30 March 2005

"Are You Ever Lazy?"

Someone asked me this once as I was putting on my skates. The surf was non-existent so I moved on to Plan B. The answer to the question is a qualified "no". Am I ever lazy when it comes to working out? No. Am I ever lazy about doing things that need to be done? Always. I couldn't surf today. My class was at 11:30. There's not enough time to get in the water between the time I drop off my child and the time my class starts. I did manage to walk my kid to daycare (20 minutes roundtrip), lift weights (30 minutes), ride my bike at the beach after class (50 minutes), and walk the dog (10 minutes). Most of my days don't look like this. But on a good day, I do two workouts. Today was a bit of a celebration. The warm weather is coming. We can all feel it. That kind of weather makes me want to go outside and stay outside. So I kept finding ways to be outside. The only bad thing about my non-surfing workouts is that there's still no escape from life. At least when I surf, I can be left alone. As a result, I relax. I don't really relax when I do my other workouts. I'm constantly waiting for the phone to ring (husband, student loan people, family) or I'm obsessing about something stupid (i.e., telling myself I'm not good enough at my job when I know, and have been told, that I'm a good teacher). The beauty of surfing, for me, is that you can simply let go. When I'm in the water, I stop worrying—most of the time—about the problems I have on land. I just surf. When I was a competitive cyclist, I was always thinking too much. That's been a curse for me as an athlete. But I'm finding now that the more comfortable I am with surfing, the less I think. Instead of having thoughts racing through my head, my mind is virtually empty. I'm learning to shut down intellectually. For someone like me, that's tantamount to being on vacation for two hours. For this reason, I will always be grateful to surfing.

29 March 2005

It Might As Well Be Raining

Okay, that's not entirely true. At least the sun is out, right? But that's about all I can say for the weather with regard to surfing. On a normal surf day, I get up, take the dog out, get the kid up (once he's awake) and fed, pack the car for the day's workout, play with the kid and the dog, fill up my Bully's tank with hot water, drop the kid off at daycare, and then head to the beach before going to work. I don't live near the beach so I usually have my skates in the car, just in case the waves aren't cooperating. Even when I can't surf, I'm usually happy to simply be working out in the sun. Well, the wind ruins all of that. Not only is there no surf but I know from experience that the bike path at the beach is covered in sand. There's no point in even driving out there to check. I'll just stay home.

27 March 2005

Just Get Out of the Way!!!

I managed to get a session in today. There's nothing exciting to report. The waves were tiny and weak. Thank god for longboards! What pissed me off today was these two women on body boards. I swear they should have been sitting at Starbucks over coffee rather than sitting just inside the lineup. They spent the bulk of their time talking. And I don't mean talking like we all do out there. I mean, they were deep in conversation to the point of being totally oblivious to other people and the fact that they were in the way. That's the kind of thing that makes you understand why locals get territorial and threaten outsiders. If you are going to be that disrespectful to the other people in the water, you probably do need a good ass-kicking.

26 March 2005

New Baby!

All I wanted was a yellow one. I picked this one sight unseen. So when it finally arrived, I wasn't expecting to see this. I almost hate to put wax on it! My three year old couldn't help but say something about how sweet this thing looks. Yes, he actually used the word "sweet". No, he didn't!!! I'm kidding. He doesn't know any slang terms yet. He does like it though. I'm up to three boards now. I guess I finally have my quiver started. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I am looking at yet another board. I know, I know. Don't even go there with me. But, see, it's the one that got away, the one I posted a picture of either early this month or late last month. It's back on the chopping block again. And it's calling to me! (Sigh) Let's see if I can exercise restraint yet a second time.

25 March 2005

I Heart San Onofre

What a truly beautiful day this was! I think I've found the surfing equivalent of Nirvana. Today's session at San O was glorious. I'd like to say I remember every wave and that I was ripping it up. What I remember was smiling and laughing more than I ever have while surfing. The locals treated me like a long lost friend. I felt loved!

We left L.A. much earlier this time. I decided I couldn't face those rocks or the blown out conditions again; we would have to leave earlier. That meant I had to work out a plan to have someone sit with my child in the morning and then deliver him to daycare. (Thanks, Mom!!!) We were on the road by 7 a.m. To our surprise, we were pulling into the San O lot before 8:30. As soon as we pulled in we found Puttzle (from the San O Daze blog). He's one of the lucky ones who can hit San O at daybreak and pretty much have the place to himself. By the time we got there, it was a bit crowded. As usual, that unnerved me. I don't get nervous when my break is crowded. I know that wave well. But at an unfamiliar break, crowds still get to me. Puttzle suggested we surf a little north of the crowd since there was a peak there. Well, by the time we got in, everyone else had moved over to that part of the beach. As usual, I couldn't figure out what I was doing. I seemed to paddle for, and miss, every wave that went by. I got so beside myself, especially since I was constantly looking at the back of my friend's head as she surfed away on some long wave. At some point, I caught a wave . . . and promptly fell off of it. $#$%! I spent a lot of time doing what I do best in a crowd: watching. Finally, I began to go for waves and got a few. None of those waves was noteworthy.

So, I'm sitting out there waiting and a local paddles by. He tells me to stop angling (which is what I'd been wondering about) since the waves didn't have much juice. He actually told me that I paddle well. That pleased me to no end. I remember when guys told me, in the past, that my paddling was wimpy so I've actually worked on paddling with the power I naturally possess (from lifting weights). Anyway, when he told me I paddle well, he made my day. Within seconds of him telling me to stop angling, I caught a wave—a good one. Then I was on a roll for the rest of the session. I only remember one wave. Like most of the waves there, it was a party wave, but somehow I had room to carve. I think it was the first time I've ever carved a whole wave. It was cool. I felt like I was in total control of the board. When I paddled back out, two people commented on how good a wave it was. It was a great day in the water! There's an amazing vibe at that place. (I know it's not there all the time or else the place would be too good to be true.) Everyone was having fun. I'd say 80% of the people in the water were constantly smiling. I guess that included me too. I think I talked to half of the people out there. It was one of those days when you do feel carefree and happy. It's rare that I get to feel that way. I think I have too much going on in my life now. But being out there for those three hours was such a nice break from L.A., work, bills, and a somewhat tense home life. Surfing in this crowd was downright civilized. It must be because everyone out there could surf. Some of us with surf blogs complain about the crowds at Sunset. After being at San O, I can see why we complain about Sunset. Sunset, on a crowded day, is complete and total anarchy. The surfers at San O, on the other hand, were quite orderly and awfully polite. At one point, I announced, "That's it!! I'm moving down here. You are the nicest people I've ever surfed with." The most exciting thing about today's session was seeing 79 year old Eve Fletcher out there surfing. I almost paddled up to her and said, "I want to be you when I grow up." She doesn't pop up. It looks like her days of popping up are over. She does everything from her knees. She paddles into the waves on her knees, and then she stands up. Then, she paddles back out on her knees. She made me see what possibilities the future can hold for us if we're lucky. One thing you immediately notice about her is that she has a beautiful aura. She looks like she's the happiest woman in the world; her smile is beatific. I could go on and on about today's session. I'll stop here. Oh!! I forgot to add this: I didn't drop my board! It was a perfect day in the water.

22 March 2005

What the #$@! Happened Here?

"Why is Joey on Tattoo John's board? Why is Sym on that board? When did 'Leah and John' John start surfing the Linden again?" Upon entering the water today, I noticed that people were not on their normal boards. I'm not used to that. Most of us have one board we adore and surf it 90% of the time. So why weren't people on their preferred boards? Joey: 9'3" Donald Takayama "In the Pink" epoxy board—snapped in two at our break. "Leah and John" John: 9'5" custom Tyler that he bought used—buckled at El Porto. Sym: 9'6" gorgeous Con Surfboard—cracked at Sunset because, as she said, "I was being a kook." Now I'm glad that I wasn't able to get a session in last week. There was some kind of weird, board killing karma going around. I can't afford a broken board at this point. The Tyler cost me too damn much and I will actually be in a persistent vegetative state if that heavy thing ever snaps in two. That board surfs like it was made for me. (Oh yeah, it was.) One member of our crew jokes that Tyler sprinkles pixie dust on the boards and that's what makes them magical. Whatever. I plan to pass this board onto my kid in ten years (although I bet he'll be a shortboarder by then and will laugh in my face when I try to give him this big log).

The conditions today were good enough. I've reached the point where I'm not all that picky anymore. If there's a wave to be had, I'll paddle out. It was windy and choppy today, but the waves had a decent shape. I got one long ride going backside. I had time to walk to the middle of the board, look around, do my taxes, step back and turn to make the section, step back up toward the middle of the board, order lunch, read War and Peace, step back and make another turn, write to my congressman, and then stall the board when the ride was finished. This wave made me realize that you really do need a long wave to truly work on cross-stepping and longboard footwork. I had time to walk around on that wave. I usually don't have that luxury so I always thought I was doing something wrong. Now I know I wasn't doing anything wrong. I'm simply at the mercy of the short, fast waves at our break. I suppose if I learn to really walk the board at my break, I'll have a ball at places like San O and Sunset.

21 March 2005

Everybody, Listen Up!!

I have an advance directive. My family also knows what I expect from them should something untoward happen to me. I've said it before and now I'll say it again (in public): Should I be seriously injured in such a way that I am either brain dead or left in a persistent vegetative state, let me go! No feeding tubes! No wishful thinking! No laws passed by the fucking Congress about matters that don't concern them! That person lying in that bed will not be me. It will be my shell. If I'm no longer able to acknowledge my child, enjoy the ocean, or do the things about which I'm passionate, I am no longer living (as I define "living"). Just let me go.

19 March 2005

I Give Up (on Myself)

Not only did I drive all the way down to Harbour Surfboards in Seal Beach, but I didn't come home empty-handed. No, I didn't buy a surfboard . . . yet. However, I did buy my child a wetsuit. Of course, I stripped him in the middle of the shop so that he could try it on. And, no, a toddler does not willingly shed his clothes and don a wetsuit. I had to coax him. See, right now, his life is all about The Incredibles. He says he's Mr. Incredible, I'm Elastigirl, and his dad is Frozone. So how did I get him in the wetsuit? Well, it wasn't easy. First, I had to ask Mr. Incredible to come out of the changing room. He loves their changing rooms for some reason. He played in one of them for a good 20 minutes while I looked at boards (all the while keeping my eyes on the door and on the little feet I could see beneath the door). When he wouldn't come out of the changing room, I went in and got him, telling him he had to try on a new "Super Suit" (which is what the superheroes in the movie wore). Somehow, the "Super Suit" angle worked. Then, of course, he didn't want to take the thing off. After two tries, we found a wetsuit that fit. No, it wasn't cheap. However, there are plenty of little kids in our crew. I'll simply pass the suit on once my little man outgrows it.

Again, I didn't come home with a board, but I went shopping for a back-up to the board I'm waiting for. If the shop doesn't come up with the board soon, I'm going to demand my money back. I gave them a downpayment. Then I find out that the order hadn't been verified by the salesperson. Thus, it didn't go through. Then I was told it would be two weeks before the board I wanted instead came in. I think it's been two weeks! I want my board! So if that board never materializes, I'll get a Harbour Spherical Revolver instead. I might even get it in a thruster! (I know, I know—perish the thought!)

In the meantime, I wait . . . and row . . . and lift . . . and watch surf DVDs . . . and drool over boards . . . and . . . (fill in the blank).

The Waiting Game

I got shut out this week. I tried to surf on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Notice I said "tried". Either time was of the essence (meaning I didn't have the luxury of going to other spots) or the waves simply weren't cooperating. Now, it's raining. And so, I wait. I wait and I row. I wait and I lift weights. It's like I'm a rechargeable battery. When the surf is good and consistent, I'm steadily using up stored energy. But when there's no surf, I go into recharge mode (building strength and resting well). Now is the time to simply be patient and get stronger. It's supposed to rain all of next week apparently. This is somewhat distressing since I'd planned another small day trip on Friday. I was thinking of going south (back to San O to hang with Puttzle and his crew) while my friend was thinking of going north (up to Ventura, perhaps). It doesn't matter. I just want some good waves. I haven't seen or ridden any in awhile. Now that I've finally waxed the new board, it's time for a nice swell to hit and not close out the waves where I surf.

16 March 2005

Dumbest Thing I've Ever Heard (About Surfing)

The picture comes from the "Things I Hate About My Flatmate" blog. The blogger ended the blog and said, "Feel free to take the pictures and use them for any purposes you like."

I have nothing to report since I haven't been out. I went to my break on Tuesday. It was dead. The parking lot was practically empty. Although I could have made a run to Sunset, I decided it was safer not to press my luck. I needed to go to the bank, go to the post office, hit Target, and prepare my lecture for that afternoon. I'll have to wait until tomorrow for another session.

Up until a few months ago, a show called Longboard TV was regularly shown on Fuel (a cable channel for "action sports" enthusiasts). Obviously, that was a show for me. I've seen every episode at least three times. The show always featured an interview with a well-known longboarder. (I didn't say "famous longboarder" because I don't know that any of those folks who ride longboards are, in fact, famous.) Well, there's one interview that stands out in my mind. A well-known female longboarder said something like, "A woman shouldn't try to surf like a man. A woman has to use her grace." Okay, I don't know about the rest of you (especially if you are not part of the longboard tribe), but that is the most inane thing I've ever heard anyone say with respect to surfing. How does one "surf like a man"? How does one surf like a woman? I found this comment particularly irritating. The woman who said it is not at all graceful or dainty. She walks the board as if she's walking on hot coals. She's so damn tentative that it's almost painful to watch her surf and she moves like she's got a stick up her butt. Yes, her skills are worthy of envy. But the girl lacks style and, for me, that's what surfing a longboard is all about—style. So what was she trying to say? The women who surf with style, the ones who can step up to the nose without hesitation, surf like men? My favorite longboarder (Alex Knost) is a guy who is not very big. He steps lightly as he moves up and down the board. Is he surfing like a woman? I don't think so. Kim Hamrock, a former women's longboard world champion, is this tiny, muscular woman. She puts a hurtin' on a surfboard; she charges hard and steps up and down the board with authority. Is she surfing like a man? I doubt it. My question, as always, is: Why do people say so many stupid things? Oh! Here's another stupid thing I've heard yet another well-known female longboarder say: "I'm voting for President Bush because he likes to pray." Mind you, I'm not even criticizing her politics. I'm criticizing her logical reasoning (or lack thereof). I don't care about politics. All those people in Washington look and act the same to me. But couldn't this woman at least address Bush's record on the environment, weigh the benefits and disadvantages of having him in office, and then decide why she would re-elect him? (Stepping down off the soapbox.) Okay. I'm done.

14 March 2005

I've Been Thinking

I was walking across campus this afternoon, ruminating yet again on how much I don't want to teach this summer. I'll be truthful—I want to surf and relax this summer. I mean, the idea of having to leave the beach to go teach for three hours a day (Monday through Thursday) this summer is not sitting well with me at all. But, see, I took the class in order to make money. As much as I want to surf, I also want to pay at least some of the bills. Anyway, I'm walking across the campus when a thought came to me. (It's kind of a long thought so bear with me.) I said to myself, "Hey!! Since I'm only a part-timer, I can get unemployment if I don't teach this summer! And I'll make more on unemployment than I would if I taught that one class! And if I get unemployment, I can surf at my leisure! So what's keeping me from telling the school I can't teach that class?" Do I feel guilty about this? No. Why should I? I'm not a great believer in the working world. I don't find anything stimulating about going to a job each day. Frankly, teaching is the first job I've actually kind of liked in a way. (Did that make sense?) I get bored at jobs. I've never held a serious job for more than a couple of years. I'm simply not meant to be cooped up in an office, looking at the same walls and the same people all day every day. Teaching fits me for several reasons, the most important being that the semester ends right around the time I start to get bored. I will also admit to thriving on the positive reinforcement I get from my students. But that's about it. The class I would teach this summer is a class I taught last semester, am teaching this semester, and will teach twice in the fall. Enough already! I want a break.

13 March 2005

Believe It or Not . . .

I had a good session. Yes, the wind was killing everything. It was so cold and EVERYBODY knows I hate the cold. There was way too much texture in the water for my taste. It was simply a nasty, ugly day at the beach. But, hey, I don't get a chance to surf on the weekends often, let alone do a weekend surf early in the morning. Since I don't live anywhere near the beach, I usually have skates or my bike in the car in case the waves aren't cooperating. Today would have been a perfect day for a different workout. I, however, was so preoccupied with getting in the water today that it never occurred to me the waves might be less than ideal. I got to the beach, saw what was ahead of me, and proceeded to spend a good 30 minutes talking (and waiting for the conditions to improve). Then I spent another 10 minutes getting psyched up. Normally, I get that wetsuit on, throw the contacts in, pay for parking, and I'm gone. I worry that I might miss something if I spend too much time piddling around in the parking lot. Today, I did everything much more slowly. I didn't want to go home (figuratively) empty-handed. So, with a little prodding from Grace (who reminded me that I had my wetsuit on, thus I was already committed—my rule, not hers), I got in. The ocean was blown out. The waves were closed out. It was cold. And it was just what I needed to clear my head. I'd only been in for about five minutes when I caught a nice right, saw it closing out, turned the big log abruptly and went left, then moved up toward the nose for an almost "cheater five". For me, it was the wave of the day. This was another day of firsts. I've never been able, before today, to handle windy, blown out conditions. I've seen others catch waves on such days. I, on the other hand, always had a hard time spotting a wave in the midst of all that chop. I was finally able to make heads and tales of such conditions today. Apparently, I've gained yet more wave knowledge over the last few months. I got at least five rides today. I think, too, that having a big, heavy board helps. I wasn't getting tossed around like others I saw on funboards and shortboards. This was the session I needed. It didn't matter what the conditions were. All that mattered was that I get wet and deal with some of my demons.

12 March 2005

How Can I Get In a Session Today?

Remember last Saturday when the kid and I were stuck at home looking at each other? Well, here we go again. My husband is at work on yet another Saturday. (Yes, he's at work and pissed off about it.) I want to surf. But I have no one to watch my little man. One grandmother is out of town. The other is out at a social function. We have no other babysitters. Now, sometimes, we have a babysitting cooperative at our break. One or two people watch the kids while the others surf. Then we switch off. That's a possibility but I can't find the main family in this cooperative. They're probably already there at the beach. I think I've realized that there will be no surfing today. I suppose I will lift weights and let that be the workout for the day. Perhaps my husband will allow me to have a few hours of surfing in the morning, knowing that I will give him the rest of the day to ride his motorcycle.

I have yet to wax the board I bought last week. I've had neither the time nor the space to do it. The only safe place for me to wax a board is in the living room. I've learned the hard way not to put a board on the floor when my son is around. I was busy working or surfing throughout the week so I couldn't do it last week. And since I have yet to tell a certain person about the board, I haven't been able to do what I normally do: wax the board in the living room after the kid is in bed. I guess the board will have to sit quietly until I can give it some attention.

11 March 2005

So Many Walls!

I felt good enough today to paddle out. However, I stayed far away from Sunset. I was at my home break. Once again, I had to be persuaded to paddle out. All I saw from the shore were walls of water—big, thick, furious walls of water. That's when staying on dry land seems like a wonderful plan. Then, of course, all it takes is one person saying, "I was out this morning. It was fine. You'll have fun." That's usually enough for me. So I took the plunge. The initial paddle out was easy. I didn't even have to race to get past any closeouts. I had timed everything perfectly. Of course, once I was out there, I was having trouble finding a shoulder. I'd paddle for something only to have it jack up. Or I'd paddle for something only to have it melt away and disappear before it got to me. Finally, I caught a left, a nice long left. That one ride made the whole session. I made that wave and then managed to make the section. So I ended up going all the way to shore. Beautiful!! Or so I thought. Then the walls came, and they came hard. "Why would anyone put that many quarters in the wave machine?" I wondered. I think it was a good 10 minutes before a lull came and I was able to paddle back out. Once I was out there, I once again had trouble finding a wave to take in. It seemed like every wave was walled. I only had a limited amount of time to surf today. There would be none of this "one last wave that takes 40 minutes because it's too flat or I'm too greedy for another last wave and won't get out of the water" stuff. I had to go. Finally, a little tweener came through and I took it. As I caught it, I realized it was more than a tweener. I still got it, but I also managed to get worked once it was over. Nevertheless, it was a good session in conditions that were less than favorable.

10 March 2005

Sunset Got the Better of Me Today

This was the kind of day when you know you need to keep your ass at home. It's been a hard week, both emotionally and physically. This was yet another week when I had one night when I only got about two hours of sleep. I haven't been eating enough. And then my class pissed me off so badly yesterday that I told them so and even told one of the students, "I am not your mama!" So, when I woke up this morning, I was tired. I could feel the fatigue in muscles I didn't even know I had. And what did I do? I went to Sunset and paddled out during a big swell. On a normal day, I would have had a good session. Today, I reverted to my early days . . . as a kook! It seemed like I couldn't do anything right. Nothing felt right. I was so tired that I was actually shaking. When I raced bikes, my coach used to tell me that if you feel horrible before you've even ridden a mile, just turn around and go home, go home and do nothing. On those days, I would do just that. I'd usually go home, put my feet up (in an effort to rest my legs), eat, and sleep. (I think I worked a second shift job then, thus I had the the mornings and afternoons to train and rest.) I felt horrible today and still got in the water. Strike one! Once I was in the water, I felt out of sorts. Everything felt wrong. I thought my board (my beloved board) was too long for the conditions. I didn't have the drive to paddle for every wave. I barely had the drive to paddle for the ones I got. I just didn't have it in me today. Strike two! And Sunset was packed. There was hardly any room to go for waves. You'd turn around to start paddling, only to find someone in your way. At one point, I got a decent wave. I started down the line when all of a sudden, there's this guy in my path and he's trying to paddle back out (right in the middle of the lineup). I had nowhere to go. You know what happened next, right? Wrong. We didn't have a serious collision. But there was some contact. Luckily for him, I bailed in time to keep from mowing him down. There was no confrontation, no yelling, no fists (not that I would instigate a fight—nor will I run from one if I'm in the right). He admitted to being wrong. I told him not to worry about it and that I was just concerned that I had taken his head off. Still, that kind of thing can make a bad session even worse. Strike three! You're out! The only wave I had fun on was the one I took on the inside, close to the south end of the break. I'd parked by the dirt walkway so I had to get out down there. I was so disgusted with the session that I was actually paddling in. Luckily, while I was on the inside, I caught a nice wave that took me all the way in. I even had the nerve to do a nice little top turn on it. All in all, today's session was a wash. I should have stayed home. (On a lighter note: today's class was tremendous and that helped to raise my spirits.) I still plan on going out tomorrow. I ate a good dinner. I'll get a good night's sleep. I'll simply think good thoughts. But if I wake up feeling like shit, I'll take the day off.

09 March 2005

How Cool Is That?

This shot was taken at the surf contest in Malibu last summer. I don't even know how they had a contest; it was extraordinarily flat that day, flat enough for this guy to safely paddle around with a toddler on his board.

08 March 2005

Paying Your Dues

Today was one of those days when you paddle out knowing that you're about to pay your dues. You don't expect to get out of the water smiling. I believe you have to work for everything in life; things will not simply be handed to you because you show up. This applies to surfing and every other aspect of life. If you want to be a better surfer, you have to be willing to go out on days when you know you'll get worked.

I went to my home break today. There are days when I will suit up without ever looking at the waves. This was not one of those days. I went down closer to the water to take a look. Frankly, I didn't like what I saw. There were some shoulders, but for the most part, the waves were jacking up and closing out. Still, it didn't look too dangerous and I did need to surf (since my last time in was that kooky Sunset session from last week). I didn't know what to do. Finally, one of the other female members of the crew said, "Just go in." Then she pointed out an unoccupied spot with a smaller peak.

So I went in. The paddle out required a lot of push-ups. (You know what I'm talking about. It's the thing you do on a longboard because you can't duck-dive—you push up and let the white water rush between you and the board.) That was tiring in itself. Nonetheless, I made it outside unscathed. Then I had to figure out what I was doing. I was on the longest board I've ever had (the 9'6" log) in conditions that were a bit dicey. I distinctly remember that first wave. I don't even know how I made it. The take-off was extraordinarily steep, so much so that I had to lean back and keep the first third of the board in mid-air in order to keep from getting dumped. Somehow, I made the drop, straightened the board out, moved to a better position, and then turned. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the wave. I was truly amazed. See, last year, I didn't understand following the line of the wave and achieving trim. I would just catch a wave and take it straight into the beach. So I never got a good look at the bigger waves I took. Today, I saw the wave. It was way over my head. But before I could think too highly of myself, I got dumped. Then I got caught in the impact zone . . . and got worked. In fact, I got worked a lot today. I caught probably four or five waves and I'm quite proud of that, especially considering the board I was on. I went for waves knowing that if I missed them, I was doomed. This is the part of surfing that isn't fun, and it's not supposed to be. So although I did not get out of the water smiling, I did get out satisfied.

07 March 2005

It Is "Sick"!

06 March 2005

And I Thought I Was Proud of His Verbal Abilities

No surfing today, as is typical of my Sundays. I try to give my husband some time to do his thing. That meant, of course, that my surf jones would not be easily placated. At this point, I've got a monkey on my back that won't quit. He left and the thought of sitting at home with an energetic toddler was not one I cherished. I said "F#@! it" to myself (since I rarely, if ever, swear out loud anymore—motherhood), grabbed the kid and a 9'0" board bag, and headed back to Just Longboards. I decided I would never get that board out of layaway if I tried to save up the cash. So I went to get my board. I got a lot of positive feedback about that board while I was there. I heard the word "sick" twice. Obviously, I've stopped kicking myself about that board. What's done is done. I'm building a quiver. Don't stand in my way! Damn the torpedoes! Banzai!

Now, see, I haven't told my husband about this purchase. In fact, I rarely tell him about the boards I buy anymore. He knows about the 7'0" because he was there when I inquired about it. But other boards have come and gone over the last year and a half. He never seems to notice. So why bother telling him anymore? I don't want to hear his mouth. (I'm as bad as the guys who don't tell their wives how much their boards cost except I don't even mention that I got a new board.) It's not like we'd fight over it or anything. He knows I sell a board and then replace it with another most of the time. He also knows that people have more than one board. Still, I'd rather keep my board buying and selling habits to myself. As the quiver establishes itself, I'll start showing him the boards. Anyway, my point is that I had no intention of telling him I got a board today. At least I thought my secret was safe . . . until a little voice in the back seat said, "You got a new surfboard?" I'd forgotten about him! I thought he was so busy looking at Nemo in the fish tank (which was made by Greg Noll) that I assumed he had no interest in the board or the fact that it was coming home with us. What's worse is when I didn't answer, he had the nerve to ask me again!

Now I have to wait and see whether he narcs on me to his dad. The board is in the garage. I'm hoping for my child it will be a case of "out of sight, out of mind". What I find funny is that my husband will go in the garage when he comes home. He'll never notice that the board rack, which has been empty for about a month, now has a board on it again. Granted, all of my boards live in bags, but wouldn't you notice when something that big comes and goes? Do you see why I don't even bother to tell him when I buy a board? Of course, I'll have to tell him about it sooner or later. If I ever take it out on a weekend, he'll see that it's new (since we usually all go to the beach together and he does know what my boards look like). If nothing else, my surf jones is better now.

05 March 2005

Have You Seen This Surfboard?


"To all of our harbour friends & supporters,

Please be on the look out for a board stolen from the Harbour Surf shop. The board is a brand new 7'8" Spherical Revolver, very unique and easily recognized as it has a texalium deck and a sea foam green tint on the bottom and rails, truly one of a kind. Many of you who frequent the shop have seen it as it was the one hanging outside the shop. The board was stolen on Sunday morning by a person that fits the following description: 28-32 years of age in a red pick up truck with no lic. plate on it.

We would like to enlist the assistance of you, our friends, in locating this board. If you have any details, please call the retail store at (562)430-5614. The Seal Beach Police have been contacted and we have notified all of the local shops to be on the look out.

We also want to take this opportunity to thank our great friend Ron Osti who was able to chase the suspect for a time and provide us with the description. Please give a wave to Ron when you see him in the water for his valiant efforts!

Thank you to all of our friends and supporters, we greatly appreciate any assistance that you can offer!"

Reason Number 5 Why Mothers Should Surf


Pre-surf attitude: "I'm not cleaning this up! These people think I'm the maid!"

Post-surf attitude: "The house looks kind of neat today!"

Mind you, nothing will have changed between the time I surfed and the time I got back . . . except my attitude. And, no, I usually don't clean it up. He's just going to make the mess again anyway. Normally, we have him move things that will be stepped on.

04 March 2005

I've Got It Worse Than I Thought

(Sigh) What have I done? I can't believe it. (Sigh) I might as well tell the whole ugly story and get it over with. I called ZJ's this morning, asking if they had any idea when my board is going to arrive. I'm awaiting a call from Mike, who said he would probably end up having to call the factory. He warned that the board could take three months to arrive if Channel Islands didn't have the board in its inventory (and, thus, had to make it). Alright, I can live with that. But, as we all know, I'm having problems with restraint.

I went to bed last night thinking I'd be surfing today. At about 3:00 a.m., I realized I was hearing rain outside. Okay, again, I can live with that. Still, that meant my one day off was ruined in terms of surfing. (Friday is the one day I don't teach and it's the one day when I have the house and a big chunk of time to myself.) Well, who wants to stay in the house all day? I decided I'd go to Just Longboards to see what was there. (Stop laughing at me! Yes, I did something foolish!) I looked at the boards. Truthfully, it was the first time I actually examined boards. They have everything there and I consider it a good place to learn about boards because you see so many different variations on one theme—longboarding. So, I noticed a board by a shaper named Chris Slick. I took the board down to get a better look at it. I started talking to one of the guys who works there, explaining that I only like single fins and am now down to one board. Then we got into a conversation about building quivers. Of course, I now realize that's what I'm doing and that's why I'm so anxious to buy new boards. We're looking at this Chris Slick board and a guy comes in carrying another one. It turns out that he was the shaper. We started talking. Finally, I asked him what his last name was. This whole time I'd been wondering if the Chris Slick boards were shaped by Chris Schlickenmeyer. Yes, you've got it. That's who I was talking to. His is a name with which I'm familiar. Frankly, I took all of this as a sign. I'd been wanting a Schlickenmeyer-shaped board for awhile. But I didn't know where to find one or how to inquire about one. Then I go to Just Longboards and find the board AND the shaper. Well, you know what happened, don't you? I put a deposit on a Schlickenmeyer board. As I was handing over my credit card—the one I said I wasn't going to use since I'm trying to live my life without resorting to credit—the guy at the register said something that assuaged my guilt. I was standing there kicking myself for my lack of restraint. He said that you can't have just one board. He used a golf analogy, saying you can't play golf with just one club. You need a bag full of different clubs. Surfing, he said, is the same way. You need to have several boards. Well, when you put it that way, I don't feel so bad. I don't know. I worry that I won't know where or how to stop this!

Postscript: Mike at ZJ's called as I was typing this. It turns out, my order for the 7'0" hadn't gone through. It was faxed, but the shaper hadn't received it. I was given a choice. I could wait for them to make the board in yellow, which would not be ready until June, or pick from what was in the factory. I told Mike, "Hey, it's just a surfboard. I don't care that much about what color it is." (Although we all know I will not surf a board without color.) He told me which colors they had available. I opted for the red one. In two weeks, I'll have two boards in my quiver. I don't know when I'll be able to get the Slickenmeyer out of layaway. I won't worry about it for now. I'll concentrate on getting the money together for the board that's coming. If I get paid before it's ready, I'll have all of the cash needed to pay off the balance.

03 March 2005

I've Got It Bad

I sold my McTavish a few months ago. I thought it was the best board in the world . . . until I got on the Tyler. Then it was all over. I actually prefer the ride of a single fin to that of a 2+1 set-up. The three fin thing is a bit too squirrely for me. So, anyway, I sell that board and the money is burning a hole in my pocket. I knew I had to put that money on another board or else watch it disappear into the black hole that is this family's bills. I gave thought to buying another, shorter Tyler. But then I couldn't justify spending the money (that I didn't even have) and I didn't see the point in having a shorter longboard. I looked into a Buttons retro board. I finally settled on the Machado single fin. I can surf it on bigger days, days when I'm not afraid to go out yet know that I'll be doomed to failure on the log. The funniest thing was trying to decide what size to get. Nick at ZJ's was leaning toward something in the range of 6'6". I'm sure the look I gave him said, "Are you out of your @#!#$ mind? That's three feet shorter than the board I'm on!" Eventually, it was agreed that the 7'0" would be the best length for me. I think I ordered it in January. Well, now it's March and I want to see a new surfboard in this house! I'm tired of waiting. I've managed to put aside much of the money needed to pay off the balance owed on the board. And what did I do last week? Almost spent that money on a board I saw on eBay. Am I out of my mind? Do you know what kind of self-restraint I had to exercise to keep from buying that board? I ended up being the highest bidder. However, I hadn't met the reserve. I was relieved . . . until the next day when I got a second chance offer from the seller. It offered me the board for the price I'd bid, even though my bid was below the reserve. Shit! Will the temptations ever cease? According to the offer, I had 24 hours to accept. I actually suffered over this decision. I loved the board, but wondered about the price. I mean, if I had bid less would I have been offered the board at a lower price? Would the seller put the board back on the auction block, thus allowing me to limit my bids and hope that 1) no one else bettered my bids and 2) the seller made another second chance offer for a lower price? Well, with five minutes to go on the offer, I sat here right where I am now. What to do? What to do? I'm proud to say that I let the board go. Of course, I've vacillated between kicking myself for passing up the offer and congratulating myself for waiting for the board I've ordered. One of the guys at my break, upon hearing how many boards I've gone through in the short time I've been surfing, shook his head and told me, "You're fucked. You've got it bad." Yep, I do.

01 March 2005

Sunset, Fickle Kooky Sunset

I went out today even though I'd had only two hours of sleep. I wouldn't teach in that condition, but I sure as hell surfed in that condition. You know, when you're sleep deprived you feel like shit. My problem, too, is that I'm a morning person. So even if I haven't had enough sleep, there's no way I can make up for it in the a.m. Once I'm up, I'm up. There's no going back to bed. So, I went surfing.

I went to my local break. As usual, the swell brought big closeouts. Now, I have no understanding of this swell direction stuff. I have no idea how the direction of the swell impacts the places where I surf. I knew a swell was here, but I went to my break anyway. Once I get there and see what's going on, then I start to figure things out. One thing I know for sure: if it's closed out at my break, there are probably waves at Sunset. So I headed up to Sunset. There weren't many people there when I got in. However, a friend who was getting out told me, "Be careful. There are a lot of kooks out there." And that's the thing that I hate and everyone else hates about Sunset. (Yes, Whiffleboy, I saw your post and the attached comments.) Sunset confuses me; I never quite know what to do about the kook factor. I'm normally a cautious and generous surfer. I know my big log can catch a lot of waves and I have no problem letting waves go so that others (i.e., shortboarders) can catch something too. I'll even point to a guy on a shortboard as a wave approaches. That's my way of letting him know that's his wave if he wants it. It's the beginning surfers who throw me off; they don't know enough to pay attention to the people around them. I got in the water today mindful of what my friend had said. As a result, I spent too much time watching and waiting. If I think a beginner is going for a wave, I don't want that wave. And since they all seemed to be going for the waves, I did a lot of sitting when I first got in. (I was also tired and feeling sorry for myself.) When I was a beginner, I did not want to share waves with anyone. My favorite saying was, "Watch out! I can't steer this thing!" That's my fear with the beginners out there. I don't want any of them to run into me. So, I just sat there. Finally, I started catching waves. I moved to the spot where I feel most comfortable (somewhere between the point and Dos Baños—probably even with the ramp) and that's where things started to happen. It was an okay session. I was too tired to actually enjoy it. I know that at some point I caught a wave, walked forward a few steps, walked back a few steps, and then pushed the tail down and turned. That kind of ride would normally make me smile from ear to ear. Not today. Smiling would have taken too much energy.

You know, I heard tell some time back that there are lefts at Sunset. The first time someone mentioned a left, I didn't really pay much attention. But my friend today said something about left that kept popping up. Hmmmm. I'm a goofy foot. I can appreciate a left, especially at a point break known for its right. As soon as I paddled out, a wave loomed. I think I even said out loud, "Is that a left?" It was. And I got my first left at Sunset. This was a historic event. I don't remember having seen a left at Sunset before. Granted, I've been to Sunset maybe 10 times so it's not like I know Sunset all that well. Today's waves were decent. It was worth the drive up there since I couldn't surf at my break. The waves didn't have much juice so getting into them took some work. I just wanted to surf hard enough to ensure I have a good night's sleep tonight.