Monday, October 26, 2009


I've been accused somewhere on this blog of Schadenfreude, that is, taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others. I don't see it that way.

Consider how many years I've had this blog, and correspondingly how long it has taken me to get to the point of any semblance of surfing, let alone proficiency, and how difficult it has been. Even if I did engage in some Schadenfreude, I could be forgiven.

So, on a day like today, a challenging closeout day, when I was at first the only one out, then was joined by two others, and when I was the only one getting up and getting rides at all (albeit not very long ones) and they weren't, it is certainly understandable that I would feel proud of myself and that in some way that feeling of pride depends on their not getting rides.

In other words, after having been the worst surfer every time out, for years, let me enjoy being the best whenever I can.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I did it this time

Today was another bigger wave day, five feet, and I made it my goal not to hang back but to take off later.

I did it. And it wasn't so bad. At first I got worked. Then I got up to my feet. Then I got a ride.

It wasn't perfect, but at least I learned something. As I thought, the only cure for being scared and taking off too early is (being scared and) taking off later and taking the consequences.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

Today was about as good as a session gets.

The sun was out. The wind was calm and it was warm. No one needed a hood.

Miracle of miracles, no wind in the afternoon. I got out late, after having an unusually good day so far. I timed it right.

The waves were little.

Crowd was small and friendly.

I got lots of rides. People hooted. Even though it wasn't challenging, I felt like I was actually learning some skills. Like, I could feel the rails grabbing the waves. I could feel myself controlling them. I knew where they were. Usually I don't think about such things. I thought, inside rail, outside rail, and knew what I was doing with them.

I was able to get up low and stay low, something that's usually difficult for me, but it makes a big difference when waves are small.

I got that feeling I've talked about before, when time seems to be suspended, at least for a couple of seconds. When that happens me and the wave are perfectly in synch.

I was actually smiling at strangers and they were smiling back. No gray faces today, only sunny ones.

To finish it off, there was a gorgeous sunset. It was my first sunset session in many many months. There is nothing so good as watching the sun set from the water, unless it's watching it after a spectacular session. I stayed out as long as I could still see.

Perfect day, perfect surf, perfect sunset, a man waiting at home to make me dinner, perfect night. The kind of day that gives you the strength to go on.

Actually, there's no secret to what causes such a good surf session. And I'm sure most of you know this. It's not the sun or the waves or the wind or the tide (not only). It's whether you had sex before your session. There is a 100% correlation between sex and good surfing. I have never known an exception. But that's no secret, right, people?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Not Enough Balls in the Water

Has it really been a month since I posted? Sorry about that. There have been some more small wave sessions I didn't write about. I've travelled, been busy.

And today I was woken up by waves.

They weren't small. The wave report said up to one foot overhead. That was an exaggeration, but they were a good five feet. OK, I'm not scared of that anymore. And the wind was in the right direction, which should have made things easier.

But the wind was blowing 25 kts, which is, I don't know what in MPH, but a lot. That changes everything.

I went out in my spiffy new 4/3 wetsuit for the first time, and was warm enough (though I cannot agree that zipless suits are warmer than zippered, and are much harder to get out of). But I didn't put on the hood, and the wind was enough to freeze my ears. The day was gray, the faces of the surfers were gray. Not much smiling or talking.

Because of the wind the waves were breaking hard and steep---you know, when they send up that much spray, it's not going to be easy.

I kept hanging back because of I was afraid of the steep drop (not the size so much) and as a result guess what---I missed just about every wave. One I wasn't early for I got worked on, but not so badly. Yet I still just kept hanging back.

Late in the session I saw D., Master Surfer, who told me: Take Off Late, As Late As Possible. And proved it by getting a nice, long, fast ride. He was right, of course. Yet I couldn't work up the nerve.

I know the only cure for taking off too early is to take off late and take the consequences. Chances are they won't be as bad as I think. Once I learn that, I will be fine. And I don't know why I couldn't do that today. It makes absolutely so sense to come out on a freezing, howling wind, rainy day---and then just sit in the water getting nothing. It takes balls (or should I say ovaries) to come out on a day like that but it takes more balls to make coming out worth it. I didn't have mine in working order today.

All I can say is, I wasn't the only wuss in the water. The great majority of my fellow surfers (except for D.) weren't catching any waves either. I guess we all lacked ovaries.

Well, partly that, and partly the wind jacking up the waves making it really challenging for most people. I heard later that even those who consider themselves macho men were wiping out.