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The Return of the Evening Session

Strands Point evening session.

Strands Point evening session.

Evening surf sessions are back and in full-throttle for this surfer girl and I couldn’t be more stoked. However, I still wait for the day when I can sprint to Trestles and surf my beloved points and walls and catch up with my local friends.

But I’ve realized: Sometimes you don’t need to sprint to the good times and good friends. Sometimes the good times, waves and friends come to directly to you.

Random surfer goes a sweet evening cruise.

Random surfer goes for a sweet evening cruise.

I CONFESS: I’ve been scoring at this pictured spot lately. It challenges me while allotting a certain amount of forgiveness, albeit not much, but a little slack is there. Before I know it, I’ll be back to parts unknown again and as masochistic as this may sound, I want a good ass-whopping. I need to be freaked out, kept in check because I’ve been getting a lot of fun days. And if you believe in that whole ‘checks and balances’ system, I’m over-due for a checkmate.

There was a nice south swell in the water and most of the big sets were walled with a few smaller corners to pick off on the inside. Aside from spying Humpback Whales peaking their humongous heads and spouting outside the kelp beds, I wasn’t too impressed with the conditions. After a few waves, I decided to go in. While walking down the beach contemplating dinner, I spied two of my best surf buds strolling the opposite direction in seach for a better peak. A Grinch smile spread ear-to-ear across my face, as the last time I saw these guys was almost a year ago.

Three amigos: Dave, Jackie and Chav share good times, good drinks and good waves.

Three amigos: Dave, Jackie and Chav share good times, good drinks and good waves.

Dave and Brian (a.k.a. ‘Chav’) have traveled all over the world in search of good waves and good times and they are, by far, some of the most fun guys to surf, drink and have a good laugh with. Whenever either one of these travel junkies bounce to parts unknown, they always come back with tales of epic proportions. They inspire me to travel and have fun, to let go of inhibitions and just go.

The two did not hesitate to convince me to get back in the nippy water and catch a few. But I really didn’t need too much coaxing. Suddenly, the conditions weren’t so bad with my good amigos around. We shared wedgey peaks off the point, dropped in on eachother and hopped from peak-to-peak laughing and playing catch-up.

Chav is off to the Philippines and Cloud 9 and who knows where Dave’s next stop will be, although there were talks of mainland Mexico and the infamous Mexican Pipeline Puerto Escondido floated throughout our convos. Dave seems to emobdy a vagabond spirit with Hunter S. Thompson’s post-hangover perspective. With his crazy wit, salty humor and knack for dropping in on his best pals, I’ve often though he is secretly an Aussie and won’t come out of the closet…just yet.

Sandpipers hunt for dinner.

Sandpipers hunt for dinner.

So here’s to random awesome sea creatures, much needed checkmates and serendipitous run-ins with old friends!

The Cars have an excellent song that is so often imitated but not too often duplicated: Let the Good Times Roll!

Yoga and Surfing

Most commonly referred to as Warrior pose, this Yoga pose is one of many that helps surfers balance and alignment. Give it a try!

Most commonly referred to as Warrior pose, this Yoga pose is one of many that helps surfers balance and alignment. Give it a try!

During the months of inescapable early sunsets, evening sessions for me are pretty impossible…unless I surf with a headlamp…which I have seen done….but brrrrrr.

I confess…While inching towards home along the I-5 freeway, I often watch the sun disappear and the surfer inside me stomps up and down like a four-year old pitching a tantrum. All those uncrowded waves, empty trails, quiet moments before the sky turns a deep orange and purple and sends chilly surfers to the beach…all waiting for me to meticulously scan the medical dictionary for a garden variety of seasonal illnesses to fake.

But I’m a bad liar.

And a little darkness should never put a damper on a surfer’s schedule.  The key are distractions!

This is the time of the year where I like to turn my focus to yoga as its physical and mental benefits force me to clear my mind (much like surfing) while keeping my body limber for the spring and summer. When I practice yoga, I not only see a huge difference in my surfing’s posture and technique, but I also maintain better focus and breath control.

“Surfing and yoga definitely complement each other,” said Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher Carolyn Long.  “There is a lot of core strengthening, in fact, you notice a lot of yoga poses surfers do anyway: warrior, pigeon, down dog, cobra, up-dog, to name a few.”

Long has been practicing Yoga for 13 years and teaches a wide variety of yoga classes across Orange County, California.

Pranayama (breath) work is a HUGE edge for surfers,” said Long. “It allows them to ‘stay in the moment.’ Just like a moving meditation in our asana practice, on a wave this could mean life or death.”

Photo Courtesy: Sean DaveyMonica Dell'Amore uses Yoga as part of her training to charge Pipeline on O'ahu's North Shore.

Photo Courtesy: Sean Davey
Monica Dell’Amore uses Yoga as part of her training to charge Pipeline on O’ahu’s North Shore.

Mental clarity is a must while battling rush hour on a daily basis. In between blaring car horns, accidents and zooming motorcyclists, anyone’s patience can be strained, especially when all thoughts end with “could’ve been surfing right now.” But after a few deep yoga breaths, perhaps a change in playlist, I am content to know that after March 10th (daylight savings), my evening sessions will be back before I know it. But I don’t rest in that fact…I just simply rest and breathe deep oceanic breaths.

“Yoga has been an immense part of my training,” said Professional Bodyboarder Monica Dell’Amore.  “With surfing one of the things Yoga has helped me with the most is the ability to control and slow down my heart beat in moments of struggle and fear in the water.”

This is most important when Dell’Amore charges heavy waves like Pipeline on the North Shore of O’ahu. This break needs no introduction in the surfing community and it is a well-known fact that if you’re going to surf Pipe or any heavy water, you need to train.

Photo Courtesy: Sean DaveyMonica charges!! Yeew!

Photo Courtesy: Sean Davey
Monica charges Pipe!! Yeew!

In just about every pro surfer/waterman-woman interview I read, Yoga plays a huge role in their daily routines and continues to be an essential tool for breathing techniques.

But surfing community aside, the average Joe or Jane uses it as a form of stress release, a way to calmly connect with themselves and their surrounding environment.

“Yoga also reminds us of the interconnection of all things,” said Lindsey Plumier, Founder of the Non-Profit Organization My Own Two Hands. “Once we can connect to this truth, we can remember that we are all connected in this web of life and can take our yoga off the mat and into the world around us.”

So keep breathing deep…March 10th is almost here.

Photo Courtesy: Nate Trodd Monica Dell'Amore charges Puerto Escondido in Mexico. Yeew!!

Photo Courtesy: Nate Trodd
Monica Dell’Amore charges Puerto Escondido in Mexico. Yeew!!