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Monday, December 31, 2012

December AND 2012 Wrap-Up

NoTePads 2

December is a cruel mistress of a surf month.  This month she bestowed five sessions upon me.  The Santa Ana days are a waste without swell, and conversely, the swell days are pretty much rotten without the Santa Anas.

~~~2012 Wrap-Up~~~

I counted 128 sessions.  That's one session every 2.8 days.

Of these sessions, 102 happened in California, with 99 happening in metropolitan SD County (Oside and points south).

25 (19.53%) of these happened in El Salvador.

1 went down during my early trip to Hawaii.

I spent $0 on new gear this year, but untold hundreds on gas.  Airfare I won't count thanks to Raquel's frequent-flyer miles.

12.21.12 A Second No-Go Denied at NoTePads

The previous day, we were blessed with offshores.  MD's was too bloated, so I headed south to NoTePads.  As I descended toward the foot of the valley, I saw a scrumptious section fold over, albeit racily, into an unmakeable barrel.  I hadn't gone in the water for close to two weeks, so I was down for getting some tube time with very little chance of making it.

Upon exiting The Rad, I was greeted by a frosty offshore wind that was blasting through the 56 corridor and out into the ocean.  I was determined to go for it.  I took my shirt off and put on my changing robe.  My toes were numb from the wind and their exposure to it.  I continued to look into the ocean as I suited up.  I pulled the wetsuit up around my waist and realized this was the warmest I would be all morning.  Having spotted nary a tube section since parking, I made a call to cancel the wetsuit sequence and retreat to the relative warmth of The Rad.  I rode home with the wetsuit half on, wetsuit sleeves and tail firmly planted between legs (nothing sexual though).

I vowed to exact my revenge at my next opportunity, and it arrived less than a day later...

Missed-It-Mike met me at MD's and we weren't impressed by what it showed us.  We trekked south, to the scene of the emasculation, to NoTePads.  This time I came prepared.  People who saw me driving thought I was a pussy, a neoprene fetishist gimp or perhaps both.  Mike felt the cold caress of the wind and lost his mojo.  There really wasn't much out there, but I was determined to paddle out.  It, without question, would've been a repeat of the previous day's embarrassment.

Mike decided he was going to film me from his car, using his phone.  The footage, much like the waves, was forgettable.  I looked like a speck of black against white splashing on the wave's surface.

There was no one out, though I did see sweeper about a hundred yards south.  The water temperature was a welcome warmth and made the temperature much more manageable.

I got a little bit of a cover-up on a right crab-grab attempt.  Other than this wave, there were no stand-outs.  I spent my time on the rest of the waves Huntington-hopping my way to frustration.  I haven't looked at the GoPro footy yet, but I know there is no need to, because the waves were so lacking.

When I finally decided to call it a sesh, I found myself in an upwelling spot where the cold water felt like death.  It felt as though my fingers were closing up on themselves in an attempt to keep warm.  I found a wave and belly-boarded it, then walked past a guy who was pacing back and forth about fifteen steps in each direction before changing directions.  He asked me if I was cold and I replied affirmatively.

Luckily, I didn't have to wait for my hands to thaw.  I had enough torque to turn the key in the ignition.

The post-surf shower was AMAZING!  It's what I'm calling the shower of the year.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

12.7.12 FUN, Peaky 20th Street Solo Mish

I woke up at my usual just-shy-of-five time and decided to make good on the promise to myself from the night before:  I would make a good faith effort to check the waves despite the reports' tales of woe from the swell charts.

Because of the NW direction of the swell, I made MD's my first check.  As I came within eye shot of the surf at 15th, my eyes bulged out of my head.  What is THIS? There's SWELL!  As I hung down and then right onto Coast Blvd, I came to the realization that it wasn't a maritime mirage, but honest-to-goodness, consistent grinders up and down the beach.

I parked at 20th and was about to ask a guy coming in how it was.  Unprompted, he said, "It's soooo good!". Yowza.

On my first wave, I was a bit inside, but made it onto the wave and around the initial crashing section.  I did a quick pump, then had to take my foot off the gas as the wave hit a deep spot and slowed down.  I put more weight on my front foot to stay on it and the wave felt sand again, turning steeper.  The wave was shutting down, though it was more of a foam-over than a classic slamming closeout.  I kept weight on my front foot as I slashed and managed to stay over my board, but I faded off the back.

My next wave was a second left, but this one was slow the whole way.  I pumped and did my best to not fade.  I was successful, but there was no reward.  The wave somehow shut down without having any sort of decent slope from which to harvest speed.

 The next left had some slope to it, though it did start off a little slow.  I milked the most speed I could off of it and made it to the inside section where I slashed it well, but there was little pushback from the wave and I plopped off my board, devoid of speed.

A weird thing about the waves today is that the prevailing swell direction was NW, but the vast majority of rights were shutting down almost immediately.

Case in point: My next wave was a scrumptious-looking steep right.  I dropped down at an angle and tried to avert destiny by giving myself the best chance to make it around the section.  I choked up with a quick pump, but the thing shut down behind me and in front of me, hitting me in the back in the process.

Then, one of the weirdest, most startling things that has ever happened to me occurred.  I paddled back out from the right and perched.  About three minutes later, I spotted this massive sea lion, quite possibly the biggest I'd ever seen in the wild, motoring RIGHT towards me from about two o'clock.  I noticed how much of its body was out of the water, meaning the guy was MOVING!

Its mouth was open and it looked angry.  It was staring right at me.  I looked at it mostly bemused, but somewhat bewildered.  It had two huge protrusions in its mouth, not sure if they were tusks, but they were so gnarly.  I stood my ground, getting a little more alarmed.  Then, when it was about fifteen feet away, it let out a heavy-sounding grunt/cough; the presence of which slammed my chest against my board and sent me scurrying.  The first four or so strokes were sprint-paddles, but I cooled it down because I was concerned the splash chaos would attract it to me.  I was so scared!  Within ten seconds, I looked to the south and it had semi-surfaced from the dive it took when my head was turned. PHEW!

My next wave was a sick left, though it didn't look so at first.  It appeared to be slow, and I pumped up to try to generate some speed.  The wave then hit a shallow spot and started spinning quickly.  I was in a really critical spot; the opening part of the lip tapping me ever so slightly twice.  Then the wave slowed way down, and I slammed on my backside rail hoping to throw a ton of spray.  I did, but it was at the expense of making it.  I made the mistake of too critical a turn for too flat a wave.  Bummer.

My next wave was a right, which today meant a quick exit.  Luckily, I was able to make something of it this time and swung up into it for an aerated rock 'n roll.  In surfing, this is called a foam climb.  Here is the footy, but we warned, it gets salacious at the end!

The curse of the lazy lefts continued.  I caught a wave I wasn't sure would develop and descended it straight down, I cut back up then stomped on the deck of my board with my front foot and leaned way down, hoping this would allow me to continue down the face.  It didn't, and I plopped over.

Another left, but this one had more steepness to it.  I saw after descending it was going to close out on me, so I took the opportunity to soul arch my way out of it.  I jumped over the foam and that was it.

After two more lazy lefts, I'd decided I couldn't bear the sting of my wetsuit rashes any longer.  I succumbed and beached myself, hoping tomorrow would have bear more of the same.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

12.4.12 M-I-M and I hit up NoTePads

We met at the usual time and at the usual place.  MD's was absolutely dreadful.  We saw a guy fade off a couple of waves.  We were still mad at the place for denying us a ride on its sweet curves a few days prior, so we shined it in favor of good old NoTePads.  A tip from Trevor ("Best NoTePads EVER") from the day before got us a little excited, but my expectations were tempered considering how crappy MD's looked.

We parked at our destination and Mike loaded up into The Rad.  He was instantly blessed by the sweet jams of the GuyPod.  Some would say it was these tunes which motivated him to suit up despite the conditions.  The waves would spill over, but they were so fat and had so much water on them that staying on them would be a challenge.  We saw a couple of possibly rideable waves out there, so we talked ourselves into paddling out.

Our pre-paddle pow-wow didn't betray us.  It was as shitty as it had looked from the comfort of The Rad.  Many waves were caught, but not many waves were ridden.  It was a challenge just to descend into the troughs of these marshmallows.  The bright side of course, is that we were by ourselves, in nature, with not one player hater in sight.

The wave of the day, and the only one I can really describe due to the others running together, was one I caught that turned into a double-up on take-off. I was the beneficiary of a quick burst of speed, which ran out, less than ten yards through the wave.  I managed to somehow stay on this slowpoke, and made the inside connection.  I got one quick burst of speed and came up nicely off the bottom, meeting the lip to slash it, then popping back down.

The water's getting really cold and it may be time to break out the gloves and booties soon.

12.1.12 Cardiff Reef PM SESSION with Forrest

Forrest called and asked if I wanted to surf.  I asked where and he said, "Somewhere you don't want to".  I quickly realized he meant Cardiff Reef and said I'd pass.  He said he'd be willing to surf Turtles or Pipes.  I told him Pipes was out because of the massive crowd I'd spied while driving south on the 101 earlier that day.

He asked if I'd rather go mountain-biking and I thought about that, but realized it's rare we get swells like this, so let's SURF!  I packed my board and tub into his car, this time loaded with my 3/2 with the philosophy that this wetsuit, with its different points of friction, may not rub me the same way.

I didn't want to be a bum-out, so I told him we could go to Cardiff if he wanted.  We lucked into one of the first spots south of the restaurants, suited up, slapped on some sunscreen and walked to the sand.  George's looked downright nasty, but the left in front of the newly-christened Pacific Coast Grill looked tasty.  I paddled out and immediately got bashed in the head over and over again.  I couldn't find any open faces and didn't even get a chance to paddle for waves because of the constant paddling and dunking.  I looked back and saw I was north of where we'd parked and I decided I was over it.  I went in and walked north.

I was not going to let Cardiff defeat me.  I walked all the way down to where the lagoon meets the ocean and paddled out.  I duckdived. Constantly. For fifteen minutes.  Then, I had the sad realization that all my paddling had been futile when I duckdived and the nose of my board hit sand. DAMN IT!  I stood up, waded, then waited as each roll of foam assailed me.  I marveled at how hard the water pushed me back, now having a point of reference in the sand.

Eventually, I was able to power through and ended up JUST north of Suckouts, perhaps the closest thing North County has to a mutant wave.  There was a pack of about eight heads sitting there.  I drifted south after not much was coming through and I saw a bearded guy get positioned perfectly, dropping in with his arm shoulder-deep in the wall, but get nothing for his efforts as the wave just stopped barreling before it went over him.  It still looked sick though!

I was in the main takeoff zone of Cardiff Reef now, and the head count reflected that.  It's very possible that I was on the least amount of foam out there.  It wasn't huge, but it was still overhead on the sets.  I paddled half-heartedly for waves, knowing that my chances of a logger falling off on the outside and it being me who was in position to pick up his sloppy seconds were miniscule.

I looked for Forrest but could not spot him.

I floated to the inside a bit, hoping for some 'tweeners.  I saw a wave that missed everyone on the outside and was absolutely shocked I was in position for it.  I was a bit deep, and the waves were a bit fat, so I had to paddle my ass off.  I descended and smacked it, then went for a roundhouse cutty but I faded.  I'd wandered too far onto the shoulder.

After all that work, I had one wave to show for it.  I wasn't about to paddle out and risk a decapitation from a guy on a big board who isn't used to all that speed.  I bailed and Forrest pulled up shortly thereafter.

12.1.12 MD warm-up, then George's

I made a point to dog M-I-M for missing out on the previous day's great sesh.  He responded as I'd hoped, with ardent fervor.  We made plans to surf the same spot.  I showed early and checked it, but there was some texture on it from the NNE wind.  The waves were coming in hard and fast, with nary a sizable break to be seen.

I convinced Mike to paddle out by extolling tales of yesterday's waves.  We suited up and walked onto the sand, and it looked a bit intimidating.  We weren't sure if there would be a payoff to our paddle-out pain, but we pressed onward.  We got close to halfway out when our forward progress plateau'd.  The constant onslaught kept us duckdiving instead of paddling, and once we surfaced, we were roiled in efficiency-killing foaminess.  Our fingers would rake through the aerated water and not have enough water to make progress.

I pride myself on my tenacity when it comes to paddling out.  Twenty minutes of constant paddle-paddle-paddle-duckdive-paddle-paddle-paddle-duckdive later and my steadfast commitment to making it out was crumbling.

Just as it's best not to look down when you're up high, it's a bad idea to look back towards the shore on grueling paddle-outs.  It's rare when doing so that the culprit thinks, "Wow! I'm really far from shore!" .  After my left trapezius was exhausted from it being overtaxed, and my left arm and shoulder were numb, I made the fatal mistake of looking back and realizing how little progress I'd made.  Couple all of this with my stinging wetsuit rashes (now two strong) and you had a real demotivator.

Mike was behind me and a bit south.  He gestured in such a way so as to relay to me that he was over it.  We had a pow-wow:  Were we really going to let this swell humble us and send us scurrying to our cars?  After a three-minute debate of sorts, we decided we would let it.  I suggested we hit up a reef that would provide some break in the swell and perhaps even a channel.

I put on my changing robe over my wetsuit, got in to The Rad and headed up north, with Mike following behind.  If there are any ladies, or even effeminate men, reading this, be glad you didn't see me in it as you would have become pregnant with a baby that looks like this:

After passing through Solana Beach, the 101 opens up.  Seaside looked ok, but crowded.  George's was showing us some welcoming, but fleeting, faces.  Best of all, the peaks were EMPTY. I flipped a bitch and parked.  Mike and I grabbed our stuff, gushed over how easy the paddle-out looked (it's interesting how our priorities changed) and paddled out.

We flew outside with no issues, but of course we were overzealous and paddled out too far while taking the rip.

We vacillated between paddling in, then being surprised by a set and sneaking under them for about ten minutes before this happened.

A wave came, and I was in a great spot for it.  Mike asked which way I was going and I said I was taking the right.  I descended, waited out the spillover foam and hacked into it a couple of times before I made the fatal error of taking too much weight off my front foot for the grand finale.  Still, a sick wave and one that made all that paddling worth it.

Since I'd traveled with the current, I knew Mike would be far.  I looked to the north, where I'd taken off, and couldn't see him.  I saw a guy WAY south of me, a good hundred yards and thought that it couldn't be Mike.  I took some more waves on the head while I thought about which way to go.  Then, I saw two amazing, close to double-overhead lefts roll through to my south.  I decided I would paddle over there to try and snag one.

Once there, I realized it was Mike who was south of me.  How the hell did he beat me down here when I was riding a wave and he was sitting?  Obviously it was a nasty N-S current, but one unlike any I'd ever experienced before.

I caught up to Mike and we alternated paddling for and pulling back some stomach-churning closeouts for about ten minutes.  Then...

Mike and I saw this massive wall of water.  He was about eight feet in front of me and about three feet north of me.  I saw him duckdive then do the subtlest of I'm-ditching-my-board shoulder twitches.  I hadn't ditched my board in a long time and had forgotten it was an option.  I watched the thick lip descend towards me and decided to ditch my board as well. I felt the wave detonate right above my head.  It felt as though I'd ducked under a depth charge!

Mike ended up closer to me than before the bomb went off, which is usually a sign that he got the worse (not necessarily worst!) of it.  We compared notes and wondered if our boards had made contact as they were dangerously close to one another.

We spent another ten, perhaps fifteen minutes trying to get in to some open-faced waves to no avail.  A second beastly wave, about the same size as the one described above reared on to its haunches, then feet.  It began feathering at the top.  I could hear Mike making some noises, the tone of which I interpreted to be, "We're screwed!" to which I replied, "Don't be a pussy!".

Unbeknownst to me, Mike had taken my advice and interpreted as my telling him NOT to ditch his board this time.  I got absolutely throttled by this wave, but I know it probably messed up Mike a little more than me because he was a couple of beats outside of me and closer to ground zero.  Not only that, but I had the luxury of being a couple of feet deeper than he was and away from the burden of the board. I could feel the tug of my leash on my ankle.  After about eight or ten seconds of ragdolling, I came up with a smile and facing the beach.  I made eye contact with Mike less than a second after surfacing and he said, "Look out!".  I whirled while simultaneously taking a breath and saw another wave explode sending me on the second leg of my journey towards the bottom.

There was no third wave of the set.  M-I-M said my board had tombstoned, which means it was standing straight up in the water from how deep I was.

Mike and I laughed at how smashed we got and made plans to go in, as it was getting too brutal out here.  If there were waves to go with the beatings, we would have gladly signed up.  But we can get punishment without pleasure with our wives at home (this is a test to see if my wife really does read this, as she claims she does).  And so we did...

November Wrap-Up

MD's 4
NoTePads 2
D Street 1

This surf month was hobbled bywayward weather and wee swells.

The wave of the month goes to the overhead steep right I got on the last session of the month.

The bail of the month goes to the wave I straightened out on, then claimed.  I jumped off my board and got smacked around.

Had it not been for the big uptick in swell at the tail end, this would've been a very disappointing month, but I will give it a C.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

11.30.12 Booming MD's Solo Sesh

Mike and I had made arrangements to surf on this morning.  As I walked up to the lifeguard tower at 20th St, I checked my phone and I had received a message from Mike which said, and I quote "Prob out on surfing tomorrow".  I look up from my phone to look at the waves and I smiled broadly.  Missed-It-Mike was missing it yet again.

I saw two lefts reel through unridden and I went back to my car thinking, "Where is everyone?".

The paddle-out was uneventful with only one hairy duckdive in which I lucked into an air pocket and surfaced unscathed.

There were a lot of waves coming through and this reality was reinforced by both the rising swell and rising tide.  Picture a running back getting hit by one defensive lineman and then having a linebacker immediately add to the momentum.  The good news is the waves didn't seem to be affected by backwash that tends to happen in these conditions.

My first wave was a head-high left.  I hadn't stood up on a wave in ten days and was a bit wobbly on my pop-up, dragging my back foot a bit.  I recovered on the descent, but the wave was closing out by that point.  I kicked my board up and looked forward to my next shot.

I caught a right and did a drawn-out bottom turn, but again, the wave ended up finishing without my approval.

I had another right come my way two minutes later.  It looked steep so I tucked into my barrel stance from the get-go.  I was in deep and high on it, one of the bigger backside barrels I've enjoyed in recent memory.  I angled down but ran into the ever-receding lip and slammed.  The footy was marred by swirling water, unfortunately.

One other guy paddled within twenty yards of me and we compared notes on the waves.  I remarked on how sick it was and he lamented as to how much better it would be sans closeouts.

The waves were beginning to get bigger, and for the first time in a long time, I began to long for a bigger board.

My next wave was a bigger version of my first right with the same result.  I Fosbury flopped over the back, hoping not to lose too much ground.

I caught an overhead left and it closed out about two seconds after I popped up, allowing for only a second of green face time before I pulled through the wave out the back.

Finally, an open face!  I caught a smaller-than-average right and bottom turned hard into it, but not as vertically as I would've liked.  The section of the wave I chose to snap on was too flat; had I gone vertically up the face, I would have had no problem.  I dug my trailing arm into the water but the only thing I was able to use as a pivot point on the wave was a weak spot.  I faded off the back.

The next wave was a little bigger, but with a similar result.  I dug both arms into the wave, but it was more of a cutback than a snap and I faded again.  I have to start descending and use the change in vertical positioning to accelerate into the roundhouse.

Less than a minute later, and on the same film clip, I caught a frothy left.  I did two of my most stylish pumps of all time with the third one projecting me over the nose of my board.  I had overestimated the slope of the wave and paid the price by endoing face first into the water.

It was at this point that I really started to feel my right arm pit getting raw from the constant paddling and friction.

I caught an overhead right that seemed to grow as I descended.  I straightened out and did a one-fist claim as I watched it detonate.  I jumped off my board and got annihilated underwater.  I came up for air and took a second wave on the set.  The third wave of the set was double-overhead, and I saw a fellow goofy-foot take off on it about fifteen yards north of me.  I cheered him on for about three seconds before I took another gulp of air and took one last one on the head.

Upon paddling back out, I spotted what seemed like a familiar face from long ago.  It was my old buddy Tyler Grant.  I hadn't seen him in close to ten years and the last time I'd seen him was out at this very break.  He was my best buddy when I came up to the US when my mom sent me up during La Ofensiva in El Salvador's Civil War and again in sixth grade.

We caught up a bit and I caught my wave of the day.  It caught me by surprise and I didn't have time to press the button, but I can assure you, I smacked it well twice, then bogged on the third hit as the wave closed out.

I got Tyler's email and he said we could go out for beers but as of this writing close to thirty hours later, I haven't received a response... :*-(

I got a lazy left and pumped on it, but it too quit on me and I ended up flamingoing, then endoing.

On the way back out, a monster wave came and I was determined not to let it separate me from my board.  I duckdived and the wave's power exploded between my body and my board.  I felt the board straining in my hands, a feeling I can't remember experiencing before.  I let the board go and wondered if I'd pressure-dinged the board.  After I was safely in deeper water, I checked, and saw an impression of my thumbs on the deck.

My pit rash was getting to be agonizing in my tight suit, so I bailed.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

11.20.12 Disappointing MD's w/ M-I-M, but STILL BETTER THAN YESTERDAY!

After the previous day's debacle, Mike and I headed for more southern pastures.

The waves were bigger and less closed out, but their penchant for fattening up after the initial steep section was worrisome.

My first wave was a right that had promise.  While bottom-turning, I cut it short to a more horizontal trajectory due to the lack of steepness to it.  It was all for naught, as I got pushed off the back by the bulge of water.

Mike was paddling out after having caught one of his own (but a quality wave, relative to the conditions) and I saw an opportunity for stoking him out with a close-up view of a switch crab grab, a move no other surfer I've seen in person, in the magazines, or in surf videos has been able to (or, some would say, willing to) do.  I dropped almost straight down, but got into the barrel but didn't get far before I slammed.

No other waves come to mind, but I remember being bummed out about the lack of decent waves.  We are in fall, the absolute best season for waves because of the drop in crowds, frequent Santa Ana winds and crossed-up swells.  So far all we've had is the welcome drop in heads...

11.19.12 M-I-M and I hit up D Street

There was a combo swell in the water, so I made the call to hit up D Street.  Mike had a pep in his step due to his brand-spanking new 4/3 wetsuit.

We walked a bit south to try to avoid a small pack and paddled out around E Street.

My first wave was a middling right that allowed me to make it halfway through a bottom turn and nothing more before closing out.

My second wave allowed me to drop in, see just how hard it was going to close out, and kick my board up in the air before the wave rolled over me.

I got a look at another left and mustered up a drop, trim, and soul arch before jumping over the foam of the closeout.

At this point, the following Adele song crept into my head, but change the title and lyrics from "...Pavements" to "...Closeouts":

I caught a right and tucked into a crab grab.  I was ambitious in my trajectory, and swooped too far out onto the flats.  The lip comically smashed me on the head robbing me of my half-second of glory.  I came up laughing and paddled out to see if Mike was ready to go in.

State of the Blog Address

And now it's time...
for Eddie's mailbag:

"Wow, Eddie! How do you remember your sessions from nearly two weeks ago. You're like a surf Rain Man!  Please don't use my name if you use this comment." -Anonymous fan

"Holy smokes dude, Vegas was SICK!  I still can't believe our wives bought the "business conference" line.  Hey, I got that stripper's info, she'll be in town next week.  I'll give you her number AFTER I'm done with her. Cool? Oh yeah, please omit any personally identifiable information in the off chance this leaves your inbox." -"Anonymous" fan

"Hey stud! Good news, the HIV test came back negative, so be sure to come see me next time you're back in Vegas.  I'll probably need a new test by then, though. Hee hee! Oh hey, please don't reveal who this is.  I'd hate for your wife to find out about us.... MUAH! - Anonymous "Thunder from Down Under" Male Revue dancer who I swear I barely touched

Ok, so I haven't been able to surf because I've been busy with various endeavors.  I've been dreading posting because I was murky on the details after a few days.  Then a few days, turned into several, and here we are ten days later.

I fear I may be losing my mojo for writing up every single session as it can take a half-hour per session if you include video editing.  I'm flirting with doing a short paragraph for forgettable sessions and then really laying into the narrative on the special sessions or when I travel for surf.

I started this blog as a way of remembering my sessions.  The idea came to me when I was paddling out in Oceanside in July 2011.  I was thinking back to all of the sessions I've had over the years and how I wish I could remember them more clearly.  Another reason I went ahead with the blog was I thought it would be a good writing exercise.  I like to think I'm funny and a good writer.  As my biggest fan, I clamored for more, more regular content.

As a minor possible offshoot, I thought I could make some side money if it got big.  I knew it would never be enough money to live on.  First off, the surfing audience is TINY compared to say, celebrity gossip, fashion, or beer/booze blogs.  Also, the surf industry is in a tailspin, most recently evidenced by one of the biggest corporate benefactors, Nike, withdrawing financial support from surfing.

I'm also held back by my non-ripper status.  Surfers like to see two things when they look at surf media: Guys ripping and good waves.  I give them, usually, a guy on waves.

After more than fifteen months of not missing a single session, I've spent $21 on this blog, all on the domain name.  Thanks to my main man Missed-It-Mike, who bought a $700 dishwasher, I got $28 in Amazon money because he clicked through the link towards the top right corner of the blog.  This means I have made $7 after spending what I imagine to be one hundred hours on the blog.

Ok, so my hourly rate would make sweatshop laborers and convicts snicker derisively, but I can still claim "Professional Writer" on my business card, curriculum vitae, and go on speaking tours, right?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

11.6.12 M-I-M and I visit NoTePads

Because of our experience days earlier, we decided to just suit up and paddle out.  Mike mentioned after we had suited up that the bridge was working again and we could've parked about as close to the beach as you can in California.  Oh well, it was a beautiful, albeit cold walk out to the breakers. 

We walked a good amount south before paddling out.  The waves were about chest-high on the sets and barreling.  Sounds good right?  Well, the whole story is that they were closing out and HARD. 

About halfway through the session, after getting barreled for the umpteenth time, I duckdived and turned my head sideways and these were, without a doubt, the longest closeouts I'd ever seen.  As M-I-M put it, the swell angle was directly pounding into the shore which, in turn, was angled directly at the swell.  The closeouts broke almost all at once in 100 yards in either direction. 

It was as though the direction of the shoreline and the angle of the swell were making sweet passionate love with no sandbar interference, leading to explosion after explosion.  I know I was turned on! 

Most of the barrels I got run together.  All of them were crab grabs, some switch.  None of them were made.  I recorded a dozen clips of me throwing myself over the ledge into impossible barrels just trying to get some tube time.  There were several I didn't film as some of the wedges came out of nowhere and I didn't have enough time to push the button down.  There were no real standouts, so I will spare you the footy.

There were a few where I noticed my board is angled too much toward the shore, and the lip would crash on the board, wiping me out.  I will have to note this in future crab grab attempts.

There were two waves I caught and was able to pump on a couple of times, but there was nowhere to go.

Mike and I marveled at how far south we were pushed by the longshore current and looked forward to our almost-hike back to our respective rides.

11.5.12 A Prophecy Fulfilled at MD's w/ M-I-M

I showed up about ten minutes early and watched the waves as I waited for my best surf buddy, Missed-It-Mike.  I really enjoy surfing with him and my showing up early really shows it.

Unfortunately, Mike didn't feel the same way, as he showed up twelve minutes late. 

I swallowed my sadness and internalized it, adding it to my ever-growing mountain of suppressed emotions.  My head doctor says one day I will have a nervous breakdown unless I surround myself with people who are positive influences in my life, but until I find them, M-I-M will have to do.

I explained to him that it was closing out A LOT, but we should still find some corners out there.  He uncharacteristically made the call for us to get out there, and did so quickly.

We walked out and hit the water just north of 20th Street.

My first wave was the best of the morning.  I tucked into a sick right barrel and went for a ways before the closeout reduced my chances for glory to chances-of-Gary-Johnson-winning-the-election numbers.  I succumbed to my fate and re-surfaced.

My next three waves were too similar.  Lefts on which I would take off and kick my board up in the air within three seconds of popping up, due to the waves' tendency to close out.

I caught a couple of rights where I had time for a mini-pump, but not much else.

We went in after about an hour, bummed.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

11.3.12 M-I-M Right Back in the Swing of Things at NoTePads!

I told M-I-M about my tubular session on the previous day.  We checked it, but the waves were smaller and looked fatter.  The offshore was on it, too, which led to surfers being slower on the waves than usual.  We waffled and waffled and finally decided to check NoTePads, famous for its lack of crowds and nearby topography that funnels offshores right into the waves.

Because Del Mar and San Diego finally came to an agreement on fixing the ancient bridge that joins them on the 101, our way there was closed.  We were forced to set up on Carmel Valley Road and couldn't seem to get a good view of the waves.  We shot the shit and finally, I saw a set feather and was convinced there was something out there.

We walked through the parking area and under the bridge, then streaked south while wading through the estuary's outflow.  Eventually, I made the call as to where to paddle out.

We paddled out without incident.  I got into my first wave relatively quickly.  It was a pretty sweet crab grab on which I had to stall a bit as it took a second or two to throw out.  I got a nice view of the sun streaming through the lip, but not much else.  I can't remember why, but I bit it hard and got spun around underwater.

The GoPro decided to only work for six-second spurts and so I retired it for the session.

I got another right and the offshores got under my board, pushing me back.  Finally, gravity and my front foot's insistence in stepping on the gas won out, but my trophy was a dubious one.  It looked like what someone trying to do a backside floater with absolutely no speed would be doing.

Mike and I split several peaks during the session.  The best of these was one on which I went left and managed to get a couple of turns in before kicking out. 

Then, I got a smaller, barreling right and I tucked in.  I got chandeliered, but made it through, my first made crab grab since my trip to Panama a year ago this month.

Mike and I were out for almost two hours before we bailed.  I tried to convince Mike to stay out all day as we both had time, but he decided he wanted to go home to see his wife and son.

11.2.12 Solo Sesh to 20th St, MD's

I'd checked it here on Thursday and I left underwhelmed, and more noteworthy, with dry hair.

Missed-It-Mike was out of commission due to illness.

The forecasts said there would be a bump in the swell, and for once, they were right.  I was a bit concerned with the incoming tide, as I thought it would slow the waves down.

Once there, I saw bigger waves, but the vast majority appeared to close out

On my way to the water, I saw a guy pull in to a shoulder-high tube and go in there for a bit less than two seconds before getting clipped on the double-up.  I quickened my pace.  As I paddled out, he rode in prone and I tried to congratulate him on the wave.  Judging by the quizzical look on his face, I don't think he was able to make out what I was saying over the roar of the whitewash.

My first wave was ok.  I tucked in late into the tube for a crab grab but I didn't make it out.  I think what happened is I put too much weight on the front of the board and swept the fins out enough to scrub off my speed.  No matter, as I don't think it was makeable (I saw maybe two makeables all session).  As the waves get bigger, I'm hoping the barrels do too and I can do proper pig dogs.

Nearly twenty minutes after many paddle-fors/pullbacks, I caught a second wave.  It was also a tight right barrel.  I got a great view of the spinning cylinder, with the morning sun trying to power through the clouds, reflecting onto the face of the wave.  Suddenly, SLAM! My world turned gray as I churned under the surface of the wave, getting buffeted by the power of the wave.

I got a look at a semi-open left less than five minutes later.  The speed with which the barrel proceeded surprised me and I attempted a late and unsuccessful standing island pull-out.

The next wave was akin (get it?) to the previous wave's female fraternal twin.  A little smaller and it revealed itself to me a few minutes later than its bigger brother.  I made it around the initial crashing section, but the wave closed out soon thereafter.

At this point the offshore winds picked up and got to the point where they were almost too strong.  On waves this size, and with such a small window to catch them, offshore winds over 5 knots can delay your descent and make it so you have no speed with which to catch up to the green water.

It'd been a half-hour or so since my last crab grab barrel and I began itching uncontrollably for my next taste.  I got in on one late and it was my longest barrel of the day.  The lip collapsed on my head and it marked the end of the tunnel for me.

I caught another right with the intent of doing a turn, but it shut down before I'd descended completely.  I bottom turned and bailed.

I was getting the feeling that today was going to be all about closeout barrels, so I stuffed myself into yet another tight right tube.  The wave coquettishly decided to JUST spill over at its peak, decimating my plans to get tucked in.  I let the board go and sank under the spilling wave.

My last wave was a pretty sick one.  I was late on it and barely air-dropped into the pit, re-engaged my fins and drove through a right barrel.  Unfortunately, I got caught up by the foam ball and tossed.

I'd had enough of the closeouts.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Wrap-Up

D 3
MD's 2

Not a great surf month...

I only had seven sessions and a lot of breaks in between.  It's the first full month of fall, so I hope the next weeks have some combo swell goodness in store for us.  The crowds will die down as the temperature drops, so I do have that to look forward to!

10.26.12 MD's Redux w/ M-I-M

Mike and I hadn't surfed in some time, thanks to the dismal conditions, including the first rain in a long time.  This led to a lot of runoff, which is to be avoided so as to prevent getting nodal infections.  After enough time passed, we were at the ready at the first sign of rideable surf.

The waves were about shoulder-high on the sets and we were excited to paddle out again after a solid break.

My first wave was a nice steep left but unfortunately, it shut down on me right away.

I had a good look at a right and I had a long drawn-out bottom turn around the spilling foam, but there was no section of gold at the end of the foam trail, so I turned the long b-turn into an exaggerated kick-out.

My last wave worth mentioning was a sick one on which I bonked it ok after pumping like a madman, hearing a bit of the whoosh! of my spray hitting the back of the wave.

10.19.12 MD's w/ M-I-M

We checked out D Street and it blew, so we headed south to try to catch more of the predominantly NW swell.  If MD's didn't work, we would hit up NoTePads as a last resort.  MD's was working far better than we expected, so we were out thar.

While suiting up, we couldn't believe our luck.  There was no one out at the peak we had our eye on.

My first wave was a left that was good for a couple of pumps before I was done, reminding me of my performance in other areas of life.

My next wave had a steeper and longer line to it.  I pumped a few times and timed my hit well, right into the frothy pre-explosion, throwing a good amount of spray, but once again leaning too far back to make it.

My third wave and left was a quick one which appeared to be throwing out a bit. I went for a rare for me closeout floater.  My style was sick, but style doesn't really matter if you don't pull the maneuver.  It appears I strayed too hard oceanside, when I should've been leaning a wee bit more shoreside.

I broke my streak of lefts with my next wave.  I leaned down into the face, straining to see past the early morning glare.  I should've kept my eyes shut, as there was nothing to see, unfortunately.

Back into the lefts! But it was just a closeout standing island pull-out, a freight train closeout barrel..

My last wave was disappointing.  A right came and it appeared to have a bit of a runway, but it chubbed up and dashed my hopes of a fast ride.  I half-heartedly pumped up to try and get some speed, but it was just too fat.

Unfortunately, our excitement at the beginning of the session appeared to be unfounded and our initial pre-stoke left us feeling hollow...

10.17.12 The "Couldn't Have Been Worse than Yesterday" Sesh: M-I-M and I hit up D Street again

Despite how disappointed we'd been with Neptune's decision in doling out rank waves for us the previous day, we decided to give Him another chance.

The waves were a bit bigger than the previous day and we were amped, having expected the waves to be similar.

My first wave was a four-foot drop that was neither a left nor a right.  If you guessed a closeout, you are correct!  I bailed under the foam after kicking my board out.

My second wave was a right which at first glance, didn't look like much.  I stayed with it, and salivated when I realized the wave was going to steepen.  I glided up and milked the newfound energy in the wave.  The speed I was able to generate surprised me.  I did one pump and then one mini-pump.  I rose back up the face of the wave and was again surprised by how fast I was going.  This caused me to "misjudge" where on the wave I was going to hit it and ended up overshooting my normal target.  I ended up turning and sliding probably one fin out and ALMOST pulling it.  I ended up falling forward and that was that...

When my next wave, another right, rolled around, I was excited on my prospects of killing it.  Surely I was now prepared for the quick double-burst of speed, right?  Well, I never got my chance, as the lip crashed in front of my board, robbing me of crucial speed and turning my dreams of flying down the line into my living nightmare of flubbing into the foam.

My next wave was a welcome left, but it was just a quick turn into a floater on which I faded out the back.

I caught my second left of the day and managed to pump some speed out of the flat-ish wave.  I battled the curl for supremacy, but ended up yielding the wave to a guy coming on the much sicker-looking right.  I waved him on like the true bro that I am.

BOOM! Third left in a row, and I was on it.  I pumped down the nice steep face and thought the wave was going to close out, but realized about two seconds before pulling out the back that it was going to barrel.  I set up and leaned way forward, but the wave smacked me hard and pushed my open hand into the GoPro, causing me to lose to lose my balance.  I did get a sick view of the tunnel though!

My fourth left in a row was a steep and quick one.  I pumped down all the way, micro-pumped where the water goes from horizontal to slightly-sloped.  This allowed me enough speed to go up and SMASH the lip.  All of the glory came early in the maneuver, especially when you consider that I didn't land it.  I threw buckets of spray but leaned too far back and flailed backwards.

My last wave was anti-climactic.  It closed out and I pulled through it.  Mike and I went in, amped.

10.16.12 D St. w/ Missed-It-Mike

Forgive me dear readers, I have really been lagging.  If you know me personally, and for your sake I hope you don't, you'll know that I am all about streaks and numbers.  Usually I can quote how long it's been since my last soda, or the last time I made a barrel (September 21st, still counting it!).

These streakophile tendencies can be really annoying, but they do have some upside.  Take, for example the ninety-two day streak during which I was able to stay firmly planted in monogamy starting in March 2009, a streak I probably will not be breaking until my plumbing (and wanton feelings) begins to fail me.

One day of not updating the blog, turns into two, then three and all of a sudden I have a streak going.  Yes, it's strange, OCD, whatever you want to call it, but you can also blame it for my having tabulated EVERY session I've had for the last fourteen months.

Couple the above with an uptick in my workload as of late, and you have a veritable orgy of procrastination excuses.

On this day, I surfed lackluster D Street w/ none other than M-I-M.  I don't remember much about the session, so I'll just go off the GoPro footy that I still had on my cam.

The waves were small and it was one of those days where it was tough to convince oneself to paddle out.  I beat Mike to the viewpoint, and when he showed, I ran up to him yelling, "Don't even check, bro, just suit up and let's go".  Since Mike has known me for over a decade, he knew to be suspicious.  My initial yet fraudulent enthusiasm may have had an effect though, as he ended up joining me for a surf.

My first wave was a crab-grab.  There were two reaches on this wave.  The first, was my left hand reaching for my outside rail.  The second was me thinking there was a barrel.  The lip curled over just a wee bit.

On my second wave, I looked as I was popping up and realized there was no left.  I stood up and dug in to my heelside rail a bit so as to go right, quickly realized there was even less of a right and tried to go left again.  The lip cascaded oh so gently and I bailed, having nowhere to go.

My next wave was a left that had some promise.  The pumping I did on the wave led to an eventual and disappointing fade.  I had nothing to show for my ride except for my paddle back out.

My fourth wave was yet another left that was so quick the only thing I had to show for it was a pretty sick-looking sailor dive out the back.  Mike was not a fan of it, but his hate has fueled me towards excellence in the past, so I welcomed his venom.

My last wave was one on which I had to pump gingerly so as not to blow it and have the wave pass me by.  This fear turned out to be a non-issue because all the wave had for a finishing section was a weak spillover of its foam.  I took the opportunity to bonk it weakly, rode away clean and did an exaggerated pump for the onlookers on the beach, of which I counted zero during my paddle-out.

Mike had to go in to go to work and I was disgusted by the conditions.  We went in, knowing tomorrow's look couldn't be much worse.

Monday, October 15, 2012

10.8.12 Lowers Mid-Day Session w/ TJ

It was TJ's (Forrest's roommate) birthday and as he had chosen a car-less lifestyle, I had the opportunity of making his birthday for him by taking him up to Lowers.  We parked at about 10:15 and walked pretty much along the old trail.  I suited up at the car and barefooted it to see if I'm still the man I once was.

TJ swore it wouldn't be crowded.  A few years ago in one of the surf mags, I remember Shane Beschen talking about surfing Lowers during the second shift: when the morning guys were bailing and the lunchtime guys hadn't yet arrived.  He claimed it was the most uncrowded.  But when we rounded the corner of the dirt path, my spirits sank, counting too many heads in the water.  TJ had worn his civilian clothes for the walk and I asked him if it was cool if I didn't wait for him and just paddled out.  He had no problem with it, so out I went.

The wade-to-paddle transition was oh so smooth.  Compared to Punta Roca's 8/10 in sketchiness, this is a generous 2.5.  During my paddle-out, I saw the one girl in the line-up catch a left and get snaked two seconds later.  I thought for a second maybe Missed-It-Mike had taken the day off of work and sneaked up here without telling me, but no, the snaker in question was of a lighter complexion.

I decided to take the grom Wardo approach and sit inside of the beastly pack, two dozen strong. I paddled out and caught my first left after more than twenty minutes of sitting, paddling and pulling back countless times.  It was probably the second strongest wave of the day, but it was so gutless.  I did a weak slash and a weaker bonk and kicked out.  The good news is I got my first wave of the day out of the way.

Lowers is an amazing wave.  It's also located near highly populated areas with high concentrations of surfers.  This leads to massive crowds for comparably few waves.  Having photogs and videogs (I'm coining it!) on the beach further intensifies the madness, creating a frenzy that is perhaps only rivaled by Rincon near Santa Barbara along the length of the west coast of the country.  This is why there are often four guys paddling for waves.

My choice to sit on the inside created perhaps a half-dozen close calls.  On two or three of these, I braced for impact during my duckdive, but impact thankfully never came.

I had initially planned to surf the shorter and comparatively crappier left, but I scuttled that plan quickly due to the thick blanket of non-discriminating bodies.  Since the Lowers right is so much longer, steeper and better, I thought I'd beat the system by focusing on the lefts.  However, the unexpected goodwill I encountered there, with many surfers yelling out which direction they were going, led to many a split peak (note to self: create and copyright recipe for Split Peak Soup for upcoming surfer-themed restaurant).

After another twenty minutes or so, I caught a right that had somehow passed everyone by.  I did a baby turn on it, but it too was gutless.

I sat with TJ for about fifteen minutes before deciding I'd had enough.  I paddled into the pack and just sat there, hoping to get lucky.  When a set comes, it does drain the foam off the rabid crowd, leading to opportunity if another wave sneaks up behind a set and many of the frothers are still kicking out.  I caught a decent right and I really laid into my bottom turn, so much so that I managed to dig a rail and lose a lot of my speed as I headed up the face.  I hit the wave and there was little to push back from.  Since I had no speed, there wasn't much I could do to turn my snap into a carve and so I faded off the back.

I caught one other forgettable wave and called it quits after close to 2.5 hours of being out there.

I waited for TJ to come in and he showed me the Trestles shortcut, which shaves about eight or so minutes off the walk and gives you the impression of being somewhere other than the massive metropolis that is the vast majority of SoCal.

Monday, October 8, 2012

10.6.12 Avocado's with Missed-It-Mike

D Street was fun the previous day, but on a Saturday I would only surf there if it was to pay off a bet.  We checked my somewhat secret shorebreak spot and it wasn't working.  We decided to check Avocado's (no need to check Grandview on a Satruday) and we saw something decent, so down the steps we went.

On my first wave of the day, I caught a left on which I pumped quickly.  I went up for a hit, and reflecting on the inner monologue pep talk I'd given myself on the ride over, made an effort to stay over my board more.  I hit it with a diagonal trajectory and did a better job than I normally do on the hit.  I ALMOST pulled it, but God had other plans for me at that time, presumably for me to roll around in the whitewash, sans board.

I had a lot of middling waves on which I'd pump and get no reward for my efforts, including a screamer that I went forever on only to have it mush over.

The crowds were steadily building and the foam-to-rider ratio was reaching critical levels.  I was in position and paddled hard for the wave of the day when a guy on a log to my inside decided he didn't want to mess up his hair by duckdiving out of my way.  I pulled back, bummed.  The guy apologized and I told him not to worry about it, but deep down, I was bummed.

I had to go in after about forty-five minutes due to a client appointment in Vista, which ended up cancelling due to illness.  Bah...!

10.5.12 Back in the Rubber Again at D St w/ Missed-It-Mike; September Wrap-Up

It appears my illness was awaiting my departure from El Salvador to kick into high gear.  Sunday night, we flew to Miami to rendezvous with my cousin Rodolfo, whom I hadn't seen since 1996, and meet his new wife.  They graciously allowed us to stay with them for the night while we dealt with the overnight layover our miles program made us go through.  During that night, I had a bitch of a time going more than five minutes without sneezing and I was deathly afraid of making Rodolfo or Rocio sick.

Then Monday morning, we flew from Miami to Dallas, during which I made the fateful decision to partake in American Airlines' Quesadilla breakfast option, a decision I wouldn't regret until the Dallas-LAX leg of our journey.  I spent that flight in the twilight between sleep and brain-pounding dizziness, which, during our descent into the man-made haze of LA, reached its breaking point.  I snapped off my seatbelt and Raquel protested, telling me they weren't going to let me in the bathroom.  Thanks to my years of practice of ignoring her, I deftly sidestepped her attempt at hock-blocking me.  The two flight attendants were strapped in and one squawked, "Sir...!" to which I calmly, matter-of-factly replied, "I am going to throw up".  Stunned for a beat, the flight attendant said, "OK, but hurry up".

I did my business and was disappointed in breaking my no-puke streak of more than five years and also in only partial relief from the nausea.

That night was nasty.  I spent it wrapped up in bed while watching the MNF game.  Tuesday was a lot better and I managed to get myself into the gym, but I wasn't ready to hit the water yet.  I met up w/ Missed-It-Mike in Oside on Thursday but it looked terrible.

We decided to try our luck at D Street the next day, which leads us to:

On my first wave I had what I am calling my pop-up of the year.  I stomped down on my front foot, then rose up for a hard pump and barely beat the pitching lip.  It quickly caught up with me and the wave closed out.

My first wave was a left with a tiny barrel.  I did my best to switch crab-grab into it.  I was able to get my head in, but my shoulder took some liquid trauma, after which my barrel clock had less than a second left on it.

My second wave was a mirror image of my first.  Mike was in a better spot for it, just south of the sectioning lip.  I yelled for him to go while I tried my luck backdooring the section.  Unfortunately, I never quite got into it all the way, took the high line, and slid the fins out in the barrel.  This amounted to an underwhelming score from the cliff-top judges.

My third wave was a quick one, and I knew it would be as I prepared to pop up.  I stomped down and arced up to the lip for a an off-the-lip/slash which Mike said looked sick from the back but not all that sick on video.

The waves had been pretty weak thus far.  Which is why my next wave was such a surprise...

A waist-high left approached and I paddled for it, somewhat gently.  I was afraid of overshooting it.  Once I'd ceased paddling it, I knew I was in for a bit of a doozy.  I grabbed my rail for my third crab-grab of the session.  I watched, slack-jawed, as the barrel threw out like a microscopic version of Teahupoo.  I got tumbled and then pummeled, but it was worth it for that second-and-a-half of awe.

My next wave was one that was on the small side, but I saw it was about to link up with some juice thanks to another wave piggy-backing the section in front of me.  I descended, pumped once, and the speed section I'd envisioned failed to materialized.  I went up for a hit on the weak section before me, and made it, but didn't descend for lack of push.

My next wave was a left on which I was never able to catch up to the open face.

Another wave, another pop-up, another quick pump to nothingness.  This wave gave me a lot to reflect on regarding the vast differences between ES and CA waves.

September Wrap-Up

A pretty good surf month overall, thanks to my trip down south.  I had a couple of really interesting waves the week before my trip.  I'm getting REALLY close to having filmed a real barrel that I successfully exit.  If I get a wee bit more help from the waves in throwing out and letting me out, I will get there!

Wisconsin 3
Punta Roca 2
La Bocana 2
Tyson 2
Pine Ave 2
Medios 1
Loopholes 1
S. Jetty 1

Wave of the month:  Without question, the double-overhead macker at Punta Roca.  Wow!  I still remember that wave fondly, perhaps like you would a former lover.  Not that I would know, I was a virgin when I met my wife and she still calls me that from time to time (in her defense, it IS to make me try harder).

Bail of the month: This would have to be that frothy beast that enveloped me in its aerated arms and hugged me tight, for about five seconds of old-fashioned pounding.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

9.29.12 La Bocana w/ Rising Crowd/Tide on a Saturday

I'd failed to remind the hotel's go-to guy I'd need the gate opened.  I wasn't too bummed when I woke up to find it locked, because it was a Saturday and Punta Roca would have probably twice as many people on it.

I watched La Bocana for a while, intent on surfing La Bocanita if it seduced me with some decent curves.  I was in danger of giving myself tennis spectator neck, my attention being called from west (La Bocanita's weaker lumps) to east (La Bocana's shiftier bigger waves which I recognized would be hard to catch).

Neither spot had anyone on them about an hour after first light. On a Saturday.  In California, the crowd would be at least twenty-five heads in the water in these conditions.

Less than five seconds after I'd made my decision to surf La Bocana, I spotted two dudes walking down the beach towards the previously unpopulated peaks.

I paddled a long time, perhaps seven or eight minutes, first out, then east so as to not deal with the nasty rocks on La Bocana's inside on the low tide.

It took me about a half-hour to catch my first wave.  It was so shifty that I had a hard time knowing where to be when the next wave broke.  Compound this with the crowd swelling into dozen-o-dudes territory and my hopes for an amazing session were dwindling.

A guy who I was getting non-verbal vibes from (I think I was the only glaringly white guy in the water) caught a right.  A second set came less than a minute after his wave and I caught the first of the set.  Non-verbal vibe dude was paddling out and for whatever reason, decided he would not try to paddle and/or duckdive so as not to be in my way. I had to take the drop almost straight down.  His was an a-hole move, no question, but it did force me to take a more vertical trajectory into my lip snap.  I descended again and went for a roundhouse cutty.  I hit the wash well, but my fins and I disagreed on which direction we wanted to go and I bailed.

When I paddled back out, I duckdived a couple of waves and surfaced to realize non-verbal vibe dude staring through me.  I paddled and stared back at him for more than five seconds until he looked away.  I'm not sure if he's still in the localism training school and hasn't progressed past the stink-eye chapter, but man I'm getting fed up with it.  People don't put up with this at Punta Roca.  If you talk shit there, there are enforcers who will in most cases humiliate you with catcalls or puteadas (hard verbal reamings) and in very rare cases they will take it to a physical level.

La Bocana is where the wanna-be locals go to be tough guys.  I've never had a problem with the actual locals, the ones who live within walking distance to the break.  The only issues I've had are with the little pussies who come down from San Salvador in the cars and with the gas their daddies most likely bought for them, fitting a surf in before their daddies need them at the family business in the capital (in all fairness, I'm generalizing a wee bit, it could very well be their step-daddies, given Salvadoran oligarchs' penchant for divorce).

The crowd swelled into the mid-teens and I wasn't getting any good looks at waves.  The wave gods were firing off peaks sporadically and haphazardly.  One here, one there, none where I was.

Finally, after about fifteen more minutes, I was in a tough spot on a left a guy had kicked out on.  I was extremely late.  When I pushed off from my board it felt as though I was doing a downward push-up (where your toes are above your head at finishing position).  I somehow made the drop, then swooped around the foam to a fat section into an unsatisfying carve.  The drop was one of the most exhilarating I've had in a long time but that feeling was quickly tempered by the one turn I had on the wave.

I caught a wave more on the Medios side, on which I would have pulled back had there not been a dude paddling out watching me.  I was late and it was a closeout but I went.  I stomped it, then turned to the left a bit to reduce my chances of ending up in the submerged rocks.  I went for a couple of seconds, keeping an eye out for the weird, skinny, vertical rock on the inside.  I kicked out when I felt I was close.

Over it!  I went in after maybe an hour in the water.  I was tempted to see what La Bocanita was up to but it wasn't happening.  I went in to prepare my itinerary for our move to the San Salvador hotel in which Guillermo's wedding reception would be held.

9.28.12 Another Go at It at Punta Roca

The hotel's go-to guy dropped the ball on this morning. After some debate, my wife convinced me to rouse him so I could surf the sick walls of Punta Roca.  I felt bad and didn't want to wake him, but she won, so he lost.

I made it to my parking spot at 645, just in time to see Piry pull up on his bike.  I walked with him and we both got excited by the improvement in the waves since yesterday.

In what is perhaps my biggest accomplishment of the trip thus far, I managed to hit the water after Piry and STILL beat him to the water.  I wasn't trying to race, either.  I was methodical, but quick, allowing little room for hesitation once I'd set my mind on my next step.

On my first wave, I bottom-turned, snapped, and slid the fins out.  I didn't recover, but I hope it looked sick!

My second wave was a bit bigger.  I got a snap in, then went for a roundhouse cutty but lost the board in the wash.

On my third wave, I got in some massive top-to-bottom, critical positioned pumps.  These were pretty sweet in that I could hear the water coming off my rail and its subsequent spray hitting behind the wave.  I got in one really good hit, then an ok one before kicking out.

It is worth mentioning that after almost every wave at Punta Roca,  and every wave I enjoyed during this session, I feel an amazing adrenaline rush upon kicking out.  This is extremely rare in the States.  But where in the States do you constantly get to catch bowling, heaving waves, feet (sometimes inches from consequence-laden rocks)

Piry and I sat on the outside, deeper than anybody else.  A short guy who goes by Enano (Dwarf) paddled out a bit deeper and less than a minute later, he was seemingly rewarded when a macker came through.  I was eyeing him as I too paddled and pulled back when I realized he was going to be on it.  Less than a half-second after my pull-back, Enano decided he wasn't having any part of it.  As a result of people just inside of us thinking one of us would catch it, no one else in the near vicinity paddled for it.  I immediately heard a two-man chorus of "PPUUTTAA!" directly to my north.  If these guys were bummed, they couldn't have been bummed at me, assuming they were logical beings of course.

A minuter later I paddled a bit deeper as Piry set up for the wave of the day.  He caught a beautiful 8+' freight train as I yelled him onto it.  I duckdived and upon coming up I was rewarded with what is the most adrenaline-inducing sight I've had in probably years: a wave slightly bigger than Piry's.  I was in a good spot for it, but I was slightly off balance on my board.  I stopped paddling for a second as I switched from paddling out to paddling in to quickly readjust myself on my board.

I was successful and paddled as hard as I ever have.  The wave lifted me and my board as my brain alternated in seeming split-seconds between slightly more complex versions of "NO!" and "GO!".  The good side won and I was rewarded with what is, without question, the biggest wave I've ever caught at Punta Roca.

Because of Piry's wave, I was dropping through some still-settling froth and was careful not to make sharp corrections to my trajectory.  It would have been very sad if I'd slid the fins out on a b-turn due to the heavily aerated nature of the water.  Since I was the farthest out (Enano had since caught one), I was also on stage.  A kook move to cost me the wave of the day would harrowingly affect my chances at another set wave.

The photog missed the first few seconds of the wave, including one where I felt as though I'd absolutely SMASHED IT!

I went for a set-up mini-snap/pump to get into the power section of the wave again.  I could've been more aggressive, but I'll be honest here, I was in awe of this magnificent beast I was on and was thrilled to have talked myself out of survival mode through the first half of the wave.

Decent, but I would have liked my trajectory to be more bottom-to-top.  Again, this is easy to nitpick now, because I am not there now, seeing the low-tide ocean water come off the rocks allowing for terror-inducing cobblestones to appear in my periphery and mellow my aggressive intentions.

I noticed through the pictures I had taken on this trip that when I bottom-turn hard on my backhand, I look not to where I want to go but to my outside rail.  It's a bad habit and it allows for less reaction time as I have less time to spot my target on the wave.

I went for a roundhouse cutty when a the section was ripe for a snap. If I had really wanted to do a proper roundhouse cutty, and increase the likelihood of landing it, then I should've pumped once, then laid into the turn, gone all the way to the bottom for speed and THEN smacked the lip.

When I faded off the back, I felt electric and was feeling a level of stoke I hadn't experienced in years.

My last wave was an insider and all I remember about it is that Mama Roca surprised me by showing up way before I expected it to, about a half-second before what I thought was imminent impact.  I leaned hard on my outside rail, thinking maybe the bottom of the board would take the hit.  I was SHOCKED not to have hit the rock.  Upon kicking out I flipped my board over and there was no damage.  Unbelievable!

I went in and had a bit of a tough time on the rocks, giving myself a nicking on my right foot.  I was surprised again, this time by some high tide push of some waves.  I had to turn to jump over the surge and then find a nook or cranny in the sometimes-barnacled-sometimes-super-slippery rocks

9.27.12 Inconsistent Punta Roca with Chamba

I let our hotel's go-to guy know I would need the gate unlocked early in the morning so I could make my short trek to Punta Roca.  He delivered and I was on my way.  I called Chamba en route but he didn't pick up.

This would be my first time walking out to the point by myself.  There were no issues whatsoever, other than my signature unnecessarily-long rock dance from which I emerged unscathed.

This wave is sooooo good...!  It's hard to imagine a better wave.  If I really nitpicked, I could bitch about the ones that swing to the east and close out in the initial section (or bitch about the ones which don't, depending on where I'm sitting). I could also get into dealing with the rocks and the shallowness, but this is what makes the wave as good as it is, so that would be "point"less (AHAHAHAHHA!).

I caught my first wave within ten minutes.  I prolonged my bottom turn to match the speed and amount of water I'd need to traverse with it.  I pushed my toes in hard on the rail, pushing spray off the tail, then backside rail.  Unfortunately, I didn't have anything in my surfing quiver to ameliorate the situation in which I'd mired myself.

My board was facing the wrong way, very close to the foam and I'd used up all of my speed to milk every last ounce of spray I could out of the wave.  Big spray is impressive, not so much when the make is sacrificed to achieve it.  I leaned hard, especially on my front foot's heel.  I got a little movement forward on it, but not enough.  I fell and twisted a bit to land on my chest and could've possibly bodysurfed the wave a bit with better planning.

Shortly thereafter, I saw a dark guy coming down the path with a board I recognized from afar.  It was Chamba with the RM board he'd lent me when my board needed cauterizing on my last visit.

I watched in envy as Chamba alternated between extremely quick balancing on slippery rocks to full bore progress towards the water.  It took him maybe ninety seconds from when his toes first got wet to when he jumped on his board.  It took me probably four times that!  What a dick.

I sat for OVER AN HOUR until my next wave came.  I turned hard off the bottom and snapped, then did something I caught myself doing last trip, which is immediately, coming off the bottom to snap again.  The second hit was on an interestingly-sloped section of the lip.  It felt as though, I had water under my tail and nose but none under the majority of the straight stringer.  I got a nice satisfying THWACK out of it but it was a no-make.

I'd been sitting in the sun for over two hours when my last wave came.  I rode down the face and saw the massive Mama Roca boil.  I headed for higher pastures and caught a glimpse of Chamba yelling and paddling for the wave I was on, pretending he was going to drop in on me.  I got a couple of good turns in and called it a day.

I saw Chamba get a sick barrel in which he had his mouth open like M-I-M accuses me of doing as the lip grazed his head, his neck acting as a buffer so the rest of his body wouldn't be affected.  I paddled over, looked back and saw him lay into a sick turn.  Sick one.

Friday, September 28, 2012

9.26.12 La Bocana w/ Three Other Dudes, PM Session

Given our brief visit on this trip, this would turn out to be my first and final afternoon sesh.  On our perch on the cliff, I saw some tasty waves from which I could get a cool buzz.  La Bocanita looked a bit more enticing, but there were a dozen heads on it already.

I paddled out inside of the rock that looks like a pipe and paddled for a good five/six minutes before perching.  It took me a long time to catch my first wave. 

It was a screamer of a left and I never caught up to it.  I dove into the wash of the wave and got hammered, my first taste of real kiwi power meeting the cobblestones of El Salvador since July.

I caught a second wave, but for the life of me, cannot remember what happened on it.  I remember I got drilled again, so it couldn't have been incredible.

I decided to go in and caught a sweet, steep insider.  I went for an air on it and got some, but landed off the back.  I caught another little one and kicked out quickly as I was getting shallow.  I got on my board and looked in time to see water sucking off a big rock, a big boil revealing a big round beast of now above-surface rock.  Whoa.

I made it in without issue, anxious to try my luck elsewhere in the morning.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

9.26.12 Back to Medios with Chamba and Chato

I managed to catch a bug, probably because I used the keyboards on the computers at the Admirals Club in LA.  Yesterday sucked, as a result.  We barely made the connection from Miami to ES and our bag didn't make it.

I did get to have dinner with Pando and Panda (his wife of almost three months).  He handed me back my board and another cell phone for me to borrow, but hopefully not ruin this time.  I called Chamba and told him we should surf Punta Roca the next day.  I called him at 545 this morning.  He said the waves weren't very consistent and we should surf where I was staying.  My leash was at my uncle's house in Santa Tecla, so I asked Chamba to let me borrow one of his.

He came by with Chato and we got out thar.  My sunscreen was in Miami along with the rest of my clothes, but I managed to scrounge a tiny amount from a bottle that had been stored and forgotten about for several years.  Since I had so little, I focused on the left side of my back, my left arm and the left side of my face, as that was where the sun would be hitting me the hardest.

I paddled for quite a few waves, but there were a lot of closeouts to contend with.  I got a left on which I took my time popping up (hard to get re-adjusted to the board after so many sessions on the DHD back home).  I kicked out just as it was closing out on me.

My best wave of the day was my second one.  It was a screamer.  I was so behind on it at first.  I was able to pump back into the pocket.  It wasn't quite barreling, but I sat there with mad style (or so it felt) and turbo'd down the face.

Another wave came by and I knew it would be iffy.  I was really late on it and stood up.  I bounce along with the whitewash and never really made it down to the trough.

I crab-grabbed into a pretty good one, though by the time I got in the barrel, it resembled a left more than a right.

My last wave was a left and I kicked out after pumping just before it closed out.

I decided to go in so I wouldn't get roasted.

9.22.12 Gutless Wisconsin Street with Missed-It-Mike and Snips!

The swell was petering out and it was my last chance to get some before my imminent trip to El Salvador.

I met Mike at Wisconsin Street and he said he'd checked it and it was worth paddling out.  I saw one that looked fun, so I didn't question him.

We walked down the ramp to the slippery boulders and I braced myself for Mike's latest foot pain report, but he thankfully went easy on me.

We paddled out and sat.

My best wave came early, and I got some pumps in before going for a floater and fading off the back.

After that, there was a wave I switch crab-grabbed, but I was in for less than a second before it imploded.

Mike got hooted into a sick right on which he got barreled.

Those were the highlights...

Mike "Snips" Parsons was out and making quick work of the tiny rates.  The guy is tiny and he rips.  I was awestruck at how flat and small his board was.  I'd only surfed with him at Lowers before and I'm assuming he was in Oceanside to beat the crowds.

Friday, September 21, 2012

9.21.12 Smaller, but Better Oside w/ Missed-It-Mike!

I begged Mike to surf with me the previous day but he was too bottled up with work.  He promised me he'd surf with me this morning, and I must say he delivered.

We met at the Buc Beach parking lot and that looked terrible.  We ventured north and settled on surfing in front of Junior Seau's old house, like I did two days ago.

On my first wave, I had a chest-high left arrive and I was on it. Immediately after takeoff, the lip kissed my face. I ducked in to try to get a head dip, but by that point, it had stopped barrelling. I kicked my board out in front of me and let it all wash over me.

My next wave arrived almost ten minutes later. The wave was quick and raced off without me. The wave salvaged itself in my eyes as it provided a great view for a random moustached dude to get semi-covered up on the right. I claimed it for him and gave him a guttural "YEOH!".

I paddled for a wave three minutes later, but there was someone on it. I did my classic neck-crane move and sure enough, there was another one behind it and it was a double-up! I pumped once then set up for the barrel. It's hard to tell if I really got barreled or not. I think I got covered up for a little bit. But I will count it. I am getting really close to making these. I guarantee one frontside barrel make before the end of the year. This is ambitious, as we will be experiencing fewer S swells now that we are in the fall.

Another day, another switch crab grab, another no-make... 'nuff said!

I caught a wave, swooped up, then lost my footing as I tried to pump back down. I was leaning too far forward and endo'd..

My next wave was a chest-high quick left. I caught it and was barreled within a second of standing up. It reminded me of watching surf vids of guys getting pitted in Hawaii with one noteable difference: I didn't make mine. Mike saw all two seconds of the wave and said it looked like chaos.

Mike and I switched boards and I caught a right and got barreled for a fair bit before getting trounced by the closeout.

I also caught a left on which I went for a floater but over-committed towards the horizon.

There was also one wave on which I aborted before standing up and went into my protect-the-dome stance while getting thrashed.

Mike had to go in and I beat him to the sand.  My shoulder is almost back to 100% which is good considering I am going BACK to El Salvador next week for a buddy's wedding.  It will only be a week this time, but I intend on surfing my brains out.  Of course, blog entries will follow.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

9.20.12 Jockeying for Position at Wisconsin Street

As I crossed the 101 and slowed for the stop sign in front of the movie theater, I caught a glimpse of the free parking lot.  Dammit!  Damn near capacity.  It was going to be crowded out there.

My first look down the line at Mission proved to be deflating.  Where were the waves? Why was the ocean surface so textured?  Why were there still so many heads in the water?

I initially parked near Tyson Street.  It looked pretty bad.  I sat there long enough to rock out to one song on my GuyPod and saw little of interest.

I drove down to Wisconsin Street and saw a mini-slab fold over.  Out thar!

After suiting up, I passed two parked cars full of bros.  I prayed to my God that He would send them elsewhere to surf, perhaps down by Junior Seau's old house or maybe down south of me.

Once again, Jesus smited me.  The bastards followed my path into the water less than ten minutes after I blazed it.

On my first wave, I had a look at a right on which I was extremely late on.  I thought I was going to pearl, but I managed to salvage it with some double helix backward windmills.  All that effort led to squat.  The wave closed out and I kicked out.

My first left of the day involved a quick shorebreak left.  I dropped down, then saw a section about to fold over.  I pulled through the barrel out the back.

I had to keep paddling south to battle the current and also to be in position for the bigger lefts that came every ten minutes or so.

An older guy was paddling for a wave but I thought he was too deep.  I paddled with him, but ten yards to his inside.  He yelled for me to go and I did:

I caught a big left on which I spied a big fat section heading my way about twenty yards north of me.  I pumped, then bottom turned up for an off the lip.  I made the mistake of pushing through my tail and away from my board.  The board launched out and away.  If I could have that wave back, I would have gone for a big air.  Chances are, I wouldn't have made it, but anything would have been better than what happened.

I caught a quick shorebreak left on my way back out and made up my mind to go for a switch crab grab. I was barreled for close to two second before the wave triangulated my position within its guts and unceremoniously expelled me.  One day I will make a switch crab grab and it will be GLORIOUS!

After several pull-backs from closeouts, I got antsy and went on a borderline wave.  I pearled pretty hard but surfaced without issue.

I caught another one, this time a double-up.  I got a good amount of speed, b-turned and snapped, my ass cheeks grazing the water's surface.  I kept my board under my feet and rode away clean, then kicked out.

My next wave was a left on which I got hung up on the lip.  I hung on and managed to stick the landing.  It was akin to doing an off-balance floater.  I stomped down, albeit awkwardly, then kicked my board in front of me to let the wave wash over me.

I caught another left, but this one closed out on me.  I jumped over the wash.

I was over the constant jockeying and still wanted to take it somewhat easy on my still-aching, but ever-improving shoulder.  In I went.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

9.19.12 Testing the Shoulder at Head-High Oside

This morning I was in my no-surf frame of mind.  I knew there was swell, but I was a bit tentative because I had what is probably my worst-ever ocean injury.

On September 8th, I was having quite possibly the best skimboarding session of my life.  I was riding wave after wave back to shore with the least amount of difficulty.  I was throwing ridiculous amounts of spray with every turn.

Then, disaster struck.  I sprinted to the water, slammed the board down and hopped on.  I had less than a second on my board to set my feet for the upcoming launch.  I reached the wave a bit off-balance, but ollied anyway.  My speed and the wave's face catapulted me at least six feet above the water.  For some reason (style points?), I decided not to put my arms out to break my fall and slammed down with the back of my left shoulder and part of the side of my neck.

I was in immediate pain and knelt down in the water after rolling myself over.   I felt big shooting pains, but I'd been having so much fun, I decided to skim it off.

The pain was excruciating that night.  The next day, I could barely move it.  Since then, it's gotten a lot better, but it still whines in pain when I venture to an angle it doesn't like.   

I was nervous  to get out there and test my shoulder.  I knew I would have some pain when I did my windmill warm-ups.  My hope was that my transfer from vertical to horizontal would affect the traveling plane enough so as to limit or altogether eliminate it.  I knew the chances were slim, but I was optimistic.

I put off paddling for as long as possible.  Upon jumping on my board, my shoulder was not cooperating as much as I would have liked, but it wasn't excruciating.  The more I threw my shoulder forward, the more it stung.  I made a deal with myself to just paddle through it and ignore the pain, but I caught myself pulling back oh-so-slightly on my left side.

The waves were going off, but there were a lot of closeouts to work through before getting to the goodness.

My first wave was a quick left that shut down on me pretty quickly.

On my second wave, I took off on a right late and off balance.  After hanging up near the lip for way too long, I descended and the lip hit me in the temple.  I took it like a champ but surfed the rest of the wave blind.  The sound made it feel like I was in the barrel, but I didn't have enough time to press the record button on my camera, so I guess we'll never know.

My third wave.  Ooh, baby.  I'd just missed a pretty sick one (too inside), and I craned my neck to see if its twin was following behind.  Sure enough, there he was!  He was a big set wave that looked like it was going to section off.  I spotted a chance at an outside corner and took it.  I set up for the barrel and watched in awe as the longest barrel since Panama spun around me, amazed at how dark the froth made it.  Check out the footy:

On my next wave, I had less than a second between setting my feet and the lip barreling over me.  Unfortunately, I set my line too parallel to the wave and lurched forward, the lip and I consummating our brief relationship and becoming one.  We were hot and heavy for less than two seconds before she let me know this was a one-time deal, by slamming me into the depths and holding me down for an uncomfortably long time.

On my next left, I committed to my bottom turn too hard for how gradual the slope of the wave was.  I can't remember exactly what happened, but the lip hit the camera and knocked it down into the stringer, so there was some lip-induced trauma.

My next wave was a mellow drop, relative to the others of the day. I pumped around the initial spilling section, then snap-stalled for the barrel.  My snap-stalling timing needs work.  I'm either too late or too early.  This time I did it too far away from the wave and the lip clocked me on the side of the head.  Granted, it was a smaller wave...

All of these waves and I'd done nary a turn.  My last wave, I pumped deep and long on, I cut down and met the weaker oncoming lip of the right.  I hit it well, but once again, didn't keep my weight over my board.

I decided my shoulder'd had enough wear and tear for the day.  I didn't want to risk repetitive stress damage and went in.

Friday, September 7, 2012

9.4.12 Another Shot at N. Carlsbad w/ Missed-It-Mike

Because of the higher tide, the waves weren't visible from the 101.  I could either surf here with just Mike and probably have at least a decent session (if the previous day's was any indication) or venture up to Oside and surf with a bunch of random dudes.  I chose the former.  In a rare instance, Mike and I suited up without checking the surf.

When we finally pulled up within eye shot of the waves, our hopes were deflated.  It was TINY.  The good news is there was a pulse coming through on a sandbar south of Maple Street where we could possibly get some.

It took me a good ten minutes to get my hair wet. A lot of paddling around, but nothing doing.

Finally, my first wave arrived.  I was looking to get barreled since it was so hollow.  In the footy, you see me not breaking eye contact with the lip line.  Because so much of my RAM was dedicated to reading what the lip's intentions with me were, I neglected to pay attention to the nose of my board when BAM! I pearled.

The second wave was more open.  I got a couple of pumps in before the wave inexplicably slowed way down.  I tried to hang tough for a shot at the oncoming section but the wave had turned gutless to the point of having nothing for me to push against.

Mike was in position for a wave and I managed to catch his bottom turn on video.  Notice how hard I am cheering him on.  I was very happy for him having caught this wave and I wasn't shy about it, enhancing his experience on the wave.  Some would argue I made him surf it better.

Oh and if my PO is reading this, I said, "FUDGE!" at the thirteen second mark.

After such a triumph, my next wave was that much more of a disappointment, I pearled AGAIN!  The waves were an interesting and frustrating combination of small and hollow and my results were showing my lack of prowess in these conditions.

I had the opposite thing happen on the following wave.  I paddled, felt the push of having caught the wave, and popped up.  Nothing doing, I faded off the back.

A "juicy" one rolled though.  I popped up, pumped, then set up for the impossibly tight barrel.  The wave slapped me in the face as if to say, "No you diaaaaaaaaaaaaaant!"

My next wave I descended well, then popped hard into a pump.  I covered a lot of water, but the wave was over me.

Mike had to go to work and I was done.  In we went...

9.3.12 Pine Ave Shorebreak w/ Missed-It Mike PM Session!

Mike has a tendency to create swell with his absence.  January 2003 is probably the best month of surf San Diego County has seen in the last decade.  Mike was in Kauai and, a move that still puzzles me, DIDN'T SURF.

Mike came home Saturday and the swell arrived that morning.  It was in its waning moments during this session.  We were going to go up to Oceanside but it's been so crowded lately...  Apparently the secret is out that south-facing beaches favor south swells.

In an effort to minimize the competition for waves while still getting a good angle on the swell, we decided on north Carlsbad.  We saw some empty peaks that were savory, but I was almost positive they were blackballed.  Parking was a nightmare, but Mike acted as my spot scout and I slipped into a sweet one.  I lathered on some sunscreen, walked a fair amount to the edge of the blackball, and paddled out.

The waves were breaking close to shore and they were extremely punchy.  There was no room for hesitation, no time for changing your footing if you popped up askew.  The drops were steep and the waves were on the hollower side.

My first wave was one on which I got in late and PEARLED hard.  Oof, not a great start

On my next wave, I descended successfully, but only got a pump in before the wave shut down on me.

I got another wave and went for a crab grab.  The wave threw out and I was in there for less than a second before I got decimated. 

Yep, another left!  I pumped like a muphugga and eventually realized my fate was sealed.  I cut my losses and pulled through the wave.

I caught another one steep and I almost pearled, but held on.  I had to roll up the windows once to pull the drop, so hopefully the judges will be gentle.  There was no juice for all that squeeze and I pulled up and over.

On my next left, I dropped in smoothly.  My camera couldn't handle the G's of that drop and readjusted downward (not really, I think the housing mount is showing its age).  I went for an unsuccessful bonk.

I thought I saw a bigger wave and paddled out and south to meet it.  My closest competition was a sponger and I stood up a little too early on it.  For a split second, I thought I was going to fade off the back.  Luckily, I wouldn't have to apologize as the wave let me in.  I really like my bottom turn on this wave.  My hit is ok, still doing the weird shoulder movement that makes everything look wack.

You can see how hollow the wave is as the board gets away from me.  I got thwomped and smacked into the sand in about a foot of water.  No harm, no foul.  I paddled back out for more.

I caught a quick left on which I aborted almost immediately, froggy-style (my legs looked like that of a frog primed for a big stroke).

Another wave, another late drop, though this one wasn't too bad.  The wave showed some open face and I slashed it gingerly, because previous waves' hollowness had hurt me before.  I found a speed pocket and used it to get going, then bonk off the whitewater.

My next wave arrived quickly, and it seemed to have a more open face.  I pumped up and down smoothly, but there was nothing at the end of the wave.  The thing just folded over.

I was still a bit on the inside when my next wave arrived.  I immediately went for a barrel but my top half got pinched in and I couldn't see through the froth.  I doubt I would have made it as these were extremely tricky and shallow, the vast majority of the closeouts.

Next wave I leaned back on the drop, but the wave wasn't as steep as I'd anticipated and I had overcommitted my weight to my back leg.  It caused me to launch off the back.

On my last wave, I leaned back again, but made the drop.  The wave shut down and I jumped off.

Mike had one of the sickest backside barrels I've ever seen him in.  I yelled him into it and I don't know how he found the time to blast over the ledge and tuck in.  He didn't make it, but not too many barrels were made in Carlsbad on a swell this steep on this day.