Monday, January 30, 2006

Session 6013

I did go to Jetty on Sunday morning.

Session 6012

I did go on Satuday afternoon

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Session 6011

did a DP with neighbors locally this morning. The set waves were "thick" and very far and few in between. But when they came, they were fun. I practiced more take offs, but there were quite a bit of darn back washes. I took off on a few good wave faces, only to find out back washes pushed up right in front of the line and stalled instantly! I know last summer at the HMB classic, the same situation. But when the timing was right, escaping the back washes, there were a couple of really fun rides.

A very good condition is hard to come by, indeed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Session 6009 and 6010

Finally smaller day with sunny weahter. Both days, I took advantage of the situation and getting faster flick up. On smaller days, it can really get difficult to take off on waves!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sessions 6007-8

Sessions 6007 (Sat 1/21) - 6008 (Sun 1/22)

It has been an amazingly difficult start of the year, and there are still some locals who have not even caught a wave yet since the close of 2005 until this weekend. Even for me, under the normal type of conditions, today would, and should have been more like session number 6015.

But, having had this type of situation was actually a positive for me, since I have started to think about training from a wider angle this time. Up to now, I only surfed and I did not do any other real conditioning. One area that I think needs a lot of reinforcing is the abdominal area. Surfing gives me good back muscles, but the abdominal part is used less, so I am ending up with fairly unbalanced situation. Other areas, I was told, is that there is not much weight bearing in surfing so it may not help in terms of maintaining healthy bones. Regardless of what the theories are, I think it is time for me to start adding more musculature in other areas, and also do more balance boarding, which has really proven to me a great help in adding more agility to weight shifting on the board.

In terms of surfing, the first day of the weekend was so-so. It was pouring early on that made the start time later, and then the tide was too low making it a bit more effort and time to find the right spot, but nevertheless, I did surf and did have some good results.

But the second day of the weekend was significantly fun. The waves were going close to or above head with a plenty of power on the outside, so when and if I caught these waves, it was really fun in our local favorite beach break. And thanks to these big swells of the past weeks, sand bars are well formed way outside than we experience normally in the summer, and this is actually one of the first times I am treated to these situations. This is something people talked about at surf shop conversation, and I did not believe this actually happens, but here they are.

The current was still horrendous like before, but I anticipated that took a long board out so that I can paddle at more ease. Try to do this in my 6'4 board would take a significantly more effort and time getting out, and so would catch much less waves. I also had to take some major going down the falls. But another thing I did was, I even anticipated that so I took out a soft board. This gave me an additional margin of safety so I could actually take a bit more risk in taking off on the things that I would not normally go for, and when some of the take offs worked nicely, the power and speed and the length of the rides were just not comparable to what I have been doing. I am hoping that in 2006, I will try to make myself an overall stronger surfer. Without this building block in place, I cannot improve other skills such as perfecting cut back turns and attempting and making more tricky moves consistently.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Surf Philosophy: Setting A Goal

Did not surf today, so a bit of philosophy today.

I am reading an introductory book about business accounting (of all of the books) right now. Along the pages, there is a chapter on "Why you were scolded by your boss when you completely sold out your product." Since this is a surfing BLOG, let's say you sold all of the 200 StokeMaster T-Shirts, and you ordered before noon. You might call me and tell me expecting me to give you a word or two of praise. "I sold all of the 200 shirts." To which, I would say, "What? You sold all out that quickly? You idiot!" You might be puzzled why I was angry. Now if you think about it, a bit though, if you have sold all 200 of it by noon, by the store closure for that day, you probably could have sold 300. Suppose that you ordered 350 and the original cost was $7.00 and we are selling it for $15.00 then the profit for selling the 200 is $1600. If you sold 300 so you have netted $2400 and did not sell the 50 of them so you have taken a loss of $350 at that point so the total profit is $2050. Of course, next morning, you will do a Sale and get rid of the rest of the 50 for $12.00 each then you get back $250, so you have basically made $2300.

Why I am telling you all these.

Well the whole point of this is that by setting a goal a bit higher, you might actually end up gaining more than you've originally bargained for.

So goes with setting your goal in anything, and for surfing too. It is worth setting your surfing goal a bit higher and work towards it. Even if you did not get quite there in the end, you may have gotten a bit better than if you would your set to the level of "what you can do comfortably." And what you might think initially is a risky loss is well offset by a bit of additional progress you've made. I don't think this has nothing to do with being overly competitive, but it has a lot to do with getting to the opportunity you are actually entitled to.

It really struck in my head clearly this time, why setting a bit higher goal is often needed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Session 6006 ****

One way of making a progress in surfing is to surf with people who are much better than you. Yes, I have touched his subject a lot, but this means that you might need to abandon some of your other surfing buddies if temporarily. As for my buddy Dog House goes, yes, he is just 2 or 3 notches above what I can manage.

I surfed with him this morning again, and it was kind of a condition that I was at the very edge of being "out of league" In fact I was most of the time. But then I was able to tell that I was close to the cross roads of being in such a situation.
So, you might ask, what it means to be "being" in an out of a league situation. At least for today, it has a lot to do with paddling out. With these storms we have gotten, we are now having sand bars forming way and way outside. And these winter type swells are washing a lot of water to our shores, so there was a moderate amount of side-currents. There was definitely nice sand-bar out to get there, first, we all need to start from a channel. This is all fine. We now all know where the channel is, but then to get to where the sand bar is, it was quite a bit of paddling required. I was marking a washed up tree stamp on the beach as a marker. I was paddling, paddling and paddling towards where the sweet break was happening but I could not get there. My arm muscles are asking me to take it easier, but I have not even yet reached straight line with the stamp. In the meantime, 3 locals show up and they seemed to have no problem getting where the break was. And here is why I would say I am at the blink of getting there, because I finally got there.

In terms of catching the waves, I could not catch as many because each time I catch a wave, it took me a long time to get back to where the break was. To make the matter worse, there was also a very strong onshore current too, so in no time, I get washed too close to the shore.
But there was one really gratifying moment. As usual with me, I tend to sit inside and catch the wave that I know are very well formed already. But it was one of the waves of the lifetime situation and instead of the wave breaking up, it started to form a nice pocket (and at this place this happens a lot of the times). I was frantically paddling and kicking to catch it, and I tried hard to steer towards left. In the meantime, a nice left pocketty crest forms on top of the wave, which pushed me right onto the face of the wave. I got up successfully without a hesitation and at that moment the wave started to build up further up in the size. I was fully up on the board and the I got a tremendous speed immediately, probably the fastest I have ever experienced being on a short board. The wave continued to build right in front of me as I progressed forward. I was trying not to go too far ahead by trying to ride the top side of the wave through going down and cutting back up. The ride lasted so long, and it was so smooth.

So even though I only really had one ride out of a session that was well worth the trouble and this has made me feel like I have gotten a bit closer to many of my better surfer friends today than other times.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Session 6005 ****

I was in kind of mood to go surf by myself, and that's what I did this morning. I just wanted to get a quick session in, come home, do some chores then I promised to go check out the new De Young museum. The morning was crisp and cold after a clear night. I also have decided to take a long board as well as my new JC 6'4, so I can decide which way to go. I was not sure about the condition with the W swell coming in. Now that I live so close to the Jetty though, I am now starting to get in a habit of taking time and check out here. And when I went there, the set waves were well spread out and breaking further out. This is the kind of a day makes the Jetty fun. Usually the break is very close to the shore or at a limited spot by the breakwater. It is definitely a good treat we don't usually get here.

So I went in.

Paddling out was not easy as there was just one front of white water after another, and with a strong side current it was easy for me to get washed further and further into the impact zone. When this happens, I usually walk the beach back to the spot where a channel forms, wait until the set subsides a bit and then paddle as fast as possible to get out of the inside mess. Unlike the first few years, now I can do this with a small smile on my face, and I am now paddling out faster than anyone paddling out at the same time. Once I am out of the inside zone though it is amazing how quickly the things calm down, and with the help of the moderately strong rip current today, it was not so tiring to get out.

But I also situated a bit inside and tried to catch many more waves and possible. This also worked well because all the inside waves quickly reformed allowing me to climb back up on the face after a straight down take off, and being on a long board it was easy to catch waves, gave me very satisfying long rides on some of the waves. These past few weeks, I was re-discovering the fun of long boarding. It really give me more time to do more things on the board as a result, it has been a very good cross training for short boarding too as I was exploring more about using the whole length of the board? getting thrusts when I get slower, and gaining more speed at the front of the board, and perfecting the weight to back and forth to set up and following through turns. And when I execute them on a long board, they are really smooth and the board and the knee can really feel the large amount of the water that I am shifting against to get these turns going, just like on a water ski but using only the wave's power and my own weight. Come to think hard about it, it is really amazing something like this is actually possible!
And to top that off, my last ride took me exactly where I wanted to get out of the beach. Everything worked out really great this morning!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Session 6004 ****

Winter surfing certainly has different set of challenges than summer surfing in this area. During the summer, we have longer days, but then we have a lot of onshore wind and smaller waves and mainly NW waves to deal with. On the other hands in the winter we definitely have better choices of the swell directions where waves can either come more from the W or bigger waves coming from NW, both cases we will get wider options opening up if they are not too big. Of course in the past month the swells were just really too big for me and most of us, especially this year. We had to carefully select "in between" days where the surf condition is "doable." I am not just talking about a beginner like me, but my local friends all agree that this has been one of the hardest seasons to find surfable waves.

Though between wind and rain, this morning was just a bit of a respite from these powerful conditions and increment weathers we have had. The wind stopped in HMB and even though the morning surfing meant to surf in a very high tide, there was enough power in the swells that there were some really fun wave to surf, and not just there hefty closing out kinds.
When I got to the Jetty with my neighbor buddy, this morning, he was not all up for it, but I really wanted to go there. He said he would check another place, but as soon as he headed down to another place, I got a call from him that he actually wanted to surf the Jetty. Great idea! There was nobody but us and there was a wide spread break all over the places, anywhere from the break water to what we know as the Turkey's. It was glassy and easy to get out (for this place that is). A few duck diving by the shore was all that was needed, and there also was a bit of a channel too.

For a good hour and a half session, there was just me, my neighbor buddy and during the middle of the session my friend Dog House showed up. But that was the lineup.
I was on my favorite 6'6 board and I had a real blast and very long ride. Also today is definitely the first time that at the end of a ride I could pull out consistently. This was not the case before. I think that this is attributed to the fact that I really had good speed and also the final bottom turn up and out through the waves worked. This was something that I was working on but it never materialized until now. Come to think of it, through, I have started additional conditioning exercise with Indo Board. So I really now think that I am thankful for having being able to do more balance practice out of the water. I really suggest a lot of my friends start to do this.

The difficulty in pulling out right is that if I don't have a sufficient speed to do this, then the wave closes out before I get to the very tail end of the lip. But today, everything worked out to the extent that I had enough speed to start with and with that speed I can gain the final speed at the last bottom turn back up to aim for getting to the back of the wave. Now, though, when I get to the back of the wave, I cannot get back on the board and paddle out right back. But I think that I am not too far from it. All these is attributed to being able to do more powerful bottom turn when I can transfer a lot of my own weight to the board.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sessions 6002-6003

Session 6002: Santa Cruz East Side Saturday 7
Session 6003: HMB Jetty, Sunday 8
Conditions: Good winter W swells. Sunny and no wind.

Great many of you might think that I have gone to the deeper ends when I write about surfing on a foam board. Not only I surf it, I actually own one among a bunch of short boards and also a Takayama shaped long board too. So this log is all about my long boarding experience this past weekend.

For Saturday, I called a "Board Meeting" in Santa Cruz East Side, with five of my friends. Thinking that this can be fairly "big" and also very crowded, I have taken my 6'6 and also the 9'0 Doyle Foamy. I know a lot of you will probably cringe when I talk about this board, but this is the thing with me. On numerous occasions, I have seen many great surfers surfing with it, especially in Santa Cruz. And on Sunday I switched to 9'0 Takayama DT4 so on this report I am going to write about these two boards that I own.

So on Saturday, the condition was a bit challenging than, say a summer day, but it was just perfect for me because the waves were just strong and big enough and I could really take advantage of the situation with the condition and the board. One of the things that I am really starting to realize is, definitely, the performance of the board. It is really true when someone says that the foamy sucks in terms of the performance. One major drawback of this setup is that everything takes an extra effort outside of paddling. But even paddling isn't all that easy, and in fact my DT4 actually glides much better. The whole point of this is that I am now at the point that I understand better about the performance of something.

So what exactly are wrong with this setup? The first one is the sheer weight of the thing. It is much heavier than any surf boards that I know of at this size and length. While it floats fine, this seems to cause a lot of problem in take offs. The second issue with this is that turning takes a lot more effort. This is good and bad. It is good that the board won't slip away underneath you as easily, and you have to make an extra effort to make the board respond. This is also good in a sense that it really teach you what you should really do to the board to make the turn happen. The next day when I got on to the DT4, turning was so crisp, but I would not say it is easy, but definitely a board like DT4 the response and sensitivity to what you do on the board is like a night and a day. The DT4 also gets into the glide significantly better than the foamy board.
Another significant change in these two sessions is that I have not been riding longer boards for a while mainly because I have been just too lazy to load a long board. Two short boards fit between the driver and the passenger seat but when fitting a long board inside, that will take up the whole passenger side.

But I have made re-discoveries in long boarding. I can take off on a lot more different kinds of waves with it, than trying to position right with a short board. And when I take off, with the power and the speed, I can ride longer extracting every bit of the power the waves have to offer, and also with an added speed connecting among sections is much more possible.
The take home message from these two days is that I still deserve to learn a lot from both foam and hard boards, and I will continue to be practicing on both and that kind of things are really fun!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Session 6001

Oh what a winter surf season this has been. I have started to surf in May of 2002, this is absolutely the worst winter I have experienced. First the swell size was consistently big for couple of weeks, and then wind and rain poured on top. Usually we don't get both of these magnitudes at the same time. On the New Years, we have experienced a power failure that lasted all night and into a good part of the day.

So this is already the 5th and finally I got the first session of 2006. Both Dog Haus and I felt that we got rusty from not surfing. I tried to keep my hips and knees in shape by riding the Indo board during this time, which, by the way, is extremely helpful and I really should use it all the time regardless of I am surfing or not.

Oh, but it was so nice this morning! We had blue skies, and breaks were not much bigger than shoulder, and to top that off, it was glassy and offshore. So it was a nice welcome back introduction. As usual both of us caught a lot of waves. As with me and as usual, I sat inside and waited for either closeout reforms when big sets are passing through and when smaller sets builds up inside, I practiced a lot of ups and downs. My favorite Surftech 6'6 just worked perfectly especially on small but good shaped waves on the inside. Everything from getting out to taking off right into the face worked out nicely and I had some short but sweet drop downs, nice long rides as well as some fun recoveries after the waves closed out on some take offs.
I am looking forward to more fun and improvement in my surfing skills this year!