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Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Wrap-Up

Spot of the month honors go to Tyson Street with two sessions. Congrats to all the nominees, here is the sesh-per-sesh breakdown:

Tyson or Tyson-adjacent: 3
Oceanside Harbor: 1
20th St Del Mar: 1
15th St Del Mar: 1
North Tamarack: 1

This month wasn't my most prolific. The cold climate makes one ratchet up the threshold at which one paddles out. If it's summer and you can trunk it, you won't be too bummed it's 2 foot and mush, but it's too much of a production in 40-degree air.

With this in mind, I had four no-go's, leaving me with 63.33% for the month.

Wave of the month: 12.11 almost vertical lip bash
Bail of the month: ?

12.30.2011 Forrest in Oceanside: STy to SPier, Last Session of the Year NOW WITH GO PRO!

After trying over and over to get Windows Movie Maker to work (on two different computers with three different versions), I am unable to edit without the program crashing. I also tried it on a Mac, but it doesn't jive.

So, back to text only blogging until I figure out a way around it...

Forrest and I got to Oceanside and didn't see much. North of Tyson revealed a relative nug, but because of the low tide, we pressed on to check Harbor.

Harbor was more textured and more crowded. There were no nugs to be found, so we circled back around, suited up and paddled out.

We paddled out just north of the Tyson stairs and I immediately caught a right. It hollowed out quickly, but too quickly. I performed the first part of a standing-island pullout but wasn't able to hold through to the other side, though I don't know if it's possible to do a no-grab backside standing-island pullout...

I had a few close ones, waves that I thought were going to break, but I couldn't catch or they hit a deep spot and didn't break.

Then, I caught a nice lined-up left which I pumped like crazy on. I saw the oncoming section and hit it, but didn't keep my weight over the board and slowly collapsed on to my back, missing a solid finish that would've looked great with the speed I'd amassed.

The waves just stopped. We liked where we were sitting (alone) but the longshore current was sweeping us south.

We stayed there a good thirty minutes before we decided to go in and try our luck more towards the pier.

Because of the current, we were going to paddle as close to the pier as possible to give us the maximum amount of play as we drifted back south towards the Tyson stairs and the car.

I caught a small, quick right and crab-grabbed so as to get in there a bit earlier. I was excited to check the footage the GoPro had captured, but there wasn't much. The water hit the board and created so much turbulence that it blocked the view. Not a big deal, as I was in there for maybe a second.

I caught a mirror image of the above wave and crab-grabbed switch. I didn't get much of a view, but did see a nice frame grab of the lip curling over me.

I then caught a left which was similar to my second wave, but not quite as racy. I lined up for a whack but approached it too laterally and fell. Bummer.

Forrest was catching a few waves and was a little deep on one. For some reason, I decided to burn him on a right. He's burned me a lot over the years so I think I was trying to even the score. I took off about a second after him, twelve feet or so inside of him. I looked back and saw him doing a double-grab and going straight. My attention turned back to the wave which let me do one quick pump before unceremoniously closing out.

While paddling back out with a huge smile on my face, I could hear Forrest protesting. I hit him with the arsenal of SNAKE excuses I've heard over the years:

1. Oh, were you on that wave? I didn't see you.
2. I thought it was a party wave!
3. I thought you were going left?
4. I wasn't in your way, I looked back and you were going straight! (This one I made up on the spot)

The last one provided me with the most amusement.

I got into another quick crab-grab, no switch this time, but was in there for about a second and a half before detonation.

I got a whackable right and did so, but the section ended up having a lot less steepness and power to it than I was hoping for and I just faded off the back...

I had to get on with my day so that was the end of that session.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12.27.2011 Crappy 15th Street with Forrest EVENING SESH | First Sesh with the Go Pro Surf Hero Camera

Forrest and I headed down I-5 hoping to catch what Surfline said was 3-4' w/ occasional 6' (LOL) at Del Mar. I should know better than to trust SurfLIE but the stoke gets the better of me sometimes.

I was very excited to try out my Xmas present, the Go Pro HD Surf Hero 2. I'd stuck it on last night and tried to go out this morning, only to be turned away by closeouts or crowds everywhere I checked.

Forrest and I parked south of 15th Street and took the shortcut down.

A couple of notes about seeing yourself surf on film:

I'm not as hot as I thought I was. I figured myself for a 9.8 out of ten but now I've revised my number to a 9.65, possibly a 9.7 with excellent lighting.

I get deeper in my duckdives than I thought I did. Having a thin board, of course, helps that quite a bit.

I caught the first wave of the session relatively quickly. I was able to get four pumps out of it, hoping to connect with the oncoming section but it faded relatively quickly. Here is some footy from that wave, followed by a quick duckdive shot:

Not too long after that, I caught a meaty left. I wasn't able to get around the section and it detonated on my board. I feared the worst, thinking that the camera was dead, but no, it survived. It's kind of interesting thinking that this little camera is worth twice as much as the board! Here's some footy:

About ten minutes after paddling back out from the thick left, I caught a quick little nug and I was able to hit it. It's hard to tell from the video, but it was a decent bash. Here's the footy:

On my way back out from the lip bash, I saw a nice (relatively speaking) right forming to the north. I paddled over there, just missed some tweeners and sat. I caught this wave and had a good look at it. Unfortunately, my back foot was too far back and I blew it. It would've been a sick bash, maybe bash to floater. Footy is:

The waves slowed WAY down. I sat there watching the beautiful orange sunset's side effects on the cloud, about to decode the meaning of life when another right eventually came and snapped me back to something more important. I did a little mini-cutty and faded off the back. Here's video evidence:

Then we sat until after the sun was long-gone and we were the last two in the water.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Report, Blog Stat Brief, Injury Update

Oh Yes...!

My wife got me the new Go Pro HD Surf Hero 2 and it will definitely add a new dimension to the blog!

I will have to fiddle with the software to see how to integrate it on this page. I'm hoping it's as easy as an upload to YouTube and an embedding here. We shall see.

One month ago today, I updated the blog with the Panama pictures. The page views were at 285. The blog had been in existence since mid- August and I was averaging 2.78 views a day.

As of this writing, they're at 624. In the last month I've averaged 11.3 page views per day. The most viewed blog post is the Pipeline (9.23) session, followed by my first Bocas session (11.17).

My shoulder is doing better but it's by no means 100%. I've been taking it easier at the gym and being more conscious of which arm I use, hoping to rest it. I almost surfed this morning but at 2-3' it just wasn't tempting enough for me to betray my resting period.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12.22.2011 Humbling 20th St High Tide Sesh

Last night, Missed-it-Mike texted me and asked if I wanted to surf the following day.. He missed TWO phone calls from me and then texted me again to say maybe Friday. What a tease...

After having not surfed for a week and a half, due to a combination of lack of swell and a lingering injury, I was ready for some action. I knew the tide was going to be extremely high (close to 7').

Given the high tide, the reefs would be drowning, so I didn't even consider some of my favorite west-facing reefs. I bee-lined to 20th Street in Del Mar and parked the car in my usual spot.

While walking for the surf check, a guy got out of his car and put his feet on the ground. He was a double-amputee. I assumed he was military and a quick glance at his dash confirmed he was DoD-permitted. He was also wearing an Operation Rebound shirt.

We both arrived at the check spot next to the lifeguard tower at the same time. A set reared and my eyes bulged. He looked at me, I looked at him and I said, "I don't need to check it any more, I'm out there!". He laughed.

I threw on my suit and booties and walked up the sand. He'd left his metal legs leaning against the concrete sea wall. As I walked to the water, I saw him with his fish, dragging himself. He was on the wet sand, so I didn't offer to help.

We both paddled out and he took a couple of small but thick shorebreak waves to the head. I looked back to him to make sure he was cool and I heard him say, "That'll wake you up!". I hooted and smiled and made it out past the breakers.

I sat for a solid twenty minutes without seeing a rideable wave go by. I paddled in a ways. Nothing. A little more. Ni mierda...

Finally, a relative macker poured in and I caught it. It looked a lot steeper than it actually was and I set it up for it with that in mind. Unfortunately, my misread lead to me doing my all-too-common-on-high-tide-days front-foot flamingo. I was able to recover but there was just nothing there.

A HALF HOUR LATER (!) another wave came through that I was in excellent position for. It was a peak and its shoulder was lining up. I caught it and it had some steepness to it. I pumped as heftily as I could and kept an eye on the oncoming section. I cut down hard then back up, smacked it and threw TONS of spray (the offshore wind certainly helps). Halfway through the turn , I realized I was not going to recover as I'd failed to keep most of my weight over my board. I kicked my board out behind the wave (to lessen the chance of it coming down on me) and took my drubbing.

In my mind, I'd decided to bail. I sat on the inside for about ten minutes. I spotted a guy with closely shaved hair and a big scar from what could have been stitches. He looked at me and I said hello. He said something I couldn't hear, all I could make out was "board". I asked him to repeat himself and had the same result. So I did what I always do in this situation: I smiled broadly and said, "NICE!"

A wave came shortly thereafter. I had a hard time getting speed going and rather than my usual choke-up on the board strategy, I invoked the Huntington Hop. It worked well and I was able to get some speed going just in time to decisively life my board and smack the approaching wash. I did a fist-pump as a goof, claiming a maneuver that is rarely seriously claimed and fell backwards onto my face (yes, on purpose. No, I don't know why).

As I walked to the showers, I saw the double-amputee again and spoke to him. He couldn't have been older than twenty-two. He was super stoked to be out there and it will serve as a reminder to not let any excuses get in the way.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shoulder Issues

On December 2nd, I somehow injured my right shoulder. It hurts most if I move it from resting at my side to a quarter-rotation behind me.

After my last session on 12.11, I managed to aggravate it. I for once was pleased the weather killed the surf as it also killed my temptation to paddle out and start the whole recovery process over again.

I've been doing some rotator cuff exercises as well as applying a heat pad to the affected area. If anyone knows of any other remedies that may help, I'm all ears.

As of this evening, I'm happy to report that it's feeling much better. Though I am tempted to get out there tomorrow, I will wait until Monday to do so with the hope that it will be ok.

I will report back at that time. In the meantime, GO CHARGERS!

Monday, December 12, 2011

12.11.2011 Carlsbad: North Tammy's/South Cherry Street with Forrest, SUNSET SESH

Forrest wanted to go back to his place to get his 7'0" and get back out there. We kept our wetsuits on, parked at his place and walked out past PCH. I knew I was pushing my luck with my shoulder, but I decided to paddle out any way. Forrest was my ride home and I didn't want to sit around until it was dark.

We paddled out and the conditions were the same, just smaller. The good news is, every ten minutes or so, a set would come through. It wouldn't look like much, but when it hit the reef it would steepen up and start "throwing".

I caught a nice left, but it turned out to be fatter than I thought it would be. If you've had this happen to you on a blind date, having it happen to you while surfing is only slightly less tragic. I faded off the back after being too aggressive with my pumps.

A girl paddled out and sat deeper than me. Another left came through and she paddled for it. She looked like she was going to be too deep for it so I paddled for it. I kept looking towards her to see if she would go, obviously planning on pulling out if she went. She didn't, but the look on her face made me feel like I was being an a-hole. She made a face like she had just realized someone had waxed her board with dog poop.

I popped up with some speed. The wave didn't offer much, but I got a nice float out of it.

The girl paddled away immediately after the wave and we had it to ourselves again. A right came through and I was on it. It turned out to be super fast. I pumped a couple of times and did a floater but I somehow blew it. While underwater, I realized I should have did a cutdown and go for a high speed/low percentage (for me, at least) vertical lip bash. I would have had the speed and the power was there.

My shoulder began to really bother me and I lost my mojo. We saw a HUGE (shoulder-high) set roll through and briefly thought about planting ourselves out there waiting for one last one.

Ah, I forgot to mention how amazing and vibrantly red the sunset was. The waves weren't great but the scenery was amazing.

12.11.2011 Oceanside: Deceiving Tysconsin with Forrest AFTERNOON SESH | BROKEN BOARD

During my previous session, I managed to aggravate a newly-acquired shoulder injury.
Thankfully, the swell sabbatical allowed me to take some time off to recuperate.

My shoulder was feeling 95%. Forrest wanted to hit it in the morning, but I had an appointment at my second job: Airport Bitch. He cruised over during the second round of football games and was raring to get out THAR. He wanted to go to Carlsbad as he thought it looked good. I wanted to go to Oceanside because of the steep S swell direction. I made my case and he was convinced.

We shot up there and made our usual rounds. The seas were smooth, but the waves were smaller than SurfLIE had claimed they would be. We saw some set wave nugs come through, especially just south of the pier. We debated checking Harbor but were so smitten by what we saw that we passed.

We got our stuff on and headed towards the pier. We walked quite a ways, then decided we weren't in the mood to sit in a pack and fight for waves when there were empty ones just a couple of hundred paces south.

I jumped on my DHD and started paddling after a chest-high set rolled through. Forrest was close behind on his ancient Stewart longboard.

A left came through and I paddled hard. I popped up and did a quick pump to floater and blew it.

A similar left rolled through within five minutes and I did the exact same thing, EXCEPT I ollied off the lip and on to the flats. I landed flat with considerable speed and tried to do an extreme backside fade bottom turn so that I lay down just in time and with enough speed to propel my head and upper body underneath the rolling foam. I was somewhat successful.

A waist-high right came and I paddled for it. It was slow, so instead of doing the Huntington Hop, I choked up on it, putting most of my weight on the front half of my board by shuffling my feet towards the nose. The wave seemed to like that, as it let me in to its surprisingly speedy pocket. I shuffled back, but was disoriented by my newfound velocity. I meekly attempted to hit the section, but it turned into a weird wash bonk/floater rather than a solid lip bash.

A nice steep left rolled in and I sprint-paddled to meet it. I slammed my weight on the back of my board to make the half-turn more quickly. I paddled hard towards shore. As the wave lifted my board up, I popped up and pumped from the get-go. While I was immediately disappointed in my decision to not bash the first section, I salivated as the oncoming lip approached.

I didn't have enough speed for an air, so I turned up hard from the bottom to the point that I rose up the wave face at about a 60-degree angle. I rotated my head and shoulders, then my hips and legs and SMASHED the lip. I have a tendency to fall backwards after this move. This time, I managed to drag my hand in the water and recapture equilibrium. NICE!

Forrest caught a wave and about halfway through his subsequent paddle-out, a clean-up set came. I was in a good spot, but Forrest was not. When this happens, I have an annoying habit of yelling, "Bye BYE!" followed by a quick wave just before initiating my duckdive.

After three waves, the thrill of escaping a slight beating withered. I couldn't see Forrest until the last wave washed over him. I noticed he was paddling weird and when I got a liquid "culata" from the wave, it allowed me to see why. I could see a nice white cross-section of foam surrounded by the long-ago yellowed glass.

I immediately started laughing, which is an a-hole move. I wasn't laughing at his misfortune so much as I was laughing at the conditions in which his log snapped. A longboard isn't easy to break, but it's difficult to break a log in these small waves ESPECIALLY considering he wasn't even riding the wave who did this to his board.

I told him we could go in if he wanted and we went in shortly thereafter.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Opening Day John-John Florence WAVE OF THE DAY!

Looks like my skills are rubbing off on the guy! As you probably remember, I surfed with him at this very spot a little over a year ago. Check out how far up he pops out of the first pit!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2011 Pipeline Masters is LIVE!

The most revered contest at the world's most famous wave is going on NOW! Click here to take a look.

Go Dane! F JoB!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12.5.2011 Oceanside Harbor with Forrest: A No-Go Denied!

I met Forrest at his place at 6:10 and we suited up. The air was numbingly cold.

On the way north from Forrest's Tamarack-area pad, we checked assorted Carlsbad beach breaks and we saw NOTHING. I've seen Lake Tahoe this big (and with more juice). The brunt of the swell was coming from the SSW so we figured Oceanside would be better.

It was, but not by much. We paused at Wisconsin Street and thought about doing the ultimate in no-go's: taking off a dry wetsuit. We decided to check Harbor and call it a day if we weren't convinced. I silently made mental plans as to what to do with the extra time I'd have from not surfing.

While going over the new-ish bridge southeast of Oceanside Harbor, we saw something that excited us. This is all relative, mind you. If we'd just had a week of mind-blowing surf, we wouldn't have slept in based on the forecast. Since we were groveling, any ripple became titillating.

We pulled in to the parking lot and decided to go for it based on just the two-wave set we saw from the road. After much ribbing from both Forrest and Missed-It Mike, I elected to leave my gloves in the car. This was in an effort to see if I really was being a pansy.

Big mistake.

We got to the water and waded in. I made my best effort to not get my hands wet as the stiff offshore would make them shrink with frigidity. I succeeded until I made the difficult to decision to mount the board and begin paddling. Normally this time of year, the water will be comforting as it's warmer than the air. But with the strength and direction of the wind, today would be different.

We both made it out with dry hair and I caught two right away. I made sure I'd caught both before standing up, putting in an extra couple of strokes each time. All I accomplished is going straight for maybe ten yards before each one petered out (Man, it must suck to have the name Peter. First the phallic interpretation and then the verb).

I caught a right into the risen sun and was able to pump to keep pace with the wave, but not much else. Both times I faded off the wave in such a way so as to no get my face wet as it was still a virgin from the evaporative freezing effect of the offshores.

A nice set came, but I was out of position for it.

I sat for about twenty minutes and I started shivering a little. My hands were really cold and I consciously kept them underwater to shelter them from the wind.

A left came and I caught it late. I pumped twice, aware of its speed-killing fatness and attempted to lay into a cutback. I opened my shoulders back to the wash while twisting my gaze to meet it and aborted halfway through. What was meant to be a roundhouse cutty turned into a classic EddieP hack. Not bad, considering.

Within five minutes, another left came and I was in a great spot. I took off, pumped and met the oncoming section with a hit. Unfortunately, I blew it. I'm still not sure which bad habit of mine made me go underwater.

I hinted to Forrest that we should think about going in. He agreed and we walked into the gaping maw of the warmth-robbing offshores. As each second passed, my hands became number and more pained. When we got to Forrest's car, Forrest said he couldn't tie his board down as his hands were too cold. We huddled in the car (without touching, you pervs) to escape the wind for a few minutes. Forrest got out and we went back to his place with the faith-restoring space heater and hot shower.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12.2.2011 Oceanside: Mostly Gutless Tyson Street with Forrest

This morning was a cold one and I arrived at Forrest's pad to suit up in his apartment. I hurriedly put my stuff in his Sub and, along the way up PCH, admired the smoothness of the ocean. The offshore breeze and good tide were both excellent indications that we would have a good session.

About three-fourths of the way there, we realized I'd left my board in my car. We doubled back and checked Tamarack on the way there and it was TINY. No one was out. We stopped back at my car, I grabbed my board and back up to Oside we went.

I transformed into Neoprene Man (only my head was unprotected) and paddled out a bit north of Tyson Street. Being the festive guy that he is, Forrest brought along his Santa hat to add some flair to the session.

We saw a couple of (relative) bombs. Clean, though a bit slow, three-footers. It took a solid fifteen minutes for me to catch my first wave. It was a left that I struggled to stay on. I silently wished for my fish.

Forrest caught a right and on his paddle back out, he told me he had to pump to stay on it. A couple more weak ones rolled through, one that couldn't carry me on its face even just belly-boarding it. I started to get frustrated. The water was really cold and I was freezing for this?!?

On top of that, the wind was offshore and the tide seemed right. If only some swell would come in and it would turn into a sick session!

More gutlessness whimpered in. Frustration levels grew.

It was at this point I suggested we become our alter egos: The OAG's (Overly Amped Guys).

From this point on, every ripple became a macker; every morsel became the wave of the day. This made the session a lot more fun as it created some competition as to could be the more amped between us. If you asked the other people surfing around us, though, they would've sworn it was a contest to see who could be more annoying.

About an hour into the session, some sets started rolling through. I caught a right and smacked it gently so as not to overdo it on fat sections, as I tend to do.

I kicked out and saw the rest of the set come in. It was starting to get close to decent!

A left came through about ten minutes later and I pumped a couple of times and did an off-the-lip with speed. Had I put more weight on my front foot, I would have had a nice finish (if you can call the only maneuver you complete on a wave a finish) to it. My back foot hogged my body weight and so I landed wrong and splayed out onto my back.

The wave of the day came through, a nice right that was maybe four feet high. Forrest decided it would be a good time to call "Party Wave!" and so I ended up eating his spray and bailing. Oh well.

We were both over it, so in we went.