26 January 2008

Poplar Beach, 26 January 2008

No surfing today. It's been raining all week, buckets yesterday, and the surf is icky mud brown and contaminated with who knows what from runoff.

The forecast calls for more stormy weather into next week, but I'm hoping for a window to surf soon - I need to get wet!
Rain, rain, go away,
Come again some other day,
We want to go outside and surf!

19 January 2008

Dunes, 19 January 2008

Another fine summer day in January. E, S2 and I checked out Montara first, but it was overhead and thus beyond my current comfort level. So we headed to Dunes, a new spot for me. It was smaller there with a nice channel to get us to the outside. Nevertheless, I did get to practice duck-diving when an outside set rolled though, and I do believe I did it successfully a few times - it just felt right and I didn't get shoved toward the beach. I caught one wave but screwed up on the drop, then dammit I got quesy again. I think I need to try eating a little something before I head out, maybe that would keep the seawater from making me sick to my stomach.

18 January 2008

Indicators, 18 January 2008

Finally a duck-diving lesson! Although I guess I was hoping to magically be good at it by the end of the day. No such luck, although the instructor did give me some useful tips. He said my form is good, but I should make sure to have all my weight over my arms when sinking the nose. And paddle more aggressively into the wave, not just when duck-diving but when trying to catch one too. Also, I need to get the board flattened out under water and then scoop the nose up as the wave passes. He said I should "think like a duck," whatever that means. I don't recall seeing any ducks in the lineup. I suppose they have more sense than to get in front of a breaking wave.

This was my first time at Indicators, and it seems like a nice spot. Maybe it was just the time of day (early Friday afternoon, and yes, I was playing hooky), but the crowd wasn't bad and some of the people were actually friendly, quite unlike Pleasure Point. I'll definitely have to check it out again. I caught a few waves although no good rides. Perhaps I've been longboarding too much lately; the instructor said I was looking good through the pop-up but then stood too upright like a longboarder, rather than keeping low as a shortboarded should. Anyway, I think I'm a shortboarder at heart, so I'm going to ride the Xanadu from now on, except maybe in the middle of summer when it's near flat and I'm desperate. I know other people do it, but it's just too hard for me switching back and forth on different boards, and having to relearn them a little each time.

Sad to say, despite the nice conditions and ample wave-ridin
g opportunities, I think I ingested too much seawater through my sinuses because I got really quesy after an hour or so and felt like throwing up, which forced me out of the water. This has happened to me sometimes before, although fortunately not too often. Sucks! Ah well, some other day...

13 January 2008

Capitola, 13 January 2008

Another gorgeous summer day in January, so I headed to Capitola with S and met up with M and J in the water. It was the most crowded I've ever seen; I stopped counting surfers when I got to 40. Conditions were nice and there were good longboarders dominating the peak when the up to head-high sets came through, so I was waiting for leftovers. In an hour and a half I'd only gotten one and half rides (D said I can't count riding whitewater anymore since I'm not a beginner, but I think it's worth something, hence a half). But Capitola always has something for me. As I was heading in to leave, a bit discouraged, a shoulder high wave came right to me and I got nice little ride. Re-stoked!

12 January 2008

Mavericks Contest, 12 January 2008

The local papers were predicting huge crowds and bad traffic getting to the coast, so I left early for the drive to Half Moon Bay. But they lied, because I made it there in record time, even stuck behind a horse trailer. I parked at M's house, although I could have gotten closer, and walked about half an hour to Rosses Cove with him, his wife W, and J. It was an absolutely fabulous day, sunny and in the 60s. There were a lot of people but it wasn't too crowded, and from the bluff we could see the lineup. Binoculars were key! I tried to zoom in with the camera, but it was too far away for good shots and hard to see the LCD screen in the sun - not to mention I'd rather watch through the binos than try to catch a good picture and miss seeing the action! And it was totally awesome to watch those guys, making a fast drop down the almost vertical face of 25-30' waves, then speeding ahead of a rushing tower of whitewater. I saw a couple breath-holding wipeouts too, but the jetskis were always right there to whisk the guys from the impact zone before the next giant wave.

After a while we walked down to the beach, where you could look left toward the break to see the sets coming, then right to a big video screen to watch the surfers up close. The beach had a band and food/t-shirt/info booths, and the announcers calling the play-by-play. But I liked the view from the bluff better, so when my friends left in the 4th heat to go watch the webcast on M's big TV, I headed back up the bluff. I scored a perfect seat on the edge with an unobstructed view and settled in with the binoculars. S2 joined me for a bit, and then I speed-walked back to M's house to watch the finals. Unfortunately the webcast was overwhelmed by demand and had no sound, with the picture at times morphing into some weird pixelated modern art.

Next year I'll be on the bluff again, or maybe I'll spring for a seat on one of the boats to see and hear the waves up close. That would be really awesome!

10 January 2008

Mavericks Contest is on for Saturday

...and I'm stoked to go watch it! I'm a bit ticked off, though, that I paid the Mavericks people $1 for immediate notice when the contest was greenlighted, but I learned about it from local media the day before I got the text message.

01 January 2008

Montara, 1 January 2008

The first day of the new year was absolutely gorgeous at this beach, 67 degrees and sunny with light offshores, while just a few miles up and down the road the wind was stiff and the air 10 degrees cooler. Surf was inconsistent and just under head high with light crowds. Who could ask for anything more?
I've finally recognized that my poor duck-diving skills are holding me back not only on getting out, but more critically, on wave-catching. With the shortboard, I need to sit farther inside and catch waves later, but the truth is, I'm scared to be in the right place. Without the ability to duck dive the outside sets that break before they reach me, I'll get rolled and tumbled towards the beach sometimes, and I've been avoiding that by sitting farther out or way on the shoulder. So I'm safer, but I don't catch anything either. Getting a duck-diving lesson, and practicing until I'm confident, are now my top priorities.