Old Habits Die Hard, Bad Habits Need to be Murdered

14 10 2015

I got a new board, again. A 6’6″ Parole rounded pin tail, similar to a Lopez Lightning Bolt of the 70’s, but updated and with a 2+1 set up. I sold my 6’6″ Bonzer Egg and my 9’0″ Walden Magic Model 3 in order to pay for it, but after this weekend’s maiden voyage, and yesterday’s extra shot at it, I made the right choice.

The waves on Saturday were forecast to be overhead and I figured it would be a great opportunity to try it out. The tide was on the high side and the swell was more powerful than normal making for bad rips at my favorite secret spot. Rips like I’ve never seen in many years. I’m blaming that one on El Nino, but then, we’ve had some great waves so far this Fall.

With the larger consistent surf, a couple of feet over head on sets, I had to do a lot more paddling and duck diving than I normally would, which always leads to a little apprehension on my part. That apprehension is there because when it gets bigger I always seem to be out of breath, held under longer than I want, and feeling close to drowning. I know the “close to drowning” is a bit dramatic. However, when you wipe out and don’t know how much longer you can be held under only to think “what happens if I pop up and don’t have time to catch a breath before another one hits me?”, it makes for energy loss and fatigue. So yeah, it feels like I could drown.

I’m always confident I could save myself as I’ve done in the past, but still, it turns what should be a 2 hour session into a 1 hour session, or less. And I discovered the problem after I surfed that morning.

As a kid, I hated water going up my nose when I’d swim. I also hated holding my nose with my fingers as I felt that wasn’t something men should do, so I just sucked it up until a friend told me I should slowly blow air out my nose and that would help keep water out, and keep me from the necessary plugging of nose with my finger and thumb. Not bad advice, but it turned into a very bad habit that I realized is a problem, and one of the reasons I might not like waves over 8 feet after 34 years of surfing, which makes the bad habit that much older and harder to break.

It turned into blowing air out my nose every time I’m under water. Swimming, surfing, whatever. I paddle out, duck dive and blow air out my nose and when I pop up I need a breath. I wipe out and blow air out my nose only to be out of breath when I finally surface. That is a terrible habit I developed and didn’t even realize it until this last weekend’s swell.

My eureka moment made me realize that I needed to murder that habit for good, if I expect to surf some of the larger waves expected this winter. I’m still all about surfing, not surviving, so it will have to be good for me to paddle out, but coming to the realization that if I just stopped blowing air out my nose when I go under water will help me relax more when I’m under, will save my energy. I will have more air when I surface in case I can’t take a breath.

It might seem elementary to you, but really, that’s why it’s a “habit”. I made it that way and it’s not just old, but bad.

I got to put my theory to the test on Tuesday Morning. Though the waves dropped a bit, it was still overhead on the sets and I made sure to not let a lick of air out when I duck dived. It was a little harder to remember when I would wipe out, but I still even managed that and after surfing an hour, catching all kinds of waves, I still had energy after my hour was up. I know it wasn’t the same test as putting that into practice last Saturday, but it was a good test none the less.

As I surf more, big or small, I’m going to do my best to remember not to blow the air out. I never had a problem yesterday with water going up my nose, so that helped make it easier to handle. Hopefully I’ll remember that every time I go surfing. Or am in the water for any reason, for that matter.

I don’t know if you have a bad habit you need to murder, but remember, they may die hard, but you can be the killer of it.

Take care and God bless,

Surfer Yoda

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How Do I Even Start Back?

8 03 2015

That is the question. Every hiatus I’ve started with “it’s been awhile since my last post,” or something to that nature. However, it really has been awhile. The last post was about a board I had made for me. My first custom board in 30 years. A 5’5″ Lucky Lucke by shaper Ray Lucke. I wrote that back in September 2014.

Since then, I’ve done some other experimentation of boards that I thought I’d never ride.

One was a 7’2″ Campbell Brothers Bonzer E-Wing Egg. Technically it was a Bonzer5 because it had the Bonzer 5 fin set up. If you’ve never seen the Bonzer 3 fin or 5 fin set up, here’s a link to their website, Bonzer5.com.

Malcolm and Duncan Campbell grew up in Oxnard and first shaped one of those boards with that 3 fin set up in 1972 when the shortboard era was in full swing. You can read on their site their cool story, so I won’t get into it here, but when I started surfing in 1981, I had seen some Bonzer’s. I went the typical route of the time, my first real surfboard being an MR inspired Twin Fin shaped by Greg Liddle (all the Malibu surfers know that name), then moving to the typical tri-fin thruster of the day, inspired by Simon Anderson. I was always afraid of that Bonzer. It just didn’t look like it would be easy to surf.

So here I am in 2015, 48 years old, doing the longboard only thing from about 30 years old to 40 years old, and I’m experimenting, with input from my buddy Cletus (He’s been the reason I’ve even looked at other than Fish alternates and I’m really stoked for his input. Here’s New Year’s Eve morning with me on the 7’2″ Egg and him riding a 6’2″ Octafish Bonzer5).

That Bonzer Egg was really quite loose for 7’2″. But it was 7’2″ and so I had to think about moving down in size.

Next up is one of the shapes they did for themselves between 1973 and 1978 called the Bumblebee. I picked it up from a guy in Orange County. It’s 5’10” and the 3 fin version. It was so similar in dimensions to one of my 6’0″ Fish that I sold that Fish.

The first time I rode it was at waist to head high Rincon. Wow! So loose like my Fish, but it held so much better! I liked sliding the tail on the Fish, but seriously, I just thought I had to live with that. After riding the Bumblebee and feeling the looseness without the slide I was so stoked on it. I even took it out on a knee to waist high day at Leo Carrillo just to see how it could handle the small stuff and it was loose! It was a day the Lucky Lucke would have been better, but I was not at all disappointed in the performance of the Bee.
This is a bigger day on the Bee and before work, so only a few waves. Also in here is a 6’6″ Egg I found for cheap. After selling the 7’2″ Egg and the 6’0″ Fish I had enough to pay back my savings account, and buy two boards!

I don’t know why I got so blessed, but I’m so stoked to have them in my quiver. I’ve had 5 boards in my quiver since I got the Lucky Lucke and with the bartering and selling and buying I’ve done I still have 5. All different. And in the future if I’m in the market, another Campbell Bros Bonzer is in the mix.

I probably will have less and less video of my surfs as I move away from that addiction, but I am also hoping to not start these posts out with “it’s been awhile”. (That reminds me of the band Staind.)

Anyway, take care and God bless,

Surfer Yoda





My New Lucky Lucke – A Mini Simmons Story

6 09 2014

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few weeks, but I had to wait for the board to be finished. As an aside here, since then I’ve put the Magic Model 3 fin set up back to it’s 2+1 set up. It was nice as a single fin, but still best as it was intended.

I won’t bore you with rehashing the story about why I picked this board to be made for me. You can go back to my previous posts for that. Let’s just say, after I commissioned Ray to make my board, it was close to 5 weeks to completion. Mind you, Ray shaped it, glassed it with the resin tint, sanded it, and polished it. He did it all start to finish while losing some employees to laziness (they just didn’t show up for work).

When Ray called me to let me know my board would be ready for pick up in a couple of days I was so stoked! It was a Thursday and even though I wasn’t surfing that Saturday, I so wanted to go get it and my wife joined me to go pick it up. That was two weeks ago. I was sick that weekend, Hurricane Lowell was showing itself and Marie hadn’t yet gotten us to Big Wednesday. Leave it to illness to keep you out, but I knew by last Saturday I had to get that board wet no matter how weak I still felt. But I’m jumping ahead of myself.

So my wife and I went to pick it up and Ray had to make a trip to Santa Barbara so he wasn’t there yet when we got there. The cause of one of those surfers he employed not showing up for his assigned work day. One more aside – If you get a job, show up for work on time, all the time. It helps all who need you there and shows you care about more than yourself.

The unique and cool thing about that is I got to sit there and video him sanding and polishing my board. I really wish I could have videoed from start to finish, but that just isn’t possible living an hour away from his “surfboard factory”. I did get to video him resin tinting the glass one day, and also the sanding and polishing part. So I’m pretty stoked to hang out with him to do that. Ray is a very nice guy and likes what he does. He puts a lot of love and care into his creations.

So I took the board home and put it away for a week, taking it down to look it over and check it’s lines every once in a while. (I was in Bakersfield for Hurricane Marie’s Big Wednesday, and still up there Thursday, so no surfing on it, not that I’m sure I would have those two days anyway.) I finally got to wax it up that Friday before my surf with the crew. It was Labor Day Weekend (last week) and I was going to surf both Saturday and Monday. I even coaxed Spock into letting me use his Solo Shot for the day (Monday when he was back from Colorado) so I could have other footage of my days. You see, I didn’t want to mount my GoPro to the nose of my new board, yet. 1. It’s a new board, and 2. It’s only 5’5″ long and I wasn’t even sure it would get me above the waist when it did record.

So Saturday rolled around and I had borrowed a camera from my daughter to set up on the beach while I used my GoPro Wrist housing. What a fun first day! (I have my typical YouTube video, but decided to only post one video for this writing.) That board was so fun to ride. My buddies were making fun of it’s size, but really, it wasn’t that hard to catch waves. It’s got a longboard outline and it’s 22 inches wide, so with the shallower rocker, it made for catching waves as easy as on my Fish. It really was made for my favorite surf spot, too.

Lucky Lucke Mini Simmons from Shaping Room to Surfing from Surfer Yoda on Vimeo.

From the vid you can see one point where my buddy Spock dropped in the wave just in front of me and the speed I got on it catching up to him and then cutting back into the white water. It is the fastest board I’ve ever ridden. That Monday the conditions were even better for our favorite surf spot so the beach cam stuff also came out nicer.

I would soooo recommend this board for anyone wanting to go to a smaller board and wants something different. With all of the retro/alt board choices out there, this is definitely one you should have in your quiver. There are a lot of choices and when my buddy Dirk was helping me make my decision on which one to go with I had considered the Infinity Tombstone or the one he rides shaped by Larry Mabile called the Ghostbuster. I’m sure I would have loved any of those boards, but I really am glad I got my Lucky Lucke from Ray. We have mutual friends and even if we didn’t, he is very friendly and fair on pricing.

Here are some links to his stuff – Ray’s own blog spot; His website; and the Deep Magazine interview.

I was in the San Luis Obispo area this last week, Wednesday and Thursday. I usually try to surf up there. The waves weren’t that great and I couldn’t meet with the sales rep Thursday I had set up to meet, so I headed back towards home. I looked at the waves as I was driving through Ventura and ended up going out for an hour at South Ventura Harbor Jetty. The Lucky Lucke was the only board I had with me. It’s a little more pounding at that beach break and even though it was waist to chest high, it can be a powerful wave. The board performed really nice in steeper, hollower waves. I really believe this will be my “go to” board for the future.

Thanks so much, Ray, and I look forward to the next board I get and having you shape it!

Thank you and God bless,

Surfer Yoda





So I Pulled the Trigger

18 07 2014

In past blogs I’ve written extensively about the longboard I ride and why I think it’s the best longboard. I ride a 9’0″ Walden Magic Model 3 epoxy made by Boardworks, who hasn’t made Walden’s for well over 5 years now. That should be a testament to the quality of the board, though. I haven’t needed a new one and I still think if I could only have one board, that would be all I need from ankle snappers to 3 feet overhead and beyond. It’s a great longboard whether I walk to the nose old school, or choose to do some cutbacks and off the lips with it. It’s a very versatile board.

That said, I also got it used from a friend. The last time I bought a brand new board for myself is probably 2007 and that was off the rack. My last custom board was just about 30 years ago when I had a 5’10” Spindrift tri-fin shaped for me. I loved that board. It was made for me, based on my desires, weight, height, and ability.

So what did I pull the trigger on? I finally ordered a brand new custom board for myself.

I went to a guy I’ve had fix my boards in the past. He’s really good at ding repair and has been around the shaping bay awhile. His label is Backnine Surfboards, but now he’s R.Lucke Surfboards and the board I have him shaping for me is called a “Lucky Lucke”. It’s his version of the Mini Simmons.

It started when I mentioned in the last post that I had stopped at Revolution Surf Shop in Camarillo looking for Kane Garden Twin Keel Fish, only to discover they had none. However, they did have a board I saw Tommy Curren ride in Switchfoot’s “Fading West” movie. It’s a Tomo Vanguard. I took a pic, put it on Instagram, and told the world (well, my followers, anyway) that was going to be my new board. It’s a really progressive looking stealth fighter type shape. Crazy lines and would have been a good compliment to my quiver. I had been back to riding my 6’0″ Huerta/McNair Twin Keel Fish and figured the funkier it looked to ride the better. And I also think it was one of those ridden in the Red Bull series “Decades.”

One of my buddies saw the post and immediately texted me with an alternate to the Tomo Vanguard called a Mini Simmons. I’d heard of them and he showed me his, which is a Ghostbuster from Larry Mabile. At first I wasn’t sure, but he assured me that the way I surf my fish and with my long boarding ability, I’d really like the Mini Simmons.

After a couple of months trying to figure out what to sell on ebay and doing research, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered my Lucky Lucke. It’s going to be 5’5″ and about 22″ wide with twin keel glass-on bamboo fins. It’ll have green resin tint top and bottom for that Yoda look. And I am so stoked beyond belief that I’m getting a brand new custom shaped for me board that I cannot contain myself. Here’s a vid of Ray and how the Lucky Lucke came about:

I can’t wait to surf it! I’m at least 4 weeks from getting it, but I know when I do, it’s gonna be rad!

That’s it. I’ve been surfing my fish a lot and I even have another fish in my quiver: A 6’0″ Roy Sanchez Twin Keel Fish with glass-on wood fins. Who needs another 6’0″? Well, they are two different boards in how they surf and I love both of them, so I’m not getting rid of them. The Sanchez was given to me and the reason I got my Huerta/McNair in the first place, but the Huerta/McNair helps me get into the bigger waves a little quicker. So when I need that, that’s the board I choose.

I hope you get to find your board and try it soon. In the mean time, I’ll just keep writing about what I’ve been doing surfing wise. Hitting my favorite spot tomorrow with the crew.

Take care and God bless,

Surfer Yoda





Where I’ve Been Surfing

12 07 2014

At last post I had mentioned that I would try to get back into writing more and today I thought I’d share the spots I’ve been surfing.

Since I started the year out doing my day job in the field more, I’ve made sure to have a surfboard or two in the car with me. That means that I keep my 9’0″ Walden Magic Model 3 and my 6’0″ Huerta/McNair Twin Keel Fish in there when I know I’m headed to the coast. Occasionally I’ve been close enough to my usual spots I’ve just surfed Zuma and my unnamed secret spot. I’ve actually named it as of this year, though. It’s called Staircase and I’ve been surfing it almost 32 years now. I’ve also hit Porto on work days.

Other trips have taken me to the Central Coast where I’ve surfed Morro Rock, Pismo Beach, and maybe Rincon on my way home.

And still others have allowed me the freedom to Dawn Patrol the Orange County area, including Trestls, Huntington Beach, and for the first time, Seal Beach Pier.

GoPro Huntington Beach 7-10-14 Dawn Patrol from Surfer Yoda on Vimeo.

I’m stoked to be riding my fish more than I thought I would. Which had prompted me to stop at a surf shop in Camarillo one day called Revolution. They used to carry Kane Garden Surfboards and they make really nice fish of the twin keel variety. They weren’t carrying them anymore, but I found another board I liked that was a Tomo Vanguard.

I’m going to leave it at that for now because as much as I wanted that board, it looks like I’m going to be getting something else. That is what I will talk about next time.

Until then, God bless and take care,

Surfer Yoda





Influences

25 08 2013

I’m getting this out later than I normally do. It was rather a busy week, but no surfing to speak of. I worked a food service expo Sunday and Tuesday. Then had our equipment and supplies vendors at our office for a fair. A lot of work and prep went into that stuff so by the time Saturday rolled around I was ready to surf it off. However, my daughter had a dental appointment yesterday and my wife thought she might not want to surf since it was one of those appointments to get some cavities filled. I did get to walk with my wife yesterday and today, so I managed to get away from the riffraff.

I thought I’d right about a guy named Geoff, today. He was a boyfriend of a friend of my mom’s and when I had been bitten by the surfing bug, he came into my life that way.

I had a Morey Doyle surfboard that a friend of mine and I had cut down from 7’8″ to less than 6′. It had a “fun” shape to it, rounded nose and squash tail, but when my buddy, Russell, and I got through with it we made it look more like a regular pin tail single fin of the day. Never mind we probably ruined the boards ability to surf since it wasn’t made like that in the first place.

My mom had mentioned to Geoff about me surfing and we all decided to go to the Ventura Pier to catch some waves and hang out at the beach. It was the summer between my 9th and 10th Grades.

We got to the Ventura Pier and set up our spot on the beach on the south side. I had that funky cut down Doyle and he had a really nice, maybe 7’0″ single fin. Geoff was 6’6″ and muscular so he needed a big board. However, he obviously knew how to surf.

We paddled out near the south side of the pier and just started catching waves. It was funny because I could catch waves on that cut down Doyle. It didn’t surf that great, but it surfed. It might have even been looser than it used to be, but it was still a ragamuffin of a board. Geoff swapped with me to try it out since he thought it looked funny, but I think he took pity on me, too. He caught a couple of waves on it and I caught some on his. It was a great day of surfing.

That day on our way home we stopped by his house and he gave me my first fiberglass surfboard. It was around 6’10” and though today I don’t look at that as too big, I sure thought it was long then. But I was so stoked that he gave it to me. It was a single fin in a box with a diamond tail and a triple stringer. The only thing I had to do was fix the tail because it had split.

I got that board home and cleaned it up, getting it ready for wax and I knew nothing about fixing dings, but I knew I didn’t have money to go get it fixed. So I drew a swallow tail outline on the back and cut it into a swallow tail. Then I put resin over the exposed foam. It totally worked and I now had a totally functional surfboard given to me by a true friend and mentor.

Geoff and I would surf the Ventura Pier a few more times that summer. I so much enjoyed that board and I don’t even remember what kind it was. But Geoff was a big help in keeping the bug alive in me. He helped influence and shape my desire to keep surfing.

Today I know where Geoff lives. He eventually married my mom’s friend, but our paths haven’t crossed in years. After writing this I hope to one day run into him, again. He was always a fun person to hang around with.

Anyway, I hope you had someone like that in your life as you were starting out surfing. Someone to help mold and shape your instincts to catch waves and make it fun.

Take care and God bless.

Surfer Yoda





The Staples Are Out!

11 08 2013

By now you know that I got hit in the head by the fin of my own surfboard last week. It’s not the first time my surfboard fins have hit me, but it is the first time it was in the head and the first time they’ve drawn blood.

The Doc told me after he put 3 staples in my head that I could get them out in 4 or 5 days. It was difficult to sleep with them in the back left of my head, so I was so glad when Thursday was finally here (a day I got to work from home) and I was able to see the Doc to have them removed. I didn’t even feel them coming out. That was a nice feeling, since I didn’t really know what to expect. My sleep was so much better Thursday night!

I didn’t surf yesterday like I normally would and it really had nothing to do with the staples. I was cleared to go back in the water after the staples were removed. However, my wife and daughter had a spa-type day planned with my mother-in-law so my normally planned surf day with the family was cancelled. That said, my week was still busy.

You see, we got another teenage driver in our family at the beginning of the week: My son took his written test to get his Driver’s Permit on Monday. He’s 15-1/2 as of last Saturday the 3rd. He passed on his first go around only missing 3!

With that behind him, of course he wants to drive everywhere, and I’m fine with that.

On Tuesday night we have our Bible Study at our local skatepark, Ignition Skate Ministry is what we call our group, and because of the staples in my head, I decided I’d take it easy and just video the kids in the group, and others, doing their thing at the skatepark. A by-product of the head injury is that I wore my helmet. The staples sticking up from my skull weren’t even bothered by it.

My son getting his permit affects how we get places since he wants to drive everywhere. So after our D-Group we decided to make a trip to Fillmore Skatepark early Saturday. Fillmore Skatepark is a nice little park without a fence or gate, so you can skate it as early to as late as there’s light in the sky. We weren’t quite planning a dawn patrol like I do with my surf buddies, but earlier than we could do at our own skatepark, which has junior skate time from 8 am to 10 am. We can’t skate junior time.

So after some more driving during the week, we set off Saturday morning for his 45 minute drive there. We brought Zack along with us.

I really had fun skating earlier on a Saturday morning with Josh and Zack. There were other guys at the park before us that were closer to my age than Zack and Josh’s. They were just having a blast skating and talking and really included us in the time. It reminded me of paddling out at a spot I don’t normally surf and just getting good vibes from the other surfers. It was a really good time by all.

I would definitely do that again. Fillmore Skatepark is a fun park, anyway.

With the staples removed I didn’t notice much of a difference when I put the helmet on. I am going to start wearing it more skateboarding, though, just not surfing.

Surfing is on the radar for next week so I hope you get to enjoy yours whatever it is you do.

Take care, thank you and God bless.

Surfer Yoda