25 May 2008

Fish Quest, Part 2

Today's flat surf expedition was to cool and cloudy Santa Cruz to continue the search for a fish. Having decided I want to go a bit shorter than my 5'8" shortboard, the shopping became much quicker: walk into the store and look for something about my height, usually a small subset (if any) of the available boards.

After some web window-shopping, I'd also gotten pretty much set on another Xanadu, the Rocket Fish, which I found at the first stop, the Santa Cruz Surf Outlet on the Westside. They had the burgundy/yellow/white board in 5'6" with a sad scratch on the deck. Comparing it to a cheaper epoxy fish a few inches longer, I was surprised at how much lighter the Surftech is. But I was sure the Rocket came in 5'4" and I wanted to lose those two inches. The helpful salesguy called his Surftech rep to inquire, but apparently some people actually don't work on Sundays during a holiday weekend, so I left to try a couple more surf shops.

Near the wharf, I checked out Shoreline, which has a website not only promising lots and lots of boards in stock, but that they'd drive over to nearby Surftech to pick up any they didn't have on hand. Unfortunately the meatspace didn't live up to the virtual hype. In a customer-unfriendly way, all of the boards were out of reach, on the ceiling or behind the counter, and I didn't see any fish, much less a short one. On the way back to the car, I popped into Cowells, but its focus seems to be on the beginner market with lots of Softtops and no fish in evidence.

With the ultimate destination of the O'Neill Memorial Day parking lot sale, I headed to the Eastside. Freeline had some fish, but they were all too long. Billabong had some that were cheap, heavy and too long as well. Paradise, with a very small board selection, had no fish at all. And O'Neill had none in my size. I also struck out on finding a couple of discounted replacement rashguards at O'Neill, since they had no women's thermals and the only long-sleeved ones were pukish gray or green. My old ratty ones will just have to last a little longer. But I did score a new leash for $12, in colors to match the new 5'4" Xanadu fish I was now set on getting.

Alas, memory served me ill; the Rocket fish doesn't come smaller than 5'6," as I found when I checked the Surftech website when I got home. And out of ten surf shops, only one had even a 5'6," so finding something even shorter for sale locally was looking impossible. Ah, but then there's the web. After a bit of Googling I landed back at the SoCal-based 9:Fish website, which checked out favorably before but I'd shelved while looking closer to home. And then I saw the 5'4" Clownfish:It's just adorable. Of course it's performance that really matters, but my board has to look cool too. And there are a lot of good reviews for the board and the company, which makes only fish, so hopefully they know what they're doing. Plus, even with shipping, it's cheaper than the Surftech. So I ordered it. I'm a little nervous, though, as it disappeared from the product list immediately afterwards. It is a limited edition. Maybe I bought the very last one...?

Update: Actually, someone else got the last one. I have to wait a couple weeks for the new & improved model to arrive. Patience is not one of my strong points...!

19 May 2008

Goldilocks on Dawn Patrol

This one was too small.

Maybe on a SUP or a longboard, or the fish I didn't get last weekend, but no way Linda Mar would work for me on the Xanadu. There was no one out and the waves were around 2', far short of Surfline's reported 3-5' occasional 6'. (Though to be fair, the reporter did say it was hard to see through the fog which had dissipated by the time I arrived. Or maybe he was "reporting" without actually looking, as I suspect they often do.)

This one was too lonely.

If anyone had been out at Montara, or if I had a surf buddy along, it would've been worth a paddle out as there were definitely some makeable waves more in line with Surfline's "report". But I just can't do Montara alone. I tried once and freaked myself out thinking of sharks. I don't know what it is about the place that's so spooky. Maybe it's because of the shark attack and a sighting or two or three or four?

Sadly, unlike Goldilocks, I never did find the one that was just right. But I did get to see the monster of Montara, perhaps a cousin to the dinosaur of Davenport.

The monster of Montara.

17 May 2008

Fish Quest, Part I

I've decided to add a fish to my current 3-board quiver (5'8" Xanadu Rocky, 7'2" Becker Supermodel, 8'0" Cobalt Fusion). Summer's almost here and with it smaller waves, but after committing myself to the shortboard I hate to go back to lugging around the longboard - especially since it's too big to bring through the secure doors of my work building when I'm surfing on weekdays. But mainly I really need to increase my wave count; I'm so stoke depleted I almost can't remember what it feels like.

Plus Al Merrick says I should have 4 boards.

So today I visited 3 surf shops in the City, with patient S in tow (a margarita at lunch helped with his patience). Being unsure just what fish to get, I told the friendly salesguy at Wise my surfing background. Oh, and that I want an epoxy board. That kinda stopped him, since he said they don't carry many anymore, as they're falling out of favor. Perhaps I'm just not enough of a board snob, but I prefer them over fiberglass. At any rate, he grabbed a catalog and suggested I look elsewhere for an M10 Hogfish or a Randy French Soulfish, maybe around 6'0".

I dunno, getting a longer board seems like going backwards, especially as the web advice I've seen says a fish should be shorter than your shortboard, even 8" shorter (5'0"), or about your height (5'3"). M says that only applies to people who rip, which I obviously don't. And N said if I go that short I might as well just get a boogie board! No matter, no one seems to sell fish that short, but I think I'd like to go maybe at least a couple inches shorter than the Xanadu.

Mollusk didn't have anything that looked promising, a lot of boards with glassed-on fins, no thanks. And the salesguys didn't even bother to come out from behind the counter much less talk to me or the other (potential) customer, so that was a quick stop. Aqua was having a swap meet and there was a used Xanadu Rocket Fish that might have worked, but it was all white, too boring. I didn't see what I'm vaguely looking for inside the store, but the nice salesguy gave me a bar of Sticky Bumps free (maybe because he thought I was cute or maybe because he was busy entertaining a toddler, I don't know).

The search continues next weekend in Santa Cruz.

09 May 2008

No surf for you!

It's been sooo long, tooo long, since I've surfed. We're in a pattern of high NW winds creating junky surf in San Mateo County, with near flatness in sheltered Santa Cruz, and it's going to continue into next week. [cry]

What the Fcuk is Wrong with These People?!

Somebody's murdering sea lions. For "fun."

04 May 2008

Tide Watches, Part I

After seeing this ad, it's unlikely I'll ever buy a Freestyle watch. "Simplest tide watch in the universe... built with the female in mind." What, women are too stupid to read other tide watches? Puh-leez!

Update: Didn't someone say it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind? Check out Part II.

Family Comes First

I woke up just before dawn today, early for a weekend, because I was excited to head to Santa Cruz for an early morning session ahead of most of the throng and the midday high tide. But it was not to be. Chrissie, the youngest of our three cats, was spending an inordinate amount of time in the litter box, a clear sign she has a bladder infection. Having suffered that affliction myself, I knew making her wait for medical attention until we got back from the beach would be cruel. So instead we headed to a long wait at the vet's office. Sometimes family just has to come first.

This is going to be a crazy-busy week at work, and at the moment I can't see a way to fit in a workday session. But I'm stressed and badly in need of the re-balancing surfing provides, so I'll try to figure out a way to do it, somehow.