Saturday, March 30, 2013


If you want to improve your surfing as well as your overall health, I highly recommend yoga. People who haven't tried it tend to think it's all about flexibility, but it's so much more that that. Since I started doing it I've become more flexible of course, plus my core strength has improved greatly as well as my balance. My breathing is more relaxed and with increased lung capacity paddling becomes easier. I've also noticed a difference in my weight/cross training. The mental aspects are just as beneficial. Being more aware of what your body is doing translates beautifully to surfing.

Group classes in your community is a great way to start.They are pretty easy to find in just about every city. If you are in OC, I highly recommend Yogasmart. Christine is great and just added a new location - a beautiful studio in Laguna Canyon. 24 Hour Fitness and LA Fitness have classes throughout the week and are usually free or very inexpensive. Also, there are lots of DVDs to choose from if you want to practice in the comfort of your own home. There are even some geared specifically for surfers like Yoga for Surfers.

Remember, start slow and don't worry if you can't perform all, or any, of the poses perfectly. I surely can't! But it's lots of fun and the benefits are numerous.

Monday, March 25, 2013

There's a Reason it's Called Zooport

Against my better judgement I drove to Blackies (yesterday) Sunday. I got there around 8:00am and the water was pretty full by then. Parking was tough but I found a spot over by Sharkey's. The sun was starting to come out which made for a beautiful morning. I paddled out near the pier and ended up having a blast. The main pack seemed to be north about 50 yards and there were just a handful of us closer to the pier. I traded waves with a guy I see pretty regularly and we chatted between waves. Towards the end of the session, I took off on a right and was headed straight for the pier. I was going pretty fast and decided I would try to shoot the pier, which I've never done or even tried for that matter. As I planned my path under the pilings, the wave just died and I ended up directly under the pier. Nice try. So close but not quite. Something to shoot for I guess. By the time I got out it was packed like a summer day. Dads teaching kids, first timers, lots of soft boards, waders, you get the picture. Time to call it a day. I snapped this shot before I headed home.

Every day is different and today was no exception. Being a Monday, the crowd was very light. It was overcast but the waves, although small, we're clean and lined up. Better conditions than yesterday and a fraction of the people - my kind of morning. Plenty of good waves and nobody getting in the way.  

Thursday  I surfed at Doheny in the early afternoon and it turned out to be a lot of fun. Sometimes I like surfing at that time of day because the lighting is so different than the morning, and it accentuates the emerald green of the breaking waves.

 My car is getting new tires and brakes so so surf tomorrow for me. Job searching and a good workout is in my near future.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Two Completely Different Sessions

I’m not sure what I was thinking on Monday when I decided to paddle out by the pier. It was 1-2 ft., the south wind was on it pretty hard and there was a heavy marine layer. I should have known when the flag at Hoag was sticking straight out – in the wrong direction. There were only a handful of guys out but I was already down there so I was going to give it a go. I was out for less than an hour and managed to catch a few. A SUP guy was paddling around but didn’t get in anyone’s way.

Now Tuesday was a different story. I checked the camera and NP looked like a lake and the tide was really low. Headed down south and as I drove past Lowers towards San O it was looking pretty fun. I looked back at Uppers and thought about making the long walk down the trail and back but decided against it. I pulled into the parking lot as a shoulder high set rolled through.  That always makes my heart beat a little faster, a familiar feeling that anyone who surfs knows all too well. The tide was low so I wore the booties. I don’t like wearing them but I wanted to avoid the ripped up feet that I’ve had many times over the years walking out at low tide.  For some reason I wore my leash which I normally don’t do. I hate leashes but after watching a head high set I decided that I didn’t want a long swim and didn’t want to spend the afternoon fixing dings (which I suck at). Needless to say, I didn’t need the leash. It always seems to work that way. Last summer on a big day I left the leash in the car and ended up wishing I had it as I was caught inside and got pounded trying to hold on. Anyway, it was a great session, the crowd was light and I was in a good mood.

I had a nice chat with an older guy as I was getting ready to leave. Funny, I bet a lot of people consider me the older guy! He was telling me he got his first surfboard in 1960 and surfed year round for 10 years without a wetsuit. He had a family and stopped surfing like so many do. 10 years ago he started back up and has been going strong ever since. I hope I’m still at it at that age.

Realizing that I was running late, I rushed home and showered, ate something, picked up a friend and we headed out to Canyon Lake to visit another friend. We met his wife and daughter at a local sushi place and had a nice lunch – all you can eat for $19.99. Most of the all you can eat places I’ve tried are below average but this place rocks. After lunch he gave us a guided tour of the area, which is beautiful, and we headed back to his house. We hung out for a while and then it was time to head back to OC. My friend Don, whom I’ve known since we were football teammates in high school, was diagnosed with ALS around a year and a half ago. I have to say, his attitude is amazing. He is a true inspiration. He talks openly about his prognosis and has fully accepted it, even joking about it at times. What else can he do, right? His body is gradually failing him and his mind (and wit) is a sharp as a tack and will remain that way. His wife Deanna, also a high school classmate, is an incredible woman and a wonderful caregiver. I really enjoy spending time with them.

Job fair tomorrow morning, then maybe a quick surf?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Plenty O' Waves

My expectations were low this morning as I drove down to the beach. I got a late start, it was overcast and the surf report said 1-2 ft. and poor to fair. But it had been almost a week since I had gotten wet so I just wanted to get out there. I figured it being Sunday, it would be crowded with weekend warriors and I was prepared to just deal with it as long as I got a few waves.

The parking lot was full but surprising it wasn't crowded in the water. Maybe people celebrated St. Patties day last night and were hung over? The tide was very low and it looked a little drained but it was starting to come up. It was definitely surfable. I suited up quickly and got out there. The sun started breaking through the clouds and there was no wind. I caught a few small ones and as the tide was rising, it starting picking up a little. Within 30 minutes there were some decent sized sets coming through. A older bald dude with a dyed green beard was getting some good ones. An attractive 20-something blonde took off on me a couple times without even looking and ate it on probably the nicest wave of the day. Karma. It didn't really bother me as it's to be expected, especially on the weekend. I paddled a little south, found an open area and managed to get a bunch of really nice rights and lefts. Finally the crowd started filling in. Thankfully I had my fill, got a great last wave and got out.

As I drove out of the parking lot around 10:30, the festivities had already started and Sharkey's and Mutt's were already full of loud and inebriated folks dressed in green. Happy St. Patrick's Day. Hopefully I can get out there tomorrow.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Two Fun Days

After a week out of the water due to the rain, hail, bad surf, and other commitments I got down to Blackies on yesterday morning. The tide was a little high and it was CROWDED but a what a beautiful morning. The surf was pretty good and there was a friendly vibe in the water, so I got plenty of waves. There was a bit of a wait between sets but it was worth it when they came through. Surfed for and hour and a half or so, then went for a run to Balboa Pier. As I was passing 19th street, I noticed there was a really clean peak with two guys out, and they looked like beginners. There must have been some south/southwest in the water. I was tempted to go back to the car and throw on the cold wet, wetsuit but I was tired and satisfied with what I got earlier. I love the feeling after a good surf. Relaxed and content, at least for a while.

Today I had a computer class in the morning but I had my board in the car - just in case. I checked the camera and Blackies looked terrible so I headed down to San O. Another gorgeous day and some decent surf. Being a Monday, the crowd was very light so lots of waves. I'm going to miss this when I get a job! The water is starting to feel not as bone chilling, probably because the air temp was so pleasant. I'd say by mid spring I'll have my yearly pass paid for in the number of trips taken to San O or Doheny. I can't believe it's $195 now and $15 per day if you don't have a pass. Ouch.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Why the Weird Name?

I was having a tough time trying to decide what to call this thing. I wanted it to be about surfing, etc. but didn't necessarily want "surf" in the title. I wrote down some words but nothing really moved me. Then, yesterday I was driving to pick up my son and this scene from Big Wednesday popped into my head. I checked, and the name was available so there you have it.

My friends and I saw Big Wednesday in 1978 at the Villa Theater in Orange, CA when it first came out. We were just learning how to surf at the time and this movie was simply magical. The surf scenes were shot beautifully for the time and the story of friends coming of age made us 14-15 year old kids want to become surfers that much more. I have it on DVD and watch it once in a while to reminisce. I always hoped they would do a sequel someday but since Jan Michael Vincent became a total mess with alcohol, I imagine they couldn't do it. Very sad.

Well, those friends I mentioned don't surf anymore. As the years went by, most of my buddies that surfed gradually just dropped off. Some took up golf, some moved out of state, and some I guess, just got tired of it. These days, the majority of the time I surf alone. However I do meet a lot of great people in the water from all walks of life. I still get as excited when those Santa Ana winds blow and there's a swell as I did when I was 16. It's hard to comprehend for my wife and kids who don't surf, but they know how much I enjoy it so they just go with it.

Being unemployed for the last few months has sucked for the most part, but it has enabled me to surf during the week and avoid the big crowds. I've had a few epic days down at Oceanside Harbor - head high and offshore until late morning. San O has always been consistent . Blackies has provided some great days as well. I really like the regular crew there for the most part. There always has to be at least one a-hole in the water. I'll get into that at a later time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My First Blog Post... Ever!

I think I'll take a stab at this. Having never blogged before, I have no idea what I'm doing at this point. I don't expect anyone to read this, at least for a while, so for now this will be a journal about my surfing sessions, and maybe I'll add some photos. Also, I'll probably throw in some observations about my life. I really don't know what this will turn into. I might get sick of it and it will fizzle out, or I could enjoy it and post regularly. This should be interesting, especially in a year or so when I look back and wonder what the heck I was thinking. Onward...