Sunday, May 28, 2006


Went down to surf with Little Miss N in Solana Beach. Coordinating schedules with the boy and the dog and the boy's friends with mine was a little hectic, but we did end up in the water. Chest to head high rollers and a lot of futile paddling for me, but the sun was out and I was warm. I ended up taking some good waves, but lately I've been noticing my bad habit flaring up again... dropping too low on the wave instead of staying high where the speed is. Because of Doc's big rocker, I always know when I've dropped too low because that board literally stops moving. I kept this in mind throughout the session and got better. My last wave was a backside left where TWICE I came to the top of the wave and turned back down to drop in again.

Yesterday I went out late and went out into the windblown chop because the sun was out and all the OP regulars were saying that it was a lot more fun than it looked. I only got two waves in my 50-minute session, but I was back on the Cooperfish and remembered why it's such a freakin' great board. Walking and turning from anywhere.

PS. Sunday whistling tune: "Stuck in the Middle with You"
Saturday whistling tune: "Que sera, sera"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Do I dare to trunk it?

Blue skies and sun. I forgot what a difference that makes in motivating me to surf. If it had been gray out, I would have taken one look at those rolling mushburgers and left. But it was sunny, so I chose to focus on the nice size of the waves instead. So much paddling today: paddling out through the frequent windswell and paddling more for those rolling mushburgers I chose to ignore in my decision to get wet. So much paddling I was HOT. Black hair, black wetsuit, blazing sun. I actually dunked myself into the reportedly bacteria-ridden water to keep from overheating.

This brings me to one of those media-"duh" rants. There's been a lot of hubbub lately about the high levels of bacteria in the water and on beach sand. We know this, we've always known this. We know better than to surf after a rain (but we do it anyway). The media, however, seeing Memorial Day come up seem to be broadcasting dire warnings, "Is it safe to go to the beach this holiday weekend? Find out on the 11 o'clock news." I know fear sells. I know the Powers That Be use fear to keep the public in line. I know all this to the point of saying, "Duh, Grace." But it still rankles me.

A couple of years ago, I noticed an increase in dire beach warnings the week before every three-day holiday weekend during the summer. Only that year, it was sharks. It was the year sharks seemed to be hanging out in San O and a couple tiger sharks were hanging out at Sunset. Memorial Day: weeklong feature in the local media on the sharks. July 4: same. Labor Day: three in a row makes it not a coincidence.

This year, there don't seem to be shark sightings yet, but that's probably because the water is too polluted.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What I do instead of surfing

On my birthday, I looked for surf, didn't find anything I wanted for my birthday, and came home to construct this make-shift trellis for my snow pea plants.

This is my first year trying to grow things. It's been a really cathartic process so far. I have a bunch of dill near my windowsill that always lean toward the light. When I pass by them, I always give the pot a turn so they're leaning the wrong direction and they have to lean back the other way.

Screwing with the dill... soooo cathartic.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Birthday Surf

It's the eve of my birthday and I'm trying to figure out where to go surf tomorrow. Of course, since it's my birthday, the lunar gods have conspired to make the tide low on my normal dawn-ish patrol. I'm going to take the morning from work and find me some nice mid-morning waves. I need break suggestions for a peaky west windswell. Weirdly enough, I have a feeling my usual beach breaks at Venice and Santa Monica might actually work with this when the tide starts coming back up. Maybe a drive to Huntington?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Thank goodness for small waves

I was hoping it would be like yesterday with some shoulder-high stuff and nice shape. I surfed so much yesterday that I was stiff all day. I would sit in my chair and when I had to get up, my body would be stuck in an L-position and I could only straighten with an old-man-groan. This can't be good for the body... going from eating bacon and reading the paper every morning to running a marathon the next day.

I was hoping today it would be just as fun as yesterday, but it wasn't. And in the end, I was relieved. It was a nice chance for my body to recover from the past few days of marathon-running.

PS. Whisting tune, appropriately: "What a Difference a Day Makes"

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Wipeout School of Surfing

Since Mother Nature has offered up flat to small waves for a while, I've been out of practice and had a niggling fear that I wouldn't be able to surf once a swell came through. Same worries that others have been having about being out of shape. My worry went a little further. I used to take steep drops on shoulder-high close-out waves FOR FUN. But in anticipation of this weekend's swell, I found myself afraid that I'd lost my nerve.

("That's because you have something to live for now!" said Little Miss N, referring to the boy.)

With less than an hour to surf, I paddled through a set of chest-high waves on Saturday morning. After I had a heart attack from exertion, I sat on my board and looked toward shore to get my bearings. I'd drifted almost two hundred yards north while paddling. It was mainly close-outs, but the water was glassy I waited for something with a little shoulder. I was testing my nerve. A slightly make-able wave popped up toward me and I took it. Speedy rail grab down the face with the wave cresting in front of me, so I made the split second decision that I probably would enjoy turning back to shore instead of trying to punch through the wave. I was thrilled, though, to make the first fast wave that came my way. The second wave was similar, but I had time to punch through. The third wave was probably my favorite... yet another left (south swells. oy.) and I popped up to my feet, the wave spit me out and the front of my board slammed on the flats. I was amazed that I managed to pull the nose out of the water by stepping back on the tail and I rode the rest of the wave to shore!

Sunday, the wind was already on it, but the shape was better and I had a GREAT time. Some really nice rides. But the best wave of the day was one I shouldn't have taken. It wasn't huge -- maybe chest-shoulder high -- but it jacked up and I decided to keep paddling. I knew it was a bad decision immediately and I ended up in a glorious freefall with my board. I whooped after I came up for air and looked for my board. That ol' black magic, that adrenaline rush, was back, baby!

There's nothing quite like coming out unscathed from a good wipe-out to get your nerve back.

PS. Whistling tune: "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah"

Friday, May 05, 2006

'Nuff sed

Three waves. Whistling tune today: "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz