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.