Surf Mavericks: Update 3

This weekend I took my Mavericks gun out for a paddle in the small waves on Bolinas, CA.

To give some back-story, about a year ago I decided I wanted to surf Mavericks and took the first step I normally take when facing new challenges; I bought a surfboard. I named her ‘Hail Mary Mother of Grace’ because some day when I take her down off the wall racks to surf, it will be accompanied by much prayer from my loved ones.

greg-and-hail-mary

This weekend wasn’t that occasion, but it was the first time in a year she left her perch in my living room. I wanted to get familiar with how she paddled, how hard it was to duck dive and how the rails held the face of a wave.

Paddling a gun is different than anything else I’ve ever been on. It sits high in the water like a longboard, but it is so narrow that it rocks easily, requiring a lot of core to keep it stable. The nose has a ton of rocker, meaning it sticks out of the water, but there isn’t much foam, making it easy to get too far forward while sitting. Finally, whenever I’m on a board with that much foam, I’m used to having at least 10″ of fin beneath me – Hail Mary has a thruster setup, so there wasn’t the hold I expected.

It’s a good idea to be familiar with equipment before trying something new though, so I’m glad I had the chance to paddle a bit.

One last note on Hail Mary. The script below is written on the deck. I have no idea what it means, though. Anyone have an idea what it says, or even what language it is?

hail-mary-writing

Here is how I’m doing at holding my breath:

Mar-breath-holding

As I neared the 3 minute mark my vision started to go blurry so I started breathing again. Getting that next minute and a half will probably be a combination of being familiar with the feeling of being oxygen deprived along with additional lung capacity and decreased oxygen need.


Shoulder: Wrapping up PT, more strength training needed to keep stress off of the joint

Breath Holding: 2:52

Days to Go: 265

Times surfed on Hail Mary: 1

Surf Mavericks: Update 2

At this point of the season, Mavericks seems a long way off. It isn’t breaking and likely won’t be for a while. Nonetheless, if I want to be prepared for next season, I have to stay focused now.

I had an MRI on my left shoulder and thankfully nothing is torn. I’m glad there are people that study this sort of thing, because when I look at the picture below I can’t tell what is going on. Heck, it took me a few seconds to even tell what perspective I was looking from. I’m on a regular PT routine now to get the shoulder back to 100% so that I can train without re-injuring it.

surfing-shoulder-MRI

On the breath holding side of things, I am making some progress. I set a new personal record of 2:39. I wasn’t planning on graphing out my progress here, but at the bequest of a co-worker who was disappointed that Mr. Data wasn’t making a graph – I was convinced otherwise.

Here is how I’m doing:

Feb-breath-holding

Hopefully the diminishing returns on training are still a ways off, I’d like to get close to 4 minutes before it starts getting hard to add seconds. Fun fact – the world record for breath holding is over 22 minutes.


Shoulder: No torn ligaments – on the path to recovery

Breath Holding: 2:39

Days to Go: 296

Surf Mavericks: Update 1

Last Sunday the Mavericks Invitational ran – which means tens of thousands of people pay attention to the break for a day. For most, the invitational and wave are so tightly bound that they don’t realize you can go there on other days.

I decided not to go on Sunday because the idea of watching a surf contest from a parking lot seemed a bit crazy. After a rogue wave washed up the beach a few years ago, new policy it that the beach and bluffs must be closed during the invitational for safety reasons. Policy ruins everything good.

About 16 hours later the wave was still breaking, and access to the beach was back open. I decided to go watch it for a bit.

mavericks-small

Like any good surfer, I got there just before sunrise. There was just enough swell that it was breaking, but it was right in front of the rocks so no one was out. This did give me a good chance to get to know what is under the water a bit. I watched the boils and got a good idea of where most of the rocks are – there are a lot more than  I thought.

greg-watching-mavericks

After a few hours, I drove up north to Ocean Beach, which was a solid double overhead. Wish I was in shape for that.


Shoulder: Working – but still not 100%

Breath Holding: 2:01

Days to Go: 342