Broken Golden Rules

This past weekend I was in the lineup with other surfers for the first time since I started SUP surfing.  It’s been two months, and I still won’t go out in a large lineup, but there were only 5 people in the water.  We’d put in at New Brighton and paddled toward Capitola.  It was stunning weather, with calm ocean and blue sky. On the paddle up the coast we were accompanied by otters, brown pelicans, caspian terns, murres, and the odd harbor seal. We even saw one humpback, but it was farther out to sea.

The waves at Sharks were small and there were only 5 people out.  Maybe 1-3 feet with the majority of the waves flowing through at about a foot or so.  To me it was perfect.  Two of the surfers were clearly not comfortable in the water and hung to the side not making eye contact.  The other two were friendly and we shared the waves.  I caught a couple of nice little waves before the Golden Rule got broken.  I didn’t break it, and I’m still not sure how to discuss this with the rule breakers.  It’s so difficult to give a critique, especially to a surfer in the water.

Four young men with rented boards paddled into the lineup.  They didn’t look right on the boards, like maybe this was their first time in the water.  They paddled inside the area where the wave broke and then tried to paddle into waves after another surfer was already on the wave. I took off on a nice little right only to look up to see one of the “inside gang” trying for the wave too. I hollered “NO.” I don’t know if the guy stopped paddling or if he just missed the wave.

I finished the wave inside only to look up to see all three of them on the next wave, heading in my general direction.  It looked like they might run over me and land on the rocks.  I dove to the side releasing my board and paddle. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.  I collected my board and paddle and headed back out, a tad shaken by the close call.

So how do you talk to others in the water without yelling, shouting obscenities, and the like. I mean, it was a beautiful day.

The Guy Who Paddles Fast

You remember the post about Golden Rules.  Well, one of them is to learn from those with more experience.  Like the other day, it was sunny and warm in Pacifica. The surf was mushy and quite crowded. I saw a standup paddle boarder in board shorts out at Round House. I hurried to the water and walked along the beach with my long lens, a 70-200 f2.8 on my Canon 5DMII. The guy I’d seen earlier was paddling back. Fortunately he paused at each peak and caught a few waves. After each ride he paddled south to the next peak. He was paddling faster than I was walking. It was impressive.

After he’d ridden a maybe three waves he got out of the water just south of Taco Bell. I chatted him up and learned that he’d been paddling a few years. I told him that he paddled much faster than I could and how did he do it. He asked if I’d taken any lessons, which I had not, other than watch others and watch YouTube videos. He gave me a few tips and said we’d have to get together for a session some time.
Here’s a short photo montage of two waves.

Golden Rules

Golden Rules
I reviewed a YouTube video by Bic Sports, you know, the folks who make pens, called Stand Up Paddling – Taking Your Sup to the Surf. This guy went over what he called the golden rules when learning to SUP surf. I think they make a lot of sense. I think some of these apply to regular surfing too.
1. Do not go where there are others in the water.
2. Always wear a leash.
3. Hone your paddling skills in flat water before attempting the surf.
4. Learn from those with more experience.
Of all these I’d place staying clear of others at the top of the list. I surfed from age 14 to 62 and have spent an awful lot of time upside down in the surf zone on my SUP. But I’m getting better. I’ve shown a bit of impatience getting into the surf and do not have great paddling skills, but I’ve totally stayed clear of others, always wear a leash, and talk with any SUPer who will give me their time. Most are quite generous.

Like the Guy Who Paddles Fast.