4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Encinitas surf writer covers (getting covered on) the waterfront

Chris Ahrens's greatest compliment: “It was just like that, man.”

Chris Ahrens
Chris Ahrens

In February of 1997, the Reader did a cover story featuring surf writer Chris Ahrens as one of San Diego’s leading “micro-publishers” in the then-growing field of authors self-publishing their books.

Now, six books later, this month Ahrens released his seventh, Behold, What is Greater Than Thyself, a fictional novella into the world of surfing in Baja in the early years.

“I wrote for those that lived it,” said Ahrens. He says his greatest compliment is when people read the stories and say, “It was just like that, man,” and then they to tell him a true story of the period, similar to one in the book.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Ahrens started his writing career around 1980, when he got a story about his mom published in Family Circle magazine. But his love of surfing started earlier, when he was 14, living in Montebello in the San Gabriel Valley.

He and a buddy saw the movie Gidget, the campy surfing film starring Sandra Dee. He ran home from the theater and told his dad he wanted to try surfing. Ahrens said his dad, who had tried surfing in the 1940s when boards weighed about a 100 pounds, thought it was too dangerous. “He thought we’d kill ourselves,” said Ahrens.

No matter, the boys tore apart his HO-scale train set and used the plywood base to saw out shapes of surfboards. Even painted them yellow, just like in the movie, and took them down to the beach.

“Of course they didn’t work,” Ahrens said. “But I think we ended up using them as skim boards.” Since then, Ahrens has been a waterman.

Ahrens has written and edited for every major surf publication in the country, including Waves, Surfer, Surfing, and Surfer’s Journal. Currently he’s a monthly columnist on surfing and ocean issues for the North County’s Seaside Courier.

Ahrens’s received critical acclaim for his cinematic directorial debut in his 2008 documentary D.O.P.E. – Death or Prison Eventually, which followed the lives of four legendary 1970/‘80s SoCal skaters from the height of worldwide fame into the depths of drug addiction and crime, including Encinitas’ Bruce Logan.

Chris Ahrens on February 20, 1997 cover

From that work, Ahrens received an offer from the faith-based publishing arm of Harper Collins, Harper One, to help Christian Hosoi, once one of skateboarding’s biggest stars, write his autobiography; Hosoi, My Life as a Skateboarder, Junkie, Inmate, Pastor was published in 2012. Hosoi’s fall from fame and eventual redemption was featured in Ahrens’s film.

Ahrens writes his columns and books from his ocean-view home in Cardiff by the Sea and self-publishes under the name Perelandra Publishing, which Ahrens says, was C.S. Lewis’s second book in his space trilogy, meaning Mars, but metaphorically, heaven.

Ahrens says he doesn’t use the manual typewriter anymore, nor can he cross his legs like in the 1997 Reader cover photo.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Solo Jared Mattson, schizophrenic Reverend Stickman, festive Stick Figure, opener Nukem, floater Flogging Molly

“I got super into Japanese drifting and boxing.”
Next Article

Trump Trumps Love

Fractured friendships following 45
Chris Ahrens
Chris Ahrens

In February of 1997, the Reader did a cover story featuring surf writer Chris Ahrens as one of San Diego’s leading “micro-publishers” in the then-growing field of authors self-publishing their books.

Now, six books later, this month Ahrens released his seventh, Behold, What is Greater Than Thyself, a fictional novella into the world of surfing in Baja in the early years.

“I wrote for those that lived it,” said Ahrens. He says his greatest compliment is when people read the stories and say, “It was just like that, man,” and then they to tell him a true story of the period, similar to one in the book.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Ahrens started his writing career around 1980, when he got a story about his mom published in Family Circle magazine. But his love of surfing started earlier, when he was 14, living in Montebello in the San Gabriel Valley.

He and a buddy saw the movie Gidget, the campy surfing film starring Sandra Dee. He ran home from the theater and told his dad he wanted to try surfing. Ahrens said his dad, who had tried surfing in the 1940s when boards weighed about a 100 pounds, thought it was too dangerous. “He thought we’d kill ourselves,” said Ahrens.

No matter, the boys tore apart his HO-scale train set and used the plywood base to saw out shapes of surfboards. Even painted them yellow, just like in the movie, and took them down to the beach.

“Of course they didn’t work,” Ahrens said. “But I think we ended up using them as skim boards.” Since then, Ahrens has been a waterman.

Ahrens has written and edited for every major surf publication in the country, including Waves, Surfer, Surfing, and Surfer’s Journal. Currently he’s a monthly columnist on surfing and ocean issues for the North County’s Seaside Courier.

Ahrens’s received critical acclaim for his cinematic directorial debut in his 2008 documentary D.O.P.E. – Death or Prison Eventually, which followed the lives of four legendary 1970/‘80s SoCal skaters from the height of worldwide fame into the depths of drug addiction and crime, including Encinitas’ Bruce Logan.

Chris Ahrens on February 20, 1997 cover

From that work, Ahrens received an offer from the faith-based publishing arm of Harper Collins, Harper One, to help Christian Hosoi, once one of skateboarding’s biggest stars, write his autobiography; Hosoi, My Life as a Skateboarder, Junkie, Inmate, Pastor was published in 2012. Hosoi’s fall from fame and eventual redemption was featured in Ahrens’s film.

Ahrens writes his columns and books from his ocean-view home in Cardiff by the Sea and self-publishes under the name Perelandra Publishing, which Ahrens says, was C.S. Lewis’s second book in his space trilogy, meaning Mars, but metaphorically, heaven.

Ahrens says he doesn’t use the manual typewriter anymore, nor can he cross his legs like in the 1997 Reader cover photo.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

January near misses in Tourmaline, Windansea, Sunset Cliffs surf

The west/northwest swell
Next Article

The Enemy on McGinty Mountain

"Who am I to dictate who should or should not go hiking?”
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close