f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

April 21, 2008

surf report: a doctor, a river, and an ex-barrister

Filed under: q.s. quickies,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 1:57 pm

(large) This photo of the Mohawk River was taken at the end of my block of Washington Ave. in Schenectady, NY, back in March. Unless we’re having a flood or ice floes are backing up, the Mohawk is rather placid around here, and virtually no one is likely to think “let’s surf!” However, less than 20 miles east of us at Waterford, NY (see the Google Map), anesthesiology resident Dr. Jef Field of the Albany Medical Center can often be found river-surfing in the churning waters of the Mohawk, near where it empties into the Hudson River. See, for example:

by Lori Van Buren /Albany Times Union

by Lori Van Buren /Albany Times Union

As explained in the Albany TU article “An unlikely spot to catch a wave: Doctor finds place to pursue favorite sport far from the ocean” (by Jimmy Vielkind, April 9, 2008; via John D. at Nobody Move!), Dr. Field — a 35-year-old Virginia Beach, Va., native who now lives in Bethlehem, NY — says “Rivers are kind of like my ocean in the mountains” and outdoor thrill-seeking is his “natural high.” (But, lucky man, he also gets that high from his work.)

Wearing a neoprene wet suit and using a turquoise “platypus” board that is custom-designed for river surfing, Field was photographed on a day when the Mohawk River was quite high (14 feet) and flowing at 20,300 cubic feet per second. Here’s how reporter Vielkind described the scene:

“He stood on a path between the old Champlain Canal and Goat Island, just north of a hydroelectric dam. Field surfs between a 30-foot cliff and a cement diverting wall on the Mohawk as it tumbles into the Hudson.

“He walked upstream, about 30 yards from the “standing wave” created by a cataract, and slid into the water. . . . He spun around and slid into the frothing wave, then swam upstream.

“Suddenly, he rose above the froth and, with knees bent, began gyrating while riding the wave, left and right, up and down. He flashed a two-fingered V.

“After about a minute, the wave got the best of him. He was swept about 30 yards downstream, where he stood up in a quieter stretch on the other side of the wall and slowly walked upstream.” [enlarged versions of the above photos can be accessed from the article]

Field doesn’t seem a bit worried about the dangers involved in surfing this section of the Mohawk. As for any long-term health risks, he notes that he’s not drinking this river, and insists that “Something else is gonna get me first.” [For more information, see the website of The World River Surfing Association]

in what’s left SeashellLaurieSmith
of our footprints–
some of the wave

. . . . . by Gary Hotham fromsnow on the water: RMA 1998; South by Southeast V:2

where the wave

. . . . . by jim kacian, from Chincoteague

Why Lawyers Should Surf, by Tim Kevan and Michelle Tempest

Dr. Field’s joy in surfing and talk of “natural highs” naturally reminded me of the book Why Lawyers Should Surf: Inspiration for Lawyers at Work and Play, by (ex)barrister Tim Kevan and psychiatrist Michelle Tempest (see Tim’s description, and our prior post). And, it made we wonder if their companion volume “Why Doctors Should Surf: Inspiration for Doctors at Work and Play” was finally available.

It also reminded me that I’ve been wanting to escape my Green-Eye Monster and tell you about Tim Kevan’s current status: His popular The Barrister Blog (see our praise for it) was originally captioned something like “law, politics, and surfing.” However, it’s now called The (ex)Barrister Blog and has the envy-invoking caption, “retired young and gone surfing.” In the weblog’s sidebar you’ll find this cryptic explanation:

WhyLawyersSurfN The (ex-)Barrister Blog is written by Tim Kevan who was a barrister for ten years before retiring to live by the sea, go surfing and write a novel for Bloomsbury Publishing.

I may be too old and worn out to take up river or ocean surfing. But, I’m still willing to accept a nice advance to write a novel or a memoir. Meanwhile, I’m not going to hold me breath waiting — especially since I want to shout out a very big congratulations to Tim, while hoping novel-writing will come as easy to him as all his many other adventures and professional ventures. Given Tim’s wit and insight, I’m looking forward to reading his first novel and telling f/k/a‘s readers about it.

the view west –
a splash of red
on every wave

. .. by matt morden Morden Haiku

on the beach
the tracks of two
lounge chairs

. . . . . by John Stevenson from Quiet Enough

p.s. If you’re into cyber-surfing, and want to painlessly learn about Virtual Law, I suggest heading over to Blawg Review #156, at Virtually Blind. Host Benjamin Duranske — whose new book Virtual Law: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Virtual Worlds (ABA, April 2008) was just released — structures his post as a set of questions and answers on virtual law. He covers “the basics, and will illustrate the answers with links to a number of legal blogs, covering both real-world and virtual world legal issues.”


  1. David:

    Great segue of Gary and jim’s work.

    Don @ Lilliput Review

    Comment by Don — April 24, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

  2. Thanks, Don, for surfing on over and leaving a verbal bouquet.

    Comment by David Giacalone — April 24, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

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