Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Hope everyone is enjoying their vacation. I've been out of the water for a few weeks now, and I can feel the atrophy setting in. My shoulders have lost all muscle mass and I need Joan to help me shampoo my hair even. Getting back in the water is going to be a chore. I'm counting on you guys to push me into waves next year. I'll be shopping for a knee-board and some fins too, and probably one of those nose-clips to keep the water out of my nose. If I end up crippled I guess there's always street luge, the hills in SF would be perfect for that. With my luck though I'd luge right into a Maserati...

On a more serious note, despite my debilitations I plan on getting back into the lineup again for the first time on New Year's day. Somewhere with minimal paddling, so I can take it easy on my shoulder and feel it out. If anyone wants to join me for the first session of the year, shoot me an email or comment.

The surf is massive today, but the wind is pretty bad, so I'm not sure what will look good. Despite not being able to surf, I'm about to leave the house to drive down the coast and take some pictures. Maybe Mav's? Need to get a telephoto this year for some crisper shots from the beach.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Session 115 - last dawn patrol of the year

Head high + OB and barreling. Strong current pulling south. Ended up on a crowded peak at Noriega where I caught a really nice outside set wave in front of the whole crew. Ripped a couple nice turns before it closed out on me. I kicked out, but the wave snatched my board and broke my leash. The wave spit my board out and I swam frantically after it, like a linebacker going after a fumble. I reached my board just in time to get hammered by the next set wave. I held on as tight as I could and rode the next wall of whitewater back into the beach to call it a day.

Later on that same day I bought a new scooter for Joan's bday, and only a few hours later crashed into a Maserati on Market street. The rich old guy ran a stop sign right in front of me. I grabbed the brakes but had no time, smashed right into the side of his car shoulder first. Got to my feet and tried to move the scooter, but it was totally shattered and the front wheel wouldn't roll freely. I tugged on the scooter one more time and then felt the pain in my right shoulder, my shoulder popping out funny. It felt like it might be dislocated, but not completely, maybe just mislocated. My legs were throbbing in pain too, so I staggered over to the corner to sit down and remove my gear. Cops were on the scene almost immediately, and a couple other drivers came over to help me. People were gawking, and cops stopped traffic. One station wagon rolled past slowy, rubber-necking. I looked up at them and noticed they had boards in the car, and then thought about my shoulder. Fuck. That's when it really hit me that I'm gonna be out of the water for a while. I didn't break anything, but I possibly tore some ligaments in my shoulder or just damaged my rotator cuff. Going to see a specialist this week and I'll know for sure, but I seem to be healing fast, my mobility is pretty good already.

With a slightly premature and tragic end to a wonderful year of surfing, I'm entirely content ending the year with 115 sessions since July. I consider myself lucky to be a surfer in San Francisco, and looking back on the year's worth of blog entries brings a smile to my face. I experienced a lot this year- made a lot of good friends, caught a lot of good waves, and generally had a blast. I can only hope that next year will be as epic. This might be my last session report of the year, but I'll keep up the blog with some more retrospective rambling and 2009 plans. Some random ideas include shaping boards in my garage, starting a free SF surf zine, and sewing my favorite baseball hat to my wetsuit hood...

Session 114 - stalling in Santa Cruz

Hungover and got a late start, but decided to head down to SC with Ry and Ramin to meet up with Nic and Joel. Ramin was a soldier, had already gotten up early and surfed OB, apparently got one big one and caught a beating otherwise. Anyways, I'll keep this short since it's a distant memory at this point, but 4m was fun, my first session there, although I'd been there in the past but hadn't surfed it. It was a fun wave, totally protected, with a nice barrel section on the inside. Crowded though, as most clean consistent beautiful righthand points are in these parts. We had a solid crew though, and it was fun to holler at Ramin and Joel flying down the line on set waves. After watching one of the older local guys pull in, stall, and get barreled for a few seconds I was inspired. Though stalling is relatively easy and it used to be part of my limited repertoire, I realized that lately I've been so obsessed with down the line speed and cutbacks that I forgot about the simple barrel stall. I caught a smaller wave, bottom turned into position and then did probably the most exaggerated stall ever. I sat with all of my weight on the tail and shoved my entire arm into the face of the wave. At the same time the middle part of the wave was jacking up and breaking over me. I stalled until I was covered up and couldn't see anything except for water splashing in my face, then I released. It was far from a clean barrel exit, the wave basically broke on me, but because I was planted in the right spot and driving toward the beach rather than toward the shoulder, I was able to hold on and ride out of it. Sweet. Each and every wave after that I attempted to stall into the barrel, although I soon remembered that it only works when the wave is actually barreling. In any case, I'm stoked that I surfed somewhere new and learned something new. Forget about speed runs and punts, I'm not a grom anymore, stalling is where it's at! Maybe I should listen to Mark and get a single fin.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Session 113 - Saturday at OB

Ryan and I paddled out at K street and caught a ton of really nice waves. There were some characters in the lineup, including one Japanese kid who was furiously trying to paddle around everyone and take off as deep as possible. He generally would take off deep, call you off the wave, and wipe out. Ry dropped in on him and just milked the wave. Good man. Joanie snapped a few shots from the dunes, check the slideshow for more pics:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Session 112 - Macking OB dawn patrol

It's been a slow surfing week for me, not due to lack of swell, but due to early meetings all week. However, no early meetings this Friday, and plenty of pulse in the water, and plenty of paddling and duckdiving to go with it. Took a walk to the beach around quarter to 7 to check it, and there was one guy paddling out. Big, clean double overhead sets breaking on the outer sandbars. Walked home, finished my coffee and suited up. Only one earplug in because I lost the right one at the Jetty...waxed up the 7'5" Waterworks semi-gun and headed down to Kirkham. By the time I got out, there were 3 or 4 other guys on it, catching some bombs. It took me about 10 minutes to make the paddle to the outside, and then of course a huge set rolled through and pushed me back again. I fought it and finally made it all the way out, only to realize that I was way too far out the back. I worked my way back inside, almost catching a few massive waves but not quite having the paddle speed to stroke into them. One wave I paddled further in for position but got too deep and decided to pull back at the last minute. It was scary, as I was teetering on the edge of going over the falls. It could've meant the end of my session right there, but luckily I didn't go over the falls and I paddled out to catch another. I ended up snagging a heaving left, easily 3-4 feet overhead. Once I was in the right position the semi-gun worked like a charm, it was a super stable takeoff and drop, and I raced down the line as far as I could before the wave closed out dramatically and I launched myself out the back. After that I took a set wave on the head, and then scrambled to safety. I blew so much time paddling around in circles that it was already time to head in, so I snagged the next head high wave that rolled through and rode the foam ball all the way inside. It was a great session, just too short. It wouldve been nice to be on it with a few friends too, the lonesome gladiator dawn patrols just arent as fun as being out there with some of your bros. This weekend should be good too, and I'll try and take more pictures if my camera doesnt keep freezing up on me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend - Trestles, Old Man's, Fort Point, HMB

HMB Jetty little barrel

Small one at Fort Point

Fort Point cleanup set

Sessions 107-111:

Had a good turkey day weekend and surfed a few nice spots. Camped out at San Mateo campground, just a mile hike inland from Trestles and one exit away from Old Mans. Paddled out for sunset with Gillian at Uppers, small but a few fun workable waves. The next morning I caught the glassy sunrise session at Uppers, some really nice 4 footers peeling through. Caught 25 waves in 2 hours and then headed back to the campsite for breakfast. After eating we joined the rest of the crew at Old Mans, and I had a brief session with Joanie and Gillian out on the logs. A few beers on the beach and just chilled for the rest of the day. Got back into SF around 3 am Sunday, and slept until 2pm. Woke up and checked the surf at OB from my roof. It was huge! Double to triple overhead, and just massive walls of whitewater. With only a few hours of daylight left I scrambled over to Fort Point for a really fun session with some big sets rolling through under the bridge. It was super crowded and I only caught a few rides, including one bad wipeout on a set wave right in front of the rocks. Some other dude ended his session with a bloody face, I think it was from hitting his board though, not the rocks.

I hoped to score Fort Point again this AM, but it wasn't looking so good so I headed down the coast. Everything looked soupy and stormy, so I ended up with a brief session at the jetty to get my morning going. Maybe tomorrow I'll get up at 5 and head further south to Santa Cruz...