Monday, October 31, 2005

Session 5209: Driving Practice

With the time change, getting back into the DP mode is always easy, simply because I am still in good half year of DST-lagged mode (with a few Japan trip in between), so I wake up super early without a problem. So I was fully awake at 5 a.m. But, as usual I started to fiddle with my web site and also checked emails etc. by then it is starting to get late if I don't get going, then I caught Jocelyn logged on to my site; by the way, I like the new member online feature, because I know who was there recently. So I quickly SMS messaged to her and she called me right back and so I was racing the rising sun on the Cabrillo highway to Pacifica when I pulled up my car next to hers she was already in the water. So I hurriedly set up the gear and went in.

The waves were just about the same small size as yesterday, but of course, it is Monday bright and early and who wants to surf, except for a few dedicated and stoked ones. So with a bit of stretch, I was back in the water for the second straight day! Well, one thing I did not realize is that the water has gotten considerably colder, so the water was stinging my paddling hands a bit. But one thing about this is that after 5 - 10 minutes or so, the blood vessels start to open up and the hands are not cold any more and the rest of the session was just fine. I still like to paddle with my bare hands, I really feel much lighter especially on return strokes.

If you have joined my WavLOG now, I have been studying a lot about the fins and using the tail end of the board more effectively. This is actually something that I have not really realized until just last week when I was actually reading up a lot about this subject. So the next several sessions, I will be writing a lot about it.

In surfing, it is often very difficult to just read and understand what to do, but once you discover yourself what it feels to be getting the "drive" out of the board, then it is like half won the battle because then the next thing to do is to continue to improve upon that. It initially happens sporadically, then become more consistent but every time it happens I know about it, whereas, before I know it was happening but I did not know whether that had any significance to surfing or not.

Today though I came to one of these breakthroughs and figured out why I stalled so easily by the time I got to the bottom of the wave. Today I had two rides that it clearly demonstrated that I have not been getting the power and speed from the wave, and what I mean by this is that I was not harnessing the tail end of the board more effectively to get the drive out of the board. So I consciously adjusted the weight of the board to toward the tail and try to stay up higher on the wave longer instead of just plainly descending down as fast as possible. Previously my thinking was that I should go down as fast as I can so that I can execute a strong bottom turn and get up. This would work if there is sufficient wave face to work with, but often that may not be the case, and by the time I hit the bottom I have out run the wave too far in and then the wave crashes down. So instead, I would make the turn sooner and also maintain the trim and then at the same time stand a bit more tail weighted, and in one of the wave it worked beautifully, and I had a great long ride out of a small beach break wave. In fact that made me happy so much and I felt that I had the wave of the day, I decided to cut the next 30 minutes of session, got out of the water and headed to the office early. And I have an honor of having a witness this morning.

So tomorrow and all the sessions following, I will be making more practices incorporating that.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Session 5208: Bak in Action!

I am back in action. Due to the HIPPA regulations, I will not be able to tell you a gory detail of what I had to go through, but I became rather ill shortly after Session 5207 on October 10th where I started to get some severe pain and the next day, it has gotten so bad to the point that that evening, I decided to go to an emergency room to see what the hell is going on, because I was actually ill already. To make a story short, it was nothing really major, but a kind of a thing that I needed to take it easy for a while, while the body repairs itself, and I am happy to say that I am now recovering from it quite nicely. So I have decided that today is the day to get back in the water, and I am really glad I did because three of my Stokemaster buddies showed up to share the waves, and it was warm and sunny and the waves were gentle and nice welcoming back in the water.

It was a bit powerless today but it was easy to get out and paddle around. I tried both 6'3 which was totally ineffective and my trusty 6'6 board, and I decided to stay way inside and just catch many small inside waves, which, of course is my favorite way to surf, and I was glad that my paddling arms and lungs held up without a sign of gotten weak.

The first wave, I blinked and held back a bit, but after that I was starting to get back into my surfing self. Now I was wishing that the waves were a bit bigger and not closing so fast. One area that I have gotten a bit weaker is the flick up part and I caught a lot of waves but I was not popping up fast enough missing good rides.

If you have been following my StokeMaster.COM StokeForum posts, you know that I have been taking advantage of this downtime I had and do some on-the-desk learning, and I've learned quite a bit about the fins and drives that they generate. So I was actually consciously thinking about that and while I was surfing I have really realized today that I am still very poor at using the tail section of the board well. I was also watching some surf videos too during this time and if I look at professional short boarders, basically I saw that their front half of the board is almost always out of the water, one of the few exceptions to this seems to be the bottom turn. When a surfer does a bottom turn, the entire rail, one side, would bury in the water and the more front part of the board contacts the water, but once the board is back on the face, I'd say that they are getting most of the forward thrust from the back part of the board (if you can help me out on this, please use the Comment feature of the Blogger or respond to my WavLOG post in the StokeFORUMs).

So I was really happy, received back the good energy from the water and ready for a DP tomorrow Monday!

Before I conclude this WavLOG tonight, I should say a couple of more things.

What I've learned is that one would only appreciate so much about having a good health when you have not gotten one. It can chew your stoke away and almost make the suffering worse as I'd try to deal with it more.

And towards the end of the session, a surfer asked me if I am the "WavLOG" and also asked me if I was OK. It always a pleasant surprise to see someone I've not met recognized me and also asked me if I was OK. And thank you for being an avid reader of my BLOGs. Today I really felt blessed with many great surfing friends not just in this area but from San Diego to O'ahu!

Extra Feature Today!

While I waited for other Stokemasters to arrive, I took a video camera along and took a Video (Microsoft Media Format, 150 Kbps Bandwidth) of my long time surf buddy from StokeMaster, so hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Almost there...

Looks like I am finally leaving this illness behind. Based on my own Blog, I have been out of the water since October 10th. I think that I will be fully recovered from this by this weekend or the next week. I am not going into a gory detail of what I had to go through, but this has been one of the longest and painful illness I have gotten.

Most likely I should start from easier sessions then gradually build the scale back to more demanding practices.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

No Session for A Bit...

Well, there was a fairly major health related setback that was discovered early last week. Nothing life threatening, but still playing in the water is out of question for at least another week.
Everyone, please go catch some waves and report your experiences to me.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Session 5207

I have been planning to do a decent DP but I have still not yet shaken off the jet lag. By the time my eyes open, the clock says 7:00 AM! But I was saved today by the low PM wind and as a result a balmy sunny sunset. I should have taken off a bit early but I had to check out a few things before I had to leave the office.

But I did go in this afternoon, and with the tail end of the bigger swell, the waves got really fun. It was really perfect fall afternoon evening glass-off with the waves just about the perfect size and power for me to take on; not too small and not too fast and pummeling. Some great take offs and turns and some just a bit still a bit of challenge to take off successfully.

I paddled back for more pushing the water steadily behind me I was racing the sun to fit in as many waves as possible. Getting out required some work but it was a welcome situation since I really wanted to get some good exercise too, breathing deep and a lot of air for each paddling stroke, and looking at the setting orange sun to the edge of the beach where people in the lineup started become silhouette in front of the setting sun.

Yes, it is the fall evening glass off, nice fun waves before the cold invigorating winter swells hit our beaches.

Session 5206

Once in a blue moon, I get some comments posted on my Blogger site ( where it is where my WavLOG are kept. At any rate, I did get a suggestion of kicking the legs during take off to reduce the drag. So I was giving this approach a shot.

First to scientifically prove this actually reduce the drag or not, what I tried was when I come into the beach belly riding on the white water (I do this to walk along the beach to get back out through a channel since at my level of the fitness and wanting to have the session last longer, preserving the energy is important.) I compared the speed with and without kicking the legs, and lone behold, I can go much faster and smoother if I kept kicking my leg or completely bend them up. So I now accept this theory completely.

~ ~ ~

This morning I checked out all local beaches further south the waves gotten impossibly big to my liking, probably well overhead and the kind that would hold me down if I mess up on the take off. So we opted not to surf in the area and head north.

We were surfing at LM this morning and it was not too crowded early on plus we were spread out thanks to a good amount of swells coming in. The shapes were not that good but I had a fair share of satisfying rides, and of course a lot of take off practices that I am still working on; more pddling, longer paddling and don't give up paddling. As a result of this newly instated practice goal, if I decided not to go for a wave, I don't even bother paddling for it. Now with this new suggestion I have started kicking during the take off. I did it so hard that my back (of all other places) are sore this morning (Monday).

Again, it goes to say I am still discovering something new every time I go out.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Session 5205: Back in The U.S.A.

Back in California! I worked a bit in the morning and then decided to hit the water again. I was going to hit the Jetty. While it was sunny out and there were a lot of cars parked on the highway, there was no wave that I would catch. Then when I saw Montara, it was a bit disorganized. At this point of time I was running out of time, but I did one last check at Linda Mar and the waves were good for my preference, the kind not too tall and not too fast. Only one hour left before the 3 PM conference call, I promised to attend. So I had about 1 hour to surf and a bit of time to get changed in and out of the Excel suit.

Well, I was really glad I went because the wind was not too bad (while Montara was already blowing) and I caught several nice lefts that are my favorites. And the breaks were just all spread out all across the beach so picking my own break was not a problem.
If you have been following my logs, you know that earlier on this season I was working hard on the tail weighting during the take off. That's now somewhat under my belt and I think I am the stage that I can start to polish that. Then you've seen the video how timid I was in paddling in to the wave. In fact there was a guy next to me in the lineup, he had a lot of problem catching waves, and he was exactly lacking what I saw in my video. He was paddling so slow and not hard.

So I was actually working on that stuff, and basically I have decided that no matter how big the wave is going to get, I will give my best shot at padding into the wave and I will continue to do so until the wave gets flat and I know for sure that I cannot catch the wave. I will even kick my legs to help (I really don't think that will help, but mentally by doing so I think I can feel that I am giving the full effort.)

I caught several nice lefts, most were short rides but there were a couple that I would say is satisfactory as I did inject myself into a nice trim and kept going for a longer ride. No matter how the waves are, it is always very satisfying when I can successfully negotiate the turn #1 and get right into the correct direction to keep the ride. Once I get that going, I can usually gain enough speed and power that opens up a bit more options. On the other hands, if I go straight then I do ride but it is short and fizzle out quickly.
Well, that's about all for today. It was really nice to get back in the water?. For sure.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

No Session in Paraside: Lesson learned! I should always be ready to surf!

One should always be ready to surff!

Is this a paradise or a hell? I arrived in Honolulu this
morning because I could not get a ticket for a direct flight back from Osaka.
It was supposed to be a short and a smooth change over to another flight but then I
have learned that the return flight was late by about 3 hours due to a security
bleach, which resulted in 5 hours in HNL. I got out of the airport building and
walked around. Only to find out there was the famous shape of the Diamond Head
may be 30 minutes or 40 minutes of drive away. I became, obviously, very stoked
with the sight of this. After about 30 miu of thoughs, I thought "heck, why not
get out there at least and check it out even if I don't surf."

So I hopped on one of those $8 Shuttle deal and asked the driver to drop me off
at any beach hotel (by the way it is a good deal because the return cab was $40
including some tip.) Now
I am sitting at the Dukes Canoe Club sipping some Daiquiri and other that I will
not mention to keep some sanity in my household upon my return.

This is right at Waikiki beach built into the Outrigger hotel where Duke
Kanahamoku surfed and also the palce where Jack London wrote at length about
what I would call one of the earliest of the StokeREPORTs known to the menkind.
But listen to this, the killer is that the beach is not crowed and I got
pictures to prove, have perfect chest high long rollers, it is sunny only about
80 degrees and I am just watching with a bag load of travel cash, a green card,
a passport not willing to risk losing any of them -- prefect Cowells condition
but without requiring getting inside of 3/4 rubber suit. Perhaps, if I am in a
true sense of a stoked surfer, I would say "f" this, and go and decide what to
do later on. This is a torture in a paradise. I even could have rented a board
asking the dude at the beach front rental place to "please look after my stuff?"
Would I trust that? Well, if I lose my green card, that's another $600 plus 6
months of ordeal and believe me, I had to go through that process once simply
because one of the border agenet thought that my original card was expired,
which it was not after paying the fee to replace one as instructed by that

The board shorts were packed away in the suitcase sitting
somewhere at the airport. Should I have planned a bit better, I would have
packed a pair of the oldest board shorts. Should I have known it was only 30
minutes ride to Waikiki then I should just have headed down there, hoping to
catch 1 hour session then come right back to the airport allowing me enough time
to take off my shoes and get my laptop out at the security to catch the SFO
flight in the afternoon. Should have this been Dog Haus and if I was with him
on this trip, I think I have gone for it, just getting the cheapest pair of
board shorts and beach towel from the closest ABC store.

But, of course, the problem with me is that I am still too
uptight of a guy that I would not go for something like it, even though I had
perfectly great fun condition and I was just watching with my jaws half open. My
life has been saved numerous times by not taking some minor risks like those,
and but I am also certain that I probably missed out a lot by not taking these
"risks." But right now, I have to make sure that I can get back to Osaka at a
moment of notice from the primary care physician for my father. Only less than
24 hours ago, I was in the doctor's office at the hospital learning about the
actual condition of my father, then asking him to come back to Half Moon Bay
when he gets better stroking his "mostly bones" arms and legs for comfort. This
is the man who took me to the top of Mount Fuji when I was in junior high. This
is the man who taught me how to ski instead of doing some catch and going to
Hanshin Tigers' game at the Koshien stadium.

So today, I surf and when he talk about my surfing he talks
in terms of my "boating" coming from his storke wonded left brain, but I know
exactly what he is thinking. He is stoked about my surfing and that's what he
means to say. I know that's what he is thinking but he just does not have the
choice of word in his command. But I know the guy very well, he is my father and
I can tell what he is tying to communicate. The strange thing though is that
that does not work with my mother. My mother would try to correct him, "Your son
does not do boating." I tell her "Mom! I know what he is saying so why you try
to correct that?"

Sometimes, accepting the way it is will open up a lot.