ProMotion Wetsuit Forum - The Tribe
The soul of windsports, Dana Miller lives it larger than most. Below we share an email from DM.
It's been kind of cold on the southern Oregon coast lately so I am especially grateful for the fresh suit I grabbed last time I was in the shop. I just compiled my sailing numbers. It looks like I'll have to settle for 196 sailing days in 2015. Of those 119 were by sea, 5 by sandboard, and 74 on the skateboard. The only wetsuit I wore down here was the ProMotion 5/3 Storm. There is nothing like it. Always warm on the inside. So stoked. Thank you. With gratitude and respect. Dana Miller - Boardhead International.
On a recent trip to Punta San Carlos on Baja's Pacific Coast, the mornings were perfect for SUP surfing before the wind picked up. No matter how early we got on the water, there was always a seal waiting for us out at the break. One day in particular, as I paddled to the outside, I glanced back and noticed one of the seals nibbling on a piece of seaweed that was tangled with my board leash. A few minutes later, the seaweed was gone, but the seal was still trying to nibble on my leash. I assumed he must have thought it was more seaweed. Later as I paddled back out, the seal had his mouth clamped to my leash, and enjoyed the free ride as I towed him back out. When I got outside and went to turn around, I felt a tug on my leash that caught me off guard and sent me over the side. I could almost hear the seal laughing at me as I climbed back on my board. A few minutes later, my friend took a similar fall. He was convinced that the seal was messing with us, and enjoyed watching us topple. As I paddled back out through the next set of waves, I could see the face of the seal smiling as he body surfed. Like an old surfing buddy, he seemed especially happy that I had witnessed his ride. When we got back to the beach, we both concluded that seals were like friendly dogs, or sea pups. They enjoy playing in the surf as much as a real dog enjoys playing fetch on the beach.
Each time you ride a wave while kitesurfing or windsurfing, you normally end up downwind from where you started. For this reason, we point back upwind while heading out to sea. It is a constant battle to keep from getting blown downwind. Often we will park a second car (shuttle) down the beach and do what is called a "downwinder", and just go with the wind. This can be super fun.
Recently we did a downwinder starting at the Florence South Jetty heading south. The conditions were perfect for a 10m kite. As soon as every one was launched up and riding, we gave hand signals to start the downwinder. This was to be about a 4-mile trip. Our exit point was a large sign on the beach saying "No vehicles past this point".
About one mile down the beach the wind began to increase. With wind increasing we normally head back to the beach and switch to smaller kites. On a downwinder you are committed to the kite you started with. At Florence the wind can increase quickly. On this day the wind went from averaging 18 to averaging 36 in about 20 minutes. With 36 mile per hour winds, we should have been on 6m kites as the wind was going ballistic.
To ease the pull on my kite I rode straight down the beach looking to get to the takeout point as soon as possible. Getting to the takeout and with my kite fully loaded, I was the first out of the water. Normally I can find a place in the sand dunes where a wind shadow will be. This is where I can safely park my kite. The dunes on this end of the beach were vertical and did not offer any wind shadow options. With my kite fully lit and flying straight overhead, I walked up the top of the dunes to find a place to land. I got the top of the dunes only to realize I was on a ridge with another vertical drop on the backside. It was all I could do to pull my kite back towards the ocean and scramble back down the dunes.
On this day I was lucky to have one of my kiting buddies grab my kite and in turn I grabbed his. Always kite with a friend and at Florence be ready for quickly increasing winds. Thanks Laird for the kite grab.
Musicians call it "finding the groove" and it happens when all instruments are played with the same count that the beat falls on. It just sounds right when the rhythm is right.
Waves are created by wind over the water and as swells are created they fall into a rhythm over the ocean. Many times in my years of surfing I have found myself out of sync with the rhythm of the surf. When this happens I find myself constantly out of position. Either I am in the wrong spot, or late to take off, or too far back to make the wave. It feels if nothing is working right.
When I realize this is happening, I try and change my attitude or approach to find the oceans rhythm. I might paddle to the inside and try and ride the smaller waves, I might try and change my attitude, or I might just paddle down the beach to find some space.
Today I found myself out of rhythm while SUP surfing. Realizing this, I paddled outside the lineup to get a better look at a pod of dolphins. I paddled within a few feet of the dolphins that stayed with me for an extended time before moving off. For a time we were eye to eye.
As I paddled back in, I pulled into the wave-of-the-day and for the rest of my session I was back in rhythm with the surf.
Don't fight it...find it.
On the far end of a remote no-named beach break in Oregon, I noticed a blown-out wave rolling over a sandbar. I got up early the next morning, planning to SUP surf it before the wind arrived. Pulling into the parking area, I noticed another SUP surfer already out and getting some fun but small waves. Crossing the beach with SUP and paddle, I trailed a surfer with a longboard. As the surfer got to the water, he turned and looked my way for an extended period. Without my glasses I could not see his face, but I got the feeling he might have been giving me the "stink eye". How could this be? This was not a named surf spot, only three of us were planning to surf, and there were plenty of waves for everybody.
As I paddled out the longboarder turned my way and started calling out. I paddled closer to better understand what he was saying only to hear..."dude no SUPs...you know the deal...you read the blogs". I could not believe it. I was blown away that he was heckling me over a small no-named beach break, with only three people out, on a beautiful windless sunny morning. This was ridiculous.
I grew up surfing, and know surfing right-of-way rules. I realize that SUP surfers have an advantage in catching waves. This is the same advantage longboarders had over me growing up as a kid riding shortboards. Knowing this, I give up waves to surfers, and stay clear of crowds.
I took the heckling for a while and tried to remain calm, but in the end I simply replied, "SUPs, longboards, shortboards, bodyboards...it's all just surfing. You can have all the waves you paddle for...but I plan to ride a few as well"