Monday, November 9, 2009
Back in the Big Waves
A new swell hit over the weekend and quite a few of the big wave surfers were in town for the waves at Mavericks. The waves were little slow coming in the morning, but continued to fill in throughout the day. There were sets pushing over 40' during the day. At one point there were 48 surfers in the line-up. It was like rush hour traffic, frustrations were high as so many people were in the water all trying to get the same wave.
I jumped in the water and it took me about an hour to get a wave with so many people clogging the line-up. I did paddle for one that I missed only to turn around and see one of biggest waves of the day. I kept my head down and paddled as fast as I could toward this behemoth thinking , "If this wave lands on me it could be really bad, my breath holding will be tested as far as it can go." I focused on staying relaxed and focused on my paddling . The wave got to me and the lip of this 40 footer was coming down toward me. I did a push up off my board and plunged under the water as the guillotine of water just missed as it passed over me. I could feel the clean green water and the wave sucking up, I spread my arms out to try and keep myself from being dragged into the explosion by my board. My board started to drag and then the pull was so strong it was dragging me through the water like a fishing lure. It then got really strong and something broke. It felt like my leash. I then came to the surface and a rescue jetski came over and picked me up so I didn't get washed into the rocks. I was worried about my new board, but as we got to the channel I could see another lifeguard on his jetski retrieving it. I was lucky, the leash tie strings broke, so I replaced those and paddled back into the lineup. After about an hour of trying to get another wave the wind had started to blow hard, so I decided to get some breakfast.
Oh Yea! My hip resurfacing was a huge success. It is absolutely the best thing for continuing to live my life with no reservations about what I can and can't do. This was my first big wave test, and I would have to say that it feels great. Training on the SUP has improved my balance and stamina. I found that the SUP got me back in the water quickly, kept me occupied and brought me back into better shape than before the surgery. I now believe the more people we share this with, the healthier we will all be while enjoying the ocean. So, I've been shaping a wide range of SUPs, for beginners through big wave chargers. We also rent them at the shop complete with lessons and training out in the calm waters of the harbor. As for me, I've shaped a SUP big wave gun to charge on the bigger days.
I still get questions daily about the surgery and recovery, and I have to say I am very glad I did it. Some people have been inspired to get help for their own pain issues, and that's been gratifying. I've been amazed by my new-found flexibility and freedom from pain. And now with the winter swells hitting, I am stoked to get out and feel the power of the ocean.
Stay stoked, Jeff.
Photographer Ed Grant took the photo above of Mavericks on Saturday, Oct. 7. Check out the crowd.