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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Unexpected Small Waves

Went for a paddle this morning expecting to do just that...paddle. Headed off through Sarges to inside GDubs and took a couple pics, watched a set roll through Scimi's and into inside GDubs. Hey, that almost looks ridable, says I. Long story short, surfed for an hour and a half alone in pretty consistent little windswell generated waves that every once in a while put up a very clean, long wall that just keep goin' all the way to the inside flats. Wind was up really early, at paddle out and kept slowly increasing. Not great conditions, but the fun factor canceled out the negative wind direction and velocity.

The real south isn't even coming until tomorrow. Gotta dawn patrol really early 'cause the final EMT skills test is at 1000. The first blip of 15 second interval south showed on the Harvest buoy at 0730. It filled in around noon and should be showing here around dark give or take an hour or so.
May 30, 2008 (F)
In: 0759
Out: 0942
AT= 56 to 60 degrees
WT= 52.3 degrees at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Cloud cover slowly clearing to high wispy clouds in the north and cumulus in the south
Tide: 3.3 Falling to 2.7
Wind: Light to 6 mph SW
Sea Surface: Light wind rippling
Buoy: NWS
0600: 3.3 feet @ 10.8 NW
0700: 3.3 feet @ 10.8 WNW
1000: 3.3 feet @ 10 WNW
1100: 3.9 feet @ 10 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with Bluecoil 5.5" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: 2.0 feet at 8 seconds from 320 degrees and 1.5 feet at 12 seconds from 185 degrees

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Small Waves; Cool Temps

The small south swell is slowly fading and some small waves are being generated by local winds. Both the nearshore and farshore buoys show the south swell being replaced by west to WNW wind swell.

Meanwhile on the weather side, temps for the last week have been unseasonably cool. There is a high level low pressure trough that is keeping upper atmospheric temps chilly, thus driving down the temps at the surface. On the up side though, water temps are continuing to rise steadily. Buoys have been posting water temps up to 55 degrees the last several days. Additionally the abnormal weather conditions are producing deep blue skies punctuated by miles of shadowy cumulus clouds. Unusual for this time of year, and very beautiful.

A new south swell is supposed to be making it's way north, hitting late Friday or during the weekend.

Thanks to Wikimedia for the pic, not mine, but this is exactly how it looked at one of my local beaches this morning when I took the dog (name Cloud of course) for a walk.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Little Southern Comfort

I shoulda cracked it this morning. At 0700 hours the south had filled in complete. It was showing on both buoys. The webcams were flat. The big boys missed it again and were panning the dawn patrol. I didn't think the small southerly pulses were going to amount to anything either. So I took my 9" blade paddle just to do some paddling, and maybe catch a wave or two.

As I was warming up, I saw two, four wave sets pour through GDubs putting up clean shoulders in a glassy, cold water sea. No one out. I paddled over and got it to myself for twenty minutes before Sam paddled out and we surfed it together for another half hour. Waves and sets were consistent. We barely had time to chat, and were always interrupting our stories and then picking them up again when we weren't individually paddling or surfing. As the tide lowered it started sectioning pretty bad. Two longboarders paddled out and the four of us were just too much for what the waves had turned into. I called it a day and headed back to Sarges where I ran in to John on his SUP.

He talked me into paddling a mile down to another reef and I'm glad he did. We surfed there together for about an hour, catching fun little lines behind the peak and riding through to the fast and shallow inside shore break. We had it to ourselves most the time.

Finally we paddled back, catching five or six more waves on various reefs as we journeyed to the take-out at Sarges. A three hour surf in waves I didn't think were going to exist. If I was on a lay down board I wouldn't have bothered.

On the SUP I got my paddle in and a whole load of waves to boot.
May 27, 2008 (Tu)
In: 0800
Out: 1100
AT= 51 to 59 degrees
WT= 51.5 degrees at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Broken cloud cover
Tide: 1.5 Falling to .26
Wind: Calm to 6 mph SSW
Sea Surface: Calm to light wind rippling
Buoy: NWS
0800: 3.3 feet @ 13.8 S
0900: 3.3 feet @ 14.8 S
1000: 3.6 feet @ 14.8 S
1100: 3.3 feet @ 13.8 S
1200: 3.3 feet @ 14.8 S
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with Bluecoil 5.5" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: 1.7 feet at 8 seconds from 320 degrees and 2.1 feet at 14 seconds from 200 degrees

Monday, May 26, 2008

Let Summer Begin

Most say that the "unofficial" first day of summer is the Memorial Day weekend, or for short just Memorial Day. Even though we know that the "real" first day of summer is June 20 or 21st (also the longest day of the year and known as the Summer Solstice), for lack of a better argument and because I probably just don't give a rip, I'll go along with the Memorial Day saying.

I guess what did that for me today was seeing all the boats tied up at the C-Town moorings, just off the C-Town Wharf. The moorings are run by the boat rentals wharf crew who also rent just about everything else under the sun that floats (except surfboards and SUPs.) I imagine they'll catch on one of these days soon.

A very small south swell started showing last night around midnight on the farshore buoy, and is starting to blip the nearshore buoy as of this writing. I had coffee with Joanna and Sean this morning and on the way over saw some weak lines at NB's which surprised me. I checked it at the Central Overlook and lo and behold there were some small and weak waves at the C-Town reef. I'm not holding my breath for anything to come of all this. As a matter of fact it probably won't amount to much, as nothing else was showing very well. I even checked the beach breaks and while rideable surf is present, it's small.

Weather is clearing as one low pressure trough moves east, only to be replaced by another that is sitting right over NorCal and the NPAC. This one is supposed to stick around into the coming week, contributing to the unseasonably cool temps and light onshore wind flow.

The firefighters have got a handle on the Summit Fire with 70% containment and only smoke from the backfire ops visible. There were a bunch of SCFD, Local 1171 brothers and sisters on the fire, staffing three Type I engines on a Strike Team assigned to structure protection. Word is they saved a few homes with hard and fast work, good house prep and defense. The Cal Fire folks are going to be busy all summer putting out hotspots. What a drag! The glory-time is over.
May 26, 2008 (M)
Buoy: NWS
1100: 3.9 feet @ 16 S
1200: 3.6 feet @ 9.1 NW
1300: 3.3 feet @ 12.1 S
1400: 3.6 feet @ 10 NW
1500: 3.6 feet @ 9.1 NW
CDIP: 2.4 feet at 8 seconds from 320 degrees and 1.3 feet at 12 seconds from 180 degrees

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Seas and Waves to Calm

The foreseeable future for surf looks like a patient on Prozac. Very calm. While there is a slight glimmer of 12 to 14 second period about four days out, everything else looks pretty local. That is, whatever we're going to get will be from nearby. No long distance swells in sight.

The satellite pic tells the story. Winds in the NPAC are light and disorganized. Since there are no sat pics from the SPAC that are similar to the NPAC views, the model pic of the Souther Pacific Ocean is from Wave Watch 3, a great model to do some swell tracking from.

Wx here is very May Gray/June Gloom and progged to stay that way at least through the middle of next week. Time to cross-train, distance paddle, take a walk on the water, get ready for the Jay Race and the next big south swell or wind swell.

So far though, May 2008 has been more productive than May 2007. If we're in for a flat spell then we've certainly had some waves to sate us if things get lean for the rest of the month.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Big Wind; Big Fire

The predicted gale force winds descended like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse about two hours after I paddled out this morning at 0620. At about 0530 a forest fire ignited at the Summit in the mountains and by the time I reached the line-up it was already going pretty good. Even though the winds in the mountains were relatively light, a heavy and dry fuel load contributed to making the Asbestos Forest (as we used to call it in the CDF (now CalFIRE) burn like the California foothills in October. Not a good sign for this years western fire season.

Thirty-seven miles due east at the farshore buoy, the wind was sustaining at 30 knots and gusting to 40. I was hoping for some bigger waves than were actually blown up by the powerful northerly winds. Size was in the waist to shoulder high range. It was pretty consistent though, and the high tide made for the usual racy sections.

Jamie was all alone at Sarges on his new Junod quad when I paddled out. Tide was low, just starting to rise. I caught a few there before paddling over to GDubs where I got my best waves of the day right off the bat surfing by myself. Soon Greg paddled over, then we were joined by a couple stand up guys (John and MikieB) and then Sam a little later. There were plenty of waves for all though, as the wind was putting up a whole bunch of fast peelers.

I surfed for three hours until the winds began to really blow offshore (sustained 10 mph with gusts of 15) which made just standing on your board almost as much of a chore as dropping in. My toughest paddle of day was paddling in to the beach against the wind.
May 22, 2008 (Th)
In: 0620
Out: 0920
AT= 44 to 64 degrees
WT= 49.8 degrees at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Clear with a large column of smoke
Tide: -0.41 Falling to -0.59 Rising to 0.12
Wind: Calm to 9mph, gusting to 16 from NNE
Sea Surface: Calm to wind rippled in the kelp
Buoy: NWS
0600: 9.8 feet @ 11.4 NW
0700: 9.8 feet @ 11.4 NW
0800: 8.5 feet @ 11.4 NW
0900: 12.8 feet @ 11.4 NW
1000: 9.5 feet @ 11.4 NW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with Bluecoil 5.5" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: 13.3 feet at 11 seconds from 325 degrees and 1.3 feet at 14 seconds from 175 degrees

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

South Still Kickin' It

The NW winds are starting to fire up and they've blown the inversion layer and overcast temporarily off the face of the CWA. The waves were a little smaller this morning and I really missed another fun and uncrowded session in clear, glassy conditions. I tweaked my back yesterday pumping out bottom turns on the Takayama. Went to the bone cruncher who made the right moves but the back (along with my mending hammy from last week) was still a little tender this AM. Figured I'd sit this one out in hope that I'll get a few low tide, wind swell grinders tomorrow morning.

Waves were setting up all along the reefs, multiple take off locations. Two guys at GDubs. Waves were fast and steep. No speed? Then sleep with the fishes 'cause you're goin' down.

Ran into a ton of people on Sarge's landing. Sean and Todd were the two lucky riders in the water, scoring wave after wave after wave. No one out but them. Many were probably waiting for the tide to rise a bit so they could get over the kelp. Priscilla and Michael were not of that ilk though and paddled out as I was leaving. Maybe they'll drop a line or two about how it was.
Buoy: NWS
0400: 2 feet @ 13.3 WSW
0700: 3.3 feet @ 10.5 WNW
0800: 3.9 feet @ 10.5 WNW
0900: 3.6 feet @ 10.5 WNW
1000: 4.6 feet @ 11.1 WNW
CDIP: 10.4 feet at 9 seconds from 330 degrees and 2.3 feet at 14 seconds from 180 degrees

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Surprise! South Makes It In

I've taken notice of a couple sporadic lines of buoy data the last 24 hours showing a 4 feet at 17 seconds south swell. I thought they were aberrations from a buoy that needs some maintenance. But this morning the nearshore buoy reported five solid hours of 4 to 5 foot waves at 16-17 seconds from the south. Worth a look.

I paddled out at 0630 under overcast skies with a light southwest wind blowing already. Conditions weren't great but they did not spoil the somewhat inconsistent three to six foot, four to five wave sets that rolled through all morning long. Low tide rising didn't hurt either. I surfed by myself and caught a dozen waves until 0700 when I was joined by Mash, Luke and MikieB on their SUPs. We surfed for another two hours, joined by John and a couple others. That was the peak of us. We got more than our fair share.

Everyone slept in. No one saw this one coming because the prognosticators and Surfline missed it too. They all thought the south was too steep to get into the Bay. All other spots were empty as well. Second bowl at Scimi's had no riders (this bowl is usually as crowded as first peak). GDubs had four guys riding all the waves they could catch.

MikieB borrowed a 10'3" Takayama Surftech demo SUP and we all got a chance to try it. At 27" wide and 4" thick it was something of a challenge to stand on at first, but I soon got the balance part down. I caught a couple waves, one of which was my best ride of the day on a head high screamer that kept putting up makeable sections in front of me for the entire 150 yard ride. The board surfs like a performance longboard. It feels light and is very responsive. I was pushing some hard bottom turns, coming right back off the top, accelerating and doing it again, and again on down the line. On the down side, I expended a lot of energy paddling and balancing. The board also seems to push water a bit when paddling. Twenty minutes and two waves is hardly enough time to fairly judge a board but my overall summary is that the 10'3" Tak is a high performance surfing board, but not something I'd want to paddle in rougher water. A great surfer, but not the best all-rounder. In choppy conditions or on an uneven sea surface in the line-up there would be no rest and that would give me less quality energy for surfing. I could get used to it though...if I was thirty years younger.

I was so busy paddling wide around the various peaks, and paddling hard to make it over the inside waves, and then catching my own waves that I didn't get many pics. Too bad because there were a lot of good waves ridden.
May 20, 2008 (Tu)
In: 0627
Out: 0900
AT= 52 to 53 degrees
WT= 52.3 degrees at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Overcast
Tide: -0.56 Rising to 1.1
Wind: WSW at 2 mph to 6 mph from ESE
Sea Surface: Light wind rippling to calm to wind rippled
Buoy: NWS
0600: 5.6 feet @ 17.4 SSW
0700: 5.2 feet @ 14.8 S
0800: 5.9 feet @ 14.8 S
0900: 5.2 feet @ 16 SSW
1000: 5.2 feet @ 16 S
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with Bluecoil 5.5" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: 3.6 feet at 11 seconds from 290 degrees and 3.9 feet at 17 seconds from 185 degrees

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring Weather Returns; Swell Fading

Fog and the infamous inversion layer began making a comeback yesterday (Sunday) with a vengeance. Surf webcams are useless this morning unless you like staring at a solid gray screen.

Still rehabing the hamstring, I took CloudyBoy our dog for a walk along the beach at Resorts. Fog began blowing in from the east on a very breezy and chilly wind late, around 4:30PM. By the time we'd walked down to the Trestle and back it had already filled in the mile distance, and was working it's way up the Bay.

Surf was stormy looking at about three to five with no surfable ramps, corners or shoulders that I could ever see.

NWS predicting bigtime winds starting up tomorrow. Already water temps are coming back down from a high of 55 to 52 at this writing. The big wind could kick up some wind swell to mix with the combo small south that's in the water, or it could just be a big mess. Currently even the dawn patrol has wind from the East, southeast.

CDIP: At 0500 PST - 4.6 feet at 12 seconds from 295 degrees and 1.5 feet at 17 seconds from 180 degrees

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hot Wx Fading; Surf About The Same

I gotta get out more. While I didn't surf today (I tweaked my hamstring on my last wave yesterday, not bad enough to be non-ambulatory but needing some therapy) waves in town appeared to be about the same. The best spots had some good waves in the head high plus range. But the beaches heading towards Mo-Town were out of control.

San$ was putting up double to 3X overhead sets in closing out, victory at sea conditions. The shore pound looked like Ehukai Beach Park. It was death conditions, assuming you could even make it out, and there were no takers except one guy on a soft-top who made it about 25 feet before being lunched.

The fog is starting to make it's way back into the Bay and the cool down is soon to follow. Me and the missus drove home via Plattys just to check it and I wasn't surprised to see that while the swell was showing, it was significantly stunted compared to San$. Just the way the swell was angling into the Bay gave all the power and punch to the beaches which were pretty much unsurfable, especially after the light wind conditions of yesterday vanished today.

Hope this coastal battering doesn't ruin the sand bars for the guys that have been longboarding Sunrise Beach these last few weeks.
May 17, 2008 (Sa)
AT= 53 to 71 degrees (24 hours)(in C-Town)
WT= 54.5 degrees at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Sunny and breezy winds at the beaches
Tide: Low in the morning; slack at mid-afternoon
Wind: 6 to 10 mph at max from East/ESE (in town)
Sea Surface: Totally wind blown at the beaches
Buoy: NWS
1300: 6.2 feet @ 11.4 WNW
1400: 5.9 feet @ 14.8 W
1500: 6.6 feet @ 12.9 WNW
1600: 6.2 feet @ 13.8 WNW
1700: 6.2 feet @ 12.9 WNW
CDIP: 7.1 feet at 14 seconds from 295 degrees and 0.8 feet at 14 seconds from 200 degrees

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hot Wx Part 3 - Swell Fills In Late

After waiting all day, the swell finally filled in late, around 3PM. But only the best spots were breaking with any size, and even then there wasn't a lot of juice. Call it an aberrational late season NPAC swell, like a mutant with stunted growth, not quite whole...but sweet in it's own limping way.

I checked the dawn patrol but even though the buoys were showing 12 second periods, the waves were weak. I went home and went back to bed. (One of the benefits of being semi-retired.) Weather was superb, better than yesterday with temps at the beach in the 80's. Headed back to Sarges and paddled out around 3P. Caught a few waves there but the word was out and the weekend crowd was filling in as fast as the swell. Met Sonja who was out for her first SUP in an Angulo 10'8". For her first time she ripped! Balanced, poised, paddling well, and even caught her first SUP wave. Another surfer hooked on SUP no doubt.

Since it was crowded I paddled down to the Point and back surfing different breaks in between. One minor confrontation with a rabid local at Scimi's, but hey, he had a point. Even though I had no intention of taking any waves at the crowded spots, he wanted me to move on. Could he have been more articulate and tactful...of course, but we're dealing with surfers here, and I know this guy has a rep as a hot head. So whatever. I just treated him like a big dog. Good boy, I hear ya, take it easy big fella, see ya later.

But while I was there I got a nice pic sequence of a guy on a longboard. (Published a couple here.) Got a couple waves off peak and then moved on to the Point where I picked up another wave in ultra-crowded conditions, then back to Sarges. A nice paddle on a nice day.

I'll probably sit tomorrow out and let the crowd have their way in the fading swell. Could be the last NPAC action we all see until next Fall. I'm glad I got some of it today.
May 16, 2008 (F)
In: 1455
Out: 1620
AT= 76 to 69 degrees
WT= 52 degrees at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Sunny and hot with very light high clouds
Tide: 1.68 Rising to 2.3 feet
Wind: SSW at 5 mph to South East at 5 mph
Sea Surface: Glassy in the kelp to wind ripples
Buoy: NWS
1400: 6.2 feet @ 14.8 WNW
1500: 6.6 feet @ 16 WNW
1600: 6.6 feet @ 14.8 WNW
1700: 6.2 feet @ 14.8 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with Bluecoil 5.5" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: 5.5 feet at 14 seconds from 296 degrees and 1.1 feet at 12 seconds from 170 degrees