This Saturday, we tried to resume the Beginner Morale Support session and so we recruited several people to come to Manresa. I though that it was actually a great choice of a location since this fairly mellow NW swells are working quite right at Manresa especially in the mid tide range. It really goes to say that tide and swell parameters are very closely related to the quality of the waves. When I arrived at 10:00 AM, the surface was glassy and then we got occasional chest level nice sets. As the day progressed the beach started to fill up with more water and there were less and less waves to ride. Then when the tide finally started to back down, it became like in the morning again providing more ridable sets.
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!