Be Relevant

Relearning everything we've forgotten.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 5: La Jolla Shores (Again) and Wetsuits

I just cannot get used to it.  The coldness of the water.  I anticipate it's sharp shock when the soles of my feet touch the dampened, soft sand.  Between the hard, drained sand that barely leaves a footprint and water.  Sometimes the water rushes to greet me.  This makes the ordeal go quickly.  Other days it pulls away.  The many rivulets draw across my feet and toes slowly.  Causing the shock to last longer.

Of course I have a wetsuit.  Its rated at 3/2.  This means that my core and legs are protected by three millimeters of neoprene while my arms are protected by two.  This is a simple explanation.  It actually is based on the cut.  Its usually thinner where you need movement and thicker where you don't.  So even my arms have three mils of protection on some spots.

I could get a thicker wetsuit.  But a 3/2 is considered a year round suit for SoCal.  When I first went surfing I wore my diving 5 mil suit.  I was warm but the suits are cut differently.  A diving wetsuit isn't made for paddling.  My arms were so tired that day.  I used that suit for a week before I bought a surfing wetsuit.  The first time I tried to paddle in my suit it felt like someone had released wound up rubber bands in my shoulders.  I took off slapping ferociously at the water.

The thing with wetsuits is they have to get wet before they keep you warm.  There is a layer of water trapped between you and the inside of your suit.  Over time your body heat will warm that water to an extent.  I remember being amazed when I learned in physics that there is no such thing as cold.  Only the absence of heat.  Heat moves from high concentrations to low.  So technically mom was right when she yelled for keeping the fridge door open.  The trapped layer of water is caught in a struggle of trying to warm you and the ocean.  After about 45 minutes you start to lose out.

But you still have to get that first bit of water in there.  Wading out the water gets deeper.  The ankle bone is connected to the knee bone.  The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone.  If luck is with you, you get past the impact zone unscathed.  The point where the waves break.  If not then getting that first bit of water is automatic.  When the day's luck is with me it usually happens as I'm paddling and a wave is building.  We are playing a game of chicken which I will lose.  If, and this is a big if, you catch it right the wave will pull you up it's face and over the crest.  Rather it just moves under you.  But you need to do a little push up on your board.  This allows the crest to move between you and the board.  Otherwise the crest will grab you and pull you down.   It's this moment.  The moment the crest passes between me and my board.  That I actually go through the crest.  The water flows beautifully in line with my spine.  I just cannot get used to it.

Notes:  Wetsuits come in multiple thicknesses.  If it has only one number then it means it is that thickness all over.  Otherwise the two numbers means it is some sort of blend.  A wetsuit should fit snuggly but shouldn't cut off circulation.  Make sure you always try on your wetsuit before you buy it. Getting the thing off is difficult but you shouldn't feel ready to gnaw off a limb to get out of it.  Late spring is a great time to get deals on wetsuits as a lot of surfers only wears boardshorts in the summer. 

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