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We never met Sid Abruzzi until July 20, 2013.  It was on a wicked hot Saturday that we got the opportunity to be part of something special in Newport, RI.  That would be the day that we were introduced and embraced by the surfing scene in the heart of New England. The Water Bros annual vintage surfboard show is the real deal.

When we first got the invite from Sid, we were honored and we committed to be there.  The location was set to be the International Tennis Hall of Fame which is right behind Sid’s surf shop and a few blocks from the “mansions”.  It was kind of a surreal place to hold an event like this and we really didn’t know what to expect.  Meeting Sid for the first time was cool too.  He’s laid back and seems to know everyone.   As you can see in the picture above, his sleeves are covered in sick tats and his black hair has a grey flow to it.   He reminded me of a classic pool skater punk rocker and as many know,  he is one of the “great ones” in the Northeast surfing scene.  He is an extraordinary advocate for the ocean and it’s waves-follow this link to read about his advocacy- http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323820304578413011252230262.html

For 5 hours, we sat under an awning drinking Naragansett Summer ales and talking to crowds of cool people from all over New England.  They kept coming, and coming, and coming.  We were surprised by how many people came through to talk with us.  All day long, there was a kickass playlist that provided the musical ambiance (Sid, if you are reading this, can you hook a brother up with that?)  We would be jamming to the Misfits, then on to the Pixies, then some Social D., then back to the Stones,…..and that’s how we rolled all day.  The event was packed with local food vendors, surfboard shapers, and all sorts of interesting proprietors.  There were so many cool vintage boards that people had brought from all over.  We have never actually seen that many surfboards in one place let alone the age of them.

By the time we hit the hotel, we were buzzing with energy from the crowd, the vibe, and well- all those beers.  Saturday nights in Newport are densely packed with an eclectic mix of people.   In a one block walk, we passed boaters, hipsters, club kids, scantily clad teenage girls(my daughters are never going to Newport), punk rockers, tons of surfers, and a few castaways.  As the night carried on into the early hours of the morning, it became evident to us that we weren’t the only ones that started our party a bit earlier in the day.  The cobblestone streets wreck havoc on the high heeled shoes of the female party goers.  There were bodies hitting the floor left and right.

The next day I woke up thinking about the song “Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down” by Johnny Cash which was written by Kris Kristofferson.  It starts out with the line- “Well I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt…..I’m wishing Lord, that I was stoned.”     And that’s how our day started…..So we got our acts together and left the hotel to go check out Ruggles.  We had heard about this surfing spot from everyone we talked too.  When we arrived, it was flat but you could see the enormous potential that it had.  I imagine in a hurricane swell, that the break there must crush bodies against the rocks.    I’m inserting a video of the spot during Hurricane Bill….judge for yourself… www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqOvAsQq  From there it was on to 1st and 2nd beach.  Those spots were completely jam packed with surfers trying to catch 1 footers.  After, the haze of the morning wore off, the sun came raging out.  We were strolling on the “cliff walk” when we noticed a few hippies going for an ocean swim off of Webster Ave.  Within 5 minutes of spotting them, we were plunging ourselves off the rocks into the cold Atlantic.  We swam through a strong current for about 200 yards until we reached a rock island.   When I popped my head up out of the water, I felt that cold numbing sensation that clears your head instantly.  I felt the hot sun radiating my face.  I felt the burn of the salt water in the corners of my eyes.   It was sensational.  I was alive….

That afternoon we made one more stop to see Sid.  We thanked him for his gracious hospitality and exchanged some gear with him.   Sid hooked Jesse up with a signed copy of his featured issue of the Surfers Journal.  Jesse also scored a signed fin which you’ll see on the “Mermaid” longboard.  We hope to be invited back next year to mix it up with the New England surf scene and to hear that kick ass playlist one more time.

Have you ever surfed Ruggles?

See you around,

Ryan

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The birth of “Life in the Soul Lane”

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We wanted to start a blog on Soultree Surf for a while now.  A blog that’s not just focused on the boards and the business but one that is focused on trying to “live in the moment”.  The moment that brings more happiness and satisfaction to life.  Jesse and I were in Montauk, NY this past weekend, doing just that.   We just finished a morning surf and we were eating soft shell crab tacos when we got the idea for the title here- “Life in the Soul Lane”.

Most of you that are reading this know the man in the green very well.  That’s him, Jesse.  The one and only.  We’ve been friends since our school days in the Catskill Mountains of New York.  Jesse is a very cool dude.  He has been that way since he was a kid.  He has the ability to connect with people from all walks of life.  It’s a gift.  On top of being a sick surfboard shaper, he’s the most adventuresome person I know.   He is proficient in the following: whitewater rafting, whitewater kayaking, skin diving, surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, skiing, cycling, motorcycling, deep water swimming, skydiving, bow hunting, reading, cooking, drinking(a lot), and the list goes on….  Jealous yet?

I am Ryan, the guy in the picture above that’s leaning against the van (there will be a future post just on the smell of that).  Writing about myself is not an easy thing to do so you’ll have to learn more about me through this blog.  I can say that I am Jesse’s great friend, his business partner, and I love to do everything that was mentioned above.

Together, we make a dynamic duo.  Our daily lives are very different from each other’s.  Our friendship is very strong.  Even in cases where we’ve been out of contact for sometime… when we do connect, it’s as if no time has passed.   We both have heavily stamped passports and well worn shoes.  I can’t remember the last time either one of us turned down an invitation to a party.  We are determined, committed, and focused.

This business is about building a community of really cool people that enjoy “living in the moment”.  The boards that get shaped are done so with the highest level of quality craftmanship in the industry.  Each one with it’s own flair and character.  Trust me when I tell you that people “freak out” over them.  They are kick ass balsa wood boards.

I’ll leave you all with a quote from  Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly that Jesse and I discussed/debated all weekend long.

“..happiness is not something that happens.  It is not the result of good fortune or random choice.  It is not something that money can buy or power command.  It does not depend on outside events, but, rather, on how we interpret them.  Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person.  People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.”

See you around,

Ryan

#kickassbalsa  #soultreesurf #montauk #jersey #surf