Check out these two photos. Both are from the same day of paddling. In the first photo you can see in the distance a waist high, mushy, peeling right hander. Perfect for the big board and the pusher.
When I pulled up on this I knew that I could absolutely dominate that little wave. Most of the guys there were riding little chippy, anorexic thrusters. Ninety percent of them weren't able to paddle in and the other ten percent never made the gatekeeper section so most of the wave peeled off unridden. I could've easily paddled over and taken that point.
We decided to leave it alone and paddled off in the other direction. We ended up scoring waist high, mushy waves with two other stand up paddlers who were happy to see us (bottom photo). Take a look at the heads sitting there in the first photo. None of those guys is going to care about how skilled you are with board and paddle- they're just going to be pissed off when you snag wave after wave. Do us all a favor and if you have to make this call- have the guts to paddle away. You may be rewarded; we were.
On another note: Do yourself a favor, especially if you're a Californian, go buy "One California Day". On the way home stop by 7-11 and pick up a carton of New York Super Fudge Chunk, yank the shift lever on the StratoLounger and hit Play.
This is a great surf film. It's beautifully shot, features cool music, and is a huge break from the standard kung-fu chop, punk rock, surf flick offerings. If you know something about the windings of Pacific Coast Highway, and have logged winter miles on the north coast then this will get you itching for the Cambria bend or the rivermouth sandbars of Ventura County. Easily one of my top five surf films.
Mind Blowing: Tyler Hatzikian's surfing- kind of makes all my feelings and arguments regarding fin selection moot.
Interesting Approach to Surfing: Alex Knost (wiggly?)