Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Session 4050: Day 19 of 31. The Jetty Again. Not good this AM.

I was carried away with some work related programming stuff last night that
I did not get to the bed until past midnight telling myself; "What the heck,
I will get up in the morning!"

Well, I briefly woke up at 5:00 but then I was really still sleepy so I went
back to sleep. When I decided to get out of the bed, it was already 6:30. I
was a bit reluctant to leave the comfort of a bed and get myself in the
frigid water first thing in the morning.

Earlier this week, I was concerned that the weather would crap out and
prevent me from even having an idea of getting out. Once I was wide awake, I
did not hear any gust of wind outside, so that got me stoked a bit, and I
was also originally thinking that I cannot go today too. So I put on my
wetsuit and hop into the car. Really sunny nice morning.

Hoping to get some more actions at the Jetty and also not hoping any better
conditions elsewhere, I went back there. This morning was not great for me
as it was closing out inside and totally not breaking outside... a poor
condition overall with a lot of agitating waves.

At least, though, on the 6'6 board, getting through them to get outside
wasn't much of an issue. I remember a year or more ago that I could not get
out at all and wondering how others were lined up way way outside on the
days like this. Now I think I can join these people. That is all about the
extent of the stokes I could report to you. It remind me of being on boogie
board days. Unlike on being a longer board, I have many options for getting
out, from standard ducking to "throw the board to the other side and jump
on" maneuver.

Well, you did not miss much this morning. Hope for better tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Session 4049: Day 18 of 31. The Jetty This Morning

Even though I don't go to The Jetty that often, I do drive by there every
morning. Usually not much going on but once in a while I see the waves I
want to (or can) ride. This was one of the mornings like that. Also
apparently from Jocelyn who was at the Linda Mar, it was pretty bad, so
sometimes the Jetty is a good stand-by to remember to check.

The water was fairly flat between the sets so it was a nice relaxing time
between the sets, but there were some great rolling stuff coming in every so
often, once in a while up to shoulder +.

The morning commute time is an interesting time as the S bound on The 1 gets
very congested, so I get lot of eye contacts with drivers and kids from
yellow busses checking me out as I change. I think that many people are
actually very stoked with the idea of surfing before work.

Interestingly enough, when I am crossing the road, many drivers are so
oblivious that they continue driving at 2 MPH, even if I am looking at them
directly in their eyes! No sharing of any stokes there! One of these days,
my SurfTech might be sticking through their broken windshield (just a

As I was getting ready, Jason from Surfrider found me and decided to join,
so first there were just 3 of us, then a few more started to arrive and the
place became rather competitive as these others were rather good, the take
off zone only being able to hold 3-4 at a time, and just catching and
paddling out quickly.

The "new" 6'6 Fish worked good, did have one successful "diagonal" take off,
and so I think the board is accepting me as a friend.

On the way out Rick checked out my new board too.

The rain and wind started to kick in as I left the beach.

Stoke 7

OK! On to Day 19.


Monday, March 29, 2004

Session 4048: Day 17 of 31. Cristened the new 6'6 Fish.

It was a good day to try the my recent quiver acquisition -- a 6'6 French
Fish board this morning. I think that now I have a complete set of boards to
choose from for various places and conditions. This morning the waves were
coming in 8 ft at 11 sec on a medium tide and so it was just the right
condition for trying out a new board... not so big and not so small.

This is actually the shortest board that I have ever be on. Up to this
purchase, the shortest was the 7'0. Surprisingly though the board was just
as comfortably paddling as the 7'6 hybrid that I normally ride. So I think I
am going to leave the 7'6 at home for a while and try to get used to this
board. The 7'6 also acquired a de-lamination on the top surface in the back
of the board where there is some good paint job, so I am going to take time
and figure out how to fix this.

The fish is a SurfTech epoxy construction so it is light, stiff and more
shutter proof than my fiberglass boards. At my stage of development, I feel
that a board being durable is the top reason for the choice because I know I
will put it though situations that experts won't. Plus I was very pleased
with the durability of the SurfTech 9'0. It still have not gotten any rail

But why I got this particular one? Because last summer I watched a group of
good people who were constantly catching and doing great maneuvers "inside"
and they all were on this type of board on smaller summer waves. For a short
board, it is extremely wide (21 inches in the middle), and chubby looking
and it is basically wide all the way to the tail. For me, I would prefer to
be a bit inside and catch a lot of small waves and practice than waiting for
a long long time for bigger waves outside.

Of course when I go to SC, I will bring my 9'0.

I am sure that I will be writing a lot more about it on upcoming wave logs.
But I got on a few waves but it is a strange feeling that the board takes
off rather gently... like almost being on a long board.

I cannot wait for tomorrow morning.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Session 4047: Day 16 of 31. Stoke 8 again at the 38th.

So, today, I loaned my magic Velzy 9.0 to Ren and she had a blast (but I am sure she will not get the same Epoxy Velzy 9'0 :-) Of course, she had a lot of fun with it because it is a magic board. It is a board that catch any size waves and also let you turn on any wave face.

In the meantime, I tried her famed RH 7'8, and I enjoyed it too. I was actually a bit "surfed out" as on Saturday, I really had a lot of great waves, and as I wrote about SC on a good day, I hate SC on a good day because I have to paddle so far back out again. Anyhow, her 7'8 is an excellent board, and it works like a long board, so if anyone is eyeing on this board, I would recommend it.

It was a great fun weekend with Ren, Heidi and Amanda all joining us on the camp. Too bad that Amanda's dog got really ill and she had to cut surfing.

Also, I sold my Nor-Cal 7'6 Egg to Mark on Thursday and for the same price I bought a Randall French 6'6' Fish (Surf Tech, of course), so additional review is upcoming. It is a coinquidink that there is another person on my message board that got a new Fish, but I have been eyeing on this 6'6 Fish for quite sometime as I actually prefer to be on smaller waves but wanting to practice a lot of turning (plus ducking in the summer wind-swells around here).

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Session 4046: Day 15. Stoke 10 at the inside 38th!

We were originally going to go straight to our first Manresa camping
(actually ended up only being able to get the Sunset site.) but from the Hwy
1 driving, all the open beach locations looked like a huge mess, so we
decided to check out the 38th, and that was the right answer. Great
condition just right for my skill level. Not too crowded (in SC standards)
and also great shoulder level gentle sets for every 5-10 minutes. Enough
time to paddle out and rest, then there was a plenty of space for everyone
to take off. I am now capable of scoring very long rides at this location on
the days like this. My Velzy 9'0 continues to perform very well, allow me to
push the edge against the face and gentle cut backs are no problems to keep
the ride going.

I still think that SC folks got it really good when I have to deal with
massive closeouts on a daily basis. But they should watch out because I will
continue to work on these "next to impossible" conditions.

The Sunset Beach state park was a bit further down and most of the camp
sites were not as close to the beach as they are in the Manresa State. One
advantage of this location is that you can actually drive the car right up
to the site whereas the Manresa, you have to go to a drop off site with a
limited parking time then go park the car in the main lot. They were a bit
disorganized and did not assign us a location clearly, with a fear other
mix-ups, we had to move our sites. That was a bit of a hassle, but with a
bit of teamwork, it worked out fine, as we split up to the camp logistics
and the administrative teams and we took care of both dealing with the state
and the local issues.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Session 4045: Day 14.

A clear morning is sometimes the hardest morning to get out. When I open the
garage door and get out, it was so cold almost making me wish that I just go
back, take a warm shower and get back into bed. Then that first shot of
water seeping into the suit is a bit painful. But all that is taken care of
then it is all fine and comfortable. I like my new titanium coated rashguard
I got last week. I think this keeps me warmer than the sweater kind.

Almost half way there for a month of consecutive surfing! 11 ft 13 seconds
on W swells and low tide. Getting out was not much of an issue, but sets
continue to close out a considerable amount of power. Today I had one of the
longest body surfing I have ever done after being caught in the white water.
I kept moving with the water.

Another so-so condition day, but appreciated the lack of people on the beach
where no one person is taking over the lineup and spread out. More close
outs and I have heard some dudes talking about being pounded to the bottom
and colliding with his buddies etc.

Wish I could wait until the tide gotten higher.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Session 4044: The Day 13. Heavy Closeouts But Tubes on the South End

Interesting seascape this morning at 6:00 AM. On the North end the there
were huge 2 to 3 x overhead sets closing out. In the middle was a strong
channel current going out but very rough. Then to the South was overhead
sets throwing out tubular shape closeouts. There were a couple of short
boarders trying to catch those, but were just dumping so fast and ending
that not getting much in the way of the rides. I think that should the tide
be a bit higher, it would have been better, but like yesterday, I was in the
lowest of the low tide time. Towards the start of the session, I was in the
middle section and trying to catch reforms after these huge sets crumbled.
There was so much more water pushing today, the outgoing current was also
stronger and so getting out was kind of fun. Once I was out, though I was
still not sure whether I will be positioned right or would be pounded right
under the curling "C".

For those surfers flaked out this morning, even though on days like this
there bounds to be a few in the size and speed that I can go for. Scored 2
rides. Stoke 6.


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Session 4043: Day 12 of 31 Consecutive Days of Surfing + Transformation to a Sea Animal

Well, I think I am now on a mission to surf 31 consecutive days. Today is
the Day 12. See if I can make it!

Starting this past weekend there is some change in my attitude with the
ocean. I am feeling much more at ease with it than ever. One thing that I
noticed more clearly is that the rhythm of movement is so much different in
the water compared to being on the land. On the land, I can move my arms
freely and fast through the air, but in the water, I have to tune my
movement to the liquid medium. For example when paddling out. It was a
mistake to think that I move the arms just as fast as I would do on land to
go faster. The viscosity of the water, the dimension of the board and my own
weight requires a total tuning of the movement.

The wave also moves in kind of a speed that is not like something that
people experience on land. Even though we talk about waves big and fast, we
are only talking about 5-15 MPH movement that builds up. For example, the
timing of duck diving. It is a 5-6 second motion... more like a Tai Chi
movement than a Karate movement.

Once I became aware of it, I am founding a much more confidence and comfort
in the water. I am sure this is the start of the awareness, but I know
something has changed. It might sound obvious to you. It was to me on paper,
but now my body is feeling it, that's why I say I am transforming to a sea

Surfing this morning also was really really enjoyable. Though the tide was
too low and the waves were closing out a lot of times, there was a ride that
just made me so happy. I did a deliberate very late start into a bigger
closing out set, and the board has caught the wave, but I was surrounded by
lots of white water. But the base started to reform back up and I gained
some speed, that gave me a chance to emerge from the soup, and execute a
sharp right bottom turn and was back up in the wave. That started to close
to left, and so I actually was able to cut back, pushed the knee out that
that gave me some speed. As I did it another bump popped up in front, but I
had enough speed to climb that one up, and then back in the down slope

It was so much work that after the ride was over, I laughed so hard, then I
had to catch some breath before paddling back out.

I want do that again soon!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Session 4042: The Jetty. Not Much

Today the buoy report were indicating swells from W 6-8 Ft at 8 seconds. Typical summer like pattern including the 20 MPH side wind... OK, except for the fog. Deep swells are also very small only 2-3 Ft max. So I did not expect that much in terms of getting good rides, but this month, I am on a mission to surf every day except for the 12th that I missed, so I did go during a lunch break. Nice weather and so forth, but a typical kind of crappy Jetty day where the breaks were happening on waist high shallows. I really did not feel like breaking the board so I just paddled around for about an hour and came back. Not much else today, but I will see I can break my own record.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Session 4041: Brought Manrea with me to Lindy, Reflections - Need Focus

Back to weekly routine of stopping by at LM and surf before hitting the desk. The condition was kind of junky with lots of small agitations (it has been kind of a theme for the last week or so). Negotiating for a "getting out" meant that I looked like a small fishing boat in northern Hokkaido in the deep of the water, just being agitated and not moving much. As small mounds of water pops and break in small bits, I turn left and right to avoid and find the valley through which to get out. Actually this seems to happen a lot when I am in a rip tide, so I was hopeful that I get free rides.

When I first got on my 7'6 last April, I was tipping over all over the places, but as far as that goes, I came a long way, now I am paddling out even in that kind of situation without grabbing the board, so it was kind of fun getting out.

Like many times I encountered this week, and even at Manresa yesterday, weves were breaking in very small sections so I actually had a bit of fun finding and chasing these peaklettes. Again if I was one of these guys ripping on these types of waves on short boards, I would have done the same, but it is still a way to go.

Lately, I think I am lacking the focus on both surfing and the life in general, and so I am starting to think more in terms of getting focus. So after getting out of the water, I went back to work and tried not to be distracted so much. Part of a help I got is an ISP outage that essentially stopped all the flow of e-mail messages....

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Session 4040: Return to Manresa North

I was hoping that we can do some decent surfing this weekend, but that was shuttered. First the nature did not cooperate did not send me good swells and second if there were some good swells, there was a Kayack contest at the Lane, that means surfing on the West side was out of question. So, we decided to go back Manresa. Last time I was there was probably sometime in August last year! This means that the Spring surfing is upon us!

I was joined by Mark, Clio and Amanda. Amanda was injured so she did not surf but did came with us to show her support! Turned out it was a bit of fun as we had gentle breaks as the tide started to go down, and finally it just became just rough agitating mess as the wind picked up and the tide went down completely. Nevertheless, a nice sunny afternoon in Manresa brought back a lot of good memory about the last year's surfing struggles and adventures with friends, and hope for many more waves to catch with both old and new friends that I have yet to meet!

In terms of surfing, there were some young dudes ripping even in these small coniditions. So it was both frustrating and inspring as usual.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Session 4039: SAT Morning Session

Nice weather (no fog) continued in the morning and then later on some fogs in HMB. Continue to work on take-offs but the beach was very crowded and conitnues to make it difficult. Almost not worthwhile to go out on weekends, but on the other hands it is great to get out and see my frinds surf and improving their gigs.

Session 4038: Pacifica Pier/ Sharp Park

Since we did not have a plan to hook up with people in the PM, I tried
Pacifica Pier and Sharp Park this afternoon. As far as today goes that was
not a good choice... strong shore break and just a lot of agitation getting
out. The in-shore current was so strong that no matter how hard I paddled
out, I could not get out much further out. Had a couple of short rides but
not much to speak of. No wonder not many people surf here.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Session 4037: Starting to show some wear. Only missed a day this month!

I was looking back my Wave Log and this month, I only missed Friday 12th,
and all the other days, I surfed. That's good, but on the other hands my
arms are becoming a bit fatigued. Also this morning was a bit chilly and I
forgot to zip up the back. I can tell when I do that because as soon as I
duck through a wave, the whole sleeves balloons up.

Surfing on the other hands, continues to be fun this morning. The waves were
a bit more on close-out side and size were getting smaller than yesterday. I
know because the period is considerably shorter today.

Going into the beach 15 minutes before the sun-rise was great. Basically
there are nobody yet, and just Ren and myself can grab any sections we
wanted. But there was a section that was about chest-shoulder high that
looked most appropriate for us so we just stayed in that section for a good
part of the session.

Even though I do all these paddling all these days, taking off is still a
lot of work with the hybrid so I tend to go inside a bit and try to take off
a bit later and let the waves help me take off rather than paddling early to
catch, but I think I should now focus more on putting more power during the
take-off to prepare for learning taking off on more steeper and hollow

Obviously, and needless to say, there is still a lot to learn.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Session 4036: Unexpectedly Great. The Magic Moment Returns

This morning, I committed to go extra early on a dawn surfing with Ren. She was already ready to go at 6:00 shortly after I just turned to northbound on The 1 to Pacifica. 15 minutes later I arrive. I was warming up and I saw Ren waving at me from way up north. I was not expecting her to be that far up there. She used to "work" at Taco Bell all the time.

Based on yesterday, I was a bit concerned that the waves will be too wimpy today, but with the incoming tide and not much wind, and a good sand bar, we had quite a few good "shoulder level" sets. Once these sets come in, they came in in set of 5 or 6, so there were plenty of them for all of us to surf. Earlier in the session, it was just Ren and me, then other people started to show up.

We were catching and riding waves as if we were in a Surf Classic. Probably we would have done some good should this have been an actual competition.

For me, it was the return of the magic moment where I can take ride and execute turns like the way I am comfortable with.

I am starting to realize the importance of paddling power to catch waves at will. I was reviewing some of surfing text books I have and rethinking about the take off approach. So I am going to apply more power in take off and keep paddling a bit longer. Also on this Sunday David Alexander was giving me an advise on fast wave take-offs, and he said to try taking off diagonally. I knew about this one, but I have totally been ignoring it. I also heard Tim Curren said that on his instructional video too.

In fact, I thought I was doing that on my long board all along, but now that I thought about it for a while, and after one good take off at outside Cowell's last Sunday, what I was doing was doing a fast turn on the top as I took off.

So, there is something for me to work more on!

Stoke 8:


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Session 4035: The Summer "Wind Swell" Fun

It is really like the summer now (except for the wind). We got hot day and
we got wind swells. I ended up going over the lunch time instead of in the
morning. I was up before the sunrise, but what happened was that the Scripps
Institute web page was broken since 4:00 a.m. this morning until 8:05 or so,
and my home page was hung (as it turned out to be). So I ended up fixing my
web software to handle that kind of situations, then I kept on working on
"work work" stuff until the lunch time, had a nice sandwich at San Benito
House then headed up to the usual LM then to work. Actually I am writing
this while I am fixing Microsoft Office on my computer...

Well, I almost did not go. Looking at the beach it looked kind of flat, then
some small sets started to come in and breaking in bunch of sections like in
the summer time. These are actually one of my favorite wind wave breaks
where I take in the hybrid, wait "way inside", sneak up to where things are
going to pop, wait until the very last minute while most outside people
screw up(and they do most of the time) then quickly turn around, then just a
one or two paddles and I am in. At the spot where I put myself, it is
already so steep (but small) that I don't hardly need to paddle. It is
almost like a small puff of a booster fuel explode in the tail, and it takes
off. I don't think people surf in Santa Cruz exclusively probably don't
know what kind of condition I am talking about...

I did this for an hour or so, then had to go back to the office. I could
have caught bunch more if my turn-around is totally good... I mess it up
about 50% of the time yet... pretty frustrating.

So I am glad I went out today. Glad I did not pick the condition, but let
the condition pick me.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Session 4033 - 4034. Sun 3/14 - Sun 3/15 Bonfire & Monday AM

The Saturday morning was a bit nerve wrecking since this was the first big
group outing. We could have communicated the logistics better, as to who to
bring what and when sort of things. But as with anything, practice makes it
perfect. I now know what to do next. Also I lent out my big Webber and I
could not get it back on time so I was wondering what to do about that. Clio
stopped by on the way to the beach so we ended up going to Longs and then
not finding a "camping" type grill, went to Ocean Shore hardware, and there
they did not have one either. But the guy at the store said to lay out some
bricks and then put the metal grill on top which they had. This was a great
idea, as we dug out the sand, made a small fire ring, drop charcoals in it
then grilled bunch of stuff on it. It had a more rustic feel to it and was a
bit hit.

The day started out perfectly and went on perfectly. It was a mini-summer
day in Pacifica, which is a very rare occasion. It seems to happen only 3-4
times a year where the temperature hits close to 80 degrees, no fog, no
wind, and on top of that some decent swells. So it was just a perfect day.
Unfortunately I could not surf too much because I felt like I needed to
round up people, set up the fire site and etc. Also spoke with David
Alexander at length about making him the "official surf instructor" for the

As the outside gotten darker, people surfing got out and gradually gathered
around the fire, finally close to 30 people showed up. It is amazing that
only the June of last year, I created a message board and now we are
gathering this many people!

We had a plenty of wood and so the fire kept burning until close to 10 PM. I
was not the last one to leave.

As for surfing, in spite of the crowded beach, there was a plenty of room
for many of us to surf, and wish I brought out a long board, but on the
other hands, I figured that I would not be able to surf much, so the Hybrid
choice was OK.

Now I have to watch out for myself, or I would never surf again, and might
end up doing other stuff in the name of surfing. I know several people in
that category, like joining an environmental group, or start a surfing club
and coordinating events year around. Though, last night as they left one by
one, just about everyone said that they wanted to do it again.

Session 4034: Monday AM

A complete contrast the yesterday, we had a totally empty beach this
morning. Especially on Mondays, even the morning crowd is fairly thin.
Pretty good set of waves this morning and was really enjoyable, if I can
take off on more waves!

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Session 4032: Stoke 8 @ Outside Cowells Today

When there is a decent amount of energy out in the ocean it is very interesting to drive the Hwy 1 from HMB to SC. One of two favorite spots is the high bluff between the section of San Gregorio and Pescadero Creek. You can see swells coming in uniformly for miles, and it is dramatic, especially early in the morning where the waves cast more shadows. This usually ups the stokes.
The second section I like is the Pigeon Point. I've read somewhere that usually when this spot is happening, then the west side is happening too. I think I agree.
This was a kind of a day where people look down on surfing at the Cowells should have a second look. On the outside, there were occasional overhead waves that connected all the way almost to the beach. We ended up having 8 of our friends meeting and surfing, but all scattered around.
It is great to get into these waves and with a ride lasting good 20-30 seconds, you can try a lot of different turns. Of course, when you are done with your ride, you will be subjected a 5-minute paddle-back, which is probably the only bad aspect of it. Instead of paddling, we can walk around the point. This seems to be a popular technique for point break spots like here and Rincon (Rincon means "Corner" in Espaniol, well... OK... Rincon in Espaniol means Corner in English, of course for Japanese, Rincon and Lincoln sounds the same, so why the former president got anything to do with surfing! Now I wonder, which president of the US was a surfer? Nixon with a house at the Trestle?)
As for my progress, I really need to work on confident take-offs every time, especially in a place like SC where a mistake could mean a painful collision to the "insiders," and that is a part of the fear that I ended up developing lately and also fighting.
Speaking of this, I really don't like people who follow directly behind me when paddling out. This was one of the days last week, and I was minding my way out, and I actually did not know I was being followed directly behind. Now a good chance comes, I quickly turn around to catch it and this guy was right behind me. Luckily I just missed him to the left, of course I had to eat a lot of water. My brain has instantly and automatically executed a parallel search for a good set of words to utter and offered them to my voice cords to execute, but my conscience kept my mouse shut. 
Don't you hate it when that happens! I followed him around the rest of the session until he left... Not.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Session 4031: Finally Surfed For A Month This Year!

This session denotes my 31st days of surfing this year. As much as I think I am going out, today being the 70th day of the year that comes out to be 44% chance of surfing... a bit less than every other day. Having had a 10-day trip to Japan, stormy days, injury, I guess that's probably OK. I don't even know how Tim Webster guy can claim to have been out every day. There simply are days that you just cannot or should not go.
Today was supposed to be an "wind swell" day so I did an experiment and took a hybrid out and actually that was a good choice. Wind swell days bring these soupy whitewaters that I need to get over and ducking is essential. Also the waves were a bit disorganized. Do you know the "battle zone"section in Disneyland's "Pirates of Caribbean" ride? Where they "randomly" pump the air plumes at various locations to simulate cannon balls hitting the water. They pop up all over the places.
It was sort of like that this morning. Little bumps pop up here and there and disappear and pop again. It was fun catching those.
I am also starting to realize though, I am actually don't mind faster breaks, but I really am afraid of big faster waves. Today I got in a rhythm of paddling out, catching, turning around and catching more of these chest high poppers. I probably caught half-dozen small rides in a period of 10 minutes. So exhausted that a 40 minute session was just enough for me. Got out, got a hot coffee and a donut and I was so satisfied.
Stoke 6

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Session 4030: Need a breakthrough

This last couple of months, I have been feeling that I need some kind of a major breakthrough. Unlike the last late summer and fall, I do not feel like I have made a whole lot of advances in the technique. I do feel that I have been getting incremental improvements, but not a major one. Honestly, the injury was a quite a bit of set-back. I think I became a bit more timid about the power of the waves. Building up the confidence would take some time.
My own evaluation is that on a given day, I am probably better than 50% of the people out there, but to be admitted to the next 50% would even be a steeper climb to attain. I am actually setting my life goal to be in the top 20% of recreational surfing situations. Like this morning, I was catching more waves than the most and also paddling out faster than most, but then there still are always a few in almost any lineups that I would still aspire to. Of course, if I go to Santa Cruz or places like I would be outnumbered by those who I would aspire to.
I am rationally aware of the fact that I have now entered the next phase in skill improvements that, perhaps, require additional basis for. Perhaps, more knee strength, more agility in weight shifting, much more powerful take offs....
It might be pointing to the fact that I may need some additional coaching from a professional. Since I have not done that for a year.
Some of the things I really feel the need to do well is to be able to take off on more variety of situations.. bigger, steeper and faster, or even very slow ones. Without it there is no surfing.  I am not desperate, as I know it is a long journey that I have undertaken, especially with me I almost always need to put double the effort of most other people, especially it comes to athletics. But I also know that if I keep at it, things do come together and usually when it happens, it pop up suddenly, and once that happens it usually sticks.
Stoke 6

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Session 4029: Nice weather but...

Sorry I cannot tell you where I surfed today. But I had nobody in the lineup both 2 miles left and right of me. It was just me hogging all the waves if I could, but I did very poorly.
When I arrived at the beach, the waves looked quite good with up to chest to shoulder high sets stuff coming in, a bit on the steeper side but I thought this is something I can catch no problem.
But this beach had enormous shore breaks today, so I am timing it to jump in and dash out, but just more and more stuff were exploding right at the shore. Even worse, once you dip you feet in, you get sucked right under so there were a couple of dangerous moment where I am being sucked under and then crashed down at the same time. Going in was a bit easier, but getting out was so much more difficult as the backwash pulled back the board at such a tremendous force that I could not hang onto it to get out. This is a similar situation that happens at Montara all the time, but I did not know it will be like this here.
Thinking of Manresa beach breaks, it is much more gentle than this there. I guess the sand is not so sloping steeply there. Well, you can almost tell that because in Manresa there is quite a bit of distance from the bluff to the water than most beaches here (except for Linda Mar).
So, what about the waves. Once you are in them, they were really powerful. What I can normally duck under, the board got flipped over and pushed back. They were so much more powerful than they look pushing a whole lot more water through. I did score a couple of rides and they were very thrilling as they push so much faster.
It was a kind of day when I tried to get in a bunch of sets came in, and once I was in, none of the sets happened where I was. And when I paddle to other hot section then where I was gotten hotter again.
Stoke 5

Monday, March 08, 2004

Reflections: Is it really dangeorus?

No surfing today. So some reflections.
Today at work, I am walking to the copy machine this morning, and passed by an exec. He says "What happened?" and say "A surfing accident... (you know)"  He says "Mavericks?" and adds "I am amazed that you are still alive." Today, I come home and a letter from my mother in Japan is on my chair. I open immediately, and the letter opens up, "How is your injury, I am very worried about you."
So, due to the sport I am involved in, I have attained automatically the status of being a dangerous stunt-man who attempt to kill himself on a daily basis. I should not speak, because there was a time, I thought the same thing.
(This is where I would put together an old GE school-house electric clock hand moving rapidly backwards, a B & W sequence, 20 seconds).
Back when I arrived to the Bay Area, I went to "The A & W" (most of you probably don't know where this A & W was, if you did, you would know how far back I had been in here.) Anyhow, I was looking at the dudes behind the counter and just about everyone had a bruise on their face or lacking a teeth or two. They could not say the word "Thank you", because the "Th" would not be possible to pronounce. By now, I am sure that most of them had moved onto the North Shore by now. But my initial impression was "how stupid these people are!"
Now, I am surfing just in front of that establishment almost on a daily basis and in the water side of it, instead of on the sand side.
So, is it dangerous?
I have a Braun hand mixer, and I use it often to mash potatoes or mix a batch of potato leek soup. Is it dangerous? Is it more dangerous than surfing. Sure bet. I can lose my thumb with it if I stick it in to the blades while it is on.
I have a car. Is it dangerous? Sure bet. All I have to do is to just turn the wheel to the left 30 degrees for 10 seconds and hold onto it while I am driving at 45.
So is it more dangerous than the Braun or my car?
I will leave that conclusion to you.
But in the end, I think that we want to make surfing "look like" a very dangerous sport. It just elevates you and me into another social status. When I say I surf, people are very interested in knowing about it. People will respect you.
Aren't you glad?
~~~ MB

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Session 4028: Great Conclusion of the Week

What a phenomenal week I had! Almost every day this past week had some great
experience surfing. I think, should I say it, it is attributed partly to the
switch back to long boarding. It looks like I need still a lot to learn on a
longer and more stable board, so my year's goal of nailing down the
"Roundhouse Cutback" may not be achieved this year. Or may be I may get
there sooner?

One thing for sure, I really need to rework the very basics of good surfing
from good take off, line selections ending with a perfect pull-out every

Also helpful is the start of the last "Spring" type pattern like where we
got a period of time where the swell height did not go up significantly but
the period has been consistently greater than 15 seconds, and the overall NW
direction. It looks like the W swell is pretty bad for HMB, as it causes the
closeouts and up in the LM, the swell don't get caught very much. Whereas NW
swells seem to work at the LM, and when the period gets longer than 15-17
seconds, the NW swells also seems to work some magic in HMB. Just very

This afternoon, I spent time showing and fixing board damages for Reez and
Aimee. I am gaining more experience in this area as I fix more boards. I
have gotten quite better at handling the 13000 RPM grinder, and now I just
use it to curve out the fill zones and also chip off excess resin after
filling the damages. They are super-fast, but if you hold it steady, you can
actually shave zones off rather delicately.

Overall stoke for this week was 8.
Today I was stoked about 8.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Session 4027: Fun Saturday Morning with Friends: Stoke 7 - 8.

This morning I got together with Ren, Laura, Katy, and Jasmina (I hope I got
that right) at Linda Mar for the AM surfing.
We thought that not much was going on, but we paddled to further north and
we were able to get several soft shoulder high sets, perhaps dozen times,
with some fairly longer rides (for LM that is).

The prevailing NW wind also calmed down all night so the choppiness has gone
down significantly compared to yesterday so getting out was very easy.

The long boarding has worked out very well this week, and so I am continuing
to practice on the long board for another week, it is so much easier to
catch so many many waves! I am getting good practice turning and course
selection techniques with it, and it has been working well. Also we had a
fair number of surfers but we were spread out and taking turns so no drop in
or hogging problems at all, it is really nice when things work out like

Went home and hassled and bustled to go see the Ride at the Asian Film
Festival. We did not think buying advanced tickets was not necessary, but
there was a modest size line and the operator was telling us that it is most
unlikely that we will get in. So we got a lunch in Japan Town and headed
back with a Coffee stop in Portolero Hills.

Stoke 7.5. With it was a bit bigger like yesterday.


Friday, March 05, 2004

Session 4026: Great Morning! Finally A Stoke 9 Ride in Pacifica!

I had a 9:30 meeting this morning. It does not really make any logical
sense, but when I have less time in the morning, I tend to visit LM. Though
the Jetty looked very inviting this morning from "The 1" (notice that I am
already becoming like a So Cal Dude with tar spots on my board).

Since I designated this to be the long board week, I took it out and got in
the water, then because of the prevailing winds I was caught inside for a
while with lots of small soupy waves. Returning to the shore and I
reassessed the entry and found a good channel. It is always worth checking
from the shore of the overall situation when a situation like this happens.
There was another guy in the same original spot I was and he still seemed to
have been struggling to get out.

There was a period of time and place though the waves were mashing out, so
for a while I was frantically going N-S and finding spots. But then finally
I saw one spot that was further out but getting about head high with nice
gliding type break. Nobody except me and David (a very great local long
boarder) knew about this break this morning, so that was really a lucky
chance. I caught the first big one as it approached and built up into a head
high roller. "This is it! I started to paddle toward the shore strongly. The
wave is not closing out, but creating a nice slope, I jumped up on the board
right away without a hesitation."

I am starting to understand the judgment of the wave formation, observation
of them as I ride, and making the turns in correct directions to stay on the
ride. It gives me a lot of thrill. Going to Santa Cruz at the 38th and
Cowells have really paid off in this department. It is a lot of fun to make
a judgment, and the wave happens in the way you thought it would and the
board picks up more speed... like, I can extract more power from the waves
so I am starting to get out of stalling situations I used to have. It will
be interesting to build upon these skills to surf like more advanced
surfers! Still, sometimes, actually quite often, I over turn and board goes
vertical while I go completely flat horizontal, and signifies the great
Manabu Exit!

Looking at the watch, the time getting close to the end of the session this

I was praying "One more before the time is up!" Then it came. I scored
another great ride. It really keeps me happy the rest of the day to finish a
great morning session like today!

As for the meeting, as usual, was promptly blown off when I arrived at work.
Lost additional 30 minutes of surfing!

Overall Stoke: 8.


Thursday, March 04, 2004

Session 4025: Long Forgotten Jetty, But...

The swell period and direction became similar to some of the good times I
had at the Jetty last year, so I decided to give it a try this morning. Last
night the 10 ft swells from NW were pushing up to 20 seconds period. Even
this morning it was like 15 seconds so that usually means that we can get
the Jetty to break further out.

In fact it was breaking further out closer to the Jetty side. But I am still
very confident about going that far closer to the rocks and possibly having
another visit to the Seaton Coastside again in a month. I still have not
even gotten a bill from the last one, so I should give it a bit of space, or
otherwise, you would see a "patient of the month photo" one of the walls at
the hospital soon.

There were several short boarders, and especially one dude getting an air
closer to the rocks and looking from the side of it, it was about 1.5 x OVH
with the usual strong fast wall action. I think that if you are a hot
shortboarder this is really a great spot.

Buy, for me, one of the issues at the Jetty, especially on a day and tide
like this is there are a lot of bouncing waves kicking back out.

I paddled between E and W several times to find a reasonable spot. Also, in
retrospect, it would have been better to have a shorter board there. Days
like this make me further appreciate the nice slow big waves in Santa Cruz
and inside Rincon!

As the time went by the wind picked up (blowing the board) and also the tide
went down. It was time to leave.

So I did not catch only but one this morning!

Stoke Level 4


Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Session 4024: Bit more disorganized today, but a lot of fun longboarding

This morning, I worked on "work" stuff since 6:30 through 9:30 then headed
out to the LM. It still amazes me how many "familiar" faces are out there at
that time of the day. For example this one person was there yesterday in the
line up when I was surfing before 8:00. Today she is there again.

Another interesting observation is that, just as many times I see similar
people, it always looks like the good people have always been good from the
first time I saw and not-so-good people (I am in that category), are also
have always been not-so-good. I have not yet noticed very many people that I
can say "Wow, that guy/chick has gotten hot recently!" So I must only
conclude that some people were born with surf boards and wax, and others
have to pay cash at some point in their life. Otherwise my observations do
not make sense.

As for my own surfing, we were getting shoulder to head highs, quite a bit
on a mushy side today and so getting the long board was the right idea and I
caught a bunch of waves, and was very fun. As the tide went out so did the
quality of the waves. On the way back the Jetty looked decent with about hip
high but very clean.

Today's stoke was almost 8. Who can refuse a decent weather day like this.

Man, though, this is already March and only been out 24 times this year. May
be in the summer I put two sessions in a day so I can do some catching up.


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Session 4023: Great Morning Session!

I have not touched on the subject on the skill side of things lately, but honestly, I have not had a good feel of making progress. There were some set backs, such as the face injury, generally poor weather and conditions, bad luck in spot selections etc.
But today, I finally had some challenging but fun day out. This morning, the waves were mixed with noticeable amount of wind waves plus 10 ft+ swells coming from N to about 10 seconds. From the last year, the Jetty area starts to "happen" around this time of the year, and also there has been tips lately from my message board, so I stopped by on the way to work. The waves look clean but not quite breaking, so I went up North to the LM as usual.
When I got there, the waves look really closed out, and I could not see many people out (but there were fair share of cars parked). I was looking at it for a while but starting to be discouraged about the situation. But the guy next to me started to change so that kind of tilted my decision to go in. But I was not expecting much. Also I kind of decided to keep surfing on the long board until I gain the full confidence back.
After a few push backs, I managed to get to the outside, and there were a few overhead stuff coming. I tried to take off several times. I took off on all of them but shortly after the take off I could not get a hold the control, and cannot stand. I was starting to become very frustrated and also getting mad. I thought that the fear is taking over more than the stokes lately. Then a bit bigger one came along, and started to break. I just waited for it to completely crumble and started to paddle into it. I tried really hard to get ahead of the white stuff paddling really hard, at the same time shifting the weight back, then I was up and ahead of the waves a bit. Then with some luck, the waves started to rebuild under.  I was looking behind a bit to see where it is going, and I was adjusting the course left and right and kept riding. At one point I almost lost it but I pushed the knee really hard, the board started to turn and I could bounce right back.
This really got me stoked and I had a couple of other rides like that. Felt like a lot of things I forgot had sprung back to my consciousness.
So this morning was pretty stoky starting from the Stoke 4 to Stoke 8 rides. In addition, there was really nobody out this morning and that allowed me to feel free to experiment.
Another surfer got really good long right ride too, and he was also so smiling and stoked. He said that he had the best ride of his life! 
A day like this is what really keep me going.
Overall Stoke: 7