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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fun Sunday Morning Session

Wave Yarder Andy and I met at the gate at zero dark hundred and were paddling out 20 minutes later. Already four people in the line-up at Sarges, so we headed to Casa Roja to slide under the peak and down the line, through the kelp beds and into the halibut pond.

Andy did his wave machine thing and was on the merry-go-round. I got my fair share too in the fun, but a bit inconsistent, knee to waist high peelers. The forecast offshores fired up, light and gentle, and persisted for our entire session. Fog was light and playful, temps warm. The steadily declining, nearshore wind swell, has put up some fun waves for the last two days, peaking yesterday afternoon and evening, but leaving lot's to play on this morning.

It seems like all the dawn patrol regulars out this morning: Shawn and his main squeeze Joanna; Greg; John; Whitty; Herbie; Barry and I'm probably forgetting some. But like I told Michael...two things happen when you get old. One is, you become forgetful. The other is...well, I can't remember that one right now.

Didn't get too many pics as I was too busy sweepin' and talkin'. Andy's hand built, wood SUP is almost ready for christening. Being the craftsman that he is, Andy's not happy with the final coats of varnish, so between vacationing back east with the family, and going back to work, is waiting for a hole in his schedule so he can finish the Wave Yarder with the final and perfect flourishes it needs. Pics here when we do our pre-launch photo shoot.
Aug 31, 2008 (Su)
In: 0620
Out: 0830
AT= 51.9F to 57.2F
WT= 58.5F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Partly cloudy with some low fog
Tide: .2 Rising to 2.5
Wind: Light NE (offshore) 1 to 4 mph
Sea Surface: Smooth with some light wind mottling
Buoy: NWS
0300: 9.5 feet @ 10.8 NW
1000: 10.5 feet @ 10.8 WNW
1100: 11.2 feet @ 10.8 WNW
1600: 5.6 feet @ 10.8 NW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (0700 hours) 10.7 feet at 10 seconds from 320 degrees and .9 feet at 14 seconds from 175 degrees

Friday, August 29, 2008

Michael Does SUP

I can always tell the ones who will pop right up, and go paddling off into the distance with me struggling to keep up. Michael was one of those. An accomplished surfer, they are the easiest ones to "teach."

And true to form, he popped right up, and went paddling off into the distance, heading for the pier, then Sarges, then GDubs and then the point. Hey Michael, wait for me! (Of course it doesn't hurt when he's on the Angulo Nui 11-9 SUP. A great beginners board and the one I always put first-timers on!)

The day started out foggy as we paddled out from C-Town Main, and then turned into a gorgeous, soft light, sunshine morning. Sea surface was smooth as glass. Waves were about the same as they've been all week. Surf was on the small side. No one out at Sarges and GDubs when we paddled through. One guy at Scimi's and then the usual crowd at the point.

On the way back to Main we stopped and chatted with Mike and Steve, who were on their SUPs dragging down a few knee snappers at Sarges. I had to speed paddle back to feed the meters, but I left Michael in good hands for some SUP surfing instructions from the boyz.

Out at 0900, Gayle's for coffee and goodies, then O'Neill's for the annual Labor Day sale in the warm sun shining. Did I say, Life is Good?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nothin' But Wind Swell II

Perfect conditions and a warm, offshore morning greeted us today. It was the first time I've seen the full sun on dawn patrol this month. It felt good! As for the surf, everything was the same except that it was a bit smaller. Sarges and GDubs weren't even breaking. Scimi's was small, Bowlies wasn't even breaking, everyone was on TwoBees. Tres Eights was marginal, but there were (again) some halfway decent waves at the point.

Steve was out when I paddled over from Sarges. Lighting was good for pics, but like yesterday, the waves were inconsistent. And again, it was too crowded for a real comfortable surf, but did manage to catch a few. The weather was so good it really didn't matter. I would have paddled out even if it was dead flat.

Speaking about dead, the dead seal that's been floating in the kelp beds for the last couple weeks managed to wash ashore at Sarges. That ought to be an interesting logistical carcass removal project. Maybe the same high tide that washed it in, will wash it out again? Or maybe just over to the nudie beach. That should rip their shorts. Wait a minute, they don't have shorts...
Aug 27, 2008 (W)
In: 0630
Out: 0845
AT= 51F to 67.9F
WT= 58.5F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Clear and sunny with cloudless skies
Tide: 2.2 Rising to 3.8
Wind: Light NE (offshore) to calm
Sea Surface: Light wind mottling with backwash from the cliffs
Buoy: NWS
0600: 9.8 feet @ 10 WNW
0700: 10.5 feet @ 10 NW
0800: 10.2 feet @ 10 NW
0900: 9.5 feet @ 10 NW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (0700 hours) 8.3 feet at 9 seconds from 320 degrees and .7 feet at 12 seconds from 170 degrees

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nothin' But Wind Swell I

Local wind swell is the name of the game this week. Four to seven feet at nine to ten seconds, NW or WNW...take your choice.

Paddled out at 0630, through Sarges and onto GDubs where Paul and Forrest were already milking a few low rollers in the kelp. Waves were small, knee to waist at best. Tide was rising, but not much of a boost from the tidal push was evident.

Paddled through Scimi's on my way to the point. Stopped and chatted with Michael. Good to see Nancy back out in the water. At 0645 a SE wind came up which was nice for the downwind paddle to the point. But I knew it would get me on the way home.

Point waves weren't all that bad considering there isn't much going on. Crowded as usual though, with not enough waves to go around. Paddle over to Shizizit Peak just to view the tops of the wave throw out over the reef. A couple guys out there but I just didn't want to fight the steep drops, even on the small waves. Steve and Whit were out back at the point so I SUP surfed with them for an hour or so before heading back to Sarge's for the take-out.

All in all got a bunch of small and soft waves (perfect for the SUP) and even managed to paddle into a nice peak with a hittable section down the line (that quickly faded into the equivalent of a fur lined toilet seat.) Soft and cushy. A decent 2.5 hour workout.
Aug 26, 2008 (Tu)
In: 0630
Out: 0830
AT= 54.1F to 55.6F
WT= 58.3F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Light fog and overcast
Tide: 2.8 Rising to 3.8
Wind: Calm to moderate SE
Sea Surface: Light wind mottling with backwash from the cliffs
Buoy: NWS
0500: 7.5 feet @ 9.1 NW
0700: 7.5 feet @ 9.1 NW
1000: 8.5 feet @ 9.1 NW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (0700 hours) 6.2 feet at 9 seconds from 325 degrees and 1.0 feet at 14 seconds from 195 degrees

Friday, August 22, 2008

2nd Day NW Swell A No Show

After a surprisingly good day of surf yesterday, the second (and forecast bigger) day of the NPAC ground swell turned out to be a dud. While it can't be said that there were no waves, compared to yesterday, surf was small and inconsistent. Consensus seems to be that a steeper swell angle on day two doomed the area to second class waves. This may be true, but the 0700 CDIP real time readings just aren't that far apart. Yesterday's CDIP at 0700: 5.9 feet at 11 seconds from 305 degrees and 1.7 feet at 17 seconds from 195 degrees. Today's CDIP at 0700: 7.7 feet at 11 seconds from 310 degrees and 1.0 feet at 14 seconds from 195 degrees. Perhaps five degrees makes the difference, or maybe it was the bigger south se, but food for thought.

Conditions matched the poor waves with a return to the previous gloomy August weather we've been experiencing. While yesterday it was 80F in C-town and absolutely drop dead gorgeous weather, today was high fog and overcast with light drizzle, in a word, horrid.

Ever the optimist I paddled out at 0600. I could barely see. One other longboarder beat me out and we traded turns and waves for about a half hour before we were joined by Michael, Priscilla, Patrick and John on his SUP. Priscilla was the first to suggest that the swell angle was too steep. Later Tim, longtime surfer and Eastsider, agreed with her diagnosis.

Being disappointed, I decided to go for a paddle up to the point and back, maybe bagging a few rides along the way. Everything was pretty crowded, and the surf wasn't really better any place else.

When I arrived back at where I started, Whitty was out. Brother Joe shot this pic of him on one of today's typical waves.

All in all, there were a few good sliders to ride, but I was hoping for so much better that I probably spoiled it for myself by expecting too much. Gerry Lopez is right. "Surf is where you find it."

All SUP photos by Brother Joe

Aug 22, 2008 (F)
In: 0600
Out: 0800
AT= 53.8F to 57.5F
WT= 58.3F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Fog and overcast, light drizzle
Tide: 2.7 Falling to 2.1
Wind: Calm to moderate SE
Sea Surface: Light wind mottling with some periodic backwash from the cliffs
Buoy: NWS
0300: 8.5 feet @ 13.8 WNW
0600: 8.9 feet @ 12.1 WNW
0900: 9.2 feet @ 10.8 WNW
1000: 8.5 feet @ 12.9 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (0700 hours) 7.7 feet at 11 seconds from 310 degrees and 1.0 feet at 14 seconds from 195 degrees

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Early Season WNW Starts To Fill In

Another early Fall season WNW began filling in this morning, accompanied by a general change in conditions, ushered in by warming water, and the beginning of the end of the Summer season fog pattern.

I've been tracking this storm since Monday (8/18), which spun up for real Tuesday and Wednesday before crashing into the Washington/Oregon coast yesterday and today. All the data seemed to indicate good waves coming, and today we started seeing the fruits of the storm.

It felt good to see the pre-dawn glow and rising sun this morning as I paddled out and into noticeably improved swells at Sarges. Made the call to head immediately to GDubs, just because it's usually bigger there. It was a good call. Bluegrass Banjo Paul was already on it (hard to beat him into the line-up) and pulling down some nice long walls and the occasional bankable corner. I too was soon paddling into some of those nice long walls, with quick and makeable folding sections. Waves were comfortably in the waist to shoulder high range, with set waves going head high. Kelp is still a factor, but with waves finally washing ashore in sets of four or five, there was enough water volume to float you over the tops of the kelp during the best sets.

We surfed for about 40 minutes before JohnMark and then Joe and Barry joined us. One more longboarder paddled out who I recognized but haven't met yet. They were mostly on the main peak, but Barry and I were riding the wide ones just pointside of Casa Roja.

I got my best waves in the first hour and a half. Waves after that were softer, and lacked the punch of the early session, but were still fun, and there were a lot of 'em. Eric arrived late on his 10-4 Angulo Olohe SUP and picked off a couple sweet set waves with us, before I called it a morning. I decided I needed to save some for tomorrow, when the main body of the swell makes landfall.

Conditions were near perfect. The day was warm from the start. Water temps are up near 60F degrees. The last three weeks I've been dressed for Winter, today I was out of the 5/4 and into the SoCal 3/2, no booties or head cover.

A perfectly painted dawn segued into dense and impenetrable (from the shore) cotton candy fog. It's amazing how many people won't paddle out when they can hear the waves, but can't see them. Mother nature's crowd control. Works for me.

Paddled down to Sarges for the exit and surfed a while with Patrick, Priscilla, Michael, Dean and John S. on his 10-8 Angulo Beachboy. Lucked into a beautiful head high set wave at Sarges which put up three nice bankable sections and held up like I was Hawaiian royalty, all the way across the pocket beach, . Lot's of roller coastering on that one, and trying to practice John A.'s Pole Plant Snap Pivot move.

A fun warm-up session while looking forward to tomorrow's (hopefully) bigger waves.

It is interesting to note and compare today's waves and wave data, with last Saturday's post. Everything was very similar, but I would have to say that today's waves were better, more consistent, bigger with better shape. Both day's waves were birthed in the same nursery, but today's waves are forerunners of a more powerful swell yet to come.
Aug 21, 2008 (Th)
In: 0617
Out: 0845
AT= 58.4F to 61.6F
WT= 58.6 - 59F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Clear to heavy fog
Tide: 2.6 Falling to 2.1
Wind: Light offshore to calm to light SE then SW
Sea Surface: Glassy with some periodic backwash from Scimi's
Buoy: NWS
0400: 6.2 feet @ 10.8 WNW
0700: 6.6 feet @ 10 WNW
0800: 6.2 feet @ 10.8 WNW
0900: 6.6 feet @ 10.8 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (0700 hours) 5.9 feet at 11 seconds from 305 degrees and 1.7 feet at 17 seconds from 195 degrees

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cooler Summer and Cold Water Brings More Sealife and Kelp

My speculations that the cooler weather and water has spawned more sea life and more kelp seem to be true. In an article published by online magazine MetroActive this past July, scientists confirmed that the conditions that have made for a cooler summer have been driven by winds and upwelling.

In a nutshell, upwelling is a condition created when strong winds literally blow the warmer, top layer of ocean surface water away, thus allowing the colder water underneath to rise up, or well up. This upwelling brings an enormous food supply that is the start of the food chain. Everything living in the ocean benefits.

The rich supply of nutrients also benefits the kelp beds which many are saying are much larger this year than last. And they are right. Kelp loves cold water and food. The growth has been prolific.

Water temperatures are starting to warm now in the bay, and as we head into Fall, warmer weather will set in. I love nature, but I'm looking forward to the kelp thinning so the surf riding playing field can become a lot less obstructed.

What follows are some excerpts from the article. You can read the whole thing here.

Thanks to James for his very "cool" photo.

"Phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that form the base of the marine food chain, don't put on much of a show, but their abundance this year has drawn huge schools of rockfish, massive flocks of seabirds, hundreds of dolphins and dozens of whales spread out for miles along the bay's famous submarine canyon. Francisco Chavez has been studying these tiny but crucial organisms for the past 20 years at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and this is one of the best years he's seen in quite a while. The main reason for this is the strong winds that drive a process known as coastal upwelling, in which cold and nutrient-rich water lying about 60 meters below the surface is thrown to the top of the water column. Chavez describes this cold deep-sea water as the compost of the sea. Without it, phytoplankton growth is stymied and larger marine life has a hard time finding food. This was the situation from 2004 to 2006, when a lack of upwelling set off a great deal of hand wringing among marine biologists and fishing fleets. This year, however, Chavez has good news. "In the 20-year record, 2008 was the coolest year we've seen in the bay," reports Chavez. "That cooler water is like compost—material has sunk there and degraded. So when you bring that compost to the surface and put it in contact with sun, you stimulate growth that the whales, porpoises and rockfish feed on." A larger marine process known as the California current is also helping funnel nutrients to the Monterey Bay this year. The current is located about 200 kilometers offshore and stretches from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California. William Sydeman, who holds a Ph.D. in ecology, has been studying the effect of the California current on the marine environment for the past 15 years. He notes that from 2004 to 2006 this current was extremely weak. When the weak current was coupled with a lack of upwelling, there were a number of seabird and salmon deaths. This year, the current seems to have picked up steam, meaning that nutrients stored in cool water off Alaska and Canada are being swept down the coast. As the current makes its way south, nutrients are spread out along California's coastal ecosystems, including the Monterey Bay, further fertilizing areas already seeing robust production due to strong upwelling closer to the shore.
The effect of this year's strong current, however, is already being seen in the kelp forests that hug the coast along the Monterey Bay.
Mark Carr has been surveying rockfish populations in the kelp forest over the past decade. His team sets up fish collectors in four key locations along the coastal kelp every year. During the troubled 2005–2007 period, there were never more than two fish on a collector—sometimes there were none. This year, his team has found 30 to 40 rockfish per collector. Carr explains that the growth of the kelp forests this year bodes well not just for rockfish populations but also for a whole host of invertebrates that inhabit the deep-sea canyon further offshore.

"The upwelled water is nutrient rich and fertilizes the kelp forests along the coasts," explains Carr. "The kelp is going to grow and grow this year. That kelp production of course fuels food webs in the kelp beds, but the kelp is also carried offshore where it gets torn up and falls into the canyon and deep sea reefs. So it's a form of nutrient that abalone, sea urchin and other invertebrates in the canyon feed on."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

First Winter Season Swell

On Monday last (8/11), what I believe was the first Winter storm of the season, developed in the NPAC. This welcome little event blew up 40 mph winds and created 24 foot seas, making landfall yesterday about 11AM or so, as recorded on the nearshore buoy. I'd been following this storm since Monday, and was happy that I saw it from the start, and tracked it all the way in. I only missed it's exact arrival time by a few hours. (Good guess on my part, but I seem to be getting better at it.) I call my email forecasts which I inflict on my friends, Forecasting by the Compleat Idiot. (A tip of the hat to the first "Complete Idiot" book by John Muir, and the British spelling, which just seems to impart more "idiotness" than the American word. Muir passed away in 1977, but his book was as essential as rolling papers for the impoverished hippy era, air cooled VW bug or bus owner.)

I was disappointed at first, that the swell didn't put up some juicier waves with more consistent sets. Waves early Friday were almost non-existent and through the afternoon it didn't get much better. Late PM and into the evening there was some improvement. The swell posted some decent numbers initially (6-7 feet at 14-15 seconds W), but started to fade today. Oddly, it seemed that waves were better as the swell faded today, than when it initially arrived yesterday.

This mornings dawn patrol brought some decent curls and walls, but again, there weren't a lot of waves per set, sets per hour, and energy per wave. The angle of the south swell was too east to have a positive affect, and therefore there was no swell mixing or combo action.

I paddled into the main peak at Sarge's at 0640 with Greg already out on his Angulo 11-9 Nui. He did a real dawn patrol and had snagged a number of good birds by the time I joined him. Surf there was pretty small. Most the early crew was at GDubs where the waves were bigger, faster and more consistent. I headed over and was pleasantly shanghaied before I got there by a peak and wall off La Casa Roja. Surfed a dozen good ones in less than an hour, taking off behind the peak and trimming through the ensuing section on the nose. I finally made it over to the more crowded line-up at GDubs in time to ride a few peelers there. Barry was out, riding his new Freeline longboard that the Station 3 SJFD crew gave him for his recent retirement. Nice! Got some pics of Don and Johana for the blog in horrible lighting conditions. I couldn't get a safe angle to take pics of the biggest waves and sets so I had to settle for mostly small, single waves from too far away.

Saturday mornings bring the crowds so after a while I decided to paddle up to the point and look around...really, I just wanted to take a paddle. Water was flat and glassy. Caught some fun rides at 3B's before taking the point paddle. Must have been at least 60 in the water at the point so I turned around and paddled back to GDubs. Surfed a few with Andy and Sam before calling it a morning.

Shout out to the noseriding longboarder who recognized me from my blog. Many thanks bro' for the kind words. The world is full of good people, it's nice when they make their presence known. Mahalo!
Aug 16, 2008 (Sa)
In: 0640
Out: 0900
AT= 55F
WT= 56.5F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Fog and overcast
Tide: .5 Rising to 2.8
Wind: Variable calm to light southeast all morning
Sea Surface: Glassy to Light wind ripples
Buoy: NWS
0700: 6.2 feet @ 11.4 WNW
0800: 6.2 feet @ 11.4 WNW
0900: 6.6 feet @ 12.9 WNW
1000: 6.2 feet @ 12.9 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (0700 hours) 7.5 feet at 12 seconds from 310 degrees and 2.1 feet at 14 seconds from 175 degrees

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August Winter

Paddled out this morning fully dressed for winter. 5/4 O'Neill Mutant, three mil booties and cloth hood. I started out nice and toasty warm, and I stayed that way. When this typical summer weather pattern invades, it can be worse than a cold winter day. Without solar gain, there is no warming. Combine 54F degree air temp with 55F water temp that stays that way for hours, and it's much colder than a sunny winter day with the same temps. The only thing worse about winter is those dawn patrol paddle outs when it's 36 degrees and the sun hasn't come up yet. Icy fingers going numb.

Eric and I hit the water at Sarge's at 0635 and paddled and surfed for three and a half hours. Surf was small, and relatively inconsistent. Whereas on Monday there was a fun peak at 2B's, the peak there today was pushing too far south, and most the waves just closed out over the reef. But there were a few fun ones.

We paddled up to the point after a while to see if there was anything going on, but it was too crowded for conditions and swell. All the waves were soft rollers, and the morning crew was on it. We headed back through Tres 8's (nothing happening there) and ended up surfing GDubs for another hour and a half with Andy and Jeff. With the higher tide, sets swinging wide produced some nice long, small rippers, with steep walls and fast sections. Andy continues to pursue nose riding excellence on his 10-8 Angulo Beachboy.

The NWS coastal marine data site was right on the money again this morning, calling the 6 to 8 foot NW swell at 9 seconds with dead on accuracy.

I switched back to my Infinity Ottertail paddle this morning, just to see if the high cadence, reduced resistance pull of the paddle would be a little easier on the back muscles. It was. So, for me, the Ottertail will be my paddle of choice. Maybe I'll sell the Kole and get another Ottertail in carbon fiber (love that stuff).
Aug 13, 2008 (W)
In: 0635
Out: 1005
AT= 54F
WT= 56F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Heavy fog with overcast
Tide: 1.5 Rising to 3.75
Wind: Consistently light southeast all morning
Sea Surface: Glassy to Light wind ripples
Buoy: NWS
0700: 8.2 feet @ 9.1 WNW
0800: 8.5 feet @ 9.1 WNW
0900: 8.9 feet @ 9.1 WNW
1000: 8.2 feet @ 9.1 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: Data not available

Monday, August 11, 2008

El Dia de la Muerte Fria

There's a lot of dead stuff floating around in the bay and washing up on shore. I can't recall seeing as many floating carcasses and dead animals as I have this year. Why? Who knows?

Here's my theory: The water this year has been pretty cold, in the low to mid-50's most of the summer, so the upwelling, and all the nutrients (food) it brings have been plentiful. With all this food, sea life is abundant, and has set up house in the bay. More food, more sea life, more dead stuff. It's just a matter of numbers. Then again it could just be my perspective. On a stand up board I can see WAY out there. Most of the dead stuff washes into the floating seaweed, to be seen as a bump in the kelp beds and not all that big. But I can pick it up and then paddle out to investigate. Anyway, that's my story and this armchair scientist is stickin' to it. If you know better, drop me a comment and correct me. After all, I've been married to two different women for almost 40 years...I'm used to being corrected.

Paddled out at Zero-6:fifteen and into a gloomy, thick fog with limited visibility and a slight onshore breeze. There was so little going on at Sarges, that I immediately headed up to GDubs. Tide was higher this morning at 2.2 feet and I thought I'd enjoy a respite from the copious kelp. Wrong. At GDubs it was ubiquitous. Patrick paddled over from 2B's where he and Priscilla were surfing. We surfed together for a while, catching a few bump and grind kelp chokers before I headed to 2B's to say hi to Priscilla.

I ended up staying there, chatting away like the blab that I am, and sharing some fun little zippers over the reef with Priscilla. We were able to sit right at the edge of the kelp where the peak would zig-zag our way before putting up some fast, little rights; petering out into a little channel on the best waves.

The design of my Angulo 10-4 continues to amaze and please me. As I learn how to handle it more deftly, I am surprised and happy when it just kicks itself into overdrive and leaves me hanging on, grinning for mercy. No question, it rocks the sweet spot!

Also, switched back to the larger D-blade Kialoa Kole the last couple sessions just to see how the upper back and shoulders would react. So far so good. Working with Debra Smith, a certified sports massage therapist is really paying off. She is so good at pinpointing the overworked muscles and then setting up a strengthening and stretching program for those muscles. I've never felt better, and my shoulder and back muscles feel great, even after a long workout and paddle.

I still really like the Infinity Ottertail paddle (as a matter of fact I wish I'd of sprung the extra $30 and gotten the lighter, carbon fiber like the Kialoa). But no matter, it gives me a choice, and I can opt for either a high cadence (less resistance) or low cadence (more resistance) stroke, depending upon which paddle I grab for the session. It adds another variable to the workout.

I found a couple new websites for forecasting that I've been playing for the last week. One is put up by the NWS, and the other is the three-day CDIP forecast. I've only been testing them for a couple days but the NWS site was right on this morning. NW swell 5 to 7 feet at 8 seconds. I was hoping this short period swell would put up better than it did, but at least I got a few fun waves. There's no combo action in the water. The south swells are so small, as to be almost not noticeable, and they're angled precariously close to the edge of our surfable swell window. The three-day CDIP is pretty accurate too, even though it disclaims that it's highly experimental.
Aug 11, 2008 (M)
In: 0615
Out: 0915
AT= 53.5 - 53.9F
WT= 55F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Heavy overcast with limited visibility.
Tide: 2.27 Rising to 3.5
Wind: Steady southeast from 1 to 5mph
Sea Surface: Light wind ripples, glassy in the kelp beds
Buoy: NWS
Farshore Buoy
0800: 6.6 feet @ 7.7 WNW
0900: 6.6 feet @ 7.7 NW
1000: 7.2 feet @ 8.3 WNW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Kialoa Kole paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (0700 hours) 5.3 feet at 8 seconds from 325 degrees and 1.3 feet at 12 seconds from 170 degrees

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mina Does SUP

Mina joined the ranks of future SUP paddle/surfers this morning with her first session in almost perfect conditions off the C-Town Main Beach. There was literally "no swell of interest," according to the surf forecasting sites, little to no wind, and the sea surface was calm with only a few bumps.

Some basic instruction and she was up and paddling. Mina has a kayaking background so the paddle was second nature. Balancing on the SUP was a bit tricky, but she had listened well to the basics. That, combined with her natural athletic ability put her paddling for the pier, negotiating a fishing boat wake and making the long arcing turn back to the reef, all the while practicing her good paddling technique.

After an hour we had to get out to feed the meters and be on our way. All in all, another beautiful, peaceful and production morning on SUPs.

Who's next?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paddle Some-Surf Some-Talk Story

Eric and I headed out from Sarge's pocket beach at 0730. Monsoonal type clouds were drifting through the CWA which made for a beautiful, blue sky with puffy white cumulus cloud start to the day.

Nothing really exciting was showing on the buoys, or the cdip images, but surf was in the 1-3 foot range and conditions were good. There was already a light southwesterly wind blowing which never really let up, but it didn't get worse until the fog blew in a couple hours into the session. Usually it's the other way around, fog first then clearing, but today it was the opposite. Forecasting surf is a cinch compared to forecasting wind and fog. Even the NWS gets it wrong a lot.

Tide was low at launch, and bottomed out at 0830. The incoming tide may have given us a boost, but surf was inconsistent. There's a small combo swell in the water, weak energy from the S/SW and a nearshore windswell. Wave trains were acting more like they were from the northwesterly quadrant than the south, except for the long waits for sets, which is characteristic of south swell. Surprisingly, there were a few nice sets every once in a while, and people were getting some good rides. Lot's of people out this morning for some reason. Too crowded for conditions. We paddled through all the spots from Sarge's to the point and picked up waves at every spot.

One of the great things about stand up paddling and surfing is the flexibility and variety of activities you can do. Paddle some, then surf some, then paddle some more. And along the way, from spot to spot, just chatting about the day, about the job, the family, the surf, whatever. It's such a great way to spend a few hours on the water, getting fit, relaxing, and having fun.

Did I say...Life is Good!
Aug 6, 2008 (W)
In: 0725
Out: 1015
AT= 56 - 65F
WT= 54F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Clear, bright and sunny to foggy
Tide: 1.57 Falling to 1.38 Rising to 2.11
Wind: Briefly calm to light southwest
Sea Surface: Glassy to Light wind ripples
Buoy: NWS
0700: 2.0 feet @ 16 S
0800: 2.3 feet @ 16 S
1100: 2.6 feet @ 14.8 SW
10'4" Angulo SUP with Infinity paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and FCS Occy sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (0700 hours) 1.8 feet at 8 seconds from 305 degrees and 1.8 feet at 14 seconds from 190 degrees

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Fin and Weather/Surf update

New Fin
My new K2D2 4.75" fin arrived via UPS just in time for me to surf it during some good waves last week. I put the new fin in the center slot, in place of the Bob Miller Blue Coil (5.5") center I was using.

When I bought the FCS Occy tri-fin set, my idea was to surf the 10-4 Angulo Olohe with a true thruster configuration, i.e. all fins equal in size. I bought the FCS longboard fin box adapter that allows the placement of an FCS fin with tabs into a standard fin box. But I could not get the box to fit snugly, so I could not use the FCS Occy dual foiled center fin. So I abandoned that idea, and robbed my 6-8 shortboard of the 5.5" center fin. This set-up worked very well but I still had a jones to go fully thruster.

I read some good stuff about fins on Stand Up Zone, and in the Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine. The Zone had a thread with a link Fins Unlimited where I bought the K2D2 online.

So far so surfs a lot like the previous set-up, but feels slightly looser without any loss in stability and no unwanted side slipping. Time will tell but I think it's going to work out fine. I'll have these fins in for a while. I'm looking forward to testing them in bigger surf as I have a suspicion that they may be a little too loose in consistently overhead swells. In that case I'll go back to my 9.5 cutaway center with GL sides, a set-up I've always liked.

Weather/Surf Update
The marine layer has made a comeback and now mornings are consistently overcast and gray, with temps in the mid-50's. An onshore pressure gradient is in place, putting light to moderate onshore winds at the beach in the mornings. The north-south winds have been blowing and water temps are down to 53F degrees. The subsequent upwelling is bringing up lots of food, bait fish, and bottom fish. The fisherpersons are happy.

Surfwise we're in for some flatness. Here's what Mark Sponsler has to say.
High pressure off the Pacific Northwest coast is producing a elongated fetch of 20 kt northerly winds and limited short period northerly windswell. Over the next 5 days even that small and weak fetch is to fade while pulling away from the coast and by Wednesday only 15-20 kt fetch is to remain, limited to the Cape Mendocino CA area. Windswell all but gone. In the South Pacific a gale formed in the Southern Hemi Sun/Mon (7/28) producing 45 kt southwest winds and 35 ft seas in the CA swell window, focused mainly on Chile and Peru, offering odds for only sideband very southerly angled swell for primarily Southern CA on Tues-Wed (8/6). A short pulse of gale energy on Tues (7/29) in the deep Central Pacific produced 12 hrs of 32 ft seas, likely good for background swell on starting late Fri (8/8) into Saturday. A complex gale is building in the far Southeast Pacific, but most of it is forecast to be east of even the Southern CA swell window. Virtually no other fetch is forecast in the CA and HI swell widows for the next 7 days, suggesting a long flat spell ahead.