WORDS + PHOTOS
BY DAVID PU'U
Last August I stood on a ridgeline at Figueroa Mountain, which overlooks the Santa Ynez Valley, with Blue Wolf and Tatacho. The sun was beginning to drop into the West.
We had been looking at the drought-ravaged trees in the area, which is home to the remarkable place Tatacho has built on the mountain, where people come to learn about adobe mud-building construction from a man who has mastered the craft.
A light westerly breeze blew the scent of the baking valley, up to us on the mountain. I was there to shoot some of the goings on at Tatacho’s place, but I also had a question to ask my friends, both of whom I consider to be men who are literally a part of the natural order of things, right where we were standing.
“Hey you guys, I have been studying ocean temperatures and wind patterns in the Central Pacific and Equator. A lot of meteorologists seem to be passing around the story that this winter season we are going to experience a La Nina weather event in the Pacific and the drought is going to continue. I am just not seeing that. I suspect it is going to be just the opposite. It is like these people are all playing a game of telephone and no one is really looking at what is right in front of us all in the data resources. I think we are going to experience a water re-set in California. What do you think?”
And this is what they both said.
“Oh yea, flood year. You can see it coming. This has happened before”
As winter passed, what we had talked about on the mountain came to pass. Once more up at Tatacho’s land to do some night sky time-lapse work, we drank in the heady mix of scents and pulse of the place. It occurred to me that within surf culture, where we live according to the rhythm of weather and water so we can be where surf happens, that maybe the most intelligent voice in the room with regard to our planet, is our own.
The image this month was shot during a three week spell of perfect light and weather for my wave work. I knew it would not last long, so I hit it hard and built over 500 A-list images.
It pays to stay connected to the ocean.