Spontaneous Combustion -- 5/9/98

Jock Sutherland at mini Gas Chambers Lefts

Winter was just about over, but the northern storms that were so nice to us this season gave us just one more small pulse before retiring for the summer. So I dawned it to Rocky Point with Jerry on Saturday. Unfortunately, Jerr was incapacitated by the previous night's excesses, so he cruised on the beach while I partook in nature's offerings.

Surf was about three feet, with brisk sideshores under partly sunny skies. The crowd was fairly light until just before we left. Entering the water, I found it to be refreshingly cool--truly invigorating! The sunrise would've made an epic photo if taken with a fisheye--speckled clouds over a colorful sky. I think I saw Jock Sutherland out there too, sporting a grin from ear to ear.

As far as my bodyboarding, it wasn't a very memorable session. I spent the better part of the morning sharing the rights with a really cool local surfer and a Brazilian bodyboarding acquaintance (I think her name is Claudia).

Anyway, the most interesting wave I caught was this nicely formed left. I was paddling back out after a small one and found myself right in position. My surfer-friend was on the shoulder and I egged him to go. However, he just grinned at me, not making a move, so I went. Once on, I realized that it was a pretty solid wave, so I wanted to do something with it. However, my mind was blank; I had no plan or idea as to how to ride. I managed to pump up the face, back down, then went high again for a carve. Just then, the wave energy just tossed me up in the air and I ended up doing a half-rollo, landing flat on my back. Auwe!

That wave taught me a little about my surfing. I believe that a truly good surfer is spontaneous, riding waves according to what it has to offer. Maneuvers and tricks should just come instinctively.

However, my riding seems much more deliberate, maybe even a bit preplanned. It's actually improved a lot since my contest years when a typical ride would consist of roll, spin, roll, spin, spin--very methodical and very boring. But I still have a long way to go before I reach a level where it'll just flow nicely.

Practice makes perfect, I guess. Especially if you want to "bust" spontaneously.

Here are some kids who were bodyboarding at Gas Chambers--they knew how to bust!

Aloha from Paradise,