27 June 2006

Do You Doo Dah?

Ever heard of the Doo Dah Parade? Well, there's a Doo Dah Surf too. I've heard about it, but have never made an attempt to go see what this thing is all about. I may just head up there this year.

25 June 2006

Victory . . .

at sea again. Today's conditions were, in a word, pathetic. I still went out. I'd made a surf date with someone so I was going to paddle out today whether I wanted to or not. Even with the horrible conditions, it was fun. Soul Brother #1 and her husband hung out on the beach talking. Soul Brother #2 played with the kids of one of the other locals—I was at the home break. My surf buddy and I spent a lot of time avoiding giant closeouts and trying to find a shoulder somewhere. I got a few rides. I also got dumped quite a few times going for closeouts. The set waves were huge and shapeless. A lot of time was spent scrapping to get past the Nonetheless, it was enjoyable enough.


(No, we're not trying to get over that little wave. The big ones were coming behind it.)

24 June 2006

Are We There Yet?

I'm almost a year into this process . . . and it's still not completely locked. Whoever said this (i.e., the cultivation of dreadlocks) is a journey was right. Remember when they first started? I'm told by others with locks that I'm almost there. I'm still waiting. The only reason I'm so impatient is the fact that I must keep my head covered when I surf. I guess the locks are worth it . . . if they ever fully take.

Soul Brother #2 and his mom at San O

23 June 2006

To Surf or Not to Surf

That is the question. Like I said, this weekend warrior stuff can get old. And when the surf sucks, the weekend warrior thing is old and irritating. So now I'm thinking it might be time to allow myself to do a different workout, especially when one considers the stellar session I had on Monday. I'm torn. Should I surf small waves that will provide a bit of a workout and way too much frustration? Or should I just get back on that bike and make good use of the few hours I will have to workout? I don't know yet. I won't know until I check the surf reports in the morning.

I'm supposed to do yet another surfing photo session on Sunday. At this point, I'm apathetic about the whole thing. I heard through the black surfing grapevine that a black-oriented magazine was interested in doing a story on a black female surfer. Since there are several of us who surf seriously (in this particular group that was contacted), someone suggested that the publication do a story on all of us. Seems straightforward enough, doesn't it? Yeah, I would think so too if I weren't in the middle of it. The bottom line is that one woman in particular is considered, by the men in this particular group, "the chosen one" (the term one of the other women and I use to describe this particular surfer's position). I say this woman is "the chosen one" due to her looks. The woman I was talking to yesterday says Ms. X—I don't know what else to call her—is the "chosen one" because of her demeanor. Whatever it is, she's the one everyone wants to talk to and about even though she is not the best surfer among us. (Don't worry, I'm not jealous and thinking I'm the best surfer among us either. The other woman I discussed this with is hands-down the best; she's the one who first took me to LPB.) If this magazine is intent on doing a story on one surfer, are the rest of us being asked to be part of the photo shoot only to serve as part of the backdrop? I don't have time for that. So I'm torn. Do I go do this thing in an effort to show that, yes, black folks of the female persuasion do surf? Or do I blow it off, knowing that it will once again be about one particular black female surfer? Let's just put it all out there on the table, why don't we? Is this going to be yet another occasion when it's said that a black person is being sought for something and then the person they choose is, in fact, black but doesn't look as black as the majority of us? Is it about surfing or is it about race with a little surfing thrown in for good measure? Jesus Christ!! How did I get on this subject anyway?

20 June 2006


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Okay, I'll say it: I want to marry San O and spend the rest of my life with it in wedded bliss. What's funny is that I didn't feel this way when I emerged from the water yesterday. I came out feeling like it was an average session, one that ended with the infamous "Walk of Death" (my term) at low tide. Yes, I'm talking about the rocks and the death of the soles of my feet. Mind you, I'm not a big fan of shoes so my feet are anything but sensitve after years of walking around barefoot whenever possible. I shudder to think how my feet would feel if they were sensitive. Those rocks are what keep all of you San O locals humble, aren't they? That's where you make your sacrifice to the surf gods, right? It's gotta be; I'm sure I bled all over those rocks. My left foot is sporting a deep gash on the sole and multiple cuts on the top. My right foot is cut up too, but not half as badly as my left. The good thing about the rocks this time is I managed not to drop my board.

The session is kind of a blur. We (meaning me, Soul Brother #1, and Soul Brother #2) didn't spend as much time down there as I would have liked. We came, I surfed, we went home. Next time, I want us to hit San O, surf, eat, chill, nap, and then drive home. But that's assuming there will be a next time down there as a family. Anyway, we were there by about 6:30. I was scared that there would be a line at that hour. Thankfully, I was wrong. We drove right in. When we parked, I was scared all over again. Once again, those weren't the nice, playful waves of the seemingly mythical San Onofre. (You know, the San O with all of the sunshine and small waves?) Those looked like the waves at the other San O, the one that scares me. That didn't stop me from suiting up. I knew I'd faced waves like these before. What I did differently this time was paddle out at the spot that was closer to shore. The last time I'd been to San O on a big day, we paddled out to a spot that was not close enough to shore for my comfort. I'd never surfed in that spot before and it wasn't the place for me to be on a big day. So on this day, I paddled out at the spot with which I was familiar, knowing that if something big rolled through it would at least push me to the shore. The paddle out wasn't easy. It took some work. I got pushed back a few times. When there was a short lull, I was able to make my way to the lineup. And I was tired! See, that's another thing about having a significant other who doesn't surf. Soul Brother #1 has no comprehension of what you have to go through to ready yourself to tackle bigger waves than you're used to. He didn't get that after a tough paddle out, you need to sit awhile, catch your breath, get your bearings, and watch the waves. Yes, I did sit there for quite awhile. I was scared. And I was alone. And those waves weren't little. It was going to take some time before I could get it together. That meant I sat and watched, not quite knowing what to go for, not quite knowing when to go. There were a few times when I paddled for waves, felt the board pick up speed, but then pulled out because I either thought I wasn't in the wave or looked down and chickened out. People started giving me encouragement. Were they doing that out of comaraderie or did they want to see if this black chick could actually catch a wave? I don't know and it doesn't matter. I felt lost out there. Eventually, two guys paddled up next to me. A wave started coming our way. In fact, I could see the shoulder coming right at me. I was scared, yes, but I was going. I had to. Who's going to respect you if you let something like that go by? So, in a heartbeat, I shut down my fear and went, knowing I would have to go backside . . . on a big-assed wave. Somehow, I caught the wave and milked it. I don't remember it. I simply remember being disappointed when it was over. I wanted a longer ride. When I paddled back to the spot, both guys nodded and one said, "That was niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice."

Okay, I'd gotten the first wave under my belt. I even lived to tell about it. In fact, I kicked out of that wave. Not a bad wave to get when people are staring at you. I only got a few more waves. The conditions were weird. The peaks kept shifting all over the place. The waves also started backing off. But you know what? I got probably the best rides of my life out there yesterday. The few other waves I did get were lefts. Yes, yes, ya'll—you don't stop . . . going frontside . . . finally! What sticks in my mind was the size of those waves!!! I can't even calculate how high they were. I remember getting on one left and turning around to see if anyone was behind me. The guy who was behind me was so high up on the wave that his board was level with my head!!! I don't know who he was. I thank him nonetheless. He bailed out of the wave since I was right in the curl; he couldn't kick out of the back and had to jump off and take a thrashing. I appreciate that. With him gone, I climbed back up to the top of the wave. Shit!!! How tall is this thing? I remember looking down with disbelief and flying down the face of the wave, watching the shoulder open up further and further. In retrospect, it was amazing. The closest I've come to something like that was at LPB. On one of those lefts, some guy hooted as I went by. And as I paddled back out, he nodded his approval of that ride. Wow!

The sad thing is that once I got comfortable in those waves, they disappeared. The swell seemed to back down as the tide started to drop. Then the wind picked up. I'd brought my fullsuit as an afterthought. I'm glad I did. I was so cold at one point that I started to shiver. The sun failed to make an appearance during the session. It only peeked out from behind the clouds once I was on land and back in my dry clothes. No matter. I once again conquered by fears and was rewarded for doing so. Those few waves I got were indescribable. Soul Brother #1 doesn't realize what happened out there yesterday. He's not a surfer. I'm not a wave-catching machine. My surfing reflects my demeanor—laid back and relatively easy going. I don't rush things. I don't force things. When I feel like catching waves, I catch them. When I feel like chasing waves, I do that. Usually, I sit and ponder, sit and watch, or sit and think (all the while staying out of everyone else's way). When I'm comfortable with a spot, I'll ramp it up and go for it constantly. However, that's not my style. I suppose I'm a quality over quantity type of person. I'll sit and wait for the better waves. I always feel like I'm wasting energy when I go for the crappy ones.

Thank you, San Onofre and the San O locals! You'll be seeing more of me soon enough. (No, I'm not quitting my job!)

18 June 2006

Other People's Surf Blogs

I need to stop reading them. (Are you listening, Whiff?) Now I'm a bit nervous about this upcoming swell. It's not that I'm scared of the size. At home, I know where to go to handle a good-sized swell . . . unless it's the Big Wednesday kind. (Remember? I watched for awhile and then went skating.) But I don't plan to be home tomorrow. My company, as I said before, gives you a paid holiday on your birthday; luckily, you can take that day within 30 days of your birthday. Since my birthday was last week on a day when our department is busiest, I opted to take my birthday on June 19. That's tomorrow. The day of the so-called good-sized swell. My plan is to surf San O. That's my plan. I'm sticking to it. I think. Unfortunately, a certain other blogger's nervousness gave me pause, making me wonder if I should, in fact, be nervous too. I'm not even going to blame all of this on him. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I surfed San O on a big day. It wasn't pretty. Frankly, I don't want a repeat of that. I know my surfing and wave knowledge is much better than they were a year ago. Still, I'm a little nervous. I'd hate to make the trip only to be too nervous to paddle out. I guess I won't know anything until I get up in the morning and check whatever current surf reports I can find.

Yes, I did surf yesterday. I really have very little to say about it. I was back at RPB. Same old, same old. The waves weren't bad. I suppose, as usual, I was expecting better. I think I'm finding it hard to let go of the past. The weekend warrior thing is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I don't know how to keep all of this in perspective. Yes, I'm lucky to be able to surf, especially when one considers that I didn't start until I was 39. I'm also lucky that I surf well enough to satisfy expectations of myself that, as a 43 year old who now works a 40 hour a week job, I no longer have a right to have. I recognize all of these things. Nevertheless, I'm torn. I miss my freedom. I miss surfing uncrowded breaks on the weekdays. I miss watching the clock only out of curiosity. (Now I look at it to see if it's break time, or lunch time, or time to go the hell home.) You know, I think I just miss being outside. The majority of my workouts are indoors. I hate that, but it's better than getting fat and out of shape. Oh, woe is me, right? I'm cool. It's my blog. This is my pity party. Aren't you all glad you were invited?

Anyway, the plan for tomorrow is San O. All three of us are going so it won't be an all-day thing. I'll try to get in a few hours in the water. Then we'll head back.

To all of you dads, have a good surfing Father's Day. If you don't surf, just have a good one anyway. Your kids appreciate you. They may not show it, but they do!

11 June 2006

That's Just Dumb

Why does someone who only surfs twice a week need to have four surfboards in an already crowded living room? (Note the two skateboards, radio-controlled car, and small Power Ranger villain also in the picture.)

"Did You Wax That Stick Yet?"

Yes, Pete. I did.


I've got to stop reading the damn surf reports and forecasts. The only reports I actually trust are those from SwellMagnet. com. Those reports, unfortunately, are posted long after I've made my way toward the beach. Thus I'm stuck with a combination of Surfline, Wetsand, and Pacific Waverider. I could have sworn there was mention of a swell coming this weekend. Well, it came alright. These are the words I would not use to describe that little bit of swell that was in the water this weekend: epic, firing, well-shaped, long rides. Yesterday was a complete waste of my time. I zoomed out to the ocean and then drove up and down, back and forth, looking for something decent to surf. I spent way too much time looking for something that didn't exist. It may have existed at Malibu, but I wasn't even thinking about going there on a weekend. After wasting about 45 minutes vacillating, I surfed RPB. Why did I bother? It was pretty much flat. I got two or three rides. It was just plain stupid.

According to the forecasts and reports, the swell was supposed to be hitting it this morning. I was there at RPB again, bright and early. There was a little something in the water, but the operative word was "little". I'll admit that I caught more than a handful of waves and also made a few new friends while we waited around for the almost non-existent set waves. I do remember one wave. (In fact, I remember two but I'll only mention one.) This wave stands out in my mind because in the middle of riding it, I found myself in a bit of a quandry, wondering what to do and where to go. See, I'm still working on walking to the nose. I do it quite often now even if I know the wave won't hold up. I figure making the walk is good practice. On this wave, I walked toward the nose, stuck my lead foot out while up there, and stayed perched on the wave for quite awhile. The problem was that my toes weren't curled over the nose. The further problem was I couldn't figure out how to get said toes to the nose. I realized that I was so close to the nose that doing another cross-step would have landed me in the water. However, I wasn't close enough to simply pick up my lead foot and place it a little further forward. In other words, I was stuck. And when you're stuck, you end up doing the longboard shuffle. I don't even think it was a shuffle. It was more like a scoot. I know it was not at all graceful. No matter, it was fun.

I'm planning a day trip to San O soon. Perhaps I'll find something worth riding there. It won't be worth the drive if the conditions suck. Keep me in your surf prayers!

07 June 2006

My Board Bag

My 9'0" board bag is not safe in this house. The bag is fine when the board is in it. But every so often, I wash it and then leave it on the floor until my next session. The dog immediately claims ownership; he loves this bag. As far as he's concerned, it's his bed. If I didn't love the bag so much, I'd let him use it as a bed. Since this is the best bag I've ever had, the dog is SOL. This is the bag for the Slick and since the board cost more than the dog did, the Slick has dibs on it.

Poor Laird

Look what those crazy folks at my job did to Laird Hamilton. Someone cut the picture out of a magazine and put it, in its unadulterated form, in my cubicle as a joke. We all had a good laugh at the caption she wrote. Then the criticisms began. We all agreed that this man has way too much testosterone for his own good. I thought that was the end of it. I got up to do some work in another part of the office. When I came back, I found Laird in this fetching bikini. They also adorned him with a beautiful pink hibiscus behind his ear. Laird, please don't try to track me down. I swear I didn't do this to you. It was those other people, the non-surfers who dared to do such a thing!! I know your history with slapping people. Don't even think about slapping me. If you do, I'll get your wife (who, by the way, towers over you) to beat you up!

04 June 2006


I was at lunch with Soul Grandmother #1 and Soul Brother #2 this afternoon. My cell phone chirped (cos my ringtone is the the sound of crickets chirping). The voice on the other end said, "Did you tell your mom that you surfed like a superstar today?" That's how good my session was. I was feelin' it big time! What a difference a day makes. Wasn't I bemoaning my lost fitness in yesterday's post? Today's session let me know my fitness is fine. I think muscle memory kicked in, after last weekend's three-peat, so things fell into place today. I caught almost every wave I decided I wanted. I did some half-assed paddling for those I didn't trust. But when it was time to go for it, I went.

You know, I think non-surfing spouses don't understand that surfers always keep an alternative plan in mind when they agree to meet at a certain break. I told Soul Brother #1 I was headed to Venice. As usual, I ended up at another break. CYT and I thought Venice would be the call today. Luckily I got there first. All I saw were walls and closeouts. That's when we moved to Plan B: RPB. Once again it was crowded. CYT got the last spot on PCH. I went ahead and parked in the restaurant lot. This was a first for me. I'm always certain someone is there to make you pay. Well, there was no one there, except a whole bunch of surfers parked at the far end. So. Here we are at the exact same break we were at yesterday. We surfed in the same spot(s). Yesterday was nothing to jump up and down about. Today was. There were actual waves rolling through. This time I stayed out of The Point. I don't like it there and it's got nothing to do with the people. The week I surfed this place during an epic swell, but not "Big Wednesday" kind of horrifyingly big swell, I was stationed just south of the point. It's my preferred spot. When the place is breaking, it breaks well there. My point was proved once again with today's session. I was not surfing like someone with sore shoulders. I got more than my share of waves. Suprisingly enough, I seemed to have most of them to myself. Yesterday, it seemed like I was constantly in danger of being sandwiched between people. No thanks. I like my board and my unbroken body. Today was different. I had room to play. Do I remember any specifics? Of course not. I rarely do, especially when I'm firing on all cylinders. The one thing I do remember is taking a late drop on a wave, riding it in, and then having people in the parking lot above cheer. Those people turned out to be some of the crew from the home break. I also remember a wave that tried to run from me, only to have me run it down and take it. CYT is of the opinion that I like to chase waves down. I think she's right. The only problem is this is hard to do when you don't surf regularly. I was able to do it today. I don't know if I'll still be able to do it next week. No matter. Today was a good day. Once again it was hot. I didn't even bother with a fullsuit. The long-sleeve springsuit worked just fine. I could probably have gone with a shorty john. The weather was already a plus. The fact that the waves cooperated made the session a gem. It's been a long time coming, but it was certainly worth the wait.

03 June 2006

It's Actually Hot Right Now!!

I mean right now. Right at this minute. Thank goodness for ceiling fans! I've been out virtually all day. First, I did a three hour session at RPB. (No, it wasn't firing and the crowd almost matched that at Malibu.) Then I ran home, got them men, and we dropped off the big one's bike for its first oil change. Next was little man's swim lesson, then food, then home to feed the dog and get the forgotten bike money, then back to the bike dealer, then to Ralphs, and finally to 7-11 (where the little man got a hug for stepping aside and allowing an older woman to pass—I've taught him well. That woman was the one who gave him the hug.)

Why? Why do I listen to these damn websites? Three to five it said. Well, I was there when it said the waves would be good and, well, they weren't . . . good, that is. I realized something today. Since I started surfing four years ago, this is the first summer I'll spend as a weekend warrior. In previous years, I'd surf all week and then stay out of the water on the weekends because of the crowds. What a luxury that was!!! CYT called me at work yesterday. She'd just surfed RPB, said it was good, and dictated that we get there this morning at 7 a.m. Fine. I'm normally up by 6 a.m. on the weekends anyway. I was there when she told me to be there. The waves looked pretty good. What floored me was the crowd. Where did all those people come from? Doesn't anyone sleep in on the weekends? When we finally paddled out, the crowd wasn't so bad. The waves, on the other hand, weren't so good. We were at The Point, trying desperately to catch something. When waves did roll through, I felt like was in Malibu. You'd have six people on a wave. Frankly, I can handle surfing in such close proximity with others, but I don't like it. So I pulled out of quite a few waves. I thought it was safer to do so. I saw one woman coming down the line on a beautiful wave. I paddled for it, saw the line she was taking, and pulled out. She was in perfect trim. I didn't want to spoil it. When she paddled back out, she thanked me effusively for not dropping in. That's cool. I treated her the way I'd like to be treated. Anyway, I got two or three long rides. The angle of the swell wasn't coming through to RPB well. Most of the waves lacked punch. I got those two or three to myself. The other rides were with other people. I think the place started to pick up as I was getting out. It figures.

I recently bought one of these:

I'm totally hooked. The thing is great fun. I still love it even after crashing and burning on it twice yesterday. Soul Brother #1 rides it like they show you on the DVD that comes in the packaging. I ride it more like a surfer, trying to do more pronounced carves and sliding the tail around. I've got a bit of road rash from riding it during my lunch hour yesterday. I realize now that once you start to feel fatigue, it's time to step off. If you don't, you'll fall off. I landed on my butt once. Thankfully, the junk in my trunk saved me from any serious pain. The second spill left me with a scrape on my elbow. Nevertheless, I still got back on it, doing figure eights around some tennis courts by my job. I love this thing. I'm hoping it will help me maintain some semblance of fitness. I realize now that a 40-hour a week gig is a disaster for me and my fitness. Remember when I was working out twice a day? I'll probably never live that life again. Now I do the best I can to do some kind of workout every day before I go to work.