hey Smiles.. today is looking pretty small and mushy. It might actually be a great day for you to get the "boat" out there and practice on the small stuff.
I was hoping to get out near my house in Torrance but it looks entirely too small for me (I only have short-boards, so I need actual powered waves to get any surfing done).
How big of a board is it and how tall are you? Makes me wonder if maybe there is a "too big" of a board for a person. hah.
Also.. getting the suit off whilst keeping the top on.. TELL me about it.
If anything though, you might make some surf buddies a lot quicker than I did.
but seriously.. Okay, on to your questions:
1. I tried teaching someone in the white wash before.. and just like you are saying.. they couldnt find any with enough push to actually stand up on. On the bigger days (when you start seeing all the shorty guys out there shredding the bigger stuff), I would suggest you stay on the inside at El Porto and snag the white water. El Porto is great for actually having what they call "re-form inside waves." They will be big out in the break, crash out, the guys will bail.. then the white water will hit the inside sandbars and "reform" into a smaller breaking wave again with a little power. Everyone will have an opinion on this one.. but MY opinion: Try it out on the normal waves on the 2-3ft days we usually have.. stay inside on white water on the 4-5ft days we get every once in a while.
2. Yes, that sounds like people wearing hoods. I'm wondering where you are seeing this. I don't think I see people in Porto wearing hoods very often. However, this HAS been a pretty cold winter. So Its possible. If you aren't cold.. you don't need one. But some people have lower tolerances for cold water.
3. Tide pushes in the south bay are tough. I prefer to surf in the middle of changes. Mainly because I find at high tide at many breaks, you end up getting "too much water" and it's really slow and mushy.. and then at low tide, you dont have enough water and its super shallow and too quick for me to paddle into. I would suggest taking note of the times you go and checking them against what tide it is.. If you go out and have a nice wave day.. see where the tide was during that time you went. If you went out and hated the way they were.. check that too. Develop the tides that YOU like surfing. Its different for peoples different preferences and it will change as you get better and want better waves. Wind directions around here.. Winds blowing from the East tend to be better (usually only see those in the mornings) as its blowing out off the sand into the face of the wave. Gives it better shape. In the afternoons, the wind will turn to blowing from the West which will make the waves crumble quicker and make the surface bumpy and choppy (harder to surf).
Okay.. enough of this book.. Time to get back to work.
Hopefully we can hook up for a surf sesh sometime. I work right up the street from Porto and get off at 4pm. We'll have to surf sometime during the week one of these days.