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

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Big and Brawly

The big west peaked this morning about noon hitting 18 feet at 19 seconds from the WNW. Conditions were marginal at best, bordering on storm surf. None but the fierce and fit or foolhardy paddled out today. My strategy of waiting for the tide to drop a bit was based more on survival than wave quality and proved to be wrong because the only folks that got anything halfway decent today were riding at high tide. I wasn't one of them.

I arrived on scene at approximately 0930 hours to find the tide at at 4.5 feet and dropping. Things were generally messy with lots of water moving through the line-ups. I brought both standup and laydown boards with me just in case. It became readily apparent that standup was out of the question. Too big and bumpy with poor to fair conditions at best. Laydown might have worked but the lowering tide was starting to close everything out, which was pretty close to being closed out anyway.

I was able to snap some pics, but shortly thereafter everyone got out of the water. It was just getting too jumbled up and untenable.

What I was afraid of in the first place, Ma Nature shaking her tail feathers at us, came to pass. We were just too close to the storm that created these big waves. This happend over and over again Winter of 2005/06 when the storm track consistently dropped down and either brushed us or went right through us. This created an epic Winter for Central and SoCal. Many Norcalians made the trip south that winter.

As the swell drops in size there may be a chance to get something tomorrow depending upon the interplay between size and conditions. The high surf advisory has been replaced with a high surf warning. The NWS is forecasting significant rain on Thursday/Friday so it looks like conditions will not improve enough to cause a noticeable positive change for the better.

Mash gave his account of today's paddleout. The man's got a sac which a 90 pound bag of cement couldn't compete with. Read it in the comments section of "West Swell Makes Landfall."

Other saced up chargers on SUPs in the line-up with Mash this morning were Andy, Dave and John from Surftech. Herby told me Andy got a high tide bomb from Sarges to the Forest, over a quarter mile ride. I saw Andy heading to his truck after he got out. He was on his way to pick up Dave who was over a half mile down-coast after riding a couple bigs ones from where they were surfing together at Sarges. MikeyB said John was unstoppable, shredding the meaty high tide walls and making it look easy on his SUP. (Pics from MikeyB coming soon.)


  1. Down south report: Swell started showing around noon- strangely small this morning. By 4pm it was about 6ft, with maybe head and a half sets- nothing too exciting down here.

    The news is making it sound like it's going to build until tomorrow afternoon. We'll see. A quick look at our little spot right before dark: Seems like most of it is missing the cobblestone rivermouth reefs and instead hitting the weird, mysto outer sandbars to the south of the usual take off. Again, not looking that good, bunched up and messy.

    Rain coming this weekend could put a damper on hometown surfing- pollution sucks!!! I may have to make a run up the coast- look for some clean water if there's any around.

  2. John
    Maybe this swell just wasn't all that great anywhere? Santa Barabara SUP Surfing posted some shots that looked pretty good in nicer weather but the waves still looked pretty warbly.

    The back story on Dave's session was a lost paddle on a giant closeout wave that forced him into a little pocket beach where he was trapped for awhile by the waves and tide until he could prone paddle out and make good his escaped by heading south. Also picked up by friends about a mile from where he was surfing. Hope he finds his paddle.

  3. You're right about it being storm surf. I kept checking back in all day and it never cleaned up. I watched surfers get out at privates and make the long hike back up to the hook over and over again. Many more got washed down to Capitola. My 1% for the day is this: Just because it's big doesn't mean it's good.

  4. Funny, I "discovered" Sarge's many years ago on a big day when I paddled out with Nancy at 38th. We got separted for a while, made for a few tense moments 'till we reunited. I remember thinking "I never noticed those stairs before...". Sounds like I'm happy to sit this one out, and hope for cleaner conditions later in the week.