Sunday, December 20, 2009

Off the Rails - Holiday Head - Round Up

As expected the wheels have fallen off my 6 week SUP Specific plan.

Coinciding with the weekend of our works Christmas do, I sort of increased my ratio of rest days to work out days and it was going so well. Having said that it's not been a total loss, I have got shot of the best part of half a stone of lard (7lbs) and dropped a few waist sizes in my jeans PLUS I am now 13 stone something instead of 14 stone something. So that's nice. With the festivities almost upon us it's harder to find the time to disappear for an hour or so, not too concerned as on the 6th January we are on a plane and off to Costa Rica for a few weeks. Board shorts, offshore breezes, and a consistent waist to head high Nosara surf within stumbling distance of my bed. Sorry chaps but I am going to indulge myself here for a moment or two and bask in the glow of some of last years snaps just to get me in the swing of things.




It's going to be an interesting trip this time as the Steamroller is staying at home and the ULI Lopez is coming with us. Hopefully this should give me a bit more scope to 'work' the walls a little more, the Steamroller was so much fun but with my limited ability it was more 'cruising' than 'bruising' last year. There is a good chance that we are going to hook up with some friends while we are out there as well and I might even take the ULI 7'8" MiniMal that has been lurking in my board room.

So with the old year coming to a close and plenty to look forward to in January I thought that I would take stock of the boards that I have had and ridden this year.

1. My Naish 9'3" this has been my first-choice board all year. Initially it was a bit of a clash between my ability (or lack of it) and the board's potential (unlimited). Gradually I became more comfortable and even though there are still choppy sessions when I fall more than I should the board delivers so much it's hard to leave it at home. In fact I have just given the board to Whippet to tidy up as it has collected a few minor rail dings over the past 12 months but given the total assing that it's had in this time it's been fantastic top notch build. I will probably rest it up when it comes back from Whip and try to spend some time with my other boards.

2. The Bonga Perkins 9'6" - This is the board that I want to ride more of in the new year. Everytime I take this board out I discover something else that I like about it. The teardrop shape with the fat forward section and super slim pulled in rear makes it very stable in chop but offers a loose drivey tail that I have not really had the opportunity to explore as I always default to the Naish. The stepped rails are another thing that sort of make sense in theory but I can't say that I have noticed their effect in practise (YET)! The Bonga has good glide and cuts through, up and over the white water well, and best of all - Its not dear. In fact it's almost half the price of some boards and the build quality seems cock on. It's not perfect the balance point of the recessed carry handle is just out which is so annoying especially when I surf Petes' as it's a bit of a trog to get there. Sooo I think I'll get Whippet to stick a couple of leash plugs in the deck and use the paddle to carry it, makes life so much easier.

3. The Nah Skwell 7'8" - This board has been a total revelation this year. There is just no way that I could have guessed that it would be possible for me to ride a board under 9' and this baby is under 8'. It's not mega wide either - there is a rash of super wide 30" - 34" short boards on the way which are going to bust open the concept of SUP's being huge and unmanageable, however they are wide and the Nah Skwell is still under 30". It seems to excel in smaller waves and makes it possible to eke out the most from the least. It does ride very flat on the wave face, I'm guessing like a conventional short board fish, but I really can't say for sure as I have never ridden any standard surfboard as short as this. It's not a board to crank up on it's rails, by me anyway but its fun, very convenient and it's only 7'8" fantastic.

So that's about it for this year, can't see too many more blog's before Christmas although with a bit of luck we should get some sessions in over the holiday so who knows, and then it's full tilt into 2010. My plans for the new year, spread the load and ride more boards, MMMnnnn Mctavish 9' due in February, eat less and take more pictures and bizarrely, maybe just maybe, ride some longer boards, downwind sort of style, might have to get some advice there but the rowing has got me thinking . . . . Watch this space.

Many thanks to all who have taken the time to read this stuff, and huge thanks to all those who have left a reply.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a healthy and peaceful new year.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Finally this morning after three dry weeks I managed to drag my sorry ass out of bed early enough to check out what was going to be one of the few sheltered spots that would be working. Magicseaweed was giving this for Gwithian -

Swell 17ft @ 13secs
Wind 29mph

Got to the beach just after 8:00am to be greeted with a big, fat high tide and dozens of birds working the surf really close in. It looked like they were taking sand eel, whatever it was there was loads of it and they were filling their boots for winter, almost wanted to go back and get a rod.

Text from Shane said

'It's a bit full but it's going to crank as it drops back, and there is still some parking'

By the time I got there there was just one space left, I slipped in and got changed immediately. The word was out and cars were turning up left right and centre. We trogged off down the path and launched ourselves off the rock's at the cliff base into a decent, clean, chest to head high break.

The wave here gets a bit of backwash from the cliffs where we get in creating a lumpy left hand wedge. The short boarders love it and for a place that only really works when everything else is pretty much maxed out it's got a bunch of punch. I left Shane to get on with it and paddled outside past the half dozen or so guys that had made it in earlier than us. I took up my station way to the right of the last guy where there were a few more peaks and got down to it.

The further from the corner the more exposed to the wind you are, but it had to be better than battling with the pack on the first peak especially as there was a steady drip drip drip of more surfers coming down the path, thankfully they must have been cold as they all decided to 'huddle up' in the corner. I'm always amazed at how much water moves through here , it's almost as if the sea was convulsing, it was very clean just so strange.

Three weeks off the board coupled with the rising wind conspired to make things a little difficult for me. I caught plenty of waves but can't say that I made that good a show of it. getting caught inside was fun as well, a lot of power for such a small wave, straight out of deep water I suppose. Having said that I noticed that a few of the surfers were struggling as well so it's all relative I suppose. The wind was cross off and again I found that holding my mark with the nose into the wind made it more difficult to turn and catch as the wind would get under the nose rocker of the Naish making me concentrate more on staying on the board and less on paddling in. Turning away from the wind resulted in easier footwork and an easier catch. Trouble with this was I was being blown further down the beach, away from the lee and into harder conditions. I suppose I fell about a dozen times in the session, not too bad in hindsight.

I had some reasonable if not spectacular lefts and rights and decided to call it a day after my last right which was a decent little cover up, always end on a good one if possible. By the time I got out there must have been 30 people in what used to be a 'secret spot', including a group of three or four longboarders who again plumped for cuddling up on the inside. Not sure that they would have been too popular.

Back to the car changed up and off by 11.00 which made me realise how easy getting my new SNUGG winter suit on and off was. It was funny seeing guys struggling with their 5mm steamers, mine's 3mm and warm as toast, I have used it before but this was the first time when the conditions have really warranted it and it was the first time for the year in boots. MMnnn have to work on that one I think, for some reason I have been loosing the sensation in my toes the last couple of trips better today with boots, getting old I suppose things are bound to start falling off sooner or later.

Talking of which, better keep this short and sweet as I can hear the groans already, latest check post surf this morning 13 stone 10lbs OOhh Yeaahh. That's 192lbs ok ok I know its weighing my lowest low but hell that aint bad going. 4 weeks 190,000 meters to date (apparently 60,000 meters burns 1lb so the diet must be good as well) and I feel great. Two weeks to go and I can PIG OUT, silly thing is I don't want to now.

Follow the link for the last rowing session training chart.