Friday, September 29, 2006

San O

Two turns later, I fell off because my balance was all screwy and I couldn't hold on, but hey, with creative cropping, a person can dream...

Thanks to Birthday Boy for sending along the picture.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Hurts So Good

Do you know how far it is to paddle out to Old Man's at San O?
1,216 kilometers. No joke.
I got this measuring tape in Europe and it only gives the metric system.

Holy crap am I out of shape. Besides the long paddle-out, which wasn't so bad really, I was paddling with futile desperation for waves that wouldn't break. A combination of regularly surfing beach breaks and being on a board I haven't used much in a year completely psyched me out on San O's rolling waves. Surf Sister and I took a trek down for a friend's birthday session and found ourselves laughing at how many waves rolled under us as we paddled furiously. When we finally got into the groove, I looked up only to see an outside set wave coming in. Turtled. And another, and another... I must have turtled 15 waves in a row. By the time I made it outside again you could stick a fork in me. I was done.

Nice skies, beautiful waves. Good day. But I knew I was going to pay for it in the morning.

And if that wasn't enough to knock me on my ass this weekend, I saw these old fogies later on in the evening. Rock on, Whiffleboy! Seriously, I don't know how you can sustain that level of energy on stage. It was impressive and infectious. I look forward to the band's 20 year reunion.

Sunday morning came and I was in pain, but I was deluded into thinking that moving around would help dissipate the soreness. I probably should have taken it as a sign when I couldn't lift the heavy Cooperfish into the car, but instead, I opted for the weirdo board. Glad I did, because it was totally fun at my pitching beach break.

I learned, though, that moving through the pain really doesn't help.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Malibu - it was a dark and stormy night...

5:30am is DARK.

6:00am is still dark, but you can kind of see enough to understand why a couple people were driving up, looking, and pulling away.

Weird onshores were blowing out Malibu. Oh. Goodie. I'd only surfed Malibu once before -- a sunset session at second point when it was overhead. Last night, I'd decided that I wanted to surf SOMETHING of this south swell and since it was closing out my beach breaks and I'd already lost my performance longboard. If I wanted to surf, I'd either have to crack out the weirdo board (which I haven't surfed in a year) and go to Porto or lug out the Cooperfish and try to do some walking at a point.

Malibu was the choice. The junky conditions de-crowded the break, so I was only surfing with a dozen other people who were all quite nice. Mellow. It's a nice introduction for me because I have such psychological hang-ups when I get to a point break that I find myself choking because of all the mental pressure to prove that I can surf... and I should probably take the note that nobody REALLY cares how well you can surf.

Still, though, I don't understand the point break wave. I understand how the wave curls around the back of the board to hold you in when you're walking to the nose... It just doesn't happen to me. I'm just not very adept at getting the board in that trim position all the time. I feel like I need two solid hours with no one around to just mess up and be a goof and figure it out.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

And then there were three...

9'7" Cooperfish Hornet - heavy volan glass with fin patch (I am the second owner)

9'0" Surf Prescriptions aka "Doc II" - performance board with 2+1 fin set-up which I have converted to a thruster on big days, round pintail with a bump (First owner, custom made for me)

7'0" Small Faces aka "Weirdo" - 30-year-old beak nose single-wing diamond-tail singlefin (I don't know its history)

7'0" Guy Okazaki aka "Dragon" - alien shape thruster (I am the second owner)

Doc II
March, 2004 - September 19, 2006
Ocean Park, Santa Monica, California

Monday, September 18, 2006

REMINDER: next board

This is just a reminder for me:

When I feel like I've gotten to a good place with my Cooperfish and when I feel like I deserve a new art-piece type board, I'm going to get a real flat pointbreak board like this.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I smell like Paris Hilton

We just got a package from the CEO who distributes Paris Hilton's fragrances. And for all the sea-water and bacteria screwing with my olfactory system, I don't think it smells half bad. The women's scent on my left wrist is starting to smell like cotton candy -- which is starting to make me crave funnel cakes. I actually like the men's fragrance on my right wrist better.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


A triathalon in Venice denied any northbound ideas I had, so I ended up at Porto. Crowded. Mostly guys. Greeeeeaat. I had wanted to try to up my game at better breaks with more aggressive peers, so I guess there's no time like the present. Infrequent chest-shoulder-high set waves. Waist high tweeners during the lulls. Slow-going at first for me, but then I got into the rhythm and had my share of decent shoulders.

I finished most of my frontside waves today with kick-outs. The only one I bunked was a wave that closed out immediately. Still grabbing my rail out of the backsides, though.

I had a super kick-out on my last wave -- which I didn't think was going to be my last wave which is why I kicked out in the first place... Just as I directed the board up and over, I saw a bigger set wave breaking almost on top of me. Nothing quite like kicking out of a wave only to see your wave's big brother looming, ready to pummel you. I turtled that one only to see another. I quickly decided that I didn't have enough money left on the meter to make it worth suffering through battling out the set waves, so I took the whitewash in.

I've noticed that since I've started concentrating on kicking out frontside, I've magically begun to do frontside top turns. What a RUSH!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Me!

Labor Day marks the four-year anniversary of me and surfing in California. I remember that first Labor Day after I'd scoured the Internets for How-tos and Rules and traveled up and down PCH looking for a used board. (Even then I knew what I wanted, although I didn't have the vocabulary to say what it was.) After going up to Malibu and hopping into stores and came back to be more gas efficient about finding a board by calling down the phone book listings looking for an 8-foot longboard in the $200 range, I decided to take a walk in my neighborhood to get some smokes (oh, those days). I decided to check out the mod-looking Board Gallery (which moved to Lincoln Blvd. this year).

I'd walked by the shop maybe a hundred times before, and after a day of unsuccessfully finding a board, 20 miles away, I found the perfect thing right across the street. They showed me the back room where stacks of used boards hung out. I didn't know it then, but I was looking at some classic boards that cost five times what I was looking to spend. He showed me an 8'6" longboard that had just come in on consignment for a little over $200... it had a neon orange nose and an art deco blue fade through the middle to a white round pintail and three fins. (A pintail with a slight bump at the rails with glassed-on thruster set-up, I was later to find out.) There was a big Rx logo and Ray told me the board was about 10 years old, signed at the stringer by the shaper... Jeff "Doc" Lausch.

Yup. That was my first Doc. I took him up to County Line (which I didn't know was called County Line) on Labor Day. I stayed out of the other surfers way like I'd read in the How Tos and Rules, and I died.

For the next month or so, I'd die on the weekends at Venice, walking my board to the beach, and again at County. Then I started dying on the weekdays, too. On one driving excursion, I rolled into what is now known as the "home break." I think what made me stay there is what makes a lot of people start there... the convenience. Parking and easy walk-out. Three days a week turned to every morning. Sometime, between paddling the distance of six lifeguard towers and back and just turtling through some hairy autumn close-outs, I stopped dying and started catching waves.

Lordy, I loved that board. RIP at overhead Topanga and Doc Lausch made me a 9'0" version with slightly down rails, hard at the tail with the bump and round pin. Lordy, I love this board! And I do believe I'm getting verklempt about how we had a great anniversary today with peaky shoulder-high stuff and all the family under the sun.