Monday, December 3, 2012

YES I CAN 120112 - 26th Street

Surf Report: 6-8 feet
Winds: non-existent
Water: Cool to cold
Atmosphere: Rainy and foggy

I wasn’t going to paddle out Saturday.  I have been internally unbalanced and unhappy with my test results of my November 6th CPA exam results for my Audit section.  I KNEW I passed.  I knew I succeeded this time around.  But I found out that I didn’t, and I was disgruntled.  On the surface, I tried to say I was ok, that I’ll get it next time, and that it’s just a small speed bump in my life.  Inside, I was like WHAT THE FUCK FUCK THIS FUCK SURF I’M GONNA STUDY SO HARD I’M NOT GOING TO EVEN SURF FUCK YOU WORLD FUCK THIS EXAM I HATE IT SO MUCH. 

Thursday, I was going to go surf, but I decided not to since I had a meeting to prepare for, and it was starting to rain.  Thursday was the first sign of swell for the weekend.  Khang was going out, but I wouldn’t.  I was really thinking in the back of my head that I didn’t want to surf since I had to study, and that I had to be responsible for my work.  That Thursday night I stayed at work until 7:00.  It killed me not being able to surf, so I went to the pool, and swam hard.  I swam for nearly forty minutes before I grew tired and headed home for dinner. 

Friday night, after practice, I talked to Matt on the phone.  He has been psyching about this swell the whole week, especially since his brother, Randy, was in town.  Matt definitely wanted to show Randy some DRC love, and the fact that Matt has grown since his last Bali trip.  And where else to prove that you’ve grown but in big surf?  He told me he was going to 26th Street, and that he would meet me there.

“Uh, I don’t think I’m paddling out bro,” I told him.

“Oh… what?”

“Yea, it’s been raining, and so I don’t really feel like paddling out into the contaminated water.”

“Oh… well it didn’t rain that much man… I mean”

I interrupted him.  “I don’t think I’m paddling out bro.  Sorry.  I think I should be studying more for the test… so if I see you, I’ll see you, and if I don’t, then I don’t.” 

Matt was disappointed in my response.  He didn’t say it, but I can tell from his tone.  Big surf, his big brother is in town, but none of the DRC are paddling out?  Especially me?? “What the fuck?” he probably thought to himself. 

I get home, and Christina calls me. 

“KK! I’m paddling out tomorrow!! Where are you going??”

“Wait, what? You’re paddling out?”

“Yes!! I’ve been working out all the time, and I want to test myself.  This is the day!  My co-workers told me ‘Oh please don’t paddle out, it’s going to be big this weekend,’ but I said ‘I’m paddling out!’  And my dad told me to not paddle out this weekend, but I told him that I am!  So I’m going out!  Where are you going KK?”

Well, shit… now I have to paddle out.  My male masculinity was knocking on the door.  No, it was pounding at the door. 

“I’ll paddle out at 26th Street,” I told her.

I shot Matt a text that I will be paddling out, and he responded with one word: EXCELLENT!

I dawn patrolled as usual.  As I drove on the freeway, the grey skies were drizzling rain on my car.  I flipped through the radio stations.  One of the songs that started to play on K-Earth 101 was Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin.” 

“So glad you made it~ So glad you made it” reverberated inside my head. 

I got to the beach before 7:00 AM, and saw Matt’s head poke out below the parking lot.  He scored free parking in front of the lot on the street.  The line up was empty.  

“I thought it was going to be bigger,” I told Matt and Randy.

“Aha, my brother just said the same thing.  Well, I’m glad you two are on the same sheet of music,” Matt said.

We get suited up and head down to the beach.  The locals acknowledged us and gave us a hearty “GOOD LUCK!” as we made our way down to the sand.  They weren’t going to paddle out.  They were going to watch the space shuttle with the three monkeys inside launch into space from afar today. 

“We’re gonna be forever chiseled into the locals’ memories from today on,” I told Matt and Randy. 

We three take our time stretching.  I was the first to hit the water.  Matt and Randy soon followed. 

Now, from the parking lot, there seemed to be lulls and some makeable waves.  I was positive that I saw that.  All of us were.  But once we got in the water, the waves didn’t stop. 

Matt and Randy seemed to have jet packs on their arms.  They took off and I lost sight of them immediately.  I kept my own pace.  I may be slower than others, but I don’t mind.  I’ll get to my destination eventually. 

I controlled my breathing like how I practiced for so many months.  So many months that I trained in the swimming pool and on land for a day like this.  Duck dived.  Paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, and duck dive. 

I started to count how many paddles I can get before I duck dived.  I got 5 full paddles in.  Duck dive.  I got 6 full paddles in.  Duck dive.

I hear the detonation of a wave behind the wave I’m going over.  Better paddle more!  Duck dive.

The rank Ocean water forced itself up my nostrils.  I tried to breathe out of my nose, but that messed up my breathing pattern.  I swallowed a little bit of the water, and got grossed out.  Paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, and duck dive. 

I start to dry heave while paddling.  I wanted to barf, but nothing came out.  I felt sick from the water.  Sick from the paddling.  Sick of everything. 

I kept counting in between my duck dives.  Five paddles, then duck dive.  Six paddles, then duck dive.  Five paddles, then duck dive.

A small voice inside my head started to say, “What’s the blog gonna say about today?  Shattered ego?  Couldn’t make it out?  What’s Matt’s blog gonna say?  ‘Today was a big day.  It was big but I made it out.  But Klaude couldn’t.  He was stuck inside like a barney.’”

I started to dry heave again.  I kept getting choked up every time I took a deep breath, being careful not to swallow anymore water.  I felt like this was the hardest paddle out I’ve ever encountered. 

What the fuck man?  Is this what you trained for?  You swam so many laps, holding your breath under water, doing the indo board, doing push ups and pull ups, practicing yoga every day, controlling your breathing, skating in the garage, and this what you got to show for it??

This… this feels just like my CPA exam, I thought.  I study and study and study, all to prepare for the big test, and then I FAIL.  I don’t pass the friggin exam after all that effort.  I did all that work, and I have nothing to show for it.  This is exactly how my Audit exam feels like.  I fucking hate it.  If I can’t make it out on a day like this, then I’m never going to pass the test.  I’m just going to keep paddling and not improve, and I’m going to go home and cry about it in front of a computer screen with my flaccid dick in my hand. 

I take a small break.  I look behind me, and I haven’t drifted at all.  I’m still in front of the Mons Pubis.  Well, that’s a positive.  I start to paddle again. 

Eight paddles, then a duck dive.  Six paddles, then a duck dive.  I see a guy on the outside catch a wave, and kick out.  Six paddles more, than duck dive. 

Then I see Matt next to me.  I thought he had already gotten out.  Thank god I saw him, since it gave me motivation to keep paddling.  I was seriously thinking of quitting at this point, but seeing him next to me gave me extra strength to keep on paddling.  I’m not the only one suffering right now.  We all are.

I kept on paddling.  Paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, then duck dive.  I started to block out that stupid voice inside my head that said that this was just like my CPA exam, and that I’m going to keep failing.  I started to chant, “YES I CAN!  YES I CAN!  YES I CAN!”

The high tide started to slow down the onslaught of waves.  With each emphatic “YES I CAN” my heart rate slowed down, but my paddle grew stronger.  I felt my paddle push me through the impact zone.  I kept paddling as I chanted, “YES I CAN! YES I CAN!! YES I CAN!!!”

And then, I finally made it out.  I finally had a chance to sit in the line up, to sit where I belonged. 

Matt calls to me.  He gives me a fist pump.  I throw up a double shaka to the air.  My arms felt like jello, and I could only muster a few weak pumps with my double shaka, but I didn’t care.  I finally made it out. 

Matt paddles up to me, and we let out a happy sigh of relief that we both made it out.  We joked about what thoughts were going through our head during the paddle out.  I talked to Don about the Lakers performance the night before, and we all shared a good energy this day.  Everything was just calm and fun. 

I had to laugh at how good life was for me at the moment.  There was a blue opening in the grey skies, and I kept staring up at it, smiling.  This is it.  This is the moment I needed.  I needed this to get over my exam that I didn’t pass.  I needed this for my surfing.  I needed this for my crew.  I needed this for myself. 

Don went on a few waves, catching them early, popping up, and dropping down the face.  He would disappear for a few moments, then make it off the shoulder. 

Matt was going for good waves too.  He went for a few lefts and a right.  He was saying how the wave had so much juice that his bottom turns were full of G-forces and he was forced to kick out.  He said that he touched bottom on a few of the waves that rolled through and pounded him on the inside.  That was the price to pay in order to play today.  Take a few sets on the head, and then come out to play with a smile on your face. I saw him take two waves on the head after a wave, the first one making his surfboard tombstone, and the second was just pounding him.  He came back, saying that he touched bottom. 

Randy was being picky with the waves.  A lot of the waves were definitely close outs, but Randy was able to take a handful of waves this day on his 5’8”.  He was able to do at least two turns on a wave going backside.  The first snap was a check turn, but then he unloaded on his last money turn.  He pushed the tail so hard that he came unstuck, but it was still really sick seeing that from the line-up. 

I would have been happy and content with just one close out wave for the day.  But I didn’t catch that one close out wave for the day. 

I caught three waves. 

My first wave was a right, where I took off behind the breaking section.  I saw the lip throw over, and so I tucked in near the face.  The lip fashioned a nice C shape over my head before it pinched on me and I wiped out.  I had the small vision of a tube, but I got pinched!  The wipe out wasn’t so bad, and I came up laughing because I thought I was going to get raped by the Ocean again.

I took a right that was a close out, but I made the drop.  I bottom turned in the flats into the white wash.  I was stoked about that.

I took another right that was a medium sized wave for the day.  It wasn’t anything memorable, though. 

Matt got one of the best wipe outs for the day.  I had front row seats to it.  He took off on a steep left that was hollow.  He was steep and deep, and I thought he was going to make it until the last second, when he got unbalanced and his board went up and his body went down with the wave.  The wave was an easy six footer, maybe even seven.  Randy was on the other side of the wave, and wiped out too.  They both came up, paddled back out, and laughed about it. 

Four younger kids came through, and paddle straight into the line-up.  I thought to myself, “What the fuck?  These guys don’t deserve to be in the line up!!  They didn’t even pay the price!! We all struggled, and they just waltz into the line-up!!”

Matt and I waited for Randy on the beach.  Randy took one last right, turning nicely on the face, and then smoothly taking the white water all the way to shore.  We were all tired and famished.  It was, indeed, a good day to be in the water. 

Don was getting changed in the lot.  He said that Bruce and the other boys timed his paddle out, and it took him 28 minutes to paddle out.  So, if I do the math correctly, since we paddled out about 10 minutes before he did, and I took the longest to get out, I must have at least paddled for 40 minutes straight.  We’ll say 45 minutes just to up the ante.  So for 45 minutes straight, I was paddling, duck-diving, dry-heaving, and mustering up the courage to tell myself “YES I CAN” paddle out to the line-up. 


Christina was in the parking lot, but she said she couldn’t make it out.  She was a bit distraught, but encouraged my prowess and was saying that we all did well for paddling out.  I told her that she was ballsy and a bit crazy to paddle out too, and that sheer fact gives her a salty notch under her DRC belt. 

Looking back at this session, I was apprehensive with going for the waves.  I know on a few occasions, I could have gone for the deep wave, but I chickened out.  That’s how it is usually on those big days.  We all try to see how the waves are, make sure we’re comfortable, and then charge for them.  I do have that sense of I should have gone harder, but at the same time, I am grateful that I made it out and caught a few waves. 

Matt, Randy, Khang, and I went to Orlando, aka Rastamon’s, birthday party at his house in San Pedro that night.  There was a live band playing, and they were amazing.  The vibe was great, and the people there were very unique individuals.  They were all sorts of backgrounds and characters, and I was happy that Matt, Randy, Khang, and I were a part of it.  The older guys were giving us all props for surfing out there this day.  They were especially giving props to Randy for surfing so well in those conditions.  

I had to ice my shoulders once I got home that day.  I had to go surf the next day.  Yea, I got worked and yea, I got an ass beating, but I still have to come back for more the next day. 

Mahalos to all the positive vibes I experienced up to that moment.  Mahalos to all the DRC for pushing me beyond what I thought I could do, and changing it to what I believe I could do.  Think it, feel it, do it, indeed!  Mahalos for the amazing beat down I received.  Without it, I wouldn’t have appreciated the sport of kings.  And BIG Mahalos for Mother Ocean for sending those waves and life lessons.  Honestly, I wouldn’t know what mental, physical, or spiritual state I would have been without all of this coming together. 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So Stoked 112412 - 26th Street

Surf Report: 1-3 feet
Water: Cool
Atmosphere: Foggy to sunny
Winds: Offshore

The size dropped off a lot today… but the crowds stayed home!  So stoked. 

Matt and I were sexting back and forth last night.  His choice was to go to HB.  I was willing to concede, so I told him that I’ll tell my dad to come out another day to photograph.  The waves were going to be small every place, so why not travel with a friend? 

After a few more sexts, Matt says that he’ll just stick to local guns.  I shook my head in disappointment.  He gets swayed by outside forces so often… I know he’s just trying to please people, but c’mon mate!!  Set your foot down and do what YOU want to do, not what others want to.  I told him that over the phone, and he said, “Yea, I know, but you know, my brother’s in town.  I’ll see you tomorrow, k?” 

Dawn patrol!  And no one was out.  It was a beautiful morning with the thick fog.  The sand was semi cold, but not the coldest it’s been.  I trotted down the sand and stretched.  The waves were breaking pretty close to shore, so I was glad I didn’t travel for surf like this. 

But where was Matt?  He usually keeps his word… maybe he surfed HB with his bro afterall. 

Longboarder Tom was catching some nice waves.  And so was Mr. Oscar.  He had his foamie out today.  It was definitely a good call.

Some rogue sets would catch us off-guard, and so we started sitting further outside.  The cool fog stayed thick over the grey waters.  The water wasn’t rank of red tide smell, but the patches of red tide were still present.  The water was clear, but had the scent of red tide in it still.  I noticed my paddle becoming lazier in the mediocre surf.  So, I started to paddle with more power and purpose as I used to in Hawaii, regardless of wave size.  My arms felt better from doing this. 

My body started to warm up, and I paddled into a right close to shore.  I pumped and saw the oncoming section.  I bottom turned, shot my board out to the oncoming white water section, and turned my head back to shore.  Surprisingly, the board bounced off the white water, and I found myself completely parallel to the wave, heading back to where I came from.  I couldn’t straighten out to complete the move, but it felt crazy to actually have that bounce back on a maneuver. 

Christina came out with Apolla this day.  I hadn’t seen Apolla for a long time.  Last time she was going back to Canada, and then she went off to New York for a film making job.  She finished that, and was back in California.  Right when they both came, the sun started to shine through and burn off the fog.  Symbolic, isn’t it? 

The waves started to become inconsistent, but there were waves to be had.  Roy was again killing it.  He always waits patiently on the outside, spots the good waves from afar, paddles to meet it, and lacerates the wave to shreds.  It amazes me how well he always surfs, and the biggest quality of his surf is the smile he wears every time he catches a wave. 

Christina is getting more consistent with choosing good waves and going down the line.  She had two back to back lefts that she was able to take all the way to shore.  The stoke she had was comparable when she got that one right a few weeks back, going down the face and onto the open section of the wave on purpose.  These lefts were similar, but they were longer rides.  The smile on her face was priceless.  That is the stoke that makes me say that surfing is sometimes better than sex. 

Apolla had one nice ride today!  I was on the inside, and she paddled for the semi-close-out left.  She was grabbing rail at first but let it go half way down the take off.  She bent her back knee and was turning towards the open section, but the section closed out on her.  Christina, the one-person cheer squad, hooted her for the ride.  Apolla was all smiles. 

One of my last waves was a right, where I had to call of the yellow body boarder.  I started to pump and saw him on the shoulder paddling into the wave, so I hooted him off.  I kept pumping all the way into the shallow end, and was trying to finish it strong, but the back wash warped the end section and I couldn’t throw all my speed into the maneuver.  I was kinda bummed that I couldn’t finish strong, but Roy and Christina were stoked for me, so I was stoked too. 

I took two close outs and headed out of the beach.  It wasn’t a long, epic session, but it was enough to fill my soul.  I was stoked. 

I drove Roy down to Khang’s shop on the Promenade.  Roy’s been saying he needed a new suit for the longest time, so I told him that I’ll drive him down there in the afternoon.  He took my up on the offer and got a brand-spanking new Cypher 4/3.  Mahalos Khang and Dais!

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!!  So stoked…

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cold Turkey 112312 - 26th

Surf Report: 2-4 feet
Atmosphere: Cloudy and foggy
Water: Cold
Winds: Offshore

The thing that I love most about surfing the day after any major holiday, is the lack of crowds in the water.  Today was no exception.  The crowd that showed up the day before dissipated into thin air.  The line up was once again “locals only.”  Only the dedicated few were out today. 

Calvin was out of course.  So was Roy.  Mr. Oscar was out, and so was Tom on his red longboard.  Tom Yamamoto was also out.  I was surprised to see him too.  He’s been coming out consistently this whole year.  He mentioned how he had to go to Santa Barbara with his girlfriend and the girlfriend’s family, so he had to get out by 800. 

The wave size wasn’t any much smaller, maybe a foot smaller.  But the shape seemed to be holding nicely.  There were definitely some dry barrels out, but one shouldn’t even paddle into those in the first place.  The drift was semi-strong, nothing to really write home about. 

I was just super stoked that there weren’t too many people out.  It was just an overall mellow day with just the local guys out.  The waves still had some consequence in them, though.

Oscar took off on one of the waves of the day.  It was a bomb that formed on the outside, and he took off as we duck-dived.  He went left.  The wave closed out, but he was a good ways away from us.  He caught two nice rights after that too, and called it a day. 

Roy was killing it as always.  He even popped air on a left.  All he did was gather speed, and flew through the air.  He couldn’t stick the landing, but he was at least a foot off the lip.  He continued his onslaught on his backside. 

Tom was going for it like he did yesterday.  Definitely the reduced crowd gave us more breathing room.  I can’t wait till he starts to connect solid turns.  Right now, he’s throwing the board around, but can’t seem to connect them into a seconds or third maneuver.  Hopefully the pictures my dad took on Thursday will help. 

I had my Don Kadowaki out today.  I had it as a thruster set up, since I figured I wanted a change from the quad.  This proved to be a hit, since I was able to go up and down the wave with ease.  Wherever I put my eyes, my board just seemed to jump to that spot.  I was trying some more critical maneuvers but falling off.  I hope that one day I can stick these and link them in a nice wave.  

I could smell the red tide today.  It smelled like a bathroom.  I started sneezing uncontrollably.  My eyes started to water, and my sneezing wouldn't stop.  I tried my best to deal with it.

Tom had to leave, so he took off.  The waves seemed to be getting better and better as the time passed by.  It was hard to leave, but my arms were tired from the paddling and the lulls became longer.  I took one wave in and called it a day. 

Back at the lot, I talked to Calvin.  Roy was still out in the line up.  What a crazy guy.  He ended up surfing five hours this day.  I was just happy that I was able to surf on a Friday with limited crowds and no worries of going to work or anything stressful. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!! 

Happy Thanksgiving 112212 - 26th Street

Surf Report: 3-5 feet
Water: Cold
Winds: Off shore
Atmosphere: Grey and foggy

Happy Thanksgiving!  Today was CROWDED.  It was foggy.  It was frustrating.  And I’m glad everyone came out that could. 

A small disclosure:  Matt was going to HB this day with his brother Randy.  I told Matt to come down to 26th Street instead, but he had to concede to his brother.  After all, Randy was in town from half way around the world. 

My dad came out to photograph today.  He hurt his back a few Saturdays ago, and so I cooked pasta for dinner.  It was so good, he wanted seconds, but he couldn’t get up from the floor.  So, I said I’ll get him another plate, but only if he came out to photograph my friends and me.  He obliged, and I got him his second serving of pasta.  

The dawn patrol crew was out, and the parking lot was getting full already.  Khang’s car was already parked and Hideki was already in the water too.  Chris and Sunny were in the lot, waiting for their friend from work to come too.  I was expecting the crowds, since it was Thanksgiving, and there was swell.  The first real swell of the winter!  However the fog was so thick, it was hard to see the line up, even from shore. 

My dad set up his camera and I paddled out to my normal spot.  I actually was able to read the channel perfectly and caught the rip going out.  It felt like a smooth conveyor belt and I was able to make it out to the line up quite easily.  I was on my single fin, so the duck dives were a little tough because she is nearly 3 inches thick. 

I spotted the regulars at 26th Street and wished them all a Happy Thanksgiving.  Khang and Hideki were there, and so was Tom Yamamoto.  Chris and Sunny came out eventually too. 

Today had waves of consequences.  There were a lot of close outs, but there were some shoulders to work with.  The only problem was that the real take off zone was right on the peak, which would throw over.  And then the shoulders would build and be rideable. 

Ross was absolutely killing it today.  His back hand snaps were just flying every which way, and he was riding every good wave that came through.  He must have caught three waves in a span of fifteen minutes, each with mean back side snaps to match. 

Hideki caught two good lefts right off the bat.  He took off on the shoulder for his first wave and made it down the line.  It was probably the best wave I’ve ever seen him catch.  He is improving really quick.  The only bummer was that my dad didn’t catch that ride of him. 

Chris was getting a lot of rights and lefts.  He seemed to get caught behind the section on a few of them, but his backside is improving a lot.  When I first met him, he was saying that he “didn’t know how to go right.”  I think he was just lying to me so he could paddle under me and go right.

Sunny and I shared some waves.  It’s a nice way to say he snaked me.  Hahaha

Tom was actually doing really well in today’s conditions.  He was going both right and left, and making it look easy from behind.  He would punch out the back if the waves got too crazy, or kick out smoothly. 

The rising tide made the waves harder to read as the time ticked by. 

Khang was going for the bombs as usual, but I felt that the bombs were closed out.  Well, he is sure pushing the limits of the comfort zone.  Some of those waves were just plain scary for me. 

I had a lot of take offs where the board just slid out as I stood up.  Maybe the fin should have been placed back further.  But I definitely felt the board slide out on my take offs and I would just barely manage the drop and eat it at the bottom. Even if I made the wave, I would have difficulty driving up the wave face with my single fin.  I found myself growing frustrated with my equipment choice for the day. 

I had a wipe out that was a session changer.  I had the peak to myself, and I saw Hideki paddling on the shoulder.  I paddled for the wave, and popped up.  I felt the board stall and slip from under me.  The wave lip threw over, and my body was free-falling in the air.  My board flipped around and I landed on the rail of my board on the way down.  I hit the part of my right shoulder blade that connects to my spine.  Then, I got dragged down with the wave and tumbled into a sea of darkness.  I hit bottom, and waited for the wave to let me go.  I came up in serious pain.  I grabbed my board, and started to paddle.  It was hard to lift my right arm up.  I paddled back out to the line up in pain.  I could feel the shoulder stiffening up, so I started to paddle around just to get the blood flowing.  The first paddle with my right shoulder hurt, but as I continued to paddle it hurt less. 

I had to change board.  I couldn’t paddle into the waves with my single fin today.  I grabbed my keys from my dad and headed to change boards.  I grabbed my 6’5” board that Roy gave me last year. 

The waves started to shut down.  Christina showed up, and was taking her time stretching on the sand.  She was chatting with my dad about her recent trip to Boston. 

The waves slowed, but the consequences didn’t let up.  The take off zone was still dangerous, and it was getting even more hollow as the tide lowered. 

Khang took this one wave while I was in the shore pound.  He took off, and the inside section doubled up, and created a step.  He hopped off the chop and made it safely to the bottom of the wave.  If he hadn’t done that, he would have eaten shit badly. 

The lulls became long, and there seemed to be more and more people out. 

Khang paddled in, and I took my last wave.  My last wave was the wave of the day.  I paddled hard for it, popped up, and started to pump.  However, there was a bump on the face that threw me off balance, and I had to catch myself from falling.  By the time I was able to rebalance, the wave was ending.  Not only that, but there was an insider that doubled up on me, and it created a step, just like Khang’s wave.  I bailed my board, and that was the end of my session.  I blew the wave of the day. 

Oh well, at least I could still lift up both my arms.

My dad and I got home, and I started to make the creamed corn.  He was looking at the photo’s he took, and was grunting in distaste.

“This one’s blurry.  This one sucks.  Where am I pointing the lens?  The lighting sucks on this one,” he mumbled to himself.

“I’m coming out again this weekend,” he told me in the kitchen, as he stirred the cream and milk.  “I’m not happy with the photo’s I took.”

Hell fucking yea!  I was glad he’s a perfectionist too.  He wants a quality output, and he wants to do it right.  I said to come out Saturday, since that’s when all of us should be out again. 

We had a nice Thanksgiving feast that day.  It was a lot of fun being with the family.  Everyone cooks a dish and brings it to the house.  Except my sister.  She dropped the yams this morning, so my mom had to buy it from Ralphs.  I paced myself eating the whole day, starting off with lots of veggies, then pigging out on the delicious turkey, and finally moving to dessert.  Then I had to go to my friend Sasha’s house for another feast.  His mom is an amazing chef, and prepared everything from scratch, from the bread, to the cranberry sauce, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she killed the turkey herself. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!! I am always so thankful that you are there for us and never ask for anything in return.  We can all learn from how much you give and give and give.  Thank you for being the love of my life. 

Wetsuit to Dress Suit 112112 - Venice Beach

Surf Report: 2-4 feet
Water: Cool
Atmosphere: Clear, sunny skies
Winds: offshore

Surfing before work again!  I woke up late actually, so I was half asleep “trying” to decide if I wanted to surf.  I told myself, “Would you rather be in the office right now, or in the water?”

And off to the beach my van went. 

I had to keep it close location wise, so I surfed Venice pier today.  The commute took a little under twenty minutes.  I found parking in the neighborhood and took out my single fin.  I walked across the cold, hard pavement.  Every time I stepped on gravel or a stone, I would think of how Hawaii’s natural gravel and stones I would have to walk on to get to a surf spot.  We are so spoiled here in the sense that we do not have to brave the elements to get to a surf spot.  We park, we walk down the beach, leash up, and paddle out twenty yards. 

The waves looked small from shore.  They looked clean though!  South of the pier was working best in my eyes, but there were tons of people north of the pier.  I wonder why?  I must be missing something.  Probably missing my glasses. 

I leashed up a little way south of the Pier, near the lifeguard tower.  The water was cold, but the sun was out so the cold was bearable.  I paddled further and further towards the pier since the waves were breaking so nicely.

There was an afro surfer dude on this one peak.  He took off smoothly, pump and slide down the face, all the way to shore.  I sat where he sat, and I got the same wave. 

He sat where I was, and caught another wave.  I sat on that spot, and caught a nice right again. 

For a good half hour, we traded three foot waves that peeled perfectly to shore.  I was able to get two turns on a wave on my single fin, and it felt really good.  It felt different than my usual shortboard. 

This afro surfer dude’s name was Oliver.  He lives in Hollywood, and has family down in Huntington.  He was supposed to meet a female friend of his, but she didn’t show.  He was riding a Firewire board, which had dimensions of 5’11” x 22” x 3”.  It was a fatty board, and there was no wonder why he was catching the waves so easily.  He and I chit chatted while trading waves on what we do for work, where we grew up, and where we surf. 

The waves started to slow down, so I paddled towards the pier.  The pier is usually reserved for the best of the best, but today, the best of the best wasn’t patrolling the area.  I saw that the surfers south of the pier were of novice ability, so I decided to sit on the inside of them.  I saw a wave pop up, and started to paddle for it.  There was a guy with a green board who paddled for the wave on my inside.  So, I was snaking him.  But, I knew he wouldn’t be able to go down the face so I stand up.  I see him bog out on the bottom, and I take off pumping down the line. 

I end the wave on shore, and wave bye at Oliver. 

I changed from my wetsuit to my dress suit.  We had a big meeting at the office, so I had to dress accordingly. 

I was super glad that I surfed in the morning instead of heading straight to the office.  I scored some good surf before work and had a great time.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!  

Playing Hooky.... sorta 111912 26th Street

Surf Report: 2-4 feet
Winds: Offshore
Water: Cool/Cold
Atmosphere: Grey skies, light fog, slow burn off

It rained a lot (in my opinion, at least) on Saturday night, so I decided not to surf Sunday.  I knew the waves were going to be good, but I didn’t want to risk getting any illnesses from Mother Ocean. 

Naturally, I had to surf Monday before work. 

I drove down to 26th Street to find an empty lot.  I was surprised that the lot was empty, since the peaks were rolling in nicely with some nice size.  The sun rise was reflecting a golden shade of grey as the morning fog parted on the Ocean. 

“Are you playing hooky?” a voice said to me.  It was Roy.  He had just arrived.  “Do you have the day off today?”  I told him no.  “Oh, so you ARE playing hooky,” he smiled, as I put my wetsuit on. 

One of the high school girls was walking down as I walked down to the beach.  I passed her up, but while I was stretching she beat me to the water.  She paddled out through the channel and made it out in seconds. 

I was on my single fin Marley this day, and was intent on having a good time.  Since I was so frustrated on Saturday, I wanted to change things up to get a different feel while surfing.  So the easiest thing to do was to change equipment. 

I was in awe of the mellow beauty of the golden sunrise.  The gold shimmer kept hitting my eyes as the milky waves rolled in.  The fog slowly dissipated in the morning, lifting the smoky haze on the golden horizon.  I caught my best wave in these conditions.  I paddled into a right, pumping and trimming, throwing in a check turn.  Then, I bottom turned and carved off the top and back into the white water.  I kept pumping ahead and did a small loft over the white water to finish the wave.

I was smiling from ear to ear. 

I caught a few more rights that morning in the empty line up.  Roy was doing his thing as always, catching the perfect lefts and ripping them to shreds.  He was saying how good Sunday was, and that the water wasn’t so dirty.  “I’ve surfed in worse,” he said to me, with a smile.  Damn man. 

The high school girl was sitting on the inside taking the smaller waves.  She was regular footed and had a nice, smooth style.  She was apprehensive about the medium to larger sized waves, but she definitely was holding her own. 

I took a close out to go to work.  I got changed, drove my car to work, and put in my hours.  All day, all I could think about was the golden reflection on the milky horizon, twinkling with the hazy sea.  I hope to see mornings like this again… but then again, I wouldn’t be in such awe if they happened all the time. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Don't Rain on My Parade 111712

Surf Report: 2-4 feet
Winds: Off shore
Water: Cold
Atmosphere: Rainy

Dawn Patrol!! 

Today was a surprisingly fun day of surf.  I woke up around 500 and tried to go back to sleep but failed.  I did my daily hot water and yoga warm up before I went downstairs to start my car.  Matt was texting early morning too.  He was genuinely stoked his brother Randy was in town from Java, visiting for the holidays.  The last time Matt surfed with Randy was in Bali, during his “Barney in Bali” days. 

I got to the beach extra early, so I could hit the water first and have uncrowded surf for however long it lasts.  My plan succeeded. 

I got some quick lefts under my belt before there were 10 people in the line up.  They weren’t anything epic, so I was hungry for more.  As I sat waiting in the line up, the crowd grew thicker and thicker, and the rain started to fall down harder and harder. 

The grey skies blocked any sign of sunlight.  The winds were off shore, and the crowd undulated with the current.  I found myself paddling south many times since I was whisked away quietly with the current, and the crowd, further north. 

I started counting the seconds in between the sets.  Every 30 seconds or so, a rideable wave came through to the line up. 

Ross got some sick rights early in the session.  His backside hacks are so on point and critical.  The sheer beauty and power he puts into them is worth a thousand mentions.  He pumps seamlessly on the face of a wave, and then sets up his bottom turn.  He unleashes a massive attack of power hidden in his small frame on the lip, and re-enters the wave to set up another thick bottom turn for a ruthless hack. 

The seconds between a set grow from 30 seconds to about 50 seconds…

Roy waves me down in the line up.  We say, “What’s up” to each other, and try to maneuver through the growing crowd.  He takes the set waves as always.  He is talking, socializing with pretty much everybody, while quietly positioning himself in the peak of an A-Frame gem, which he rips apart with his forehand. 

“Man, I wish I had my fish!” he says.

The count between sets increase from seconds to minutes. 

Matt and Randy show up, and so we say our hello’s.  Randy was having crowd anxiety, and I don’t blame him.  Coming from empty line ups in Java to the hustle and bustle of a crowded line up in one of the biggest cities in the world gave a jolt of uneasiness to him.  He said he was stoked to get some waves that he could turn on, since all he rides in Java and Bali were barrels.  He just rides barrels.  That, in itself, is pretty ridiculous.  He only rides barrels.

I too was getting some crowd anxiety.  There were more and more people in the line up.  Cmon people!  It’s cold, and it’s RAINING! Stay home!!

The groms came out and dominated the line up with their sheer numbers.  I saw Jordan in the mix, and some of the other groms I see here on a regular basis.  Every wave that came through was plagued by three or four groms kicking and scratching.  This was getting ridiculous. 

Hideki and Chris show up to the line up too.  One of Hideki’s first rides was a steep close out that no one was going to make.  I didn’t think Hideki was going to make it either, but he somehow made it down the face and made it to the flats.  He looked genuinely stoked to have made that wave. 

Chris was on a new board.  Super thick, his board measured 5’9” x 2 ¾” and a pretty wide measurement.  He caught some waves with it, but was being snaked on all of them.  I snaked him too, since I was growing frustrated with the crowd.  Total foul play right there, and I definitely owe him about 10 waves for outright snaking violation.  Ma bad Chris. 

Khang shows up, but I didn’t get to see him until the end of the session.  He was surfing further north where the crowd wasn’t too thick. 

A guy in a blue and grey rip curl suit with a hood enters the line up, paddles up, and starts to scratch for a left.  I start scratching for it too, but he nudges my board as he takes off, and I’m left with my balls in my hand and a frustrated self.  What the fuck?  Turns out this guy was parked next to me.  He’s a ginger that I’ve seen a few times before.  As I was talking to him in the parking lot, he said that was his only good wave he caught. 

A group of Japanese surfers were in the line up too.  These guys were in a tight knit pack, and had just entered the line up too.  I see a wave pop up and so I paddle for it.  A guy on the inside paddles out to the line up, flips around, and paddles for the same wave.  I pop up, but this guy is taking off already.  We nearly collide. 

I ask him, “Are you okay?”

He nods in silence. 

“Didn’t you see me paddle for that wave?  Cmon man, you gotta look both ways,” I tell him.

He paddles away in silence.

His friends ask him in Japanese if he’s ok.  He says he’s fine, but “Aitsu ga waruinndayo” (“He’s the one at fault.”)

I shout at him and his friends in Japanese: “Jyoudan daro?  Ore ga wariinokayo?  Mitetadaro??” (“What?  You’re kidding me right? It’s my fault?  You didn’t see me paddle for the wave first?”)

I think they were surprised that I spoke Japanese.  I do not look like anyone born and raised in Japan, and I do not look like I am Japanese either.  Most people think I’m Korean, Chinese, or even Mongolian.  I don’t mind that people mistaken me for whatever Asian culture anymore.  I used to take offense, but hey, Asians are all Asians.  If someone do get mad, then he must have some pride associated with their own Asian culture.  I believe pride should be taken upon something one achieves, instead of something they are born in to.  Sorry to digress.

So the group of Japanese surfers mumble their way with the current.  And now, I’m just, plain, fucking frustrated.  Frustrated at the crowd.  Frustrated at the waves.  Frustrated at the timing between waves.  Frustrated at the group of Japanese people.  Frustrated at myself. 

I catch a right, and the section runs ahead of me.  My one fucking chance to be unfrustrated!!  And I fucking blew it.  A let out a loud ARRGGGHHH.

Eric, one of the locals who rides a blue board, looked at me and said, “What’s wrong Klaude?  Surfing’s supposed to be fun!  Why you so frustrated?”

He was right.  Surfing is supposed to be fun.  I was so caught up in that frustration that I let it eat myself up.  And now I was pissed off at myself for blowing a wave.  This was unlike me.  I had to let it go.  I just had to let these bad feelings go. 

I caught a small, insider right.  I pumped for the face, and cut back.  I feel the board sticking under my feet as I look back to the shore.  The wave flattens out, and that was the best wave of my whole morning. 

Tom Yam and Dais also show up.  The crowd kept growing thicker and thicker, and the minutes between sets grew longer and longer.  Seconds went to minutes, minutes grew into hours, and finally grew into I-stopped-counting-between-the-sets-because-it’s-useless. 

I took two close outs, and called it a day.  The waves still seemed really fun.  A guy took a back side left, and did a 360 on his backhand.  Well, if he can squeeked that out, I’m sure he’s gonna stay out. 

Back at the lot, I see Randy, Matt, Orlando, Jose, and Ross.  They were all saying how crowded it was and what not. 

George, another local, comes up to us, and asks if we want persimmons.  He gave me a bagful last time, so I thanked him for that. He said he had more and he needed to get rid of them, so we should take them.  I kindly obliged.  I learned at a young age that being “Japanese” in these situations, when receiving a gift, did not do me any good.  The “Japanese” KK would be modest and coy, and only take about four or five persimmons.  The “American” KK is loud and boisterous, and took about fifteen.  I kindly thanked George with my bag full of persimmons. 

I ate about five of them once I got home.  So delicious!!

Hideki, Matt, Randy, Khang, and I grabbed a quick breakfast at the Blue Butterfly Café.  This breakfast spot has become a staple for our crew for post-surf fuel.  For about $7, one can get a bagel sandwich that comes nice and toasty, side of fruit, and a nice cup of coffee.  You just can’t beat that. 

Today’s lesson:  don’t let the crowd frustrate you.  It adversely affects your surfing!!!  Surfing is supposed to be fun.  It’s ok to get mad or frustrated.  We are all human.  But as quickly as something infuriates us, we should let it go.  As soon as we let it go, we can go back to being free again, unbound from the chains of suffering. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!