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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

La Playa Si; La Ciudad No!

Herbie finally talked me into surfing the beaches, which, given the condition of town surf, was really a no-brainer. The best spots in town were only putting up small waves at the lower tides. Last Monday Andy surfed Henry's on the westside almost by himself in fun low tide, waist high peelers for long rides into the cove. But I've been hearing talk about how good the beaches have been for the last two weeks.

Generally, for my taste (read: age, physical condition, willingness to work that hard) if the waves are showing four feet or less on the CDIP wave forecast, and the wind isn't up, surfing will be good at the beaches. I paddled out this morning a bit late, waiting for more solar gain (it's getting tougher for me to paddle out when the temp reads below 40 degrees...I guess it's that 30-something barrier). Even at 10:20, there was already a light onshore blowing. I found a relatively uncrowded peak west of the main lot, where really, the surf wasn't as good as the other peaks east of that location. No matter, on the SUP I can paddle into the fat ones and get a good ride as they jack up closer to shore. But beach breaks being beach breaks almost anything can and does happen during the course of a session, from a set of perfect lefts (that only breaks once every two hours) to a set of horrendous close-outs that look benign but end up pushing salt water through your sinuses and out your eyes. There was also a nice channel next to the peak which moved around a little, but for most of the time provided a safe haven to paddle back out.

Neil and Buzz were out on their 10-10 Angulos, Eric paddled up on his short board and we had a chance to chat a bit. I ended up catching quite a few waves in about an hour and a half. My back felt a lot better and did OK in the surf, although I'm still taking it easy and not pushing too hard.

Weather has been immaculate but patchy fog is coming soon. Tonight and tomorrow morning for sure. It's been a dry, dry year, and it looks like it might stay that way. Also, by my calculations (and looking back at my 2007 blog posts) this year has been slower than last for surf. Which is pretty bad seeing as how last year wasn't that great either.
Dec 31, 2008 (W)
In: 1020
Out: 1150
AT= 47 to 52F
WT= 53.4F
Wx: Mostly sunny with some light wispy clouds
Tide: 4.5' Rising
Wind: Mostly calm with periodic light south wind 1-4 mph
Sea Surface: A little bumpy but mostly glassy with some light wind chatter
10-2 Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (second mark up from back) and Future FJC1
Bathymetry: Reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1030: 3.9 feet @ 11.8 WNW
1100: 4.9 feet @ 12.5 WNW
1130: 3.9 feet @ 12.5 WNW
1200: 3.9 feet @ 12.5 WNW

Monday, December 29, 2008

Nice Paddle; Minimal Surf

Flat again, but a nice, sunny day for a long paddle, part rehab, part staying in shape.

Pushed off from the pocket beach headed to the point. Surf was small, very small and inconsistent. The point had the only consistent rideable waves and that was stretching it. In addition, it was packed. School's out but surf school is in, or at least it looked like it.

I hung a 180 at the point and headed out to sea for an offshore paddle down to Chapeauville. Was sweatin' like a soaker hose inside my 4/3 which I had put on after seeing what I thought was a set of decent waves at Sarges. It was, but it was the only one I saw in two plus hours.

Diddled around at main peak for a while, trying to catch some teeny fatties that rolled into about six inches of water before breaking. Then headed back to Sarges. Snapped a shot of the tree with the sun behind art quotient for the day. Grabbed a couple ankle snappers at YH before hooking into the only bona fide wave I saw all day. It had to be real 'cause the wind just blew through my hair for the whole ride. Other than that, the ankle snappers just put you into the kelp line.

After the two hour, three and a half mile pleasure paddle, I'd had enough and disengaged via the cold water walk across the low tide grassy reef as the afternoon light began fading towards dusk.
Dec 29, 2008 (M)
In: 1420
Out: 1630
AT= 54F
WT= 54F
Wx: Partly cloudy
Tide: 1.8' Falling to 0.0
Wind: Southeast 4-6 mph to calm
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy with some light wind chatter
10-2 Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (second mark up from back) and Future FJC1
Bathymetry: Reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1400: 2.6 feet @ 12.5 WNW
1500: 3.0 feet @ 10.5 WNW
1600: 2.6 feet @ 11.1 WNW
1700: 2.6 feet @ 12.5 WNW

Friday, December 26, 2008

Couple Christmas Wind Swells Blow Through

I was surprised by how fast the second, bigger, Christmas series of wind swells blew through the area. This morning's high tide waves were brawny compared to what the high tide usually does to the swell, and I was expecting the dropping tide to deliver some smaller but cleaner waves this afternoon. But it didn't happen. The bottom dropped out of the wave heights and what should have been shoulder high combers, deteriorated down to waist high, sectiony lines. But the real kicker was that yesterday's Christmas waves were accompanied by sharp northwest winds, i.e. offshores. Today those winds were southeasterly onshores.

The first wind swell, the Christmas Day surf, was from all reports bigger and better although it was a bit stormier. Both Joanna and Barry gave me a heads-up on the swell and said it was "good." So Santa was "good" to us after all.

Waves today were good enough to surf, but I've had three days of lower back spasms that have pretty much beached me for the duration. Plus, family is coming tomorrow and M said there was no way I was going surfing, getting hurt and NOT helping her tomorrow. Can't say as I blame her for that so I bowed to her greater wisdom...and authority.

Dave did a cool thing with his Angulo 10-2. He custom painted the top white. I think it looks great and the new white paint really makes it look sleek, more like the rocket that it is. It especially shows off the dropped rails.

For more on the tale of this swell check the CDIP Archives.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas One and All!

The Christian "New Year" started four weeks ago, with the celebration of the Advent Season, the anticipation of the birth of Christ. In the spirit of that new beginning, let me express my thanks to all of you who have shown such wonderful support for this enterprise. It always amazes me that anyone would really want to read it.

And also, let me express my joy and gratitude to my friend, God and Leader, Jesus Christ, without whom none of this would be possible.

Chi Rho

Thank you Brother Rick Griffin. May you RIPWJC.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dodging Storms

A small wind swell made landfall last night and was putting up some pretty good numbers on the buoys, but the early morning high tide was swamping wave production down to zero. On top of that, a steep angled NPAC storm was moving in from the NW and was forecast to bring east/southeast winds by the afternoon. I figured I could dodge the storm and get a few decent low energy wind swell waves if I hit it around 11AM.

I paddled out at Sarges at 1044 and in a half hour had nine fun waves. Barry joined me, convinced after our parking lot chat, that there might be a few fun waves to be had. Dave arrived on his stand up shortly and we proceeded to take down numerous waves in the hour and a half we put in.

The sea was bumpy because of the near shore storm that was sending us these waves, but the sea surface was glass. About noon a Christmas vacation gaggle of kids and a dad paddled out and we all decided that we'd had enough. Dave and I paddled in, and Barry opted to try his luck at Casa's, which looked pretty good even though the tide was starting to circle the drain. I thought it would start raining by mid-afternoon at the latest but it didn't. It stayed sunny all afternoon and into the evening before starting to cloud over in the late evening.

Today was probably it until after Christmas. Hopefully Santa will leave us something to enjoy besides crumbs and an empty glass after the holiday.

Merry Christmas one and all!

Dec 23, 2008 (Tu)
In: 1044
Out: 1215
AT= 50F to 51F
WT= 53F
Wx: Partly cloudy
Tide: 2.37' Falling to 0.8
Wind: Southeast calm with gusts up to 5mph
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy with bump and roll
10-2 Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (second mark up from back) and Future FJC1
Bathymetry: Reefs
Deep Water Swell CDIP:
1100: 10.3 feet @ 12 NW (305 degrees-NPAC) and @ (0 degrees-SPAC)
1200: 11.3 feet @ 14 NW (310 degrees-NPAC) and @ (0 degrees-SPAC)
1300: 10.3 feet @ 12 NW (310 degrees-NPAC) and @ (0 degrees-SPAC)
Wave Face Heights CDIP and first person observations:
1100: 2-4 feet
1200: 2-4 feet
1300: 2-4 feet
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1200: 5.2 feet @ 11.1 WNW
1200: 5.6 feet @ 13.3 WNW
1200: 4.9 feet @ 10.4 WNW

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Peaceful Paddle in the Sun

It's now over a week since I've been in the water, due to inclement weather and a minor back issue. So even though it's the proverbial "flatter than a pancake" surf-wise, I knew I had to get out for a paddle. Especially since more rain and cold weather is on the way and is forecast to extend though Christmas.

I knew I was in for a good paddle session as I glided into the deeper water from the pocket beach at Sarges. The water was crystal clear with visibility unimpeded by any sediment or other contaminants. Clear, cold and clean. Air temp was slowly rising from 50 degrees to a high of 53 when I got out of the water an hour and fifteen minutes later. There was not a flicker of rideable surf as far as the eye could see. No matter, today was a paddle day.

It was pure enjoyment gliding over, and viewing the sea beds, noting the differences and similarities of the different surf spots. All have rock bottoms, but all are configured slightly different. Some are solid rock, covered with several different types of sea grasses, kelp anchors and sea stars. All are littered with the debris of empty shells, testament to the healthy population of sea otters that live in the environment. Some bottoms have long fingers of leafy covered rocks, with striations, both straight and winding, of current striped sand dunes filling in between the rocky fingers. Lots and lots of sea stars, hardly any fish at all, and of course the kelp is ubiquitous.

The upwind leg of my paddle hugged the shoreline, so I could get a good look at the nearshore sea floor. The downwind home stretch was paddled several hundred yards out to sea, so I could get a look at the bottom way beyond where the surf breaks. Again visibility was stellar and I was surprised at how shallow it was, that far out to sea. It was of course deeper, but in many places I could clearly see the bottom. Again, there was a mixture of sand covered rock and exposed rocky reefs.

There were a couple other stand up guys out sight seeing....walking on water, and about a dozen laydown surfers looking for the unfindable. (Actually there were some small peaks at one spot, but "sets," if you could call them that, were few and far, far between.) I felt particularly fortunate to be out on my stand up, getting exercise, enjoying a beautiful day, and seeing so much more than my laydown brethren could ever imagine. Once one does this (stand up paddling and surfing) can one ever go back?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cold and Flat

It was 29 degrees at my house this morning at 7AM. 32 degrees at the point. Like Whitty said, "It's waaaaaaaaaay too cold to go surfing." Ditto that. (Tip of the hat, as they say, to my cold weather brothers for whom weather like mine is "shorts" weather.)

The NPAC is "inactive" to put a technical word to "flat." Local windswell is the name of the game, and there isn't much of that. There's nothing on the horizon wave wise or weather wise that looks like much of an improvement. National Weather Service is indicating a "cold front" moving south, heading our way. That cracks me up. You mean colder than this? Lord have mercy. I'm hoping for rain, that would warm things up at least into the 40's....maybe. If the weather geeks are right then we're also looking at rain over Christmas.

I'd try the beaches if the temps rose up and the wind didn't, but I tweaked my back day before yesterday and it's definitely not ready for prime time, the preliminaries or even warm-ups for that matter.

On another note...I've sold off almost all of my laydown surfboard quiver in favor of a full line of SUPs (which will probably mean two SUPs at a time since they're so expensive). I've got one laydown left, an 11' Pearson-Arrow big gun which I bought several years ago as a paddleboard. But laydown distance paddling was insanely boring, not to mention that it didn't do my neck any good either. So I'll be putting that up on Craigslist soon. Probably off it for $299 which is a great price 'cause the board's in good condition. ($300 bucks will almost buy the Infinity cf ottertail SUP paddle I've got on order...yeah, this sport can be expensive.)

I'm stoked though. I'll have the Angulo production 10-2 Perfect Wave which is a great all-arounder, and then coming soon is the custom epoxy Angulo Noserider, which is a sweet board for smaller waves (under head high, although I wouldn't be surprised if Ed's shape on this board let's you go bigger...much bigger). I plan to do full reviews of the boards soon. (That's "soon" Hawaiian scale.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Small NW Wind Swell Arrives On Time

The forecast small NW wind swell arrived pretty much on schedule last night. It was completely swamped by the high morning tides, and after decreasing a bit in period, and increasing a bit in swell height, delivered some fun waves all afternoon. I spent 4.5 hours in the water, surfing from GW's to Yellow House and practically all points in between. It was an incredibly great workout, in unusually beautiful winter conditions and I put a ton of waves under my board.

A light southwest wind blew from put in to take out, but it didn't bother conditions at all. Mostly the sea surface was as smooth as it gets, and the kelp kept it glassy. The crowd was light, only about 16 people in the water total, and I knew half of them. Barry, Serge, Mike and his buddy, Sam and a couple local guys I recognize but I don't know their names. Today was one of those days where the surf wasn't very big, but it was medium consistent. Lots of waves for everyone to catch. With the dropping tide, the insiders were fast and full of walls and sections. It was challenging and fun and relatively inconsequential for mistakes. (Although I did manage to fall on my rib injury once, that hurt!)

In the end I was getting tired and just paddled down to YH to see if anything was shaking. I didn't expect much, thinking the swell wasn't big enough to make it work. But the low tide enabled the pulses to form up over the reef and actuate some nice knee/waist high peelers. I was only going to spend about 20 minutes there but then Sammy joined me and we were there for an hour and a half.

Picking up on an idea I read in one of Blane's post on Stand Up Forum, I made half-inch increment marks on my fin box, starting with my small fin (thruster set-up) all the way back. Each time I surf I'm going to move it up one mark and note the difference. So far I surfed it all the way back, and one-half inch up. Amazing what a difference it makes. The board surfs a little looser with no negative consequence one notch up from all the way back. The tail slides a little bit, but then tucks right back into the wave face. I love this kind of stuff.

After a session like today, I feel so satisfied. Physically spent; emotionally and spiritually soaring!
Dec 11, 2008 (Th)
In: 1127
Out: 1600
AT= 56.1F to 55.8F
WT= 55F
Wx: Clear and sunny with some high wispy clouds
Tide: 2.8' Falling to -1.46 Rising
Wind: Light from the southwest
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy with very light wind ripple occasionally
10-2 Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (second mark up from back) and Future FJC1
Bathymetry: Reefs
CDIP: Deep Water Swell
1200: 7.4 feet @ 14 WNW (300 degrees-NPAC) and 2 @ 14.0 SSW (205 degrees-SPAC)
1300: 7.4 feet @ 14 WNW (315 degrees-NPAC) and 2.6 @ 14.0 SW (230 degrees-SPAC)
1400: 8.3 feet @ 14 WNW (295 degrees-NPAC) and 1.2 @ 12.0 SSW (195 degrees-SPAC)
1500: 6.3 feet @ 12 WNW (300 degrees-NPAC) and 1.5 @ 14.0 SSW (180 degrees-SPAC)
1600: 7.7 feet @ 14 WNW (300 degrees-NPAC) and 1.7 @ 14.0 SSW (180 degrees-SPAC)
CDIP and first person observations: Wave Face Heights
1200: 3-6 feet
1300: 2-5 feet
1400: 3-5 feet
1500: 2-4 feet
1600: 2-5 feet
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1200: 3.9 feet @ 14.3 WNW
1300: 3.9 feet @ 13.3 WNW
1400: 4.3 feet @ 12.5 WNW
1500: 4.3 feet @ 13.3 WNW
1600: 3.6 feet @ 14.3 W

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter? What Winter?

Today's lack of surf was made up for by perfect paddling weather. I hit the water at 10 'til Noon and paddled for an hour and a half in drop dead gorgeous weather and glassy conditions. The only negative was the copious kelp beds. This stuff just keeps growing. As the tide dropped it would have been impossible to surf at GW's. The waves were too small and the kelp too copious.

Having not been in the water for a week, I had a great paddle up to the point. I poached a couple waves there, and then paddled back, bagging a nice one at Tres 8's and another little ripper at Casa Roja. But surfing was just icing on the cake. I was out for some exercise and a sweet paddle in a sweeter day. Had to peel down the 4/3 to my waist on the downwind paddle back home...sweatin' like a big boy. Even bare footin' it couldn't keep me cooled down.

Michael and Sam were out, taking in the great weather and enjoying the day and the casual exercise on the SUPs. Angulophiles all, me and Sam on our 10-2's and Mike on his 11-8.

We'll have to get it while we can because the cold weather is coming. Weekend forecast calls for dropping temps and even some snow flurries at the 2K-3K elevations. Probably get a light dusting in the mountains.

So far, the weather this year has been unparalleled. Weather forecasters say we're at 40% of normal rainfall. Maybe we'll catch up in the next week.
Dec 10, 2008 (W)
In: 1151
Out: 1315
AT= 60F to 63F
WT= 55F
Wx: Clear and sunny with some high wispy clouds
Tide: 1.2' Falling to -0.46
Wind: Light from the southwest
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy with very light wind ripple occasionally
10-2 Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin and Future FJC1
Bathymetry: Reefs
CDIP: Deep Water Swell
1100: 2.8 feet @ 11 WNW (295 degrees-NPAC) and 1.4 @ 12.0 S (190 degrees-SPAC)
1200: 3 feet @ 11 WNW (285 degrees-NPAC) and 1.2 @ 14.0 S (180 degrees-SPAC)
1300: 2.7 feet @ 11 WNW (300 degrees-NPAC) and 1.4 @ 12.0 S (190 degrees-SPAC)
CDIP: Wave Face Heights
1100: 1-2 feet
1200: 1-2 feet
1300: 1-2 feet
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1100: 2 feet @ 11.8 W
1200: 2 feet @ 11.1 W
1300: 2 feet @ 11.1 W

Monday, December 8, 2008

Looking Back At The Weekend

The forecast west swell finally showed up a bit late on Sunday, and did not produce the surf that was anticipated. Town was smallish, even at low tide, and the beaches were booming, mostly closing out, with not much in the way of sandbars to serve up some rideable corners.

Here's a small sample of Saturday afternoons waves, which looked pretty good sometime, but which mostly ended up in close outs. Pretty though, with warm temps and a very picturesque offshore flow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Storm #3 (Hawaii) Not All That Great

Storm #3 (Hawaii) made landfall last night around 11PM. The swell put up some pretty good numbers on the buoys, but for some reason it just wasn't doing it. I held off on dawn patrol in favor of waiting for the lower tide. In the almost two hours I was out, I experienced only one set of three-plus waves. Everyone was a bit disappointed, hoping for something with a little more juice. C'est la vie! Maybe we're all just getting a bit spoiled after last weekend's macker.

However, Mash and Mikey B were getting out from dp as I was getting in, and they reported that it was good and, watch out for the sneaker sets. I never saw one but the buoy data supports their claims.

Weather was great though, clear and sunny, temps in the low 60's. Water is cold at 55 degrees if you ask me. Surfed in the 4/3 though and was comfortable. (Let's hear it for solar gain!) Kelp was kinda rough, it's almost impossible to get through the inside sections on the smaller waves.

Lots of friends surfing today. John, Andy, Andy, Dave, Sam, Tim, Sean, Mikey, Mash just to name nine or so. Can't complain. There will be waves (maybe not great waves, but waves none the less) through the weekend and into Monday.
Dec 4, 2008 (Th)
In: 0827
Out: 1015
AT= 47F to 54F
WT= 55F
Wx: Clear and sunny with some light broken high clouds
Tide: 3.1' Rising 3.2
Wind: Light and variable
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy with some backwash bump
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
Bathymetry: Reefs
CDIP: Deep Water Swell
0800: 8.9 feet @ 17 WNW (285 degrees-NPAC) and 0.0 @ 0.0 (000 degrees-SPAC)
0900: 6.7 feet @ 17 WWNW (280 degrees-NPAC) and 0.5 @ 11.0 SSW (195 degrees-SPAC)
1000: 7.4 feet @ 17 WNW (290 degrees-NPAC) and 0.7 @ 10.0 SW (235 degrees-SPAC)
1100: 8.9 feet @ 17 WNW (285 degrees-NPAC) and 0.7 @ 11.0 S (180 degrees-SPAC)
CDIP: Wave Face Heights
0800: 4-8 feet
0900: 2-6 feet
1000: 4-6 feet
1100: 4-8 feet
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
0800: 3.6 feet @ 16.7 WNW
0900: 3.6 feet @ 15.4 WNW
1000: 4.3 feet @ 16.7 WNW
1100: 4.6 feet @ 16.7 WNW

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Storm #2 Epilogue

Thanks to Mikey B for sending these pics of Dave, Keith and Sean surfing day two of last weekends big swell. Hope there will be a couple more like this swell before the Winter is over.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Big Swell Fades Leaving Leftovers

After resting yesterday I wanted to get at least an hour's worth in before class today. I love dawn patrol and even though I knew the tide would be too high, I paddled out anyway. Life is full of surprises though, and after a lackluster session that yielded small waves and short rides with a few fast sections, I hooked into the longest ride I've ever had at GW's. This slightly overhead peeler lined up and unwound from main peak GDubs to Inside Sarge's non-stop, some 400 yards. Sometimes you're in the right place at the right time, and sometimes you're not. Today, of the three of us, I was.

As a side note: the big swell did nothing to remove any of the kelp that I could see. James at Freeline said it takes a big NW to wipe out kelp, the last was a big WNW. I thought he was full of it, but it looks like he was right.

Forgot I had the big center fin in too, and sure enough, I got knocked off a couple times by kelp stoppages. Still though, I'm enjoying the drive and pivot turns the cutaway provides.
Dec 1, 2008 (M)
In: 0705
Out: 0815
AT= 45.6F to 45.2F
WT= 55F
Wx: Clear and sunny with a huge fog bank sitting right offshore
Tide: 3.7' Rising to 4.3'
Wind: Variable calm to light offshore
Sea Surface: Glassy with light high tide backwash
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
Bathymetry: Reefs
CDIP: Deep Water Swell (OOS)
CDIP: Wave Face Heights (OOS)
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
0600: 5.6 feet @ 15.4 W
0700: 6.2 feet @ 15.4 WNW
0800: 6.2 feet @ 15.4 WNW