Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Newsflash: I'm No Occy.
Tried out my new-fangled tri-fin thruster yesterday. Let's just say that it was a bit difficult to adapt to, considering that the conditions were fairly extreme (overhead-plus sets). The paddle out was interesting in that although it was easier to duck dive, paddle speed was so much slower. And I duck dove a lot on the first attempt to get outside. I think I lost track at around 30 walls of punishing whitewater.
Anyway, I didn't bring my Mandala to the beach because I wanted to force myself to try my new Parmenter-shaped "Occ-ster," a board based on the sticks Mark Occhilupo rode in the 1980s. After I made the paddle, I wished I had brought a surfboard I knew better. The set waves were really big. Some of them sort of started out breaking mushy, then they would fire on the inner bar, others came on steep and chunky, cranked and closed-out.
It goes without saying that confidence is important in decent/challenging waves. I didn't really have it on the Occster. But that's kind of the curse on any new surfboard: How do you dial it in on those good days, when you know that your tried-and-true boards would work better for you? When do you take it out the first time? How many sessions will you sacrifice in order to get comfortable?
After scratching like a madman and missing my first three or four waves (It seemed like I was dragging an anchor), I finally caught a right. I felt so late on the drop, but I made it and the board responded really well. Turned easily off the bottom, but the wave closed out. I did a hard turn to straighten out and it felt really loose. I can see potential there.
I caught a few more before my arms were completely shot. I noticed that the board is plenty stable on the take-off, so that's not a problem, but the speed I have grown accustomed to on my quad and 2+1 just isn't there. That effortless zero-to-lightspeed-in-two-seconds shift into fifth gear. I know that I need to immediately pump the Occster to generate velocity. Some people like the whole act of moving the board around to create speed on a wave. Occy was a master at that. For me, it's sort of the trade-off that allows you to have that agility to whip turns off your back foot. Give and take. Sacrifice.
I'm not there yet.
I surf twice a week at the most. Do I have enough time to spend floundering, feeling back at square one, like the first time I ever stood on a board? I'm not giving up on the Occster after one session, but at the same time, I'm not leaving home without my daily driver again.
Metric - Between the Bars (Elliott Smith Cover)