just a little fish trying to survive in this great big ocean...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Time away makes the heart grow fonder...and a better surfer?!?

Yeah, so its been a month since I last posted anything on here. I have been surfing a little, but not as much as I'd like to.

Yesterday I went for a paddleout with Collin and Darrin. You see, I had gotten this new (well not new, very used in fact) Ryan Sakal 5'7 swallowtail and had not gotten good enough waves to take it out. Checking the report Saturday night I saw that it was supposed to be about 2-3 feet and in complete desperation decided that I would take the smallest board I own out to give it a try.

About a week ago I had seen this 5'7 Sakal surfboard on Craigslist and decided I wanted to pick it up. The board was listed at 70 dollars, seemed to be in decent shape, and came with a new leash. When I got to the sellers house I realized that the board had quite a few dings, but I figured for 70 bucks I didn't mind putting on a little Solarez and seeing how things ended up. Well because I had to clean the board up real well to fix it up I decided that I wanted to take advantage of it and get my artsy side on. I always see these boards with cool designs and wanted to take my own chance at drawing on one of my surfboards.

Current partial quiver with the new Sakal on the far left...

It seems as though all my other boards are either too clean or not the right idea for drawing on. Given how it came out and how fun it was, I may want to start hitting up all my boards with designs ;-)

We got to the beach and checked to surf to see that while it was not flat there was not a whole lot going on. Its never reassuring that you picked the right stick when you walk to the water's edge and you clearly have the smallest board in the water. However despite my worries I paddled out with everybody else. A small little wave came my way and I decided to go for it. To my surprise the 5'7 Sakal did well to take off and catch the wave. The next few that rolled through just closed out not allowing me to really test the board out. Then just as I was figuring the day would be a bust, I saw a good right headed my way. I took off on the wave and shot down the line with ease. A nice backside turn with a little bit of spray and I was given hope for the day and the board too. I grabbed my board and paddled back out to the line-up. Just as I am getting to where I want to be a nice left shows its face. Even though I was a little tired I went for the wave to find that every section on the wave I tried to make was done with ease. The 5'7 Sakal was easier to push into pockets on the wave then anything I had ever ridden before. I would love to say that we had spectacular waves, but that's just not the case and unless I became a way better surfer over night, the board was doing work. This started the next hour of a "constant catch a wave and paddle back out for the next one" cycle. It has been a long time since I caught so many waves that I was too exhausted to paddle back out at a beach break.
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I watch videos of pro surfers that take off right underneath the lip all the time and they never have any trouble with it. Well for the first time in my life I knew what that was like. Yesterday I could take off on the wave as late as I wanted, hit my feet way behind the lip and still make the sections to get back into the pocket of the wave. Probably the best day of surfing I have ever had in my life...the 5'7 Sakal absolutely killed it yesterday.

Maybe there is some merit to Surfing Magazine's rule #55 "Order boards for the surfer you want to be, not the surfer you are now." Riding a board i thought to be beyond my skill set was actually the best thing I could do....

Until next time...praying for surf. And less stingrays....

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lunch Sessions: Part 3

Okay...so this one isn't actually about a lunch time session, but it did happen while working at Salty Grom, so I am going to count it among the Lunch Sessions series.

So, this Thursday and Friday I was supposed to be off work at surf camp because I had this family reunion-esque trip planned to go camping at Kennedy Meadows. If you don't know where that is don't worry nobody does..basically its somewhere off the 395 in the middle of nowhere. But this trip is something that we do every year and this year was to be the 20th time heading up 9 Mile Road to see the fam bam. Well last minute I was asked to cover a shift for a tour group at the camp on Thursday, I decided I could pull that off and went ahead and took the shift. There are a couple things that I know about the tour groups that roll through our camp. The first thing I know is that these kids are a bunch of foul mouthed East coasters that are just stoked to see some waves and try surfing. The second, and most important thing for this story, thing that I know is that without fail they will always be about 2 hours late. So when we are told to be there at 9am for the lesson I know I have about 2 hours of surfing time to myself. So I decided that if I were going to be out there early surfing I would bring my new 5'6 single fin to see what it can really do.

As I rolled up to Bolsa Chica, I received quite the greeting from all the kids at surf camp because they did not expect to see me there. I checked the surf conditions and saw that there would be a little bit going on to pull the board out. I jumped into my wettie and ran out to the water. As I paddled out I noted that most everybody out there was out on a longboard, but figured I could make the little 5'6 work. As the first set of my session rolled through I was happy to see that there was more size than the report had predicted and the South swell was lining up nicely. I took the first wave and hopped to my feet...the board felt good. A few waves later I got to my feet and headed down the line (I'm still not sure what I was thinking, but I went for it) put in a little cross step and slid five piggies over. I had never thought that my little 5'6 hull would have enough buoyancy to go five over, but I was stoked to find that out. The rest of the session didn't produce much to talk about other than my attempt to go drop knee into a barreled out right..too bad Bolsa Chica doesnt barrel well and it all closed out. Either way, its nice to know that the new board has a few tricks up its sleeves.

Ha..so I didn't actually get any pictures of the surf that the South swell is producing, but we will call this my artists rendition. I know it couldn't have looked like this, but isn't that how it always works in our heads? Everything seems just a bit bigger when we think back about it.
I sure hope that this South swell keeps up this next week since I am finally done writing all those late night papers and the US Open is upon us.

Unitl next time...praying for surf.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lunch Sessions: Part 2

It's funny how summers in the OC work with the changing swell. One week you can have some awesome waves with decent size and the next week everything goes flat...and I mean FLAT. I've seen lakes that have more going on then I have seen at times during this week. Nonetheless, I don't have too many opportunities to surf these days, so I have to make the most of every chance I do get to go for a paddleout.

As we got out of the water from the morning session today a couple of us realized that there just might be enough swell to make the 8' foamies fun for a lunch time session. I grabbed a board and headed on out to the line up. Of course, by the time we got a chance to head out there, no one else was out. The five of us from the camp had every wave to ourselves. A couple waves in I gave the handstand a chance, finding it to be not as well done as I ever have, but I did pull it off. A few waves later I started making my way to the front of the board. Now, I have never had much luck with trying to hang ten on a foamie, but at least for five piggies over today. At least its a start. It wasn't the most exciting session I have ever paddled out for, but when you only get so many chances to surf, you have to appreciate a goof off session with your friends.

There is no wave better than a party wave.

Today did not just yield a fun little lunch time session, but also gave me a new board from which to find enjoyment out of the waves.

I had made the decision a while back that I did not ride my 6'2 single fin nearly enough to have it be part of the quiver. So in my love for fish boards I had offered it up as a trade, but had no takers. So a few months go by and once again I put the single fin up as a trade, but this time had a bit more interest. A couple people offered fish boards, but they were just too big. I have been looking for something in the 5'6-5'3 range for a board. So yesterday I get this email asking if I wanted to trade for this other single fin. I obliged the inquiry and asked to see some pictures. What I saw was pleasantly surprising, but based upon the pictures I had assumed it was much larger of a board. Nevertheless I was toying with the idea of the trade when I found out the dims on the board were 5'6 x 20" 1/2 x 2" 1/2. From that point on I was stoked to get this deal on. After a few emails and a few text messages I made plans to meet up for a trade at THE Jack in the Box (Yeah you know which one I'm talking about...anyone in the Newport/HB area knows).
So the board is home and sitting next to me. I can't wait to get this thing in the water. It's more exciting than I had ever hoped from a Craigslist trade

Here is hoping for many waves and sunshine to come for my new little girl.

Until next time...praying for surf.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lunch Sessions: Part 1

So I realized that the only times that I am surfing anymore these days is for 30 minutes at a time on my lunches at Salty Grom Surf Camp. So not that I am going to write about every session I paddle out for, but I do want to have something to say here. So from time to time I am going to make a point of writing a little bit about some of the lunch sessions that I get to have everyday at work. Yep...my job is more fun than your job.

So this week has been pretty awesome for surf. The South swell that came in was really pumping and even though we had to be careful with the kids in the water, the lunch time sessions have been holding up for us. Usually in the Huntington/Orange County area all of our surf gets blown out by mid-day. As the day heats up and that air rises, the ocean provides some cooling air to the area, but of course that kills all of our waves. Somehow..this week, we had warm afternoons and the waves still held up for us at lunch.

Today's session was one of my favorite from the week. While the waves were not huge, it was a lot of fun. I had the chance to take a couple of head high waves that stayed open long enough to get three big turns in. Maybe its just me, but I feel like waves in Newport just don't offer those opportunities very often. Once again I just wish I could have someone film me all the time...those waves and times that things are great just never seem to be seen. Oh well..such is life.
I sure hope that the coming weeks at surf camp provide the same great waves we got this week and more South swells come on through this summer.

Until next time...praying for surf.

Friday, July 8, 2011

43 Dollars for THIS!!!!

I headed on down to San Clemente this morning for some surfing with my buddy Nick. We had figured out that we wanted to paddle out at 204 even though all of the reports said that it was just going to be 1-2 foot. Ignoring the smart choice to bring my foamie, I decided to bring the 5'8 fish for my San Clemente session.

I got to 204 with Nick and we made a quick decision to go check out Linda Lane to see if it was any cleaner. Upon arriving at Linda Lane we were given the very pleasant surprise of some size to the waves and pretty clean sets. We grabbed our boards and paddled out to the line up. Nick on his log and me on my fish, we found that the bigger sets were pitching nicely and barreling up well...BUT those big clean sets were all closed out.After about an hour in the water it was time to go, but there were quite a few fun sized waves that we got to enjoy. I got to my truck to find that the Sheriff had just finished writing my ticket for not feeding the meter. I was 18 minutes late and now I am paying the price.

I couldn't believe that they wouldn't even cover the postage, can I deduct the cost of a stamp from what I owe??
As I drove away from the beach I thought about some of the waves I got today. Seeing as how I had expected next to nothing...I think I would pay 43 dollars for good waves any day. Plus I had a fun drop and a little pitching barrel on the last wave...why not pay for that?I decided to make the most of the ticket and draw a little picture on the return envelope.

Maybe my next time back down to San Clemente I will have a free session instead having to pay for my waves. At least it was worth it today.

Until next time...praying for surf.