Sunday, August 06, 2006

Whitewash waves - who knew?!

When I started doing this surfing thing, I didn't start out in the white water. I started out paddling, turtling, and paddling back and forth along the shore the distance of 6 lifeguard huts. I'm a good Asian and I always did my scales and etudes before I started practicing the concerto. When I started "surfing" I started on the outside waves. I got pounded. I missed waves. I learned by wiping out. I never ever surfed the whitewash. It didn't even occur to me.

But today, I sat on the beach for ten minutes watching Sensei J and Sir Richard bobbing on the horizon. Each of them got an in-n-out with some pretty kick-outs, but mostly, they were just bobbing beyond the head-high close-out sets. I'd just had a GREAT day yesterday at County Line. Head high and peaky, and everybody was cordial and followed etiquette (unlike Sister's experience at RPB). I think I got tubed, but I don't think it counts unless I open my eyes. All in all yesterday was a great surf day.

So you can imagine my reluctance to take the beating of Santa Monica close-outs. Then Ms. Birds joined me on the beach sipping her coffee and happily said, "I'm thinking of just playing in the whitewash!" Well, hell, the sun was out and I'd just driven from the boyfriend's place forty miles away (he's geographically undesirable), so I decided to take a spin in the whitewash, too.

I had SO MUCH STUPID FUN! I think I caught a hundred waves and I felt sorry for the growing number of schmoes bobbing up and down in the line-up. Each whitewash wave came with a requisite amount of silly posturing on the board and each walk-out was a work-out. Not joking. The inside rip was so strong, we were fighting it and the chaos of unending activity on the inside. I know I'm going to feel it in the glutes tomorrow.

My favorite wave was one I decided to take on my belly. As I was speeding toward shore, I saw this backwash wave come racing up at me and I held on for dear life. I launched off it, caught air, and slammed back down to continue racing to shore. Stupid fun!

One thing I learned about the white water I never surfed before: It's really difficult to maintain balance on your board. Because the water is more chaotic and the waves have less power, any imbalance can send you digging a rail and tipping. I think whitewater can actually be a good conditioning exercise for longboarders! I took some steps back and forth trying to maintain balance and I made sure to cross-step intead of shuffle. Another close-out day (which I think this south swell will continue to give our beach breaks) might see me doing these whitewater exercises!


dave rich said...

ahh the whitewater. im like you, i never learned surfing in that, also considering i have ridden a long board myabe 3 times in my surfing adventure. the whitewater can be fun, but i use it to belly in and escape from paddling a long distance. when attempting to do this (something i have done a million times) in south mexico on a particularly heavy beach break, i got caught inside, realized it too late and paddled my butt off for the wave. I duckdived just as it broke/smashed onto my lowerback/butt and it jacked the nose of my board for the sky, causing me to get sucked over the falls backwards. not exactly fun. sorry if im off topic, but thats my whitewash story. now i have so much respect for it hahahaha.

gracefullee said...

Ahhhh... Many a time have I been sucked over the falls backwards. Good times.