This weekend, I have convinced my local HMB buddy "J" to come to SC with me. Stay over night at my place in the east side then surf at the crack of the dawn. Well, when we arrived, we went and got a 6 pack and ended up talking close to 2 am, then it was already 5 am, and it was already light out. I was originally saying that I might sleep in but it was him who was sleeping when I turned the lights on and get move his butts to get started on surfing. Between us we had a quiver choice of 6 boards and we decided to take long boards, he had an 8'0 and I took out my trusty Takayama DT4 which is a 9'0. On the 41 St. Ave already there were one car after another having strapped with long boards having the same idea as we do.
We walked to the 41 St. Ave stairs, and there always is a moment of anticipation. But if I hear the sound of the wave breaking, the stoke level goes up a notch even before going to the deck and see the waves. Without a hesitation, we splashed into the Hook at about 5:30 am, with only 3-4 other surfers, and immediately we stared to catch several waves. My buddy has a very smooth style doing cool cutback actions. As for me, I started much closer to the left end where the breaks were bit closer to the shore but more powerful. Catching the waves at the Hook is always a great deal different experience than anywhere near we live. It just have that nice smooth nice quality to it. Especially with a long board, setting the rail to the wall, stay high on the line and just keep cruising all the way. This is where a smoothly executed ups and down actions on the board just give such a nice ride.
After a while I saw the Pleasure Point peaks breaking better so I signaled Jack to paddle to the PP. But on the way there as we were passing by the 38th, there were also some sweet inside breaks nobody were taking so we stayed there for a while. But as the time went by, more and more people paddled up, and I opted for moving further and further up to the PP.
Finally we have reached the inside of the PP, and there the breaks were more frequent and regular and they were good long board breaks. We rode there for some time until 7:30, then my buddy said he had enough (enough!?) and we got out, got some breakfast. That was the first session for me today.
We have also arranged to meet other Stokemasters friends at 9:30, so we had a relaxing breakfast, and my buddy went back to my place and relaxed the rest of the morning taking nap etc. Meanwhile, I was back in the water at 10:00, and padding back again from the Hook to the inside 38th. That was OK for a while, but then it stopped happening again, so we paddled back to the Hook and stayed and caught more waves, and the sun has came back out again to make this a really nice day.
Surfing in Santa Cruz on a condition like this is really nice and relaxing. It is totally a different pace of life style, and I must admit that I am the "East Side" fan. There is that 41 St Ave culture supported by a lot of surf shops in the area and places to eat, and then there is just a wide range of places to surf at the same time. The quality of the waves are just what I need both in smaller days and a bit bigger days in the winter, and the water is always a bit warmer than in Half Moon Bay.
It was the first time I took out the long board in a while, and it was a lot of fun, and I felt I was really rusty on riding technique compared to short boarding that I have been doing a lot of recently. But on the other hands, what I have learned in short board take-off technique and strength have been working much better, since the confidence in taking off has just improved so significantly that even when it gets rather crowded, I have a better handle of knowing to position where and when it is "my wave" and take off. It is actually a bit surprising that even in the crowded condition, these "my wave" condition happens when the wave is just perfectly shaped for take off and nobody else is on it. I distinctly remember when I started out; I was wondering how these people managed to take off in Santa Cruz, but now I also have a bit better handle on it.