Sunday, October 29, 2006

An exended lull

I haven't posted because there just haven't been any waves. Oh, except for yesterday and today when a huge storm brought us fifty-mile-an-hour winds and six-foot washing machine windslop. Either way, it's been unrideable.

The lull is expected to continue this week, and not just in my surfing life. I am waiting to hear back from four publishers and two agents who have my book manuscript. I sent it out two weeks ago and might expect to hear something in another two weeks. Until I hear, I am not starting any new projects. I might be able to concentrate on something relatively mindless, like filing, but not anything that requires a lot of concentration.

Add to this a recent unexpected severe financial setback, to continue for an unknown period and which will affect my life in unpredictable ways, and life is just up in the air right now. Let's just call it an extended lull.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Should I buy a Matador?

Anyone have, or know anything about, Matador surfboards?

I have been wanting a new board for some time. I have a couple of options: one, buy used 9-4 from a friend; or, a (pricey) brand new Matador 9-0.

The Matadors have heavy glassing and are much heavier than other boards. I don't know that this is any advantage, performance wise. The advantage would be that the board supposedly won't ding as easily. The disadvantage would be that it's harder to carry and hurts more when it bonks you on the head. Worth it?

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Still alive

Yesterday I got into some trouble surfing the main peak. It wasn't terribly crowded, but crowded enough that there was competition. After huddling down the line in the retard section all weekend, I decided to paddle out at the best spot after M., a really good female surfer I'm friendly with (T.'s wife). Lots of times I watch what she's doing to help me improve. We'd just had a nice chat on the beach. Well into the session I ran into her board. We were both on the same wave. I actually did not see her take off, but we caught the wave at exactly the same time and ended up speeding on the wave rail to rail. She was standing up, I didn't dare try it. Instead I tried to get out of her way, but it was impossible; the force of the wave kept our boards in lockstep til we reached the sand.

Of course she and her husband were mightily pissed and she screamed at me: "Drop in on me again and I'll kill you!" Ouch!

I skulked out of the water and off the beach, not wanting my face to be seen, imagining everyone was talking about what an idiot I am. Because I am. I don't deserve to be on the beach on one of the last sunny days of summer.

I skulked back around five p.m. and they were both still there and not mad. Whew.

The thing is, today, on less crowded waves, I was on the same wave as another guy (and I ABSOLUTELY had the right of way on this one, if anyone was dropping in it was him) and when I saw him near me, was able to get out of his way. I actually turned the board the way I wanted to! I am working on that and it doesn't always work. But I am really proud of myself for doing it today when it counted. Why not yesterday? I dunno.

I remember reading somewhere (perhaps here) someone saying: "If you can't get a controlled ride on a longboard after two years, it's time to give up trying to surf." It's three years and I surely can't do it consistently, but I am learning.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

File today under ass whupping

That is all I have to say.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Not much about surfing

Today was 80 degrees and sunny. There was nothing worth surfing but I went to the beach just to enjoy this last day of summer. The beach was practically deserted---just me, a few others and who else, C. Living here means I'm going to see him a lot since he's only a couple of blocks away. It's not like he has a job to go to or anything.

So I'm doing some work on the beach, editing, but of course I'm watching him the whole time. Even though he has a girlfriend who seems to make him very happy, he cannot walk by a woman without trying something. I watched him walk on the beach, swim, speak to an attractive woman who was by herself, swim some more, then settle down on her towel to hang out for an hour. To the best of my knowledge she's not a friend, just a random potential conquest he met today.

So I'm watching him, and I can't help it, he still gives me chills.

Then he leaves, then I leave, then I get a racy text message from someone, no name, just a number I don't recognize. It was a bit freaky because it referred to what I was wearing that day. Who could have done this? C., just to make fun of me? A., an old friend and sometime jerk who I'd seen just that morning and so knew what I was wearing?

Finally I call the number and the mystery is solved. It's B., a surfer I don't know well but someone who, for mysterious reasons, has carried on a fake flirtation with me mostly by internet for over a year. I had to laugh, because it really was funny. While I was watching C. he was also on the beach, watching me watch him, and I had no idea he was even there. The affair with B. is a purely intellectual one and quite harmless precisely because it's so clearly improbable, but all the more outrageous for being harmless. I could say almost anything to him without any danger of it ever being acted on, which is great fun. Even though his message was totally a joke it was a great joke and really made my day. An outrageously fake passion is much better and more fun than a real rejection.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Is this how it is for everybody?

Proximity to the beach in and of itself is not going to necessarily make me a good surfer, I was reminded today. It's like sitting next to that cute guy in high school chemistry class isn't going to make him like you if he's not into you. Not that I would ever do such a thing. (It was a cute guy in a college history class.)

T., one of the best surfers at our beach, was out this morning with his wife. I am always glad to see them. He was very patiently giving me feedback on my surfing. Nobody else ever does this; they'd rather just watch me flounder and make fun of me than try to help. But a major part of why I've had such a hard time learning is that I've had very little feedback. T.'s virtually the only one who tries to help. I don't care if he does it out of pity. People can't learn this all by themselves!

Anyway, he said I am still holding on to the rails as I'm getting up. When and if I do let go it's too late. Damn, I was told I was doing that a year ago---and I would never have known if someone hadn't told me---but I thought I had stopped. The point is, there's no way to know what I'm doing unless someone tells me, and if those comments are a year apart, I won't know what I'm doing for a whole year.

I don't know if it's this way for everybody, but everything in surfing happens so fast, in split seconds, that it's just too fast for my brain to be aware of, let alone try to record and remember, what happens. Is it this way for everybody?

Once I was aware of what I was doing, I was able to do a lot better immediately.

He also tried to teach me a way of duck diving a longboard, by holding it under your arm while diving under the wave. I tried but didn't quite get the hang of it. These waves weren't big enough that duck diving was necessary. The problem with his approach is that if the waves really were big enough, it wouldn't work; the wave would just tear your arm out of its socket.