Sunday, April 26, 2009

south swell, lost keys & longboarding

This weekend a solid south hit, and Santa Cruz lit up. Took the motorcycle down to the Hook for a fun dawn patrol with Nic and Ryan K, shot some photos but unfortunately the ones of Ryan and Nic came out pretty blurry. Some decent shots of randoms though ripping some set waves. After work the same day I headed back down to surf with Ramin and Ryan north of town a bit. It was mostly closed out, but a few makeable corners here and there. Ramin and Ryan were both charging some pretty heavy closeouts. I was the last one out of the water just before 8pm, and scrambled to grab my clothes and my boardbag and hike back to the parking lot. After getting back to my bike I realized that I had dropped my keys somewhere along the beach, and it was too dark to bother going looking for them. Everything was locked in my bike, my wallet, phone, ring, latop, etc, so I was pretty screwed. Ramin is awesome though and let me borrow his car to get back to the city, and also treated me a burrito and modelo at Taqeueria Vallarta. We made a fool-proof plan to meet up the next day so I could return his car and get my bike after bringing the spare key from home. Saturday AM I headed down south around noon, running late as usual. Got to the lot, but didn't see Nic's car, so I grabbed my phone and wallet out of the bike and sent a quick text message to Ramin just before my phone died. I drove down the coast checking every spot for Nic's car, eventually making it to Lazy Town and leaving a note on the door and some wax with Horace. At that point I figured I'd head back up north to the lot and just leave the car there for Ramin to pick up later, and I would call either from a payphone or when I got home to a charger. After more driving, I finally got back to where my bike was, only to find a note on the seat anchored by a few rocks saying that they were there but headed back to Lazy Town. We must've just missed each other, so I turned around and headed back to Lazy Town. After 4.5 hours on the road, I finally got back to Lazy Town and found Nic, Joel, and Ramin suiting up for a longboarding session at 38th. I was relieved they were there, and glad to get out of the car. Nic generously lent me a 8'6" longboard to ride, and we all paddled out. There were long lulls between sets, but some solid sets rolling through, and we were all in good position to snag a wave practically every set for the beginning of the session. The waves were remarkably good, walling up all the way to the inside for some long, fast rides. Having very little longboarding experience, it was a lot of fun gliding and trimming down the line and running the nose for some cheater fives. Definitely a lot more fun than trying to wrestle a 10' longboard out at OB. I'm looking forward to another mellow longboarding session at 38th in the near future. After a couple hours, Ramin dropped me off at my bike and I drove back up the coast in the dark, battling the crosswinds and the fog all the way home to SF. It was an exhausting and crazy weekend, a bit of a farce, but I'm grateful to have such generous and reliable friends keeping me stoked through the whole ordeal. The rest of the pics are here:
south swell
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

dolphins, barrels & beach cleanups

Shit. It's been a while, I'm behind quite a few sessions, and I've lost count anyways. My new job is robbing me of quality blogging time, dernitt! Anyway, to sum things up:

Last friday it was small but clean and some fun rides, plus there were a few pods of dolphins in the lineup and I got a pic of one.
dolphin dawn patrol

The heat wave rolled in, but Saturday was foggy on the coast. I got up early for a dawn patrol, snagged a few nice shoulder high waves before eventually getting caught in a rip and drifting down to Noriega, paddling for like 40 minutes straight without making it back out. Lame. At least I caught a handful of rights before getting shut down on the inside.

Sunday I had a quick sesh with Ramin & Karl at K st. It was fun, waves were pumping, but I only had maybe an hour in the water before I had to scramble to set up for the beach cleanup at Kelly's Cove. In typical Bogart fashion, I showed up to the beach cleanup with just a few minutes to spare, and there was already a crowd of people eager to get their hands dirty. The cleanup was a success, 76 people came out, not counting all of the kiddies. Joanie was a huge help giving instructions, feeding people, etc. A decent crew of guys were at the cleanup too, including a few Googlers that I've yet to actually surf with. One day. The waves were pumping though, barrels up and down the beach, and some guys ripping hard at Kelly's. Ramin, Taylor and Josh paddled out in front, and I got to watch Taylor catch a few solid waves, ripping cutbacks down the line. Good shit, and easy to spot cause of the headgear. The cleanup was over at 12, but I didnt get all the equipment put away until like 1. The beach was mobbed and parking was a biatch, so I headed back home to picnic and surf out in front of Kirkham. Unfortunately by the time I was back to the beach around 3, the wind picked up and it was not so good. Chilled with friends and fam, ate some sammies, and took a nap in the sun. Woke up at 5, and the wind had backed off a bit, so I paddled out. Ended up having a great session despite the chop, and surfed until almost 8.

Monday morning I knew the swell was coming down, but it was still supposed to be offshore and HOT. I headed to the beach at 6:30, and was pleasantly greeted by reeling a-frames up and down the beach in the 3-5 range, with + sets rolling through every 10 minutes or so. Sets were walling nice, clean and getting more hollow with the dropping tide. After pulling into some sick barrels and almost making them, I resolved to surf until I made it out of one. I caught a ton of waves, and it was the perfect conditions where the waves are big enough to get in the barrel, steep and fast enough to hack and hit the lip, but not so big that you get smashed too bad if you take off too deep or get stuck inside. I landed a few decent little floaters and a lot of clean top turns and cutbacks, but my 9am I still didnt stick any barrels. I ran home, booted up the laptop and notified work of my unfortunate absence, ate a muffin leftover from the beach cleanup, and headed back to the beach (without my booties).

Paddled back out, and was drifting south but tide was still backing out and the tubes were rolling through consistently. I finally caught a little right that walled up and I was able to stall into the barrel, getting a faceful of spray before riding out hitting a few more turns before kicking out. At that point I was stoked, and getting more confident too. The very next wave was a super clean head high wedge. I turned, thinking I could stick the late drop and backdoor it, but ended up too deep and getting tossed over the falls. OB always keeps me in check. I while later I did a little pigdog ass-drag into a meaty left that pretty much closed on me, but I help on and rode out of it. Not the cleanest barrel, but good enough for me. I caught a lot of good rights, and eventually drifted to the outside bar just north of Noriega. There was a pack of guys a bit further south and inside. I caught a bomb outside set wave, positioned myself deep and raced down the line. It jacked up and I pulled into one of the deepest, longest barrels I've ever been in. I almost made it, but got pinched and fell face first into the wave. It was a sick wave though, definitely one of those wipeouts that's ingrained in my memory. Would have been the best barrel of my life if I actually made it out. I kept surfing, kept drifting, and caught some great waves on the outer bar by Rivera. Barrel #3 was the best, a walled up shoulder high wave that I backdoored right off the takeoff. I thought I was going to fall, but I kept a high line and crouched real low and got spit out to the sound of hooting and cheering by a few other surfers sitting nearby. It's always nice confirmation to have random surfers hooting you out of a wave. Eventually, I drifted all the way down to Sloat, and it was packed in. Still got a few great rides, but had to navigate through the throngs of surfers in the water while going down the line. I ended up getting out south of sloat, in front of the zoo. By this time it was like 12:30, and I logged a solid 4.5 hours of surfing and got countless good rides. Best sick day ever!

Weather is not so hot anymore, and it's onshore at OB. Santa Cruz on the other hand is pumping, with some good south swell in the water. I'm stoked for a dawn patrol with Nic and the guys at the Hook tomorrow, and then some more action after work tomorrow. Also, this weekend I'm meeting a guy who I might have shape me a custom fish in Santa Cruz. I'm gonna check out what he's got goin on, and maybe pick up a blank this weekend too so I can whittle my own one of these days.

Monday, April 13, 2009

easter morning log riding; monday dawn patrol

Nothing much to recall, it was weak and mushy on Sunday morning so after a pre-dawn motorcycle ride up Mt Tam, I decided to paddle out on the longboard at OB. The waves had enough juice to catch waves, but the waves were sectiony and scattered, making it tough to find a clean face. I pearled a few times trying to take off too deep or drive through steep sections on the log. It was fun to ride the log though, I should use it more but it's just so huge that it's a lot of work to drag down to the beach from my house.

This AM I checked and a few guys were calling it rideable and fair, so I suited up. My shoulder was feeling a little sore so I decided to bodyboard. The waves were shoulder to head high, but pretty mixed up. I got caught in a rip and only got a few waves. The best wave was the last wave, which I rode all the way into the beach from waaaay outside. The novelty of riding a bodyboard until you're washed up all the way into dry sand never wears off...

Here's some photos of recent swell in NJ that made me a bit homesick:

I miss the road trips in high school to skate/surf the Jersey shore, although I only scored tubes like this on one memorable early fall trip with Jon.

Also, FYI, the water housing of my GoPro camera seems to have shit the bed. I'm working on getting a replacement housing that doesn't leak, hoping it's covered under warranty. For the time being I won't be taking water shots, but maybe that's a good opportunity to focus on my surfing rather than my photography skills...

Friday, April 10, 2009

last weekend & friday dawn patrol


Getting behind in posts because I started a new job last week, and have been busy training and getting ramped up, so I'll keep this brief. Last weekend was AWESOME surfing at OB. Saturday was a few feet overhead, and a pretty brutal paddle. I caught a few bombs, one of which I catapulted myself out of, and I got the most hang time I've ever had off of a wave. I basically did a full front flip in slow motion, and landed on my back. it was an awesome feeling flying through the air, despite not even attempting to keep my board under my feet. I was stoked, but then I got completely rag-dolled by an 8' set wave, and it tweaked my shoulder pretty good.

Saturday afternoon was Swim4Life, and it was a great day at a beautiful pool for a good cause. Did mostly kickboard laps though due to the shoulder. Definitely will be participating for years to come, and hopefully raising even more $ next time. Had a good time partying at Taylor's with team Thrashtown for the remainder of the day, then cycling across town with Josh.

Sunday AM I was working the Surfrider beach cleanup at Noriega, so I actually was up and out of the house by 7:15. It was a big cleanup, and really successful, but the waves were pumping so it was really distracting. I ended up bailing around 10 to get in the water with Taylor and Josh, but my shoulder was still sore from the day before so I took out the bodyboard. Pulled into a few nice closeouts and got a lot of fun rides. I had to get back to help break down the beach cleanup and take all the equipment back to the Surfrider locker, so it was a short session. After that Gillian and Vinny came over and we made lunch and hung out for a while. Vinny went to play some tennis, and I convinced Gilbo to paddle out with me. The swell had dropped a bit with the tide, but still super fun and tons of rides to be had. Gilbo hit her head on her board, which ended her sesh, but I stayed out for 2+ hours and got a ton of good rides, lots of fast turns and lips to bash. By 5ish the wind started blowing and I called it a day.

Monday was PUMPING, but the new job means I probably shouldn't come to work at 10...not yet at least, so I missed out on some epic OB.

This AM was crumbly and waist to shoulder high. I was the only one out on the north end of the beach, and although the inside was messy, there were some solid waves breaking on the outside, and I got a handful of really fun rides. It was peaky though, so most waves were a steep drop followed by one or 2 turns. I attempted a few rail grab cutbacks, but they felt ugly. Gotta try them on some faster waves. Hopefully conditions will only improve for this weekend...
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