Monday, June 13, 2005

Session 5117

After, basically surfing my brains out on Saturday, when I got home I had to crash for a long nap. So I took a day off from it on Sunday per Wendy's request. So I stayed home, slept in, took care of over-due oil change on my car then headed out to see Wendy's mom. It was a nice change in pace. In the morning, Ren called me and told me that the Jetty was non-happening and the Linda Mar was too much of a mess too, that really helped me to part with the idea of not going in the water on Sunday.

Now it is Monday, and with a lot of NW wind going out there I was not so hopeful, but when I passed by the Jetty it was a perfect condition for me, so I had to go in. The sun was fully out and the waves were going at chest to shoulder level, a perfect "Fish" opportunity for me. So I paddled out into the 50 F water. Compared to the warmer water in Santa Cruz (SC) the initial splash in is a bit more painful, as the water seeps in the suit. As the water fills in, I gradually walk through the water to the shoulder level and start to paddle out. Then the first duck through, which is probably the part I hate the most. Additional water go through the head and a bit washes over and through the back too. When I pop out to the other side, I start paddling extra hard and faster so that my back muscles start to generate the heat, and when I finally reach the outside, I am finally all soaked in the water and it starts to get comfortable. I have done this many times, but this initial ritual is both invigorating and also cold no matter what time of the year.

I am still working on fine tuning the take off technique, and today I have been modifying a few other parameters. That's the initial weight shifting while paddling into the water. The main issue is this. When the tail end of the board starts to lift up, I should really be ready to push the tail part of the board even when I am taking off. This is easier said than done because in theory you could just lay a bit behind the board. But if you do that then I have to sacrifice the initial glide that I can get out of the board. So basically I still must maintain the neutral position on the board during the paddle in. However, one way to control the weight distribution is to use the weight in my head. I can put my head closer to the board during the initial phase of the take off, and as I feel the back lifting, I would raise the upper body and the head so that the overall weight will shift more towards the back of the board, then flick up toward the tail of the board if necessary. One thing that is really helpful with shorter board in this respect is that the effect of moving the head position does have a pronounced effect on the overall weight distribution, and I can even tell that the nose is diving or floating and can make minor corrections as I paddle into the wave. I focused on this aspect of take off today, and I was actually amazed that some waves I thought was too soft or too early on the take off were actually catch-able.

Come to think of it, on a longer boards, the less sensitivity to the initial weight position are kind of nice, because if I know I would be catching a bit steeper wave, I can sit a bit toward the back of the board, and paddling won't suffer as much either.

Now that I got the initial gliding to happen and the tail is biting the wave, the board goes without pearling even when the waves get a bit steeper (than the steepness I could catch). The great testimony to this advance is that even when the waves close out (poor wave selection, yeah, I know, don't tell me about it!) I am already up on the wave often. More of less, gone are the times that I got left out and wave passes by or totally thrown forward over the falls.

But I still need to get up on the board faster and more solidly every time, and I need to continue to work on better, faster and more sure footed flick up routines. These smaller summers "wind swells" have really been a lot of help in getting me trained up for the next phase. Finally the lower body strength and the lower body agility are starting to become the next hurdle in my quest to rip.

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