The Porto

The misadventures of a weekend kook

May 2013

Posts 1 to 6 of 6

It's a flat memorial day

After a very wet weekend staying indoors and having fun time with my kids, I was finally able to hit the beach on a relatively warm, but windy Memorial day. This was the forecast on surfline:

Small scale SE background swell in the water this morning. Surf appears to be knee high or less on the early incoming tide and suspect it will look near flat by the 1030am high tide. Conditions are clean with a light/variable to light offshore wind early. Look for light S winds to develop this afternoon.

Honestly, I expected no surfing and I was ok with it. I needed to get wet and get some excersize paddling. But looking at the cams I spotted a couple of knee high bumps. I figured my funboard should be able to grab a couple of those. Low and behold, thats exactly what happened. Actually, I caught a lot of waves, more then I expected, without much effort. It turned out to be a really fun day.

The wind was blowing pretty strong from the south adding alot of texture to the water, but there was enough of a swell if you were in the right spot, to catch a quick and straight ride. By the time I got out of the water it was dead on low tide and any ridable waves all but vanished.

I was glad I got to enjoy the ocean once again and was mindful to give a moment of respect to the soldiers that gave their lives to this country.

Not a local...

2-3 ft knee to chest high, with SSE windswell and some fog and rain. It's days like this that I'm reminded living an hour away from the beach blows.

Here's a gif I made watching the cam on surfline.

A barreling closeout.

No surf

This was a rather flat and rained out weekend in jersey. On the bright side the Billabong Rio Pro finished up. I didn't get a chance to really see it since it seemed it always played early in the mornig here. Anyway check out the highlights.

Mother's Day sesh

On Mother's Day I got the opportunity to get a couple hours in the water. The conditions where 3 to 4 with a southern swell and offshore winds, which made for some fun conditions.

I was considering going out with the short board to get some more time on it. But looking at the conditions, it was going to be some work. I was indifferent as to which board to ride. Thankfully, I ran into Matt; one of the greenlight owners. Having just come out of the water he recommended going with the long board. Best decision I made all day.

Since it was reasonably warm I finally opted not to wear a hood. Wearing my 4/3 with gloves and bootees. It felt good to be on the long board. I noticed my paddling was strong and methodical. Not even a minute went by and I caught my first wave. A knee biter that was clean and gentle. The rest of the session went pretty smooth and I caught a bunch I waves. It was good to be surfing again.

I think trying to use the short board is having a positive effect. I noticed I wasn't hesitating when I was popping up and I was looking more at the direction I was going instead at the bottom of the wave.

On the down side I started to get tired after a good hour and a half of being out there. I'm not sure if it was due to having a lazy weekend with my kids. But, I really need to kick up my fitness routine. I'll post about that at a later time.

After getting a full liter of stoke, I hit Surf Taco and celebrated with some beers and burritos.

Stop motion surfing

I would say midway through the clip is pretty much my surfing experience on a shortboard at this point. Funny little movie and congrats to the team that made it.

Stepping down to a shorty board

After my New Years trip to Costa Rica, I decided it was time to finally step down from my longboard and learn to ride a short board. A couple of things led up to this decision. Having camped at Roca Bruja and used a 7'2" hybrid shape might not have been the smartest choice, but I really didn't know any better until I tried it there. To make a long story short, later towards the end of my trip, I got to rent a board of the same length, but with a short board shape. Wow, what a difference. I got a taste of what it was like to ride a short board!

Back in the states, I hit up my favorite shop Greenlight Surf Supply. Having taken their mentor class the year prior, which I highly recommend. I decided that I would build my first short board. I spoke to them about my experience and what I was looking to ride. After some chit chat I got myself a blank and got to work the weeks following.

Low and behold after much sweat and tons of elbow grease, I finished my board a 6'5" x 20" x 2.75" shorty dubbed "Big Cock".

My "Big Cock" Short Board

I was pretty pumped to use it, having had good success with the bigger shape in Costa Rica, I thought it would translate pretty well with this board. Boy was I wrong, not even close by a mile. This board has plenty of volume and width so it's not sinking on me. It's length on the other hand is something I need to deal with and having difficulties.

The mechanics of popping up on a short board are technically the same as a longboard. The main difference is timing and foot placement. Timing wise, you do have to catch a wave later since the steepness of the wave will generate most of the forward movement. Paddling helps line you up and put you in the proper place on the wave. Foot Placement, well there isn't much to say on this, unlike a longboard, there is only a few inches of space that your feet should be on. You don't really shuffle anywhere on a short board.

For what ever reason I just can't get the timing down. If that isn't helpful enough, popping up on my board has been hard as hell. Being on a longboard I can be lazier about popping up and it's much more forgiving about where my feet land. On the short board it's been a bad experience so far. I haven't gotten a proper ride yet. I've literally stood on it twice for all of a second, only to have it run right out from under me. There have been a few times where my rear foot has completely missed the board and I fall right off. And lets not mention the amount of paddling you need to do. My back is gonna be ripped in no time!

Thankfully, between friends and what I've read online, learning to ride a short board is going to take a long time. As one friend put it, after 10 sessions with the new board, things will start to click. Well I've completed 4 sessions, 6 more to go!

Some of the things I've learned so far:

  1. When paddling, give an extra paddle or 2 before popping up, especially on mushy days.
  2. When popping up cheat a little by setting up the back foot on the traction pad, it helps to get up faster.
  3. Don't go straight. Always take off at a slight angle in the direction you want to go. This helps to set you rail into the water more easily.
  4. Always look at the direction you want to go. The body will follow.

Also, I was told recently; since my board has some volume to it, I don't need to take off so late, get a little head start, it could help me to pop up sooner and not let a wave pass me by. Lastly, switching my fins from a quad to a thruster configuration, might help slow it down a touch.

I'm looking forward to the day when I finally get up on my board and get a decent ride. Perseverance and a positive attitude is what I've got for now. Don't worry, when I finally get that first ride, I'll be sure to post about it.