Friday, April 30, 2004

Session 4073: Small Waves but Great Session. Stoke 8.

Today we met up with Jen, who is aspiring to become the top competitor at the Australia Deaf Surfing conference next year. I think many of our group members have successfully convinced her to get out of her "competition jitter" and commit herself on appearing the NSSA Gold Coast conferences prior to the Australian event. I am sure every one of our member is thoroughly stoked about this news. I am too.
On the way to the surf, I was a bit worried about how well I can communicate with Jen, but it is cool, we exchanged a lot of messages throughout the day using text messaging and once I was talking live, I did not see any differences at all talking to her than anyone else. It is really cool she can even read my Japanese accent lips!
I was also fortunate to meet three new friends today at the Jetty. Jen, Kim and Katy, plus Mark (I now see that you are dedicated like we are!). In spite of the S swells that we all know about, the Jetty was not super crowded on a nice sunny Friday afternoon. We were so lucky. When I arrived at the Jetty though, Jen showed me her busted center fin. We quickly drove over to the HMB surf shop to get her a replacement.
We surfed for a couple of hours as the hour went on the break quality got better and I was able to catch so many waves with my Takayama DT4. Now I think the board is starting to accept me as a rider, but the board is still a bit touchy. But once it goes, it really holds me up and with an added speed and turning ability to the board, I can hold on to the ride longer. I am pretty stoked about this, needless to say. This board loves to be ridden on a forward weight from take off to during the rides. It needs a bit of getting used to, but I think I am starting to understand this board. I put on a longer middle fin this time so I think that is helping too.
Last several long board sessions, I have been surfing on a wide stance since it allows me to be stable and also can change weight shifting more dramatically. Strangely enough, the wide stance is something that I acquired from riding short boards, as on short boards,  essentially the stance is max the board can take.  It is really fun though when the board starts to become a part of my own surfing mechanism. It is so satisfying when I exert a control the board makes the exact course change I intend to do. I think that this is a bit of breakthrough of the recent since I am more consciously controlling the board, rather than letting the board to take me on a ride. Of course I would say the success rate is about 60% of the time. Other times, the rail would bury and totally stall or whatever, but it is a progress, nonetheless.
On to Manhattan beach tomorrow early, got some cool tips from Amy and Jen (So Cal exiles). More report to follow quickly if I get into the Internet, or if not, when I come back on Wed!
We all left the beach happier and stokes charged up to the shoulder than when we arrived!
Stoke 8

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Session 4072: More struggles today

The condition this mooing was a tad improved over yesterday. This is to mean that the power has tamed a bit down, but it continues to close out at the JTY, and so I could not put so much good rides in.
Couple of issues I need to work on though;
  • Overall I am not relaxing. I think that part of the issue is that if I go in the morning, I really feel like I need to catch lots of waves within an hour to 90 minutes session period and the work is in my mind. When I surf on weekends, I am much more relaxed for a 3 or even 3.5 hour session without any other pressure to get out at any specific time and I just let others have waves and also there always is some spot that other surfers overlook, or just let them have the first set, I come in on the second or the third of the set. What most people don't know is that it is usually the second or the third of the set that gets bigger than the first.
  • I am still not up on the board quick enough and also not putting the weight down to the board. These things cause the board to slip out immediate after hopping on the board. My text book says that it is because the upper body is not relaxed as a result the body rigid and so not transferring the weight on the board. Or also quite often, the board takes off and I belly board all the way down wasting the whole surface. It is an element of fear working up for not standing on the board!
Surfing is difficult isn't it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Session 4071: More South Stuff. Period dwindling. Closed out more!

This morning the ground swell period was down to about 17 seconds. It also seemed to pick up more local wind swell stuff that made the situation rather junky so we all had to work with close outs. For experts, I think the Jetty looked great but I am still hesitant to get in there and fight for a small take-off zone. This is a kind of a day that I can take off but immediately after doing so I got consumed by the agitating white water junk that I could not even keep being on the board. Not easy to out run. From various forecast sites, tomorrow we have one more day of this S swells, with more mixed NW wind swells. Today I used my "Gold Fish" and tomorrow I plan to bring out my DT4 again to see if it will make any differences.
When I started surfing, I could not understand why things get poor in the spring and the summer but I think I am gradually joining those pessimistic surfers. I subscribe to Surfpulse surf report that comes out every morning, and 8 out of 10, their OB reports seems to be pessimistic to me the words like  "poor" and "junky" appear a lot. Well, but, I still enjoy being in the water and have a free membership to all-natural gym. No lockers or combo-locks to worry about!
The weather was still great in the 70's at 8:30 when I got out. Still getting gazing from all the drivers that pass by the PCH.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Session 4070: First Major S. Swells of the Season

We have been treated with a major S swell that has started to hit our shores at 5-6 ft and 20+ seconds. Places that are normally not vibrant in the winter has really become alive, like the Jetty. It is so powerful that even the Jetty is starting to have major closeouts. So I do not know if this is a curse or not. With a record breaking hot weather, it has been really nice, and also the water was hitting 55F.
Not much improvement today that I can think of in terms of surfing. This is the second time I took out the Takayama DT4, and this time. The only spot that was breaking rather nicely was, as usually, very crowded. The swells have brought out some 20+ people in the morning!
With so much water pushing, once I wipe out, a lot of water will pile up on for a long period of time and hold you down under for a bit longer. But once I get out, just turn around, smile, and keep paddling out.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Session 4069: Mellow and Glassy Morning. Stoke 7.Almost caused an accident.

Finally back to the routine. I stopped by at the JT to surf for about an hour on the way to work. With practically no wind and with a fairly long period swells (14 seconds, 6-7 ft), the place was good. Already there were 7 or 8 of us out there in the morning. Anticipating a small condition, I took out my new favorite gold fish (I am going to call it this way because it is red and yellow).
I am really into surfing with this puny board, and I also really look the way this board looks like. It looks like a board you see on surfing cartoons as its painted in two basic solid colors. As for surfing, it is becoming more fun with it. This one is almost totally opposite of the Takayama DT4. There is so much flotation in the back of the board that to kick up the speed initially as I paddle in to take off, I press the back down a bit, resisting the tail lift up and board shoots me out... kind of like a crotch rocket. I see why this is a good board for small condition, it just has this rockety characteristics.
The HMB residents are all aware that the traffic slows down by the Jetty. This morning this Subaru dude was looking at me while I was changing. Next thing I hear a loud rubber screech sound. The guy narrowly misses a pickup truck that was in front of him stopped at the light.  I see also this happen near Linda Mar about 2-3 times a season too.
Like surfing, look at where you are going, or you are not a surf dude!

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Session 4068: Stoke 8 with Takayama DT4 (Road Test) at 38th.

I just got back from a great session at the 38th with my new DT4! So like anything in my life, I need to document this while the charges are still holing in my dendrites.
Road Test: Donald Takayama DT4 by SurfTech, not a Magic Board (well... yet).
I was itching to get onto my new DT4 and finally I got on the board today.
  • Paddling out: Paddling out was not as easy as Velzy 9'0 Pin Tail (another epoxy board I have road tested). The board is quite a bit narrower and also a bit thinner compared to the Velzy. The notable smooth glide of the Velzy was not present on the board. It felt more like the Arrow 7'6 hybrid. As it turns out that this board has much more flotation towards more in the front of the board. After adjusting the paddling position, paddling became considerably easier, however, compared to the Velzy it was much more paddling.
  • Taking Off: Taking off also resembled much more like a hybrid board than a long board. It required a considerably more paddling to get into the initial wave even when other long boarders did not have problems getting into the waves. With a bit of adjustment in take off positioning (later and more towards the hook of the wave), this problem has been solved. This board seems to prefer much faster and steeper take off style than the Velzy 9'0 (even though the Velzy is also a pin tail). Once I have learned the characteristics of this board, I was able to select waves and take off very consistently.
  • On the Face: This is where this board really shines and where the fun begins. Due to the less floatation in the back (the board tapers narrowly more quickly), the board is not afraid of taking off on the steeper waves and even on white waters. Where I would have normally pearled, this board just picks you right up and take you safely to the bottom of the wave. This distribution also allowed me to lean on the front more. In many times, the front will start sinking but on this board, it just slides down the slope as if it wants to go and the speed picks up. The board is more sensitive to turns so once the board is on some speed, the board responds more sharply to the lateral weight shifts. Cranking (thanks to Wardo for giving me this term) the turns both at the top (immediately standing) and  bottom worked like a charm. I could feel the deeper digging of the rail and push the knees through the turns.
  • Santa Cruz 5 Knots Collision Test: The test team was able to fit in a small collision test. The test surfers managed to get a fin caught from another surfer at 5 knots per hour to see how well the bumper survives. Thanks to the TufLite epoxy construction The board has only suffered a very minor paint chip to the front bumper. Back in our  test lab shop, it was already fixed with an epoxy putty. The epoxy does not emit any harmful fumes so the repair was safe and quick.
  • Recommendation: The DT4 9'0 is a bit more sensitive board and less floaty than many entry level long boards therefore this board cannot be recommended as an entry long board. However, this added sensitivity allows more advanced long boarder to take advantage of more "looseness" and perform more aggressive riding. The board does seem to choose the rider instead of being other ways around. For an experienced longboarder, it might be a perfect addition to your quivers to aggressively ride steeper faster wave situations.
Today's Session Story:
The new board was a bit temperamental at the start. When the first time I rode the Velzy, it magically allowed me to paddle faster, catch lots of waves, and make initial turns very quickly. This one was not as easy. But once I found out a bit more about how the board behaved, I started to understand it a bit better to take advantage of the characteristics.
I caught so many waves today with it. Today was especially kind of the day where I felt I was really consciously getting successfully getting ahead of the waves. This means that my up and down turns are continuing to get better, and there is a bit more power and speed to surfing.
It will be some time before I can extract a lot out of my new board, but it will be fun!
The sky was sunny and hot today. Shouldn't have worn gloves! Stoke 8!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Session 4067: Back in California! Mellow Day.

The trip to Colorado Springs has concluded a bit early. But, since the night before it snowed quite a bit and I had a nice refresher course on (1) How to brush the snow off the car, (2) Try spinning a car around in a snow covered parking lot. Both were extremely successful. Only concern was that I might have not been able to get back home, as I have heard that Denver was even in a worse condition than CS. Anyhow, I drove the trusty Malibu Classic back to the CS airport, and luckily the flights were still going on and also I was able to get on to 12:30 flight instead of the original 4 PM.
Well, I could have surfed yesterday if I pushed for it as I got back at 4. I did not.  I was also itching to try out my new 9'0 Takayama DT3, but I did not touch it.
Today, we checked out a few spots here in N. SMC, but could not find anything that have been great so we decided to go to the Jetty in the afternoon. This turns out to be a good pick as the waves were not big but more consistent.  With the DT3 not set up (not waxed and finned) I quickly grabbed my 6'6 and headed out, and while I had fun, I really wished that I took out the longer board as other surfers are "stealing" my waves lefts and right.
Nevertheless, once up on the board, I am starting to have a much more freedom in directions and controlling that it was a very satisfying afternoon. Glad I am back and glad that I can surf again! Not surfing for a week is not a good thing. I felt I was already rusty.
As of right now, the DT3 is still in "brand new" state. Still catching up with a week of "being away."

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Reflection from the Rockies: Iospea Utah

I must first say that I don't know very much about the Hawaiian/ Polynesian culture nor the Churghe of the Latter Day Sains (LDS). But what I know is that there was a "colony" of LDS members who migrated from Hawaii to the land called Iospea, not too far from Salt Lake City. To condense the story, the town does not really exist any more. There were some problems and also some spread of disease and many decided to go back to their home.

I have only been away from the Pacific for a few days, but thinking about this story, but to me, it looks so sad that they had to give all it up, move to the middle of the mountains only to find out that they had to get back to their origins. Myself, I was born in an island and while I was not so concious of it, I grew up with the ocean around me. I actually did not realize this, but I cannot imagine myself in a world without being close to the ocean. I picked living in the California coast probably because of it. Funny that I was not even aware of this when I move to the Bay Area, but now I know. I have to wake up with the (even the faintest) smell of the ocean, and get back to it before I go to sleep.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Reflections: A "Dry" Week in Colorado Springs

These days, I hardly get to travel on business. It is actually more like I have carefully managed to avoid it so that I can stay close to the ocean, do dawn or dusk patrols surfing etc. I was able to make a reasonable excuse of budget cuts in my team, but eventually there will be a situation where "How come your department is not spending enough budgeted money." So I reluctantly decided to come out to Colorado Springs for a week of software product training.

So I get off the CRJ2000, probably a 36-seat twin jet (I would not mind having one of those for myself) with a 400 lbs man next seat to me, to Colorado Springs airport and I had to rent a car for the week. I happened to get Malibu Classic. Of course, up to this point, that name did not cause any sort of reaction, but now because of this I becomes awfully curious about "what the heck they named a Chevy car with that name?" These days, if you say to your friends "I got a Chevy Malibu Classic" that is about as boring as it gets. I seems to also miss the mark much further away from "The PT Cruiser." So, I would imagine that you had the Malibu, I would automatically guess that started a family, you are rather conservative in terms of choice of transportation etc. That's kind of far from the image of what I know of Malibu. In fact, my own name is usually mistaken for Malibu too, and also I used to own a Mini-Malibu long board too. So why the heck the GM decided to make cars that is named after most famous surfing spots in California (or the world for that matter). Well, I did a bit of research on this, and it dates back to 1966 or thereabouts where drag racing was one of a popular recreational activities. Then The Beachboys, once they "ran out" of surfing theme songs, they also wrote about drag racing and cars in general. That make sense. So, I am proudly driving the Malibu Classic around Colorado Springs neighborhood as if I am telling to people around that "Hey, I am from California and I surf too!"

Back to surfing....

One thing I managed to do is this. I managed to find out that the Homewood Suite has a free membership deal with a local "Y" so I have learned that I can actually use the swimming pool there. So I have been swimming since I arrived here. Man, though, I thought I was in shape to swim but I still cannot do long laps on freestyle crawl strokes to swim. On breast strokes I can go on for many many laps.

But the first night there was laughable. It is like an ancient man waking up in the year 2004. I have not been to any of these gym facilities for probably 15 years, so I did not know what to do. Now, please be reminded that I go out to the open Pacific ocean on a daily basis, so there is no need to worry about lockers, combo locks any of those. Of course, I have purposely avoided going to gyms, and that's why I chose surfing. I just get out of the car and basically run west and I hit the ocean, then just paddle around. There are no doors nor sign up sheets.

When I checked in, I did not know that you have to bring your own paddle lock, or rent it. I had to go all the way to the locker room to find out about this, so I went back to the front desk and got the lock. Now it took me about 10 minutes to figure out the combination on the darn thing. It just happened to open... more fumble on this later.

For the first thing, I did not know that there was an exit to the pool in the back of the locker room so I took a shower and got out of the entrance part of the room to look for the pool that probably looked rather strange!

But it looked like people in Colorado Springs do not swim. The pool was relatively empty so I really had a good time swimming in there.

After I was done with it through, I did not bring the towel so I was walking in the locker dripping water all over the place completely ignoring the sign "Please dr off completely before entering the locker room." Then I could not open the combination paddle lock for good 15 minutes because the tag they gave me had 4 numbers in it. As it turns out the last number was the "serial" number of the lock.

I went back the second day and it was a smooth sailing as I have to say.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Session 4066: Great Day To Conclude 36-Days Of Consecutive Surfing! Riding the Softop.

Well, I am not going for 37 days as I need to get packed and get ready to go
to a business trip on an early afternoon trip to Colorado Springs. Not too

So because of an afternoon dry social event, I decided to do a quick morning
session at LM with Arthur. As I approached the Devils' slide I get a call
from him, "I dinged my board." I could not talk long because in just 10
seconds there will be no cell service.

When he arrived at the beach, I have taken a look at the ding on the board
and sure enough he had another rail ding from yesterday. That really sucks,
so he brought his wife's SoftTOP board. Whenever I see other people have
one, I always wanted ride it because in spite of their reputation, they are
really fun. They are extremely forgiving and easy to paddle. I still don't
know why more people don't pick them as their first board. Should I know
about all I know today, that would have been what I have chosen, but I
basically got bunch of incorrect advises from getting a 7'0 mini-gun to
"don't get a SoftTOP you are gonna outgrow in a few weeks." I know it,
nobody wants to look like they are a beginners. But I just jump on it, and
zoom by other surfers with much more mean looking boards at speed catching
basically every wave I go for. There is basically not anything wrong with
this board at all.

Well, I laid my 9'0 Velzy on top of the ST Hi-Performance and looks like
they are made basically from the same template to me. The SofTOP was a bit
heavier, probably because it is wrapped with more industrial strength
materials. Now, don't get me wrong. The Velzy is a fine board, I call it a
"Magic Board" more on this in a moment.

Back to surfing. So today was one of these kind of days that the it was
breaking all nicely all across the outside that we were so spread out so we
found a section that broke about shoulder level and we caught one wave after
another. It was really a lot of fun.

So I asked Arthur if I can swap my Velzy with his SofTOP. Now this is why I
say my Velzy is a Magic board. As soon as he got on the board, he started to
catch one wave after another. Strange though I also kept catching waves with
SofTOP too. Second thing that happens is this. I let others use my board but
almost invaluably, once they get a hold of it, I have to ply their gripping
hands to get it back.

I saw immediate improvement in Arthur's take offs. The magic of the board
worked for him too. After a few of his successful take offs, (I should
have not) said to Arthur, "Do you want to buy it?" and he actually took it
rather seriously, so it actually became serious. Initially I said that he
can use it for a week while I am out of town and if he dings it it is his.

To fix his ding on his Roger Hinds, we stopped at Sonlight and then I
happened to see exactly the next board I wanted. It is a used "9'0 Donald
Takayama DT 4" it has a bit of concave in front and of course, it is an
epoxy board (great for klutz like me where the board design changes with new
concaves and channels created after few sessions). So I asked Arthur, that
he can buy mine, so the deal was established. So now I got this snow-white
board out of the rack and it is sitting in my garage now.

So next time you are looking for me, look for a helmet surfer with a white
board. It is a bit of a reward for me to completing the consecutive days of
surfing project too.

Unless I break a board this will be it for a while.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Session 4065: Great Sunset Surfing Stoke Level 8

I surfed 35 days straight and still two more days I can go for.
Arthur and I have surfed together this evening and there were some awesome but gentle overhead peaks we discovered far outside. Today I took out my 9'0 board and it was the right choice as the tide came up, the waves started to break bigger on the outside. Another nice thing is that once you get into the wave, the waves steeps up quickly so we picked up tremendous speed, and board starts to skip over the ripples. I have not had this kind of fast ride in quite a while.
Arthur had a really good ride and several more while I also had quite a few rides that were really fun on a nice sunset background. Kind of like a Bruce Brown sort of a day (where did the film crew go?).
Because of breaks coming so far outside, we had quite a bit of distance to ride and we rode one right to another and by the time we finished our session, we had to walk quite a bit of distance back north to where we started out.
As for myself, I am much more confident in turning so I am altering the line as I see fit, and creating different lines to keep the ride longer and also recovering from errors better now. I am really happy about the progresses I have been making. It was great also that Arthur did not mind getting way way outside, that is something very difficult for me to do (yes, due the fear) without someone else around.
We were also accompanied by a curious seal and also a huge dolphin that was blowing the air so high that I can locate them from behind breaking waves.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Session 4064 (D34/31): Day 34. Nice Sunny AM. Glassy. Was a Long Board day & place.

Earlier this week some rain was forecasted today. Also the 8 ft 11 second swell did not look that appetizing. But as usual, I just go. If not for anything, to burn some calories, since I really dislike being on any kind of exercising machine, nor wanting to listen to music while I do it.
In spite of what the NWS told us, it was a nice pure glassy morning without any wind at all. It is really amazing that when there is no wind the waves, especially looking from the back look as if someone put a giant sheet of Saranwrap over. Sometimes, Sushi restaurants make bunch of California rolls and then wrap them in Saranwrap, dark green texture of Nori and the kind of round with few wrinkles. The waves remind me of such textures.
Again, I am shooting myself because I did not get out earlier on a bit lower tide and would have been a bit more fun waves to catch, as the tide was up high and bouncing off the seawalls and cliffs. But I did score a couple of solid rides so that made me happy.
This week's theme continues to be catching more solidly and speeding down the slope sooner, and in these couple of rides, I was able to make some very conscious effort to do so. Also today I really felt that I was planted on the tail traction pad, unlike other times I was planted on tangled leash cord!
There is one guy that I often see there and he spotted me and told me "Aha! You got a nice board!, I recognize you and your old one." Well, with a helmet I am an easy target, but I am glad he was stoked about my new Fish too!
Just three of us towards the end of the session, a friendly, nice Spring surfing. I won't mind if everyday is like today.
Also it is great to hear that Jocelyn has been transformed into one of my surfing BORGS and now she says she is going out no matter what (within reason). Good going! I have successfully transforming Other surfers! It will be you next. Resistance is futile!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Session 4063 (D33/31): Fun AM Surfing

Note: In order to respect all the local surfers and the community, I am no longer going to disclose where I have surfed other than a general location if that is necessary in the context of a report. I would like to avoid people from flocking at any specific breaks because I said something, and since it is on the World-Wide-Web, you know what I mean when I say flocking.
I had a late start this morning but I managed to surf for about 45 minutes this morning, but it almost never fails that on days like these, it is hard to get out of the water, as the "time-out" comes I usually "finally" find a spot or some nice breaks come in (this is actually a well known psychological phenomenon that you tend to discard "blah" situations and only remember good situations).
This morning the beach was fairly wide spread and giving rather soft breaks up to about shoulder size level. Since I have been using my Fish for sometime, and I had some reason to believe that the sets might get a bit bigger, I took out my old-reliable 7'6 out.
Today, I set out to understand the mechanism of balance shifts during the take-offs. One of the things that I started to notice this week was that the board slips under me forward while I fall backwards during take-offs, so I have been trying to analyze the reasons why this occurs. In most of these cases, the board does catch the wave and I am on the board momentarily. So last night I was reading my surfing text book and I have reviewed the balancing during the take off. Essentially what the text book said is that most beginners do not shift the weight forward immediately after the take off. This is right. This is exactly what is happening to me! Of course the difficult part is that we all have to put the back weight up as we take off, but immediately after the board is going, you need to weight shift to the front and that is the key to gain the speed in surfing (and not only that to get ready for the bottom turn.)
There were two times that the board slipped out, and so I started take a mental note of what has happened and to make more conscious corrective efforts on the forward weighting and I had some better take-offs. It really goes to say how difficult it is.
The swells were getting better as the tide started to recede from the max. Alas, the time was up already to head to work.
Hope the weather will hold up tomorrow and try more take off refinements!
Let's Surf Better Tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Session 4063: Pretty Poor Condition Today. Day 32 of consecutive surfing.

Should have just gone on a high tide right when I got up. It was just dumping all over the places up to 2 x overhead explosive closeouts before lunch. Practically nobody was catching anything, or if they caught, they all got all wiped out by the white water mess, or waiting forever on the outside. Otherwise it was a very nice warm Spring like weather outside and no fog and no wind to speak of.
Stoke 4.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Session 4062: Day 31/31 Final Day of 31 Consecutive Sessions Complete!

I was a bit worried about today's condition since the swells have gone done considerably smaller. Also because I wanted to get together with friends after the session. I opted for "after work" session. Well the condition was not all the great, in fact Ed from the Surfrider came all the way to join us but according to him this was one of the "worst conditions" he would have ever surfed in, so instead of going in I got some nice pictures taken by him. So I am sharing these pictures with you in this special edition of my StokeReport. As usual I am fully bundled up for the cold spring upwelling condition, and this is my new SurfTech Fish I have been talking about. Nice isn't it? So I am here at the same location as yesterday, and this was about the only place I saw that there was any breaks.

I was almost going to be surfing alone, but later in the afternoon Nick got up from his Mar's hours and called me that he wanted to join surfing with me, so I was really glad. Because as much as I don't want share the waves (just kidding) I do want someone else to be surfing with me. Especially at this location, it is often barren and very lonesome.

As you can see in Photo 2, the condition was not that great. I must have been saying "Let's get in from here." Though I had one really nice long right on a shoulder level break, so I was really happy about that. Sorry you did not get any picture of me actually catching a long ride, but you can see that I am just about to take off on Photo 3.

Interview with Myself:

Q: So what made you decide to surf 31 consecutive days?
A: Because when other people ask how often I go, I do tell them that I surf "every day." This year I started to actually make a count of how many days I went out. Today I have gone out 62 times. But I actually did not make a conscious effort to actually surf every day. So, I said to myself, what the heck, let's give it a try. I was originally going for 30 days but another buddy of mine, Arthur, told me to why not go for 31. So I said, OK. I also made a commitment to do this by officially announcing to all my friends. This drummed up much mental support that I needed.

Q: So now that you surfed 31 days. How do you feel?
A: Not much different than any old week. Not particularly more fatigued or anything like that. I am going to hit the beach tomorrow for the Day 32, unfortunately at the end of this week I have to "live" in Colorado for a week, so that put some damper on my life style, as you can guess .

Q: What did you discover in your 31 days of surfing?
A: It is actually a challenge to surf (or at least get out) each day for this long of a time, because I had to be both mentally and physically prepared to deal with various conditions. The tide and wind condition change by day and by the hour and of course, I have to shoot for the best period to get the best out of the day's condition. That means I sometimes had to kick myself out of the bed at 5:00 in the morning, and sometimes, I had to tell other people at work at 4:30 that "I have to split, I will pick up the rest later on that night."

I also had to work with a variety of conditions, and for that I picked the right time of the year to try this challenge. There were a few days that the swell were over 15 ft and period was also going close to 20 seconds. At my level, it is out of question to venture out to a 3x zone, but I had to be very careful not to get sucked into these danger zones. Physically I am now in a much better shape than when I started surfing just about 2 years ago (in May it will be exactly 2 years). In fact I had to fight some strong currents in these bigger days. It was also kind of a challenge to surf on conditions where the wind was blowing at 20 knots or more, and some days there were not much to surf on, but overall, I only had a few days that I could not catch any waves. Of course there were several days in this period that I had some of the best surfing done in my entire surfing career, and most of these surfing were right here on my local Half Moon Bay breaks.

Q: Are you are better surfer as a result of this?
A: As a high school student who got an "C-" in the Judo classes, I am not particularly an athletic person to start with, so my progress on any athletic activities are usually 2 to 3 times slower than even most average person who would get into the sport. However, there were a couple of breakthroughs during this period. One significant one is that I am now riding the shortest board (6'6) I have ever ridden and somewhat successful with doing so with take offs and turns becoming more solid. This year's goal is to master a "roundhouse cutback" and I now can start to physically feel the mechanism of how that is executed, instead of just knowing how from some of the text books I have been reading up on. I always thought it was kind of funny that I can read the same sentences in the surfing text books over and over and over, and then one day, I finally understood what they meant by actually feeling it. Unless that time arrives, essentially the text and the real world are not communicating through my brain. I am sure many people had this type of experience in surfing of other situations. I have also found out that watching professional surfing DVDs of Rob Machado or Andy Irons have been extremely helpful as I can analyze how these guys are doing what they are doing using slow motions etc., and relate that to how I am feeling.

Q: Would you go for a longer period of days?
A: My "day job" does not allow me to do that. I do have to travel sometimes, and also I do need to visit my parents and brother in Japan frequently, so about a month straight at a time is the best I can do. My hats off to anybody who can surf 10,000 straight days.

Q: Thank you very much!
A: You are welcome!

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Session 4061: Day 30/31 Stoke 8 at ?

Today the swell condition was rather mellow. On the days like these, I
venture out to the areas that I do not normally surf. This one was a bit
"out of the way" beach compared to the other ones I surf regularly. In these
locations when the condition is right, I really get stoked. Today was great
because the shoulder-level size sets were coming one after another and
because there was no other surfers around, I had the entire mile of the line
all to myself.

I think that my new Fish board has accepted me as a friend this week, and
especially I made very little errors in taking off at this session,
something like 4 out of 5 tries, I was up and riding the board and making.
Part of the success I am getting is because I am consciously trying to be on
the board sooner than I used to do. And because I am on the wave sooner, I
am getting a lot more fun out of turning as I am starting to realize how
quickly these boards turn so I might be back on track to master the
roundhouse cutback later this year. I now can see (and feel) the clearer
picture of how to get there compared to even how I was in January. The major
difference I realized now is that the I need to work on controlling the
board with much more frequency and intentions. To do that I should make the
knees and the board the integral part of the surfing mechanism with my feet
solidly planted on the board processing the millisecond to millisecond
feedback of the sole pressure.

The "Getting Out" technique has gotten more natural like ducking and
turtling, as they are becoming more of reflex and autonomic activities. Now
I hardly have to think hard about every step to choose and execute them.
Various separate elements I have been learning through the year are
gradually piecing together as a part of one sport.

Sounds like I made a lot of progress, but I was just watching Andy Irons
surfing on a DVD and I know I still got a lot to go to even be able to do
10% of what he does. But I know I made quite a bit of progress since May of
2002 when I started surfing when I could not even get out past the white
waters in Linda Mar.

So I give today the overall stoke of 8!

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Session 4060: Day 29/31 Sweet & Mellow 38th + Need To Get Up The Board Faster!

The most waves were up to hip high today at the 38th, so it was a very mellow kind of a day. But Clio, Mark and I had a lot of fun today. Also went to "Aloha Grill" on the 17th@Portola afterwards and I had Khalua Pig and Mark ordered a SPAM sushi, which was kind of strange, but edible.

This week I am continued to be obsessed with riding the Fish even though a long board would have been much more appropriate.

In small waves with a short board, everything need move much faster when long boarders have relaxing 5-10 seconds setup, I have to paddle, take off, get in the wave in a matter of 2 seconds. If I can consistently do that I can enjoy this and wider variety of conditions. The Fish can take off on theses mellow hip-highs, not a problem in that area.

Stoke 6. Two more days to go!

Friday, April 09, 2004

Session 4059: Day 28/31 Fogged In... 3 More Sessions togo!

DST plus longer day means that I have a better choice of time to surf. The
tide was really low this morning but the higher tide in the afternoon, so I
chose to surf in the afternoon. The beach was fogged in almost completely.
Funny that just across the hill, it got really hot.

Overall the condition today was softer and actually kind of fun... a perfect
condition for me to try out the Fish. Today, I got a more substantial rides
out of this board. Definitely the board demands a different style riding as
the place you can stand on is very much smaller than anything I have been
used to. Whether it is the right thing to do or not on the 7'6, I can still
have a room to change the stance after taking off.

Also it is much more sensitive to the weight sifts so even just a bit of
shift in the weight will cause the move to steer, stall or speed up etc. One
funny take-off I had was that I was pushing the tail down so hard that the
tail was carving the water and I was going down rather fast. But this has
given me a confidence that I can try to take off on even steeper waves.

All of that summed up to be rather challenging but a lot of fun.

There were several shortboarders out some of them were quite good, and it is
always good to see how these people are handing the waves.

Also I was glad to see Arthur joining me. We were kind of surfing at
different zones. By the time he arrived though all the good waves were gone!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Session 4058: Day 27/31 Big Day but not surfable!

Managed to get out of the bed by 6:15 to meet up with my SRF buddies this
morning. Checked the swells and was already 11-15 ft range with 20 seconds.
I know it is going to be really big.
Called Ed on the way to "a" spot and was told that they have given up
because it was just too big. So I checked out the Jetty for a few minutes.
It is amazing that this swell did not get in there very much. Looked flat
and calm. So I headed to the North. The Montra looked awful; massive 3 times
or even 4 times, I could not tell, closeouts going. Finally arrived in Linda
Mar and the north end looked like it was breaking at least double. There
were only two other surfers I could see in the vicinity of the S end where I
entered. The whole place was pretty junky. It was so soupy that I could not
find my way out, and the S to N current was so strong that I had even hard
time standing in one spot. I was a bit scared of being swept away to the
North where the big waves were waiting.

So it would have been better at the Jetty.

Since I have to surf for 31 consecutive days, I did go, caught a few
white-water rides, disgusted and got out. Then I saw Nick holding his little
girl Sophia. I showed him my "new" fish that I got and he was stoked about
it, so I somehow got back into a cheerful mode.

The swells are going to get even bigger in the afternoon, so that will be
something to see.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Session 4057: Day 26/31 Storm Surfing

Because of low tide in the morning, I decided to surf in the afternoon at
5:00. The PM surfing plan did not work out all that well either. While the
wind was not bad at all, the water was just a bunch of agitated mess.
Shoulder level chops were all over the seascape and I was actually amazed
myself that I could even managed to get to outside.

I did go out. I did score a few rides but they all abruptly stalled each
time over a popping waves right in front. If it was not for the 31 days of
surfing, I probably stayed out.

On the other hands, it gave me more paddling practice over this kind of
conditions. Stoke 4 today.

You did not miss anything today!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Session 4056: Day 25/31 Stoke 9 at the Jetty over lunch!

Phenomenal day at the Jetty. I think I wrote in my last spring's WavLog that
sometimes I would not surf anywhere else but the Jetty. It can get so good.
As for the condition it was not optimum but so many things went right that I
am giving a Stoke 9 today. It is a stoke 9 because;
a.. There was no crowd. Only one another woman surfer and me. She trusted
my judgment and followed me around for almost the entire session. She had
problems taking off though, sorry.
b.. More gentle sand-bar breaks today.
c.. Nice and Sunny
d.. Caught 8 or 9 waves in a short hour session, one after another.
A few negatives;
a.. The wind really picked up towards the end of the session.
b.. The water was only 50 F today.
c.. Many rides ended up in big shore breaks
Initially when I got in, I stayed in front of the storm drains. Swells were
coming in but all were too mushy and also fizzling out. But I saw some
sand-bar breaks to the south so I decided to paddle out there. For a while,
this area looked mushy too but then there was a period of time there were
7-8 ft wave faces breaking. They were easy paddle in rights and so it was a
blast to take off on them. My backhand turns are getting a bit more
confident and powerful so I can keep (but not yet increase) the speed. In
the past week, the bottom right turn has really started to take noticeable
shape, and now it is possible to gain some speed. The backhand turns can
also be more confident and actually do turn as opposed to not turning at all
and wiping out. So on typical rights it would start on a quick right turn as
I get up, then a backhand to go down the slope more straight then the bottom
right again. Previously, I mess up the first backhand but that's where I am
getting a bit better.

Though at the end the waves built up to a shoulder-high beach breaks with no
way of getting around (I guess that good people would pull out earlier
before the waves get to that stage). Nevertheless, because there is nobody
around, I just jump off the board to the other side of the break, and I'd be
all safe. Some times, I do get sucked in by the leash, but in just a few
seconds I can pop up.

Not related to surfing but yesterday, I started to see the first set of
"By-The-Wind Sailor Jelly" arriving at our beaches. So it is now a real
Spring time!

Monday, April 05, 2004

Session 4055: Day 24/31 Windy Junky, Sucky, Low Tidy, Stoke 3

You sometime win and sometime lose. Should have gone to the Jetty this
morning. All the conditions conspired to be a very poor day today. To start
things off there was a strong onshore wind going probably at 15 MPH, then to
top that off, we got low tide and lots of far-shore wind activity causing
lots of agitation. I scored a couple of white-water rides but that was about
it. So that is the extent of the report today. Stoke 3. What a difference a
day makes.

The place was barren, but even on these days there was someone at the beach
I know. I was spotted by Patricia.

One more week to go for 31 consecutive sessions! So, what happens after
31-days? I can go up to 37 days, but then I have to fly to Colorado Springs
for a business trip then stay dry for a week!

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Session 4054: Day 23/31 LM: Stoke 8

I was waiting for Arthur to join the lineup at the Pumps and we warmed up
there for a bit. After a while we both got frustrated for not catching
anything significantly, so I said to him. "Do you want to get a humbling
experience" and asked him to follow me. As we paddled further North, soon
enough, the sets were getting higher and higher and we were steering to the
outside to prevent us from being eaten up by the sets. With no wind, it was
a smooth paddling out to the Roundhouse.

Then, I had one of the most phenomenal rides of this year today, so as for
that ride goes it was a Stoke 10. I had one phenomenal ride this morning.
The reason I say so is because I managed to do a perfect cut-back in the
middle of the ride to stay on the ride and also kept the speed. I usually
stall at this point. It was also a lot of work on my kneed to stay on the
ride to push the speed up and when I finished the ride, I had to catch some
breath so I got out to rest.

Several more excellent rides after that though I could not top the ride.

A day like this is so rewarding that all the bad sessions I had last week I
can forgive and forget. I know and I look forward to many more days like

Arthur: I really am impressed with your latest turns! Lock your rail in to
the face more quickly upon take-off!

You should have been here surfing with us!

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Session 4053: Day 22/31 Pleasure

I planned to meet up our friends at the Hook this afternoon, but about 5
miles south of The 1, there was a huge accident and the traffic came to a
complete stand-still. But I took my binoculars out and look under the cliff
and there was a dude surfing out there. I don't know how he got there,
probably paddled out from areas near Davenport.

Some people turning around told us that it would be 2 hours before they are
going to open the highway up.

As far as meeting with my friends on time, it became out of question so I
turn the car around, because on the way, I saw N. Waddel making some nice
gentle rollers so I called Clio up and said, we are going to give it up and
I will head back to Waddel and surf there for a bit and heave back to HMB.

Then I saw Swanton Road by the Big Creek Lumbar. I totally forgot about that
road, but I remembered (from my Motorcycle touring days) that I can get
through to Davenport. Turns out it was the right answer, so we completely
bypassed the accident and were back on the way to SC.

Lately I have been really stoked about surfing at the 38th and the peaks at
Pleasure Point. There were some concerns that the waves would be too flat
there, but this place always seems to have something going. Joined by Arthur
and Laura it was really fun to warm up inside then once we were all set we
paddled out all the way to the outside. There was a small competition going
but people were sharing the waves fairly well. Also great to look these hot
women surfers.

Even though the place is still crowded, I had a chance to score a few
overheads today and that made me so happy. There was also a family of Otters
including a fairly young looking one playing in the water right at the

Nice sunny day, a bit of wind and chops, but otherwise a nice sunny surfing

Stoke 8 today (would be 9 if there were more swells).

Friday, April 02, 2004

Session 4052: Day 21 of 31. The Battle with Appliance Continues!

My battle with the nature continues this week. I pull up to the parking lot
and I hear a lot of wind, so I was almost hesitant to open the door. It is a
kind of a day when you put a board on top of a car, you need to keep it
pressed down so that it won't start flying all over the places. After all
the composite materials like epoxy and fiberglass were design for aircraft
materials, they want to fly.

The spring "upwelling" is also starting causing the water to be much more
salty to taste and solidify fingers and balls at (52 F). I've surfed last
spring at 49 F so this is a preview of what is coming in the next few weeks.
After this is over and water come back up to 56 F, we will start to get into
the dreaded solid summer pattern with fogs, onshores, and mellow waves. A
nice 30 minutes hot bath after a session would be nice on a session like

In the water, it was like being in an appliance store with the demonstration
of powerful fan and washing machine going at the same time, with the surface
agitated up to shoulder levels. Should this have been more agitated, I might
get sea-sick just paddling around.

I am willing to bet that the dozen or so surfers outside had to come here
because of surfing, but because they probably missed being in the water for
the poor conditions in the past few days kept them completely dry.

However, today I was able to catch a couple of short rides so this is a sign
of things improving a bit. The strong current of yesterday has subsided
today too. The main problem was that there are so many waves popping all
over the places that as soon as I caught one, a huge mound of wave just
forms in front of my course and just prohibit me from keep going.

You might all be wondering whether it would have been worthwhile today, but
one thing I got out of it is a lot of exercise and lot of practice getting
out over and under the waves.

The wind is supposed to mellow down a bit this weekend, so I am hopeful.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Session 4051: Day 20 of 31. Unsurfable Today!

A challenge of going out every day is that there are days that you
absolutely cannot surf. Today has been one of them. Driving up north from my
home in downtown Half Moon Bay...

- The Jetty - Too flat and windy.
- Montara - Massive closeout (this is usually a hopeful sign)
- Gray Whale Cove - Even if this place looks great from the cliff top, when
you get there it is usually very agitating and mushy, either that or
massively closed out.

I ended up at Linda Mar (as usual). Interestingly enough there was no wind
here and the sky was perfectly sunny and clear with no sign of fog.

Since I should be surfing every day I did go out today at Linda Mar and
there was nothing to surf. I hunted for waves both N and S. In addition
there was a massive current going from the S end to the N end. It was almost
difficult to just holding on to the board as I was being side-swept to the N
side. I was at the creek and start to paddle out. By the time I thought I
got out far enough, I was already in front of Taco Bell and then continuing
to move North. The water was just simply agitated but not breaking in any
sort of surfable breaks.

Should this not have been these local wind blowing a few miles out, it would
have been some "fair" day.

No catch today, but I did definitely made an effort!