Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Surf in the Life

REALLY FUN WAVES TODAY! I saw it coming like a week out. I woke up at 5:30am, made my cuppa French presse coffee, gathered booties and wetties, yanked clothing over my hazy self, and walked out the door with two boards under my arms at 5:50am. The fish is back in action, and I knew I’d probably end up on that, but I brought the standard shorty just in case it was really really really good (which it wasn’t - it was just good, which is good, but not the same as really, really, really good aka sick, firing, or going off - and there needs to be a lot of steep face to work with if I am going to ride the standard shorty - it's just more fun in those kinds of waves). It was foggy in New York, which never happens. I felt nostalgic for Moss Landing while driving over the Williamsburg bridge - that was bizarre. The funny thing about east coast morning fog, however, is that the sun is rising in the east, so the fog is actually already burning off at the beach. Not so much in California. Opposite in fact. I arrived at my favorite little spot at just shy of 7am and was greeted by 3-5 foot glassy groomed predominantly left-hand peaks. I snapped a few “evidence” photos with my phone, and ran down to the car. As I said earlier, my setup would be: 3/2 with hooded poly pro shirt and 3mm booties. I hate booties but they were a welcome addition today. The tide was super high and I saw the potential for burgering so I predictably rode my 5’6” Channel Islands first generation maroon colored glass-on finned fish. The thing is an absolute wave magnet. Out in the water the feeling of nostalgia hit me again. How many times in my life have I been surfing 3-5 foot waves in 55 degree water? Counting would be futile. There was a gaggle of pre-work super dorks doing lovely cockroach dances and epic drop flails all over the place. They had “paddle-around-me” written all over them, and so I did. Now this is not a skill that I take lightly or that I necessarily recommend, but like all secret weapons, it is called for in extreme situations. These situations are when you are a very skilled surfer in a large group of non-skilled to intermediate surfers who clearly aren’t locals, but who have figured out where is the best place to sit and catch waves. They surf in large groups, which makes me think they found each other on SurfGrindr or some such app, are generally jovial, but in most cases, are just in the way. I always look out for the decent surfers, locals, etc. and make sure that I take turns with them, don’t drop in on them, and generally just keep my safe distance. These types are easy to spot as well because they don’t chat a lot, and they make all of their drops with ease. There were two such guys out there today - Leo and his friend - older dudes who were pretty darn surf stoked. Leo was a little chatty - that’s how I know his name - but this happens to me a lot. For some reason East Coasters doubt the ability of their homebreak to generate good surfers so they usually paddle up to me and say something like, “There’s no way you can surf like that and be from here. Where are you from?” Then I say, “Monterey Bay California.” And they reply in no particular order: “What are you doing out here?” and “Aren’t there a lot of sharks there?” Then I say “graduate school” and “yeah, there are sharks there,” and then I probably catch a wave. I don’t like to chat for too long. Once you start chatting you stop surfing. Surf lessons are a completely different story here of course - in a surf lesson I’m chatting nonstop about wave judgment, etc., but not too much about life details (plenty of time for that in the car). So there’s a bit of lineup politics for you. Needless to say, I caught a ton of waves, and ruffled zero feathers. The only feathers that were ruffling were mine from the sheer speed at which that fish travels down a wave face. I love the glide! Seriously there is no better feeling than achieving a neat trim on any piece of wave craft. I do prefer, however, trim with fins. I love that feeling of your back foot firmly planted over the fins, which lends stability, control, and turnability. But hey that is primarily on account of the fact that I’m really a shortboarder at heart. A longboarder or alaia rider will tell you different. And their stoke is just as valid. Oh and to continue the thought regarding people paddling up to me - I find their shock at my ability weird because there are shredders from New York - serious shredders. Maybe it’s the addition of being female - not sure - but I guess it used to happen to me in SF too, so yeah, hmm, I dunno what’s up with that. Back to the session: head dips ala Rob Machado (my favorite kind - I seriously watched videos with Rob in them for like ten years straight); fin release cutties; white water climbs; and one really good fly away kickout to straight dive. I went left all session until this wedging right came straight to me. I took it and got a little Larry layback backside under lip action. Love that view of the lip! The waves were still good when I left and I know they pumped the rest of the day, but I have some serious exam studying to do, so it was back to the village for me. I swooped in at 10:35am just in time to grab a sweet post alternate side parking (9am-10:30am) spot on W11th st. Had a breakfast of eggs, sweet potatoes, yellow bell peppers, english muffin, and tea with my love, then right when I needed to do work I zonked out on the couch for two hours. Freakin surfing - it can be pretty draining. Now I’m back to life, with a copy of essays by Hannah Arendt a friend bequeathed to me on my birthday this year. One of the questions for my PhD entrance exams is: What is action in Hanna Arendt’s philosophy? And so, after an action-filled first half of the day, I’m wrapping my head around the conceptual nature of that. I may have a surf in me tomorrow, but I’ve also got to fit in about four hours of Aristotle. We shall see!

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