Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Venice Afternoon Kronicles 032012

Surf Report: 2-3 feet close outs, with a workable inside reform section
Water: Cold
Winds: On shore but not too strong
Atmosphere: One of the most beautiful sunsets without a cloud obstructing my view

I found myself going mad in front of my computer screen at work.  I hadn’t surfed in over a week, and the last surf session I had I was freezing cold to the bone and didn’t have quite a fun session. 

The tax returns were laughing in my face, and my dull pencils grinded at my eraser burns still raw from the daily abuse.  My homey Dais had been surfing afternoons since the daylight savings switch, but I have been putting in so much OT that I would watch the sun set from my 9th floor office window overlooking Beverly Hills in anguish, knowing my childhood friend was getting his feet wet.  Furthermore, Matt aka Donny Duckbutter had put together a small getaway for this coming weekend at San Onofre, and of course I was invited, but I couldn’t make it because I had work and my sister’s birthday on Saturday.  The day I would make it, Sunday, is scheduled for some heavy rainfall.  This added to my angst for the upcoming weekend:  all my surf buddies were going to be surfing San Onofre while I was stuck in LA, working, working, working.  And when I do make it down there, I might not even be able to surf because of the storm! 

Fuck.  Your.  Life.  KK.

So I told Dais over GChat:  “Yo, I’m surfing with you today.  I think I can get out early because my boss had physical therapy and he might go home early because he’s tired.”

“Say whhaaaa? J” he replied.

The plans were set in my mind.  I would leave work by 530 PM and get in the water for at least thirty minutes of freedom!  Freedom from my computer screen… freedom from tax returns… freedom from my desk!

Then Dais informs me his girlfriend got the night off, and so he’s going to take advantage by spending some quality time with her.

“I’ll let you know if anything changes bro,” he said.

Shit, a lonely surf session?  All by myself?  I was used to this, but I always love surfing with my friends, so I was a bit bummed on this. 

Who could I surf with at this hour?  Fransauce had work.  Khang was out of commission… Matt!  Text Matt…

He didn’t answer.


My boss left a bit after 500PM, and I was about to start a new tax return, when I realized that I was not getting any work done now.  I was just too unhappy at my desk.  More OT means a bigger pay check, but less happiness.  I had to go surf. 

I grab all my stuff, shut down my computer, and locked up the office.  The parking guy, Guillermo, said, “Klaudino!  Why are you leaving so early??”

“I’m outttaaaaa heeere!! Adios Guillermo!!” I told him. 

He smiled and gave me a big wave good-bye.

Surprisingly, the drive home was super smooth.  The sun was still high, and I could tell I had at least two hours before sun down.

I grabbed all my gear and headed out, telling my mom I didn’t need dinner tonite, since I’ll be eating out. 

“Oh, right, now you’re able to surf after work since it’s still light outside when you come home,” she said.

I drove down my usual route to get to Centinela, avoiding the 10 freeway traffic, and started to contemplate, “Porto? Venice?  Porto is better.  Venice is closer.  Porto is further.  Venice is crappy.  Porto has better waves.  Venice has free parking.  Porto?  Venice?”

By the time I hit Washington Boulevard, I could see the sun setting quickly, and I knew I wanted to be in the water more than anything.  I didn’t care if it was crappy.  I needed to be in salt water.  Cold, refreshing salt water.  NOW!!!

I cruised down Washington Boulevard and parked along Kentwood Avenue near the beach.  I got changed without even checking the waves.  A guy with a goatee and a near 7 foot Al Merrick comes up to me and asks for some wax.  I throw him half a bar and he thanks me. 

“Did you check the waves?”

“Naw brah.  I’m just psyched to get out right now.  I’ve been sitting in front of desk for too long.”

“Right on,” he said, passing me back the bar of wax. 

Turns out this guy’s name is Mike, and he’s a Venice local.  We don’t really chat too much except for a few funny “Oh no!” and frothy cheers as waves roll in.

I remember the instant I put my wetsuit on, I was just so undeniably, genuinely happy from head to toe.  My body just knew I was getting in the water, and my mood was just amped and psyched but mellow at the same time.  I grabbed my fish and headed down to the water. 

Little pebbles poke
I cry out like a pussy
Soft feet of dress shoes

My little haiku for my moment of letting out a little yelp over some pebbles as I walked to the Venice sand.

The waves were decent.  They were closed out, but there were some shoulders.  And there was an inside reform.  I could smell the weed smoke in the arid air, and the smell of the Ocean breeze blowing with it.  I kept my stretching to a minimum, and headed out to the line up. 

The paddle out was easy, probably because the waves weren’t too gnarly.  Mike paddled out behind me, but stayed a bit south from me.  There was one other surfer that sat way on the outside.  I’m guessing he was a bit newer, even though he was able to pop up on some waves, because he sat where the waves mooshed out, while Mike and I sat in the reform zone. 

I had two memorable waves this session. 

First memorable wave was my first wave I took, a left.  I was able to check a bottom turn going left, then really dig my heels into the back and shoot up the face.  The fish just squirted up the face as I looked back to my right and pushed the tail out as much as I could.  I could feel the board just snap and rebound back, and I landed the turn.  I didn’t see it, but it sure felt good.

Second wave was towards the end, where I was sitting on the inside bowl.  A reform came, and I popped up.  The white water was still rolling, so I had to pump my board up and down until the reform started to clean up and create a wall.  Then I had a few clean pumps, bottom turned, and hit the lip front side.  I actually got a little scared because I was coming down fast, and the water looked shallow on the inside.  That small moment of fear caused me to lose my balance and I ate it as I finished the turn.  The water wasn’t too shallow, but obviously my instincts told me otherwise.

It didn’t really matter though.  I had a smile from ear to ear.  The sun was setting over the Venice pier, and the line up was empty.  The water was cold, but I welcomed the cold.  It felt a million times better than a warmed pool that I “train” in when I can’t surf during the week.  The smell was way better.  The air was way better.  Nature is just way better. 

I took a close out wave in, and headed out.  The sun had completely gone down, but there was still a bit of luminous orange tickling the horizon.  I gazed drunkenly at the horizon before heading back to my car.  

I stepped on the same pebbled road on the way back, but those little rocks didn’t hurt at all.  My body just tuned out every sort of “pain” and “stress” and “bad thing” in my life from about forty-five minutes of surfing. 

Mahalos for the free therapy, Mother Ocean. 

That night I went to Metro CafĂ© to meet up my long time friend Meagan from college.  She (finally) got engaged!!  I was super stoked to hear that and hear how her boyfriend proposed.  Super cute, and super happy to hear that they are finally going to tie the knot!!  Make one man happy, and make a few million unhappy.  Haha only kidding (not)

And finally, Matt has been accepted to the Masters program for writing at his school!!  Go Matt!! 

Mahalos Mother Ocean.  You always seem to know how I feel and have the best treatment for every mood. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Daylight Savings = One Extra Hour to Surf 031112

Surf Report: 1-3 feet and a bit mushy at times, a bit walled on others
Water: Freezing cold
Weather: Gloomy
Winds: Offshore

Surfing Grandma of the OC pointed out that it’s been well over a month since I’ve written in my blog.  I knew this before she pointed it out, but I just haven’t made the time to let out my creative side lately, but I just finished studying for a good 1.5 hours, so here we go…!

I took an exam on February 20, 2012, and thought I absolutely nailed it.  I was confident that I passed it.  I was getting 100%’s on my practice exams.  I knew every question by heart.  I changed a few answers during the exam, but used up almost the whole 3 hours of allotted test time. 

And I found out on Friday that I failed.

Just kidding

I actually did pass, with a 77%.  I was really stoked about that, since this was the third time taking this god damn section.  I’ve taken all sections, but this one in particular was a thorn on my side since it is tax and regulation, which is supposed to be my strong point.  So, I was jumping for joy, texting my family and friends that I passed another exam.  Two down, two more to go.

So Friday night, I was super amped to go surf.  However, Saturday morning proved to be a big disappointment.  Much like the dog owner who doesn’t throw the ball but just fakes throwing it.  Or a girl who fakes an orgasm.  I told myself it’s better to stay out of the freezing water when you’re still stuffed up in the nose, and so I skated down the Strand, and went grocery shopping.  Then I went to work for about 5 hours. 

I had a blind date (my second one in two weeks) which was pretty fun.  I had two cups of coffee (which is a big rule breaker in my life style – no caffeine, especially after 2:00 PM) but my date made it sound so good, I had to try.  Damn girls with their convincing nature…

Surprisingly, I was sleepy at about 1100 PM.  I took that as a queue and headed straight to bed, lulling myself to sleep with thoughts of endless blackness. 

I woke up at 400 AM.  No alarm, no nothing.  It was pitch black, but I just woke up.  I felt like I didn’t have enough blankets, but it wasn’t cold or anything.  I tried to close my eyes and sleep, but to no avail.  I pretty much tossed and turned for an hour before getting out of bed to start my yoga stretches. 

Actual Time: 443 AM
It was so crazy that I was up so early, especially on Daylight Savings.  That meant that it was actually still 400 AM as I started my yoga stretches.  I stretched extra long to compensate for the lack of sleep, and was out the door by 540.

I drove down to 26th Street to an empty lot.  There were actually waves there, but man… no shape, and no size really.  Better than yesterday, I thought to myself. 

I played some games on my phone, waiting for the dark to clear up. 

I called Fransauce to wake him up.  He was sheepishly answering the phone, mumbling over my surf report.  He said that he would leave his house and meet me there. 

Roy came by, surprised that I had beaten him to the lot.  He told me that he was going to check out Porto since the size there might be a little bigger, and I told him to text me if he ends up paddling out there. 

I tell Fransauce that I would be going to Porto, since Roy texted me saying the size was a little bigger.  So we three reconvened at Porto.

There was definitely more size than 26th Street, but the inside bowl looked wishy washy and tricky.  I suited up in my new Quiksilver wetsuit and headed down, taking my first piss in it as I walked across the sand.  One bad sign that I noticed immediately as I took my piss was that my piss was leaking out of my leg.  My older suits never did this until they got worn out.  I say this is a bad sign because when water can come out, water can also come in. 

I was correct.

Fransauce and I stretch in front of the restaurant and start to walk out.  The cold water started flushing in through my left leg.  Oh man… how freezing it was this morning!!

The whole morning was spent just trying to keep my body warm.  I thought the coldest days of winter were over, but a 3/2 was a big step down from a 4/3.  I definitely miss my old 4/3.  But, the positive about the chest zip was that my shoulder’s maneuverability didn’t feel constricted at all. 

Roy was catching some long rides going left and right.  Fransauce was catching a lot of waves, sometimes getting stuck behind sections because the single fin doesn’t really allow him to pump and generate speed like a thruster does. 

I made some close outs, but I had this one left that I completely ate it on.  As I popped up, the wave just started to get walled up.  My board seemed to get away from my body from the initial pitch, but I still tried to stand.  I ended up penetrating through the bottom, which was the safest route.  However, the tide was so low that my left leg was touching the sand bar as I penetrated.  Then, the ensuing lip crashed on me.  Basically, I was standing on the sand bar when I wiped out, then taking the wave on my head and shoulders, compressing my whole body under the wave.  I felt like I was doing some weight lifting in the gym.  It was definitely a new way to wipe out for me. 

There weren’t any familiar faces in the water, which was expected.  Porto is such a big open space with myriads parking spaces, you’ll be lucky to see the same person in a week.  But, like all surf spots, put in your time, and you’ll get to know the consistent, real surfers. 

I got out to fill up the meter, and filled up Roy’s meter too.  Fransauce lucked out on a parking space in the residential area, so no worries for him. 

My legs were cramping up left and right in the line up.  But, for the first time, I didn’t have to get out and stretch.  The cramps kind of just went away after a few breathes and rub downs. 

I switched to my twin fin fish because the waves were getting super mushy.  Still, I only caught close outs, but I was able to pump on the flat sections with my twin fin.  Oh, how I’ve missed you!!!  Definitely my favorite board in my whole quiver. 

Boston Sucks!!!!
I had to leave by 900 AM since I had to be at my boss’s house by 1100 to accompany him to the Lakers – Boston game.  Roy later texted me that the surf got really good as I left.  Go figure.  I was starting to see that when I took my paddle of shame in, but hey, I got to see the Lakers beat Boston in a great game. 

So, hopefully I will find more time to write, and get my creative outlet stirring up again.  For without the art of writing, I would just be a robot in a box, laboring away at the task at hand. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!!  And a special Mahalos to Surfing Grandma of the OC for (kinda) kicking my ass for not writing in my blog.  I feel much better now.