Monday, May 28, 2007

Sesssion 7061: It's Fun When A Holiday and Condition Meet

It has been a while when weekend or holiday and fun surf condition come together in a package. It was closed out mostly but definitely surfable, size was good and definitely much better than anything we have seen for quite a while.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Session 7060 and Its Almost June

Sorry did not take pictures today so I am posting some previously filed stuff.

Today marks the 60th session of 2007 hence the number 7060. In terms of number of times out this year, it looks like I am going to hit a low this year, or I need some very serious catching up to do. This year I have been only out 60 times. So that means basically 12 days per month on the average! We certainly had poor conditions this year with both big poor conditions, windy conditions, and no swell conditions.

Last night we spent a night in Monterey where we had some out of town friends, and so this morning, I tried to get into Asilomar. It was not crowded and I suited up and gone down the stairs. As I was walking towards where the creek dumps, couple of surfers walked up to me and said that they have seen a shark. I looked at the ocean a bit and I did not see one, but by then everyone came back in.

As I came back to the car, my wife told me that there was an injured seal. So I figured that it would be wise not to get in.

We went onto Manresa on the way back, and I really had a great time. The perfect summer beach break condition. Not big, not too powerful, but just tons of fun wave after another to short board on. I caught so many waves, and paddled back for more. In one hour session, I was exhausted and all satisfied. I was so stoked that I forgot to take a picture! So this is one of the shots from the last time we were there. But Manresa beach breaks are really fun as they pop all over the places, and you can pick your own peak that you don't have to share with anyone. And if someone paddle up try to share the peak with you, I just move on to the next one.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Did not Go

Looks like the summer has already came to NorCAL. Not much swell, and waves were not holding the shape. Small everywhere, even for me!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Session 7059

Again the phone camera photo does not do a justice but you can see how glassy the ocean was this morning.

Locals say that when the fog is out there is no wind. This is almost always true. When I woke up this morning, there was an indication of the first set of SW swells coming in. I looked at the Jetty and it was glassy but every once in a while some set rolled in, so I decided to get in.

As with most S swell sitaution, sets are very few and far in between, but it did crank up every 5 - 10 minutes for about a couple of minutes at a time, and there were some nice curly "Surfrider Foundation Logos" forming in the side of my eyes right while I paddled in for more waves.

There must have been other better spots since there was nobody else but me out, but I was really happy because one wave I caught, I was able to get inside a wave a bit! I would not say I was barrelled but I knew that it was coming and plan to steer my board into it, and I courched down really low (well I am always low anyway as you've seen my surfing style).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Session 7058: Finally I Was Wet

Finally I was able to get in the water. The wind stopped, and weather was clear. It was still disorganized, and when it broke it was either closed or mushy but nothing in between, but, I paddled hard for 45 minutes, and felt like I am getting back into the rhythm of a thing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Session 7056-7: Came A Long Way With My Friends

We had another StokeMaster surf camp at Sunset beach near Santa Cruz. This used to be an event that would have only 4 or so people participating. But this time, we had over 15 people participating.

Many of us know each other for 4-5 years, and it is great that so many of us stuck together for this long, and I've realized how good people have gotten surfing! When we all started, we did not know much about surfing but we now go out trim on long boards and walk the boards and the whole number!

I will look forward to years to come and see more changes.

Please check the photo album from the event.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Advise: Maintaining A Couple's Balance

On my previous post, I have started on covering a maintenance of a relationship and surfing.

First of all, I do not understand what is the difference between surfing and any other life endeavors, such as going to a gym or going jogging every day, getting an MBA, or getting a CISCO CCNA certification from evening classes so many times a week? Do many people realize this? I frankly don't think they do when it comes to surfing.

Because in general surfing is still considered something of a sport of the degenerates, bums or dirtbags or whatever it comes to their minds. May be that's a strong statement, but you know what I mean, and if you don't, you probably quit the sport and focus on finding something that you two can do together.

I will give you another example. I was checking in to a flight from SFO to San Diego (CA) a few years back with my 6'6 surf board which probably weigh less than a baby cart. There was a guy in front of me checking in what seems to be a 24-set golf bag. The agent pass him though free without any hassle, but when it came to my surfboard, I had to pay $80 each way! The flight was $145 RT. I've talked to other people about this, and often skis and even bikes can get through. Why? Again, I think surfing is still not familiar to a lot of people.

So the first thing is that your partner should understand the sport and your passion a bit better. It is really healthy and safe sport if it is done properly. Surfing is said to be only sport that even professional surfers do not need to routinely engage in other supplemental exercises. If the partner is willing to, take the partner to a surf lesson at a comfortable atmosphere such as in Waikiki beach (seriously, Waikiki is the place, and while you are there be sure to visit Bishop Museum.)

Also sharing the stoke though movies produced for mass consumption, like "Riding Giants" and "Endless Summer" series movies can almost stoke any peoples mind. I know they did to both my mom and my mother in law. Just ask them to sit down for an 90 minutes or so and watch these movies.

Next step is really to set an expectation to both yourself and your partner. This really goes with many things in life, and especially in business world. But you set an expectation and commit to it, and establish a quality record that you can reproduce the same result every time.

For example, you could say, your surfing time is Saturdays between 7:00 and 12:00 and you will be back by 12:00. Never deviate from this pattern, especially in the beginning. Set an example and establish a history that you can deliver on your commitment. It is the lack of certainty that really makes the people bothered. I understand there might be even after-surfing obligations such as lunch, dinner or a drink, but again, set an expectation to those who are joining you on a session that you need to take off, allowing enough time to change and drive back home. When you say you will be back in 12:00 that should mean that you can fully engage in the activity with your partner at that time. It does not mean that you are back at home at 12:00 and there can be undetermined amount of time before you two can move on to other activity. Even if there is no planned activity, you commit that you are going to fully available then.

Along the way, you may encounter some failure which will cause some doubts, so especially in the beginning, be really careful. May be for the first few outings don't even go to the surf spot, but get to somewhere, say a local surf shop, and get back on time. Again, setting a pattern and expectation is very very powerful thing. Caught "in bad traffic" is not an excuse you use in the first several times as you establish a good history, even if it is true. Perhaps, after 12th outing, that can become believable.

Also, even though you are sure that the partner is not interested in coming, always make sure that your partner is invited anytime you go, and even ask if your partner can take pictures, videos or help select a new equipment at the store. Or schedule a next event back to back, for example, go surfing in Santa Cruz, then go shop and eat dinner at Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz or Santana Row in San Jose.

You can also give your partner the car key, and ask that the partner to get back 2 hours. This works especially well if you also have another friend with you with a cell phone, or at the worst case take you back home.

I am sure that your partner has his or her own passion or activity too. Why not point that out and ask the partner to do the same. Life is a two-way street.

I've seen situations where people turn their hobby completely ON or OFF, sometime as a demonstration of a protest; I am giving this up too so you can be happier. I think that's seriously misguided way of handling things.

Of course, anything is a matter of priority and your preference. May be surfing is not all that important to you. In that case I think it is good to go ahead and quit. Get rid of all your equipment and cancel your Surfline and Stokemaster memberships.

But if surfing has became your passion then you do have to return to surf on a consistent basis otherwise there is no progress for your own. This is basically the same class of things as you becoming devoted in a religion, a acquiring a new degree or technical certification. What if you told your partner that you are going to take evening classes for some time to enrich your education for a better quality of life. And how does that differ from surfing. Again, under most circumstances, I think you agree that surfing will keep you healthy both physically and mentally!

Always remember that most people operate with the following core agenda;
  • I do not want to be excluded.
  • I do not want to have uncertainties.
If it is important to you, you owe your self a big life to explain that to your partner and gain the full support.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Session 7055, Have 90-min A Day of Own Passion

I did not go to the spot in the picture because I would have been alone, and I really don't like it when I hear the barking of a seal. It freaks me out that I could be entering a food chain drama already taking place. It is best left alone and move on where there are more people so there would be statistically lower chance of entering the eco-system. Though if the nature says "Today you are going to be a food", then I would certainly hope that it would be a fast-food customer rather than on those 2-hour meal customer. Measuring 5'6 at 140 lbs bearing a plastic and rubber I would think that I won't be a Neiman ranch quality...

~ ~ ~

O...K... Sorry about the diversion. Yes, I had another fun morning. Especially early on the waves were fairly good shape. My F4 Quad worked out good, though, I really should have had a long board, or even a full fledged fish. Why? Because I think that the initial glide and speed is very important for keep going. You could sit inside, but most inside waves get bounced off the the backwashing waves and just simply do not happen. The outside waves are mushy enough that I just don't get that last jolt of the impulse power that I need to get going... surfing is tricky in these regards.

~ ~ ~

Is surfing an obsession for me? This topic comes up a lot. I also get questions from other people about "How can you go every day?", "Are you not married?"

So, I must say that surfing for me is a passion. It is a passion for me to be healthy, and it is a passion for me to find out more about myself, and how I can really relate to the nature. These are actually fairly difficult thing to articulate but this blog is one way for me to really reflect on that sort of things.

In terms of how I can stay being married, I must say that I do have a very understanding wife, but then it is not a one-way thing. I also understand and support her passion too. We each respect that. I support her in all respects, and we respect each others passions too so when I am engaged in my passionate activities she does not need to get involved, and vise versa. But then we also do things that would accommodate both our needs. When we go to Orange county or La Jolla, I surf then we also go to museums and restaurants.

After all, I cannot be surfing all day. In fact for me surfing is a 90-min a day thing. Kind of like the daily prayer a buddhist priest would do in the morning in front of the alter. Once in a water I will do my best to catch as many waves as possible. Try to be focused at the same time let the nature take me to where it let me go. I am exhausted at the end, but then happy too.

When that's over then the rest 22.5 hours are for both of us. So when I go to, say, the Trestles, we both go down the path and she would watch or read her books. When the 90 min is over then we head out to go lunch, go to museums, go to Balboa park or the Zoo or do things like that we both enjoy. In the evening, why not go see a movie or just go have some drinks! If I am back at home, she can go shopping at Pacific Ave in SC. Or when I came back from surfing we eat lunch together and head out for MoMA and then a movie at Metreon. We have plenty of time and plenty of things to do together. Surfing does not get in the way, really.

Also I must say that I am fortunate enough to live within a waking distance from the ocean therefore, even if I need to drive to a surf spot it is matter of 10-15 minutes and not hours. But I also made a choice to live close to the ocean and made every effort to the goal. It took me about 30 or more years to get to the stage where I can say that I am a part of the coast side community. But I did make that effort.

So I think that you can be creative and arrange your life around your passion as its core driving force of your life.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Session 7054: Spring Glass Off and Wave Quality Stuff

Great "glass off" session with my friends and very fun condition, again, wish I brought a long board, but I was actually thinking about wave quality in the last couple of days so I want to share with you some of the thoughts that have been developing.

First, there is no doubt that I do want to get into more hollower situation. It is a bit frustrating when other people with longer boards are catching waves, and I am not. But then in order to do that I have to be in the condition and/or places where such wave is supported. Definitely, the place we went in Mexico had the quality and the size of the waves challenging enough for me, and at the same time I could definitely say that I had fun with these waves. These waves do happen, especially south of Half Moon Bay and a select "secret" spots. And definitely at The Lane or San Diego. I've either seen them, and I've actually been in them and surfed but in most cases to get to these waves, I have to go past a lot of white stuff and then battling with huge currents, compete with other surfers... none of which are still not a big forte I have.

But some of the Mexico waves did not require as much effort to get out (though it was at the upper limit of what I would consider comfortable), and when a wave broke, it broke in this thick slow movement, but once I got in the wave, it got increasingly but really hollow and kept pushing and pushing me along the line. Combined with the speed and the cutbacks I can make now, I could keep myself in sweetest spots much longer than I could ever have been able to. It really was a great fun and also a practice.

So I think I now know what the quality waves are and what are not much better than even from my experience a year ago. It was kind of preview for me to catch hollower waves that we encounter around here often, and that means that things can happen much faster pace and I need to have enough skills to keep up with them.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Session 7053

Every once in a while the devilish punchy spot becomes a very delightful surfing spot. We wait all year around stopping by and checking the spot to see "just in case if we can surf." And this morning, it was a delightful surfing morning. Should have brought a long board. The water temp came back up to 55 F. I was actually hot for the whole session and had to dive under the water to get cool.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Session 7052

Wouldn't you hate it when everything is right except for the super low tide at a time when you could only go. It one thing "everyday" pre-commute surfers need to contend with. We truly are at the mercy of the nature. Also notice the absence of the fog. This is extremely unusual. It has been hot and clear for several days in a row here in California, and there were some brush fires etc.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Session 7051: Sunday, Reflection on Speed

I did do a local session. No wind but tide was super low. But riding crappy waves require a kind of diligence and commitment.

By doing this, I am starting to have more satisfactory rides even in these dismal conditions than before, and I have been thinking about how I can even extend this. Because I do not have the luxury of picking the place and especially the time in my most sessions (that consists of 90 minutes before going to work or even on weekends before going on to do some other stuff), I am purposefully choosing the way to horn my skills to surf a wider range of surf conditions, and not the other way around.

Through last couple of months it has became much clear to me what my next hurdle is to accomplish this goal.

I have wrote off and on about how the waves look so good when some good people are out in the ocean even when the condition is poor. This is especially notable when there is a local contest going on. More than a few times, I thought "the contest holders know when to choose to have contests." But often the next day has the same condition at the same spot and it is now back to looking "so so condition" again. So the foregone conclusion is that it is the level of the surfers that make the waves look good.

And today, even though most waves were, what I consider to be close outs, there were several that were catchable and I did catch a few from those, took off, injected myself to the right or left early on, got in proper line and did execute the bottom turn to get up to the turn number 2. What I could clearly see was that should I have had more speed, I could hop over to the next section and continued to go up to the next lip or shoulder, and if I did that I could have had much much longer ride.

This basically seems to mean that I should really work on gaining more speed during the first turn, and that probably requires me to put much more weight or exert the force on the board, if necessary to pump or step on it harder. I know I am starting to do that, but what I am doing is still much inadequate to build the necessary speed. Partially this is still a fear that I have. Sometimes the technique works and the board goes fast but then it seems to be going so fast that I just get scared and wipe out.

Sometimes, and often, I am not on the board fully and it slips away. This is probably a precision issue.

So for many of the sessions this season, I will be working on both the take off and the speed. If I nail both of them down, I think I can then really make much better turns.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

ST PM Totally Blown

While the tide came down, unfortunately, the wind picked up again this PM, making surfing not so much fun. The swell is definitely coming, and tide was up, so the wind is substracting element this afternoon. Hope for better tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Session 7050: Miracle M - Stoke 10!

Tomorrow through Friday, I will be out of town, out of ocean and will be locked in a deep maze of a major hospital in Pacific Northwest. I will be seeing happy people with a good news of an addition to their families, and I will see people in despair, and some preparing for the ultimate departure. When I hit the ocean, I think about these things, my friends, and myself, people who I've met and people who moved on. It is a good place to contemplate these life issues alone. From this stand point the ocean is a spiritual place for me, and that's the part of the attraction that compel to bring me back, every day, if possible.

When I got up this morning, the wind was blowing still, and I had to cancel the down patrol routine. I was looking forward to it, because missing it means I could not get back to the ocean until this weekend. Sounds rather selfish, but on the other hands, I made a life commitment to lead a surfer's life and planned everything so that I can keep surfing. I am sure many of you can related to that, and there are many of my coast side buddies who are doing the same.

Occasionally throughout the day, I was looking at my forecast tool on the StokeMaster.COM home page that I have built; yes, I even build a tool to make my surfing life easier. As the day went on the wind started to come down. The hope returned, and I did take off exactly at 5 PM from the job to do some last-minute wave hunting. And I found the waves! And they were perfect size and shape. Not too big, but not too small either and I know the place can be punchy. Which could be fun.

I now know the place. I know where to hitch a ride to the rip current, and where not to paddle back out. I even know that where I will be caught inside if I paddle back out. So I just get out and walk to the channel. Even though it is relatively calm, paddling does require some effort, and with some backwashes it was a bit bumpy. But I've even learned to like them as they cause all sorts of big bumps that you can surf on and around!

I surfed really hard for just over an hour. Kept moving, kept paddling and kept getting into as many waves as possible, and some waves were thrilling and really fun to ride. The F4 board worked really well.

It was very satisfying when the waves, the weather, and the possible disappointment turns all the way around. Miracles do happen.

While I don't hear from many of you, I do appreciate you taking a virtual ride with me through my WavLOG all this time, and I hope that you will have sweet rides too!

Surfz Up!