Conditions: 3-4 ft. – waist to chest high and fair – conditions. Sloppy, scattered peaks in the waist-head high range with a few bigger sets on occasion. Cleaned up as the day went on.
Gear: 9′ 4″ Sunset Soft top from NorCal Surf Shop

Another beautiful day out in Pacifica. After flying cross country I was beat and not at my best, but with the cold water and stiff onshore flow I got a second wind in no time.

Today I tried my hand at teaching. I showed my friends how to pop up, how to fall, how to paddle and we jumped right in to give it a shot. My timing isn’t good enough for me to be able to teach other people when to paddle and what waves to pick, but everyone seemed to be getting a handle on the basics and having fun out there.

It’s pretty awesome to have good friends out in the lineup!

Tides and Practicing My Turns

After surfing, with watch

Conditions: 3-4 ft. + – waist to shoulder high and poor+ conditions.
Gear: 8 ft Sunset Soft top, 9’4″ Sunset soft top from NorCal Surf Shop
and Freestyle Tide 3.0 watch. I now know what time it is AND what the tide is doing. Awesome.

I got off to a wobbly start on a board that was too short for me. After trading it in I caught a lot more waves, got in a few nice clean pop ups, plus a few really messy pop ups.

The best part of the day for me was completing my first bottom turn!
It’s supposed to look something like this www.surfline.com/video/video_player/video_player.cfm

What I did was zip down the wave face, dip the righthand rail in the water, and slingshot back up the wave going WAAAAAHHOOOOOOO before falling off. You’re supposed to use the momentum to turn back down and continue along the wave. I was so stoked to just turn that I didn’t even think about following through. It was awesome, I can’t wait to try it again.

Injury report: Somehow on one wave I managed to go flying in the air and to board flipped over on it’s deck. I came crashing down, my knee landing on the center fin, skidding into another forward fin. My hip and elbow hit the bottom of the board. I’m gonna have some wicked bruises when everything stops being swollen. Plus side is everything moves around just fine and doesn’t hurt unless I poke it.

In gear news, the new watch was a success.  The buttons are easy to press with cold wet hands and it says put pretty well. I’m trying to figure out a good way to fit it on my wrist above my wetsuit without bumping around when I paddle. All and all, it’s great. I can now see what time it is and what the surf is doing. 🙂

Why is the tide important to surfing? Depending on the beach, some beaches have the best waves at high tide, some at low, and some in the middle.  It also effects where the waves break at some beaches and what kind of wave you’ll have. For someone like me who’s just learning to surf a wave that’s spilling, rather than breaking will be an easy wave to ride for a long time. For someone who’s really got things down, a plunging wave is best. For more information, check out this great write up from Surfline.

New Wetsuit!

New Wetsuit

Conditions: 4-7ft waves breaking really hard with harsh winds. Strong current from the south.
Gear: New Xcel Superlite 3.4mm Fullsuit and Soft Top rental board from NorCal Surf Shop

Yay! I bought a wetsuit! After weeks renting I’m finally ready to take the plunge and buy my own suit. 🙂
I love this suit, it’s comfortable, it’s warm, and best of all, it’s not pink.

That’s right, pink. I’d been hunting for suits online and found wetsuit after wetsuit that had pink arms or pink detailing. Sure, I’m a girl but do I have to be paddling out in pink neoprene? I thought the bright blue was pretty awesomely me. NorCal stands by Xcel gear and the guy there spent a decent amount of time going over styles with me.

As far as surfing goes, ouch, rough day. The waves were pretty large with few lulls and a lot of texture from the wind. My board was actually humming as I paddled across the water. I got tossed around, drug up the beach by the current and took some hard falls. I was determined to get at least one wave in with my new suit but being stubborn is probably not the best idea when it comes to conditions beyond your skill set. I had fun, but it was some hard hard work. I don’t think I got up once.

Injury report: I started to pearl on a wave and jumped off early. I assumed my board would go straight back but instead it followed me. The board hit the water, I hit the board, the wave hit both of us and I wound up taking a rail to the ribs. Oww. It bruised up a day or two later, but was fine in no time.

Back in the water!

Conditions: Medium/small waves, pretty consistent sets with a little wind*
Gear: Soft Top rental board from NorCal Surf Shop plus some Xcel 3mm Split Toe Infiniti Booties

Time to test the skills I learned in class out on my own. Lauren and I rented some boards and wetsuits from Nor Cal. For anyone interested, Nor Cal is close to the beach. Walk in, pay $28 for a board and a suit, and you’re good to go. It’s worth buying the booties. Rocks are sharp.

It was over all a nice day. Surfing without the instructors isn’t as easy as I’d hoped. I’m still kneeling to standing instead of popping up. Paddling out is still hard, but I’m getting a lot of practice in.

Yes, my nail polish and board match. No, that was not intentional. Serendipity and surfing go hand in hand.

*Probably on the smaller side of 3-5ft and breezy.

Learning to surf: Day Two

Conditions: Bigger, Rougher Waves*
Gear: Rental foam board

Day Two of my surf class was Sunday April 27th, 9-Noon. Also with Adventure Out.

Day Two was when all the hard paddling from Day One (and all the rock climbing from the day before day one) finally caught up to me. Ow.

I was exhausted, but happy. The waves were much harder to paddle out into, fewer lulls and a lot more whitewater. I only caught three waves the whole day and didn’t get past kneeling on the board, but it was still fun. Hard work, but fun.

Injury report: I took a bit of an ambitious wave and fell. Underwater I could feel my leash go taught and I knew the board was probably not someplace I wanted it to be. Sure enough when I came to the surface, WHACK I got nailed with the board right in the face. Good thing I was doing the safety head cover the instructors told us about or I’d probably have gotten a black eye.

*This day was prob more like 3-5 feet with a lot of wind and back to back sets. No real downtime and some tough waves to paddle through.

My first surfing lesson

Learning to Surf in Pacifica

Conditions: Small Clean Waves*
Gear: Rental foam board


My first surf class was Saturday April 26 from 9am to Noon with Adventure Out.
I can’t recommend these guys enough.

The lesson included a wetsuit; a board; plenty of time on dry land learning safety, wave reading, etiquette, and pop ups; plenty of time in the water learning to paddle, dodge waves, timing, standing and turning. The instructors were great. They spent the time hanging out with us and helping us each individually work on our timing and telling us what to do on the next wave to get better.

I stood up a few times, cheated a few other times by just getting up to my knees instead of a clean pop-up, and turned once. It was sooooo much fun.

I got pretty much hooked right then and there.

*This was before I started checking Surfline religiously for conditions. It was probably 2-4 feet, not a lot of wind and the sets were pretty chill. Lots of time to rest between sets.