30 April 2006

Forget It

I've been up since 6:30 watching the cams and waiting for surf reports, hoping upon hope that something good would materialize in the ocean. It's now almost 8. Mom uttered my favorite sentence when I spoke to her on the phone: "I'll watch him." Great!! But is it? There's nothing out there. Why make a withdrawal from the babysitting bank when you can't make good use of that child-free time? I think I'll pass on getting wet today. There's less energy in the water today than there was yesterday. So why bother?

29 April 2006

You Call That Praying?

I said pray for "decent, plentiful waves," not pray for gutless knee high waves. What? You didn't get the memo about the praying thing? Everything today went according to plans except for the waves. When the waves are that few, far between, and small, I always end up sitting out on my board saying, "This is stupid." And it was. It was just stupid. There was nothing out there. The little somethings that I got were not necessarily worth a paddle out at RPB. There simply wasn't enough swell in the water. Still, the session wasn't a complete wash. I went out there knowing it was time to start working on style. I'm ready to move to the next level in my longboard surfing, but it's taken me until now to figure out what's holding me back. So I've watched videos of pros and looked at pictures of myself, trying to determine what it is I need to be doing. Then it finally hit me: I need to be more relaxed. I need to look less like this—

and more like this

I've been thinking about this for weeks now. I've told myself to start surfing with my arms down. Of course your arms will go out as you balance yourself to walk the board or turn, but when you watch good longboard surfers you notice that the default position for their arms is down at their sides. So, I worked on that today. In fact, I did it without problem. Believe it or not, I think it helps. Even though I was forcing the issue, surfing with my arms down made me more relaxed. A longboard is not a tightrope. There's a lot of space there for your feet. Therefore there's no reason why your arms should be sticking out as if you're preparing to head down the runway for your take-off. I'd always wondered why some longboarders hunch when they surf. Then I felt myself doing it. I don't know where it came from. It's as if I had to do that little hunch in order to keep my arms down and stay relaxed. It's funny that I can't just be relaxed. I have to force it. Still, I think that's because I'm now ridding myself of bad habits which are second nature. Doing something new is confusing and stressful. But, hey, if you're going to ride a longboard with style, you've got to consciously develop your style. And that's what I'm doing. So the session wasn't a complete failure.

28 April 2006

I'd Better Find Some Waves

I've got everything lined up for tomorrow. Soul Grandmother #2 as babysister? Check. Meeting with CYT at the appointed break at the appointed hour? Check. Surf stuff all in one place so that nothing gets left behind? Check. Gas in the car? Check. A good attitude? Check. A willingness to charge? Oh, hell yeah!!!

After last week's session at El Porto, everything went downhill for me physically. I went there with what I thought were my allergies. By Sunday, I was hurtin' and unable/unwilling to leave the house, even though I was stuck there all day alone with a four year old. What I thought was allergies turned out to be some weird infection that lodged, of all places, in my nose. My nose turned red . . . well, as red as it's going to turn on a face with brown skin and swelled to the point of being painful to the touch. Then the swelling started to spread to my cheek. It was awful. I knew that this redness, heat and swelling meant there was an infection. I was right. It took days for the infection to work its way out of there. (What does that mean? Two words: oozing and pus—it wasn't pretty.) I even managed to get myself sent home from work on Monday after dutifully making an appearance for a few hours. I'm much better now. No, I'm not staying out of the water this weekend. Last week's health issue is behind me now. Part of me thinks the problem wasn't helped by the red tide that was in the water. I'd never gotten ill from the red tide before, but then again there's always a first time.

Pray for decent, plentiful waves. Amen.

26 April 2006

Is This Thing On?

Where did everybody go? Stop lurking and start talking!

25 April 2006


Brought to you by surf cams all over the county (including SwellMagnet, RPBSurf.com, and the L.A. County site).

22 April 2006

Not Worth the Price of Admission

Today's damn session cost me exactly $22.68. That money would have been better spent on:
a) half a tank of 87 octane gasoline for the surf mobile;
b) fish tacos (me), a grilled halibut plate (Soul Brother #1), and rice with part of the fish from my tacos (Soul Brother #2);
c) a quick trip through the Express Line at Ralphs; or
d) all of the above.
Unlike the multiple choice questions you see on exams, any answer you chose would have been correct.

This was truly a day to stay in. But there would be none of that. It was the first time in over a month that CYT and I would be surfing together. If there was surf to be had, we were going to find it . . . without driving too far. I lined up the babysitter. My board was graced with a new coat of wax. Although I felt somewhat tired from a week of good workouts in addition to a week of work, I was ready to hit it. As usual, CYT and I did our search for surf in her car. That's not a bad thing . . . unless . . . you end up at El Porto. CYT rarely has paper cash and never has coins. I, on the other hand, always keep quarters in my car. But we weren't in my car, dammit!! (I think I'm hyperventilating from being completely disgusted by this session.) Alright, alright. We started out thinking the Breakwater would have a little something. Well, it had a little nothing. Not a thing. We didn't even look. As we drove around the narrow streets in Venice, a guy with a surfboard in the back of his truck said we needn't bother to look. CYT wondered if we should believe him. I said we should. So we then went to the Pier, just go take a look, a look at the bathtub-sized ripples in the ocean. There was no way we were going to drive all over the place looking for waves. I only had the babysitter for a few hours and the gas prices killed my enthusiasm for driving to faraway surf spots. And this is how we ended up at El Porto with me realizing we couldn't surf there without quarters. We stopped at the Chevron station. CYT went in to get quarters, right? She came out with Chapstick and four quarters. (I knew they'd make her buy something.) Four quarters was not going to be enough. I went in with my $5 (which is all I had since the $20 at home was reserved for the babysitter and I don't get paid until Friday). I got a $1.68 bottle of Gatorade and asked that one dollar of my change be in quarters. That meant we now had nine quarters. No problem, I thought. Problem! The waves sucked. There was little shape. There was too much wind. There was red tide. There were the dreaded "Victory at Sea" conditions that I detest. Was it fun? No. Did you catch anything? Yes. Would you have felt better had you stayed home and saved your money? Yes. That's how truly pathetic it was out there today. Will I try to go again tomorrow? No. I can't afford it.

17 April 2006

Would You Spend $8000 on a Surfboard?

15 April 2006

Rain, Rain . . .

go away—before I beat you with a damn stick! Stop it already! Or if you're going to make an appearance, come early in the week. That way I can still get in the water over the weekend.

Hey, who wants to see an $8000 surfboard? Yep, that's three zeroes after the eight. I happened upon the board in an upscale furniture store in Culver City. Amazingly enough, my camera was in my purse and I was able to get a few shots of this masterpiece. If you want to see it, raise your hand.

I've got my eye on another Slick. I think I alluded to this a few weeks ago. After reading the latest Longboard, I thought I should come to my senses and consider another board. Off I headed to Just Longboards. I looked at the Slick I've been pining after and then looked around for something else I might want (including a fish or an egg). When all was said and done, the only board that called to me was the Slick. My instinct, which is always right, tells me to get it even though I'm already the proud owner of one Slick. There's something about his boards. I did happen upon a Slick performance board. Part of me thinks I should consider that. I didn't particularly like the 2+1 set-up I had on a previous board. I'm more than happy with the performance of my single fin Slick. I feel kind of dumb thinking about getting another one. But then I consider the fact that my funboard is a thruster; when I feel the need for a smaller (yeah, I know 8'6' is anything but small) and more maneuverable board, I surf the funboard. I don't like all of that wiggling around when I'm on a longboard. I think I've now shown myself why I might as well get another single fin and forget the performance board. It's funny. I know there's a retro movement in surfing. I'm not part of it though. Single fins simply suit my style. And the Slicks surf loose enough to feel like tri-fin boards. I don't know when I'll get it. Now that I'm working steadily, I'm trying to make a lot of bills disappear. I'm hoping our tax refund, however much it is, will help me make this—the new board—happen. Once it does, I'll finally take a decent picture of my quiver.

11 April 2006

Shout Outs

Okay, homie, I put your picture in the blog. Satisfied? LOL. Dave is cool. In fact, he and I switched boards on Sunday. He was the one who ordered me to get his board out of that brown stuff floating in the water.

The man is a damn wave-catching machine. He's been surfing forever . . . and it shows. He catches 95% of what he paddles for. It's amazing.

Freak of nature. Like John, he catches just about everything he goes for but I'd have to say he's probably the most stylish person you'll see out in the water. And he's a phenomenal painter.

One of my confidants. She's a better surfer than she thinks she is.

He surfs every kind of board and surfs them all well. When he's on his fish, you just want to go sit on the shore and watch him. He's that good.

See how he's standing? What's that about? He stands like that whether he's on a longboard or a shortboard. I knew I'd come up in the world when I won a paddle battle with him over a year ago. Yes, he's stronger than I am, but he backed down because he knew (finally) I would not.

That's only part of the crew. Soul Brother #1 took those pictures over the weekend. I hope to get more of the folks up on the blog in the future.

10 April 2006

Filthy and Disgusting

Sunday session. Home break. As Uncle Grant would say, It was on! I shit you not. The home break hasn't seen waves that good in a long time. But first, a word from our sponsors.
(Surfer #1) Hey, dude, like what's that brown stuff floating in the water?
(Surfer #2) I don't know. It looks harmless to me. I think that's what the City calls "biosolids," dude.
(Surfer #1) But, dude, isn't that just a nice way of saying, "There's a whole bunch of shit in the water?"
(Surfer #2) No way, dude. It's totally clean out here. Since the beach is still open, the water must be clean, right?
(Surfer #1) Right on!!! (Pointing toward the horizon) Outside!!!
The camera pulls back to show the approach of a beautiful wave that will certainly be overhead. We see our surfers laughing and hooting, turning their boards toward shore and paddling through brown, trash-strewn water. Cut to: "Thanks to the City of Los Angeles, our beaches are clean and safe."

And my question is this: Why didn't anyone tell us there was a sewage spill? I mean, what the hell was that shit in the water? It was disgusting to the point of scaring me. The session started off on a high note, with (apparently) clean water and beautiful, overhead waves. It seemed destined to be one of the best days our home break has seen. Then, out of the blue, the lineup was surrounded by this . . . brown, nasty gunk. It was everywhere. At the time that I noticed it, I was on someone else's board. He was so horrified by the stuff in the water that he screamed at me to paddle further inside and get his board out of that shit. I might have laughed had I not realized that he was serious. There's just no excuse for water that filthy and there's no way I would have paddled out had I known what was out there.

I want to say my session on Sunday was a good one. I thought it was . . . until I got out of the water. Soul Brother #1, who was on the beach with his camera and Soul Brother #2 when I paddled out, told me that he got few pictures of me because all I did was sit there. What the . . .? All I did was sit there? Okay, I paddled out with another member of the crew. Before I'd even been out for 10 minutes, I'd caught my first wave, one that was definitely overhead. Turns out he didn't even see it. And so I ask the famous philosophical question: If you ride a nice wave and no one sees it, does it count? I guess not. After catching that first wave, I decided to chill for a bit since it was crowded and I felt like I'd already ridden my wave of the day. All Soul Brother #1 saw was the chilling. Of course, I had other waves, two of which he saw. He did not see the long left I took all the way to shore. He did not see nice turn I made after a close out shot me through the air while I was turning. There was a lot he didn't see. And all I heard about was how I wasn't catching anything. Initially, I thought I'd had a good session. But after hearing about myself, I found it hard to find anything good to say about my session. Soul Brother #1 commented on how one member in our crew was catching all the waves. Well, you know, when I've been surfing for 20 years I hope to have enough wave knowledge to catch all the waves too. Truthfully, I don't know what to say about the session. The waves were truly beautiful. Sunday's session was a gift from the surf gods. It appeared that fun was had by one and all. I was glad to be part of it. I think I surfed well enough. I don't know. Now I'm all pissed off about it. Oh well.

I've got a few pictures from the session, pictures of some of the people in the crew. Unfortunately, Blogger is not cooperating so I'll have to post them later.

08 April 2006

Back Home Again

There's a good reason why we call our home breaks "home". Although the waves looked better at Venice Pier this morning, I drove over to the home break to see how the waves looked there. If surfing was only about the waves, I would have headed back to Venice. The waves there looked much better. So why did I stay home? Easy. My peeps are there. What's better is almost all of them were there today. That was all the reason I needed to stay put. First, our little surf family arrived right after I got there. Then, as I stood in the parking lot trying to decide if I should head back to better waves, Gracefullee came running up with a huge grin. We never see each other anymore. Once I saw her, I knew I wasn't leaving. I wanted to stay with the people I love. I couldn't believe that the majority of the crew was out today; most of us were in the water at the same time. There was a lot of catching up to do. This was the perfect day for it. The first hour in the water was spent doing a lot of sitting. Although high tide had passed an hour earlier, the ocean behaved like the tide was getting higher. There wasn't a lot to do out there except paddle furiously for waves that backed off . . . or talk (while waiting for waves that held shape). After an hour in the water, the shape changed for the better. By then most of us were too tired to attack those waves. I was cold and in the throes of a shiver fest. Others were simply tired. Most of us got out after about an hour and a half. I got a few nice rides today. Soul Brother #1 took pictures of us after doing his workout.

I still look like a dork with this damn skullcap on my head. I've put the hoodie away. Now I surf with two stocking caps. They work quite well at keeping my almost-locks in place. My hair is still changing. What I thought were locks a few months ago . . . were not. They were twists. My hair began to truly lock over the last month or so. How can I tell? Well, the twists can literally be untwisted, leaving you with a virtually straight bunch of hair. What happens with the locks, from what I can see on my own head, is that the hair is twisted and then some of that hair grows through the twists in such a way that it literally locks the twists in place. They can't be undone or combed out. Much of my hair is finally at that point. With luck, I'll be able to feel the water run through my scalp by the end of June.

I don't know if I'll get a session tomorrow. I'd lined up a babysitter on Friday. I couldn't catch up with her today. I don't like to do things at the last minute, especially when they involve my child. So I may have to sit tomorrow out.


07 April 2006

No, Thanks! I'm Good!

Believe it or not, I got yet another job offer. I spent years looking for—and not finding—a decent full-time job. (Notice I said "decent" and not "any".) I'm not talking months. I'm talking years spent waiting and wondering if I'd ever find something I could stomach. This is the same thing that happened when I started seeing Soul Brother #1. Men hardly gave me the time of day before I met him. But once we got together, guys started trying to get my attention. What's that about? Well, I'm still with Soul Brother #1 and I still have no intention of leaving this job.

I'm going out tomorrow. It's been two weeks since I was in the water. Enough already! And a swell is coming too? It's on. The only problem is the tide. It's going to be high in the morning, which means it may be too high for most of the spots I frequent. I may be doing some driving in the morning. Part of me wants to hit up LPB, which is where Whiff went earlier in the week. A swell with a good amount of juice will make it through even at high tide. The high tide dampens the size and power of those waves, making them perfect for the longboard. And yet, there might be a crowd. Or there might not be any decent waves. LPB, as a result, becomes a risky choice when you've got a limited amount of time. RPB may work, but if the tide's too high the backwash will ruin everything. The Pier might be a possibility too. I'm going to do what I've done for years. Since I don't live near the beach, I'm going to get up in the morning and study the various sites, looking for clues as to what I'll find once I arrive at the beach. Did I ever mention that someone gave me his password for a well-known surf site? You know what's dumb? It was months before I realized that there were cams on that site. I'm not even sure when I finally noticed the cams. I was so accustomed to working with surf reports made a few hours earlier than I was going out that I became adept at estimating what the surf would look like once I got to the beach. Now I can watch the cams in addition to working with text-based reports.

I'm praying for surf for all of us!

03 April 2006

If It Weren't for the Damn Time Change . . .

I could surf tomorrow morning. Soul Brother #1 took three days off. I thought I'd try to do dawn patrol on one of those days since, as of last week anyway, I'd noticed the sun rose at around 5:30. It's not like I wanted to get in the water over the weekend. It rained hard enough to make me think twice about venturing into the water. I figured Tuesday or Wednesday would be my days. Well, they're not. It's too dark in the morning. I start work before 8 a.m. It's not worth it to get in the water at 6:30, the new hour of the sunrise, only to get back out at 7. Obviously, there'll be no dawn patrol for me this week. I'm looking forward to the weekend. A swell is purportedly on the way. I want some of it, dammit. It's time to get some decent waves. In the meantime, I'll keep riding that bike, lifting, and rowing.

That balsa board is sweeeeeeeet!!! This is the application of the gloss coat.

01 April 2006

The Artist at Work

I stole this from the Harbour Surfboards site. This guy was sanding a beautiful balsa board. Truly amazing.