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

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fun Waves in Perfect "Summer" Weather

"Big" Swell #3 lasted for a day before dropping in size, and more or less holding constant for the next couple days. On Saturday the swell put up some pretty good numbers and some moderate head high/just overhead waves. On the downside was the fact that this was one of the most well advertised swell events of the hyperbole. It was also a three-day weekend in unusually miraculous, warm and sunny weather. The crowds were massed like ants on the leftover cheesecake you forgot to put back in the fridge.

I surfed for four hours today in very fun small waves with friends and new acquaintances. I paddled out at noon-thirty and it actually got warmer as the wind switched around and gradually died in the late afternoon around 4PM. I suppose my best waves were late in the session, back at Sarges. By that time there were only a dozen or so people out, and they were sitting pretty far out, hedging towards Middles a lot. Swell direction was such that the section the guys outside couldn't get through, set up nicely for me, standing further in. I picked up a half-dozen chest/head high waves with multiple bowls before calling it a day about quarter to five. I was beat, and the crowd significantly thickened about four-thirty.

Prior to that I spent half the session at Yellow House, SUPing with Andy, Art and Sam in very small but fun knee slappers. Just the kind of waves that are perfect for a SUP. Not much of a challenge, but a "10" on the fun scale. Again there was enough west in the swell to put up sets at YH that didn't pass through the upper reefs, so in that sense surfing was better at YH today than last Saturday when it was much bigger.

The waves were fun and plentiful, and the atmosphere relaxed and mellow. We all swapped boards, each trying out the other's SUP. I rode Art's 2008 Angulo 10-8 and had forgotten what a fun board that one was. Really an easy wave catcher, very stable, easy to turn and fun down the line wave rider. I caught a few on Andy's beautiful hand made Wave Yarder too. At forty pounds you've got to put some muscle into getting it going and turning it, but once you develop trim speed, watch out!

A couple lay down surfers paddled over in an inflatable raft, surfboards in tow. They were just screwing around, having fun in the great weather, catching a few waves, taking pics when I saw one of the guys trying to knee paddle his longboard using a canoe paddle. I paddled over and asked him if he wanted to try my SUP. He was into it. Nick is a local who lives on the Avenues and like most young guy good surfers, took to it like a duck to water. He was up and paddling and catching his first wave in ten minutes. Like most honest guys who try stand up, he confessed almost immediately that it wasn't as easy as it looked and...that he'd wanted to try stand up for a while. Cool. Good to see more young guys overcome the nascent SUP prejudice that's out there and see what it's like to have this much fun in the ocean.

On that note, Surftech John was out early at Sarges, and his kids were out on SUPs. Really good to see the groms stand up paddling. John's kids do it all: stand up, shortboard and longboard. Junior rippers! They've got a good teacher in their Dad too. In my book he's the best stand up paddle surfer in Norcal. His style is grace and elegance defined, without the hubris you see embedded in the body language of so many local surf "stars."
Jan 19, 2009 (M)
In: 1220
Out: 1645
AT= 71 to 74F
WT= 53F
Wx: Sunny and clear
Tide: .75' Rising to 2.4'
Wind: SW/SE and calm 1-3mph
Sea Surface: Glassy to light southeast wind chop, to glassy
10-2 Angulo SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (fourth mark up from back) and Future FJC1
Bathymetry: Reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1300: 4.9 feet @ 13.3 W
1330: 6.2 feet @ 14.3 W
1400: 5.2 feet @ 15.4 W
1430: 5.2 feet @ 14.3 W
1500: 5.2 feet @ 14.3 W
1530: 5.2 feet @ 15.4 W
1600: 6.9 feet @ 12.4 W
1630: 6.9 feet @ 13.3 W
1700: 6.6 feet @ 14.3 W


  1. Gary,
    It turns out the Waveyarder was weighing in at a lot more than 40 pounds, at least towards the end of the afternoon. Somewhere during the session, a fracture on the tail opened up (likely from a taste of the reef on a wave that I milked just a little to far) and started taking on water. When I headed in and lifted it out of the water, I nearly fell over from the unbalanced weight. That explains why I was having so much difficulty catching the go-home wave. No biggie on the repair side, and the hardest thing is getting all the water to drain out through the maze of holes in the internal fishbone. I drained 4-5 gallons on the beach, and there was plenty more that shook out on the drive home. All in a day's surfing...thanks for the rides on the 10-2, it's really a sweet machine!

  2. Whoa! No wonder I felt like I was dragging the board into every wave with all the force I could muster. At about 9 pounds/gallon for seawater, four gallons would be an extra 36 pounds. So the board actually weighed about 80 pounds? Shades of the old redwood logs circa the 1930's.