Monday, December 31, 2007

Session 7176

Final Day
Surfed 176 Days in 2007

The final surf day this year was back at the my home break of Half Moon Bay Jetty, and the condition was poor. Just myself and another woman surfer for about an hour. I must say though 07 was a good surf year for me and made a lot of advances and also some stupid stuff like going home when I was qualified for the next heat in a surf competition.

Thank you for taking a surf journey with me for 2007.

The journey continues in 2008. And that's less than 24 hours from now! May your surfing life filled with a full of Stoke.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jetty this morning


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Session 7175

Day 175 (of 2007)

With the swell going at 10 ft with 16 seconds+, the local home breaks are starting to fire and beyond the Pillar Point, there are some big white top of the breaks that we could see from the lineups. It is amazing that just a few mile down is the world famous big wave spot and then us, the "regular surfers" can still take advantage of the long-period Alaskan juice.

I pulled up to the "dirt lot" across from the Jetty break. The clear sky and cold weather over night has frozen part of the ground solid and other parts starting to thaw back into mud. Even with a pair of booties on the sole of my feet starting to sting with the cold penetrating from the ground as I waited for my buddy to show up. It is definitely in the hight of the winter surfing time.

I gradually walked into the water and started to paddle out when I was shoulder deep. Even I was wrapped in a 3-mm hood, gloves and booties, the first duck dive beats any cup of coffee as far as "waking up" department is concerned. The most waking up moment comes when the water seeps through the neck into the back of the suit just as I tuck the tail end of the board into the water and the I am already deep under the wave.

When the period is taking longer than 14, 15, 16 seconds, things do get more powerful and breaks occur further out. At one of the take-offs, I messed it up, and gosh, the amount of time I was dragged on the leash almost seemed forever. The board kept tagging my right ankle for a good amount of time. This would not normally happen on smaller summer waves. Paddling out to the lineup took me a bit more effort too with the distance I had to cover and also a few waves that I had to go over or under. This is where a long boarder and stronger surfers have a better advantage.

Some bigger sets closed out a big time, I know enough now not to take off on most of them, but somewhere in between were some really fun rides where I could paddle in as the wave jacked up just in time for a take-off. When that works, and when I can just drop right into the pocket of a wave, there is nothing that's more pleasing.

With the tide being a bit too high, the size of the bouncy back-wash waves were just equally big. I caught a nice wave, kept a good line, but the ride ended up in a huge smashing bang as the incoming and bounced waves collided and I got knocked out and stumbled forward a big time. I did not see that coming, honestly. I should be more careful about that. That's when I decided to get out of the water and ran for a hot cup of double cappuccino.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Session 7174: Christmas Day

Day 7174
Christmas at The Jetty

There are a few days out of the year when it is a holiday but not many people go out and surf. Super bowl Sunday is one of them (especially to avoid agro male surfers), Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving Day and a day after that and Christmas Eve and Christmas Days are usually less crowded and the lineup tends to be less aggressive. Last Christmas time, the condition and the weather was getting bad and for two weeks after that there was no surfable waves, but this Christmas we were presented with a fairly fun waves right in Half Moon Bay.

As usual, the picture cannot justify the types of the waves we had today (they almost always look slow and smaller), but with WNW hitting us up to 14 ft and 14 seconds type range, our local break was alive again, and without much winds, the paddle out was relatively smooth if you do nail a few duck-dives through the sets, which was also fairly well spaced out. Wish that I could get out on a bit lower tide as the Jetty was filled with water with a high tide and the water was bouncing back out a bit hard.

Thinking that I ought to attack the wave from the outside earlier, I first took out the 7'4 Egg but I had a hard time negotiating for the surface of the wave, so I got back and swapped with the 6'5 F4 and the rest of the session was much more fun. Also with a shorter and lighter board it was easier getting out. These days, the length of the board is no longer the main factor in my ability to paddle out, which is really great.

This, still is not the Trestles and so there are many more close out waves and such but among the sets there were some fun and over-head size waves that popped up. Some drop downs were fun a bit challenging but after making them, it was fun and was able to continue on to the doubled up sections for some time.

Jty this morning

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Session 7173 Back at Home Break

Day 173
Back at Home Break

I was back on Friday so yesterday, I could have gone out. In fact, I should have as my friend "E" told me that yesterday at this home break below was just great. But after a week of SoCAL surfing, I was a bit hesitant to go into cold water. Today also there was a small high school meet there so I got to surf with a bunch of local surf kids as well as some of their parents.

I watched and shot several pictures (below) and as you can see the condition was really fun and the high school kids were having a lot of fun competing.

As for my own surfing, I had a few nice deep drop and of course the speed here is something that there is a plenty of here in these breaks. The Takayama Egg 7'2 has performed well when the size goes up a bit as some of the breaks were clearly above my 5'5 stature and gaining a speed with this board is quite a bit of fun and thrill too.

The buoy water temp was reading 51 degrees F today, but with a 3 mm hood, 1.5 mm gloves and Mysterioso rush guard, I was completely warm and comfortable throughout the session with a 4/3 mm suit.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Session 7172

Day 172

What is this picture of Carl's Jr. doing on a surfing web site? Well, because if you know anything about California surf scene then this ought to be a familiar sight to you, and if you don't then you should somehow find out where this is.

As for the surf today, things has gotten significantly smaller and sets have gotten less frequent but the wave did hold and I had a lot of fun. Today I took out the F4, and I had a lot of fun with it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Session 7171

Day 171
Other Side of the Track

Another Day in Paradise...

As I promised on my last WavLOG, this morning, I did drive south, walked half a mile and go under the wooden railroad trestle, and surfed good two hours.

Probably the condition was nothing to write home about by the people who frequent here, but the it was sunny, no winds, and "A"s were popping here and there with up to my shoulder level.

I took out my Takayama Egg 7'2 today (though F4 would have worked just as well), and caught many waves, almost all of which were the kind that you can see the wave walling up next to you, and take off was not too hard either. What really great, especially compared to yesterday, was the quality of the break. Waves just broke more ideally. The swells came in slowly and clearly and also grew slowly and very consistently at nearly the same spot. All I had to do was to go there and just wait for the wave to come, and everything came and shaped as predicted at the pace I could handle. This is usually not the case with, say, surfing at Montara where everything happens so much faster and stronger and ends fast too, so there I would be much more in haste and also exhausting to ride.

On Sunday, Luke asked me whether I feel any differences between the F4 board and others, and I was thinking about it since then, so I will try to answer this in the way that I am experiencing it.

One thing that is going with this board is the F4 board is one of more stable short boards I have. Ever since I got it, I have been noticing that this board was noticeably easy to get up than other short boards. This is likely that the I am more used to this board.

Once up on the wave, the speed feel is good and I can challenge myself with turning more aggressively. I am definitely under-skilled for the board's potential, but anything I tried so far, the board responded as I would expect, and the response was very positive and quick. One of the boards I owned before caused the tail to become very unstable under some speed, drifting left and right. This board has never done that. The board also rarely slip out of my feet when I get up on it.

Comparing the F4 to the Egg that I used today, I am presently surfing the Egg with a single-fin configuration with a big center fin only (as Luke puts it "A Soul Surfing Board") This board is a breeze to take-off with and speed is good. Even it is 7'2 I can and have to walk towards the nose when needed and overall it really rides like a long board; really smooth rides and really likes to be turned on a large radius on bigger waves. But it definitely is harder to turn compared to the F4. For example, let's say that I just did a bottom turn and now I am going up on the wave and when the wave unexpectedly decides to close. If I was on the F4, turning on the top against the wave and cutting back is a bit easier task. I think this is largely the skill issue with myself as I have seen many long boarders can do some amazingly fast turns.

Please share your experiences with different boards!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Session 7170 Huntington South Pier Visit

Day 170
Huntington South Pier

"The Surf City USA" that is the legally registered trademark of Huntington Beach, and as most of us know that there has been a bit of battle going on between Santa Cruz and Huntington over this title.

Until today this is the spot I drove past by on the way to other spots further south, but as a California surfer, I should give this place a try. Of course, one session will not justify a review of the spot, but with that in mind, I will write on.

Apparently one of the hottest lineups are either sides of the pier. So as a "tourist" I shot for the pier and already the north pier take-off spot getting too hot, I have opted for the breaks much further south of the pier. I would have paddled out just under the south of the pier if there was no contest going on (on Monday!?). Otherwise, I could have tried my pier shotting skills and wrote about it today ;-) Of course, I had to look cool so I took out my Stretch F4 Quad today.

By the time I have arrived there the tide was on the way out and getting lower as the session progressed and wave quality has starting to suffer. The waves were similar to what I am used to, mostly close-outs with occasional makable shoulders, so like I wrote yesterday, I did opt for the occasional inside shoulders that popped up. I must also admit that I was probably 20+ years older than anyone there in the lineup (it was Monday at 9 a.m. mind you!)

However, when the "makable" shoulder happened, it was quite ridable and I really had some fun rides that gave me a chance to go more "vertically" (relative to myself that is). So in a nutshell, I really enjoyed surfing here at Huntington.

It really reminded me of surfing at OB with very very strong side-currents going and it is relatively shallow all the way to the lineup. Paddle out was not too hard, but by the time I paddled up to the lineup I was down south at least 2 or 3 city blocks. Then I catch a right, then it would be 4 blocks down. So for me walking back, paddle out, take a ride and walk-back was the strategy I have employed.

This can be only my subjective impression, but at most So Cal breaks, even when the wave closeds out, it was not so over pounding like I would get to experience even in a summer 10 ft 8 sec days at our local beaches at home breaks.

Overall the waves were a better quality than yesterday at El Porto, but then the quality was not superior to anything I am used to at our home breaks.

Tomorrow morning, I think I am going to head back to the lower Trestles.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Session 7169 El Porto Visit

The WavLOG
DAY 169

This morning, I hooked up with Luke who has been a StokeMaster member for several years, and who has recently moved from the Bay Area to LA.

As much as I liked the long smooth wave of San Onofre, a bit faster closing out waves with occasional makable shoulders is where I really shine in surfing, especially with short boards, so when I saw the crappy condition today in front of me and not many people are catching, I was kind of happy that there will be a chance to try catching as many of these waves as possible.

How did I get to be like that... In a nutshell the darn almost consistently crappy "home breaks" in Half Moon Bay area. Of all the sessions that I put myself through, there simply are not that many days that could be called really fun. It usually involves either very small shapeless waves or paddling after paddling through white water then only to be pounded in massive close outs from the outside lineup and being adrift in strong side-currents forcing me to constantly adjust the spot.

But those situations have taught me some important lessons and if you have been a devoted reader of WavLOG, you've read this all along, but if you have just joined here is the summary.
  • Wave selection is extremely important. Usually the biggest ones in a set will close out so I don't go for them. About the third wave tend to be the best as the first and second will fill in and up the water level so it would be mellower and have some shapes.
  • Another important wave selection department is the positioning. Even if it is massively closing out, if you look long and hard enough (observe a lot before you get in) there will be a few spots away from the main impact zone that start to form a ridable and catchable shoulder.
  • Reforms are your friends. If people are not catching 100% of the set waves from the outside, and instead boards are flying all over the places, then it is time to consider sitting inside and reforms to be produced. Who cares? We are here to catch and ride waves, right?
  • If you find a shoulder, then you are half way there. Very strong "side" paddling and angular trajectory taking off seems to be another key. This won't happen though until you get really confident and strong in paddling. It took me at least 3 years and I just seems to have cracked this part of the puzzle. I am going to work on it more so join me.
  • Reposition, reposition, reposition... Keep your eyes on the incoming waves, and also the surrounding. On beach breaks you can be moving a lot to find the next best spot that is coming your way. Moving both along the beach as well as going inside and outside.
  • Don't be discouraged. It is something a lot of us are going through. Keep at it!
Tomorrow I might try the "Surf City USA" Since I've never surfed there up to now.

Let me know how you are progressing on the StokeFORUM!

Session 7168 Long Long Boarding

Day 7168
San Mateo to
Long Long Boarding

This week, I am surfing in Southern California on vacation. We can really tell surfing really is a lifestyle. As such we try to do it before work, after work, and on vacation, and even some literature suggest that surfing is only a few of the sports that do not require other types of conditioning. Even professionals train only through surfing and a bit of stretching exercise.

From Northern California, we almost always drive here, so I (can) take a large chunk of my quivers. On this trip I took Walden Magic 9'0, Takayama Egg 7'2 and my "work horse" shortboard Stretch F4 which is 6'5.

Yesterday I took out the Walden 9'0 and I went to the San Onofre's Old Man's and while waves were small overall there were some fun shoulder level waves. People are super mellow and multiple take-offs are OK here to a good extent, and when I'd catch a wave, the ride just lasts a long long time. The wait for the sets was long, but once they came it would last for 3-4 waves so just let the first one go by and there are plenty to catch.

The water was surprisingly colder than I thought; of course it was much warmer in any of the Nor Cal spots this time of the year. After getting out a lot of people were shivering though I had just a very comfortable session. I think that they probably wear 3-2 s and I am using 4-3s. People were wearing anywhere from spring suits to just a trunk!

Today I am going to meet an old Stokemaster buddy of mine in Manhattan so I think I am going to go for either ones of the shorter boards.

(I need to continue to apologize for my crappy English. I need to crank those out very very fast and before I know it I am out of time to read it over. Rather than to sit on it, I just push those out hoping that I can accomplish most of the communications of the stoke.)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Session 7167: 9 Days of No Surfing

Day 167
9 days of being out of the water!

It has been 9 days of being out of the water and that's amazingly a long time for me. I must admit though that this has been a busy time for me at work, then the condition deteriorated for a long time too, adding up to the total of 9 days.

Every time I go out after more than a couple of days of non-surfing, I start to feel like I am rusty and my muscles have already atrophied. That fear is usually cleared after catching the first wave.

The waves at the Jetty this afternoon was very small; not bigger than the hip size. I took out the trusted 7'2 Egg board and that worked out quite well though the rides were short and the waves were crumbling not giving me much chance to get a long ride.

I have been itching to get out and amount of frustration accumulates for not surfing for so long, so I was so glad I was able to get out under the clear skies and not much wind, and crisp 52 F degree water.

Have you been surfing lately?