Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's So Hard to Wake Up on Sunday 091811

Surf Report: 1-2 feet
Water: warm
Winds: On shore
Atmosphere: Sunny almost all morning!

I’m still awe-struck by the fact I got to hang out with Clay. 

But today is another day.

I woke up very late, for I couldn’t sleep at all last night.  I took  my time once again this morning and headed out to 26th Street. 

I couldn’t find any free parking, so I headed towards my usual spot on 15th.  As I pulled up from 26th Street, I pull out to Highland carelessly and almost get hit by none other than Christina.  Whoops.  Sorry!!

So I get my parking spot on 15th, and skate down to 26th.  The waves look small and mushy, but the water looks clean and clear.  It was another one of those beautiful days, I thought to myself.

The clouds were barely covering the hot sun as I got to the beach.  I didn’t see Francis in the water, so I figured he already left.  He told me he would be at the beach by 530, so we must have missed him.

I said hi to Don and the other local guy, and caught Rick going down a left on his gray fish.  He style was unmistakable in the line up.  I say hi to him as he gets stoked and froths over his last wave.

I say hi to Manny and Rick points out Matt was on the beach, paddling out. 

“Yo, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one tired from yesterday,” he tells me.

“Oh man, I still couldn’t sleep at all last night.  I don’t know why,” I told him.

To me, today wasn’t full of epic rides, just small consistent little waves that were super fun.  There wasn’t much room for turns for us, but Rick sure was able to do so, and so were a handful of other shredders.  We are still noobs.

Christina joined us, and Cheryl followed soon after.  At first I was hoping for a bigger showing on a Sunday morning, but as soon as there were four of us, I felt satisfied and happy.

We all called each other into waves, and watched our friends catch a lot of waves.  It wasn’t overly competitive (except for a grom on his longboard who called off Christina on a few waves) but we sure saw Christina’s Kung-Fu training come to fruition.  Our crane and mantis style were no match for her snake style.  She slithered her way through every nook and cranny and snaked EVERYONE.  I think she finally figured out that she can get away with this sort of action since she has been coming here pretty consistently, and since she has boobs.  Damn those!

Cheryl’s holy wetsuit was a good call since the water was pretty warm today.  She took some long rides all the way to shore at least twice while we surfed.  We all hooted her, and Christina was hooting her the loudest. 

Matt had a few rides going both left and right, but I think the rights were working better for him.  He had a nice long right that even Rick gave him props on. 

My memorable wave was one that I missed.  I had great positioning on the wave.  Actually, I had PERFECT positioning for the wave.  However, when I popped up, my front foot slipped off the rail, and so I was almost falling off my board.  I had my hands still on deck, so I tried to get to my feet again, but by that time, the wave had passed.  Even Uncle Miles backed out for me on that wave since he saw I had the wave. 

“OH NO! NO NO NO!!” I screamed.  But it was too late.

Major FAIL.

Matt and I called it around 1000.  We wanted to grab some breakfast, so we took our last waves and said our good-byes to Christina and Cherylita. 

We met up Francis at Rutt’s and had ourselves a nice breakfast, and Matt had to go to Lauren’s sister’s soccer game in Cal State LA.  It was so beautiful, Francis, Randall and I met up to skate for a few hours near Webster Junior High.  There’s a nice little bank there where we pumped and carved and tried to blow the tail out on our skateboards.  Before I knew it, it was 200 PM, and I had to go grocery shopping. 

So we all parted ways. 

What an amazing Sunday afternoon.

Mahalos Mother Ocean. 

What is Meant to Be, Will Be 091711

Surf Report: 3 feet, with the occasional 4 footer
Water: Surprisingly not too cold
Atmosphere: Gloomy all morning with some sun around noon
Winds: Slight on shore

Every thing happens for a reason.

No work Saturday!!  Matt and I were sexting about the weekend surf plans all day Friday.  He and I concocted the brilliant plan of going to Trestles and surfing the slow rolling waves of San Onofre, and maybe rub elbows with a  top 34 surfer, warming up for the Lowers Hurley Pro contest.  We were set. 

Meanwhile at the Dodger game, Dais and Khang enjoyed a whipping win by our Dodgers on Hello Kitty night.  They were deciding between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.  Without hesitation, the decision was made to go to Newport Beach by them.  So the text went through to Matt, which came to me.  Matt and I both have never gone to Newport Beach, so albeit our hearts were nestled in Trestles, we said, “Yea, let’s try a new spot,” and so Newport Beach was the call.

Christina and Cheryl were staying local, and so was Francis.  Dave on the other hand, wanted to hang with us, so even though he had work early in the morning catering in the Hollywood Hills, he made the drive back down to Newport Beach to hang with da boys. 

The morning rolls around and I was late.  I didn’t rush though, and took my time stretching and grabbing a bowl of cereal while filling up water jugs.  I knew in my head I was late, but usually when I rush through things, I tend to fuck it all up.  So, I took my time preparing for the morning and headed out the door at 630.  I called Matt, saying that we were running late, and called Khang saying I was on my way to his house. 

Dais arrived shortly before me, and we greeted each other.  We started to unload our stuff in order to load up Khang’s surf mobile.  Khang’s dad had already pulled out of the parking lot to do his shenanigans, and Khang usually comes out right after his dad pulls out of the lot. 

On queue, Khang rolls out, and we start to pack up the van.  We were off to Matt’s in no time. 

Matt comes out with all his gear ready and sits back in the trunk.  Usually, that would be my seat, but today, he has the honor of sitting back there.  DK was unfortunately MIA, but that was good since the back seat was now roomy for one instead of claustrophobic for two.  We were packed and ready to go by 715. 

As we made our way down the 405, I felt I should text my family in Irvine.  Namely, Kiyo-chan.  She is an older “older sister” in my life.  Not actually blood related, but thicker than blood.  Sorry to Aya-chan, my actual sister, since I didn’t text her.  (She later got mad at me that I never come visit her, and that I didn’t get her any food.)  I shot Kiyo-chan a quick text saying that I’m surfing Newport this morning.  She said she would bring my cute, cute niece Keira and watch me surf.  So I had to let them know where I was going to surf. 

We miss the 55, since we thought it the freeway to get on was the 57.  We make a quick U-turn, dodge a few early morning car Nazis, and make it back on to the 55.  The rain drops started to fall on the windshield, giving us a blurred outlook on the path we had to take. 

Khang bobs and weaves traffic and we end up in a residential spot. 

“Where’s the beach?” I ask eagerly.

“It’s right here.  Right through there,” he pointed through the houses.  I still couldn’t see the Ocean. 

“Oh, there’s a parking spot right there!” Dais said.  I had seen the parking spot too, and so did Matt.  It was a spot where we had to parallel park between two cars.

“Oops, we missed it,” said Khang.  As he said these words, he missed another parking spot. 

And he missed another.

“Oh, here’s one riiiiigggghhhht heeeere,” Khang said.

“Peeeeerfect,” I said.

It was a spot enough for 1.5 cars, and so we pull up in the all-mighty, all-trusting surf mobile, and bathed in the small sense of victory of having a nice spot.  We go check out the scene on the beach by walking through a small space between the houses, pushing aside the banana leaves that flanked our gateway to the Ocean.

We get to the sand, and it looked flat.  Well, not too flat, but flat enough for only ten guys out in the water.  We watched some of them go for tiny barrels, bob up and down the point, be washed around by the current, and going for one turn waves.  Well, it was definitely better than Porto.

“Looks kinda flat this morning huh?” I loud, eccentric voice said from behind us.

“Yea, you might wanna put another pot of coffee on!” I told him. 

The loud, eccentric voice belonged to a loud, eccentric man by the name of Cosmic John.  He had spotted Matt’s shirt from a mile away and started to talk to us.  He asked Matt if he was from Hawaii.

“Yea, I’m from Maui,” Matt said.

“You know who I’m staying with?  I’m staying with Clay Marzo, he’s from Maui too!” he said.


He then goes off and talks about the comet that hit the sun a few weeks ago, and hit a satellite on it’s way.  This aforementioned satellite was 5 miles wide and weighed twelve tons. 

“You THINK they would tell people things like that, but they don’t!  What if it hits the water?  HUGE WAVES!!” he said.

“And if it doesn’t?  Poor Mr. Obama has to deal with THAT,” I replied.

We laugh, and he goes on telling us about a huge accident where he fell of a cliff.  He hit his head hard, and lost all memory four years ago.  He dug his feet into the sand deeper now, as if to root his tree trunks into the Earth.  He says that he woke up, and felt amazing.  He felt that he was reborn again.

“And you got to make new friends, all over again!” I told him.

He laughed and walked us back to our car so we could get changed and hit the water.  He talked to us about being happy and how an act like surfing is really important to anyone in this world.  “Everyone needs to touch nature, and be in tune with it,” he said, removing the banana leaves from his face as they flapped. 

“Man, you’re the oldest grom, Cosmic John!” Khang said.

“You know what, you’re right!  I’m only four, going on five!  That was great!” he replied.

We pointed out that he is staying right up the street, and that he hoped to see us again later.  We said our good-byes and started to get changed.

Matt was definitely skeptical of the guy.  I thought he was a nice man, with burning energy, like a magnet.  Khang was a bit skeptical too.  Dais got a great vibe from him, and had asked him for a card, but Cosmic Joe said that he doesn’t carry cards since they kill trees. 

We got changed and warmed up on the Carver.  Cosmic John walks by, smoking, saying, “Man, Clay loves to skate too!”  Matt was the first one to make his way to the beach to stretch.  I followed afterwards, since Khang needed to get some wax on his board, and Dais stayed with him.  I walked through the banana leaves gateway again. 

I see Matt and Cosmic John on the sand.  They were talking.  I start to talk to him as I stretched, and he puffed his sweet smelling brown blunt.  He had his feet dug deep into the sand.  Khang and Dais come by, and we continue to talk.  Matt hits the water first right in front of us, and then Dais and Khang go further up towards the Jetty.  Cosmic John and I talk even more, about life, love, children with disabilities, and dealing with them. 

I told him about a girl that I coach on my basketball team.  She has ADHD, so her mom told me sorry in advance for her not paying attention, but to understand.  I told her that I wasn’t going to treat her daughter any different, for she will feel it’s ok to be that way.  I told her that I won’t push her as I do the other kids, but I will stay strict and expect her to put forth the effort during practice.  After a few sessions of practice, her mom came up to me to thank me, saying that she learned how to push her daughter.  She said she was ashamed that she was always negative with her comments when her daughter upset her for “messing up,” whereas I was positive with my comments.  She also saw how strict I was towards her, but that her daughter seemed to feel as part of the team because I treated her same as everyone. 

Cosmic John gave me an explosive fist bump.  He didn’t like how Clay’s mom was so over-protective and allowed Clay to be introverted.  He got Clay’s half brother, Cheyne Magnusson, to finally talk after two years of not talking to each other.  He said that people had to work together all the time, and it’s good not to give special treatment to anyone just because of a disability.  If anything, people with learning disabilities are far more gifted than us “normal people.”  We chatted a few more minutes, and I told him I had to go catch some waves.  He gave me another fist bump and told me to have a great time. 

The water here was amazing too.  It wasn’t too cold, but the water felt clean and looked clear.  I tried to take in every thing, moment by moment, and caught myself thinking about other things while in the line up.  Girls, music, what to do tomorrow, who to surf with tomorrow, and what not.  I erased those thoughts as soon as I got them, and Just Enjoyed The Surf.  The soundtrack in my head was still the song that played right before we parked.  This was very similar to the Innersections online qualifier for Clay Marzo that I’ve watched over a hundred times. 

I saw Matt catch his first wave as I paddled out.  He took a close out left.  I hooted him but paddled away from him, all the way towards the jetty. 

I saw Dais catch some good ones in the first minutes of our session.  The waves were pitchy, but he was still able to manage a quick pop up to get to his feet, and go right, racing against the detonating lip behind him.  The waves were breaking fast, and they would usually out run him.  He said the waves were pretty fast, but he adjusted accordingly what the situation gave him, and he succeeded.

On more than one occasion, I saw Dais go for some questionable waves, and see his surfboard just fly up after the white wash mauled him into the shore pound.  His board flew up at least five feet on these wipe outs, but he came back up, smiling and running back to the line up to paddle for more. 

I saw two female figures pointing out towards my direction, but I didn’t see a baby, so I figured it wasn’t Kiyo-chan and Keira.  I went back to my surfing.  I then see a man with a cute baby in pink, and immediately knew it was Keira.  I may be blind, but I could see her pink hoodie!  I paddled in to say hi to Blaine and Keira.  They said Kiyo-chan and Gwen (Keira’s older sister “Nene chan”) went all the way south to look for me, but Blaine knew I would be here.  He told me that they would be back, and I should keep on surfing. 

Khang caught two waves where he was able to do a backside redirect.  These waves still burn images in my head like a searing hot branding iron.  The first one had a small splash coming out the back as he made a quick, snapping turn.  The wave after that one, he did a speed check mid face and some legit spray came out the back. 

I told Dais I liked this spot a lot, that it was challenging, but it was a good sort of challenging.  Not too intimidating, but not easy one bit.  I was having fun. 

I saw Kiyo-chan and Gwen come back, so I went back in again.  As I was talking with them, taking pictures and enjoying the moment, Dave shows up.  He drove from Garden Grove, up to the Hollywood Hills to help work, then drove all the way down to Newport Beach to hang with us.  88% of life is showing up, and he always shows up.  I was so stoked to see both my family and Dave.  I introduce them to each other, and ask Dave if he was going to paddle out.  He didn’t say no, so I assumed he was going to, but I deduced that the board wasn’t ready to be ridden yet, so he just came down to hang out with us.  That’s pretty effin’ amazing, if you ask me.  If I couldn’t surf, why would I show up all the way down in Newport Beach?  I wouldn’t have come.  But Dave showed up.

“How big is it?” Dave asked.

“Oh, about three feet,” I replied. 

Dave was wide-eyed.  “That’s three feet?”

“Well, that one was a little bigger, I guess,” I said, laughing.

My extended family lay out the beach towel as Keira started to build sand castles and Gwen was collecting shells.  The skies were still over cast, but the vibe was bright and warm.  I told them that I would be heading out to surf again.  I paddled back out to the line up.  By this time, we have been surfing for a solid 2 hours.  However, it felt like thirty minutes to me.  I was just taking in the day, moment by moment. 

Matt started to talk to an older dude with a green board.  Well, maybe the older dude started talking to Matt instead.  I overheard a small part of their conversation:

“Man, there were all these low riders right there bro, all bumping some old school music.  We would all surf all day, and just get so wasted!”

I paddled away to leave their discussion between them. 

A body boarder who was dropping knee on a lot of these waves started to talk to us too.  I was giving him hoots for some nice waves, and he was talking to Khang.  Khang said that I’ve surfed Diamondhead, and this body boarder, by the name of Noah, gets stoked and says that he was from Oahu.  We talk about Hawaii and he completely slips into pidgin on a dime. 

“Brah, I was born in Molokai, and I moved to Oahu when I was ten, brah,” he said to me.

I tell him my experiences of Oahu, and he gets more stoked.  We talk about our favorite garlic chicken joint, Mitsuken, and our conversation takes flight.

“Oh my god, I love that place.  That’s one place I truly miss, brah,” Noah said.

Noah lived around the area, but wanted to travel and surf in LA too.  He was talking to Khang about different surf spots around the area, where he has been, where Khang has been, and Khang told him that Malibu would be good, but he’ll have to deal with the crowds.  He doesn’t like crowds all too much, so he grimaced. 

He paddled in on his last wave, going drop knee, and threw us all shakas on his way out.  Noah and the old dude on the green board made us all feel that we were welcomed at this spot.

Even the shredders were super chill too.  There was no yelling or hooting and hollering.  Just an overall mellow vibe in the line up and on the beach. 

Khang also caught the wave of the day.  I took the smaller first wave which was maybe a small double up that fizzled out in one foot mush.  I look back and see Khang paddling for the four footer, right on the shoulder.  He looks poised and focused, not being deterred by anything or anyone.  I hoot him, duck dive, and continue to hoot him as he made the wave of the day. 

Matt took a mean wipe out from the jetty.  He paddled hard for it, and even before he popped up, his visage changed from determination to “oh fuck.”  He still popped up but his eyes showed that he knew he was in for a good wipe out.  The rest of us just hooted him as he went down with the lip, still wide eyed and in slow motion.  The white water detonated with him, and we all gave a collected “OHHHHHH!”

Matt came up, laughing it off.  Definitely the wipe out of the day.

Khang went for a wave behind the jetty, and took off on a frothy lip.  Matt took off about ten yards inside from Khang on a pitchy lip.  Dais even took off right next to me as I paddled out of the way. 

All three went tumbling down like toy soldiers:  First, Khang ate it.  Then, Matt ate it.  As I duck dived, I saw Dais just fly over the board with a smile on his O-face, free falling five feet. 

So we end the session after a good four hours.  I saw Matt catch his last wave all the way to shore, and I paddled for a small crumbler to end the session.  My surf family was mingling with my extended family, and it turns out Dave has a new adopted daughter.  Keira was all over Dave. 

Gwen made me promise that next time we meet, we spray paint my board together.  She wanted a bright blue bottom with arrows on the blue, so we pinky-sweared to seal the deal.  Gwen is also an accomplished swimmer, so she made me pinky swear to teach her how to surf.  Yay!

We parted ways and Dave and I headed back to the car.  We caught up on the days’ happenings, and saw Matt, Khang and Dais at the car, getting changed.  Cosmic John comes walking down the street as we got changed.

One thing lead to another, and Cosmic John returned to us saying, “You, from Maui, and you (pointing at me) can come up to the house.  I’m sorry guys, but I didn’t want to just bring in a group of five guys at this time.”

Khang said it was cool that we go to the house, and so we walked up the street.  We walk up the stairs to the house.  Clay’s house.  He opens the door, and I see an older man, with big broad shoulders and thick legs greet us.  Another, tinier, less athletic man with green eyes says hi to us too.  He said his name was Shane.  And then there he was, sitting on the couch, with his unkempt blonde hair, stocky arms with blonde hair standing up, a strong stocky neck, and tree trunk legs.  The man himself, Clay Marzo.

Clay Marzo is one of my favorite surfers of all time.  He hails from the island of Maui and is a professional surfer.  He doesn’t do too many contests, but he free-surfs a lot, all over the world.  I fell in love with his surfing since Young Guns 2, seen here:

He always surfs so dynamically, unpredictably, and so intuitive.  He doesn’t see waves, he feels them.  He also has super glue under his feet, and his limbs are stolen from Gumby.  Although he is younger than I, I look up to him. 

And there he was, sitting on the sofa.  I introduce myself and shake his hand. 

A person with Aspergers Syndrome doesn’t suffer from the disease, they suffer from other people.  They can’t deal with social situations at all, and so they come off as shy, introverted people.  But they are experts in one thing, always.  People brush them off as weird people, but to me, they are masters in their art. 

The stocky man with Clay turns out to be Adam Klevin, his photographer and videographer.  He is a Californian transplant living in Maui for the last twenty years.  He asks Matt about Maui, where he’s from, and both Clay and Adam are stoked to find “one of their own” right here in Newport Beach. 

Once Matt and I find that he is Clay’s photographer and videographer, we have to shake his hand again.  We are big, huge, gigantic fans of Clay, but all the footage is shot by this man himself.  He gets stoked and says, “Man, you guys like that stuff too?” 

“Oh man, all the surf porn we try to watch,” I say.

“Yea, I was actually watching Innersections this morning, and just watching Clay’s section,” Matt said.

“Oh, man, you guys are really into it!” Adam replies.  “Hey, lets go outside and chat,”

Clay and Adam take a seat on the balcony, so Matt, Cosmic John and I follow.  We chit chat for a bit more about video sections, and I just had to let out my giddy grom side out. 

“Man, I’m sorry, but I’m such a big fan of you.  We both are.  And so I’m just really taken back that I’m in your presence.  Like, shaking your hand was just out of this world.”

Adam just laughs, “Yo, do you want like an autograph or anything?”

“No, it’s ok, I’m sure he gets that all the time, and I know he doesn’t like too many new people, so it’s ok… just… man!  Your surfing is so amazing.”

Adam smiles at that, and Clay lets out a small smile. 

I invite Matt to join the conversation, but he just replies, “Naw, I’m cool just being here, being present.”

Adam invites us to watch an unreleased Costa Rica section that they just shot.

“Oh, so three of our homies are outside, just skating around, and they love to watch surf porn too… can they come up and watch this video section?”   

Cosmic John adds: “Yea, I didn’t want to invite them all of a sudden, just five dudes all at once… ya know?”

“Oh, yea yea!  Bring them up!  Have them come in!” Adam said.  Jeez, what a cool guy.  All of these guys.  They were such amazingly good people. 

I left Matt alone in the house.  I felt bad at first, since I knew Matt wasn’t good with new social situations, but I figured he’s in the hands of good people, and he’s a man, he’ll handle himself.  I run down the stairs and go get the guys who were chilling on the beach. 

We all get together and head up to the house.  We open the door, and see Matt, half naked, getting a massage from Cosmic John. 

“See, right here,” he pressed with his fingers on his leg.  Matt grimaced in pain. 

“Yo man, you gotta relax! Breathe, man, breathe,” I tell him.

“No, he’s relaxed!  He’s relaxed down here, that’s what counts!” Cosmic John said.  He brought Dais closer in, to see his work since he knew Dais was a massage therapist. 

I introduce da boys to everyone, and we all take a seat.  Clay stares out the balcony window.  Adam puts on a clip for us.  We are all watching the clip, talking with Adam and Shane.  From the back, I can hear Shane say, “That’s good energy,” referring to us. 

“See, there’s too much air, right, in, here!”


We all look towards Matt.  What the fuck was that??

That would be his back being stretched out into the universe.  Cosmic John switches it up and stretches the other side, this time slower and deeper. 

We all start to watch video clips and ask Clay some questions.  He answers in one word answers, “Yea,” and “Thanks.”

“How does he stay in the barrel so long?” I ask.

He’s just comfortable inside there,” Adam answers. 

Clay goes out to the balcony and invites me out.  I get to have some one on one face time with him while everyone chilled inside.  I knew from reading Transworld Surf that he doesn’t like interviews too much, and if I were to interview him, I should do so in the water.  So, I just asked how his knee was (he had surgery on it,) music, and how he likes Cali.  I wanted to ask him a gazillion other questions, but I refrained, instead just looking outside the balcony and finding things to laugh about, like a family of skaters with the mom lagging behind on roller blades.  I could feel his nervous energy around me, so I didn’t want to press my luck.  We talk a little basketball, and I tell Clay that to me, Magic Johnson is the greatest Laker of all time.  And to me, what he does on a surfboard is what Magic did with a basketball.  He gives me a smile, laughs, and says “Thanks.”

He motions to go inside, so we both head inside.  Now Adam was getting a massage from Cosmic John, and we were all just lounging around the house. 

Eventually, our appetite grew exponentially and we couldn’t hold it in.  Khang and Dave used their expertise to pick an amazing spot in Westminster, and so we started to head out the door.  We shook everyone’s hand once more, and Matt and I took pictures with Adam, Clay, and Cosmic John. 

“Hope to see you guys again,” Adam said.

“Yea, I mean, we met today for a reason.  I’m sure we’ll see each other some other time,” I told him. 

We head down, out of the house, out of Clay’s house, and get back to our cars. Matt and I were super giddy, recalling what just happened. 

“Man, I wanted to fondle and dry hump those boards so badly!!” I said. 

“I know, dude, you had one on one face time with him!!!”

I couldn’t believe it.

We headed to an amazing Viet Namese restaurant.  We had a lot of  vos ban xeo and vermicelli and in between chews, we still couldn’t believe we had just hung out at Clay Marzo’s house in Newport Beach.  It was just so unreal.  The meal was the best meal I've had in months.  Not just because I love fish sauce, but because of everyone around eating and talking about the day's events and ideas that were being passed around was very fulfilling. 

None of the happenings would have happened if it wasn’t meant to be.

I was meant to not have to go to work today.  We were meant to go to Newport, not San Onofre.  We were meant to miss the 55.  We were meant to miss three parking spots and get that one right near Clay’s house.  We were meant to meet Cosmic John.  My extended family came out and joined the amazing day.  We were meant to have a challenging yet fun time at this new spot.  Dave was meant to come and hang out with us.  We were meant to meet one of our all-time surf heroes, Clay Marzo and his small posse.  We were meant to have an amazing lunch afterwards.

This day was just amazing.  Mahalos to everyone I met today and made the day’s experience a million times better.  And of course, who linked us all together?  Mahalos Mother Ocean.

Clay Marzo's Innersection Qualifier - My favorite clip of him online

Cosmic John's movie

Adam Klevin - on Clay's website

From L to R: Adam, Clay, Cosmic John, and myself, KK

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Beautiful 091011

Surf Report: 1 – 2 feet with the occasional 3 footer
Water: Warm in a 4/3
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Gloomy, at times raining

I woke up lethargically to my alarm.  I wasn’t too amped up to surf this morning, for I knew it was going to be flat.  Just how flat?  Well, I’ll take another fifteen rides in the washing machine for some waves like last week.  Nevertheless, I pulled myself out of bed and did my morning routine of stretching and filling up water jugs.  However, I did eat a small bowl of cereal with almond milk for breakfast before departing.

My gear was all packed and ready to go.  Now, I gotta get Dais, I thought.  I made my way over to his house and he came out on a dime.  We packed all his stuff and headed off to 26th Street.

Good ol’ 26th Street.  The metered parking was empty, but there were no free parking spaces available for us.  So, we went to 15th Street to park at the City Hall, which is closed tomorrow for some 9/11 celebration, just FYI.  We got changed, rode the carver around to warm up our legs, and then took off on the skateboards to the Strand.

The gloomy atmosphere painted a mellow morning beach scenery, with wet sand and pavement as the frame.  The horizon seemed endless in the grey abyss, and the water just slightly glued to the bottom of it drew dark blue lines rhythmically marching in against the clouds movement.  A small wave trickles down and crashes on a mushy sand bar, and dissipates before even breaking.  Then, the wave swallowed all of the brown sand and dumped right onto shore.

Matt was already in the water by the time we got to 26th Street.  Dais and I rode by the parking lot, saw his car, said hi to Bruce and the locals, and made our way back on to the Strand.  We stretched in front of the lifeguard tower and Dais pointed out Matt south of us. 

The water was goo like and seemed to just fuse with you once you stepped in.  It felt like the water was melting away when your body entered.  I couldn’t wait to duck dive!  It just felt so nice and refreshing, like I’ve been cleansed of all my work week stress and worries and studies and what have you.  Once I duck dived, I could see the bottom of the sand bar, and at least ten feet ahead of me.  The water today was just amazing.

The paddle out wasn’t strenuous at all.  What a difference a week makes.  It took me twenty minutes last Sunday to paddle out, and today, I could have walked out to the line up. 

“Ey Mate,” a broken Austrailian accent voiced.

“Ey Mate,” I replied back, in my best Julian Wilson impression.

Matt!  Haven’t seen this ninja in a while.  We exchange our hello’s and shoot the shit.  Dais joins us soon thereafter. 

Rick paddles for a left.  He was on his grey fish, and caught the wave in the perfect spot.  He pumped down the line, carving some S turns out, and took the wave far, far into shore.  He came out with a wide grin on his face.  However, he and his WHC took off, since the window had closed and the waves were mushing out.  

Dais catches the first wave once we three stooges joined powers.  It was a right where he was popped up on, and he took a right that allowed for a short ride.  The wave just bogged out, giving him no where to go after the initial ride, and so he fell out the back and returned paddling. 

Matt was taking it easy today.  It was nice to see him take it easy for a change.  I’m sure his shoulder isn’t 100% yet, but it’s good enough to surf.  He seemed to have adjusted accordingly, and wasn’t really muscling into every single wave that came his way.  Instead, he hit the cruise control button and seemed very relaxed in the line up, moving with the mellow sways of the Ocean.

I think Dais caught three waves before I caught any sort of a wave.  He worked the inside that rolled through unexpectedly, while I just bobbed up and down.

When I duck dived to look into the Ocean, I could hear feint clicking and high pitched sounds.  They were familiar sounds of dolphins talking, and so I hoped to see a dolphin or two today.  No luck though.

The water was just so amazing.  I felt so good in the warm water today.  Yes, the 4/3 was an overkill for protection from the cold, but the water was still really breathtaking.  The water was infused with serotonin, for I felt so happy to be in the water.

I paddled for a left and hooted someone off.  It was pretty clear that there was no where to go, but I still had to have him acknowledge that THAT WAVE WAS MY WAVE.  I popped up and the wave bogged out in seconds.  Not even five seconds.  But, I still hooted him off. 

He said to me, smiling, “Man, no rides today huh?”

“Yea, no power!” I said to him, smiling.  He never dropped in on me after that. 

Cheryl came out eventually, saying hi to all of us and we core group of DRC had the peak all to us.  Everyone had left already because they figured it wasn’t worth feeding the meter, and so only a handful of people were out in the water.  We hooted and pushed each other into waves, laughing and splashing around the Ocean.

Just then, water droplets started to fall.  Small, gray opals were falling from the sky, crashing on the surface of the Ocean, diving deeper and deeper, then reverting back up as if running away from the Ocean’s grasp, and quickly being dragged into the green abyss.  The green water twinkled with small bullets of water raining upwards, and although the rain drops were random, a symphony of water was playing.  Small innuendoes of droplets hitting the surface played with my ears, and I thought of that time on the North Shore when it started to rain.  I tried to add my own droplets by squirting and splashing in the air, but the beats and rhythm of Mother Nature proved much, much superior. 

“God damnit! This SUCKS!” a surfer screamed.  He was the loudest in the line up, both vocally and wetsuit wise, adorning a yellow and grey wetsuit.  He was very skilled, for I saw him do a small 360 on the face of the wave.  However, his skill didn’t take his happiness very far.  He took another close out wave, and screamed at his ghosts.  “GOD DAMNIT!!!”  he yelled again.  I thought to myself as I saw this unhappy surfer, “Would I feel the same way if I got as good as him, or even better than him?” 

No, I won’t let myself be that way.  I’ll never feel that way while surfing. 

GUY, ARE YOU KIDDING?  It’s so beautiful!!!  How could you not like the conditions right now, right at this moment??  I could see my feet in the clear water, and so I swung around for a close out wave.  There’s no way I’m NOT gonna surf this wave.  I took the close out, and I as I rode the white wash for as long as I could, I saw the forests of seaweed dancing and undulating under my board as I rode over it.  The lens was just so crystal clear, I felt like I was looking down at a sheet glass painting.

Matt and Cheryl were close by, and I asked Matt, “Is this how it was in Bali that day it rained??”

“Dude, I was just telling her about that!” he confirmed.  “Man, did the winds just… die?” 

Indeed, the winds died.  But then it picked up again.  Off shore.  What?  Yes, off-fucking-shore. 

Dais paddled back from his adventure south, and we shared stories of seeing the seaweed beds under our feet as we rode the waves.

“Man, that was so awesome,” Dais said.

Matt got some lefts and rights, but nothing spectacular.  He was pumping on a left but the wave bogged out so the board just shot out back over the wave.  On a few rights he was able to get on the wave, but there was no room to bottom turn for a mean crack off the lip, so his rides were ended prematurely.  However, he seemed stoked.  Everyone of our four man group was stoked. 

“KLAUDE!! OH MY GOD!!! OHHHH MAA GAAAAWD!!” he yelled as a left approached me.  I paddled for it.  I caught the wave.  I got to my feet… and I leaned too much on my toes and completely ate it.  In front of EVERYBODY!! SWEEEEET.  I had to laugh that one off.  If I don’t laugh at it, then I’m taking this surf thing way too seriously.  

“Matt! You made me all nervous yelling out ‘KLAUDE! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GAAAWD!!’”

He laughed and said, “Sorry, I didn’t actually think you were gonna make that wave…hahahaha.”

We all chimed in on the laugh.  I’m still chuckling about it. 

Matt took a wave in and called it a day.  This is a newly reformed Matt, one who doesn’t push four hour sessions, back to back, on five hours of sleep and nineteen hours of studying and gaming.  He paced himself, got his share of waves, and politely bowed out at a good time when the window was almost completely shut closed. 

We saw Uncle Miles today, as we three waved hi to him, and he enthusiastically waved hi back.  He was on his longboard and catching all sorts of waves as always, taking them all the way into shore. 

I think Cheryl had performance anxiety.  She couldn’t really catch any waves while Matt, Dais, or I was in the water.  Even Dais and I would take waves that she paddled for and couldn’t get in.  The waves didn’t let her in? Rather, she didn’t allow herself to be let in.

“It’s not big enough,” Cheryl said.

“Man, I’m tired of girls telling me that!” Dais said. 

And the wave of my session rolled through.  I knew Cheryl had to be going for it, and that she would make it.  That’s why I was off to the races.  I gave myself enough room to pop up and pump down the line.  When I saw her board pick up speed, I popped up simultaneously, and started to run down the line.  I saw her board do a small jerk and I figured Cheryl was on the wave, right behind me.  I pump twice, and transfer my tail slides from the carver skateboard straight on to the wave.  My “gouge” was more like a needle prick, but I still felt my board hit the brakes and go back in the other direction.  However, the wave was bogged out as I did my needle prick of a top turn, and so I lost all speed.  I grabbed my rails and kept the board under me, so my board doesn’t shoot out whichever way I launch it.  I didn’t want to hurt anyone around me. 

I see Cheryl back in the line up, saying that I snaked her. 

“Yea, I snaked you, sorry, but it was such a nice wave!”

“Yea, I know it was a nice wave!! That’s why I wanted it!!”

I told her she should have kept on going, but she countered that I almost got hit by her board.

“No worries, that board was far away from me,” I told her.

To me, that was a small break through.  And in what kind of conditions did this break through happen?  In the smallest of waves, but in the most beautiful surroundings.  I was in a good mental state.

Dais and I shared a wave that came out of no where, and we had to get “another one.”  That last one was supposed to be our second “last one,” and so we were on #3 of the “last wave syndrome.” 

I took mine, and Dais got his, and we both watched Cheryl as we smiled at each other, stoked off the mornings session.  Dais whistles as I look up from getting my skateboard. 

“Cheryl!!!!!” he yelled.

She was up!!  And she took a small bogger pretty far, and she fell off the back as the wave lost all power.  As she was falling, she did a double fisted YES!!, clenching her hands tightly and smiling from ear to ear. 

But she wasn’t done just yet.  She took another similar wave and did another double fisted YES!!!

And a third one!! Another YES!! pose.  Wow.  Performance anxiety cured.  She had to be alone, surfing WITHOUT US!!  Damn she must hate us.  But don’t worry, we love you Cheryl, and we believe hate quickly turns into love. 

Dais and I skated back on the slippery pavement.  The water dripping from our legs helped our feet slip even more on the smooth Strand, and the water from the rain was still moistening the environment.

What a beautiful day.  I doubt that we are going to have a beautiful, tranquil day like that for a while.  I will cherish the things I saw and the sounds I heard and the feelings I had today forever.

And to think, it was just a small, crappy day at 26th Street.  Go figure.

Mahalos Mother Ocean. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Surfer I Want To Be 090411

Surf Report: solid 5 footers at Manhattan Beach
Water: Warmer than County Line
Atmosphere: gloomy
Winds: on shore

Staying Local.

Woke up at 600 AM to Matt’s text.  He was already at the beach.  Now, I told him the previous night that none of us will be there until 730 or 800, so I didn’t quite know why he was up so early already at the beach.

We exchange texts and I tell him that we will see him later at the beach.  I convinced him to just watch the waves by playing devil’s advocate.  He has pushed himself a lot surfing lately, and now that his shoulder is really bad, I didn’t want him to paddle out in the swell conditions when he isn’t 100%.  That is just another reason for Mother Ocean to teach you a valuable lesson that could keep a surfer out of the water for more than three months. 

I do my usual morning routine and by 700 I am ready to go. 

I get to Khang’s by 730, and Dave arrives shortly thereafter.  We pack up our stuff and head out when Matt calls.

“Bro, I’m leaving,” he says to us.

“Nooooo don’t leave!  We are just heading over there…”

“No, I’m leaving, this is crazy, I’m not paddling out.”

He gave us an annotated surf report and left us with blue balls.  Oh well.

We got to 26th Street and found free parking on the Strand.  ON THE STRAND!! This never happens, meaning all of the locals aren’t here… that’s usually a bad sign.

So we three watch the waves…  three surfers are paddling out.  On the first duck dive, they drift about ten feet.  The second duck dive, they pass in front of us, and on the third, they were past the pipes, going to 33rd Street…

One of the locals was out, and tearing it up.  But still, even he got washed away in the current.

I told Da Boyz we should try not to pass our parking space, and fight the current.  This proved to be a good goal to have throughout the day. 

When we first paddled out, Khang went a little further south to paddle out.  I chose to paddle out right in front, and so did Dave. 

Dave hit the water before me, and I followed afterwards.  A few strokes in, and I could feel the pull.  I paddled diagonally to keep myself in position.  By the third duck dive, I passed Dave and left him behind.  I paddled for a good ten or fifteen minutes trying to get out of the impact zone.  I saw Khang got out pretty quickly, and tried to paddle towards him. 

I felt like I was on a treadmill.

No matter how much I paddled, I would look back, and see I had not moved an inch from where I started.  So I put my head down, breathed longer, and made my strokes longer.  Eventually, I ended up in front of the 26th Street tower.  A lot of guys were being washed out towards us while Khang and I maintained position.

Khang caught this one left where he made the drop and slid down the face.  He didn’t do anything else on the wave though.  He then caught a right that he was able to do a bottom turn on, but that was the end of that ride. 

There were shoulders to be ridden, but it was just tough getting to the shoulders.  I employed the same tactics as yesterday, trying to paddle for the little bumps I felt on the horizon.  However, the waves weren’t as clean as I had wished, and so I kept on paddling and backing out on waves.

First wave I was able to pop up on bucked me off the horse.  I was flung into the air and I landed on my fins.  Not only did I land on my fins, I was anally raped by them.  The two side fins hit both my cheeks, and the center fin hit my tail bone.  Ouch. 

A clean right came to me, but I rushed my pop up and just ate it.  I was mad at myself for not being able to pop up cleanly, and so I’ve decided I need to get better at my pop ups once more.

This board is for the surfer I want to be, not the surfer I am now.  If I had my other Merrick (the Rising Sun one) then I would have been able to ride out a few of these waves for sure.  However, the board I need to be riding is this board, since this is for the surfer I want to become.  I want to get better riding this board, and so I have to stubbornly stick with it. 

A lot more paddling ensues, and Khang and I both maintain our positions.  We see Dave on the shore, and Christina also there too.  They give it a go to paddle out. 

Eventually, Khang and I decide to take the next wave in, and stop fighting the current.  In the last twenty minutes of our surf session, we drifted about 3.5 lifeguard towers, or about twenty blocks.  Christina drifted with us, telling us the stories from last night where she went to go see Thich Nhat Hanh in Pasadena.  She seemed to have had an enlightening experience.

Khang took the last wave.  He paddled for a left and was able to pop up on a vertical face.  I couldn’t believe he actually made the drop and rode it out to shore.  He definitely was the performer out of all of us.

I said my good bye to Christina as I took the paddle of shame.  The waves just seemed to have shut down, although the current didn’t let up.  I got out and watched the Ocean as it churned and swirled in a rhythm of its own tune.  I was humbled by today again. 

Khang and I watched the line up fill in with more surfers.  Some of them were tearing it up!  Others struggled to even get out of the shore pound.  Dave came walking down the beach, and came back to the parking spot.  He said he struggled most of the session, as did all of us. 

I am not the surfer I want to be.

Mahalos Mother Ocean. 

Making Progress 090311

Surf report: 4-6 feet and closing out mostly… some makeable sections
Winds: off shore to side shore trade winds
Water: Cold
Atmosphere: Gloomy, turned to sunny

The swell we’ve all been waiting for… I woke up before 600 AM looking forward to today’s surf.  Christina was on her way by 615 AM, and we had our gear packed and ready to go by 630.

The two of us rolled down PCH oohh-ing and ahh-ing at the crowds at Sunset, Malibu, and Leo Carillo.  We were heading to County line today, and meeting up Dais, Khang, and DK.

The Scene Upon Arrival
We arrive at County line by 730 and hopped out of the car on the dirt parking lot.  The usual “local crew” was already there.  I recognize their mobile homes that seem to be parked in the same place in the same order.  The crowd was thin while we watched some waves roll through.  The point was firing off with some lefts, while the rights seem to be closing.  No one was near the kelp beds by the point, but rather sitting even further north of the point.  The off shore winds created a chilly environment suited for a thick 4/3. 

I wrote a message to Randy (Matt’s older brother) to give me some pointers on managing crowds.  He responded with some golden information that I made sure to keep in my mind for all sessions from now on:

“as uncomfortable as it may be, sit in the middle of the pack. i try not to talk to anyone unless to nod as to say Hi. the less talking the less distractions.”

“keep your eyes on the horizon. if you "feel" a set coming, move slowly into position. try not to let others in the pack move on your anticipation. most guys don't pay attention until they SEE the sets coming. anticipate sets by paying attention to small bumps way out in the horizon and hold position. small bumps may turn out to be nothing, but it'll keep you on your toes.”

“look beyond the first wave of the set. try to see what the 2nd and 3rd wave is doing. it may swing or peak up away from the pack. if you can see it and quickly paddle to that section, then you'll have better positioning for the wave.”

“choose a wave and be the first to paddle for it. if you can be the first one to turn and paddle, then most guys will assume that you're on it. so you'll have less guys competing for your wave.”

” call off guys. some guys don't even bother to look back on a wave to see if anyone's on their inside. so if you have the inside and someone's dropping in on you, call them off and make sure they hear it.”


“paddle back in the line-up as fast as you can for the next set. and do it all over again.”

So I kept these items in mind while working the line up today.  Christina was out on her Becker, and I was on my thruster. 

We get to the line up, and I position myself a little south of the point, since the rights seem to be breaking best there.  I see a small bump on the horizon, and I “feel” the Ocean move a little different than just a tidal push wave.  So, I gun for the wave. 

I paddle and paddle and paddle.  No one is in position for the wave.  The wave jacks up right where I am, and I pop up and slide down a close out. 

Ok, so that observation of the small bump works, I thought to myself. 

Christina was in survivor mode all morning, and it was just gnarly of her to paddle out in these conditions.  The shore pound was pretty nuts, and the conditions weren’t friendly to the faint-hearted, so I give her mad props for paddling out.  88% of life is showing up.  Nothing happens unless you show up, and she showed up to the line up. 

I was doing my own thing and going all over the place.  I would see a small bump on the horizon, and gun for it.  Most of the time, my readings were correct, but they were close outs or pitchy waves that tossed me over.  An Asian guy on a yellow board was trying to catch some waves, and would be falling on the take offs.  He was later surrounded by a pod of dolphins that were frolicking around him.  That was pretty magical. 

I worked my way over to the point where no one was sitting.  I didn’t get it, I thought this was the hallow section for County line?  I’d figure that everyone would be sitting here… 

I quickly discovered that these waves were trickier than the perfection observed from the outside.  From where I was sitting before, I would see perfect rights just roll through, giving long rides to whomever committed.  But sitting on the point, the kelp was a hazard, and the waves weren’t as perfect as observed.  Some of them broke apart into three sections.  Some of them would just dump onto the inside section.  I tried.

I had at least ten wipe outs sitting here.  During this time, Dais, Khang and DK come out to the line up.  We say our hellos and I work my way back to the point.

In the past year, I have missed any “big swells” of the winter because of my shoulder surgery, so I didn’t really have those gnarly wipe outs that hold me down.  Today was the day that all changed:

One of my most memorable wipe outs was taking the third wave of the set.  I saw the bump on the horizon, and paddled to get out of the way.  The wave was a solid six footer that caught everyone off guard and stuck on the inside.  There was a second wave, another six footer, that I was able to get out of the wave of.  So, the third wave comes in, a smaller five footer, and so I shift gears to paddle for it.  I spin around and paddle for the wave.  I feel the wave just pick up so I pop up.  However, I feel the wave just pitch me and my board over, and I am free falling five feet into the flats.  I just feel my whole body crash feet first into the water, and then the washing machine ensues.  My body is rag dolling underwater, doing gymnastic tumbles and wrenching my limbs up and over.  I just think to myself: “Oh ma god.  Don’t dislocate… don’t dislocate!!!”  I start to panic.  I feel my heart beat faster.  The three seconds feel oxygen deprived and I start to panic even more.  After getting dragged for a good five seconds, I tell myself CALM DOWN.

And so I calmed down.  I let the wave drag me a little more, and I feel the lip pick me up again and toss me over the falls once more.  This part was peaceful to me.  I had my senses calmed and my body didn’t feel so oxygen deprived.  The wave finally let me go, and I resurfaced to an empty line up.  I had to catch my breath for a few seconds, but got back on my board, and paddled like crazy to get back to my spot. 

I had a nice hold down where I was deprived of oxygen once more.  I paddled for a right that I felt and saw from the horizon.  Another grom was on the inside, but I had paddled for it first, and so he backed out of the wave early.  Thank you Randy for the advice!  Paddling early for it, and paddling HARD, worked.  So I pop up and dragged my hand into the wave face, trying my best impression of Andy Irons in a backdoor barrel.  Unfortunately, my whole body got pinched by the lip, and I was sent over the falls.  This was another wipe out for the day. 

I ate it numerous times all day.  I got tired of surfing by myself so I paddled south towards Khang, and we chit chatted at how the waves were becoming choppy because of the winds.  It honestly felt like a beach break most of the session. 

I couldn’t get into some waves and I grew frustrated.  My pop up was off, and I would fall because I put too much weight on my front foot.  My pop up…. I need to improve that once more.  I love surfing because no matter how good you get, you always have some aspect to improve.  And it could be the smallest of adjustments needed, but they are needed. 

I was running on another 2.5 hour surf session, but I had no wave to show for it.  Christina was getting tired and cold, and wanted to get the car key so she could change.  I told her that I’ll paddle in to give her the key.

I finally got this small bump of a wave that formed a peak right in front of me.  I took that wave, and popped up smoothly.  It wasn’t much of a wave since I had to chop hop the whole wave, but it was the one and only wave I caught this whole day, so I was thankful.

I took the white water in to shore and gave Christina the key.  She was stoked that I caught that wave, but I wasn’t too stoked.  It wasn’t “the wave” for me.  I wanted more like that.

I started to paddle out again, and the shore pound just lit up.  The white water just washed me in further and further and further on every paddle.  I couldn’t get passed the white water.  It was as if Mother Ocean was saying to me, “Ok, you caught your one wave, now get out while I still like you.”

Point taken.

I paddled back in with Dais, who was in the same situation as I was.  Mother Ocean: the Great Equalizer.  No matter what, we are at her mercy.  We both walk back to the car in shame of our performance today.  Dais didn’t catch one single wave.

Christina was in survival mode, so she didn’t catch a single wave either.

DK was unable to catch a wave.

Khang caught a few rides as I understand, and even did a slow motion cutback on a wave, right in front of Christina.  Too bad I didn’t see it!

Still, whoever paddled out today gets a salty notch under their leather belt.  It wasn’t the best conditions, and it was pretty gnarly to be out there. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean.  And a big mahalos to braddah Randy for the pointers.  I didn’t get big waves, but I did make big progress.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wake Up It's Tha First of Tha Month 090111

Surf Report: 4-6 feet head high + on some
Water: Warm
Winds: Strong off shores to textured trade winds
Atmosphere: Gloomy

I woke up a little before 0500.  Yes, on a Thursday, I woke up before the butt crack of dawn.  Today was the arrival of the swell that we have all been waiting for.  We watched it form off of New Zealand as it travel to Tahiti where the ASP pro’s were catching huge surf, even towing in to the waves on one day.  Then onwards to the South Shore of the Hawaiian islands, where it produced “the best swell in 10 years.”  Now, when a place like Ala Moana bowls is touted as having the best swell in 10 years, they aren’t joking.  Even the buoy broke because of the waves.  And now it arrived in to SoCal.  I had to be on this wave.  This is what I have been waiting for.

I had all my stuff packed from last night, so all I had to do was get up, warm up, eat some breakfast, and take my lunch with me.  I was out of the door and into my car by 515. 
That's SM Pier.  Can't see a thing!

The drive was speedy, yet I saw a lot of cars heading down on the 10 West.  Could these all be surfers?  No, no way.  It can’t be.

I was to meet Dave at Sunset beach for a dawn patrol, but I doubted he came out this early.  When I arrived at the bend to see Sunset, I saw a row of cars already lined up along the shoulder.  I gazed out my drivers side window to see car after car after car.  There was a line to U-turn at the Sunset Boulevard light, and I was lucky enough to catch an opening to beat at least ten cars ahead of me on the light.  I swooped around and got the closest parking spot near the Gladstones parking lot exit.  For all I know, that was the second spot available, and there were at least a few more spots behind me.  I put my car in park, and I open the door to see a line of cars already parked behind me, like a bad cartoon where the line forms instantaneously behind you.

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The whole shoulder on PCH was now full.

The winds were howling cold as I walked to see the Point.  It was so dark none of us could see any waves.  I retreated back to the warmth of my wind blocking car, and saw Bryan had posted on facebook that he was heading over.  I told him that there are no more parking spaces.  He eventually parked across the street.

As I got changed, the sun started to peak through the thick clouds over the mountains.  We could sort of make out the line up now.  I locked my car and headed out. 

The water was warm.  It felt like liquid air as my hands glided through with each stroke.  I noticed the longboarders drifting further south as they paddled out.  I tried to fight the current, but the more I fought, the more I got pounded.  Eventually I paddled around the impact zone and out into the line up.  Bryan was right by me as I paddled out into the line up, but that was all I saw of him.  I continued up to the point while he stayed around the second point, north of Dos Banos. 

The line up was almost empty when I started paddling out to the line up.  By the time I got to the Point, there were twenty heads in my area, and thirty heads around Second point.  By the time the first set arrived, there were forty heads on the Point and even more down the line.  I was overwhelmed with the crowd already…

Multiply this by 4, and that's the crowd factor for today
I’m going to be honest:  I went for about five or six waves, and I made none of them.  They were all close outs, or I just couldn’t penetrate them and got pitched over the falls.

First one I went for, I got pitched over.  It was a “warm up wave” since I saw a guy take the first wave of the inside set, and so I tried for the second wave.  The wave pitched as I didn’t get to my feet in time and got thrown over.  I was washed a little closer in. 

Second one I went for was immediately afterwards.  I tried to take another insider but ended up taking that too deep and got thrown off even faster.  I felt like a rodeo clown being tossed around by a bull.  While I was under the water, I felt a strange calmness that I didn’t have while driving here, waiting in the line up, and paddling for a wave.  I felt most peaceful down under water as the wave thrashed me around left and right. 

Third one I went for was a close out.  I had to go for it because I missed a set wave that people backed out for me on.  This older dude and younger dude both backed out as I paddled for the wave, but I couldn’t get in.  maybe it was my take off angle, or my lack of power?  Whatever it was, it made me lose my place in the line up, and I took a “punishment” close out for letting the last one go.  This one I couldn’t take a breath before I hit the water, so I was deprived of oxygen.  However, I felt at ease inside the dark, gloomy waters of Sunset, deprived of oxygen.  It wasn’t a gnarly wipe out or anything, and I just let the wave jostle me and toss me around until She let me go.  Then I came up for air. 

I had to paddle around the impact zone to get back out.  There was no way of punching through the impact zone today.  One of the surfers looked out at Boneyards as a wave shaped a square, hollow box.  I think he wanted to go there, but it didn’t look makeable just yet with the low tide. 

I started talking to people.  Actually, they started talking to me.  This older lady in full white hair was on her longboard, telling me how hard it was to catch waves today.  She complained and complained about how hard it was today.  I told her to roll with the punches, and stop being a Debby Downer.  She laughed and paddled for a wave where she almost got a hair cut from some guy already on it.

An Asian dude by the name of Peter mumbled something to me. 


“I hate this place, too many noobs,” he grumbled.

“You mean too many people?”

“No, too many noobs,” he grumbled.

“Where do you usually surf then?” I inquired.

“Topanga,” he replied.

I waited and waited and waited.  Still no ride under my belt.  I knew I could catch these waves, I just had to be in position for them, I told myself. 

“Shark!” a few surfers yelled.  I guess there was a shark… I didn’t see it, so I didn’t believe it. 

I kept telling myself that this is good, that I’m in the water, paddling around in my comfortable suit.  It sure beats not surfing, I said.  You’ll get yours.  You still have an hour left.

The sets came through the Point, but they were all walled up.  I grew desperate. 

The sets that walled up at the Point peeled cleaner on the inside where Bryan was sitting when I first lost sight of him.  I didn’t bother to venture over there though.  I just sat north of the pack, ahead of them, and watched the horizon. 

A SUPer.  All the way from the Point
I went for two close outs after this, and didn’t make it to the face on either.  I had surfed two solid hours from 600 to 800 without catching a single wave.  I wasn’t unhappy about being out in the water, but I was numb.  I was numb that I had woken up so early and had looked forward to a swell like today for so long and couldn’t capitalize.  I just wanted to have a two wave hold down so that I would feel something that told me I was still alive instead of some zombie in the crowd. 

I wanted to make up for this session by surfing another two hours, but I had to get to work.  I came.  I saw.  I was conquered.  

As I got changed, I saw Khang and Pete pull up.  I gave them my story, and they said they will paddle out by the Stairs.  That was probably a good idea.  I wished them luck as they hunted for parking.  So, I didn't see Bryan return to his car parked across the street.  And, I got a text from David that he had parked far away and that he hoped to see me in the water.  I called Khang to tell him that Dave was out there too, and I left my premium parking spot as I pulled out in my van, dressed for work. 

What was today’s antagonist?  The crowd factor?  My own mental incapacity?  The Ocean’s raw power?  A mirage of a shark?  Whatever it was, I will have to deal with them again on Saturday, since it is the Labor Day Weekend, and the swell is supposed to last all weekend long. 
And still riding it... good 15 sec ride!

Mahalos Mother Ocean.  You punch lessons into my gut, even after rolling through across the whole Pacific Ocean.  RESPECT.