01 September 2008

Linda Mar, 1 September 2008

I know, Linda Mar again. But Santa Cruz has been small. Plus a little group from the NorCal Surfing Yahoo group was getting together there for Workers' Surf Day, with both petit bourgeoisie and lumpenproletariat welcome. It was a mix of a few longboarders and some shortboarders, so I spent a little time with both, at the south end and closer to the middle of the beach.

It was a glorious summer day, warm and sunny - I went hoodless, woo hoo! - and correspondingly crowded. I headed out just south of the creek with longboarder C, but didn't follow her all the way to Boat Docks where we planned to meet up with J; it was looking too small and moundy for the fish that far south. But I stopped in a good spot, a bit of a break in the crowd, and caught a few waves. I got one nice ride and worked it till it ran of out juice, too soon. When M3 paddled by on his yellow board with S3 and another shortboarder, I followed them south to the rest of the group.

Those of us on shorter boards weren't getting anything, so I joined the guys in paddling north of Taco Bell. Good exercise, all that paddling. It was bigger there, shoulder to head high, and not closing out quite as much as last time, but many of the waves were still looking promising at first but then fading into mushy mounds. Finally I caught one, with Max shouting "paddle, paddle!" and popping up right beside me. It was nice to catch a wave with a friend. He got the ride but unfortunately I didn't make the drop as the wave broke. That darn leg-straightening problem surfaced in another context and made me fall instead of riding it down. I'm thinking maybe I can apply some of what I learned in my Endless Slope snowboarding lesson about getting off a lift. In some sense, it's a similar maneauver. Now I just have to go test that theory.

A little while later a bigger set rolled through and I was caught inside, trying to duckdive it. I saw M3 and his friend get a couple nice rides - they're pretty good. And they're also better at duckdiving, paddling past me and out, while I kept getting more tired and sloppy with each wave, till I'd been pushed way inside. I was also feeling a bit queasy, I guess from the duckdiving as well as (I saw later) one of my seasickness wristbands had shifted far off the accupressure point. I didn't have much time left, since I had to get my cat to the vet, so I got out and walked back to my original spot to have an easier re-entry. I reached the lineup in time for a lull, which lasted (of course) until I was halfway into the so-called "paddle of shame."
I was talking about the "paddle of shame" with T on Wednesday, and I really don't think there should be any such thing. I mean, I stay out until the very last minute, sometimes even a few minutes beyond, and if that means I have to paddle in, there's no shame in that. If I have to be back at the car at a certain time to get to work, etc, and I get an absolutely fantastic ride 10 minutes before it's time to leave, I'm not going to quit then - I'm heading back out for more. And if then there's a lull and I have to make my way to shore on arm-power, what's so wrong with that? I'd like to know who surfs perfectly on such perfect uncrowded waves that they can always ride a good one in right on time. Maybe to them it's a paddle of shame, but not to me.

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