Got good surf pics?
Was it cold? Hell yes it was. Were there waves? Oh yea. Good waves. Real good waves. But it was overcast and it was cold. Especially the water temp. Now, I'm not exactly sure how cold the air temp was, and I'm not aware of the precise water temp. But that's not really the point. It's all relative when it drops below freezing, air temp wise. And as far as the water temps...anytime it drops below 38 degrees...well, that's cold.
So yea, I was cold from the onset. But I was determined. And slightly stoked to be back in the water. I stood there in the snowbank, watching these empty waves peel off, and felt a slight 'second guessing' coming on. But it was too late. I was in my suit. I was going to get wet. You see, I may not live on the ocean, but I am close enough to hear the surf. I could hear it that morning. I knew I was going. And living close enough to the ocean, I do what a lot of the locals do in the winter.
I get dressed in my wetsuit at home.
It's so much easier. Getting in that suit is a feat in itself. Doing the task at home, makes for easier maneuvering and cursing. It's just eliminates the twisting and turning in the vehicle. Or the cold towel change in the winter. We use waterproof seat covers that work great. It's so easy really. We get in our suits, and drive down the street, we go surfing, and then drive home. Then we simply step out of the vehicle, and walk into a hot shower.
No fuss no muss. Easy in and easy out.
But getting back to Tuesday morning. I stood there in the snow and felt my feet getting cold. I've been told that, the older we get, the less circulation we get to our extremities. Our body, and it's natural process of keeping ourselves alive in extreme temperatures, does what it needs to do. Keep the main body and heart warm. The hands and feet are expendable. Still, the new boots and gloves that are available at all the shops, have eliminated most of the cold feet and hands problems of yesteryear.
So why were my feet freezing?
Well, at first I thought it was because I was standing in the snow. And maybe I let my active imagination get in the way a little bit. But once I hit the water and started paddling, I knew I was in trouble. My feet remained cold and got colder. By the time I reached the line-up, I could not feel my feet. I kept quiet about it and did the check list of cold feet syndrome. I tried moving my toes. I laid on my board and lifted them out of the water, and did the banging of the booties, trying to establish some kind of feeling in either foot. But none of this was working.
first of many sets came.
Now I have been out in waves way bigger than this day. Way bigger. But these waves were decent size. Head high with bigger sets. And the tide was sucking out as fast as the feeling in my toes. So duck diving in January, was not exactly what I had fantasized about the day before. Hardly. I mean, the last thing anyone wants to do in January, in Northern New England, is Duck Dive. But there I was, duck diving 2-3 waves right off the bat. To quote the infamous Jerky Boys..."Ahh ya see, we're off to a bad start here."
Yet, I was still quite reserved about my worsening situation. After a few uncomfortable moments like; water rushing past a slight opening in my hood, causing the ice cold water to go down my neck and back, a wave popped in over the outside reef and loomed up in front of me. It was all mine. There were only four of us out. Myself, Steve, Brian and Kyle. 3 shortboarders and one longboard. So there I was, alone in the lineup, when this nice, head high left, jacked up in front of me.
I instinctively spun and dug deep. I caught the wave with surprisingly ease. Waiting a few seconds before pushing to my feet, I stayed in the push-up position, while the wave took shape. At the last second, I pushed up and sprung to my feet. Except I could not feel my feet! It felt like I was standing on two stumps. With little or no feeling, I collapsed in a heap, and went forward. I hit the water with such force, that more cold water shot up under my sleeves and sent streams of cold water into my warm suit.
"What the hell is going on?" I yelled.
At this point, I figured I needed to bitch out loud. Otherwise, my current surf buddies would think that I have lost whatever it is we think we all have when we paddle out. And that is, the ability to surf. I hate to use the K-word here but, that is exactly what I felt like. "Why are my feet so cold?" I asked the lineup "It's Winter?" Brian answered. "I know it's winter Brian, but my feet are freezing."
Then Steve spoke up saying 'he had felt the same in the beginning of his session, and if I hung in there, my surfing would improve.' While I know he meant well by his warm advice, he was wrong. My feet were freezing. And that could only mean one or two things. (A.) There's a hole in my boots. Or (B.) There's really something to that circulation deal with older surfers.
I was hoping it was the former.
Another wave came through, and once again, I caught it with ease, and once again, my feet felt like they belonged to someone else. "This is embarrassing" I thought. It wasn't until the the third wave I caught, that I was finally able to struggle to my feet, and make a series of adjustments, and then perform a series of half assed turns. Surfing, but hardly at the level that I should be surfing. To say that I was frustrated is an understatement.
To make a long story short. I actually only rode 3-4 waves out of maybe a dozen, that I caught. I am quite sure that I did at least 5 times that amount of duck diving. Again, it's not what you want to do in January around here. There was maybe one wave, where I did a turn that felt OK. And I did manage to salute one wave, that I rode for quite a distance. But overall? It was a semi disaster of a session.
Later, while walking up the beach in the snow, I could see that there was a slight tear in my boots at the top of the seam. I could see air bubbles escaping the seam. That could only mean one thing. "Max!" My son who wears all my clothes, and my booties, had somehow ripped these booties and not told me. "Doh!"
did we learn here?
I learned... that I am still a Winter Surfer.
I did learn from last week's surf session is this:
Surf. Surf. Surf. And I mean surf it all. (Think Kelly Slater)
Good days and the bad. Because the muscles you use, and the timing you have, can only be honed with time in the water. Everything else is just fodder. You need to surf.
I know most of you already know this. And honestly, I should of known this myself and adhered to it. But I reluctantly passed on a few days, here and there, the last month and I paid for it big time, with my rusty, futile attempts, to ride by memory. Although the cliché of "Just like riding a bike" comes to mind here, it is not the smart way to stay on top of your game.
The only real way to stay in shape for surfing-is to surf.
Thanks to Brian Nevin's amazing photos of Nicaragua the last few weeks and a bunch of others who truly care about the children portrayed in those compelling photos, I am keeping the links to the websites posted about the plight of the children of Centro America up again this week. In fact, I may leave them up for quite some time. If this weekly blog can save one child in Central America, then it is worth it.
The way I figure it is...this is the least that I can do. Some of those faces of the children haunted me for days afterward. I can't imagine what it did to Brian.
The first website is lovelightandmelody.org This is the organization that Brian deals with directly and there is plenty of info there for anyone to donate and or get involved with. This is the other great organization that helps poor farmers in Central America, including Nicaragua.
was founded by NH native and UNH grad, Florence Reed (read
about Flo in UNH magazine: http://unhmagazine.unh.edu/sp05/plantinghope.html
SHI provides tools, knowledge, and assistance in implementing
sustainable farming methods that dramatically improve people's lives.
Thank you again for your support. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact SHI by email firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-669-8254.
Now for some of my weekly observances;
I'm back in IDOL mode. That's right. American Idol. I know a lot of you watch The Idol, but you won't admit it. But I have no problem saying this. I watch it and admit to it. And I watch it for all the many reasons why everyone else does. The sad and funny auditions. And the amazing talented singers. I keep thinking, one of these contestants is really gonna lose it and attack one of the judges.
OK, they will attack Simon. He's clearly at risk.
it every week thinking...Ok this is the week some nut job lashes out
at Simon and bites him in the neck or something. I would have
to imagine, that there's some serious security standing by. And at the
very least, they have Tazors. And really, who among us doesn't like
a good tazing on TV? "Don't taze me bro!" Come on. We all
would love to see a tazing on the Idol. I know I would.
people. So many smiling faces. I know he's got his hands full. And I
also know that he truly wants to bring everyone together and get us
back on our feet. And judging by the Missile Strike in Pakistan
a few days after, BHO is serious about taking out the bad guys
who want to hurt us. And I am all for that. You paying attention
to this Osama? Obama wants your ass!
again, I want to reiterate what I said after the November election.
support President Obama 100%. Because he's our president. PLEASE
Support President Obama and pray for the hope and
the change he promised us all.
still time to score one of Brian Nevins's canvas print orders.
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of
The Week Especially: Ed O'Connell, John Carden, Brian Nevins,
Bernie Baker, Jamie Wade, Kevin Doherty, Lenny Nichols, Chris Shipley,
The Phantom, Ross Kunkel, Bob Consentino, and Chris Thompson and
all the others.
my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
1975 One more of The Late Steve "Neddie" Nelson
Today Another COLD Day in New England
2009 Today Wednesday January 21, 2009
friend Jimmy Dunn is not telling jokes, he likes to restore
2009 Pics from Beyond New England this week January 2009
2009 The Phantom Mission KELP 09
2009 PARTING SHOT- ...Barack's Shaka Brudda!
President Obama is from Hawaii. This is a legit photo from his Inauguration.
He's the real deal
A letter to Bobbye, a Black Jamaican woman I met in 1997...