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Strange Surf in California...
Posted May 7th, 2009 by peter
Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Talk about a horribly on-shore, windy, 1'-2' foot "victory at sea" style day... I was at 11th street in Del Mar, California. The Birds were having trouble flying it was so damn windy. I was out with some friends, all of us miserable in the dreary, cloudy, meager surf... wind whipping the little waves into submission. After about an hour into this masochistic session my friends had had enough and went in... I guess they were tired of every little wave closing out into weak heaps of mush.

About 30 minutes after they left, it was like a biblical movie... the skies parted and a ray of sunshine shot down right where the excuse for a peak had been spawning the irritating little closeouts. The wind died and suddenly all was silent... I looked around thinking someone was playing a joke on me but there was no one to confirm or deny my apparently loose grip on reality.

Then as if to confuse me and test my sanity little rippable peeling waves started stacking up outside the little peak. I barely got there in time to catch the last of the set and work it all the way to the inside. It was like waves from another day/week/year/swell had fallen through a black hole in time and hit 11th street by mistake. They were about 3-4' and thicker with a lot more push.

Scratching my head I paddled back out to be greeted by yet another set, this one 4-5' and thick with little barrel sections and peeling all the way to the sand.

OK, i know what you thinking but wait it gets better, butterflies started flying around my head and the peak, I could smell summer in the air (it was, I think, late january at the time) and the sky above me was as blue as anything I'd ever seen, everywhere else... rolling thick dark storm clouds, like the end of the world.

I stayed out for over an hour, as happy and content as I could remember when without warning it all just went away. The sky closed up, the wind started screeching and stinging my eyes and the waves just disappeared into the ocean.

Suddenly cold but completely satisfied I called it a day and went home with a huge smile on my face knowing no one would ever belive me, and not caring.

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May 5th, 2009
Posted May 7th, 2009 by Audie
Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

So, a few days ago, I surfed in Cardiff, at one of the many little peaks along the glistening strand of glassy waves with gorgeous sunsets. Always so damn fun, I ask myself every time I go there, “Why the hell do I not surf here more, let alone surf more ‘period’”??!! Oh yeah, and then I remember…I had to grow up and work, working two jobs mind you. It was a beautiful warm afternoon/evening, waist to chest high surf. A little swampy, but still able to catch a few on my 5’10”. Peter and I paddled out, there were a couple other guys in the water and these two young (sorry, ladies, I have 10 years on you at the very least, probably more like 15 years) gals just ripping. They were doing turn after turn, pump after pump, having a blast. Obviously sponsored, doing the contest gig, and talking about their travels. I think I heard Indo, Australia, and talk of their upcoming contests. Sorry, does that classify as eavesdropping or just listening to ambient noise?

It made me long for a gal pal to compare notes, give each other inspiration, or to talk about how to shift my weight here and there to get more speed or hit the lip (yes, actually hitting the lip instead of doing whatever it is I actually end up doing). I usually do not prefer to hear a lot of chatting in the water, it’s where I go to church to worship mother earth and 70% of the time I love it quiet, tranquil, and to hear water splashing from behind as someone slashes a waterfall out the back. Okay, I’m starting to sound like Rick from North Shore, nothin’ but a haole. At least I didn’t learn to surf out in a pool somewhere in the desert. I caught a few fun ones, but as the tide came up, I thought about running up to grab my 8’0” after watching some style-y LB’ers cross stepping and hanging 10 at the peaks to the left and right of us. But, I stuck it out on my little love bug of a board and relished in the warming waters and setting sun. Sorry guys, I sound like a total chick and that’s because I am one and lovin’ it!

Summer is almost here, the south swells are going to pick up, and I will have to start honing in on my skills going left. Living for over 6 years with a view of Rincon from my house didn’t help me learn to rip at going left, but being regular foot at Rincon is a little slice of heaven. It’s a little slice of heaven no matter what! I miss Santa Barbara surf in the winter, but San Diego County sure is nice for year-round waves, norths and souths.

Lookin’ forward to my next session, going to dream about it, can’t wait for the board meeting on Thursday!

Cheers!

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What to do...
Posted May 19th, 2009 by Audie
Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

So, what the hell do you do when there isn't any surf when you are going through really tough times? I guess I would go skate if my future was-band didn't take my wheels and bearings. Why is it that when you are in the middle of an unwanted divorce, the one leaving ends up with the climbing gear, my wheels and bearings, the good tent and then leaves me with all the other crap that I have to look at and end up crying over? I know this isn't a super good surf blog, but I just have to get this stuff out since the surf today was so crappy. If the salty sea could have just given me some chest high waves to wash all of this sadness off of me, none of you would be reading about my sappy lost-love story.

But, here we are again, I am a chick and this is what chicks do. We blab and blab about all of the emotional downfalls we are going through hoping that if we speak it, it will float out of us into the air and never return again. But, without consistent surf, I speak it and it just floats right back into my heart, settles there overnight, and then creeps into my eye balls and I am raining all over my pillow as soon as the neurons start firing. Sorry, Pete and Jana, you are going to hate me for this article! LOL. At least that makes me laugh. I did surf like 4 or 5 days in a row and that helped a bit. The waves haven't been that good over the past week, a couple fun days here and there, but overall the conditions have been a bit lackluster...some wind bump on the water. I keep switching from my 5'10" to my 8'0", back and forth, back and forth, and am hoping that it will hone my skills. It takes a few waves each time to figure out that I am on a different board, trying to shuffle to the nose of my 5'10" or thinking that I can turn my 8'0" on a dime, HA! I actually had to do the Huntington hop the other day since the surf has been so weak...I couldn't believe I was trying to milk something that wasn't going to go anywhere or do anything.

We are going to be researching opinions on the ever-so-growing-popular foam boards...bodyboards with length, and those carbon fiber boards as well. Not sure what to think about it, but I am interested in hearing from the people who have surfed a bodyboard shaped like a fish or a scientifically engineered hollow wave missile. Yes, it's official; I don't know what I am talking about. Send me some comments on this people... I want some feedback on these boards!

Can someone have a chat with Mother Nature about negotiating for some surf? I am also open to a full sponsorship to go on a surf trip to somewhere that has surf...I suck, but that could be entertaining just the same!

Mahalo?

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Carbon fiber aviso surfboards? HELL YEA! But...
Posted June 6th, 2009 by peter
Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

OK i gotta get this out of my head before i have an aneurysm... or i forget anything, anyway here are some first impressions:

I got an Aviso 5'5" "fish" as a demo board, thankfully i love weird boards so rather than complain I snatched it from the shop owners hands and ran out the door before they could catch me (really felt like i was getting away something... secret carbon fibre missile secrets?)

Anyway, the thing straight up changes the whole game. Really. Its like the difference between a sports car and a race car. I think for most it will respond TOO quickly, will feel "nervous" and in general will make people uncomfortable. However that's simply because its too good at what it does, there is little resistance, everything is effortless and the lower mass of the board makes it feel telepathic- and amplified.

Theres a strange but wonderful sensation of the board being the only constant. Let me try and explain... a traditional board feels like an organic, flexing, variable thing. A lot of how we surf is due to the limitations of the boards, they force us to be fluid and lengthen our turns, its these limitations that many times make us appear more graceful, our turns rounder and transitions smoother.

The Carbon fiber board feels like an otherworldly physics defying things that does not change, does not vary, and is so predictable that creates the perfect platform for us to do amazing things. This may seem like a contradiction but it provides tons of feedback, and has flex but the flex is very directional and predictable. It also laughs at gravity, mass, and all those silly things that smooth out our surfing... and limit us.

Let me put it this way, its like the difference between moving from a longboard to a shortboard multiplied by two. Then remove "normal" physics and there ya go, you're experiencing what its like.

Personally i was fearing the worst of modern board technology... that annoying buoyancy of epoxy that wont let the board "lock in" mixed with the slappy chatter of a kayak thanks to the hollow hull, and the lower melting point that carbon fiber surfboards have that was going to result in a $1200 ruptured black puddle if i left it in the car... Fortunately it was none of those things and gives me new hope for a whole new era of surfboard design that allows us to get even crazier with a lot less effort.

The boards do have more buoyancy than a traditional surfboard but its not that weird "on-the-surface-not-in-the-water" that I hate about epoxy boards. It bites the water but feels a little like the water's been lubricated so you get these bursts of speed BUT in between turns it feels like it loses momentum if your not driving it to the next steep pocket of the wave. You do however have to watch your big turns and sweeping carves because the board will want to turn a lot tighter than you are used to and big smooth graceful turns require a conscious effort.

My demo board looked like it had been through a few wars, thrown down the stars at the Empire State, and chewed on by bears... there was a paint job on the deck, very chipped around the edges, with scratches here and there but amazingly the board itself felt solid as a rock and light as a feather. In short it looked like ass but felt new and I think it will for many years to come. The scratches looked like they would buff out but were so shallow I cant imagine you'd ever need to.

Personally I love custom boards and I see an ideal future where you work with your shaper and get fiberglass board after fiberglass & foam board until that magic board surfaces then BAM send it off to be made in carbon fiber and if anything happens to it (not likely since its so damn durable) you can just order another one exactly like it.

A few other surprises:
Normally when you paddle it goes like this "stroke - glide - stroke - glide" on a carbon fibre board its more like "strokestop - strokestop". Its more like climbing a damn rope than paddling... your arms are going to get huge if you heart doesn't explode first.

It gets hot fast, probably due to the dark color, even just walking down to the beach in the afternoon it got noticeably warmer than usually - but the surprise was it also cooled off much faster than a normal board,; turn away from the sun and the board gets cold in a minute flat. No problems with the wax melting or anything like that.

Another strange experience was that when we put normal C5s stock fins in the board it felt like we doubled its weight! Dont forget to get some nice super light fins to go with these beauties!

One other thing... I think that its a mistake to make an EXACT duplicate of a traditional board in carbon fiber because the two boards wont sit in the water the same way, they have different buoyancy, different flex, and they drive in different places and gain and lose momentum differently. While these things don't ruin any of the boards currently available I get the feeling a lot of them are duplicates of existing boards. I'd like to see a new range of boards designed from the GROUND UP to be carbon fiber and carbon fiber only. Perhaps some of the shapers have done this but none have stated it explicitly, so guys if you read this let us know! I think it would help a lot of people make buying decisions.

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The agony and the ecstasy of surfing...
Posted June 15th, 2009 by peter
Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I've noticed a certain calmness about myself after a good long session, and I've seen it in other surfers. Its almost a defining characteristic. Sometimes its caused by a haze of smoke but today as I looked around in lineup at, myself, my friend and those around me... I realized that in a single surf session you experience incredible highs and lows to extremes your not likely to encounter on land without winning the lottery then almost getting eaten by a bear. Perhaps even more amazing is this all usually happens in jsut a couple hours.

I'm talking crazy earth shattering highs as you pull off something you never have before, something you've been working on, pouring you heart and blood into for weeks if not months (YEARS sometimes ;-)). How about making it out of a slippery crystalline barrel, or send thick sheets of spray into the air and watch the golden sun refract through the thousands of droplets in the air. Surrounded by nature and it boundless beauty - no - literally IN nature as it swims all around you! Ever been sitting there and had the wave of the day, perfect and peeling head right to you, everyone else out of position or on the inside and you pull every single turn, trick, and barrel? Surreal connectedness, awareness, and peaking abilities all at once...

Then theres the agony of blowing that perfect wave of the day with a stupid mistake, or failing to catch it like some kind of human soggy cheerio. Things that we all do no matter how good we get or how long we've been surfing teeth grinding frustration is just around the corner, sometimes its the jackass that drop in on you, then falls in front of you and dings your board as his razor sharp fins nearly slice off your ankle off - or even better when your paddling out and someone gets sucked over right in front of you and the nose of their board rockets at your face... The blown out, mushy, small conditions, the agro flailing freaks, the bird crap, the pollution, the sunburn...

Anyway, I have a feeling everyone's had similar experiences both good and bad that they can add to this but point is after an emotional roller coaster like that I think the state of peaceful joyous emptiness that's simultaneously fulfilling and filling is a well earned side effect of one of the most wonderful things I've had the privilege of discovering, and rediscovering.
[p]

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A more advanced maneuver where the surfer doubles back and hits or turns off the top of the oncoming section of wave. A great way to burn extra speed and a big open section.

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