Sunday, July 31, 2005

Session 5163

With the update of my new web site and also an evening engagement, finally I am getting around to write WavLOG from yesterday.

Since Dog Haus is in a hiking trip and not surfing this weekend, I decided to call Surf Doggie to come out to a local spot. I did check a few other local spots but this was the only one that had any sort of waves. We were actually looking for the improvement in the waves on an outgoing tide so by the time the noon time comes around we got some nice waves, and that's kind of what happened.

I surfed a while with Surf Doggie for the good first half of the session on the south end of the beach, and it was really fun. The long boarders were winning, but I did take out my favorite epoxy fish board, and I was not doing too shabby, plus there were a few weekend-only warriors so I just wait in the big inside and see if they spill and if they did not, that's their waves and if they do, there is still a plenty of time for me to catch the wave. This is kind of the option that I am starting to really take advantage of.

It was very smooth kind of waves and plenty of time to play with turns. After a while the S break started to get really crowded, so I decided to leave the waves to them and walked to the north end, which is also a lot of fun. The north end is more of a short board territory and already several people and groms were at the waves. Smaller but much faster waves are fun to catch and I am really enjoying the feel of that initial pumping feel as I flick up on the board and get going. These are really fun short board practice weaves and I wish there is always a place and situation like this year around, then my short boarding skill should improve even more. Caught countless number of waves and finally I had to give up because I was so tired.

In the evening, we went to eat Ramen at Halu in San Jose. This is an interesting outfit because the owner is a surf nut, and he actually "sells" custom board with his Ramen shops logo on the board. Actually I have been very interested in collecting that board, they have the swallow tail board that looks really retro and fun to ride. So I think I am going to order it soon. For more info about the Ramen shop: http://www.ramenhalu.com/

Oh, and this is the shaper he uses to produce his boards: http://www.psc-longboard.com


Friday, July 29, 2005

Session 5162

It is kind of funny that we all hate crowds but then it is also a bit difficult to break the first water in the morning.

The same spot as yesterday, but for whatever the reasons there was nobody! I was a bit hesitant to go in. Could have it been a shark sighting yesterday? It's Friday and that means usually there are some people. But heck, it continued to be glassy and not so big and there are people around on the ground, so I got to enjoy the first 30 minutes of fun this DP session. The a good long boarder arrived, then other two towards the end of my session, finally one familiar local who was in the Classic competition came when I got out.

The sets varied from mushy chest level to slightly above shoulder set. Of course for me, an overhead wave is 5'6 so there are just plenty of those for me in most situations.

This morning, I continued to perfect taking off using the Piranha 6'3, and it was really a lot fun polishing up the timing. Another area that I am working on is much smoother take off, as I think I tend to jump on the board too much. The problem is that there is a moment of weight not connected to the board. This is really bad habit that I have been noticing to acquire. Without the full body weight placed on the board the board won't descend, and I am not even working on the "jumping down the fall" type move that some people do when the wave gets really steep.

There was a relatively bigger set (to me that is above my shoulder) at one point and I actually end up catching one of the rights. This one was a relatively fast one as the wave was big enough that I can go straight down then cranked a big right bottom turn and got back up to the middle part of the face, and I really worked hard to maintain the pressure on the board, that was really fun like a knife edge carving the side of the wave, and I was maintaining the line with my head up almost against the cresting top of the wave that could have crashed on top of me, where I was maintaining just enough speed so that I won't let the wave do that to me by going up and down to gain more speed, and just when it's ready to smash on me, I'd kick the tail of the board and do a single cutback, and continue down on the wave now reforming a bit in the inside. THIS is what more of a real surf ride should be (for me, of course). I would wish that all the rides are like that (or better). But this is an early indication that I should start to get those more consistently. Once I can do that I should not look too badly in next year's competition, even if I come to the last! I hope I can get there by then. I hope that Dog Haus will come back next year for the event and I hope I would place better than he does. He better watch out. I should also go against Moon Raker on the long board. It will be fun (until the day before the competition).

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Session 5160

Running and owning a web site turned out to be not simple. It really requires a social responsibility and also dealing with sensitivity with a large number of people.

I continue to be surprised about the readership of my WavLOG feature. In addition to comments I get from the Yahoo Groups, I also get comments posted directly on the BLOG and direct e-mails. I am really happy to say that all of them are extremely encouraging. When I enabled the comments feature, I was fully prepared to get a message like "Hey cook! Stop bragging about yourself, go surf somewhere else." I also divulge the fact that there are even some people locally very close to me that are against the idea of writing anything about surfing experiences on the web. Understandably, there are people and web sites that would blatantly advise people to go here or there, and I understand that sentiment, therefore, I do not mention specifically where I was and where I am going to be. I even think that is irresponsible of some of them to some extent as most ignorant people would flock to a location or two because a "trusted" media said so, and from that stand point I would prefer to conduct a responsible press conduct.

The bottom line to me, though it really is immaterial in telling you where my surfing adventure occurred because by the time you read this, I have moved on to another break somewhere that I feel is better about and I don't know how you surf. You could be much better than I am in that case if I gave a Stoke 10, you'd say that what the big deal is. Or if you have just started out and I take you to where I was yesterday, for example, you probably would have stood at the beach shaking your head saying "Why am I here?" And both situations happened to me, so I can understand both. So considering all these points, I choose not to tell you exactly where I was. I think this approach is fair to both experts and those starting out.

Running and owning a web site turned out to be not simple. I really have learned a lot both about surfer to surfer relationship as well as actual technical aspects of the sport.

As for this morning's session, it was really fun. Compared to yesterday's battle scene, this morning was more like a smooth sailing. It was a good chance to work on the details of rides rather than the seer strength and guts like yesterday. I do enjoy both, but not two days straight like not eating pizza two meals in a row.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Session 5159

When you were born the god gives you ten zeros. Most people use good number of them, and when you use up all ten of the zeros then the god gives you another one, just like those coffee clubs that gives you a free cup after if you collected 10 stamps.

As usual, the day started with Dog Haus calling my cell phone, and we decided to go further north, instead of our immediate local area surfing. So I wanted to check out further north breaks this morning as the south swells were basically ending and a moderate amount of NW swells were coming in today, and parts of our local area has been pretty dead today.

On the way up, he calls. "Hey, Mano, the waves are really solid here, are you sure you want to go here?" "Yeah, why not, where else can we go?" When I got there, it was not too bad, then suddenly there is at least an overhead size close out built up on the outside. "Ka-booom!" then "Are *you* sure?" "Hey, no problem, we can handle that, we just paddle out a bit to the outside." I was not scared, but I was cautious and so I put on my Gath helmet and headed down the stairs to the beach. The surface calms down and become nearly flat. This is the chance to get out, we were both paddling out fast into the outside hoping that close out set do not come in time. We did make the outside safely, then the sets started to happen. It was the start of the incoming tide phase so the waves were piping up a bit, so if I don't get into the shoulder right fast, I would be thrown. Dog Haus had caught already 3 waves from way further outside. In the meantime, I did not catch any as the waves I was paddling for passed by a few times. Finally another set come in and build up closer to my position. I took off into it, and it was too late, it started to crumble all around me, I was jostled up and down inside the white water like going down on a white water rafting trip. "Damn wave!" I am now half pissed off, and so I turn around and start to paddle back. By now, the entire beach looked like this huge white mess with one white wash after another. I was paddling hard to get out, ducking through one wave after another, but my paddling power isn't sufficient and looking back I was not making any progress. If you were standing and watching me do this basically I was not making any forward movement but staying in one location just ducking through the waves. It is such a waste of power. I got off the board, held on to the board and decided to wait out.

Then the ocean calms down again a bit. I look left and right as I paddle out and I saw a section of rippled water. I paddled towards it and now I am moving just so much faster back out. This makes so much difference with my next try ended up basically another immediate wipe out and the board hit right on my head. It would have hurt a bit more if I did not have a helmet on, so this was another happy moment that I could go back to the office and work the rest of the day as if nothing has happened to me or my board.

Finally things started to ease a bit and the inside breaks and now the waves were at my comfort zone. I caught several in the "inside" and that was fun.

Dog Haus was really surprised that I was handling the situation though. Though that's something our local beach breaks has taught me in all these "gone out but did not catch any" type days.

I was a good surfer today because I was having fun. To become a skilled surfer though, it still requires a lot of building up to do from paddling to riding, and I will be using up more than half of the zeros that I was given soon. Hopefully everything will hold up for me to do everything I wanted to do with surfing.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Session 5158

This morning is more of a serious practice day. Though the same crew of yesterday is supposed to show up, they did not.

This is a good chance for me to test my own skills and also try to develop more for as long as I want to be in the water. Also I do enjoy the solitude of being in the water all by myself. This means that I just stay clear away from other surfers. There usually are other surfers.

If you are following my progress, this has been one of the periods taking the longest time to develop. That is, to really be able to take off on wider variety of waves and shapes. This is an essential skill to have because the beach breaks around here just throw all sorts of forms and shapes of the waves. So rather than expecting the nature to be consistent, I have to become the consistent element in surfing. And from this point, I am always a beginner because as soon as I am not a beginner then I become a beginner at the next level.

Getting into the waves is something that is continuing to be a challenge. First, I really have to read the waves much better and position better. Then next, once I am paddling into the waves, I have to take off. Sometimes wave's shapes are hollower than what I am used to, so I am practicing on getting that level up higher. Along this line, I am starting to get occasional success. I now have to make this occasional to every time.

One thing along this line that I am realizing is that I am now much more familiar and aware with how the board behaves in this critical moment. I now know when exactly I can bail, or kick out, if I am going to screw up the take off or the wave is closing out too fast (that's not reading the wave and positing correctly). Another thing is that if I the wave do close out, I can now ride straight in on top of the soup. I am hoping that this feel allows me to move onto roller coaster type move when every dot in my skill set connects.

When these occasions happen when I do take off though, now I am on a much steeper face than I have been on, so faster weight shifting is really important and at this point of time, I tend to stay too far back and going down the line, and that's really the next on my agenda of things to work on.

The next goal I am shooing for is management of the speed. This means that if I can take off consistently then I should work on to get a lot more speed in the ride. Without that there will not be next types of moves. I know it will be a while.

When you read all this, and I go out and try all these things you might think why I am so obsessed about getting better skills when I could just don't worry about any of this and enjoy. Well. These days, "off the lips" and "roundhouse" type moves are in the realm of almost any advanced intermediate surfers, and I think I want to test where my limit lies. Who knows in reality I can never get there, but I am not using that as a part of my assumptions.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Session 5157: A Demo Day, Well, sort of.

On Wed over the beer, we agreed to meet at 10 am on Saturday. The fog is not so thick on the highway but once I turn to the beach, it is getting thicker and thicker. When I get out, all I hear is the sound and very faint view of the outside break. I am speaking to the phone, "Da Chilean, I cannot see a darn thing, all I hear is the sound of the wave. I don't know if it is breaking at all outside or it is just closing out in the inside without anything on the outside." The fog starts to lift a bit. "Yeah, I see it now, umm? that's about shoulder level? looking OK, come on out, I am going to check the other location and call you from there too." I hop in the car and drive down south, the fog is getting even thicker as I pulled into the beach. I press the speed dial on the phone [Dog Haus] as I semi run to the beach. Among the fog, there already were 6-7 surfers out. The waves do not look bad either. "Waves are a tad bigger here but there are 6-7 people I see out, can't hardly make out but they are ripping!" "How many?" he says. "Oh 6 may be 7?" I repeat. "Oh, F?. that, let's surf here."

5 minutes later, I am back in where I started. Two other locals pull up. This is going to be a fun Saturday morning with the full lineup of the people I know. As we switch from T shirts and shorts into wet suit, we talk about new boards, last week's competition, and lots of different stuff. As a relatively newcomer in this group, I just listen, smile and laugh, sometimes I don't know what or whom they are talking about, but that will usually become clear in a month or two.

I pulled out my new Piranha, which I am thinking about painting it red on the bottom and call it Lasagna! Da Chilean sees it and he says, "Good for you, that's really a good board." Dog Haus was already in the water and catching many many waves. As I paddle up to him, he says "Hay ManO, is that the Piranha?" I know he has been keeping eyes on my new acquisition since the first day I got it. I know he really wants to ride it, and I actually want to see him ride it so I can see what this board is capable of.

"Yeah, do you wanna try it?" "Sure!" I unwrap the leash in the water throw a board to his direction, and he throw me his Merrick Flyer 6'2. I stroke to the outside. Gosh this is like a matchstick compared to my Piranha. Then the set starts to build. Dog Hauswith his tremendous paddling power, he catches a wave as another local with a long board gets left behind the wave. Of course now with this matchstick and my pathetic paddling power, there is no prayer, I can do anything with it. I start to readjust my position towards the inside to I can do more of an impact take off.

He catches waves after waves, taking lefts and rights, do some top turns and bottom turns; very smooth. So now I know if I have the skill to handle this board, I can ride it like him.

Now Da Chilean wants to ride it, so now I swap with his Haut, which is the one modeled after the Piranha, now it starts to become very confusing who's riding which board.

I start to paddle and now instead on a matchstick, the board feels noticeably flatter than mine on the nose. That would be a nice feature to catch the waves, and I caught several waves with it though is still on a mushy side that with my power is not good enough yet. In the meantime, Dog Haus is catching so many waves, I cannot believe.

Surfing with my local friends are really funny because we just give so much hard time about each other's surfing styles, we just yell at each other with comments on how you looked from the back. Dog Haus is yelling "Hey! I cannot see the waves, big butt!"

The next set comes and the nose level on the line up go way up; kind of this cheering type sound. This is good, because that's a good sign for me to snake in a few waves. Especially if I drop in on Dog Haus's way, he would do this mighty cutback and continues on, so there is absolutely no worry when I and where I take off.

Finally it is my turn to get my board back, some good sets come in and I jump on the wave. This one is rather powerful and I am hanging on to the tail of the board as I execute the first left. I cannot put enough weight forward as the board is going faster than I can move the weight up. Looks really like this is happening a lot, but it is a good sign, the first part of the take off is nearly becoming complete and now need to polish the turn #1.

I am seriously thinking about handing this Piranha to Dog Haus when he moves to North Calorina in the winter for good. This would be the last season to be able to surf with him on a whim, and I think he will remember the good time we all had when he pulls out the Piranha in that ice water in the winter and puny powerless waves in the summer. I am sure this board will work really nicely too.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Session 5156-B Supplemental Log

So I do read these pathetic forecasts on the past weeks. But F them.
If you look around, there are places and breaks to surf. They ain't puny either. We just have our eyes peeled, go in, paddle up and if that dose not work, walk up, and if still that ain't workin, get off the wet suit and drive up or down.

This morning, I did come to a break that I wanted, and it was awfully a lot of fun. Just one of those breaks that only happen at the corner of a beach but elsewhere is just flat as the Great Plains. The Spanish explorers said it right "El Rincon" that means "The Corner" where the wave power gathers and dissipate at once.

This evening I was having some (or several) good ale with two (or three that include my wife) of my dear surf buddies and they won't half believe there are these corner conditions in our area. But I was there and with the accumulating sand, it was more like a sand box than a good corner but it was simulating a reef.

Like Rincon or the Trestles where it was shallow for quite a far out. Plus it was so shallow all over that if I screw up duck diving getting out, I hit the bottom and sands are in my eyes, in my wet suit and just all over!

As I get out the chest to shoulder break pop in front of me. So I'd carefully press the board down and get out not to hit the bottom.

Waves were kind of funny mushy pop up waves. I try to catch and I'd almost not take off and one more paddle stroke while I am already on top of the board ready to be left behind, then the wave just explodes behind my butt, and then I am on. Once I am on, the "fish" does the wonder and take me on these funny rides sometimes reforming like 3 times then I will ride "up" into the returning backwash, sometimes the front and back wash waves collide so hard that I get thrown up in the air a bit before I come to complete halt.

Session 5156

I did go.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Session 5155

Another foggy, glassy, and puny early morning before hitting the desk, but I am not complaining. I would still go. I've seen the days that are just glassy and totally flat, but that's rare. Instead there usually are something to catch, and if I'd wait long enough, there are even reasonably good size waves to catch. And besides, if I am not catching anything, I still do some long endurance paddle up and down the beach to keep building the paddling muscles for the fall and the winter sessions.

In these kinds of smaller conditions, it seems to me that diagonally taking off helps a lot to stay longer on the waves, which for me works only some times.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Session 5154

Session 5154

My bro is back from a week in CR, and I am really happy that he is back, because that means I can surf outside any beaches I pick. He is just amazing because he got so much paddling power that he would just make his own sets if he wants. I?d take off on the same wave and he will take off and I?d be left behind even if I got 6?6 and he?s got a 6?5 Merrick.

This is the morning when Bank Right would advise us to go to this ?Sometimes? beach. Today he is right because the NW swell of 4-5 ft 9 seconds is the main reason we picked this break. The morning fog means it would be glassy albeit we?d risk for not seeing a darn thing. But the fog did lift high in the sky. That?s like a sunny day for us HMB local surfers.

This was clearly a ?long board? day that means that I am supposed to be surfing on a long board, and because I am a bit lazy to load a 9 footer on top of my car, I would take out the 6?6 fish out and have a prayer that I?d do as beast as I can.

And it was a real fun day. Just me and my buddy just sharing a mile stretch of a beach; not quite like the IKEA color condition like the other day without any fogs.

Again with no pressures to perform, I just surfed curving the line as I pleased, and it was fun, and that would make a best surfer having the most fun.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Session 5153: Even more relaxed!

It was a perfect sunny morning for a mellow long boarding kind of a session; totally glassy, sunny and warm morning with occasional swells building smoothly into hip to chest level rollers with enough wait in between to paddle out and catch the next. Caught several some relaxed fun waves, both lefts and rights just gliding with a rail without making any drastic turns. It was so mellow and uncrowded that I finally took off my helmet to go surfing. (Well, I was not killed in surfing today, but my wife will kill me shortly after I hit Send) So nobody knew I was even there!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Session 5152: The Day After

This is the day after the competition, and did I get sick of surfing? Heck no! Now I can go out and have just have fun surfing. I often wonder, if that is the case with other athletes. Say, if I won a prize in the Olympics in, say skating. Would I go skating at the Rockefeller Plaza next day with my best skating friends?

What a difference a situation makes. As I prepare to leave home, everything falls in place just like any other day. Driving past the Jetty is business as usual, it was just as flat as it can get in the summer and I continue to drive with the usual classic heavy metal music on the sound system; Scorpions, AC/DC and White Snake? They all set up the mood for me to get the energy pumping for another good (hopefully) session.

As I drive north the fog roles in overhead. It will be another dismal coastal surf day; business as usual. As I check out the ocean surface that peek between the houses, I see that no texture on the water, and that's an OK sign! The music pumps right along as to cast the doomed mode away, and the fog really starts to lift and the sky is now totally blue with no cloud. "Gosh, what a perfect day, wish the contest was today and at this spot!"

I pull out the phone, and call a buddy in the usual kind of surfer to surfer communication procedure; "Hey I am at? Put your shit together and come out right *now* and surf with me!" (An interpretation, "The surf is really excellent sir, would you kindly load your car with your surfing equipment, and I would like an honor of your presence to surf with my humble being.") It turns out that he was just ready to come out too to where I am. It turns out that he has not bee surfing for a couple of weeks and the last time was one afternoon local surfing with me.

He arrives in just a few minutes (well, he just lives a few blocks down, lucky bastard). He sees my new Rusty and he was so psyched because it is basically the same Rusty he has. Well, it is actually Haut now since he had the same board re-made by Haut after him liking the Rusty so much, and he is a good buddy with Haut, and he thinks that it would be a perfect board for me to ride today's waves (but then he always seem to say that to any board I show him.) My other buddy is much straighter forward on his mouse with my 6'6 fish. He thinks that that's too fat for me. He says that that's for a 220 lbs guy, not for a 5'6 tall 145 lbs guy, and that's the reason why I got this 6'3 in the first place. It is very interesting when it comes to the board, there are so many discussions.

The sky is really clear blue like in the fall and the ocean is this deep blue color and the sand's yellowish color makes this IKEA like beautiful color combinations. My buddy has a knack on finding rip currents and when he says to get in here, I always have a free ride to the outside. I splash in first, try to jump start like the competitors yesterday. Unlike yesterday with getting out with a 9'0, duck diving on a 6'3 is so much easier and smoother too. My buddy still standing on the beach, as I look back he is now a small speck like a picture of the Sun from the Uranus taken from the Voyager.

There are some surfers still on the outside so the comfort level of getting out is so much better.

Here comes the set! I paddle and it fades out quickly.

I paddle in a tad, and it still fades. This location is always difficult like this. Now I see the break further up, and I paddle hard to get there. Another set comes by and now there is enough juice that I know I can take off. What a difference when I am not pressured to ride, it was just so much fun not required to perform any special moves, just ride as I feel it right.

Should I not have had the pressure of yesterday, though I would not have appreciated this so much. I am so thankful for what I have done yesterday, and those who have encouraged me to go for it, and the day after.

Did I answer the question of whether I would go skating at Rockefeller Plaza next day with my best skating friends after returning from a competition?

Well, the guy who won the surfing competition yesterday was sharing the same break with us this morning.

And that probably makes surfing really special. It is really fun.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Session 5151: I was in the Finals!

I was lying in the bed and looking at the window to see the first light that signifies the start of the day. The competition was at 7:30 and the location is going to be the Francis; a beach that I normally avoid surfing because it can be, or shall I say almost always, seriously gnarly. Usually I am fully up by the time the sky gets lighter, but this morning is a bit different. I have been nervous since I gave that $40 entry fee to the surf shop, and I did not catch any satisfactory wave yesterday on a practice session at the Jetty. It is the same kind of the jittery feeling that I had when I had to take the TOEFL test, or a GRE. Both times, I had to get up early, drive 50-60 miles to the next big college town and take the test early in the morning.

I got out of a bed and put on a rash guard and board shorts. The outside was now a full day, shrouded in fog, of course. This is Half Moon Bay in the summer after all. But fog in the morning is a nice thing. It usually indicates a lack of wind and so it would be glassy out in the water. As I gathered the gear and started to load them into the car, I was starting to feel a bit more at ease. I kept telling to myself; "What the hell! This is just a local competition, and I know I would come last so there is nothing to lose."

It was only 2 minutes drive from home to the Francis Beach, but the anticipation of the big gnarly waves are taking me over as I get closer and closer to the park, and finally I had to face the moment of the truth. I parked the car and I immediately jumped out of it and ran to the beach.

"Oh man! Am I going to do this?"

Already there was that familiar sound of, and yes, the gnarly white close outs. Already juniors division was working the waves and some contestants were really good. I wished I started surfing that young!

Getting nervous in the morning is not a good thing; my internal organs would do the kind of things that only happen if I ate and drink too much or sick from flu.

I was hoping that with the changing tide, and hopefully weakening swells, it can get to the point of "doable."

I went up to the tent and greeted Dalyn who owns the HMB Board Shop. He has been quite helpful to me lately (I hope that this is because I buy a lot from him.) At least seeing some familiar faces would comfort me a bit.

Just when I was feeling a bit better about the situation, I saw another local surfer that I hang out with said; "Oh, no. This is biiigggg! I am not going to do this today!"

Right in front of the tent were three judges already scoring. It was actually quite educational to be by the judges listening on the conversation. There was one time a drop in and they were determining whether to disqualify that ride, and also I hear people vocally making comments about each of the rides the contestants are making. It is exactly like a TV broadcast.

The Heat Number 10 is where I was placed. That's about 2 hours away. I continued to watch the competition and then I finally decided to go out and practice some more. Getting out was not easy and I was pushed back a lot as the chest level white water barred my way. I push the nose of the board down, find the tail edge of the board to push the tail edge under to do a duck dive, but I could not feel the tail edge of the board. Darn! This is a long board, I can't duck this guy. I decided to get off the board and waited for a bit, then suddenly there was a moment of a lull between the sets. I dashed out and finally made it out. I was hoping that it won't happen during the actual heat.

I tried to catch some waves and they were definitely catch-able kinds, I went for them and I got up on the board but twice I wiped out, and another hard paddle out. This cycle happened twice and I still could not get the first turn to set correctly. If and only if I do that then I can get in to the face even if I am inside. On the third wave, I was finally getting the first turn in and rode some. I was encouraged, finally, and the forth wave was acceptable. Going back for more, another lull started to set in then the sets stopped for a long time. Now I was starting to worry that my heat might begin soon. In these kind of competitions, things are not that well organized, so there really is not a set time when my heat starts, it requires a lot of checking on the participant's part.

And, as soon as I went back the organizer is calling my name; "Will Manuba Tokunga, please check in at the desk." I thought "Gosh, it's already my turn?"

It turned out that I was going to be in the Men's Longboard Finals? "Finals!" What happened is that 3 of the men who were in two other heats dropped out (actually I was almost going to drop out too based on the practice I just had.) So there aren?t enough people to hold two heats. So in essence some people were zipped as they can surf two heats should there have been the qualifying heat. Now, I have ended up sharing the waves with the best of the breed local surfers. Originally I had a glimpse of a hope that if one of the contestants would not catch any waves and if I did one, then I would go to the second heat!

I reluctantly put the blue jersey on, and slowly walk towards where other contestants are about to be entering the water. This is probably the most nerve wrecking part of competition to me.

Finally and now it is the time to compete! A man at the tent is signaling for us to paddle out.

Everyone jumps over the shorebreak and start to paddle like crazy to get out. They do that so easily! Just that moment the set starts to build. We got about 5 minutes to get out and another 5 to wait in the water to wait for the 5-minute warning horn. I was frantically going out, turtled many times, and but I have barely made the outside. But I did. It would have been awfully embarrassing that even if I did not do that, but the first hurdle is over.

While we waited, two sets passed by, and they were good. I thought I could have caught them. A few more minutes passed by, some good short boarders were catching some good waves. Then the blast of the 5 minute warning horn cut through the foggy air. We were all sitting in the outside of the lineup waiting for the flag to turn green, and that's the sign to go. There is a lot of waiting and anticipation in surfing and this is one of them which is really something I am not used to yet.

They changed the flag to green. We have now gone live and count back the clock for the next 20 minutes. Now we are waiting for the set, and it took for a few minutes before that darkening horizon came. When it did everyone started to go, and all of them were on the wave. I waited for the second one, and I went for it. It was a good wave, I got up on it, but as I was trying to make the first turn, the board over turned, slipped under me and I wiped out.

As I tried to paddle back the sets came after another (and why is it that it always always happens to me?) and I was starting to lose time. I paddled and looked back and I was not making any progress. I was almost going to give it up, and then I thought I would just take it easy and just paddle back for one more wave. I stroked deeper and slower and harder on my paddling hands, breathing deeply and regularly. I was half way between the outside line when the waves were reforming, and I caught one ride. Not a good one but a ride that counts. Then another hard but paddle and I did another ride which was also a countable one. On the next get out though the darn sets got frequent again, and I hard the 5-minute horn again. I was a bit relieved that it will be over soon, and kept paddling out but I was not making any progress. So I decided to call it a day.

On the way back to the tent to return the jersey, one guy said, "Hey, you did great!" So at least it was not a total loss.

And of course what brings all of these nervous wrecks in the end was a great satisfaction of competing against some of the best of the best in local surfing people and added confidence that next year, may be I can become more of a serious contender. Just may be!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Session 5150: Competition Jitter, The Night Before The Day

I called the HMB Board shop in the afternoon so that we can update my web site as to where tomorrow's contest will be held at. Up to that moment, I was not going to participate, but just watch the contest tomorrow. But on the phone, the participation sounded like on a thin side, so I should at least pay to enter, and on the other line of the phone I was really encouraged to enter. So I threw the 9'0 Takayama in the car, drove over, cut a $40 check to Park and Rec. and now I am officially participant to the Long Board division!

The mood of the day changed from this point on. First, I have not been practicing long boarding extensively in the recent months, and in Santa Cruz waves, there is some chance of catching waves, but here in Half Moon Bay, it can be like telling it is going to be even or odd by throwing a dice, plus we don't know yet where it is going to be, most likely the Jetty or the Francis (we call this the Kelly Beach though).

Well, since if I had to do it, I'd better practice for it with a mellower condition, so I decided to choose the Jetty, but it was actually not a good idea. I ended up not catching a single damn wave and it would have been more fun with a short board.

The waves were the kind that broke really shallow and close to the shore and also closed rather fast. This is the kind that I would regard them as "won't fit" kind of the wave. This is to mean that I can take off but as soon as I take off I cannot do anything but to jump off the board before I find the space between the sand and the wave to make a turn. If I had a short board on, I would have turned and ridden through even though the rides would be shorter. Of course, this is a lame excuse, there are others who can do this.

Occasionally some larger sets did come near the break water, but I was still not ready to fight the crowd and get in. I am still waiting for the day that I would be extremely confident in taking off on the long board because if I screw up in that packed situation, either I or other surfers would inflict some damage. I know I would because I have done that earlier on in my experience, others have done that to me, and I now know at least how to avoid that situation. I guess that is part of paying the dues. Surfing is something it is not a good idea to do on a credit, but should be done on a hard honest learned skill set.

Well, I ended up not catching any satisfactory rides and it was really frustrating since I would be in a competition tomorrow after all. This really has started to add some additional jitter in my mind, and the feel would max out when I hear that horn sound in the morning. It is going to be a tough night getting a sleep.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Session 5149

One day, I was mighty high in the sky and the next day I would be in the bottom of the pits not knowing what the hell I am doing, and that's the normal mordas operandi for me. This morning, the waves were even bigger on the outside, closing out even bigger and then it was just impossible for me to take off on. I was trying really hard, but every take off resulted either in I being thrown over or just getting put in wash cycles or worse yet, my leg hit by the stupid Rusty fin, and that was so F painful. It was so damn frustrating.

Sometimes I often wonder why I am doing this thing. What a stupid sport!

But I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Session 5148

Another foggy summer mooring in Half Moon Bay, but it is true that when it is foggy there is less wind. The Montara area was rather gnarly this morning with very solid NW swell lines coming in. The "up some" prediction from StormSurf was quite correct, and so I passed on Montara, now I am completely out of league for this, and decided to do the usual Linda Mar for the south end this morning. When I passed over the Devils' Slide (where my now famous Devil's Slide Single Bypass Burger with Cheese and Devil's Slide Double Bypass Burger with Bacon, or the Triple Bypass with Cheese, Bacon and the 3rd patty come from), the Sun was poking through the sky. It is always amazing that Linda Mar has this small patch of Sun Belt.

I am now fairly convinced that when the swell height goes up, the waves tend to wall up and close out and throw lots of small tubular waves. They are pretty to watch especially from the side on a line up but I really don't like those. The quality of wave has improved a bit from yesterday, but now taking off into them is nearly impossible at most cases, or at least that's what I thought. I was trying to get my courage up and try to take off into more challenging situations (again, this is all relative to my skill level), getting used to thrown over and held under; almost like doing a Judo match with the waves.

Then it was already 8:30 and I had to get out when anther overhead wall started to build, and I took off into it to get back to the car. As I was paddling into the wave, I felt this catapulting feel, that's almost like being hit by a huge rubber mullet from the back. Oh, man, I am going to be thrown again! But just the same time my arm was already fully stretched on the deck, and was poised to be up on the board. The impact helped my legs to tuck under my body and my left foot felt the texture of the traction pad. I tried to hang on as I started to drop fast to the bowl of the wave. I started to push the tail really hard, and I got up on the board in my usual couching style. The wave was big enough that I felt like I was going down the face for a long time. I was frantically trying to shift the weight forward but the board is still sliding with only the tail in the water. Then finally I could shift the weight forward to get the rail to bite into the water and I made the initial bottom turn but the pressure on the keens were so much and felt like I had another 50 lbs of weight on me. I tried to stay on the board, now the speed is so fast that I was really scared, and as I tried to cut back away from that turn, the board finally jetted out from my feet, the board and I was thrown up in the air and that was end of my last ride of this session.

It was one of the most awesome riding experiences I've had in a while, and I have now seen the glimpse of successfully taking off into hollower situation. I am getting more used to riding the 6'3 and now I've tasted it, I will look for that feel again next time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Session 5146-5147: Picking Lesser of Evils

Sometimes, or more often than sometimes, I will be forced take the lesser of the evils when it come to surfing. In the summer it can mean taking gusty onshore wind in the afternoon, or take low tide in the morning, because I must fit in my daily dose of the ocean and stay fit, this morning I had to take the low tide situation before hitting the desk.

I got in slightly before 7 am this morning, and it was very obvious that I am going into much "less than the optimum" condition where the waves were just disorganized and basically closing out most of the time. In this kind of the situation, the challenge is to find a small window of opportunity and spot that would break in some shape or form, so there is a lot of paddling around, or even totally getting out of the water observe and re-assess the position. I've done both, but in the usual 90 minutes of surfing, I could only had about 2 rides that were successful even in my own standard. The upsides from this session were that I got to practice a lot of paddling and ducking through, and also I went ahead and practiced taking off even the waves were closing down fast. So I not have much to report other than that from this morning.

When I got out of work this afternoon, the sun was fully out in the coast and the wind was not as bad as yesterday so I actually ended up doing the second session of the day in Half Moon Bay. Now, however, the waves were messier than this morning, but I tried to get in anyway and again, it ended up more of a getting out practice than anything else. The waves were closing out at so shallow bottom that even ducking under I was just thrown in very turbulent water and often I could not get through the waves. It was really a mess, and I could not ride anything this afternoon.

From this respect, this is another one of these things that makes surfing so really difficult because even I am equipped with all sort of swell, wind and tide data, there just are times I cannot tell what is really going to happen.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Session 5145

We drove to SC this late morning. This was an unusual summer day when the sky was clear all the way from HMB to SC. Of course, I was checking out all of the state beaches along the way. Actually some of the mid San Mateo locations looked promising, but then there were nobody surfing, so I decided to move on to further south. With the sharp 180 degree S swells, I was not hoping much about them affecting anywhere, and my favorite Waddell wasn't happening, so I've decided to do Manresa on the medium tide period. We pulled into Carpo's on Mission and had a nice roast chicken dinner.

Manresa was packed with cars and I almost did not find any spot to park in the "paid" lot. But I did finally find one. It is a bit maddening to see a camper with a trailer taking up 5 parking stalls, but hey, this is a free country, I guess. When I put on the suit it was a rare occasion that I got really hot inside and I really had to get in the water as soon as possible. I have even seen a few surfers with just board shorts and a rubber top on, so it was almost like San Diego condition today.

The breaks were the typical Manresa beach breaks that happens not very consistently, but nevertheless we had good chest-shoulder level rollers that were fun. Today, I took out my new 6'3 Piranha and I really felt very comfortable padding out, ducking through and taking off. It is very likely going to be my next "all round" board as I graduate from the 6'6 board.

Today I continued to work on take offs, but in terms of the rides they were just standard kind mostly going straight down into closing out waves. I caught bunch of waves, but now I really need to practice setting up the initial turn.

Helmet Saved Me Again

I forgot to mention in one of my previous messages that I actually ended up breaking part of my helmet. Here is what happened. I was standing in the shallow water when there were a lot of white water coming. When one of the waves started to build up as a shore break, my board hit the side of my face. It was a bit painful at the time, but then I did not think much about that. Much later on I have found out that a piece that covers the ear has fallen off. Now that I thought about that, should I not have been wearing a helmet, I could have broken my jaw. That would be painful.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Session 5144

I was going to surf the Jetty then help out the beach cleanup this morning, but the sets looked dismal as I went and passed by, so I went straight up to Montara. Looked like the entire local LM and OB regular crew was at it already and probably it was that flat further north.

I surfed the south end for a while. It was kind of a condition similar to the Surf Classic contest two seasons ago. It was about chest high, I'd say but still there is enough Montara power to the wave that catching the waves from the outside was really fun, and could take long rides. My SurfTech Fish 6'6 performed well on this type of condition (but since I did not take out the 6'3 Rusty Piranha I would not know if that did well.) While it was crowded, it was a lone session for me since I did not know anyone from the lineup.

There were some decent long boarders out and one thing that bothers about some of these people is that they fixate on you on the ride and as a result they come right at you. This seems to be the theme no matter where I go, and tend to be in some specific age and sex group that this happens. Either they want to me to know that I am looking at them or what. "Hey bro! Look at and look for your line, man! Don't look at me. I know, I know you look cool!"

After a while the wave started to die down, or at least I though they did, so I walked all the way to the south of the north stairs, and while the waves broke, they capped out immediately. There was one "unused" section in the middle of the beach, and I tried to paddle out there but I thought I was caught in a bit of a rip and side current and spooked out a bit, since I was waiting in the lineup, my position was changing really fast. So I decided to paddle back in. I always have this issue with any type of current. This would not have been an issue if my local buddy would be here. I am rather convinced that part of the reason I don't get better at surfing sooner is due to this timid nature of mine. I even know that that's the reason why I am not a CEO of a company at this day and age. That's always having been the theme of life with me. I am not saying that I wish I was a CEO, and I am happily accepting basically a "worker bee" status all my career and instead chose to devote more time in surfing and music rather than getting a Mileage Plus Premier 10K membership year after year. But, I again, digressed a bit.

Back to the ocean!

I decided and sit and watch how other people did, and everyone was just taking off and then not pickup up any speed at all and just wiping out. Not boasting my abilities but there were some waves I thought I would do better than this guy or the other; "Oh, man, you could have turned left right there and you'd kept that wave!", "Gosh, you could just put more weight on the board and the board would not have slipped away like that!" So it was very educational for me to just sit and watch for a while. Then my ADS started to kick in, so I got sick and tired of just watching (though most people don't know that I can pay attention to 2 or 3 things at the same time, so yes, as far as my high school teach's training manual says, I got an ADS, and that's fine, that just an in-fashion label people use against us when they can't deal with it. [And you all know I can't spell jack either])

Back to Ocean again!

I paddled further north and the power started to resume for a length. There were some really good surfers out there at this section, but I think I did some good damage right there. There are really fun "fish" waves to me, really soft so easy to take off on and make a lot of turns on the face. They were really fun, and it was sure crowded for the Montara standards but I had a fair share of the waves. Just take a look at the line up, observe who are the movers, shakers, and snakers and who are not, and position myself accordingly between the right types of people. First of the set comes, I let the snaker with the Fish go, then the second set builds, two others start, and I am in the middle, I know they'd both just wipe out both left and right of me, and the wave is all mine!

Then I thought I was just tired, and I started to walk back to the south end where I parked. Then I saw the south end starting to throw some fun waves again. So I had to go in, 3 more good rides, and I was finally done. It was 11:30, and I blew off the beach cleanup this morning (but I did collect 3 bag-full of fireworks on the 5th!)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Session 5143

When I do a DP at Linda Mar, there is an elderly man and a lady who are almost always there. Actually once in a while one of them is not there, and I often worry, but then they always have come back. This morning I walked to up them and jokingly try to hand my Fish and said, "Hey, wanna give it a shot?" And the man said, "Yes, I used to." And he went on and told me that he is from OZ and used be a merchant marine, and traveled around the world with his motorcycle and a board abord his ship. He surfed around the world, including China. That's something. He also said that his mother who is in the 90's surfed until recently. How amazing! The stoke continues from one generation to another and from one part of the world to another.

In terms of surfing, this morning we had a very low tide and low swell too, so it was a bit of a challenge to find surfable waves. This was in contrast with the PM session yesterday where there were a lot more mess. I tried the middle part of the beach for a while; caught some waves, and then I walked up to the north side and surfed there for a while. It was a bit frustrating to see the waves that were almost ready to "happen", and if I had time for the tide to build up a bit, it would have been really fun chest to shoulder level waves.

I continued to study and explored riding the tail part of the board on the waves today, and I am finding that really interesting. Some of the changes that is happening is that the board used to jet out ahead of me when I tried to weigh the tail but now I am starting to ride the wave in that position, and that is very encouraging to me right now. I will continue to practice this for a while. Practicing this on smaller waves is really nice because I can time it so that I would try to take off as late as possible into the wave without being penalized for a failure. Once I can do this very consistently then I can go for bigger size waves and try. Then the next thing in my agenda is to smoothly transition from that position to the initial turn into the wave, again consistently. Nailing this consistency at any wave size and shape is really some thing that I am working on very hard right now.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Session 5142

Story on the wave was similar to yesterday. Just a lot of mixed swells and chops. Took the 6'6 out again and there were some interesting pop up waves that I caught. Due to the changes in the company, I will be busy time for some time through the end of the year at least. I will need to switch the gear again to focus on early DPs at LM.

I am working on working the tail section of the board a much more effectively in the past several sessions. I am still amazed when I push the tail so much hard and the board is sliding down the very steep part of the wave with basically front 2/3 of the board completely out of the water, yet, I am still somewhat in control of the board. The board is really loose at this stage so it is actually easy to make a turn, but then I am still a bit scared to do that. But I take a courage and make a slight turn, then the rail would start to bite the wall of the wave, and then I can start to apply the pressure on the board more evenly and then back again to the tail of the board to set up for another turn. If and when this happens, then the speed will kick in, I can make further turns to add to the speed.

One thing that I have been thinking is to really relax at all situations, and that seems to bring more success in rides. When I am ready to take off, I let myself know to just relax, give just a bit more time before I get up etc., and don't even really worry about standing up so much.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Session 5141

I was tasked to implement a major change that occured at the company I was working for me and I had to be up until 2 am or so to get everything set up for the big news in the morning, coordinating the changes around the world, then I had to get to work super early to set up for additional events that happned.

I pulled up at Linda Mar finally at around 5:00 and then I slept for 30 minutes. Then caught some waves. The waves were really junky but the 6'6 performed well and I had some really fun rides in the mess.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Session 5140

This morning, I went to Linda Mar and when I arrived the beach was a mess with a full of fireworks. It looked more like a aftermath of a war zone than a nice clean beach to surf with. There were already local crew working on cleaning the beach, and I jumped in and collected 3 large garbage bag-full of trash in about 15-minute time. Then I went in to the water.

The tide was super low when I had to go, but on the outside there were some surfable waves that would come just before or after close out sets. It was also a bit of work to get out as there were just waves after waves of white water mess. While I can duck through them, it is still a lot of work to get out when I have to do that every 5 seconds and it just does not seem to stop. On a day like this, I'd just sit tight and wait, standing in the water, until there is a lull and then I'd dash out.

As much as I dislike these messy situations to get out, I also love riding them. Messy days create challenging waves. The lines are not clean well defined, instead they happen at all different parts of rides and connecting these lines with turns and cut backs are really a lot of fun.

As usual, the current was rather strong moving towards the north end where the wave tends to get bigger, and today, a bit more of a mess. So I enter a bit further south, paddle up and out that would carry just at the second where the things gets bigger and I ride those in, then walk back for more. That just worked out really nicely for me today. My last ride also had so much speed that when I connected to the inside section, I was still on a rail pushing and gliding against puny knee high wave and still going almost all the way to the beach! So I decided to call that a day while I was ahead.

It was really a tiring session though with all that fight with the white water but was fun.

By the time, I got out of the water; the people have already cleaned the beach nearly completely. It is really nice to know that there really are people who care, and also to contrast this, there were several surfers who don't even pick up a piece.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Session 5139

OK, so now I leaked out that I got a new car, I am going to relate this to surfing. Last time I surfed with Edo (some of the the HMB locals suffix a letter "o" at peoples' names, so I am actually going as Mano, locally. So if someone take pictures of me surfing that's Manography!). OK, I back to what I was talking to Ed about was this. I was explaining to him that my car as well as my previous car had so much electronics controlling the car that any failure in any area would cause a serious driving issue, including being totally disabled in the middle of, say, a Baja trip. That would be a hell if the car stops in the middle of some deserted area in Baja in the middle of a summer.

Then Edo said that it is just like a fighter jet where the jets are so unstable by the nature that computer control keeps the plane flying, and basically the pilot asks the plane to go which direction and speed. When this thought occurred, most people would think that it would be easier to pilot a plane like that. But in addition, I think that these pilot can maneuver the plane to the next dimension where it would have not been possible with other ones.

And that brings to my recent change of the surf board. Of course, the surf board does not have fly-by-the-wire technology (at least for now), but what I am experiencing is that this board is so much less stable that others that I surfed that basically I have to re-program my brain to work with the characteristics of the board. It will initially require some conscious understanding of what is going on, then I as I repeat these motions, I can teach that in to more of an instinctive part of the brain and eventually just thinking about going to a direction, the body will automatically move to cause an action, and that's a big part of practicing a lot.

So today I spent a good deal of time catching waves at all different phases and see what happens, and that's also a fun part of experiencing different boards. Between yesterday and today, I have started to ride the board to make some satisfactory turns etc. It is definitely much easier to turn the board but building the speed is a bit more difficult with it right now, and without the speed, ride cannot continue very long. So like anything in life, I gain some and loose some by a change like this.

At this point of time, I have found out that taking off at a much later point of the wave is much successful with it, though not necessarily be the best approach. Sometimes, I feel like the wave burping me out of the wave. Turning shorter radius definitely does not require as much of the power as my other longer boards, and that's actually nice because I don't have to muscle through the turns as much, like Darin was tell me about when selecting this board.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sessions 5137-5138

I was planning to meet Steve this morning at Waddell or Scotts, but I did not get out of the bed until 7 this morning. Part of it is that I have not been in the DP mode for a while as things has gotten quite busy at work and so I start at work early and "sneaking out" of the office to go hit the beach in the afternoon. I am using the work "sneak out" because if someone sees my walking, no matter when it is, there invaluably is some kind of a question or problems they want me to solve. So I carefully time and plan the secret exit route out of my cube at the end of the day.

At 7:00 am the Pocket PC started to play the ring tone, it is usually my local buddy that would call me begging me to come out and surf, but I know he is out of town, but this time it was Steve hunting for the wave along the coast. That basically was the wake up call, and I slowly put things together. It is so easy not to get into the DP mode!

Well, I did meet up with Steve this morning. I had to apologize to him since he was looking for my blue wagon and also I pulled the custom MANABU3 license place out of it, since I have been becoming to be one of the more exposed surf characters in our local surf scene due to the web site etc, so I decided to take this opportunity go somewhat more anonymous (so please don't look for the blue wagon, and if have been conspiring to wax the window, it would be a wrong car!)

As I drove south, the things did not look great. As I passed by San Gregorio, the water was kind of a mess though far out there were some nice swell lines, plus the sky was heavily loaded with this usually foggy dense gray stuff.

But as I gone past the Pigeon point, I saw the sky beyond Ano Nuevo and I got a bit more excited.

Waddell was very small, but definitely some surfable waves there.

I saw Steve already parked there and I was looking for him, and suddenly he popped out of nowhere. Based on what he thought of Scotts Creek, we decided to go in before the tide would come and "fill in", which actually ended up happening in about an hour.

This was the day 2 of trying my new board and today I had a better time riding the board than yesterday. What I have been noticing is that once I am on top of the board, the board was much "looser" once I get going and in fact it is so loose that the board was wobbling left and right quickly. What this means to me is that it is significantly much more sensitive to directional changes than other boards I have been riding. The board is probably willing to turn in any direction I asked it to faster, but I am still not used to it that I would need to make further adjustments in riding this board. Also, I am starting to find out that a less "foam" on this board allows me to duck through much easier than ever and also definitely I would be less overwhelmed with the power of faster waves. Paddling is definitely a bit harder with this, but thankfully, I have now gotten "buff" enough to the point that I can manage that too, and continue to build more muscles.

Before I could practice more, though the waves started die down. Steve hit south and I hit north possibly for more waves.

I ended up at Kelly and I put back the wet wetsuit on, and got in. The waves were going overhead and the side current was treacherous with no real sign of rip current. I started out by the camp ground stairs and by the time I thought I reached the "outside" I was already flushed all the way to the Kelly St. level. When I rode in, getting back out was so difficult that after I tried to get out 3 times, I decided to call it quits. Only really good surfers were making to the outside breaks, and it still was not yet for me to fully enjoy the breaks. Part of this is that I was definitely psychologically defeated. If my buddy was there to watch out for me, I would have tried it or even the waves probably would have looked easier.

Tomorrow I am going to give one more shot at these local beaches and let you all know about how I am doing with my new board.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Session 5136: Carmel Cove with my New Rusty

To get out of a routine, we've decided to check out Seaside and Carmel Cove this afternoon.

This morning the first wax went on my new 6'3 Rusty Piranha along with a traction pad and set of Rusty #6 fins plus a couple of stickers. From today on it is a used board. I did not load other boards but this one and headed towards Carmel.

This was dropping off my wet suit at Blown Out Wet Suit to get the zipper fixed and lunch at Paula's both on Portola in Santa Cruz. The owner woman at the wet suit place is so kind and helpful; I do recommend everyone to head out there if you got any wet suit repairs needed.

After lunch, we headed out to Carmel, and stopped at the Seaside just a bit north of Monterey, and it was not happening at all by a quick look from the parking lot. So we headed straight to Carmel. The idea was that while "she shops", "I surf" and my friend told me that there are some nice waves from time to time on the NW swells.

Even though we have been to Carmel many times, we've never checked out the beach, thinking that it is not that great. That was when I was not a surfer and I was not looking for the ocean beach, and as a result I've always equated Carmel with shopping. But it is always nice to be proven wrong. Actually there was a whole stretch of a white sand beach we have not thought that existed with a plenty of parking spaces on the street near by, and I saw waves breaking rather in a good size; from shoulder to over head level.

I went in the water and carefully walked out as far as I could to make sure that I know the bottom and there are no rocks, then a bunch of set came in at overhead level and they were rather fast. I was down to hip to low chest level, so I was a bit worried about it since if I mess it up, I could break the board, let alone fighting with the crowd of dozen surfers.

I avoided the main pack and went a bit further to the south part of the cove.

As I was paddling out I did not feel much in the difference of paddling with other shorter length boards I have, but when I sat on it, it started to sink a bit. It was a bit of surprise but now I am like these other cool surfers that when they are on a line up, their boards are under the water! As many of my friends say, I now have a much less foam under me. So rather than submerging all of the board under the water I sat a bit more towards the tail of the board so that the front of the board is out of the water, which gave me a bit easier feeling that I am still floating.

In terms of catching waves, I felt that I was a bit still out of the league, but I did find a few shoulders within my range of "almost doable" and I was able to get into these waves a bit. From here my lack of the skill was still obvious and cannot get quickly enough into the wall, so the ride stopped under the immediate close outs. But I do see the potential, and I think that these types of conditions are workable.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Session 5135

This season has been different from any other, since I have surfed local Half Moon Bay beaches on a regular basis with my buddy and we had so much blast. We will just go out on good days, bad days, this beach, that beach and we shared so much surfing philosophy in common; just get out and have fun catching waves, and as a result of it, I have gotten a bit more solid on my skill and further, I have really gained the confidence to be in most types of waves that happen in our area.

Piranha ate the Fish: This afternoon, I finally decided and picked up my next board in my quiver. The goal is to start improving real short boarding skill sets that is now starting to become possible for me. After talking to Darin at Half Moon Bay Board Shop, we came to the conclusion that I do get the Rusty Piranha, 6'3, with a squash tail. It is still wide in the middle at 20.5 inches! The 6'6 was a great wave catcher, but I found it a bit difficult to make nice and snappy turns. According to him that's because I have too much float on the board (I needed that for easier paddle). He said that with this new board, I can turn better from the tail, but I can still work the rail better once I get into the turn, I am more used to rail to rail, smoothly drawn out turns than the snappier turns. So I am hoping that this will help me a bit of transition. The general consensus on the fate of my 6'6 SurfTech Fish is that "use as a long board." Last year, that concept would have been absurd to me, but now if I think about it that's exactly what I have been using it as, and when I was in San Diego last month, I was riding it side to side with long boarders. It is a long board that fit inside a small car, now that's a benefit right there!

After that, I headed out to a beach. My buddy was there already, but with his kid. This time, he watched me from the shore and pointing me in the direction of a rip when I was getting out, and then pointing me to the break. The second wave was just perfect, exactly like how he would catch. I got into a nice right pocket and surfed on with a bit of pull out action in the end. It was glassy, foggy that makes the wind to calm down (or other way around), and sets would roll in every 3-4 minutes just perfect to paddling out to make back to the breaks.

I also tried his Merrick Flyer 6'2 that's similar to my new Piranha and it was a nice board, and paddling around on it really felt just at home.

With it will be like this every day.

But I've learned recently that this buddy and the family is uprooting to East Coast at the end of this year.

Things change and nothing stays the same. We should all enjoy the changes rather than suffering from them.

Also, I was thinking on the way to the car that how incremental the improvement has been, but I would just relax, enjoy the ride and continue to build my skills without really feeling like hurrying.

This season though has been one of the most memorable yet!