With a lot of rain dumping on us all last night that woke me up several times, this morning did not start with me having much expectation.
Then a local buddy calls me to my a** out and surf at Montara. He says that it is happening. I said, basically "Yeah, right!" But at least that got my mind back on surfing away from get my brand new workstation going (believe me, it is a lot of work to transfer everything I had on my other laptop).
The wind and the exposure can really do a number on surfing spots. Again, this morning, the Jetty was really jumbled disorganized mess. In fact, there was nobody out there. Should the surface be less choppy, I could see some surfable stuff. I did stop at Montara and did a 10-minute through surf check. It was tempting, since there were zero crowds and there were some surfable looking waves. But, I am not going to make that mistake again like yesterday, so I was prepared to fight the crowd for a few fun waves at Linda Mar. When I arrived there, the main lot was full! Must be that people were really itching to get out with all these bad weather. So I went to the south lot, and there were still some spaces.
With this many people, I thought I'd better just take a short board out and stay inside and ride a lot of waves. Turns out this was a good choice.
Well, it turned out that I had so much fun this morning that I ended up basically surfing for about 4 hours.
I spotted some easy but relatively uncrowned spot and the inside was forming some nice puny walls. Catching those is not easy, and requires a quite a bit of paddling into the waves and also quick push to the side so that I can get into the wall fast. But this is almost my specialty so I caught quite a few waves that way. And basically I operated in that mode for the rest of the time. Each time I try to catch lefts so that I can migrate towards the north end where it is usually less crowded.
After I arrived at the bit north of the pump room, I spotted Josh. I said hi and surfed on. Then he paddled up to me again. He really has advanced really quickly and was catching good overhead size waves with his long board. It is always nice to see my friends progress so fast. When he paddled up though, I thought he'd enjoy trying out my 7'0. I tried his long board, and I was messing up take offs. The timing and the weight shifting are all different! Josh started to stand on the short board immediately, which was another good thing. After swapping the boards again, I caught many more waves, but the fatigue was setting in, so I went back to my car and took out the 7'5.
When I got back out, now Luke was out.
When I got out, it suddenly start to hail. First I thought that some people are playing some racquet type game at the beach, and it was actually the pieces of ice hitting my helmet shell! And Jocelyn left me a voice mail telling me to pass on the Linda Mar condition. How sweet!
On the way back, I was thinking about how long way it came from just two or three of us just exchanging e-mails in the beginning. We came a long way in building a really nice community of surfers!
TECHNICAL PROGRESS REPORT
The key part that I have been working on is more aggressive take-offs. This still is a long way to go, but this is starting to make some visible progress. I am trying to make myself listen "Now, don't be afraid, you can make this one." And so I am trying to challenge more fearless taking off. Part of this is to go find relatively fast shoulders up to about head or couple of feet over that. Secondly, I keep paddling until I take off or until I am totally left behind but until one of these happens I try not to give a take-off up.
Once I am up on the board, I am trying to make snappier and more committed turns. I have been realizing that there is more room to commit more energy to each turn. Due to my timid nature, I try not push and draw out the turns as hard, but gradually I am exerting more force on each turn, and if the opportunity calls for, I am trying to incorporate faster and snappier turns as well as longer drawn-out smoother turns. As I get used to all the weight shifting I need to execute, I can do them faster. It is like learning dancing steps!
As I can insert myself sooner into the wall with a better take off technique, I have more time and choice for the initial descent line, and practice more styles of turns. The goal is to turn my ups and downs technique to be a bit more radical, and eventually, I am hoping to get to include more "off-the-lip" type snap back turns at the higher part of the wave.