Sunday, December 19, 2004

Session 4.245: New Den + I love beach breaks!

Well, something I was not anticipating when I started to surf is most likely to happen. It was actually the September of 2001, when I took my first surfing lessons ever at Sharks Cove on my first surfing lesson. Now, about three years later, I am going to have a place to sleep on 41st Avenue, just a walking distance from the Pleasure point breaks. Of course, life is a full of these cause and effects; one thing leading to another, but when you look back I knew having an apartment in Santa Cruz would not have occurred. But thanks to Tanya's lead, I am really stoked about this chance.

Well so what is the cause and effects of all of this? First, I started my web site that is then called the Half Moon Bay Surfing Bookmarks. Then I started to write about what I have found out as I found out, then about a year or so later, e-mail messages started to trickle in. That resulted in starting the HMBSurfing Yahoo Group. Ken was the first one to be on it, then Clio, and then Reez came on. That resulted in Amy and Tanya to join. Now on any given weekend, it would almost be difficult to find major breaks from San Francisco to Santa Cruz that a Stokemaster member won't be surfing.

Thanks to many devoted members, we have exchanged very close to 5000 messages, we've done many outings, bonfires and a party, and it is becoming one of the recognized surfing groups in the Northern California area and even in Southern California and Hawai'i! That in itself was nothing that I was expecting to happen in 2001 when I first stood up on the Doyle foam on a hip high wave!

As for today's surfing, after taking a look at both breaks on the 38th and 41st sides, I have decided to go down to Manresa to avoid crowd and enjoy a bit more power in the waves. I ended up missing surfing with the familiar Stokemasters face of Laura, Spyke, and Amanda as they opted to stay at the 38th. But Luke showed up at the Manresa so I was not alone!

It is kind of ironic that I live in the beach break capital of San Mateo county, drive all the way to Santa Cruz that is famous for many nice point breaks. But I must admit, lately I have become very found of beach breaks and with short boards. Especially like Manresa, which I think is like a giant version of Linda Mar with a bit of Ocean Beach feel mixed in. When it is firing, it spreads out so I can always find a break of my own and when holing the shape it is great to get into fast drops, and when it is closing out, I can always ride inside. It does not warble as much as the inside the Jetty so riding is a bit more manageable.

So I arrive at Manresa, and a nice thing about this place is that you have a magnificent vista of the entire beach from the parking. So you can decide where you would want to end up. Today, it was closing out mostly but the area by the trestle looked holing up, so my plan was to gradually surf to there taking as many lefts as possible and paddling back diagonally.

So with my board under my arm, I walk into the water. Even though I surf a lot, this part is still hard. Hardest part is the first duck diving. Water seeps in to the head, the neck and the chest. That is cold and awakening! But as soon as I start to paddle, the ride in the body temperature will start to warm inside the suit and soon, I am ready for being in the water as long as I want.

Once in the water, short boarding on these beach breaks are really a lot of fun as the waves will show all sorts of different shapes as they form and reform across the beach. If I guess the correct route and cut back and connect these sections, it is really satisfying. It is a lot of work though to paddle up and down to find the right spot. And when lots of set waves are coming in, the current kick up and before you know you will be quarter of a mile from where you started. I started in front of the parking lot, and before I knew, I was in front of the trestle. It took me a good 5 minute walk back to where I started out!

Stoke 8 today, building back more confidence in taking off and also got lots of nice cut back turns.

After the session was over, Luke and I talked a bit. Poor guy will be held in Omaha for 2 weeks. Sorry. Then I called Laura, who was just finishing up. So I ended up going to Chill Out and had a lunch with the gang. We talked a lot about surf conditioning, importance of the paddling posture and how Yoga and swimming helps, and also talked about the Stokemasters group, and how it is affecting my life and theirs; we especially all agreed that we created a very non-intimidating friendly discussion area where many people found one of their closes friends. After lunch as a usual routine, I (must) go to Freeline and check out used boards. I saw a nice 6'5 French short board for $200. Several dings but I can fix them in a short time, so I almost got it, but I should practice what I preach; it is mainly the surfer and not the board that cannot surf.

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