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Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Wrap-Up and Big Announcement!

I had six sessions in six days, an record!  Thirteen sessions bring it a silver medal to January, still King with fourteen...!

Here is the spot breakdown for the month:

D Street 4
Avocado's 3
Pillbox 2
S. Jetty 1
Wisconsin 1
Harbor 1
Buc Beach 1

Interestingly, I surfed Oceanside four times at four different spots.

I will be out of town the first week or so of June, so the count will suffer.  However, I am pleased to announce I will be travelling back to the motherland, El Salvador, the last week of the month.  I will not be taking the Go Pro with me as I have grown fond of it and would prefer not to lose it to "the boys" down there.

5.31.2012 Another Go-Out at Pillbox! Shocking, I know...

After yesterday's session, you can't fault me for coming back for more.  The reports were saying the same thing, so theoretically, the surf would be about the same (save for the tide being one hour different), right?

Sort of....

As I left my place, I noticed a wind in the trees.  I kept going and noticed it wasn't as noticeable in the more coastal foliage.  Then, when I finally saw the water, I noticed it was OFFSHORE!  A good sign, but let's not get too amped.

Seaside looked smaller than yesterday.  Uh oh.  I parked and check Pillbox and it looked a shade smaller and more racy.  Hmmm...

I decided to check Del Mar just in case it had something going.  My four minute check at 20th showed two guys catching a wave each and struggling to stay on them.  OVER IT!

I went back to Pillbox and suited up.

Thankfully, this paddle-out was much mellower, thought I was on my glorious DHD.  That may have been the difference, as I was duckdiving like a madman.

My first wave was a left that took a couple of seconds to develop.  It did so, and I went for a floater, but didn't jump off in time and ate it.

My next wave was a right that was fast.  I caught it late, mini-pumped twice, then aborted as I just couldn't catch up.

Less than two minutes later, I caught another right I really had to paddle for and was so late on it, I didn't really catch it.  It was a weird sideways floater
situation that I just faded on.  It doesn't really count as a wave but was funny enough that I thought I'd include it.  It would have been a good one!

Five minutes passed until I caught my next wave, a fast left that ended up closing out.  I was semi-successful at high-jumping over the lip into the clear.

I'd been poring over my backside bottom turn footage and had decided to use a more vertical trajectory.  Unfortunately, I did so on the wrong section of my next wave and faded off the back.

A right came that seemed to have promise.  I caught it, but it flattened immediately.  I kicked out while looking over my shoulder to see what, if anything, the horizon held in store for me.

My right streak came to an end when I caught a left.  It allowed me one pump before making its close-out intentions known to me.  I pulled through the lip into the clear out the back.

Another left came and I pulled short on the initial smack, as it lacked the oomph necessary for a kook like me to make it. I weathered the flat spot and found a section.  Yet again, my body lurched backward upon impact but I managed to save it, though I did feel a tweak in my front knee. Here's the footage:

The wave faded a bit at the end, but I'm counting it!

5.30.2012 A Tip leads me to a Virgin Spot...

While awaiting my buds' arrival for the Workaholics season premiere party I was hosting, I talked to my neighbor.  He claimed he'd surfed Pillbox in Solana Beach that morning and it was shoulder high.  I didn't really believe him, but I was intrigued.

I decided to head over there after checking the reports.  All the sites I had checked were saying dismal things about the 1-2' waves.  I packed the fish in the Rad for a second time in a row, a possible record, and headed to the 101.

Cardiff Reef was tiny, George's was flat, Seaside looked DECENT!  I almost parked and paddled out but I had to check on Pillbox.

I parked in the lot and, sure enough, there were some sets rolling through.  I can only imagine it's a bathymetry issue, as it doesn't face drastically different compared to neighboring spots to pull in more swell.

As I walked down the lifeguard access ramp, I reflected on the last time my toes had touched that sand.  I realized it had been 4th of July weekend of 1996.  The reason I remember is because we went to see the movie "Independence Day" and my uncle and cousin were there with us.  It's the only time I've been to the beach with my uncle and the first of two times I've been with my cousin.

I reflected on all of the things that had transpired between then and now. It was almost half my life ago!  The last time I'd been to this beach, I was prepubescent.

The initial paddle-out was BRUTAL.  Because of the extreme width of the fish I was on, my paddling motion is shortened.  It becomes more elbow joint/bicep-driven and less shoulder joint/deltoid-driven.  While about two-thirds of the way out, my biceps were KILLING me.  I pushed on and finally made it out, about two blocks south of the access ramp I'd walked down.

I caught a steep left and had tons of speed, perhaps breaking my all-time speed record on that board.  I went for broke, pumping twice before angling off the lip for a sick floater and STOMPING it.  Ooh baby.

I caught about five forgettable waves before I caught a nice right that I went for a snap (more lateral on this board, due to my fear of washing out the fins) and my front foot slipped off.  Before I paddled out, I had made a concerted effort to comb the wax that had been melted and solidified on quite a few Santa Ana afternoons since it had been applied back in 2005.

I tried diving down to get some sand to coarsen the ancient wax job but was unsuccessful.  Apparently, Pillbox is a deep water spot.

I was in the middle of a pack of three.  The two other guys were buds.  One was  a goofyfoot who was absolutely RIPPING.

After catching waves of my own, I'd hooted or let my stoke be known to them on one of their waves in another way.  All I got back was dead silence. 

I spied a right, probably because I was sitting higher up in the water on my fish and sprint-paddled over there.  The guys followed suit, possibly out of curiosity as I'd been relatively mellow in my paddle speed throughout their tenure.  A gorgeous peak exposed its fangs and I jumped on its tongue, sliding down to the bottom, bottom turning carefully, going up the face to hit it.  The first time I did so, I got the oh-so-satisfying feeling of hearing my spray hit the water behind the wave.  I did it again, but there was no sound.  I had plenty of speed, but when I went for my third hit, my front foot slipped off the deck and I was done. 

As I was paddling out, I got a congrats on the wave from the regularfoot. 

I went in about twenty minutes later, as the wind had come up and was making the waves a bit too textured for my tastes.

5.26.2012 Yet another try at Avocado's with Mark PLUS Jason!

This session happened earlier than the others.  The winds were tearing the sea apart, but the surf zone was somewhat salvaged by (what I imagine to be) the offshore kelp beds.  Jason hadn't surfed in over a year and I commiserated with him on his feeling of rustiness, having not surfed in about half a week.

This time, I was better equipped.  I had my 5'6" Balestar fish, one I hadn't paddled out on in NINE months!  The thing is short, but it's the widest board I've ever ridden at about 21".  It's also thick as a mofo!

My first wave was a doozy.  I managed to snag a corner and was thrown onto the flats.  I managed to make up for the board's lack of rocker by keeping my weight more towards the tail.  When I went to hit it, though, I snapped and my tail ended up behind the wave, along with the left half of my body.  Bummer.  Had I stayed over my board, I could've wafted...!

I caught a right and bottom turned too steeply.  My fins washed out and I splayed comically onto my back.

I caught a party wave with Mark and cheered him on as he went for his half-pump wave caress signature move.  YEAH MARK!

I was able to do a small foam climb, but there was no treasure at the end of the rainbow, so I kicked out over the now flat wave.

My last memorable wave was a left I caught and was able to snap and throw some spray.  My speed went into it completely and I awkwardly flopped onto my back.

We went in to sample Mark's Memorial Day BBQ. And it was good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5.19.2012 Another Go-Around at Avocado's with Mark EVENING SESH

Please pray for Mark.  He has come down with acute surf fever: surfus stokeitis.  The guy is amped!

We spied some rollers rolling over lazily from the cliff and were excited at the prospect of surfing better waves than last time. 

As we were concluding paddling out, we saw dolphins jumping out of the water, then two surfacing while nuzzling.  Very cool!

Not very long after completing the paddle-out, I caught a nice right that steepened up.  I bashed it pretty well and got some speed from it.  I even got hooted by some guy paddling out with his buddy.  And I did what the cool guys do: Pretend I didn't notice.

About five minutes thereafter, I caught a left that had a little bit of steepness to it.  I was able to reach the foam for the oncoming section.  I SMASHED it, but didn't keep my weight over my board and was left behind.  Had I weighted properly, I'm pretty sure I would've busted the fins out the back.

The rising tide was making its presence felt by teasing us with what looked to be steep waves, but they fizzled out.  On one particularly tempting ride, I put too much pressure on my front foot and launched over the front of my board.

On another left, I started bottom turning, but aborted midway and tried to pump.  The indecision threw me off my board on what looked like one of the better waves of the afternoon.  Bummer.

Mark and I caught some party waves together, but nothing spectacular.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

5.19.2012 North Wisconsin Street Shorebreak w/ Missed-It Mike!

This morning we met at Buc Beach, but it had a crowd to it.  There were some sick ones to be had, but we'd be brawling for them.  We took in the amazing stylings of the first RC surfer I've ever seen in person.

Mike claimed he'd caught a glimpse of better waves a couple of blocks to the north.  We decided to take the short drive up there.  The waves there held some promise, but there was nothing special.

I wanted to check Wisconsin's.  The first go-around showed a certain je-ne-sais-qua, but nothing solid.  We ended up doing The Strand loop so I could have a little more littoral time and we saw some decent shorebreak waves.  We were out thar!

Shorebreaks are a lot of fun in that it's super consistent and the paddle-outs are short (though they can be brutish).  They are where you will likely get the most waves per hour, though they will also be shorter than an average wave.

My first wave was one where I got a little too much help from the whitewash, recovered, but the wave had passed me by, so I kicked off.

The next wave was probably the best one I caught this morning.  It was a steep, quick right that I had what is likely the longest bottom turn of the year on.  On my way up the face, I put too much pressure on my front foot and burned off too much speed, smacked it, but I got left behind.

My next wave was a left, but I couldn't get around it. 

Immediately, I caught a left, bailed into it when I saw it was closing out hard.

I tried my luck on a right, which fizzled right after takeoff.

A left came and a guy was on it up the line from me.  I paddled for it and saw him get sectioned off.  I made a quick calculation that he wasn't going to make it around and went.  I got a nice little snap on my forehand and yelled, "YEEEAAAAHHH!".  I paddle back out and Mike's quietly laughing his ass off. When I inquired as to why, he said it was because I burned that guy I'd seen paddling.

I looked for him but he had paddled away a bit, probably to get away from an a-hole like me.  I didn't want to shout an apology to him, as those tend to sound insincere.

On the very next wave we paddled for, I told him to go and essentially gave him the way.  When I told Mike I'd made it right,  he said, "in YOUR mind you did"...

A big left came, the biggest I'd catch all day and I made the drop.  When I finally recovered, I couldn't get around the wall of whitewater so I kicked off.

On my last wave, I split a peak with Mike and had it close on me.

We bailed not long thereafter.

Friday, May 18, 2012

5.18.2012 Surprisingly Big D Street with Missed-It Mike

After yesterday's unfortunate waste of gas, checking from Wisconsin all the way to D, we weren't going to surf today.  I spoke to Mike about a business idea last night and we happened to discuss surfing.  One thing led to another and we met at 6:45 at D.

The waves were about twice the size I'd anticipated.  The predicted south wind that had initially made me reticent was present and was affecting the shape of the waves.  Still, with about head-high waves, we were good to go...!

The paddle-out was a nasty one.  It would have been hard to pick a worse time during which to start the trek.  The waves would not stop, and the wind had put a chop on the surface, making it difficult to maintain a steady trim.  My left arm especially was screaming for me to take a break, but I wanted to snag one of these.

My first wave was a left that I caught on a steep corner.  Unfortunately, I spent the entirety of the wave pumping, being teased that the wave would develop into at least one smashable section.  The section never came and I was left with the surf equivalent of blue balls.

I caught a nice right in a great spot, pumped once and brought it around for a cutty.  I put too much pressure on my front foot, however, and slid the fins out ever so slightly, scrubbing off most of my speed.  Wave over.

A left came and it was a quick one.  I made it around the first section and was in the pocket when I came down with a quick case of paralysis of analysis. I ended up doing nothing, unless you count kicking my board out and taking a lip to the side of the head something...

A couple of weeks ago, Mike said the next time I asked him to switch boards, he would do so.  I begged Mike to switch boards with me, but he wasn't having it.  He caught another wave and when he perched, I took my leash off, put it on my board, and asked again.  He finally relented.

Here are a couple of Mike's waves on my board:

Listen for the good friend, hooting him on this one:

While Mike had my board, I was on his FireWire Dominator.  This board has a lot less rocker than mine, but this means it goes that much harder.  It's more buoyant, which makes you ride up higher in the wave (picture a finned skimboard), but disconnects you from the wave somewhat.  I had a right I slashed and kept my speed to the inside.

Then I had a big left where I threw down a big bottom turn, but pussed out as the section in front threatened to fold over.

A big lull arrived.  We sat through it, then decided to bail.  The lull seemed to continue until we left.

In closing, Mike and I have this thing where I say he surfs better than me and he says I surf better than him.  After viewing the evidence, I'd like to offer my apologies to Mike.  You were right, bro.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5.16.2012 Navigating the Buc Beach Steeps with Missed-It Mike


Surfing with Mike? In Oceanside?! ON A WORK DAY?!?!?!?!?

It's true!

I somehow convinced Mike to once again have faith in my swell swami ways and trust me that Oside would be good.  I got him to meet me at six at Wisconsin Street. 

While exiting I-5 on Mission, I noticed the Scuba flag was pointing towards the beach! The forecasts said there would be south winds.  We were blessed with moderate offshores.  Things were looking good!

The swell was there, but the tide was too high.  You could see that with less water on the sand, there would be magic.  Unfortunately for us, the tide was rising and we weren't going to be able to witness the show sans the onshore wind the afternoon would bring.

I tried to get him to paddle out and he wasn't having it.  I thought we might be able to score some decent ones, maybe we'd have to do the Huntington Hop to connect to the inside, where it would get extremely racy.  I suggested Buc Beach, which seems to do well on a high tide.

It was a little bit better, but not by much.  We parked by the cafĂ© and checked it for some time.  Mike finally acquiesced, and we were out thar!

We walked down to the water with our gear and spied some sick ones to the south.  One guy was going to town on them and I joked about ruining his day by saddling up right next to him.  We paddled even farther south than where he was as there were some unridden gems we could have to ourselves.  I figured, with the swell direction being so steep, we'd end up where he was anyways...

My first wave was the sickest drop I've taken all year.  I caught it late, got hung up on the lip and managed to stomp it at the bottom.  The drop was so forceful it bent the camera towards the stringer, which made footy useless.  Apparently, I hooted myself after landing it, despite there not being any reward for the risk I undertook.

My next wave was a forgettable one that closed out on me.

I caught a nice right and turned a little more vertical on it than I'm used to.  In looking at my past backside smack vids, I was bummed to see how diagonal my trajectory tends to be.  I went a wee bit more vertical but was punished by turning a little too late and being left behind by the wave.

The wave of the day came and, as soon as I saw it, I got super pumped!  I wheeled around and scratched hard for it.  I popped up, then mini-pumped down the face.  I spotted my target on the wave, bottom turned a little harder than I usually do, and did a carve/snap right in the sweet spot.  I ALMOST pulled it, but threw an s-load of spray. 

I'll have to work with the surf coach on this move...

One of my last waves was one that started out pretty fast, but lost its mojo towards the inside.  I spotted Mike paddling back out, so I screwed around on it just for fun.  I went for a no-speed air, which involved me Liu Kang-ing my board towards him.  He claims I almost hit him but, given his victim mentality, I bet it wasn't very close.  Here's the footage with some aftermath.

The crowd infestation got to the point where it was catastrophic to our prospects of catching some good ones.  Mike had to go to work and I had to pick Raquel up at the airport.  And so we did.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

5.12.2012 Groveling w/ Mark at High Tide Avocados Shorebreak

I'd seen a sick left break from the cliff and I was raring to go.  I was informed by Mrs. Mark that it wouldn't be any good out there.  She was right, for the VAST majority of the session.

The waves were gutless and were nearly impossible to catch and get open face on, unless you lucked into a double-up  and were slingshotted towards an unbroken section.

The pattern consisted of paddling, popping up, and attempting to pump.  There just wasn't any speed to be had and no steeps to create your own.

Mark was on a 6'6" and I asked him to switch boards.  He said yes immediately (hear that, Mike?), much to my surprise.  He was raring to try out the Go Pro. Here is his sickest wave:

I caught a "sick" left and even nailed a floater, with speed, before the wave was over me.  This floater is a record-breaker in that I don't think I've landed a floater on that much foam.  I will have to multiply out the dimensions to see if my fish still beats it though...

It was getting dark and cold, so we bailed...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

5.11.2012 THREE in a Row with Missed It Mike at D Street

We got there a little later on this day, but the waves were downright decent!

We paddled out just south of the stairs here the sandbar was.

I caught a left about five minutes thereafter.  I pumped a few times and eyed the oncoming section.  I hit it well, threw a lot of spray, but lost my hold on my fins and splayed out.  While in the wash, I focused on keeping my feet on for as long as possible in the off chance that I'd be able to right myself.  The chance never came and, had it not been for my will to live, I would have drowned.

There was another wave I caught that I raced to the shoulder and was doing a fair job of keeping up with it.  I was cruising around the last section that prevented me from reaching open face when the lip crashed down just inside of my inside rail, upsetting my line and throwing me comically towards the shore.

AH...!  The wave of the day...

I was sitting all alone on the outside when another left came.  I paddled hard for it, thought for a second that I'd missed it, but dropped in.  I built up speed by pumping through the too-steep sections and eyed a guy paddling out of the corner of my eye.  The bastard, instead of trying to paddle inside of me or duckdiving like any decent human being, meekly attempts to make me aware of his presence (in the process, shattering my concentration) by letting out a whimper of a hoot. 

I'm not going to say I would have made the high-speed cutty attempt in the too-fat section of the wave I was on, but I will say it pissed me off.  Of course I didn't say anything, but I was fuming.

The SW wind turned straight south and it turned to sea to rags, so we were over it.

5.10.2012 Another D-Street Run w/ Missed It Mike

Well, after yesterday's short commute to surf with decent results, we decided to have another go at it.  I thought we should at least check the shorebreak spot up north as it can go off with this angle a windswell.  It sucked, so we shot down to D.

I knew the session wasn't going to be a solid one as I hit the water.  My subconscious, cursory key-check routine, which had cleared close to a thousand times in a row without incident, yielded some bad news.  I couldn't feel my key!   I ran back to the car and figured I'd left it on the inside (closest to the car) bumper, then shut the back over it.  I ran back to the waves and told Mike he may have to call Raquel to come get me once we were done.

Then, after my fourth false start with the Go Pro, it shut off on its own.... UH OH!  I figured it had run out of juice after several sessions without recharging it.  But there was also the remote chance its housing had failed and it'd been permeated.  There was no need to worry, as the camera was bone dry.

Things turned around when I realized I'd had my key in the key pocket the whole time.  The long portion of it happened to line up exactly right with the zipper and it threw me.  

I couldn't get anything going on this session.  The only thing that saved the session was my spotting a guy, once a boy, who strongly resembled Mike's arch nemesis SUPER SNAKE!  A few years ago, Mike and I were surfing that exact spot when Mike took it upon himself to burn a grom out with his classmates for a Surf PE session.  The kid turned to his friend, widened his eyes, and said, "WHOA! SUUUUPER SNAKE!".

As soon as Mike made it back to the outside, I related the story to him and he rewarded me with his Elvis impression, defending himself out of the corner of his mouth so the kid he burned wouldn't read his lips (don't know why else he would do this).

I don't know if that in fact was Super Snake, but the guy rips!

No waves jump out at me on this day, so I will wrap it up with this period.

5.9.2012 Peaky D Street w/ Missed-It Mike!!!

WOW! It had been more than two months since the last time I surfed with someone.  I'd seen a left that had "left" (*SNORT*) me salivating on Coastal Push and I had made up my mind that I would at least give it a thorough check.

The waves looked a bit sloppy and stormy.  Because of the direction of the swell, the majority of the SSW swell was passing us by.  I was a bit tired of driving up to Oside and surfing alone.  There was enough juice to entice both Mike and me to paddle out.  Mike was indifferent as usual, but I was able go goad him out thar.

We spent the majority of in-between wave time on our imitations of Topher and what an amazing episode he was in.

The session didn't start out so great.  The NW windswell was making its presence known with a whimper.  The good thing about windswell waves is the consistency, they keep on coming!  Usually, they are weaker than proper groundswell waves and, as a result, tend to be poorer in quality.

About twenty minutes after we paddled out, I saw a nice left approach.  I pushed down the button on the Go Pro, but apparently, didn't do it for long enough.  I popped up, then quickly realized I had to wait out the flatness.  I managed to do so, pumped hard in the critical section of the wave, and felt the speed.  I levitated onto the following lip for my longest floater of the year, landed a little bit awkwardly, and kicked out into the flats, as the wave had fizzled.

I caught a right that I was bottom-turning hard on (maybe that could use an extra space), but hit a chop on the top of the wave, rendering me and my trajectory GUTLESS.

Mike had to bail so I did the bro thing and walked with him.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

5.8.2012 Oceanside S. Jetty, Better Waves, But...

"OOH BABY...", I exclaimed upon seeing a set break in the midst of the lowest of low tides.  I was still commiserating with myself about yesterday's session.  This had major potential in turning yesterday's frown upside down.

I slowly made my way down the sharp rocks and waded through the river to get to the waves.  I paddled out south of the pack, but eventually floated north close to them.  The waves were there, but I wasn't on them. 

Finally, about fifteen minutes of lusting after others' rides, I spotted one of my own.  I paddled hard, and when I felt I wasn't making it, slammed all of my weight on to the front of my board.  I did get to the I-caught-it,-time-to-stand-up feeling, but by the time I did, the wave had closed out on me.  The foam behind me wasn't going to let me back off the wave, so I threw myself over the falls to avoid losing ground as much as possible.  Grrr.... Frustrating.

I then caught a right which held promise, but my right hand slipped off its spot on my board as I was popping up.  In the footy, I see myself quickly recovering, then grimacing as I eat it, kook-style.

If anyone was paying attention, they would have been making mental notes to burn the kook with the Go Pro camera on his board on the next set wave.

AH! A nice-sized right came and I was on it.  After a mellow drop, I b-turned towards the lip, then harnessed the slope of the wave and compressed my body into a backside cutback.  Alas, I made the mistake of going for an EXTREMELY weak bash without first assessing the wave.  At about the seven-second mark in the video, you can see me prematurely disengaging my fins.  I SHOULD have been keeping the pressure on and gone for a sick roundhouse cutty but kooked out YET AGAIN!!!!

I caught a left that was a fast one.  I dropped halfway down the face and started pumping, extending my legs down so as to create the piston action which creates speed.  Unfortunately, I hadn't fully set my rail, and I got air underneath my board.  If you know anything about physics, you know that pushing down against air tends to make you sink.  I failed to upend the laws of the universe and found myself kissing the bottom of the other side of the wave.

When I surfaced, a guy who was inside of me said that I needed to have been going about fifteen miles per hour to make the section, maybe with a tow-in, so that made me feel a little better.

The waves were good this day, but I was not...

5.7.2012 Oceanside Harbor Nothingness

Another week or so break in between sessions, and I was raring to get wet. My first glance of the water at the end of Mission Avenue revealed something I hadn't witnessed in months: "decent" waves!  I excitedly checked Tyson and, farther south, Wisconsin.  I realized I would be surfing today.  The tide was recovering from a low extreme and I felt Harbor would be worth a check as the tide was still so low.

I U-Turned and sling-shotted up there, found something I liked, and parked.  While walking, I spotted a sweet, steep A-frame fold over and made the fateful decision to stick with Condors, pretty much in the middle of Harbor, on a sandbar I've been fancying for quite some time. 

I paddled out and took in the relative emptiness of the line-up.  As the session progressed, it become apparent as to why I was so poorly accompanied.  The waves would jack up, then either close out  or not break.

I didn't catch ANY waves of note and went in after about seventy minutes with no worthwhile footy to show for it.

Luckily, I had the right mindset and was just happy to be back in the water.
On my way home, I checked Wisconsin and realized I'd made a mistake surfing where I'd done so.  Then I reached a new realization: ANYwhere was better than where I'd surfed.  Oh well, tomorrow would be another day...!