Monday, November 02, 2009
How do I describe my first day on the Vaqueros de las Olas? Do I start with the first wave I paddled into, where I belly-flopped when the board tilted unpredictably as I tried to pop up? Nah.
Let's start with the next wave, where I made the drop, banked off the bottom and hooked into the high line of a screaming left. I was so intensely focused on the feeling that I saw little more than the lip feathering above my head and the nose of the board sailing along the steep face. I couldn't even really figure out how long the wave was when I turned to paddle back out. It seemed like a long way. When I got back out a kneeboarder paddled over to me and said he had an amazing view of my wave, and had the lip thrown more I would have been barreled. Then he just said, "You were goin' so fast!"
My next wave was even better.
I can only describe the ride of the Andreini as surfing with the wave versus against it. The paddle-in was a little slower than I imagined a 7' board would be, but once it got up to speed, the thing just glided. I felt like I was coaxing the board to go where I wanted, rather than forcing it around the face of the wave. At the risk of sounding new-agey, it was a zen-like experience, following the fall line of the wave and letting the board do the work. Something tells me this board would just naturally go as fast as the wave goes. Slow peeler? Cadillac. Racetrack? Lamborghini. On the flipside, if you tried to do anything drastic, like crank a hard bottom turn or cutback from the tail, you'd fall. At least I would, anyway.
Those first couple good waves weren't a fluke. With each left I caught, I got more comfortable, taking off deeper and crouching lower in the pocket. My final ride was the best: Drop in, turn with my hand dragging in the face, rise up to the pocket where the wave was almost vertical, crouch super low and just hold that stance. I seriously didn't have to move at all for probably 100 yards. When the wave would flatten, I'd assess my situation and see a section way ahead and just park myself in the groove as the wave stood up again. It was crazy. Mind boggling, really.
And I hear those full-rail cutbacks are even more intense.
This cowboy can't wait to ride again.