Practice Surf -- 12/16/01

Pipe had some fun ones

Just the thought of "practicing to surf" must bring a bit of revulsion to some surfers. But that is just what I intended to do.

I decided to pursue a childhood dream of competing in the Mike Stewart International Pipeline Pro bodyboarding contest. The main reason was because at this year's event, all heats, including the trials, will be held at Pipe. At least I'll get to surf there for a few minutes with just a few others out.

Actually, this hasn't really been much of a dream for me. I never imagined myself doing it. My skill level is just way too low to even be competitive. However, I know that if I donít do it now, I may regret it for the rest of my life.

Anyway, I went to Pipe with the expressed purpose of getting used to the wave, and to start honing some basic skills and endurance. Surf was fairly small, but very clean, maybe 4 feet Haw'n on the sets.

It also was a bit congested.

I tried changing my mindset to be more aggressive and pull in more. Very difficult for me when self-preservation kicks in. Think younger guys charge way more just because they don't fully realize some of the consequences. Also, since I'm a family man, I do have responsibilities that extend well-beyond the lineup. I have to be more careful.

I actually got some really good waves that day. Caught one especially sweet one at Backdoor: in, out, in, out, in for the closeout. At Pipe, I got a fun one right in the hook. Just for fun, I threw a spinner, and ended up getting covered, came out, then went into another mini tube. Fun!

Some time during the sesh, I realized that it's not just about waveriding. During competition, jockeying for waves is half the battle. So I purposely moved away from my usual deep position and settled into the mix of things with the slew of other surfers and bodyboarders.

Didn't do so well in this department. No surprise since I've never been a very good jockeyer. However, I managed to steal a few away from the crowd. It's all about being assertive and aggressive.

Came in after three hours, pretty happy with the session. Practicing to surf is definitely not as fun as just free surfing. However, it was still rewarding in its own way. I feel good about my preparing for the contest. Itís good to have a goal, and Iíll have this too look forward to and worried about for the next month.

Spongers were getting their share

Aloha from Paradise,