Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sessions 7152-7153 The Confidence

Lately I have been thinking of the whole thing about the confidence. Of course, it is one of the things that I think quite a bit, but this is to say that I am thinking a bit more about it each time I get out in the ocean.

Over the years I came to realize that there are basically the following categories of confidence that I mainly have been dealing with.
  • The confidence that I know I can deal with the condition when I paddle out, and basically "no matter what" is the situation, I know I can safely make it back at the end of the session, or shall I say, I know I can end the session at my will.
  • The confidence that I know I will safely deal with the break when it is coming at me; either not to take it, take it, or what to do after I have taken it even if I did not ride it. For this one , the improvement in the confidence also comes with the improvement in the power of the break that I can or I am willing to take.
The history of my surfing has always been in building up this confidence. Actually not; in very early days, I was ignorant enough that nothing really mattered, I went for bigger waves, poor conditions etc., and suffered the consequence. But now it is a bit different, I've acquired quite a bit of fear about the ocean, the wave, and even the danger of surfing in a crowd. Then it started become how to deal with these stuff correctly at all times.

Today, I know much better about when I can be totally confident, and conversely when I should be a bit more cautious, and more importantly when my fear is starting to take over and that I need to boost my confidence; for example when a steeper break is coming up. Even though it could be a bit fearful, I make myself listen to relax, I can handle this, I've done this before...

Doing this kind of stuff over and over has also been helpful for my everyday life decision making process.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Session 7151: I Have An Illegal Watch Now!

We all know that there are fake Rolex and such that are highly illegal in the US. If the customs official determines that your watch on the wrist is a fake, then they can confiscate it. They can because it is a violation of the law.

This morning, I was enjoying a morning session, looking at watch and saying "hey, I must have gotten here early. I got one more hour of surf."

Well, as it turns out I ended up showing at work hour late. Because my watch decided to adjust itself this weekend. And it is because the law is now different as for when the DST changes back to the standard time starting this year.

Up to now, I did not realize that this was done automatically in my watch, but according to other web sites, many tide watches sold to the surfing market do adjust according to its programming.

So strictly speaking I now own a watch that violates the current law of the US!

You might be careful though too because your surfing merchants may hand you the obsolete watches which is not programmed according to the new law. I would imagine there are thousands of these obsolete watches out there.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sessions 7149-50: Trust Your Equipment

I still distinctly remember one thing about learning to drive a car. It was learn how to turn the car. That was to put down the gas as you get out of a turn and let the steering wheel go. I remember this because it was actually a bit hard for me to do. It was hard because I did not want to let go of the steering wheel, especially when making a directional change and then you also need to punch the gas a bit.

But after a few tries, it just worked as exactly the driving instructor said it would. One distinct thing about this is that I had to trust the machine to do its thing, thereby actually being in control of the machine.

Similar stuff goes with with any other stuff, but when it comes to surfing, sometimes I do not trust the surf board enough and that can be the cause of why I do not progress as much. Quite a bit of it is a control issue and the fear that goes with it.

But one would not realize once you have established a relationship with a surf board, and trust it that it will do its thing, even when the wave is jacking up and going hollow, or when you feel like you are going to drop straight down into the bowl of the water in front of you, a moment of letting your own issues and trust the surf board, and perhaps the whole situation of the moment, a magic would occur and you'd realize it is indeed good to put some trust in the whole situation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Session 7148 Girl Section!

So, I have this super-surfer woman, and on the other day, she was talking about surfing with other girls at "girl section."

I was thinking about it, whether there really is such a thing, and come to think about it there really are such sections, and the reason I did not really realize this until now is because that's usually where I hang around.

This does not mean that girls only surf at the "girl" section. I also surf at all over the places and there are women surfers all over the breaks.

What I admire about the "girl" section is that are that they;
  • Selected nicer and cleaner breaks when "men" surfers goes to places that are impossible to catch waves; they are just bigger and that's it. From this respect women surfers actually know more about the "good" waves than some "stupid men" surfers who only see "bigger the better."
  • Tend to be friendly and share the waves.
  • Are actually really technically super surfers found in these breaks, it is really a joy to see them catch waves with really great effortless forms.
As I have been writing many times over, women surfers tend to progress significantly better than men because they really tend to approach the sport more organically, going with the flow, than men who try to work it out more defeat it mechanically when I think that waves tend to be better handled organically a lot of times.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sessions 7145-7

I almost always carry two surf boards. These days, I carry the Takayama Egg, that's 7'2 in length. Then depending on my mood and my guess to what's out there I would pick a 5'6, 6'4 or 6'5 quad fin board. Lately I am carrying the 6'5 quad board. To be honest I think the 5'6 is a bit challenging for me, but it is something I should take out often to see if I am ready to use that one more regularly.

When I get to the beach, I would first scope out the beach for the location, the size and the directions of the break, as well as where the water has ripped open for a nice, or could be a dangerous, channel out, then I pick one of the two boards.

It is a hard decision though. I always feel like I would regret not taking the other board, if I did not. But I tend to take the longer Egg most of the times, because I know it would be easier to catch waves.

Short boarding is really really hard. It just take so much more energy to be successful, and I must admit when I am in a lineup with a bunch of surfers, there always are a few surfers that just got so much more energy to out paddle into the waves; sometimes, I am very amazed how they could get into the waves even on shorter potato chip boards. I must remind you that I have taken a longer board, and I am still “behind” some surfers on these regards. So

So to compensate for the lack of my arm muscles, I tend to look for a sweeter spot where the wave is just about to break and get me a bit of push. This works well when it happens, but that also require a constant adjustment, and here again, some surfers would show up from “nowhere”, and be there on the spot before I can get to it. It is again, one of the amazing stuff some people can pull off.

Not only that before I try to get to the next bump those who took my first wave away is already back at it!

Coming back to my car, I was glad I did not take the shorter board, but I always would wish that I could surf as well as some of these best surfers with the shorter board.

I am not so frustrated by all of that, but it just continues to tell me that I still have a long way to go. What has changed to me lately is though, I know I am getting much closer there this year.

Session 7145: I went back to the JT, a day after the Stoke 10 session in SC. Total mess and junk. It was so difficult to negotiate any shoulders.

Session 7146: DP in Pacifica was on fun side but still a bit of close-outs.

Session 7147: DP in Pacifica again with ME. Fun to share A-frame with you. You go right and I go left! Nice and clean with shoulder level A poppers + nice and balmy Indian summer morning.

Only 147 sessions so far this year, it looks like I would not make 200 sessions this year!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Session 7144 SC Board Meeting + Use Front Of The Board

Today, I met my long time friends from Santa Cruz as well as a new face. As for my long time friends, I've known them almost from when I started the web site. I've met all of them online! But looking back then and now, we really came a long long way. Everyone has gotten so much better, and we are challenging some of the best waves in Pleasure Point breaks.

As far as the online niche I have created, and now with a lot of people joined and helping keep the fire (want to use the word, "flame" here but that's sort of sounds inappropriate for the online community) of stoke burned continuously. Asides from the fact that we all surfed, we prior to this, we have not met or known each other, but today we are united as great surf buddies.

Well, back to surfing, it was surprisingly on a "small" side this morning, and when occasional "big set" came in, we all went for them and some waves were really fun.

After lunch, and stopping by at Patagonia store, and a few others, we went back out to Capitola. When we arrived, the swell size has gotten even bigger and it was breaking all over the place, in addition, the shorebreak has gotten really huge too.

I opted for paddling out much further south, and that was cool. There was even some outgoing current and so that helped quite a bit. With the waves a bit smaller, but still well above overhead on major sets, I caught a lot of waves there and with the condition a bit challenging, the crowed was not a factor any more. There was a lot of power to the wave, and I was able to gain substantial speed in my rides that allowed me to connect sections, and thus very very long rides. Some of the rides had so much speed that I could completely out-run the wave and do a really clean final pull-out and paddle back.

So all in all, it was Stoke 10 day!

Get More Water Contact, Use The Front of the Board!

I was watching a lot of good surfers today, and especially the long boarders too. One thing that I have been noticing is that a lot of people who are "almost good" do not take advantage of the front part of the board, and it is almost frustrating to see them stalling on otherwise great waves,. When and if I was there, I would step forward on the deck, get the board to contact the water more, and I know that the board will gain much glide and speed.

It is understandable that during the take off, you'd want to sit in the back, even when making the first turn, you'd want to sit further behind, but you may want to try stepping forward! You will be amazed!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Session 7143 Still Need To Work on The Break Selection

Back to the Jetty this morning, and off to work. It was significantly smaller than yesterday, and probably because of that there was not really anybody out in the section I was surfing on. Probably there were other breaks that worked better. For me, as usual, the time is a big factor in where I am willing to go.

Well, to make this blog post short, I did not catch much in the way of satisfying ride, but after I got out there were 3-4 more waves that looked like catchable. That basically means to me that I should still learn to position myself better while I am in the water.

That brings to the fact that some people I know have a much better knack at this than I am, and it is often the case that if I get out with them, I end up catching more waves (than they do.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Session 7142 - First "Big" Day of The Season

The first "big" day of the season started today and looks like it will hang around with us for the next few days. This morning, it was a bit questionable whether I could surf locally. On a day like this the option can be limited since I do have to show up at work at a reasonable time, and I have a problem with my software at work that I could not figure out for the past few days, and I have been praying that this will be solved soon.

When I got to the Jetty, the waves looked a bit surfable, surprisingly on a "handleable" size; not even overhead. There was one guy out and another local person I know was also checking the surf. I told him, let's go!

So I did go in. Thanks to the calm wind, even though the waves were powerful, I was able to get out with only a duck through.

Well, everyone seemed to have had a lot of problem taking off, and the waves were just plain closing out quickly. I paddled around to see if I can find more defined peak, but just about every one of the swell line that came in ended up not breaking. As I try to take off, more water built up in front, go up then just crushed into a mess.

I was determined to catch one though, so I kept trying. You can underestimate the power of waves especially when it is a longer period one. I messed up one which was a huge close out. I had no option but just bail. I pushed my board as far aside as possible as I was starting to have this feeling of jacked up, then pounded under. And that's exactly how it happened. In addition to that I was treated to underwater tumble of spins... 1, 2, 3... it kept going. The best way for me to do now is to just hold my breath, completely relax all my limbs and wait until it stops... 4... 5... 6... now I am starting to worry... 7... 8. Finally the spinning stopped and the surrounding got a while lot brighter. I popped my head above the water and "Poooof!" exhaled some of the water I took in. And took a nice deep breath of fresh air.

This is a rude reminder that we are land animals, designed to breathe air.

I did not give up though. I paddled back out for some more. Possibly another tumbler. But the time was running out, I started to paddle back in, just then there was a small break that happened, and took that as the last and the only one ride of the session.


When I got to work, I checked the build configurations, there was some errors, and the program ran without an error. That made me feel much better.

Oh, I also have decided to put my helmet back on when it can be dangerous for my taste.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Session 7141 - How Heavy is the Water?

I often go and stock some mineral waters and beverages in the office.

Have you experienced how heavy is a 24-bottle pack of water? It is really heavy. If you stuck three of these packs it would be a bit of work to carry them up stairs. And what is the amount of water are you talking about with respect to surf. The amount of the water that I carried is just a tiny fraction of the water even in a very small wave condition.

But come to think of this, us surfers are dealing with a huge amount of water, and just experiencing how heavy a pack of drinking water makes me really appreciate the power of the waves and what kind of power we are dealing with.

And it is almost unfathomable that this kind of wave activity is going around the world non-stop every day, and has been for millions of years.

Where all that energy come from? It comes from the Sun and it is just a very tiny fraction of the energy the Sun puts out.


This morning, I exprienced a bit different surfing.

After a while I was in the lineup, the rain started to pour. Each of the rain drop formed little pearl-like bead on the surface of the water.

Then the sky has projected a nice full rainbow over the Pacific.

Under the rainbow were a couple of dolphins going in and out of the water.

I am so blessed being a surfer!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Session 7140

I had a really excellent session today. It was a rippling day. A local friend at the lineup told me that I should have been there yesterday too. I was too afraid of getting mixed up in the Pumpkin traffic. As a matter of fact, I was watching the traffic grid lock on the 1 highway yesterday from the lineup at the Jetty.

Today was an excellent day. The waves were not closing out like usual, but still fast action, long rides and a lot of up and down action on the face of the wave.

Which brings to the talk about the stoke in all of us.

Why do we come back to this sport so much and so often?

I thought about that more after the session. The reasons that brings me back to the ocean as many days as it has been are many.

It really has a lot to do with perfection that we all strive for, or let me put it another way, it is the road to the perfection that we strive for. We all know that there will not be the perfect condition, because the moment we experience it, there will be the next level of perfection that we need to attain. Right?

It is always so common experience with all of us that as we get out of the water and while we change, we continue to look at the ocean to see if we did not miss out of anything. Invariably, there is one or two more breaks we could have caught that could have been better than all the waves we were in and look forward to the next time we can get back in the water.

And after all, surfing does make us feel really good.

To me it is like perfection the skill and the art. The skills are something we need to build, and the art part come upon it. It is the creativity of the rides themselves that I want to really perfect.

Therefore I do not call this as an addition, but it is passion in all of us that bring back to the water.

Session 7139 Smashing Into The Rocks - The Danger of Surfing at The Jetty

People surf at all seemingly dangerous situations, like in So Cal, people go under the piers and here in HMB Jetty people take off and surf extremely close to these rocks (I've heard they are called riff-raffs.)

I live within a "walking" distance from the HMB Jetty and as a result I surf there often, though this summer, there a stretch of months where there was not real good surf there.

But when it is happening, it is a fun place to surf and also watch people surf. I firmly believe that the traffic slow down there especially on weekends is drivers watching people surf.

Ever since I saw people surf there, I always amazed how close to the rocks people take off and surf and they never seems to collide with the rocks.

But, amazingly, not very many people get hurt, let alone smashing directly into the rocks, and that kinds of adds the element of "danger" into what we all do.

In addition to colliding to exposed rocks. There are also cluster of submerged rocks there. The picture here shows where they are. You should be careful when the tide is lower. I know some people who have twisted their ankle and lost fins. If you surf there, be careful.

As for myself, I am one of those people you may have seen surfing dangerously armed with a surfboard!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Session 7137 ~ 7138 Towards More Hollower Waves

In my past WavLOGs, I have written about some of the changes that are starting to happen with my surfing. Please bare in mind that my progresses are very very slow and often inconsistent so by reading this, do not think that I am surfing significantly better than most of you. All of my stuff is being described relative to my own progress.

Having said that though, some of the significant ride quality changes stem from the fact that I am going for more difficult types of waves than before; namely the hollower waves, and by this what I try to mean is the one looks like the Surfirder logo from the side, that forms a bit of tube in the end before the wave completely crush.

There are two things that I am starting to understand better to take advantage of these types of waves.

One is lining up. I am much more careful in choosing where I am going to be and then sit tight and wait for the wave I want to happen, or correct positions. Either ways, I am string to make my position more accurate than before. Another thing about this is to position carefully to where the ridable shoulder would form. It is especially useful on beach breaks around here where a few feet in positioning can make it or break it.

Second is the selection of the wave. I am starting to become more keen on when the wave will totally close out or would form a ridable shoulder.

Third element is the paddling power. Then forcing myself getting myself in the direction of the break early and higher in the wave.

Finally, doing the take-off with much less fear, and more confidence.

When all these elements come together, the type of the ride is dramatically different from what I have been doing. Rides are much faster, and also the power and force of the wave against my knees are significantly more, and by making turns appropriately, the power can be maintained or even more power can be drawn from the wave.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Session 7136

The part that took this long to get to is to more consistently and quickly be up on the board. But, finally after close to 4 years of trial and error, things are coming together as one.

I am starting to enjoy the sport at a different level than before, that is to mean I actually enjoy the ride and not struggling so much with anything that happens before that point. Things are starting to work more consistently and cohesively, and as a result I feel like I can more confidently focus on the "job at hand."

I was, for a long time, wondering if this would ever happen.

But I think it is starting to.