30 November 2005

Surfing? What's That?

Now that we're down to one car, surfing is but a memory for me. There were two days this week when I could have surfed . . . if I'd been in possession of my surf mobile. Alas, those sessions were not to be. These days, I'm forced to amuse myself with lifting weights and riding my bike. My next day off is Friday. I'm almost positive I won't be in the water. CYT offered to pick me up for a session. I'm down with that. But, dammit, Wetsand and The Weather Channel are predicting rain. At the rate I'm going, I might as well move the quiver back into the garage.

25 November 2005

Why Me?

Oh, woe is me. (Sigh) As if it wasn't bad enough that we're down to one car. I just read the Wetsand report for Tuesday, my next day off:

Tuesday the 29th it looks like this swell will back down even further, and leave us with calm, tranquil water with ripples of waves in the toe to knee high range.

"Toe to knee high range"? I don't think there's a board big enough for those kinds of conditions, is there?

24 November 2005

Happy Turkey Day!!!

Yeah, I went out. Yeah, it was flat. How flat was it? Flat enough to make an uncrowded Malibu look like Malibu on a summer day. There were so few waves—seriously—that you had no choice but to paddle for them even though four other people were paddling too.

Most of the time, we were doing this:

Then one of the few and far between set waves would roll through. All of a sudden, those people above were doing this:

The waves were soft and mushy. There weren't many long rides to be had, yet you still ended up riding the waves within arm's reach of your fellow surfers:

I can't say that I didn't enjoy myself. The weather was fine. The water was glassy. People were nice. You really can't beat that, can you?

23 November 2005

Running on Empty

That's me. Today I was literally riding around on fumes (physically speaking). Although I've not had much time in the water of late, I have been working out. Two days ago, I rode my bike to work since we've only got one car for awhile. In order to avoid serious traffic, I took a circuitous route that involved heading to the beach, riding south, and then swinging back inland. So I rode 20 miles that morning. Then, for the next eight hours, I was on my feet. I didn't feel it yesterday. I did feel it today. CYT and I, as usual, headed out in a search for surf. This time, however, we were in separate cars. My running buddy (a.k.a. Mom) was with me (since Soul Brother #1 took her car to work). Well, we drove and we drove. Then we drove some more. All the way up to LPB. Nothing. We finally went back to Sunset. Still nothing. By then, I was done. I'd seen enough and I wasn't feeling Endless Summerish any longer. So, Mom and I hit up the S.M. Farmer's Market, CPK, and Barnes and Noble. CYT headed back to Malibu. She called later to say she got some good waves even though there was a long wait between sets. Frankly, I think I had more fun than she did. Tomorrow is another day and I will try to get out again. If I don't get a session in, my next chance will be Monday before work. I want to get wet. I've put a beautiful new wax job on the Slick. It needs to be christened already. Send me some good surf karma. I want to get wet tomorrow!

18 November 2005

Too Much Information?

Once again, it's all about surfing. Why do I say that? Because I know I've got it bad. And you know you've got it bad when you talk to your doctor about getting your tubes tied. She generally explains the process, saying it's done laproscopically. The incision is near the belly button. Thus, the abdominal muscles will hurt for quite awhile after the surgery. Was I worried about the idea of an operation? No. Did I get woozy when she explained how it was done? No. Then why am I trippin'? Because she said that area will be tender for weeks—AND I TOOK THAT TO MEAN I WON'T BE ABLE TO SURF! And, really, what's a few weeks out of the water compared to no longer having to worry about birth control? I mean, you'd think I'd be able to easily decide which of those is more important, right? We'll revisit this subject again in a few months as I get closer to scheduling the surgery. Of course, now that I think of it, a few weeks out of the water is better than nine months (or longer) out of the water.

17 November 2005

Too Good to be True

Oh yeah. That's how I felt after yesterday's pre-work session. The sun was out. The crowd was light. The waves were small and playful (thus allowing me to once again go leashless). I surfed for a good hour and a half, pretty much catching waves at will and taking them all the way in because . . . well . . . because I could. I had more fun than a person should have before going to work. This was my first pre-work, rinse-off-in-the-parking-lot-with-hot-water-I-brought session. The surfing was great. Having to go to work was not. I don't know that I can successfully pull off a day of surfing and work. By the time I got to work yesterday, I was in the throes of a surfer's high. I didn't want to do jack and didn't care. That's not good for my paycheck. I lacked the will to sell. Luckily, I got myself together before the day ended and easily met my sales goal for the day. But I don't know that I can do that every time I surf before work. So now I'm wondering if I should refrain from surfing before work. Okay, I'm not that worried about it. When the next opportunity to do a pre-work session arises, I'll jump on it. Who am I trying to fool?

During the session, I switched boards with this guy who was on a 10 foot board. Gracefullee is constantly talking about going to a longer board. I'd never surfed anything longer than my Tyler. This guy out there yesterday was catching everything. I wanted to try his board. I asked if we could switch. No, I didn't know him. But I will often ask strangers to let me try their boards. So we switched. The first thing out of his mouth was what I hear from everyone, "How do you get your wax to look like this?" After pearling on my first wave, I finally caught something on his board. I loved it! I can't say that I want a board that long, but I could see why he was catching everything. The board was big AND fast. I don't think I want to move up to a ten-o. I'm glad I finally tried one. Another guy offered to let me try his Kane Garden fish. I thought about it and then declined. It was short! I didn't think my feet would ever find the deck of that thing. I'll see him again though. I told him I'd look for him and then switch the next time I was out.

15 November 2005

Surprised Myself

Now that I work in the South Bay, I'm close to the surf shop which causes me the most angst—Just Longboards. It's a place I find it hard to visit without wanting to take something home. I ran down there during my lunch hour, thinking I'd find something to drool over. For the second time now, I've gone there and seen nothing I wanted. I think I only stayed for about 15 minutes. None of the boards begged to come home with me. I felt no compunction to fondle any rails. What's wrong with me? Once again, I've got proof that my quiver is a good one. I'm happy with the longboards that live at my house. And now that I've had a taste of speed and maneuverability, I'm excited about getting on my 7'0". The one thing I did learn at the shop is that Chris Slick is moving back to Hawaii so his boards won't be available for much longer. I consider myself fortunate to own one of his boards. I just wish I could afford to have him make me a custom made board before he leaves.

You Surf Like a . . . Shortboarder?

On my best wave yesterday, I was actually surfing like a shortboarder. What on earth was I thinking? I arrived at the home break with both the Slick and the funboard (which is a Con). After asking around about the conditions, I decided it was a funboard day. The waves seemed somewhat large and walled up. I thought the funboard would be perfect. Of course, after I got in the tide started going out, the waves got smaller, and I probably would have been happier on the longboard but I decided to stay on the funboard nonetheless. Silly me assumed that one previous, successful session on the funboard meant that all other sessions on that board would be easy. Silly me was wrong. I couldn't quite find my rhythm on that board. I was popping up too early on waves. I was standing in the wrong spot once I popped up. You know what I'm talking about—I was having quite a few kook moments. After about half an hour I found my rhythm or at least what was left of it. I took off on a nice left with a good amount of shoulder. Once again, I noticed that upon popping up, everything was perfect. I could feel that I was in the right spot on both the wave and the board. I took off on this wave and before I knew it, my left arm (i.e., trail arm) was pumping up and down, I was picking up speed, and I literally tore that wave up. Well, I tore it up as much as you can on a big-ass funboard. But I could tell I'd just ridden that wave as if I was on a shortboard. It was a good long, fast ride. When it ended, a shortboarder on the shore hooted to me and threw up the shaka sign. Other than that, the session was uneventful. It was good to be back at the home break. I love it there. I really do.

Our garage is virtually empty now that we no longer own a motorcycle. And yet, my boards—all four of them—are still in the house. What's that about? The Tyler is the big one in the silver board bag. The Slick is in the Hawaiian print bag. The Con funboard, the board many people have been asking me to post a picture of, is sans bag in this picture. The Channel Islands is in the bedroom.

11 November 2005

What A Beautiful Day . . .

to have a cold. I know it's still flat out there and the water's probably filthy. Still, when the sun is out, I want to get wet! Damn it all to hell, I got the cold that's been passed from one person to another at my job. I thought I'd be immune since my little one often comes home from daycare with a runny nose. He's not the culprit this time. And I'm not feeling invincible enough (for a change) to take my chances in the water.

Five minutes later:

I shouldn't have looked at Uncle Grant's surf report. Now I want to get wet again.


Friday, November 11, 2005, 9:35 a.m.

Sorry for the ultra late report, but I've been surfing. I'm now gonna have some breakfast, coffee and newspaper, and paddle back out. It's not great or anything, just damn fun. Waist-high frequent sets that have lots and lots of room for long boards. Go for it if you can.

And if you do it right now, you'll get to surf to Donna Summer and the Bee Gees. The old couple picture above, every Friday I'm out, show up around 8 and blast 70's disco music towards the water as they do these funky exercise that are hard to explain. Kinda fun between sets sitting there listening to that stuff as the dolphins go buy.

How deep is YOUR love? (cause we're living in a world of fools)

Uncle Grant

09 November 2005

We Ain't Goin' Out Like That

Now I'm going to be like Alan M and ask who sang that song. The first correct answer gets . . . nothing but my undying appreciation for his or her musical knowledge.

Yesterday would have been a good day to surf if
1. It hadn't been so flat
2. My husband hadn't been in a car accident on his way to work
3. We lived somewhere with a good swell on Tuesday, November 8.

I couldn't find a reason to paddle out. So I made my husband take a spin with me on the bikes. The best thing we saw at El Porto was a huge pod of dolphins that we watched for about 10 minutes. There were no noteworthy waves to speak of. On an automotive note, beware of catering trucks that dump water, or oil, or whatever it is they dump while driving down the freeway. The truck did it on the steep transition between the 105 Freeway and the 91 Freeway. My husband was behind the catering truck, unfortunately, and hydroplaned right into the wall. He was lucky he wasn't hurt. I can't say the same about the car. And speaking of catering trucks, don't forget that it was a catering truck that killed two cyclists on PCH. Why? The driver said he didn't want to stop (and not run them over) because someone in the back of the truck was cooking. Oh, so you'd rather kill two people who had the right to be on the road than act legally (i.e., by not cooking while the truck is moving and by not running over people that the California DMV says have a right to be on the road)?

There'll be no surfing today, not with this weather. I guess it's time to pull out the Indo Board.

04 November 2005

Thanks, Mom!!

No, not my mom. I'm talking to Mother Nature. She delivered enough of a swell to give me a session that was close to perfect. It's a given, right? If it's Friday, I'm surfing. Somehow, my manager understands that I want Fridays off and has been nice enough to oblige my wishes every week. Once again, plans were made and broken. CYT and I are anxious to return to LPB. When we talked two days ago, we made tentative plans to make the drive there. But, upon checking the surf reports and the tide charts last night, I realized that the morning's high tide and relative lack of swell would mean LPB was out. A beach break was in. We stayed local and hit up the beach break we've been frequenting for the last month or so. Whiff is now at my home break. The irony is that many of the locals there are, like me, looking elsewhere for surf. The waves there just aren't good enough. They're not as good as they can be and have been in years past. Many of us from that break simply moved down a few miles to another break.

It took me some time to really start surfing. In fact, it took some yelling from CYT and Victor from ZJ's to make me surf. The full-time work thing is tiring. Today was my first day off in a week. I needed to kind of sit and vegetate for a bit once I got into the lineup. That meant, of course, that I was either letting waves go by or was making half-assed attempts at paddling for them. I wasn't feeling it at all. I guess CYT and Victor got tired of watching me sit there looking stupid. They both told me to start charging the waves. And with that, I started surfing in earnest. I'm giving thanks to Mother Nature for sending the waves I'd been waiting for. These waves were so good that after each one of them, I was ready to go home. I'd had perfect rides and felt like staying in for more would just ruin the session. Did I get barreled? No. Did I hang ten? No. I don't need either of those things in order to label a ride as "perfect". What I did do was feel 100% in the moment on each ride. Those two rides made me realize what it means to be a soul surfer. Everything about those rides was perfect, almost surreal. On the first one, I could tell something was different. Usually, I paddle, pop-up, and surf. I think about very little while those things are happening. On this wave, I knew something was up as soon as my feet hit the deck. Everything felt right at that moment. I was on the board's sweet spot. My body was loose. The wave was waiting. CYT and I took the wave together. For probably the first time, I was the one in the front. She got a bird's eye view of my ride. Anyway, I popped up and immediately felt like I'd done something extraordinary. It just felt perfect. And then the wave presented itself to me. And I took my time, carving up and down the face, using my body when necessary but not doing too much. CYT said I even did a floater. (Have I ever mentioned that I can do floaters without trying? I do them all the time and never give a second thought to that fact.) The second wave was pretty much the same. I got other waves today, but they didn't feel like those two. I think Mother Nature smiled upon me today. She knows I've been working too hard and was deserving of a great session. I thank her for that.

NaNoWriMo Update: I've decided to do a book of short stories. I simply don't have the patience to write a novel at this point in my life. However, I can't start the short stories until I do more research (which relates to something that occurred on September 11 and the World Trade Center). I've challenged Jason to participate too. I'm making this public in order to make both of us stick to the task at hand.

03 November 2005

Not Today

The plan, as of last week, was to surf this week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Today, I let the plan fall through. It was just as well. When I took a spin on my bike this morning, El Porto was essentially flat. And if El Porto's flat, there's not much hope for any other locations within a 15 mile radius.

Yesterday's session was nothing exciting. Again, I was happy to get in a session. I know I said I'd stay on the funboard. But, hey, the funboard is going to be worthless when it's flat. I didn't take the Slick either. In conditions like those we've seen over the past few days, it's time to call out the big gun. In fact, last week's leashless session was so good for my confidence that I opted to go leashless with the Tyler yesterday. That, frankly, was a good call. My skills are such that I can keep the board with me in the little stuff. I swam a couple of times only because I allowed myself to lose the board. At some point, half of the break cleared out, leaving me quite a bit of space to myself. So I took the opportunity to work on cross-stepping even though the waves weren't worthy. You can't stay perched on the nose if the wave doesn't have any juice. On a couple of occasions, I cross-stepped up to the tip, stood there, and then fell off as the wave melted away and brought the board to an abrupt halt. There was no one anywhere near me on those occasions and I allowed myself to lose the board. On the waves I did catch and ride to completion, I never even came close to losing the board.

What I'm finding interesting of late is how many people are commenting about the fact that one doesn't see many black women surfing. Last week at the Breakwater, I took a wave all the way in and passed someone about to paddle out. (Yes, when I take a wave all the way in, I'm usually still surfing in spots where people are standing.) I'm on this wave and I pass a guy who yells, "What's your motivation?" Now, for some reason, I knew what he was asking me. I somehow understood that he wanted to know what got this sister girl on a surfboard. He and I talked for awhile. I then paddled back to CYT, told her of the guy's question, and she thought it was the dumbest question in the world. I think she found it somewhat insulting. I didn't. I mean it's not like you see a black woman on a surfboard every day. Okay, I got out of the water yesterday and was heading back to the parking lot, log perched on top of my head (cos that damn thing is heavy and will probably cause me some kind of rare arm length discrepancy disorder if I keep carrying it under my arm). An older guy on a bike looks at me and says, "Wow! We don't see many sisters out here surfing!" I then pointed out that he was a mere few hundred feet from a Nissan mini-billboard that showed a sister surfing!!! (That advertisement is on the Venice boardwalk over by the basketball courts.) I've heard other comments too. None of them were negative. I guess there aren't many of us out there. Still, I don't want to talk about it every time I go surfing. I'm a surfer who happens to be black and female. I don't want to discuss the black/female part every time I get in the water. Frankly, I don't find that part of me, as it relates to surfing, all that interesting.