11 August 2011

Coaching: Intensity and Rhythm (Drainpipes/Hook/Sharks)

From some of the things my surf coach is telling me, I'm starting to get the idea that I've been a fairly lazy surfer. Mostly I sit in one spot and let the waves come to me, turning when they're almost there and paddling with some but not a lot of effort, often conservatively onto the shoulder. That has to change. I need to dial up the intensity, and get into rhythm with the waves, both in paddling and in riding. Especially at shifty beach breaks and in crowds, I should move myself to wherever the peak is going to crest, not hope that King Neptune will just send it to me. And once I'm there, I must work for it, digging deep and fast as the wave reaches me. It's going to take some time, and more dedicated wave-study, to know where I need to place myself without an experienced coach's direction, but I'm committed to working it out.
The Hook, post-session
Barry and I started off at Drainpipes right after a nice set came through. Alas, the wait time between sets was overly long. I caught a couple waves before we decided to try the Hook instead, hanging out at our usual spot for a few more waves before paddling farther east to Sharks. The waves were up to shoulder high and sectiony. A sea otter floated on her back in the kelp bed, and a seagull perched atop the floating body of a seal mercifully out of smelling range.

Seeing that I was missing waves and noting that my board was still not planing flat enough as I paddled, Barry suggested I move forward a bit more and concentrate harder on upper body positioning for adjustments. On Sunday I was sticking the nose in that configuration, but it worked out better today, in similarly moundy waves that jacked up as they broke. When the sets morphed briefly from inconsistent to steady, Barry had me paddling all over the place such that I was getting a bit tired. First he was directing me to move into position to catch a wave at its peak, then motioning me to hurry up and get back out to the lineup to ride another; rinse and repeat. No laziness allowed.
Sharks, after the throng descended
Barry encouraged me to turn onto the face as soon as I got to my feet. On the first attempt I dug a rail, but on the next I made a smooth backside turn halfway down and zipped along for a short distance until a section closed out ahead. For sure I'm getting more waves and becoming a better surfer under Barry's tutelage.

We had our own peak throughout until the last few minutes of the session when seven surfers surrounded us at once, totally changing the vibe, with one guy dropping in on me. Time for the last wave, which I rode in memory of Beth.

Beth Kilpatrick, this wave's for you
I surfed this morning with a heavy heart. Beth, my buddy Luke's wife, died yesterday from a brain aneurysm. She was a beginner who surfed with us infrequently so I didn't know her well, but I'll never forget this day at the Jetty when she caught her "best wave ever!" and spread her stoke and wide smile throughout the lineup. My 8'3" Magic is a clone of her Petty surfboard, and I'll think of her when I ride it. The Saturday after next, we'll paddle out at the Jetty with Luke to say goodbye. All who were touched by her are welcome.

Surfline: Inconsistent waves/peaks getting up to the chest-shoulder high zone. Workable lines to pick off with clean surface conditions. Surf is very modest and weak overall with a blend of NW windswell, WNW groundswell and SSW groundswell. Most breaks are in the knee-waist-chest zone while standouts are up to shoulder high on sets. Winds are onshore out of the SW-West in the morning around 5-8kts+ with clouds and some patchy fog possible. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.3 ft at 7.7 s NW 64 / WIND WAVE: 3.3 ft at 5.9 s NW / WVHT: 5.6 ft / APD: 5.7 s / MWD: 320° (Met) WSPD: 12 kts / GST: 16 kts / WVHT: 5.6 ft / DPD: 8.0 s / WDIR: 310° / ATMP: 54.0° F / WTMP: 56.5° F. Tide: 1' rising to 2'.