Sunday, October 04, 2015

Firewire (Lost...) Round Nose Fish Review After Dozen Seshs

Hi everyone. It has been a while (again!). But I have been riding my new Lost Firewire Round Nose Fish so I would like to give a bit of my own review.

What did I buy?

RNF 5’10. 5-fin slots but set up as a quad for this review.

What type of surfer am I.

While I have been at it for a long while, I would say, I am still an intermediate level surfer. I can pretty much surf any types of waves, but not just as well as the best of the packs. I am sure many of you can relate.

How Tall and How Much I Weigh

I am 5’5 and about 145 – 150 lbs range.

Where and What Do I Surf

When I got this board, the main reason I wanted this board was to surf small waves about 6 ft being about the biggest. After that I would pull out a longer board. My favorite waves are beach breaks, mostly because the best reef type breaks are already owned by good surfers and pickings are very slim.

On weekdays, I surf closer to my home at Linda Mar, Montara, Half Moon Bay Jetty, Dunes. On weekend my go-to spot is Waddell Creek to just about any other spots in Santa Cruz as far south as Manresa. 

How Many Times Did I Surf on RNF?

About dozen times.

What Did I Think?

First, this is about the shortest board I have ever surfed at 5’10. It’s a bit taller than my own height. Typically, when I cut the board length, it means more paddling and hard taking off.

This board is amazingly stable when I take off whether I am going straight down or set up to take off in an angle. I can almost always contact with the board as I get up.

Many people have said that quads are “skaty.” I do skate board a bit, but I do not do tricky stuff, so I am not quite sure if I understand that feel. But I can say that I do ride this board a bit differently than other boards. I ride other boards more with rail-to-rail style way. It has been my own preference. I would rather use the rails than to pivot around the tail or the front. I tend to turn fairly wide and slower.

One thing I realized with this board is that I can now start to switch the style a bit, in a sense that I can now really press any direction of the board, front-back, side-to-side etc. The board responds much more than the other boards I’ve ridden. This required a bit more “getting-used-to” but I think I am getting a hang of it. 

The board seems to be more permissible to do these moves without sacrificing the balance. So I certainly had fun with it, and I almost wished that I got this board much sooner, and I’ve learned these types of riding styles a lot sooner.

Also, I was paddling next to a long-boarder and I can pretty much keep up padding out with him. Which is a big plus for such a short board, but its high volume helps. Of course, it does not paddle like a long-board, but it is definitely an easier to paddle board than other short boards I use.

I did also try a 6’0 fish, but that was actually too big, rode like a long board. For these designs, the volume can quickly overwhelm you. So if you are frustrated with your short boards or ready to graduate to a short board or want to have something to ride “crappy” local waves, this is definitely worth a try and I would say do not be afraid of using a shorter length than the standard short board types. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Early Days: Session 0. Summer/Fall 2001

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend and he said there are some people who cannot restore files from the Timemachine. Well, I tried it this morning and my earliest backup was from April 2004. But guess what I have found - a backup of my original -- Later became web site.

For the next several posts, I will begin posting copies from the old site.

Session 0, 2001

By a friends suggestion, I bought a 7'0 NEV gun shape thruster board with 3 fixed FCS fins (I did not know what kind I got until 2002). Took this out a few times, I could not paddle well, and it was every scary to the point that I could not paddle in when I was not confident.

Later in September, went to Richard Schmidt in Santa Cruz and took a beginner lesson, and I was able to catch and stand up with a push from an instructor on a 10 ft Doyle foam board. This gave me a confidence that I was using a wrong size board to start with. In fact I was so lucky that I even did a top turn and stayed on the wave face all the way from the 41st to the Shark's Cove, a good 30-40 second ride. This was one of the happiest moment in my surfing memory. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

StokeMaster's Guide to Maui (2005)

A bit  old but still a great deal of information that has to be preserved permanently on my blog.

StokeMaster’s Guide to Maui Surfing
Updated 25 October 2005

Keywords: Maui Guide, Maui Travel, Maui Food, Maui Lodging, Maui Surfing

This guide is prepared for beginner to intermediate level surfers. Maui is known for epic waves in the winter, but that’s when expert surfers are talking. As usual there are “rest of the surfers” whose goal is to enjoy surfing at a bit more mellow and relaxing level than going after monster waves or fast waves to be discovered by a surfing magazine etc.

Where to Stay:

It looks like the best deals are in Kihei and if you can group a few people together for a week or more, a vacation rental should be the way to go. Another area where there are a lot of vacation rentals is a bit north of Kaanapali, called Kahana.

Wailuku might also be a good choice as it is centrally located to visit both Kihei and Lahanina, and there are some less expensive hotels in town. Wailuku looks more like an old gold rush town in California and there are a lot of historical buildings and also many inexpensive restaurants in this and Kahului area. Some parts of this town looks a bit rough so be prepared.

There are many different deals and price seem to vary quite a bit depending on who you ask (on the Internet) even for the same date and the same property, so be sure to shop around using your Internet search engine as a tool.

Overall Surfing Situations

You have heard about Honolua Bay and Hookipa, or The Jaws. You can find out about them in most surfing web sites. But they are mainly for experts who can safely surf 2 or 3 times overhead fast waves.

For beginners and intermediate surfers, I recommend going to Kalama Beach Park (the locals call this The Cove) in Kihei if you are staying in Kihei or Wailea. If you are staying in Lahaina or Kaanapali then the Lahaina Breakwater and several beach parks south of it is the best.

There are numerous breaks on the way from the Kahului airport to Lahaina along the route 30. Since the shores are protected with the corral reef, the road hugs the beach and often you just park, and within 20 steps you’d be in the water. As you go up north from the Kahului airport, you will go through a short tunnel. After this tunnel to Lahaina are series of beaches, and if you find a break you like, just stop the car, and go surfing. Some are fully maintained with a parking lot and a shower; others are still maintained with at least some portable toilets.

Once you hit the first sign that says the town of Lahaina, turn left at Shaw street then turn right at the Front street. The first public beach access lot is where you take off for surfing at the Lahaina Breakwater. The shower is kind of hidden in front of the hotel/restaurant building so look for it.

Often overlooked is Kanaha (and not Kahana) Beach Park just north of the airport. This is actually popular with beginner wind surfers polishing the skills to go to The popular Ho’okipa. Also speaking of that on the way to Ho’okipa is the Baldwin Beach Park. Be sure to check this spot out when there are some N swells coming in.

For more information about beaches in Maui a local FM radio station KPOA has an excellent web resource at

Some caution should be exercised when surfing in Hawai’i or most other tropical islands. Maui, and probably in Hawai’i in general have volcanic rock, coral or the mixture of both. They are razor sharp and just brushing over them can cause very deep wound. I did not believe this first, but sure enough I got a deep cut on the second day of my trip and after two weeks, it is not completely healed. Probably a good idea to bring some first-aid kit with you, as it is most likely that you get a nick or cut. As a surfer not familiar with the bottom of the water, I suggest you at least wear booties for the first few sessions at a new location. Also some of these rocks to protrude almost up to the surface level so watch out for not being caught (your center fin or the board) in those. You could tumble forward then you and you board both might get a deep gash.

I was there in September when the swells were really low, but the quality of breaks are great as at most locations you paddle out several hundred yards in the water where breaks occur then you can ride some of those almost all the way to the shore. Again, when you have finished with your rides, do not jump in the water to stop. Just sit on the board and wait for it to stop or if you are a bit better do a final kick out by turning the board back toward the ocean. When you are about to wipe out, hang on to the board so that you don’t hit the bottom of the water where the razor sharp objects await you.

Locals are very friendly even though they look all sun tanned and tough looking in Maui, but some are very serious about the sport so you may get some advice from where you should be paddling out. As with all surfing sessions in new locals, wear a lot of smile and when paddling by a surfer, a simple greeting of “Hi” or “Good morning” will tell them that you mean no harm. Also, they often ask you if you will be taking a wave. If I am asked, I usually return the favor by “No, please take it, it’s all yours!” then I will watch where they go, and on the next break I will try to go to the same place.

Note that where they paddle back. Locals almost always paddle around. You can almost always tell locals from tourists by looking at how they paddle back.

Renting the Board

For the amount of the trouble of carrying your boards from the main land, you might just rent it and return it when you are leaving. You can rent high quality short and long boards. Of course, you can bring them and I have seen people carrying 4 or 5 long boards at the airport.

Most rentals in Maui are SofTOP boards. Foamy boards are actually rare here. You can rent them at Kalama Beach Park or at the Lahaina Breakwater right at the beach. They also offer lessons at the same locations. If you are into higher performance board, many surf shops in the area offers rental boards. I was very pleased with Hi Tech Surf Shop in Kahului where they can rent anywhere from short boards to long boards. All are high-end epoxy boards including JC, South Point, McTavish. At this time of writing a $20 (a going daily rate island wide) a day package consists of a board bag, leash, the first stick of wax, and the board. Many other places including snorkel rental or even SCUBA rental places have boards so you could ask around. If you rent from these beach front places, they have already pulled out the side fins and also put in a soft Surfco center fins. This might cause a performance issue. If you want to rent short boards, above mentioned shop or other specialized surf shops in Kahului are your best bets.

Spending Money

Be prepared as Hawai’i in general, you will need to pay a bit to a lot more than your counter part in the main land. But with some strategy you can do well. Also, keep in mind that as a visitor you are supporting their economy, so when you feel you’ve spent a bit more money, well, think that you have helped someone in the island.

Sales tax there is fairly low at the time of writing, compared to say in San Francisco (8.25%). But hotel stays are heavily taxed. We were slapped with $25 a day tax staying at a major chain hotel resort. This can add up.


As a resort destination, there are a lot of restaurants and bars out there and many are tourist places. At one place, I have seen a dinner plate costing close to $40 while you enjoy a view of a condo complex construction site with cranes and plywood fences. Then you can also enjoy a bowl of Saimin or plate of Yakisoba for no more than $6.00 a plate. You can get away paying $6 or $7 for a burrito with a soft drink in the main land and in Lahaina it is about $10 from a taco stand.

Picnic and BBQ option: On most of the state run beach parks they provide BBQ pits or stands, and many locals do use these facilities to cook dinners even on work days. So you probably pick up some charcoal and some meat. It is warm and nice out so you can really have fun BBQ. Some locals are also happy to share the food with you.

There are many Safeway supermarkets, and also we liked Food Land in Kihei. If you go there be sure to ask for the member card which is free.

Some Places We Have Tried:

On our second trip to Maui (just returned home on Sept 10) we aimed to skip most of the expensive places and eat more locally, focusing mainly on ethnic eats in Kihei, Wailuku, Kahului, and Upcountry. Here's a report:

Tokyo Tei ($) - 1063 E. Lower Main Street - Wailuku
Great homestyle Japanese food, specializing in tempura and teishoku meals. No sushi. Housed in a funky medical building with doctor's offices and hostess bars. The whole Lower Main Street area has some very intriguing places.

Wei Wei BBQ and Noodle House ($) - 210 Imi Kala St. - Wailuku
Good mix of Cantonese BBQ, Japanese and Hawaiian. Tasty BBQ pork.

Tasty Crust ($) - 1770 Mill Street - Wailuku
Famous for hotcakes (served since 1944) but also open for lunch and dinner. We had a cheap, good breakfast there. Full of locals and wonderfully authetic diner atmosphere.

Who'd the Boss? ($$) 2051 Main Street - Wailuku
Reasonably priced island cuisine bistro with nice fish dishes.

Polli's ($$) - 1202 Makawao Ave - Makawao
Excellent, reasonable, fresh Mexican cantina fare with a pleasant atmosphere. The outside sign says “Come in and eat or we’ll both starve”

Makawao Steak House ($$$) - 3612 Baldwin Avenue - Makawao
Overpriced for just okay steak and rather amateurish service. Not recommended. They have a tea room that serves high tea, which looks nice but we did not go.

Hali'imaile General Store ($$$) - 900 Hali'imaile Road - Hali'imaile (Upcountry)
Had an excellent lunch at this place, which could be called a Hawaiian Chez Panisse, with its emphasis on fresh local produce and innovative cuisine. Nice wine list. Will definitely go back here. Lovely atmosphere. Not cheap but not outrageous. Website:

Aroma D'Italia Ristorante ($$$) - 1881 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
Decent, reasonably priced Italian with good homemade meatballs.

Vietnamese Cuisine ($) - 1280 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
Good, reasonably priced Vietnamese. Good soups.

KKO (Kaui Ku Ono) ($$$) - 2511 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
It has the fresh fish, the sunset views, nice outdoor seating, competent friendly service, all for reasonable prices.

Horhito's ($$) - 41 East Lipoa St - Kihei
Innovative Mexican cuisine at reasonable prices with an emphasis on fish dishes. Cantina decor with Mexican antiques, murals, and twinkling lights. A nice find.

Hanafuda Saimin ($) - Azeka Mall - 1279 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
Finally I got to taste saimin and I was not disappointed. Noodles are a lot like ramen and the broth is like some Cantonese won ton soup base with Cantonese-style BBQ pork. Also serves sandwiches and assorted plate lunches. Highly recommended.

Canton Chef ($$) - Kamaole Shopping Center - 2463 S. Kihei Rd - Kihei
Tasty Chinese cuisine at reasonable prices.

China Boat ($ lunch special, $$ dinner) - 4474 Honopiilani Road - Kahana
Very good Chinese food with an emphasis on seafood.

Food Court in Maui Marketplace ($) - 270 Dairy Rd - Kahului
Any restaurant here is probably a good bet for tasty, cheap eats. I had a great chicken plate lunch at the Vietnamese place and my husband had a good pho. L&L Plate lunch place is also here as well as Fernando's Mexican and a Chinese place. Was packed with locals on the weekend.

Roy's Kahana Bar and Grill ($$$$) - Kahana Gateway Shopping Center
A good friend's sister-in-law works here so we paid a visit. We'd been to Roy's in Spanish Bay (Monterey, CA) and knew the food would be good and it did not disappoint. High prices but high quality for Roy Yamaguchi's famous Hawaiian/European/Japanese fusion cuisine. My husband had a unique sake tasting menu. Dramatic atmosphere with 40-foot ceilings but no view.
Excellent, professional service and nice wine list.

Now You are Back in Bay Area and Miss The Taste of Hawai'i
Here are the branches of some of the very restaurants you have enjoyed while you are in Maui.
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue:

Daly City(Mission St. & Citrus Ave.)Mission Plaza Shopping Center6893 Mission St.Daly City, CA 94014
Phone: (650) 756-7188
Fax: (650) 756-7388

Hawaiian Drive Inn
50 San Pedro Road (near Mission Street), Daly City, CA 94014 (650) 997-0887
24251 Hesperian Blvd. (near Southland Drive), Hayward, CA 94545 (510) 781-4886
711 El Camino Real (between Broadway and Brewster Avenue), Redwood City, CA (650) 369-0396
4827 Mission Street (at Onandaga Street), San Francisco, CA 94112 (415) 586-9382
128 Hazelwood Drive, South San Francisco, CA 94080 (650) 871-2836
3730 Sonoma Blvd. (in Longs Shopping Center), Vallejo, CA 94589 (707) 643-8883

642 Ramona Street (1 1/2 blocks south of University Avenue)
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 329-9533
5 Masonic Avenue (Southwest corner of Masonic Avenue and Geary Blvd.)
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 921-6242
230 Jackson Street (between 5th and 6th Streets in Japantown)
San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 279-4888
Al Omoto, Kurt Osaki, and Eric Tao
Hukilau serves Island-style food and cocktails. Drink specials for women are available on Wednesdays (Wahine Wednesdays), live music can be heard on Fridays (Aloha Fridays), and brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays.

J & J Hawaiian Barbecue
1170 - 1180 Alma Street
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 323-6137, FAX (650) 323-6203
Daily: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

Linda Mar Shopping Center in Pacifica and other locations in the Bay Area

J & J Hawaiian Barbecue opened in February 2004. Island-style plates (e. g. barbecue beef, chicken, & short ribs; chicken katsu; loco moco; and mahi mahi) are served in two sizes. A kalua pig plate, saimin, musubi, and Chinese food are also available.
Da Kitchen
1477 Plymouth Street, Unit #E (near Century Cinemas 16 on Shoreline Blvd.)
Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 960-6906, FAX (650) 960-6926
Sun: Closed
Mon - Fri: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Da Kitchen began with two restaurants on Maui (Kahului and Kihei) and opened the Mountain View restaurant in early 2004. Island-style plate lunches (e. g. teriyaki chicken, teriyaki beef, loco moco, and chicken katsu) are served along with rice bowls, wraps, sandwiches, and salads.s 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

If You Go Leash-Less, You Should Assume All Your Responsibilities

A Guy wipes out right in front of me, and the surfboard comes right at me. Obviously he was not wearing a leash. 

That in of itself is fine by me. I was not hurt. If I could have the confidence, I would do that also.

But the guy on the way to his lost board said why I did not catch it for him.  If I was him, I would not have thought of asking.

Well, I could have caught it, actually, if I saw the leash snap or would be in otherwise more dangerous condition. But obviously he was surfing without the leash and it was a small surf day. So I did not catch it for him. 

Because it is part of the deal, if you lose a board and if you chose not to wear the leash you go get it. 

Surfing, for me, is a kind of sport that you as an individual have to take the whole responsibility from the time paddling out to coming in, and that makes it even more of a discipline to become a level of confident surfer who can do so at all times (or knowing when not to get out.)

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The most challenging part of surfing is taking off!

Note, I wrote this note on my NEO Alphasmart and in around 2006, and it was still not posted.
I will assume this is about August 2006... Today in June 7, 2015.

At this point in my surfing, I still find taking off the most challenging part of surfing. Obviously without a good take off, there is no surfing. As the skill level goes up, so is the willingness to take either bigger of faster waves. For me the main focus is to catch faster and hollower waves because there are a lot of those in my home breaks, and also when I do catch them they are much more thrilling. Also in these types of waves, it is often good to take off at an angle, as when you take the route of going down straight the wave is already closed down and not riding the shoulder.

And to do this, what I need is the seer paddling strength, and that's where I have realized was finally starting to build up; instead of paddling evenly on both hands, I now paddle harder on one arm to steer the board in the direction I want.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

WavLOG is Back on the Blogger

Well, the time has changed.

I have given up on maintaining my own web site and technology. I have enough other things to do both at work, at surf and at music.

Google has been doing a great job of maintaining and updating the Blogger with better features, more sharing capabilities ever. So why not let them take care of me, and I'd focus on what matters the most -- the contents.

So there we go. I am back on the Blogger.

See you again soon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On To My Own Site

On To New Surf.Stokemaster.Com

I will be updating the stuff on all new WaveLog II at my own new web site moving forward. URL is  The web site uses the same software as Huffington Post and The Onion!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer 2010 Recap

Summer 2010 Recap

Just about every local in Half Moon Bay I surf with seem to agree that this summer was a bust.

Jogging my memory, there were two factors that mainly contributed to this.
  • The lack of strong onshore winds in the afternoon.
  • The lack of south swells.
You probably say that the lack of strong onshore wind condition is a good thing in our area. I think that in a very selfish way, it is because, yes the onshore winds tend to ruin the surf locally. However, the general lack of this means that we also did not have much high-pressure induced waves. Around this time of the year, most of the local source of the waves starts off the coast of Mendocino, and a few days of winds, we get decent NW swells, like 8 seconds 5-10 feet which will give some fun waves in Linda Mar and other spots.

The South swells also have been not very active until this week. This summer I have not been surfing at the Jetty in Half Moon Bay (nor Santa Cruz) because there simply was not much south swells. This means that there has not been sever winter swells in the Southern hemisphere.

Hopefully this is not the start of a long time weather pattern.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

StokeTIP 55: Go See Local Surf Flicks

Novice StokeTIP 55
Go See Local Surf Flicks

Here in Northern and Central California almost all of us surfers have surfed in Santa Cruz at least once, if not once a month, or every day. The quality of the waves is almost always better than my home breaks in Half Moon Bay and from novice friendly Cowells to highly competetive Hook and the Lane, the place has a lot to offer and further up the coast we got Mavericks break right in my home town of Half Moon Bay.

As you surf more and become familiar with surfing, you will start hearing about "The West Side" and "The East Side." And sooner or later you will become failiar with surfer names like "Flea", "Ratboy" and "Barney." Even if you don't want to hear about them, you will hear about them on local regular news-talk radios and in the front-pages of San Francisco Chronicle or San Jose Mercury news. In many ways, California and surfing are part of our daily life; everyone is influenced by it from the slang we use to what we wear even to work!

As you surf more in Santa Cruz, you will also get to know about the "West side" and "East side" surfing culture you will learn that they often crash, even sometime to the point of physically being violent. So it has always been curious in mind how these different cultures come about.

And of course these things being as culture they invlove people, and every so often our own surfing communities has produced great surfing documentary movies that are prouced often by the very people who grew up within.

Such is the case with the new upcoming documentary film "The Westsiders." The film was produced by Joshua Pomer who grew up with the big 3 names in Santa Cruz West Side surfing scene. Joshua got a hold of portable video camera from his high school and started to shoot videos of his surfing friends and so he knew right from the start to some day tell the story about what it is like to grow up with top surfers and being immersed in the scene. Also very important in the formation of the culture is one dominating character, Vince "The Godfather" Coller who pretty much controlled The Lane and for good or bad, he was the key part of creating the force in the Westside culture to put these surfers and Santa Cruz Stemer Lane on the map. Like a Big Bang, the melting of all forces have created some of the darkest part of the surf culture as well as some of the brightest and innovative breakthoughs in surfing like legitimizing aerials as a surf move and even surfing upside-down inside a barrell and of course the big wave surfing.

The movie is a serious and important documentary about Santa Cruz surfing culture and the history of the West Side. It is a nice and intentional departure from "just surf" type movies where you only see people surfing on the waves for an hour, and it really provides a deeper look inside how it is to grow up in the environment. Interviews include numerous people from the surfing community and partents. Jason has also used his networks of friends to collect interesting home movie clips from the 60's and 70's. Because of this approach the movie can be enjoyed by both surfers and as well as non-surfers.

My words are not going to be adequate to describe all what I have expeirenced at the preview, but one thing for sure, you being a part of the surfing culture today, you must go see this and many other surfing documentary movies produced by our very own local film makers who also surf.

The movie was selected and premiers at the Newport Beach Film Fetival on April 24th, 2010 and shown at the Santa Cruz Film Festival on Saturday 5/8 at 6:30 PM (More information about the Santa Cruz Film Festival)

For more information about the movie, here are additional web sites you can try:

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

StokeTIP 54: The Importance of a Positive Attitude

Novice StokeTIP 54
The Importance of a Positive Attitude

Posted originally on:

Yes, we all know that having a positive attitude is important in just about everything. But I have been reading up more on this stuff from a neuro surgeon.

I am going to quickly summarize this. Based on our current knowledge of our brains, it appears that when our brains process information one of the first things it does it to distingulish "like" or "dislike."

As we all grow up, we tend to accumulate in our brain to process more stuff into the "disklike" category. To make things short, that occurs because our brains tend to work in the manner for preservation. So we always tend to take a safer approach.

You can see that as we get older or observe people who are older than us, they all tend not to like new things, lose curiousity and then witter away.

So what does this got to do with surfing?

Actually what I want to point out is what does this got to do with our "Stoke."

To me the Stoke is driven from our curiousity and constant queests for better experiences on the wave. I refuse to get in the mode where I waer a T-Shirts that says "I rule!" and I refuse to tell people "I only surf at this break only when it is the greatest."

So, maintain your curiousity, always hope for a better wave, better tomorrow, and even when the waves are crappy let's get out and come back and blog or tweet about how much we got out of each of our session, exchange, and share the joy.

Your brains will appreciate it!

See you in the lineup!