Monday, February 13, 2012

Putting in Work - 021212

Surf Report: Five foot plus
Water: Cold
Winds: Off shores
Atmosphere: Sunny!

Another day… just believe.

I wake up a little late and get to 26th Street to another empty parking lot.  I make a few calls in hopes of getting a battle buddy out to paddle with me.  Khang was the only taker, but he wouldn’t show up until 800.  I stuck around and watched the huge waves roll in to the sand bars.  Some corners were there, but other corners just seemed to wall up and pinch.  There were some hollow waves coming through, with a little spit spewing out at the end of the wave.  However, none of the older guys wanted a piece of it.

As they walked up from the Strand, they smile at me and ask, “Hey!  How are ya feeling today?”

“Good!  But I don’t feel like being the test monkey two days in a row…” I tell them.  They all collectively laugh as they made their ways back to their cars. 

It’s bad that no one is paddling out.  What’s worse is that Don isn’t even here.  Usually, that means the local rippers are checking out a spot that is breaking cleanly.  I fantasize about Rincon or C street. 

Orlando and Jose welcome me to join their conversation on where to go.  They said there’s no way that they’re paddling out in these conditions.  Maybe they can head down south? 

I wait for Khang, but he doesn’t show up for a while.  As my patience runs out, I tell Orlando and Jose, “Fuck it, let’s go and check out the other spots.  Khang’s lagging too much.”

And of course as we leave, Khang is pulling up to the lot.

Orlando and Jose wanted to grab some coffee, so we stop by the Java Man in Hermosa.  It’s a cute coffee place with plenty of room to sit in the inside.  I was surprised on how roomy it was, since looking from the outside, one only sees the small doorway and claustrophobic front to put your order in.  There must have been at least three sofas and five lazy boys in the back area, along with tables and chairs coupled with free Wi-Fi.

We walk back to our cars, and Orlando gets a call from his buddy, Tony.  Tony owns Coral Reef wetsuits, made locally in the south bay.  He says the Cove is firing, and that we should come down.

Jose opts out of paddling out at the Cove since he only has a shortboard, but Orlando and I want to get our feet wet.  So, we accompany Tony and Sam down the hike of PV.  I haven’t surfed PV in years… the last time I came here was with Anne and her friend, Nancy. 

Orlando walks down the rock cliff to avoid the long paddle out.  I opt out of that and walk down the traditional path to make the long paddle out.  One of the kids from 26th Street was here, and says hi to me.  I told him, “You didn’t like what you saw at 26th?”

“Man, I didn’t even check it.  I just came straight here.” 

It’s been a while since I’ve paddled out on a rocky line up.  It felt good to know that there was some consequence to this paddle out.  I was in the elements of nature, and nothing could feel better. 

The paddle out was long.  I got caught on the inside for a good twenty minutes.  This was day two of putting in work on my new shortboard.  I definitely need to get my duck dive in check for this board.  I’ve been spoiled on my standard shortboard and got weak with my duck dive. 

After finally making it out to the line up, I see one of the groms from 26th Street take off on a head high set and walk the nose.  He hangs five all the way to the end of the wave.  Just then Khang calls me from behind, and we reconvene. 

Let me tell you, it’s one thing to surf in a nice point break, but with friends, it just makes the surf session that much better.  I was super psyched to finally see a friend’s face while I surfed. 

However, the waves just wouldn’t cooperate.  I really wished I had more board, a long board, under me at this spot.  The waves came in, but they were uncatchable for me today.  Adding insult to injury, a set wave breaks on the horizon.  Every surfer has experienced that devastating, heart breaking moment when they know they’re going into the washing machine.  Khang makes it over the first wave, but I get caught.

I have to duck dive about thirty times for me to just realize that was Mother Ocean’s way of saying, “Get out while I’m giving you the chance.” 

Just something in my gut told me I should leave the spot without a wave under my belt.  I was a bit bummed that I didn’t catch a wave, but I look up at the cliffs, and the sun, and the waves rolling in… and everything just seemed to be set in place.  Even me leaving with blue balls seemed rightfully meant to be.

Two guys asked me how were the waves.

“BULLSHIT!” I told them.

“Bullshit? Really?” they asked me.

“Well, no, there were waves.  Lots of waves!  I just didn’t have the right board to be getting into them.  It was just a longboard dominated day.  But you guys will have fun.  I’m sure of it.  This sure beats being in the office.”

“Yea, I suppose that’s the silver lining huh?”

“Yea bro, as long as you’re in nature, it’s always a good time,” I reply.  “Stay safe out there, and have fun!”

“Hahaha, yea thanks bro.  Here, have a hit,” they said, offering me a pipe filled with weed. 

“Oh, naw, I’m okay for today, but thanks.”

They stash their backpacks near the cliff, and make their way out. 

I watch for a while as the waves kept rolling in, in hopes of seeing Khang.  My blind eyes weren’t able to make out anything, so I grab my sandals and start to walk back up the hike. 

The winds were still off shore, the orange hue of the clay dirt on the cliffs were beautiful, and the sun was shining.  The waves broke in lines, as little black dots tried to scratch for a ride.  Some were successful, others were left empty handed.  Pelicans flew overhead in unison, following each other’s draft and gliding through aerial waves.  Hikers smiled and said hello as I said hello back, and dogs ran free without leashes.  I made my way back to my car and ate a piece of banana bread. 

Yes, I didn’t catch any waves.  I probably did at least 150 push ups within two days of surfing, without a ride under my belt.  But for some reason, I felt happy and satisfied.  Maybe I’m just crazy?  I was glad I got to be in the water today and yesterday, and meet new people both days.  I was the test monkey yesterday, and I got to make a name for myself.  I still had all my limbs in tact, and came home safely.

Mahalos Mother Ocean.  You may be mean at times, but you always make me appreciate what I have instead of what I don’t.  Today, I have a great sense of satisfaction from basking in your beauty in this little place we call the Cove. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Monkey that was Launched into Space - 021112

Surf Report: Chest high sets rolling through
Water: Cold
Atmosphere: Gloomy
Winds: Super on shore

For a weekend warrior like myself, I look forward to surfing on a Saturday morning.  I woke up at 530 AM and started my morning routine of stretches and breathing exercises.  I headed out the door by 600 AM and got onto the 10 freeway to get on the 405.  As I made my way onto the 405, I noticed small spots of rain… no biggie, right?

I get to Hyperion Treatment plant, and notice all the smoke being blown on shore… the waves look big and washing machine like.  This can’t be that bad, right?

I parked at 26th Street, and no one is out yet.  Everyone is just watching the waves.  One of the locals is starting to suit up, and I watch the waves roll in.  The white was just looks like a washing machine on the inside.  I try to amp myself up, telling myself I can do this, and start making phone calls on who will be here and who won’t. 

Our local shaper Don, the one who shaped my most recent board, pulls up, and starts to suit up.  He says he doesn’t even look at the surf reports anymore.  He just heads out of his house and see’s the conditions first hand.  As he suits up, I tell him I gotta suit up too, since he’s paddling out.  He smiles and says, “Don’t judge that board I shaped you on today’s conditions!” 

I get on the cold sand, and do my usual stretches.  I look at my watch, and it reads 647 AM.  I paddle out in my usual spot.  The white wash pounds me.  I can feel the water moving at a more than usual fast rate.  I duck dive.  I paddle more.  I duck dive.  I paddle more.  I duck dive.  I paddle harder.  I duck dive.  I see white wash lines just forming non stop on the horizon.  The grey skies serve as an ominous premonition for the next thirty minutes of my life. 

I keep my head down and truck through the white water washing machine.  The board is super thick, and so it’s harder to duck dive.  I feel I’m getting pushed back on every duck dive.  I want to just let the board go and swim through the white wash, but I could hear Matt’s bigger bro, Randy, screaming at me not to let my board go.  I keep duck diving. 

I look back at my location: I’m still in front of where I started, so that’s a good thing.  I’m fighting the current fine.  I see Don taking off on a wave, and kicking out almost as quickly as he dropped in.  I see him in the distance, trucking through the white water, but even he’s having a hard time paddling back out. 

I paddle hard, and duck dive.  I paddle more, and duck dive.  The on coming wall of white water looks like a stampede of white elephants charging at me.  Even the white water has power today. 

I finally make it out to the “line up” and look at my watch.  It reads 720 AM.  As I did the math in my head of how long I’ve been paddling, Mother Ocean threw me a chest high peak right in front of me, as if to say, “Oh, you’re able to rest?  Then I’m not making it challenging enough for you then.” 

That little chest high set pushed me right back in the impact zone.  The white water paddle out was fucked up anyway, and I was back to square one.  I shook my head trying to regain my composure, and then kept paddling and duck diving. 

One of the white water waves actually catches me because my duck dive was too shallow.  I felt my body get pitched over on the lip, and I thought I would crash onto the wave and get pitched again, but instead this wave rolled me out like pizza dough.  I could feel my board being yanked out of my hands, and being dragged behind me.  I counted ten banana’s, and the wave still wouldn’t let me go.  For a split second, I could feel my lungs start to scream for air, but my mind told my body that I’ve trained for this, and to calm down.  After that, the wave finally let me go and my oxygen deprived body started to cramp up a little in my legs.  But, at least I stayed calm. 

I paddled and ducked dive a few more but I gave up, took a white water wave in, and sat on the sand to contemplate to myself on the morning’s ordeal.  I watch two other surfers not even make it passed the first line of white water, which gives me a sense of achievement.  I reflect on why I surf.  Why paddling and duck diving so much is a good thing.  Why my new board is good training.  Why I should enjoy these conditions.  I muster up enough reasons in my head to paddle out once more after a good stretch.  I start paddling, and my arms just feel like jello.  They screamed “NO MORE PADDLING PLEASE!! NO MORE DUCK DIVING PLEASE!!” 

I turn around, and head back in.  As I walked back in my walk of shame, I turn around, and respectfully bow to Mother Ocean.  I yell out ARIGATOUGOZAIMASU, which is thank you in Japanese.

Back in the lot, all the local guys gave me props.  They were all laughing, saying how they saw me paddling for so long, and finally when I got to a safe zone, that outside set just broke right on top of me, and that I was getting clobbered again.  They applauded my efforts, and said thanks for paddling out, now they know not to paddle out. 

“I’m glad I could put on a show for you guys today!” I said, smiling. 

I was the test monkey, being launched into space. 

Don and the other local came back, looking exhausted.  Don said he got caught on the inside, and Bruce counted at least 40 duck dives when he got caught inside. 

Most of the locals went home after my debacle.  I was glad I was able to be of some us to them. 

Dais, Khang and DK roll in with their van.  I tell them my report, Don talks to them, and they suit up to go out.  I talk with Glenn and watch them paddle out, wondering if they would even get out to the line up.  Maybe because of the high tide, or the location they chose to paddle out, Khang was able to paddle out smoothly to the line up.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Even crazier, Dais paddles out in half the time Khang did!  Perhaps that was luck too.  He used the rip current in front of the tower to get out easier.  Khang caught one left and kicked out before the wave crashed on him.  DK unfortunately couldn’t get out into the line up before I left.  He did eventually make it out though. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean.  In the end, you are the boss and you will sort everything.  Thanks for the gargantuan slice of humble pie.   

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Surf Hero

About a week ago, my friend Fransauce posted on his blog about his surfing heroes.  He mentioned Andy and Bruce Irons as his heroes.  I thought to myself, those are great heroes to look up to.  Three time World Champion Andy Irons, multiple Pipe Masters between the two of them, and big hearts from both of them.  Although AI is no longer with us, his legacy (and his little baby Andy Axel Irons) live on with Bruce still charging Pipe and various breaks around the world.

So, I figure I'd take a moment to post about my surf hero: Sion Milosky.

I only learned about Sion a few years ago, in several Surfer and Surfing Mag articles on the movement towards paddling in to big waves instead of towing.  I liked how Sion was always emphasizing he wasn't a professional surfer, that he was a family man first and had multiple jobs before settling down as a gate welder on the North Shore.

My love for him started when the Surfing Magazine had it's annual North Shore Underground contest in its April 2011 issue.  The magazine, along with Vans, awarded Sion the North Shore Underground charger of the year, and gave him a $25,000 check to travel around the world.

Most notably, it was only in 2010 that Sion was signed to Volcom with a small contract.

Sion with his daughter
Sion listed his jobs as: "Dishwasher, cook, pizza delivery, busboy, window screen repair, carpenter, commercial fisherman, boat repair, auto repair, waiter, bartender, welding and fabrication, gate builder."  As Mark Healey put it, "Sion did what it took to take care of his family." 

His surfing was stylish and balls out.  He charged both on longboards and shortboards.  I found myself trying to emulate his alligator paddle to get down waves faster, and going for the bigger waves out of the day.  But most importantly, he was remembered for his actions as a family man, a man who took care of his friends, a man who smiled every time adversity would hit and looked on the bright side of things.  His highlight during a session would be his friends getting barreled.  For his fierce heart, balls to the wall surfing, and being a family man, Sion is my hero.

And just like Andy, who was Kauai's native son, Sion Milosky, who also hailed from the great island of Kauai, passed away tragically on March 17th, 2011 at a horrific wipe out at Mavericks.  As if the loss of Andy and the Tsunami of Japan wasn't hard enough at the time, I lost another hero.  However, his legacy lives on, and his mana and aloha remain great throughout the world, even to someone like me who never met him.

Mahalos Sion Milosky!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Merry Christmas to Me

My friend Sasa from Metro Cafe told me in his Serbian accent, "Klaudey, you have to do something for yourself.  You haven't done anything for yourself in a long time.  Like, that Hawaii trip was something nice for yourself, so you should do something for yourself this year."

So, I did.

5'9" x 19 1/2" x 2 11/16 custom shaped by Don Kadowaki, from the ...Lost Rocket template. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sacrifices and Excuses

Since last April of 2011, I have been studying for my CPA exam non stop.  This exam has been the most grueling, cruel, and hardest tests I have ever taken out of my whole life. 

Now, today I just found out that I had failed my Audit section that I had taken in early January of this year.  I sacrificed numerous social outings, commitments, and time to study for this test, and I received a devastating, meager score of 58% on the test. 

Now, I sit here in front of my computer screen, taking practice problem after practice problem for my Regulation test.  For those of you who do not know, there are four parts to the CPA exam: Financial (FAR), Audit (AUD), Regulation (REG), and Business Economics (BEC).  Once I pass a section, I have 18 months to pass the other sections. 

I have passed the BEC exam section only. 

Now, I feel like I’m not putting in enough time and effort into this test as of this moment.  I feel like I need to sacrifice more in order to succeed.  My schedule, which includes the following:

  1. Working 9 AM to 6 PM and weekends during tax season, roughly the months of February through April and August through October

  1. Coaching on Friday nights and Sundays for games, roughly two hours of commitment each day

  1. Yoga, every Wednesday night, commuting back and forth takes about three hours of my day

  1. Surf, every weekend, committing about three to four hours of my Saturday and Sunday.

  1. Swimming, committing about two hours with the round trip to and fro on a Thursday night.

I feel as though I am stretching myself too thin as of now.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do this, but I need to pass this exam.  I’ve tried my hardest to study for this exam, but I just can’t seem to get over this hump.  I just keep failing.  BEC came naturally to me, since there was a writing section in the exam.  The BEC test is actually the only section with writing in it.  But now, with my Audit score coming in at 58% (on a nationwide curve) I feel as though that I have to sacrifice some of the things I do during the week in order to maximize study time. 

I have lost most if not all social aspects of my life.  The only things that do keep me happy are first and foremost surfing, and then coaching, and then physical activity, such as yoga and swimming.  Perhaps I have to exclude swimming from my schedule of “things to do.”  But swimming is one of the major activities that helps me be happy while surfing, because if I’m not catching waves with weak shoulders, then I’m not a happy surfer.  On top of this, I do the swimming in order to get my shoulders nice and loose.  If you don’t know, my shoulders have gone through three surgeries: my most recent one being October of 2010.  I started to swim in order to keep my shoulders strong.  So to me, swimming is a must in order to keep my body healthy and injury free. 

Or perhaps I’m just making excuses?  I don’t know. 

Maybe I can cut my surf sessions shorter to just two hours, instead of the marathon sessions of three and four hours?  Perhaps that will be my sacrifice from now on.  I have foregone “surf trips” with my friends in order to study, so I suppose cutting a few hours won’t make a big difference to me.  At least I have two hours of surf under my belt. 

Success is never permanent, and failure isn’t fatal.  I hope this sacrifice will quash my excuses for failing.