Category Archives: Surfing

A Very Surfing New Year


Today’s Music: The Ramones – Surfin Bird
Days Til Spring: 79
I’m generally the quiet type. I don’t talk a whole lot. Because when I do, it invariably gets me in trouble.
Despite the fact that it was below 30 degrees farenheit this morning with a water temp of maybe forty deg F, I’d been saying I was planning on surfing new years day for several weeks. Enough to the point that A Frank Angle, on his list of “national…” days listed wednesday as El Guapo Surfing Day. Enough to the point where my boss sent me a happy new year email, closing with “don’t drown.

20140101_100341

Wish I’d been wrapped in a blanket like my board…


So despite the frigidity of the weather forecast, and the fact the the surf forecast was one word – Flat – I’d backed myself into a corner.
To be honest I was still planning on going when I went to bed at 2 last night. I’d cut myself off after two (delicious) beers so I wouldn’t be hung over. I even packed my bag with gloves, booties and hood and pulled out my wetsuit.
I woke up bright and early at 8 am, but my wife (The Most Wonderful Girl in the Universe) was so warm and snuggly that I stayed curled up with her until 9. But then my innate “me”ness kicked in.
By 945, I was in my wetsuit at dunkin donuts getting coffee.
By 1015, I was on the beach, freezing my butt off, looking at an ocean surface only slightly rougher than glass.

Don’t let the ripple in that pic deceive you. That wave, and all the waves were breaking so close to the beach it was like surfing in sand.
But don’t let it be said that I am a victim of common sense!

My wetsuit-clad leg, ready for battle.

My wetsuit-clad leg, ready for battle.

The waves were so low, and breaking so late, that I stood a few yards from the beach. When I saw the few surfable waves roll in, I hopped n my board and rode them the five yards into the sand.
20140101_104922
Those drops of water on the board are good atlantic ocean drops.

So I stayed in the water about 45 minutes. When I first got in and the water trickled into my glove, it was so cold that it took about five minutes until the water warmed up and I could move my hand again.

The waves? Crap.
The weather? Freezing.
The surfing? Horrible.
But New Years Day, I spent the morning doing something I love – sitting on a surfboard in the ocean on a beautiful morning.
And if that ain’t worth it…well then, the crazies who ran into the water in bathing suits (and a tutu) 10 minutes after I got out was totally worth it.

And you thought I had problems???

And you thought I had problems???

Happy New Year to each and every one of you to your families, and to your loved ones.
And I hope every last one of you catches your wave, whatever it might be.

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How it All Begins


Today’s Music: Sting – Brand New Day

I ain’t sayin’ it was a bright idea.
But it was a really really good idea.
So at 7am, Me and my gear and my hangover left the house on 1 Jan 2012.
And at 8 am, on the beach, ready to surf, this is what I saw.

And that’s exactly how I wanted to start the year.

(No, I didn’t surf that well. But on the first day of the year, I was in the Atlantic Ocean on a surfboard. And that’s all I really wanted.)

Clutter is Bad for the Head


Today’s Music: Howard Jones (Acoustic)

The inside of my head looks like the top of my desk.

Organization? Who needs organization?

And it would be very simple to fix my desk: look at everything that’s there and sort it into piles. Move my trash into the bin. Pull out the stuff that needs attention and put it in the space on the left, file all the rest in its appropriate cabinet.

Clearing my head would be more or less the same process. Stuff the noise and clutter into a back bin to be dealt with (or ignored) later*. Keep the important stuff on top, and deal with all the routine stuff as…well…routine.

But for some reason, I can’t seem to do it. I don’t think there’s more on my mind than usual. I’m just having a harder time controlling it than usual. Might be that I’m fighting a slow battle with a cold that is threatening to sack me. Might be that I have a family obligation coming up next month and no time off to tend to it, so what do I do about that? (Seriously, if anyone has ideas, I’m open to them.)

I’m just feeling run down lately. I’ve been forcing myself to make dinner when my wife (the most wonderful girl in the universe) and I finally get home, and sometimes that means pulling out the appropriate takeaway menu. My wife has even had to do some of the ironing (which I usually do) because I’m just too damned wiped out to pull my butt off the couch.

So the days come and go. And this is my little sad rant about it. But now its off my chest. And is just annoying me.
I’m gonna get a shovel, bellow my rallying cry** and dig my way out of this pile. Can’t let it all drag me down.

If I did, how would I make it surfing Sunday?

Yep, that's a wave at my beach!

*I find it’s very nice to leave things on my schedule that I can just ignore. Frees up time when I’ve blocked out space for something I know I’m not going to do.

**SPOON!!!!

Surfing at Rockaway


Today’s Music: The Beach Boys
Today’s Adventure: SURFING!!!!

Let me just start this post by saying I Suck.
Really.
I smoke a pack a day of Marlboro Lights Golds. I do as little regular exercise as I possibly can (though if pushing remote control buttons were an Olympic Sport, well I’d still lose, but not by a lot).
I should not be out surfing.

But God help me, I love it.

So I went out today with my surf bag (prepacked and ready to go) and my board. I had all the tools I needed. Except my contacts.
Fortunately, that wasn’t a problem.

Not the batmobile, but it'll do...

I made it to the beach in good time, and unpacked my gear. I was smart enough to wear my wetsuit on the drive, saving me an embarrassing 10 minutes trying to wriggle into it on the beach.
Waxed up my board, and in I went.

It was beautiful out there. Light wind, 1 – 3 ft rollers coming in and breaking cleanly. A perfect day for surfing.

I paddled out to where the other surfers were, about half a dozen or so, and took my place in the line-up. I sat up on my board and started looking for waves.
In came a beautiful one, I laid down, started paddling to turn myself around and… missed it.
Tried again. Same thing.
I called out to the surfer next to me
“Hey, let me ask you something”
“Sure”, he said.
“How do you turn your board around” I asked.
“What do you mean?” he answwered.
“Well, we’re all sitting here on our boards, facing out” I explained. “When I see a wave, but can’t spin around fast enough to catch it.”
He thought a moment. “Sit all the way on the back of your board” he said, demonstrating. “When you see your wave, a couple of quick paddles will get you around”.
“Oh, Thanks”, I said, understanding.
And it worked. Next wave I saw, I slid back on the board, spun around, laid down and paddled to catch it. And pearled.

For those that don’t know, Pearling, in surfing, is when the surfer dismounts his board by sliding off the front of it.
Hilarious. Not fun. But hilarious to watch.

My Superhero-Surfer gear


The next two that I caught, I managed to “kneeboard” in. I went back out, hoping for one more ride before I packed it in.
In came a big one, maybe 4′. I was set up on it, paddling furiously, but I guess I was a moment too late.
The wave crashed down on me, knocking me off the board, then a surge of froth washed down my throat and pushed me under.
I waited a moment for it to pass, then popped up, caught my breath and started for the shore. Wheezing. Like an old lady. Or a pack-a-day smoker.
I couldn’t get enough air in. At all. I was gasping.

I stood on the shore for the next five minutes, trying to catch my breath.
When I had it, I started to take off my wetsuit. And falling on my ass. Twice.
Hey, you try disentangling yourself from six feet of neoprene tangled around your ankles, and when your arms and legs have turned to jelly.
Hmph.

With that finally done, I loaded up the car, and headed off to Tap & Grill for fish tacos. But they don’t open till noon.
But I’ll be back.

So what did we learn today?
– Sit on the tail of the board to turn around fast enough to catch the wave.
– Stop smoking!!!!
– Do a pushup, for crissakes!

Learn from my mistakes, folks. Lord knows I won’t…

Random Notes


Today’s Music: The Wombats

Haven’t posted in a few days.
Just thought I’d throw out some of what’s going on.

Music
Medium
The Wombats are again Today’s music. I had tickets to see them last night. Couldn’t make it. A little grumpy about that.

Health

The sick relative has been moved to a post-op facility and is getting better. Doesn’t mean they are good yet, just not quite as bad.
That means that instead of trekking out to Long island every night and on weekends, I will be hauling to the wilds of Queens.
On the bright side, there is the chance of a good restaurant nearby, so that’s something anyway.

And my wife (most wonderful girl in the universe) is getting over a cold* that only lasted 2 days. For her, that is ridiculously short. And there was only a minimum of chasing her under the blankets or up to bed. (mostly because I’m exhausted and probably just barely holding off a cold myself).

*Her being sick and me almost being sick has not stopped me from kissing her. Some risks are just worth the reward.

Cooking

Still going with the “cook like hell” on Sunday so my girl and I have food to eat during the running around weeks of work and healthcare visits.
Cooking 3 or 4 meals at once on the weekend makes it a lot easier during the week. It’s nice to know that we will have something good to eat when we get home, and I prefer bringing my lunch to work so that A – I don’t throw away 10 bucks for a bad sandwich, and B – I know what I’m eating.
I believe there is beef stew and chicken soup (yes, from scratch) on next weeks menu…

Mental

You know, I’m kind of run down.
It’s not just the sick relative. Work has been busy and the peanut gallery has been getting more worked up than usual. I’ve gotten to the point where I pretty much ignore everything they say
unless it is directly related to work. Which means I’m ignoring about 95 percent of the noise they make. They are in a different office, but close enough that they don’t have to go to far out of their way to try and piss me off.
There’s a reason I don’t own firearms folks.
I’m also a bit concerned about money. We’ve bought many of the prescriptions the sick relative needs, we were driving out to see him daily when the rel was on long Island, and there have been too many days/nights where we had no prepared food, so lunch and or dinner had to be bought.
We aren’t falling behind or on the verge of going broke, but I do worry about it…

Bright Spots

I have my health (such as it is).
The rel is getting better
The wife is getting over her cold
The weekend is coming and surf conditions might be good if the wind comes down a bit
Doctor Who Series 6will be out on DVD next month
I have been subjected to almost no Kardashian/Gaga/Michael Jackson/Britney news lately, and Lindsey Lohan should be fading from the spotlight again shortly.

Now if we could just make the politicians be civil, that would be fantastic….

Hopefully I’ll be a bit more coherent after Friday and will be back posting, updating, and above all, babbling more regularly soon.

How has your week been?

Stupid: +1, Brain: 0


Today’s Music: Snooks Eaglin

Went surfing Sunday.
Probably shouldn’t have.

Forecast was 8 knot wind, blowing from offshore, with 1 to 3 foot waves. Perfect for a beginner.
Wasn’t.

Actual conditions were:
Wind: Fast and strong. Coming parallel to the beach. Made for a very difficult paddle out past the breakers.
Made it even harder to walk down the beach with the board. I was literally spun around by my board catching the wind. Twice.
Waves: 3 to 6 foot. There was a lull every so often, so unlike the last trip, when the waves were 4 to 8 feet with no letup, it was at least possible to paddle out.

Frank was there when I got out of my car. I heard him before I was him.
“Look at you! You’re an animal!”. And when I turned, there he was , with a big grin on his face.
Frank runs the NY Surf School, the guy who taught me to surf.
Frank and I have the same attitude – any day spent surfing is a good day, any time you get your feet under you, it’s a ride.
So I have an affinity for Frank. He gave me good advice on getting a board, without trying to steer me to a particular store, he gave me good advice on a wetsuit, without trying to stress a particular model or seller.
Frank is good people.
So when I walked over to say hi and asked if I could borrow or rent a rashguard, I was ecstatic when he said “Sure, I have an xl for you. Keep it”.
Frank just wants everyone to have fun on the water.
A little while later when I was on the beach looking for an entry point, he came over and said “You look cold. I have an extra wetsuit you can use, just return it at the end of the day”.

So now I had my board, my rashguard and a wetsuit over it. I also put on my gloves and boots that I had from my scuba days. So I was ready to go in.

NY Surf School class getting ready to charge in.

The wind had other ideas.

Out of habit, I had set up camp near the right side jetty. I needed to enter near the left side jetty.
So I pick up my board (which is just wide enough to make it uncomfortable to carry under one arm) and head diagonally down the beach to the entry point. And get spun left. And right. And pushed back. And pushed sideways.
But I made it. Eventually.

Now I’m all set. I wade in to about thigh high water and watch for a lull, my hand on the nose of the board to keep it from straying.
And I realize – I’m in over my head. I’ve taken a bunch of lessons with Frank and his crew, learned the basics and gotten bunch of rides.
But the amount I know about surfing can be poured into one of my surf boots without dumping out the water first.
And here I am, standing, for the second surf trip in a row, at the edge of something way beyond my abilities, that for me to try would be incredibly stupid.

Those of you who know me know what happens next. Those of you who don’t should be able to guess.

I charged right in, turning off the brain and turning on the stupid.
Waded deeper, catching the waves against my shoulder, and the second I saw a lull, I hopped right up on my board and started paddling for all I was worth. Which sadly wasn’t much.
I was able to stay on my board, which made me happy. Let’s face it, being on a surfboard (unless it’s on your lawn) is pretty cool. And I managed to balance my weight, keep the nose pointed into the waves, and keep paddling.
I kept my head up and my arms working. When a wave came, I braced for impact, kept my weight forward and let it roll over me.
It wasn’t enough. I couldn’t force my way against the wind enough to get past the breaker line.
So I headed back to the beach, sorry I hadn’t made it, glad I had tried, and ecstatic I hadn’t died.

Dragged my board back to my spot and saw the wind had buried my blanket in sand.
Had a message from OtherPaul on my cel. He was stuck in traffic and should be there in about 30 minutes.
Frank (my new hero) came over and gave some useful advice about managing the paddle out.
I flopped in the sand and considered this while waiting for OtherPaul and smoking a cigarette.

Other Paul finally made it and we headed out. I learned two other things yesterday at the beach:
-That’s going to be my last day as a pack-a-day smoker
-There are effing push ups in my future.

Ever been around a pack-a-day smoker who quits? Unpleasant. And I hate exercising. I’d rather do whatever it was I’m exercising for than exercise in preparation.
(another reason there are more points in the Stupid column than the Brains column.)

So let us sum up:
Wind: very difficult to paddle through when it’s strong and at the wrong angle.
Waves: can be disorienting when they toss you about
My Board: Coolest. Board. Ever. At least, it looks very cool.
Smoking: Bad for surfing. And breathing
Upper body strength: non-existent
Sand: In everything I own
Brains: nowhere to be found.

So what am I going to do?
Pushups, exercise, cut down on smoking.

Because I’ll be going back out – Halloween-ish, Thanksgiving-ish and New Years Day.
It’s too much fun to not. Which is pretty damn stupid.

But maybe not…

Boards EVERYWHERE!


Today’s Music: Orianthi

Made it to Rockaway beach yesterday. About 10 am, I set up my gear on the beach, waxed up my board, and checked out the waves while I stretched.
They were big. 5 to 7 footers rolling in, a continuous undulating seascape.
There were very few people out on the water, maybe 4 sitting on their boards past the breakline, waiting for their wave.
I finished my cigarette, strapped on my leash, headed to the waterline, and…stopped.
The waves kept coming in. Usually, there will be a set of waves, then a lull, another set, another lull, etc…
There was no lull. No. Lull.
The waves just kept coming, big, hard, relentless.
I stood at the waterline for five minutes trying to find an opening to paddle out through the incoming waves. There was none.

So in the grand tradition of Stupid People everywhere, I charged the breakers, jumped on my board, and paddled like hell. First wave landed directly on my head. I shook it off, flapping my arms as hard as I could, getting the most powerful strokes I could. A quick look over my shoulder showed I was making progress, getting further from the beach.
Next wave started to crest, lifting my nose in the air, then crashed right into me, the froth and whitewater blinding me for a few moments. Managed to hold on to my board and stay prone on it. I got in a few more paddles.
Then came the third wave.
If I had gotten a little further out, I could have paddled right into the crest, up and over the face, and I might have been good. But I couldn‘t get a little further out before it broke.
The face lifted my board almost vertical. I gripped the rails, holding on tight. I could feel myself being pushed back toward the beach. Then the board stopped.
I had been pushed so far back by the incoming waves that the tail of my board buried itself in the sand just offshore and locked itself there.
I slid off the board, unglued it from the sand and waded a bit further out, looking for the elusive opening.
There was none. So back to the towel, and to watch from the shore while I tried to warm up.
There were a few other people trying to paddle up. I watched them, hoping to see a way out.
They couldn’t find one either.
The waves would come. the surfers would get pummeled. the boards would go flying.
I saw one guy make it out about 20 yards. then a wave knocked him off his board, which went flying, then shot back – retracted by his leash. Before he could get back on, another wave caught him. Board went flying. then another. He chased his board all the way back to the beach.
Saw two others go through the exact same dance. Boards everywhere.
A girl came out, panting, carrying her board on her head, panting heavily.
“Bit rough?” I asked.
“Not worth it” she said. “Too much chop, no lulls, and the waves are pounding”. She shook her head and headed back to her towel.
OtherPaul showed up a few minutes later and got himself squared away and headed to the waterline. He went in to about thigh high water. And stood. For fifteen minutes.
I went over (having changed out of my wet clothes because I was freezing) to see what was up. He looked over at me, and proving he is probably smarter than me, said “Yeah, thinking I don’t want to die today.”, and headed back up the beach

But we did go out after for delicious fish tacos.
So it wasn’t a total loss…