Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Texas paddleout

Ah, the Texas paddleout. The one I once called "all paddle and no stoke" somewhere on this blog, long ago the last time I was in Texas. The one where the waves come at you from all directions and there are no lulls to speak of. The one that makes your arms sore the next day. Ah, the Texas paddleout. There is nothing to compare in New York, I don't think. We might have to make it past three waves to get out, max. In Texas it seems like it's about ten, it's such a long way out. And then you get pushed back and it's another ten.

It was choppy and sloppy today but sizeable and in Texas that's considered good surf. Truly I wasn't in the mood for a Texas paddleout and nearly turned back but I saw two shortboarders make it out without much difficulty and if they could, so could I!

And it wasn't really all that hard.

Once out, I caught my first wave and even though there wasn't much of a lineup---just the three of us---the shortboarder was directly in my path after I popped up perfectly and was riding down the line! I had to bail to avoid hitting him which was very disappointing. He'd seen me get the wave and knew I had nailed it so he was very apologetic. "That was a big wave too," he said. "Sorry."

No one in New York would apologize like that. It was great being admired for getting a ride on a big wave at a foreign break. It made me feel terrific. The shortboarders, a couple of young boys, continued to be friendly and even hooted for me when I made another wave. I didn't get the rides down correctly all the time but to be catching waves at a break I didn't know, on a rented board, and riding them at all, wow. Three years ago when I was at this break last I wasn't able to catch or ride anything.

I guess the waves were maybe shoulder high. It was a bit of a challenge to figure out where they were breaking but I did.

The sun even came out and the day warmed up like summer.

I got pushed back a few times and Texas-paddled-out again, but I must be stronger or something because it turns out my arms didn't hurt at all the next day.

It was just glorious to make it out when I doubted myself, make waves and have other people see him make them, have fun on a day that had started out cold and foggy and with me feeling like crap. I was able to just focus on the waves and then the next waves and that is a great thing to do when you feel crappy or stressed, it turns your mind right around. Surfing, bless its heart (despite what I've said elsewhere on this blog,) is just what it is and nothing else; it requires your full attention lest you should get smacked in the head. I didn't get smacked.

It's great to have that "Yes I can" competent feeling about surfing (especially when you don't feel competent about much else in life at the time) and to be seen as competent by others when the length of this blog attests to how difficult that has been.

I didn't even want to come out at all but eventually I was in dire need of lunch so I had to. I ate a whole pizza and spent the rest of the day lying on the beach and then in the hot tub watching a beautiful Texas sunset. Yeah, it was 78 degrees. In January. Sometimes surfing can really save your life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More fun than it looked

Today was hot and sunny down at my favorite Texas surf spot. Yeah, the same one I wrote about years ago. Good ol' Redneck Riviera. I am very fond of this spot and its generally crappy waves.
Today's looked like crap, but at 75 degrees, all waves look better. I waited a long time to go in thinking the waves might improve. They didn't. I finally went in anyway.

It's amazing how much more fun the waves were than they looked. Yeah, they were small and choppy and sloppy and once you caught one it fizzled out very quickly and didn't much go anywhere. But the fact that I was able to get any ride at all today impressed and cheered me. It wasn't great but it was so much better than I expected.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The visual

Here it is, folks. The visual confirmation that I can actually surf. I don't know if these photos are in sequence. Nice or nasty comments on my stance, butt, etc., accepted.

These are from New Year's Day. There weren't waves again until Martin Luther King Day. What a tough wait that was! I was just delighted that I hadn't forgotten how to surf.

And when I see waves again, they won't be in New York, but hopefully there will be a surf trip post soon. Well, if there are any waves worth writing home about.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Composite makeup post

Can it really be true that I posted nothing this December? Obviously it is. All I can say is that I have been overwhelmed with work, and a surf trip was cancelled. I had a deadline right after New Year's, and I was willing to give up some surfing to meet it, but honestly there weren't all that many surf days. It was either flat or huge or freezing cold or some combination of those. For a week or more I was too busy to even look out the window at the surf. And stressed. Majorly stressed.

So I will just note that I took advantage of every surf day I could, and that made me think about how much I missed surfing, and what lengths I will go to to get waves.

Am I addicted to surfing in the way some guys are? It can't be, because being an addict involves getting doses of adrenaline and all those chemicals that happen when you really surf in real waves, and I never get that. So what is it? I definitely don't feel right when I don't surf for a long time. What is it, exactly, that I'm missing? Gotta wonder about that...

Deprived of waves for three weeks, I ventured out in a blizzard, ignored the naysayers who jeered at me to "stay inside," and made it out and back in overhead waves safely and without fear. I didn't ride any, but I paddled for the smaller (head high) ones.

And then a Christmas Eve surprise of tiny little peelers with several people out. We surfed until the sun went down on the brilliant day. The water was surprisingly cold and I froze despite the sun and light winds but didn't want to go in. I surfed with a friend I hadn't seen in a while who just happened to be there. "Have you got hot chocolate at your house?" he asked as the sun got lower. I didn't, but I did have champagne and cookies, and we toasted the holiday.

Christmas morning was gray, sideshore, with just two boys out who had probably gotten their first boards for Christmas and were missing every wave. Later it got bigger and choppier. I got wet but no rides.

And then New Year's Day was beautiful and warmish, with a crowd. I went for the bigger waves and got them, and the photographer on the beach got a photo of me riding a wave more than ankle high, a first in my life! It was at least four feet. Similarly, the young woman on the blue and green striped board, a novice who I'd watched for a while, got a nearly head high ride and her astonishment and pride was in her posture and her face and the way she ran up to the photographer afterward to make sure he'd gotten the pic!

I think he later lost the pictures of both of us! Because I haven't received mine.

Trust me: There does, did, exist a picture of me really looking like a surfer. Once, on New Year's Day 2010.