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Saturday, May 31, 2014

5.31.14 PM Mavs with Missed-It-Mike!!!!!!111!!1!

Mike had some free time and decided to come up and surf with me near my house.  He picked me up and we paddled out at Mavs.

The blackball was in effect, so there was an area with no surfers whatsoever.  I told Mike we should paddle where we're JUST inside of that.  I figured the current would sweep us right into an enticing peak.

Not long after we'd perched, I caught my first wave.  It was a left I raced and lost.

I was in position for a solid overhead right.  I caught it, then hooked around the section and vertically CRUSHED it in the steepest part of the wave, throwing tons of spray.  The wave fizzled after that and I was alright with that.

Fifteen or so minutes went by and frustration got the best of me.  I took off on a wave on which it was pretty obvious I wouldn't see daylight.  I went for it and after much finessing made it to the unbroken part of the wave.  Unfortunately, this was a sider, which was much smaller.

I had to let a couple of overhead bombs go because I was just too late on them.

I caught another couple of overhead lefts on which I was convinced I was going to pearl, but I somehow made it.

I convinced Mike to switch boards with me and he did.  He had never tried this type of board before.  I took his Tokoro, which didn't feel all that big to me even though it was nine inches longer (that's what she said?).

Mike is the type of guy who is afraid of missing out, so I was a real bro when I told him we could switch back if he wanted.  I think it was his puppy dog eyes that let me know he was ready to switch.

It never got to the point where the crowd was a factor, but there were some sick bombs in the blackball.  Seeing as to how we'd been outside the designated surfing area for about all of our session, I went for it. Five or so minutes later I was rewarded with a bomb.

Mike was telling me a story about his brothers and the mayor of Oceanside when I spotted something massive on the horizon.  My vision was confirmed when a guy was sprint-paddling for it, trying to pass me.  Given my superior positioning and average awareness, I was able to situate myself in priority.  I was a little bit late, but I bottom turned hard and did the best frontside hack I've done in over a year.  I got hung up slightly then rejoiced as I descended again.  I kicked out elated.

Mike had a time constraint as he's helping plan his son's third birthday party tomorrow and we had to go.  We were in the water for close to ninety minutes.

Friday, May 30, 2014

5.30.14 Another Quick Session at Low Tide S. Mavs

I hit the road on my bike at 5:33 and was in the water by 5:46.  The bike allowed me the luxury of more surf time, but also a great way to survey the surf.  Raquel needed me back at home by 655 (post wetsuit wash). Pressed for time,  I decided on S. Mavs after seeing a big set break.

I locked up the bike and paddled out.  I had a bitch of a time catching my first wave and got a bit stressed given my time constraint.  Eventually I caught a left that wasn't catch-upable.   It was just too damn fast.

I caught another left and tucked my knees in as I hit it.  Unfortunately I'd approached it too laterally and decided to bail as I was being pitched over.

The swell is on the way down and the pickings will be slim.  I enjoyed this run of ok waves, especially considering we're dealing with bad winds for the most part.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5.29.14 Much Better than Expected N. Mavs

The wind forecasts from the previous night did everything to dissuade me from paddling out today, but I was too determined to surf.  Yesterday's dry hump of a session demanded I relieve my blue balls.

This time I took a nice leisurely stroll, with more than two hours in which to surf.  The wind was palpably coming from the south, which made the corners of my mouth droop as I walked. 

Upon first glance, it looked pretty bad.  The fact that the surface of the ocean was smooth made it an easy call to paddle out.  And so I did.

I paddled out at the southern end of the vacation rental building on the very northern edge of N. Tyson.  By the time I'd perched, I'd skipped past the entire building and its adjacent park and was lined up almost exactly with Seagaze.

My first memorable wave was a left which I caught late.  I almost pearled, made the drop, bottom turned, and did a mellow snap.  I got hung up in the wave a little but was able to descend.  The wave still had its steepness on the inside but had halved in size.  I did a nice slash at the top of the wave and sent spray flying.  Good one.

As I drifted closer to the pier, I sniped a right.  After suffering through a bumpy bottom turn (the winds had kicked up), I had the reverse situation from a couple of days ago.  This time I snapped too hard for the wave and would have lost it if I hadn't slammed my weight to the ball of my front foot.  The section was nice and vertical but it had no oomph.  I faded off the back.

I got too close to Pier again and decided to bail in search of better and less crowded waves.

I walked all the way down to, and paddled out in front of, Tyson proper.

I spent most of my second try at the session battling the current and crowd, though I did have a luck at a BURLY overhead left that I was just too inside for.

I had a couple of waves peppered evenly throughout the session on which I could not drop in and had one dangerously close call with a trip over the falls.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5.28.14 No, THIS is the Shortest Session in History!

My wife had a seven o'clock conference call today.  I woke up, as usual, at around three something in the morning.  My plan was to get up around five, walk down to surf by the pier light, and take advantage of this swell while it lasted.

Unfortunately/Fortunately I fell asleep.  Yes I was able to catch up on a sliver of my many hours' of sleep deficit, but I shot out of bed to see it was 5:41, jumped in my wetsuit and RAN to the water.

I had about a half-hour to surf and I couldn't take any valuable time to lollygag and see what the sets wrought.  I paddled out at South Mavs thinking, correctly, that I'd get swept towards Pier.

The sets were closing out for the most part thanks to the crappy timing of the low tide. 

I ended up catching one wave. I bobbled the takeoff ever so slightly, causing me to put some weight on my heels.  That was enough to kill my shot at what looked like a workable lip line.  I dove off my board once I realized I'd blown it so as to minimize the ground I'd lose to the current.

A set came and with it, transportation RIGHT to the edge of the pier pilings.  By this point I'd decided I was going to go in.  I braced myself and caught a macker of a closeout on my belly.

As I walked on the sand, I vacillated between paddling out for a chance at a quick one, but within twenty seconds I'd decided not to.  A set of closeouts made that decision easy.

According to my watch, I'd spent twenty-three minutes in the water. Woof.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5.27.14 Lonely and Loving It at N. Mavs to S. Pier

The waves showed very little when my eyes first met the sea this morning.  There was absolutely no one out as I saw chest high set detonate a little too quickly.  The low tide had happened almost 2.5 hours ago but it was evident the surf hadn't recovered.

I spent the days between today and my last session with another nagging, annoying, sinus infection.  It kept me out of the gym and out of the water, but at least I didn't have to worry about passing it on to Raquel or Lucia.

With the news of Isra's death still weighing heavily on my mind, I dedicated this session to him.  I got to ride my first really juicy rights at Sunzal thanks to him, a direct result of my pestering him for way too long on preceding nights.  I have great memories of piling into the back of his black pick-up truck (one with metal bars all around functioning as a cattle car, but for people) with his kids before sun-up and standing up the whole five or so kilometers to the break.  My elation and breathing in of the already warming humid air was intermittently interrupted by various tropical bugs meeting their fate on my face.

I wish I could say my grief turned me into a surfing savant for the extent of my session, but it didn't.

I paddled out amidst one of those bizarre it's-too-quiet lulls where you think you've paddled out too far because the only waves are forty or so yards inside of you.  I perched and a set hit.  I paddled out a little farther.

My first wave was a left on which I got one quick superpump and not much more.

My first right was next, and I'm going to call it the wave of the day.  I bottom-turned and carved it well, though I did let up a little as I didn't think this section would have as much push as it did.  Had I gone at it full bore I would have eviscerated it.

A smaller left came and I did an off-the-top on it, sooner than I would have liked (no wall).

A guy had paddled out closer to Pier and wasn't catching a thing.

I got swept towards him, but he had bailed to try his luck elsewhere.  I caught another racy left on which I superpumped, hoping to cover as much ground as possible so I'd have a faint shot at making the section.  It was of no use as the whole thing detonated.

That last wave happened to be the first of the biggest set of the morning.  I was determined to paddle through, but I was being swept south and was reaching critical proximity to the pier.  As I paddled out, the current and the angle of the waves I was duckdiving pushed me closer and closer.  I flirted with paddling through the pier but considering how much I was being tossed about, I decided to go in and march south.

I paddled back out at S. Mavs.  I caught one wave on which I did a small floater, but lost it as my fins were confused by the aerated foam.

I had another chance at a decent left.  I descended and pined for the end section.  By the time I reached it, I had no speed.  I threw my hands up in frustration.

The whole session was free of me having to pull back from others who had right-of-way.  In this way, the time spent out there was glorious.

Monday, May 26, 2014

RIP Israel 'El Charro' Rivas

At one point when my mom was sixteen, she'd had enough of living the lonely and fake oligarch life and took off for El Sunzal, a then tiny beach community in El Salvador.  In her stories to me, she seemed to imply that she lived off her wits and cunning, and while she did make some money giving tours to tourists (sometimes all the way to Guatemala), most of her income came from her brother and my namesake, Eduardo.

It was during this time she made friends with Isra.  He was a lifeguard at several beaches in El Salvador, namely El Majahual and fed several mouths with his meager earnings as such.  He and my mom lost touch after she left El Sunzal for Maui, then San Diego (where I dropped), then Guatemala.

She married Jaime, her second husband (twenty-one years her senior), in 1983.  Jaime's family was a very wealthy family which had made its fortune in coffee over the last hundred years, then diversified into banking, a car dealership (they held the monopoly on Subarus in El Salvador), et al.  In 1986, she convinced Jaime to rent a house on the beach in San Blas, adjacent to El Majahual.

As is common there, people would wander off the sand to entice weekenders with their various wares.  People would come by offering horseback rides, turtle eggs, parakeets, bread, nuts and so on.

One day a very tan man with sunbleached hair came by with a big black inner tube.  He was selling oysters and conchitas.  My mom recognized him instantly as Israel, whom she hadn't seen in more than a decade.  After a warm greeting and exchange, he came to me and asked me if I knew how to swim yet.  I said I didn't, and my mom hired him to teach me how to swim.

We'd see Isra every other week when he came by to unload some of his seafood.  He'd then jump into the pool with me to teach me to swim.

In 1989 things weren't going well and we stopped going to the beach.  My mom went to rehab in Boca Raton for her on-again/off-again addiction to coke.  She then divorced Jaime and I don't believe I saw Isra again until seven years later.

In December of 1996, I was back in El Salvador for the first time after having moved to the States.  Jaime invited me to spend Sunday at the beach house (he continued to rent it until 2003, God knows how many times over he could've paid for that thing with that rental money).  It just so happened Isra was now the caretaker of the beach house and lived onsite.

I didn't see him again until the next summer, when I came down for two months and spent as much time as I could at San Blas.  I had become extremely good friends with Eliud, Carlos, and Chamba. We all loved the beach and bonded instantly.

When I contracted Dengue fever in 2000, Isra and his wife took me to the doctor and paid for my medicine out of pocket.  My attempts to repay them were rebuffed multiple times, though I was able to pay for a new windshield for his pick-up truck when his previous one had been smashed four years later.

As previously mentioned, Jaime gave up the beach house in 2003.  Israel and his wife, Dinora, moved the family about as close to Punta Roca as you can be. They lived in a house owned by Dinora's family, who worked in Maryland as managers in banks.  I saw Isra and his boys many times on every trip to El Salvador.

The last time I saw him was July of 2012.  Carlos had married the sister of the mayor of the city of La Libertad and Isra was driving a garbage truck.  I found this out when I was taking my board out my rental car at Punta Roca and Isra slammed on the air horn of the garbage truck, then laughed his ass off as my face registered sheer terror. "¡Chele Pfeifer!", he said (chele is a term of endearment given to particularly pale people in El Salvador).

He moonlighted as a Charro aka mariachi singer and he LOVED it.

I was on Facebook today and saw a rectangular graphic commonly used in newspapers bearing his name:

The guy who had posted it was Pando's (nickname given to Eliud) second or third cousin who was also a caretaker in San Blas.  Then I saw that the city of Puerto de La Libertad had paid for it.  I WhatsApp'ed Pando, who now lives and works in Luxembourg, and he confirmed the sad truth.  His dad's heart had stopped.

I'll end this post with a video I took of Isra rocking out on karaoke during his son's wedding.  It starts at the one minute mark:

Friday, May 23, 2014

5.23.14 Inconsistent Mavs; One Memorable Wave

With the holiday weekend approaching, the dreaded Spring winds packed their wind suitcases and got in their wind cars and bailed.  A fresh swell was scheduled to hit my home shore and it was not officially a day off for most, meaning my chances for a good session were solid.

I had made up my mind to walk south to Wisconsin Street as was tradition last summer, but my mind was occupied when my subconscious steered me north, towards Pier.  I made it maybe five steps before I realized which way I was walking and decided to leave it up to Jesus, for He knows better than I.

I was looking into the plate glass windows of the closed businesses as I walked along the 101 when I heard someone call out to me.  It was a black woman in a dress.  The exchange went like this:

Lady: "HeeeeEEEEEEEEeeeeey!"
EddieP: "Hey!"
L: "You going to have some fun?"
EP: "Absolutely!"
L: "Thank you for saying good morning to me. It makes my day!"

I then realized this was someone I'd greeted near the bus stop on a couple of separate occasions.  I've made a habit of saying hello to fellow pedestrians as I've always thought it weird when people walk by each other and pretend the other doesn't exist.

EP: "You're welcome!"

I continue walking and pass her.

L: "My name is ChiChi."
EP: "ChiChi? Mine's Eddie."
L: "God bless you, Eddie."
EP: "Right back atcha!"

I continued walking, hopeful that ChiChi's blessing would last through my session.

I arrived and balked at the head count at Pier.  There was no way I was going to do battle with all of those guys.

My first wave was a left that looked racy, then looked downright unmakeable by the time I was up on it.  I pumped up slightly upon stomping, then slammed my weight forward to cover as much water as possible.

Five or so forgettable waves later, I caught a left and swooped down on it.  It's the first wave in too many sessions on which I had some real options, though it did slow down about three-quarters of the way through.  I smashed the lip and slid the tail out hard, the board became parallel with the sand.  I ALMOST pulled it.  Had the wave had a bit more juice to it I think I would have been able to get back up.

I eventually took a close-out in.

5.21.14 Junky S. Pier

We had classic Spring winds on it today, but I was excited that this would keep the crowds from swarming in.

I was the first to paddle out, not a soul in the water.  I had sought solace in my solitude and BAM!  I had it.

It lasted all of eight minutes.

The waves were about as bad as expected.  I caught several lefts which either had no juice or would close out. 

I caught a right which scooped me up late.  I made the drop and my loins tingled as I bottom turned.  This one had a line.  I drew my line a little wider than I should have, and though I eviscerated the wave, I sank into water with no speed.  Had I gone more vertical I may have descended again and completed the maneuver.

I went in after an hour.  I counted fifteen heads in my vicinity as I left.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

5.16.14 Quite Possibly the Shortest Session in History

I couldn't paddle out as early as I would have liked, thanks to scheduling conflicts.  Thanks to the offshores, which had been wreaking so much terror on our inland braddahs, I didn't have to worry about the waves getting blown out.

Unfortunately, the tide was a bit too high for the amount of swell in the water...

I opted for North Pier to escape the god-awful crowds south (the waves there were much better, though).  I paddled out right next to the pier, twelve or so feet before the pylons extend outward another layer.  I told myself I would paddle straight out towards the pylon, confident the current byproduct of the steeply angled S swell would move me away.

My calculations were correct, though I could've tapped my elbow on the pylon if I'd rotated my shoulder.

I sat on the outside, constantly missing waves. 

I went in and the waves there left little to be desired.

I glanced around at the crowd, much smaller than the last session but unsettling nonetheless, and decided I would bail after my first wave.

My first and last wave was a juiceless left on which I did zero maneuvers for 0.0 points.

5.15.14 Crowd Threading at Packed Pier

I paddled out at Mavs thinking I'd avoid the Pier logjam, but deep down I knew the current would put me with them eventually.

I didn't catch much of anything.  I did a speedless floater on a left that I stomped, but it would have been a better use of energy to have not caught that wave.  I ended up going because I was sick of not catching any waves. 

Close to thirty minutes later, I caught a better left but it too slammed shut on me after a very promising opening section.

I bailed about ten minutes earlier than I had to because I wasn't having much fun.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5.14.14 One Fin Fun, then None, at Pier

The scenario looked incredible.  Tide was right, winds were perfect, midweek (fewer crowds), and City of Oceanside had decided to pump pristine sand right onto the beach for the upcoming tourist season.

All we were missing was swell, only the most important part of the equation.  Without swell no one surfs.

With this in mind I decided to get cute and do something I've thought about doing since the inception of this blog: take out all but one fin and work on tail releases.

Granted, it would be an uphill battle given the lack of classic tapering rail on my board.  In its place is a WIDE tail with canyons for a channel. Not only that, but the middle fin, the last fin standing, was a TINY trailer fin that was stuck and I couldn't remove.

I continued on my mental path, headstrong.  This would be a way to inject some fun in the tiny conditions that awaited me.

My first glance revealed a soothing sight.  The waves were tiny, barely surfable.  This would be a good day to surf with one fin.

After paddling out and trying to get going on waves, I realized just how crucial the correct fin setup was.  After wiggling the tail to pump on several lefts, I couldn't get going.

I did manage a weak floater/bonk on one left though.

On a right, I was able to make it past the foam thanks to my initial speed.  As the wave predictably petered
out, I decided to jam on the tail and BAM, I slid out instantaneously and came up laughing.

I began to long for my fins.

A macker three-footer appeared and I was too inside of it.  I two-paddled for it and caught it really late, then gingerly made my way around the initial section.  I was slow on the bottom turn and leaned WAY back and took the top off the wave with exactly zero chance of making it.

I reached my time limit for the day and as soon as I got home, I screwed my fins back in.

5.12.14 Groveling at High Tide Pier

I accompanied my wife and daughter to St. Louis, home of the continent's least crowded surf.  The surf highlight of my trip was wandering into the pool area and spotting five sponge surfboards.  I imagined these made up a sizable percentage of the riding choices Missouri had to offer.

I checked the tide and knew the waves were going to be fat. I didn't care, I had to get out there.

The waves were as fat as I had predicted. I didn't care, I had to get out there.

I spent the vast majority of the session paddling furiously for what appeared to be fertile waves, ripe for the ripping.

The highlight of my morning was a left I let develop for a while before I popped up.  The wave allowed me one pump before jacking up and shutting down almost simultaneously.  My plans for a lip smack were scuttled in favor of a Frankenstein 360 attempt, which I will be a sport and say it was a 90.

My schedule today would've allowed me to surf for two hours longer than I did.  I didn't care, I had to get out of there.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5.2.14 Small But Punchy N. Mavs

The tide was very low on this day.  I would normally have made the trek to Harbor, but my bike was still out of commission from the unfortunate incident in which I maxed out its speed while trying to climb the steep ramp onto the pier.  The chain fell off the gear and I can't get it back on, mostly due to the tight confines that surround it.  I will take it to a bike shop this weekend once the heat dies down and I'm sure they'll fix it in two minutes and charge me $30 or so...

The waves were small, but I did spy a set coming through at N. Mavs.  There were a couple of guys out closer to Pier and I was happy at the prospect of surfing by myself.

The session ended up being better than I expected.  Unfortunately after my second wave, one of the bros from Pier decided to contest my stranglehold on the lefts after seeing me smash one to smithereens while I suffered a similar fate.

The lefts slowly went away as he paddled inside of me for them, though he did get a good one.  I turned my attention to the rights.  I was able to do a pretty good off-the-top on one, then I was a little premature on a snap on the next one. 

I went in after about an hour for daddy duty.