Friday, June 09, 2006

Last Day at Waikiki

Final Waikiki Sessions
Some of you might be wondering why I seem to just have been surfing Waikiki. Well, before we took off to Japan, I misplaced my drivers license and so I am actually asking my wife to drive at the moment. As soon as I get back I plan to visit our friendly and efficient DMV office to get the replacement. But until then, it is best that my wife drives. You know, however, I also find some challenge in certain limitations. For example, right now, I just paddle out from the hotel. If you are following my story, I have rented an NSP 9'2 for this week, and also rented a locker space so I am now able to go out to surf any time I wanted to.

This morning, I went back to the "Royal Hawaiian" spot. At my paddling speed, it took me a good 15-minute paddle out go get to the spot. But as well as the crowd and the waves, it is really mellow paddle out. I just stroke each hand slowly and all the way through and I can see the bottom of sea passing by, sometimes with smaller fishes and big sea turtles passing by. Speaking of this, through surfing, I have really seen so many things in the ocean from a direct encounter with whales, dolphins surfing right next to me, sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, and huge sea jellies even.
As for paddling out, tt is amazing that I have been this far out in to the ocean! When I turn back toward the shore, I cannot literally identify each person standing at the beach! Should this have been in California, I would be really freaked out for having paddled out so far, and worried about how in the heck I am going to get back!

But back to surfing? There was a bit more swells this morning, and I was already identifying some familiar faces. And I got another one of those extremely long rides. It is really different type of surfing, and really what I have learned so far have been really helpful. If you are reading this as a new reader, please do know that my purpose here is to share what I am experiencing as they happen and not really to boost how I feel how good I am. Really, I am not that great of a surfer at all technically. There still are, no matter what break I am in, a lot of surfers whom I aspire to be. Having said that though, what really helping me to get these long rides is that I now know how to read waves ahead and how to extract power from the waves. I now know when to cut back a little and go straight down to get more speed and when to climb back up on the wave using the speed I gained to get more speed. So even the wave "puters" out a bit I can connect these sections and go on. And it is really something that paddling back out in of itself takes another 5-6 minutes to get back in to the spot I started with. It is so different from surfing at the Jetty or Linda Mar where paddling back out means just a few minutes!
I really had fun this morning. So as usual, I went back to the room, changed and spent the rest of the day driving around and checking out other areas of the island (we will write StokeMaster's Guide to O'ahu soon).

I opted to surf early in the morning and later in the afternoon when other "tourist" activities, such as outrigger canoe and catamaran rides stop. It is kind of amazing that outrigger rides and surfers coexist on the same waves, but then I have found out how people ride waves in Waikiki is different from others. In Waikiki, people tend to go straight down, and only when people find a room to trim they do the trimming on the wave face. This includes seasoned local experts who usually do not wear rash guards. Unlike, say Santa Cruz breaks, here people do ot seem to have problems sharing waves. Good people are willing to go straight down and really no issues sharing waves. There has not been any yelling by other surfers. Waves are really "given" to everyone who are willing to catch waves.

I think that I've learned a lot in the past few days of surfing here. I can just be happy and very stoked in Waikiki as well as at the Jetty in HMB. Each locale is so different from others and it is so much fun to try and see so many different surfers around the world, and that's makes surfing really fun!

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