Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fourth Consecutive Day of Surf 122611

Surf Report: Super fun 4 footers
Water: Cool
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Clear and sunny and cold.

Fourth day of surfing for me… how amazing!  But this is also the second day I haven’t seen Roy out in the water.  I’m kind of bummed about that.  Out of all the locals at 26th Street, he has to be the soul and embodiment of the Aloha Spirit. 

I manage to drag Fransauce out of bed this morning, while Rick and his brother John were able to drag Matt out of bed too.  I scored free parking up the hill and got a call from Matt.

“Hey guy, I was trying to waive you down.  Do you have a leash by any chance?”

“Nope, but call Fransauce, he’s on his way,” I reply.

It’s another beautiful day with freezing concrete and sand.  I swear my toes are going to fall off as I trot down the hill and see Christina’s car parked on the side. 

I see Matt stretching on the sand as he waves at me.  We both catch up on how the Lakers lost yesterday (big fucking surprise) and talk about our Christmas day.  I convince him to paddle out leashless, since it’s not that crowded and it will be a fun experience. 

I stay in the usual spot that I surf in, but the Westside Hurley Crew (WHC) paddle towards 33rd street.  The break is definitely working nicely for the right handers.  I see the usual faces of Eric, Don, and Chris.  We are all getting our waves. 

Fransauce makes his way down as Christina and Apolla and Matt congregate a little between 26th and 33rd Street.  Matt goes in to grab his spare leash, and we all just kind of sit and bob up and down. 

There were a lot of waves today, since the swell from yesterday had died out a little bit, and the shape was much better.  It seemed everyone was getting a lot of waves in our little group. 

Rick lent Christina his grey fish, and was killing it on her Becker board.  Fransauce was killing it as usual, pulling into some close out barrels and going down the line on some right handers. 

Christina took a horrendous wipe out in front of Matt and me.  She pretty much belly flopped on the take off and got the wind knocked out of her.  The wave was a solid four footer and just tossed her salad like the lovely ladies at Lawry’s.  She paddled in after that.

Apolla was still out here when the rogue sets came through.  First wave she ditched her board, and got annihilated.  Second set she was closer to the detonating lip.  The third wave was the worst:  She was right where the lip detonated.  I saw her board fly up in the white wash and tombstone.  She definitely took that one on the head.  I yelled out, “Apolla, are you okay? ARRREEE YOOOOOUUU OKAAAAAY??” in between duck dives.  There was a total of five waves in that set, but the third one was enough for her to paddle in. 

It was starting to get a bit lonely out there, and I started to get cold since I wasn’t paddling for any waves.  I told Fransauce I’ll take the next one in, and that I was cold and tired. 

I waited and waited, and drifted towards the right hander in front of 33rd.  I then see Rick, Matt, John, and Dave T.  Seeing them uplifted my spirits, since I thought they had already left.  Dave said that he’s been here since 600 AM, and that he was getting out soon.  Rick and John said they’ve been getting some fun ones out here, and right on queue I see Matt go for a nice right.  He gets two small top turns on his backside.  Fransauce is in the thick of the crowd. 

I too am in the thick of the crowd, but a bit south.  There are guys all around me, and they are getting waves as I back out from them. 

Just one more wave… just one more wave…

This small wave lurches it’s head in front of me.  I paddle hard for it, and I’m on the peak.  No one is in position for this wave except for me.  I pop up.  I grab the face of the wave and stick the high line.  I feel the lip crumbling on my shoulders as I get a little shampoo action.  I let go of the face and speed down the line.  I initiate my bottom turn but see the lip crumbling already, so I straighten out as the white wash starts to detonate ahead of me. 

It was the perfect wave to end the session.

I suppose I could have pushed it for one more wave, but I was satisfied.  My arms were tired, and I had caught a lot waves already.  It was a great way to punctuate my Christmas weekend. 

John paddled in, along with Matt, who did a funky chicken on his knees in the white water surf.  We all cracked up on that.  Rick paddled in too, and we all shared stories of how the waves were this morning. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!! 

Mele Kalikimaka 122511

Surf Report: Solid 4 foot and the occasional 5 foot close out
Water: Cool
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Sunny

I had a long day yesterday, with surfing, grocery shopping (I had finished my Christmas shopping by the first week of December), coaching, and then playing basketball after coaching for another hour and a half.  Needless to say, I was sore.  Luckily, I’ve been taking a good regimen of stretching throughout the day and every morning, so the soreness was bearable.

I got up kind of late, and texted Matt to see if he was paddling out.  He said he was going to head out later to wait for the tide to top off.  I asked him if I could come by to his house to drop off a bottle of wine for him and Lauren, and he said sure.  As I was driving on the freeway, he calls me saying that he will meet me at the beach!

I was stoked to see him on Christmas day.  If there was one person I would surf with that day, it would be him.  The parking lot was practically empty, and there was only one guy out in the water.  The locals were calling it “unruly” and “not worth it” but I was determined to paddle out.

Last Christmas, I was out of the water because of my injury.  It was the first Christmas I had gone without surfing since I started surfing seven years ago, and so I was adamant on paddling out this year, on this day. 

Don was paddling out, and so was this Kauai kid Kyle.  I suit up and head out. 

Matt catches me as we make our way to the line up.  The line up was empty, with Eric and a few other dots speckled across the horizon.  Not too many takers today… but it’s ok!  That’s how I prefer it.

I definitely took some sets on the head today.  It was a day where the white water explodes right in front of you and you just hold onto your board as you get washed around, and come up smiling from the near death experience.  To me, this is the most fun I could have surfing, since the waves are slightly life threatening but just enough to keep you charging. 

Matt and I talk about the ensuing opening day of the NBA season, and what our plans are going to be.  We both have our schedules booked for the day, and so we share in this moment together of five foot close outs rolling in. 

My first wave was a small right where I was pumping twice and the white water section just crumbles the section ahead of me.  I was stoked.

Matt took a lot of rights that day in between our conversations of how he scored yesterday at HB.  He said he felt bad that Khang didn’t really score that day, but I told him that it’s fine, since not everyone can “score” on the same day. 

I took a nice little left that I pumped backside on, and initiated a bottom turn only to bog out.  I still have to work on that, but at least I got some backside pumps on it. 

I started to go for the barrels on the left sections, since that seemed to be working in my eyes.  I got pinched twice, but it was all in fun. 

I can see the sets rolling through, and so I turned around and paddled in.  I got my feet wet, surfed with a friend, got worked on a few, and caught a few fun waves.  What an amazing Christmas!! 

Mele Kalikimaka, and Mahalos Mother Ocean. 

Christmas Eve Surf Session 122411

Surf Report: 3 footers
Water: Cool
Winds: Off shore

I had to stay local today.  Matt wanted to get out of town, but I had a million things to do before Christmas, including grocery shopping and coaching basketball, and so I decided to keep it simple and stay local. 

I was able to snag the same parking spot at 26th Street again, since I beat the 700 AM crowd again.  Once that clock strikes 700 AM, the lot fills up like those old cartoons with files of people instantaneously filling up empty spaces. 

I see the usual faces in the crowd, including Roy, Don and Bruce.  It was another mellow morning for the 26th Street Ohana. 

I talked to Matt earlier in the morning, and he said that he and Khang were at HB, taking the gamble. 

“I hope you guys score,” I told them.

“I hope you score too!” Matt said to me.

“Brah, I always score, since it’s a mind set.” I chuckled at him.

Christina caught this wave of the day that Roy pushed us into.  I was on the inside, but Christina seemed determined to catch it, so I told her to “GO!!”  She popped up, and bottom turned into the face and took the wave to shore.  She took a long time paddling back out, but was stoked with a smile from ear to ear.  She thanked Roy for pushing her into that wave. 

I don’t really recall too many waves this day, but I remember it was fun.  Indeed, I felt like I scored some nice waves and empty line ups.  I had to leave around 900 AM, but Roy invited me out to breakfast at Mandy’s on Inglewood and 135th Street.  I had the vegetable meat soup and biscuits and gravy.  Both were great.  And for a cheap price, how could I say no?  This was my treat to Roy, since last time he bought me lunch at Pho Lao. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

A Day Off Christmas Eve-Eve 122311

Surf Report: Building NW swell 3 footers
Water: Cool
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Sunny, but freezing in the morning

My boss gave me the day off today.   I was stoked, but sort of overwhelmed with everything going on for the holidays.  I kept my plans secret to surf since I didn’t expect anyone to be out, and they didn’t expect me to be off of work either. 

I get to the beach before 700 and snag a parking spot in the lot.  The concrete was freezing cold and hurt my feet as I got changed.  Roy and Ross were getting changed, and some of the other local crew were sipping on their coffee as they watched the waves. 

Because of the new moon, the tide wasn’t cooperating so well with the beach break.  However, I was adamant on getting out while the tide went low to high.  I think that is the best time for a person of my skill level to get out.  It seems safest. 

I had swam for about an hour Thursday night at the Westwood swimming pool, so I was sort of pushing my shoulders.  Luckily, the waves weren’t that big, and so it was a pretty mellow morning. 

I paddled out and sat in my usual spot, trying to pick off some waves under the radar.  Roy would push me into two waves this day, both seemed like nothing while on the horizon, but would jack up right where I was, and I was able to practice my lay back snap on both.

The first one was a clean right hander, and I was able to pump down the line, bottom turn, and lay back both my arms into the face as my board swung around on the lip.  I lost my balance and caught a rail half way through the turn, but I was stoked. 

My second one was another right, but this time the face wasn’t so clean because of the warble caused from the building high tide.  I was still able to hand plant my trailing hand, but I bogged out even earlier than my first attempt.  I probably needed a deeper bottom turn. 

I see Rick and Dave T. out in the water, and soon afterwards Matt comes out to greet us.  They surf down towards 33rd street, and the right hander keeps rolling through there.  Don, Randy, and Ross are all on that right hander, and so I try to go there to sneak some waves under their noses to no avail.  They have the place dialed, and there was no way I was catching waves under their priority.

I get out to fill my meter up, and see Christina stretching.  I yell at her that I’ll be right back.  I then see Chris in the lot.  We start talking and joking around about how he takes every wave, to which he defends, “I share!  I wait my turn!”

Just then, Khang et al pull up to the lot.  Dais, Kotaro, and Cristina file out of the van as I talk with Don.  Cristina is here to run in her awesome foot gloves.  I tell da boys I’ll see them out there as I put more money in the wave machine.

I paddle out and see Kyle come out.  Patty, his mom, told me to get Kyle out since she has to go to work, and I shake my fist angrily at him for his mom.  He laughs at my gesture, and ends up staying for the rest of the day, making his mom late for work.  I’m sure it’s fine that she’s late since it is Christmas Eve-Eve.

And so I paddle back out where I started, and I see Roy catch a barrel.  He gets pinched inside of it, but he is smiling from ear to ear.  He tells me how his shoulder has been bothering him for about a week, but these set waves are keeping him stoked. 

Christina is out too, and we all congregate in the line up. 

“Look who’s here!” Christina shouted out.

It was Ann!!  I was so stoked to see her.  She was on her foamy, and I see her catch a few waves.  Chris was out, doing his thing too.  All was well at 26th Street.

Da Boys finally make it out to the line up, and I get a chance to test out Dais and Kotaro’s board. 

First, Dais’s Don Kadowaki board.  Super sick, fun, buoyant board.  I was pissed I missed a small set that I snaked Khang on.  I popped up and wasn’t ready for the slide of a twin fin, and just ate it.  Luckily, Christina snaked Khang too, and Khang was nice enough to let it go. 

Second, Kotaro’s Rusty pin tail.  I was going for the small waves to “test it out” but the board just wouldn’t get into the waves.  So, I decided to sit out the back, and go for the bigger ones.  The bigger one came through, and I saw Uncle Miles on my outside.  I put my head down as everyone got out of the way of the wave, while I went to get the wave.  The board slides down the face smoothly, so unexpectedly smooth that I slide out on the bottom of the wave.  I was a bit disappointed at that, but the board was sick.  Uncle Miles asked me what happened, and I explained how the board just slid out from under me.  He laughed and went on to catch a nice, long right. 

I took a highline right that I was able to clock in a few milliseconds of barrel time in.  The wave covered me up and pinched me at the end, but I was able to see that C that surfer’s collectively cup with their hands when traveling through a barrel.  The best part of this wave was that Dais saw it. 

To close this entry, I gotta throw out a shout out to Dais for catching this right.  I told him to paddle for the right, which seemed to come out of no where.  He paddled, popped up, re-gained his balance, and just went down the line on the wave.  That thing just opened up all the way, and he was so stoked for getting that wave. 

I surfed a total of three and a half hours today.  I didn’t plan to stay out so long, but the waves were unexpectedly good! 

Mahalos Mother Ocean. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

O'Neill Customer Service

For the past 7 years or so of my surfing life, I have loved wearing O'Neill Wetsuits and their clothing, especially their hyperfreak boardshorts.  The first wetsuit I ever purchased was an O'Neill, and all my subsequent purchases have been O'Neill too. 

However, my most recent customer service debacle with a Zhende (jen-duh) of customer service has left me with no other option but to discontinue purchasing O'Neill products.  

I sent in one of my older wetsuits that I no longer wear in hopes of getting it repaired.  I explicitly asked if the wetsuit was covered under warranty, which a different customer service agent said "Yes, if it is a small repair, we will repair it for free."  I sent it in via FedEx, and awaited their response.

Their response was that they will have to charge me $40 for the repair.  Now, I'm not trying to nickle and dime about $40, but that was contrary to the information I received earlier.  I discussed this matter with Liz, another customer service agent, and Vicki, and they both recommended I speak with the manager, Zhende.  

It took nearly three weeks of ME calling O'Neill for Zhende to get in touch with me.  

The following conversation ensued:

1.      She expressed that she did not receive any messages that I had called. 

2.      She explained to me that my wetsuit will cost $40 to repair, including additional shipping charges.

3.      She repeatedly told me that it’s either a repair job, or no repair job, and that was all she was calling for.

She then started to talk over me and say, “What do you want?  Do you want the repair or not?  That’s all I want to know.”  

 I told her, “An apology would be nice to start.”  

 She replied, “I am sorry for hurting your feelings,” with an ensuing scoff.  

 I expressed how I didn’t want her to apologize about hurting my feelings, but rather for not getting back to me for weeks, and that I did not find this situation comical. 

Now, call me old school, but I think customer service is the #1 priority for any sales representative, and especially a manager.  This was not the case for her.   She treated me like crap, and I was on the verge of hanging up on her, but I still wanted to get the wetsuit repaired in hopes of lending it to a friend or family member who might want to use it.  So, I told her to go ahead with the repair, and she took down my credit card number. 

She assured me that she will waive the shipping charges, and that they will expedite the repair job.
I wrote them a letter, stating what had happened, and they have not responded (big fucking surprise there.)

However, I check my credit card statement, and what do I see?  I see a charge in the amount of $51.36 from O’Neill.  It doesn’t take a math or econ major to see that is above the promised $40 charge; instead the O’Neill customer service includes an asshole fee, ahem, a shipping fee of $11.36… something Zhende verbally expressed she would waive.  

So here I am now, with a repaired wetsuit from O’Neill that I don’t wear, $51 in the hole, and in a frustrated feeling that I had just been fucked by O’Neill.  

So O’Neill, you have lost a loyal customer that swore by your wetsuits for the last 7 years.  Thanks for keeping the cold out, but you guys fucking suck at customer service.  This will be the last piece of clothing that I will ever buy from you.