Wednesday, November 26, 2008

106: Tunnel of Pummel - K st dawn patrol

Surf was pumping this AM, and practically no wind to mix things up. A bit smaller than yesterday, so my 7'5" was overkill, but it did make the paddle out extremely easy, relative to yesterday at least. Doing cutbacks on the 7'5" pintail is a bit of a chore, but otherwise the board is super stable and is easy to pump down the line. Hopefully I'll get some more use out of it this winter.

Headed to Orange County for Thanksgiving, camping on the beach at San Onofre. Hoping to score at Trestles, but it looks like it will be 2-4, and the real pulse will be up here in NorCal. Maybe I'll head home early for a Sunday session...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NYC surfing roots

This is a decent little video of surfing in Rockaway Beach, NYC, where I surfed before seeking greener pastures ~10 years ago. The comments about the garbage on the beach are true, and riding the subway with a board always gets weird looks. I miss it though, especially those fall hurricane swells after the summer crowds dissipate.

Undergunned on a heavy day at OB

Session 105 - Gloomy weather this AM and big fat heavy surf on a full high tide. One other person paddling out as I arrived, and they were getting pummeled on the inside by wall after wall of relentless whitewater. I couldn't let them suffer alone, so I waded in and started duck diving. I fared a bit better than them, finally making it outside after a solid 10-15 minutes of paddling and diving, and a minute later they made it outside as well. Some big overhead+ sets were barreling through, and the waves were moving fast. It was extremely difficult to paddle into anything on my 6'3". The other person out was a girl on a fish, and we briefly commiserated over the brutal paddle out and our poor choice of equipment for the conditions. After countless attempts to catch one of the shifting beasts, I finally found myself in the right spot to snag a big set wave. I had to position myself for a late drop, so the wave was already starting to break on me as I turned and popped up. It's nerve racking turning your back to a 8-10 ft wave as it's coming down on you like that, but I made the drop and raced down the line. It was a big, fast wave and I made it pretty far down the line before it decided to shut down. Adrenaline pumping, I paddled out for another. The girl took off on a wave but never came back. I assume she just got caught on the inside and couldnt make it back out, but in big stormy conditions like this it can be a bit worrisome. Catching my next wave proved to be every bit as frustrating as the first. It's one of those days where it's really hard to be in the right place at the right time and almost guaranteed you'll be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I took a few almost double overhead waves on the head, and barely missed catching a few good ones. I eventually caught a shoulder, but then ended up back inside again getting smashed. After a good faith effort of paddling and diving for another 10 minutes, I decided to call it a day. On big and brutal days like this I'm glad to have caught even one of the big set waves. Driving down great highway to work I didn't spot anyone else out there, just big beastly waves rolling through unridden.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Session 104 - morning glass

heaving lips sink ships...

this morning's dawn patrol was sweet, barreling morning glass in the 3-5 range and only 3 other guys out within a few blocks. the winds started getting on it by like 8:30 though. hopefully we'll get some new swell as this one is fading out. and it looks like rain for Turkey day. If the waves are decent I don't mind camping in the rain to score surf, but if it just sucks all around I don't know what the plan is anymore...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

102 -103 Head high+ OB

This weekend I had big plans to head south and surf some point breaks, or at least score Fort Point if it was big enough. Friday on my way home from work I rode to Fort Point to check it, but it looked like the tide was killing it. Talked to someone in the parking lot who told me it was pretty fun at low tide. Next morning I had plans on meeting up with Nic and Joel and Ramin, but OB was looking swampy and unspectacular, and I was determined to surf somewhere else this weekend. Anyways, Fort Point wasn't breaking, too small, so I ultimately ended up surfing OB at low tide. It was good size, head high with a couple feet bigger on sets, and a lot of paddling. The onshore winds messed it up though, so I only surfed for an hour and a half before heading in. Sunday AM I woke up and it was beautiful out, head high sets stacking up and rolling through, with really light winds and clean conditions. Lots of surfers out and was a really fun session, caught a few meaty rights and worked on fine tuning my frontside cutbacks. Getting that leading arm down into the wave is really helping me I think...we'll wait to see some photo evidence though.

Gus was being bad, and totally peed on the dead sea lion while the marine biologist dude was taking samples.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

won oh won

kirkham was being all kirkhamy this dawn, as you can see in the picture. i imagine if i were much smaller this wave would be pretty good.

Monday, November 17, 2008

SESSION 100 - sunset in the outer sunset

the big just snuck up on me, and luckily happened on a beautiful glassy evening, classic fall OB. The waves were mellow, and it was just nice to watch the sunset over the water. I think tomorrow might be a longboard dawn patrol...

SESSION 99 - somewhere in norcal

Though the weather in SF was perfect and a swell was due at OB, I decided on a whim to head way north to do some hiking and catch some waves. Out of respect for the secrecy of the spot, I won't go into too many details, but it was an incredible weekend of exploration, hiking, surfing, seals, rocks, kelp, creeks, driftwood, bear tracks, dehydrated lasagna, pink marshmallows, bonfires, sand and sun. The waves weren't huge, but pretty incredible: 3-5 offshore & glassy. I had an epic session, pulling into 2 nice barrels and boosting my first air in a really long time, actually landing one back into the wave. Super consistent and just pumping all day long, with only a handful of guys on it at once. There were surfers coming in on jetskis, boats, and planes. Joanie snapped some good shots from the beach too, but promised not to post them on surfline...It was epic though, and next time I go back I'll be spending a few more days to be sure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Session 98 - Death of a shortboard

Maybe death is a bit dramatic...the board is just severely wounded. I paddled out on my Rusty 6'1" today, with these crappy plastic skegs that I pulled off of one of the other boards I bought in Brazil years ago. The skegs are so flexy that on fast waves the board gets squirrely and it's tough to hold a line, not to mention the fact that the skegs make this loud humming noise.

In any case, I surfed terribly today. I won't place all of the blame on the board, I'm known to have my bad days regardless, but the board with the crapo skegs definitely was not helping. I couldn't stick a late drop for the life of me, and I've actually gotten pretty good at those late backside drops...I think with this board I'm just not able to set the rail correctly. In any case, I kept trying, which led to multiple nasty wipeouts in which I landed on my board and/or skegged myself. I've never tackled my board so many times in one session. This was bound to end bad. I took off deep on a left, and basically gave my board a flying elbow to the nose. As a result, I'm now missing a bite size chunk from the nose of my board, and have a bruised arm/ego. My board looks like it had an encounter with a hungry Ken Bradshaw.

After breaking my board though, I actually snapped out of it and was able to catch a few decent rides, one of which I stupidly rode too far to the inside and then got caught paddling through walls of whitewater for the next 15 minutes. My shoulders could handle it, but I was cranky nonetheless having to duckdive 15 waves in a row.

All in all, this session sucked. I hope my next 98th session is better!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Session 97 - HMB Jetty desperation

Addicted to Fort Point after 1 session, I jumped out of bed at 6:14 this morning hoping to score again. Shoved my wetsuit and booties into my wetbag, grabbed my ear plugs, camera and wax, and down to the garage to load up the bike. Decided to bring out the 6'1" Rusty, shoved it into the board bag and strapped it down to the bike. iPod pumping inside my helmet, I sped down Park Presidio and over to Fort Point. I made the left down the hill past the bridge, and as I caught my first glimpse my heart sunk. Small, choppy, and barely rideable.

At that point I had to get wet somewhere, but not there. I rode through the Marina and took Van Ness through Downtown, hopped on the freeway and headed towards Pacifica. I was hoping Rockaway or Whale Cove would be working, but no such luck. Everywhere was blown to pieces, so I kept riding. Eventually, I got to the Jetty and it was fairly clean. At least relative to everywhere else at the moment. It was tiny though, with an occasional 3 foot set wave doubling up and rolling through, usually closing out after a few feet. It was better than nothing though, and at least surfing the Jetty is a welcome break from the marathon paddle that is OB. It was already 8 by this point though, so I didn't have much time. I caught 11 tiny waves in 40 minutes, snapped 3 pics before my camera died, and then headed to the office.

Only 3 more sessions until the big centum! It looks like the swell is supposed to pick up a bit, so hopefully I'll get there by the weekend. If session 100 happens to fall on the weekend, I just might have to attempt the 100 wave day...maybe the Jetty would be a good venue for a marathon session since the paddling is minimal. But I'd feel weird not having such a momentus day in my surfing career happen at K street. We shall see!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Session 96 - Fort Point

My first time ever surfing Fort Point today, it was a blessing in disguise that OB was so blown out. Fort Point was totally pumping, and only 2 guys on it when I first got there. I was apprehensive about entry and exit, having to scramble down the rocks and time it so I didn't get smashed, but it all worked out fine. Just sitting out there under the bridge is totally sublime, not to mention stroking into head high lefts while all of the tourist watch you. Definitely an experience unlike any other, one of the most unique surf spots I've ever surfed. I caught a handful of good waves, maybe 6 or 7 waves in my 1 hour session. My best wave was a big overhead set wave that connected all the way to the inside, and I had to kick off the back at the last minute to avoid riding straight into the rocks. The adrenaline was pumping and a grin was plastered to my face for the rest of the session. I'm hooked now, and plan on checking it out for dawn patrol tomorrow AM, as I'm pretty sure OB is still a complete mess, unsurfable unless maybe you have a kite...

Session 95 - rainy but pumping OB

Saturday decided to sleep a bit later and wait for the tide to drop, since I've been surfing the fat high tide waves during my weekday dawn patrols. Plus, sometimes it's nice to sleep in on Saturdays ;)

Made it to the beach around 11 just as it started to drizzle. The tide was still dropping to a 1.7 ft low around 1:30 or so, and the swell was building. It was pretty foggy and nasty, but the surf was pumping and getting pretty steep and fast as the tide continued to drop. It was pretty crowded too, considering it was rainy and ugly out. Sets were in the head high range, building into a foot or two overhead on standout sets. I stayed out for an hour and 40 minutes, on a mission to catch 20 solid waves. Since I am still repairing my 6'5" JC, I ended up paddling out on my 5'11" Rusty swallow tail. I haven't ridden that board in a while, and it's a treat on small, fast waves because it turns on command, and cutbacks are effortless (at least going frontside for me). I had a few memorable wipeouts too. On one head high right, I totally goofed on a top turn and somehow ended up landing on top of my upside down board, bruising my left thigh on my skegs. On one of my last waves I caught a big jacking outside set wave, easily a couple feet overhead. I took the first part of the drop fine, but then the wave did this weird staircase thing and I skipped off the face of the wave and air dropped down to the flats. I tried to stick the landing, but totally ate it, bounced off of the sand and got rolled pretty good. I redeemed myself with the next wave, #20, a steep reeling left that I was able to connect pretty much all the way back into the beach.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Session 94 - broken leash rope

The conditions this AM weren't quite as good as yesterday, a little more sectiony, a little softer, but overall still fun and still really nice out. I hit the water at 6:45 and caught a handful of waves before my session was cut short by my leash failure. Turns out there is a ding on the tail of my board that the rope was rubbing against, and finally just snapped. Needless to say I'll be repairing that ding ASAP, as well as another crack up on the nose of my board. I'm really trying to take care of this JC, but I'm not the most vigilant when it comes to ding repairs...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Session 93 - dawn patrol glass

Hit up K street again this morning with Brian, Ryan and Karl. Conditions improved since yesterday, not quite as soft and some decent rippable walls. Marathon session in mind, I made a point of catching 20 waves this morning, in about an hour and 15 minutes. I think 100 is doable if I have all day and the paddle out isn't too tough. 20 waves was pretty easy, and I was still being selective too, not just dropping into every closeout or mushy shoulder that rolled through. My best wave of the day by far was a right that barreled clean and spit me out on the shoulder, where a seagull swooped just barely out of my reach. I think Karl might have witnessed it from the shoulder, though I'm not positive it was him. So hard to tell who is who when everyone is wearing black wetsuits riding white boards...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Session 92 - Yes we can! (surf)

Stoked on Obama getting elected, but still was able to crawl out of bed this morning to meet up with Ry for a session at K st. The conditions really cleaned up a lot, and

although the waves were on the soft side, there were some nice peaks to take off on, and it was just plain beautiful out. We saw a big pod of maybe 5 or 6 dolphins breach on a decent set wave, and then Ry and I both turned and caught the same wave. A bunch of other guys (and a girl) were out catching rides too, I got a few pics of a guy on a longboard making a decent drop. I'm hoping it stays clean for tomorrow AM and into the weekend, a little more size wouldnt hurt either.

As for last night, I'm extremely happy Obama got elected, watching his speech was probably the proudest moment as an American in my life. Aside from all of the important credentials Obama brings to the table, as a surfer I think it's awesome that he has roots in Hawaii and Indo and has actually surfed and body surfed before. When was the last time we had a president that understood the allure of surfing??