Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nothing Goes as Planned, and That's Alright 102911

Surf Report: 1-3 footers
Water: Cold
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Mild

I waited in anticipation for Saturday. 

I knew the surf was going to suck, but it didn’t matter to me.  I need to surf.  I need to be in the water.

I had the day off on Friday so I could study for my CPA test that I sit for on Tuesday.  I studied most of the day, and stopped studying around 1130 PM.  None of the things I was going over were making sense at this time, so I figured my brain was fried enough, and I sat watching youtube videos while drinking a beer before I slept.

I couldn’t sleep.

I woke up to my alarm at 530.  It was time to get up, and I had energy buzzing through my veins. 

I got into the car without eating anything, and drove off to 26th Street.  Da boys were surfing Huntington Beach, but I had to stay local so I could study later on in the day.  I got to 26th Street before the sun rose, and the white lines in the horizon looked dismal at best.  They dribbled in like sperm from your penis hole on your eighth masturbation attempt. 

There were two cars in the lot, with guys furiously waxing up their brand new boards.  The faces weren’t familiar, so they must have been new, up-and-coming surfers who learned to surf during the summer crowds.  Kudos to them for continuing on with surf, after putting up with the crazy crowds of summer.  But, I questioned their actions.  Are you really going to surf in this CRAP??

I called Matt for consolation. 

“Yo, sorry bro, if I knew you were coming, I would have waited! I’m already in Carson!”

What, really?

I made the call to wait near Matt’s house and have Khang pick me up.  Dais was already there, and Khang said he would come as soon as possible.

Thirty minutes passed as I sat in my car, reading a magazine with the radio on.  I called Khang out of impatience, and he said he was two minutes away.

We loaded up my stuff in the car, and headed to Brookhurst.  I was a Negative Nancy the whole way over, saying that we’re missing the window since we left El Segundo around 700.  The car couldn’t move fast enough for my brain.  My brain took over and shot out negativity all around.

We got to parking on Brookhurst, and Khang opted to wait out the last thirty minutes of “no parking” from 800 PM to 800 AM.  Dais and I went ahead to the beach. 

The sun was baking me inside my wetsuit, but my feet were freezing.  The asphalt felt like broken mortar under our feet as our nerves got pinched and needled on every single point of surface area.  Once we got to the sand, the pinching and needling got worse.  We couldn’t get to the water fast enough.  We couldn’t pick up our feet quickly enough to escape the cold.

We got to the shore and saw the sparse crowd.  The waves were small, but hell, it was better than 26th Street, I’ll attest to that.

“Whooooo~~~~” Dais called out.

A nice left hand, two wave set rolled through the river jetty.  The crowd over there was PACKED to capacity.  No doubt it was worth it to the locals surfing there, since those two sets looked really fun and big, especially for the lack of swell.

The surf session seems like a blur now, trying to recall it.  We surfed for a solid three hour session, which was totally out of “KK’s planned activities for the day.”  But then again, coming to HB and surfing with da boys was totally out of “KK’s planned activities for the day.”  So I figure it was a good day.

I think each of us caught at least one single wave that was memorable though. 

First off, Dais:  I was paddling for a right, and wasn’t really on the peak.  I was hanging on the shoulder, and felt lazy paddling for it.  I popped up and the wave just wouldn’t let me in, and I bogged out.  I was glad that I bogged out, since I immediately see Dais shooting across my peripherals.  As I looked back to my left, I see him laying the rail in the trough of the wave to bottom turn.  He continues on down the wave for a long ride.  He smiles and laughs, telling me it’s usually the other way around, where I shoot across his field of vision while he bogs out on the shoulder. 

Dais even got pushed into a wave by Matt.  I didn’t get to see it, but Matt was giving him props on it for taking it. 

Secondly, Khang:  He paddles for this wave that jacks up for him, and only him.  That was the kind of day it was today.  Just random peaks in front of the lifeguard tower.  He was able to take the wave all the way down to shore, and came back, then paddled for another wave.  I couldn't believe that he was able to catch consecutive waves.  Just like that.  Sometimes, surfing takes a little luck in where you sit, and he was sitting on the right spot.

However, he did eat it on an outside wave.  The wipe out was great!  I was egging him onto this wave, and he was paddling into it way too deep on the peak. He ditches his board, and just gets engulfed by the white water.  Surprisingly there was some oomph on these waves today.  He came up with a look of astonishment of how he got worked on such a small set wave.  I say small because compared to two weeks ago, these are easy waves. 

Thirdly, Matt:  I would say his lefts are getting better.  He was able to pump and weave over the white water sections on the waves.  On one wave, I saw him take off late but pump up and down the face, go sort of off the top (they’re not as critical as his back hand off the top snaps), and re-enter, then pump pump pump all the way to shore. 

He had this "miracle moment" towards the end of the session.  It seemed that he was just sitting at the right place at the right time, twice.  He was north of the lifeguard tower, when this sweet A frame rolls in.  He goes for the left, and just pumps all the way up and down the wave.  He looked pretty stoked after that, and while paddling out, his eyes got BIG.  Another set just rolled right through, and he caught that wave too.  Almost like a mirror image wave, this wave took him as far as the last one.  

Lastly, myself:  My most memorable wave probably came at the beginning of the session, where Matt told me to go on a right.  I was able to pump on the face, bottom turn and get a small front-side carve off the top.  I kept pumping on the wave until I was on the shore.  The best part is knowing that my friends saw me.   Dais gave me a small splash to show me how much spray he saw from the back.  Khang gave me some props, and Matt was grinning happily for me.  That one wave made my whole session.

One wave that they didn’t see was another right where I crouched low into the face, felt the wave cover me up, and stayed standing after it crashed on top of me.  I then saw the white water section and pumped around it, and bottom turned up to avoid the section all together.  I then got up on the lip, and stayed on top of it and re-entered the wave. 

A random two wave set would roll through the river jetty, and we would all watch in awe of it.  Then, our spot would get the two or three wave set.  Some of them were close outs, but some of them were nice, open faces.  These conditions weren’t epic at all, but we all had fun.  I think if I had surfed 26th Street, all by myself, I wouldn’t have had any fun at all.  Surfing is fun, but surfing with friends is a million times more fun. 

“Damn, this is crazy, for the lack of swell, there’s some waves to be ridden!” Matt said, as another set bombed across the river jetty.  I had to agree.  It was a big surprise to get waves in the South Bay when there aren’t any waves. 

“Yea, and Klaude was all Negative Nancy about it all the way here,” Dais added.  He was right.  I was being a Debbie Downer about the whole morning’s occurrences, especially because THINGS DIDN’T OCCUR AS PLANNED.  But you know what?  What really goes “as planned” in life?  Usually nothing does.  Nothing goes ideally, step by step, as YOU planned.  And when you try to make things go as planned, things get more and more fucked up with each change you try to make so things go “according to plan.”  I wouldn’t go as far as saying just to be a casual observer, but things just happen, so just enjoy the ride.  Life is a wave, and your attitude is your board.  Life will come and go, but it’s up to you on whether or not you ride along, and then HOW your ride will be is totally up to your attitude. 

A big pod of dolphins kept going back and forth in front of us.  The brown haze of Los Angeles pollution hung over the horizon like an unhappy parent looking over her child’s homework.  The crystal clear water swayed and moved with every pulsating bump on the horizon.  Otherwise, the water stayed tranquil and peaceful. 

I have everyone to thank today:  All da boys that made the session memorable, Mother Ocean who graced us with her gifts, the pod of dolphins that frolicked with us, the Banh Mi Cali shop that we stopped by later to fuel up after three hours of surf, all of it.  Without any of them, I wouldn’t be so happy about Saturday.  Ever. 


Monday, October 24, 2011

Depositing Money in the Bank 102311

I couldn't sleep until 400AM this morning... and I woke up at 930ish.. so what?  there's no surf, no one was going to go surf with me, so i called a lay day..

RT flying down the line
Instead of depositing our money into the wave machine at Manhattan Beach, Dais, Randall, and I went to go deposit some money at the bank...

Nais Dais showing us how to ride the bowl section

The Tale of a Weekend Warrior 102211

Surf Report: 1-2 feet max
Water: Cold but bearable
Winds: slight on shore
Atmosphere: Cloudy

So, I woke up late on Saturday.  How late?  Well it was just one of those mornings where I actually woke up to my alarm in the morning, and went straight back to sleep.  My warm bed called and beckoned me back, as if Aphrodite herself was there with her naked bosom.  I drifted back into La-la land, sweeping through clouds of make believe and wishes of things to be…

And who was calling me at 730?  The one and only Christina.  She was already at Brookhurst. 


I grumbled loudly and she could tell I was still in bed.  I told her I’ll be there as fast as I could.  She didn’t expect me to show up at all.

Matt was dirt biking in the middle of the desert, Khang was participating in the beer Olympics, and Dais had a late night house sitting so I was to venture to Huntington Beach all by my lonesome.

I didn’t even do my yoga warm ups this morning. 

I arrived to Brookhurst around 815.  The drive over was terribly cloudy and I blasted the heater the whole way until I was sweating through my sweatshirt.  I had to keep myself warm for the cold water…

I get changed, and head out to Brookhurst.  Christina left me a text saying that her and Apolla would paddle straight out, so I headed straight out to Brookhurst.

The waves looked like skeletons compared to last Saturday’s voluptuous foam figures rolling through.  There was barely a wake in the water, and the sets were two feet max.  Surprisingly, some of the waves stood up and wall up for a turn or two, or three.

I stretch, leash up, and paddle out.  Christina waves me down and we greet each other with an enthusiastic hug.  Apolla and I say hi, and so we three bobbed up and down in the cold waters of Huntington Beach.

Apolla got a new board:  a 7’6” as I recall, which she was generous enough to let me try for a few waves.  It took me three attempts but I managed to stand on it.  The board felt like a board for bigger, monstrous waves.  But, it was supposed to be for smaller days too.  The thing was so beefy and thick that I couldn’t really duck dive too easily (you had to really lean on the nose and push down.) 

Christina was her usual self, cheering Apolla and myself every time we paddled for a wave.  She even tried to push me into a wave whose peak was way too far from me.  Christina had some nice drops that both Apolla and I didn’t think she would make.  But after the white water explosion, we see her wide stance, crouched like a hidden tiger emerge. 

Christina and Apolla opted to leave after we surfed for about an hour together.  I said I was going to leave with them, but the waves just kept rolling in right in front of the lifeguard spot.  It wasn’t epic or all time, but to me, being in the water was so refreshing.  I look forward to Saturday every week because I’m able to surf and be in the water, surrounded by Mother Ocean.  That’s all I live and breathe for nowadays.  I surf because… I live to surf and surf to live. 

There weren’t “memorable waves” today.  I mean, yea I caught a few, and I was able to pump down the line and push the tail out once or twice on some.  But they weren’t super memorable.  These older guys were pushing backside 360’s and nice vertical off the tops on their high performance shortboards.  But even they came up to me and said that I had the board of choice for today. 

I wish they hadn’t said that, because right on queue, the ocean went flat.  They were sitting, I was sitting, we were all just sitting.  Waves would form and evaporate through the line up, and we were left standing on the shallow waters of the shore pound with our balls in our hands, hoping to get a fondling from Mother Ocean.

I started to get cold.  I didn’t wear a watch today, for I wanted to surf until my heart was content knowing that there won’t be waves on Sunday.  I wanted to take advantage of today.  But it was getting hard with my fingers growing numb and my back shivering from the lack of movement.  So, I did what Rick would do:  I paddled to the next lifeguard station.

Now, paddling to the next life guard station isn’t a big feat, but in HB, the open ocean current usually pulls people left and right, so it was sort of a challenge.  I paddled passed the older guys who rip, a girl in a bikini bottom (immediately emasculating me and anyone else wearing a full suit) and some people trying to learn on shortboards.  I caught a wave on the way over to the next lifeguard station, and when I finally made it to the next lifeguard station, I started to paddle back.

I caught my last wave in, and I was finished.  I was content.  I was happy that I got to surf, even if it was two feet max.  I surfed for about three hours.  I live to surf, and surf to live.  I wouldn’t feel alive if I didn’t get wet today.

I met up Rick, and he finished my ALOHA board (now there’s only an OHA left.)  He did a magnificent job with the repair.  It is better than any paid repair job I have ever seen or dealt with.  So, Rick, thank you and a big mahalos to you and your family.

Tokotsu done RIGHT
I also went to Mitsuwa for lunch afterwards.  The Udon place was doing a special promotion with a ramen place called Tsujita Ramen, which actually took over a local block where I grew up, on the beloved corner of Sawtelle.  Tsujita Ramen had a special engagement and served tonkotsu ramen, which is literally “pork bone broth” ramen.  This tonkotsu is native to my parents hometown of Kyuushuu, the southern most island.  It is by far my most favorite type of ramen.  However, no one in the States is able to replicate the flavor:  the pork’s smooth and silky taste, and the refreshing after taste.  Santouka, also located in Mitsuwa, is the closest, but their broth is too oily, albeit the taste is amazing.  So, I paid for my ramen, and looked at it.  The oil looked good, and the soup looked clear.  The smell was unmistakably from home.  I had to stand and eat because there was a shortage of chairs, and I devoured that bowl in a matter of minutes.  My stamp of approval is proudly embossed onto their ramen bowls.  I later thanked them for a delicious meal, since it TRULY is hard to find good tonkotsu ramen in the States.  I’ve tried a lot of them over here, but Tsujita Ramen GOT IT RIGHT. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean for letting me live.  You make me feel alive.  You let me feel that sitting at a desk job for forty hours a week is bearable and worth it.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Aloha Spirit 101511

Surf Report: 4-5 feet
Winds: Off shore to on shore in a heart beat
Atmosphere: Sunny
Water: Cold

I slept over Matt’s house, engulfing mounds of taquitos, papusas, and chocolate brownies with ice cream, while watching scenes from Innersection and Lost Atlas.  Lost Atlas was… weird.  It had more acoustic music than Kai Neville’s last film, Modern Collective.  The surfing was great, and the interviews/talks were awesome too.  I probably have to watch it a few more times to fully appreciate this surf porn.  I would give it 7.5 stars out of 10. 

So, we go to sleep at 1230.  Matt, like the champion he is, is able to sleep four hours and charge dawn patrol… me, I’m an old man, and I need my continuous six hours of sleep at least to charge on a Saturday morning.  

I slept on Matt’s comfortable couch, but moved to the floor.  I tried to sleep on the floor, but the light penetrated the window, so I had to move back to the couch.  I removed the pillows and discovered his couch is HUGE.  Next time… next time…

I woke up to Matt hanging over me with the lamp in the living room on.  It was already past 630… shit.

We make our way down to his car and start packing up all my stuff into his car and take off north.  Rick and Manny let us know how Oxnard was breaking, and they said it was no good.  Too much shore pound, too much water (and, it’s only low tide.)  They opt to surf Malizoo.

We check 26th Street and the place looks dismal.  We see Mikey there with his big iron jaw and gorgeous smile that is chiseled out of marble, along with a few of the other local guys we see all the time.  We chit chat, and decide to leave this spot.  I let Dais, Khang, and Tom Yam know what’s up with 26th Street.

Tom Yam said he was checking out Torrance beach as we made our way on to the 405 South.  Matt suggested we even go down to San Onofre.  It was a day off for me, so I was willing to go anywhere for surf, but my mind was telling me to take a nap.  I couldn’t… I was sitting shot gun!

Dais and Khang wanted to head to Newport, but we convinced them to stick by Brookhurst.  Matt and I arrive at Brookhurst and tell them both where we parked.  We get changed and head down to the beach.

Matt see’s white water exploding on the sand, but I couldn’t see much.  He looks amped and stoked.  I for one, was tired still.  I tried to keep my energy level up, but my mind was telling me otherwise.  This reminded me of the time in Trestles where I couldn’t get a lick of sleep and we surfed five footers at Middles. 

Boy, was my mental state in the gutter.

Matt paddles out and immediately catches a right.  He hacks off the top, throwing out spray.  He cuts back, and while he does this, I go for a right.  I grab on to the wall with my trailing hand and eat it.  Matt looks happy. 

“This is what you wanted, right?” I asked.

After a few minutes, we see ourselves drifting halfway to the next lifeguard station.  Holy crap, the current was strong!!  We had to paddle back.  A rogue set appears, and I get caught on the inside.  I get tossed and turned and let go, only to see a few more bombers roll through.  They weren’t gnarly hold downs by any standards, but they were surely Mother Ocean’s way of telling me “You’re not welcomed here today.”

I was expecting a session like this today, not just because of the lack of sleep, but because I’ve been scoring some fun, mushy waves in the South Bay.  Huntington is a more high performance wave, and with higher performance, comes higher probability of eating shit.  After what seemed like an endless paddle to catch up to Matt, I found myself still half way to the other lifeguard tower.  Matt waves me down, pointing to shore.  Dais and Khang have arrived…

I sit.  I wait.  I eat it on the inside.  I lose sight of Matt. 

“Take a nap, god damnit,” my mind says. 

My joints were hurting, my mind was slow and sluggish, and my reaction time was totally off on even the minute task of duck diving.  So, I paddle in, set up my board to create a shade, and sleep. 

I think I kept my eyes closed and breathed for a good twenty minutes.  Flies that were munching away on the seaweed right by me started to land on my face, but that really didn’t bother me.  I just wanted to sleep.

I woke up, and found that the waves are crumbling from on shore winds.  Just like that, those barreling sections that we arrived to had disappeared like a redneck at a hoe down, and I was all alone.

I walked up to the 3rd lifeguard station because Matt would always be position where he said he would be.  Today was an exception.

I paddled out, tried to get a wave or two, ate it, and paddled back in.  I walked back to 3rd, paddled back out, did the same, came back in.  This continued for about six rounds.

One wave that I caught was an outsider which I was able to easily paddle into.  I didn’t have to grab rail or anything to make the drop, and was able to do a small pump before dropping in to the bottom of the wave.  The wave closed out behind me, but I couldn’t make it around the white water section as I would have liked to.  I was still super stoked to finally catch a wave of consequence and make it out alive.

The board for the surfer I want to be finally rode a wave that it was made for.  The only problem was the surfer wasn’t the surfer he wanted to be. 

I got tired after six rounds of running back and forth between tower 4 and tower 3.  I grew increasingly alone, with no one to really talk to, since people were getting washed around constantly.  I was almost ran over by two guys who popped airs after dodging around me.  Oh, HB, how high performance you are…

I walked back to the car in hopes of Matt being there to no avail.  I walked back, paddled back out, and got sent home by the white wash.

“You’re not welcomed here,” she roared at me.

I sat on the beach, beaten and battered, but surprisingly, no ego hurt.  Perhaps there wasn’t an ego to hurt at this point. 

I then see Dais, Khang and Matt walking towards me.  It was the most welcoming sight of the morning.  We reconvene and talk story about the mornings happening.  I was the struggler, Dais was the wiper, Khang was the snake, and Matt finally got his wish of riding a fast left. 

We all departed at the street parking on Brookhurst, and Matt and I made our way to the freeway.  I wasn’t really bummed at all for this day, since I knew why I didn’t surf well.  I needed some sleep!  But now, my stomach grumbled… even after all those taquitos, papusas and chocolate brownie with ice cream, my body craved nourishment.

We stop in at Bob’s Hawaiian Okazuya, a spot in Gardena.  The vibe there was amazing, with all these Hawaiians eating lunch, with a take out spot with beef curry, chili, banana leaf rice, beef stew, and the like in heat sinks.  A live Hawaiian band started to play on their ukulele and slack key guitar.

The food was great!  The Ahi poke was a bit expensive for the portion, but it tasted great.  The chicken katsu was perfect, the chow mein was amazingly tasty, the mac salad was normal (I’m not a big fan of mayo) but the nori-maki fried chicken was bland.  Maybe it was meant to be served by itself.  But everything else seemed so powerful and tasty that the fried chicken was just… bland. 

I then see a short, large Hawaiian woman with an angry look on her face.  I’ve seen this face before.  We’re in trouble!  She had the angry look of an Aunty that you broke something valuable and hid in the back yard of her house, only for her to dig it up while planting some tomatoes.  My heart skipped a beat.  Turns out this lady was Cynthia, an old co-worker of Matt’s from Honda.  She was here with her husband, Paul, and their son who I forgot his name.  They were just back from a soccer game where their son’s team had won, 2-0.  We all talked like we’ve known each other for years, and after a few minutes, we departed. 

I was stoked for this whole day.  Not even eating shit multiple times at HB would bring me down.  The journey we took and the people we met today were amazing.  It definitely reminded me of the day we met Clay Marzo.  Just everything seemed to fall into place.  My belly was full (or half way full) and we headed back to Matt’s house to watch The Forgotten Coast.  We (again) engulfed Ghiradelli chocolate brownie topped off with ice cream.  Hell, if you’re indulging, might as well go balls deep, right?  No need in just eating half ass. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean for a valuable lesson in the importance of sleep (once again) and a big Mahalos to Matt for letting me crash at his pad. The Aloha Spirit is alive and well. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cherylita Hearts Her Longboard 100911

Surf Report: 3-5 footers with diminishing conditions as the tide rose
Water: Colder than yesterday
Winds: Off shore!  I love Fall
Atmosphere: Sunny once again

Another Golden Sunrise.. These never get old
After cutting out of the Long Hair Don’t Care party of Dais and Khang at 1000 PM, I crashed on my bed at 1030.  I couldn’t help but feel the tickle in my throat, but stupidly enough, left my window open for the night…

I awoke at 530 in the morning to feel a coughing heave every time I breathed out.  OH SHIT I thought to myself.  Not today… not now.  Please, no sickness right now.  I called Fransauce if he was gonna paddle out soon, or if he was already there (he had texted me last night that he was dawn patrolling at 530.)  he didn’t answer his phone.  Furthermore, he texted me later saying he had a late night and would be paddling out around 900. 

What a relief.  I closed the window, wrapped myself up in a jacket and jeans, and went back to bed.

My phone signaled a text message from Christina.  She was already there and saying that the waves looked weaker than yesterday.  The parking lot was still empty, but there was a 5K going on so don’t take Rosecrans, she remarked.

I rolled out of bed, still heaving a few coughs as I breathed out.  I took deep breaths to let my cough subside, and it seemed to have worked.  I ate some dried fruit and took off to 26th Street.

I parked up the hill and got changed in the cold weather.  It wasn’t that cold, but it was enough for me to keep my sweatshirt on as long as possible.  I made my way down the hill to 26th Street to see a mellow line up…

I saw the usual suspects this morning too: Roy, Orlando, Bruce, and Mikey.  I saw some of the groms, including Kyle.  And then I saw Christina.  She was paddling, head down and going straight, while another surfer was paddling at an angle for the right.  He had to straighten out as Christina made the drop into the face and snaked the guy.  I hooted her for the wave, and she was stoked like a little kid.  And low and behold, Cheryl was out!

Tom Yam came out too.  We had a small surf crew going, and the conditions were just like yesterday:  long lulls, weak, mushy waves, but bombs rolling through every twenty minutes or so.

One set lurched its ugly head out of no where.  I actually took the small wave that was right before it, only to look back on the ensuing paddle battle against the Ocean.  It was a solid six wave set, and I missed every single wave.  Tom took a close out left, and regretted taking a wave so early since he saw the wave behind it opened up all the way to shore. 

We make our beds, and we have to sleep in it. No pain, no gain. 

The winds stayed off shore as the sun beamed through the clouds.  It was a pretty mellow morning, as are most Sunday morning sessions.  I personally don’t have many rides to share this day, but I have to share three waves that Cheryl caught that deserve recognition. 

First wave was a wave I didn’t think she would catch.  In fact, none of us thought she would catch it.  “None of us” included Tom, Roy, Bruce, and myself.  We were all watching her, paddling and wiggling her butt down the face, then she popped up.  The board just caught speed and went down the line for a nice right.  She stayed high on the curl and took the wave to shore. And this by no means was just some ten yard ride.  It was at least twenty five yards long. 

“Oh man, all the way to shore! Way to go Cheryl!” Bruce said.

Cheryl took a long time to paddle back out, but when she got back to the line up, another right just came her way.  She paddled for that one, as we all watched if she would catch this one.  No, that wave is gonna bog out, I thought.  BAM, she was on her feet, and down the line. 

“Another ride to shore!” Bruce said.  “Man, I haven’t even gotten rides half as long as hers today!”

We all gave her props on her two waves.  But she was undeterred and determined to catch another one. 

Tom and I had swapped boards at this point, and so Tom was on my loaner fish, while I was on his potato chip.  Cheryl paddled for a left, as did Tom. I saw Cheryl pop up as I duck dived the wave, and watched the horizon for another wave that never came....

"Ho~ another wave to shore! Man she is on fire!" Bruce said.  We were all really stoked for Cheryl.  It was a redemption session for her from yesterday, where she didn't catch one single wave on her fish, Pinky. 

I didn’t watch the whole wave, but I saw Cheryl and Tom allllllllllllll the way down the shore… they took a good five minutes to come back with smiles beaming from their face.  Another wave to shore! Everyone watched her in envy. 

“Ok Cheryl, now you’re blocking for us!” I told her.

Bruce and I talked about how Christina was on a foamie.  We both agreed that it's better to be on a foamie, since the point of surfing, to both of us, is to catch waves.  And if you're not catching waves, it's not really surfing.  I pointed out that she is carrying on the Will of Bruce by riding foamies.

"Hell, as long as she's having fun!  I know I have a lot of fun.  I know that a lot of other people would be really happy if I didn't ride the foamie, but I wouldn't be happy at all.  I could ride shorter boards, but I wouldn't be happy at all," he said. 

In essence, isn't that why we surf?  Because it's FUN.  And who cares what other people think?  Those who care don't matter, and those that matter won't care. 

Tom got a good feel for the twin fin.  He never rode a twin fin, let alone a good twin fin by Zippi.  So he was stoked to finally stroke into a wave on that thing.  We switched back boards, and he took his last wave.  He later told me that the twin fin already taught him a good lesson in bottom turning, since you have to really lay in on the rail with your back foot or else your rail digs in on the front.  His last wave was his most memorable, he said.

Fransauce made it out too!  It was nice to see him, but I had to leave quickly because my nephew’s 3rd birthday party was at 1130, and I had to do the grocery shopping before that, get home, pick up my dad, and go to the party.  So, I told da boys (and girls) that I had to leave with the next wave.

And just on queue, the next wave came.  I paddled hard for it, popped up, and saw the wave just wall up in front of me.  I saw a guy paddling for the shoulder, and let out a “HO HO HO!” to let him know I was on the wave.  He backed out as the glistening water started to suck up sand and I banked off the lip to the white foamy waters.  I ate the landing, but I still felt so good from catching that last wave.

I graciously bowed to Mother Ocean as I left the beach and walked up to the parking lot with Tom.  We said our farewells and departed.

I love Autumn in Southern California.

Mahalos Mother Ocean.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Birthday Sesh for the Long Hair Don't Care Boys 100811

Surf Report: 4 – 6 feet, then a fizzle of consistency and size
Water: WARM
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Sunny!

Today was Dais and Khang’s bday session.  I convinced my dad to come out to snap some photos for them, and so I was stoked to be going out, paddling with da boys for a special birthday session.  It’s not everyday that you get to celebrate two of your homies’ birthdays in one session. 

Khang and Dais planned to be out on the beach by 615.  I tried to match their effort, but I was at the mercy of my dad who was a little late to wake up in the morning.  I was up by 520 AM, doing stretches, but my dad didn’t wake up till 550.  He thought I said 630 instead of 530 AM, so he was still lethargic and sheepish when he awoke. 

I warmed up the car and rode my skateboard around my garage to stay warm.  The air was chilly, and the sun wasn’t even out yet.  We find a parking spot atop the hill on 25th Street, and I get changed.  We both walk down to the beach as the sun started to peak over the mountains…

My dad looked through his binoculars and pointed out north of the lifeguard tower, showing me where da boys were.  DK, Dais, Khang and Christina were already out in the line up. 

Where's his board?  Snapped in half! Bummer!!!!
The water was super warm.  It almost felt like boardshort weather.  The waves from the hill looked small, but when the sets came, they bombed.  One of the first waves I saw that day was caught by Roy, and he got a full cover up, and came out of the barrel. 

“Oh shit! That guy snapped his board in half!” Khang yelled.

Turns out that guy was Fransauce, and he snapped his board on one of those bombing lefts.  He told me later that day that his board slid out under him and he ate it once he got to the bottom of the wave.  The whole ordeal happens so quickly, that before he knew it, the wave snapped his board like a toothpick.  Francis exits the beach at this time.

The current was surprisingly strong.  This south swell was pulling us back and forth, and if you weren’t careful, you would be washed out north of the tower. 

I’m not sure why, but I felt like the waves just came to me today.  The crowd factor wasn’t so bad, but it was definitely crowded.  There was one time where four guys, including myself, paddled for a smaller set wave.  I pulled out once I saw two guys pop up, and was glad I didn’t even catch that wave.

Rastamon snaking yet another surfer... haha
Orlando, aka Rastamon, was definitely on fire today.  He cut off a few people, but that’s just his style.  It was some nice surfing, regardless of his snaking. 

I got a few rights that were somewhat memorable to me.  I was able to get a set wave going right, and attempted a long floater.  I realize why the pro’s say to lean on your backfoot when doing the floater, because my board just got caught up on the lip, and I went over the falls.  I had a huge smile on my face though…

Roy was on fire too.  He came back out with his fish since the high tide just seemed to shut down the waves.  The lulls were long, but I was able to get some of the inside waves waiting with Roy. 

“Wait on the inside Klaude, wait on the inside…” he would repeat to me.

Christina, eating it
After a while, Christina made her way out again after being caught in the current.  She was sitting on the beach with my dad, and when I took a left, my left leg just cramped up so badly I had to get out.  I was glad the shore pound was mushy too, since I was in severe pain when getting out. 

It turns out my dad thought Roy was Khang, and was taking a lot of photos of Roy instead.  I told him that Khang is regular footed, not goofy footed, and that he should be looking for Khang.  He points out that Dais just caught a wave as he snapped a few photos.
A more flattering picture of Christina :)

I got the cramp out of my calf, so I headed back out for another thirty minutes. 

Dais, Christina, and I shared a wave.  Actually, Christina got snaked by Dais and I, and Dais ate it on the inside after popping up.  It was pretty hilarious just fooling around with da boys, and it was a lot of fun to be sharing waves on this glorious morning.

One of my last waves I caught was a left, which Dais was on my inside.  He wasn’t able to pop up on the wave because he was super deep on the wave, but I was able to connect the wave at the bottom.  I’m not sure what size you would put it at, but all I know was that it was a set wave.  I just wish I had the ability to bottom turn strong on my backside and go up the wave face going left. 

One of Dais's cleanest rides, finally documented
On my last wave, I was able to take a small wave on to the inside, and tried to get shacked on the inside.  I got unstuck, but I felt surfed out from the three hours of surfing.  It was probably the earliest I was leaving the beach on a Saturday morning, but I had to work to go to, and I think da boys were pretty exhausted too.

Mr. Khang Tran, trademark low stance

Khang gave me a compliment by saying that I was “killing it” today.  I’m not sure about “killing it” but I did feel like the waves just came to me, and I was able to catch a lot of them.  I felt really good being in the water, with the good vibes of 26th Street.  I think it helped a lot that da boys were out too.  I probably wouldn’t have surfed like I did today if I were alone with the local 26th Street guys.  Personally, I felt the energy from everyone else helped me surf “on fire.”  I was so happy to see everyone I saw this day, and I just felt that emotion carry out on my surfboard.  So a big mahalos to you guys. Without you guys, I wouldn't be here. 

Khang was a little disappointed in his own performance, but in his defense, he had only a few hours of sleep, and has been surfing non stop for the last four days. 

Dais seemed pretty stoked at the end of the day, and so did DK.  Christina looked pretty tense in the water, no doubt from her ordeals at school this past week.  She was also back on the Becker board, which was probably frustrating for her since she was on a board she wasn’t used to and her foamie would have been the better call. 

All in all, I had a great session with da boys.  The sun was shining, the air was sweet, and the water was warm.  I love Autumn in California!

Going Left
Mahalos Mother Ocean!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Bank Pays Off 100211

Surf Report: 1-3 feet with the occasional 4 footer
Water: Cool
Winds: light
Atmosphere: Sunny with patchy clouds

Another California Golden Nugget
Yesterday I was frustrated with my surfing performance.  I called Rick to see what the status was on my boards that he was repairing, and I expressed my frustrations with the mushy conditions.  He told me to come by his house and that he would loan me one of his older fishes so I can ride them for the time being. 

Rick introduced me to a 1980’s Zippi Fish, measuring 5’10” x 20 x 2 ¾”.  It was definitely a bigger board than what I was used to, and it had glassed on fins.  I gladly took that fish and went home happily in anticipation of the waves of Sunday morning. 

I planned to have a solo sesh this morning, but Fransauce hit me up as I was still jostling around my bed looking for reasons not to get out yet.  He told me he’ll come pick me up and we could head out together.  So, I got my stretching done, drank two fresh eggs and some fruit smoothie, and filled up the water jug.  He was already outside by the time I was ready.

We head down to 26th Street while talking about work.  He filled me in on his crazy week of what he’s seen, including a 275 lb V.A. that toppled onto the ground because of his bad knee, an old man that was labeled “NRA”, which stands for No Resuscitation Available, who died in front of him, and his younger partner.  What a crazy, intense job he has. 

We park up the hill on 26th Street and see that the waves are pumping some close outs.  It looks bigger than usual, so we get changed and head down the path. 

We see Christina and her friend Apolla stretching on the shore.  Apolla is a friend of Christina through yoga, and she surfed a few time about six years ago but stopped after a horrific wipe out and being held under a few waves.  Christina has been getting her to come out the last weekend and this weekend, and so hopefully she will show her face enough times to be labeled as another DRC member. 

We see the waves just pumping through, and we are antsy in our pantsy to get out there.  The waves looked clean but the shore pound looked pretty gnarly; a sure sign that there is some swell energy at the beach break. 

Fransauce and I paddle out a little north of the tower.  It wasn’t so bad paddling out on the fish, it was just a little more effort to duck dive that tanker.  It was so crowded that I had to be weary of my fellow surfers out while paddling to the line up.  On my way, I see Roy and say hi to him.  His friend Mario was also out too. 

My first wave that I get into was a right that I pumped up and down on.  I was about to rip a bottom turn, when I see a grom caught on the inside.  So I kick out.  I still was stoked about the wave and being able to pump on it so nicely.

Francis was having a grand time.  His first wave was a right, where he did a sweeping cut back to produce a bucket of spray out the back.  He hit the lip as it came crashing down, and paddled back out with that huge ear to ear grin he sports on his face every time we are surfing. 

In the car ride over, he told me how he gets really grumpy when he doesn’t get to surf during the week.  I am the same too, and that’s why I swim during the week, just so my body can be submerged in water and my shoulders get some exercise.  There really is nothing like surfing, but swimming is as close as you can get to getting your dick wet. 

We both looked at each other in silence.  We didn’t need to say anything.  It was firing lefts and rights.  The crowd was here, but there were enough waves for everyone.  And it was sunny.  It was just so beautiful.

People say twin fins are “skatey.”  I never really knew what that meant until today.  I felt like I was on a gigantic skateboard.  It took some getting used to, but after one or two waves, it was as if I turned on the easy mode switch on the waves, and I started to get a lot of rides.

I think a surfer is able to brag about a wave when he gets his first three turn wave, or a barrel.  Today, I earn this right to brag just a bit.  I caught a small two footer that doubled up for me as I paddled in.  The Zippi fish just slid into the face and I started to pump.  I saw the whole wave ahead of me, and my body just took over.  My weeks of practicing on the bank with my skateboard have paid off.  My body went into auto-pilot, and started to bottom turn.  I hit the lip, then made it back on the face.  I pumped a few more times, then hit the lip again.  I took another few more pumps and did a cut back into the white wash, and finally came unstuck from my board.  My first three turn wave ever!  So stoked.

A lot of the waves would double up and pitch over a meaty lip.  A lot of the locals were having a field day with this.  They knew exactly where to be to get the right waves.  Fransauce and I sat in front of the “mons pubis” (green patch area) north of the tower.  We caught our fair share of rights and lefts. 

Thanks Rick for the loaner Zippi Fish.  Amazing!
Roy came back after feeding the meter with his fish.  He went on a forehand and backhand assault of the waves, making all the waves look easy to make.  Indeed, they were easy today, and the conditions just seemed too perfect.  Roy would paddle into rights and hack off the top.  He would paddle into lefts and get a few turns in and stomp an emphatic floater on the inside.  He is definitely a surfer I look up to. 

One of the locals with long hair was able to land an air reverse.  I hooted him and he threw me a shaka. 

Christina and Apolla made it back to where we were sitting.  We chit chatted and traded some waves while together.  It was hard holding a conversation when Christina would just hoot me into a wave.  One of her last waves was her going for the white wash of an outside wave.  She made the wave, and I didn’t see her after that until I got out. 

Another surfer I’ve met out here, Mayu, came out and said Ohayougozaimasu (good morning in Japanese.)  She and I talked for a while, trading waves.  I complimented her stylish surfing, and she thanked me.  She has been surfing for over a decade now, and she was stoked to hear me compliment her surf.  She still looks pretty darn young, but I calculate she is at least 32 years old, since she has been in the States for over twelve years now. 

As we chatted, a pod of dolphins that were hanging out in the line up this whole morning started to approach us.  We commented how graceful and cute they are.  And as if they heard us, the pod approached us, one swimming within arms reach of me, and another swimming right under Mayu.  It was a magical moment for both of us.  Just then, an outside clean up set came, and we had to get out of the way of the wave. 

Francis, Mayu and I shared a clean up set.  I couldn’t quite get to my feet because I couldn’t make it around the white water, but Mayu and Francis did.  Francis exited the water at this point, as I found out later.  I still thought he was out there with me. 

The tide push was making the waves less consistent, but there were definitely a lot of waves to be ridden still.  A white guy that I snaked on accident was blowing the tail and doing huge maneuvers this whole time.  He was pretty pro. 

One of the last waves I got was another double up and I was able to pump down the line, stall, and pump again until I got to shore.  Francis was waiting for me on the shore.  I had thought that he was still in the water, but glad that he was out.  I could have pushed it a little more, but I think my last wave was a nice way to end a session.

Christina and Apolla were lounging in the sun.  We talked about the waves today, Apolla’s horrific hold down that deterred her away from surfing for a few years, and how beautiful the day was.  We said our good-byes to da girls, and headed back to the car. 

Now, since Fransauce was getting lunch with Nicole, I came home to a hungry dad who told me to make lunch.  I was just going to get some take out, but I figured I could make a nice meal really quickly. 

Chopped garlic with dried basil and olive oil fried with tomatoes, mussels, and stone crab claws, stirred up with linguini.  Bon app├ętit!! 

What a perfect day.  I love Fall in SoCal.  

Mahalos Mother Ocean.

Ciao Bella! From Venice 100111

Surf Report: 1-2 feet
Winds: slight off shore to on shore
Atmosphere: Sunny!
Water: Cold, but the sun helps

Staying Local

I woke up nice and early, looking forward to a day in the Ocean.  I knew the surf wasn’t epic, and Matt was on NG duty, so da boys were all staying local to get some surf in our hometown.  As I woke up, the dawn was still dark, and I did my yoga stretching in the dark.  I took a poop in the dark, and brushed my teeth in the dark.  As I wrapped up my yoga stretches, the sun started to peak through.  I went downstairs, ate some cereal, filled up the water jug, and took my dad’s car out for my van was in the shop for the day.

The Wedding on the Sand
I drive down to Manhattan Beach to find that a lot of roads are closed, including roads leading to 26th Street.  I maneuver around the orange road blockades and get to a packed 26th Street parking lot.  I double park at the exit and get out to see what the crowd factor was in the Ocean.  Only a few heads were bobbing up and down in the line up.  The surf looked dismal.  But, there was a chapel set up right in front of 26th Street, and there was a crowd of people surrounding a couple dressed in white and black.  A wedding was taking place.

I called Khang, telling him I might head to Huntington.  He told me to make the call.  I watched the surf, looked at the tides, looked at several surf reports, and decided against surfing outside of LA. 

As I pulled out, I called Khang back and told him I will stay local, and that the parking situation was dismal.  I went down to 15th Street, and found a police blockade too. 

“Sorry, you can’t park here today,” a female officer with beautiful eyes told me.

“What’s going on here today?  All the roads are closed.”

“It’s a 10K marathon.  You’ll be lucky to find some parking now,” she replied.

OK, so now I have to get the fuck out of here.

It took me around twenty minutes maneuvering around the blockades to get out of Manhattan Beach.  I made the call to head to Venice instead, and told da boys where I was heading.  They all said they would meet there (minus Dave, who, half-asleep, hung up on me, called me back, and opted out of coming out to watch us surf.  He had forgotten his wetsuit and the board was still being repaired.) 

I parked in the residential area and skated to the beach.  I saw an empty line up with the low tide pulling the shore far out.  There weren’t too many waves to be had, but I saw some potential, so I skated back.  On my way back, I saw Christina getting changed into her wetsuit, and skated passed her.

I started to get changed too when my bladder acted up.  I had to pee.  So, with my wetsuit half way up, I let loose.  The pee sloshed in my crotch area.  I had to pull down the wetsuit around my thighs for the piss to flow down my legs and exit to the grassy area where I parked. 

California Gold
As I walk down, I saw Khang and Dais pull up.  I asked them to hold my keys for me, and that I will see them down there. 

Christina was stretching out on the sand and gave me a big hug.  We chit chat about the week, her surf on Rosh Hashanah, where we should paddle out, and made our way out to the empty line up.  The sun was baking our flesh in the black suits. 

The water was cold, but the sun helped a lot.  The waves were weak, but it felt nice just to be in the water.  I felt all my stress knots melt away in the clear Venice water, and I felt back at home again. 

Christina got some waves going straight on her foamie.  I asked her where her Becker was.  She said she wanted to stay on her foamie while her knee was still “unstable.”  I wanted to say that she should stay out of the water if her knee feels “unstable,” but I refrained from voicing my worrisome, precautionary self.  By winter time, if her knee doesn’t feel stable, she really should reconsider paddling out, for the Ocean will always be there, and the waves will always come.

Khang and Dais made their way out too.  Da boys (and one girl, but she’s part of da boys) were all here today.  It was an ok day, but the tidal push was to bring some waves to us. 

I didn’t have too many notable waves near the Pier today.  It wasn’t really that epic.  I suppose the Jetty and Venice Breakwater was happening, since we could make out some gnarly, long rides from south of the pier.  Even Rick was over there, surfing with his brothers.  We stayed in our small circle of comfort, and made the most of it. 

I met a girl in the water today, named Alessia.  A guy next to me on an orange board yelled out “Buon Giorno!” to her, and I looked at Christina, thinking that he knew she was Italian.  Alessia, with her sun-baked tan hair and bony arms greeted him back.  I immediately asked her in Italian, “Are you Italian?” 

She answered yes. 

We talked for a few minutes in Italian, regarding where we were from, and where we surf.  It was really nice to speak Italian to someone.  I told her it’s a shame that they named Venice after the great town of Venezia since the comparisons of the two cities are like night and day, and she chuckled.  I kept my distance away from the orange board dude and Alessia not to bother their chat time, and to focus on my surfing. 

Again, not too many waves to focus on today. 

I saw Khang take some waves, but they didn’t look too spectacular.  Dais was the same story.  Nothing crazy or gnarly today.  Just laid back, home-cooking, Venice waves.  Christina still got some waves on her foamie, as she should.  But, we still had tons of fun surfing and being in the water. 

It was just another day at Venice beach, our home break, a pretty crappy place to surf, really.  A place known for the Boardwalk and the Crazy People running around, trying to earn a quick buck from tourists.  A place known for its history of the Dogtown Z-boys, and the absolute dismantling of the town by the yuppies.  A place where I first caught a wave on a bodyboard with Khoa and Khang when I was still thirteen.  A place where I always meet new people, from all walks of life. 

Venice Beach
At the end of the day, I was still stoked, not from the waves I surfed, but from the people I met through my journey to the Ocean and out of the Ocean.  And I always find myself back home, humbled and stoked.  If you open yourself to people, thinking and believing they are all teachers, then you open your whole world wider than ever before.  

Mahalos Mother Ocean.