UPDATED: Sunday morning, November 30
I almost started to get used to kicking out in front of the pier, and after my fourth, one-quarter
mile ride, I started to get tired. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The waves created by the monster storm with the "black eye" arrived at the farshore buoy in the time frame I predicted, between 7AM and Noon. The first 23.5 second period fore runners smacked the buoy at 9AM after a 12 hour flight from the "State" buoy. Initial swell size was about 10 feet and it grew.
I was on scene at 0615, prior to swell arrival, hoping to maybe catch a little bit of ridable swell as it increased in size and period. But the high tide still put the kibosh on it, pushing too much water, and not enough energy. Waves were sporadic and crumbly and just didn't look all that great. I headed home and went back to bed. Nice morning though. Cold. 40 degrees at my house, 44 at the beach.
I returned about 1PM and checked it from Central. It was big and getting bigger. It looked like there was a channel off Sarges so I headed there. The swell was running at 23 second intervals, and settled into a pattern until dusk of 21 second periods. This produced 12 to 14 wave sets. Fortunately, the lulls were about ten minutes, opening a space to paddle back out, and rest until the next set.
Conditions improved from 1PM until I got out at dusk. The southwest wind calmed from about 2 until 4:30, when it came back up and put a light ripple across the water. In that time interval it was bumpy, but glassy. Wave size increased throughout the afternoon as well. Nothing I saw all day was less than head high.
I was able to pick off a few inside six footers that yielded 300 or 400 yard rides with solid vertical sections that were fast and semi clean. After 3P I took nothing but waves that looked double overhead on the turnaround and drop. Those are the beauties that put up the 500 yard rides.
Around 4P I decided I was tired (see opening sentence) and needed to head in. It was then that I got a case of "just one more" disease. My second to last wave I rode too far into the pier. When I kicked out I was only about 30 feet from the pilings, and three bigger waves that were going to break, were bearing down on me. I didn't want to get washed through the pier, so I tucked my paddle under my chest and prone paddled as hard as I could, aiming for the beach at an angle away from the pier.
The first wall of white wash hit hard, flipped me over, filled up my sinuses, and sent a gush of salt water down my throat. I rolled back over, sputtering and choking, regained my prone position before the next one, and fared better. This wave blasted me away from the pier and I was on my way to the beach, still coughing and clearing water from my airway. When I hit the sand I joined two other guys who has just experienced the same thing. We just lay there for a while, recovering, and commiserating.
After ten minutes of rest, I got ready to paddle back out on the down current side of the pier but had to wait for a macking 15 wave set that was putting up big swells at the boat tie-downs just off the end of the pier. (The images of the white buoys are the tie downs as I paddled back out and into another big set.)
Since we rarely get swells this big that can actually be surfed at the reefs, it was an odd sensation to be catching waves so far off the cliffs. It just didn't compute sometime, that you were taking off on this big wall in such deep water. "How can it break this far out," was what I kept asking myself.
After that paddle out the back (way out the back), it was getting dark. The only "just one more wave" I wanted now, was one into the beach.
The paddle up coast to the peak at Sarges from the pier was about a mile. The extra distance was because you had to paddle so far out to sea to get over the biggest incoming waves. I arrived at Sarges in the fading light only to be greeted by another big 12 wave set. I just kept paddling out to sea and each successive wave just kept getting bigger. Finally I paddled over the last one and into the lull. I had to paddle back in to the main peak to get one in. My final wave was a very nice, couple feet overhead and well lined up ripper into the close-out section off nudie beach. A great way to end an incredible day. These are the days of days, the days we live for in the surfing world.
Nov 29, 2008 (Sa)
AT= 61.5F to 67.5 to 59F
Wx: Clear and sunny with some light broken high clouds
Tide: 3.1' to -.5' and still Falling
Wind: WSW 1-7mph to calm to light WSW
Sea Surface: Light wind chopped and big swell bumpy
10-2 Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: 2+1 with Future 9" Cutaway center fin and Future Quad 340 side bites
CDIP: Deep Water Swell
1300: 10.2 feet @ 20 WWNW (280 degrees-NPAC) and 0.0 @ 0.0 (000 degrees-SPAC)
1400: 10 feet @ 20 WWNW (280 degrees-NPAC) and 0.0 @ 0.0 (000 degrees-SPAC)
1500: 12.7 feet @ 20 WNW (285 degrees-NPAC) and 0.0 @ 0.0 (000 degrees-SPAC)
1600: 12.8 feet @ 20 WNW (290 degrees-NPAC) and 0.0 @ 0.0 (000 degrees-SPAC)
1700: 12.8 feet @ 20 WNW (290 degrees-NPAC) and 0.0 @ 0.0 (000 degrees-SPAC
CDIP: Wave Face Heights
1300: 4-10 feet
1400: 4-10 feet
1500: 6-12 feet
1600: 6-12 feet
Buoy: NWS (Farshore)
1300: 11.5 feet @ 21.1 W
1400: 11.5 feet @ 23.5 W
1500: 14.1 feet @ 21.1 WNW
1600: 14.1 feet @ 21.1 WNW
1700: 11.2 feet @ 21.1 WNW