Part 15 - Caught A Wave With Soft Top - This Summer, 2010. Significant because it was the first time I consistently caught waves ever. Also important because it was my new used board, and after a long time of conditioning with paddling.
I was out for the 4th time this Summer at Tobay, next to Gilgo, and there was a nice break at the sand bar. Sand bar is a long way out at Tobay. There is a very wide and deep longshore trench there that normally would make for nice rip currents and lateral currents that wash you quickly to one side, but the actual rip out, I've never found, which is odd. Maybe it's a long way off, It may even be way down at the end of the barrier island where there is the ocean inlet.
It's a long paddle out crossing the longshore trench before reaching the sand bar. It's strange to suddenly be standing up and looking 100 yard back at the shore. I was out there with only two other guys. One guy was a boogie boarder and the other was on an old longboard and he was wearing a full wetsuit in July, which is odd. He had to be way too warm. I had only shorts, it's the middle of Summer and water was really warm. So I didn't quite know what I was doing out there and the few I paddled for and tried to stand just passed right under me.
I watched the suit guy and every wave he tried he caught and stood and rode for a bit. After a few tries I just chilled and watched this guy since I was getting nowhere. Then I learned something. He would see a swell, then turn right around and start padding way, way in front of it. Nowhere near the swell, he started around 10 yards away.
Then a total lull and everyone left. I was just hanging out at the shore and as I looked out, it picked up again and there were nice breakers at the sand bar. I bolted in there and paddled like hell to get to them and I caught one and was so stoked, I turned right around and with noodle arms, I just ignored them and dug in because that was a nice long belly ride and I had to do it again. I rode prone because after trying to stand, after knowing that I had caught the wave, I was kicked out of it. So rather than lose them all by tring to stand, I decided to have fun and go for the rides while making sure I knew how to catch them and I did.
There is one important part of catching these low slope waves. I had to move forward on my board from where I had been paddling level in the bay. It was a weird feeling to be that far forward, but it was the only way for me to get on them. Later on, I realized this is the opposite for steeper waves like those at LB!
I later realized that the low slope of the waves at that break require the long, 10 yard acceleration paddle because there is no drop as there is in steeper, more normal waves, like at LB. This answered a few of the questions I had earlier. Yes, I can catch waves with the new board. No, there is nothing wrong with me for not doing so yet. Yes, I can figure this out. Yes, the board is ok and not of a poor design as to prevent surfing. Final result, stoked and hooked.