So that’s two full weeks completed now, probably time for a brief review of progress:
- Ability: showing promise – need to read waves better so that more correct ones are picked, thereby increasing ride rate
- Technique: Pop-up definitely improving, as feet landing in correct place more often; paddling could be less flailing and more focussed strokes; work needed on earlier and better positioning on the board so that less time is lost when lining up for a wave
- Style: hmmm, move on
- Approach: should try to be braver and go for waves which may appear too big, may be surprised that they’re not as ominous as they look
- Enthusiasm: got it in spades – work on channelling it better
- Grade: C+
All in all a good week, definitely made progress with the pop-up as I’m falling off less and staying upright for longer without seesawing around. My paddling is much stronger as I can feel the board gliding better on top of the water with the nose dipping under less frequently. That said there’s clearly room for improvement in many areas, but looking at it positively they’re all areas that I can work on and there’s certainly nothing which would make me (or hopefully anyone) shake their heads suck their teeth and go “hmmm, have you thought about trying needlepoint…?”
I’ve been at three beaches this week:
- Mon, Tue and Thu at Doheny – waves were quite small on Mon and Thu but that helped me improve paddling as I needed to do more to catch the waves. Tuesday’s swell was larger (meaning more energy in the water being pushed to shore) and I caught some good rides but as the breeze was onshore it has the effect of flattening the waves and it pushes the peaks down.
- Weds at Oceanside – surf was big and had strong rip currents which meant I only got beyond the breaking water once as the waves and current were too strong for me to get passed to the clean water. The time that I did get out I caught a mean and nasty 7ft left (a left is when the wave breaks along the crest from left to right), which I rode all too briefly before it collapsed on me, shoved me off the board and dumped me in the washing machine. After that, as I couldn’t get back out again due to the repeated burying by monsters, I decided to use time and energy better by riding the broken water in order to practice my pop-up. (Waiting to catch a wave beyond the breaking water is called staying outside, catching broken waves is called staying inside).
- Fri at San Onofre – I’d been warned that this beach can be very territorial, with some surfers being aggressive both verbally and physically to people they think are on their turf (as it were), kooks (inexperienced surfers) especially being a target for their wrath, so I was a little wary about going there. In truth from a few guys there was a bit of macho posturing of the “stay out of my way” kind but hardly intimidating – as I’d do that anyway. So I found a spot in the line a bit further down where there were a few women and a couple of older guys who were shooting the breeze and quietly mocking the “crew” at the other end. Anyway, the waves were superb, the best I’ve had on the trip so far tbh – slight offshore breeze (which pushes the face of the wave up making it crest later), strong swell and regular sets coming in (a set is a group of 3 or 4 good surfable waves which come in one after the other). Which meant that there were plenty of waves for everyone, my ride rate increased to 50% (i.e. I caught every second wave that I went for) and I was able to glide down, turn and ride back up the wave on 4 or 5 occasions. Definitely my best day yet on the water. I shall be going back to San Onofre again quite a lot I expect
All in all, a good week’s work.😊