15 March 2008

Indicators, 15 March 2008

This weekend it looked like there would be only a small window of surfing opportunity, Santa Cruz on Saturday morning. After that, even the protected areas were forecast to be blown out by too much wind through early next week. Unfortunately, hitting it early was impossible because we had a long-lead-time appointment with an home alarm installer. Yes, now we have a burglar alarm on our house, like some paranoid yuppies. Not that we have a lot of valuables to protect - S, the cats, and my shortboard would be the only things I'd be sure to grab in a fire - but on the rare occasions when S travels, I don't feel especially secure here. There are so many accessible windows and sliding glass doors, even I could probably break in. And S's mom spooked him with the story of one of her friends who was tied up in a home invasion robbery. So now we're supposedly protected from all bogeymen, real or imagined.

Anyway, by the time the installer left and we could jump into the loaded and ready rental car, it was already 11 am. We reached Santa Cruz an hour later right at a slightly negative low tide, but fortunately the wind was still light. Unfortunately there was a kayak surfing contest going on at Steamer Lane. (Don't you think that's something Surfline ought to mention in it's forecast? I'm just sayin'.) The kayakers had the Lane shut down for surfing, displacing a lot of surfers east, since shelter from the wind was requisite. I set my expectations low due to the crowd factor and paddled out at Indicators, past a large sea otter who was using his tummy as a dining table.

The weather was unsettled, alternating between sun and rain, with some sleet thrown in. Waves were up to head high on the bigger sets but mushy. The crowds had me off the main peak, but I caught a couple waves. On the first I remembered to stay low, but I'm amending that to add not too low. In my overly-low stance I had my butt sticking out which threw my c.g. off and made for an overly-short ride. On the next, I didn't realize it was possible to pearl the Xanadu, but apparently that's what I did, when I started my pop-up late and found myself being projected over the front of my board, hands over my head and diving down to avoid it as the wave and surfboard came up from behind. Still, it was a fun wipeout. Maybe I'm strange but I enjoy ones like that, little danger, being spun about like a bit of flotsam by the power of the ocean. It makes me feel satisfyingly insignificant and alive.

Normally I don't see kayakers in the lineup, although every once in a while there will be one or two, usually sitting outside. Today there were several, and worse, there was a big red PWC marked "Rescue" that was being used to ferry kayakers from the beach to the contest zone. It was driving right through the lineup at Indicators, spewing fumes and noise. Now that just ain't right. Bad enough that they took over the waves, but if they can't paddle their own damn boats out there, they should stay onshore. Which brings me to another observation: many of the kayakers were big fat guys. Including one who almost ran me over. Yo, dude, I'm on a red surfboard, I know you can see me, hello?! Surf kayaking, like paddleboarding and bodyboarding, just seems kind of lame. I could be wrong about this, but unlike surfing and in particular shortboarding, I don't think you need to be particularly physically fit, agile or skilled to do it. It just seems so much easier. A lot of the kayakers looked like they couldn't pop up if their lives depended on it. In fact, according to this article, one of the typical taunts is "Stand up and surf like a man!" - although for sure surfing like a girl would be better too. But S watched the kayak surfers for a while and said it looked fun. And I agreed to try it with him in Hawaii next month. Hmm.

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