Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Achilles 071315

Surf Report: 2-3 feet
Water: Cool/Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Marginal

Mel texts me at 0632 AM with a screenshot of Surfline with a poor to fair rating at Venice.

"In?" she asks.

"Still deciding. I think I'll go in 30," I text back.

We initially had agreed to surf Venice breakwater since that is closer to where she works. She gets back to me later saying that she is just leaving her house. I didn't see it until I am driving to breakwater though.

I text her back, "I usually park south of the pier. I was gonna go to breakwater though."

As I keep driving, I text at a red light. "What's the call commissioner?"

She doesn't answer back. She doesn't need to. I know where she'll be. We have a connection.

I park at my usual spot and get changed. Walking down the asphalt, I can feel the small pebbles bite at the bottom of my feet. I get to the sand, and scan the horizon for any sign of my sister from another mister.

I see a familiar paddle style on a familiar board, with a familiar wetsuit wedging the short-haired surfers' butt cheeks. MEL.

She's on her neon railed board, which I have ridden my fair share of times. I paddle out with my hair still dry, and dive under water. I sneak up to her, grab her board by the tail, and start shaking it. She yelps, looks back, and we both have a laugh.

It's been forever since we have surfed together. It's such a great way to start the day off to surf with friends you can call family.

Mel goes for a wave. In typical kamikaze style, she paddles hard, pops up, and eats shit. I see white water explode upwards as she disappears from view. She re-emerges, a bit frazzled, a bit rattled, but ok.

I paddled for a wave, and miss it. My arms are at my side, and Mel smiles and says, "It always looks like you're flying when you paddle for a wave!" Indeed, surfing is probably the closest feeling to  exhilaration of flying.

I go for a right, and fit in a few pumps before holding my hands out to try to make it past the last section. I stick both my hands forward, as if to reach out to grab the second section of the wave.

I gotta go to work, I think.

"I gotta get to work," Mel says. "One more?"

"Fosho," I say.

I go for a steep left, and fall midway on the drop. I felt that I psyched myself out on making the drop. I didn't believe that I could make the drop, when I had already made it down halfway. I need to stop doubting the drop. But I digress...

The board gets flung up and the inside rail is aiming straight for my left leg. My achilles tendon gets nailed by the rail. Third hit in a row, since Saturday, on my left side.

I shake it off, and try to catch a party wave with Mel. I don't get in on the wave she catches, as she pops up and stands on the wave, taking it all the way to shore on the white water, managing the up and down bumps on the inside.

I throw up a double shaka and she waves back from the shore.

I have to catch at least a good one to end the session. No way am I paddling in on a close out.

I go for right, and the thing closes out.

I go for another right, and only get a half pump on the white water.

I finally get a left and stick a steep drop. I get a pump in it before it closes out. It wasn't THE RIDE I was hoping for, but it was a satisfying ride to take that left. I take the white wash in and walk up the beach with my aching achilles.

Surf is like a bottle of wine. It's fine to enjoy by yourself, but the same bottle tastes extra delicious when sharing with a friend. Thanks for paddling out, Mel.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thigh 071215

Surf Report: 2-3 feet
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Marginal

After partying the night with Cheryl and friends, I woke up at a reasonable time of 700 AM. I headed straight to 26th Street, but was on the late shift. I didn't even bother checking the parking lot - I headed straight for the parking in the neighborhood up the hill.

The neighborhood was quiet and asleep. I parallel parked in front of a house with an iron gate awning the roman arch entrance. Pulling out my Neck Beard, I wondered if this was the right board for today. I had brought my Fred Rubble... but Neck Beard has been so good to me lately. Neck Beard it is.

The surf looks a little bit more consistent than yesterday. The water is still shallow though, with brown sand sucking up the face on the inside.

I paddle out with two duck dives wetting my hair. The anticipation of the sets boil in my stomach.

The current is pulling people North again. It's not as bad compared to yesterday, and so I paddle slowly to maintain my position. Ross, Roy, and Steve are doing the same, maintaining their position slightly South of the 26th Street Tower.

I was looking for lefts today, but I saw the odd right break nice and long, so I tried to sit North of the locals. The waves in front of me would break just about five feet to my right, and double up on a bump right in front of me. If there wasn't a double up, I'd be in perfect position for it, but they don't break most of the session.

The left though!!! It was a steep take off deep, a shoulder-hopper a few yards down, and draining the whole way. We definitely had to be picky though...

Roy was killing it as always. He was constantly trying to pull in or pump down the line and punt an air. 

I paddled for a right, and I was digging hard. But, the wave wasn't letting me in. I hear Roy hoot from the inside. I look up, and see Ross coming out of a ledgy left barrel.

"DOUBLE BARRELLL!" Roy yelled.

Ross takes the wave all the way to the inside. He took a long time to come back out.

Double Barrel.

A set approaches, and Steve is in position, However, a fresh face is diggin deep on the set wave. Steve pulls out, and the guy pops up. His board, a blue, wide, fatty thruster turns sideways, exposing its belly to us onlookers.

"OHHHHHHH!" I yell.

A mountain of white wash explodes ten feet into the air.

Steve is paddling for the second wave. It's a close out, so he pulls out and goes for the third wave, which was a close out too.

"I would have paddled for that first one, but that BARNYARD was going for it. I knew he's gonna eat shit!" he exclaims at Roy.

"Ey!! BARNYARD!!" He yells in the guys face. Terrified, Fresh Face looks away. "Yea, I was gonna go for that wave, but I knew you were gonna eat SHIT! So I didn't go!!" He looks straight at him.

Steve paddles away. The guy looks dejected, but trying to compose himself from the new asshole he got torn open.

Roy shakes his head without saying anything.

Ross, Roy and Steve are getting their quota of waves. I am doing ok for myself. I'm catching a few and trying to milk them as much as possible.

A rogue insider pops up, and I'm inside of Roy. I paddle battle him, and I get the position. Pointing my nose down the face at an angle, I take off fast. Roy pulls out, and I pop up on the wave. All my weight shifts to my back leg and slam on the brakes on the speed from the drop. 

"Don't you fall down! Roy backed out! Don't faallll!" I tell myself.

I stick the drop and make it to the bottom. My board automatically turns up the wave, and I shit my eyes from the board to the lip. I'm thinking, "Top turn, top turn, top turn." I look up to the wave, hoping to see a smashable lip.

The lip starts standing up. I change mid face to grab the rail and stall, much like Kelly Slater or Mick Fanning does on their backside. Before I could even grab the rail, I see the board start to shoot up behind me with my feet unstuck.

I close my eyes.

THUNK, I hear. A blunt object Charlie-horsing me on my left thigh.

I take cover for my head and wince in pain as I get thrust underwater. Resurfacing, I catch my breath as my numb left leg regained the throbbing pain of a surfboard rail nailing the tenderest of fat and muscle.

A wave washes over me, and I still have to catch my breath. I try to squat, but there is too much buoyancy in the water. I paddle in as motionlessly as possible. I unleash on the sand, and catch my breath a little more. The throbbing pain hasn't subsided. Well, lucky my board didn't hit my head. I try to do a few more squats, getting blood pumping into the area. Finally, I am able to do a few squats in a row, so I leash up and paddle back out.

I had to catch at least one more wave. It doesn't matter that the waves aren't that good, or that my leg hurt. I had made one of the best surfers at 26th Street back out of a wave, ate shit, and have to, no... NEED TO, catch at least one wave in the line up.

My last wave was a left, and I do a small floater to the inside. I take the wave as far as I can, and call it a day.

Up the hill, I find myself greeted by a kitten.

The kitten looked at me, and I looked at him. I meowed, and he meowed back. He moved in to get pet, and then moved on to my car. I put my board down, and he checks out my board.

He meows, and goes under a neighbors car in order to escape the heat.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Exfoliated 071115

Surf Report: 2-3 feet
Water: Cool/Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Slight on shore

I was psyched to get back in the water since I had not surfed since Tuesday before work. My work stress has been on the decline somewhat. However, I still don't feel safe enough to show up at work at 1000 AM and still feel like I did a full days work.

I had to find free parking up the hill since I woke up late once again. I make my way down to the beach, and see that the sunny skies have brought more and more new faces to 26th Street. The tide is still super low, and I could almost walk out to the line up. I start paddling, and make it out to the line up pretty quickly.

The waves stood up quick and that my board, my beloved Neck Beard, wasn't quite the board for steep take offs. On top of that, the current from the south swell was pulling every one north. I see an endless trail of surfers marching like ants along the coast, carrying their surboards under their arms and walking back to where they paddled out. The only few spots that were working were right in front of the tower, south of Mons Pubis, the Brick house, and allllll the way down to who knows where.

I did my best to maintain my position right in front of the tower. I swam after work on Tuesday, and swam with my dad on Thursday. I fairly confident at my endurance and paddle power, until Mother Ocean just threw a solid south swell in my arrogant face. I was back to being a barney and floundering against the current.

I started to do my "Mexico paddle" and kept up with the current. For Mother Ocean to be moving so much water, there were only a handful of waves. Not too many of them were ride-able, and the ones that were ride-able were drainers. I can see the millions and millions of sand sucking up before crashing into a big foam of white water obliteration.

On a smaller left, I popped up and tried to get to the face. The breaking white water caught my surfboard and flung me forward into the shallows. I went head first onto the sand, and exfoliated my forehead on the left side of my face. 

I must have paddled against the current most of the day. I remember Uncle Miles and Kim paddling out about an hour into my surf session. 

I got out with pretty much no memorable ride today. However, I still had tons of fun fighting the current, watching the merry-go-round of surfers exit the line up, walk around, enter the line up, and drift back down further away. The waves were risky today, but it was classic California conditions. The sun was out, the water was crystal clear, the water was moving, and I ate some shit.

As I walked back on the sand, slightly defeated and dejected but otherwise satisfied with my surf, I see my physical therapist and local surfer, Carlo and his son, Cayden.

"What's up Klaude? You ok?"

"Yea, I hit my face on the sand from a wipe out," I told him.

"OH, you're right, it does look a little red. Did you just do that?"

"Naw, I did it early in the session. Did you surf today?"

"Yea, I did. But it was a lot less consistent earlier than it is now. We're gonna enjoy the beach today!" He looked lovingly down at his son, picking up his tiny sandals as they walked onto the beach. "Don't you have PT today?"

"Yea, I have it at 1030," I told him.

"Tell everyone I said hi!"

"I will," I said, smiling.

At PT, Amanda worked on my neck. She feels that a lot of my shoulder pain comes from my bad neck posture, and so she has me do a lot of stretches for it.

I had to take a nap after surf, PT, a plate full of Hurry Curry, and a beer. I napped for a solid two hours, eyes wide shut. I woke up groggy but felt refreshed and watched the Lakers summer league play.

Cheryl had her second birthday dinner planned this night, so I went to celebrate. We ate at Gracias Madre, where Silverton (her hubby) and I laughed up a storm. I set my three drink limit earlier in order to surf tomorrow, and stuck by it.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Surf Before Werk 070715

Surf Report: 1-2 feet close outs
Water: Warm
Winds: On shore
Atmosphere: Sunny

Most of my pre-work surf sessions have been dismal. Not only do I have half an hour to surf, but I don't get to surf with my friends at Manhattan Beach. I surf Venice Beach south of the pier in order to make my commute to work less painful.

Surf today was terribly bad, but I had to get out in the water. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I couldn't even do a "ten quality wave" count. I had three waves, all of them close outs, all of them on the shore pound from the low tide, and all of them without one pump on the face. How could surf suck this badly at a beach??

But, it was better than doing my morning work out and heading straight to the office.

Mahalos Mother Ocean! 

At the Mercy of Mother Ocean 070515

Surf Report: 1-2 feet and blown out
Water: Who knows?
Atmosphere: Gloomy
Winds: Blowing the shit out of the waves

"If yesterday wasn't so fun, I would be surfing today," Vietnam Vet Mike said, with a wry smile.

"You're right. Yesterday was soooo fun! Today just looks sad," I replied.

The waves were just not cooperating at all. It looked like every other day in June where it was so dismal and junky.

This was a day for the desperate, the few who didn't score yesterday, the dry pieces of jerky who wished they surfed.

I watched the waves for a whole two hours and called it a day. I headed home at 945 AM.

Matt had told me that Bri and him had packed up early and headed back to 26th Street. They watched it from the hill for a while, and called a lay day too.

Cheryl's birthday is today, and the World Cup for Women's soccer was going on too. I had promised to spend time with my mom and dad, and then hand with Cheryl and company. I watched the USA womens team beat down on Japan in the first 16 minutes. In true samurai spirit though, the Japanese Women never gave up! They gave it their all until the bitter end, and held their heads up high, even if tears were rolling down some of their cheeks.

I headed to Cheryl's place and we all played board games for a good while. Silverton and I made sure that Jenga was played the correct way: by burning it to the ground in the first few moves. We were the first ones to take out the two bottom pieces and watch the tower topple over.
The Handsome Pull Out Artist

I wasn't mad I didn't get to surf today. I wasn't mad that Japan lost in such dismal fashion. In fact, I enjoyed my whole day being able to spend time with family and friends. Sometimes, you don't have to surf to have a good Sunday.

Mahalos Mother Ocean!

Ten Waves 070415

Surf Report: 2-3 feet and rippable
Water: Warm
Atmosphere: Sunny
Winds: Marginal

Happy Fourth of July! Fucking national holidays man... makes everyone come out. Surf schools, beach bums, wannabe beach bums, wahine's in teenie bikini's... everyone. I couldn't find parking at the lots so I made the OG move and parked up the hill. I finally secured a spot and skipped down the hill. The waves looked fun, and so I was hoping to score some waves finally.

I know I shouldn't compare myself to others, but I want to surf better, and so I am trying to steal qualities that I don't have with what other, better surfers do have. One that I have observed is the wave count of Roy and Ross. They always seem to get a 2:1 ratio of waves compared to the average surfer at 26th Street. So, I figured if I employ a more aggressive tactic of catching more quality waves, then I'll get closer to becoming a better surfer - a better version of myself.

So, I set out a goal: 10 quality waves. Not 10 waves, but 10 quality waves where I at least get a pump or two in, and an attempt of a maneuver.

I started to catch waves at my usual spot south of the tower. I would get a few pumps in, then bottom turn up and try a floater front side. Then I would go for some backside floaters. I would catch two close outs, and not count them. I got to five quality waves fairly quickly, and then his a road block.

I waded in the water, and watched others catch waves. All the locals were out: Bruce, Glen, Stocky Jon, Vietnam Vet Mike, Steve-O and Paul. A set wave approaches, and Bruce calls me out to get on it. "GO KLAUDE GOOOOO!"

I dig deep and paddle at a steep angle. It was the set of the day by all means. I pop up and almost lose my balance. I could feel the board almost slide out on the rail, but it catches at the bottom, and I gather my feet. I go straight into a bottom turn, putting all my weight on my right foot, and getting to the top. I jam all my weight back to my heels, and stick both of my arms into the wave face. The wave dies out, and my turn never felt completed. I count that as Quality Wave #6.

I catch three more quality waves, and I am psyched. It's not just my mind set that is changing today's session. The waves are actually good! I try for my tenth quality wave, and it doesn't come.

Be patient KK, be patient.

A left pops up. It looks like nothing, but I make it into something. I pump once and float it. I come unstuck and fall. Quality Wave #10, goal achieved.

I wasn't done though. The waves are too fun and I have free parking! I keep count with the "Quality Wave" mindset and catch five more quality rides. It was a good day to be in the water, and I felt rejuvenated, re-energized, and re-stoked. I felt like a surfer once more.

Matt and Bri tell me that there are good waves coming through San O, but the swell looks like it is dying. Not only that, but by noon the winds are blowing out the place.

I go to Santouka with my friend Stan. We talk it up for a good hour or so, and then head back to my place to talk more about drive, work ethic, and Lakers. I meet up my parents and other parents, the Morimotos, and gorge on more food. It's July 4th, but I don't feel like doing anything. I call it a night at 1000 PM, when most of my peers and neighbors are shooting fireworks into the night sky. I doze off into the abyss of stoke in hopes to score more waves tomorrow. 

Mahalos Mother Ocean!

Do We Even Surf, Bruh? 070315

Surf Report: 1-2 feet dribblers
Water: Cool
Atmosphere: Over cast
Winds: On shore

I haven't written in a while. No excuses, I haven't made time for my writing. So, here we go again...!

I started the day off with physical therapy at Patty Brown PT. Carlo worked on my shoulders and I did my work outs until 930 AM. After ice and electronic stimulation, I headed down to 26th Street. Matt and Bri were headed to San Onofre on Sunday, so I figured I should try to surf as much as I could in the meantime and then I can join them on Sunday.

The surf was... miserable. I watched the waves for a good half an hour and I went back to my car and headed back home. I could not bring myself to surf that junk. It just was not appealing at all.

I stopped by Matt and Bri's house, and they were marinating. It was a rare day off for me on a Friday, so I lounged and watched Dane Reynolds clips and old Lakers footage as Matt made me a coffee and veggie smoothie. We talked on how disappointing surf has been, which contributes to why I haven't been writing too.

"Are we really surfers?" I asked him.

"I knowwwww right? It doesn't even feel like we surf anymore. We haven't had any good swell come our way." He replied. "So Bri and I are planning to go to San O tomorrow. We will give you a recon report and maybe you can head down to San O on Sunday."

"Okay, lemme know how the surf is," I replied.