Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekenders 053011

Surf Report:  3 – 5 foot, some close outs
Water: Cold
Winds: none
Atmosphere: Deceptively sunny

I was back home last night around 2310.  I was exhausted but happy to be back home.  I showered, stretched a little, and went straight to sleep.  I knew that I wanted to surf the next morning to take advantage of the rare day off I had from work.

I woke up at 600, only to sleep again.  I woke up at 730 and started to get ready to head out.  I was still surfed out and hung over from all the surf from the weekend.  But, I knew that the surf was still good, and so I had to head out. 

Today was a solo session, and rightfully so.  I was back at 26th Street, surfing with the locals there.  When I pulled up, I saw Manny’s car, Don’s car, and Bruce was zipping up his wetsuit.  I found a parking spot on my second go around, and watched the waves. 

The lulls looked small, but the sets rolled in about head high.  I wanted to take out my longboard, but it was a shortboard day.  I screwed in my fins, grabbed my leash, put on extra sun block on, and headed out.  I wanted to surf just for one hour today.

I saw Uncle Miles talking to some girl on the shore.  He walked away and said hi to me.  The girl turns out to be Serena, a beginner, who got ditched by her friends and boyfriend and has been sitting on the sand for the last thirty minutes.  I convinced her to paddle out with me, but she probably couldn’t even get passed the shore pound today.  Oh well.  Beginners shouldn’t be out today.

The line up was super crowded!  I saw some familiar faces, but mostly foreign faces dotted the line up.  I tried to stay away from the crowd, but it was hard to.  A lot of Memorial Day Weekenders showed up and crowded the line up. 

There were some nice waves coming in, but it was hard to position yourself out of the way of someone behind you.  Most of the waves I went for had someone waiting on the inside to get run over by me.  So I would pull out.

I took a few cool waves, but was unable to do any maneuvers on them.  26th Street was a bit pitchy, and some of them were hollow.  I took a white water barrel that I fell on as I made it to the flats.

My wave of the day was also my worst feeling ever.  I took a right that I pumped twice on.  I saw that it was closing out, so I straightened out, only to see a guy right in my path!  I made a decision of trying to carve away from him to no avail.  My board flew towards him as he ducked under.  Apparently, I hit him on the head, and he was pissed.  I repeatedly apologize to him as he cursed and yelled at him.  Eventually though, he was placid, since I asked him if he was bleeding, and he realized that it wasn’t that bad of an accident.  He explained to me that it was ok, and that he was pissed that he got ran over on the wave earlier too.  At this point, I was growing weary of the crowded line up.

I opted to take some insiders and the plan worked.  I got some cleaner rides, but I was unsatisfied when I saw the bigger sets roll in.  I then paddled back in to call it a day after one hour of surfing. 

Most of the locals who paddled out at the same time I did came back in with me.  I guess they decided it wasn’t really worth more than an hour to surf today, too.  I changed slowly back into my land clothes as Shan pulled up to say hi to me.  We chit chatted about the morning, and the camping trip, and he decided to go change.  By the time I left, he was still on his phone, calling shots.  I said by to everyone and left the 26th Street circus for all its glory. 

One thing is for sure:  I am still a noob.  But, I am working hard to get out of that status.  Hopefully I can keep working hard at this life that I love.

Mahalos Mother Ocean for always being there for me. 

Surf Camp Trip - Big Sunday 052911

Surf Report:  5 foot plus with the occasional over head set
Water:  Cold
Winds: On shore, side shore
Atmosphere: Grey skies then sunny

The night was a fiasco for everyone.  Mother Nature rained on us and blew our tents over.  I heard Khoa’s tent tarp flap off to the tent Matt and I stayed in, and I heard Matt continuously get out and fix the tarp on the tent.  I heard Eloyssa giggle throughout the night, and I could only imagine what Christina was going through. 

Khang and Dais slept in the van, and probably had the best rest out of all of us.  I know for a fact that Christina, Khoa, Karen, Sean and Eloyssa did not have a good nights rest.  Francis and Nicole said they were in and out of sleep all night last night, because the winds were too cold and the rain bothered them too.  Matt was up and about by 500, but he didn’t make it obvious he didn’t get much rest either. 

I for one, had a great night’s rest, filled up on food with a cozy sleeping bag enveloping me.  I even took off my jacket because I was so warm inside.  I had a towel wrapped around my neck and I had eaten a nice, full meal.  I even put some athletic cream on similar to icey hot to keep my shoulders nice and limber for the next morning, expecting to be able to surf. 

When I woke up from my slumber, Christina and Matt were outside in the cold weather.  Christina looked like she hadn’t slept all night, and Matt was rustling about the camp site. 

We had no more firewood this morning, and it probably wouldn’t have mattered much since it rained last night and all of our firewood would have been drenched.  The winds still howled angrily at the beach, still tipping over Khoa’s tent.  Their tent looked like a house from Dr. Seuss, bending and contorting in ways we only see in cartoons. 

I told Christina that she should sleep in my sleeping bag at least, since it was still dry and it was warm.  She did, and rested for most of the morning thereafter.  Dais and Khang woke up, but stayed inside the van.  They were the smart ones out of all of us, staying inside the car.  It was raining and windy all night, but they didn’t feel a thing. 

Matt warmed up some hot water for us to make coffee.  Sean and Eloyssa slept in the truck from here.  Matt made us some of the best hot coco coffee ever.  He was generous enough to forgo his own cup and pass out a cup to everyone else first.  Then, he made himself a cup on the second round.  What a generous man.

I started to warm some charcoal so we can cook breakfast.  I fired up the left over sausages, and Matt brought out some eggs to cook over the frying pan.  We heated up some tortillas so we could all have some breakfast tacos.  The coco coffee and coals proved to be the lifesaver for everyone, as they warmed up after a hard night. 

Around 1100, Khoa, Karen, Sean and Eloyssa moved out of camp.  They took most of our camping gear that we didn’t need and headed back to LA.  We all said our goodbyes after we packed up all our stuff.  We waited for 1200 to roll around so we could check into the new camp spot. 

The new camp spot was further north, towards Churches.  As we set up the new spot, the winds calmed down and the sun began to show more consistently.  There was a guy in front with a red fish that was tearing it up on his forehand.  Another grom was on a thruster and was tearing it up too.  We set up Matt’s tent, and started to snack and hydrate for our first session of the day.  We waited a good seven hours for this surf session, and we wanted to make it last.

As we walked passed the contest site again, I had to pee.  I knew Khang would be disgusted by this, so I opted to walk in front of him, in hopes that he would see my trail of pee slosh out my leg.  I started to urinate, and Dais laughed next to me and looked back at Khang.  Matt noticed and took a step to the side, and finally Khang realized what was going on and became disgusted. 

I laughed.

We decided to walk up passed Churches and paddle out around Middles.  Nicole didn’t paddle out with us, but hoped to snap some photos of us surfing.  The waves looked like they were three feet and crumbling like goat cheese from the shore.  We soon would be gravely mistaken.

I was the first one to paddle out into the line up, along with Christina.  We both started out the same, stepping on some razor sharp rocks and choosing our steps carefully.  Once I saw her get pretty deep, I started to wonder how big the waves really were.  I started to paddle once I was in thigh deep water.  Christina was south of me as we paddled, and before I knew it, I lost sight of her.  The waves seemed to consistently come in one after the other, and it became apparent that the waves were not three feet at all.  As I made my way through the white water, I saw a wave break further out.  I paddled and paddled and paddled.  There was another wave that broke further out.  I paddled even more.  By the time I got out to the line up, I was south of BP’s, and closer to the contest site.  I saw Matt and Khang way north of me, about fifty yards, and so I started to paddle towards them.  I didn’t see Christina at all. 

Today was a paddle battle against Mother Ocean.  The drift was so strong, I felt I was paddling about 98% of the time this session.  I rarely sat, waiting and sitting in the spot waiting for a wave.

I saw Francis and Dais eventually, and they too were rarely sitting.  We were all paddling most of the time.

Matt was the clear cut performer of this session.  He pretty much put on a clinic in the challenging surf today.  He was able to paddle into the plus sets, make them, and take them pretty far. 

Francis got a lot of waves, but he probably wanted his other shortboard instead of the bigger longboard that belonged to Nicole. He hung around on the inside at first, taking the double ups that were a bit steeper.  Watching Francis you really get a sense of style:  he pumps on the wave like you envision yourself doing, and just a few pumps gets him from A to point C.  Then he bottom turns and cuts back mid face to send some buckets out the back.  He just flows like water and comprehends like liquid. 

Khang was on Dais’ Maria (fish) and was able to catch some nice right that I didn’t see at the beginning because I had drifted down so far.  Matt was giving him lots of props for the right that he caught.  Khang had snaked me for another wave as I belly rode it, and tried to bust a turn on it but came unstuck.  I then popped up, pumped a few times, and started to bottom turn up the lip to try to crack the lip off, but became unstuck too. 

There was no time to give Khang some shit about snaking me in these conditions.  The waves just kept coming and coming, pushing and shoving. 

Dais mentioned his left hamstring was getting tight.  He was getting some waves, but was challenged by Mother Ocean just like the rest of us.  It was a constant, slow battle that wore us all down today.

For the first hour or so, I tried to figure out how to paddle for these waves.  The plus sets were pitchy, the other waves were crumbly, and then you had to compensate for the drift.  I figured finally that positioning was the first and foremost important factor for catching these waves.  I kept on eyeing the cliff side’s end as a point to sit.  I would always look back and paddle towards the north so I could stay in position. 

I kept on focusing on my breathing too.  I knew I had to pace myself for these waves, and I didn’t want to tire out so soon.  I kept up my slow breathing for the whole session, and it paid off because I was the first one to paddle out, and last one to paddle in. 

At the beginning, I was telling myself the “Surf off your back foot” phrase.  But then, I started to just chant, “Pa~ddle.  Pa~ddle. Pa~ddle.  Pa~ddle.  Pa~ddle.”  I had to remind myself to keep the strokes long, just like my breathing. 

I also took some gnarly wipe outs, one right next to Khang.  There was no way I was making that wave, but I just had to push myself over the ledge to tell my mind and body that I can come out of a wipe out fine, and so I can push myself over the ledge more.  I completely nose dived into the wave, getting pitched over my board.  I thought I might hit myself with the board, but luckily nothing bad happened, and I came up after ten seconds under water.  I was glad that I've been working on holding my breath during the week.  

I watched Matt as he took off on the bigger set waves and make some turns off the top.  He would be able to paddle into the plus sets and make them out, unscathed.  Francis too was making some pretty big drops, but Matt was the clear stand out performer. 

Matt paddled for a left.  The peak feathered on the top and started to break as he paddled for it.  He popped up and had both arms in the spread wing position.  His board just stuck to the face of the wave, and plowed through the white water as he made the drop.  I remember his spread eagle stance as he took the left all the way from BP's to the Middles peak.  He paddled back out with a sly grin on his face.  

“Well, if you wanted a Bali training session, this would be it,” I told him. 

There were a few new faces in the crowd that showed up but none of them lasted too long.  Eventually, Dais and Khang left the line up, and it was just Francis, Matt, and me.

Francis took a huge over head close out wave that I couldn’t make and went over the falls.  After that, he went in and back to the camping site. 

I took some inside waves for some short rides, trying to bust some turns.  If I didn’t do the turns, I probably could have taken the wave longer, but I wanted to work on them.  And what better place to work on maneuvers than pumping Middles? 

Eventually, it was just Matt and me, with another surfer.  We all kept paddling and paddling, maintaining our position right where the cliff dropped off.  Matt took one last wave and called it a day. 

I had a wave after that which I tried to chop hop and pump down the line, but I wanted a cleaner ride.  I waited, paddled, waited, paddled and waited more.  Then, the plus sized set would break far on the outside, and I would realize I was in bad position, right in front of BP’s and too deep in the line up.  I started to paddle in without taking an official “last wave in.” 

Matt was waiting for me on the shore.  I was pretty tired, and my mind did not comprehend my thoughts and translate them to speech too well.  I slurred my words as if drunk, and tried to take in what Matt was telling me.  We both agreed that today’s surf session made up for the no surfing in the morning, but it was pretty challenging.

Once we got back to the campsite, we saw da boys (and girls) all waiting for us.  They gave us props for staying out so long, and told us their stories:

Dais had drifted passed the contest site, and eventually right in front of our new camp site.  He went in and didn’t even have to walk too far to get back to camp.

Khang had drifted too, but had paddled in.  He said he had a pretty frustrating time out there surfing.

Francis was all smiles (as he always is.)  He told me that last wave was a pretty sick drop. 

Christina said that she was almost in the contest area on the first paddle out.  She caught some insiders that rolled through, but that was it for her. 

We fired up the grill and cooked some teriyaki chicken with tortillas.  We killed the last of Lauren’s amazing salsa and whatever beers we had.  Matt and Francis went on a beer run and brought more booze.  We were all exhausted, and done for the day.  We watched the groms do their thing in front of our camp site, doing nice hacks and floaters on the “smaller” waves. 

Rick the Reptile eventually showed up and suited up immediately to head out.  He chugged a beer down before paddling out, and put on a little show for us as we watched him surf.

The smell of barbeque filled our lungs as we took deep breaths of the clean beach air.  The people around us were super friendly, and the sun was starting to set.  The winds started to turn off shore, and the waves in front started to improve, believe it or not. 

We all eventually left around 1900.  At first, we all felt bad leaving Matt to his lonesome because Lauren had left the day before, meaning he was all alone for Sunday night and Monday, but were glad to see that Rick showed up so he could keep him company.  We packed up all our stuff in the van, and said our goodbyes.  Good bye to Matt, good bye to Rick, good bye to TJ the neighbor, and good bye to San Onofre. 

What an amazing surf camping trip this was.  Hard to believe it was just two days and one night.  All we did was surf, eat, surf, eat, sleep, eat, surf more, and eat. 

Mahalo to Matt for letting us take advantage of his military perks.  Without him, none of this would have been possible.  We greatly appreciate all your hospitality and giving nature.  We can only hope that the next camping trip will be as epic as this one.  And yes, we all agree that you are ready for Bali.  Good luck over there, brother.  Don’t come back unless you catch the sickest barrel of your whole life. 

And of course… Mahalo Mother Ocean, for producing some consistent swell for us all weekend. 

Surf Camp Trip 052811 Part 3

Surf Report:  3-5 feet and more consistent than the morning
Atmosphere:  Sunny then cloudy
Water:  Cold/cool
Winds: On shore

I love my new wetsuit.  It doesn’t let any water in or out.  Khang told me in the morning that my old wetsuit would feel obsolete once I wore my new wetsuit because the old one is just OLD and worn out while the new one was fitting better and had new neoprene technology.  The old one got holes on the chest, and leaks water into it all the time.  The new one has four years of improved technology on the old one, and fits tighter to my body.  When I bought me old suit, I could tell it was a good suit because it didn’t let any water in or out.  So, when I pee’d myself, none of it would exit, and no ocean water would enter. 

We got to Middles and our crew set up shop, eight members deep.  It was Khoa, Khang, Dais, Matt, Fransauce, Christina, Nicole, and myself.  I think this was the best showing of the DRC in our short history, and it felt good to be rolling mob deep.  There was an empty line up in front of us, and waves rolling through.  The water looked like crystals glistening in the sun, and the hot sun baked us in our wetsuits. 

Matt’s second ride was a great one.  He set himself up on a right, bottom turned, and then hit the lip with a small splash.  Unsatisfied with that, he re-entered, bottom turned again, and then cracked the whip on the lip for an enthusiastic SPLASH off the lip.  Dais and I hooted him for that, and threw up water for him as to mimic the amount of spray we saw out of the back. 

Khang and Khoa were hungry and irritable.  Well, maybe Khang was more irritable than Khoa.  They both went for the same wave and started to yell at each other.  I’m sure it was playful aggression, but it was rare to see Khang running on empty.  He told us what he had eaten, and said he was still hungry and felt out of energy. 

Dais had one sick ass wave that I remember.  I was on the inside so I got to see his whole wave.  I thought Matt was going to catch it at first, but he was out of position and told Dais to go for it.  Dais paddles and kicks, and then pops up.  He was looking like he was dropping knee, but this time his feet were set on the back of his board, and he had a super bent knee as he made it down the face.  He kept that form, and started to lean into a thick bottom turn.  He dragged his hand on the face as the surfboard squirted water from the rail side of the board, and then I duck dived.  I saw him lose speed at the top of the wave and hooted his ride.  This was probably the cleanest bottom turn I have seen from Dais so far. 

Christina and Nicole were chatting in the line up the whole time.  They seemed to be indifferent about the surf and happy that another girl was actually surfing.  I think they chatted the whole time.

Francis had this one wave where he pumped down the line smoothly, and disappeared from the glass curtain.  “Wait for it…” I told Khoa.  “and…. BAM!” and right on queue, Francis hacked the top of the lip on his forehand.  Most of his board and maybe a fin showed up out of the lip, and he fell off the wave.  But man oh man, did that stoke our whole crew.  That one maneuver made us all push a little bit harder. 

On one wave, I was able to pump down the line nicely.  I was gathering speed for my bottom turn, and then once I bottom turned, I kept my weight on my back foot as I tried to hit the lip.  I felt my whole body crunch down as I hit the lip.  Both my thighs were bracing the g-forces, and my stomach was crunching too.  I’m not sure how it looked, but it sure felt like the closest thing to a front side turn that I have ever done so far.  Dais and Khang gave me some props for that one. 

I think we all caught a decent amount of waves this session.  Christina and Nicole left early, and Khoa followed soon after.  Khoa started the fire for the grill for us. 

I for one was having so much fun out there, I didn’t want to leave.  Matt had the highest wave count out of all of us, and he seemed to be stoked.  He saw Francis try to blow the tail, and thought he was attempting an air.  He came up with the proposition that whoever lands an air first gets their dick sucked by everyone of the DRC.  In the meantime, we should practice sucking dicks.  Or doing airs.

“This sure makes up for this morning,” he told me.

“Yea man, what more can we ask for?”

“Maybe a little bit more shape?” Matt chuckled. 

I took one last wave and my left calve started to cramp up as I did a foam climb.  That’s it for me, I was done.  I had a blast, and I got my wave count up, along with a few attempts on maneuvers. 

I paddled in and waited for da boys to finish up.  The high tide was killing it, so one by one they all came in.  First, Fransauce, then Dais, followed by Khang and finally Matt. 

We all feasted on a menu of sausages, rib eye steaks, grilled vegetables, tilapia, shrimp, more rib eye steak, more sausages, and finally, some epic smores.  Matt was generous and giving this whole night, letting everyone else eat.  He didn't realize that I was serving up the main dishes (he thought I was just giving out sampler platters) and so he missed out on a lot of the food.  But, we took care of him with some extra rib-eyes, sausages, tortillas and salsa.  We all went to sleep around 1000, while Matt and I stayed up with the fire till 1100 recounting our experiences today and reminiscing our first trips to San Onofre. 

Mahalo for a beautiful day…  but boy were we in for a surprise this night. 

Surf Camp Trip 052811 Part 2

Surf Report:  three feet and playful
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: On shore
Water: Cold

After lunch, some of da boys decided to paddle out in front of the camp site.  Khang took out my 9’0” longboard, and went out in boardshorts.  There was NO ONE surfing at this time. 

We all watched him scratch out on a few waves, and finally catch one on the third try.  Then, Dais started to leash up too. 

Francis and Khoa followed soon after, and there were four of da boys out in the line up.  After a few waves, the crowd started to show up.  I guess they decided that the surf was surfable, and that it was worth the paddle out.  Little did they know that these boys weren’t noobs, and that they had an idea of what they were doing.

I saw Khang catch a few nice ones on the longboard.  Francis, though, was the clear stand out in the group.  I saw him catch a right hander, bottom turn up the lip, hit it, drop back down, and draw another bottom turn out on the face to a cut back.  What a nice, smooth style he has.  And what a sweet ass.

I opted to try to nap at this point, since I was still pretty tired from the morning session.  Matt wanted to save his energy for the afternoon session, as did I, so I tried to sleep in various places and positions.  I tried the beach chair out in the sun, which proved to be too intense.  I tried the tent, which transformed into a sauna.  I then tried under the umbrella with a log underneath my head, which was the best option.  I went in and out of sleep as I heard the ocean waves crash on shore and the chatter of my friends. 

Da boys got out after a nice hour session in front of the camp site, and just like that, the line up became empty again.  They said the water was a bit cold and it was nice to be out of the water.  They snacked a bit more as we waited for 1500 to roll around to paddle back out again… 

Surf Camp Trip 052811 Part 1

Surf Report:  Choppy and disorganized wind swell, about 3 feet plus
Winds:  On shore and side shore trade winds
Atmosphere: Gloomy
Water: Cool

Today was day one of our “Good-bye to Matt” San Onofre camping trips.  It served as the DRC’s first unofficial surf trip together, with as many as eight surfers in the water at a time. 

I have been looking forward to this whole weekend (as other DRC members have, also) for a very long time.  There was swell in the water the whole weekend, and the weather was supposed to be beautiful for the whole weekend, making being at the beach the clear cut choice for any SoCal resident.  Couple this anticipation with a crappy surf weekend last week, we DRC members were eye-humping this weekend and mind surfing the Trestles A-frames all through the week. 

I prepared to pack starting Thursday night.  I was already deciding on which boards to take, what gear to pack, and the food to bring.  Camping trips are one of the rare times I actually prepare ahead of time for.  I usually just go with the flow and forget to bring some stuff, but not on this camping trip.  I wanted a comfortable, smooth ride throughout the 48 hours we were spending with Matt over the three day weekend.  I had taken out all my fins on my board, bagged them up, and had made a checklist for what to take and hoped for the best.

Friday night rolled around, and I wasn’t too “amped.”  I was excited, for sure, but I wasn’t all antsy in my pantsy.  In fact, I was pretty calm about leaving the next morning.  I had finished coaching and double checked how the ride situation was going to be handled with the other DRC.  We were to be out on the road by 600 AM so we can meet Matt and have an early session.  That meant I had to wake up a little before 500 AM to pick up Christina, pick up Dais, then head to the projects to meet up the twins.  No problem.

Saturday morning rolled around, and my alarm went off at 430 AM.  I did not want to wake up.  I turned off my alarm, and saw that Christina, my morning call person, had not called, so I went back to sleep.  Just as I waltzed back into dream land, my phone rang loudly.  Christina?  Nope.  It was Khang. 

“Yo man, you up?”

“Yea, I just woke up… you ready?” I replied.

“Yea, I gotta go shopping real quick, but I am ready!!  I haven’t slept at all!”  Khang said.

Ok, so I started to do some yoga stretches, and get warmed up.  I called Christina twice, and then called Dais.  Surprisingly, Christina wasn’t up, and Dais was.  I started to pack the ice chest with blue ice and the steaks that I had prepared, and packed it in my van.  I did one final check of my gear, and set out into the dawn. 

The sky was a soft blue hue, and the sun was starting to show slowly over the concrete towers of West LA.  It was a familiar sight that I will always see as I made my U turn to pick up Christina.  She had left me a message saying that she will be ready by 505 AM. 

We packed all of her stuff into the car, and set out to pick up Dais.  He was pretty amped, but I’m sure the wake up time was a bit unreasonable.  We packed up all his gear and he sat in the back as we made our way to the Projects. 

Khang and Khoa were already waiting for us, with engines warmed up, when we pulled into the parking lot off of Stoner Avenue.  The sun was lighting up the sky, and there were birds chirping in the trees.  We all unloaded our stuff, and started to play tetris with the gear.  We somehow fitted two bikes, five skateboards, a bbq pit, two tents, a goza mat, all of our wetsuits, and five sleeping bags into the back of Khoa’s truck.  We then fitted eight surfboards, a few blankets, an ice chest, backpacks, and food into Khang’s bang bus van.  We waited for two new additions to the pack of five people.  Sean and Eloyssa were struggling to get to the projects, and so we waited for them to arrive.  As soon as they arrived, I sat in the back with all the gear in the van and we had four people in each ride to head down to Basilone. 

I texted Matt to apologize for the new additions.  I knew he didn’t like surprises, and I didn’t know about the new additions until that morning, so I let him know at least before we arrived.  I took a short nap thereafter while Khang gunned down the 405 in the bang bus. 

I woke up around Long Beach, and saw Khoa’s truck behind us.  After that, Khang smoked them badly, driving down the 405 to the 5 as we talked surf, basketball, and what not. 

Francis was a little bit ahead of us at this point, but he was making a pit stop to grab some ice for everyone.  Khoa was way behind us, and planned to make a stop at a grocery store, but we told him to come drop off the stuff first so we can surf.  Shan had already arrived at the camp site.

By the time we got to the base, it was around 0700.  Lauren was still asleep in her tent.  Shan was stretching on a yoga mat.  Matt greeted us with open arms, and directed us to park in the camping spot.  This spot was nice, with a huge area for parking up to three cars.  I begged to be let out of the back, and surprised Matt by exiting out the trunk.  He wasn’t expecting me to be back there.  We started to unload some of our surf gear so we could surf, but realized we had to wait for Khoa to arrive with all of our wetsuits.  We lollygagged around the camp site, and watched the waves roll in.

The waves were pretty decent in front of the camp site.  There were both lefts and rights, but the rights seemed to be working best.  Down south at Old Man’s there were packs of longboarders hogging the line up greedily as they took left after left from the point break.  The gloomy clouds added color to the blue green sea, and the white caps jumped up like sheep on the horizon as the wind chopped up the ocean. 

Khoa arrived with all the rest of the gear, and I eagerly pulled out the wetsuits from underneath the rubble of camping gear.  I was excited to go surf with all of our friends.  We introduced everyone to Matt, and we started to get changed.  We told Matt and Shan to go ahead and surf, and we would catch up with them as soon as we got changed and settled everything.  They went ahead and started walking towards Churches as we started to change. 

Francis soon arrived thereafter, and we all greeted him.  Nicole was still passed out in the passenger seat, and Francis looked a bit weary from the early morning and drive down to the camp site.  But, that wouldn’t stop him from surfing!  He asked where my cooler was and put in a bag of ice in it for me.  Most of us were all changed, but Khoa still needed to settle in, so Francis decided to paddle out with Khoa.

So, Dais, Khang, Christina and I set out to find Matt and Shan.  We walked up the shore line as the morning winds blew the waves in.  The waves were choppy!!  It was nice to see that there weren’t too many people in the water yet.  We were approaching the Bud Light Lime contest site when I felt something prick the bottom of my left foot.  I yelped in pain, and tried to brush off whatever was pricking me.  I saw something fuzzy get flicked off my foot, and some puss come out of a black tip that was lodged in my foot.  It turns out that I had stepped on a bee, and the bee left me a stinger inside the middle of my arch as a present.  I asked for Khang to take it out for me, and he was able to take the stinger out pretty quickly.  The part around the stinger started to swell up, and it was a discolored pink around the wound.  Every step I took on the sand was painful, shooting a throbbing pain from my foot.  Khang asked if I was allergic, and I told him we will find out soon if I was.  Dais told me if I get dizzy, just get out of the water.  I told myself that I was not going to be allergic to some stupid bee sting, and that I refuse to be hindered by a bee sting. 

Just then, we saw Matt and Shan get out of the water, and they said it wasn’t too good where they were.  So we moved up passed Churches (where the contest site was set up) and looked towards Middles and Lowers.  Middles looked fun and empty, and Lowers looked fun but there were some people there.  So we paddled out at Middles, over looking Battle Positions aka BP’s. 

Matt and Shan got in the water immediately, and we all followed soon after.  Dais and Khang stayed on the shore for a while longer.  The paddle out was long, and the sets were chopped up so at times you were duck diving a lot, and then you weren’t duck diving at all.  Before I even got to where everyone was, I saw a wave forming in front of me.  I swung around mid paddle, and took off on the wave. 

“Surf on your back foot… surf on your back foot,” I kept telling myself. 

I felt the board cut through the chop as I made the drop.  I could hear the chop hitting the bottom of my board.  I pumped down the line, and tried to make it passed the white water section to no avail. 

From that point on, I felt really good surfing with my bee-stung foot.  I felt as though it was a lucky bee sting, especially since I was not feeling any wooziness or dizziness.  Khang and Dais made it out to the line up, and we had our little crew assembled.

Shan stayed way south of us, right in front of the contest site.  He said he caught a lot of rides surfing there, but he joined us after an hour or so surfing by himself.

Christina sat with us, going for some of the bigger waves.  I told her that she should not be in the inside anymore, and that she should go on the bigger waves from now on, especially at a place like Trestles.  The waves at Trestles are less consequential than any of the waves I have surfed, which include Porto, Malibu, County line, Sunset, Diamondhead, and Oceanside.  None of these waves are “forgiving” at all.  Trestles seem to give a surfer a cushion to perform better, and even if you fall, you are let go rather easily from the waves’ grips, and come out unscathed.  I have yet to hit the bottom of the Trestles cobblestone reef when I wipe out on a plus sized set.  So Christina paddled for one of the set waves that I also went for, and I took the wave on my belly while she stood up in front of me.  I had a butt shot of her the whole ride down as she got to her feet and stood up on the wave.  Nice one!

Matt was a busy bee out there.  He would move from peak to peak, even paddling towards Lowers to score a few rides.  I saw his text book back knee bent backside bottom turn from Lowers, and he did a small hack off the top.  I may be blind, but I can recognize any of my friends’ style from afar.  When he came back, he got this one ride where he walked all the way up to the nose and spun around to go switch stance, but the wave eventually bogged out on him and ended his ride. 

Shan got a nice little wave with his arms flailing in the air.  I think he realized that Trestles is a pretty forgiving space and pushed himself.

Khang had some really nice, long rides.  He seemed to be determined to go for the bigger ones that rolled through, and I didn’t see him fall on any of them.  I remember at least three waves that I watched from behind as he took off and did a small splash on the front side. 

Khoa got one really good plus sized wave.  He was right on the shoulder as the wave crumbled, and was able to take off as I duck dived in front of him.  He took that one all the way to shore and had the hugest grin on his face when he returned to the line up.

Dais had a high wave count this session.  He would paddle for some of the insiders that rolled through, kicking with his feet and popping up on some small waves.  Then he would come back out and go for the bigger waves, making it down to the face and then eating it as the wave crumbled and bogged out from underneath him. 

Khang and I switched boards.  His …Lost board was bright white, and man, did it fly.  I was actually scared of how fast that board went, and I only got two belly rides on it.  That thing was made for a place like Trestles with its width and easy rocker.  The two belly rides I got on Khang’s board was smooth as hell.  I cut through the chop as if there was no chop.  It was quite amazing, and I wish to one day own a …Lost board like that to take on some lackluster conditions. 

Then, I switched boards with Dais.  This was the first time I ever rode his Desire`.  It was an interesting experience riding a thicker, rounded tail surfboard.  I actually had to compete with some of the groms that paddled out where we were.  The competition south of us was on, and there were pro’s punting airs just a few yards south.  It was kind of mesmerizing watching pro’s do their thing in the same water while we surfed.  These groms that paddled out with us were so stoked that they went for everything.  On one of the waves that I went for, most of the groms backed out, except for one.  There’s always that one kid that’s a hot dog, and this one was the one.  I got to my feet on Desire` and watched the other groms get out of my way, except for this one.  He pops up and soon see’s me and kicks out hurriedly.  I pump down the line and rip a bottom turn, only to stall on the bottom and not really get a bottom turn out.  I found that very interesting.  The wave was easy enough to pump down the line on, but I couldn’t bottom turn too well on it.  I gave my feedback on Dais, and he thought that his ability (or lack thereof) to bottom turn dictated that feel, but I assured him that the board was harder to bottom turn on.  I guess you have to really lean into the bottom turns harder if you want that thing to turn.  But the pump was super smooth. 

We all switch boards back, and the groms leave.  Our stomachs start to growl, and we start to think about the food that would be cooking on the grill once we get back to the camp site.  I took one last wave in and met up with the crew.

Khang had cut his foot on the walk out, Dais had cut his foot, and Matt had cut his foot on his fins.  We were again nursing wounds as we exited the beach.  We walked down in front of the contest site and saw Kalani Robb.  He said hi to us before we even got a chance to say anything.  It’s pretty cool that a stranger says hi to you first if you ask me.  We looked at the heat standings, and pointed out which heats would be nice to watch, and made our way back.  Khang and Dais stayed to watch Kalani Robb catch a few waves. 

We all got back to camp and started setting up tents.  It was a fun time setting up the tents, and we decided that we didn’t need to put up the tarp on the six man tent.  That later proved to be the wrong call. 

Shan and Matt manned the grill as they cooked chicken and vegetables for us.  The rest of us sat around the table and snacked on the food we brought.  It was beginning to get sunny and hot, and by the time Lauren had to leave for work, it was bright and windy. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Low Tide and Fun 052211

Surf Report: 2-4 feet wind swell
Atmosphere: Still gloomy
Winds: some Off shore
Water: cold

We all decided to head out late today because the low tide was a negative at 822 AM.  I usually hate Manhattan Beach when it is low tide, because it’s super dangerous, shallow, and usually pretty crappy. 

I woke up around 600 AM and went back to sleep.  I woke up again at 700 AM and started to do my yoga stretches.  It’s been a while since I have been able to stretch in the morning, since the cold kept me sleeping until late in the morning and so I didn’t have much time to stretch.  I stretched for about thirty minutes and gave Khang a call.  He was the one to roll out with me this morning. 

When he answered the phone, he sounded like a zombie that got shot by a shot gun in the chest with six rounds of rock salt.  He was still alive, but dead.  He told me to give him thirty minutes.

I called back around 800 AM and told him I was heading out.  I get to his house and park next to his car.  He was laying in his driver’s seat.  We catch up about our last nights’ adventures, and pack our stuff into the car. 

I give Dais a call and tell him that Khang and I were heading out now, and that he should meet us up whenever he could.  He was going to breakfast with Cristina so he wouldn’t be meeting us for the “dawn patrol” this morning.

Khang drove slowly down to 26th Street.  He must have been in a lot of pain from last night.  He wasn’t looking too energetic.  The gray skies matched his mood.  I actually felt pretty stoked about this morning.  My cold was mostly gone, and so I was pumped up to catch some waves today to make up for my diabolical session yesterday. 

We drive down to 26th Street and see Matt’s car as we make our way down the hill.  We honk at him and pull in right behind him.  He parks at the top parking lot, as do we, and we say our hello’s. 

I had to take a shit.  Truthfully, I had to take a shit when we left Khang’s place.  So, after we said hi, I had to excuse myself and rush down to the bathrooms.  The bathroom was empty and so I did a power squat, making sure my flawless ass cheeks didn’t touch the toilet seat of Manhattan Beach.  I heard a few splashes as I dropped bombs over the toilet bowl and pissed away my kidney. 

Feeling ten pounds lighter, I skipped up joyfully back to the parking lot.  Just then, I saw the Land Rover occupying a free parking space leave.  I told Matt and Khang that one of us should grab the spot, and Khang told Matt to take it.  He did, but he didn’t like his car’s butt hanging out the back, so he decided to forego the free parking.  Just then, Christina showed up in her Mazda, and so she pulled into the parking space.  Everything came up for the DRC!

We all got changed and grabbed our boards.  Matt told us Rick was out there around 600 AM and said it was pretty damn fun, and maybe Dave T was still out there too. 

We all sat in front of 26th Street tower, and stretched our aging muscles.  The winds were slightly off shore, and there was some jumbled up waves coming in with a few clean rides.  We all opted to paddle out north of the tower, and walked out into the freezing water.  We walked a good distance before paddling out since the low tide kept the line up far out to sea. 

We all make it out to the line up in one piece and wait for the set.  I drew first blood by catching a small left, grabbing my rail and pulling in close to the face.  I was able to kick out and avoid any lip service from the wave.  I thought that was fun since yesterday I couldn’t catch anything at all. 

There were swimmers still swimming further out in the line up, like yesterday.  These guys were just wearing their Speedos as they swam past us.  I hooted for them to keep going.  One of them actually started to paddle in and went in between surfers to body surf a wave in. 

Matt caught a few waves with his text book bent knee stance on his backside.  He also went for a few lefts on his front side.  One wave I saw from afar, he pulled a nice, arcing bottom turn.  He wasn’t too happy that he didn’t pull of any turns on that wave, but I said he looked pretty cool from that bottom turn.  The bottom turn is where all moves start, so without a good bottom turn, he has nothing really.

Khang was going for a lot of waves regardless of his zombie status.  He was getting some nice rights, and some close outs.  I pointed out later over lunch at his house that he looks stiff when catching a wave, and that’s probably why the section is running ahead of him.  If he just reminds himself to start pumping and carving once he gets to his feet, he should be out on the face and doing all sorts of cutbacks that he can do on the skateboard. 

Khang also snaked me on a right.  I had to laugh about it, because he was completely oblivious to me paddling behind him.  I had to take the wave on my belly in order to maintain my speed and not get caught in his wake.  I gave him some shit about it, and continued to wait for the sets to come through. 

Christina was hanging on the inside, so I really didn’t see her that much in the line up.  It’s really not the ideal place to be while surfing, but I guess she likes the smaller waves?  I know she is still “learning” but she needs to get out into the line up and surf.   Put yourself out of the comfort zone, since that is when we grew the most. 

Before we knew it, we were stuck in the bowl section south of the tower.  We got pulled south thirty yards in a matter of seconds.  There was a rip tide there, and it kept swirling like a washing machine.  No waves came here because so much water was moving back and forth.  Khang and I paddled out of there and all the way back to the tower.  And then, once again, we ended up north of the tower. 

Matt was still in front of the tower, and so we bobbed up and down for the sets to come in.  The lulls were so long!  I couldn’t believe how long we had to wait for waves sometimes, but when they came, they came.  One of these waves came, and Matt was grunting at it.  He asked me if I was going to go, and I said yes, I’m going left. 

As I paddled for it, I realized that the right was opening up too, so I looked both ways and saw no one on the wave, so I went right.  I kept telling myself, “Surf on your back foot, surf on your back foot,” as I made the drop.  I could feel the chop on the bottom of the board as I made the drop.  It wasn’t the smoothest of rides, but I felt the board just squirt up the face as I bottom turned, and then I kept going up the lip in order to hit it.  I saw my nose go off the lip, and hoped to do a redirect snap, but became unstuck.  I was stoked to get that wave, and actually attempt any maneuver.  Matt gave me some props for that wave.  I was stoked that he even saw my attempt. 

He mentioned that he saw Shan far out in the line up with Christina.  So we hoped to meet them soon.  He also mentioned that he recognized Cheryl’s butt from shore, so hopefully she would find us in the line up.  We all drifted south again, getting stuck in the washing machine.  But, we did meet Christina, Shan and Cheryl!  So we all said hi, and informed them that we should paddle out of the rip tide. 

We all paddle out of the rip tide.  Cheryl goes for this right that was about waist high, and actually sticks it!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  She was on her fish, and just went for it.  She pushed herself over the ledge as Khang went for the same close out, and was able to ride the shoulder out.  I was stoked and a little proud that Cheryl was able to do that on her first ride after not surfing for so long.

Khang and Matt went for the same wave, another close out, and almost ran over Christina, who was hanging out on the inside.  It was a dangerous wave to go for, and also a dangerous place to be hanging out.  Well, no one was hurt, and so all is well that ends well. 

I got one small wave, and wanted the “last wave” to punctuate the session.  However, that wave never came, and our time was running out.  I just paddled in on my belly to get out of the water to meet Matt and Khang.

“Well, all the more reason to push ourselves this weekend!” Matt said to me.

“Hell yea, Trestles will be awesome,” I replied.  I can’t wait for this weekend’s surf trip.

Dais actually showed up after we were all finished with our surf session.  He pulled up and took Christina's spot, benefiting once again from the free parking.  Take THAT Manhattan Beach!  Mwahahahaha.  He said he had a good sesh too, which was a relief since the end of our session was so grim and listless...

The stand out surfer for today was the Brazilian/black kid.  We don't know what he is exactly, but he has an afro and is pretty dark skinned.  He absolutely put a backside clinic on those waves, making us all awe and ooo as he hit the lip and went vertical, only to throw buckets of spray out the back as he re-entered the wave.  He was so on point.  He was one of the groms that we see pretty consistently out here.  What a crazy kid.  I wish I could surf like that.  

Until next weekend, Mahalo Mother Ocean!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Being Sick Won't Stop Me From Surfing 052111

Surf Report: 2-4 feet max
Winds: none to on shore
Atmosphere: Gloomy
Water: Freezing cold still.  What’s up?

I was 50/50 about surfing today.  Actually, I was 90% sure I wasn’t going to surf.  Matt was already in Trestles by the time I woke up at 600 AM this morning.  I had a late night hanging with Bern since it was his birthday last night.  By a “late night” I mean 100 AM.  Not really the “late nights” I used to pull, but I was still exhausted when I got back home.  Matt wanted to go to Trestles all day since he had finished his finals on Friday night, culminating his first year back as a student after his long tour duty and pencil pushing days.  I was hoping he would just go half a day so I could tag along, but he was adamant about staying the whole day.

My body has been aching and tired for the last week or so, ever since Monday.  I got a cold (most likely from my boss) which started as a sore throat, elevating the bacteria levels to toxic levels in my sinuses, and then pains in my shoulders and knees.  I wore a mask at home in order not to spread any diseases, alas my dad got sick and is living in his bedroom for the past few days.  However, my mom is in tip top shape, so I joked that my dad has too weak of an immune system.  I am still recovering from my sickness, and Friday night was no walk in the park.  I could not taste anything yet, and my body needed rest.  So I opted not to go all day to Trestles with Matt, and saved myself a sure fire viral spreading of the second tsunami of germs after my weak body paddles into another 4-6 foot A Frame at Trestles. 

Instead, I went to 26th Street.

Francis had texted me late at night, saying that he wanted to surf.  I told him let’s go to 26th Street, and he said he would call me in the morning when he was heading over to 26th Street.  Christina had said she would stay local, and to text her if I was going too.  Khang and Dais were going with Mr. Kawasaki Ninja aka DK later in the morning.  So, I texted my life away as the night waned into more wine and beer and dancing with cougars at the Cinema bar.

I woke up at 750 AM, not to my alarm, but my cell phone ringing.  It was Francis. 

“Yo, I’m on my way to 26th Street.  Are you there already?”

“Shit, no, I just got out of bed…”

“Are you surfing today?”

“NO!” my mind screamed.  My body co-signed.

“Sure,” I said, and my body felt extra heavy heaving out of the bedroom. 

I had all my stuff packed up and skipped doing the yoga stretches this morning.  I filled up a jug and didn’t eat anything, for I was not in the mood to eat at all.  I made my way out the house and into the gray and gloomy day, already dreading leaving my warm bed.  But hey, Francis was already there, so I should be there too.

I found a free parking spot right near 28th Street on Highland.  Phew.  I thought I was going to have to pay for parking today, because I sure wasn’t in the mood of skating down the strand.  The sun poked its meager head out between thick plumes of clouds, and quickly disappeared back into the abyss.  My body questioned my actions of surfing today.

I got changed quickly and forgot to put sun block on.  I realized this half way down the slope, and said fuck it.  Oh well.  I waved hi to Bruce in the parking lot, and spotted a green mustang parked in there too.  Manny, I thought to myself.

I get to the 26th Street tower and start stretching.  My nose was still stuffy, and my throat wasn’t all that clear.  It was still congested and coughing up green and yellow mucus.  I did some active stretching, and leashed up into the lonely waters.

Just then I saw an outline of surfer catching a wave on the inside.  Crouched low in her stance, she had both her knees at a 90 degree angle and took a white water wave in.  I could recognize that style from a mile away, even when blind.  It was Christina.  She waved to me as I looked in her direction, covering my eyes from the supposed blinding sun, as in disbelief of who I was seeing.  We said hi to each other and hugged in the crashing white water, as the Ocean swayed and moved with us.  She was about to take a break, and I paddled out to the line up.

The water felt ICE COLD.  I was wondering in my head if this was really the right thing to do.  My body was shivering, my throat was still congested, and my sinuses were clogged.  Well, no turning back now.  I saw Manny in the line up in his neon pink, yellow and orange shorts, bare-backing.  Now, if he’s in the line up, then I have no right to complain about anything. 

I tried my best to paddle slowly and not waste any energy.  It seemed to work since I wasn’t all too tired by the end of the session.  I went for a few waves but nothing spectacular or memorable, since I wasn’t really on my A-Game today. 

Francis spots me and I spot him, and we both say hi to each other.  He was telling me about his work experience so far, and we both agreed that LA is kind of crazy.  He was sharing a story with me about driving a guy back to Watts, and he was just shocked at how ghetto that place was.  He saw crackheads on the street, people dying, and just a poverty level unlike any other place.  He said that you have to have someone watch your back around there, because you never know what might happen.  Watts is a world famous ghetto area, up there in infamy with Compton, South Central, Yonkers and the Bronx. 

Francis caught a few nice little waves, hitting the lip on the rights that came through.  He wasn’t able to land it, but I saw his board’s nose just pop up from the lip of the wave and see buckets of spray come out. 

The local with the …Lost Mayhem board and I started talking as we drifted north.  There was a nice peak right next to us, but we both seemed to be in bad positioning.  He actually pushed me into a few waves but none of those were too memorable, since I shoulder hopped instead of being on the critical part of the wave.  One of his buddies got a nice wave, and I uttered: “Damn goofy footers.”

He laughed at that. 

“You goofy footers are so stylish!  How do you guys do it?” I asked.

He said to me, “Keep your hands quiet.”


“Keep your hand quiet, and surf off your back foot,” he replied.  “That’s what someone told me a loooooooooooooong time ago.  Keep your hands quiet, and surf off your back foot.”

“Well, I think that advice worked.  How long ago did someone tell you that?”

“A LONG time ago,” he smirked. 

“How many decades ago was that?”

He laughed and paddled for an outside set.  He pumped and hit the lip on his back hand and pumped all the way to the inside, hitting the lip again as a punctuation point for his ride.

I tried to keep that in mind as I surfed the rest of the session.  However, I was not in the mode to catch waves today.  It was more of a get your feet wet and get some exercise surf session.  I had a no-paddle take off on a steep wave, but grabbed the rail on the pop up (which is not my normal pop up) and couldn’t get to my feet in a fluid yet solid fashion.  Instead, I ate it in front of the locals. 

Well, come to think of it, am I a local of 26th Street?  I would call that my homebreak since I surf it more often than any other place.  I suppose I am a local there now. 

Anyways, Francis and I regroup around 33rd Street, and I told him I would take the next one in.  He took the first wave that came for a nice little ride, and I took a small wave for a half second ride.  Oh well.  I had to paddle in now. 

I felt much better after the surf session.  My body wasn’t as tired, but I felt great.  My throat was still grouchy, and my sinuses were still plugged.  But, I felt great.  I was happy to have surfed today, and run into a few friends.

I got changed and saw my car’s twin.  The Texas version of my car pulled up behind me with Khang, DK, and Dais inside.  We exchanged pleasantries and I saw Khang’s “new” used board that he found off of craigslist.  It was a Byrson thruster, bright white with a slight ding on the rail towards the nose, but otherwise in pristine condition.  $180, no questions asked.  What a deal. 

I gave them my parking spot, and threw them a shaka.  I hope they had a good surf session too.  I know I didn’t catch any waves today, but I still felt happy to be in the Ocean.  Mahalos again Mother Ocean. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Worst I've Seen Trestles (and it still beats Porto) 051411

Surf Report:  1-3 feet with the occasional 4 footer
Atmosphere: Gray and gloomy
Water: Cool
Winds: Side/On shore

I woke up at 500 AM with 4 hours of sleep under my belt.  I couldn’t sleep again, and I wanted to go back to sleep, so I did. 

I wake up to Christina calling me.  She was already in front of my house and it was about 530 AM.  Right on time, I thought.  So I proceeded to call Khang and Dais and see what their ETA was.  Khang was on his way, and Dais was getting up.

We all knew the waves were going to be crappy in the South Bay, so we made the bold choice of driving down to Trestles to see how the famed cobble stone reef break was.  It has been about a month since being at Trestles, so Dais and I were excited about going there.  It was Khang and Chrisina’s cherry popping moment, for they have not been to Trestles before. 

Matt had his National Guard duty this whole weekend, and we always joke that when he has NG duty, the waves are great.  This time it wasn’t so:  the surf report was grim, and there was little to no swell on the radar for the whole weekend.  We were just trying to chase down the best opportunity we could get to score some waves, for Porto and Manhattan Beach had to be a dismal and sure fire fail. 

We piled in our boards into Khang’s car, which is the “better twin” car of mine.  The backseats are out, and one of the middle seats is out, so there is plenty of room for a stack of boards, and three people to sit.  I opted to sit in the back with all the gear.  We packed all of our stuff in, which included 6 boards, 3 backpacks, and 5 wetsuits.  We set off by 615AM.

The ride down the 405 was super smooth.  There was barely anyone on the freeway as the bangbus van roared down at 75 mph.  We passed by Jamboree, and Khang mentioned there was a pastry shop we needed to stop by later because they were oh-so-delicious.

We see the Denny’s, and we make a quick pit stop to by some protein bars and fluid at the Shell station.  I always like seeing this Denny’s because it means we are right by Trestles.  Christianitos is the third exit after the Denny’s, and we parked down the street leading towards Carl’s Jr.  We arrived in a little over an hour. 

We didn’t know where to go.  There were cars lined up with people coming back from their surf session already.  Khang asked a guy parked a few cars behind us which trail to take.  There was a trail right before us, with bikers and surfers with bike racks coming up this trail, but more surfers coming from across the freeway.  He told us to cross over the freeway, then hang a left onto the trail.  Then we’ll make a right to go down to Trestles. 

We read a STOLEN CAR notice on the fences.  Some guy got his backpack stolen first, then his 2000 Toyota 4Runner was stolen on April 20th.  What bad luck, and what shady people!  We were careful not to take anything we didn’t want stolen down with us to the beach.

Just then, three groms got dropped off on their skateboards by one of the dads.  They skated passed us and took the trail down.  We walked down the concrete trails, reading the messages written in wax by other surfers:





We heard the birds chirping all along the way as we walked along the San Mateo Creek.  Bikers, runners, and other surfers pleasantly said hello to us as we walked.  We crossed the train tracks and finally got to Cottons. 

Cottons looked okay.  There was barely anyone out, and I didn’t blame them.  The waves looked shitty, the high tide was messing up the whole place, and the trade winds were making any wave look like crap. 

We passed by Uppers, and saw there were some peaks, but it wasn’t really what we were looking for.  Honestly, this was the worst I’ve seen Trestles.  Dais concurred.  But hey, it’s better than Porto. 

We kept walking down to Lowers, and saw that there was a pack of fifteen surfers hugging the peak, but an A frame would roll through and a few surfers would go for the waves.  There were drop ins, but these are “legal drop ins” as I like to say, for the person who got dropped in on wasn’t fast enough or the section would run out on them, so the “snake” utilized the rest of the wave.  The lefts were slow and mushy, but the rights seemed speedy and open.  We decided to try to paddle out a bit south of the pack.

I thought I would wait a few more minutes so the tide would drop out.  But, Khang said he was going out, so I went out with him.  Dais and Christina decided to wait a little bit longer. 

We paddled out to the south peak of the pack, but the little insiders weren’t doing it’s thing.  Khang and I immersed ourselves within the pack and tried to paddle for a few waves.  I caught the first wave out of the two of us, but it was a close out left that I couldn’t wrap around the white water section quickly enough to get onto the open face.  The peaks were white capping and tapered off from the winds, and didn’t open up for my novice surfing skills.  

Khang must have taken some endangered tiger’s milk, because he was on fire for our crew.  He caught the most waves out of everyone.  He caught right after right after right. 

“How do you like the place so far?” I asked.

“It’s alriiiiight,” he said, looking pretty unsatisfied.  Just then he takes another right. 

I guess he wanted to be able to bust some turns or something.  I don’t know, I was pretty jealous of him getting all those waves.

I saw Dais and Christina paddle north of the pack, hanging on the inside.  Dais was telling me that they caught a few of the leftovers, but wasn’t quite satisfied with the spot.  Christina took some waves all the way in, to which Dais warned her not to take them all the way, for the cobblestone reef will ruin the board. 

I tried to take a few rights within the pack, but the guys who have the place dialed in were always on the peak.  They had this knowledge and positioning that neither Khang or I have mastered.  The same guy took the best waves all the time.  And they weren’t noobs either.  They were pretty damn good. 

After a while, about fifteen groms paddle out.  These kids were unbelievable.  One had a cast on, which I learned later came from an accident when he punted an air and the board flew up at him and broke his wrist. 

“Hey, did you win that contest over at ______?” one of them asked a kid.

“No, I got second.  ______ won it,” answered another kid.

“Oh hey _____ congratulations,” he said.

Damn, these kids were winning contests?  And to prove that they were able to, they paddled into a lot of waves, busting myriads turns, and one even punted off the lip for a rodeo flip attempt.  Another tried a 360 air.  I couldn’t even fathom how they caught so many waves, let alone how they were able to punt on these waves.  Their light weight bodies and springy bodies had a lot to do with it, I’m sure, because I was able to paddle stronger than they could.  I have much respect for these kids, for they surf light years ahead of me, and they weren’t asses about it.  Although they did get in the way of me while I squeezed in a few rides for the one hour they were there.  I felt like punching them in the face.  Only kidding.  Slightly. 

So these groms dominated for an hour, and left.  I thought that this would be my time to shine! And then… my leg cramps up.  Not just my leg, but it was that muscle on your shin that started to cramp up.  I think it was the running I did the night before with my own kids while coaching basketball.  The running and changing directions took a toll on my knees and legs for I try to avoid running on the hard court all together now.  I bike to get my legs stronger, but the running killed me the night before.  I tried to massage my leg but I felt my other shin muscle cramp up too!  So, I had to get out. 

I hobbled on the cobblestones and tried to breathe calmly as I walked out.  I stretched my ankles and calves, hoping the cramp would go away.  I saw Khang catch another wave as he went down the line.  I saw Dais join him in the peak. 

Christina came out, looking tired.  She sat next to me as we talked about our sessions.  She was a bit frustrated and a bit irked by the cobblestone reef.  She was glad she was wearing her booties since she would be “a crying little pussy” if she hadn’t.  Her words, not mine. 

My legs started to warm up and got the blood flowing back again.  I had to go out another time.  We were at Trestles!!  I paddled out, and Christina paddled out right behind me.  She bumped me with her board, and then started to tug at my leash to get towed out.

We got out to the line up and saw the goofy footer catch a beautiful wave, and pump so fast down the line.  He blasted the lip and didn’t stick it, but he looked really cool doing so.  Respect to him. 

Khang would catch waves out of no where, dragging his hand on the face of the wave, staying in his wide, powerful stance.  He had a stern look on his face when he rode the face, similar to what Matt’s face looks like when he’s going down the line. 

I hung out with Dais on the end section of the waves, hoping for some free ones to come through.  This section would wall up nicely for a short small ride, and so I got a few rides in and felt a little redeemed and relieved that I wasn’t cramping up again. 

Dais caught a few nice waves, of which one or two I was able to push him into.  On both waves, he got to his feet quickly, and I saw him from behind just shoot down the wave face, with small little pumps that got him down the line.  He is breaking through the barrier onto the next level, and that got me stoked.  He took the wave further than I was able to, so he is definitely improving quicker than I have. 

Christina was floundering at this point.  She was tired, but still came out.  She didn’t really go for any waves at this second go out, and looked like she was just trying to stay out of the surfers’ ways when they came down the line on the peak.  Still, props for her for staying out.  She showed me a cut on her hand that she got from the cobblestones.  It was bleeding nicely, but she still stayed out.  RESPECT.

I had to catch a set wave, or something off the Lowers peak.  There was the goofy footed guy, the neon green board guy, and neon board guy’s friend, who were first in the pecking order.  There was also a Japanese/Korean looking guy that was quiet but really good.  He was definitely a humble, soft spoken man, but was able to take a lot of waves.  There was a long haired dude on a green fish board that took a lot of waves with these guys.  Oh wait, that was Khang.  So, I had to catch something from the peak too. 

Just then, Khang catches a double up and jams his hand into the face.  He stays high in the line, and Dais and I watch him as he rolls passed us on a nice right.  I think he almost ran Christina over?  I’m not sure if it was this wave or not. 

So, I knew I had to catch a wave.  I waited.  I watched the other dudes and where they were sitting, where they were watching, and how they paddled into the waves.  I tried to mimic their every move, and wait. 

A small set rolled through, and there was the goofy footer on my left.  He wasn’t on the peak though, and I was!  So, I pop up, and everyone backed out of the wave.  I was able to finally go down the face and slide to my heart’s content.  However, my body felt rigid like a house of bricks, and I couldn’t pump or carve or do anything.  I just took the wave down the line as Dais gave me a thumbs up for catching a small set off of Lowers. 

As I paddled back out, my right leg cramps up again.  I grimace a bit, and try to massage it.  Then my right calf cramps up, and I’m in more pain.  I decide that my body is telling me to get the fuck out of the water, so I did.  Christina was paddling in, and I told da boyz that I was out and paddled in too.  As I hobbled weakly on the cobble stones, my left groin cramps up too.  It was just not my day. 

We sit next to each other and recount our bumps and bruises.  I had a few scratches on my feet and hand, my legs were cramped up, and Christina had her hand bleeding.  Dais came in after twenty minutes, and he had to stretch his knee out too.  Khang stayed out the longest (first one in, last one out) and recounted his experience at Trestles.  We weren’t all too satisfied, but hey, for what Mother Ocean threw at us, the surf was really good.  We walked back to get our stuff buried in the sand, and started walking up the beach. 

The low tide seemed to kill Uppers, for the reef was exposed, and more surfers were getting out.  Cottons, however, looked really nice.  There were some people in the peanut gallery, watching the surfers do their thing.  There was a bareback guy in the line up, which we all agreed was a stupid guy.  He didn’t last too long.  Khang and Dais opted to paddle out once more, for they were still hungry, but Christina and I were done.  We sat on the beach and talked while the two frothing seniors gave it another go at Cottons.  Khang probably caught ten or thirteen waves within this half hour period, and Dais caught about eight.  They chose the south peak first, then started to move up further north to where Christina and I were sitting.  It was nice to see them catch a lot of waves, and they both came in with smiles on their faces.  Dais seemed to have forgotten about his knee pain temporarily, and Khang said that he liked this spot better than Lowers. 

Well, for what it was, it was worth it in my opinion.  Anywhere else would have been crap, but Trestles still had some waves on hand for us.  If we surf here enough, I think we can improve our surfing ten fold.  It feels like one session at Trestles is forty sessions of Porto. We surfed here for a whopping 3.5 hours... I thought it was just a 2 hour session.  I guess time flies when you are "in the moment."

“Guaranteed wave riding at Trestles,” said Dais.  Well put my friend.

We drove back to Irvine and hit up Café 85.  On the way, we saw a guy in sunglasses, a black shirt, and hot pink Rusty boardshorts.  We all laughed at him, until we saw him again in the parking lot of Café 85.  Then, we hysterically laughed at him again.  Oh how we clown on people.  We judge people day to day. 

I hope we can get a better session in next time we are at Trestles.  Hopefully there is more swell than one foot!  I know there will be… Mother Ocean always has some reward for dedicated surfers!  Mahalos. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

At Venice Skate Park 051011

Biking down Venice Beach, and I always stop by the Pier to watch the waves roll in.  Not to mention the beautiful sunset scene. 
Surfer Taking a Right, with an Amazing Back Light

I biked down the bike path instead of my usual route back up Main Street, and decided to see the skate scene.  There was a Japanese guy with long dreads tearing it up! 

Popping an Air
He also decided to Clear the Rail.

There was an older dude, pumping up and down the skate park, with all his gray hair glory.  His legs probably gave out and he had to hobble away after this wipe out.  I wish I will be as gnarly as this guy when I have gray hairs!!