Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stand up bad/step off good.... right?

For the record, I really don't care what or how you surf. Really, I don't. Paddle out on a blow up Barney pool toy and go straight over the falls, doesn't matter to me and it really won't affect my session either. However, I do find it strange that there are those out there who hate stand up paddling but have no problem with something called a "step off". 

What? You don't know what a step off is? A step off is a way of putting a surfer on a wave that's too hard to paddle into or shifting so much that it's almost impossible to line up a peak (usually, big, shifty beach breaks are step off territory). If you want to step off you need a ski- one of those big triple person four stroke jobs and you'll need a driver. The driver buzzes around the line up with you sitting behind him on the back of the ski. You've got your arm around your board waiting for the driver to pick a good one for you. Using the power of the ski, the driver will drop into the wave really early (wait, isn't this kind of sounding like stand up paddling... just delete the driver and all the same elements are there, the mobility, the early drop in), setting you up perfectly for the wave. Now all you have to do is jump off the back of the ski, usually bellyflopping onto the board, right into the wave- scramble to your feet and drop in. Voila- the step off!

Step off sessions happen more often than you think. Check out this link. What you see here is a bunch of photos and a couple of video clips of some pro surfers getting ridiculously barreled at what they call an offshore surf spot (umm, good try with that one guys). I will guarantee you that not a single one of those photos or videos featured a wave that any of those guys paddled (crawled) into- they were all step offs.

How do I know? Here's a couple of glaring clues: 1. Watch the video clips. Any time you see a guy go buzzing by on a ski- that's the driver jetting to the inside to pick up the rider for another go at it. Basically, if you see a ski- a step off just went down.  2. Brian Conley. It seems all this guy does is step offs... check out any of his videos (My Eyes Won't Dry series) and you'll see what I mean. And, finally, 3. Check out that surf spot, it's the type of wide open beach break that would be hideously difficult to surf. Basically, if you didn't have the step off advantage you'd end up chasing peaks around all day hoping that you lucked out and were in just the right spot to grab a good one. 

Like I said, I don't care how you surf. In fact, step offs look really fun and I'd love to try it myself someday. But that's just me- I'll ride just about anything; boogey board, hand plane, surfboard, stando, kiteboard or wind surfer. Maybe the more you do, the less you care- which might explain the mindset of the anti-stand up coalition.


Anonymous said...

Hey, John. A kuk is a kuk. It doesn't matter either the equipment ridden or the ability level of the surfer. It's attitude. A kuk is a kuk.

John Ashley said...

Love the correct spelling of the word! From what I remember reading (as told by Whitey Harris)... a kuk is a sh@t and the guys at San-o used to have a little arroyo they used that they called kuk canyon... yes, I agree a kuk is a kuk!

Joe Agliozzo said...

Offshore doesn't refer to the location, it refers to the wind direction - it's howling as you can see and the captions talk about how they wanted heavier or longer boards, etc.

Anonymous said...

Kuk is Hawaiian for beginner. The canyon to San-O was called Kuki Canyon. It was the place you went to relieve yourself before the state put in bathrooms. Kuki means shit.
Spiders brother

John Ashley said...

Hey Joe: Ooops... looks like I'm the kook, er kuk, possibly kuki... whatever! You're right- I didn't even catch that... by the way- back when I kitesurfed that spot they are at is a killer wave sailing spot.

Anonymous said...

looks like north rosarita baja malibu and the power plant north baja has those type of winds and the cornadas in the background and a ski in the lineup only in mex

John Ashley said...

Bingo! We have a winner.

Anonymous said...

John, dig your site. No standup, but wanting to... I have a ski and have done step off and pull ins in small to medium surf in N County (in addition to 30 years of short/long/knee/boogie surfing). It's harder than it looks... not sure of the point of your essay... I dont even have an opinion about
SUS, except that it looks fun... step off jet ski surfing is the least of your concerns... keep up the good work

John Ashley said...

Hey Anon.,

It always happens to me- along comes somebody with a more sensible point of view that cools my jets and talks some sense to me. Then I feel foolish.

You're right, of course, it's all cool- and it's all surfing. I do think the jet ski stuff is rad- believe me, if I had the balls I'd head across the border with some of my friends and give it a shot.

I guess I was just sick of what I perceived as a double standard- getting called out as a sweeper but not minding that a guy just got towed into the same kind of wave by a ski.

The funny thing is I don't really care much when I do get called out- and now that I think about it, I have no idea where that essay came from.

Forgive me... surf on.


Anonymous said...

Standups are aids gay.