Tin Ojeda

Tin at Ditch - Photo by Ingrid Silva

Sunniest of winter days, windless, blazing-white-winter-sun, sparkling, on icy 39 degree waters and lapping surf.


I get a text from Tin at 7am saying the waves are good. I’ve just finished my morning Buddha offerings and am getting ready for my 2 hr. Buddha-yoga practice. The gears start turning… Hmm, I think to myself, waves or meditation waves or meditation, … surfing wins, I haven’t surfed in well over a month. I call Tin back after wrapping up the offerings and cleaning up the kitchen and teapots. He tells me the waves are really good at Ditch, and that although the swell is dropping it’s still really good on a longboard.

—“I’m loading up the car right now; I’ll see you in an hour!”

And so starts the process…

Down into the basement: musty stone cellar bilco doors, rows of surfboards on hand-hewn cedar racks, and a scent-hint of sex wax and a slight whiff of old tobacco smoke from an ashtray my wife uses for winter smokes when its too cold to stand outside in wintry darkness after stressful days at work.

Fingering though my boards the choice is obvious—a dying S swell and freezing-cold winter temperatures = the 9 Hank Byzak shaped Hansen Competitor. I haven’t ridden this board since June! I throw it under my arm, it pressing the fluff down of my Patagonia winter coat flatly against my side and I climb back up the concrete, cinder-block stairs back up into the wintry sunshine and gusty-cold air.

Some birds are cawing and the bird feeder still has some seeds in it for them…

I make a left once I’m up in the Arctic sun and walk shortly down the bluestone drive to my car, where I place it ontop the Honda and then strap it down with the Block soft-rax which work so well even up to 80mph.

Last thing to do now is grab my winter wetsuit gear, some strong Peruvian coffee and two power bars and I’m off to Montauk.

45 minutes later I am finally rolling through Montauk village and I get ahold of Tin on the iPhone to tell him how close I am. A few minutes later I’m pulling up into his driveway by the beach—winter trees laid bare as sticks creaking, winds blowing though their bareness/nakedness groaning wintry, summer six months gone away, only the now, the wintry cold present and smiling sun of February smacks again of nowness, a cold hard smack in the face full frontal, and we are going surfing. Dirt lot is empty…

But where’s Tin? I don’t see him in the house or anywhere after looking around the property and peeking into his studio windows to see if he is there. All I find is the empty house, and an old weather-beaten wooden deck running up from around the house from the east and a funny Radio Shack home alarm system sticker stuck to one of the windows—how funny it looks with that old late 70s early 80s ‘scooter-computer’ font…

“Oh well, he’s probably checking it” I think, so I pull out to drive over to Dirt lot and see if either he’s there or if the waves are any good. About two seconds later he calls me and tells me that as I was backing out of he driveway he was waving but I couldn’t see him and so I turn around and we meet up.

We go into the house and he shows me around the studio and then we suit up and head over for a surf.

Tin decides on surfing his 9’7” gato heroe and I have my 11 year old mint-green Byzak.

When we get to the lot we are greeted by; wintry sunny skies / dancing sunlight / wintry waters / no crowd emptiness / one guy out. Stoked!! Dalton the photog is there snapping off pics as Tin poses and shows off a bit in the dirt lot—small wave matador / Argentinean pride, indigenous American transplanted from lattitiudes South to North, and now native to his watery NY surfer’s home. Shamanic wave slider small wave bliss and cold water emptiness—no crowds—dancing on logs—wintry mix…

I paddle out sluggishly a few minutes behind Tin with my carcass weighing a good 40lbs heavier than his and my board a solid 7 inches shorter. But no worries, I’m just having fun today. Right away tin starts off on a perfect little chest high peeling left and rides it all the way into shore, glissing blissfully along, lightly, also having fun.

The next two waves pass me by and then I catch a third which, I can’t get as far along as Tin can but, it’s long enough and at least I can feel the drive off and under my back foot and hip even though I haven’t been logging in well more than seven months. The next 1.5 hours goes on much the same way. Perfect little waves, chest high sets every 5-10 minutes, Tin getting a shitload of perfect noserides / head-dips / cover-ups and me just cruising along laughing at the fun of it all in 39 degree late winter February waters. After a while more people show up. Some of the dirty Ditch crew who have only migrated from NYC in the past few years. The grumpy over-serious ones who think they’re locals and that I’m not and who yet don’t even realize that I’ve been surfing Ditch and Montauk since 1989, and that my dad has been surfing there since 1966… A comedy of egos for sure… (Mine included perhaps..?)

Anyway, I keep on having tons of fun in the little winter waves and Tin keeps ripping it up longboard-style and all the while I can’t help but constantly laugh to myself quietly at the super-serious/dorky NYC guy who, can surprisingly surf better than I ever thought he could. He’s really still a wanker because of his whole grumpier-than-thou demeanor but, at least he can surf a little, so I guess he’s not a total waste of flesh…

After two hours we’re done and so we head back to Tin’s place to change and warm up with some espresso and then blaze over to Naturally good for a well deserved after surf lunch session and thetas it, done and over for the day. Time to drive home and get back to my son who is hanging out with grannma (my mums) who is taking care of him for me so I can finally get a surf in after a five week hiatus.

After a perfect cold day of shiny winter surfing, seeing my son at home, woodstove blazing, is the perfect finish to what could only be described as a tasty day…


About mainbeach

The natural resource for surfing, stand up paddling, kayaks, lessons, tours, surf camp, beach wear and all things outdoors in The Hamptons, Eastern Long Island, Montauk and beyond.
This entry was posted in Beach, Hamptons, Hamptons Surfing, Montauk Surfing, Outdoor Adventure, Surfing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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