June 19, 2014 and time for only my 7th surf this year. It hasn’t been the best year, and work, family and obligations have held me from being able to be on it when it’s on. I went down to the same beach break, wind was 11-14ms with a slight northwest flavour. Waves were about waist to stomach high in the sets, a bit bigger than last time, but the lines were broken up and weren’t breaking that fast with some fairly fat sections.
I was pumped after the last session and got out as quick as I could, without bothering to even give it a proper look. It wasn’t my best morning. I caught a few but was sort of all over the place, having trouble with connecting on the 5’3 BakedPotato even though last session I was flying all over far worse waves with it. I had the same fin set up as last time…m5 fronts, m1000 rears and a *nubster. In the slightly bigger surf I started feeling like I needed a bit more drive. But that wasn’t the main problem. I was just off my game, twice I put my back foot so far back i slid off the back of the traction pad.
In this blog I’ll probably talk a lot about technique and equipment, because that’s a lot of what interests me when trying to make the most of measly conditions. But in today’s case, it was neither my technique or equipment that was off. It was my head. Don’t know what caused it, maybe that extra truck stop coffee, lack of sleep, or that dunka dunka eurodance song that came on just when I was pulling up, but I had no concentration. My thoughts were everywhere. Seriously, this was some of what I was thinking about.
SHARKBOY (internal dialogue)
‘Fark…I should have sat over there!’
‘ I wonder how many zombie kittens I could take if my life depended on it’
‘ Wait, maybe I should paddle north a bit’
‘ Like, if those kittens were just hell bent on killing me’
‘Uh, here comes one..but yeah, those kittens…they want to kill me, will stop
at nothing…maybe a hundred? two hundred?’
‘Why the hell am I thinking about Zombie kittens?’
Wave comes, I drop in, bottom turn, bog on the cutback.
SHARKBOY (internal dialogue continued)
‘It’s an interesting question, I mean, probably a lot if my life depended on it, but if they just kept coming and coming…there would have to be a breaking point.’
‘ I should have spit this gum out’
‘Uh, this guy is a beginner and is trying to go right towards me instead of the obvious left…just wait’
‘Do I have weapons?’
‘Wait…what? for the kittens?’
I then dropped in on a friend thinking he had gone right, and about an hour and a half of this distraction, I got out and switched fins, stretched for a second and looked at the lineup. The wind was shifty, it wasn’t blowing in a consistent direction so the waves really didn’t have any character…sometimes they’d break better here sometimes there.
I switched the front fins to a pair of crazy looking fins that I’ve had luck with on fis hier boards, webber curves. They look crazy, but they work adding the twin fin skate feel but with more drive and hold.
I paddled back out and got a punchier little left off the bat and got back in synch with it and started to have more fun. This wide little board needs to be surfed to it’s needs, it’s not a submissive shortboards that just instantly does what you want, you gotta set it up. But I started to get in rhythm and had another hour or two of fun.
Thinking back, you can see it so clearly when watching other surfers, whether or not they are in the zone..or want it, especially on the World Tour level. Concentration and will are a big part of how much you can get out of a surf session. Not sure where I am going with this, because I have no advice about how to ‘be in the now’. Yoga classes? Meditation? Coaching? Hell if I know, I am still trying to figure out how many zombie kittens I could take.
*nubster…a miniature or half fin, doesn’t add much in terms of drag but gives an iota of control and pivot back to a quad set up