surf session #53

The time lapse between surfing and chronicling surfing grows ever greater! I so much admire people who write timely and consistently.

#53: Overhead, howling offshore wind. I brought the 7’5″ and the 7’8″ – should’ve brought a longboard, I realized while looking at who was catching waves and who wasn’t. Picture-perfect waves that took quite a bit of effort – and board – to catch. I opted for the 7’5″ funboard, thinking the slight extra floatiness would help. Paddled out.

Oh, right. That current. The one that makes reaching the outside so simple and staying in place so hard. Don’t mind me while I float away to China. Important to remember: Don’t stop paddling unless you’re standing up on a wave. I could see right away the effort-to-payoff ration of this session was going to be high.

Lucky me, though – a friend was heading in, asked if I wanted to borrow his longboard, a sweet Robert August model. Of course I said, Yes, please! And, thanks to the offshore wind and soft waves, this is how long following him in to get it took: He’d completely changed out of his wetsuit into his clothes and was about to hop in his truck. He kindly took my board to drop at my truck and I paddled back out with renewed enthusiasm.

Now, BK is one of the best surfers around here. I had no illusions that using his board would magically improve my own skills… okay, maybe a little. At first, I still struggled to catch waves – paddling against that offshore wind adds a degree of difficulty I cannot always overcome. Repeatedly, I found myself in position, stroking into the wave, poised to drop down and pop up, only to feel the wind push me back, spray blinding me besides. Adjustment was called for.

I scooted up an inch on the board, hoping the forward shift in weight would help. I steeled myself to take off later, noting that even the sets – coming in a few feet overhead – were forgiving and I’d rather wipe out than continue not catching anything. It worked! Suddenly, finally, I had enough momentum to overcome the wind.

Payoff. Now that I had the timing dialed in, I caught wave after wave. Mostly left-go-rights, an occasional right that I consistently failed to be able to turn left on. Turning frontside is so much easier for me, especially on a longboard. When I’m cruising right and want to cut left, I turn my body expecting the board to follow, but since I habitually fail to shift my weight onto my back foot, my body ends up being the only thing that turns – and I turn myself right off the board.

Despite my kookiness, and thanks to the loaner board, so much fun. I needed that. Like being home and happy to be there.

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