Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sessions 7134, 7135 A Day in My Surf Life Style

A Day in My Surf Life Style

Yesterday we got together after a gig (so to speak) with our long friend Jocelyn and Dane, and a question of what my "day" looks like. So I think that's something to write about.

5:30 AM The CD alarm starts. I picked a music that come in gradually like Brian Eno or other "environmental" music stuff. I leave the musing running, but will get up by 5:45 or so.

6:00 AM (not going to write what I do here).

6:05 AM Check the computer to see if there is no customer issue that cropped up over night. If something happens then I must do a Plan B. On this post I will write only about Plan A.

Continue checking the web, make sure that StokeMaster.COM site is up and running then check my StokeConsole for the local condition (note I do not rely on Surfline or any other forecasting web sites.) I make a basic determination of where I will hit at this time.

6:15 AM I get in the shower, wash my hair and then shave.

6:30 AM If I am going to places close by, I just get in the wet suits with the torso dangling. Otherwise I will put on a T-shirts and board shorts.

6:35 AM Fill up the water jug with warm water. Load the car with the rest of the stuff. Board stays in the car every day.

6:40 AM: Leave the hose. I don't eat the breakfast. Continue with wave checking and coordinate morning session with local buddies via cell while I drive.

7:00 AM: Arrive at the beach.

7:10 AM: At the shore, doing a warm up exercise.

7:15 AM: Paddling out

8:45 AM: Catch the last wave of the day.

8:50 AM: Wash the salt off and change to the street clothes.

9:00 AM: Grab Coffee + Donut or a Pastry Off to work. But usually take care of phone calls stuff while I drive.

6:30 PM: Start to wrap up day's work. Write the WavLOG. Check system status and such before leaving the office. Check traffic report until the RT 92 turns from Red to Yellow.

7:00 PM: If the traffic status on 92 is Yellow then I will go, otherwise I will stay in the office and do more work until the traffic dies down.

7:30 PM: Arrive at home. Rinse the wet stuff, hang them up. I have the second pair of wetsuits and such. I have a washing machine right next to the washing basin, so I usually throw the wet stuff in there and put them through a spin cycle. It really works well.

7:45 PM: Dinner and relaxing evening.... If Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmare is on I watch it with my wife. Otherwise I am back on computer doing something, or pay bills or do things.

11:00 PM: Pack tomorrow's street clothes in the duffel bag. Then load it in the car. Then go to bed.

Session 7134 Friday Pre-Work

Thursday I did a short board, but Friday morning was a bit smaller so I decided to take the Egg out. I would say, yeah, I like the egg in the morning.

Saturday, No Session

Got a slow start, went to the beach, but having been small, I decided to take an hour nap in the car. Sometimes that's as fun and relaxing as surfing.

Session 7135

A very special local spot, surfed with Cynthia and Stevo. But breaking small, and I had a lot of fun waves.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Session 7133: Finally Speed Building Is Starting to Work!

Finally Speed Building Is Starting to Work!

I think I am finally starting to break through yet another step in “learn how to surf.” And that's the speed building part of the rides.

What do I mean by this?

Well, if you look at people who are “ripping” and who are just surfing, there is one distinct difference, among, of course, a lot of differences.

You see a lot of “regular” surfers who can surf decently. Their rides are reasonably long and their riding styles are not awkward. But there is one thing that distinguish from that level of surfing to the next level of surfing. They are just going along the wave, but not adding much to it, and speed fizzles out and that's it.

Then there are the “next level” surfers out there who can consistently pull-out of the wave with their own power and their rides are more dynamic and quite often longer.

I have been trying to figure that out. Of course, it looks obvious to most people who take up the sport there are visible differences between professional and “regular” surfers. What I have been trying to figure out is exactly what makes these differences, and more importantly how to get there.

I came to the conclusion, and that is summarized in just one single word. The “speed.”

So especially in this past year, I have really been focusing on how in the heck I can learn how to get the speed. Theoretically, I understand it. But as usual with my surfing progress, the theory and the body do not follow more often than not.

The theory part is the extraction of wave power through making turns. Gain the power at the top of the wave, accumulate it there, then release it at the bottom, then go back up again to get more power.

So what's the big deal?

It is a big deal for me because it has been a biggest hurdle for me. Because mainly what happens to most of us is that when you take off, we tend to take a straighter line down, and by the time you get to the bottom there is no power left. Stalling, the wave closes out from the back, then that's the end of the ride.

One of the things to overcome this are the wave selection technique and also a much stronger paddling power to get myself early towards the top part of the wave, and finally much more “aggressive” use of knees and hips to make things happen. Once I can get into that critical part of the wave and if I can consistently flick up then the rest is much easy. With that initial speed and part of the wave I have a lot more choice what the next second will be and where to turn next. The last part is the turn at the bottom. When I can set up for the turn with already going at a good speed, I am starting to really push hard on the board to get up back the wave, or sometimes, make a fast cutback to get back to the section of the wave where it is still building up.

So, now I am really thrilled to polish these skills up to a more consistent one, and to be consistent, I also need to continue to work on wave selection, take-off, and faster flick up.

Surf Reports

A member on StokeFORUM was curious why I made a fool out of myself on Tuesday. It was because I was again only a solo surfer. Everyone went to LM, SC, or OB but there. Sorry, again, I did not have a whole lot of time to go some place else.

Last two sessions were really fun at LM. Small but really ridable stuff with occasional shoulder size sets. The Takayama Egg worked like a charm for me.

The office building move was completed. I have never driven a diesel U-haul truck before. It was noisy, smelly and slow. It was so nice to get back in my own car!

Sessions 7131, 7132

This week I have been quite busy due to our office move. Tue, I made a fool out of myself again by surfing by myself at the Jetty. Wed was really fun at LM. This feature will resume may be tomorrow.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Session 7130: Quite A Contrast - A Solo Session

If you happened to see me from the highway, yeah, that was me this morning.

Another day, a local break. I probably was making a fool out of myself. Nevertheless, I was surfing all by myself plus an otter, which is kind of unusual, but it was eating a fish on its tummy.

The condition was not good at all, but I had a limited time so I had to surf the home break.

The waves were braking closer to the shore most of the times and when a bigger one comes it really closed big time!

But I decided to take this situation to an advantage and practiced paddling really hard into the wave then force the board angled. This is one technique that is said to be almost a requirement when you start to catch some of the steeper waves. The idea seems to be that you really paddle hard as I insert myself into a angle of the the direction of the line. Then speed down the line before the wave closes. Really tricky move from both the stand point of getting in the direction and also flicking up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Session 7129: Dealing with "Good" Crowds

I must admit! I do not like to surf in Santa Cruz on days like today. This was at the Hook (oh by the way, there is now a prominent sign that says "NO SURF SCHOOLS!", it used to be a graffiti, but now it is an officially city endorsed sign!)

Back to the crowds.

Today it was relatively small.
Waves broke only at the corner... basically.
There were a ton of people out.
Many of them were good too.
= Competition Heats Up!

So under these circumstances, I just cannot get as many waves as I want even if I am capable of catching them. Almost always there is someone already on the wave. They bring in all sort of weapon of mass wave "distractions", including Sponge boards, Liquid Shredders, 10 ft Softops... and will go for full blast when the big set come in and steal all the waves. Pretty standard pattern. I could count with one hand the number of people who were catching all the waves.

To keep the wave counts to a > 0 quantity for me, I had to move constantly, to inside between sets, to outside, and to gamble on to where it is likely the spot that will break for me as the bigger set approached, and avoiding those who are caching so many waves.

My hats off to those who brave there to deal with the crowds. I thought I was getting good at it, but like other aspects of surfing that's totally another skill set I have to master.

If you are one of them, be sure to share with me your secrets!

Session 7128: Short Boarding and Your Strength

I am continuing to discuss the disadvantage of starting out with a short board. This discussion applies to mainly to late bloomers like myself who would start surfing much later in life; not from being a grom surfer. For groms they are shorter, smaller and their relative strength to the situation is different.

One of the most crucial thing I have realized is that I (probably still do) not have physical strength and agility to handle a short board. Just to get that kind of strength requires either much practice on the water or on the ground. My preference with this is that I am focusing only on surfing so I do not do any other type of conditioning exercise. So this is the reason why I surf a lot, as I see this as my gym membership out in the ocean.

The amount of paddling that is needed to get into the wave successfully requires tremendously more power than on a long board, it is more so because you would want to challenge hollower and faster waves.

Once the board gets in the wave, I need to be up on the board as soon as possible. This is always the case whether the waves are faster or slower. Short boards are not very forgiving.

I am continuing to master above two. Should I have only done long boarding for a couple of years right from the start, I would have a chance to gradually and more consistently build up these strength and agility

Surf Report

Surfed at LM in the morning with Magic 9'0, and it was one of the better condition days. Other spots on the way there looked good, but on weekends I also am social. I am moving up much closer to the nose. May be if I log 4 more hours on the board, I hope to grab the nose with my toes.

Looks like this NW swells are going to be here today too. Go have some fun.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Session 7127: More on Board Stuff + Helmets

More on Board Stuff

We have been talking about single or multiple board stuff for some time, and I was thinking some more about the topic as I surfed today.

One thing I can say for sure is that one would need to get to the point of being able to surf a board; taking off, making turns, and stopping properly on a single board. I have seen, myself included, jumping the gun (pun intended in the context) and get next shorter or narrower or unique shape boards. But looking back, what I should or could have done better is to really master the long boarding first on small waves really well, then moved up.

I would say that for those starting out from the ground zero, do master the long boarding technique. I firmly believe that doing so is the shortest ticket to riding a short board, if that's what you want to do. Plus if you got the long boarding under your belt, you can ride much wider variety of wave sizes and shapes, including these summer mushy waves. Everyone I know who has progressed fast and even faster than me have taken that path. Many people I know who did not take that path basically are still the same way as they were several years ago, and great many of them stopped surfing altogether presumably in frustration. Typically those people would pop up on the forum, ask a question about "What board to get." Then I say "long board", then they go get a short board, go out for 2-3 months on weekends, then quits.

I happen to think that such poser trend is probably not a bad thing for the surf industry. A more new people enter, buy the equipment, and quit and some new ones come in the next year. Real surfers don't buy much, they hang on to old wetsuits and once they got a certain number of boards then they don't add too many boards. It in in fact so much to the point that many "surf" shops in inland shopping malls don't even have to carry surfboards to speak of. Can't or don't believe it? Drive to Walnut Creek next time.

Back to long boarding, this is a part of the reasons why I am going to commit myself to surf long boards as much as possible on weekends when I have a bit more time to haul the big board.

On Helmets (or A Surfer with a Brain)

I was getting in the water one day and someone shouted "A surfer with a brain!"

There was a post on the Google StokeFORUM about helmets. I do testify that it is very helpful. One day I was at a heavier break spot, and this was several years ago. I was on a long board and I wiped out taking a water-fall. I see this happen a lot with other surfers too. As I surfaced, I did not know where the board was. I absolutely could not find it anywhere around. It took me about 3-4 more seconds or looking around, and then there was a really hard "thump" on top of my head. Do you know where my board was? It was up in the sky flying! It then landed smack right on my head. The helmet saved my day.

There was another session that definitely saved my day on a crowed inside 38th. I was paddling out, and this gentleman decided to take off and thought that he could make it. Well, he did not, he hit my board and also knocked me on my head rather hard. He was apologetic all right, and I should not have paddled into where he might be. Almost any accidents are the results on combo of more than neglects happening all at the same time even though technically one is not at fault. For example, I've had some close calls at intersections where other cars have definitely ignored the traffic signal. If I was not watching out for them, yeah, I would have suffered some or a serious level of damage.

These kind of stupid accidents and damages are so rampant in early stages because you as a beginner is playing the negligent (and ignorant) part of the accident, and many many other surfers are quite negligent themselves too. Most other surfers are just as bad as you are or not much better than you.

Eventually though you will realize you are making less dings and less unexpected contacts with surf boards, braking less number of fins etc.

So I would say, until you figure yourself out in the water, more protections the better. Plus, you are probably doing some income generation activities that need to use your brains. That's one investment that you got from your ancestors that has a potential of making tens and thousands of bucks, even millions of bucks in income. I think it is worth protecting.

Today's Surf Report

I took out the Takayama Egg this morning to LM, and as I was being carried out to the north end, I caught some fun waves out there. Then I walked back to front of the parking a caught some inside small stuff, yet a relatively long ride though.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Single Toy or Multiple Toys Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote mostly about the single toy school of thoughts, but I now feel that I did not elaborate much on multiple toys school of thoughts.

I know a surfer who is very good and has many different surf boards.

According to him, he thinks that trying different boards teaches you a lot more about surfing and surf boards.

I can clearly see his point too.

For example, I am starting to understand the fore-aft weight shift aspect of surfing. On a long board, I can walk towards the front of the board to get the type of speed and glide. When the board starts to stall while the tail is jacking up, it is amazing that by just a few steps towards the front of the board, I can gain or regain so much better speed.

Now when I am back on a short board, I take the same approach, but the only difference is there is no need to walk the deck. I just send more weight forward and the board will do just about the same thing.

On a short board, when I am setting up for a turn, for me, it is more intuitive to set the weight to the back and sort of pivot the board around, then set the bottom or rail or whatever terms you know. Once you learn that the turn setup starts to become more refined. If you are seeing me doing that from the shore, though you may not see the subtle weight shifts. But then I've realized that it is one of the ways to also turn a long board on a dime; just go or walk close to the tail and pivot the whole thing around. That's what I often need to swing the board into the initial trim down the line right (or during) around take-off. Short boarding taught me do that a bit better.

Back to music, as much as I don't like to do this, studying classical piece can be very demanding, but after you do it, say master one of the Chopin's Nocturns. I can apply some of the classical finger moves on Jazz licks. After going through that, it is an awakening discovery experience that there are some chops that it would have been difficult to realize without going through it.

I do agree that sticking and focusing with one aspect of it for a while is an important thing. Every time I switch a board, I do feel like I have lost the touch for a while.

The whole point of this is that there seems to be no one right or wrong way of approaching this, and I think you as an individual need to decide. The whole point of it is to have fun, and for me struggling with learning to how to short board in of itself is a challenge and that equates with my notion of ultimate fun, because I tend to value discoveries along the road than being at the destination.

Also it goes with my career. Because I am more of a "jack of all trades" type, I work more effectively in a small startup situation. As the company grows, though, we need to hire "specialist" people, including those whose job has "always" been an HR, a CEO, or a programmer, or at least they built their career to be specialized. That inevitably happens, and when that happens, it is time for me to fade away, and go start another company! Well, I take it back. I am specialized in being a "jack of all trades!"

I have, however, seen or heard about many surfers who have continuously blamed their equipment for their own surfing problems, keep buying one equipment after another, and not progressing technically. I think that deserves a whole different set of discussion.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Session 7126: Single Toy or Multiple Toys

I've met people from two school of thoughts,
  • School A: You should become good at only one type of board.
  • School B: You should try different kinds of board.
Yeah, both do make really good sense. As a Jazz musician, I have not really touched any other instruments other than a keyboard. Even then I think I am too wide spread, I am into Hammond B3 style organ playing, but I also touch Piano styles too. Yet, I just must say that there is just a lifetime learning for the mastery of piano playing that even if I practice every day all day, it would be a very little hope that I would ever hit the Bill Evans nor Bill Charlap level.

For surfing too. There is just a life-long learning to get the mastery of long boarding, or short boarding. If I am switching back and forth between boards, let alone various types of short boards, I totally agree that I won't ever become better than Wingnut, let alone one of the top winner at a local surf contest in Linda Mar (I am getting there though... hehehe).

But wait a minute...

My purpose of playing Jazz is not become Bill Evans, and my purpose of surfing is not become the next Wingnut or Machado.

I am "the rest of the Jazz Musicians" and I am the "rest of the surfers."

What's wrong with that notion? I say, "there is nothing wrong with that."

My main reasons for doing any of them is to just relax, have fun doing something other than I do at work. Frankly I don't care how much I suck at both music and surfing. It is definitely fun to switch between long and short boards. It is definitely fun trying to do Jimmy Smith riff on the B3 patch on my Korg as well as trying some slow ballad with the piano patch. It sucks big time, if you heard it, but I am having a lot of fun.
I am not here to collect bucks from anyone.

You might ask, then why do I compete?

I compete because it is like my annual piano recital from my local piano teacher. It is an opportunity for myself to compare how much progress I am making (against myself), and a bit of pressure and a sense of urgency gives me an incentive to try a bit harder. I sometimes need a bit of a kick in the butt.

So what you should do.

Don't listen to anyone, especially my Jazz and this blog. Listen to your own very heart.
Unless you are going for a pro, in that case, the whole different set of rule applies, stop reading my stuff now, you should just strive to have fun!

Surf Report

Stopped by at K Ave on the way back from work. The waves were not taking much shape, and once I got in, there is the infamous backwash this spot is famous for. I take off and the waves clogged up, splash back at me. It almost got dangerous to the point... would have knocked my teeth or broken my jaw if I kept at it too much.

But why does it matter to you? You should just go out and experience your own fun waves!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Session 7125: Live Surfing Network

This morning is a good example of technology and friendship work together towards better surfing for tomorrow.

There were people coming from the south and north county areas for a session, and we agreed to check all the spots. Live reports started to roll in at 8:00 AM, and we've quickly ruled out Pacifica, and another report came in from another buddy further south which was wind blown.

Surf Report

This morning several of StokeMaster members have gone to Montara but it was so hard to get out and it was kind of a mess. I got out twice and then caught white-water back. We've all decided to head to the Jetty which was a good move. I had a lot of fun back in my "home" break where I did not to get to surf much.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Session 7124: Why Women Are Better Surfers

Why Women Are Better Surfers
  • I've always admired women surfers of Linda Mar and Santa Cruz. There are more women surfers who look like they are having a lot more fun than men. They tend to be smiling a lot more. Once I was at Linda Mar north end, and it was clearly overhead, a bit on a fearful side. This woman surfer I know for a while, she was just smiling and riding as if it is nothing to it. Another session at Cowells, another women surfer who was just surfing so much better, but looked so effortlessly.
  • I know my wife can still can touch the floor with her palms flat. I could not have been able to do that even from when I was 10 year old. They stay limber for a long timer though their lives. Once they are on the waves their movements tend to be smoother, gentler, and fluid. I've seen many women surfers advance much faster than many of men surfers I know. I think Surfing IS the right sport for many women.
  • They tend to be having a lot more fun compared to competitive men surfers. On the lineup, if there are more than one women surfer, there usually is some conversation going. In Cowells, I have seen many women propping their heads on the board with their forearms, and just talking while waiting for waves, just kind of like a slumber party on the bed or something!
  • One thing I would like ask many of you try not to do. There are quite a few women long board surfers who can catch waves and go, but for whatever the reasons, their arms are precariously all over the places while they are riding. Looks like you are pulling and wrapping in a wool string or something. You all have better center of gravity than men. Just relax your shoulders and upper body, sit tight on hip and knees and balance out things. I could not have figured this out, but this does not happen a whole lot with male surfers (men tend to have more of an Eiffel Tower effects on the board, especially taller men) Correct me if I am wrong.

  • To all men surfers: Watch and learn some things from some of the better women surfers on the waves. Don't be so uptight about your sexuality, and you don't have to prove to yourself how good you are. Don't be angry and cranky all the time. On the wave, it should not really matter, would it? The best surfers are the ones who are having fun! Just relax and enjoy the ride and the whole experience and share it with everyone in the ocean!

Today's Surf Session

Glad went out. It looked flat but once I was in, there were some great fun waves, I can feel that the south was touching.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Session 7123: The Importance of Working Within The Limit

When we are encountered with difficulties, we all tend to dismiss the current situation and start to have "wishful thinking."

We happened to been having some computer performance issues. I have a friend who habitually say to this, "On mainframes, we don't have these kind of problems..."

In surfing too. We have a lot of excuses.
  • Wish we were in
  • Wish I had board.
  • Wish the tide or wind is
  • Wish I have started years ago.
  • Wish I was younger.
  • Wish I was born as a female surfer.
  • Wish I was born as a male surfer.
  • Wish I was a Shark.
I am guilty of thinking like that and catch myself doing it some times.

Back to my friend's situation. I know there still are a lot of main-frame COBOL shop. If he seriously think that that's the better world than he is in, I would suggest him to go to the COBOL shop. These days, with much less COBOL programmers around, I am sure he can command a high salary. Either that or grasp the reality of being here and now and deal with it.

Same with surfers. If you seriously wish that you had been in Hawaii, then yeah, go there, get a job. If that's the ticket for my ultimate happiness, I would go to Hawaii or Bali or whatever, and get a Hotel IT job.

For me though, the ultimate happiness, that I also need to remind myself, is to work within the limitation and see how far I can take the maximum advantage out of this limitation.

So we get a lot of close outs here. Why not learn how to ride them?

So if it is hard to get out, why not learn how to get out. There are plenty of others whom we can aspire to who'd been outside and catch 2 waves before we can get outside, right?

How about dealing with crowds. I've certainly tried to observe what happens in crowded situations and how to catch more waves than the surfers on your left and right. I now can do better at that than before. In fact, it is sort of gratifying "stealing" lots of waves from those who are still at early stage of learning curve; that I know they are not going to catch waves. It sounds a bit mean, but on the other hands, if they try, I am certain that they will progress to the point that they would be catching a lot more waves, probably in shorter time that it took me to get there.

And surf boards. I happen to have 8 different surf boards. I like each of the boards not because I started to hate one boar and gotten the next. I really enjoy the "taste" of each board. Like guitars and motorcycles, they just "play" differently. But I feel that there are so much of "The board does not give me the ride I want." attitude around.

I am hoping that each and every one of you will catch yourself saying "I hate this.", "It is better with some thing or somewhere else." Instead, try to accept what you got, what your situation is, then make the best out of it, innovate and also point out to me any time in the future I am starting to fall in that trap.

People have created a master price novel without just a typewriter, and some have created a fine art with just charcoal on paper.

Let's get on to it!

Surf Report

Surfing could have been more fun this morning at a local hollow spot. I wish that the tide was a bit low and I wish I had a more floaty board, and I am going to regret the rest of my life that I wish I had a job that I could go out a bit later when the tide was higher, and that I had a carbon fibre hollow quad fish so that I could have caught more waves....

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sesssion 7122, How Local Female and Male Surfers Do Sessions

This morning I have finally figured out the long unsolved mystery.

The mystery is about local women surfers. When it comes to seeing them, it is often feast or famine. There are lots of them in a line up or none of them.

I did figure this out though.

I was the first to arrive at the beach, suiting up and this local female surfer showed up. We then went in . But after that one by one over the course of the session more and more local women surfers showed up and that ended up to be about 6. That's usually a lot in local standards.

I now know that women surfers have a strong network. They call each other and they also call others. They are organized and mobilized so when they come to surf, they are going to be all there.

They are having a lot of fun talking on the water, in and out of the beach. It just brighten up this local beach, which is usually barren, drab, foggy and often intimidating with big close out waves. (This morning was sunny.)

In a nutshell, our local female surfers are like me dropping a piece of chocloate on the ground. Before you know there are lots of them.

Then I thought about local male surfers.

Male surfers have networks too, but it tends to be smaller. It is more like a small pack of wolves or something. In some ways, these packs move from one place to another in hunt of waves, and if we run into other packs in the process, we'd make sure that we allow enough room so that we don't be on the same territory. Male surfers tend to be more friendly out of the water, but once in the water it can get tense and territorial to some extent.

Surf Progress Report

It was mostly closed out this morning with occasional ridable shoulder, very very typical of our local beach break situation.

Lately my area of focus are the following;
  • Work on finding out the ridable spot(s), lining up properly, and if necessary paddle there as the set comes in. This is a very important competition skill set. It requires keen eyes, sense, and observing the previous break pattern during the session.
  • Continue to work on take-offs. I am continuing to get incremental improvement in this area into more steeper, faster, and into hollower situations. This requires a lot of commitment, overcoming the fears, and a lot more paddling spurt power.
  • Speed = Longer Ride at All Conditions! More aggressive board interactions for speed; applying more body weight effectively through turns, and working on improved line selection and composition for more consistent power.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Session 7121 - Surfing Lifesyle

More often than not, the idea of quitting all these web related stuff, just forget about the people, the friends, and everything, and just go surf whenever I feel like it, and not even write about it. Definitely it is an easy way out. I sometimes feel like this is not what I signed up for.

It has been more of a hard paddle out than getting fun rides, it really mirrors my current state of surfing too.

But there always are other compelling reasons not to stop.

In a nutshell, it is really not about the ocean but all of the friends that I came to know each other, who have helped build the surfing life style for me.

You might wonder even then why would that be important?

May be I can be very selfish to say this, but I am sort of relived that I am not all alone in this endevour of the sport. Whatever the reasons, people have identified themselves with what we do here. Surely this is not SurfPulse or Surfline. But somehow, I am a bit gratified to know that we have started a group on this corner of the universe and we are all tied each other with the sport of surfing in its core.

You are everywhere.

A few yeas back I came down with Shingles after coming back from Japan after seeing my dying father. I had not been that ill for many years. Finally almost I got through it, I went surfing, and someone stopped me to tell me that he has been folloing my blog and told me how I was doing OK.

Yesterday at the Jetty...

You know Hwy 1 just run by the ocean (in fact it is only but a few spot where Hwy 1 is right against the surf spot. The next spot is 360 miles south at Rincon!

There were about 4 cars that came by hoking at me - ex co-workers, local surfers, surf shop owner...

So I will continue to go with the "flow" of things. You all help us continue to build this. As we are all familiar we are dealing with a fluid world in and out of the ocean. Evey moment changes and different. I like that notion.

This morning, I was a lone surfer. I am still really puzzled as to where people go. There were some fun good waves out where I was. The egg worked really nice.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Session 7119-7120: Donald Takayama Egg 7.2 (Surftech) Model Riding Impressions

But... Why The Egg?

We had a rather severe flat spell this summer. In the past few years, as I recall, there usually would be local NW wind swells or occasional south to fill in the Jetty in the summer. The Jetty was really awfully flat for several months stright, not to mention other spots. I really feel bad for the El Granada groms who would normally hang around there during the summer break.

There were many days that I felt I wish I had a long board stashed in my car, but as we all know keeping a long board in a car is usually difficult as it could occupy the whole passenger side. It is also risky being strapped outside all day, especially if you are like myself, I surf, go to work and need to park the car while I work. So I was thinking about getting a "bigger" short board for some time.

A several weeks ago, on a smaller day, we went out at our infamous "hollower spot" with me on the Stretch 6'5 and my buddy with his Haut 7'6 "Egg" board. He insisted that I borrow it. I reluctantly did and the moment I switched I started to catch a lot more waves. A few weeks later another buddy of mine brought a 7'6 Takayama Egg, and again I had a real blast riding that thing at the same spot. These two incidents re-kindled my interest in seriously acquiring a "fun" board for those small days I could use a long board, but not quite willing to take up the entire half of my car.

Between the two Eggs, I liked the Takayama Egg, because it came in SurfTech and so it was readily available from a stock and it is durable that it will withstand "the board stays in my car all year mode." The new Surftech models also feature closed cell EPS water proof core that's really an advancement over old foams, including their own. Now I can ding the board and continue to surf. This would be great for my next Mexico or CR trip when there usually will get a transit ding or two.

As I walked into HMB Board Shop, Dalyn already had a 7'2 model waiting for me. Because I personally like single fins on long boards, I have equipped it with a relatively big (I think it is 7 inch) center fin. It is a thruster configuration board with a long board center fin box.

How Does It Ride? For Me, That Is

Disclaimer: I am not an expert surfer. Surf board choices are not much different from food preferences you will feel it quite differently. Don't believe any words I say.

Next day we took the board to Pescadero when it was going at hip high. My buddy brought his 10'0 Robert August Wingnut model. But I think I was able to surf the same waves with much more agility. When I switched the board, I felt like I was driving the "father's Olds", everything went slower and smoother. It is not bad, there definitely is quite a bit of fun on that mode too.

Also on this past Monday on a rather messy day, I out-surfed two of my long board buddys from the same outside lineup, and guess what, both of them happened to be using my boards, one buddy on DT4 and another on Walden Magic!

The Egg board is definitely much easier to catch waves than any of my short boards, still, even on late starts, I think that it is attributed to a more "pinny" tail design; it can respond to more demanding take off situations. Because I am still a relatively weak surfer, I tend to do late starts and let the wave push me than going from the outside at full throttle.

As I mentioned, I do also own Takayama DT4 and it really feels like the mini-version of the same board. I always felt that DT4 is like a long board that can be ridden like a short board, and on this Egg, it seems to keep the feel of the long board, but without much sacrifice in agility. On small waves, I would say that you can get more speed out of it without pumping down the board, and even if you cross step or nose ride it, it won't look or feel out of place. The rails are thinner and you can make some very crisp turns, but when you are on the surface of the wave, it goes on a nice solid trim like any good long boards or a fish would. I can see that a surfer can subscribe to Takayama style's boards and grow their surfing skills around his design philosophy.

Another big plus for me is that I can duck dive this board, quite easily, I might add.

Egg Might Be Good For You and Your Health

If I am only allowed to have one board, this is the board I will have. I have been through several "fun" boards, but this is the best I have been on so far. I think I can highly recommend it to anyone who is either transitioning from long boards or want to keep something a bit shorter but without losing the long board feel, and take it on a long surf trip.

Like most high performance boards, I still would not recommend this as your first board. It is a short-board after all, and if you cannot ride a long board skilfully, I would still suggest you do that first.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Session 7117-7118: Complexity Of Setting Up A Session With Other Surfers

Complexity Of Setting Up A Session With Other Surfers

Before I set out to write this session log, I am not complaining, but I am describing the situations that I have observed over the past few years.

Through my surfing I have had various challenges setting up sessions with buddies. I now came to see some basic pattern in surf buddies, myself included, and the combo of those factors make it really difficult for all of us to be surfing at the same spot at the same time.

Everyone has a little element of those characteristics, like a virtual mixing board where the knobs and sliders are adjusted all differently.

Time Bound Buddies

This happens a lot with people with children. It appears that the children controls their surf plan. Can't blame you, but nevertheless, we both need to plan carefully around plans.

From time to time, even people without children fall into this category as their "better half" appears to be the controlling factor in schedule.

I too am time constrained to the extent that the session must be early in the morning before I can sneak in to the office or the morning meeting.

The challenge with surfing with them is that we can never meet up at the right time and right place. You know how timing is very important in surfing.

Location Bound Buddies

OK... I used to belong to this class of surfers.

I see a lot of this, a lot of people only want to surf Linda Mar and basically only there even if we tell them that other spots are firing at better quality. They also tend to paddle out exactly right in the smack of where most people are and take off in all at the same time. And if they do their idea of surfing other location is Cowells or Inside 38th and do exactly the same... paddle to the most crowded spot and take off when others are taking off. They tend not to surf nowhere in between.

The challenge surfing with them is that I often have to surf their breaks with crowds, and I often do not want to.

Quality Control Freak Buddies

There are some people I know who would only go out when the condition is in a specific way or must pick the best out of the worst. They tend to choose bigger and hollower condition that hold the shape. They tend to be almost totally opposite of the location bound surfers; they are everywhere on the coast. We all know their cars, and we tend to go where we find their cars are parked, or we also know that we've missed good waves when they are going past the other direction on the highway.

Also these are the people whom I ran into them at parking lot a lot, but not much in the water. They are just checking and usually on the way to another spot that they know could be better. Once they leave the lot, us "regulars" on the coast will always talk about, if, how, when, and what they do to fund their surfing, let alone other things in life. Nevertheless, they are here year after year, and they are just way above and beyond technically from most of us.

Challenge setting up a session with them is that we can't.

Quality Insecure Buddies

I will never become this type.

Getting in the water "anyway" is very important to me.

I have seen a few people in this category, and I have hardly ever seen them surf. They only go out locally if the condition is super great, which of course we all know that does not happen very often.

Challenge setting up a session with them is that they won't go out even if they come. That makes me feel really bad about dragging them out to "my" break.

Skill Bound Buddies

This is, actually where I falls under presently.

This is a variation of Quality Bound buddies. We tend to choose waves that we can only handle, but we are more or less more at the mercy of the nature. We tend to like small, mushy, safe conditions without wind and . As a result this tends to limit the locations where we can surf, and can't hang around with large crowd because either we get in the way or they get in our way.

Challenge setting up a session with them is that we vary in skill set and preferences that we can never agree where to pick, by the time we did all the surf checks and discussed about it the session is over. You know we are all in the sensitive generation, never rock the boat, and never hurt other peoples' feelings...

Geek Buddies

I too am VERY guilty of being in this category of surfers.

These days especially in affluent area like NorCAL or OC, you find them everywhere. There are some surfers that own very expensive latest brand new pro gear, from head to toe, surf boards for all occasions, hot fins, nose guards, tail guards, wax removing system or any other accessories that can be found at surf shops and online, wear just about everything that can be worn, for helmet, hood, hot skins underneath, speedo, webbed gloves to the latest model booties....

But their surfing is not just up to par. The surfer next to him/her with a 5 year old dinged up board out-paddles, knocks their socks off... catching 10 times more waves. Because of that and all new shiny equipment, they stick out like a sore thumb in any lineup.

Advice to myself. The water is warm in the summer even in NorCAL, take my hood and gloves off, get refreshed with a bit chilly but wake-up water, and use solid equipment without much gimmicks like funny (t/r)ails and funny fin configs. Approach the realm of a surfing Yoda. People used to rip on their redwood planks!

There is no challenge setting up a session with them to the extent they go anywhere, any place and any time, even the condition is better elsewhere. They see the ocean, they suit up (fully of course) and go in and don't catch any wave.

I am starting to get it though, so this season, I have shed my helmet, gloves, hood and if I am in So Cal, wet suits and booties are out too. Now I can really blend in.