18 March 2008

The Slot, 18 March 2008

Today I had one of those disappointing sessions that leaves me feeling discouraged instead of stoked. Indicators wasn't breaking, so I headed farther west to the Slot. (Turns out I've been surfing Steamer Lane and didn't even know it. I'm such a hotshot.) The tide was very low so there was a lot of paddling through kelp, which is a lot like jogging in dry sand, but it's good exercise. A lot of surfers were jammed into a small area, so I stayed near the fringe as usual. I'd seen the crowd from the cliff, so I'd decided to bring out the waterproof wrist camera, a first-gen Go Pro Digital Hero (stupid name).

Which leads me to why I almost never use the surfcam anymore:
  1. It's distracting. I need to concentrate on surfing, since my time to surf is limited, and I don't want to miss a wave because I'm snapping a picture.
  2. It takes lousy pictures. See the ones on this post (easy to tell which they are).
  3. It's distracting. Several times after taking a photo I'll look seaward to find an outside set on imminent approach, then have to quickly paddle and duck-dive with the darn camera unsecured and flapping around on my wrist.
  4. It has a long lag time. Press the shutter and waaaiiiitt. Oops, missed the action shot. Or oops, moved it to soon and got a nice shot of the sky.
  5. It's distracting. While I'm paddling, it sometimes whacks my board.
  6. It eats batteries.

Did I mention it's distracting? I wasn't ready for my first wave because it came up on me as I finished snapping a photo. I turned quickly and caught it, but blew it. Then it was a long wait for another empty wave to come my way, and as I started to pop up, I saw a guy getting it on my right, so I bailed. Then I realized, wait a minute, that was my wave! He was dropping in on me! Dammit, I'm just too polite, not agressive enough.

And that was it, no more opportunities on such a crowded day. On the whole, just a discouraging afternoon. Usually I manage to keep it positive and enjoy the time on the water whatever it brings, but when it’s been so long since I’ve had a good ride, I get a bit down. It’s not that I don’t see I’m making progress in my surfing, it’s that it’s so very slow and incremental, by millimeters not miles. For instance, I noticed recently that now when I’m sitting on the Xanadu, its nose is no longer sticking way in the air; my balance is more stable and easy so I’m keeping the board flatter to the water and don’t look like such a kook. And I am catching more waves, although I often act like I don’t know what to do with them when I do. I just wish I could progress faster to a point where I’m more consistently surfing every time I go out, where I have the confidence to stay on my wave when someone drops in. At least in a month I’ll be in Hawaii, where hopefully the Xanadu and I can get some quality water time and give my skills a push forward.

1 comment:

  1. Miguel ElliotMarch 21, 2008

    When you go to Hawaii... leave your wrist cam in the hotel for your first few sessions. You wouldn't want to be distracted there until your about ready to go home. By then you'd have caught a few memorable waves and you can take all the photos you like after seeing the sights and you've gotten your stokes from the water.

    Aloha,

    Miguel
    El Segundo, CA

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