03 July 2008

38th Ave/The Hook, 3 July 2008

For some reason, my company decided 4th of July eve should be a holiday, but I won't complain about getting off on an ordinary weekday. I figured it would be a great day to surf, after the Santa Cruz breaks emptied out of the poor saps who had to go to work. Silly me. On a warm sunny summer day, even a nondescript Thursday, there was a crowd on the Eastside. Still, there looked to be opportunities at both the Hook and 38th, so I suited up. This time conditions were better for a fish, waist to shoulder high.

I went out around 38th first, sitting on the shoulder but inside. Later I paddled east to the Hook. A thick brown column of smoke was rising from a ridge at the south end of Monterey Bay and I noticed a lot of small black bits in the water, which someone said were ashes from the wildfires. The water has warmed up to the high 50s and I was hot in my Hotline 4/3, so next time I'll wear the leaky new O'Neill 4/3 instead.

I'm learning that on the fish, my body position while paddling is very important, especially what I'm doing with my lower legs. When I paddle for a wave, I'm in the habit of bending my knees up to shift my c.g. forward and push the nose down slightly to get into the wave and not stall. On the fish, doing that actually raises the nose; lowering my legs to straight sinks it underwater. I'm not entirely clear on the mechanics of that, so next time I surf with a friend, I'll have to ask what's going on. Nevertheless, that makes it a bit tricky to get Nemo properly balanced to catch waves, as it is so sensitive to even a slight shift in position. The fish may be able to get longboard waves, but it's not so easy and forgiving as a longboard. I'm starting to get the feel of it though, and did catch several waves, although I had to back off most of them for traffic and fell soon on the others. On the best one, I popped up and immediately did a cool top turn - it felt great! - but I was not at all in control and couldn't stay on it. Still, it was a teaser of the fun to come when I really get the hang of the board. And it's funny how 1 second out of an hour and half can make it worthwhile.

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