17 June 2005

Resting Up for the Swell

My goal is to stay out of the water until Monday. Okay, I actually want to be in the water on Sunday when the swell hits, but that's Father's Day so I'm not going to mention surfing. After doing nothing but eat and run errands yesterday, I'm feeling rested. My shoulder doesn't hurt when I surf and barely hurts when I'm out of the water. I know that can change. That's why I'm giving it time to rest. One friend asked yesterday if I was going to take today off. She laughed when I said, "Yeah. I'm just going to ride my bike." I guess "take the day off" for her meant "keep your ass at home and not workout". I'm not going to ride hard. I'll just ride for an hour in an easy gear. Those kinds of rides are so easy they're boring. But they still get the blood flowing and the heart pumping.

I've been reflecting on my surfing birthdays. They allow me to see how far I've come since I started surfing. My first birthday surf was for my 40th birthday. I was at my home break on a 7'10" Becker Supermodel. I think I caught one wave. On my second surfing birthday, I was on a 6'6" Walden Compact Disc but my main board was a 9'0" McTavish Fireball. I caught two waves on the Walden but spent most of the session switching boards with other people. It was the first time I'd surfed a Tyler. I caught a few waves that day. However, I had no concept of trim. I was still heading straight to the beach once I was up and surfing. I don't think I was able to go frontside either. For some reason, I started out only going backside. It was all I knew how to do and since I haven't had much help learning how to surf, I've had to school myself on many things. I finally made myself go frontside when I realized I wanted to start doing bottom turns while facing the wave. At last year's birthday surf, I still had no understanding of the tides. I had a tide book, but I didn't know what to do with it. Now, here we are a year later. I surfed at a break other than my home break; I've now become someone who will drive to other breaks to surf. I check the tide book at least once a day (even when I'm not getting in the water). I am able to achieve trim more often than not. I actually look at the wave instead of my feet once I'm up on the board. (That's a relatively new development.) I'm now the owner of four boards, three of which are magical (i.e., I'll be keeping them). The fourth will be in the water soon enough. Last year, I was still following the lead of a guy in our crew who argues that you have one main board and you stick to it. I assumed he was right. I've come to realize that this doesn't work for me. I need to ride different boards. I thought the Tyler would be my primary board. I've since realized I don't always want to be on a log. That's when I ride the Slick. I'm still learning the Channel Islands, which will be my board for bigger waves, and the Con funboard is for those days when I want to ride something different. I see now that I've come a long way. (I just remembered that when I started surfing, I was still breastfeeding and could barely lie down on the board. My child was about five months old. Now, I'm back to my normal size and my kid, who tells us he's either Mr. Incredible, Spiderman, or The Thing, is now working his way out of diapers.) Now I'm anxious to see what the next birthday surf brings. I have every intention of going into that birthday with the ability to wrap at least five toes around the nose of the board. I also plan to be comfortable on the 7'0" by that time. Who knows? A year from now I may be of the opinion that Malibu is my favorite spot (although I find that highly unlikely). I like being able to use my birthdays as a way to gauge my improvements and I'm glad I've stuck to my birthday surf tradition.


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