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

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Real Deal; WNW at 16 Seconds

The high energy WNW swell peaked last night just after dark, posting farshore buoy data numbers for wave height and period of 12 feet at 19 seconds. I surfed it this morning as it was slowly dropping but still providing hard core NPAC wave energy.

With the high tide and big swell, access with my SUP is always dicey. Launching at Sarge's isn't so's the getting out that is the gamble. With a full volume very floaty SUP, getting tossed into a cement wall or a very unfriendly pile of rip-rap isn't a possibility I like to contemplate for long. So I took the safe (and much longer paddle) route and put in from the pier.

I almost didn't SUP at all. I brought my 7'6" hybrid with me just in case. With the consistently overhead sets, difficult access and challenging sea conditions it seemed like the lay down hybrid Freeline was the right move. But unless I ride the SUP in good, high energy swell, I'm not going to get better at surfing it in real waves. And I'm becoming spoiled. I don't want to get wet. So I back tracked to the pier and headed out with the Olohe.

Sea conditions were bumpy with a growing one to two foot high tide backwash that was sending cross swell energy across my bow and several hundred yards out to sea. Surprisingly, the paddle didn't take that long, and the overall wind, sea, surf environment was awesome. The gray overcast morning had an ominous feel to it. A very light rain was falling and while I expected poor wind conditions, there was a brisk northeast wind coming off the mountains, spitting the tops off the cascading breakers.

I took my first wave at Sarge's after asking one of the only two guys out if the wave faces were bumpy. "It's starting to get a little bumpy," he said. I paddled hard for an overhead set wave and had to drag myself through the face of a howling offshore updraft that wanted to deny me entry. I barely pulled myself in, very late, and immediately entered a black diamond mogul run that lasted the full 100 yard ride, my board chattering and bucking all the way. Enough of that...Gdubs had waves and it didn't look as bumpy.

I surfed with a half dozen others for the next two hours. With the high tide and offshore wind, dropping in on a SUP is a hard fought battle. You earn every wave. After starting to SUP last September in the gentle waves of Fall, I've since started a weight training program for Winter surf. There's no other way. Get strong, get fit, or get skunked. I never trained for leg strength in lay down surfing, in SUPing it's a must. With the greater thickness and float of a SUP the rider must lean and lean hard into every turn and especially to hold a fast line, down the line. Let up for a second and lose your speed, lose your line, take a swim.

With so much swell energy in the water, and the consistent nature of the waves I barely got any water shots, and they weren't very good. I always had my eye out for the next set on the horizon.

As forecast, this swell is set to retreat before another pops back up Friday night/Saturday morning. This weekend's swell is forecast to be bigger than today's. After waffling back and forth Jeff Clark finally gave the green light for the Mav's big wave contest to go Saturday. This after telling a bunch of guys that it was off and sending them to Oregon for the Nelscott tow-in contest. So be it. We've still got the real deal in my 'hood for the next couple days at least.

I encourage everyone to head to 1/2 Moon Bay (Princeton By The Sea for those who know) to watch the pro's conquer the big ones for fame and fortune. If being out in the elements isn't your thing, view it on the web at CBS Sportsline or take a little drive over to AT&T Park where, for $20 to $25, you can get it all at the Field Club Lounge. For more info click here for the Mav's contest website.
January 10, 2008 (Th)
In: 0750
1st Wave: n/a
Out: 1005
Wave count: n/a
AT= 50 - 53 degrees
WT= 53 degrees at the farshore buoy
Wx: Overcast with very light rain
Tide: 4.3 Rising to 5.4
Wind: North at 2 mph to ENE at 1 mph
Sea Surface: Rolling and bumpy sea with offshore wind mottling
Buoy: NWS
0700: 14.1 @ 16 WNW
0800: 12.5 @ 14.8 WNW
1000: 11.5 @ 16 WNW
1100: 10.8 @ 16 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinty paddle
Rock reefs
Waves: 8-10 feet at 15 seconds (Nearshore buoy approx. ave.) Storm Surf Buoy Model

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