11 September 2011

An Infestation of SUPs (Linda Mar)

If a bunch of fish is a school, and a group of dolphins is a pod, what's a collection of SUPs? There were more janitors at Linda Mar than I've ever seen in one place outside of Hawaii. As I paddled for a wave I was in position for, a pair of them swooped in on either side of me from farther out, and I had to back off, a Mini Cooper about to be crushed between two trucks.
Manabu and I had waited for the tide to come up from closed-out low, but the trade-off was that there were already a lot of boarders out when we arrived at 8 am. North of the pumphouse was less populated and I spied a nice left rolling through sometimes, so we paddled out there. My helmet stayed in the car. Last Tuesday was the second time this year I've gotten whiplash on a wipeout, and I'm convinced the helmet made it worse. So I'm going to reserve it for only the riskiest times and go back to wearing a hood.
Linda Mar was doing its usual closeouty thing with a few corners in the mix. The waves were shoulder high, give and take. As part of my ongoing coaching homework (and not a bad assignment), the other day I was watching a video of a pro-surfer girl, I don't remember who. Barry to told me to pay attention to the pros' hands, and I noticed that she wasn't exactly pointing in the direction she wanted to turn, but her hand was aimed that way and her arm/shoulder/upper body followed the motion. So this morning I tried to mimic that, to some success.

Manabu commented that I was getting a lot of waves, meaning, I suppose, more than he's used to seeing me take, and more than when we last surfed together over a month ago. I've no doubt that's due to the improvements I've made since I started working with a coach. My best wave was a left that I worked through two reforms all the way to the beach, staying mostly just in front of the peak, right where I wanted to be. It's so smooth and quiet on the face. Woot!
Sweeping the sea
I'm coming to realize that I need to make some mindset changes for surfing Santa Cruz with my coach, because the waves are different from those I typically surf. In San Mateo County, rides are generally short, and shoulders are fleeting or nonexistent. I've gotten used to taking the drop all the way to the bottom and then turning onto whatever brief shoulder might exist, or just bracing for whitewater impact to ride it out. When the drop is all there is, why not enjoy the thrill of dropping the full height of it? And often I've been too hungry to let any maybe makeable wave go by, even when I know there won't be much of a ride. But Santa Cruz has better waves, with long shoulders, and I need to switch my thinking to take advantage of them while being more selective. A sunset session later this week will be a good opportunity to try that out.

Surfline: NW-WNW (295-310+) swell drops as background southerly swell continues. Waist-shoulder high surf is common at decent exposures and combo breaks, while standout spots still hit head high on occasion. Southerly flow early leaves all but the S wind protected areas semi-bumpy this morning. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 5.6 ft at 10.0 s NW 73 / WIND WAVE: 1.6 ft at 5.6 s WNW / WVHT: 5.9 ft / APD: 8.0 s / MWD: 324 (Met) WSPD: 10 kts / GST: 12 kts / WVHT: 5.2 ft / DPD: 9.0 s / WDIR: 140° / ATMP: 57.9° F / WTMP: 56.1° F. Tide: less than 3' rising to 4'.


  1. It's the same thing in snowboarding. Your lower body will follow your arm/shoulders/head and as soon as your head stops moving your rotations come to a halt. Try jumping 180s and 360s on the ground to get the feeling down.

  2. Thanks! I'll try that when I get home. (Think I'd get some funny looks if I did it at work :)