05 July 2007

Adrift at Sea

I jokingly said to Gracefullee, as we began the trek from Tower 22 back to Tower 17, it would take us half an hour to get back to our cars. The joke was on me: it took 35 minutes . . . and we were carrying longboards!!!! It was nevertheless a good day in the water. I've got no complaints about the session.

We met Pete, my homie from work, at Surf Break X at a time that we thought would keep us out of the crowds. Oh, how wrong we were! The gate opens at 6. I was there at 6:10. I did not expect to see cars lined up down the street, not at that hour. But lined up they (we?) were. I didn't know the 4th of July was a dedicated beach day. I mean, they didn't teach me that in my history classes.

As I alluded to early in the post, the drift was much stronger than I thought. I knew it was bad. At some point, I decided not to keep paddling back to where we started. It's taken years for me to finally figure out that doing so in a strong current is a waste of time and energy. Had I known we'd drifted so far south, I certainly would have gotten out and walked back to Tower 17 when we were at Tower 19. Lesson learned.

I thought there would be a little more swell in the water. What there was served up some nice enough waves though. As I always point out, my memory of my rides is sketchy at best. Instead of remembering the details of particular waves, I remember little things. My wave of the day was my first wave, a long left that begged to be carved. When a wave like that presents itself to me, I don't mess it up. I realize now that one of the reasons why I don't walk the board much is because I don't get waves like this often. So when I do get a wave with a nice shoulder, I ride it for as long as humanly possible. If I were to start walking and fall off, I'd never forgive myself (since a wave like that only comes my way a couple of times a month if I'm lucky). You know, if I were to surf a better quality wave, I probably would be more adept at walking. I'd do it more often because I'd know that a wave just like that one would pop up again during my session. (This is what you find in a place like Malibu.) I wouldn't feel like I'd let a beautiful wave go to waste. However, I don't surf good waves often. As a result, I don't get much of an opportunity to walk the board. My wave of the day was perfect for walking, but I didn't want to spoil it. Instead I carved, long looping lines, up and down before finally kicking out. That wave made my session.

I did have an epiphany of sorts during the session. Unfortunately, I don't know what wave I was riding when I had it. I thought it came on that left I wrote about, but in the back of my mind I remember the lip being to my left (which means the wave was going right). I think it was the first time I was competely conscious of being in the curl. I remember paddling for a wave and hearing the lip right next to me. I was scared to death, thinking I was going to get worked as the lip folded over and drove my head into my board. Much to my surprise, before I knew it, I was up. Everything else is a blur. What I took from that is a new understanding of being in the curl and why it's the optimum spot when you're paddling into a wave. It's not that I can even articulate it. At the moment when the board locked in and I popped up, I could feel that this was a completely different sensation than I'd ever experienced on a surfboard. I knew I'd found what was essentially the wave's sweet spot. (Remember, the home break doesn't deliver waves like that. And when I've been in situations with true A-frames, I was too afraid to take them or, when I did, I was in such shock that I didn't remember anything about the ride.) I think I'm at a place in my surfing where much of my improvement is mental or intellectual. There's very little that holds me back physically when I surf. I don't know that I can get any stronger than I am now. What's changing is the fact that I'm at the point where I don't think when I surf. I listen. On that one wave, my brain said, "Take note of this. Pay attention."

This will go down as my best 4th of July session to date. And yes, Grace's backside kick-out is better than she thinks it is. I can only kick-out frontside. I'm jealous of her skills and am always glad to share a session with her.


At 7/6/07, 7:48 AM, Blogger gracefullee said...

Shucks, thanks!

I remember that first long left you got. It nearly killed me because I was turned around whooping for you that I didn't notice the outside wave coming at me!

At 7/7/07, 10:50 AM, Blogger puttzle said...

Glad you got some goods on the fourth. Mine was good also. Surf's been good down my way...


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