If you live in Sonoma County, chances are your surf commute looks a lot like this:
We have greenery, we have a wild, wild ocean, and we have cows.
Perhaps the countless pre-dawn miles logged between SebTown and B-Bay put the zap on Bobert's melon--they say that the imprinting impulse of the human brain is equal to that of ducks and geese.
Mathematicians would undoubtedly reference the Transitive Property of Equality: if stoke is associated with waves, and waves are associated with cows, then cows are the proprieters of stoke. Or something. I was an English major.
And I just finished my second homemade margarita.
Regardless of the principle, the thinking is sound, and what better thing to represent our local surf culture than the Holstein cow? Holsteins are described by an unnvervingly deep-voiced narrative on my daughter's first-season of Sesame Street DVD as, "warm, calm animals," and they are.
Until you piss them off. Then they become much like our local surfers: territorial, aggresssive, and improprietous.
Just kidding. Sesame Street had them pegged at warm and calm. I'll add curious, but that doesn't really strike fear into the hearts of interlopers. Unless they're from a Red State.
So what does this have to do with Bobert's new stick?
Nothing, yet. The initial order was standard: 8'3 Northcoast rounded pintail e-winged five finner with a beefy stringer to withstand our punishing surf conditions. It looked like this:
Then, things started to happen. Bobert began, appropos of nothing, to refer to his new stick, resting gently on the racks at Leslie's, as the Bovine Board. He initiated an email thread amongst his surf crew, extolling his enthusiasm for the cow.
This may not have been wise. The crew, eager to pounce on deviations of any stripe, responded.
Images of unicorns appeared in subsequent email. The winged beast Pegasus was attached several times. There were rainbows and wings and equine nuzzling and a disturbing, anatomically correct (?) manhorse named Steed. There were references to Disney and Trapper Keeper notebooks and, worst of all, Celine Dion.
But Bobert had a vision and, like all visionaries he let the jokes, the chides, and the castigations fizzle.
Bobert endured. He had a vision, and it was good.
The Cowabonza.
The Cowabonza is both in and of NotB. The shape reflects long paddles, steep drops, and frigid, lonely, zero visibility mornings. The glass (and keep in mind all color is done by Leslie Anderson with pigmented resin) reflects our past, our ideology, the basic building blocks of who we are.
And who are we?
We are lovers of place, of ocean, of community. We are smitten with tradition, and innovation, and hand made things.
And it helps if these hand made things are useful, and lovely, and help you get over the ledge at S__m__ _re__ on a morning when nobody else will see you through the fog, or the wind, or the rain. And if someone you don't recognize comments on your CowBoard in the parking lot, just remember you are of this place: a warm, calm cow angling through the pit of an overhead grinder, hardened against the Northwest winds and glassy-capped ocean surface, dancing with the dark green. You are a warrior, and a cow, and I just dove into my third margarita so I'll shut up now, as I am a small man with a small tolerance for all things alcoholic.
Fresh limes from your own tree are the key.
Lots of stuff coming up in 2011!