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Saturday, June 30, 2012

6.29.12 Low Tide Punta Roca on a Dying Swell; Interesting Development at Pando's Wedding

I attended Pando's wedding the night of the 28th.  The photographer happened to be Mr. Red Shirt from my first session at Punta Roca.  Chamba introduced me and told him about my getting hassled at La Bocana.  He told me to drop his name, Ceibón, and to let them know that if they caused me any more grief, they would get their asses kicked.  Saying something like this to someone is not my style, but it felt good for a well-known local to have my back.  I will drop his name only if I absolutely need to.  I don't really see that happening though.

Chamba was saying we should all paddle out at La Bocana and they would be enforcers.  Chamba said we could bring a surfer who is involved with one of the big gangs here and we could watch the city boys turn ghost-white.  Or we could bring the local who has, so far kicked two Brazilians' asses for doing what an alarming percentage of what Brazilian surfers do, snaking people on waves.

I picked Chamba up and we parked in the usual spot.  While I was lathering on the sunscreen, Bob Rotherham walked by with his dogs.  He is the father of the break.  He established Punta Roca Restaurant in the 1970's, fell in love and married a local girl and together they created the best surfer in Salvadoran history (possibly in Central America).

One of my earliest memories is playing He-Man with Jimmy when I was four years old.  We followed our passions.  He picked up surfing and is at a world-class level.  I continued playing with action figures but never broke into the championship rankings.

I asked him if he remembered me. "Soy el hijo de Cynthia" I am Cynthia's son.

He said, "Mike?".  Confusing me, presumably, with my mom's last long-term boyfriend, a college teacher from New Jersey who lived here to help train the police force (or so he said, who really knows...)

I corrected him and told him it was good to see him.  I told him about my He-Man memory and he laughed.

We walked out to the point and Chamba remarked it would be tricky getting in the water with this low a tide.  Punta Roca is a rocky point, hence the name.  It is challenging to surf there without getting your feet cut up.  You must deal with slippery rocks.  If you slip off of one with one foot, half of your body accelerates down with it and you can easily slam your foot in a barnacled crevice, or worse, fall down on one.

As you reach the water, the dynamic changes.  You'll have a hydro-cushion if you eat it, but you can't see where you are stepping.  This is how I banged up my shin on the first session.  Partial relief arrives in the form of whitewater bearing down, as it allows you to unweight a bit and put some of your body weight on your board.  Paddling out and going in is an art form.  It is VERY difficult to not look like a kook, especially while going in.

Eventually, when you feel the water level is deep enough, you can take the leap of faith and start paddling.  At every other spot I've surfed, I paddle straight out.  Here, you paddle diagonally. Out, but also sideways and away from the point so as to avoid the rocks.

I did a good job and had just a tiny scrape on one the fins on Chamba's board.  After the first shallow duckdive, I took a quick look at it and it was undamaged.

Chamba told me, as we paddled out, that in April of 1994 a Gringo paddled out at 30-foot Punta Roca and rode a wave from the point to the pier.  This is approximately a kilometer of riding.  Chamba recognized him and his son.  I think he told me they were Costa Rican.  His son was in town for the Copa Quiksilver and was surfing well.

My first wave was just a sliver of a peak.  It didn't link up to a shoulder, so I kicked out.

Costa Rican legend's son was sitting outside of me when this gem of a wave came through.  He was paddling hard for it and I mirrored him, about ten yards inside (point-wise) of him. He let out an exasperated yell that he'd missed it.  I paddled for it as Chamba cheered me on, stomped down and descended.  I bottom-turned for what seemed like an eternity, then compressed into a hard snap.  I'm not sure what happened. I was on Chamba's 5'11" and either the fins slid out unexpectedly or my momentum tumbled me off the back, but I didn't make it. 

Chamba told me later that day that the maneuver was good, I just didn't complete it.  I told him I know I could've made that turn on my board.

A long time passed before my next wave arrived.  The waves were inconsistent and Legend Jr. was catching a lot of the ones that did make it. 

I lost track of Chamba, as he was content trying his luck on the inside.  I looked and couldn't recognize his face in the line-up.  I figured he must've gone in.

I caught a wave that this tatted guy with a Grencho accent, someone I recognized from sessions past, burned me, knowing full-well I was on the wave.  He almost dropped in, literally, on me.  I faded a bit and whistled.  He kicked out and I attempted to salvage the wave with a pocket snap, which allows the rider to get up the wave quickly into its speedy maw.  My lack of foam again hurt me and I couldn't set my fins down the line.  I faded off the back.

About fifteen minutes later, I caught one deep.  During my first pump, I noticed two boils in the wave's path.  I climbed up the wave and hung out near the lip, bypassing the boils, stomped back down on my front foot and did a speedy backside floater.  I jumped off the falling lip and went for a quick hit, concerned I was getting a little close to the shallow rocky bottom.  I kicked out the back, amped.

I had decided being out in the tropical sun for inconsistent, mostly mediocre waves (for ES standards) wasn't worth it and went in.  I must say I absoulutely killed the walk in!  I noticed Piri was paddling out and I realized I would not be getting my board any time soon.  Chamba said Piri had told him he had still had to file the resin down. 

Chamba and I went to the local place for some pupusas.  I paid less than $4 for seven pupusas and two sodas for Chamba and me. 

We then spent two hours at Piri's place while he worked on my board.  His hand slipped and he dinged it on the rail.  He had to sand it, resin the new wound, let it dry, then sand it again.  We talked story the whole time.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

6.28.12 Bad Vibes at Overhead La Bocana

Because my board was still at Piri's Ding Repair, I was on my buddy Chamba's 5'11" BR (Brazilian shaper).  It is, without a doubt, the smallest board I've ever ridden down here.
I paddled out, counting nine other heads and got out without a problem.  I got stared down by a couple of guys the majority of the paddle-out.  I waited a bit on the outside before making my move to the take-off zone. 

A stark contrast from yesterday, I caught my first wave within five minutes of sitting.  It was a big and bowly left.  I pumped hard before it sectioned off, then rounded the courner around the explosion.  I was rewarded with a look at big foamy wall that was on the verge of closing out.  I jumped over the falling section, amped.

I caught my second wave about ten minutes later.  This one was smaller, but still about shoulder-high.  I pumped down and led my trajectory up the wave with my leading hand.  I foamed out at the top, meaning I slid the fins out due to the aerated nature of the foamy water and flopped onto my back. 

I was thrilled to not go over the falls.

I heard a guy paddling towards me, speaking loudly in Spanish.  I only heard "Gringo".  I ignored him. 

He paddled around me and sat within six feet of me and said:

"Los turistas que se vayan al Sunzal" Tourists should be at Sunzal.  Sunzal is the wave on the far other side of the beach that is a slow lazy right unless the waves are massive.

I again ignored him.  He spoke out more loudly and said:

"Andate, Gringo" Go away, Gringo.

I broke my silence and said to him: 

"Cara de Gringo, me ves?" Does my face look like that of a Gringo's?  This was my attempt at very subtle humor as a way to diffuse the situation.

He gave me the obvious answer, yes.  To which I replied:

"Yo soy de aqui" I'm from here.  He asked from where and I said "Santa Tecla, Colonia Utila".  As though to call my bluff he asked me where the Utila Colony (neighborhood) was and I told him it was at the south tip of Santa Tecla.

He asked me how long I'd been out of the country and I lied.  I told him three years when in reality I just entered my seventeenth year of US residence. He said:

"Apues no sos de aqui" Then you're not from here.

I again tried humor to diffuse the situation.  "Pero les mando remesas a los que estan aqui" But I send remittances (monthly Western Union wires that is sadly the biggest part of El Salvador's economy).

He chuckled at that last one, then with a trace of a smile on his face, said:
"Pero a mi no me las mandas" But you're not sending them to me.  One last ditch effort to get on this guy's good side led to me saying:

"Como te las mando si no tengo tu direccion?" How can I send them to you if I don't have your address?

He paddled away, saying only: "Yo he estado surfeando aqui por 24 años" I've been surfing here for 24 years.  I had a couple of lines in my head which I thought were funny, but this guy was not in a good mood so I stayed mum.

He went and told his buddies that I wasn't from here, but I sent money to people who lived here.  I didn't hear their response. 

He kept mouthing off to his buddies about how he was so tired of the locals being overrun by Gringos. 

I looked at my options.  I could go in like a little bitch or I could see if I could catch more waves by continuing to ignore him with probably a remote chance of getting pounded by Bocón (Mouthy) and his buddies.  I stayed put. I figured going in would only strengthen his resolve to harass other people with his intimidation tactics.

I heard him tell his buddies to burn me on any wave I catch (I was sitting in the prime take-off spot, though there is room for plenty of guys there).

He and his buddies were sitting farther away as they paddled around for waves while I stayed where I was.  I overheard random, unfriendly things.

I was bummed out.  I'd understand his frustration if I was burning people, but I never once did.  I would be lying if I said his tactics didn't affect me, I didn't catch a wave for a good half-hour and I was lamenting his resentment towards me. 

A big left came which I was too inside of to take off.  Had I attempted to do so, I would've received a thick lip to the neck and almost certainly eaten it hard.  At best, I would've gotten batted around, then stood up and have to bail because the section would have been way past me.  That didn't stop the guy in the white rash guard and his friends shouting together in harmony, "CULERO!" (FAGGOT!).  They wanted me to take off because they knew I'd get throttled.

Eventually, I caught a chest-high left which closed out quickly.

Then, I caught a monster overhead right and I was laughing while on the wave at how over-responsive the tiny board I was riding was.  With just a slight weighting and unweighting, the board careens hard with no delay.  I hit it twice, then kicked out.

My tormentor went in, but he sat and spoke to a woman who was taking pictures for a good twenty minutes, waiting for his carpool to go in.
I caught another right, about shoulder-high and pumped a couple of times before compressing hard into a roundhouse cutty.  I had a little too much weight on my front foot, but took my foot off the gas in time to retain most of my speed.  I smacked the foam decisively, but the fins gave out on the board.  I'd done a roundhouse cutback tailslide, which would be a lot more impressive if I'd recovered.

A head-high left came and I caught it.  I pumped hard, trying to make it around the exploding whitewash, blinded once by it.  When I finally did I saw a weak wall.  Bummer.

I caught a right, took off pretty straight, bottom-turned hard and absolutely SMASHED it.  I descended again and hit it, thought not quite as hard.  I kicked out.

On my last wave, I got burned by an actual local, not a capitalino, an actual local.

The Copa Quiksilver starts soon and Punta Roca will no doubt be inundated by rising and fading surf pros (no 'CT guys) soon.  Tomorrow will be my last chance to surf it relatively uncrowded, maybe.  Pando is getting married tonight, but he said he's taking the day off tomorrow so we can surf.  I will let him choose where he wants to be.  $5 says it's Punta Roca.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6.27.12 #56 on Surfer Mag's List of Best Waves in the World: The Inimitable Punta Roca

I paddled out with only a slight encounter with a big rock and scratched just under my knee a bit.

We paddled out and there were about fifteen heads in the water.  All locals and Gringos, no Brazilians (YES!).

It took me a solid ten minutes to catch my first wave, and it was a closeout.  I pulled through the lip without incident. 

This guy in a red tank top was catching TONS of waves, sometimes burning guys in the process.  He is a friend of Chamba's and a surf guide.  He's a big guy but he was without question, killing it out there.  He wasn't really letting anyone else have fun though.

About a half-hour into the sesh, I was approached by a guy in a rash guard from Oxnard.  He told me that his surf guide wasn't letting him catch waves.  I said, "The guy in the red tank top?".  He said, "I GAVE him that shirt!".  I told him to sit with him, just a little deeper and he'll probably pull back and let you have it.  For a surf guide to burn a paying client is difficult to imagine. He told me he was over it and would just leave a bad review with the owner...

My second wave took me about forty minutes to catch. I was doing a lot of paddling and pulling back because of the red tank guy among other people.  Finally, I got my chance when a guy who was deeper than me decided a wave we were both paddling for wasn't for him.  I caught it late and smacked it, but not as high on the wave as I'd have liked.  I turned again but got hung up on the lip.

Oh so slowly, people who had probably been there since dawn started going in.  My wave count accelerated upwards as a result, especially once JJB (red tank guy) left.

I caught my third wave, but it sectioned off in front of me.  I Fosbury flopped over the back without incident.

I caught a smaller wave, but it didn't have much juice.  I turned laterally and threw a good amount of spray sideways toward the disapperaring wave, recovered and kicked out.

A good-sized wave came, about head high, and I was on it.  I bottom-turned hard and put a ton of weight on my back foot, eviscerating the lip.  I descended, ascended and hit it pretty well, then kicked out.

Chamba told me to go on a wave I thought was a close-out.  I went and paid the price for going against my gut when my left knee smacked into a rock underwater.  I just grazed it with my right leg.  Hopefully, a cool scar will come from this.

Another close-out, this time, though I bailed onto the wash and was fine.
The wind was coming up and I was concerned about the amount of sun I was getting on my first day, so we made plans to go in.

A wave came and I duckdived.  Just before I did so, I noticed a boil from a large submerged rock and THWOMP! The nose of my board smashed into it.  A little more $ will be going to Piri, the ding repair genius.
I caught one pretty early, pivoted and hit it well, then kicked out as it sectioned off.

A final closeout, on which I lightly grazed my left butt cheek on the reef, kind of like what I did at Pipe a couple of years ago.
I walked to Piri's Ding Repair and he looked at my board and quoted me $6 (!) for all of the repairs.  SOLD!  The board should be back in my possession tomorrow afternoon, so I borrowed one of Chamba's boards.

6.27.12 Mini-Session at La Bocana

Chamba and I woke up.  I checked the board I'd left down here, a Joel Parkinson DHD I brought down here in 2002, and it had some nasty tail dings.  Oh well, I guess it'll have to go to the ding repair shop AFTER the session.  We parked on a street close to the break.  We walked out and the waves looked good.  I was excited to get out there.

While paddling out, we got stared down A LOT by a few of the guys who were out.  Chamba remarked that these guys were all capitalinos (from San Salvador) and they think they own the place.  Once they knew it was Chamba, they turned friendly. Chamba says they know that he can have them barred at places like Punta Roca and that's why they're nice to him.  They act like they own that place.  We saw them wave three guys who were getting ready to paddle out away by whistling "La Vieja", a famous, three-note Salvadorean whistle melody.

The waves weren't perfect, but they were great for California standards.  Waves would jack up and peel down the line, though the tide was a bit high.  You want that here, as the place is extremely dangerous at low tide.

My first wave was a quick left that shut down on me, so I pulled through.

My second wave was quite a bit better. I pumped and went for a roundhouse cutty and smacked the wash, though a bit feebly.  I pulled around and kicked out before the closeout.

Chamba was telling me we should take advantage of the lack of crowd at Punta Roca.  There's a big contest that starts July 1st and the place will soon be crawling with pro surfers.  I said, "Let's go there now".

My third wave was awesome.  I stuck close to the pocket and the lip hit me on the top of the head.  I could have gotten barreled!  I pumped around the corner and hit the wave well.  Then I went in.

Chamba and I got in the car and drove to La Punta.

El Salvador

The last time I was in the country was May of 2009.  This Salvador sabbatical is the longest I've had since I first moved here in 1981.Because I was going on miles, I had to get here in a roundabout way.  San Diego to SEATTLE(!), Seattle to Miami, Miami to El Salvador.  The good news is I was going first-class.

I got my usual one hour of shut-eye on a red-eye, but got to watch Office Space and Dumb and Dumber on the sweet gizmos Alaskan Airlines gives out to first-class passengers.  These machines have a four-inch screen and you can pick what movie or tv show you'd like to watch.

I arrived and was picked up by my cousin Rodrigo, had a late lunch with him, my uncle Tomás, aunt Claudia and cousin Enrique.  I then rented a car and met up with my old buddy Pando.  We had a small dinner at Bennigan's, of all places.  He is getting married during my time down here so that was discussed.

I met up with his brother Chamba and spent the night at Pando's beach house, with panoramic views of the coast.  Chamba told me the city gave them the lot, and Pando paid maybe $6000 to build a two-bedroom house.  Not bad for $6K! In San Diego, a place like that will easily run you $900K.

I hadn't surfed at probably my favorite left in the world since 2005 and was jonesing to go.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

6.23.12 Blown-Out Stonesteps PM SESSION

I was hoping to get wet so as to keep preparing the skin around my rib cage for the onslaught of friction it will experience when it's finally reunited with my first DHD and favorite board of all time.  They will again be together in less than sixty hours as of this writing! Congratulations to them both.

I checked George's, which showed one good wave during my run on the PCH, on the way to Pillbox.  It slowed me down and made me contemplate pulling over, but I declined to do so.  Pillbox looked terrible, so I shot back up to George's, which now showed absolutely nothing but closeouts.  I was trying to merge off of PCH on Birmingham from the left lane, but the line of cars impeded me from doing so.  I pressed on, and thought about checking D Street, but then I thought about the summer parking situation and decided to check Stonesteps.

Upon doing so, I saw a beautiful left peel down the line and detonate into a nasty closeout on the inside.  I'm out thar!

I had my DHD with me this time and was pleased with my board choice.  As I bounded down the stairs, I noticed no other waves like the gem I'd seen earlier.  No matter. I'll sit where I saw it and wait.

My first wave ended up being a right and I caught it late.  It had a lot of chop on it.  I stood up and saw a guy right in my trajectory.  I would have to bottom turn HARD to not hit him.  I did so, but the wave closed out.  It appeared a collision was imminent.  I put both hands on the rails and yanked hard away from him.  After a few seconds of getting jostled around by the wash, I came up with hands still on rails and looked where I thought he might be.  He was two feet away from me.  I hooted and we both laughed.

A few minutes later I caught a left with chop on it, but it appeared the chop was going away from me, which makes for a smoother ride with less chattering.  I pumped and did my classic, WAY-too-critical-for-the-section and lean-WAY-too-far back, snap.  I won't spoil the surprise as to how this ride concluded.

Finally, a set wave nugget came through but there was a guy in great position for it outside of me.  He definitely had it and I said, "NIIIIICE!!!" to help him on his way.  He craned his neck to look at and... he let it go to waste.  WHAAAAAAAAT?!?!?  It would have been the wave of the day.

The wind picked up even harder and I got cold, so I bailed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

6.22.12 More Fun, Less Good, More Crowded D St w/ Missed-It Mike

Mike and I both got there a little early.  It wasn't as consistent as yesterday and the coconut wireless must've been off the Richter yesterday as the crowd had "swelled" (*snort*).  Mike and I suited up and paddled out south of the glut to try our luck there.

The first wave was a quick left that I off-the-topped.  My trailing hand was dragging in the water and that was giving me some help, but it was not to be as I never recovered.

I caught another left on which I had to pump like a muphugga.  On my third pump, I was a bit off-balance and faded a little to the right.  I never was able to reap my reward and dove into the whitewash.

Another left came, this time a small one, and I pumped twice before electing to fade off the back.  The wave was very helpful in aiding me at arriving at this decision.

Ah, my next wave.  It was GLORIOUS!  Unfortunately, I was the breakout on an otherwise flawless face.  I pumped well and was able to keep pace with it, thanks to a SuperPump that took from almost the top of the wave to the bottom.  However, I had a hard time reading the wave and was in an awkward spot.  I was primed to bank off the top for a smooth Rob Machado style floater but the lip inside of my targeted spot surprised me by peaking early and tossing me on to my ass.

I caught another left and pumped forever until the end section presented itself and I smacked it.  I, you're never going to believe this, couldn't hang on and succumbed to the forces of gravity and mediocrity.

Another left came and it was slow at first, cutting my set-up pump short.  It hollowed out quickly and I smacked it to no avail.

Yes, another left!  This one was hollower and faster right away, but when I turned, I did so too critically.  A flatter approach would've resulted in a better outcome.  The good news, I suppose, is I now have turned too radically for a wave.

The last left of the morning came and it went nowhere.  I meekly pumped to see if it would develop.  It didn't.

I caught the first right of the morning and my last wave of the day but it too disappointed me.

6.21.12 FUN (waves) D St w/ Missed-It Mike and Trevor

I'd called Mike the night before to tell him we should def surf D the next day. The forecasts were saying it would be 2-3', but they were wrong. 

The waves were about head-high on the sets and it looked like A- D Street.  I've seen D break better than this maybe a half-dozen times, and I've been surfing there for almost fifteen years!

The other side of the equation, though, is the crowd factor.  Word got out that yesterday was pretty good.  School was out.  The water is getting warmer.  I will not use a tired cliché here so let's just say it was a "flawless culmination of a low-pressure system" of factors to make for a big crowd.

Mike and I paddled out without incident.  There were a lot of people out, and catching the quality waves to ourselves was a challenge.

On my first wave, I'd made up my mind to go left, but when that looked less than appetizing, I swung around to the right.  That didn't have much juice either.  I swung around to the right but faded upon hitting the wash.

I caught a left which quickly closed out.  I pulled out through the back.

Another left came which did about the same thing.  I kicked my board up over the lip and sank down into the trough.

Less than two minutes later, I caught a right which wasn't really worth catching.  It faded quickly and I tumbled ass-first out the back.

Then, I four-paddle caught a short, but lined-up left on which I did a weak bonk:

One wave I wish I'd been able to get footy of was a set wave I caught.  I did a mini set-up snap, but I bogged a little at the top of the wave.  I put too much pressure on my front foot and my fins slid out the wrong way (towards the beach).  I flopped over on to my shoulder and thought I'd injured it.  It hurt the rest of the day but am officially fine as of this writing.

The highlight of the session wasn't a ride I got, which is unfortunate on such a good day.  Trevor was lined up deep and caught a reform off the bombie.  As he was paddling furiously for it, I started yelling, "Hey bro, you going?".  The whitewash hit him hard and he was fighting to stand up and I yelled again, this time, "Hey bro, you got it?"  Even Trevor thought it was funny.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6.20.2012 George's: Still Bigger than I Expected PM SESSION

First, I want to clear up that, despite what your mind led you to believe while reading the title of this entry, this post is ONLY about surfing.

Since my trip is imminent, I figured I would do it right this time and start training my rib skin by coarsening it.  When you are not used to surfing in your trunks, you can develop a nasty belly rash that really puts a damper on sessions. 

With the above in mind, I decided to paddle out and TRUNK it, for the first time since September (I think).  I decided there was no need to drive far since it wasn't going to be mindblowingly good anywhere with the onshores.

I was originally going to go to Pipes but it always seems like the crowd-to-quality ratio is so high there.  I opted to go left at the kook.  Cardiff Reef looked slow and crowded, so I was over that.  I saw a sick set of waves break which didn't all close out at once.  I found a spot and pulled in.

Trunking it makes surfing a lot less of a hassle.  Just grab the board and go.  I had elected to take Wanda, my fish, because it floats me better and I would last longer in the still-a-bit-cold water.

Once I got into mid-thigh deep water, I dove in to the water.  BRRR!   But now I was pretty much acclimated.

The paddle-out was uneventful and I was happy to see I would have no competition for waves.

It took me some time to catch my first wave, but it was a dooz of a right on which I pumped forever.  I did something that made my weighting not vibe with the board (one of those would-work-on-my-other-board situations).  I ended up on my ass with my feet on the board but could not recover.

Two dudes paddled out RIGHT by me and I was a little bummed, but I worked through it thanks to my affirmations and faith in Jesus (not really).  They weren't catching much on their Cinderella slippers of boards, but one of them did cost me a couple of waves.

I saw a dark line towards the horizon and scratched hard towards it.  It was a big mofo of a wave, maybe head-high, but appeared to be bigger because it looked so... angry.  I was a little concerned that I'd caught it too late without the rocker on my board to compensate, but I had only one small skip of the fins before they engaged.  I cut down, then bottom turned hard, pushing my luck with those small fins and absolutely SMASHED it.  It didn't really matter, as there was no way I was going to pull it with the way I'd set it up.

I caught a left and did a little floater, but that was about it.

I caught another right and did a face slash, wave died.

I started to get chilly after about an hour and went in.

6.20.2012 Bigger D Street than I Expected

I wasn't expecting much today.  I expected rough seas like yesterday's, thanks to the overnight onshores.  The swell was supposed to be dwindling to waist-high territory.  I went anyways because I was jonesing.
D Street wasn't all that crowded and even better, about HEAD HIGH on the sets!  Out thar!
My first wave of the morning was a left on which I nearly blew it.  My left hand slipped off my wax job.  I was able to recover, but I lost out on a little speed.  The good news is the wave was steep enough that I still got an ok amount.  I parlayed that into a good hit, but I extended my legs too far, taking my weight off my board and costing me a sweet finish to a bad start.  It was bookend bad.
I caught another left and went for a roundhouse cutty attempt.  I set up better than last time, and the results show it.  BUT it was still a no-make.  I will keep at it though and hope to show you a solid make before I leave next week.
I caught a right which got racey quickly.  I pumped a few times, when I finally noticed I didn't have anywhere to go, I tried for a cutty but it would have been a tough make for the vast majority of the surfing population.  It was a valiant effort though!  You can see my front foot staying strong even after the lip knocks the camera back.
After this wave I managed to injure my left hand.  While underwater, I noticed my hand had slipped in to my folded over leash.  This is never a good thing, so I hastily yanked to get it out of there.  I didn't do it quickly enough, and the leash pulled tight.  My hand is still sore, but it should be fine for tomorrow's session.
I caught another left which fizzled a bit.  I am very front-foot heavy while pumping, as are most surfers, and my back foot lifted off my board.  I recovered well, went for a standard way-back snap, but didn't recover.
I caught a right and it looked good.  I pumped a couple of times, but it shut down.  I straightened out and went for an impossible foam climb.
The kelp beds were finally overwhelmed and their efforts to keep the wind chop down slowly succumbed to the steady onshore that came up at about eight-thirty.  I succumbed too and went in.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

6.15.2012 Seeking Shelter from South Wind at Scripps!

The previous day, I'd taken an hour (!) to drive to Scripps, check it for five minutes and go back home with dry hair.  I'd left a little too late, and I'd taken local roads to get there.  I vowed to exact my revenge...

The south wind was back and Scripps is the closest spot to North County that can take some of it due to downtown La Jolla's outcropping.

I checked it again on this morning and, while PACKED, there seemed to be enough waves out there.  They were big too!

Because of the pack, I had to deal with parking a ways away.  After suiting up, I was walking north to the stairwell and looked up at the sky.  I was wondering if the sun would come out, so I looked behind me.  While doing so, I managed to kick into a slab of sidewalk that was about a half-inch too high with the ball of my left foot.  Pain immediately surged up my leg, but not enough to make me turn around.  I walked it off and descended the stairs.

I paddled out and was struck at how consistently the waves kept coming.  I avoided a couple of people on waves by duckdiving a bit prematurely, and finally, found my perch and sat down on my board.  I glanced around and saw three girls in the lineup, the most I've seen in a LONG time.  I had to paddle out a bit farther as set waves appeared and was reminded at how bowly the waves get here.  An added bonus is they seem to jack up more quickly than at other spots.  I adjusted my mental metronome to ligero and perched yet again.

After more than a dozen paddle/pull-backs, I finally got a good look at an overhead set wave when the guy paddling outside of me decided it wasn't for him and pulled back.  YESSSS!  I was pretty late on it, but stomped down and descended.  I passed up a very hittable section due to someone being in my way.  My less radical strategy allowed for me to do my usual, pump-pump-push into the approaching right.  I leaned farther back than I should have, thinking a wave this size would have more push.  I flopped awkwardly onto my back, energized by the biggest wave I'd caught in many weeks.

The crowd cock-blocking continued for a good ten minutes when I caught a left.  I noticed someone about thirty yards away coming towards me on the right.  I waved him on as I kicked out.

I caught a right which, upon descent, I noticed this big bald dude coming towards me.  He was close, so I straightened out and watch him hit the wave behind me.  I caught the footy and, bald dude, if you're reading this, start your top turn higher up on the wave next time!  I bottom turned away from him in the flats to minimize the chances of us tangling and dove off my board.

About fifteen minutes later, I caught a left which looked good, but quickly (and hollowly) closed out.  In my haste to above the liquid guillotine sniffing for my neck, I washed the fins out and managed to slide out and smack my left knee into the board.  It's still a bit sore as I write this, but nothing that will keep me out of the water. 

We'll let this crappy late spring run of waves do that...!

6.13.2012 Small but Punchy D Street

I checked Pillbox but it was unsurfable.  The place seems to be losing its luster...

I decided to venture up past my place to check D.  It looked small, but relatively clean.  There was a pack on it, which I presumed to be due to Surf PE taking place.  I suited up and walked down to the sand.  I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of sitting in a pack and dealing with the missed waves due to there being someone on them already.  I paddled out a bit north to sow a sweet little left I'd spied.

My first two waves were nearly identical.  Small, sucky, but hollow!  I got in to the first one but couldn't contort my body small enough to get a view.  The footage showed me getting clipped in the head and bailing.  The second one let me in a bit better, but still nothing.

While paddling back out, I saw a water photog in the water. WHAT....!????!!!!  Must be a friend of one of the kids' dads or something.

I caught a left on which I got one solid pump in, floated, then successfully ollied off.  My mistake on it was not using my speed to try for a foam climb at the end.

I caught and innumerable amount of waves that quickly closed out.  I decided to grit my teeth and jump into the pack. 

I caught a right, which started fizzling after my initial pop-up/pump move. I turned in for a cutty, but was left hanging by the lack of push.

I caught a left on which I pumped.  I debated hitting the initial section, but passed.  Smart move! I half-pumped up the face and was almost left behind.  I stomped on my front foot to stay in the pocket.  It was iffy, but I made it back down.  I bottom-turned, smacked it, and was hung up enough that it turned into an off-the lip.  I somehow pulled it and kicked out.  The footy, of course, shows it less impressively than what I felt whilst on the wave.  Unfortunately, I deleted it and it appears to be gone forever.  Not a major loss though...

I paddled in after this last wave, as the south wind came to pay us another visit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

6.11.2012 Frustrated at Pillbox

I checked D Street and it looked pretty blown out.  I decided to give Pillbox a shot and when I checked it, it appeared to be doing its thing.

I paddled out and sat.  Then sat.  And sat some more.  I'd miss a wave due to my line-up, so I'd paddle to the foam trail.  Then, where I'd just been sitting, a macker appeared.  AARRGGHH! 

I caught a wave which had promise but it quickly closed out. 

About a half hour (!) later, I had a good look at the wave of the day.  I was a bit deep for it, but I thought I could get it.  Just as I'm accelerating to catch the wave, I got wrapped up in a clump of seaweed.  I tried to power through it, but I J U S T missed it.  I let out an audible frustrated sound (rhymes with truck).

Ten minutes later, the wind came up and I decided to give up after close to an hour in the water. Pathetic!

6.10.2012 D Street Short Sesh

The previous day, I'd walked this beach with my in-laws and it looked downright scrumptious.  I immediately dialed Missed-It Mike who missed my call (to this day, I'm still waiting for a call back...). I left him a message that we should surf here Sunday morning.

True to my word, I rolled up around seven in the morning.  It didn't look nearly as good as the previous day.  It was also a little crowded, but I saw a left go unridden south of the pack and I was ready to go.

I suited up and got OUT THAR.

The only wave of note was a long one on which I attempted a roundhouse cutty.  For those of you not familiar with the maneuver, it involves doing a sideways figure eight/infinity symbol.  After going out on to the face, a tight 180 turn, which leads the rider back towards the curl to a decisive smack.  It is usually done when the wave is a bit slow, but looks incredible when done into a closeout section. 

For the vast majority of surfers, this maneuver causes a loss of speed.  For rippers, they maintain their speed throughout.  For the elite of the elite, they can gain speed from it and set up for a sick second turn of the sequence.

I did some things right.  I started the turn at about the right spot on the wave, height-wise.  I pivoted my upper body towards where I wanted to go.

What did I do wrong?

I waited too long to start the turn.  You want to do this with some steepness to the face so you can use the slope to keep your speed up.

I didn't lean heard enough, as is evident by my hand not touching the water's surface.  More compression of the right kind leads to more efficiency and, every surfer's best friend, more speed.

I didn't come up vertically enough on the re-entry portion of the maneuver.

Combine the three and I was left out the back starving for speed.

There were some mackers out there but I just seemed to be in the wrong spot every time.  To quote Bugs Bunny, "I zigged when I should've zagged".

The wind came up ten minutes later, leaving me with a session less than a half hour long!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

6.7.2012 FUN Pillbox after Short Sabbatical

I was in NYC for the first week of this month and got to really explore Manhattan. 

Like every other tourist on the island, I am a huge Central Park fan and photographed it.  Here are some shots.  Please excuse formatting issues...

I went off the beaten path a bit and ventured up to Harlem to finally see Rucker Park for myself.  Here is a shot of the most famous basketball court in the world.

NY is awesome.  I would move there but there is no surf (ok, there is some, but it's rare).  Oh yeah, it's also SUPER expensive and I haven't experienced a winter there.  Looks like I'm staying local!

Ok, on to today's session...

I was frothing to get out thar after receiving reports and pics from Coastal Push regarding the conditions during my absence.

I checked George's on my way to Pillbox and it looked rideable, though a bit racy.  I was pleased as I realized I would be surfing today.  George's would be my go spot if Pillbox wasn't producing.

But... Pillbox was continuing its magic run and was the biggest I'd seen it.  Slightly overhead on the sets and I scurried into my wetsuit.  My first wave was a big left.  I spent the first half of the wave keeping pace with it and praying my fins wouldn't wash out in the foamy water. I would've gotten barreled on the inside section had I had the foresight to see it coming.   My shoulder got barreled and I got a sick view of this very frothy section as I kicked out around it.

The second wave of the day was a right that I faded off the back of after a hit.

My next wave was another left that I bottom turned too hard on.  By this, I mean I put to much pressure on my front foot.  It could've been my one-week-out-of-the-water enthusiasm doing this to me.

Another left...  This one closed out on me and I dove off my board.

I caught another big left, but had to let this one develop.  It did, and when it presented to me, I smacked it well.  I got thrown into the flats violently sans board, though.  Ouch.

A steep right came through and I did a solid smack, followed by a more vertical and critical smack that I did pull.  The video doesn't show me riding away, but I did, then jumped off my board.  Here's the footy:

TWO minutes later, I caught a similar right that was a racier and shorter.  I managed to do an even more critical smack (though not quite as vertical).  I barely pulled it, but was pretty amped on it!

I had a lot of work to catch up on, so I bailed.