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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.