Thursday, April 27, 2006

More Diversions: Fresh Ocean Scent/ Surf Scent

The idea of the fishy and kelpy scent, if it is strong may not be appealing. But if we use a very very small amount of my ocean scent mixture and also mix that with some lavender, and some minty fragrances, or even coconut, pineapple type smell it might actually be quite appealing.

There definitely is the scent of surfing, I have realized while I was paddling out today.

In addition to that fishy and kelpy smell out in the ocean, there is a moderate amount of rubbery neoprene and also whatever they put in the board wax of that tropical fruit scents mixes in. The rubbery and waxy smell is kind of exciting. It is the same scent of walking into surf shops, except that in surf shops add the scent of the fibreglass resin compound mixed in. Perhaps, I can market that as "Fresh Surf Shop Scent" for your car deodorizer.

Fresh Ocean Scent?

I don't know if this is just me or not, but I don't know what the Fresh Ocean Scent is. There are a lot of products from shampoo to soap labeled to have this type of scent. We did buy a few, but none of them smell like the fresh ocean.

In most of the places I hang around the ocean scent changes depending on the time of the year, but in most cases, it does not smell anything like the fresh ocean scent out of a shampoo bottle. If anything the following is the list of things I smell.

- Some types of see weed or kelp.
- Fish market
- Bad Sushi restaurant
- Sea Lion or Penguin section of a zoo (this one is not a very pleasant smell for me).
- Ozone or electrical discharge scent especially when I am inside or near a break

Perhaps, next time I am out, I should grab some floating kelp with can of sardines and put them in the mixer and extract my own version of the real Fresh Ocean Scent.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Going Single-Fin

I have been thinking about taking the side fins off of my Takayama long board for quite some time, but I never really got around to do it. You know, when you get to the beach, the waves are looking good, the only thing in my mind is to get in the water as soon as possible. I often neglect supplying additional coat of wax too.

Also, why long boarding now?

First I admit that there still is some part of me thinking "long board = old surfers." But that idea is crumbling quickly. One thing is that I can ride short boards with some degree of satisfaction these days and another is that I have been watching some classic long board movies and also new people too on Longboard TV on satellite, and I thought that I really should master long boarding too. Some people are really elegant on the board stepping back and forth, and some younger surfers are also doing some really cool moves on it too.

Also whenever I ride long boards, it also teaches me about short boarding too or vise versa. Since I am not a professional surfer, I should be able to enjoy both and I am lucky that I can actually starting to enjoy both. Plus some places are naturally great for long boarding like Santa Cruz and Ventura breaks, or in the winter when the breaks get bigger and starting to break big from way-way outside!

So back to the fins finally this Monday, I took the side fins out of the DT4, and based on what I am experiencing so far, I probably don't need them again on this board.

I only have been out twice without the side fins, so this is something I will be reporting more as I take out this board a lot more. But, for example, I really had this really gradual but smooth and sweet setup to get into the first turn after the take off. Turns are seemingly becoming more "sweeping" instead of needing to "whack the tail, and push the rail and jet the board out" type turns that works with thruster short boards. The turns seem to come more by changing the left-right balance. At least that is my initial impression. I can be totally wrong. From this stand-point, this really is totally a different kind of experience.

If you have a tri-fin setup on your long boards, I really encourage you to try without the side-fins. Whatever it is, the quality of ride changes very significantly that I feel like I got totally different kind of a board.

Also, this week, I was able to step to about 10 inches from the nose, stood there and kept going. I think I will gradually close that gap so I will be standing right at the nose. It will be fun.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

More Life Lessons from Surfing

As a part of my own training, I have been trying not to get angry. I have been consciously trying this for more than a year now, and surfing really has helped me in achieving this. Like surfing, I have not perfected it, but I think I am making a bit more progress than before really starting to make an effort.

Looking back at early days when I started to take up the sport, there were many things that frustrated me, hence I got angry. Many of the situations dealt with when it got really difficult to paddle out or go up on the board. Whenever something bad happened, say, I could not make the outside, or cannot catch the waves, that resulted in frustration, and often blamed the surf board, or the condition, or sometimes the people who happened to be around. But now that I have had a bit of time to reflect on all these situations, I have found out the following stuff that happened in my mind.

First, I thought I was not able to control the situation, but I thought I could. The way I thought I could is to find out the source of the issue; something to blame. Now that I am thinking about this, there clearly were time in point I was thinking that the source of the problem was the surf board, or other people or the condition. Of course, if you are reading this now it might all make sense to you, but if you are in the middle of the situation, it is not that easy to make a head and tail out of it.

Now, several hundred sessions later, it is very clear to me that most of the source of the problem lied within myself, and all of what I was angry at was really not present at that time or even now. I was trying to control the situation where there is nothing I could really control, and hence, the frustration and anger. The fact that I can prove this to myself is that I now have totally different attitude about the situation, because now I am still using similar equipment and going out on similar conditions and with similar crowd as I have been, but I do not get that anger feeling any more. I know how to have fun in crowded situations, they never get me, and I rarely get them, and I know when the board works to let me surf and I know when the board works and when it does not, and when it does not, I know that I can make it work with time and more practices.

And there, I have found much more peace in my mind, and I can really use this to deal with my daily life. I am therefore really glad that surfing is not only helping me stay in shape but also mentally help me grow a bit each day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Thie Winter of 2005-6, The Fear etc...

I am over due for an update. Oh, what a winter this has been. There has been a lot of things going in my life this winter, not to mention about how difficult it was to find "surfable" surfs and the weather. Then to top this off, the Devil's Slide decides to "slide" at the end of the winter. Things did not stop there, we've also heard about some guy in Oahu who got infected by the "flesh eating disease" because of too much rain and the contaminated water.

Let's see where I left off.

I definitely have been surfing whenever I could. That has not stopped. However, I must say that I have not been getting really satisfactory sessions. Why these sessions were not satisfactory? The main reason is that I feel now need to really become a significantly stronger surfer than ever before. This issue is tangled with dealing with a lot of my own fears about the surfs. Somehow, I have developed this fear of currents this season. The fear is rooted to the fact that I kind of know that I still am not a strong enough surfer to be able to paddle around in situations where I should really want to be; a bit bigger, steeper and faster conditions than I have been accustomed to.

Here is one of the reasons why this fear is not unjustified. I do surf occasionally with people I know are much better than I am. I also try to paddle out in the situations that's a bit beyond I feel is comfortable. For example, when it was like 10 ft at 20 seconds swell hitting the bay. What I have found out in these situation is this.

When I'd paddle out I'd be in one of two situations. Either it is really hard to get out, or I would be swept fast out into the outside. As far as being swept to the outside, I know it is a bonus for most. For me though, if I cannot catch the waves once I am out and want to come back, I know it would be a lot of effort to get back in, and I am not entirely sure yet, if I can come back in. I wish that I knew the answer. So far, there has never been a situation where I could not come back in, because I can always catch some wither water and ride back in. But what happens if the board breaks in half or the leash snaps. I am having a hard time paddling with a board under me, can I really swim back?

The other side of the coin, however, is that I am becoming a bit bored with catching short and small waves on smaller days with easy paddle out. Because I know also that on these occasions when I do get further out on a bit bigger days or places where things tend to be bigger, and when and if I catch some of the waves, the quality of these rides are significantly great. The quality to me means that I can really do a lot on the waves making more types of turns.

So if I really need to cross this "confidence" level threshold so that I know that I can handle more powerful situations. This is a gradual thing, I know, because I also know that I came a long way. I am definitely riding more waves in more powerful situations, and I am out there when most other people are not out there. But I also know that I still have not attained the level to be a true contender in local surf competitions.

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Coming up on my next few logs, I would like to touch on some angers I had early on.