Sunday, December 17, 2006

Still crazy

I am happy to report that even though Little Miss N says I "have something to live for now," I'm still crazy enough to paddle out when it's over six feet at my home break when all the good guys go out.

Adrenaline. My friend.

After I rested from the paddle out, I sat around for about half an hour wondering if I was going to lose my nerve as all the set waves came through looking like big moving walls. Finally, after joking some of my tension out of me with the guys, I took my first wave (which I'd planned on being my last wave). First wave I bunked, but I can't remember why. The good thing about it was that it showed me I could live through the wipe-out and hold my breath long enough without panicking.

Second wave, I didn't paddle enough so I ended up on my feet at the top and the board dropped out from under me. I landed on my tail... literally landed on the pointy tail and the skeg. I've got the marks to prove it. Lived through that one, too.

Third wave, easy pop-up down the face and an explosion of whitewater propelled me straight to shore.

I think there's a little bit of crazy in my blood, but it was fun. It was a good day.

(Only weapon in play from my mini-quiver -- 9'7" double-glassed Cooperfish. It was fine, but DAMN did I wish I have Doc.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Swell Bally-Hoo!

Okay, I haven't quite lost the stoke yet. I'm working 12-hour days and I still have time to wonder if and where I'm going to surf tomorrow during this much anticipated swell. I ran an errand around 3:30 today and the sky in Santa Monica was being overtaken by some ominous clouds signaling the arrival of some kind of energy.

If this swell actually does come in, I'm sort of limited by my psyching myself out for not surfing in so long, by my geography, and by my choice of board. Given that the only stick I have right now is a classic double volan 9'7" Cooperfish, I have to either go to a point break or have fun in some (supposedly) giant white-water at a beach break. If I go to a point break, I have to go in the darm in order to get any waves before the hordes. And if the last time I tried this on a bally-hooed swell is any indication, there will already be five people in the water and ten people on shore drinking coffee and checking out the waves.

Or I might just take the boy and his dog to dog beach and watch the show until the high tide drowns us.

Whatchoo gonna do?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Treading water - losing the stoke

Little Miss N and her friend from Encinitas stopped by before their flight out of LAX to El Salvador. (Surf trip or kidnapping?) We ended up at Guy Okazaki's place. He's going to shape her another board -- a whole two inches shorter than the slew of other Okazaki boards she has! I write this with some amount of sarcasm because, even though I know gigantic differences in performance are measured in fractions of inches on boards, for as long as I've known her, she's been riding an Okazaki alien shape that's 6'8", about 20" wide with a round pin tail. She has had at least three of these boards since I've known her. She's found her niche and she's not deviating.

Don't get me wrong. I love the alien shape. I have one myself. I also admire his performance longboards and am playing around with the idea of getting one to replace Doc. It's just... I wonder what's the purpose of having so many of such similar boards?

While chatting with Guy, we met a man whose name Guy says is part of the surfing lore of the Dogtown days and someone who made a name for himself surfing in Hawaii. "But he quit surfing a long time ago." I wondered why. "Just got bored one day and quit."

I'm intrigued by this. I'm intrigued because it feels like there has to be a good story behind it, and I'm intrigued because I can almost buy Guy's explanation. There's no way my name is anywhere near being remembered in the annals of surfing history, but I have lately been feeling a loss of the stoke and I wonder that it might be possible that I could "get bored one day and quit."

It's probably nothing. It's probably that I have other commitments in my life that are taking a more prominent place right now. It's probably that I'm tired of my safe, crappy beach break with all the fantastic friends. Since I'm pulled in other directions, I have less time to surf. So when I do surf, I don't explore and hunt down good surf, I go to see my friends in the water who I miss seeing every day. I socialize, I make jokes, I catch a wave or two.

I guess I'm just mulling these thoughts. Treading water right now. It's just strange to think how I've become more casual about surfing when I remember a time when I couldn't imagine living landlocked because I had to be in the water every day.