Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Session 5187

First, answer to a question from one of the readers. "Who is this legendary guy that you mentioned?" Well, I am vowed to keep this BLOG HIPPA compliant so whatever I write about someone (except that StokeMasters web site members will get a direct mention), I must make sure that person is not involuntarily mentioned in public. But the reason why this person is legendary is because he used to be a very prominent local surfer in the area and I heard about him many times from a few other locals that I surf with and how great of a surfer he was. Then I actually had met him once at Montara during a surf check and he started to speak to me in Japanese. Turns out he was living in Japan for several years for his job. But I have not heard from him or saw him surf since. This was at least 7-10 months ago in the late fall or winter.

Anyhow, he suddenly shows up in our 3-peopoe line up and we started to talk. So, that was really fun and amazed to see him take these close outs at ease. There are several other well known surfers too so I am sure I will eventually get to surf with them. First though I still need to get better so I would not be totally out of a league and place.

Now onto this morning's surfing.

The sun was totally out this morning, indicating the start of fall, perhaps, a wishful thinking. As I go enter the Devil's Slide section, I see some solid swell lines coming in again, indicating a fall like feel. I was excited and at the same time I was still a bit intimidated by it.

This morning I went to Linda Mar because that would be the best bet for me. When I got to the spot though, the north end was already fairly big, so I decided to do the south end, and it was actually decent! I was pleased by the shoulder level high sets. Today, I took out the 7'5 JC Equalizer and that was really fun to catch a bit larger waves on the outside. The reason why I say it was fun is because due to the size of the board, the speed I can get out of that thing is really good, and once I get in the speed and I really like to take big turns with it.

There were a ton of women out this morning. Yes, they must be polishing up their surfing skills for the women's contest. Since it will be at Linda Mar, why not practice right at the location. Now that I thought about that I now realized that the situation is a bit different if you are practicing for the HMB Classic because you don't know until the night before the contest.

On the way out I checked the north end one more time. The waves did have some shape. There was nobody on the waves but I bet that would have been fun if I got a courage to do it, or have someone better than me to come along, I've gone there.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Session 5186

So, in this sort of swells that are coming and at the level of my surfing, I should either have not surfed or should just have gone to some other (you know where) place this morning. But you know, if you have other buddies who'd respect is a seasoned local, you'd have to respect his opinion too. In fact if I have chosen other places it probably would not been good for me either. But then there still is a "poser" nature in me that would cause me to say, "I wish I would have?" I am sure you can all relate to that.

So this is one of the mornings that we have conspired to surf in a local beach when they are not even supposed to be "open" and then go and park where "No Parking" sign is posted all over the places and snack in to the beach and try to catch a few waves before we hit the desk.

Well, even around here, we could not escape the swells and so the breaks were ugly and not really catchable "you break your nose if you mess up" sort of waves. Plus they are beach breaks as such they were shifty and the "best" peeks seemed to have moved around a lot. This is to mean that I say "Let's go there!" and we paddle 5 minutes straight to "there." Then, what happens, "was there" start to break with nice shoulders. I don't think that people living in Santa Cruz or Rincon would totally appreciate what we have to live by, but in most of the times that we have to live with. The funny thing of this is that after a while, you'd say "Hey this ain't too bad." And I guess, you might call us either "addicted" or "nuts" of sorts. But may be it is not bad, even if this means duck diving with sand stuck in our eyes and gritting our teeth, and creating a straight horizontal stress lines on our boards. Every once in a while a surfable shoulder would come by, it is just fast enough and we take 10-second rides, while we hope that one of these days when we hit a nice big break we'd surf better than anyone because we paid our dues.

Of course that's the story that I am telling. As for me, I am just sitting duck and duck diving too like a mad man each time a bigger outside set come in.

This morning though, I finally got to surf one of the local legendary surfer that I only heard on the lineups and the Surfrider meetings!

Gosh he was good.

He takes off in the waves that I could not, then he manages to go down and kick out through the waves back out back into the back side of the wave! I have not seen that happen before!

Then he paddles back and says to me "Minikui Nami" (Ugly waves) in Japanese. What a dude!

So if the waves suck there always are all sorts of excitements on the water!

The adventure continues.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Session 5185

It is kind of ironic that the day I decided to "pull out" of Santa Cruz is the day to surf with Clio who caused me to surf in Santa Cruz. She was out of surfing since July of last year, but decided to come back to it this afternoon. She even has the same mini-long board that I started really surfing with; it is a Pearson Arrow 8'6 Mini Malibu board. I tried it today just to remember how it was like, and when I got on it, the whole feeling of what it was like came right back to me. It is really interesting and strange that every board has it own characteristics just like how one make of a guitar or a piano would sound and actions feel differently from others. As for this board, it is really good board ready to allow trimming. I wish I had more time on better waves for this condition.

Rewind to the start of the session? We checked out the Cowells beach to see if it is doing anything, and it was lame. There was only one guy out there, the bay was filled in and there seemed to be nothing. So we decided to head straight to Manresa where I know there always are some waves. When we arrived there the water was murky red brown color indicating that there is quite a bit of algal activities out there. We did go in anyways.

The wave were a bit difficult to catch as they were doubling up on every set and also at the same time, closing out? double closing out to be more accurate. I continued to catch the waves even though there was not much to be ridden. It was almost like 2 years ago when we were both working hard to get waves.

So I think it was a successful re-introduction to surfing for Clio and as always I still had fun being challenged with the condition too. There were, yet, some better surfers showed up and they were riding with snap backs, and I was not doing as well, so yes, there will be some more learning to do.

I am really happy that Clio has gotten back into surfing as we met at the Club Ed camp in Baja a few years back and being surfing friends since then and many other people have come and gone in that time.

Session 5176 Pictures 2

This is typicaly what happens afterwards. I have narrowly and succesfully escaped breaking the nose of this board. While I was just about wiping out, at this point I was still riding the board. If I was to take my helmet off, there will be quite a bit of sand. Posted by Picasa

Session 5176: Photo

From Session 5176: A fraction of a second before this wave just crushes down on a shallow knee high beach break (hey but I did get up!). You can almost see the sand in the water in front. This is pretty typical of our local beaches. (Photo, Courtesy of Dog Haus) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Session 5184

Many of my friends like "bigger" days. Personally I don't like "bigger" days. They don't do anything for me. They are hard to paddle out to, and difficult to catch too. I would rather have shoulder to overhead size days with fewer closes out sets and really ride the ridable faces to my heart content. I don't really have an urge to tell people that "Manabu would go" type stories. This preference, obviously is more unique to just a few of my friends because it seems that 9 out of 10, other surfers biggest complains are "not big." I have been to situations that were double overhead size waves, and while I can get out and surf and all, I still don't and cannot enjoy much. It is largely due to my skill levels, for sure.

So this morning was just perfect. I like the tail end of the "bigger days." With very little wind going and if any going at side to offshore directions, easy paddle out and there were just plenty of good waves for me to catch. I was catching so many fun waves that I was almost feeling guilty of other bros who were there with me, but actually I was selecting easier and smaller spots that were happening more consistently, rather than going to the outside sand-bar where once in a while bigger sets would break. Besides, I was on a 6'3 board, so I could use a bit more boost from the inside break anyhow.

Today, one thing I really realized was that I was still looking down. I though that I was not, but I was because I was looking down for 2-3 seconds ahead of the line, and not the entire horizon ahead of me. We had a Stokemasters discussion regarding this, and I have realized that I was still not looking at the horizon. And when I did that it was so much more helpful. It is amazing a simple few words like "gaze at the horizon" have so much profound differences in the riding experience. It was so much easier to pick a better line than ever before.

I am really thankful for everyone to come to support my "surfing lifestyle." Because if I have never met them and talked to them, I don't think that I would have advanced even to this point. I want everyone to know that I almost flanked the Ph-Ed classes in middle school because I did not want anything to do with sports back then (but if there was surfing at school that may have changed that in retrospect.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Session 5183

Good NW swell continues this morning. I surfed alone this morning at "you know where" and it was decent. A bit closed out as other Stokemasters reported this morning, but there were a lot of waves to catch.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Session 5181-5182: Well, The size does matter.

A bit late for the double-header session I did yesterday. It was almost like the start of the winter season and the morning session was really treacherous for my skill level. I did make to the outside with many ducking through. On the outside sets were going well overhead but would have been better if I had a longer board to paddle a bit faster to catch these big waves, really should not have taken the 6'3 since catching the waves on the inside was also felt like "too late." The 45-minute session was just good enough to tire me out before hitting the office. The waves looked especially meaner and bigger with the horizon all shrouded with the fog. Should this have been sunny and with a clear view of the horizon, I would have been able to be there at much more ease. Perhaps, this is a lame excuse, so I now should write on.

In the middle of the day, Surf Doggie drop me an email to look at the Mavs Cam. The reason we do this is because we want to check the texture of the waves. If there a lot of wind in our area, then we can actually figure that out. But we did agree that we will do the bay rather than the northern beaches.

Since I also volunteered to baby sit and surf with Dog Haus in the afternoon, I headed out to a beach near my home in the afternoon. I did one cool thing though, since we were taking turns we decided to do 15-minute heat each turn. That was a good practice for surf competition, and I took each "heat" seriously, practicing from splashing in, fast paddle to the outside to really focus on waves and catching them. The waves in the bay were really fast and again like on the other day, but that gave us good duck diving through practices, focusing on the horizon for wave selections and then catching as many waves as possible. The waves were so closed out due to the low tides that we could not take actual rides but I did take off on many number of waves. Surf Doggie, another close surfing buddy of mine mentioned afterwards that he was surprised how many waves I got into, because he thought I would not make a majority of them.

I am a bit gratified that he has recognized that, since that's exactly what I have been, and continue to be, working on; to get ready to take off into deeper and steeper walls. My 6'3 board was also helpful in this regard because I was able to hold down the back of the board without being overpowered by the waves.

In terms of baby sitting, I got a bit of a short end of a stick. While I was taking care of his kid another strange couple showed up with a girl about 2 years old too, and she wanted to play together, so I ended up doing the work for two while they enjoyed relaxing afternoon. But I trick Dog House to come to the Brewery and I am coercing him for two Mavericks Pale Ales coming my way. Though, given he has been geeking out with his new iPod and text messaging on his phone he might be reading this.

I better stop now.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Session 5180. The Size Does Not Matter

Calling my buddies up at 6:15 AM is fun. "Hey Dog Haus, get your butts out of da bed, put your shit together and come on out!" I can almost see that he is rolling in his bed trying to turn off the ringer. But he did get out the bed, threw his two boards on the truck bed and that's all what matters instead of what he was doing.

Surf was rather disorganized this morning, but as usual we don't really care so long as there are surfable peaks we'd go and work on them? small or larger. We can often be the measuring sticks in which other surfers would decide to come in or not. It is often the case that, "Hey I saw you guys catching waves so I decided to go." Dog Haus can handle the outside and the inside, I can always handle the inside if it is too difficult to make it to the outside? like this morning when a lot of chops will just crush down one wave after another. But by now, we've all figured out the local rip current patterns, so we just go and ride those out.

And as for the surf, it was a lot of fun both the inside and outside. Definitely the waves are on the junky side if it was left up to other peoples' opinions. And yes, there were a couple of overhead sets in the mix too to catch. I have written in various past occasions but when the waves are junky like today, the surf landscape changes from groomed giant slalom hills to mogul hills. These are so much fun to corner around from one bump to another, and give a lot of chance to pick the lines and make quick turns. Quick turns are just a lot of fun too because these bumps do build up into rather steep faces. Just like skiing on the mogul hills this is where the use of the knees do play a lot in having a lot of fun or wipe outs followed by waves closing out on me. And skiing the bumps was one of my favorite things in my college days. I hated that once in a while they come out with the groomer and flatten the hills. Then we had to wait for two days, and we used to ski really rough on these surfaces so that bumps would form.

And you know what? My college time ski buddy from the Upper Michigan just called me on the other day. We will have a lot of catching up to do!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Session 5179

Sometimes not having much expectation works to my advantage. I was not so sure if there is anywhere that would catch current 185 degree south swells, and given the past few days without much in the way of good surfable waves, I decided to drive further south this morning. It was a type of morning that required an intermittent wiper on. After driving for half an hour or so, the sky opened up with the sun in the sky. It was also the spot that I originally planned to be.

The spot was not happening much but once every 3-5 minutes some sets rolled in, so I said "might as well" and got in, and also the wind was going on an offshore direction. At least the S swell was doing something here, and the extremely low tide turning to the incoming tide made me really hopeful.

As for today's lesson, today my wave selection and positioning technique was suffering quite a bit. On smaller days, there are fewer sweet spots and obviously they are always owned by few good surfers who would catch every darn wave that come. But still once in a while the chances for me to catch good waves do come and I do catch but I feel like my timing needs more adjustment as well as positioning. Specifically today, I was too far out more than usual. One of the right waves was perfect, I was right in the pocket and just barely going faster than the closing wave on my butt and my arm folded in a bit so that I don't touch the wall.

I don't know if you noticed this or not, but there is one interesting thing I noticed a while ago and I meant to write about. It is about how to wind goes over the wave, and when I go over the waves or when I am taking off on an offshore situation, I can definitely feel the whiff of more wind blowing against the wave. It is an interesting experience to me.

Totally changing the subject, but this week I did an experiment to see whether going through Sharp Park Road or going around Serramonte on 280/1 junction to Pacifica makes any faster. The result was surprising. Even though the distance to cover on the freeway only route is much more, it is still 2 minutes sooner. Sharp Park took exactly 10 minutes to get over to the Sharp Park freeway entrance from the Westborough exit. Whereas it took almost exactly 8 minutes on the freeway only route. Something to keep in mind.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Session 5178

One of the surfing skills that I am trying to acquire better is the forecasting skill set. When I started surfing, I was really curious about why on some specific day people tend to be surfing on a specific place, and not the other places. Of course today, I have the answer to that one. People tend to stay longer when the condition is better so that automatically creates the crowd.

Nevertheless, I did not know, for example, when Mavericks would start to happen. After I started to surf, I started to see web sites and NOAA buoy sites and see how the numbers they spit out related to my surfing experiences, and today I have a much better idea of what to and when to go. Still, though there are many days and times that I feel I don't know what the heck I am doing. This also goes with my surfing skills too, by the way. In both areas, there just are days that I feel like I am a total beginner in the whole situation not have learned anything about anything even though I have been at it for a while. Compared to, say, music, that is a bit different, because when I play my keyboards I am clearly building upon what I have before. There are good days and bad days, but I don't have a day in which I have forgotten how a voicing on a chord is supped to be, and how the scale over that chord progression is. Yes, sometimes the fingers tend to move smoother or faster, but when it comes to surfing, there definitely are days that I feel that I have not made any progress what so ever.

Before I get into this morning's situation, though that I was clearly having fun. So don't think that by reading this that I was a miserable time. There are miserable times though, say when it is in the winter time, a 7:00 AM DP, it is a constant drizzle out, the swell period is 18 seconds 8 ft from the WNW, and I am paddling, paddling and paddling out never finding the true outside, and when I thought I found it, I take off and I get plummeted and held down for a good several seconds, and after catching zero wave (I mean no wave) all fatigued barely making it back against the tremendous current, I have to change to regular clothes. That's a miserable time.

Compared to that today was a relatively flat day, working with near shore breaks, and try to catch waves that are coming down rather fast. And I could not do anything about catching waves. I take off but they either crumbled or just thrown over, and as a part of the reward of this, I hit the sand bottom (thank got it is just the sand). Of course my buddy Dog Haus was catching tons of waves. I am not just simply there to do what he does. But I saw that he was geeking out with his new iPod ? and his unlimited text messaging feature he just figured out how to do (by the way I sent him several text messages in the past several months and now he confirms that he got them, about the NW swells we had in SC this winter, for example) so I now have some hope for him to become a part of my regular society.

It was not a miserable time today because the sun came out, and I was sharing the wave from the Zen Master, Dog Haus, and Caryn Stokemasters, and I was so stoked because she is a short boarder Stokemasters too! Instead of catching tons of waves, I really had a good time talking to her on the lineup.

It is always interesting to meet someone for the first time. This Internet community culture really have added one more dimension to it, because there are some people whom I have not really met live but know the person for months at a time, not even knowing what they sound like on the phone. But this mooring, I got a call from her, and from then on I started to formulate in my mind what she would look like and surf like and then when she actually shows up then I would compare about the actual differences are.

Well, there are much more I can write but I will stop now. Please come back again and read more, I know you all do.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Session 5177

As a surfing enthusiast, I must say that I really came to appreciate so much variation in how the ocean and the sky changes all year. Given there are so many varieties and permutations that arise out of them there simply cannot be a day that I could say "This was exactly the same kind of a day that I had?" There are similar days, for sure but, no, I have not encountered the exact sky, wind and the waves that combine into a surfing experience.

This morning I had an easy out with not much wind, but waves were just not as good of a quality (for me) as yesterday. They are coming down at a faster a bit more powerful rate than yesterday, making catching the waves a bit more difficult. There were several waves where I was simply plummeted, or barely taken off into the white water after the wave behind closed out on me.

That brings to another issue, though, better surfers don't catch those types of waves, they seem to know which are ridable ones and which are not, and they'd even position themselves at the right places.

So there is yet another surfing skill to master. It never ends.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Session 5175 and 5176

I had double header sessions today, which is usually possible in these long summer days. Speaking of that I am really happy to hear that we are extending the daylight saving in 2007, it is about time, and I would hope that California stays DST all year. For surfing, I think it is a better idea, even though, I'd miss DP, I think a lot of surfers can continue to surf after work.

The clock starts to be ticking now before Dog House moves out of our area and hit the east coast. That will be a sad day for losing a great surfing friend, but also that would be a good day to send him and his family off to their new adventure! This would be the last summer for him in California, at least, for a while. I wish that I started out surfing sooner since we actually surfed just this season together, but I must say I shared many fun waves.

The main reasons that I am going to miss surfing so much with him is that there has not been anyone else that agree so much with the philosophy of catching waves. For example, this afternoon, we were in this puny hip high waves breaking really close to the shore, and we both were having a blast catching waves after waves, and we both still can have a lot of fun taking occasional longer rides.

Forgive me, if I sound like I am boosting my abilities, but you got to know that this is my personal log of my own progress, this is not about comparing myself with other surfers, which I know it does sound like it sometimes. But part of the reasons that we can both do this is because we now both have skills to enjoy all sorts of waves.

After I got out of the water I was talking about this with Surf Doggies who also joined us, and I was talking to him that I used only be able to surf at Cowells or Inside 38th, but no place else. After this February or so this has changed to me, and to a good extent I do no longer need to go to Santa Cruz to find waves to surf, and that's because I can catch a wider range of size and shapes of waves, and also I can paddle out in to a wider range of situations too.

So I was thinking more about that today, and part of the reasons why this has happened to me is because I became simply more familiar with dealing with the water more so that how well I can take off or turn. This level of the comfort has really contributed for me to be much more relaxed in the water.

Then why I got there is because I was fortunate enough to hook up with some of the most experienced and friendly local surfers and go out surfing on a regular basis.

I must say though, and if you read my previous WavLOGs you know that at an early stage, it was a struggle to catch up with these guys. But eventually I got a point that I don't hesitate to call them and they don't hesitate to call me to get out on a session. To some extent I think I paid the dues. Before I could do this, though there were hundreds of sessions where I had to do it myself.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Session 5174

Finally I got a chance to hook up with Dog Haus, and also this morning's session was joined by Monkey Screw. A nice summer drizzly foggy morning (equals no wind) here in northern Half Moon Bay with sweet NW rolling in at 8-9 seconds on good tide.

First though Dog Haus is right, I have been a bit too harsh on other surfers on my latest BLOGs, I think I have lot a bit of the good spirit of the stoke and it really takes a friend like him to remind me that this is supposed to be for the fun and fitness, we are doing this for our enjoyment in life. You are right about that. I am not making write any excuse of it, so let us just move on to today's topic, which involves surfing, of course.

It is really a pleasure to surf with these experienced people as I can just follow them around from peak to peak and this morning was a kind of a morning where we were all so tired from surfing because the Pacific flooded us with a gift of sets after sets of gentle overhead waves!

We were catching waves like there is no tomorrow. There almost has not been a time when any one of us was not standing on a board with Dog House and his long rides high on the waves and Monkey Screw's smooth groovy rides, and of course I was continuing to work hard at take offs and turns. It was like a stage show.

Today I made one significant move that I have to share. I finally did a beginner version of a roundhouse cutback! This means that I have done a complete "figure 8" cutback ending up in the same direction I came from. Now that I tasted it, I can start to practice for it to perfect. I was super excited about that one. Part of it was a luck that the wave was in a completely good shape to do it, as I executed the turns 1 and 2, I saw the wave behind starting to build up more and 3 and 4 were really easy.

Also do you all remember when I wrote about my local buddies would look after me and people? Today, there was this guy in a spring suit seemingly trapped in a rip paddled way way out but Dog Haus in his fast paddling power went over and asked him if he was OK. We were relieved that he did finally make it back to the shore, but for the whole time we were watching him. Monkey Screw also told a family that their little kid not play by the shore break, and sure they should not have. Here is why.

When I was ready to get out, I was caught in one of the shore breaks, and right at the moment I was pulling out walking against the backwash, I got a strong leg cramp and I could not walk. I was caught in the shorebreaks after another getting pulled out and thrown from the top pounded and held under for several minutes. There is nothing really dangerous about it, I am used to this, but should this have been a small child not knowing how to swim, it would not have been pretty.

After I got out, Mooch left a message and said that and he saw our cars on the way to pick up a person at the airport and he saw our cars again on the way back from the airport, then he came back out to surf, so it was a busy morning for the beach! Yes, we were there for at least 3 hours and not just 3 hours but it was action packed one with one wave after another.

Then we all went to the brewery and partied for couple of hours, the time extended when Mooch came and joined us for lunch too.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Session 5173

Forgive me if I have been so hard of other sufers, you have every right to tell me about it and you should. My forums are open to everyone!

Another successful morning, caught waves after waves of good faces though two others who would say they come flaked out.

I don't know if it is my nature or the zodiac that I was born in, but I often feel like the one who is rounding up the surfers and make them surf at the time and place I want them to. It was really an interesting thing because a few years ago when the show "The Boarding House" was on the Werner TV, there was this girl surfer who was rounding up all other surfing girls and taking them to the competitions making them to surf and compete. As it turns out she is a Scorpion like I am, and to my surprise she and I have the exact same birth month and the date (of course not the year). So I am somewhat surprised by this. I am really sympathetic about this surfer because once you put on the wet suit and got your board under your arm, and tie the leash; there is only one thing that matters.

Just Surf!

At any rate, I have just found this sweet local spot that continues to break when Surfpulse and the surfers in general are just complaining bitterly about the smallness of the waves. To some extent I am really happy about it because it really helps people away from even thinking about coming to surf, but on the other hands, it is too bad because most of the surfing these days are so media driven that if a web site or a some major surf site says to you to go they go and when they say no-go and they don't. To that I would say, go out anyways! What do you got to loose, right? You can still have good exercise paddling around beautiful nice ocean for practically free. Instead, you'd pay $600 plus a year in a membership for the privilege of using a stationery machine and watch Fox channel that the next bigger guy chose on your behalf for the entire 60 minutes of your session, coming out even more aggravated before you started your exercise learning that the world is less peaceful then just an hour ago, or thinking why you have less than all the other people you just watched on the TV.

So back to the surf media telling you to go, you go and what happens. You did go didn't you? It is way over your abilities, it is breaking one and a half over head and getting out is a hell, and if you made it out, you would pearl and if you are lucky you'd be hit by the board, and if you are unlucky you'd get 5 stitches from the performance fin that you just put on because, again, some surf media told you that there are the best types of fins the pros use.

So you did paddle out, and you did not catch any waves, you barely paddled back in, but then you tell your friends, you went out on the biggest day of the year, and you are proud of what you have "accomplished."

The point I am making is this.

Perhaps, it is about time that you would and should find your own ways of surfing, your own size of the waves and don't even worry about what other people say about the condition or the makes and types of the boards you have.

The Surfers Having the Most Fun Rules!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Session 5172

Session 5172: Thursday, August 11, 2005

I get cell calls from friends, forecasts and what, and I cannot believe how people can get so negative about our current conditions! There just are places you can still catch a lot of waves.

There still are some things I don't really understand. For example, everyone goes to Linda Mar right? Everyone knows it is crowded, but then why in the heck all these people bunch together in one spot and try to take off into waves all at the same time? What kind of surfing is that? Some sort of competitions? And then those very people are whom I know who'd say "I don?t want to compete because it is not soul surfing" are also they are the very people who will paddle up to that mess and come back and complain to me that "Oh, it was so crowded!" So I ask when you say those things, are you really practicing what you are preaching? Yeah, yeah, I understand, these are prime peaks. I can see that from where I was sitting. But I look at that and there were only 2-3 surfers out of the 20 that are bunched up who were taking all the waves. They are taking off from way-way outside not giving you an inch of take off space.

Now that I have vented my frustration of the century, I am onto today's surfing. As usual, I was surfing at the place and sections that many would not consider going. But the sets were shoulder high and good steepness that I caught just so many waves and there was even a single person next to me. Not even a threat of someone trying to paddle up. So look hard and you can find a place to go. With the sun out and the paddle out so clean and nice, I have to give today a Stoke 8.

The take off technique is continuing to improve today, and rides are definitely getting higher quality and longer length.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Session 5171

This afternoon, I opted for an afternoon session only to find out that everyone who said going to come flaked out. Posers!

A nice thing about this is that I can catch the breaks and waves I WANT. And I went back to the Sandbox.

I must say though I do like these PM glass offs because I can take the waves at a much relaxed pace, no office and meeting time to meet. I just catch waves until I don't want to any more!


Small not so manly waves - who cares
Wearing a helmet - who cares
Catching the inside and outside - who cares. I caught a ton of waves.
Too floaty, too long of a short board - who cares

It's fun and that's all counts.

By the way, the guy who had a full hood (the kind attaches to the suit). Take it off man, It?s August! We got 59 degrees water today. It's not Juno here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Session 5170

Session 5170

This week has started off as a "small" week. Not much in the way of the summer south swells and basically "local" 8 seconds wind swells. But I continue to enjoy these summer small days. First of all, the condition thins out the crowds. And this is what most people don't know, if you wait long enough there still are some good sets that come form time to time. On smaller set periods, I stay inside and when the sets get bigger, I let give the first set to a group of people who have been waiting outside, and then I paddle out to catch second or the third one in the set, that are bigger.

I practiced tons of takeoff timing practices today and that's another thing I enjoy smaller days. Basically unless the condition is down-right dangerous for my level of surfing, there always is something to do and there is any part of surfing I can reinforce. Even if it goes completely flat, I can still build my paddling muscles by paddling the entire length of the beach and back etc.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Session 5169

Just got back from this morning's session, and the last time I was surfed there was during the local classic competition. The waves were not breaking as big as the last time I was there but it was a nice glassy morning with occasional shoulder level faster sets; the kind of the sets familiar to all of us who surf here a lot, and there were a few barrels that were forming here and there! Of course I did not want to compete in these sections, so we found our little sections, paddled up and down as the break point shifted as the tide swung up rather quickly to high in just a course of an hour!

The "fastness" of the waves this morning was just perfect because it was not as fast as the last time, and so it was nice to really practice more take offs. Yesterday was more about turning but today it was more about taking off. It is really fun to take advantage of different conditions and situations and learn to develop skills in each specific area of surfing.

A while ago I talked about the consistency in doing some motion, and today I have started to see more consistency in taking off into the waves that were previously "not makable" in my skill set. Even when I am failing, I am still up on the board and riding the soup or t least riding something. That's also party the poor wave selection, which is now another area that I need to start to work on.

During this session I was sharing to a local buddy that "I would quit surfing and move onto something else if I learned this sport." And his return to me was that "Then you would never be able to move onto another. Nobody can learn everything!"

It is probably true and for that I am really curious about far I can go with this, I may never reach the end, but that makes me even more curious what's out there!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Session 5168

Here is the continuation from my previous WavLog first.

Well, as it turned out that Thursday was officially my last day as an employee at the company I have started to build. It was recently bought by another company, and it beame official on Thursday. So that evening I ended up working 2 am in the morning to switch everything over from voice mail greetings, instructions to people on how to switch company names and email signatures etc. It was nearly a 6-year journey from 3-people office to something like 150 people company, and now we are a part of a company that is something in the order of several hundred thousand people.

As such as day, the nice fun waves were really a nice reward and treat for me, and it really came at the right time to make that day really memorable.

[b]Fast Forward to Saturday Morning.[/b]

Some weekends I have to pay my dues and sometimes they all come at once. Today was basically that kind of a day. There were two local Surfrider chapter related events, a beach cleanup in the morning and a support for the Nor Cal Women's Surf Club fund raiser. So I decided to invite my friends to take part in any part of it today with me. Well, it is always the case that people don't like to show up on beach cleanups. Understandable. Who want to pick up other people's mess let alone your own? However there are people who do and that was good.

Next things was my favorite part, eat lunch and surf. It was good to meet with Ren, she is continuing to improve her long boarding skills. She was getting some long left rides.

The waves were really fun today. It was really perfect because the sets don't continuously roll through so there was a plenty of chance to get out, and when they come they are not really nice and soft today allowing me to easily catch waves and they were breaking further out helping me get very long rides on some rides.

Today I could really be able to stay on the face of the wave and connect sections through cut backs. Also I practiced a lot on building speed through the bottom turns. Well when it is breaking further out, there is a plenty of time to do this, and when the waves are breaking in different sections that's even more fun!

There are two additional things I have realized today.

When I started to surf, I was really frustrated that other people are taking so many waves not allowing me to catch any, and I was wondering if this is a skill thing or aggressive thing. I think there is a little bit of both but like today, I was able to catch a lot of waves before others caught them, and I was not acting very aggressively, but I was strategically picking spots and predicting the next break and that helped a lot.

Second finding is that when I can get outside ducking through waves and using other techniques with an ease, I can also catch the waves at ease. In contrast to this, on bigger and junky days, I can hardly duck through and get out, then catching the waves even if I made the outside is usually very hard.

The event at El Rio was fun. I danced with the StokeMasters Girls Surf Team members today and music and food was good. It is amazing that they can pull off these events!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Session 5167

The DP this mooring was so excellent and I wished I had more time than I had. Tomorrow, I have some news to tell you all, but this morning was really a very special morning and day to get started on the final conclusion of the things I have been working on? more on this tomorrow because this story won't be a complete one unless you read the Part II.

At any rate, the ocean surface was like a mirror without any ripples and then from time to time up to chest level waves broke out. There was one guy in the line up and he was doing really well finding nice pockets to start. This really tells me that a higher level surfer has really a way of finding good position and only goes for the waves that are really good. Through surfing a lot with better people and also sat in surfing competition recently I think that I am much more keenly aware of the wave selection aspect of surfing! Again, surfing is a shallow sport when it comes to the depth of the water we play in but it is a very deep sport in skill development and as such it is a never ending journey like a life in of itself.

I was watching this guy and he knows where to catch, but also I was amazed by the speed he gets out of the same size waves that I take off on. He utilized the first bottom turn really hard and got back up on the wave then use rather radical cutbacks to get back in the wave again gaining more speed each time he turns. Unlike motorcycle racing, surfing is really interesting that you use turn to gain the speed. That's where a surfer uses her body and weight transfer to gain more speed, so without the mastery of good take off and turns, there really is no good surfing to me.

I was really inspired and I tried to imitate as much as possible of what he did. It is always a good education to be in the water with some really good people sharing the same level of the wave as I do.

To be continued.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Session 5166

This morning's DP was brutal! The size probably wasn't a big deal but there were so many white water breaks that I could not just move forward to the outside. It really is reflecting the current state of my work life. There are so many things to needing to be finished but because of the volume of the things I have hard time feeling like I am making any progress!

Zero rides today, and there certainly have been many days in my surfing career that I had zero rides.

In retrospect though I got a lot of excercise and of course that's the main reason I go out every day, and more I do it, more confident I get in any kind of conditions!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Session 5165

Have you all seen "Riding Giants" movie? One of the profound statements that were made at the end of the movie by the editor of the Surfer Magazine is to the following effect.

"If someone sees that you practice religion every day, there is no question, but if someone sees you that you surf every day, then?"

I do surf as many days as possible and as much as possible so long as the water looks safe enough for me to venture out. I even think that I rub people in a wrong way because I write about it each time I go out. But the point I am trying to make out of all of this is that everyone should have a passion or two and then go for it. At this juncture in my life it is definitely surfing and yes, it is the situation that "once the bug has bitten me." But on the other hands, I've seen people religiously jog, do yoga, swimming or whatever. Surfing should not be considered so special. Why should it be? Especially you don't have to sign up for any membership at all, and the equipment would last for a while, and you can get in and out of the water in basically the same amount of time you would for your swimming at a local gym. Of course I do have a bit of unfair advantage that I live right by the ocean and I just go before or after work, but even then there are people who drive across the Bay Bridge to take some Aikido or Kendo classes, so it seems to be just a matter of priority.

And that brings to the next issue. Why all of you do what you do? Because it is fun and also help you build the strength or endurance or whatever you want out of it.

So, if surfing is it for you then don't make an excuse out it. Don't waste any time or labor with your guilt. Just go and do it. It is your passion and your stoke, and what else is more important to your own life?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Session 5164

It has been a fairly a long time before I surfed with my old StokeMaster buddies Ren, Laura and Irene. We hit the calm version of Montara Sunday morning and it was super fun with a lot of good long board waves. Lots of lefts, and I took out my long board. It was a good choice and caught a lot of waves and really somooth rides.