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  1. #1
    Offshore OceanRider
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    San Pedro, CA (LA Harbor area)

    LB2CAT - Last Day of the Year Ride

    Subject: LB2CAT - Last Day of the Year Ride

    Last end of year’s ride I was all by myself; this end of year ride I had company. Last year most of you thought I was crazy going riding this time of year but here I am a year later; still crazy about these little boats and writing about it to anyone that will listen.

    Today’s forecast called for a sunny, high near 65 degree day with winds from the east/northeast around 6 mph. Seas were a calm to moderate chop progressively worse (8 miles out) and then mellowing out to 1-2 foot seas as you approached the big island of Catalina. We did the same course you would if you were to ride the Long Beach to Catalina Island race. Only we planned to add the Two Harbors side trip but due to the head on ocean swells we called it mid way to Two harbors and then shot right back to Long Beach. It was great seeing a cigarette boat towing a water skier mid way to Catalina. Other than that there was only commercial traffic out and Avalon was near empty.

    Yes we had problems and yes you may just get a training tip or two thrown in for good measure, so if you’re in a hurry to get through this story then move on to another thread; if you’re reading to savor the thrill of the ride then settle right down and enjoy. Wife says there’s only one thing between me and this story and that is a nap. Last Sundays 110 mile ride under these same conditions would’ve qualified as an ultra Ironman contest. But, thank goodness bodies build “muscle memory”. Remember this one as this is a good thing and something you won’t hear often. Here’s is part of what I said during last week’s ride write up:

    “Want to know the secret of offshore riding. It’s really this simple. Stand up, pretend to be holding on to handlebars; now keep your feet flat, shoulder width apart, evenly spaced across. Next, crouch down, just till the point that it starts to hurt your lower back, leaning forward gripping on to those handlebars but not enough to hold a death grip. Pretend the ski is now coming off the water, keep those handlebars straight, legs bent, ready to land back down on the water, without coming off the ski, because you’re wedged in. Don’t let off on that throttle (do so if you’re in the air for an unusually long time) but the key is to keep her pegged so when you land you’ll follow a straight path. THAT’S IT. Now, the other part is outlasting your competition. Try crouching in that position for say almost three hours like we did so today. Sure, you want to plant your seat down to rest – yes grasshopper do so, but only at the point of beating yourself up even more. And, when that big wave comes that’ll launch you in the air, you may not have the stance necessary to pull it off to outlast your competition.”

    As I read that last paragraph it could qualify as TIP #1. Let me just qualify first that one of our riders started out with problems from the start and decided to turn around about 8 miles out. My other wingman was possibly already to Avalon by the time we got things sorted out.

    Today while out riding I thought I would try to put Ocean Riding TIP #2 into words. Using the various sea states we had today I rode part of the ride in the 30-40 mph range; (extremely very little) the 40-50 mph range (very little) and the WOT range which would be in the 60+ range. The ski I rode today is a 2007 Seadoo 215 hp GTX that’s been Friebizied but is basically a stock boat.

    TIP #2 is that based on the sea state it can be much harder to ride offshore in the 30-40 mph range given the sea states than it would be in say the 40-50 mph range. The LB2CAT ride to Catalina Island across the San Pedro channel is, given a choice the worse possible angle of approach that you want to use – but you have no other choice. Our normal swells that we “sea” on a week to week, month to month basis; almost year round are best tackled at the 40-50 mph range. Great for fuel mileage and for rider comfort but not for winning races. Refer to TIP #1 for the preferred riding style. At this range you skip over any rough patches and then drive on. A more advanced riding style is required here and here is where that muscle memory comes in. You need to get over the fear that you will nose dive into a wave and get tossed or that a total whiteout will occur when you hit that wave just so and experience a bucketful in the face. Work on it. This is some hard ocean riding to do. Someone before you has already done it in anything from a Polaris to whatever else is out there, so we know it can be done.

    The challenging part about ocean riding that we all need work on is probably working on backing off the throttle. This probably takes the most skill to develop and can definitely wreck your day if not done correctly. Why back down? For a massive Catalina Island ferry type wave that yes has done more than one of us in the past. These type waves, guarantee me you will lose in if you think you’re just going to plow right through them like you can do to normal and above normal San Pedro channel swells. Next comes the landing. You getting launched from a wave requires no training. You coming back down in the correct stance and still pegging it the other part we all need to also work on. So there you have it TIP #2.

    Now who you gonna thank for all of your 2008 rides? How about that SeaTow or Vessel Assist or LIFEGUARD rescue boat person. How about that supportive spouse or kids or family that know you just need that PWC riding fix from time to time. How about your riding buddies – those friends that call you from time to time that get you out of bed when its cold, wet and foggy outside and bring you home in one piece.

    Better yet how about the AWA. Did you know that in 1909 an Auto Club was formed in SoCal; just a mere 100 years ago. These “riders” formed this club to promote organized and social events for automobile owners. They also sponsored races and did strange things like post signs on unmarked roads from town to town and to our beaches, mountains and deserts. That’s how they figured they would create a greater demand for people taking to the roads. The auto magazine like our AWA Ride Magazine also kept members informed about all types of riding and racing and projects like driving etiquette and legislative matters.

    What demand is there this time of year to get you out on the water. Not just any water, but offshore ocean water. You see it changes from day to day and week to week. Last week 110 miles on a sea that was about as calm as a lake; great for building that muscle memory; especially in that lower back area. This week great riding to bring you TIP #2. Next week who knows as it’s another year. And now for that nap that’s calling!

    See you on the water,


  2. #2
    RXT-X 4 Me's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Lomita, Ca
    I read it ....I need to try a Cat ride one of these days soon with you..

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