Friday, January 18, 2008

Session 8008, 8009: Towards More Water Contact

Day 8 and 9

First the surf report. Day 8 was at Pacifica and it was really fun with the waves up to my head height. Today, Saturday, my 9th session of this year was at a location below. Sorry I won't tell you exactly where, but it should be obvious if you've been there. Also, and by the way, I stopped by at Half Moon Bay Board Shop and got the HERO 3 wrist cam so there will be more in-water reporting coming soon. Please look forward to it. On this WavLOG I am going to give you some technical update.

Technical Update

I am a bit over-due in this department, mainly because there has not been a significant technical progress that I could articulate. Surfing is really difficult because no matter how much I practice, there always are much better surfers than I. The number of people that I "aspire" to in any break is getting smaller, each season goes by. But on my very first few seasons, just about everyone was someone I'd aspire to.

I was actually thinking about the times when I took bigger and hollower waves earlier on and what used to happen. Here is what used to happen. The board would skip over the water and I am going left and right without much control.

Lately I have noticed that that type of issue is happening much less, but when this happened a few times in the past sessions, I have finally realized what has changed or improved in that department.

What has really improved is the more effective use of the board, especially the front part of the board. Before, with being scared and such, I did not commit my full body weight to the front of the board enough that I was just skimming and skipping over the waves especially when I was going faster... Being scared is a detriment to short-board surfing, but then I have injured several times, so I have been conditioned to be more conservative; that often work against surfing. I must remind myself that I need that steep drop off and I should paddle super hard and keep the nose of the board down as I commit to the take-off. Surf boards, especially the short ones are designed to handle situations like this.

With more confidence building up, I have been able to really distribute the weight more evenly on the board and also responding to changing situations faster. Actually I am no longer making conscious decisions about this, instead I am now being able to feel the waves and also read the waves better now and my body will more or less naturally distribute the weight to get the most power and stability out of the situation. With the weight fully distributed, the rails are fully engaged in the wave, the water is in good contact throughout the ride, the turning action has become more fun, full and dynamic, and gaining the speed is finally starting to happen too.

Last summer, there was a period of time when I long-boarded a lot, and also I am using the 7'2 Egg a lot since as a substitute for a long-board. Having learned how to step forward into the board has significantly helped me understand the weight distribution issue on a surfboard.

I will have to continue building upon this skill set over much wider range of conditions, but since this is starting to become natural, I am really stoked about challenging more situations that I'd avoided for a long time.

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