described in subsequent decades as the "disco divas." The movie Saturday Night Fever was released in December 1977, starring John Travolta and featuring the music of the Bee Gees and several other artists. It had the effect of setting off disco mania in the United States. The Bee Gees' soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever became the best-selling album of all time. Almost as quickly as disco's popularity came, however, it soon fell out of favor. The genre became increasingly commercialized, and the large number of disco songs flooding the radio airwaves in 1978-1979 resulted in a growing backlash against it, as epitomized by the "Disco Demolition Night" stunt by a Chicago disc jockey at a July 1979 baseball game at Comiskey Park. Disco clubs also gained a reputation as decadent places where people engaged in drug use and promiscuous sex. The popularity of the genre waned, and 1980s "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc. was one of the last disco hits. Along with the demise of disco came the end of the orchestrations and musical instruments (such as strings) which had become associated with disco, in part because of the high cost of producing such music. Electronic and synthesized music quickly replaced the lush orchestral sounds of the 1970s and rock music re-surged in popularity with new wave bands such as Blondie ("Heart of Glass"), The Knack ("My Sharona") and Devo ("Whip It"), all who formed their bands in the 1970s. Many artists such as The Bee Gees, who came to be associated with disco, found it difficult to sell records or concert tickets in the 1980s.

     Hard rock, Arena Rock and Heavy Metal

The 1970s saw the emergence of hard rock as one of the most prominent sub-genres of rock music. Bands such as Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Nazareth, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, and Kiss were highly popular by the mid-1970s. By the second half of the decade, several bands had achieved stardom, namely, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Rush, Journey, and Boston.

Arena rock grew in popularity through progressive bands like Styx ("Come Sail Away"), and hard rock bands like Boston ("More Than a Feeling").

Psychedelic rock declined in popularity after the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison and the break-up of The Beatles.

Country Rock and Southern Rock

The Eagles

Country rock, formed from the fusion of rock music with Country music, gained its greatest commercial success in the 1970s, beginning with non-country artists such as Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, and The Byrds. By the mid-1970s, Linda Ronstadt, along with other newer artists such as Emmylou Harris and The Eagles, were enjoying mainstream success and popularity that continues to this day. The Eagles themselves emerged as one of the most successful rock acts of all time, producing albums that included Hotel California (1976).[7]

During the 1970s, a similar style of country rock called southern rock (fusing rock, country, and blues music, and focusing on electric guitars and vocals) was enjoying popularity with country audiences, thanks to such non-country acts as The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, and The Marshall Tucker Band.

               TV Trivia
           60's AND BEYOND

The "Jackie Gleason Show" was an hour long variety show of which the Honeymooners was but a sketch and also featured the Ray Bloch Orchestra.

What dance group was featured?

The long running "Carol Burnett Show" had some standard bits. Carol and the guest star would come out first and answer audience questions. Then there would be sketches.

What was her signature gesture at the shows closing?

Lucille Ball was a pathfinder who paved the way for all the women in TV to follow. She was the first female head of a studio. While running Desilu, her willingness to take a risk lead her to approve production of Star Trek.

What other famous TV show did she approve production of?

Much has been written about the appeal of Star Trek which sustained the franchise across five series and many movies.

Captain James Kirk is in charge of the Starship, what is his middle name?

Which of these bands is no longer performing?

A. Moody Blues

B. America

C. Cosby, Stills, Nash, Young

D. None of the Above

E. All of the Above

Dobie Gillis (Dwayne Hickman) was an average teen. Dobie's best friend was Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver), a beatnik who shuttered at the word "work."

Zelda Gilroy (Sheila James Kuehl) saw Dobie as her future and often did what to get his attention?

Gilligan's Island is a show that achieved cult status through syndication. Bob Denver played Gilligan masterfully.

Did Bob and the cast get paid for those many reruns?

Dr. Marcus Welby (Robert Young) was a family practitioner with a kind bedside manner.

For exterior shots of Dr. Welby's home / office the exterior of the same house was also used for what other famous TV show?

America's perfect family led by Ward (Hugh Beaumont) an accountant, the iconic family lived at 211 Pine Street in Mayfield. Beaver (Jerry Mather) was in the second grade and his brother Wally (Tony Dow) was in the eighth.

Hugh Beaumont died in 1982 of a heart attack Barbara Billingsley passed away in 2010, and Jerry Mather passed in 2012. TRUE or FALSE?

The Twilight Zone re-created the sci-fi / horror genre by including fantasy / psychological thriller into the mix. Each episode stood on its own and these stories became cult classics.

What is the title of the famous
Twilight Zone episode starring William Shatner?

Alfred Hitchcock an critically acclaimed director had three decades of film experience to bring to television.
Who can forget the camera showing him in silhouette?

The show moved from NBC to CBS in 1960. TRUE or FALSE?

Richard Kimble is convicted of his wife's murder but as he is being transported to death row, a train wreck allows his escape.

A fugitive what is Richard Kimble's mission while on the run?

The "I Spy Show" will be remembered as the first television show to feature a Black actor, Bill Cosby, in a lead role.

However it was Kelly Robinson (Robert Culp) that made everything so darn cool.

Robert Culp's spy cover was that of a ?

June Taylor Dancers, Tugging on her ear, Mission Impossible, Tiberius, E. All of the Above, Zelda Gilroy twitched her nose, Not paid for reruns, False, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, False, Find the one - armed man, Top seeded Tennis Pro

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Photo By Tom Servias     40+ Aging Athlete  David Jenkins

Photo Tom Servais                                                                             40+ Athlete David Jenkins

- Balance is key for 40+ athletes because it impacts so many athletic endeavors. It also enhances one’s rhythm which helps one to better get into the flow of life. Finally it helps prevent falling the number one enemy of the 40+ athlete.

Exercise - Exercise resulting in physical conditioning (staying in shape) is “core” for the 40+ athlete. Good decisions regarding types and durations of exercise are often times the difference between failure and success.

Energy - Energy is central to a 40+ athletes because one needs to stay active daily. As one gets older energy seems to be in shorter supply and one benefits from healthy ways of increasing it.

Rest - Rest and rehabilitation (making comebacks) are often times the least understood and underestimated factors in the longevity of the 40+ athlete.
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