Sunday, January 18, 2009

Physical (Re)Education 101

My co-blogger and host, Glen, might object, but I'd argue that "agoraphilia" covers not just "love of markers," but also "love of the great outdoors." Surely, the meaning of "agora" reaches at least that far. Allow me, then, to update you on my adventures under the open sky; here, specifically: surfing.

I've continued the training program that I began during my sabbatical, about year ago, and have gotten fairly competent on my 6'10" hybrid fish. I've also put a lot of time into figuring out my newest board, a 7'2" Channel Island M13, and had some great rides. These days, I surf those two boards almost exclusively. My wave count has improved a lot and I'm starting to get a handle on pumping for acceleration, cut-backs, and sometimes even throwing a little spray. I've yet to get any air, though.

I'm a little worried that if I go back to longboarding I might suffer a relapse, and put my hard-won shortboarding skills at risk. The last few times I've taken out my longboard—a performance-shaped 9-footer—I've thus limited myself to fin-forward paddling and takeoffs. I'm getting OK at spinning it, but I still haven't figured out how to cross-step back to regular footing. Instead, I just finish out my (usually short) rides goofy-footed.

Today, though, I just might let myself indulge in some good old fashioned, straight-up longboarding. I'm heading to Church's with my Marine buddy (who can use his pass to park us right on the beach) and we're expecting a mackin' swell. He always longboards, and it'll be nice to hang with him outside, picking off the bigger sets. Besides, I think I've earned a gravy session; yesterday, for the first time ever, I surfed Lowers! The swell had not started showing, so it wasn't crowded, and I got some good rides on the small but well-shaped waves. It took me over ten years of preparation, but I finally can say I've shortboarded one of the world's premier breaks!

I might say more about that preparation—which has included special trail running and gym exercises of my own devising—in a later post. And as long as I'm covering physical training, I should probably throw in an update on my semi-prone bike, which I recently took out of storage, upgraded, and put through some test rides. Right now, though, I've got to saddle up for the first big winter swell of the season!


Ran said...

> Right now, though, I've got to saddle up for the first big winter swell of the season!

You use this word "winter". I do not think it means what you think it means.

—Ran (of Cleveland, Ohio)

Tom W. Bell said...

Oh? Well, Ran, I *did* wear a wetsuit! Not my 4-3, mind you--it wasn't *that* cold--but still . . . .

Micha Ghertner said...

I sincerely hope your Marine buddy's name isn't Charlie, because as we all know, Charlie don't surf.

(Best movie line ever: y/n?)

Tom W. Bell said...

I must admit, Micha, that I don't catch the reference. Point Break, maybe?

Ah, now, I just Googled it: Apocalypse Now. Well, given that I've seen the movie and didn't recall, I guess I'll have to vote "n"; if it were the best line, ever, I surely would have remembered!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Ran--your "winter" point is moot, even with the clarification on the wetsuit. I know we're not suppose to take it literally, but it's difficult not to be a little bitter about it. ;o)

viola (freezing our butts off in Columbus, Ohio)

Anonymous said...

It's time Glen Whitman let us know what he is up to. He must have something interesting to say by now.