Friday, August 31, 2007

Session 7115.5 and 7116, Slow Surf Day + More Stupid Competition Stories

Yesterday, I was intending to surf after work. But that competition and the super "day after" session completely exhausted me. I was almost nodding while driving to the beach. When I got to the beach it was shrouded with thick fog, and the waves looked really small as far as I could see from the cliff.

So I reclined my seat and decided to take a nap. Not much later, I heard a familiar local buddy's voice, "Hay Mano!" I was awoken, and sure enough it was my local buddy Mr. Z. And we B.S'd for a while. He asked me about getting a fish or some board of that nature, and I ended up getting my 7'2 Takayama Egg board, and explained to him about how much I started to like the board, etc. etc. It is kind of a lazy summer late afternoon thing when the waves are bad, but we still are engaged in a type of surfing activity... This is a kind of moment I would remember for a while, it is really a part of a surfing life experience.

This morning, I checked my own web site for the condition and the S swells are starting to hit, so I headed back to the same spot. Jetty wasn't happening yet.

Sure enough there were 4-5 surfers out already at the south end of the beach. I decided to join but the tide was really too low, and we all know that it is a bad news when the waves are running backwards towards ocean, and you can actually paddle into paddle out on a few of these backwards waves (back washes). But they really are bad news because when you do catch an incoming wave to ride, these would collide against the wave you are riding, and at best you can practice some floaters, but in most cases, you'd be reflected back on the colliding splash.

So I did not stay too long, especially when there was also strange current thing going on making me hard to stay where I wanted to be. It is a spooky feeling when you are all by yourself (other surfers left) and you are clearly being carried out to the ocean.

So I caught the white water and ridden it to the shore (one would never paddle to the shore!).

Anyhow, another local buddy shows up when I was changing, and I told her that I was a bit bummed about the stupid situation at the surf competition this past weekend, and she told me her stupid surf competition story.

On one competition she was in, she was so nervous that she picked up someone else's board and started to paddle out. Realizing this, she paddled back and got her own board.

Also, I almost forgot to tell you that a few years back our own surfing mama, Ren did the same stupid thing as I did, which was not realizing she had advanced, and forfeited the whole heat.

We all get so nervous about competitions, that we really start to show the stupid side of ourselves, which I think in the end, is kind of fun carrying on the surfing lifestyle, share these stories, and we all laugh about it. I am really enjoying, now that I feel being more a part of it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Session 7115: Same Place, Day Later...

A day later, the same place, about the same time. Surfing Mama, Ren, my neighbor buddy and we headed back out to Linda Mar beach around 9.

We all had a blast, long long rides, some fun cutbacks, stepping back and forth... Gosh I wish I had all this yesterday.

I must say, without the pressure of competing, I had much easier time, more fun and more actions on the same long board I used. This goes to say that the state of the mind is very much important. That's definitely be something I will be working on upcoming sessions.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Session 7114: KKC Contest, Major FU This Time

This is starting to be my annual event. Because I am closely affiliated with the San Mateo Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, I feel strongly about supporting other organizations that support the chapter. Local competitions are one of those venues where organizers donate proceeds. I also fill in the exec committee people for publicity stuff while in these competitions.

For good or bad, I am, right now, the only person out of the core group of the chapter to actually surf in these local competitions. I know some people have very differing opinions on surf competitions, but all of these ones I am allowed to enter are mainly to promote local environmentalism and awareness through surfing. I think that's a worthy cause, and I should help out as much as I can.

As for competition aspect of it, at my level of surfing, it is not about competing with other people, but it is a part of my own mental and physical training, and having some goal is always very helpful.

This competition was a humbling experience because I lost out and I did a very stupid move especially having came to 2nd place in a division last year on the same contest.

This past week, I have surfed at Linda Mar every day, both on short and long boards, and I felt confident that I could provide some decent ride at the contest. The condition was similar to yesterday and yesterday I had some of my better long boarding sessions.

The shortboard heat was more difficult, partly because I did use a real short board, and I am not totally master at it, and other people were riding basically fun boards. I had a fun board so I should have used it. And in 30 min I had to be in the longboard heat.

Now, even the worse and incredibly stupid story to share.

After finished the long board heat, I have assumed that I did not advance to the next heat. There were 12 people (or more) on the division, that included local surf instructor, most people "surfing for 30+ years 3 time/per week or more" etc etc.

I got out and tried to catch the wave and a big close out came, and my leg got a cramp for not relaxing enough while being tumbled. The jersey almost came off, so I lost quite a bit of time put myself back together. So after all I did not have much good time on the heat.

So having this being the last heat for me, the whole weight got off my shoulder. Now I am a free surfer again until next summer!

My friend Ren and we free surfed for another while. That was great, it was back to normal. It was nice and sunny, and waves were better at the north end than what I had to endure.

By this time, I was very tired and I was ready to leave for a while, take a nap then come back with the banquet event in the evening (my hats off to those actually holds the competition, it is a long day starting from 6 am to 11 pm).

Ren was also wanting to leave so she helped me carry the stuff to the car, but she said on the way out, "Don't you want to check the result?" I said to her "I know the result, there is no need to check."

I packed up, left for home without checking the score board, left my cell phone in a bag, worked on some things around the house, and then decided to soak myself in a warm bath to relax and laid on the bed for a bit.

It was a bit past 4 PM when I decided to call a few people. There were 2 messages waiting on it. The first message was from the Surfrider buddy that we had to coordinate publicity materials during the compeition, but the message sounded like a bad joke. "Congratulations for advancing to the finals." Oh, yeah right, Steve...

I pressed 7 to delete., the next message came on "Next Message... Mosiomoshi, this is Kazu. How did you do with your second heat, I thought I'd check in with you."

Oh, damn shit! I did move up! My brain started to produce a cocktail of of stupidity, a surprise, even some mild happiness neuro-chemicals in one shot.

Some of the improvements to make the next time;
  • I should just show up just myself, and let other people handle other stuff, and focus on competing. I was tried out before even the competition started.
  • Work on consistency. This is the area that as a "free" surfer I did not pay as much attention to. The consistency comes from the following aspects;
    • Wave reading and positioning skills. Read where the good breaks are and paddle over there and wait for it to happen. There are some locals that pride in this skill department.
    • More wave reading skills. Only go for the wave that I can make, and if I can make it do make it, and go. If not, let it go. If you catch a wrong wave, you could waste time. I was more interested in keeping my own waves, but I should sometimes venture out to the crowded peak and "steal" some of these more delicious waves.
  • More strength... People are faster.
  • Don't hesitate to over-gun the situation. I should have taken out the 7'2 egg which was legit for this competition instead of 6'5.
  • Do check the score board even if you think you did very shitty. This could be your lucky day.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sessions 7107A,B - 7108, 7109, 7110

Sun 7107 A, B El Porto.

Work got Busy and also busy preparing for KKC contest for the weekend.

Mon, Tue 7109-7110 LM
Wed 7111
Thu 7112
Fri 7113

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Session 7105

Small day. But I did get out, and had a fair share of the waves.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Session 7104 Flat Day Everywhere, Including Mavericks (Duh!)

Well, it was basically flat everywhere this morning...

I thought that may be there is a hope at our big wave spot.

So I did the surf check this afternoon, but as you can see it was flat here too!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Session 7103 Angry Letter Written on Water

There is a Buddhim teaching that goes like this.

The first type of anger is compared to letters written on stone, they never change, they never go away. The second type of anger is compared to letters written on sand. The third type of anger is compared to letters written on water.

As one of the people who know the sand and water world intimately, I feel that this is something that I practice both in and out of the water.

The nature, the sprit and minds all come together on most any surf sessions.

Become aware of it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Session 7102

The worst fear of all is the fear of looking bad to others. I have been trying to overcome this fear all my life...

Who cares!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Session 7101

Who cares if it is flat. Can you ride small waves as good as big waves? I've seen who can. It is impossible to see who cannot surf small waves because they never try.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Session 7100, Did Not Get Caught Inside!

This is the 100th session of 2007. No it does not mean I had surfed 7100 times in my life!

We are in the height of the summer condition where there is not much local winds, but further north in Mendocino county are usually a lot of NW winds, causing some summer fun waves locally.

Weekends usually has been the time to go out with our neighborhood friends to a beach near-by. We cover anywhere from Gray Whale to Waddell Creek on these sessions, but mostly confined to the area of Montara to within the city limits of Half Moon Bay, and occasionally we extend our visit to Pacifica. But that has become less and less especially in the summer.

After a brief surf check from atop the cliff (that's usually the NorCAL surf check), we decided (actually I've convinced my buddy to) get in the water at the location in the picture. It looked easy enough but it turns out to be the same old pattern, very hard paddle getting out. Looking back even just a year ago, I think that I have given up on that. I was even on a Takayama DT4 this time, which is a 9 ft long board. But I was able to get out without too much fuss, at least the first time. I had to time the lull and dash out. Now the dash out number works. Previous season, even dashing out was not working. I can tell this because there were couple of more local surfers that I went out a lot last year, and they could but I could not. So that's one thing that I have really starting to be able to do. I am definitely much faster than short boarders who were there, and that was not even the case last season. I'd be on a long board, and I paddled slower then!

Back to the session, my buddy finally given up after catching a few rides, so I got out too and asked him if he'd try again, and as we talked the ocean started to become calm. But he joked that as soon as one of us would step in the waves start to crank up and he went back to the car. That is usually so true!

I walked up much further into the north end of the beach and got in. As soon as I stepped into the liquid, sure enough, the waves starts to crank. It was shallow enough I could walk for a bit deeper, but more inside wither water kept crushing on me. I just hanged onto the board and let the side current take me to wherever it wants to go. But after a while, I was successfully swept into a rapid rip, and that was all I needed to get out. Initially it was a mess with water colliding from every which directions, but the further and further I paddled, it got calmer and calmer, and finally I made back to the outside. There it was just nice and calm with occasional sets coming in.

When I was starting out, I look at these people in amazement that they get out to way way outside through these kind of mess. I am vividly remembering that. First I could not even understand how they could do that, and what kind of a confidence required to get so far out. "What if they cannot come back?" "Can they swim back?" I thought that they must be awfully confident about themselves. And when I tried, I was so scared of it and I often wondered if I could continue with the sport much longer. Even a more blow to my confidence, and so to my own personal existence, was there were young kids, man and women of all ages that did with smile in their faces, all seemingly relaxed.

This season, I think that I can bear more smiles on my face as I get out in more conditions, and to me personally, I do feel that I have overcame a lot of fear, built more confidence paddling out as well as riding back. For me that's truly a sense of personal accomplishment. And this is coming from a person who was a "D" student in high-school physical education classes.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Session 7099 DP

The day is sure getting shorter. How do I notice that? Well, it is called setting the alarm clock at 5:30 AM in the morning. Now at 5:30 it started to be dark.

How do I know if it is getting darker?

That's because our cat patiently awaits in the morning, and as soon as I step out of the bed, she will show her way to the food tray, and it is so dark that I need to turn the lights on to get there. Even a month ago, it was not like that.

Of course it is even darker when it is foggy out.

It continues to amaze me that us surfers tend to be so much more tuned to the natural cycle of the planet, sun rise/set and moon, tide, winds... And that makes it really appreciate the changes.

Summer DP surfing continues at local beaches as more options are starting to opening up this past week. It has been a lot of fun actually because there are plenty of challenging wave shapes and situations that are really fun for short boarding. If not for you, for me, at least.

I am continuing to work on getting up on the board faster, in control when the waves are faster. This morning, there were couple of better surfers catching a lot more waves than I was, but I am starting to catch these waves too. It has taken me over 4 years of 150+ days a year of surfing. But I am starting to realize that I am just about at the end of the first phase of being a beginner surfer and becoming a totally new beginner of the second phase.

Tomorrow on the 100th session of this year, and I am going to start to think a bit differently on how to develop my surfing in upcoming sessions.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Sessions 7097, 7098A, 7098B

We are really into this summer NW wind swell pattern that's just perfect for places. And finally, it will be the 100th day of surfing this year tomorrow. Summer brings small surfs, but it also opens up possibilities of places were we don't normally get to surf.

But also it has been too bad for the Jetty this summer. I actually feel sorry about local kids who rely on this spot. Now we are already talking about back to school sale (didn't you used hate it when you heard that?)

I have been continuing to work on paddling muscles and also fine tuning take off techniques all this spring and summer. I have basically gotten rid of that fearful feeling of currents, and I think I am starting to be looking forward to the times when the NW swells gets to be 14-15 seconds day at the Jetty in the winter. This winter, I can paddle out further out with much more confidence and also I can try taking off to more varieties of wave shapes.

But before that, I am looking forward to the fall surfing. The wind is starting to really calm down both in the morning, and in the late afternoon, and sun is out now many more days.

Surfing just before the fall dusk is really pleasant way of ending a day.