Thursday, August 18, 2005

3 Days on My Fish

With swell scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, I took out my new 6' GH quad on Monday to get a feel for how she paddles, takes off, rides waves, etc. Went out on Tuesday and some of the swell was starting to show, but not too much (too steep for my location). Wednesday was damn fun, with some big waves and the first "outside!" moments I've had in quite some time.

Paddling my new board, I was immediately struck by the width. She's a good 2 inches wider than my thruster (19.5"), and it just felt a bit different. Even though my fish is 4" shorter, she paddled like a dream and I felt comfortable paddling quickly. Duck dives like a... duck, I guess. No problems there (easier than the 6'5" CI MSF, without a doubt).

Taking off and catching waves was comparable to my thruster. I didn't notice it beeing much easier, but I probably need a few more sessions to get dialed in on the board.

On my first wave, I tried a hard turn and dug my backside rail pretty damn deep. Lesson 1 - that thick tail will not respond the same as the thruster. Instead of stomping on the tail, I approached turns with a more "carving" approach, and things got much better. Yesterday I caught a nice left set wave and carved up and down the wave, connecting sections and looking a "drop-in foo" off the wave. I dunno if he didn't see me or if he didn't think I'd make the section, but at least he had the decency to get off the wave.

How about them turbo canard quads? I expected the board to feel a lot more skateboardy-flicky than it was. I never lost the back end on a hard bottom turn, and on steep wave faces she held like a dream.

The low entry rocker is throwing me a bit off, as I've had to "walk off the nose of the board" twice after late/steep takeoffs. Nothing major, it's just something I'll need to work on a bit.

Overall Impressions: Damn fun. I love the carving turns and speed, and didn't once feel like I had too little board. The turbo canards really seem to keep the board in line, and I've fleetingly glimpsed some of the speed of which this board is capable.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mini-Vacation Day #2 - The Stoke Strikes Back

After a great Friday, I wasn't sure if Saturday could live up to the expectations of the following day, and thus slept in. We had plans to meet my uncle along with my cousin and his family down at the South Carlsbad State Beach campgrounds around 11:00, so we had a relaxing morning.

Then, it happened. Yes, it! Out of the blue, like a piano falling on your head while walking down the street (but in a good way), Sally from Moonlight Glassing called to let me know my new board was done and ready to be picked up. Woo-freaking-hoo!

We decided to leave a little bit early to swing by the moonbase on the way to the camp grounds. As we parked, I asked if the kids wanted to go in with me and see the new board. They all nodded in agreement, so we went inside to see who was there.

Mr. and Mrs. Pinliner were the only folks in the shop at this early-for-a-Saturday-morning glass shop hour (10:00 or so), and both stopped what they were doing to talk with my kids as I ogled and drooled over my new board and then wrote out a check for the balance.

The kids got a tour of the moon unit, and some Moonlight stickers as well! My kids were very impressed with it all, and many thanks go out to Peter and Sally for treating them so well! I oftentimes think that how a person treats children is a good way to see past their exterior and into their true nature. From silly questions about bubble wrap to boards heading off to Japan, they fielded them all. Again, thanks very much!

And now, onto the new board porn! As mentioned earlier, it turned out amazing. Pictures of it are scattered throughout this entry, so enjoy the views! This is probably my favorite picture of the tail end, as you can see the grass reflected in the gloss coat.

The fins are LokBox Turbo Canard Quads (aka "Speed dialers" for their reputation for some giddy-up). Here's another look at the tail end, showing all four fins.

The turbo canard quads are actually curved, and canted out at a pretty good angle. A view from the rear illustrates this better than anything else I could describe in prose.

One more shot of the tail, looking from above (including Moon froggy).

The boards was shaped by Gary Hanel (a local Encinitas shaper and calculus teacher), and looks like it will be the perfect small wave board. The dimensions on it are: 6'0" (length) x 16.5" (nose) x 21.5" (mid) x 17" (tail) x 2.75" (thickness). You can see the rocker in this profile view.

Ack! Ace (our dog) wanted to get into the action, it seems. One more try...

For now, I'm letting the board cure until such time that a decent wave is spotted here in SoCal. Hopefully that will happen sometime before the end of August!

After picking up my board, we headed down the beach to spend time with relatives (successfully avoiding the jellyfish), and later had a great BBQ dinner with friends. It just doesn't get much better than this...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mini-Vacation, Day #1

Day 1 of my mini-vacation was Friday, and I was determined to get some surf generated stoke in my extended weekend one way or another. After going to the AM swimming lessons (see here), we went back home and loaded up the family bus to head to the beach.

With three kids, getting ready for any trip (no matter how mundane or short the duration) is an organizational task similar to that required to invade Europe on June 6, 1944. Factor in the additional stuff you need to bring to the beach (surf board, boogie boards, beach chairs, drinks, food, towels... and don't forget the munchkins!) and you can possibly understand what a herculean task this is.

We muddled through the supply and planning phase of the operation, and actually left our house. Our Destination? Oceanside Beach, near the South jetty:

I didn't bring my camera, as sand and expensive camera equipment generally don't go real well together, and I planned on doing stuff other than just shoot pictures. The picture above is from December of 2003, but the conditions weren't quite so nice.

In fact, the waves were miniscule, it was overcast with the sun in hiding and the water was extremely chilly for this time of the year. In short, it was a near perfect day for letting my two older kids try out surfing! I brought my old (from the 80s) 6 foot thruster for them to beat up. It is thick, and floats them both well.

I pushed both Alan and Jasmine into a dozen or more "waves", trying to teach them how to pop up in a somewhat smooth manner (and how to avoid going to the knees as well). Jasmine got up once or twice, and Alan seemed to nail it down extremely well.

In fact, Alan seems to have caught a mild case of the surfing bug, as he asked if we could watch one of my surf videos the day after. We sat down and watched through September Sessions, and he's ready to go charge. He's already talking about his first surfboard, and being able to turn and get in the tube. Too funny!

I think Jasmine had a great time as well, and I'm thinking she'll be a surf queen in a few years. We'll see if they both stay interested in surfing as time goes by. It is my hope that they can find the peace and solitude I enjoy while bobbing in the lineup, waiting for that next does of adrenaline delivered from 270 degrees at 14 seconds.

Thus, at the end of my mini-vacation day #1, I was already filled with surf stoke even though I didn't catch a single decent wave the entire time I was at the beach. Little did I expect it to be exceeded on Day #2...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Summer Swim Lessons

We didn't take a family vacation this summer, instead taking a short a trip up to San Mateo for my nephew's baptism as well as a trip out to Phoenix to see my niece graduate from high school (talk about two ends of the childhood spectrum!). So, I have a few vacation days accrued, and decided to take Friday and Monday off to spend with the family before their summer ends on the 18th.

Friday morning we went to the local YMCA for swim lessons for our two youngest (Alan and Peter). Jasmine (our oldest) has completed all of the swimming courses and can pretty much swim like a fish in any pool. So I tagged along to try and get some pictures of our fish-in-training.

Alan is in the mid-level swimming class, and in fact advanced to the next level this very day. He likes his spring suit since it makes him a bit more buoyant, and hence he can actually almost float on his back! That it also prevents his lips from turning blue is an added bonus.

He's getting his back stroke down fairly well with the assistance of his teacher, and is very confident in the water.

Here he is, leaping in before his instructor is ready for him. Let's just say he is enthusiastic...

Peter is our youngest, and he breezed through the first level of swim class, and is now in the second level. He's not real thrilled about the backfloat, so we'll need to work on that a bit. Other than that, he's very comfortable in the water, and seems to enjoy it.

Here he is, warming up his synchronized swimming skills before his lesson:

And here he is with his swimming instructor, having a heck of a good time:

After an hour of enjoying the fresh water, we left the confines of the pool and headed out to the beach for some fun in the salt water. Too bad Fridays can't always be so relaxing, eh? More on my mini-vacation to follow, as time allows.