MyDiary  Autumn 2008 and winter 08-09

 

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Friday 03 October 2008      ..

I am on the island of Mallorca. While I am here
, I am trying to catch some wave. Mallorca is not a surf place, as such, however when the waves are pounding onto the coast, a small group of enthusiasts will get there surfboards and get the best out of the situation.

A great storm is building up over the Golf of Lion. This is the map for tomorrow.

Today I went to the North East coast of Mallorca. Alcudia bay the area is called. First
I went to Son Serra de Marina. Here is was to rough.  2 kite surfers were out. It was very windy.

In the Alcudia bay, towards Port de Alcudia, you find smaller waves. I tried on the beach in front of Hotel Esperanza. That is right where the " Gran Canal" is entering the sea. The area is called Playa de Muro.

Here it was more quiet, almost to quiet. I was catching small waves for a couple of hours. The water was quite warm, but still I had my 3 mm. full suit neoprene on. The waves just gave a small ride, and I could only ride them because my board is 10 feet long.

I am trying hard to figure out how to steer the board. There I am standing on the board and can not control where I am going.

Back home I started to look on some surf movie on YouTube. Now I can see what I do wrong. I am on the middle of the board to get speed. To be able to turn, your rear foot must be over he fin. The front of the board "lifted" out of the water. It looks like almost half the front of the board is in the air. I now recall that the manufacturer of the board recommended to place traction pads on top of the board. That way you know where your feet are.  I will place some red tape at the edges of the board to start with.

I can see that the waves need to be a certain size. If not, the board will loose all speed when you press on the fin area.

An other thing I noticed was, that the single fin boards have very big fins. I will look into that as well, if I can get a bigger fin.

That was a lot of writing about a single surf trip. The reason is, this is written to help the "silversurfer" to get started. A person of 50+ years of age, who wants to start learning.
 

Sunday 05 October 2008

I was on the beach at Sa Marina in Alcudia Bay. 2 feet swell. Only because I do long board, I can use mushy swell like that. I was in the water 3 times, basically all day.

The rides are only 5/10 sec each, but when you do 50 of those, I guess you learn something . For sure you get plenty exercise.

I am amazed of the physical progress I have made in the last year. Now I can jump into the "surfers stance" in a split second. The best thing is that I have had fun all the way.

Every day I do a bit of exercise. I work through the movements I have to do to get from lying position to the standing position on the board. Before I take the board out, I make the same exercises on the beach.

Today, for the first time I forgot to do the beach exercise. I continued, and it didn't make any difference. Had that been a year ago, I am sure I would have sprain something.

On the beach I met an old friend. He told me that yesterday, Saturday, there had been more than 100 surfers. The waves from the passing storm had been massive.

This shows how fast the situation is changing in the Mediterranean. The surf " window" is often only some few hours. Here you get the swell and no wind or offshore wind.

Surfing on Mallorca, you must be able to throw everything you have in your hands and go to the beach right away.

 

.Friday 10 October 2008

I went to Alcudia bay yesterday. The weather was terrible. Rain and 40 Knot wind. I had a look several places, but then went home.

Today the sun was shining, so of to Sa Marina. 3 feet swell. Wind about 10 knot. Perfect conditions for me.

As I am now back in my usual area, I can compare my skills. Yes, I have improved. No pearling. When I noticed a kid on a body board in front of me, I found out I can change course on the boars as well.

 

Saturday 11 October 2008
Alcudia bay again. Waves to small.
 
Sunday 12 October 2008
Cala Millor. 3 to 5 feet swell . I was starting out quite well. Then I had a few bad timed take off. Had to glide off the board and dive under the wave. That seem to be an automatic instinct now. When I can see I am getting a dangerous steep take off, I push board to one side and dive to opposite side. before I would just cling to the board and follow it down into the abyss.
Thursday 23 October 2008


Sa Marina. Not good for a surfer.

Alcudia Bay. I was there yesterday as well. Wind, rain and impossible conditions, so I went home agin. Today I wanted to try, but after a few wipe outs, I left it to the kite surfers and went to the beach by Hotel Esperanza. When the offshore waves reach 4 metres, then this is the place to hide for chickens like me.

Some windsurfers were sailing there, and they did not wellcome me at all. The waves were perfect for a learner. Up to 4 feet, the peeling type. I had some of my longest runs ever. Easy to paddle out as well.

The sun came out, and people started to arrive at the beach. Some young ones were inspired by the surf and tried to get a air madras out and ride back in. That was fun looking at.
 

Week end 25 & 26 October 2008

On the photo above you can see a good way to check the waves. From a hotel bed on the coast. The wind and swell was from North East. During the Saturday afternoon I visited Cala Aguila near Cala Ratjada.  Several surfers there, but waves to steep for me. During the Sunday afternoon a had a try at Sa Marina.

I was visiting  Colonia Sant Pere - Swell not big enough. Can Picafort - Lifeguard against me surfing here. Hotel Esperanza - Full of kite surfers. Cala Vincente - Could be used, but stone reef is unknown to me.
 

Thursday 30 October 2008

Click on photos to zoom

The wind is 30/40 Knots. I was out driving along the coast to find a spot suitable for me. Paguera is the usual place when the wind is SW. It was just to much wind for me. ( Left and centre photo ) I had a look several other places, but nothing. Then I drove home.

Driving on the motorway I caught a glimpse of the sea. It looked good. Later I searched that stretch of coast in detail, and there it was. Let's call it Secret No 1. I have never heard or read about it ( Photo right ) And it is just what I have been looking for. Protected from the strong winds from a headland. The place to hide out when elsewhere is getting to rough.

It was late, so I didn't have time to try it out, but I will be back.
 

Saturday 01 November 2008
I was back to Secret spot No 1.  Early this morning. Had some great rides. The swell was rather large. 6 feet, so it was good training for me, that still has a bit of a fear from throwing myself down the front of a wave.

After one hour I was getting tired and went home. I had to meet friends for lunch.

Later in the afternoon I had the chance to try from Playa de Palma. The wind was dying out. Again I noticed the phenomena that when the wind is dying out, then the waves gets bigger. That is why the best times to surf are early morning and late afternoon.

Tomorrow 4 metre waves are getting our way. From SW. Unfortunately 35 knots of wind as well.
 

Sunday 02 November 2008
A rare metrological situation was creating very large waves from SW. I went to have a look at Spot No 1. It is not that big a secret after all, because I counted 15 surfers at the line up.  Photos from the day are displayed below. Click to zoom. Maybe Mallorca is not that bad a surf place after all.

 
Monday 03 & Tuesday 04 November 2008
Monday was still a bit rough, but the wind was easing off. I went to Paguera beach.

Tuesday I had everything for myself. The waves were not anything to talk about, but now and gain a decent one.

I actually had my first ride ever ( after almost 2 years trying ) where I was surfing along the wave on unbroken water. That is a very strange feeling you are "standing" there just next to a wall of water.

With small changes of direction of the board, you maintain the distance to the wave.

 
Sunday 17 November 2008

Muro beach, looking towards Alcudia.

It has been very strong wind from North for several days. Up to 35 Knots. Now it is easing off.

I drove along the coast of Alcudia Bay. Sa Marina was to windy. Eventually I decided to try a new spot just South from Gran Canal on Muro Beach. Off the open beach.

It was bumpy, but all right for me. Another surfer was there. Sort off my level of in the knowing, so we teamed up to look after each other.

The beaches are empty now, and the water temperature dropping. I am using my 6-5-3 mm Neoprene.

 
Monday 18 November 2008

A silver surfer having lunch break. The hard life.

Sunshine  from a clear blue sky. I am off to Alcudia Bay again. The radio warned about 65 knot winds, but they got it all wrong.

I arrived to a 4 feet swell, no wind scenario. 5 miles of beach all for me alone. For several hours I did not see other people. This is normally a busy hotel zone, but everything is now closed for the winter.

The sun was shining. 19 deg Centigrade. The best surf day ever. I stayed until late, just out of the water to get a bit of lunch.

A family came with some kids. They brought a surf board also. It was a short board however, not quite suitable for the situation.

They stayed on the beach the rest of the day. It is nice with company. Even if you do no get to know each other, it is a great safety factor that other people are within sight.

During the day my arms were getting pretty tired, from paddling, so to get the board started moving,  I moved close outside the breaking zone. At the same time I moved about 1 inch back on the board, form my normal position. Then I just waited for a proper steep wave to get me started. Once up an running, I could the surf until the beach.

This way you will be surfing onto shallow water. Please do not copy unless you can control when you  falling.


 

Tuesday 18 November 2008

 

Today was even better. Glossy swell. No wind all morning.

I found the swell to high, and to many surfers in Sa Marina area, and went  to Playa de Muro. Here it was not enough. Then I tried at Can Picafort beach. That was better, but the waves were missing the "punch"

I have tried at this beach before, but the life guard send me away. In November there is no lifeguard, and I had the beach all for myself.

Mind you this is the second day the swell is running and it is normally that it slows down.

Tomorrow 35 knots of wind again. We get an extra start of waves and swell from the North.

 
Thursday 20 November

I went to Sa Marina, after having a look at Muro beach. There it was to quiet

Sa Marina was close to perfect. I had everything for myself. I surf normally in front of the Sunshine Bar. Sort of counting that people in the restaurant keep an aye on me.

I was pleased to feel that my fear of steep take off is slowly getting less. Also I am getting into "duck diving". Not easy on a long board. I found that if I just place myself a lot forward on the board, just before the wave hits me, that is a start. Next comes the "swing of one leg into the air"
 

Friday 21 November

A quiet day. I went out with the board just to paddle around and keep the shoulders moving. Saturday and Sunday we get another period with strong wind and waves from the North. This has been a busy week so far.

 
Saturday 22 November

The above photos are from Sa Marina. It was a almost 6 feet swell. No wind, so pretty perfect conditions. However the breaking zone looked very difficult to get through, so I went to Playa de Muro, where I have my own secret spot.

There the swell was 3/4 feet and I had a great day. I was the only one there. Some people passing on the beach, settling for a while, for the sun was shining most of the day.

5 days during the week I have been surfing. Not bad for the Mediterranean. Next week looks to be just as good.

 

Saturday 06 December

A nice day in bay of Paguera. Water is not cold yet. The sun was shining. I counted 15 surfers. The photos ar not very good, as the were taken with a mobile.

The waves not that big. Actually great for me. The problem is that you are surfing unto very shallow water, and it is tempting to keep going until the beach. It is not good if you have a uncontrolled fall.

After a couple of hours, we found a beach restaurant that was open and had lunch. Not a bad day.

  
Saturday 07 December

Today it was raining. Wind and some swell from North East. I went to Sa Marina for a couple of hours. There I had 10 Km beach all for myself.  Actually the swell was just enough to get some practice.

That was the end of a long week end. X/mas is now close. That is more days off and a good chance for some waves.

 
13 and 14 December

Satuday was windsurfer and kite surfer day. Wind from SW. During the night a full gale was blowing. Sunday morning the wind dropped to almost null, and this was creating some very good conditions.

 
30 Decembr 2008

I had a chance to go to Sa Marina today. The last couple of weeks have seen some big storms. 8 metres waves at the Costa Brava coast. Not seen in 30 years.

I had luck with the weather. Sun all day. The waves were good for a beginner, like me, so I really enjoyed myself.

11 January 2009

Happy new year to the readers that have been following me this far.

The weather was not good at all when I left Palma. Sa Marina was crowded with kite surfers, and it was windy. I drowe along the coast, and at Muro beach I found some protection from the wind behind a garbage bin, a small tree and a broken sign.

Then the sun came out and I got into the wet suit. The waves were nothing to write home about, but I got a bit of exersise.

 
20 January 2009

Today I had a nice day in Paguera. Quite big swell, so I decided to stay at the inside of the breaking zone.

 The friendly locals however showed me the trick to get to the outside of the shore break. They use a strong rip current at on end of the bay.

It would be impolite no to follow their advise. I went into the rip current and in no time I was on the outside. Here you get the big swell.

I have been in this place before and had a few falls down vertical walls of water, clinging to the board in panic. Now my reflexes are better. I can now let the board go and dive into the wall of water. Then you get to the back side of the wave.  It is more or less an automatic action now. This is very important you get to this point, because the chance that you get hurt from being caught in the surf, at the wrong time,  is a lot less.

The experienced surfer can actually cut into a vertical wall of water. Beginners can not.

Anyway, I got myself a few nice waves, but by now it was getting very crowded, so I returned to the inside and rode the white water for the rest of the time.

After an hour + I was getting tired. Hands started slipping on the board. Time to go home.

 
01 February 2009

One of the best days ever.  A swell was coming from South West. No wind. A haze was hanging over the coast from the spray.

I tok my time and drove along the coast. From Palma de Mallorca and East. Visiting Molinar, Ciudad Jardin and Can Pastilla.

Molinar had the highest waves. I had newer been there before, only read about in the news papers. It was too rough for me actually. Ciudad Jardin had less, but still quite large for a beginner.

Eventually I went out from Can Pastilla. A bit tough to paddle out, but some of the longest rides back in. I had time to move around on the board. Swing from side to side, and so on.

After a while the paddling drained my strength and I stopped for the day. I need more exercise to build up paddling power. This is how you must be able to doo it http://www.youtube.com/watch

 
10 February 2009

A good looking sunset. Getting out with your board will give you some good scenery to look at. The swell may not be perfect, but the sunset was.

 

14 February 2009
The weather forecast was good. I was off to Sa Marina. A 5 foot swell running there, sunshine as well. Perfect conditions, but! There was so much sea weed that I could not get out. Actually in trying, I got stuck and found that I could not get out or back in. A big swell solved the problem and washed me back to the shore.

I had seen a small group of surfers further down the coast. I went to join them. Here was a fast plunging beach break. After a couple of bad falls I can tell you this: Do not surf fast plunging beach breaks on a long board. You will end up hurting yourself.

Then I was back to the more protected Muro beach. Here a family was already in the water. They had brought their caravan and were having a great time. Even if you are in the middle of a hotel area, everything is closed for the winter, and very few people around.

I really enjoyed myself. Unfortunately trying to get out of the wet suit a was twisting and pulling that I hurt my back some.

A mixed day, so to say.

 

15 February 2009

Again today, Sunday, Playa de Muro had good beginners waves. In a way to easy. For lunch we went to La Mar Petita. First time there. We will be back. Tel 971 890591. We checked a few hotels for future use in mind.

Later we drove along the coast. More surfers were spotted at Sa Marina and I used my binoculars and saw at least one at Colonia Sant Pere.

I returned to have a look at the place where I was tumbled yesterday. I was trying to surf a plunging surf break with a long board. Not a good idea.

If you do not know the difference between plunging and pealing wave types, then it is time to "Google" it.

By the way. Sun shining all day, ending with a bright orange sun set. Being a surfer is a hard life.

 
22 February 2009 

Surfing is one of the sports where you spend a lot of time waiting and finding the right waves. Marianne and I took off towards Alcudia bay on the Saturday. We had booked a hotel for the weekend.

Saturday no waves, so the time was spent in the indoor pool. Sunday morning as well.

The waves were here now, but I still needed to find the right size. It took a trying at several places before I succeeded. Then I had one hour of good play. I am still trying to get the board to turn. Without much luck, so far.

Also I am getting a lot of effort into getting up and standing on the board, fast. That is before I glide down the face of the wave. So far I have been doing the ride on the belly, then when the board was riding smoothly, I would jump to my feet.

Unfortunately that is not the right way of doing it. So another thing to learn.

 
23 February 2009

I was scouting the North Coast. The day was windy. Eventually I ended by Hotel Esperanza. The wind eased off some and conditions improved.

Now I tend to think the the book I have been using as a guide, does not describe the right way of taking off, matching the situation here in the Mediterranean. We do not have Hawaii style waves. Here it is a fast beach break.

Before the wave has lifted the board to the top, you need to be on your feet. All books I have read, say, "Take a couple more paddle strokes when the board starts gliding, then stand up"

I will say, that for a beginner on a long board on 3 feet waves there is no time. When the board is gliding, stand up at once. If the wave is getting very steep, then press the rear of the board down, stand well back on the board.

You will fall several times before you can manage this. Protect your head. Stay under water a little while, then break up through the surface with your arms protecting your head and locate the board again. If the board is between you and the next wave, then get out of the way. Dive under and get to the other side of the board. The board must not be between you and a incoming wave.

If you study some photo and video, you will notice that the surfer is standing at the board from  at the top of the wave. Or falling from that position. Look here http://picasaweb.google.es/fotoemiliolopez

The waves on photos are not for beginners.

 
5 Marts 2009

I was a cold and windy afternoon. I went to Can Pastilla. Already 6 other surfers were there. Waves very good. Wind off shore.

I learned a lesson. In strong offshore wind, surfing against the wind, the board can vanish when you fall of the board. You know where it is? Right above you. Auuu my head!-!!!

Watch out for strong wind gripping your board.
 

6 Marts 2009
 I went to Can Pastilla again
 
7 Marts 2009

Playa de Muro. I have bought gloves and new socks, so I was not cold. 2 hours in the water with lunch break in between. I need to find out how to turn on this board.

Here are some videos about the bottom turn and turning in general

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXNHprCX1Ko  ( also how to put on the brake )
 

8 Marts 2009
Another day at Playa de Muro. The surfer on the photo, that is me. I am still trying to concentrate on this bottom turn.

In the books they say: "Step back, press with the back foot above the fin...Then step forward again to gain speed. "

With the size of waves here, that is not possible. By the time to do this, I am on the beach.

Here is my version. Deep down in the knees, to get gravity down. Then lean over to get one rail under the water. press with the rear foot on the board, pushing it side wards. Twist upper body in same direction

I have not quite got to the pushing with the rear foot yet, but just bending down in the knees and leaning to one side seem to do the trick.
 

12 Marts 2009
I managed to make my first turns today. It is simple enough once you know. It is not easy to stay on top of the board when you are doing it.

I went to Playa de Muro. Sun all day, but quite windy. Also I arranged for the caravan to be brought to Oyambre beach, so maybe the Atlantic coast during easter.
 

Week end 21 and 22 Marts 2009

Saturday I was first at Sa Marina. It was to rough there. I drowe 10 km along the coast to Playa de Muro. Here it was perfect. Swell of 3 feet+. It was so good that I stayed far to long in the water. When I made it back home I was very tired.

Sunday mornig it was utill noon until I was out of bed. Sun shining again today. The web cams showed ust enough swell, so I headed to Sa Marina.

It was pretty quiet. Only one besides me. He was a new bee. Reminded me of myself a few years back. The process of learning takes a long time. Thanks to my 10 feet board from Estban, I have managed to get pretty far I think.

On the way back I spotted an other surfer at a spot where I have not seen any surfers before. The wave looked good, but it was right in front of rocks.

Photo left. Sa Marina beach. Middle . Houses along the coast, looking towards Alcudia. Right photo. Houses around the parking at the beach. Click on photos too zoom.
Photos above. The surfer that I saw on the rocky spot. He looked rather experienced. Click on photos too zoom. The photos show the "take off", and you can see he is on his feet as soon as the board starts gliding down the front of the wave.

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