SURF OBSERVATIONS
TOADS -- 11/21/98


Jeff, the day before (Budman photo)

Had a tough week at work. I was somehow "selected" to this very high profile, five year project in a totally unfamiliar field, and its success or failure will probably make or break me. Needless to say, I had to blow off some steam in a big way.

Just so happened Jeff Kaplan (aka kdalle) was in town, so Buddy and me planned a dawn session with him on Saturday at Laniakea. Shoots!

The morning light saw strong sideshore winds chopping up a diminishing NW swell under cloudy, slightly rainy conditions. Damned Jeff, brought the lousy weather from San Fran -- nah! A high pressure system was sending us the strong trades, while keeping the Pacific storms high up north, leaving us with relatively smallish surf.

The waves were about 2-4 feet (Haw'n), with some bigger ones on occasion. Being a veteran of many North Shore jaunts, not to mention all those cold Ocean Beach encounters, Jeff was comfortable in Hawaiian power. So we were all a bit disappointed at the size, but still made the most of it.

Jeff was already "noodle-armed" from indulging in a weekís worth of two-session days. Still, he impressed me with his cool demeanor on the overhead walls. Nice takeoffs, pulling around sections and sitting comfortably in the hook, his surf savvy was readily apparent. Despite the not-so-good weather, Jeff was just feasting on session after session, savoring every moment of his time on the Rock.

Buddy was his usual self, ripping the s#!t out of all the waves. Donít know how he does it on such a puny board, but he does. Didnít really see too much of Buddyís rides, except for a few fans from the back and some sketchy closeout kickouts.

After the session, Buddy and me went to Glenn Pangís house to pick up some fresh 7'0" guns for him and his brother. Now heís really going to charge the big stuff! I canít wait to watch.

As for myself, I was in "I donít even care" mode. My new project had already caused some heavy tension and I just had to blow it off. Had an acute case of TOADS -- Take Off And Die Syndrome. It wasn't an attempt at impressing our visitor friend (actually, I probably embarrassed myself more) -- rather, it was a means of releasing some pent up aggression.

Had many more failures than successes, but at least I pushed myself to the edge and tried learning from my mistakes. Got pitched on several late takeoffs, was caught inside twice, pearled spectacularly (right Jeff?), and even got twirled underwater by my board and leash (a bit scary). Each time, I just picked myself up and tried again.

At Holtons, I caught this bomb set, but ended up having to bail with this guy paddling straight out in my line. Sometimes success is not always dictated by your actions alone.

They say surfing is a metaphor for life. Well, if my project runs anything like this last session, itíll be one helluva ride. Iíll let you know in a few years, assuming I donít wipe out hard along the way.

Aloha from Paradise,
stickman


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