Sunday, May 28, 2006

Do surfers get jaded?

That's the topic I have been thinking about for a while because I have been wondering if I am going down the same path of other surfers that I have met over the years, though I don't event know exactly what this "same path" is. So in this log I would like to explore what that is.

When I started to surf, I have noticed distinctly some characters in surfers that appear to be around for a while. This is especially true around established breaks.

I have noticed that some surfers are continuously cranky and at times they appear to be a bit arrogant towards other surfers. I've noticed that they appear not to be having much fun, when on rare occasions when I caught waves, I enjoyed so much. Of course not all of the surfers are like that, but there always are several. So there always is a chance that I might join one of them. Of course, I know this type of behavior is somewhat reinforced by some exclusivity of surfing breaks and the overall increase in the general surfing population. The question to this though is will I become part of it simply because I participate in the sport for a longer time? I am hoping I would not.

The second issue is that I actually surf with less number of people these days than I used to. When I started, I need to surf with other people because it was not fun just to go out by myself, feeling scared, inadequate etc. So we set up sessions, called around with other people to go out with etc. Going to many different places were actually fun and would take extra energy to get up early or driver much further, set up long weekend trips to So Cal, and go on Surf camps etc.

As time went on, I have found a few people who consistently I surf with and, actually it is more like I go there and other people I know are out there, not specifically setting time or place to surf. Sessions are starting to happen more on "organic" basis. This is really great because I remember when I try to do a session with people it took me quite a bit of energy.

As the part of the second issue is skill related. I am not claiming that I am a really a hot surfer, but on the other hands, but I have started to make differences in where and the type of waves out there. This is where I am actually a bit stuck; I am not good enough with good people to surf with them all the time, and when I take other people out with me to some of the breaks that I think is fun, they would not set their board into the water thinking that it is too challenging to them.

But then I think all of that is coming around, and I have been hopeful of this coming back around.

In the interest of saving time and driving, I have started to go in even when it is kind of small and crappy, a kind of waves that I was happy with when I started out, and try not to always surf outside, but pull inside a bit. Now I take out a board that might be either fun or a bit challenging, and try to get the most out of it. I have realized that that give me a lot of practice too. I still take my Doyle foam board occasionally. It is actually difficult to turn this board, but with that there is an additional challenge of actually making this board turn, and when I do that I actually realize something about turning on performance boards.

But I do need to continue to watch myself out and make sure that I would not become a jaded surfer. I should go back to the first day out every session out!

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Technical Update

I think I am over due for my technical progress update section, so this one is just about the technical update.

At some time or another I have mentioned about how waves looks good when a bunch of semi-pros show up on local breaks. I have seen this happen just going to the HMB surfing classic competitions in the past few years. Normally when I go to our local breaks, most people are so-so, even the ones that I surf regularly with, if we compared to some of these professional surfers. When the competition is on, no matter what the condition is some of these competitors know how to make the best out of the condition, and if you watch them surf, you'd not realize how "good" the condition was. Of course, the next day, basically the same condition, same tide, a bunch of "regular" surfers get out again, the surf look just like every-day.

One of the things that I have been paying a lot of attention to lately is about the speed, and if you have the speed, and hence the momentum, you can do a whole lot to your surfing than just plain trimming across the wave or just going straight down, and then stalling. Most of us, and especially me, just stall too quickly but pros do not seem to; they obviously have other skills like picking the right wave and also reading the waves once they are on the waves, but one thing they have is the speed.

Well, one of the issues might be is in the take off period and just a short period after the flick up. This is when I slow down when the pros continue to gain the speed. And that makes it a bit of challenge to me, but here are some things that I am starting to either understand of experiment more.

1. In order to get up on the board, I tend to jump up on the board. This is actually bad in several reasons. First, I am not continuing to transfer my weight on the board, that means that the board, for a short moment, is just floating on its own and not getting much power from the water, and secondly as a result of this the board is not being controlled during this very critical state in stetting up the initial speed. So, to fix this issue, I am trying to transition the posture change more smoothly, and bit slowly. I know I can get up on the board but I think I do that too much in haste.
2. Once I am up on the board I am still not applying the weight to the right place and not set up to the turn number 1 for the proper weight transfer. Turn #1 is usually the bottom turn. I should be working on more determined weight transfer rather than just simply relying on the rail to do the turn. I am setting up for the turn correctly in most cases but the speed is not increasing significantly more after the first bottom turn finishes. This is also bad to the point that I may not have gained enough speed and power to get back up to the wave, and of course, that means that I cannot extract more power out of the wave on the turn number 2 and subsequent ones.

So if you see me struggling to rip next time, that's what I will be working on for the next 10-20 hours in the water. If you spot me, check me out, and let me know if I am missing something.

Thank you!