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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NW Ground and Nearshore Wind Swell

In all honesty I delayed waking up this morning because I didn't think the longer period, but steep NW swell was going to show very well. And even if it did I reasoned, it would be really inconsistent. I was sorta right, but mostly wrong. The new NW was showing nicely all along the lower reefs, but it was somewhat inconsistent. But mixed in was the nearshore wind swell from the big northerly post-frontal winds that were blowing. The dawn patrol crew got the prize though, and surfed for about an hour and a half in clean and glassy head high to overhead waves.

As I paddled out most of them were finishing up a very fun morning of uncrowded waves in great conditions. I SUP surfed for another hour and forty-five before the tide swamped it a bit, and the swell lulled. Really, the numbers were all over the place for this swell. The long period swell peaked around 4 or 5AM, while the wind swell jump around and was still showing strong later in the afternoon. Again, I ended up riding wide at Sarge's and picking off some great waves when the long period west pushed the lines right to me, and past the point surfers who were sitting further out.

Still, had I been an earlier bird, I may have gotten a better worm.
December 22, 2009
In: 0850
Out: 1035
AT= 49-56F
WT= 55F
Wx: Sunny, clear and clean with light scattered cumulus. Beautiful!
Tide: 3.02' Rising to 3.42'
Wind: Calm to northwest to calm to offshore northerly
Sea Surface: Glassy to wind rippled sea surface. Some backwash bump and outer water wind chop.
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (first mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell CDIP Archive
Wave Hts. (Faces): 3-5 ft.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Short Lived WSW

A new, but short duration WSW swell made landfall last night. This morning's ground swell lines were pushing in some good waves for the morning crew. Not too crowded, fairly consistent and pre-rain, light southerly wind conditions conspired to make for a fun time for all.

I finally felt well enough to get back in the water, heading out on the stand up. I figured it would be better to be "on" the water than "in" the water. Amazing how a few days off can take the edge right off one's surfing and one's stamina. Only four out at Sarge's when I glided into the line-up. Tim, Joanna, a local pro and a guy getting a lesson from the local pro. It lulled just when I arrived, and after one surprise wave that popped up, I headed down to Casa's and GDubs. Only Shaun was out at Casa's and only three guys out at GDubs, almost deserted.

The waves picked up quickly and I surfed for the next 45 minutes on the merry go round. The tide on entry was about 3 ft. and even at that, the inside at Sarge's was a kelp obstacle course. It wasn't bad everywhere else though and I was glad for a short break after the first part of the session. I wandered back and forth between GDubs wide and CR's. Most rides were fairly short, but armored up with some steep sections and takeoffs on the best waves. The swell was strong and even though it shown nicely through the higher tide, after a while all that "extra" water ended up rendering most the waves fat and lumpy backwash jumbled shadows of their earlier selves.

Shaun told me to take it easy this first session back so I decided following his advice would be a good move. After an hour thirty I caught a set wave that put me into the rip-rap point, which by now was a roiling, whack-a-mole cauldron of incoming surge and side wash off the big rocks. I gracelessly exited the water and was lucky I didn't get washed into the stairway rock, which was puking incoming waves right back out to sea in a messy flurry of foamy energy and water.

This could be it for the reefs for a while. Time to hit the beaches, hope it's not too big.

December 21, 2009
In: 0740
Out: 0910
AT= 51.6-53.2F
WT= 55.6F
Wx: Overcast with rain clouds
Tide: 3.1' Rising to 3.62'
Wind: Calm to light south easterly winds
Sea Surface: Glassy with some light outer waters induced wind bumps, and some backwash in the rising tide.
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (first mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell CDIP Archive
Wave Hts. (Faces): 3-5 ft.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New West-WNW Swell

One thing for sure this season so far, there's been no shortage of swell driven waves. Conditions haven't always been the best, but overall, it's tough to complain. So I thought I would.

Finally after a week of rain and poor conditions we get a sweet new westerly WNW swell with nice waves in great conditions. I got the flu. Yes, timing IS everything.

Buoy charts and the forecasts show this short lived swell dropping off into the weekend. But it's still putting up plenty of fun looking waves at the best spots.

No matter, the way we're going here, I'll get some good ones after a while.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Big WNW Swell - 3 Days

The much hyped extra large WNW swell made landfall early Tuesday morning, starting at 20 second periods and peaking at 22 seconds. Deep water swells that carry that much energy are amazing to see, and we haven't seen one in a while. Besides being big, the hallmark of this swell was relatively poor wind conditions. Only several periods of time early in the morning and just before dark made for excellent surfing in more favorable winds.

I couldn't surf early for two reasons. One "other" imposed, one self imposed. First, I had a commitment first thing in the morning I couldn't cancel. Second, at daylight it was 29 degrees. Being secretly glad that I didn't have to paddle out in the icicles, I headed to the beach late, arriving about 11 o'clock. By then things were definitely out of control, made so by a steady southeast wind that hacked the sea surface into a bumpy, choppy mess, and a growing swell that was by anyone's standards, humongous! I watched sets break at outside reefs I didn't even know existed.

All the spots I usually surf were empty except for a very few surfers, who were not getting any waves. The smaller spots down reef had folks out, but it was messy to say the least. I took some pics and packed it in, hoping for better surf on Wednesday. Eric told me that a couple of pros went out at Sarges around 4PM, but even they weren't getting many. It was just too big to surf.

OK, this was my fault all the way. I elected to (again) avoid the 29 degree morning temps in favor of a better tide around 1030. Weather reports were calling for northeast or easterly winds so I gambled that conditions would be much improved. Long story short, they weren't. When I arrived to check at Sarges, a nasty southeasterly was on it that made Tuesday's winds look mild by comparison. There were about 15 people out, and almost all at once there was a mass exit from the line-up. The departing surfers looked almost stunned. They said the wind came up so fast, one minute it was glassy, the next minute it was lumpy and full of crumbling sections. Rats, skunked again!

Dawn patrol was the time, and perhaps the best waves of the swell, as the early risers were treated to line after line of head high to overhead waves in almost perfect conditions. Thanks to Dr. Herby (Whole Story Coaching) for the great pics of Angulo reps Whitty and Dave.

Now I'm bummed. The phrase "you really missed it" is playing over and over again in my mind. The only thing left was to come back later in the evening and hope for the wind to slacken, which I did.

At 3:15PM Sarges didn't look all that great. The tide was up and the wind, although lighter, was still out of the southeast. SUP surfing was out. Fortunately I brought my Coffey 6-10 so I went to check GDubs and Scimi's from the overlook. Scimi's looked very decent. The kelp was holding the wind off, and it was almost glassy with just a light wind rippling on the surface. Only three out at GDubs so I suited up in full attire (it was still cold) and headed for GDubs...the crowd was right. Unfortunately the waves weren't very good. With big sections folding over from the main takeoff to seven or eight spots all along the reef. Take-off, turn, kick out. I only got a couple that had surfable walls for any distance. But of those, the rides were long. Scimi's on the other hand was off the hook!

While the swell direction, or the lack of sand or whatever was making GDubs dump, Scimi's was about as good as it ever gets, which in my opinion is world class. The crowd was on it, but what a show! Of the thirty or so in the line-up, I guessed that 10 to 20 were pros, semi-pros or sponsored and they were ripping to the max. It looked like a professional surf contest. Rides from the main peak to past inside GDubs were routine. Throwing spray, tail slides, air, floaters, power surfing through pitching was all there.

Needless to say I opted for actually catching some not very good waves, over sitting in the higher powered line-up and not getting any waves. Sometimes one just has to yield to reality.

I paddled in as dusk was fading and finished changing out in the dark, with a brisk and cold offshore blowing out to sea. I didn't feel so bad now, maybe it wasn't great waves, but I got some and didn't get skunked.
December 9, 2009 (W)
In: 1545
Out: 1720
AT= 50-47F
WT= 53F
Wx: High partial cloud cover
Tide: 3.63' Rising to 3.62 Falling
Wind: East and north easterlies moderate to calm
Sea Surface: Glassy in the kelp to light wind ripples
6-10 Ward Coffey EPS (Marko Styrolite)/Epoxy Custom
Fin set-up: Tri-fin with Rainbow Speedwing sides and Arakawa center.
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1500: (7.2 ft. @ 17 sec. 280 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)
1600: (6.6 ft. @ 17 sec. 285 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)
1700: (7.4 ft. @ 17 sec. 285 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)
1800: (6.8 ft. @ 17 sec. 280 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)
1900: (5.7 ft. @ 17 sec. 280 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)

By this time the swell was starting to fade and the tide was even higher in the morning. It didn't look all that great on the cams, even though the numbers on the buoys were still good. So I held off and arrived beachside abound 9:30A. The SUP was on top of the car, inside, the 6-10. Once again the southeasterlies were on it, but not as bad as yesterday. It looked manageable if the swell was still with us.

I needed new gloves so headed to Freeline to get the ones James recommended. Of course they were out of my size, duh! It's been cold, think anyone else got gloves? The answer was obvious. So much for planning ahead. So I headed to the point for coffee and to check it. It's usually bigger up reef and today was no exception. I parked my butt on one of the benches overlooking the biggest peaks and witnessed a nice series of waves rolling through both of the biggest peaks. It also didn't take long to see that one of the down reef peaks was putting up some nice one out on it. That sealed the deal.

I headed back to the car, locked the SUP onto the racks, suited up in all the goodies (wetsuit, gloves, booties, fleece rashie and heated vest), grabbed the 6-10 and paddled out at Tres Eights, headed for that empty peak up coast. One thing for sure, at a popular surf spot, it doesn't take long for something decent to go unnoticed. By the time I got there, four other surfers were on it. No matter, there was plenty for all.

The waves were smaller and less consistent that the more crowded main peaks, but consistent enough so that sets dished up 4-6 waves. Even though the peak moved all over the place, long rides on jacked up walls were the norm. Conditions weren't optimal, but if they had been, there probably would have been another 20 people on it. The swell was moving a lot of water, especially at the lower tide. There was backwash bump coming one way, and wind bump from the other way. A light wind ripple was on the surface, but once again the kelp kept the whitecaps off the surface. Two hours of good waves was enough for me, and now I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. I scored enough fun waves in decent surf to feel like I'd gotten a piece of this swell, the largest of 2009.

Mavs was big enough to be contestable, but the contestants canceled because of the poor conditions. (This proved true at most NorCal locations.) Their thinking was that the season has been so good so far, that there will be another swell. I say, bring it on.

It started raining late this afternoon and is supposed to continue on and off through the weekend. This swell will be gone by then too.
December 10, 2009 (Th)
In: 1100
Out: 1310
AT= 50-53F
WT= 53F
Wx: Cloud cover with light showers
Tide: 1.4' Falling to 1.01, then Rising to 1.5
Wind: Light to moderate east/north easterlies
Sea Surface: Moderate wind ripples with side chop and backwash
6-10 Ward Coffey EPS (Marko Styrolite)/Epoxy Custom
Fin set-up: Tri-fin with Rainbow Speedwing sides and Arakawa center.
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1000: (6.3 ft. @ 14 sec. 265 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)
1100: (6.3 ft. @ 14 sec. 280 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)
1200: (6.8 ft. @ 14 sec. 275 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)
1300: (no data) (3-6 ft. faces)
1400: (6.1 ft. @ 17 sec. 285 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)
1500: (5.9 ft. @ 14 sec. 285 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

SUP Surfing In New NW Swell

Whew! It took me a while to get to this post. Today is my last day teaching in the EMT program so this will have to be quick.

Larry and I finally got together for a paddle surf. We've known each other for almost 35 years and about 30 years ago came to the fork in the road. He took the public safety harbor patrol route, and I went for the fire service. Didn't see much of each other in the last 30, and wouldn't ya know, it was SUP surfing that sparked the reunion. He caught the bug last year and has been saving up his shekels for a new board. So we made arrangements to borrow the new Angulo prototype 9-8 (pictured at right with my orange 10-0 Angulo) so we could try it out, and so Larry could paddle surf my board.

We paddled out kinda late around 4PM but made the most of our session in small waves put up by the new incoming NW swell. It was pretty consistent and we bagged a ton of knee to waist high peelers at YH in low tide and kelpy waters. We surfed until almost literally pitch black darkness fell on the ocean, and in a tide so low the take off was in the kelp, and the ride was through the kelp. A bumpy "glide" to say the least. An interesting characteristic of the swell today was how uniform in size the waves were from the top of the reefs to the down coast reefs. Usually down coast surf spots are much smaller, but this evening it all seemed to be about the same size.

The new 9-8 proto is an epoxy custom that is being evaluated for production. Big Andy has been riding it and loves it. It's got more of a shortboard shape with a pulled in nose (for a SUP) and a standard Angulo SUP rounded pin. It's got a lot of rocker at both ends. It's wide too...about 32" (the dims weren't on the board, and I haven't spoken to Ed or Andy about them.) It was good to have my board and the 9-8 to ride in the same session. They are different for sure. My Angulo 10-0 is a longboard, paddles like a longboard and rides like a longboard. The 9-8 has a different feel and rides more like a shortboard. For my size, 154 pounds, the board is too wide. At 32 inches wide and lots of nose and tail rocker, you need more weight on the board, especially for dropping in. But once you get on the wave the 9-8 rocks! It's very loose and maneuverable, turning easily at the bottom and at the top. In all fairness I didn't get a chance to really evaluate the board in good waves. But my sense is that this board would absolutely excel in good waves with a little juice. You could definitely power surf it, especially a bigger person with more leg strength than I.

Dave C. came over and surfed with us for a while. He was on an Angulo custom 9-6, and Dave is a big guy, but a very good SUP surfer. He and his board are a great fit for a surfer who is advanced in skill at SUP surfing. We chatted about how quickly SUP's have evolved from only a couple years ago. We laughed when we remembered how reluctant Ed was to make a SUP shorter than 11 feet. Now he's routinely shaping them out in the 9-0 range. It's only a matter of time before Ed's putting out eight footers. One thing for sure, Ed don't make no junk. His boards always work!

Dave headed back upcoast, done for the evening while Larry and I stayed out until we could barely see. We paddled back over to Sarge's for the take out in an uber-low tide, rock danced into the beach and rejoiced at our good fortune that allows us to stay surfing and keep having fun into our "Golden" years.

December 3, 2009
In: 1355
Out: 1725
AT= 58-52F
WT= 53F
Wx: Mostly clear with some scattered low clouds
Tide: -0.53' Falling to -1.43'
Wind: Calm to light variable winds
Sea Surface: Glassy with some light wind ripples
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (first mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1500: 4-5 feet @ 17.0 WNW - 3-4 feet @ 12-14 W (305) (1-3 ft. faces)
1600: 4-5 feet @ 17.0 WNW - 3-4 feet @ 12-14 W (305) (1-3 ft. faces)
1700: 4-5 feet @ 17.0 WNW - 3-4 feet @ 12-14 W (305) (1-3 ft. faces)
1800: 4-5 feet @ 17.0 WNW - 3-4 feet @ 12-14 W (300) (1-3 ft. faces)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Small Waves in New NW Swell

A short-lived spike of longer period, steep angle NW swell caught my attention so I decided to paddle out for a late afternoon SUP session at Yellow House. Unfortunately, the pulse wasn't strong enough to generate anything exciting at that location, even with the minus tide, and the steep angle made waiting for sets part of the game. Fortunately I brought the GhostBuster with me, so I paddled out for a fun but kelp choked session at GDubs.

The main peak was a fast and steep take-off into an unmakeable bowl section over a really shallow spot in the reef. Testament to that is the cuts across the back of my hand, administered by the rocks during a wipe out. The better waves were breaking wide, but further out into the kelp beds. I tried to hedge my bet, by sitting right on the edge of the kelp forest, or in a clear spot, of which there weren't many. But even those had several difficult or impossible bowl sections that just went square over a foot or two of water. I did get one really nice long ride, filled with challenging bowls. That one ride made the session.

Will was out on his 7-4 hybrid, as usual catching a lot of waves. One older guy on a longboard was getting most of the best waves as he could paddle into the wave early and start dropping in before the lip came over. He also could build up speed in preparation for the bowl sections.

I was wearing my full Winter ensemble: 5/4/3 O'Neill Mutant (O'Neill's fit me the best); (new) 5mil O'Neill Heat, round toe bootie (fits great for a round toe, is very comfortable and round toes are theoretically warmer); O'Neill 2mil neoprene hood; short sleeve fleece Mysterioso rashie; QuikSilver heated vest and Speedo. The new 5mil booties made a huge difference. My feet never got cold. I had the vest turned on most of the session, especially after the sun got low. Overall I was nice and toasty...except for my hands. I didn't really notice how much sensation and dexterity I'd lost until changing out of my ensemble under the street light. Fingers didn't work all that well, more like claws instead of hands. I guess I'm gonna have to look at wearing gloves when it gets colder. (I hate gloves.)

Weather was perfect. Beautiful sunset colors and a full moon casting bright light on the sea surface. I got out at dark and walked back to the stairs in the moonlight, being followed by a moon shadow the whole way.

November 30, 2009
In: 1545
Out: 1725
AT= 63-54F
WT= 53.5F
Wx: Sunny and clear
Tide: -0.68' Rising to 0.5'
Wind: Calm to light offshore
Sea Surface: Glassy
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1500: 9.5 feet @ 17.4 WNW - 5.2 feet @ 11.1 WNW (310) (2-3 ft. faces)
1600: 9.8 feet @ 16 NW - 5.2 feet @ 12.5 WNW (305) (2-4 ft. faces)
1700: 9.2 feet @ 16 NW - 5.2 feet @ 13.3 WNW (315) (2-4 ft. faces)
1800: 10.2 feet @ 14.8 NW - 5.2 feet @ 11.8 WNW (310) (2-3 ft. faces)
1900: 10.5 feet @ 14.8 NW - 5.6 feet @ 11.1 WNW (310) (2-3 ft. faces)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Super Fun Waves In Fading Swell

The miserably wretched first hour of my nearly four hour session this afternoon, played counterpoint to an incredible final hour and half surfing in the best Fall waves I've scored yet.

My plan was for a redux of yesterday in smaller surf, but a lower tide. I thought YH would be holding some small but good waves. Wrong. Disappointingly inconsistent, small, low energy goiters waddled through the line-up and over the reef, usually right through a path of chain mail kelp intend on slamming you face first onto the deck of your board. Side shore winds were blowing me out of the line-up. And the occasional rain squall felt like I should be in the mountains with a snowboard under my feet instead of a SUP. The demons of negativity took over. I stood my ground as long as I could before throwing in the towel and heading over to Sarge's. I thought maybe I could score a couple decent waves, reclaim the session and call it a day. An inauspicious beginning.

On the upside...there were fewer people at Sarge's by the time I got there. As per my usual, I lined up wide and picked off a few stragglers no one else was taking. Overall, the surf was better at my new locale. Never more than seven people out and as the afternoon moved into evening, the waves just got better...and better...and better. And more consistent too. I was the last one out of the water, and spent 20 minutes on a literal merry-go-round to end the session. Those last half hour of rides were long ones too, from the rip-rap point to past the nudie beach or to the seawall, about 200 yards. After I kicked out or faded over the back of the wave, I slowly paddled back out to the line-up. In that last 20 minutes, I never waited more than 30 seconds for the next wave. At ten after five it was too dark for my eyes and I rode the white water as far in as I could for the take out.

At least part of the explanation for the increase in wave size and consistency lies in the data below. The passing front that brought light rain and wind to the coast, brought some heavy NW winds (29-37 mph) blowing down coast. That kicked up some amazingly well groomed nearshore wind swell driven waves, along with the remnants of the last NPAC ground swell.

After three consecutive days, eight hours of SUP surfing, and waves too numerous to count, my shoulders and legs are stressed and fatigued to the max. Tomorrow has to be a rest day. Gotta rest up for the next swell.

November 27, 2009
In: 1325
Out: 1715
AT= 59-53F
WT= 54F
Wx: Scattered showers and clouds with periodic clearing
Tide: 1.16' Rising to 2.8'
Wind: Strong side shore and offshores
Sea Surface: Wind ripples and scallops with some light backwash bump late
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (first mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1300: 10.2 feet @ 16.0 WNW - 7.2 feet @ 14.3 W (295) (1-2 ft. faces)
1400: 10.2 feet @ 14.8 WNW - 6.6 feet @ 15.4 W (295) (3-4 ft. faces)
1500: 10.2 feet @ 16.0 WNW - 6.9 feet @ 15.4 W (295) (3-4 ft. faces)
1600: 9.2 feet @ 14.8 WNW - 6.9 feet @ 15.4 W (290) (3-5 ft. faces)
~New Wind Swell~
1700: 13.1 feet @ 14.8 NW - 6.6 feet @ 15.4 WNW (285) (4-6 ft. faces)
1800: 14.4 feet @ 10.0 NW - 8.5 feet @ 10.5 W (305) (4-6 ft. faces)
18.4 feet @ 10.0 NW - 10.5 feet @ 11.1 W (305) (4-6 ft. faces)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Wave Feast with Ground Swell Pie

Ma Nature served up a hefty portion of NPAC ground swell today. Although a bit on the inconsistent side by the time I got to it, the crowd scene was almost perfect.

I paddled out on the Angulo custom SUP after finishing an early dinner with the family at Maries. Good food in a great atmosphere DISHES! (That was, I mean, used to be, my job!) There was a little wait in between sets, but 3-5 ft. fast walls were the order of the day. The most exposed spots had the biggest waves of course.

I started out at Yellow House, even though the tide was too high. Still, I caught three or four fun waves there before paddling back up to Sarges. By now (4PM) the crowd had dwindled to four. I spent the rest of my time taking down some very fun and fast waves off the point and off the wall. Zach had been out since 12:30...Marathon Man. At 1650 I was the last man out. I took two really good waves and then one last one in. They say there's more coming....

November 26, 2009
In: 1525
Out: 1715
AT= 62-56F
WT= 53.4F
Wx: Clear and sunny with cold front clouds moving in
Tide: 2.69' Rising to 3.32'
Wind: Light offshore
Sea Surface: Light wind ripples with some backwash bump
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (first mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1400: 12.1 feet @ 17.4 WNW - 6.9 feet @ 16.7 W (295) (3-5 ft. faces)
1500: 12.5 feet @ 17.4 WNW - 7.9 feet @ 15.4 W (290) (3-5 ft. faces)
1600: 10.8 feet @ 17.4 WNW - 7.2 feet @ 16.7 W (285) (3-5 ft. faces)
1700: 10.8 feet @ 16 WNW - 6.9 feet @ 15.4 W (290) (3-5 ft. faces)
1800: 11.2 feet @ 16 WNW - 7.5 feet @ 15.4 W (no data) (no data)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fading Aleutians Swell in Perfect Fall Wx

Weather wise, it just doesn't get better than this during the Fall season. Even if the fading away north Gulf swell was completely gone, I would have paddled out. The day was just too beautiful to avoid or miss.

I waited for the tide to turn, knowing it would be small and inconsistent, hoping for a little tidal push that might spike wave heights. My almost two hour paddle surf started at Sarge's in a light to moderate WNW breeze, and ended surfing an inside reef down coast from GDubs. Sets were provided by the gulf swell, and a few in between smaller waves were thanks to local wind swell. Today was perfect for a up a lot of small waves on unpopulated reefs.

Even at a 2.5 foot plus tide rising, the kelp is super thick in spots. I got knocked off twice, and Paul, who was surfing with his son Will, got thrown off his board once. Later, Paul told me that Will just got sponsored by Source. Dad and son were surfing GDubs where Will was putting on a nose riding clinic. Will is just a wave catching machine, and I know he spent 80% of his standing time on the tip. He's doing well in competitions and who knows, maybe he'll be world champ one of these days.

Note: The one surf pic included here is an experiment with the Olympus camera. The cam is set to multiple frame shooting, zoomed in, asa at 400. I've had little luck getting good focus with the camera zoomed in on multiple frame. Today focus was better, but the images really grainy. More experimentation needed.

November 25, 2009
In: 1135
Out: 1325
AT= 61.4F
WT= 54F
Wx: Clear and sunny
Tide: 2.45' Rising to 2.75'
Wind: Light to moderate west northwesterlies
Sea Surface: Calm and mostly glassy
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (fourth mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1100: 6.2 feet @ 16 NW - 3.6 feet @ 13.3 W (295) (2-3 ft. faces)
1200: 6.6 feet @ 12.9 NW - 3.3 feet @ 12.5 WNW (305) (2-3 ft. faces)
1300: 7.2 feet @ 13.8 NW - 3.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW (300) (1-3 ft. faces)
1400:6.9 feet @ 14.8 NW - 3.6 feet @ 12.5 WNW (300) (2-3 ft. faces)
1500: 6.2 feet @ 12.9 NW - 3.6 feet @ 13.3 WNW (300) (1-3 ft. faces)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SUP-O-Rama Today; Wind & Rain Tomorrow

What a contrast between yesterday and today. This afternoon I surfed Sarge's small peelers at low tide. I posted up wide of the main peak which had about seven surfers taking turns riding the fairly consistent waves. Size was a little smaller than yesterday. From my staircase take-off venue I was on the merry-go-round for the full session. Things slowed a bit before dark (I was the last one out) but the payoff was that my final wave was the best wave of the day. It was dark enough so that all contrast was gone from the wave face. The dimly lit ride was punctuated not by the visual perception of speed, but by the vibratory "sound" of my fin reaching "hum" velocity, and the increase in speed that was felt, not seen. The falling lip cascaded off my hips as the board rocketed forward with bursts of speed and trim derived from expert design combined with my knowledge and familiarity of the Angulo custom SUP.

Teak was out on his longboard, one of the better surfers to surf Sarges kelpy, fast walls. It's always a pleasure to watch his graceful style, and the command he wields over his wave craft as he trims, stalls and noserides with ease. The mark of a good rider, he makes it look easy.

But the most startling difference between today's and yesterday's surf was surfing on the water instead of in it. Yesterday I was in full Winter wetsuit regalia. Today I downgraded to my 4/3 and cloth hood. Still I had on my booties and short sleeve Mysterioso shirt. And I put the heated vest on just in case. But I never used it. I got wet briefly one time, but the inside of my suit, and all undergarments were dry as a bone when I left the water. Yesterday after two hours, my hands were almost numb. Today after a little over an hour, it was as if I never went surfing. The difference between SUP and laydown surfing re the cold factor.

November 19, 2009
In: 1605
Out: 1715
AT= 62F to 55F
WT= 54.7F
Wx: Clear with some scattered clouds
Tide: .96' Falling to -0.07'
Wind: Light offshore
Sea Surface: Calm to light wind ripples
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (fourth mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1500: 10.2 feet @ 13.8 NW - 6.2 feet @ 13.3 WNW (305) (2-3 ft. faces)
1600: 9.5 feet @ 13.8 NW - 5.9 feet @ 13.3 WNW (305) (2-3 ft. faces)
1700: 10.2 feet @ 13.8 NW - 5.2 feet @ 13.3 WNW (305) (2-3 ft. faces)
1800:9.8 feet @ 13.8 NW - 5.2 feet @ 14.3 WNW (300) (2-3 ft. faces)
1830: 10.2 feet @ 13.8 NW - 6.6 feet @ 13.3 WNW (no data) (no data)

Do The Math; Then Quit Surfing

Do The Math (An amateur's mathematical analysis of crowd phenomenon.)
By Steve Pezman (The Surfer's Journal - Online)

Roman AbacusIf you take the coast of California between San Francisco to the Mexican border, which is roughly 500 miles, and grossly estimate that there is one class “A” surf break every 50-miles, that would total 10. Then, say there is one class “B” break very 5-miles which adds 100 breaks to the total. Once again, let’s assume that there is yet another class “C” break every 5-miles to add another 100 breaks, making a grand total of 250, with, in truth, most of the surfers being drawn to the better third. Now, let’s say that there are 500,000 active surfers in California, and that on any sunny weekend day with a 4-foot swell running, that 10% will hit the surf. Now, let’s consider that at least 1/3rd of those 250 breaks will be completely off-duty due to swell direction. That makes for 50,000 surfers sharing 250-less 83 breaks=50,000/167 which means that on average, there will be 299 surfers for each working surf break along the coast between San Francisco and the Mexican border. Now let’s be real, the population is probably 2/3s in the south and 1/3 north, so the distribution at breaks would be weighted to the south. Therefore, let’s say 66% X 50,000 surfers=33,000 surfers for the working breaks in the south, and 17,000 for the working break in the north. Of course, quantifying “the better break attracting more than their share” theory means that, let’s say, 35,000 surfers surfing the top third working breaks (56) or about 625 for each of those which leaves only 15,000 for the other 111, or 155 per. In the real world, what actually happens is that over 500 surf Trestles during a day in roughly five shifts from dawn to dusk-the same at Malibu, and Huntington Pier and San Onofre, while most other breaks get way less. But any way you cut it the total mass of surfers and approximate number of surf breaks is undeniable. There could even be a cohesive mathematical theory hiding in this mess (Dick Hoye, are you there?). Mass=total human load factor, divided by the total number of breaks times 2/3s, times the average sets per/hr. times the average number of waves per set, multiplied by hours of sun light, times the price of gas? This is, of course, completely theoretical and statically askew, but the numbers don’t lie. We have outgrown our supply. -S.P.

TSJ (a surfing mag for more thoughtful grown-ups) recently debuted their new online magazine website. You can check it out for free, but in a couple months it'll only be available to magazine subscribers, of which I am one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mid-Period WNW Puts Up Small Waves

Oh yeah, now I remember. It's Fall. High tide in the morning, low tide at night. Not much goin' on for the dawn patrol...surfing until dark in the minus tides. Lots of Winter time, Winter swell reefs goin' off...haven't seen 'em in a year. Water gettin' cold, air temps warm up when it rains...more storms, more surf, blown out conditions. Head south. Stay home, get waves, SoCal shadowed all Winter long. Mind blowing sunsets at sea level.

Surfed the GB for almost two hours in, and around Sarges and Casa on a lowering to minus tide. There's enough west in the swell so that lots of winter reefs are working...not great, but surfable. The kelp is ubiquitous and looks real healthy. It should. Kelp loves cold water. Sometimes it slathers your board with itself on take-off. Press up, slip off 'cause kelp leaves are all over the push points.

Water temp was chilly, air temps not bad but cool. Light offshores. One young woman (hefty) out on a longboard in a bikini. I kid you not! She was out for an hour near dusk. She looked like she was having fun...yeah, if fun is freezing your okole off. (But she was pretty hefty...athletically speaking of course.)

On the way in Eric told me John gave a GhostBuster2 to Torey to try out. Eric said T got some killer rides using it as a kneeboard. Kneeboard, stand-up surf, bellyboard, or's all good. One size (small) fits all. It ain't a shortboard, it's 60% of a longboard and built for fun.

November 18, 2009
In: 1535
Out: 1725
AT= 64-56F
WT= 54.9F
Wx: Sunny and clear
Tide: .75' Falling to -0.64'
Wind: Calm to light offshore
Sea Surface: Glassy
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1500: 10.5 feet @ 12.9 NW - 6.9 feet @ 12.5 WNW (295) (2-4 ft. faces)
1600: 9.8 feet @ 13.8 NW - 6.2 feet @ 12.5 WNW (290) (2-4 ft. faces)
1700: 10.2 feet @ 13.8 WNW - 6.2 feet @ 13.3 WNW (290) (2-4 ft. faces)
1800: 10.5 feet @ 12.1 NW - 6.9 feet @ 13.3 WNW (295) (2-3 ft. faces)
1900: 9.8 feet @ 12.1 NW - 6.6 feet @ 14.3 W (295) (2-3 ft. faces)