29 September 2005

Swept Off My Feet

As I walked my little one to daycare, a guy I see regularly gave me quite a compliment. He asked what sports I do, saying, "You know 'cos you got a nice shape and shit." What woman wouldn't want to hear a compliment about her figure and the word "shit" in the same breath? I think I'm in love.

27 September 2005

New Job—Day One

Somehow, I made it through the day without even thinking about the beach or surfing. That won't last long. I'll have a good session the next time I'm in the water and then spend the next four days pouting . . . maybe. I went out on Sunday. Didn't write about it. There was nothing to say. My break was closed out. I got wet anyway. As a result, I only had three or four rides. All I ever had time to do was pop-up, do a bottom turn, and then get hit by the wave. I think I spent the majority of the session paddling for closeouts and being pitched face first into the ocean. Fun it wasn't. But I thought I should get in one more time before my time was no longer my own. I don't know when I'll get wet again. It's not a priority yet. I'm sure that my first really bad day at this job will make me consider calling in sick (as in sick of not surfing). Frankly, this job feels like a good fit. Nice things were said to me and about me today. Someone made it known that management has high expectations of me. I made it known that they should and that those expectations will probably be exceeded. That's not me being cocky. That's me being driven. I'll give more attention to surfing once I learn the ropes here and feel more comfortable. I don't expect it to take too long. Once I get up to speed, I'll work on making time to surf. And if my husband ends up playing Mr. Mom (due to layoffs at his job), I'll try to get in a couple of post-dawn patrol sessions each week.

23 September 2005

I Want My Money Back

Okay, it's figurative money. But I think I've paid my surfing dues this year. The least the waves can do is cooperate during my last week of freedom surfing (which is not to be confused with "free" surfing). I ran out of here this morning, expecting RPB to deliver bigger and better things than I saw yesterday. You know what? I didn't see anything tempting. Those were the same waves I saw yesterday, dammit!! They weren't any bigger. They didn't have more shape. They were the same. In fact, there were fewer of those waves today than there were yesterday. Yes, at times it was flat out there! And then there were more people in the water. I wasn't feelin' any of that. I went back down PCH to the home break. It was looking closed out but kind of tempting . . . until someone said that Surf Daddy John, the guy who'll paddle out the day after a week of rain, got out after one wave. Apparently, there was something (something nasty? something toxic?) on the surface of the water that smelled horrible and was easily seen. He wasn't having any of that and left. If John got out after just one wave, I can't help but think the Apocalypse is upon us and the end of the world is near. Despite my fears of immediately going straight to hell once J—you know, the WWJD dude—spotted me in a crowd, I ran my mouth with the crew for awhile. Then I came home. Perhaps I can find a little surf this weekend. If not, that's okay too. My summer was great and it was enough to keep me satisfied for the rest of the year.

22 September 2005


Many, many changes. So many changes that I hardly know what to write about. I guess I'll start with today's session at RPB. I knew I'd get there at the tail end of low tide, but I'm an eternal optimist when it comes to surfing. I thought I might score some waves. And did I? Oh, yes!!! Once again, I was out in the water as the tide changed. RPB is a low tide spot that normally shuts down with a vengeance at high tide. I figured I'd at least catch the last hour of low tide and be happy with that. I was happy with that. I was also happy with the first hour of high tide. The ocean was dropping bombs . . . and they successfully made it through at high tide!!! And nobody was there!!!!! Okay, it wasn't an epic day. The shoulders were few and far between. But at a break with a mushy wave, even the closeouts offer fun rides. Since there were no shoulders, I went left on a lot of the waves. (See, RPB goes right 98% of the time. You won't see many lefts there.) All you saw approaching you was a straight line, at least from where I was sitting. So I had a ball. The coolest thing I did today was after a ride. I know I keep talking about ending rides by climbing back up to the tops of waves and exiting out the back. Well, today's closeouts made that move somewhat hard. I forced the issue after one ride. But instead of easily going off the back of the wave, I was literally catapulted about five feet into the air. I'm sure I was grinning from ear to ear when I hit the water. That's the closest I've ever come to flying and I loved every second of it. I'll be back there tomorrow. In fact, it may be my last weekday in the water for awhile.

Changes. David Bowie. Memorable song—not that I'm old enough to remember it when it came out. Anyway, I start a new job on Tuesday. More money. Full-time. More money. Benefits. More money. Paid vacation. More money. Less time for surfing. More money. Less time at home. More money. Regular hours. More money. Do you see a pattern? At this point, it's all about the Benjamins. It's got to be. Surfing can be put on the back burner for now. Will the blog survive? That remains to be seen. If I'm not surfing much, no, the blog won't survive. If I'm still able to surf about three days a week, then yes, I'll keep going. I won't know until I start the job. I will, however, be out in the water tomorrow. There should still be a little something out there before this latest swell loses steam. If any good swells are on the way after tomorrow, I don't want to know about them!

20 September 2005

What the . . . ?

Since when does it rain in L.A. in September? I remember, many decades back, having to wear shorts to school because it was so hot in September. What on earth is going on with our climate? Global warming perhaps? I don't know, but I'll admit to being worried. The climate changes in L.A. over the past few years have been drastic. I'm now sitting here in a darkened room, since there's no sunshine and no need for me to turn on the light, completely astonished by what's happening outside. Okay, I've seen rain before. It's the reason why most of last winter was spent on dry land rather than out in the water. But I don't remember having seen this much rain at this time of the year. And dammit, it's messing up my surf plans. I'm not sure how much rain we've had since last night, so I'm not sure how much pollution is now flowing into the ocean. I'm not a gambler by any means. I don't do Vegas or any other place that invites you to simply work under the illusion that you're winning and losing at the same time. (Face it, you're really losing your money.) Well, I'm not gambling with the ocean either. I guess that means I'll be out of the water for a bit. Damn!

17 September 2005

Don't Believe the Hype

Or do believe it. Whatever. "The hype" refers to the news about the swell. Oh, certain breaks were going off. I never managed to be at any of them. At least I got a little taste of the swell on Thursday afternoon. Since that time, I've been shut out. Yesterday was a wash, for me at least. I ran into one of the members of our crew after I got out yesterday. Even though the conditions were pretty bad when I was in, I told her I could see they were improving and urged her to get in. Apparently I was right. She was in the water for over two hours. I'm glad somebody got a piece of this swell.

Soul Brother #1 and I got on the bikes today. As usual, we headed out to the home break. Wow! I'm always impressed by massive waves closing out on the shore, especially when I'm not in the water. People were getting some rides today, but those were the more experienced surfers. One of them got out and said something about me getting in. I told him the truth: although I've improved, I'm still not comfortable in those types of conditions on a big board. As I work my way onto the 7'0" (which was bought for the bigger waves), I will begin to venture out in the big, neck-breakers our home break is so good at producing during a SW swell. I talked to a shortboarder I'd seen the other day when I was in the water. Apparently, he got the longest ride of his life yesterday at the home break. Now that's impressive, especially since a SW often produces waves whose shape doesn't hold up. But I could tell he was completely stoked. And as if that weren't enough, he said he then drove down to Trestles and surfed there in the afternoon. Now that's how you put the swell to good use! Then I ran into a couple of women who recently started surfing regularly at the home break. They'd gone to RPB this morning at the crack of dawn. Even at that hour, it was a zoo. People were almost shoulder to shoulder. What's worse, the place shut down for about 40 minutes. It went flat. At low tide? WTF? I'm glad I wasn't able to give much attention to the swell. If I had, I'd be pissed off. In fact, I'm ready for it to leave so the lineups will thin out again.

16 September 2005

Should Have Stayed on Dry Land

Why did I even bother to get wet at RPB at high tide? Why? If I didn't know better then, I surely know better now. What a waste of time, gas, and anything else you can think of connected to a comparatively short trip in search of surf. Oh, the swell is here alright. It's doing its thing. It's packing a punch . . . everywhere except RPB at high tide. See, I thought since the swell was a good one, there would still be waves at this break even if the tide was wrong. I was, as usual, correct. (Aren't I always correct? What do you mean "no"?) The problem was the backwash. The set waves rolled through, ran smack dab into the rock cliffs, and then ran back toward the approaching waves. It made for a frustrating day in the water. You'd paddle for a wave only to have it wall up and mush out to the point of leaving you with a ledge from which to fall, if you so chose. The backwash killed everything. I.got.one.wave. Period. And it wasn't even a good one. I didn't have this kind of trouble yesterday. Of course, it was low tide when I got in yesterday. It was fine though. As I said some entries ago, I've surfed so much over the past few months that I feel quite lucky. This recent swell didn't excite me like it would have were I only able to get wet sproradically. Truthfully, my thoughts are with this job and with the possibilities it opens up for this family. Surfing is taking a backseat for now as I try to ensure that things turn out the way I'd like them to (in terms of that job) and as I suffer through these last few months of teaching. Perhaps I'll be ready when the next swell comes.

15 September 2005

Sky Rockets in Flight, Afternoon Delight

If you recognize those lyrics, I have but one thing to say: Boy, are you old!!!

So CYT and I went looking for surf this morning. We found serious closeouts at Bay Street and next to nothing as we headed north. After some hemming and hawwing, we gave up. We both had plans. But before we parted company, I said I would try to make a run back to RPB once the tide went back out. We agreed to synchronize our watches and meet there later. (And if you laughed at "synchronized our watches," you're still old.) See, I was going to see about a job in the early afternoon. That, of course, took precedence. I couldn't worry about surfing. This was about money. Fast forward to early afternoon: when I left the place, I departed with the knowledge that I'd been essentially hired on the spot (except I can't start work there full-time until mid-December when the semester ends). All that stands between me and the job is the background check. (I hope that little stint at Sybil Brand doesn't show up! I was framed!) Of course, throughout the interview, an interview I'd not expected and didn't dress for, I was thinking about the surf. I finally got out of there at 2 and made a mad dash to RPB. I quickly chatted with CYT, who was leaving just as I arrived, and paddled out. The swell is coming. My only worry is the wind. There was quite a bit of push in the water, but the onshore winds did a number on the waves. They were a bit walled up. Still, I told myself I could surf until 3. I managed to get four waves. (Note: the swell had yet to produce enough juice to send consistent waves through RPB.) The last one was the charm. After it was over, I thought, "Is there a word for what I just did?" No, it was nothing spectacular. I guess I was carving. I don't know. I'm still unclear about some surf terms. This wave was a good long one. It's not that the wave held up so much as I was actually looking at the wave the entire time. So I was able to speed around white water and charge back up the face of the wave. I did a few turns off the top. What's that called when you do that on a longboard? On a shortboard, those turns would have been faster, right? Is that a "snap"? Is it called something different on a longboard? And what's it called when you get to the top of the wave, turn, go back down, and then repeat? I wasn't going off the lip, was I? Who knows? I was on Cloud Nine. I was doing an afternoon surf session; I don't know that I've ever surfed after, say, noon. It was a nice change. I was also on Cloud Nine because I'd gone into a job interview-type situation and was completely myself. (I'm at the point now where I'm too old to fake the funk. In other words, I can't pretend to be interested in a job if it's something I really don't want to do.) Apparently, being real—in my jeans, tank top, and clogs, and explaining quite clearly what I was looking for in the job—was appreciated at that place. There were other applicants there wearing slacks, shirts, and ties. Somehow, I thought the place would be more interested in my attitude and not so much in my attire. I was right. And I feel like this is a place where I was and am meant to work.

13 September 2005

Reason Number 13 Why Mothers Should Surf

If the Geneva Convention "bans torture under all circumstances," why, oh why, must I endure my child's on-again, off-again preoccupation with The Wiggles?

Gray Day

Where is the sun anyway? (It occurs to me to just look out the window.) Never mind. There it is. But where was it during my session this morning? Yes, I was cold. But since the chill was caused by an offshore wind, I didn't do much complaining. So, I went to the home break, hoping upon hope that there was something to surf. There was. In fact, the waves looked kind of daunting from the shore. Then once you paddled out, it was hell trying to catch them. The tweeners didn't have a lot of push to them. The only ones worth anything were those with steep faces. Taking those meant you were going to get slammed when the wave eventually closed out, but it was worth it. One of the crew told me he saw me catch a good, larger wave. He said it looked like I hesitated once I popped up. He thought I wasn't going to get it. Then he said I flew down into it. Again, I don't remember. If it weren't for people telling me of my waves or someone catching me on film, I wouldn't know half of what I do during my sessions.

It's time to prepare for winter swells. The summer waves were so damn anemic that I'd forgotten what it was like to get worked. Frankly, I don't think it's good to forget something like that. It occurs to me that I haven't done much surfing over the last two winters. It rained so much last winter that there weren't many days when any of us could safely get in the water. And two years ago I was working a 60-hour a week temp job for the County of L.A. (Yes, folks, I was an Election Assistant II, meaning I traveled all over the county teaching pollworkers what to do on election day.) This will be my first real winter in the water in two years. I'm looking forward to it. I want to see if the things I've learned (this year especially) show themselves in the bigger, stronger, scarier waves.

11 September 2005

Definitions in Pictures


See that? Knees bent. Arms relaxed. In other words, calm, cool, and collected. Longboard Magazine will be calling any minute.


That's right! Longboard Magazine will be calling me a kook! Oh my god! Can't you keep yourself on the board? Look at that! The board is still surfing. I . . . am not.


I saw this car today at the Belmont Shores car show. There were some serious surf mobiles there. This thing is so nice that I wouldn't dare put a surfboard on it, in it, near it, etc.

09 September 2005

Today's Pictorial

There we are, at a new break, heading into the surf. Notice the oh-so-fashionable doo rag on the left. Yep, that's me. It was also my first day in the new fullsuit. Me likey!!! And speaking of hair—mine is getting so long that the stocking cap/bandana solution is close to being useless. In a minute, I'll be in a hoodie. I have no other choice at this point.

The paddle out was nothing special. This was the only spot where we even saw a wave and I think we still managed to do the dry hair thing. The waves kind of picked up (or should I say jacked up and walled out) about 30 minutes later. Was it fun while it lasted? Well, from a can't-find-anything-to-surf-so-this-will-have-to-do standpoint, yes. From a looking-for-something-with-shape-size-and-consistency standpoint, no.

This was my only serious move of the day. I was heading backside, saw the wave closing out ahead of me, and finessed a hard turn back to the frontside. I kept wondering why things felt a little stiff today. After I saw the pictures, I realized that I wasn't standing far enough back on the board. So the turns took some work. I know better. I'm glad I have the pictures to remind me to stop popping up to the middle of the board.

The title of this one is "That's Gonna Leave a Mark". Did it ever!!! From the picture, it looks like I was able to fly through the back of the wave unscathed. Nope. The wave walled up and then pitched me backwards onto the log. Then the log lodged in my ribs and together we got worked. That one hurt. In all of my years as an athlete, I've never been hit in the ribcage. Now I know why people can't breathe when they break a rib. I came out of this wave with some soreness. I can't even imagine the actual pain involved in serious injuries to that part of the body.

Obviously, we found something to surf today. We started out at LPB. It was as flat as everything else we passed. In fact, we were suited up and waxing our boards, preparing to get in at LPB, when the guys who'd just headed down to the water came back . . . and they were dry. They said the conditions looked even worse from the shore. So we loaded the boards and ourselves, still fully suited up, back into the car and drove north. The pictures show what we found: short rides on pitching waves.

Who took the pictures? Soul Brother #1, of course.

06 September 2005

Don't You People Have Jobs?

Okay, I'm the first person to whom this question could be posed. I know that. However, I was the one posing this question during today's session. Why? Why not? It was crowded at the home break today. What's up with that? Are we all unemployed, self-employed, or odd-hourly employed? I guess the answer to that question is "yes". It seemed like almost everyone from the crew was out in the water. It might as well have been Malibu—too many people in one spot. It really wasn't so bad. It's just that I thought the day after a holiday, the holiday which marks the last day of summer, would mean uncrowded beaches. I was wrong to make such an assumption.

The SW swell doesn't seem to be doing much. I'd hoped for more. I'd dreamed of more. No matter. The winter waves will come. Now I will start using the Tyler less. I'll be bringing the funboard into the rotation with the Slick. I'll also start taking stabs at riding the 7'0". I've got plans for this winter as it may be my last winter of weekday surfing. I've decided not to pursue teaching once this semester is over. Like so many others, I'm fed up with the inability to find full-time employment. I've seen statistics which show that schools prefer part-timers; they don't need to worry about providing us with benefits. That's all well and good . . . but not for me. Besides, as is typical, I've gotten bored after several years of teaching the same thing. The boredom is only bearable when you've got a salary and benefits. So it's time to move on. I enjoyed my summer off. It will probably be my last one. I'll now teach until December. In the meantime, I'll be looking for something else. I have to admit that it—the freedom—was nice while it lasted.

05 September 2005

We All Need a Good Session!

Wetsand says:

Tuesday the 6th we’re expecting the SW swell to continue with similar size as Monday. NW wind swell will likely back off a bit, making the SW once again the dominant swell along the coast.

That's good enough for me. I need to surf!

03 September 2005

Now That's More Like It!

02 September 2005

Hurricane Help

This group rocks!!! I'm not knocking the Red Cross or any other group. They're all wonderful. But this is an organization with which I've been fascinated since I was a kid. They need your help too. They'll be working hard to help rebuild homes that were lost. The more money we give, the more people they can help.

Instapundit.com is providing a round-up of blogs that are participating in a Blog For Relief Weekend. The Truth Laid Bear is also working to coordinate this weekend effort. This blog asks that those who contribute (to any organization) as a result of the Blog for Relief Weekend record their contributions at The Truth Laid Bear site (so the site can keep track of the blogging community's efforts at raising funds). I started blogging about the hurricane because I was mad. Then I stumbled upon these folks. Take a look at their sites/blogs.

Bittersweet Session

Actually, from a personal standpoint, it was a great session. I was on it today. Well, I was on it until I managed to bang a pelvic bone against one of the rails. I like being female. I really do. This was yet another instance when I was ever so thankful I'm not a guy . . . cos that shit hurt like hell. I rode the Slick today. I figured it might be best to be on a board with some rocker. That was a good call on my part. One of the guys in my crew once remarked that my Slick rides like a shortboard. I realize now that he's right. I can (and do) pump that board when I'm on a wave. Even though it's a longboard, it responds with lightning quickness. I love it. On days like today, I start to think that maybe the Slick is my favorite board. Today the Slick did me proud. Together, we did something I've never been able to successfully do: make a hard backside turn. I had no choice today. I was going frontside on a nice wave, a wave that I was easily able to carve on. I wanted to ride it longer, but doing so meant I would run over a kid on a boogie board. As I hurtled toward him, he froze. Well, that didn't help much either. The wave was about to close out so I couldn't go back out through the top. I couldn't simply hold the board and jump off. In either case, the wave would have closed out and sent me into him. So, I willed myself to turn back. Hot damn!!! Not only did I not take this kid's head off, I also made the turn successfully (i.e., I kept my balance and didn't fall off). Now I know it can be done . . . on the Slick. I think the Tyler would require a drop-knee turn. I would need to put all of my weight on the back leg in order to swing that log around. Still, I've done it on the Slick. I've felt it. I understand the balance necessary for that. That wasn't my best wave of the day, but it was close. It's really been a good week of surfing for me. I had a paddling epiphany earlier in the week. My paddling is the one thing that's stayed inconsistent since I began surfing. Some days I can paddle with power. Other days, I paddle like a girl. Well, during one of my sessions this week, I accidentally tweaked the way I was holding my hands when I was paddling. I immediately felt a marked difference in the way my board responded. Thankfully, I knew exactly what I'd done. I'd changed the position of my hands and also kept my fingers apart. For some reason, it works beautifully and I'm now paddling with a lot of power.

Why was this session bittersweet? Well, as I sat on the board waiting for a wave, I started thinking about all the water surrounding me. Then I thought about New Orleans, about how horrifying it must be to see your house, your street, and your city fill up with so much water that you can't see or touch the ground. You know, we Americans must try not to view this event with a jaundiced eye. This is serious! The word "serious" doesn't even come close to expressing the horror these people are facing. Shall I get down and dirty? Why not? If you are the parent of small children, what do you do about diapers? What do you do about food? If you're the child of an elderly parent, how do you keep that person safe and comfortable? Okay, you've escaped the flood in your house. Now you're stuck in the horror that is the Superdome. If you're a woman who just happened to be on her period during all of this, how do you get tampons and pads? And what's the point of even going to the bathrooms since they don't work and they're filthy? If you're someone who needs medication on a daily basis, you're screwed. Your medication is floating away with everything else you own. You're stuck at the Superdome, or the Astrodome, or on a bus between the two. What are you supposed to do? Maybe you don't remember all of the meds you take. Your list of meds if drowning under eight feet of water. And how do you prove to a doctor or pharmacist that you should and must be given those meds without a prescription. This whole thing is a nightmare. If you worked at a casino in Mississippi, guess what? Your home and your job are gone—for good. I won't even get started on the lack of food, water, clothing, and federal assistance. We're the damn richest country in the world and we can't even get our shit together enough to provide immediate assistance. That's shameful. Are these the kinds of things I think about when I'm surfing? Sometimes. One doesn't always surf with a smile or in a state of complete apathy.



Okay, I'll stop. It's obvious I'm mad. We, as a country, can do better than this. We are better than this. Aren't we?

01 September 2005

Real Life (and Death)

This post isn't about surfing. File it under "Fury". Anyway, the events in Louisiana and Mississippi leave me speechless. I have no words for my feelings. I won't even watch the news. Why bother? The whole situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

So there's a blog I've been quietly reading for a few months. The woman who started it decided over the weekend that she no longer wants to use extreme measures to fight her cancer. Simply put, she's ready for death. I find it very touching. You can check out her blog here.

Who? Me?

That's what I was thinking when one of the really good surfers in our crew approached me as I exited the water and told me, with a look of sheer glee, that I had gotten so much better than I was the last time he'd seen me surf. He was damn near speechless. It's been months since we've seen one another. I knew I'd improved, but damn!!! I wasn't even having a good day today. I felt a little off for the first half hour or so. Things just weren't flowing. For one thing, every time I paddled for a wave or was up and riding, someone else was also on the wave with me. I haven't been at the home break much so the party waves were throwing me off. I was on a board made for a point break. That thing ain't got no rocker! And it doesn't always like our fast, lean wave. I finally pulled it all together after about 40 minutes. Some of the people left the water and that gave me the elbow room I needed. Then I started surfing for real. Still, it wasn't a remarkable session. I was just surfing . . . and enjoying myself. I guess I surf best when I'm having fun. But when I got out, the guy I mentioned at the beginning of the post and a couple of other guys started telling me wonderful things about . . . me. One of the things they harped on was the fact they saw me holding onto my board a lot when the ride was over. They said they've been a bit disturbed by how many people in our crew, especially the women, fail to control their boards. Well, I don't think I'm so great. I simply learned how to do it because I spent so much time at other breaks this summer. Malibu will make you step up to another level, whether you like it or not. I know that's what made me really concentrate on keeping the board from flying away. I still lose it at times—and yes, I wear a leash—but that's usually when I get dumped. I now either kick out, crouch down and grab the board, or simply climb up the wave and exit from the top of it. I still think I have a long way to go, but it was nice to be complimented. They also mentioned the fact that I was whipping frontside turns on the Tyler. I was? All of a sudden, what I thought was a fair session became an excellent session. Guess what I did next? I passed on the love. While I was in the water, I saw one of the shortboarders in our crew take a nice wave. He's a pretty good surfer who always gets good waves. What shocked me was when I saw his board snap off the lip of the wave. Usually, I see people do that and fall off. He did that beautiful snap and kept riding. He and I walked to the parking lot together and I gushed over that wave. I'd never seen him surf like that before. He admitted to being glad someone saw that move. It was truly sweet! I was hooping and hollering when he did it, but he hadn't heard me. See, this is why it's nice to surf a regular spot. Everyone shares the stoke.