Thursday, June 6, 2013

The joy of surfing

I used to kayak surf a lot. That's when I lived 10 minutes from the ocean. It's two hours away now and with all the whitewater and sea kayaking and teaching and other stuff I just don't get out surfing much. And when I do it seems like it's been in a long boat which really isn't the same. My first kayak was a whitewater boat purchased solely for surfing and I learned so much that way. It's something I miss but not so much that I do anything about it.

And lately when I have found myself in the waves it's been a little frustrating - I can't read things as well as I used to, I don't have the timing or the rhythm. I've gotten exploded a couple times in the past year in sea kayaks. Lost some sunglasses, almost lost half a paddle. All from poor judgment.

But recently that all changed. I found myself passing through Ft. Bragg on the Mendocino coast. My friends Jeff and Cate had the day free and took me out to a new spot. They also loaned me a whitewater boat - the ever reliable Necky Jive. It was warm and sunny and hardly a soul in sight. The perfect surf session.

And I found my rhythm again. The waves were decent but hard to find the takeoff spot. They broke left and right and closed out quickly if you didn't get enough speed. They weren't huge but they had some power behind them. It took a little but I started picking my spots. I felt strong when accelerating to catch the shoulder. I was able to link some turns and felt the pure joy that is riding a wave. That's what I was missing and I'm so glad I found it again. Thanks Jeff and Cate!

Here's a little video from the day - it's all helmet cam stuff so it doesn't do the waves justice. But I had to speed it up to fit in all the rides - actually I only fit in half the rides. And you'll want to stay tuned for the surprise ending.

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