My 6'0" Heartbreak, an epic swell, and a new tattoo

Forgive the melodrama but breaking a board feels exactly like a break-up, maybe even worse because the second chances are so slim. There's been little else on my mind except that sweet purple 6'0" quad that I first tried last weekend, and however perfect we might have seemed for each other, it was a short-lived affair.

My frustration stems from this unexplainable agitation: people say I am at the phase of one's surfing life where everything makes a little more sense, which makes some of the basics a little easier to implement. This board break-up is a reminder that surfing isn't a race to progress. Sometimes, it's a slow dance with water and we all have to wait our turn.

But man, does it hurt! :)

It's me, not you.

It's me, not you.

Like all love stories, we need a better understanding of history.

This candy-colored 8'0" is my first love, a highschool kind of crush even. I had it when I was surfing for only 3-4 months. It paddled with no problems and it caught even the smallest of waves. One thing we didn't really agree on was its flat rocker-- at that stage, how could I have thought I'd be nose riding anytime soon?

Then as I was paddling back to shore on one unfortunate day in Liw-liwa, I got hit by an immense shore break which caused my board to tombstone into the sand and snap the entire nose off. So yep, no nose riding for me.

Looking back, it was a mixture of bad luck and bad board-handling skills. Then again, there is no other way to learn.

Enter the stage of the mini-mal, and the long introduction to riding short. I wrote about my transition stage in this entry, but I will elucidate here. When my 8'0" broke, my friend Oslec lent me this 7'2" NSP funboard and I definitely had a lot of fun with it (I ended up buying the board!). It was a great board for beginners: it had lots of volume, enough length to keep the ride stable, and tough material for accidents and the like. Hahaha. 

After six months with the NSP, I found this turquoise blue beauty on the Internet and I wasn't even thinking of switching boards yet, but this instinctive tug led me to messaging the seller and bringing the board home the next day. This 6'8" Al Merrick Flyer will always be my true love. I was jittery just thinking about whether I could paddle it, or ride it at all, much like first date nerves, I guess. 

This 6'8" was more than just a board; it was my ride to growth. I don't know if I can ever part with dear old Cheehoo (yes, I named him), although I feel that even that is inevitable. 

And here we are. My 6'0" summer fling, except it happened in the rainy season. ;)

This is Harold's old shortboard and I would have never ever dreamed of trying it out had it not been for his insistent prodding, and the prodding of other friends and respected locals in Zambales. So with a shoulder-high swell in Magic Left last Saturday, I paddled out with this purple sweetheart and I fell in love hard.

Perhaps some of the most important lessons in surfing don't happen when you're in the water. I have a bad habit of belittling myself, a psychological shyness that is debilitating and well, humiliating. I am thankful for all the encouragement and extra pushes I get from friends. I owe them this attitude of fortitude (ha!) and this infinite feeling of having widened one's stoke spectrum. 

Oh, surfing. You have taught me so much in the past year and a half. Let's not stop soon, okay?

Wake up, time to surf! 

Wake up, time to surf! 

Bidge Villarroya couldn't stand the flatness in the Pacific. Traveling to Zambales was a good choice, eh? :P

Bidge Villarroya couldn't stand the flatness in the Pacific. Traveling to Zambales was a good choice, eh? :P

Off we go!

Off we go!

The forecast said it was going to be a 3-4 feet day. We got more than we bargained for.

Kulot and Ann Liwarin of the Hang Five Tagadagat crew took photos of that day's session and here are some of my favorites from their sets. For more pictures, please check out their page. :)

Ralph took the biggest sets and I never saw anyone bodyboard so well until that day.

Harold might have taken the wave of the day with this ride. Complete photo sequence with a GoPro in his mouth! Slide on for the sequence.

And here's just one of the many barrells that Ping entered and successfully exited that day. He shaped that board he's riding here. When asked how it rode, he said: "Not bad." 

And finally, the shortest love story ever (as first posted on my Instagram feed.)

Big day, small girl, broken board! I mustered all the guts I could to go out at P5 today when it was firing head, overhead, double overhead at different intervals. My first attempts to go in, I got spat right out. I sat down and waited for courage to seep in again, that fire in your belly that urges you to just go! So I tried again and reached the lineup alive and well.

The sets looked nothing like they did from the shore. Up close, the waves seemed almost un-rideable. But I had to try. So I did, and I got the first wave I paddled for. The drop was insanely quick, the white water zipping and splashing and gaining on me from behind. I don’t know how I managed to reach the wall and end the ride.

But it was the sets that arrived after that got me.

My leash snapped. My board got smacked by the lip and it flew farther and farther away from my then weightless body. I was coughing up water and saying over and over: swim.

Kaido paddled for me and saved me. But my board won’t be spending time in the water any time soon.

Thank you, Purple 6’0”, for the two-day love affair. You widened my stoke spectrum and I wish I could ride you again or find a board just like you. ♡

As consolation, Ate Ann managed to snap photos of that one unforgettable, give-me-this-wave-or-give-me-death ride. :)

Oh, the look on my face! This was moments after two extra large waves ate me up and whirled me around. At one point, I scorpioned underwater (when you get spun backward, head and neck first, feet last) and that shit was scary. 

I am thankful to have such competent watermen with me when I surf. Thank you, Tagadagat, for being alert, brave and just awesome all around.

I kept feeling frustrated when the 6'0" broke because I had a feeling that we were meant to be. My friend Paco was wiser and told me that it wasn't meant to be. Why? Because it broke. Thanks for the change in perspective, Paxter!

June 30, 2014 will always be an extraordinary day for me so I had to get a solid reminder of what happened to me that day, and how it was going to be part of all my surfing days to come. 


Shots of Mountain Dew before the inking! Thank you for helping me make this day permanent, Faust

Faust Marcelo is a talented tattoo artist and he's a genuine person: passionate about his craft and serious about making all days filled with laughter. Check his work out. :)

I wanted the simplest lines possible, something that looked like I drew them myself.

Surfing has simplified my life, or at least it has simplified what happiness is to me. I have two hands, the left and the right, and I will use them to shake and hold the ocean's left and right hands whenever I can, for as long as I can.

And whenever I clasp my hands in prayer, I'll be praying for safety and always, the stoke.

Alright! Time to look for a new board!
Sea you. :)