30 August 2005

A Little Somethin' Somethin'

I made a beeline to Sunset this morning, thinking—okay, hoping—I'd see remnants of the latest swell. You know, the swell I missed. I'm going up PCH, certain that when I rounded the bend, I'd see nice long lines in the water. I. Was. Wrong. I went up to the light at Gladstone's and made a U-turn. Then I parked. And there it was. Lake Sunset. There was one lone surfer out there. Out there sitting. Sitting quietly. Doing nothing. But sitting. So I got out to talk to a woman I'd seen during my last session there. She said she was going to get in anyway. After a few minutes, I decided to look elsewhere. Luckily, I thought it prudent to watch for a little while longer. That's when it happened. The set waves came through. They weren't huge. They weren't epic. But there they were. And Sunset was empty. That's enough to make a paddle out worthwhile. This was made even more remarkable by the fact that it was high tide. I finally decided to get in. I wasn't motivated enough to drive to LPB and I figured Malibu was still a zoo. So Sunset it was. At its most crowded today, I think there were seven of us in the water. There were more than enough set waves to go around. It was one of those days when you spend as much time connecting with other people in the water as you do connecting with the waves. After I moved my car down to the south so I could take my board down that eroded dirt path, I was approached by a guy who was a bit miffed about the conditions. We talked for awhile. Then I told him he might as well get in. He agreed. As it turns out, this guy was one of our local newscasters. What's funny is that I didn't recognize his face—I don't watch much news; I'm an NPR junkie—but I did recognize his voice. I spent most of the session having a deep conversation with the woman I mentioned earlier. I always tell people that surfing, for me at least, is not just about catching waves. It's also about the people in the water around you. I may have missed the swell, but today's session was great.

28 August 2005

You Know What I Hate to Hear?

"(Surf spot of your choice) is firing!!!"

Damn!!! I couldn't get out this weekend. Soul Brother #1 worked both days so Soul Brother #2 and I were on our own. As a result, I didn't even look at the surf reports for the last few days. I didn't want to know. Then the call from CYT came. My mind immediately started racing, trying to figure out ways I could get a session in today. Then I began working on a diabolical plan to get wet tomorrow . . . even though it will be the first day of the semester. I'm smart and all, but for the life of me I couldn't come up with a way to sneak a session in on either day.


26 August 2005

Ah, The Slowy, Mushy Waves of Sunset

After weeks of surfing the Slick, I missed my log. There was no way I was going out today on anything but the Tyler. Since it was supposed to be rather small, the Tyler was the perfect weapon. Today's session was a good way to ease back into surfing after a week out of the water. What I found funny was that when we got to Sunset, there were at least 20 people out in the water. And all I saw was a lot of sitting. I think neither CYT nor I were going to put up with that. When I come out on a small day with my big board, I'm going to catch something, dammit! And I did. Most of the people out there either weren't paddling for waves or they just couldn't catch them. We had no such problems. When a wave came, one of us was on it. I made a couple of trips to the nose. Those trips ended in face plants since I'm not accustomed to going backside anymore, let alone going backside and trying to get some tip time. I did manage a few long rides though. The Tyler will milk a point break wave until there's nothing left. I tried to take the waves as far as I could without running into the rocks.

I don't know when I'll be in the water again. School starts on Monday. $#@$! No, I don't want to go back. As a kid, I used to get so depressed when the "Back to School" commercials would start airing at the end of the summer. Here we are decades later and those commercials still piss me off. No, it doesn't help that I'm now the teacher. The one saving grace is that I only have to be on campus two days a week. I'll be teaching all day, but who cares. I'd rather spend the whole day on campus and get it over with as opposed to being there every day for a couple of hours. Again, fewer days on campus means more opportunities to surf.

$#@%! Hair!!!

I'm still waiting for my hair to look like this:

Instead, it still looks like this:

I hope it doesn't end up looking like that.

24 August 2005

Don't Look at Me!!

I've got no surf to talk about either. I took four days off, then decided I'd go out today. Well, there was nothing to "go out" to. It was also overcast and windy. After a lot of standing around and talking, CYT and I agreed to give up the search for surf. That was a first. Normally, we'll get in no matter what. But, she had to be somewhere and neither one of us thought too highly of the tiny little waves we saw. I ended up doing a workout on the rowing machine. Now I'm off to go buy the boxed set #1 of Pee Wee's Playhouse. I think my little one would enjoy it. More importantly, I always loved that show. But what do I know? I love to watch SpongeBob.

22 August 2005

Taking a Break

Three days and counting! It's been nice to take a break from the surf. I heard it wasn't all that good today anyway. I rode yesterday. Today, I skated. As I laced up my boots, I realized that even when I'm not surfing, I'm still thinking about surfing. The name emboidered on my skates says it all.

21 August 2005

Where Are My Priorities?

They're certainly not related to paying bills. I finally got one of my little unemployment checks yesterday. I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of that thing so that I could get some of the smaller bills—electric, gas, DirecTV, etc.—paid. I don't rush off to the bank when the checks come. Unfortunately, they aren't of much help in the grand scheme of things. Still, it's nice to know that little bit of money there. Anyway, the men and I were sitting around yesterday . . . bored. Now that Soul Brother #1 is without his girlfriend (i.e., motorcycle), the normal karma of the house has been thrown out of whack. Instead of him going out and enjoying himself (while Soul Brother #2 and I find things to do—like going to surf shops), he now sits at home on the weekends with nothing to do to occupy his time. That means the three of us sit here staring at one another. I, for one, can't stand that. So I announced that I was going to ZJ's to look at and price the 3/2 wetsuits. The men were happy to tag along and get out of the house. Now, see, if they hadn't been with me everything would have been fine. I would have looked at the wetsuit, heard the price, and then told myself why I shouldn't buy it. (I don't have self-restraint issues with anything but surfboards.) The wetsuit that was recommended to me cost much more than I wanted to spend. However, the quality was such that I knew this was the wetsuit I'd be buying (at some later date) since I recognized the 3/2 fullsuit would be my primary wetsuit. I realize a 3/2 will be the suit I wear through much of a cool summer, through all of the fall, through the beginning of winter, and then in late spring. This realization made me acknowledge that I'd be spending some serious money on this suit. I've never spent more that $70 for a wetsuit. Even my 4/3 was $69; I bought is through the mail through a place that specializes in closeout apparel. I hate that suit. It's just too bulky and that's the reason why I hate fullsuits. My previous fullsuit was even worse than this one. Anyway, I was prepared to spend money (again, at a later date!) on a 3/2. Well, I hit up ZJ's. The guy who helped me, as it turns out, was someone who'd also been at LPB all week. After a short discussion, we realized we'd seen each other there. Anyway, he showed me why this Excel suit was preferable. I tried it on. I liked it. I then gave it back to him to put on the rack. I was ready to leave even!! Then my husband asked if I was going to get it. I said I wasn't. He reminded me that it is something for which I have an immediate need. I couldn't argue with that. So I got it. There went the money for the little bills. More money will be coming in a few days and I can attend to the bills then. But, see, I was so mature about the whole thing. I just went there to look at the wetsuits so I'd know how much money I'd be spending when I finally got it. Oh well. Thanks, Soul Brother #1 for being a supportive spouse! I was not at all happy about the price. I lucked out though. Many of the guys in that shop know me. It's the shop closest to the home break and those guys see me in the water all the time. I ended up getting a discount on the suit. Again, I've learned my lesson. It may look like summer and smell like summer, but if the water is still hovering around 65 degrees, it's a fullsuit summer.

19 August 2005

I'm Throwing in the Towel!

No, not the surfing towel. But I'm finally going to admit that I've been cold this entire summer. I know I refused to wear a fullsuit. I thought I could live without it. Now I have to admit that I'm going to buy a 3/2 for summer waves. It's just too damn chilly for me out there. I thought I could gut it out or wait for my body to acclimate itself to the not-so-warm water. Well, I gave it my best shot. And now I'm admitting defeat. I've got to get a fullsuit. Today I was cold from the minute we got out of the car. The wind was up at LPB. For some reason, even a bit of a breeze chills me almost to the bone. As a result, I couldn't really concentrate on surfing today. I was too busy willing myself not to shiver. It's kind of hard to surf when all you can think about is how cold you are.

Anyway, it was a pretty good session. I finally dragged Gracefullee to LPB with me and CYT. The waves were definitely smaller than they'd been earlier in the week. They'd also lost quite a bit of their shape. The one thing I've come to realize from surfing this week is that I'm not an admirer of big waves. CYT loves them. She says they're the only waves on which she can do anything. I prefer medium waves as they're the ones on which I feel comfortable to walk the board. At LPB, I continually come face-to-face with my own fears. (I consider the movie Riding Giants a horror movie; it scared the shit out of me.) Big walls of water are unnerving to me. Still, I dropped in on a few good-sized waves today, making drops that I didn't think I would survive. Obviously, I lived to tell about them. The wave at LPB is so fast that all I can do is drop, make a bottom turn, and try to climb back up the face. Sometimes I made it. Sometimes I didn't. On most of the decent waves, I didn't even make an attempt. I'm feeling a little stale now that it's August. I don't feel focused anymore. I've spent this entire summer surfing. I've surfed so much that I need to take a break. So even though I wasn't tired today, I just couldn't get myself together mentally. I think, believe it or not, I'm a little tired of surfing. I don't see this as anything negative. I've made so many improvements over the last two months that I need some time to process it all. So, I may take a little break. (In Surfsister-speak, "a little break" means three or four days.) During my last few sessions, I've felt like I was in a state of chaos. I simply couldn't get centered. I think that means I'm all surfed out . . . for now. I still love LPB and I will continue to go there to face my fears.

As far as I'm concerned, the summer is over. Like so many kids out there, I see the "Back to School" commercials on TV and cringe. It's time for me to start hitting the books. I've yet to read my textbook. Nor have I prepared my syllabi. School starts in less than two weeks. Obviously, it's time to switch gears. But I have to admit, this summer was better than I could ever have imagined. If you're going to be unemployed and without a decent paycheck, then you might as well surf your ass off. And that's what I did.

Hair update: I can see that I have locks on both sides of my head. However, I can feel that I still have twists one the top and in the back. Something is happening. It's just not happening fast enough!

18 August 2005

I Couldn't Make It Happen Today

I drove all the way out to LPB knowing I probably wouldn't get in. Still, even with the gas prices, the place is worth the travel time. It's just beautiful there. I like it there. People are so much more laid back than at our well-known L.A. breaks. Even when my session there isn't stellar, the karma is always good and I come home in a good frame of mind. I thought I might run into Whiff today. As I was making the drive up, I realized I was going to miss him. I hadn't even realized it takes me an hour to get there. I'd never thought about how much time I spend in the car until one of my homies from the Black Surfing Association mentioned the drive time to someone yesterday. I stood in the lot and talked for about an hour today. I ran into a guy from my home break, a shortboarder who just rips. We watched the set waves come through. I talked about going in, but I was happier taking the day off. In fact, I enjoyed my talk with him. He gave me the lowdown on his surfing background and talked to me about the town I was considering moving to. We just generally got to know one another better.

But tomorrow is another day. I'm hoping to take Gracefullee to LPB tomorrow. It's a wave she would love. That I know for a fact. She likes those steep drops. I'm still getting used to them.

17 August 2005

For Shizzel, My Nizzel (Exclamation Point)

You'd think, from the looks of that title, that I had an outstanding session with much to tell about. Well, I didn't surf all that well. (CYT refrained from lecturing me about not eating enough and being tired.) Nonetheless, I am truly astounded by the wave at LPB. All I could think was "that is a big-ass, beautiful wave". And every time I thought that, I would then think, "For shizzel, my nizzel!" For those of you who don't speak the language, that's tantamount to saying, "You got that right!" Today I was a bit tired so I wasn't at the top of my game. I just wasn't feelin' it. When that happens, I either get out or simply enjoy my time out in the water. Since CYT and I were there together, I stayed in and watched these waves roll through. We got there at high tide. God only knows what the place can do at low tide. The tide was going out when we left and I swear those were the biggest, most beautiful set waves I've ever seen. Man!!! In addition to not feeling it today, I took a wave that was so good that I was ready to get out right then and there. This was a wave CYT and I took together. It's not the first time we've done that. It's just the first time we've done it without one of us running the other one over. Since we're both goofy, LPB is at the top of our list for spots to surf. I think we've run over one another at both Malibu and Sunset—going backside, of course. Today, we went frontside . . . and it was surreal! I felt like we were moving in slow motion. We both were in complete control. She would go down the wave, I would go up the wave (and vice versa). Finally, I pulled off as the wave petered out. She pulled off perhaps a second later. It was amazing!! It was incredible not so much because we both came out unscathed. It was that I could see everything that was happening with crystal clarity: my board, her board, the wave, etc. It's as if the planets aligned themselves as we rode that wave. I can still see all of it in my mind. CYT, on the other hand, said she could hear my board. I wasn't talking or anything (although I'm sure I was smiling), yet she said she could hear my fin. (Question: how can you hear a fin?) Whatever. If the planets were in fact aligned, then she probably could hear everything since her back was to me. Of course, after that, I was pretty much done. I wasn't in the mood to paddle hard for waves. I wasn't in the mood to scramble over set waves. I just wasn't in the mood. I'd seen something as close to perfection as I'd ever gotten on a wave so everything paled by comparison. I got a few waves. Frankly, that's such an awesome wave when it's firing (and I shudder to think what that wave does in the winter!!!) that I got scared. You take a steep drop on those waves. After awhile, I was too cold to stay out there any longer wearing myself out paddling for waves, missing waves, and scrambling over the set waves. I had to take one in. I think, to be truthful, that was the largest wave I've ridden to date. It seemed enormous. See, my hesitation at LPB is making that drop. It's a long one. I know all I have to do once I'm in the wave is weight my front foot and zoom down the face, but part of me keeps thinking about the drop I'll make if I screw up. That waves today were so tall, at least to me, that I felt like I was out of my league. The good thing about sessions like this, though, is that I will eventually become accustomed to waves like these (i.e., tall and steep, but mushy enough not to kill you if you don't make it). I'll be back there tomorrow. It's the only place that's working with this high tide in the morning. When we drove down PCH at about 1, Sunset was on fire. I think CYT dropped me off and went back. (I had to go to the S.M. Farmer's Market to see my dealer and get a fix . . . of pistachios.) Did you know that I spend about $60 a month on pistachios? That's another story that I won't go into!

16 August 2005

Not Quite the Swell I Was Looking For

I know the swell is coming. My home break was closed out enough to make me veto any idea I had of getting wet there. All I could think of was LPB . . . and off I went (even though gasoline prices are at a level that I consider obscene). I checked the other breaks as I headed up PCH. Sunset? Flat. Topanga? Questionable. Malibu? A zoo. Upon arrival at LPB, I wasn't sure what to think or what to do. The tide was high, yet something was coming through every so often. Unfortunately, there was also a crowd. The old me would see that and leave almost immediately. But, I realize now, there's a new me emerging. Instead of worrying about the crowd (and being the only woman AND being black), I focused on the wave. The shortboards were having trouble, meaning it might be perfect for a longboard. I hemmed and hawed for awhile before finally approaching a guy for his parking ticket. It's kind of amazing that I even did that. So, I went through my pre-surf ritual. I put in my contacts. I put on my wetsuit. And then I put on my stocking cap and bandana. (I will be so glad when my hair finally locks!) The paddle out was perfect. Waves rolled through, but they weren't bombs and my timing was such that I made it to the outside without getting my hair, face, or shoulders wet. It's so interesting to me that any I even did any of this, especially at a break where no one knows me. I tend to be intimidated in situations where I'm completely out of my element. In my mind, being black and female means you stand out like a sore thumb in the lineup. What I've come to realize is that I am in my element once I'm in the water . . . and so is everyone else. As for sticking out like a sore thumb, I notice it more than anyone else does. People stare at me, but I don't know if it's because I'm a female, because I'm a black female, because I'm a black female wearing a fetching hair cover, all of the above, or none of the above. So, over the last few weeks, I've gotten over my issues. The guys out today were nice to me. Most of us weren't speaking anyway. We just sat there waiting for waves. I think, as with anything athletic, people watch you to see if you have skills. Race doesn't come into play with that. The impression I got is that these guys were waiting to see if I could actually surf. Once I got my first wave, I was just another person in the lineup—another person to contend with for the few waves that rolled through. Well, the waves weren't great. They had very little punch. I thought I would go out there on a longboard and clean up, but it was not to be. I couldn't quite get into the waves either. I did get a few and that was fine. On one of them, I did something I've seen others do and always wondered about. I got this wave, had it all to myself, rode it for awhile, and then noticed it was going to close out in front of me. Mind you, the LPB wave is a fat wave (my description); it seems to pick up more water as it rolls through. (The wave at my homebreak, by contrast, is a lean wave.) Anyway, I saw that this thing was going to close out and the last thing I wanted was about six feet of water to crash down on my head. So I went back up to thee top of the wave and bailed out the back of it. There was nowhere else to go without taking some punishment. Now I understand why people do that.

I can see that the swell is coming. I expect it to really show its face tomorrow. And I will be nowhere near LPB (since that's not a wave you want to tangle with when it's truly firing). I got out after an hour. I was freezing (in my long-sleeved springsuit) and I had to be home by 12:30. Before I left, I approached a guy who was watching the water. I asked if he was staying. It's moments like those that make me laugh. He didn't answer immediately and wore a look of confusion. I know his mind was trying to process the fact that here was a black woman at this surf spot and maybe she surfs, maybe she doesn't, this is all so confusing. It's a look I've seen before. Anyway, I approached him because I wanted to give him my parking ticket. When he saw that, he smiled and said, "You made my day."

15 August 2005

Dear Mother Nature:

We So Cal surfers would greatly appreciate your assistance with this upcoming SW swell. What we'd really like, actually, is for you to make our local breaks look like this:

Thanks, girl. I owe you one.


14 August 2005

People, Let's Try to be Positive!

Positive that it's flat. Positive that it's no longer amusing. Positive that we can't take much more of this!

Yeah, I went out today. What of it? There's nothing to tell. It was small. The rides were short. Nothing to write home about. I was thankful about one thing: I didn't see one jellyfish. Little things mean a lot.

13 August 2005

I'm Really Tired of . . .

surf forecasts that look like this:

12 August 2005

That Shiznit Hurts!

Not only were the waves small, but the jellyfish were plentiful. After a long, pointbreak-type ride going frontside (at El Porto), I felt what I thought was a plastic bag brush up against my ankles. Nope, that was no plastic bag . . . but it was close to the size of one, and it got me on both ankles. Forget that jellyfish sting I talked about a few sessions ago. This was the real deal. I stayed in the water for awhile after it got me. Finally, I admitted defeat. I asked the lifeguard for vinegar. He had something even better: ammonia! It didn't make the pain go away; he said, though, that it works better than vinegar. Of course, CYT and our friend, Mark (from our homebreak), were still in the water so I got back in. I caught a few more waves. By then I was freaked out. I'd seen a stingray in the water and I also stepped on something slimy that made me scream like the girl I'm not. I'd had enough of the natural aquatic world. With that said, once again I got out smiling. We'd headed out today with the expectation of finding nothing. Our first stop was the Breakwater. Lake. Then we went to the Venice Pier. Lake. Finally I said we would go to El Porto since it was worth a look. It was a lake with a few ripples. At this point, that's good enough, especially when you have a longboard. Most of the rides were short. Some of them were rather long. I did manage a full-on, toes wrapped over the nose successful cheater five today on the Slick. That is the first time I've had my toes in the water while doing a cheater five. And you know me, a ride like that will make the entire session a success. I also figure that long ride that preceded the jellyfish incident was also a "wave of the day" type of ride. So I'm not complaining at all. I expected nothing from today's waves, thus the session was a nice surprise. I didn't have the camera with me. I took no pictures of the sting. This one was serious enough to produce little bumps all over my ankle and lower leg. By the time I got home a few hours later, the evidence of the sting was gone.

10 August 2005

Oh, There Are Waves Alright—

just not here in L.A. The best I could do today was paddle from the Second Point to the pier and back. Malibu was flat. I don't even know why we got in. I did enjoy myself. I got to chat with a man named Mark who's been surfing since 1956. We chatted for awhile and got to know each other. I watched people paddle furiously for bumps in the water that were, I kid you not, smaller than boat wakes. Still, the sun was out and the water was clean. I got two or three waves. On one of them, I told the kid next to me that he and I would go together (since everyone else had paddled for that little wave thing that preceded our little wave thing). So he and I went for it. And we made it. And when it was over, he turned around to see if I'd gotten it too. Then we both smiled. Now see, that's what I love about surfing! Even on a day when the waves are nonexistent, you can find something to smile about.

09 August 2005

I Took the (Knee-High) Plunge

I couldn't bear the idea of riding my bike again. It's no longer a pastime I love. After several days on the bike, I've had enough. So I took the log to the beach (with my skates in tow, just in case). This time, instead of looking for a reason not to get in, I was looking for a reason to get in the water. Our local hardcore boogie boarder bought a surfboard. And it was his birthday. That was enough of a reason for me. I wanted to see him surf and wish him a happy birthday. The session was fun. Granted, the waves were tiny and weak, but every so often you'd get a waist-high wave with a little juice. I used the session to practice some things; I walked the board on just about every other wave, trying specifically to work on walking back. I can make it to the tip without a problem. I'm still learning how to walk back without falling off. It's coming and today was the perfect day to work on that. It was also small enough and empty enough for me to safely surf leashless. All in all, it was fun. The only negative was when I fell off onto my tailbone in two feet of water. Not fun! Not fun!! Perhaps tomorrow's itsy bitsy swell will bring some consistent waist-high waves. Toward that end . . . think good thoughts!

08 August 2005

Back on the Bike

I wanted to get wet. I even went so far as to put on my swimsuit as soon as I got up this morning, thinking I'd be going on a search for surf after dropping off the little man at daycare. Once back, I checked every surf report I could find. Finally, having given up all hope of finding something worth surfing, I changed clothes and headed out on the bike. For once, I didn't go to my home break. I headed for El Porto instead. See, my theory is always that even when it's flat everywhere else, there might be a little something at El Porto. Ocean: 1, Theory: 0. Man, was it tiny today. I'm not complaining though. These flat spells are a good reason for working on other parts of one's fitness. Instead of bemoaning the conditions, I've now decided to enjoy this, and allow my shoulders and back to take a break while my legs do some work. Hey, you do what you can to keep yourself motivated to workout. I keep telling myself that the workouts I do on the bike, rowing machine, or with weights all help me to be a better surfer. So when it's flat, I try to keep a good attitude and switch to something other than surfing.

I saw one of the owners of Rocker Board Shop when I was at El Porto. She was out on a Dewey Weber Feather Fastback. That's her in the picture I've linked to. Hey, if there are any of you, especially women, who want to get more fit for surfing, Rocker offers a surf conditioning class that's becoming quite popular. I think it's taught by the other owner. It's worth looking into if you want to improve your strength.

Rumor has it that a swell is coming this way on Wednesday. It's not a big one, but it's something. Everyone make a sacrifice to the surf gods. I think I'm going to sacrifice a bar of wax. What would you sacrifice?

07 August 2005

Thanks, But I Think I'll Pass

Let's just call the surf conditions . . . oh, I don't know . . . trying. As in trying my patience, trying to find a swell, etc. I don't surf on the weekends unless my husband makes it known that he has no plans. As a result of his latest motorcycle accident—notice I said "latest" but didn't elaborate or even suggest any feelings of ill will toward said two-wheeled apparatus—neither he nor his bike are able to do much of anything. I could have surfed yesterday, but opted to ride my non-motorized two-wheeled apparatus. Of course, I had to do my usual ride out to my home break. (You'd never know I used to ride up and down the coast. All I ever do now is ride to my home break and back.) I know the conditions were less than wonderful because I got there before 10 a.m. and Gracefullee was already out of the water. That NEVER happens. Knowing what I know and having seen what I saw, I still thought there might be something out there today even though it was cloudy, cold, and windy at my house. I keep saying that surfers are eternal optimists. We know the conditions will be horrible, but we think they'll miraculously change by the time we reach the beach (or get suited up or whatever). Once we got there, I decided not to get in. I didn't like what I saw. The waves were tiny and the wind was up. I saw two people catch waves and that was about it. So, as usual, we headed to Starbucks. Not just any Starbucks, mind you. We have to go to a specific one in the Marina since that's the one my little one likes. See, he's a big fan of the caramel frappucino. Kidding! He loves the scones. Whenever we go to the beach, he makes it clear he wants a scone on the way home. I don't drink coffee so I'm not into Starbucks. But I get a scone too. I had planned on treating this time—my husband usually treats—but I actually didn't spend any of the money I had on me. As we were walking through the parking lot toward the door, I found a $10 bill. Our food and drinks came to $11. I forked over the $10 and my husband handed over a dollar. Amazing. I never ever found money when I was younger. Now, at least over the last, say, five years, I find money on the ground all the time. Let's hope there's a little bit of something to surf tomorrow.

05 August 2005

Speaking of Wax . . .

I really do have a wax problem. I traded boards with two people today. The first board I tried was a 9'6" Con CC Rider. It was fine. And that's all there is to say about it. It was nothing like my Tyler (which is the same size). I don't care what people say about the price of Tyler's board, they're worth it. I liked the Con. I'm in love with my Tyler. I later traded with a friend on a new 9'2" something or other. He'd been wanting to try the Slick for months. Today was the day. His board was okay. I wasn't thrilled. The rails were too thick. The thing just seemed kind of unwieldly. However, my point is his wax job was simply unacceptable. (Stop laughing!) I need little beads on the deck of my board. Even when the wax isn't sticky enough, the beads provide that extra bit of grip. I want my wax jobs to be the equivalent of grip tape on a skateboard. My friend's board had a tiny little bit of wax on it. It was enough for him, but not for me. This guy is a great surfer. So don't get me wrong. He, unlike me, finds his spot on the board and stays there. I think he had copious amounts in two spots and that was it. When I went to walk his board, I immediately fell off because there wasn't enough wax at the nose. My god, man! Put more wax on your board! Of course, I said nothing about the wax. It's his board. I once loaned him my Tyler for a few days a few months back. He said the wax job was so perfect that it took the skin off of one of his toes (which he drags as he pops up). To each her own, I guess.

I'm Hit!!

Spent the last two days surfing at the home break. The waves weren't noteworthy, but there were waves. That's good enough. Yesterday's session and today's session both kind of run together in my memory since the conditions were virtually the same. The only difference is that I was on the 9'6" log yesterday and on the 9'0" single fin today. Oh yeah, I also got stung by a jellyfish today. No big deal. People kept saying there was a big one floating around somewhere. The one I saw was rather small, but by the time I noticed it was at my left leg, it had already stung me on my right leg. Of course, there was no sign of the sting on my leg. My normal shade of brown (skin) might allow a jellyfish sting to show. But this thing got me on a part of my leg that's about four shades darker. (Yes, black folks really do tan.) So I can't even look for sympathy since I can't prove I was stung! Woe is me. Anyway, the sessions were good. I managed to do a couple of successful cheater fives on the Slick today. I'd been waiting for that. Sensei Greg, who is not a little guy, rode that board once and immediately perched himself on the nose. He then came back and told me, "If I can get my fat ass to the nose of that board, you have no excuse not to get there." Well, I've been there. Mission accomplished.

Hair update: I have two bona fide locks!! What? You're not excited? I am. My hair is beginning to lock, but only two of the locks are actual locks. The rest of the almost locks are still working on it. She's twisted my hair again. This time, she's allowing the twists to hang (okay, stick out) freely. This picture was taken while they were still tame.

After my surf session—yes, I'm still wearing the stocking cap and bandana—the locks/twists decided to do their own thing.

Just call me Medusa! My mother, who detests dreadlocks, will be thoroughly horrified when she sees me and this wild hair. She was fine when I first got the twists done because my hair looked almost like a work of art. Well, it doesn't look like that anymore. Maybe I'll wear a hat for a few days

03 August 2005

That Ain't No Swell!

A decent SW swell is supposed to render our little beach break utterly unsurfable (is that a word?). The surf reports all said the SW would peak today. That couldn't have been too much of a peak since I was right back at my home break in the weak closeouts. Thankfully, it was an enjoyable session. Okay, so the water temp has gone down, thus sending me back into my long-sleeved springsuit. So the wind was up, thus giving the ocean surface quite a bit of chop. So what? I enjoyed myself. It's all about low expectations. Expect nothing and you'll be thrilled when there's a wave with a shoulder. My mom was with me so my time in the water was limited. I got more than enough waves to satisfy me. In fact, I don't even think I went right today. Now I remember why I love my home break so much: I can go left at will. And I did. The rides today weren't long; the waves did tend to fold over and break in three feet of water. But I got one left that I side-slipped (?) all the way to the shore. When I paddled back out, Zack yelled, "You stayed in the curl all that time? What a great wave! I didn't even see what you were paddling for. I thought there was nothing there." A ride like that on a day like this (i.e., closed out and flat, if that's possible) makes the paddle out worthwhile.

02 August 2005

You Call That a Swell?

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see much of anything out there today. I went to the home break with the Tyler in tow. Look!!! There's one now! One what? One itsy bitsy closeout wave!!! Well, hell, what am I standing here for? I'm going to suit up right now!

I was quite underwhelmed by what I saw. I acted like I was undecided, but I knew I wasn't going in. I watched folks from my crew take short little rides. I saw nothing worthwhile. That brings up a question: Am I getting spoiled? Between LPB, RPB, Malibu, San O, Bay Street, Topanga, the Breakwater, and beaches down south (in the South Bay), I've gotten the chance to experience waves of different shapes and sizes. Now when I go to my home break, I'm often thoroughly dissatisfied. Then again, I might just be mad because it's flat . . . everywhere. And my home break was the sight of my first cheater five so I'm not complaining too much.

It's just as well that it's flat. I'm a bit tired these days. So I'm taking the day off. Okay, that's a bit of a lie. I got on the rowing machine after coming back home. Five minutes of rowing was all I needed to realize I'm tired and need to take a day off again. The swell—is it really a swell?—is supposed to peak tomorrow. Perhaps there'll be a little something out there.

01 August 2005

You Can Never Have Enough Wax!

This isn't even all of the wax we have in the house! I still have bars of Sticky Bumps that I don't like and won't use. Then there's the Mrs. Palmer's that someone gave me. Then there's also the two bars of warm Famous Wax that I can't use since the water never reaches 70 degrees. I rewaxed the Tyler a couple of days ago. I brought up nice little beads using the hardest wax Sex Wax makes (i.e., the blue one). I'll use a softer wax as a top coat. Why do I love surf wax so much? What is it about waxing a board that makes me so damn happy? I don't get it.

Yep! It's Flat Alright!

During my 90 minutes on the bike, I stopped at both the Breakwater and my home break. I think the surfing word of the day will be "pathetic". I saw one member of our crew on his shortboard, vainly working his butt off for a decent ride. Obviously, it was a good day to be on the bike.

Come On, August 4th!!

What's August 4th, you ask? Hmmm, truthfully, I have no idea. But this is the day on which things are supposed to start turning around karma-wise. When things around me started getting a little weird over a week ago, CYT said someone she knows claimed that everything is screwed up right now because Mercury is in retrograde (or something like that). I don't get that astrology stuff, so I have no idea what exactly is meant by that. Still, this person said that the world (?) would come back to its senses (my words, not hers) on August 4th. Let's just put it this way: I'm counting the days! Things at our place are fine for now. The motorcycle accident was our last minor traumatic event. But now CYT is injured (due to a freak dog-walking accident—don't ask) and can't surf for who knows how long. That makes me wonder whether or not that person talking about Mercury was right. Everything seems a little off right now. And it's not just me, my friends are dealing with "stuff" right now too.

I'm not sure whether to surf today. The reports unanimously predict we'll be looking at Lake Pacific Ocean. I lack the money to purchase the gas needed to drive up and down Pacific Coast Highway looking for surf. It looks like I'll be on the bike again.

Hair update: I think I see locks!!! Unbelievable. I go back on Thursday to have them . . . well, I'm not sure what happens now, but I go back on Thursday. They're short though. I wish they were longer. They're not sticking up all over my head. That's the stage I'm looking forward to. Now, we're in the stage where she's forcing them to lie down quietly so you can't really see anything unless you get right up on me. I can't wait to be able to surf without covering my head. I miss the feeling of the water on my scalp and running through my hair. The wait is worth it though. It was time for a change.