Friday, July 25, 2008

Red Tides, Sinusitis, Nasonex and Astelin

Red Tides, Sinusitis, Nasonex and Astelin
NOTE: While this article deals with medical topic, I am not providing this as a medical advise to you. If you have a similar problem like I had, please consult your physician, an ENT or an Allergy specialist.

Last two years, I had a bit of struggle with Sinus infections. This all started when I went into the murky brown water in the middle of the summer in Manresa. Immediately after the session a runny nose did not stop for a day. A few weeks later my nose became really stuffy and for several months after that I could not smell a thing. For someone who like to drink wine that was a bit of problem.

Since that happening, even if there is a bit of a sign of red tides, my nose will get stuffy. This is even if I did the nasal rinse religiously. Not only my noses got stuffy, there was quite a bit of odorous discharge which did not go away. This is a standard symptom of infected sinus. 

I consulted a doctor on this and I was prescribed  Amoxicillin for two weeks.  This actually did work. But after that treatment was done, the infection came back, of course I did not stop surfing (how could I). I also continued to do the nasal rinsing. I was also recommended that I use Nasonex in conjunction to reduce the swelling, and also to use Mucinex D to thin out discharges to help it drain. The Mucinex did work to temporarily relief the congestion and the sense of smell did come back while I was using it. But it had pseudo-ephedrine and I did not want to continue to use it too much.

As the condition came back I asked for the second dose of Amoxicillin for another couple of weeks, but at the same time the doctor advised to give Astelin a try, and for me that seemed to worked the best in preventing the onset of the reaction to the red tide component in the water.

This year I have been out in a condition several times where I was afraid of getting the infection back. But as soon as I have gotten a sign of runny or stuffy nose, I sprayed Astelin and it basically prevented from the nose from getting fully stuffy and then get into the infection mode.

I have spoken to several other surfers including many members of StokeMaster.COM and the symptoms are very very similar to mine.

What I think was going on my case is that going into red tide infested water causes an allergic reaction, which closed up the drainage, and caused secondary infections. Once the infections set in, it is very difficult to get rid of except using antibiotic. I am susceptible to many sort of nasal allergies since I was a very young child and also has a slightly deformed septum too (and on top of that I broke my nose a few years back right under my eyes from surfing [what else!]). 

Nasonex in my case did not work well and requires a long-term use for it to be effective, but Astelin, being an antihistamine works very quickly, preventing the onset of a full blown inflammation of my nasal cavities and in my case, that really helped me because I don't know when the red tide strikes or attack me or accidentally paddling into floating pile of brown raw smelling foam. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Session 8098-8100: The Final Daily WavLOG

The Final Daily WavLOG
Day 98 - 100

Well, I did 100 sessions this year so far, and I am pleased that this year I have made some key technical progress than the previous years. In a nutshell, the key progress was made in the area of taking-off, and it still continues to need further polishing up, not to mention a consistent keeping up so that I don't lose it. 

In summarizing my progress so far, I have to say that if you have the will, you will get there though it can take a while depending your fitness and overall athletic abilities. 

I had a really late start in this sport and there were quite a few times it was very discouraging, and it will continue to be more discouraging to some extent, but once I realized that it is a long journey I have undertaken, it no longer bother me. I was able to prove that I can take on the people who have been at it 30-40 years in my 4 years or so of gearing up. 

So if you are thinking about picking up the sport, or want to start all over again, I think that perseverance and patience will really pay off a big time. And that's also goes for anything in life.

Thank you!

Session 8098 (Thursday): The swells from both N and S got so small but there was some potential of NW re-building. I want up north for a short session in the morning, and I did manage to catch a few. 

Session 8099 (Friday): At a local "hard-core" spot. A buddy checked out the spot, thought it was junky and did not get in. I did get in a caught some decent size waves with some fun shapes. I had one really good wave which broke, cut back around, and caught another section breaking inside and continued on. When that happens I am so happy that I get more power paddling back out!

Session 8100 (Saturday): The same spot as the previous session. It was a bit more crowded as it was being a weekend and such, but I did basically the repeat of yesterday with some nice build up sections. On couple of waves were just strong and fast and could barely go straight down, but the speed and pressure on my knees were much higher than usual. Once I got a taste of it, I would want to get more to do better turns the next time!

This concludes my daily session log. I thank you for taking a surf journey with me, and I encourage you to keep your own surf log either online or a small diary book. It is always fun to look back a few years later!

The WavLOG on StokeMaster.COM will continue with less focus on daily sessions but more focus on surfing thoughts, ideas, tips and philosophy, hopefully at least on a weekly basis. Hope you come back and check, and write a comment or two, or write a personal email to me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Session 8097: Why StokeMaster.COM is "Surfing For The Rest of Us?"

Day 97
Why StokeMaster.COM is All About "Surfing For The Rest of Us?"

You have seen our slogan. Our slogan is "Surfing For The Rest of Us." It has been approved by our "VP" Ren Volpe who contributes "Surfing Mana" articles (according to Google SurfingMama is more popular than StokeMaster.COM!, Perhaps she can write better than me!)

Why is it that us all surfers appears to be so defiant about everything else. And that's something I think about a lot while I am waiting for the next wave. Dammn it! I wish that all these distracting thoughts do not come to my mind so that I can really focus on just surf!

So, this morning, I go out to a bit more deserted, less often surfed beach. We know there is a tad more chance of us getting eatan by a bigger fish (Ren calles, a visitor in gray suits, or something to that effect.)

Perhaps, it could have been that I could have been bitten this morning, and I would have been back at the garney at Seaton Coastside emergencies. And the next thing I could imagine happening is the equivocal uttering of messages from my own mom and my mother in law -- "You should quit surfing!"

And even if I would be in a great pain and such, that would be the last thing I would want to hear about it.

I was actually trying to figure that out why it would be so. It now think I know the answer. It is because surfing gives me the true sense of freedom from the rest of the conventinonal world where we need to ovey the conventions. And that brings us to "Surfing for the Rest of Us."

What does it really mean to us?

It actually sounds contradictory, but being the "Rest of us" do not actually mean that we are actually part of the part of being like everyone else. The real "rest of us" are those who are in a continuoius quest as what is truly to be being the "rest of us."

OK, so I have confused you.

Look at current situation is surfing. There seems to be a great effort in homogenizing and defactoring the surfing public like anything else. I am talking about the "mass marketed version" of surfing. What is the idea of a being a typical "cool" surfer? Perhaps you are strugging to become one. You would get a short board, you would go to Huntington, The Trestles, or The Lane, and you follow the pro scene, buy magazines, get brand sunglasses, sandals, and get the pro brand surfboards, wetsuits, board shorts and I am fairly certain that that is considered by most as "surfing."

But the "rest of the surfers" are not quite like them. We really cannot surf the same kind of the boards, nor the waves you see on surf videos (even though we got thsese boards).

And if you are coming to realize that then I think we will begin to see what it really we man by being a "rest of the sufers."

It is really the time for all of us to realize what it really means to you as being a surfer, and that's far more important than to become a part of the mass.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sessions 8093~96 Get Your Mind Some Excercise

Days 93~96

The primary reason why I surf is stay being healthy and that's the key importance for me. Whatever the means you got available to do so, I think you should do it. Surfing requires you to be fit, especially in paddling out and negotiating through waves, it requires quite a bit of muscle work. 

But it is also often forgotten that your mental health is just as important, and surfing provides ample opportunities to both nature and challenge us mentally.

One of the things I have realized lately is facing the ocean and the wild nature in front of us. I was talking to a local buddy of mine a lineup this weekend about this, and how scared I was the first time I went out at the same spot, and gradually I have been able to  build myself up to the challenge, and I am not as scared as used be, and I was thinking about how valuable that experience has been. It really gave me additional boost in confidence in other situations.

I think that it is important for most of us to experience this kind of a situation, as it will open up our minds a bit more to realize our very own existence with respect to the whole universe and also knowing how the very basic foundations of body and mind would react to it. In coming to terms with where the fear arise from and how we can be prepared to deal with them, I think we can provide ourselves a kind of mental exercise.

Day 93: Thursday was fun at LM with some nice right peaks perfect size and level of steepness for me to practice taking off and staying high on the wave right at the take-off.

Day 94: Friday, it got a bit smaller than thursday at LM, but continued to practice more take-offs and wave spotting. Ren has requested that I'd the party wave on the outside, so I took out my Walden Magic 9. I caught some fun waves until sets started come all in one big line and closed out the whole beach.

Day 95: Saturday the wave power continued to dwindle but the wind situation was quite good so more local spots opened up. I opened up the north-end of a local beach on Saturday. But as soon as people found out that I was "ripping" out there, dozen more showed up. I should pretend like I am having a bad time when people are on the cliff scoping things out :-)   Continued to surf on Walden Magic

Day 96: Sunday was quite flat all in local HMB locations so I drove a bit further south. I was almost ready to give up and ready to head home and I noticed a local prominent surfer friend getting out. He told me that this is only the name of game today. Glad I want out with the Takayama 7'2 Egg and also I double boarded with my trusty JC Ugly Stick 6'4 (with 5 inch vector fins in the back!). The Egg worked out quite good, had some fun and a couple of significantly long rides on about chest high waves. I don't know what about it was today but we were all pig-dogging our boards to keep the board in a trim. I guess because it felt like these small beach breaks were going to close out behind us any moment. It was a kind of bit fun to paddle through fresh-water lagoon to get to the beach.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Excel Wetsuits Repair Update

Excel Wetsuit Repair Update

I am happy to report to you that my suit is back like brand new. The repair job was so good that it does not look like someone actually fixed something. It was fixed under "warranty."

Basically the following is the timeline:
  • 1 day for them to respond to my original request
  • 1 day to fill out the form and send it.
  • 1 day for them to get back with an RO number
  • 2 days to send it over the UPS Ground
  • about 4 days to get it fixed
  • 2 days for the shipment
So from the start to finish it is less than 2 weeks. I think that's quite good.

The quality of the fix is great and I am very happy with it as I can probably get another full year out of the suit.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Session 8092 Giving Up Donuts and Coffee After A Session

Day 92 (T-8) Giving Up Donuts and Coffee After A Session

First, the session this morning was on a fun side but I must say that I should have gotten out with a longboard. But that's life.

So today's topic is all about Google AdWords.

As you know I have put up some Google Ads to let people know about the StokeMaster.COM web site. I tend to do things for the "heck of it," and I almost always end up learning things or two after the fact. Right now, I am not so much interested in attracting the users to the site but what it tells me is that what people are interested in, and whatever the terms the people are interested in, Google would ask for more money per click. For example, if you were to use the keyword "soul surfing" that is a $5.00 keyword for a site which isn't much about Bethany Hamilton.

What about Bethany Hamilton got to do with a $5.00 click? Well, she "wrote" a book called "Soul Surfing." The book is a big seller and thus everyone wants a piece of action regarding her incident and the book and such. I happen to think that my web site has some element of "soul surfing" in it so I would very much like to "feel" that soul surfing is a relevant keyword to my site. But the real world is a much much tougher place than that. So right now, if I want people to click an and get to my site based on a search "soul surfing" I must pay $5.00 or more. I actually think that's quite fair, and it is interesting. It is even interesting to the point that what the general public think of "soul surfing" is about Bethany Hamilton, and I am not sure if I can agree with that or not.

To tell you the very honest truth, I don't know what "soul surfing" is, and I am sure that there will be many different ways of looking at it. To me, a true soul surfer won't be blogging like me. I think that someone like that won't even have an email address or an web access, and it is a rare occasion that I'd be even get a chance to be surfing with this person.

Then, I am also very confused now. My religious teaching tells me that I ought to basically document and share my experience with others, and that's how I can live forever. Then on the other hands, I should not really boost myself to the point to induce some form of envy or lust in other peoples minds.

What does it got to do with giving up my Donuts and Coffee after a session. Well my routine after a down patrol at Linda Mar is to go to Happy Donuts, get a coffee and donuts. That's usually about $3.00 a shot, plus some friendly grief I get from the owner couple. It usually got to do with my appearance like the length of my hair or what I am waring, or not buying enough donuts etc. Today my Google AdWords budget is 60 cents a day. Mind you, I have some very high quality keywords (over a year of hard work on it), I can get 2-3 clicks out of this meager budget, but if I were to give up my coffee and donuts after each DP session, I can have up to 10 or 20 clicks from users to come to my site, with that I can vector the users to visit my StokeStore and get them to buy $200 Nixon watch which I can get a handsome commission from Amazon! What's wrong with that?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Session 8091: The Retrospect

Day 91

I think I am going to stop logging "every session" when I hit the Day 100 on this year. It is a lot of work and I have gotten busy with my new job, and frankly, it is very very difficult to write something each time I get out. This blog will continue, though, at a more relaxed pace and I know there are many long time fans of this blog, so I will not disappoint you. My new posts will have more concentration.

This morning I want out in the morning at Linda Mar and there was this guy who was just standing in the inside trying to surf. This morning was not exactly a small kind of a day, and I did have some fun catching "just right" steepness of waves for me, and I did pack in quite a few rides in the limited-time morning session scenario. Back to this guy though. He was just standing, holding boards, not paddling in our out, in a waste high spot.

I remember, I used to do that. Back when I started, I did not have any ideas about how surfing worked let aloe having enough muscles to negotiate incoming waves to paddle out or to paddle into the wave. I do hope that this person would not get discouraged and some day would share waves with many others from the "outside."

From surfing, I got to got to various places in California, Mexico and Hawaii and really enjoyed the aspect of surf travels, and I am certain that my reach will be expanding even further. Just on the other day, I was talking about going to Nicaragua next spring and such.

I got to know a lot of great friends though my StokeMaster.COM web site as well as Surfrider foundation buddies. Got to meet some very famous surf figures live, and also through the sport it opened my mind up to the ocean and the environment.

I think I am also in a great shape physically and I can deal with fear a bit more than before, and even when facing the death, I am a bit less afraid these days.

So I would like to thank everyone who really have helped me to get here and I hope if you are starting out now, keep on stoking!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Session 8085-90

Day 85-87

Day 85 (Sunday): With the South swells arriving, I headed out much further to the spot that is in the slide show below. It was a bit of work, especially with the Walden Magic longboard to get down the cliff to get to the break, but it was certainly worth it. Not very many surfers and occasional breaks were fun. Note that last slide is a bit strange looking but it is due to some artifact of the camera and not actual waves.

Day 86 (Monday) and Day 87 (Tuesday):

Back to my home break with the south swells continuing. Smooth get-out and occasional breaks, typical of south swells situation, gave me a lot of time to practice.

Especially I had a few nice rides on Tuesday. However, also I cracked the nose of the board by trying too hard and surfing too close inside to the rocks. That's one problem with surfing. There is no break built into the board. You just cannot stop on a "dime."

Nevertheless, I am starting to get a hang of the "top turn" right after taking off and being able to do that really makes a difference in taking longer rides. But it definitely isn't easy, especially for me, and I cannot still be consistent in doing it like other good surfers who came today.

Day 88 Thursday:
Day 89 Friday July 4th:
Day 90 Sat July 5th: