G. Niblock on the L41 TipSUP Noserider. Photo: J. Chandler

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nice Waves on a Morning Turned Chilly

Enjoyed a fun session this morning that started out with some sun and ended with the fog slowly filling in overhead. Got some pics of Greg, Mike and his friend which I will email to them if they remember to contact me.

There was a light northwesterly wind blowing that was cold. The sea surface was slightly mottled until the fog filled in and then it turned to sheet glass. After a while the color of the water matched the color of the sky. I took a nice one into Tweeners and the wall was so glassy and color matched I almost couldn't tell the difference between sky and ocean. Beautifully congruent in a way that is rarely seen.

Andy paddled out after about an hour and we enjoyed a load of waves for the next hour fifteen. To get the really good frontal surf shots one must be in front of the surfer (there's a surprise!) and on the inside. We almost had a major head-on which Andy averted at the last moment by kicking out just before we collided. It's a good thing his leash isn't a foot longer.

This little windswell should stick around for a few more days. Too bad I'll miss tomorrow's session, but I'm over the hill for negotiations. Drat! I'll have to wait 'til Friday.
October 31, 2007 (W)
In: 0711
1st Wave: 0719
Out: 0933
Wave count: 20+
Wx: Clear with low clouds to incoming fog
Tide: 3.61 Falling to 3.34
Wind: Light from the northwest to calm
Sea Surface: Slightly mottled to glassy.
Buoy: NWS
0700: 5.9 @ 13.8 WNW
0800: 6.2 @ 12.9 WNW
0900: No data
1000: No data
10'4" Angulo SUP
Rock reefs
Waves: 4' @ 13 (approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model

Monday, October 29, 2007

Up From Flat - 1st Beachie Try

Yesterday was flat, flat, flat. I thought today would be the same so my plan was to put in at Platty's and paddle east, turning around whenever. I thought it would be glassy and smooth. Wrong on all counts.

When I arrived at the beach break there was a brisk east wind blowing. The sea surface was a washboard and there were two foot waves breaking. Plan B. I paddled down to a peak further east and rode the peaks out from Hidden Beach. No one out except me, the seals and dolphins and grebes. The fog was blowing in on the east wind.

I SUPed for an hour and a half in difficult conditions for me. Always working, I paddled and rode waves (lefts and rights) and paddled back through whitewater and uneven bumps of ocean and waves. I took numerous dunkings, tried to switch foot and use my paddle to turn and kick out on the lefts (a real fiasco) and got some pretty good rights and recoveries on kickouts and immediate incoming whitewater punch-throughs.

I took a beating from my paddle by falling on it too many times. I smacked my ankles and feet. I crushed my fingers between paddle and board. I've got bruises. Surfing reefs and point breaks is so much easier. But surfing the beaches is where you get good faster. (I gotta learn to get rid of that @#&* paddle on wipeouts. But at 300 bucks a copy I usually have something of a death grip on it when I fall.)

I tried practicing some rapid turn-arounds or quick turns by stepping back on the same side I'm paddling on thus turning to the opposite side. (Paddle left side, step back with left foot, turn right and vice versa.) It's hard to do and in the choppy seas I couldn't do it without falling off. So I gave up. I'll try again when fresh and in calmer seas. After the fog blew in the wind settled. It was considerably more glassy when I got out than when I went in.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's session. Maybe the Point will be breaking!
October 29, 2007 (M)
In: 0735
1st Wave: 0745
Out: 0855
Wave count: 10+
Wx: High clouds with incoming fog
Tide: 3.26 Falling to 2.9
Wind: Brisk from the east to calm
Sea Surface: Bumpy.
Buoy: NWS
0700: 3.3 @ 12.1 WNW
0800: 3.6 @ 11.4 WNW
0900: 3.3 @ 11.4 WNW
1000: 3.6 @ 11.4 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP
Beach break
Waves: 2' @ 11.9 (approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model

(All pics with Olympus 790SW)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Windy and Small

Paddled out around 2:25PM from the pier into a strong NW wind blowing down from the Point. Figured out pretty quick that in order to make any headway I was going to have to tack into the wind, like a sailboat. The normally 10 minute paddle took 20 minutes. No surprise really.

Even though the numbers on the buoy looked halfway decent the swell wasn't filling in and the waves were small, really small. The windswell was blowing right by the Bay, aimed more at Hawaii, and not at us. Tide was out too making for lots of exposed kelp. I had to paddle continuously in order to stay in the same spot, or anywhere near the line up, which was somewhat irrelevant as the waves were breaking in various locations not necessarily related to the normal lineups. No matter. It was great practice in demanding conditions.

Now that may sound Pollyanna-ish. But the fact is that it is true. From the moment I put in, to the moment I enjoyed a nice downwind run back to the pier and through the offshore kelp beds, this was a good SUP workout and good practice for the future. I got a great balance and core strengthening workout and surfed 11 waves too (with very few other surfers in the water). Many of my takeoffs were late, and I pulled the nose out on several occasions. I got one parallel late takeoff that was a fun thrill, all good practice for when the waves are pumping.

On the way back home I stopped in the kelp beds to enjoy the view and take a few pics. I could almost have gotten back without paddling. The wind just blew me home.
October 26, 2007 (F)
In: 1425
1st Wave: 1455
Out: 1555
Wave count: 11
Wx: Clear skys and windy
Tide: 1.76 Falling to -05.5
Wind: Brisk at about 8 mph from the NW
Sea Surface: Wind rippled.
Buoy: NWS
1500: 9.2 @ 13.8 NW
1600: 8.9 @ 12.9 NW
1700: 8.9 @ 11.4 NW
1800: 8.9 @ 12.1 NW
10'4" Angulo SUP
Reefs: Rock and sand
Waves: 3.5' @ 11.5 (approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model

(All pics with Olympus 790SW)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Marine Layer - Windswell Return

Along with a very foggy morning with visibility at paddle out around 50 feet, the North PAC has dished up a nice little windswell and some shoulder to head high waves during the best sets.

Michael and I paddled out a little after 7AM in a moderate shore pound and a heavy fog. The tide was coming in and about four foot so we weren't expecting the chest high set of three waves that cleaned us up on our way out to the take off spot. Silly us! We readjusted though and caught a few at Sarge's before paddling over to GW's and catching some fun insiders that were walling up and dishing some long rides. I tried to get some pics of Michael and posted one here because it gives an indication of the overall surf this day, but it was so foggy and low light it came out pretty blurry. Arrgggh! The learning curve....

Michael had to cut-out early so I got a couple with one other lay down surfer before Andy and Sam paddled over. Conditions were really challenging this morning as there was a lot of bump in the water caused by the swell bouncing off the cliffs. The sea surface was an Indo Board for sure. It was only Sam's second or third time on a SUP and he did really well! Andy was riding the board I saw Gustav riding the other day at Sarge's. It's a 10'6" or so swallow tail with a turned up nose.

Andy finally had a wetsuit on (sort of) and was helping Sam with some minor instruction. Sam was paddling all over the place, getting his "sea legs" as he said. In no time at all this long time longboarder will be ripping.

Speaking of ripping, Andy said Ed is coming out with three new SUP models. (He also promised a new website coming soon!) One of them is a 10 footer and as soon as it is available we can try it out. That should really be cool. The new 10' has more rocker than the 10'4" so it should be more maneuverable, looser. I'm starting to get used to my Olohe and learning how to surf it better. It doesn't lay over on the rail like it could, but it is fast and the tail configuration holds well high and steep. It will pivot turn efficiently on a late take off in a steep face. A great board! I hope the new 10' Angulo will not lose any paddling efficiency with less length and increased rocker. More on all this later, it should be exciting. I'm stoked already!
October 25, 2007 (Th)
In: 0708
1st Wave: 0715
Out: 0845
Wave count: 10+
Wx: Heavy fog clearing to overcast
Tide: 3.9 Rising to 5.8
Wind: Variable light onshores
Sea Surface: Increasingly bumpy with backwash.
Buoy: NWS
(Buoy down intermittently most of the day.)
0300: 6.2 @ 12.1 WNW
1200: 8.5 @ 10.1 WNW
1400: 8.9 @ 11.4 WNW
1700: 10.5 @ 12.1 NW
10'4" Angulo SUP
Reefs: Rock and sand
Waves: 4' @ 11 (approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Angulo Revolution/Evolution

Mash sent me some nice pics from Michael. I gotta get together with him and take some camera lessons. The Angulonians have a posse...or mafia...or movement...or something going. All I know is that I'm seeing more and more Angulos out in the water.

And not only that, joining the boyz this morning was Phil (the guy with the beard), who has to hold the record for the longest commute...from Lake Tahoe! Phil is the SUP man to see in Tahoe for
standup sales and rentals. So if you're headed up there and don't want to lug your SUP, you can rent one from Phil at Tahoe Paddle and Oar. Phil was "field testing" the Angulos for inclusion in his shop quiver. Probably a "business" trip. Man...some guys just know how to do it right!

And while we're talking business there's a couple nice shots of barely naked Andy from Ski Shop Santa Cruz, who is the man to see for Angulos in our area. Andy's got an email address on the Ski Shop website but I'd recommend calling for info. Andy can set you up to test drive and compare the three basic lengths of Angulo SUPs...the 10'4" Olohe (a surfin' machine and the board that I own), the 10'8" Beachboy (maybe the most perfect blend of surfing/paddling SUP ever made) and finally the USS Forrestal of the Angulo fleet, the 11'9" Nui, a long distance cruiser and SUP adventuring wave poacher that is also suitable for everyday use and the total definition of SUP fun. Rumor has it that Andy just returned from a trade show in SoCal where three additional Angulo SUPs were debuted in the Angulo line-up. I'll write about that more when I know more.

I love my 10'4" Olohe and I've traded boards out in the water with Mash on several occasions. He owns the 11'9" Nui. The Nui is so much fun and such a pleasant change of pace that I want one of those too! Such is life and the difficult decisions one must make...the Olohe?...the Nui?...Olohe?...Nui? How about both?! Little did I know when I got into this sport barely five weeks ago that I would need/want a SUP quiver!

Did I say this before? Life is Good!

Perfect Wx, Small Waves

Indian Summer in full effect. Hot and dry with warm winds. Surf is in the small range but conditions are perfect. SUPed in 2mm rashie and boardshorts today. Still working with the camera. Got some shots of Tom and Dave but the pics aren't great. Too much shadow on the faces and I need to get closer.

Ran into Mitchell just before paddling out. Haven't seen him in years. Was wondering if he even still lived in the Cruz. He doesn't seemed to have changed much...just gained weight. Still surfing sometimes...I remember when he used to call himself the King of the Hook.
October 23, 2007 (Tu)
In: 1245
1st Wave: 1250
Out: 1445
Wave count: 20+
Wx: Bright and sunny, and cloudless
Tide: 2.13 Falling to 0.86
Wind: Variable speed northwesterlies
Sea Surface: Glassy with a light wind bump to glassy.
Buoy: NWS
1300: 5.2 @ 12.1 WNW
1400: 4.6 @ 13.8 W
1500: 5.6 @ 13.8 WSW
1600: 5.2 @ 12.9 WSW
10'4" Angulo SUP
Reefs: Rock and sand
Waves: 4' @ 14 (approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model

Monday, October 22, 2007

Indian Summer and A New Camera

As we begin to experience one of the best times of the year here in Norcal, mid-Fall "Indian Summer," SoCal goes up in flames. Fire weather and the red flag alert is in full effect here too and it just remains to be seen as to when or if a big one starts up here. In the meantime just about every Norcal Fire Department in the state is preparing to dispatch mutual aid units to help protect structures in SoCal or where ever they are needed. And me? Gone surfing...

As forecast, the swell has dropped leaving just a few high tide lines for us SUP addicts. I got my 15 or 20 early in the new day during a beautiful sunrise and mellow morning. A friendly and unafraid sea otter hung with us for a while, chowing down and chilling with the human company.

As you can see I got the new camera and today was my first surf with it. The cam has a number of different settings so I tried one, and kept it on that setting for the entire session. Tomorrow I'll try another setting and see how that works out. Quality is about what I expected for the Olympus 790SW. The waterproof build and durability was what I was after over the other brand and model I researched (Pentax Optio 30W). Once I progress further in the learning curve I should be able to do some fine tuning and improve the picture quality. It was challenging trying to put myself in the right place to take pics while standing and preparing to maneuver in another direction in a hurry if necessary. I missed a great wave photo op that happened directly in front of me while I was paddling back out through the whitewater.

All in all though, another good session. I'll be on it dawn patrol in the morning although I'm sure there won't be much improvement in the waves as the swell is still dropping and the tide will be even higher.
October 22, 2007 (M)
In: 0655
1st Wave: 0705
Out: 0855
Wave count: 15+
Wx: Bright and sunny, few clouds
Tide: 4.34 Rising to 4.73
Wind: Light offshores turning easterly
Sea Surface: Glassy with a light bump from the incoming tide.
Buoy: NWS
0700: 7.9 @ 12.9 NW
0800: 8.2 @ 12.1 NW
0900: 7.2 @ 11.4 NW
1000: 8.2 @ 12.1 NW
10'4" Angulo SUP
Reefs: Rock and sand
Waves: 6' @ 12 (approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Warm Weather Coming

The NWS is forecasting a warm spell starting tomorrow. The biggest swells are gone and the tides will be moderately high in the early AM. However, there is still NW and South in the water. Hopefully some of that NW will swing west. Although the size of the surf will be dropping, today's sneak preview looks pretty good for Monday.

Sunday surfing at noon? CROWDED!

(Can you find the guy on the SUP? Hint: foliage....)

Many Winter Swells

I’ve been so busy since Wednesday last (10-17) I haven’t had time to make journal entries or upload photos. So I’m playing catch-up now. There has been no shortage of waves. We’re getting winter swells from the NW, WNW and even one late season cross swell from the South. I’ve been SUPing my way through them all. As a matter of fact since starting to stand up I haven’t done any lay down surfing.

I can’t remember all that well exactly how the swells or surf sessions broke down so I’ll just generalize a little. Prior to SUPing my wave count goal was ten per session. This was mostly driven by the fact that I seek a workout when I surf (the ocean is my gym) and rather than just sit out there waiting for waves, paddling around trying to catch waves is more work, i.e. more of a workout. But SUPing is a constant workout because one never just sits there, one stands there and that requires balance and energy, primarily because the surface of the ocean is never flat, it is always moving which requires constant adjustments in balance. Further, that’s just the foundation. I often get ten waves in the first half hour so I just stop counting. I’d guess my surf sessions are averaging somewhere between 15 and 25 waves per session in about an hour and a half. That time frame is always a good workout even if one is just paddle cruising and not surfing. Throw surfing into it and you’ve got an anaerobic and aerobic workout too.

One way of looking at it is that SUP surfing is just the icing on the cake. You can also practice quick turns, practice back paddling, paddle out into the kelp beds and look around, cruise inside and catch an uncatchable wave, paddle over to another peak, catch one, then paddle back to the first peak, go for a paddle tour or stop and smell the seaweed, notice the color of the water and depth of visibility, stare at the colors of the horizon or sunrise/sunset or just enjoy walking on water. Good stuff all!

Generally re swell direction and these current swells, the lane amplifies the NW swells the best. The WNW swells show very well on the eastside as do the souths. Buoy numbers have been very good, often in the double digits or very close to it. Lately SE Papa and the CA buoy have been registering 20 feet plus with swell periods above 15/second. Those buoys are very reliable for calculating when the northerly swells will reach us. One and a half times the swell period gives a pretty good approximation of speed in nautical mph. I calculated this last big (but short duration) swell to reach us about dark last night and be gone by sunrise this morning. It worked out pretty close to that. Watching the long, beautiful lines lope into the bay yesterday evening from Herby’s front porch was a joy. This morning size has considerably decreased.

I had a great session with Mash on Friday. I was out pretty early and he was already on it at GW’s. I paddled over and we rode together for an hour and a half. We swapped boards and I rode his 11’9” Angulo which I hate because it’s so much fun and so different than riding my 10’4” that I want one. He feels the same because the shorter Angulo is so much more surfy. We had breakfast after surfing then Mash went to work and I went to do some more research on a waterproof camera.

I’m looking at purchasing the Olympus 790 point and shoot waterproof camera. Then I’ll have more pics to post on this blog/journal and they will be water shots which will be a nicer adjunct to the text and more realistic to the surf and conditions of each day. Often by the time I’m done surfing and get my camera, the conditions aren’t the same as when I paddled out initially and surfed.

Photos here are of the last few days from Wednesday (10-17) through Friday afternoon (10-19). I had negotiations on Thursday, and the EMT midterm on Saturday, and church today so those days are surfless. Tomorrow I’ll be on it early.
October 17, 2007 (W)
Buoy: NWS
0700: 7.2 @ 12.9 NW
0800: 6.9 @ 10 WNW
0900: 7.2 @ 10.8 WNW
1000: 6.9 @ 12.1 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP
Reefs: Rock and sand

October 19, 2007 (F)
In: 0707
1st Wave: 0712
Out: 0945
Wave count: 20+
Wind: Light onshores
Surface: Glassy with a light ripple. Kelp beds smoothed out the onshore wind.
Buoy: NWS
The buoy was in double digits from 4AM to 1PM (NW)
10'4" Angulo SUP
Reefs: Rock and sand

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nice Waves Before the Rain

Clear and clean morning. Paddled out about 8AM. Michael and Mash out at Sarges. Tide coming in and me heading to GW's. Ten waves in the first 30 minutes, stopped counting after that. Learned a couple things. Can switch stance and use the paddle to turn. Nice! Also re paddle management, took a deliberate steep line and straightened out while leaning back on the paddle for balance. Potential to work well. First trace of rain hit at 10:30 or so. Was raining by 4PM. Supposed to clear tonight. Will try to grab a few in the morning. Will post today's pics later.

Nice little WNW swell steady in the water. Actually got hot in my wetsuit. My first dunking felt good. Had to take off my light hood.
October 16, 2007 (Tu)
In: 0800
1st Wave: 0807
Out: 0930
Wave count: 20+
Wx: Bright and sunny, few clouds
Tide: 3.5 Rising
Wind: Light offshores
Sea Surface: Glassy with a light bump from the incoming tide.
Buoy: NWS
0800: 5.0 @ 10.8 WNW
0900: 5.9 @ 10 WNW
1000: 6.2 @ 10 WNW
1100: 6.2 @ 10 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP
Reefs: Rock and sand
Waves: 3' @ 12 (approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Weather and Conditions Calm

Had to teach all day but the weather and conditions calmed. The day dawned sunny and soft. There was a nice swell, smaller but still running and the sea has smoothed out nicely. Weekenders got some good ones. Zack said he had the best session of his life in head high waves at Manressa this morning. Go Zacky!

Buoy numbers bounced around from sunrise to about 1PM with swell direction variable from south, west, northwest and west northwest. At about 1P dominant swell was WNW until way after dark. The numbers looked like this:

October 13, 2007 (S)
1300: 5.2 @ 12.1 WNW
1400: 4.9 @ 12.1 WNW
1500: 4.9 @ 11.4 WNW
1600: 4.6 @ 11.4 WNW
1700: 4.9 @ 11.4 WNW
1800: 4.9 @ 10.8 WNW

After 6P swell started trending down and variable again.

Chris sent me one cryptic email. It read, "Surfs Up!" Thanks...I needed that...Truth is though Friday's dual semi storm surf SUP session pretty much wore me out. My hands, forearms and shoulders are really sore. My left thumb is swollen either from thrashing around so much with the paddle during wipeouts and whitewater paddle backs or from shutting it in the car door on Thursday. But it didn't hurt Thursday.

Won't surf today or Monday morning...Sunday is church and church prep. I've got a union meeting over the hill Monday. Maybe Monday afternoon and for sure Tuesday morning if the rain storm forecast doesn't materialize or isn't too windy.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dual Storm Surf SUP Sessions

I paddled out twice today, once at 0645 and again at 1545 hours. The first session began in the pouring rain. The sea surface was pockmarked with rain drops as I paddled over to GWs from Sarges. No one was out but me. The NWS was forecasting rain all day and I was hoping that there wouldn't be much wind. I grabbed a dozen waves but after about a half hour the wind came up from the south east creating washboard conditions. I was having a tough time just standing up, much less catching waves that were doubling and tripling up from wind chop. I finally gave up after about 40 minutes and ended the session. The tide was coming up too and that didn't help matters...adding backwash to the already difficult sea surface conditions.

The afternoon session was a bit different. I put in at 1545 and was in the lineup at GWs at 1600 hours. I picked up numerous waves, long fast sections that were draining on the inside. Few were makeable but those that were, were pretty classic. The afternoon wind was much better. The buoy numbers stayed about the same, but the waves were better quality. Since the winds creating the waves were so close to shore the waves were pretty close together. The lineup and the swell direction moved around a lot and so did I. It was an intense workout with no let up. Any long ride ended up inside with a guaranteed paddle back out through breaking waves. I fell off a lot kicking out, turning fast to catch waves, trying to make unmakeable (for me) sections, and paddling through whitewater. I got mad, I got determined, I got hammered and I got joyous. I made a couple impossible sections and a couple impossible kickouts into standing paddle outs.

Did I say Life Is Good!?

October 12, 2007 (F) AM and PM Sessions
In: 0645 and 1545
1st Wave: 0700 and 1600
Out: 0815 and 1715
Wave count: 12 and TNC
WT=56 and 57
AT=57 and 57
Wx: Rain and Rain
Tide: 2.6 Rising to 3.6' and 1.3 Falling to 0.3
Wind: Light to moderately heavy ESE winds and light to calm offshore
Sea Surface: Progressively choppy from the southeast and glassy with lots of kelp
Buoy: NWS
0600: 4.3 @ 11.4 NW
0700: 4.9 @ 11.4 W
0800: 5.6 @ 12.1 W
0900: 6.6 @ 11.4 WNW
1500: 4.9 @ 12.1 WSW
1600: 5.9 @ 11.4 W
1700: No data
1800: 6.6 @ 11.4 W
10'4" Angulo SUP
Reefs: Rock and sand
Waves: 3.2' @ 12.3 and 4.2 @ 12 (approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model