Today was almost the day. Over the last month I’ve gotten back in surfing shape. I’ve been surfing a few times a week so my arms are strong again. I’ve been running & doing my breath drills so my lungs are too. I even took a few poundings in OH surf just to make sure my nerves were solid. I got the automated email last night. The report showed 10-15 ft waves at Mavericks. My exact target range. As I took my bright yellow gun down from its wall racks the excitement and nervousness of a two year goal began to set in. I got up early and drove down early to see what the conditions were like. A solid groundswell, sunny morning and offshore wind combined to make what seemed like the perfect day. As I drove the coast I saw hints at what to expect. I had that feeling
A long summer of mediocre waves, strong winds and lots of slop all but removed surfing from my routine. Riding waves was relegated to a vacation activity. Limited to a few trips to Santa Cruz for south swells, a road trip to So-Cal and a camping weekend up north. Far from the daily habit it once was. As a result, two and a half months from the end of the year, I am basically back where I started. No where close to being ready to surf Mavericks. I can hold my breath for just over two minutes, I’m not in great cardio shape and my arms don’t have the strength they need to get me in and out of giant waves. This isn’t where I wanted to be at this point in the year. This is where I am. Thankfully the fall, a glassy head high jolt of electricity, has
Stoked! I cracked the four minute mark this week. Most of my improvement has come from better oxygen conservation. I have been focusing on relaxing to minimize the oxygen I use per minute – thus letting me last longer on one breath. To do this I’ve been working on lowering my resting heart rate and slowing everything down. I think relaxing my brain is the hardest part, so I’ve been counting in my head really slow. I think that helps pace my body a bit as well. I haven’t been able to push any further on the discomfort scale – once my vision starts to go blurry I stop. I think that is probably safer for training, but I’d like to try blacking out a few times so I’m familiar with it in case I ever get to that point under water. Finally, this week I heard of a
Back in January I set a goal for the year to create things with my hands. A quarter through the year I had yet to do anything – not a result I am happy with. So, to correct this, on Sunday I set out to get some supplies and started three new projects, two of which I completed and will share here. Problem One: Wet Surfing Gloves I am a So-Cal surfer and always will be. My hands go numb after about an hour in 55*F water. I currently live in San Francisco, which means I have to wear 3mm neoprene gloves for about half of the year. Getting them dry is a pain because they have to be upright – the outer shell of the gloves is somewhat water tight and the inside is a fleece-like lining that absorbs water. Here is how I solved my wet surfing glove problem.
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. 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
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. 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
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. 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
Every year since 2008 I’ve done an exercise on December 31st where I jot down a few notes about the previous year and make predictions about the next year. I make guesses on 20 items regarding my life, the world, etc. The answers usually resemble a probability density function that I then evaluate the following year. This year I wanted to add something new to my repertoire of yearly focus that I think fits well in a public setting like this blog. Stating these items publicly and providing regular updates should provide a bit of extra accountability and pressure to achieving them. Goal – Something I want to accomplish that is measurable and relatively continual. eg. exercise more or watch less TV. Theme – A central topic for the year – something I can look back on and pinpoint that N was the year of X. eg. develop independence or work like