Saturday, July 31, 2004
So, what I have managed to do in the last 2-3 weeks is that the probability of taking off and setting up for a ride has dramatically increased, and this is with shorter length boards. What really helped me in the past 3 - 4 months is that I switched to a long board riding and also I even acquired a foam board, on which I practiced taking off on all sizes of waves from knee highs to 9-10 footers in South of Half Moon Bay, and because of the soft board, I was much less inhibited to go for the waves that I would not otherwise have tried. Also my paddling strength has become more tuned to dashing style paddling in addition to more endurance type longer paddling.
I need to work harder on faster movement on the short board. This is going to be the challenge for some time. Now I can take off on most of the waves that other good short boarders are taking off. So far that's good. But after the take off, I am still not doing the things that good ones are capable of doing. Mainly I am still not going back up on the wave, so there still is no good ups and downs. What I should not try to do is to really force this to happen for a while. I know it will going to look forced and probably ridiculous looking but I now need to develop this skill to come out naturally. Part of the reason that I am not doing this well, is because of the seer knee strength and speed of the movement that is needed. Probably that is not going to be enough as some upper body follow will be needed. Speaking of that though, I think I am still too stiff on the board. I cannot help it much as I try to do something, but I know, for example, my shoulder should be totally relaxed!
Friday, July 30, 2004
I took the 6'6 out this evening since I have been riding 7'6 for the last everal sessions, and also the beach breaks were forming still closer to the shore. I saw a few good people doing good short board manuevers. With bunch of expert long boarders in the mix it was difficult to find a good take-off spot. I did catch several waves but in terms of the quality of the rides, it was not that great, they were short.
The problems are that I am still not fast with my moves to do faster ups and downs on the wave like other better people were doing. This is the area that I need to work on, however, I think I am making a gradual progress in this area, now that my take offs are much more confidnet in any size boards.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Now I pull in and get back into wet wet suit and booties.
It is always amazing that even though the buoy reading has not changed that much, the wave quality has "gone down" and we were forced to surf on these near shore hip highs. But, again, I am telling you, there were some good surfers out there extracting every juice out of the waves.
I took out the Doyle to just enjoy and relax and I caught a fair share number of the waves too. I must report that with the added skill set under my hips, I can still make fairly long rides.
And this is something I wanted to write in this morning's WavLog, but forgotten. The overall length of rides have really been gotten longer in these recent sessions. I can tell because there are several people in line ups and I know they did not take the rides, and it is now always quite a bit of paddle back to get back to where they are.
As always though, it is always a worthwhile experience to get in the water, paddle around, enjoy being immersed in the overall nature, and come out all exhausted! Plus having a company is always fun!
Like many times in the past, when the sets get smaller, they tend to break faster, so it is actually more fun to surf with shorter boards than on a long board, which, in of itself is kind of recent discovery. Although it is also a lot of fun when a waves are mashing out but big like on the other day in M%a%!
So I caught a fairly large number of the waves this morning. And that brings me to the discussion of confidence. I started to commit and be able to commit to the waves much more recently, and being able to catch a much wider variety of breaking condition gave me much more confidence, and that in turn has given me a more confidence to challenge for even faster breaking conditions. I must describe these kind of take offs though as it is a bit different from when taking off on a long board with early paddle in. The closest description that I can come up with is like this. Imagine that I am in one of a huge diameter storm drain pipe that is above ground, and I am standing inside of it, and a suddenly someone opens a flood gate and lots of water start to come down the pipe. Suddenly the water hits my back and I get spewed out of the pipe at the same time I am now taking a fast drop down!
What I need to work on next:
My bottom turns are still very weak, the initial turn sucks, and so I am not climbing back up the wave with a finesse speed and power.
Next problem that I am likely going to run into is that I still don't change the upper body position much and this is going to become more important in executing more radical and faster top side turns. But I am not there yet because I still cannot climb up all the way back to the lip.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
We had chest high sets coming in but it was also fairly easy to get out. I had lots of decent and confident rides but had to keep adjusting the location as the breaks were happening at all different locations at different times.
We had both lefts and rights but I continue to prefer the lefts even though I am regular footed, but sometimes I am starting to wonder if I would ever catch any rights. Perhaps I need to go back to Santa Cruz and catch many rights.
I kind of like the fog covering the sky since I don't get bombards with a lot of sun's rays and so don't need to put on so much cream on my face etc. This is especially nice in the afternoon surfing as when the sun is out and directly in the west, it is very difficult to see the swells.
Looks like we are going to repeat this again tomorrow morning.
Towards the end of the session, the waves were starting to close out. I took off on just about every one of those too, but only to find myself surrounded by the soup of white water bouncing up and down violently while I basically stood still on the board.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
I loaded everything in my car, including the laptop and even I put the piping hot water in the water canister so by the DP it is just at the right temperature. Looking at the swell size and shape on the way home, I thought it was "safe" to bring my 7'6 Person hybrid, so I only strapped that on. One of the advantages of surfing with shorter boards is it is so much easier to handle it.
Then set the alarm to 5:15 and went to bed. When the alarm went off, I promptly turned it off so as not to bother my wife's sleep, but as soon as I've done that, I was back in sleep and slept for another hour. It really goes to say that I have to be really committed to go to bed early. No more playing until 11:30 and expect to do a real DP!
nonetheless, I was in the water by 7:00, as all I had to was to just hop in the car and go. Ken was already committed and so was in the water! Also the tide was at the best level; medium incoming. It was just right kind of waves for the hybrid board.
Sets were breaking at around the high chest level today, and it was a lot of fun to continue practicing the "late start." By this what I mean is to start right when (and where) a lip is about to form, paddle real hard and almost jump into it. I have gotten a "taste" of this week and since then I have been starting to obsess with this type of start. When and if I succeed with it, I can often get higher quality rides that lasts longer!
Today I felt the continued improvement in handling the 7'6 board and this is a good sign that I am finally entering the realm of really riding shorter boards with an confidence, control and speed. The rides are no longer a result of just more or less a luck. Luck is also an important element of advancing, as by some pure chance, I do something that I was not able to before, and once I get a taste of it, I will go back for more with what I have just experienced. The second time I need a less luck and by the 10th or the 20th time, I can actually make that happen intentionally.
So today, I am going to revise my goal. I have a feeling that I am getting closer (thanks Ward for the daily encouragement!).
The Roundhouse by October 31st!
Perhaps our two week trip to Maui will let me get there, since I am going to do a 3-4 hour session every day!
Monday, July 26, 2004
But what has changed is the feeling of being in "control." To even qualifyfor this further, I feel and I can control the ride significantly betterthan before. This means that I have a much better awareness of what is aboutto happen from the take-off to the finish, and I also can control with muchcertainty how to react to these changing situations. This actually is asignificant foundation for me to progress to the next level up. If notanything else, I am now much different "inside" than before when I amriding. This also allows me to focus on the ride itself, instead of beingfearful of many factors surrounding.One of the contributing factors into this is probably "look where you aregoing to."
In my past logs, I have written about the success stories onthis. But "looking where you are going" was actually a very difficult thingto do when I was at much earlier stage, and to be honest, I am notcompletely away from looking at elsewhere. It is very typical looking backand also looking at other newer surfers that they tend to really look downand look at the board too much when they take off. But even if I was toldnot to do so, it is a very difficult "habit" to kick because without lookingat the board, I would not feel where to land my feet. But that's like youare looking at your steering wheel to drive a car, and that's really not howpeople drive cars.
But by making myself look up even when I am on the board paddling in to takeoff, it started to allow me to become much more aware of what is going on ina "bigger picture" sense and so that had dramatically improved the panningaspect of surfing. In fact, with this much wider view into the route that Ineed to determine, I actually have more time to think about surfing. When Iwas not looking where I was going and just looking down on the board, asignificant amount of time was lost in grasping all of this. And when I mean"time" I am talking about events that are about to occur 2-3 seconds in thefuture.Of course, there is anatomical advantage too as we are using our inner earsto balance and unless my heads are perpendicular to the line of travel, mybrains will have difficulty determining which way is up and down, and bylooking where I am going, I would be in a better even posture!
What else? Well, I will find out more.
Surfing as Science
Can Surf Science exist as a rigorous academic career, and especially asscience? I truly believe it can be.
I have a scientific background in education, and I actually use everythingI've learned in my entire academic career to apply to surfing.
For example,- I use my understanding of meteorology to interpret surf prediction- And in order to interpret the information from buoy data to satelliteimages, I use lot of mathematics behind it. Not just simple algebra but alsosome statistics too.
- And as you know I write computer software to further help me insummarizing the data
- When I repair my board, my knowledge of organic chemistry has becomereally handy as I understand the polymerization process and how the catalystreacts at different temperature levels
- Understanding of the human anatomy is also important in understanding thesurfing posture, which muscles to use
- In terms of the dynamics of the motion of the board and board maneuvers,it is all about physics
- Understanding the fluid dynamics and modeling to produce even better surfboards or predict the waves, or even design an ultimate wave machine?
Other options also exist;I think that it is also possible to build your business career in thesurfing industry and some good education and training is necessary.
- Understanding the surfing industry as a business. From owning a surf shop,starting a board manufacturing.
- Becoming specialized in surf travels.
- Pursue and develop better systems and methods of teaching or learningsurfing?
- Become an underwater or surf phographer or a movie maker even?
- Sports psychology especially related to surfing?
So, can this be a rigorous scientific or arts curriculum? I think it can beoffered in such a manner. We may not get a warm reception about this concepttoday, but I think that the time will tell. I have no objection to someonefully devoting their life and knowledge in the sport, and some should. Thiscan become a seriously respected career. If you see someone at a surf shopwith that kind of devotion and knowledge, would you not trust the person'sadvise for your next purchase of a board? Would you rather get a surfinglesson from those who really have devoted their life to be an all-roundedwell-educated surfing instructor who can answer just about anything relatedto surfing?
Sunday, July 25, 2004
I actually started out, seeing how small it was, on a Fish to see how well I can do in the inside. I tried it for a while, caught a few waves but nothing of significance. I also brought the Doyle and so I switched it. As usual, instantly the wider options of getting waves opened up.
These days, when I want to go somewhere in the beach, I use combination of paddling and also riding. Usually I start from the S end of a beach and try to ride one small left to another and then eventually I was able to wind up in another peak area where a lot of people were hanging around. A lot, to mean about 5 or 6 users in this case.
When I got there, I caught several smaller ones but then this break from the outside started to form. By the time I was up on the wave it was easily 8-9 ft as someone else commented to me, and it happened really outside. I almost did not get it, the wave was going to go under me, but then with one extra kick with both my arms, the board picked up the speed. Now right in front of me was a beautiful plain slope, just like on skiing. As the wave built up more the speed picked up very fast and there was a lot of pressure on my feet when I was turning to the left. Then I saw the wave started to close out on the left, I made a quick wide cutback turn to the right. I was almost going to lose it, because when I turned to the right another face was closing right in front of me. Quickly I corrected to a straight down direction, then remarkablly the one that was coming from the right started to reform back into another mountain. I was already set up to cut to the left again, and I kept riding another 10 seconds.
I actually could have another ride that could have topped this one, but this is where if I had the Takayama, I would have made it. What happened was this. Another big one just like the previous one came after a while. When the wave started to crest, I actually took off on it, I got kicked up in the air as I was trying to land on the board that is already on the face. But I was out of control at that point and my feet and by board missed by a fraction of a second. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. If I had that one, I probably had a tremendous vertical drop, and then using that power, I could rally have cranked a heavy left back in to the face. A guy looking at me was wondering what happened on that because he knew I was going to catch it.
It was probably one of the longest ride I have gotten at this location, and I will not forget about this ride for some time. Well, never, actually, because I have written to remember this one!
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Jason was right. And the waves were some of the most fun ones that I have caught in my recent memories. They were not big but as usual, this place packs a lot more power than many other locations.
When shoulder level sets come in, they start to build slow but as they close in on the shore, they start to build up fast. Now I am paddling with much more power and speed into the waves. It quickly picks up the tail... now I am in the wave. A quick flick up and the I am up! Great, but the tail is still picking up really fast. I am pressing the back as hard as I can to stay on the wave, then the board is ready to really take off. Now with a bit weight shift to front and setting the rail the board does a real fast turn into the face of the wave! Success? The wave right in front of me is closing up. I can almost touch the wall, as a huge curtain of water starting to throw forward... I am being lifted up by the power of the wave again and I execute a quick cut back down the line! It worked. I can't believe I did that. Then run almost all the way to the beach (since I still don't do a graceful pull out).
Fun!!! And with my stoke level pumping sky high with a big wide smile... Yeah! I want more of those, and paddle right back.
I did 7 or 8 of those today, probably the most I have ever done successfully in a session!
Now back to the regularly scheduled program...
Friday, July 23, 2004
But today it became, once again, clearer to my mind why this is so.
This cutback is actually the culmination of basically all of the intermediate surfing techniques and if you do this, then this is essentially the milestone and the key to the door to the ultimate... The realm of the true advanced surfer.
Well, however, along the line, I have learned that there are some surfers, for for that matter on any activities, anyone who would argue why pressure myself to do anything. I just tend to run into those people who will lecture to the hell about why there are reasons not to do things rather than to actually do them. The question to those who ask the question is this. Then why would you do live? To me, to live is not to be buried and live the virtual deah until the true death hits you. I have learned from early on in my life that this is what other people want out of you. Most every one wanted me to live a "peaceful" life acting like most other average people not expressing or accomplishing anything significant in life and then die peacefully in the end. But accepting that is the same as accepting a virtual life-long death. But I have chosen not to be that way, and that's why I really love to surf and challenge myself to become a better surfer than every last damn session I get to do. Unfortunately the gift of athletics is something that I was not given so it takes twice, three time or even more times to do what an average people might be able to accomplish in the same period of time. I have long accepted that so I actually even don't bother me that much. Besides it is not my goal, at least right now, to go to Wimea or Mavericks and do their thing, nor to compete in big professional contests, I am way way past the prime for any of those.
But, I also think that something like a Roundhouse Cutback is within a reach and and realm of a serious recreational surfer.
So what is it, and how this is accomplished and what should I need to get there?
What is a Roundhouse Cutback? It is a combination of bottom and top turns that will be performed on a wave face that will essentially allow you to look as if you are making a complete "U" turn on a wave back to where you came from in a big wide almost circular turn. This is accomplished by a true mastery of both the bottom and top turns and various other skillful balancing and speed building technique.
To get there the following needs to be accomplished;
- A very very solid take off in a powerful wave.
- Then a very solid strong bottom turn.
- A skillful top turn.
- Then another good bottom turn.
So where am I with it as of now?
- Looks like I am starting to get to a more solid short-board take off.
- I can bottom turn but I am not still strong to the extent that I feel that I am building up the speed. This will need some work.
- That means that I am not getting to the top, so if I ever get to the top I can worry about the top turn part.
- If I mastered the bottom turn then I ought be able to connect to the top turn.
Many of you may have noticed that I have also been stressing the bottom turn so much, but without a sold one of those the rest cannot exist as this requires a very powerful maneuver on the water. I am starting to realize that every element of this requires a much more power and speed to accomplish, and I am slowly getting there, but this is where I am fighting a bit of tendency within me, and of course that is a manifestation of nothing but a mental fear of succeeding. I have been down that path too many times, shooting myself in a retrospect.
Like any other surfing discoveries I have made, this dashing-the-last strokes approach has helped me so much. And a small day like today has been a big chance to try it.
I have been noticing that on some smaller days, it was actually more difficult to take off because the waves are actually going down rather faster. Previously, I have pearled on these conditions. But now I know enough about this to (1) Take out a short board rather than a long board, and (2) Try to pull really hard with take-off paddling.
Initially, of course, I was not very successful at it, but the more I tried, the number of success rate started to go up and now there are a few occasions when I had to say to myself "Wow! I can catch that?" Like the ones that just crests and explodes at a shoulder level high... Of course that's not a big one by any standards.
Another change in take-off style that is happening to me is this. With a much more power in overcoming the power of the wave, I am often now getting a Jumping off the Cliff type feeling when flicking up. After negotiatiating the initial take-off, the board is already ahead of me, and when I flick up, there is so much momentum from the behind that my body is being thrown forward, and my feet are swinging through my arms, and then I literally land on the board from the air that is going down. Of course, this is still a small chest or shoulder high stuff, and I am excited about. But I am now starting to see the potential that I can actually start riding short boards for real!
Stoke 7 due to some good progresses.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
So why Stoke 6 today? Because I took off on move waves than the most people and rode a lot, and I took out both short and long boards and I just had a lot of fun riding both of them.
I just love these junky poor condition days, because there are still a lot of good waves to ride hidden between the waves, and I will never see those type of surfers ordering me and others where and how to surf stealing every dam wave from all other surfers. The playing field is even. There is nothing to steal nor anything to be stolen from. This is where the true skill counts and not how floaty your board is. Of course, I got an ultimate LM assault vehicle made by Doyle if I ever have to use it. Though, what the point, so I would never do it.
And when it is choppy like today, it is more fun to negotiate between the poppers.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Then Wendy and I went to see Riding Giants. It is one of the better or probably the best big-wave movie ever made. Very beautifully shot and also it follows the history and who's who of big wave stuff. I am not a big wave enthusiast, but my 10 Ft waves must equal to their 60 Ft waves. Every fear, the emotion, the contemplation, the preparation the hold-downs and joy after successfully catching a wave, I think almost every surfer can relate to.
Another thing about this movie, I spoke or shook hands with several of the people in the movie already in my short 2.5 years of surfing, so it goes to say still how small the actual surfing community is. Sure, there are million surfers who have bought a board or two, but if you are seriously doing this sport, thinking about it, and actively participating in surfing events, it still are not that many people. So that really made me feel that I was participating in the movie as an active surfer.
But I now must wonder what other audience who have never stood on a surfboard will interpret all this?
Sunday, July 18, 2004
Back to surfing.
It was a low stoke day as for surfing goes, as the waves were a bit firing, then started to mellow down as the beach started to fill in with the tide. I told Wendy that it will come back again in about an hour when the tide starts to recede again. I was right, and the beach started to fire up again, though this time, the waves were really closing out. I tried to ride a few on my 6'6 and I was successful on a few of the waves, but mostly it was so difficult to ride them plus it was tiring to keep moving up and down to find the right spot. Since yesterday, I have been back on a short board programme, and I am now starting to work on very fast take offs, which is really one of the keys in riding short boards successfully. Then comes faster flick up too. Once I am up on the board, I am a bit more confident in controlling the board, so I am really looking forward to really consistently taking off with the 6'6 board.
After finished with the beach, we stopped at Capitola for a snack. We were originally going to have a dinner at Sukeroku on Mission. We always pass by there after surfing, but we never stopped by there. But we were so still full from lunch that we opted for a drink and a snack. We parked over the cliffs and when we arrived at around 6:00 PM, the waves were firing and nobody was on it. I wish I could just paddled out from the pier and it is a bit of paddle out but I could have had some good rides!
Saturday, July 17, 2004
At the middle of the session I brought out the DT4 and I did not surf much with it. Then Irene stopped riding the foam so I switched to that, instantly I was taking big long rides on the mellow waves. It is really a fun board for these kind of slow and mellow day.
We were all smiling and going for the same wave together in a party-wave fashion and we all had a real blast, and it is one aspect of surfing that is really enjoyable!
We all went back to HMB and had Fish tacos and bunch of other fried fish items, and for me, over a Corona. What a good way to finish up a session!
Friday, July 16, 2004
This afternoon was one of the days that I made a new discovery, and sometimes, these new discoveries are really educational even though they happen normally by an accident. This time I was amazed by how much the board is capable of turning. It is a nice reward for going out a lot.
At this beach, the beach breaks are rampant. And so just for a heck of it, I rode the wave almost all the way in and did a really hard turn at the last part of the break thinking that I would probably stall and stop. Instead, the board kept turning up and up and held on to the water. Of course, I was finally eaten by the wave and did not get through to the other side of the wave, but I did not know that the board can turn like that. I was really amazed. I am taking about not much more than 2 seconds worth of an event, but what I felt was significantly differnt kind of a turn then I have ever experienced. This must be how these good people can always pull out of the waves the last moment!
Saddly though, when I got out of the water, my friend was frantically looking for his car. To make the story short, a theif took the car, moved it to another park entrance, look for anything of value, and then took off. According to the local sheriff, this same method was used just last week on another vehicle!
Monday, July 12, 2004
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Friday, July 09, 2004
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
- Ride 1: Started left of Taco Bell, Took a left ride that ended by the shower.
- Ride 2: Paddled back out to the Shower. Took a left ride that ended by Crespi
- Ride 3: Paddled back out to the front of Crespi. Took a short left ride. Now I though it might be possible to "ride" all the way to the very N end.
- Ride 4: Paddled back where I left off then I am at the edge of the "N" end. Success!
- Ride 5: Paddled back out now I am paddling really close to the rock, now I am determined to complete this tour, I ended up in the very north corner of Linda Mar, no more beach left.