31 January 2015


It's been eleven months since I joined the San Diego Surf Ladies for a coaching session with Dan Mori of Fulcrum Surf. Since the tide was high and the waves were only 2-4 feet, I was riding Rocket, my 6'2" Ward Coffey.
Dan only commented on two of my waves, first to say that I should drive forward harder to keep going on a mushy wave. "Give it 50% more and you'll stay with it." And second that "You're doing a lot better. Really getting it. You looked good on that wave! Keep it up."

26 January 2015


Today my buddy Steve introduced me to a new Sunset Cliffs break called Rockslide. The entry and exit, over a jumbled rock pile, are sketchy even at low tide.
There were 7 guys out already just past dawn, and the sets were slightly overhead and often closing out. After watching for a little while, I caught a smaller long left, riding the face for a bit, then cutting back to the peak, out along the shoulder again, then racing to get ahead of a section, zooming all the way to the inside. Woot!
It was a long paddle out to the lineup, and soon after I got caught inside and washed in by a set. So I did the long paddle again, riding another even smaller left on the way. After a lengthy lull, I was getting chilled and tired, and I linked a couple of gutless rides to come in.
Steve about to climb the cliff
I managed to time the exit and then made it up the steep cliff path safely - until the very last step. It was a big one onto concrete beside the road, and I fell onto my knee, dropping my board. Ouch. A little ice should make it all better quickly, I hope.

23 January 2015

Zoom Zoom

I don't blog all of my surf sessions, but indeed my last post was my last session - ten days ago. My throat was scratchy the same afternoon and I'd lost my voice by the next morning, when we flew to Sacramento to pick up my new Mazda 3. I managed to stay on top of the nasty virus for the first part of our road trip, but by the time we reached San Diego I was laid low, and have only just today crawled out from under my blankets with enough energy for an easy surf in small waves.
The new surfmobile, a 2015 Mazda 3 s Touring, manual of course. Scarce in Soul Red.
My 6'2" fits easily inside
There was only one guy out a Sewers and no one at Hennemans. It looked lully and small, which well suited my low energy level. Plus I was a bit concerned that my balance might be mucked up by my still-blocked ear, which is causing a bit of dizziness, so a solo session seemed ideal.
No sooner had I reached the empty lineup at Hennemans then I glanced right and saw a longboarder just pulling up. Where the heck did he come from?! Darn. Two more dudes joined us shortly, ruining my alone time before it began. Yet I still found several waves that yielded long rides and got me smiling. The water was glassy and clearer than I've ever seen it there. During the lulls, I watched the reef below, hoping in vain for the orange flash of a garibaldi.
With my energy flagging, I waited a long time for a wave in, backing off several times for traffic, and missing a number of waves that mushed into backwash on the fast-rising king tide. Finally I found my ride and took it close to shore. Although I'd had no trouble surfing, I felt very off-balance walking up the cobblestones to the cliff path. Tomorrow is forecast to bring in sizable swell, and I hope I'll be ready.

Roomel: Changing Room in a Towel

When I pulled my Roomel ("changing ROOM in a towEL") from its packaging, my first thought was, how the heck does this work? It was a plush black rectangle with zippers on the short sides, a drawstring on a long edge, and seemingly random pink-trimmed access slits. As I turned it this way and that, my husband reached out. "Give me that!" He fumbled briefly as I consulted the pictograms on the hang tag, and we sorted out that he needed to zip it together and then tighten the drawstring to cinch the Roomel around his waist.

OK, but I'm a girl, and I need upper body coverage. First I tried cinching it higher, just under my arms - the pictogram of a woman wasn't clear on this point - but that seemed precarious and inviting a wardrobe malfunction. I moved it higher to rest on my shoulders; yes, that must be it.
Of course, we could have just read the online instructions, or watched the helpful YouTube video. But it really wasn't too hard to figure out on our own.

That's fine for the living room, but how would it perform at the beach? Today I put the Roomel to a serious test. When I surf my local break, the one that's a bit too far to bike to when the air temperature is only 50°, I usually drive both ways in my wetsuit and change out of it at home in the shower. But I've got a spankin' brand new car that I don't want to mess up, so I decided to use the Roomel to change into street clothes for the ride home. Alas, I forgot to add a swimsuit under my wetsuit, a naked oversight that I didn't notice until after I'd surfed. Could I use the Roomel to change out of my wetsuit without flashing the tony residents of La Jolla?

Yes, indeed. I started with the Roomel cinched around my neck, and wriggled out of the top of the wetsuit. After moving the Roomel down to under my arms, I put on a shirt, and then dropped the Roomel to my waist, cinching it up again. Then off with the rest of the wetsuit and on with my pants. I unzipped the Roomel and voila! I was dressed. And none of the dog-walkers at Calumet Park got to see anything more than G-rated.

The access slits in the Roomel are ingeniously offset, so no skin is exposed when reaching through them to undress. The only drawback I could see is that the towel material is not quite as absorbent as I'd prefer. Still, it's a big step up from two-towels-sewn-together designs like the Toga Beach Changing Towel. And none of my buddies will kid me about wearing a muumuu, either. This is going to be my go-to changing robe from now on.

Note: 3i Products provided the reviewed product free of charge. 

13 January 2015


"You're magic," the dude told me when I walked over to check the surf from the bluff. "It was flat until you arrived."
There was no one out, and although I feared the lulls might be as long as his comment suggested, I couldn't pass up a solo session. Especially since I just finished writing a listicle for Mpora called 7 Hacks to Escape the Crowds and Surf Alone.

The path down to the cobblestone beach was still so muddy after Sunday's rain that someone had tied ropes to the signpost up top.

The dude from the bluff paddled out after a time, followed by another guy, but they kept their distance from me and each other. Indeed the lulls were long, and I passed the time watching pelicans fly past, their wingtips skimming the surface. Boils bubbled around me over the low-tide reef. It was disconcerting when my leash was suddenly yanked by something in the murky water, even though I knew it had to be the reef.
I scored a long left and a handful of shorter rides on listless 2-4' waves. A little fun, a little stoked - and you can't beat a solo session.

09 January 2015

Waves Are Back!

The flat spell has mercifully ended. And it was a lovely morning with interesting clouds.

07 January 2015

It's Not the Arrow, It's the Indian

It's been soooo flat for soooo long - ahhh! Much to my delight, there were small waves this afternoon when the high tide pulled out.
Half of the light crowd at the pier were on Wavestorms, including a blond dude who took off toward me as I was paddled back to the lineup after one of many waves. I called out and then dove under my board, but he made the turn and didn't come too close.

Him: "Sorry I scared you. I did see you."

Me: "Well, you're on a Wavestorm...."

Him: "It's not the arrow, it's the Indian!"

Which only makes sense if you don't think about it hard.

01 January 2015

A Good Start

"You really know how to start the year out right!" said an old man walking on the beach with his wife as I passed by with Rocket under my arm. Ain't it the truth!
Post surf, via the Surfline cam