Thursday, June 26, 2008

Session 8082-84: You Got To Be "In" For the Upside!

Day 82-84

Perhaps you are all new to the stock markets, and if you have not been and if you ever will, you will hear from other colleagues telling you to the effect that "You have to be in it to catch the upside." I am now going to talk about the surfing, and surf condition and how well you do in them.

The key message here is that whether it is investing, your career or surfing if you are looking for the great opportunity, you have to always be in a lookout and the only way really you can do it is to be there all the time. For surfing, you do have to get out both on bad conditions and bad conditions, and even more bad condition days and then occasionally you run into a great condition day; all by yourself. You just cannot simply expect show up only on up days ignore all bad days. Even if you were able to, I think that the gain is probably modest.

I believe that this really goes for anything you are passionate about. You got to live through bad days and then you get to see and live the glorious days, of which, I also warn you that are very far and few in between.

So don't be so F greedy. Show up at the beach as many days as you can. Paddle out with me on poor days, fair days, and occasionally good days, and share every moment of it with me!

I will see you out there!

Day 83 (Friday): The wind has eased even more this morning and also the choppy waves. The overall swell size also has decreased a bit, making it smooth paddle out and nice rides especially for long boarders. I should have brought my Egg board! But I only loaded short boards as I had to put carry other loads a few days prior.

Day 84 (Saturday): The swell sizes were dwindling but the morning winds were small, and I enjoyed surfing at the "M" spot both with my Walden magic and also my Ugly Stik in the inside. It is always nice to have a long session where you can switch a board in the mid session and try them out!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Session 8079-81: Morning Surf Report + Surfwise

Day 79-82

The state parks do not open until 8 am, so this morning I had a bit of relaxed start and checked out the water from the Jetty down further south. I will let you decide which one I surfed at this morning. But I must say that the level of the people at this spot is usually pretty high and I was definitely at a lower end of the totem pole. Many people were older than me, but some were ripping quite nicely there. It was mostly small but lined-up all across the beach on bigger sets and so without shoulders and also them being shifty, it was hard to keep up with where to be. On days like this, the best option seems to be to stay put in one spot and wait for sets to come rather than moving all over. I have been burned quite a bit in the past by paddling over to where it broke last then quickly penalized by nice waves breaking at the spot I was just at. It is a bit frustrating you know.

At one point in the session though, there were two waves that came one after another that was at least double overhead in size and when we saw this coming, everyone started to get to the outside frantically. I was too late and too slow and at the worst spot to be. I was treated to a nice flight followed by the trip to the bottom. I hate it when that happens.

So in terms of the quality of the rides, it was not that great for me. Sure glad it was not a competition day... would have been a brutal defeat day.

This evening, we went to check out a "consolidated documentary movie" Surfwise, which is a documentary film of a Stanford graduated physician Dorian Paskowitz who set out to raise 9 of his children on a long surf-trip and a wife in a 24-foot camper van.

Among my close surfing friends, we often talk about quitting everything and surf for the rest of life. And this guy have actually done that. I am not going to spoil the movie for you, but boy, I am glad that I have not done that. It seemed to have a number of 9 kids, who could not get conventional education. The movie has quite a bit of surfing footage in it and it too. I think you will find his opinions about life and education very interesting, and especially in this day of us thinking and driving our lives more and more with greeds, it does give some interesting perspectives. I would not necessarily agree or disagree with, but it definitely worth seeing and hearing why he chose to do what he did and what he thinks about the current state of American culture. With most surf movies showing people "just surfing their brains out", this movie involves the persona of each family member, and so it is actually a bit of a departure from conventional surf related "documentaries." I would like to continue to see more surf film makers focus on the surfer aspect of it than just technical riding part of it. That's far more interesting in terms of the stories.

Day 80 (Sunday):

After being punished a bit on Saturday morning, I headed to a beach further north on Sunday morning. The NW winds definitely picked up quite a bit and as a result of it the water also became quite choppy already. There were some SW sets still coming in. I have not been riding my Walden Magic for a while so this time I took it out as it was on a small side.

Well, I did end up "catching" waves a lot but it was difficult to take off. The small ripples were substantial enough in size even under bigger "catchable" waves. On just about every wave I took off on, there was a stair-step effect, and so as I get up on the board, I would skip over a ripple and land on the wall that's ahead with a big bang. It's similar to getting a bit of air off a bump on snow. Sometimes I got knocked up in the air so hard that it was a bit scary and difficult to maintain the ride, especially when I get up, my knees are not unfolded yet, so there is not much room to absorb it.

The fog and NW returns to Northern California this week. It is going to be a bit tricky to find a good down patrol spots...

Day 81 (Tudesay): Pretty crappy at LM.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Session 8078: Reparing XCEL Infiniti

Day 78

I bought Xcel Inifniti suit with "standard" back-zip configuration a while back, and I really like the fit of the suit and also I like the rubber that is much gummier and stretch-er feeling than other make I have. It is holding up well, but one problem with all of the Xcel suits have in common is the overall weakness in the collar area. For one thing, the collar area usually does not have the finished look, instead it just look like someone took a pair of scissor and cut the opening. As a result, this is the area where it both tears and the cloth lining is coming off.

At any rate, I looked up in their web site and they had a repair order instruction. All you have to do basically is to write to them an email (or call too), and within a day or so someone from there will return you an email asking you with more details about the issue you are having. Then they will send you a PDF form with a return authorization number.

You box it, write the RA number outside of the box and send it either to their location in Hawaii or in Irvine, CA. (Note that it is a real waste of money to send your stuff anything but UPS ground if you are in California since within CA, UPS Ground will get there in 1-2 days, I know this because I use UPS a lot to ship stuff out of my office.)

So yesterday I sent my suit in for a repair. This story to be continued...

~ ~ ~
Speaking of wetsuits stuff, here is another little trick to keep your stuff last longer. Close all Velcro like leash cuffs and booties stuff before you throw them in your bag or tub when you are done. I previously wrote a tip about throwing them the last, but just closing the Velcro is much easier.

~ ~ ~

Half Moon Bay local surfing continues to be on a small but quality side. I really had a lot of fun this morning again! Thanks to the south swells that have been ON for quite some time now!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Session 8075-77

Days 75-77

Last few days at my home break were really fun. With some south swells hitting and no wind, the waves were on small side but there definitely were some fun peaks, lots of rights and some lefts too.

I am continuing to work on speed on the waves and I think I am making some more progress in the past few sessions. The most change, I think, is that the rides are becoming even more defined and also even more interactive with the wave.

I must say that it does take some effort to work with the waves, and I think that the primary difference between the people who "just surf" and "look good" are from this aspect of it. Every notch in the improvement gives a lot of excitement, but I feel like I am probably passing through one of the most exciting period of learning how to surf for me as the speed and the extra energy that comes with it support more "room" to maneuver given a situation, for example, it is now starting to be possible to think about "Should I go up next?" or "Should I shoot straight down for a bit, get more power and then go up?" etc.

Session 8077 (Tue, 6/18): Still the same spot. The waves are getting smaller a bit, but once in a great while a series of set kicked in. Some fun rights, and the usual moguls that form from backwash waves... 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Session 8072-74: Importance of "Just Getting Out"


Day 72-74

I have been guilty of this especially of late... some evil thoughts have been distracting me to shutdown**, stop writing WavLOG, and thinking that surf a few times a year in Hawaii or CR would be OK...

So this article is directed at me as a reminder, but hope you can also can relate to it too.
As people get "better at" surfing, I have seen them setting higher and higher expectations about the quality of the wave and such, and in some cases, their expectations get so high, they almost stop surfing altogether in search of the best condition or location that never come.
This morning after I got out of the water I had a bit of conversation about this with a local long-time surfer. He has been surfing for more than 40-years from OB to Ventura. We were at the same spot yesterday too. In fact, he is usually out when I am out too because he knows the best bet locally. He is so experienced that he can basically catch any types of wave - big, small, crappy... whatever, when, in front of him, I am still a struggling beginner surfer.
One important reminder that came up in our conversation is the word "life-style" and that is where we both agree strongly about surfing. I was then thinking more about that and I too have made a lifestyle decision to be a surfer and also this needs a constant reminder to myself that I have done that. Now here is no turning back.

An example of the difference between this and other sport I'd participate in is like this. I don't bowl much, but I do every so often, but my life will not revolve around bowling. I just go when, say, a friend would want to go. I rent everything and once I am done with it, it's all forgotten. I can hit strike sometimes and I can also thrown the ball in the gutter. But it's still fun.
Surfing is a kind of sport that require a life-style change decision because the depth of the sport is a life-time learning event. We need to be committed to it and so that requires that the sport have to be woven into your everyday life. It would take years of practice to hit an equivalent of a strike, that would be riding a nicely trimmed surf line for 10-20 seconds straight... not going up or down... just across the face.

And the point about setting high expectation is this. It is not a kind of a thing that you just only go when the condition is the best, rent some gear, get out and then forget about it afterwards. So as a part of this, we are always compelled to "get out as often as we can."
Another case in point. This past weekend, I was talking to a non-surfer person at a party, and he spoke of his surfing friends in terms of "Once he started it, he was hooked to it."
But more accurately, he made a life-style decision to surf, and once someone would do that they really can enjoy wider variety of conditions like the old buddy I was talking to this morning. It really takes an active and often pains taking efforts in "being hooked." The force affecting addiction is more of an external nature. You could give someone addicted to alcohol an expensive wine and he would be capable of enjoying it. You could give me double-overhead perfect wave today, and I may not be able to enjoy it immediately. I need to take a rain check, give me the same wave two years from now for me to enjoy it. But let me remind you, I am working on it and I think I can get there.

So today, you could be at the edge of making this commitment to your life and that could tip your life fully in one side. I think I have.

And it always feels better when I get out even when I did not feel like it when I get out of the house... and yes I am grateful to everyone that I can make this choice and I will continue to share my stoke with the world via the net.

Session 8073: Same spot as yesterday. Quite a bit smaller but clean and still fun. Not much in terms of longer rides but worked a lot on taking off and continue to work on making the turn #1 towards the top of the wave. I am not still there and some waves just closed out quickly.

Session 8074: The condition at Linda Mar was fair, but then this was probably the only ticket in town. But here is the deal. There were a few good surfers, both on long and short boards, that were managing the condition. I caught a few waves, but it really goes to say, if you are good, you'd get the most out of it.

**However I am thinking about re-doing the site on Google App Engine.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Session 8071: Squid Hood or Integrated Hood?

Day 71: Squid Hood or Integrated Hood?

Many people who are not familiar with the Eastern Pacific coasts, they would be puzzled if I tell them that the water can be coldest in the year in May and June. As it turns out that California coast side is one of more unique places in the world that upwelling can cause some havoc in late spring or early summer season.

Upwelling occurs when the wind blows hard, especially along the shore. Because our planet Earth is rotating at the same time as the wind blows in more or less N-S direction, it causes a "vortex" effect in that water swirls around and then after that it starts convectional current that moves up and down deep into the bottom of the sea floor. When 30+ knots winds blow for a week or two then the buoy water temperature reading start to go from our seasonal low 50's into even mid 40's sometime.

When we get out in this type of situation, it is like dipping my hands and head into ice water, and especially for me, I would have to think twice before I do my initial duck-dive though the water. Once I do this, no problem after that but the very first one is significantly uncomfortable, wake-up event especially on early morning sessions when I still have some afterthoughts about whether it would have been much more comfortable should I have decided to be in bed instead of in the Pacific.

At any rate, one key component of being a bit more comfortable in this situation is to wear a hood, and I have been wearing a 3-mm "Squid head" (I don't know why they call that though.) hood. This has been helpful, but last week I have noticed that my beloved hood has been showing a bit of wear and tear (though it lasted me at least 2+ seasons.) So I decided to give a try on an integrated hood with a rash guard, thinking that this might be a bit better in terms of water seeping duck dive situation. I actually hesitated getting it since I did once had a wetsuit with an integrated hood, and when I put that on I could not swing my head left to right freely, so I only used it a few times and gave up. This one is a 1.5 mm hood integrated with rash guard and it is a bit better in terms of head movement.

So here is the report from this morning.

Putting this on was a bit more awkward than the squid head model. I felt like whether which one of the holes will be the one to put my head though. But tucking the bottom of the hood was not so hard.

My first duck dive was definitely very comfortable, but I actually could not find a significant difference between the squid hood situation and with this. I would say it was noticeably more comfortable, but not super different.

While surfing, it was comfortable and I did not have problem swinging my head left and right.

So there. I think I will get a bit more hang on this and might end-up liking it a lot!

Oh by the way, I did have a good time this morning at the JTY!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Session 8069-70

Day 69,70

The nature conspired against me with gale-strength winds and non-surfable wind swells this past week, today, Saturday is the first time since last week to get back in the water. Actually today is also a gusty NW winds day, but I have just had enough of the wait, and I had to get in and keep my paddling in shape so I decided to get in the water "no matter what."

Luckily the winds died down a bit this morning, so I was a bit more hopeful. The Jetty was crowded a bit, and I did check points further south, but I came back to the Jetty thinking that the shape is a bit better there, and if not, I could "get out" a bit easier.

My guess was correct and I actually caught quite a bit of rights with a few lefts. You know I used to brag about the fact that I liked lefts but these days, the rights are working out much better to me. It is probably not really the left that has gotten worse, but the rights have gotten much better and that's the difference because turns are significantly more defined if I took of to the right.

Which brings to my current mission of improving the speed, and the distance. And I think I can feel some improvements especially in the area of turning faster and staying on top of the wave sooner after taking off. I am trying to make a concerted effort to do this, and just a thought of it can help quite a bit in understanding how it feels when I am doing a bit better or worse during each wave I am catching, and right now the biggest thing I am doing is to look at and look for the place I want to be; the top part of the wave. Each time I squeeze a bit more performance out of me, that makes me really stoked.

And when I can surf to the shore at the end of a session, that makes me even more satisfied, though, there always is hard to call a ride like that the last ride of a session!

Day 70: Drove from HMB to SC in search of non-windy waves, and ended up at Cowells, after remembering that that going to the East side would cost me parking fee. I am not against paying for it, but I have to pass though a specific place to buy the day permit. On the way there, there simply was not place for me to get into, it was too windy, big and messy.

Cowells was small and one thing I should always to remember, in the summer I should always bring a long board to SC! I could have had a lot more wave counts should I have taken my Walden Magic!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Session 8066-68: More on Speed

Days 66, 67

Friday was a small day again but I did get out at LM and caught some small waves. I actually do want small waves because that also help me really understand gaining the speed. I was often told from experts that bigger waves are actually easier to surf. I think I agree to an extent that if the waves are bigger but come in nice shapes, they are definitely fun and easier to catch. Small waves, on the other hands require a lot of paddling, quick flick up with not much room for errors and immediate top turn in many cases to make the wave and stay on top of it.

Saturday the shapes has gotten a bit better and I continued to work on the top turn. I must say though I do cheat a bit in this regards by actually steering while I am paddling into the waves. This gets remarkably easier if I can read where the shoulder would pop and I would be at the right place and the right time. Negotiating the top turn upon flicking up is also very very tricky for me right now since I need to execute the rail-in motion very quickly especially when there is not much speed yet developed, thus I have to get on the wave when I am least stable on the board. Looks like it will take a bit of time yet for me to get this mastered. 

Sunday the hefty NW winds returned and basically I could no find a surf locally from HMB to northern SC spots. We skipped surfing and went onto the Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Festival events instead.