31 May 2005

Oh, I Get It!

When the surf is mediocre, there isn't much to say, is there? No wonder I've been casting loving glances at my bike again. No wonder the other bloggers and I don't have much to say these days. There isn't much to talk about. There are waves. The waves are small. The end.

I went out this morning. I had fun. There were no waves of note (although someone told me the last wave he saw me on was nice). I did get a chance to surf alone even though I was at my home break. For some reason, the folks in our crew tend to congregate between two lifeguard towers, even when the rest of the beach is empty. Sometimes I get tired of that. Sometimes I want to surf without feeling like people are watching me or expecting something from me. Sometimes I want to sit on my board, enjoy the ocean, and be quiet. For me, surfing is not only about catching every wave that comes my way. Today, I caught a handful of waves when I first got in, then I just wanted to sit on the board and think. I don't know about the rest of you, but the only place where I do have some peace and relative quiet is on my surfboard. When I'm preoccupied or stressed—as I am now with the semester coming to a close and papers piling up on the dining room table—I need to be left alone with my thoughts, however chaotic or frenzied they may be. Today's session helped me to calm down a little.

Name Change?

I'm thinking I might as well change the name of the blog to "The Surf, the Bike, and the Fury". I surfed yesterday. There wasn't much going on out there except closeouts and big teasers that made you paddle like a demon, only to end sitting inside with nothing to show for yourself except perhaps a closeout on top of your head. In other words, the surf wasn't good. I had fun though. Now that the surf is less than favorable, the bike has gotten my attention again. You know what that means: I'm giving serious thought to buying a new bike. No, I don't have the problem with restraint that I do with surfboards. I've been wanting a new bike for awhile, but couldn't justify such a purchase if I wasn't riding much. But now that it looks like I'll be riding on a regular basis, I want a new bike! Thankfully, I am not (and cannot be) impulsive about bikes. I get on the internet or go to bike shops to look for frames that are left over from previous years. Thus, a frame that was formerly $800 might cost me between $500 and $600. I've already found a good deal on the components. I can get a 9 speed gruppo with a wheelset for $900. (See, now the industry is up to 10 speeds so people have shunned the 9 speed thing. I couldn't care less about having one extra gear and am quite happy to be figuratively left behind by those who must have the latest technology). As if all of this weren't bad enough, my husband wants a new bike too. Our friend Tony almost bought a new bike when we all went to a bike shop after going out to lunch the other day. Believe it or not, I'm the one who suggested he not buy it since it wasn't quite right for him. Now why can't I be that way with surfboards?

Yesterday, a friend asked me to meet her at a surf shop. She'd seen a board there that she liked and wanted my input. I won't mention the name of the shop. It's one of the smaller ones. Let's just say that this place left a lot to be desired. The guy told her one price two days ago. Then he mentioned a different price, for the same board, when we were there the following day. I suggested we go to a different shop. The next shop had a better selection and people who could tell you about the boards. My friend wants to have the option to surf something shorter than her longboard. She ended up looking at a board that was similar to my 7'0" single fin. Can you believe that after seeing the boards she had the nerve to ask me what she should do? Don't ask me! I have no restraint! I can tell someone not to buy a bike, but I don't think I have it in me to say, "Don't buy that board." I liked that board. I would have bought it had it been the right length when I was looking for my shorter board. Somehow, though, I managed to remain noncommittal. She didn't buy it. I think she's going to order one since she didn't like the length or the color schemes of the boards they had. That means there will be two of us out there flailing around on short single fin boards. Someone make sure to bring a camera because if the two of us are out there together on those boards, it's going to be quite a sight.

29 May 2005

Now What Do We Do?

Please tell me that wasn't rain? Isn't it late May? Aren't we done with the precipitation? Haven't we suffered enough (from the second wettest year in this city's history)? I got up this morning ready to surf. I'd stayed up last night to wax the Tyler, thinking these microscopic waves required the biggest board I had. My husband had already said we'd hit the beach this morning. He was going to skate while I played with our little one at the playground. Then we'd do the tag team thing and I'd get in the water. We had plans, dammit! But when I took the dog out this morning, I got my heart broken, broken I tell you! The ground was wet. The cars were soaked. And I, in sweatpants and a t-shirt, was freezing. After a few phone calls to people in my crew later in the morning, I admitted defeat. I was told that there was nothing to surf.

Thankfully, I have things to do at home. I'd been telling myself I'd do my online traffic school once the semester ended in June. Well, I've got all of tomorrow to grade papers so I was sitting here with nothing to do today. Within two hours of sitting down to simply go through a few of the lessons on the traffic school website, I'd finished the entire course. That's done. Good! That's a few hours that I can now give back to surfing. (I thought the traffic school would take hours and that I'd have to use one of my ten days off—between the end of this semester and the first day of summer school—to do this course.) I may even get to some of those papers today.

I've got my fingers crossed for the swell that's due on Monday and Tuesday. I know it won't be a big one, but it might bring us something, right?

28 May 2005

Too Much Cycling

For the second week in a row, I spent a Saturday morning on my bike. Why do I keep doing this? Don't anyone tell me I'm not a good wife. Yes, I am in shape and the rides don't kill me, but surfing is much less painful than this riding stuff. Rememer, I don't know how to ride slowly when I'm in a group. Today was no different. But, see, this riding stuff is helping my husband get back what he misses: his fitness, his energy, his physique. So I make the effort to get someone to watch our kid so that we can do the local group rides. This week I even called some of our former cycling buddies to come and join us. Perhaps we should have done our own ride. That would have been much less painful than RIDING UP TO THE TOP OF SEPULVEDA! What was I thinking? I'm not a climber. Still, I gutted my way up that hill, determined to be the first woman in the group who made it to the top. At some point, another woman passed me. That's when I had to dig deep and go into the racer mindset. Unless she could fly up that hill, she was not going to get away from me . . . even if it killed me. So I found my rhythm, got comfortable, watched, and waited. I thought she might run out of steam. She did. See, this is what happens when you're a former racer. You can't let that part of you go. Your ego makes you hurt yourself. Yes, I was the first woman up the hill (and probably the fourth person up the hill). But it's a hollow victory. I'm sure I'll be walking funny tomorrow. On a positive note, the riding is helping my mate. I actually expected to get a call from him while I was climbing the hill. I didn't think he would do the climb. To my surprise, he did it. I think he dug just as deeply as I did. I was, and still am, impressed. As for Sunday, I'm going surfing!

27 May 2005

Did You Get Any?

This is the question I often hear from one of the guys in our crew. For some reason, I'm always taken aback by that question. I guess my mind is in the gutter; I know he's asking about surfing but my twisted thought processes always hear it as a sexual question. Were he to ask me that question today, I would happily say, "Yes, I got some. And it was better than I thought it would be."

I had a good day. My friend and I had agreed we'd try the Venice breakwater. I've never surfed there. When I was still running in the soft sand years ago, I used to stop and watch the folks surf there. Then I'd run back to Santa Monica. It's a spot I'm anxious to surf. My only hesitation is the parking. Anyway we met up this morning and I told her I was sure Venice was going to be flat. The morning surf reports weren't very encouraging. She mentioned Sunset. I would have bet money that Sunset would be a waste of time. I'd already been thinking and mentioned El Porto. The way I see it, when there's a serious swell everywhere else, El Porto is usually on fire. I figured, conversely, that if it's flat everywhere else, El Porto will have a little something. And it did. There were waves, albeit small waves, to be had today. We both pearled on our first attempts at catching anything. This is typical for me. Once I pearl, I've got a pretty good idea of how the wave breaks. I think we were only out for an hour and a half, but we caught waves. What I find ironic is that a month ago I was complaining about the "Victory at Sea" conditions. Today, I was so happy to have something to surf that it took me awhile to notice that the waves got bumpy and choppy as the morning progressed. I did manage to put a nice ding on the tail of my board while getting it down from the car. Thankfully, one of the guys in the parking lot had duct tape. That was all I needed. I think I've gotten past the point of crying over dings. They're inevitable, especially when you're a short person who insists on surfing boards that are four feet taller than you are.

I got a lot done today. A few hours after getting home from the session, I decided I needed to attend to that ding. Once again, I got out the Solarez and went to work. What I love about this stuff is that it allows you to fix a ding in a matter of minutes. I spend more time sanding the spot down than I do applying the Solarez and letting it cure. After the Slick was patched up, I was so motivated that I dragged the Tyler outside and attended to some of the cracks it had on the rails. I wasn't sure if I'd dealt with them before. Better safe than sorry, right?

So I put Solarez on those cracks just to keep water from seeping in. As if the ding repair session wasn't enough, I then let the Tyler sit in the sun for a bit. We all know what I did next. Off came the wax! I haven't had time to re-wax it. It doesn't matter since I'm on the Slick for the time being. I'll get around to the Tyler in a couple of days. I don't even want to get in the water this weekend. Holiday weekends at the beach are not my idea of a good time. I'll be back on the bike tomorrow anyway. That means the Tyler can wait.

Just when I thought the day couldn't get any better, a mail truck pulled up (while I was stripping the wax off the Tyler). Guess what came in the mail? My new wetsuit. I know, you're wondering why I'm so excited about a new wetsuit. Well, I'll tell you. It's too warm for the 4/3 full suit. It's not warm enough for the normal spring suit. Last week, a friend told me that a local shop had just gotten a new shipment of long-sleeved spring suits in and that they were $99. That sounded pretty good to me. However, I've learned to check my wetsuit supplier before I run to the surf shop for anything. I found long-sleeved spring suits in their catalog for a little over $30. The following day, I got an email saying that if I ordered through the link in the email, I got 10% off anything I ordered. That wetsuit ended up costing me less than $30. Even though I paid extra to have it shipped quickly, I still saved over $60. This is exciting for a woman who hates to shop. (Yes, there are some of us who were born without that stereotypical shopping gene.)

I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are only two weeks left in the semester. I know my students are tired of looking at me. Little do they know that the feeling is mutual! It's been my best semester yet. I feel like I finally know what I'm doing in the classroom. With a few drinks in me, I might actually be goaded into admitting that teaching makes me happy in some perverse way that even I don't understand. I still can't help but remind myself that if I were a full-time professor, I could have the summers off and surf as much as I want rather than having to teach summer school for three hours a day, four days a week. Oh well. I'm thankful I have a job that allows me to have a life and a little bit of money.

26 May 2005

Let's Make a List!

Yeah, it's pretty damn flat out there. When I got to my break, practically the entire crew was there . . . in street clothes, talking and looking at the water. Not a good sign! None of us went in. There wasn't anything to surf out there. I went for a skate, hoping the tide change would improve the conditions by the time I got back. Nope. It was still breaking in two inches of water. So what do you do when it's flat? My list:

Ride my bike


Go home and lift weights

Go home, put a board in the sun, strip the wax off, and give it a new wax job.

Call a surf friend on the phone and complain about how flat it is.

Go home and make up a list to put in my surf blog.

Pray for surf.

25 May 2005

Yes, I Actually Follow the ASP Tour

I realize that I spend so much time talking about longboarding that I give the impression I hate shortboarding. Well, I don't hate it. It's just that I don't want to do it. I do know what's going on in the world of professional surfing. I'm well aware that AI might be dethroned this year by Kelly Slater, who just won the contest at Teahupoo. I still think AI will probably win another world title. I'm also well aware that Mark Occilupo will be retiring at the end of this season. I hate to see him go. I love to watch a decent goofy foot surfer attack a wave. And Occy is amazing. But my man is Sunny Garcia.

I think he'll be retiring soon. I won't know what to do when that happens. No, I never did see that "Boarding House" reality TV show. I couldn't care less about what Sunny does out of the water. For me, it's all out what he does on that board. He's a monster. When I use that word—"monster"—I'm giving one of the highest compliments I can give.

23 May 2005

Wax Off

We all know about my obsessive-compulsive behavior with regard to the wax on my boards. I freely admit to having a problem. The wax on my board must be perfect. Period. Why? I have no idea. I think since surfing, in my eyes, is a truly beautiful sport—and I've never used the word "beautiful" about any other sport in which I participated—I tend to see beauty everywhere. I see it in the boards. I see it in the waves. I see it in the surfers themselves. A good wax job just adds to the beauty of a surfboard. After surfing the Slick this week, I noticed that the wax job on it was dying. There were huge bare spots on the deck. Yep. Time to switch to a harder wax. But the shops tend to have the softer waxes, even in the warmer months. I want to be able to wax the board and not worry about it for awhile (thus enabling me to slightly control my obsessive-compulsive tendencies). I'm almost embarrassed to say I spend quite a lot of time researching wax. This weekend I was back on the Sex Wax site trying to figure out which wax to use. I don't like that sticky stuff. Hard wax is what I was after. I ended up ordering wax from the site. Luckily, I could re-wax the board without having to wait for my package because I found some hard Sex Wax that some shop probably gave me when I bought a board. (Why do so many shops give you leftover wax that you either don't want or won't use?) I had enough hard wax to re-wax the Slick. Dumbest thing I did this weekend: I waxed my surfboard in the living room with both the child and the dog in the room. One kept launching himself back and forth over the board (child) while the other walked back and forth on the board (dog). That's one board down. I still have to attend to the Tyler and then wax the Con (if I ever get around to picking it up). The Channel Islands hasn't been surfed yet. So even though it's got cool water wax on it, I'll leave it alone. I'm not that obsessive-compulsive.

How Do You Spell "Hottie"?


My god!!! That brother was fine!!!

22 May 2005

This is Why We Live in Southern California

Why on earth was I wearing a 4/3 wetsuit today? It was so warm and beautiful that I ended up rolling down the top half. It's kind of hard to surf with a wetsuit rolled around your stomach, but it's still better than baking in the sun. It was truly a beautiful day at the beach. (No, I'm not going to complain about the crowd and the closeouts.) I'm feeling particularly energetic today after yesterday's workout. Instead of lamenting the fact that I couldn't surf or expecting my husband to know that I want to surf—and he always knows but sometimes ignores my ESP-delivered entreaties—I decided we should go back to our roots. He and I met on bikes. At the time that we met, he was a seasoned rider with lightning fast leg speed and I was a relatively new rider with a lot of natural athletic talent. Here we are 16 years later and things have definitely changed. I still ride. He does not. Since he's trying to get back into shape, I got my mom to watch the child. Then we went to ride with a group that meets in our neighborhood. I haven't ridden with a group in awhile. He hasn't ridden with a group since the Ice Age. But we both rode well and felt good . . . until we got home. He passed out almost immediately. I was down for the count for about half an hour. It wasn't the distance or the speed of the ride. It was the heat (for me at least). Still, the bike ride with the group was good for my ego. You see, I'm a legend in my own mind. Just kidding! I am something of a cycling legend in this neighborhood. It's not that I won every race or anything like that. I didn't even come close to that. However, in my time, I kicked ass. I really did.

There haven't been many black women who raced bicycles. So people know who I am. Even if they've never seen me, they know my name. Every once in awhile, I get back on the bike and do the local Saturday ride. Yesterday's ride was good because I felt like my old self on the bike. I did trackstands at the stoplights. (A trackstand means you bring the bike to a stop and never put your foot on the ground. I may have only won a few races, but I can do a trackstand and there aren't many cyclists who can do that. Don't be impressed. I had to learn it out of necessity since my boyfriend, to whom I am now married, and his friends used to do them and then leave me in the dust at stoplights as I struggled to get my foot back into the pedal.) I flew up a a hill over which others struggled. So why am I talking about that? Well, that person who rode that bike yesterday is really the person I've left behind. I like that person when she's on a bike, but I don't want to see her when I'm in the water. In other words, I don't want to be that person anymore. I like knowing that she's still there. I have it in me physically to kick ass when I have to. I simply don't want to be that type of athlete anymore. That's why I prefer to ride alone these days. If I want to ride slowly, I ride slowly. I no longer have anything to prove to myself. But when I ride with a group, I cannot sit back and enjoy the ride. That comes with the territory of having been a good, fast rider. Now I know why my cycling compatriots simply gave up the bike altogether once they stopped racing. You will always be expected to ride the way you did during your peak years. Where's the fun in that? Anyway, today was a good day. Instead of being out on the road, sweating and suffering up some long hill whose two-word name ends in "Canyon," I was in the water having a ball. This is the kind of athlete I've become—the type of athlete who smiles and enjoys her physical gifts without feeling the need to be better than everyone else in the water—and I hope to be this type of athlete until I die.

19 May 2005

Too Taboo to Discuss in Polite (Surf) Society?

Today's session was a good one. I was back at my home break, which tends to be fairly uncrowded on weekdays. I was also on the 9'0" Chris Slick board. Now I know why every surfer must have a quiver. The Tyler is a great board, but I was so tired of surfing it. I needed a change. How can you make a change to your routine (or should I say "rut") when you only have one board? Being on the Slick has brought a smile to my face. It's much lighter and much faster than the Tyler, yet it is designed to stay put when you step up to the nose. What's not to love? And it doesn't make my arm longer or put a flat spot on the top of my head each time I try to carry it to and from the water. I'll be surfing the Slick for the next few weeks.

Once again, I had a guy tell me that he pointed out a wave that was mine and that I didn't take it. Alright, let's just be truthful. Yes, I have said that I sometimes choke when the guys call out the waves to me. This was not one of those instances. There is another reason why I often let perfectly good waves roll on by. Hey, Surfsister + cold water = one thing: a lot of peeing in the wetsuit. There. I said it. No one ever talks about it, but I'm not ashamed (she says with her head held high). When Kevin called out that wave, I said in my normal speaking voice, a voice that cannot be heard over the sound of the waves, "I can't get that wave. I'm indisposed." I'm not going to yell. Nor am I going to advertise the fact that I'm doing the deed as you're talking to me. I remember that early on in my surfing life, I was asking other female surfers how one handles her business while out in the water. Men are socialized to handle their business wherever they can find a private spot. This is not the case for women. When you've spent your entire life peeing while sitting on a toilet, it's hard to learn how to do it in any other setting. Am I right or am I wrong? It took months before I could actually do it in my wetsuit. Even then, I'd have to close my eyes, block out everything around me, and concentrate. Now, I can pee at will. But, I cannot pee and paddle. So when you see me let a beautiful wave go by, don't assume I'm a wimp. I may just be busy. Thank you for your time and your patience. I probably won't bring up this subject again.

17 May 2005


Okay, I've decided that Whiffleboy is my doppelganger (and vice versa). I'm telling you—we were twins in a previous life. I didn't go to Topanga. I went to Sunset and I swear we had the same session. My nemesis was on a funboard rather than a shortboard. But, as with Whiff, the guy managed to cut me off. I was up and riding when all of a sudden I see the nose of a board coming toward my right ankle. Since I'm a goofy foot surfer, I have to ride Sunset with my back to 99% of the waves, thus I don't see people as quickly as I would were I going frontside. Anyway, I see this board coming at my ankle. This guy had dropped into my wave, not 10 feet in front of me, not 20 feet in front of me, but about one foot in front of me. I was not amused. He had very little control of his board so I had no choice but to turn and head straight for the beach. I heard him yell "Sorry" as I was going away from him. Yeah, yeah. I wasn't fighting mad or anything, but I was irritated. This guy flailed all over the place so he managed to get in my way more than once. I don't even know why I was irritated. The waves weren't even good today. They rolled through every once in awhile. I got one good long ride, one medium ride (that was probably ruined by my cross-stepping), and then the ride that would have been a long one had I not been cut off. All of the other waves were . . . just waves. I don't know. I'm feeling a bit impatient these days about my surfing. I realize that I'm past that point in the learning curve where you make improvements by leaps and bounds. I can actually surf now, but I don't seem to do be doing anything noteworthy. I feel as if I'm stuck in surfing purgatory.

Things of note from today's session:
1. My "What the F@!k?" Moment

So I'm paddling back toward Dos Baños when I come up behind another guy who's paddling back. His form is pretty frightening. He's paddling with his legs apart. His feet are dragging in the water. But that's not important. What was so frightening was that I was looking at this guy's nether regions because his wetsuit had split in the crotch area. That sight was not a pretty one. I mean, first, wasn't he cold? He couldn't have been getting any warmth down there. Second, shouldn't you realize or care that a wetsut that's falling apart in that area is going to give everyone an unwanted peep show? What was he thinking? Crustyripper came up with a way to rate one's sessions. His grading system includes points for a cute guy in trunks or a cute girl in a bikini. I want to know how many negative points there are for what I saw today. It definitely took points away from my session.

2. Now My Car is a Kook Magnet Too

Okay, "kook magnet" is term that Alan_M coined. I think he uses the term for what happens while in the water. Well, it happened to my car out of the water!!! Now, look, people! If the break is uncrowded and the parking is ample, there is no need for you to park right at the rear bumper of my surf mobile. See, if I see a station wagon, hatchback, or SUV at a break, I try not to park too close to the rear of them. One can and should assume that the people in those vehicles will put their boards in the car. Yes, I have racks. I don't use the racks when no one else in the car. My board rides inside with me . . . where it's safe!! Well, I got out of the water today to find that the car behind mine was right at my rear bumper. What is that about? Eventually, I had to move my car in order to get my board in (and not ding it on the car behind me). Think, people, think!!! Again, it wasn't crowded. So what is up with parking like that?

On a more important note, I have mentioned to my husband that "I saw a board". He was a bit taken aback that I want to get yet another one. Of course, I wasn't asking for permission; I was simply telegraphing my punch. I just don't have the patience or the ability to hide or stretch the truth about another board. In other words, I've let it be known that there will soon be a new addition to the family. After we talked about it, he said, "You probably already have it." Well . . . not really. It's been made. It's got my name on it. (No, I didn't say it was a custom board.) However, I have yet to pick it up. So, technically, I don't have the board yet, right?

15 May 2005

It's Not "Flat As a Pancake" Flat

Our break had some waves on both Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday's waves, while smaller, had much better shape. Today we were back to the closeout conditons we all know and love. And where did all of these people come from? Fair weather surfers!!! It starts to get a little warm and they all make a mad scramble to the beach with boards that haven't been wet for months. (Oh my god!!! I sound like a local who's been surfing for decades!) Once again, the Tyler put in work. The board didn't let me down. However, my shoulders are on fire. I think it's time to stop lifting weights or at least stop lifting weights for my shoulders. You would think the winter waves would be more taxing on me physically, but it's the summer waves, the tiny little summer waves you have to paddle your ass off to catch. I don't paddle this much in the winter. Usually, when the winter waves come, you paddle hard enough to keep up with the wave and then pop-up. Now, with these little waves, you have to keep paddling until the wave generates enough steam to carry you away. That's tiring!!! I know I caught more waves than just about everyone else out there so I was pleased with myself by the time I got out. But I'm sore now. If these are the waves I'll be seeing for the next few months, then it's time to change my dry land workouts.

Got a call from Con Surfboards yesterday. It's ready! No, I haven't told my husband about this board. Let the next round of board hiding begin!!!!

14 May 2005

Anger Management

I think the term "anger management" is also a definition for the word "surfing". I'm feeling just fine right now. It didn't hurt that I took the day off yesterday and had some time to deal with my "stuff". It also didn't hurt to surf for 90 minutes this morning. Were there waves? Well, if you want to call those two foot things that meandered through the lineup waves, then, yes, there were waves.

Yesterday I was considering putting the Tyler up for awhile. My funk had me second guessing everything—my boards, my break, my abilities, etc. I had decided that the Tyler was too big and too heavy, just too much board for me. I was actually hating the board (and life in general). Now, fewer than 24 hours later, I was so glad I had that board out there today. I caught more waves than I could count. Apparently, two of my waves were noteworthy since people told me about them. I don't remember. I was back to surfing without thinking. In other words, I was back to having fun. I even surfed without a leash. And I'm so good that I didn't even lose my board once. Yeah, right!!! I swam. I bodysurfed. I did the Baywatch run through the white water. All of this was in pursuit of my wayward board. I am learning how to control it, but you probably couldn't have guessed that from how often I had to chase it down. Still, I rarely surf without a leash and only do so when I'm sure I won't kill anyone. It's a treat and I'd like to believe I will eventually be able to surf without losing the board. I'm finally getting the hang of turning back into the wave when I finish a ride. I assume a kick out is not far behind that. It doesn't matter. I'll have the leash on the next time I go out. What I find interesting is on Monday, when I did Dawn Patrol, I was apparently doing the wimpy paddle thing, something I try not to do and don't do much anymore. Upon learning that I did that, I thought, "Shit!! I haven't improved at all." Of course, I was in the midst of the funk then and didn't quite know it. (Yes, there's quite a bit of drama in my non-surfing life, but nothing worth putting in one of those melodramatic Lifetime Channel movies.) I decided to surf today and not worry about the paddling thing. After catching what must have been my third or fourth wave, I paddled back out, only to be told by a newbie surfer, "That's the fastest I've ever seen anyone paddle." Go figure!! That tells me that my surfing does suffer when I'm suffering. I was fine today and I got complimented. I was pissed off on Monday and paddled like a girl—presumably a girl who doesn't know how to surf.

Thanks for the pep talks. My primary reason for keeping this blog is to develop the habit of writing every day. I am well aware that others are reading it, but I don't expect others to comment. When things bother me, I mention them in the blog in an effort to work through them and get rid of the negative energy. And yet, when I'm down, you all help me through it (with your emails and comments). So, um, well . . . thanks!!!

12 May 2005

Back to the Second Shift

Now, that's more like it! No, it wasn't a stellar session or anything like that. However, the sun was out. The water was relatively warm. And I caught quite a few waves. The good thing is that there was almost no one out. The bad thing is, once again, that I couldn't get away to surf alone. Everybody wanted to be where I was. Sometimes, I don't want to talk to anyone while I'm surfing. That's usually not the case, but when there are only a few people in the water I expect to have some time to myself. But that never happens! Ever!

I'm also in a funk. This one has nothing to do with surfing. What I find truly distressing is that surfing is not helping me work through the "stuff" I'm dealing with out of the water. The bullshit in my real life (as opposed to my surf life) is now hurting my surfing. Something's gotta give or at least I'd like to think that's the case. Today's session was fine. The waves were tiny at first. Later, they got larger and proceeded to close out. Nevertheless, I got my share of rides. But it didn't make me happy. I got in the water mad and I left the water mad. If this keeps up, I will stop surfing for awhile. I'd rather take the anger out on my bike.

09 May 2005

My Very First Honest to Goodness Dawn Patrol Session

Now that I've done it, I must say I do prefer being what one of my friends calls "the second shift". Shit! It's dark out there at dawn. And let's not even talk about how cold it is at that hour. Okay, let me back up. Since there is a SW swell in the region, I knew that Sunset would catch it. Since Sunset is a break that works best on a low tide, it was best to get there as early as possible . . . or so I thought. So, I get there. It's dark. Not just dark. It's D-A-R-K dark. I got there way too early. And there I sat—in the dark. (I think I got there around 5:20!) After what seemed like an eternity sitting in the dark, the sky began to turn gray. That's when I got out of the car to take a look. I was cursing at first. I thought it was flat. And that was the lowest tide I've ever seen there, thus the waves appeared to be breaking in a couple of feet of water. I got a little discouraged, especially since it took some work to wrangle a dawn patrol session. Eventually, a few waves rolled through and I got in. I think I was the second or third person in. I can't say that there were a lot of waves to choose from at that point. The swell just wasn't doing enough. Eventually, though, I ran into Whiffleboy. That, for me, was the only good thing about the session. Let's talk about him for a minute. Yes, Whiff, I'm starting in on you. You know, he's so self-deprecating that I actually expected to see him do something about which he could be embarrassed. But, no. Don't believe anything he says about how horrible he is. Whiffleboy is a good surfer. There's no flailing around when he paddles. No hesitating when he pops up. He looks quite comfortable on a surfboard. Now I will speak to him directly: Whiff, it's time to move to a shortboard. Now that I've seen you surf, I (the woman who loves longboarding) see you on a shorter board. I'm not sure which board you were on today. You surf like you're ready to do more. It's the equipment, now, that's holding you back. So, pretend you're me and go board shopping already! Okay, I'm done talking about Whiffleboy. Back to our regularly scheduled blog entry. The waves were mushy and boring for most of the session. Then, as the tide shifted a little, some halfway decent waves began rolling in. I was going to get out. I caught one of them and then told myself I should catch a better one that would take me closer to where my car was parked. I caught a few of those nicer waves before acknowledging I was too cold to stay in any longer. Just as I got out, it began to rain. Now that I've done dawn patrol, I'll stop being jealous of everyone who can be in the water that early. I like being on the second shift. It's usually sunny (when there is sun). It's often less crowded (at least at Sunset) than when people are out for dawn patrol. There's also less traffic on the road. I suppose second shift surfers are less rushed. Now that I've seen how the other half lives, I actually appreciate not being able to surf until about 9 a.m.

07 May 2005

And What Did You Do Today?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I surfed. My home break had some waves that were good enough. Once again, I have nothing of note to discuss in terms of memorable waves. I did come to the realization that I can make a wicked drop going frontside, but not going backside. I think that's probably normal. It's hard to make a steep drop when you can't see the wave (or drag your hand). I'll have to work on that, although I'm not sure it's all that easy on a longboard. I think it's something I'll have to learn to do on my shorter board.

I had fun today. Although my break is known primarily for the number of women who surf there, we are periodically invaded by the crew from the nearby surf shop. Those guys rip. And when they descend on our break, they take over. Well, here I was in the midst of all of this testosterone . . . on shortboards. Thankfully, some of the guys from our crew were in the water too so I didn't feel too out of place. Anyway, I get in and I'm basically surrounded by the shortboarders from this shop. I didn't know any of these guys and sometimes I get intimidated. So, I went for my first wave only to have the wave mush away, magically disappearing like a stain treated with Oxi Clean. I knew all of those guys had been watching me. So when I turned around to paddle back out, I looked toward them and said, "Damn longboard!!!" I guess you had to be there. But it made all of us laugh. From then on, we started having fun together. That's the thing I love about surfing. Most of the people you meet are out there to have fun. I caught my share of waves and so did they. Now, today was a little different than normal for me in that I used to hate it when the guys would start yelling at me to get the wave coming right at me. Too much pressure! Peformance anxiety! Today, there was more of that yelling. It was a nice wave and I was the only one positioned to take it. But instead of choking, I took it. I suppose my confidence in the water has improved. Now, if you say it's mine, I go . . . usually. Everyone send me good karma for Monday. I want to do a dawn patrol session at Sunset. I don't usually surf on Mondays (since I have to be at work at 11:30 and drop the child off at daycare at 8:30). But my husband is off this week. And since a SW swell is coming, Sunset will be the place to be. The swell will start dying off on Tuesday. So Monday it is. Send me all of the positive surf karma you can muster. I promise to pay you all back with positive karma when you need it!

06 May 2005

At Least the Sun Was Out

Now I know why the other bloggers keep using the term "Victory at Sea". I'm not even sure what it's a reference to (although I vaguely recall a program on TV that bore that title). I started out at Sunset. That was dumb. I hadn't checked the tide chart. Yes, there was a low tide at the same time on Tuesday. Well, it wasn't low today. But that was fine. I met up with someone from our break who hadn't been there before. Even though we didn't get in, I schooled her on Sunset, showing her where you get in, telling her what the waves are like, warning her of the rocks, and of course telling her to be careful because it's a break filled with new surfers (of which she happens to be one). No, I didn't get in but I'm glad she now feels confident enough to go to Sunset alone. Anyway, we agreed to go back to our break. It took some coaxing from others to get me in. I don't like the wind. It's not so much what it does to the waves. It's that and the fact that I get cold quickly when it's windy. But I eventually got in. I caught a handful of choppy waves. You know, the thing I hate most about these kinds of conditions is the paddle out. It wasn't hard or anything like that. I just get sick of all that chop hitting you square in the face. I usually paddle with my mouth open slightly. On a calm day, it's not big deal. But on a choppy "Victory at Sea" day, I end up having to constantly spit out water. I hate that. It wasn't a bad session. It just wasn't a session worth discussing.

I don't know if I'll surf this weekend. Yes, it's Mother's Day on Sunday. And, yes, I am a mom. But this year, Mother's Day and my husband's birthday fall on the same damn day! No, I'm not thrilled. I have to try to juggle his needs, the needs of the grandmothers (my mom and his mom), and the needs of my child over the next two days. I have to get these people fed and celebrated on a day when going out to dinner is not for the faint of heart. Hmmm, I can't say I'm looking forward to this. I may get a session in though. I've already helped my husband with the gifts to me. I knew he was scrambling to find something. So, I dragged him and the child to the Rip Curl store. "I want that" (a big surfing backpack with many compartments) and "I want these" (a new pair of flip flops). That's good enough for me. If we had money, I might want more. I don't know. I'm really a low-maintenance female. All I want out of life is to be happy and healthy. Material things, while necessary, are not all that important to me. Everyone have a good weekend. Try not to stress out about Mother's Day. Let your mom know that she's important to you. That's what I'm going to do. We'll sit here, eat, and get looped (on Trouillard or some other good champagne). Have a good one!

My reason for loving Mother's Day!

05 May 2005

Too Tired

Well, I thought about going to the beach. Thinking about it was the best I could do at this point. I'm tired. Every day, I can be heard to ask, "Isn't the semester over yet?" We still have about six weeks to go. Damn!!! Anyway, I couldn't muster the energy to head out to the beach. The surf reports didn't sound promising. It looks like rain is on the way and I thought it seemed a bit breezy. When I'm this tired and the conditions are that questionable, why bother? So, my child was given a leisurely push to daycare this morning. Often, if a swell is in, I'll start running while pushing him to daycare. Like so many of us, I get so excited about the swell that it's as if I can't move fast enough. I want to be at the beach already. It's an interesting sight: me, the child (with his SpongeBob backpack strapped to the handles of the stroller), and the dog running down the street. We're well-known throughout the neighborhood. As is typical in L.A., you don't see many people walking around here. That's a shame. I want my little one to know that being on foot is often preferable to being in the car. The daycare is only about a mile away. There really is no reason to drive him there. So, I don't do it anymore. I used to pack up the car with my surf stuff and then drop him off. Now I pack up the car, walk him and the dog there, practically run home with the dog, and then head to the water.

I think I'm still celebrating Tuesday's session too. I have a habit of taking a few days off after a great surf session. I take the time to enjoy the session since you never know if the next session will be one that sends you home pissed off. Tuesday was wonderful. It was the first time I felt at one with my board. I used to feel that way on my bike and had wondered if I'd ever experience that on a surfboard. Well, it finally happened. The board went wherever I asked it to go. I remember doing a lot of turning and carving. The latter is something I'd been working on rather unsuccessfully. But it all came together on Tuesday. So, I'll spend another day with Tuesday's surfer's high (yes, it's still with me) and try to catch something tomorrow if the swell actually does materialize.

03 May 2005

This is a Quickie

Morning session. Sunset. Few people out. Felt very much unlike myself. Surfing felt effortless and free. (I'm serious.) Smiled a great deal. Caught at least eight waves. Stayed in for an hour. Went home with a surfer's high. Taught. Grocery shopped. Took child to the park. Then went to dinner. Met Chuck D of Public Enemy (!!!!!!). Now I'm spent. Won't write in complete sentences. Still have to plan for tomorrow's lecture. The end.

02 May 2005

My Home Break

My husband took this picture just so I could put it on the blog. The size of the shot doesn't do it justice. But I couldn't resize it without cropping it and I didn't want to do that.