Wednesday, March 30, 2005

the Blow-up Board

I was down in San Diego/Del Mar and ended up surfing with Nedra in Solana Beach at a spot called Pillbox. I don't know why it's called Pillbox. Anyway, there was no swell, so it was small and the tide was coming up, but still, people were friendly and it was fun.

A guy paddled up to me to say hi and, "Have you ever seen one of these?" It was an inflatable surfboard. I switched boards with him. It was a 6-foot-something fishy twin fin. Really really wide.

It was like surfing on an inflatable bed! It paddled into waves easily (because it was so floaty), but because the waves were so small and had no push, this fish kept letting the wave slip out. You really had to force the thing down the small wave in order to stay on the tiny shoulder. In any case, it was fun for a lark and I would consider getting one of these things for guests who visit and want to have the surfing experience without having the near-drowning one.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The boards I love

I went back to my Doc Laush Surf Prescriptions tri-fin performance 9'0" today and what a HUGE difference from a Cooperfish double-glass singlefin 9'7"! I had forgotten how fast Doc was, and this was the first good day that I've been on it with the smaller 7-inch center fin. I traded the 8-inch fin with Chris G. a while ago. I may be remembering Doc differently and my surfing has probably changed because of the honkin' single-fin Cooperfish, but I swear the difference in having a smaller fin is the difference between surfing with a longboard style and surfing with a shortboard style.

Today, on a 9'0" I felt like I had to envision the thing like I would a shortboard. It takes off fast and it turns by driving into the wave rather than by finessing trim. It's quite an aggressive board... and exciting in a whole different way.

I've been on the Cooperfish almost exclusively for the past four months and I'd forgotten how much I used to love Doc. Nice reminder today that a girl should be able to wear diamonds or pearls when she feels like it.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Frank's Corner

I'm going to dispense all that Frank wisdom that trickles down between sets outside and between sips of coffee on the wall.

Two years ago, Frank helped me out when I complained that I always seem to lose the wave even when the shoulder was good (this was after I'd learned how to turn). He made a general motion toward shore and said, "Grace, you want to stay on THAT side of the wave."

Simple advice, but profound to me for some reason. Stay on THAT side of the wave! A-ha! So I have to keep turning this board. I can't just set a direction and go... I have to actively maintain trim to keep on the correct spot on the wave!

And I haven't looked back since.

Yesterday, I was complaining that when Topanga was big it always seemed to kick my ass when it hollowed out suddenly. (Complaining to Frank always elicits good advice from him.) He said, "You have to look really far ahead down the line to see what's coming up so you can plan your moves now." How far? He pointed to a trashcan about 25 feet away, "About at that second trashcan." Yeesh. I mean, I look at the wave, but I look about half that distance.

So, today I tried it on some great shoulders that set up for me and looking that far ahead opened up so many possibilities for me! I realized I'd have to drop lower to make a closing section, but it was possible to get back to a shoulder after it, and I knew way ahead of time where and when I should kick-out because further down the line it was just a big wall that would be no fun.

Woo-hoo! New things to practice!

Thanks, Papa Frank.