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

Monday, June 30, 2008

South Swell Peaks

It looks like the south swell peaked this morning about 10AM. CDIP showed it as 1.4 feet at 10 seconds from 300 degrees and 2.8 @ 17 secs from 295. It appears to be headed down now, easing off into a gentle nothingness with nothing on the horizon from the southern hemisphere in our immediate future. NW winds are supposed to pick up, but right now they are showing only 6 knots WNW gusting to 7 kts. Not enough to make much surf. We may be in for a flat spell.

Jamie pulled up to the gate this morning in the dark, just after I twisted off the headlight switch. We suited up and he paddled to Sarges in the dim morning light while I opted for Yellow House, hoping for a few low tide peelers. I got three (only one of which had any excitement to it) and paddled over to Sarge's to surf a few with Jamie. Conditions and surf was a lot like yesterday. Not much in the way of healthy sets, but a few good ones here and there. After a while we were joined by Barry (recently retired from the SJFD (IAFF L230)...congrats brother!) and Joanna.

Because there weren't a lot of waves I paddled down towards GDubs to see what was up. Like yesterday even the dawn patrol was peopled by three, and that swelled to eleven by 0630. Like yesterday it was sectiony and with that many folks out, people secure their place in the lineup by sitting too deep, only to be snuffed by the unmakeable take-off section. My rule (and I really try to honor it) is NEVER take off on a wave that someone already has...NO MATTER WHAT! Because south swells tend to be sectiony (especially at low tide) there really isn't a down the line off peak that is clearly differentiated from the main peaks and it's sub-peaks or sub-sections. Therefore, until the tide gets high enough to remedy the sectiony dilemma, one often has to take off on a wave that someone has, but probably isn't going to make. Some people are reasonable about this, and know how it works. Others aren't, and taking off on "their wave" is anathema. Add my SUP to that equation and it's a recipe for "bad vibe beef". Therefore, I just avoid those spots in favor of peace and tranquility and surf another peak or part of the reef, unless for some reason only a very few people are surfing. (That doesn't seem to happen much during summer south swells.)

Even though I don't always get the very best waves, I get a lot of good waves and that counts for fun to me. Like today, I rode way down the line at Tres Casas. I was the only one on the peak and even though the waves were generally smaller and less consistent, the rides weren't always shorter, and there were some fun and fast, steep makeable sections in the morning's mix. Life is good...and cold.

Today was what I call a Mark Twain morning, you know, the famous misquote attributed to Twain that the "coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Even though the buoys show the water temps warming, today's thick, gray overcast was accompanied by a light on and off drizzle all morning. To top that off, the wind was up early, taking turns blowing from the southwest and northwest. Even in my 4/3 Psycho, 3mm booties and O'Neill thinskins hood, after two and a half hours, the balls of my feet and a couple fingers went numb.

Near the end of the session I paddled over to talk with Greg about his new SUP. He was surfing at GDubs and Scimi's on his laydown 10'10" Surftech. Greg said he's been stand up paddling his 11'9' Angulo Nui in C-Town and now his wife has caught the bug. She ordered one of the last 2008 Olohe 10'4"s which Andy (over on River Street) is selling for a great price. At $1200 bucks it's a fantastic deal considering the build quality and paddle-ability/surf-ability of the board. It will be a SUP she'll keep for a long, long time. I asked him if she started out on his board, the bigger board, 'cause it would be easier to learn on. Greg said no, his wife is one of those natural athlete types. She hopped right up on the 10'4" Andy brought for her to try and paddled right over to the reef and picked up her first wave! Of course it helps too that she's been surfing for about 30 years.

Camera: I clicked a few shots with the ISO set at 400 this morning and the flash went off. I bumped it up to 1600. The readout is a few very grainy shots, and while not very pretty, they are representative of the surfing this morning. I'll set the speed back to 800 tomorrow and see if that improves the quality.

The hazy, smoky conditions are still with us, and I'm afraid they will be all summer. This afternoon a long, flat, gray cloud lay over the land and out to sea at the south end of the bay. It's genesis grew from tendrils extending back up and over the hills and valleys straight into the fires in the Los Padres National Forest. The cloud was tinged with brown soot. A light coating of drift ash continues to fingerprint every exposed surface with proof that all is not well.
June 30, 2008 (M)
In: 0537
Out: 0807
AT= 54 degrees
WT= 56 degrees at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Overcast and gray and drizzly, marine layer at 1500 ft.
Tide: .44 Rising to 2.57
Wind: Light from the SW and NW
Sea Surface: Light wind ripples to some brief moments of pure glass
Buoy: NWS
0500: 3.6 feet @ 16 S
0600: 3.3 feet @ 16 S
0700: 3.6 feet @ 16 S
0800: 3.3 feet @ 17.4 SSW
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: (0600 hours) 1.0 feet at 8 seconds from 320 degrees and 2.6 feet at 17 seconds from 185 degrees

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