Sunday, February 29, 2004

Session 4022: El Capitan

I was hoping that the competition would have ended, but that was not the case. We checked it out from the freeway and there were the canopies lined up at the beach, so we went to the Ventura spot, but the waves were about the same as yesterday, so we just turned around and decided to head home with one stop at El Capitan State Park.

This turned out to be a very nice camp ground, so if we are going there again on a camping trip, I think we will want to stay here. Of all the places this campground looked to have the most “natural” looking setup with trees and a mountain in the background and magnificent views of points.

From the main parking we could not initially think that this is any special spot to surf as it looked like standard beach breaks, but we walked further South and there was a little “corner” with a reef and there some people were surfing small point breaks.

The breaking area was a bit too small and there were 4 other surfers competing in this small zone, but there were quick hit to chest size consistent point breaks that were happening. If it sizes up a bit, we could have spread out a bit and would have been a lot of fun.

Glad that we stopped there. I surfed there for about an hour and decided to head back North.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Session 4021: Rincon Day 2 – A Competition

Well, another unfortunate event. Saturday was a completion at Rincon. Compared to Friday, the condition was very good (back to the usual Rincon that I know) with overhead size smooth wave faces. But there was a competition. I went in anyway, but with so many excellent surfers taking waves, there was a very little room for me to maneuver. But when I rode, I really had a great time and very long rides. If I stayed any longer, I would have been kicked out of the breaks for I probably have been getting in the way of the competitors.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Session 4020: Rincon Day 1

Session 4020: Rincon Day 1

This is the weekend that I decided to come to Santa Barbara and Ventura area to have a long weekend surfing. As I was leaving on Thursday afternoon a flurry of news came along via e-mail, IM, and phone calls that the Mavericks contest is actually on. I suspected it would be because of the swells clocking 20 seconds range. I was sort of glad that I got out of HMB since what counts for me is to be on the board on my waves, rather than watching other surfers surf.

As I drove to Rincon I was talking to Reez about the Mavericks event as she was volunteering for it. Arriving at Rincon, the effect of the monster swell was already hitting the area as I noticed the set of the surfers were different than the usual, almost all of them were gearing up with short boards.

I too took out the shorter board (7’6) and headed down the slope. Unlike the usual Rincon that I know, a lot of small white stuffs to get through then to the middle, I had to duck through a few faces. But by the time I thought I reached the middle part, I was already washed down further south. The current was very strong this day.

Since I was not that familiar with the area, I just took one ride and paddled back in. Needless to day, I was bummed out.

I drove further south into Ventura County and tried a spot but this spot was also interlaced with very strong southerly current that I had a hard time keeping myself at a spot, in addition the wave faces were pretty poor, so I was bummed out again and left.

Went back, picked up my wife at the motel and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in LA.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Session 4019: Trial Run After the Injury. Philosophy.

So, this morning, I had to go out because if I miss this morning, it won't
be until this Friday at Rincon as the waves are going to kick ass tomorrow
with over 20 ft swell size being predicted.

The right cheek is still swollen up, so it is tender and soft; nice set of
words to use for a Safeway Select T-Bones. I pull up the rash guard... very
carefully. The neck went through fine. I put on a hood then a helmet (yes).
No problem there. So I am back to almost being a normal surfer. Speaking of
this, on the Mavericks video "Whipped" that Erick Nelson (Mavfilms
production owner) gave me, there is a scene that Jeff Clerk broke a rib and
he was now all bundled up in a full torso cast, and he was going out. So I
think all surfers know where to put the priority.

This morning, the condition wasn't that great. The standard chest-high
semi-closeouts. But I did catch one nice inside reform and I powered through
the face being able to "power the turns" and that was really great ride. I
don't really like big waves, but more like to make lots of turns on smaller
waves with a shorter board, so things like this make me really happy.


The Philosophical Corner:

This injury has been very interesting. Let's recap some comments.

My Mon: "I don't want you to surf. It is extremely dangerous. Quit surfing
as soon as possible. Also cut your hair and when are you going to be
promoted to the VP of your company?" ( I got the exact same comment 4 years
ago, except that please globally replace the word surfing with Motorcycle).
Wendy's Mon: "..."
Surfer buddy 1: "Bummer man! Good thing it did not get your eye."
Surfer buddy 2: "Hey that's nothing, look at my..."
Two other buddies: (no responses)
Non surfer co-worker 1: "Surfing, right?"
Co-worker 2 who never read any e-mail from anyone: Uh... What? What
happened? When? (e-mail sent last Thursday to contact me at home if a
server software craps out during the day.)


So reflecting these set of circumstances, I have been pondering what all
these responses mean?

Version 1: Manabu Beach, you are so dumb to go surfing and get hurt. Look
what I've told you. Why don't you just go to work, don't let yourself and me
look bad, do what they tell you, go home, retire happily and safely, then
meet me there.

Version 2: "The State of California has determined that surfing contains
hazardous..." (place the sticker on every board you own).

Version 3: Hey, it is part of being alive and participating in an active and
healthy adventure to make it worthwhile. Don't let other people stop you,

Version 4: Hey look at the Manabu Beach dude. He writes all sorts of surfing
advice and solutions on his web site, but look at him, he does not know what
the hell he is doing being hurt all the time like that!


I do hope, though, many reader of my column has learned some lesson from
this incident. I did, painfully.

Approach the board only from the back!

Have fun!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Session 4018: After Action Report

Well, I made myself to the work. Of course, starting from the outside "cigarette packs" to people on the way to the cube, a series of "what happened" questions. By now my right eye was half closed and the bottom of the eye is becoming "black." The general consensus at the office was "better see a doctor."
So I went to my surf emergency headquarters, the Seaton Coastside for my second surfing accident. After 4 shots of X-ray, it became obvious that I slightly broke the bridge of my nose. Other than that there is nothing needed to be done. Released, picked up some anti-biotic I am writing this now.  for the gruesome picture after the treatment.
After coming home I attended a lecture held by Wendy, it was educational.
For those sent me a note, thanks. I am in a very good spirit and I will be back in the water this weekend for sure!

Session 4018: The Helment *should have* helped.

A bit of draw back happened this morning. I got in this morning. The was
still pretty rough and disorganized. Nothing really big, not much bigger
than shoulder size. The on-shore wind was a bit strong through, may be 10-20

I paddled to the out side no problem. I took my first ride and then dipped
down. I saw the board so I was ready to grab it. It momentarily disappeared
then the rail hit my right cheek really hard. My nose was bleeding rather
hard, so as I try to get back in, the board was all bloody mess. There is a
huge hump on my right cheek now with a couple of minor cuts on my nose and

If I had a helmet on, it could have helped at it covered the cheek.

A lesson learend. I am always going to wear it.

Another lesson, if you don't see your board, duck under.

Stoke: -1


Sunday, February 15, 2004

Session 4017: Back to Cowells

It has been a bit of while since last time I surfed The Cowells, and it was
a lot of fun. One thing I love about Santa Cruz and especially the West Side
is that the rides can be very long. One thing I hate about Santa Cruz and
especially the West Side is that the rides can be very long. Sometimes I
start right off the edge of the "Indicators" and you will finally splash
down (note, I don't quite do the clean pull-out yet), close to the Cowell
shore, and then I have to paddle all the way back to the "outside." In our
local Half Moon Bay breaks we have two extremes, normally we paddle for a
minute to get 5-second rides. so to speak and Mavericks surfers can surf the
distance in a day a normal surfer will run in his or her lifetime.

So now I am back home, my arms are just about in the same shape and
consistency of the turkey wings on Thanksgiving.

Frankly, through, I have been feeling in kind of a bit of slump mode lately
and it was a good confidence building day. Especially now I can successfully
negotiate the inside parking lot. Plus the waves were not very big today
even at the outside, and not as crowded like a nice summer day.

I have to give my hat off to a girl surfer without any wetsuit today. Many
of us are freezing our buns off with wetsuit, and she just had a swimsuit

Today's session was joined by Arthur, and his wife Heidi, Reez, Tanya. We
did go to dance afterwards, but it was fairly intense with everyone knowing
the Salsa steps. I said, I have my hands full with learning how to surf.

Today' my stoke was level 7.


Saturday, February 14, 2004

Session 4016: SAT AM with Friends

Glad to see several good faces this morning at the break. Ren and couple of her friends, Jeff, and Rick. Rick I saw you had a nice take off into that steep face. You are doing good! I also saw Ren taking off too. For me, I wish the condition was a bit better. Anyhow, the weather held up and the there were some waves to surf on. Today's stoke was about 5 out of 10.
Looks like things will get uglier next week, but I will have to see about that one

Friday, February 13, 2004

Session 4015: Dawn Patrol

Well, the 6:50 idea went out the window. But I pulled into the parking lot at exactly 7:00 a.m., and sure enough, there is a woman just getting out and ready to go to work. I asked her, "Excuse me, how long you have been in the water?" "Oh, about an hour or so, I need to get to work, what a bummer." She replies. So that means she had been surfing since it was very very dark out. I think that she could not have surfed for more than 30 minutes.
This morning was kind of fun with waves taking shape a bit with the tide a bit higher during the session was helpful. Right at when I got there, when I was talking to the woman, the wind started to kick up, but then as soon as I got in the water, it stopped. I said to her, "the wind is kicking up!" and she said that "It must have just started now."
My old trusty 7'6 hybrid was a good choice this morning. There were some good "inside" breaks that were chest highs and I just caught one after another while some set lasted. Unfortunately though, they just crumbled so no chance of really hitting the side with my rail.
When I got out, someone must had a coffee and left an empty cup on my car. I was so mad.
Then when I got back and ready to throw them out to the trash, they were brand new cups.
Oh, I see! Rick must have been here and gave me the small resin mixing cups he talked about. Well, as it turned out he was just getting ready to go in. I thanked him for them, and also he also left me the Lockheed Martin calendar on the space too. 
Should I not have started my web site, I would not have been in this sort of situation. I am so happy to be surrounded with so many nice surfing friends!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Session 4014: Dawn Patrol... Finally scored some closeouts!

Last night, while taking a bath (it is actually my daily ritual at the end of a day), I was reading the latest "Surfer" magazine. Since I am not all that interested in reading about professional surfers, due to an envy, and also no hope of becoming one, I usually skip right over to the "Surf Tip", and "Design Forum" sections, then flip back to other pages that interest me.
Anyhow, in this issue, the Surf Tip section is all about Dawn Patrol. It goes on to talk about how your life needs to commit to the lifestyle... Things that I brought up often on my WaveLog were there... like "Don't play with computer to check waves", "You don't pick people up nor wait to be picked up.", "giving up bars and discos", and it was interesting to read about the philosophy of becoming a "dawn patroller." So I suggest if you are interested in this, either borrow a copy from a bra or buy one and read about it. 
The article stoked me even more to get out early. I packed tomorrow's cloths in to the duffle bag, tied down the board on the care and went to bed.
So, this morning, I was promptly at the beach at 7:00 a.m., and it was already quite bright. So I am going to see if I can do 6:50 tomorrow. There are always some committed faces, like Jeff from San Francisco who show up almost anytime I am there. A few minutes of chats as we transform to surfer animals, and we all disappear into the crimson Pacific.
Morning is really a magical time, as the color of the sky and the wave change by the minute, and it is a solitary quiet space I call it "my own" where I can either relax or contemplate the life, distant friends, new algorithms I am going to develop, or think about what to write on my log today.
Back to surfing...
One of the things I have been working on is to ride the closeouts... well sort of. So today finally I was able to ride on top of the breaking white section all the way. Not much turning I could do, but it was quite a bit of challenge to stay inside the beating whites. That made me really happy.
Though the rest of the time, it was the usual either too much or too little power kind of a day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Session 4013: More Dumpy Morning. Cold Day, Warm(er) Water. Stoke Level 4

I have an outside temperature gauge in my car. This morning, it was indicating 41F outside on the way to the beach. But once in the water, it is 53F. So it is sometimes warmer to be in the water than being out of it.
This week, I made a commitment to myself to use the 7'0 board. So this is the third day out with the short board. The swell was 6 ft 14 sec from NW, so I was a bit hopeful, but the condition was still dumpy and with a few of us out there, most of us were not taking off, or even after taking off, immediately eaten up. The sky was clear and no wind. But the tide was low that did not help improve the condition from being dumpy. Even though I didn't catch many waves, it is so nice and quiet, and so paddling around was very good.
Looks like the similar sell condition to hold for a few more days. Tomorrow, I should start earlier since the tide would be higher then.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Session 4012: More "Eaten by the Closeouts"

Man, sometimes it is hard to keep up with my own commitments, but here goes. The WaveLog for the session 4012. No, I have not been surfing 4012 times. It just means that it is the year 04 and I was only out 12 times! SHAME, Shame, shame...! I need some catching up to do "on" myself.
The Mystery that I Need To Solve:
Sometimes, I just don't get it. I get there at 7:15 and some people are all wet with their boards in their arms, getting out and taking shower. The Sunrise is at 7:10, folks! So would that mean... allowing that they have been surfing at the crack of the dawn, for just 20 minutes. Yesterday, I surfed for a mere 30 minutes, and I thought it was like a bird taking a bath (a Japanese expression on doing something very quickly).  So, if you are the one doing that I need your version of the story here! The only other possibility is that they either have a night-vision or their sunrise is, for whatever the reasons, different than mine. May be the whole world now has turned Quantum on me, and that's OK, because that means I can personally create any size waves just by looking at the beach.
Back to My Surfing;
OK, you probably did not understand the Quantum bit. That's Okay, let's touch on that subject on my next session log.
So how was it this morning; you ask... The tide was still a bit too low. I was paddling, paddling and paddling, and a guy next me stands right up and there, a huge sand-bar on the bottom. Duh!  Duh is right...!  I could have walked all the way. But I am being forced to use the ducking technique to get through, so I am getting better and better at it. My 7'0 is a lot easier to both push in and push back that the ducking is becoming so much easier. Of course, once you get out, I'd need to take off (and some better people were taking off even in these low tide, "what I call as" closeout conditions!
Did I get to ride on my 7'0? Yes, indeed. I did score one nice ride but the rest was the standard dumpy crashes plus waves and waves of white stuff.
I am starting to doubt now if or I ever get to do this year's my resolution of doing a complete "roundhouse cutback." Well, one thing for sure, nobody is sticking a gun at my back to do it, and of course, that is the fun of being a recreational surfer.
Let's see what tomorrow will bring!

Monday, February 09, 2004

Session 4011: Cristned the Beach For The Week, but Scored None!

Usually I do not surf on Mondays, because usually I surf so much on the weekend, and also on every other Mondays I am volunteering for water sampling for the Surfriders leaving lesser time to put in surfing in the morning before work. But I decided to put 30 minutes in, work it out like a heat in a competition then get out...
As for Monday surfing, I guess the same goes for most other people, since I was the only one in the entire mile stretch of the beach this morning and also most other times, usually you see less cars on parking lots, especially in the morning. 
This morning the condition wasn't great either, really nothing that I could surf on. Also, I made a wrong decision of taking my shortest board thinking that it would be lot of white stuff that I would need to duck through... Which was true, but then there was no good breaking spot that I could find... at least from where I was. I was paddling all over the places to find a take off spot for 30 minutes and the time was over to get to work. Quite a bit of workout though especially on a short board.  
Quite a contrast to yesterday. Well, you win some and lose some. At least I burned a lot of calories, and that's the reason why I have taken up the sport, so I should be happy.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Session 4010: Fun Longboarding Sunday in SC

We had a great afternoon session in Santa Cruz. We are always afraid of the
crowd when we go to SC, but due to the "small" day, that wasn't a problem.
Most "locals" decided to not to go out, I guess. The condition wasn't too
bad though as we were getting good chest to shoulder size wave faces

I had a phenomenal ride that lasted from the "outside" all the way to the
"inside..." probably lasted for 30 seconds. Plus so many other fun rides
that I lost the count... at least more than a dozen. My hard work on "ups
and downs" has just started to pay off. If I lose a speed, I point the board
more straight down and then push the board with my knees as I turn the board
back up again. Of course, the waves are breaking at a slow-motion speed so I
had a plenty of time looking behind to see which way the power is moving.

Since last week, I had been in a short board and beach break mode so it
really was a nice change of pace fighting the waves, ducking under to get
out with a certain "death" by closeouts. This was like being in a heaven. It
is so relaxing by getting on a longboard; paddle totally relaxed, and taking
off gradually. People in Santa Cruz have this treasure.

To add to this, Reez, Aimee, and Jocelyn shared the breaks that added more
element of fun under clear blue sky and no wind to speak of. Everyone was
got a bit chilly towards the end of the session. I had a helmet (a hood
underneath), gloves, and booties plus the hollow fiber rash guard (sweater).

You should have been there!

Stoke Level 8


Saturday, February 07, 2004

Session 4009: Difficult To Take Off Day

There are some days that wave faces were big enough, but it is so difficult
to take off. Today was a kind of a day like that when the sets were mixed
with fast closing ones and also thicker ones and peaks were shifting to all
over the places.

This is when some real good people can show their wave and location
selection skills. As being on a nice weekend morning, there were tons of
people out there, but some good surfers were skillfully choosing spots and
still making the best out of it.

It was also good to see Ren and Carolyn back in the water.

Stoke Level 5


Session 4008: More Fun Condition. Back to Daily Routine

Today is probably the first day I felt being almost completely back in business. I got up early, and did not fiddle with the computer and went straight to the beach and in the water by 7:30 a.m. The sun is coming up at 7:10 so that’s one more reason to get started early. Got up, checked and there was no wind, clear sky with all different kinds of clouds like some impressionist paintings, and nice clean beach. Also saw some familiar faces like Jeff and his friends. We don’t engage in any lengthy conversations on the water but we are just so happy to see each other on the water, and back to the stokes of catching waves, almost like we are back to surfing organisms.


Today the period has gone up a bit to 17 seconds and so the faces gotten a bit bigger and also steeper today, but that’s when shorter boards get more fun. But still I had problems catching consistently. I would really be a bit less fearful in catching these steeper waves, as when I do catch it, I can ride them, but often I just give up and pass up the chance.


I am going to surf both this weekend days, and I am really stoked about it.







Thursday, February 05, 2004

Session 4007: Finally Some Good Beach Break Surfing

I was very hopeful since yesterday, as the weather finally cleared out for
the first time this week. As I woke up this morning a clear moon was on the
western sky telling me that we are all ready for this morning. I waited for
the Sun to come up, and then stop by at a local coffee shop to pick up a
coffee. The sun is now up in the sky, no cloud and no wind. such a nice day.

The ocean was calm and my favorite size shoulder level breaks sets were
coming every 3-4 minutes, and they were somewhat thicker and slower so there
was a plenty of time to take off. The first dip into the water was very
cold. This is the bad part of surfing. there is a moment of painful
adjustment to become a marine mammal as the water seeps through the rubber.

Today, I felt myself being a bit rusty. Especially there were some lefts
that I tried to get into but totally lost them a few times... But I scored a
few good ones, and my bottom turn was starting to come back to where it left
off several weeks ago. After suffering through a week-long cold, every
stroke of paddle was more exhausting than before. It is amazingly so easy to
get out of shape, and so quickly.

You should have been there!

STOKE Level: 7


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Session 4006: The Jetty -- Sat 1/31

Well, I almost forgot to log the last session at the Jetty on Saturday Jan 31. We originally planned the BBQ for our surf group but earlier the week, I called it off mainly because of the turnout, the swell etc. Honestly, I still in a state of disbelieve that I have started a group. As I was growing up, it was not my forte to do something like this. There usually were other kids that were leaders of some small group in a school or whatever. But, anyhow, this is not to say that I am not enjoying, but I am a bit challenged to keep the group going and make everyone as satisfied and fulfilled as possible. I guess this is why eventually a group become formal and have presidents and treasurer etc. One side of me think that I should keep it as loosely knit as possible, but on the other hands if we want to events, I sometimes draw a line like asking people to show up at the sessions on-time. Now I know clearly in my mind that I did not choose politics as my main job.


Back to surfing, so I had an opportunity to speak for a while with David Alexander, our local surf instructor, on Friday afternoon about various options for learning surfing etc., but he told me that the Jetty was starting to be good because some sandbars have been forming. Also our Ren called me about the Linda Mar really getting junky on Sat morning. So I sent out my buddy Nick, who lives only 2 minutes fro the beach, to scout out the section. I really love it when these chain of communications work, and that’s one thing I am much stoked about getting this group of surfers started. Some of us really communicate tight and know where and when to go and not, and we are in constant communications.


I sort of rambled on about people aspects on this log, but the reason for that is that I want to remember later on that I did have some surfing buddies (if I don’t at some point in the future). Also the condition at the Jetty was “fair” as when I arrived the tide was good but quickly went down and all the good stuff faded out and so not much to report on the surfing department.


It remains to see by the next year this time how our group of surfing friends would be. I am starting to wonder, if some of us all progress to the expert level all together, or we would go separate ways. Well, at least, I can come back to my WaveLog and compare.