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

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Big Swell; Bum Conditions

Edited and updated on Sunday, 10-26-208.

Finally, the first bona fide winter swell of the season rolls through, and the conditions go right to hell. Finally, the WQS gets a shot at fame in big surf, and the fog rolls in so thick you can't see who's wearing what color jersey. Go figure.

Paddled out at 1625 (a bonus surf really, EMT mid term testing done early) into fog so thick I couldn't see land a hundred feet out. Got knocked off my feet twice during the paddle out by five feet of foam, but I guess that's not bad news really. I got so disoriented paddling down to Yellow House, I missed it by a 150 yards. As I paddled in towards shore to get some sort of landmark, I saw Los Arboles loom into view. So, I took a left and paddled back up coast. Much to my surprise five people were sitting in the line-up. I paddled right by them in the fog. It took me a half hour to figure out what was going on, and what was going on was to back door YH peak, and then build as much speed as possible to make the successive sections into the flat spot in the reef. After the kick, paddle back out through the channel which was closing during the big sets. Fun. Challenging. Work. Lumpy, lots of backwash, not a flat piece of water in the two hour session.

Conditions generally sucked. A big swell from far away that looked like a raw wind swell five miles offshore. Fog as thick as it gets. After session helicopter searching for something in the dimming light. Pray for mercy.

Once I got oriented, and the feel of the session, I hooked into a couple nice lines from the right take-off spot. Nabbed a couple doubles that put me way down the line. Replaced the JC460 sides with Scimitar 451's and ended up not liking the set-up at all. Very tracky. They're coming out asap. Thinking about trying a 2+1 set-up for tomorrow afternoons session. It'll be a good contrast with the tri-fin config.

A big hole in the fog blew in around 5P and opened things up until it started to get dark around 1820. Around 6 I headed back up to Sarges to take one in before it either got dark or too fogbound to see again. The prospect of landing on the beach in dark foggy conditions wasn't something I wanted to do, especially since about three feet of sand has been dredged away from the base of the rocks, and there are numerous chicken heads poking out of the reef at the edge of the sand.

I'd like to think conditions are going to change in the next few days and for the rest of this swell, but it looks like the total crap prevailing weather of this summer is having the last laugh. Hopefully this won't extend into Winter.
Oct 25, 2008 (Sa)
In: 1625
Out: 1810
AT= 55F to 53F
WT= 57F at the nearshore buoy
Wx: Heavy fog to some clearing with periods of extremely limited visibility
Tide: 1.2' Rising to 2.5'
Wind: East at 4mph to calming
Sea Surface: Lumpy with lots of backwash bump
Buoy: NWS
1500: 7.5 feet @ 21.1 WNW
1600: 8.2 feet @ 19 NW
1700: 9.2 feet @ 19 WNW
1800: 8.2 feet @ 19 WNW
10'2" Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with Bluecoil 5.25" center and Scimitar 451 sides
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
CDIP: (1700 hours) 11.9 feet at 17 seconds from 310 (319 edge of swell window) degrees and 1.3 feet at 14 seconds from 165 (180 edge of swell window) degrees. 6-8 foot faces. NOTE: The CDIP registers deep water swell height in the data window, while the color code denotes wave heights for individual geographic locations. Pretty cool...

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