Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aloha Welcome Back Khang - Venice Toughness 042611

Surf Report: Waist to Chest high max
Winds: Strong side shores
Water: Cold
Atmosphere: Sunny

Back to Venice Beach.  Back to where my wave riding all started.  Back to surfing with KHANG!

Welcome home Khang, we missed you a lot.  He met up with me this morning at Venice Beach and looked psyched to get into the water.  He knew that he was going to get his ass kicked but that didn't really matter.  He was back in LA and back to surf.

I took out my new used board that I finally finished painting with my dad.  My dad helped me a lot on this:

It was a two day project, where he printed out a stencil, cut the stencil out, I prepped the surface, and we stuck the stencil on the board.  We did a few coats of paint for the ALOHA (taken from the Aloha for Japan logo) and spray painted that Saturday.  Then Sunday we did the MAHALO on the back.  The little figure on the end of the Mahalo is my dad's trademark icon that he made for my surfing.  Pretty cool!  It wouldn't have turned out this great if it weren't for my dad.  He is truly an artist.

North Side of the Pier
So back to the surf.  It was super windy.  It wasn't on shore like the past two weeks, but it was definitely the strongest winds I've felt in a long time.  Getting changed was a cold experience, and when I was carrying my board down the beach the board seemed to act like a sail and I could feel it sway and point the way the wind blew.  The sets were unpredictable, and the white water kept pouring on in.  It was a hectic line up, with no one out.  The battle today was against Mother Ocean and the Elements.  There was so much spray coming off the top of the waves, I saw about forty rainbows get created over my head. 

The north side of the pier looked jumbled up, and the south didn't look as inviting either.  However, we weren't there to just watch the waves:  we were there to surf!  So we paddled out south of the pier. 

It was only fitting that upon Khang's return that we dawn patrolled Venice beach, where we always spent time in the water.  Again, this is the spot where I first learned the pure joy of "wave sliding" on a body board when I was in 7th grade and he and his twin brother Khoa were in 6th grade.  It is still one of my favorite memories to relive. 
South Side

The paddle out was sort of brutal.  It wasn't that bad, but the first duck dive sure opened my eyes.  The water was cold enough to give me an ice cream head ache.  Khang was resilient, paddling up and under the white water waves that seemed to be an endless tirade of brown horses with white manes rushing at us head on.  I probably did about thirty duck dives before I got out to the line up.  Khang was right next to me the whole time, so it's good to see he didn't lose too much of his paddle power.

There were two guys on pink or red fishes.  One of them was tearing it up.  His friend wasn't really doing much.  But again, this was a battle against the Elements.  The drift wasn't that strong, but it sure did pull us further south.  On top of that, the waves were so hard to read.  You would think the wave was breaking left, but then the side shore make the left stand up and transfer the peak to a right and break as a right.  For the first thirty minutes or so, I was just trying to get a feel of what the Ocean was doing and read how she was reacting.  Like any woman, she was hard to read and I still haven't figured her out.

My new used board just seemed to coast under me while I paddled.  Maybe it was just me, but she seemed to be "the one."  Hahahaha.  Duck diving, of course, was not an issue on her.  Paddling seemed easier for me on this new girl.  My first wave I took was a close out left, which was about waist high.  I made the drop and set the rail as the white water crashed behind me. 

Second wave I caught was the stand out wave for this morning's session.  It was a clean right, and I actually got to my feet pretty easily.  I think it was a mid-chest size wave that started to just suck up a clean wall ahead of me.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to do any maneuvers so I ripped a bottom turn and headed straight for a backdoor exit as the wall started to close out ahead of me. 

Khang scratched out on a few waves today.  He had that same frustrated look I had months ago, where I KNEW I WAS BETTER THAN THIS.  I was just not strong enough to paddle into the waves at the time (please read my post when Matt, Christina and I roll down to __________ to meet Rick and Gary T.  Actually that one is still on facebook, so just know that I was still fresh out of rehab/physical therapy, so my paddle power wasn't there for chest high waves.) 

"Hey, at least I made it out of the white water.  If I didn't even get passed the white water, I would be preeeeettty disappointed," Khang said to me.

I caught a few small waves after wards, which weren't all too memorable.  I think today was a "Welcome Home" session with one of our fellow DRC warriors that has come back.  I was glad I got to surf with him for a good one and a half hours.  He still needs to get his big sexy tricepts and rippling back and traps back, but that is just a matter of "when." 

I am definitely looking forward to this weekend of surf:  Francis has work off, Khang is back, Matt and I (hopefully) will have a lot of our homework done, and Dais... well he's always down to surf so that is a good thing :)... maybe we can all go down to Trestles and surf down there?  Or we can just stay local. 

Funny thing was that when we got out of the water, the strong side shores seemed to just stop and the Ocean seemed to have calmed the fuck down.  The waves stopped being so jumbled up and the sets came in slowly instead of being an onslaught of white mountains pouring down from the heavens.  I joked that it was Mother Ocean being pissed at Khang for neglecting her for so long, and it was her way of saying, "Aloha Welcome Back" to the prodigal son. 

Until next time... Mahalo Mother Ocean.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Small, Short, and Sweet Redemption Session at 26th Street - 042411

Surf Report:  2-4 feet and super low tide
Atmosphere: Cloudy
Water: Cool/Cold
Winds: Straight on shore

So, this morning was more of a redemption session of sorts, at least for Dais and I.  I honestly would not have paddled out this morning and gone straight back home if it weren't for Dais frothing when he arrived at Porto.  Matt, Dais, and I watched the shitty conditions as the waves rolled in.  The guys at Porto were walking out to the line up, where the sets were breaking.  The low tide was killing it, and the winds didn't help the wave shape at all.  It was classic Dump Rider status.

Matt opted to go home, since he felt that these conditions weren't worth it.  I didn't blame him.  Christina called me and our conversation got cut off, but she ended up going home too.  The misty morning kept everyone inside their cars and out of the water.  The gray clouds hung over the coastline like a bad hangover from the night before.  The winds just smacked your nipples to a cold button, making them harder than ice and able to cut glass.

Dais said he was still to go out.  I told him I would go with him to 26th Street to paddle out.  Matt parted ways with us, and so we made the drive down to 26th Street.  Dais gave me some change to put in the meter, and we suited up.  I showed off my new fins that I just bought from Rider's Shack.  They are FCS UL-5's, and I was hoping I could go for a little test drive on these bad boys today.  However, the conditions looked ominous.  Oh well.  Don was out, Bruce was in his car, chilling, and Manny had just pulled up.  We had to go out now.  I gave Cheryl a courtesy call to give her an update where we were going to paddle out.  She opted to stay home instead. 

We stretch out and paddle out south of 26th Street.  The pull was strong today, and I found myself already in front of the lifeguard tower by the time I reached the line up.  I tried to fight the current, but I was unmotivated to fight the current today.  I just wanted to go with the flow.

Dais was south of me, and he was getting pulled too.  He went for a lot more waves than I did today.  He was trying to take off on some ?able waves.  We saw the grommette that was always there:  the blond chick that rides a tiny Don Kadowaki board, air brushed purple and blue.  She had a few nice left handers.  One that stuck out in my mind was where she hopped on the shoulder of a near-perfect left, and busted a few backhand turns on the face of the wave.

Dais and I continuously drift further and further north.  I scratched out on a small wave.. or rather, the wave didn't let me in.  I paddled and had my hands on the deck, ready to pop up, but the wave just fizzled out and doubled up on the inside and never broke for me.  Oh well, I thought.  I told Dais that I already felt better that we paddled out today, since the Ocean always makes me feel so at home and at ease.  I guess it's the people who make you feel like shit.  

A ginger guy I like to call Matt Bonner was out today too.  I've seen him here a few times.  He too had a nice set wave that peeled left.  He was right on the peak, and popped up nicely, pumping down the line, and then hacking the lip off the top.  Pretty sick!

There was also a black guy out surfing today!  I was surprised to see a new face in the line up, especially in these shitty conditions.  I smiled at him, and said how are you.  He smiled back and said he was fine.

Again, Dais took off on a lot of waves.  They were dumpy, sometimes pitchy waves.  The low tide kept getting lower, and the conditions seemed more and more questionable.  I saw Dais took a few close outs and got to his feet in time to escape oblivion.  He would ride out the white water and hop off on the inside in knee deep water.  However, that was not the norm.  He took a lot of ?able drops and ended up in about waist high water.  He still laughed those off and paddled straight back out to the line up though.

I had one good ride today.  It was a right, and I was (somewhat) able to get a feel of my new fins.  I popped up, and started to drive down the line.  The board felt completely different under my feet, almost as if it was lighter.  I get about three pumps in, see the section close out, and so I get on my heels and back foot and eye the close out section for a small floater.  I actually landed back on the white water and made the wave.  I was stoked.

Dais took a nice left on the face.  It was one of those "right place at the right time" waves that just opened up for him.  It was pretty pitchy out there, but he still managed to catch "that one wave" that makes the session all worth it. 

I also saw him snake a SUPer.  I was glad he did, since the SUP had no chance of making it passed the section where Dais was in.  I think Dais wiped on this wave, but the SUPer left the beach afterwards.

We drifted further and further up the coast.  I told Dais we should get out soon, since the conditions seemed more and more dangerous.  The waves would jack up and pitch up right before our eyes, and then shatter into a billion white shards of milk shake foam onto waist deep water.  We tried to go for a few, but the waves just were too dangerous to even make the drop.

I think I ended up paddling in and catching one on my belly.  I was able to walk about twenty feet in ankle deep water with all the shells and rocks washing in and out of the shore.  The sun was peaking ever so slightly out of the gray sky, and so it felt good to have paddled out at least.

We both caught one good wave each, and that was all we needed.  It wasn't a super amazing redemption session, but I know our mood at the end of this surf sesh was the complete opposite of what we felt on Saturday.

After all, it was Sunday, and we surfed good ol' 26th Street.  How could we complain?

You don't want
You don't wait
You don't love
But you don't hate
You just roll over me
And you pull me in.

-Jack Johnson Only the Ocean

Mahalo Mother Ocean.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Saturday Morning That Is Still Fun Because Surfing Is A Relaxing, Peaceful, And Make-You-Happy Sport, Until Angry Locals Who Probably Don’t Even Surf There On A Continuous Basis Start Yelling At You In The Line Up Calling You A Kook And Eventually Ruining Your Session - 042311

Surf Report: Waist to Chest high, 30-45 minute lulls in between sets
Atmosphere: Cloudy, and a bit of sun
Winds: On shore/slight off shore
Water: Cool/Cold

Today, Dais met up with me at my house, and Matt drove up to Malibu himself.  Christina met up with us three at Malibu, and Cheryl came later to Malibu when we were in the line up. 

That is all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Classic Porto Evening Session - 041911

Surf Report: 1 – 3 feet
Winds: On shore, but not as bad as it could be for an after work sesh
Atmosphere:  Cloudy and gloomy
Water: Cool

Dais and I were g-chatting today.  I messaged Matt, and he told me that he went out this morning, and was writing about his morning session.  I couldn’t wait to read it. 

Dais told me that he was thinking of doing a sunset surf session.

“Me too!” I said.  But I was weary:  the winds are on shore, and when I stepped out of the office, the winds were blowing pretty hard.  The sun was still hiding behind the clouds and it was a bit of a gloomy day for a spring morning. 

Dais said that he’s going to “temple.”  He needed to get wet, and get some salt water on his gills.  I was thinking to myself that I should too, but I had my doubts about how good it was going to be and what not.  But the idea of going to temple didn’t seem half bad.  Indeed, it was Good Tuesday. 

Then he told me how Matt’s writing inspired him to definitely go out.  So, I checked it out.  He wrote about the morning conditions being clean, and doing a “hit and run” attack on Porto.  He paddled out in between the tanks and took a high wave count and snuck out of the water before getting docked by the Manhattan Beach Nazi parking meter maids.  So, I was thoroughly impressed, and I wanted to go out too.

My boss told me that he had to leave early today.  He was going to attend a Passover dinner with some of his friends and clients and that he had to be in the valley by a certain time.  I felt this was the green light to go surf!  He left around 330 PM.

I counted the seconds tick by on my watch.  I was watching the ASP Bells Beach competition, and grew increasingly eager to paddle out today. 

I left my work around 430 PM.  I grabbed all my work stuff and dropped it off at home, packed my board, wetsuit, towel, and some change that I had left and headed out. 

I got to the beach around 530 PM.  Dais was about five minutes behind me and parked near the bathrooms.  The waves looked crappy at best.  However, the sun was shining brightly and reflected a million diamonds on the surface of the ocean.  Some longboarders were catching waves, and a shortboarder was able to bust one turn on the wave face. 

“Well, it should be fun,” Dais and I said to each other. 

Dais had exchanged his two front fins to his old stock fins, keeping the middle fin as the green Simon Anderson fins that were once on Jade.  He said he did it during work.  I told him to stop being a surf addict and get some work done. 

We walked out to the sand in front of 45th Street and decided to paddle out there.  Not too many people were there, and the water looked inviting.  There was a baby seal out on the shore.  He was just watching the waves, duck dive the waves, and then head back in to hang out on the sand.  I wondered where his mother was, or if he was hurt.

“Well, I’ll tell you one thing.  This is better than being Texas,” I told Dais, referring to our fallen weekend warrior Khang.

“Yea man, he’s suffering a lot over there.  I don’t know how he does it, but I would never, ever be able to do that,” Dais added.

Khang would have loved this evening session.  So, this evening session goes out to you Khang. 

We walked out and paddled to the line up.  The current was strong today.  The waves were only about 1 to 3 feet, with a lot of lefts coming in, but the waves had some energy behind them.  I paddled for a left, popped up, and started to pump.  I felt the wave lose some energy, so I stomped on my front foot repeatedly to stay in the wave, and the wave reformed on the inside.  I took it as far as I could, and bogged out. 

Then Dais caught a right.  Or was it a left?  I’m not sure, but I saw him paddle for the wave, pop up quickly, and get to his feet, not his drop-knee stance.  He rode that wave all the way in to shore. 
Yes, it is that flat

“Damn, this current is strong, we’re already in front of the tanks,” I told him.

So I started to paddle back towards 26th Street.  Dais, on the other hand, let the current take him away.  He drifted far away from me, and I didn’t see him until an hour later.

I took a few waves during this one hour period, where the clouds started to roll in from the horizon and covered up the sun.  The water was a grey color, but it wasn’t too cold.  The water was a metallic blue when the waves broke, and a lot of these waves would break unpredictably.  I would be sitting in the line up, paddle for a wave, catch it, kick out, and see a three or four wave set just clean up the whole line up. 

The current changed all the faces in the line up.  I maintained my spot in front of 26th Street, but everyone else drifted further and further south.  I told myself that if I wasn’t in the water, I would be at Venice High’s swimming pool, just paddling, so I might as well just paddle against the current to maintain my spot and get some training. 

I caught a left where I grabbed my rail and tried to pull into the chandeliering section.  I saw the wave face just stick up nicely, with a grayish blue face pierced with the weak sun, so I was trying to touch the face with my left hand, but the whole face dumped, so I exited through the back. 

More faces changed as I stayed in front of 45th Street.  I wondered if Dais would ever come back.

Around 700 PM, Dais made his way back to where I was.  The clouds parted just for a split moment, and the sunset glowed on the horizon. 

“This is what I came for,” I said out loud.

“Yea buddy,” Dais said.  He took a wave with ease, paddling into it like cutting butter with a hot knife.  He popped up again without doing his drop knee stance, and stood up in one motion.  He glided down and took the wave all the way to the inside. 

The orange was blindingly vibrant as the sun set on the horizon, reflecting orange crystals on the water ripples with every passing second.  I took a deep breath to take the scenery in.  The mountains were tinged with a hue of brown and orange, and the tankers in the distant sea were lulled to sleep.  The orange of the sun painted the horizon in an unexplainable beauty that could never be matched by the hand of any man.  Sunsets are definitely feminine, for only a woman would match the beauty of the setting sun. 

I wanted to catch just one more wave.  I let the current just drift me when Dais rejoined me in the line up.  The crowd was thinning out, and there were just a handful of black wetsuits bobbing up and down in the line up.  Out of nowhere, my wave came.

It was a small wave that feathered out on the outside.  The wave lip sort of broke, and looked mushy as it made its way towards me.  I paddled towards shore first to direct myself into the feathery peak, then paddled at an angle to catch the wave.  I popped up, and slid down the face.  I pumped up and down the wave, and realized I went to far, so I leaned onto my heels and went back to the white wash.  I then started to lean on my front foot and bent my back foot a lot in order to stay in the wave, hoping the wave would double up on the inside.  The wave started to pick up more speed and doubled up on the inside.  I pumped up and down the wave again, and wanted to put an exclamation point on the wave.  I bottom turned, and then did a top turn off the lip.  I fell off my board on the top turn, but I was happy and content.  I took the wave all the way to shore, and that was my last wave for the day. 

I got out and watched the horizon.  The seal pup was still on the shore, looking delirious (as Dais put it) and going back and forth between the white water and sand.  I wondered what he knew that we humans didn’t know.  Animals are more sensitive to the environment than us, so he must have known something.  Or, maybe he lost his mom? 

The sun had already set, and the crowd was reduced to nil.  I waited for Dais until he got out.  He drifted all the way down again, so I couldn’t see his last wave.

I thought I heard my name being called as we walked back to the car.  It was a girl’s voice, so I doubted she was calling my name.  I’m not that popular at Porto to have a girl calling my name.  I heard it again, but I couldn’t see anything anyways, so I ignored her.

Turns out, it was Lauren Nicole Williams.  Hahahaha sorry!  She caught Dais at the showers, and told us that Matt had paddled out too.  He was out in front of the bathrooms and caught a long left early in the session.  She told us how they got out of school, and he saw that there wasn’t too much wind on the waves, so he had to go out. 

“I let him surf because I know how much it means to him.  I know how antsy he gets without surf, so I rather have him surf than be antsy,” she said.

What a great girlfriend.

“Yea, I’m a total douche when I don’t get to surf,” Dais chuckled.  We all had a laugh as we watched Matt paddle for some half foot waves. 

Matt came in and we all said what’s up to each other.  It was funny that we three all had the itch this afternoon, and we ended up surfing at Porto.  We were all surf addicts, trying to get our fix so we don’t become antsy and douche baggy.  All in all, a great, relaxing surf session.

Mahalo, Mother Ocean. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Back Home at 26th Street with One Wave Dave 041711

Surf Report:  NW (?) swell.  Drift went north though.  Knee to waist high.  Chest high max. 
Atmosphere:  Hazy to Sunny!!
Winds:  Off shore!  Then to on shore.
Water:  Cool

I was hung over from surf.  I collapsed last night after taking a shower.  Actually, Big Wave Dave had texted me right before I was going to sleep, and he wanted to come out.  So I told him I would call him when I woke up. 

630 AM rolls around, and I roll out of bed.  I call Dave up as he answers as if I just woke him up from a nap. 

“Yea, yea, ok, yea, let’s go surf!” he told me. 

I fill up the water jugs and grab my towel.  The towel was dry from hanging on the dolly in my garage.  I reach for my wetsuit.  The damn wetsuit is still cold.  Oh well.  Deal with it. 

I pick up Dave as he fills me in on his night.  He went to go get some soup with Chancho at Jerry’s around 200 AM and didn’t get much sleep.  I had about five hours of continuous sleep.  I woke up at 400 AM, then 500 AM, then 630 AM.  My body wasn’t aching too much, but I was sure tired and sluggish. 

Christina had texted me that Shan and Cheryl might be coming to 26th Street, so we should meet up there.  She texted me at 647 AM to give us the surf report:  “It’s overcast, still free parking.  Waves look fun, there are some nice shoulders.” 

I hoped the day would turn nice.

I knew by the time we got there, we wouldn’t score the free parking.  We still stopped by to check it out real quick.  The shoulders looked mushy and crumbly.  The face of the wave was almost at a 30 degree incline.  It was looking flat.  Oh well.  Let’s do this!  So we hop back in the van and go to 16th Street for some free parking.

I debated whether or not Dave and I should skate there.  Dave said he could skate on the longboard, carrying Sherry the longboard.  So I reluctantly obliged. 

I couldn’t wait to change into my suit.  I really had to pee.  Once we got changed and started walking down the slope with our boards in hand, I let loose and let it drip down my leg.  SLOSH SLOSH said my sandals.  SLOSH SLOSH SLOSH SLOSH.

We got to 26th Street in no time.  Dave’s bare foot skating was nice and smooth.  We left our boards on the lifeguard tower and covered it with my towel.  I saw Christina’s bag, so I figured she would be right where her bag was, right north of the tower.  So, we both stretch out, and stretch just a little bit more for caution, and start to paddle out. 

Today the shore pound was kind of gnarly.  It had that washing machine effect, pushing and pushing and swirling and twirling.  If one wasn’t careful, they would be swimming in the same spot for ten minutes at a time.  I felt that I got caught on the inside on my first paddle out.  I couldn’t make it to the line up.  But, I just kept going, getting my aching muscles some more oxygen and juice.  I see Dave paddle south of me, and I lose sight of him.  I hope he makes it out, I thought. 

I finally get out to the line up and observe my surroundings.  I see some longboarders on the outside, some shortboarders hanging with other longboarders ten feet behind them, and then I sat even further behind them.  I saw Manny in his neon yellow pink and orange board shorts, reminiscent of the sexy ones Nicky wore.  Manny is a quite large Hawaiian dude, and loves to go bareback. 

“Eyyy, Klaude!  How you doing?” he yelled at me.

“Good Manny!  How are you!?” I replied.

“Good man.” 

“Hey, its already summer time huh?”

“haha, yea, I love it!  It’s so warm!” he sarcastically said.

“Hey Manny, what time did you thaw out yesterday?” another guy asked.

“Oh, like three o’clock,” he chuckled.

It was good to be back home. 

I love 26th Street’s vibe and atmosphere.  Everyone is so friendly, but if they don’t like you, they will chase you out in an instant.  The atmosphere can get heavy here if there is someone releasing bad vibes.  Today, all the 26th Street Ohana were out:  Bruce, Roy, Manny, Neon board dude, Kyle and Damon, and even the groms!

The winds were off shore, feathering the peaks of the waves.  Every five minutes or so, a set would lurch over the horizon, and if it broke early, the longboarders got it on the outside.  However, when they broke a bit later, the wave had a steeper face on it as it made an almond shaped curl and peeled across the sand bar nicely.  The blue waves were tinted with a touch of green and the sun started to burn through the marine layer and blast us with some warmth. 

I noticed I stated to drift north rather quickly.  I was actually stuck behind Bruce and his crew.  I always try to avoid where Bruce goes, because he is always on the best waves, no matter what.  You can’t drop in on him, you can’t out run him, and you can’t help but cheer him on as he flies down on his self-painted foamie.  He kills it all the time on that thing. 

I see Glenn out today!  He always surfed 26th Street with Nicky and I, and he used to take Nicky surfing points north of LA.  He is a really great guy, and loves his surf.  He and I chit chat for a while before noticing that we won’t get any waves around Bruce.

We start to make our way further south, back towards the lifeguard tower.  I wondered where Dave could have gone.  I was hoping he too was drifting north, because when I saw him paddle out he was south of me, so maybe I can run into him? 

My first wave today was a right (go figure.)  I was able to pump some slow arcs on the wave face, for I wasn’t fully recovered from my surf hangover yet.  The wave closed out, and I straightened out. 

The ensuing paddle out a downer.  I worked and worked at getting myself out of the shore pound, but it took way too long for my liking.  My shoulders were still store, and so I wasn’t really liking the paddling against the waves too much. 

Just then, Matt’s voice came into my head:  “My brother says, if you want to train for your paddle, you got to paddle against the current and fight to maintain your spot.  There’s no better way to get your paddle stronger.”

So, I paddled longer, deeper strokes.  They were slower than usual, but each stroke was with more concentration and focus.  I get out to the line up, and sit with Glenn.  He and I catch up on his family, what’s been going on with my shoulder, and surf.  Just then, he catches a nice set wave going right.  I backed out for him since he got a clean ride ahead of him, and it was a legitimate chest high insider.  The off shore winds blew rainbows off the top of his wave as he dropped in and trimmed down the line on his longboard.  I hooted for him.

Another longboarder who’s face I see at 26th Street took off on the second insider double up.  I hooted for him too, as he dropped in on a clean clear blue right hand shoulder that was just begging to be caressed by your hands.  This day was beautiful. 

I took some waves, all pumping down the line or practicing my cutbacks.  I still seem to bog out of the cutback when I’m at the top of lip, making me lose all my speed and therefore falling off the wave.  I should check out some video’s to see how I won’t lose speed in those sections.  Maybe I have to lean more on my back foot? 

On one wave, though, I wanted to change it up.  I popped up on a wave that no one saw coming.  Everyone was out of position on this insider that doubled up.  I pump down the line twice, rearranging my feet to go over the fins.  I could hear the leash hitting the board.  I then shoot down the face and lean all my weight into the fins.  The board shoots up, off the lip, and I try a redirection down the line.  I fall. 

I catch some more waves, going down the line, going left, and took a right going straight while dragging my whole hand on the face, since I saw another surfing coming at me on the left and he was on a longboard.  I then see people sitting next to Christina’s bag, so I figured it was Shan and her. 

It turned out to be Dave and her.  Shan came walking back as I got out of the water.  Dave had been talking with the three of them for a while.  He told me of his one wave that he got, and how he got worked and had to take a break.  Shan and I exchange hello’s and what’s ups, and Christina gives me a hug.  We all make small talk, and I ask if they were coming out again.  They said they would, so I started to go back out. 

At this moment, I didn’t have a good time at all.  The surf just shut down, and the waves became even mushier.  It seemed only the longboarders were getting these tough waves, and I was scratching out on a few of them.  I decided to start body surfing a bit instead.

Shan and Christina started to paddle out when I was body surfing.  I saw Shan catch a close out left that  exploded white water before he even got to the flats.  I saw Christina’s long wave, to which I yelled, “Stay on it!”  to her numerous times for she seemed to wobble a bit while maintaining her balance on the crumbly wave.  She took the wave for a long ride, all the way to where she could walk after she hopped off the board. 

Then, I saw Kyle.  He took an inside wave that stood up nicely, pumped, pumped, pumped (and these were long, speedy pumps) and cracks a huge turn on the lip, and continues on his ride to the inside.  I had to hoot for him.  He smiled back. 

Before I knew it, he was on the outside now, getting to his feet on a wave that hasn’t broken yet.  He starts stomping the nose to stay in the wave, then the wave starts to gather speed and pitch, so he directs his board down the right.  He pumps again with long, smooth arcs and gathers speed.  CRACK!!! Another turn destroying the lip.

That was enough for me to grab my board again and go out.  I didn’t care if I was tired.  I had to go surf.  I convince Dave to come back out, and he said OK.  I paddle out to the line up with him, and he sits way on the outside. 

I got a few rides while sitting their with him, and I see Shan in the line up.  I take a left that doubles up with a steep face and gun for it.  I pop up while grabbing rail, and I’m sliding down right in front of him when I feel my nose dive in and I get flung forward.  I took the wave on my back, and came up laughing at myself.

I get caught on the inside for a two good three wave sets.  Shan paddled for a left, but couldn’t get in it and still popped up.  The board was being taken down by the crashing lip as the section ran five feet ahead of him.  He had the “Oh shit” look on his face as he went over the falls and into the washing machine. 

I paddled and paddled and paddled to get back to the line up.  I see him again going for a wave, this time an inside wave that stacked up nicely in front of him.  He paddles and paddles, but scratches out, and watches the light blue wave go past him. 

Watching this, I told myself that I need to push myself over the ledge.  I was inspired not to scratch out on any waves from that point on.  I can’t hold back anything since I might miss the wave.  I didn’t want that to happen.

I feel that I go into these “letting go” modes when I surf my best.  It’s similar to when all my problems disappear when I surf, but more in control.  I let the wave and body work together, and I somehow muster up the power in catching some waves.  I had that yesterday too at Churches, when our arms were super tired and our bodies couldn’t pop up, but when a wave came the light switch turns on and everything works completely together. 

I took a handful of waves after this moment, going for anything that doubled up on the inside, for the outside sets were mushy and didn’t offer much of a ride for a shortboarder like myself.  On one of these double ups, I snaked Uncle Miles today.  I don’t know about you, but Uncle Miles has snaked me a dozen times, but he’s so good that you feel good when he does his beautiful turns on the wave face.  I know Khang has been snaked by him a handful of times, so I guess he just does it to anyone.  Today he was going for this right, and so was I.  I knew that he was going to catch it, but I wanted to get in on the action.  I pop up the same time he pops up, and I start pumping down the line, running away from him.  I try to hit the brakes on the lip, and bog out.  He laughs and smiles at me as he pumps down the line all the way to shore.

One of the groms said to me that he was hoping that right would open up for me a bit more.  I told him that it was ok, since I snaked Uncle Miles.  He chuckled as he watched the other grommette on his longboard take a nice wave all the way to shore.  She usually has a custom Don Kadowaki, but I guess she convinced him to trade (damn cute girls.)  I told him to get his board back, and not to be nice to her.  There will be plenty of time for being nice to her another time.  And he listened!  hahahahaha

I noticed I drifted a bit further south when I looked back and saw the next life guard station south of 26th Street.  I then saw Dave’s neon armpits, and then I yelled at him.  He looked my way, but I think the moving water didn’t allow him to see me for I was bobbing up and down in the inside.  Shan tells me that he’s over there, so I start paddling towards Dave. 

“This is training, it’s not as bad as Huntington Beach,” Matt said in my head. He was right. 

I paddle past Shan, then past Damon, and then a friendly surfer who said hello to me, and past the green longboarder, then I finally get back to the 26th Street lifeguard tower, where the groms are.  These guys are so awesome on the longboard, I can’t wait till they get even older and better.  They were talking about being on tour so I’m guessing they were longboard or just local competitors.  They weren’t oh my god ripping, but they definitely knew how to surf and choose good waves.  The grommette was back on her shortboard, and the grom had his longboard back.  Now he was catching all the waves to shore. 

I call Dave in since he was all the way outside.  He said that he was tired, and I told him I was too.  We should take on in, I said to him. 

“You can call me One Wave Dave, from now on,” he told me. 

Big Wave Dave to Death Wish Dave to One Wave Dave??  Man that’s brutal. He's been busy with school and work so he doesn't have much time to get some surf time in, but I hope he does soon, since he is at a world class surf beach known as Steamer Lane. 

Ladies and Gentlemen: I present to you, One Wave Dave (applause.) 

Boo.  Boo.  Boo-urns.  I want Big Wave Dave back.  

I just wanted one more wave.  Something good to end this three hour session.  The grom paddled into the first set wave as it feathered off a nice peak and opened up for him for a nice ride.  But he got pinched towards the end and fell.  I took the third wave of the set as the blue green colors of the wave hypnotized my whole body and I took off on the right.  I was able to pump up and down and re-enter from the lip, and I fell off when the wave slowed down on the inside.  That was it for me.

Dave eventually paddled in, and expressed his difficulty even paddling in.

“Dude, I was trying to paddle, but the water kept pushing me back out so I had to get off!  And then they kept crashing and crashing…”

Still Big Wave Dave in my eyes.  Sexy sexy!!
Damn, 26th Street just gave him a welcome home slap on the buttocks, and bit off a chunk of his heart, for Dave looked drained and humbled.  But, he did catch one wave!! 

Shan and Christina were talking on the sand, and Shan came by to say adieu.  We went to Christina and talked for a bit and took off.  Our bodies were tired and in need of some good rest.  We skated back up to 16th Street and called it a day.

Mahalo Mother Ocean for producing the beautiful conditions once again. It felt great to be back home again at 26th Street. 

All DAy Surfing - Afternoon at Churches 041611

Surf report: Incoming NW Swell
Winds: On shore
Atmosphere:  HOT and summer-like
Water:  Cold

We arrive to San O and see a line to get in.  We hoped they were all civilians trying to get in, and we were right.  We cruised through the entrance thanks to our “golden ticket” and went down to the familiar camp grounds of San Onofre.  This was a military perk for sure, used by soldiers and their families for a bit of R&R.  All the campsites were packed full with trailers and trucks, with the smell of barbeque and beer hovering over each site.  The water looked crystalline as we drove passed every campsite in search of J.  We get to the end of the lot and score a parking spot.  We go search for J, but ended up at a campsite with no tent and just one yellow twin fin fish hanging around.  Oh well, let’s just go surf.

JUST ENJOY THE SURF.  JETS.  That should be our motto from now on.  We three got changed into our dry wetsuits (thank you Mr. Sunshine) and waxed up our boards.  We put on our sun block and refueled as much as we could.  I ate my banana chips and drank my coconut water while Dais ate his PB&J sandwich.  Matt fed off the energy of the universe.  The spot in front of us was firing, but was dominated by stylish longboarders.  One guy was bare-backing it, and he was definitely the stand out surfer in the pack.  He took off on these rights that peeled perfectly from the point, and he would walk up and down the board.  He would then do a cut back and walk up to the nose, and then walk back and kick out of the wave. 

The tide was approaching low tide as we walked down towards Churches and Middles, and we saw an empty spot near Battle Platoon’s.  Matt asked if we wanted to paddle out here, and we all agreed that this looked like a winning spot.  So, session number two was under way.

It was just us three at this spot with no one else out.  Matt was the first to hit the empty line up.  I was second, and Dais followed soon after.  Before I could even start paddling out, I saw Matt take a left.  He pumped up and down the line, and kicked out.  OK, so it’s pretty nice huh?  I took a few more cautious steps on the cobble stones, and I see Matt pop up on another left.  I look back at Dais, giving him the “WHAT THE FUCK??” look.  Was it really that good, or was Matt just taking out his frustrations of this morning out on the waves? 

Dais didn’t hesitate another moment and started to paddle out, passing me as I walked on the cobblestones.  I said fuck this, and started to paddle too.  Matt continuously took these lefts after lefts.  It was his hour of glory.  The spot just seemed to pump out wave after wave.  Then Dais was getting in to the action.  I actually got to see two of his nicer waves early in this session.  One wave, he pops up, and then he stands up on both feet since I saw his body stabilize on the board, and then he made it out on the face of the wave.  He took the wave until it bogged out on him. 

Matt kept getting rides to shore, even on the rights.  I was really jealous, for I had no waves under my belt at this point.  I was more north of them, and tried to work the rights from that section.  Unfortunately, they didn’t pack the punch that would carry me and I couldn’t get into any of the waves.  I grew frustrated, and gave in by paddling towards Matt and Dais. 

“Man, I haven’t caught shit yet!” I told Dais.  Matt had taken another right all the way to shore.

“You’ll get one.  Here, take this one!”

I swung around, and caught the wave.  I popped up, pumped down the line, and exited the wave.  Dais = good luck.

After that, it was just wave after wave of bliss.  We probably used up as much serotonin as kids dropping E pills at raves during this two and a half hour session.  We all had waves to ourselves.  Even when a new guy came, he didn’t get much because we would take all the waves, hooting each other into them.  The new guy would then leave or paddle somewhere else, seeing that he wasn’t getting any waves while we got ride after ride. 

I split the peak with Matt.  It was a set wave, and I went right as he went left.  The drop was nice and smooth on this chest high wave, and I was able to pump down the line.  I did a half cutback and bogged out on the lip, getting unstuck like the barney I am.  Matt took his wave all the way to shore, far further from where I bogged out on the wave, and Dais gave him a JETS (shaka) signal and hooted for him. It was the first time Matt and I had split the peak.  I wish there was a full panoramic view of that split of the peak from the shore... I used to do that with Nicky, and splitting the A-Frame peak with one of da boys is by far the funnest way to surf

My right hamstring started to cramp up half way through the session.  I didn’t want to get out, so I tried to stretch it out to no avail.  So I started to massage my hamstring and I think that did the trick.  It was a shame that my hamstring had to cramp up when I was going for the set of the day, so I completely ate it, but hey that’s life, isn’t it?

Dais caught a lot of waves today.  I think he too realizes how good waves improve his skills beyond any wave at Porto or Manhattan Beach.  These waves at Trestles are just so slow and crumbly, and forgiving!  Even if you wipe out on the feta cheese lip, you’re not in for a long hold down or a trip in the washing machine.  And even if you do get tossed in the washing machine, it isn’t as bad as the washing machine at Porto. 

Another fun way to surf would be to drop in on da boys.  Dais also snakes me again this day.  He and I went for this right, and I popped up.  This snake was all slow-mo for me, as I watched him paddle valiantly into the wave.  I see him get to his drop knee pop up, and then we make eye contact.  He then has this surprised look like “Oh shit, where the hell did you come from?” and completely loses concentration and becomes unbalanced.  He gets the speed wobbles and bails out of the wave, and he goes backwards as his board shoots forward.  I laughed hysterically because of the whole body language and his eyes just becoming so wide with surprise.  I kept on laughing in the line up with this snake. 

I learned today that my backside pump is no where I want it to be.  I must have looked so awkward going on the left, for I tried to stay in the lip, but still try to go through the motions of pumping.  In my head, I wanted to do what Andy Irons was doing in his High 5 section, but in reality, all I was doing was bogging out in the lip of a left.  I got three “pumps” (they were just me stomping on the tail and nose back and forth) before the wave ran away from me.  Whomp whomp whomp.  FAIL. 

Our spot started to die out.  So, Matt leads the way down the valley of death, I mean the mountain of glory, further north, where he immediately catches a great right all the way to shore. 

I took a nice right too, pumping down the line and attempting at my cutback.  Dais gets a wave here too, and we all dominate this spot. 

There was a longboarder here, but she (?) wasn’t phased by our presence.  Dais and I hooted her into a set wave as she made the drop and took it all the way to shore. 

“MATT!  MATT!  MATT! MATT!” we started chanting.  We cheered him into a nice, perfect right that he pumps and smacks the lip, then pumps all the way to shore.  He said that he was walking up all the way to the nose in order to maintain the momentum.  What is he, a longboarder? 

The place we moved to started to shut down too, but the spot we were before starts firing again.  My shoulders and back were burning, and my limbs felt like jello.  I couldn’t paddle into any more waves at this point, until my eyes saw another set approach. 

I had to go for it.  I would regret it my whole life knowing I didn’t try to go for it.  The on shore winds crumbled the lip on top of me as I popped up.  I make it down to the flats and bottom turn up.  I start to lean on my heel side and slide down the face again, as the green wave just rippled with energy.  I pump up and then down again, then back up and do a small top turn.  The wave closes out ahead of me, and I felt revitalized. 

We three move down back to where we started from, and catch a few more waves.  In all honesty, this day is a bit fuzzy in my memory bank.  I think the serotonin messed with all of our brains and we don’t remember much.  The waves we caught this second session was just non stop and so much fun!  By the end of the session, I had to catch one last wave in order to punctuate the session.  I caught my last wave on a right, and got out of the water. 

Matt followed suit as he caught one last left from the peak he started from.  We both looked at each other and acknowledged that we redeemed ourselves from the morning session. 

We tried to direct Dais from the shore.  We whistled and hooted and yelled as sets approached, and directed him to the peaks.  We directed him to the north, and then the south would break.  Then we directed him south, then the north would break.  In the end, exhaustion kicked in, and he was stuck in the middle of both peaks, and just started to let the wave carry him.  The set waves looked like ankle slappers anyway.  I guess it was a lot bigger out in the line up. 

When we got back, we rinsed off at the showers and started to get packed.  We watched the military dudes play beer pong and grill up some barbeque.  The longboarders were still out in full force in front of us.  There was a shortboarder out there that was killing it.  A military soldier took out a longboard and was completely kooking it, getting in the way of people, eating shit, paddling in straight on one wave, and claiming the ride.  We must have looked just like him when we first started, but with less machismo and bravado on such meager wave catching.  

Longboarder's Heaven San Onofre

We three had blood shot eyes, burning shoulders and backs, and sun-tanned faces.  We tried not to eat so much during the day, for we were going to get all you can eat sushi for dinner.  We stayed there for a good three hours, watching all the customers come in and out of the restaurant while we polished off 20+ orders of sushi each.  Even the waitresses and the manager Tony were pretty impressed with our accomplishment.  I only hoped that Randy would be proud of our achievements today, for we surfed all day, redeemed ourselves of the bad conditions in the morning, and ate for three hours at the sushi joint that he and Matt frequented so often.  

Good Work Gentlemen.  3 hours of eating!!

We got home around 1100 PM.  The day was dark, the street lights were on, the air was chilly, and the passing cars were seldom silenced by a flying airplane.

Mahalo Mother Ocean… you always seem to make my day. 

All Day Surfing - Early Morning @ ________ 041611

Surf Report:  Lingering SW and dropping out.  Incoming NW swell
Winds:  Off shore quickly to on shore
Water:  Very cold
Atmosphere:  Premonition of summer days to come…

The day was dark, the street lights were on, the air was chilly, and the airplanes of LAX slept silently on the sides of the runway.  It was 530 AM.   

Matt and I had planned for another all-dayer for ourselves.  The weather was lining up to be a great day for a beach day, so why not?  It was supposed to be 85 degrees, but there wasn’t much swell on tap for us on Saturday.  Matt informed me that Rick had a cottage at ___________ and that we should stop there in the morning, and then head down to meet up J at San Onofre where he had a camping spot secured.  I let Dais know the plans, and he said he was able to do a whole beach day.  Francis, on the other hand, couldn’t make it out since he had to work from Friday night 830 PM to Saturday morning 830 AM. 

I woke up a little before 500 AM Saturday morning, and went back to sleep for ten minutes.  I woke up again, and called Dais.  He sheepishly answered the phone, and I told him that I would be there as soon as I finished stretching.  I packed up my back pack and set out to pick him up shortly thereafter. 

The morning was warm, and I only needed a t-shirt.  I had trouble sleeping at night again for I was excited about surfing all day again.  I have to take advantage of these days since who knows when I will be able to surf all day?  I have to take advantage of the moment and not think about the future too much.  I had no plans or obligations for the weekend (except studying...), so I was free as a bird.  I arrive at Dais’s house, and he came out with his back pack, a bag full of jackets, his wetsuit, and his Desire`.  We only took one board each, since we both wanted to get more assimilated with our ladies, and the only way of doing that is to use her until stubbornness becomes habitual with our board choice.

I called Matt, and he said that he was packing up his stuff and to take my time.  I knew that meant, “Where the hell are you guys?  I’m already waiting in my car.”  A quick drive down the 405 and we arrive to Matt’s house.  We transfer our gear and what not to the surf mobile, and we set out at 555 AM. 

“HEY, there’s three of us, and there's three 5’s,” Matt said.

“Triple 5 soul,” Dais added.

We drove down the 405 listening to the dub-step electronica station on Pandora.  The sun is just about to peak over the mountains, and shine the way to glory.  

Beautiful is an understatement

We pass the Denny’s that signifies to me that we are approaching our destination.  I get pretty excited when seeing this Denny’s since I use it as a landmark on our journeys, and it reminds me of the times we scored at San Onofre. 

First, we get to ____________.  Rick was waiting already, getting all his stuff unpacked from his truck.  We met his friend Gary T. and his wife Rhonda.  Both were Venice High alumni.  Gary told us about the olden days of the Dog Town and POP (Pacific Ocean Park.)  He told us about days where he would take the bus to Malibu and surf all day, and take the bus back to get picked up by his mom.  I found all these stories interesting and historically valuable for surfing in SoCal in the 80’s.  I wish I had a recorder or something to document all these stories.

We also got to see Rick’s daughter Jane again.  I love this girl!  She has such great energy and a smile on her face all the time.  She is adorable. 

Then Michaelson pulls up in his huge camper wagon.  First impression of him was that he was Grizzly Adams.  He was definitely not a man who would be sitting in front of a computer all day and typing his life away like most of us do.  He was the one that went to Oxnard with Matt and Rick and pointed out all these secret spots to Matt up and down the coast north of Los Angeles.  His knowledge base of surf spots must have been as big as Gary, if not more, and I felt like I should be writing down everything he was saying for his knowledge boar a heavy historical weight to me.  We didn’t get to talk or surf with him, but man, his BOARDS! So sexy!!!  He had every oddity one could call a surfboard in the back of his truck.  Matt opened up the car and showed us the truck, complete with a mattress, camping gear, a single fin on a rack on the “wall” of the truck, a twin fin with bamboo fins and a square tail, a quad fin with bamboo fins, another single fin, an old log, another twin fin, and another weird looking board.  Dais and I were just salivating from our chops looking at this orgasmic scenery.  Rick told us that this is nothing compared to his house, for the only room that Michaelson has that doesn’t have surfboards would be the bathroom and a small bedroom. 

So we watch the waves for a while.  The waves SUCKED.  Haha ok let’s be a little more fair.  The weather was beautiful.  The winds were off shore.  The beach was empty, without a soul in sight besides us.  Rick had set up a canopy for his crew that was staying for the weekend.  But the waves were just jumbled up and small, and pounding the shoreline.  ____________ was doing her best imitation of El Porto and succeeding. 

“Man, we should have just stayed at 26th” Dais joked.  I co-signed on that.  

26th Street would have been better - Dais and KK

Matt joked that Rick would chastise us for all having thrusters today, saying that fish boards are perfect for California waves and that it was a small day and on and on.  Luckily Rick didn’t surf with us this morning, so we didn’t hear that from him today. 

Well, high tide was around 845 AM, so we waited until then, hoping that the waves would change or pick up.  No dice, my friend.  In fact, the winds switched from off shore to on shore, and Rick and Gary joked that we better get out there while it was good. 

So, we three suited up.  Jane was hungry for attention, and said that one of us had to stay and watch her.  I told her the ladybug she had been playing with would watch her.  She said that she needed an adult.  I volunteered Gary to do the job.  She looked a big disappointed. 

So, we three paddle out to a near empty line up of a sand bar at ___________.  In all honesty, it wasn’t so bad.  I caught two memorable rides.

One was a left, where I grabbed rail and looked down the line as the left just jumped up as the wave hit the shore pound.  I was close to the wave face, and held on to the wave until it completely gobbled me up on six inches of water. 

The other memorable wave I had this morning was a right, where I was actually able to pump down the line and go up the lip.  I tried to do a floater in order to re-enter, but floaters are hard!  I am still a noob, I told myself. 

Dais went for a few questionable waves, and so did Matt.  I think we all struggled this morning, but Matt was definitely frustrated as hell.  Dais was all smiles, though.  I was observing the waves, and they didn’t seem to be improving.  Matt would sit on the outside, catch some dumpy wave that came in and pop up and try to pump down the line but could only go straight.  In all honesty, Porto might have been a better choice.  But, there was no crowd at all, so that helped out a lot.

Gary came out on his neon green bonzer.  He was all smiles paddling out to the line up, and caught a few waves.  He actually paddled for a right, and I saw his neon green board just come out of the lip and smack the shit out of it.  He didn’t stick the turn, but it was the gnarliest move I’ve seen all day.  I don’t care if he didn’t stick it, it was pretty amazing watching this man who was old enough to be our dad still tearing it up. 

I took a questionable drop, and ate shit.  At this point, the fins cut my heel.  I knew it was cut, so I came out of the water to check it out.  It was just a small skin scratch, but I had enough.  I opted to body surf instead since that seemed safer and more fun than dealing with the jumbled up conditions. 

Gary soon came out and called it a day, and so did Matt.  Dais put his board down, and came out to body surf with me.  He took the biggest wave on the shore pound that I was so amazed it made my eyes wide with delight. 

We both called it, and headed back in.  The beach crowd was starting to fill in, and a lot more people were showing up.  I had never seen _______ so crowded before. 

We posted up next to Rick and Tim’s (another Venice High alumni) canopy and relaxed.  I flew a kite for the first time in probably twenty years, and tried to study as Jane kept using me as a pillow and using up Dais’s sunblock to draw smiley faces on him.  Tim’s wife Amy (?) was also Venice High alumni, and so it seemed so crazy to be able to talk to some people who were members of the Venice community from the time we were kids too.  We also met Tracy, Rick’s wife, Paige, Rick’s other daughter, and her friend Ashley.  Jane still stole the show with her dancing and singing. 

After a few hours of relaxing, the beach swelled up with people, and we decided to leave to meet J at San O.  We all said our good-byes to everyone, packed up our stuff, and headed to San O. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Significantly Insignificant - A Random Rant

"...its also weird to think that, it takes insignificance, to make us feel significant" - Nais Dais.

One of my conversations with Dais led to this quote.  I feel that this holds true to us surfers... who constantly feel insignificant in the vast ocean, but feel much more in-tune with the vast energy of the universe, which gives us a presence of mind that is significant.

On numerous occasions, I feel "powerless" or "insignificant" against the power of the Ocean.  But at these same moments of ineptitude and inescapable vulnerability, I feel the strongest.  A true Yin and Yang of sorts.   When I can't escape the Ocean, I feel the most free.  When I feel like a grain of sand in the Ocean, I am bigger than the universe.  When I am out of the water, I feel like drowning on land. 

We as a society strive for "significance" or validation.  We our taught to want things such as material needs, business relationships and a certain fast-paced lifestyle.  Furthermore, the way we interact with people gives us validation that we are significant to someone else, and therefore we are important.  We want to feel needed, important, and significant.  The way we are taught to achieve it by this fast-paced neonanotechnological world, on the other hand, is not the best. 

"You are not important.  You are the all-singing all-dancing crap of the world."  I feel that we try to push and shove to achieve goals that we set for ourselves that are "important" to society's standards.  But are they important for our survival?  No.  They are most likely killing us day by day, bringing us closer to death.  When we reduce ourselves to insignificance, we notice the smaller, finer things in life, such as the plumerias blooming on a tree, or a lizard crawling up the wall of concrete, or the winds shifting and carrying up a bird.  I find these insignificant small plants and animals more significant day by day.

Perhaps I am returning to my childhood, where I watched the water flow down the streets or the birds come to my makeshift bird feeder, made from an orange juice carton and some string.  Whatever it is, I like the feeling of being more in tune with my surroundings, for when I feel my environment is growing around me, I too feel like I am growing.  Therefore, when I feel more insignificant in nature, I feel I can grow with my natural surroundings.

Let's take this to the wave canvas this weekend.  The DRC plan is to go surf all day at San Onofre, and the weather is supposed to be amazing!  I will strive for insignificance.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

County Line Part Two - Jello Arms and Legs

Surf Report:  still 2-4 feet
Winds:  On shore
Atmosphere:  Sunny!
Water:  Freezing cold…

We ate at Neptune’s Net across the street from County Line.  I had some fried fish and shrimp with French fries, but I should have gone to the other side to get some fresh seafood instead of the fried stuff.  I bought some shrimp ceviche to share with everyone, and that was pretty tasty, except that the ketchup taste was a little over powering for me. 

Dais, Matt and I decided to take a nap as we were full and in need of some rest.  Dais was in the front seat, while Matt was sprawled on the middle seats, and I slept in the trunk with the door open.  It was hard to sleep because of all the motorcycles revving up their engines and blasting off down the PCH.  

Francis walked by and said he was going to surf.  I told him I wanted to rest just a bit more.  I’m not sure if I really did get any rest from that point on, but I was laying there, eyes wide open under my sunglasses, hearing the waves crash on the shore line and the myriads motorcycles blasting off their engines. 

I got out of the car and looked at the line up.  The line up still looked really fun with some crumbly blue green shoulders coming in on the sets, and people busting turns on the face.  I see a guy take off on a red railed board, and I knew it was Francis.  I can tell his style.  He pumps down the line, and then does one really deep pump and then swings the whole board around for a round house cutback.  He threw out lots of spray on the face, and hit the foam ball.  He pumps down again, and busts a top turn until the wave bogs out.  He paddles out back to the line up. 

He waits for the sets to come.  He knew that the second and third waves were better choices, and plus he didn’t have to compete with the local guys and groms gunning for the first set, so he sat back and watched as the first wave rolled through, paddled a bit further out, swung around, and paddled into the cleanest of the set.  It wasn’t as big as the first or second wave, but it was the cleanest.  He pumps down the line, top turns, and pumps further down, taking the wave all the way to shore.  That was enough inspiration for me to paddle out. 

Dais had “woken up” too, unable to sleep with the passing motor vehicles running up and down PCH.  He saw Francis tearing it up there, and seemed inspired to paddle out.  Matt was still a little groggy, but he said he would join us later on. 

We pulled our wet wetsuits back on, and put on our sun block.  It was time for a double session!  I stretched as much as I could, and made my way down to the rocks.

I paddled out where I saw Francis tearing it up.  It wasn’t that bad of a paddle out, just tiring on my shoulders.  Once I got to the line up, the waves were jumbly from the on shore winds.  Francis was nowhere in sight.  The water was clear and clean still, but I could see the drain pipe running out to the line up.  The sun shown down on us, and made this halo around the shadow cast upon the water.  The ice cold water trickled down my wetsuit as I saw Dais come out to the line up. 

“Where’s Francis?”  I asked him. 

He shrugged.  “Maybe down there?” he said, as he pointed to the left hand peak down south.  It could have been him, I’m not sure. 

We saw him walk out of the line up, so it was kind of a shame to not be able to see his cutbacks up close, but it was still nice to surf with him in the AM session.  The clear water really reminded me of Diamondhead, and I surfed Diamondhead with him practically every day last time I was in Hawaii, so it was very cool to be with him surfing again. 

This double session had only a few memorable rides for me.  I think we all struggled in this double session, for our bodies were tired and the cold water didn’t help at all.  Matt was still shivering, and could only squeeze out a few rides.  Kind of like when you squeeze the last bit of tooth paste out of the tube, he was on his last bit of energy reserves.  I think the cold had everything to do with that, for he has more energy than any of us combined.  Matt paddled up north where we started the morning session to see if he could get lucky over there. 

On one wave, I paddled for it while a longboarder was on my inside.  He was kind enough to ask, “Are you going for it?” 

I answered back, “YEA!” and paddled my hardest.  The wave bogged out.  FAIL. 

I felt bad at making him back out on his wave.  He said not to worry about it, but I knew he was a little irritated about it.  He talked to his own crew on how he doesn’t like to back out on waves, and that if he see’s someone unable to paddle into waves, then he’s snaking the next one no matter what.  That was fair enough, for I think the same way, but I felt bad because he missed his opportunity. 

So the next set rolls around, and he takes the first wave.  His friend takes the second wave.  They were both short rides.  It wasn’t that I watched them the whole time, I knew they were going to be short rides, and so I paddled for the next wave that came.  I was able to pump up and down kind of hit the lip as I gathered a lot of speed.  However, my legs could not handle the G forces as I was on the curling lip, and I wiped out with my back on the flats.  Still, the longboard guy saw it, giving me validation that I did belong in that line up. 

Dais seemed to be struggling in the diminishing conditions, and I don’t blame him.  It was a tough time out there, for the wait was long, and the sets came out far beyond the horizon.  Usually, no one was in position for the set waves, and the sets came in sometimes in sets of seven waves. 

My second to last wave was memorable because of my fail.  I pop up on the wave, but my legs were so exhausted from the cold that they felt like jello under me.  My legs gave out from under me, and I couldn’t even make it past the flats.  I was upset at myself for not being able to stick that drop.  I made sure that the next wave, my last wave, would be better.

I told myself, just stick the bottom turn, just stick the bottom turn.  As I made my way back to the line up, I told Dais that I was tired and I would take one in.  Indeed, I was yawning in the line up, so I was lethargic and exhausted.  I yawned again, as I squinted towards the horizon.  I saw a set approach, and I gunned for it.  My Rell, the “reborn” board, sucks when paddling out, is pretty cool when duck diving because she’s so thin, but once you get on a wave, feels like a magic carpet.  So I paddled for the right, putting my head down.  The board picked up speed, and I told myself, pop up!  I then got to my feet, and told myself, “OK, just stick the bottom turn, focus on your legs,” and so I did.  I bottom turned up the wave almost in slow motion, and I was at the top of the lip. “OK, now swing around and re-direct the energy down to your front foot,”  and I did.  I looked down at the wave face again, and out of my peripherals, I saw a small cup of spray come out.  I looked back to see if Dais was watching.  Nope.  Oh well.  I re-entered the wave, and pump down the white water.  That was it for me.  My last wave, and I got a small top turn off of it front side.

I got out and headed up the beach break part of County Line.  Wow, what a better way to get out of the line up.  The sand was forgiving, and there were just small pebbles and shells on the sand.  It was hard to climb up the little cliff though, as my legs and body were out of energy, and my feet were so numb that they wouldn’t listen to what I was telling them to do.

Matt came up shortly and Dais came in as well.  We all had fun today, and surfed our brains out.  I have never surfed County Line before, but I did like the place.  It was a small victory for our small crew, just one hour outside of Los Angeles. 

Till next time, Mahalo Mother Ocean.