Wednesday, September 30, 2009

OT: Skimboarders on the Beach

This evening I took out-of-town visitors around the block to the bluff over a beach known locally to be a good one for boogie board. The wind was offshore but the ocean was calm, low tide, and there was no ridable swell; so there was no boogie boarders. As we all sat on the bench, looking over the bay, I noticed a skimboarder appeared. No ridable swell and break for the boogie boarders but since it was low tide, the waves were bouncing off the cliffs on either side of the cove and creating some intricate patterns. Offshore wind was getting stronger, too, adding to the complexity of the patterns.

The skimboarder, in his short wetsuit and looking no more than 15, 16-year old, was intently looking at the waves leaning on his board he set up vertically. He kicked the sand against the board, and waited. He waited for probably good 4 minutes before he finally picked up the board and started running, released the board, and running full-speed to land on the board to ride an intricate beach break for a very speedy, liquid run.

Soon, another skimboarder appeared. And another. Clearly, this particular break, offshore and low-tide, was good for skim boarding. I wanted to figure out how they decided to take off. What were they looking for?

So I started watching the first guy as he gazed across the wave patterns to pick his entry. After 3, 4 rides, I still couldn't figure out. I kept watching. Then he took off, running full-speed, on what looked like just a jumble of white waves dispersing. As he slid off the wet sand into the water, I suddenly saw it. He was riding the lateral wave off the cliff which was being formed underneath his board as a wave as he rode it across the cove!

I could be dead wrong as I don't do skimboard, but I think he was reading not the existing wave pattern but the wave pattern that didn't yet exist but could emerge AS HE RAN TO RIDE IT.

Since his reading was so good, that potential wave pattern would emerge just as he envisioned.

He and other skimboarders rode obvious waves as they broke, occasionally kicking the board high up in the air. But whenever they took off on no conspicuous wave break, the wave materialized under their board like magic, and carried them long and fast across the cove.

It's a keen observation and pattern recognition per excellence. And a split second decision to act on it.

And I kept thinking "He would make a great trader..."

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