18 June 2009

Roosevelt, 18 June 2009

The west winds are back, sadly here to stay for the foreseeable future. And the south swell that brought those nice lefts has departed, replaced by short-period windswell garnished with chop. Sigh.

As long-time surfer J had room in his schedule to give me some duck-diving pointers, we planned to meet up in HMB after work, with L joining us. But J was not having a good evening, arriving late and sans board and wetsuit, after discovering his wife took the key to his gear locker on an out-of-state trip. L pulled an extra wetsuit from his cavernous truck and offered to share his shortboard, so we were still on, sort of.

J gave me some duck-diving advice on the beach, including the observation that most people start too early, so I should wait a beat longer before pushing the nose down. He also said sinking the back of the board is best done with the knee rather than the foot as I've been doing.

There's some disagreement on the knee vs. foot question, and I think it may just come down to what feels comfortable and works for each individual surfer. A friend pointed me to this article, where Coco Ho, a woman about my size, says "using your foot instead of your knee will allow you to push the tail deeper," something I've found true as well. Using my knee never felt right and the times I've executed perfect duck-dives were with my foot sinking the tail. Yet I plunged past the shorepound to give the knee another chance. That change threw me off and wasn't working for me, so I went back to my old style and just tried to better-time the entries.

When I joined L in our lineup of two, I had no success catching any of the fickle waves. Poor J's evening kept getting worse once he borrowed L's shortboard and started to paddle out. Indecisive in the face of a breaking wave (over or under?), he got sucked up over the falls; the board's tail hit him hard in the ribs and he lost his wedding ring. Sidelined back onto the beach, he lamented that "Those who can - do. Those who can't - teach."

Not that bad, J, and I appreciate the tips, although I think I'll stick with Coco and keep using my foot. On the plus side, I didn't smack my mouth or chin on my board as I'm wont to do on bad duck-dives. No breakthroughs, but I'll keep working on it.

It was a bit disconcerting to see Harvey the Headless Sea Lion on the beach.


  1. Depends how much volume/float your board has. Floaty, I use the knee, not so floaty the foot works.

  2. Nice to find your blog.
    Get in touch. I have some photos I want to give to
    one certain surfer only.
    I have a question to ask you about a surf rescue 6/18/09
    at Pomponio.


    I'll give you my surfblog info too if you want.
    I'm a Santa Cruz oldtimer surfer.

  3. Oh my...Tears of relief.
    You all think it's dumb maybe
    I am so glad they found that guy.
    Surfing for 50 years, I worry about surfers in trouble. Someday
    when you're old and have seen and talked to hundreds of
    sandy, shivering, stoked, waterpeople, wet and tired,
    you'll understand how
    heart breaking it is to think one of us is in trouble in
    the water.
    God or Kahuna or Mother Ocean.....
    Thank you for giving him back.

  4. Here's a cool site.
    Coast Guard News regarding ocean rescues on
    the lonely coast.....and elsewhere