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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Beaches

I tried to surf yesterday morning early before class but I was denied. The tide was too low and the swell was still too big. Long lines of wind blow waves, caped with spray, flew off the tops of the overhead bombs as they careened forward at once, exploding off the trough for a hundred yards in either direction. Always somewhat demoralizing to head home in a dry wetsuit.

Today was different though, the swell and wave size had dropped and although the tide was even lower than yesterday at 0800 when I paddled out, it looked more manageable...sorta. I made the long walk down from the parking lot to the sand and stood there for a while, no shoulders or corners plainly visible to me. "Screw it, at least I'll go for a paddle." I walked down coast, past the eroding and crumbling sandy cliffs and almost to the white apartments. Across from that landmark it looked like there was a small channel if I played it right. I managed to take an angle out during a lull through two big peaks, that had they shifted just a little, would have closed out right in front of me. Mercy was shown.

I spent the next hour paddling down coast, stopping, checking spots and trying to find a ridable wave that wasn't closing out or dieing in a hole. I finally stopped a mile away and turned around. Although the wind was blowing offshore, the direction was predominantly east, wind blowing side shore or into the faces of the waves. This was putting a small wind swell on the surface that was rolling waves SIDE shore, perpendicular to the waves rolling INTO shore. Weird for some places, but not here. Also, because of the lower tide, rip currents were everywhere. Every time I found a peak that looked halfway decent, there was a big rip just outside, chopping up the sea surface.

As I paddled back, past a place that had seemed like a "maybe" except for the rip, a multi-wave set poured through that was quality. A rip was still outside, and the set shifted down coast on the way in, causing it to close out on the inside, but it was ridable and had that look that you look for. Long story short, as the tide came in, it just got better. I surfed there for the next three and a half hours (an hour of it by myself) in consistent 3-5 ft. faces with some o-head waves. Two other SUP surfers came out after a while and I thought how cool! All the laydown surfers will see three SUPs on a peak and it'll be least for a while. After a while people caught on though and we had longboarders and shortboarders surfing and sharing until I was too tired to keep surfing. Sets became fewer and further apart as the tide rose, but conditions settled and it even got glassy for a while. The wind never turned onshore. It stayed offshore or off-sideshore the entire session.

I still had the Pivot fin in 'cause I thought the waves were going to be a lot smaller. The fin holds real well in steep waves, and kept the board on a smooth and steady course, never tracking. The board never hung up on the steep drops, or bogged down at any time. It surfs like a good, versatile longboard.

It being Saturday and town probably being pretty small, a local ISF contest was up and running at the main beach. The contest shirted high schoolers were on a good left so I paddled way upcoast from them and paddled in. Today's waves will probably have to hold me for a while. Another system is coming through and forecasts are for rain and a lot of south wind starting tonight and through Monday. Good, I gotta some rest after all the good waves today.

Feb 25, 2009 (W)
In: 0800
Out: 1235
AT= 49F to 65F
WT= 54F
Wx: High scattered cloud cover
Tide: 1.5' Rising to 3.9'
Wind: A mix of offshores from the east, and northeast
Sea Surface: Bumpy with wind and rip current chatter to calm and glassy with light wind rippling
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: RFC LB Pivot
Bathymetry: Sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
0800: 2.6 feet @ 15.4 W (3 - 5 ft. faces)
0830: 2.6 feet @ 14.3 W
0900: 3.0 feet @ 14.3 W (3 - 5 ft.)
0930: 2.6 feet @ 14.3 W
1000: 2.3 feet @ 15.4 W (3 - 5 ft.)
1030: 2.6 feet @ 14.3 WNW
1100: 2.6 feet @ 14.3 W (3 - 4 ft. faces)
1130: 3.0 feet @ 13.3 W
1200: 2.6 feet @ 15.4 W (3 - 4 ft.)
1230: 3.0 feet @ 15.4 WNW
1300: 3.0 feet @ 14.3 W (3 - 4 ft.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2nd Surf on the New Angulo 10' AA

Paddled out at Henry's a little before Andy made home from work. Our plan was to stay out until after dark and snag a few in the dwindling crowd. Waves weren't as good as yesterday according to Andy, but there still were some fun walls that let me continue to get used to the new 10-0 Angulo custom. Andy was on his new Angulo too, so we got to trade around a little and compare differences. There were already five guys out on SUPs when I paddled out. Andy and I made seven, that's more SUP surfers than I've ever seen out at Henry's at any one time, attesting to the continued growth of the sport. We were all surfing the beginner/intermediate breaks. Outside, at the more advanced spots, the locals were ripping. It's amazing to see how deep the talent pool runs around here. Just like watching a surf movie. Nat Young paddled by after slashing backside turns and tail slides across a long wall into the inside. And two more guys surfed waves after him, boosting big airs and making Nat look like "just another surfer".

Andy's board is built almost exactly like the demo, which is what the three of us who demoed the demo, all wanted. After surfing it for a few waves, it was exactly as I remember it. Solid feeling under your feet, a good noserider, longboard maneuverable and a steady paddler. A really fun board. Compared to my board, it is a little "sluggish," which is about the only word I can think of to describe it. Sluggish isn't a very flattering term, but in comparison to my Angulo AA it fits. My board is just a little slimmer and trimmer all the way around except for length. Nose, a little more rounded, tail configured with wings into round pin and pulled just a bit more than Andy's board.

I removed the three fin thruster set-up and put in the Rainbow LB Pivot, (I have the all fiberglass model, but I wish I'd known about the bamboo model....nice!) which is a pretty massive looking fin that to me, looks like it wouldn't work very well. Only I know it does work really well, because it's the fin that was in the Angulo demo. Once again changing fins altered the performance of the board, and it worked superb as a single fin. It held steady in the whitewater for angling through sections, but it still turned off the bottom and top very smoothly. If anything, the three fins give the board a little more snap than the big single. Fun both ways.

Henry's is a great place to surf in the dark. The lights of town are bright and festive, befitting the tourist town appeal that is now part of the places evolved DNA. I found Andy halfway in as he loomed out of the dark after surfing this little inside sand bar by himself for five or six waves in the blackness. The only thing illuminating the wave faces was the lights from the pier and the amusement park.

So far, I'm liking this board more and more, and learning more about SUP surfing, as opposed to SUP paddleboard surfing.
Feb 25, 2009 (W)
In: 1642
Out: 1835
AT= 57F to 53F
WT= 54F
Wx: Partial low cloud cover with high scattered clouds above
Tide: 0.3' Rising to 1.0'
Wind: Brisk south westerlies calming after dark
Sea Surface: Light wind ripples with mixed rolling bumps
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: RFC LB Pivot
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
1600: 6.1 feet @ 17 - 290 degrees (2 - 4 ft. faces)
1700: 6.6 feet @ 14 - 295 degrees (2 - 4 ft. faces)
1800: 5.8 feet @ 14 - 290 degrees (2 - 4 ft. faces)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First Surf on 10' Angulo EPS/Epoxy All-Arounder

Early Saturday AM, Andy and I sped up to South SF to pick up the three Angulo EPS/Epoxy customs that arrived late the night before at SFO. We loaded 'em up in Andy's sub and headed back home. Stopped by Whitty's shop and unpacked the boards, generously leaving all the garbacious board packaging for him. Nice!

The weather was funky and raining over the weekend so we just had to wait. But it gave us time to leisurely put down the deck pads and the patterns/mosaics we wanted. I opted for the Blane Chambers inspired small, ultra traction pieces with a full paddling pad in the center. Andy did an artsy thing with a sine curve on the tail of his board which goes well with his craftsman-like approach to everything. (Me? "This is taking too damn long, just cut 'em up and stick 'em on there.")

Tuesday looked like a real surf possibility and on my way home from an errand I took a look at Yellow House. Surfable! I straight lined for home, got it together and was in the water by 4:30P. Surfed by myself most of the time, but Marsha paddled out on her Angulo custom SUP about 5:30 and we surfed until dark.

This new board was supposed to be a carbon copy of the 10' demo board Ed brought over for the Sacred Craft in October. I rode it a couple times, and turned on Andy and Sam to the board. We all dug it so much that we ordered three from Ed. But when Ed sent the pics of the finished boards prior to shipping, mine was different. What!?! I shot Ed an email..."whatup?" "It's the next generation, yer gonna love it." But what if I don't? "No worries, I'll make you another one." Deal!

It's almost impossible for me to get a really good feel for a new board after riding it only once for a couple hours. But my general first impressions are as follows, and for my own frame of reference I've used the Angulo 10-2 production model for comparison.

The shape, outline and configuration of the two boards (10-2 production and 10-0 custom) are very similar. Re the new board: number one difference is weight. Coming in 4-6 pounds lighter makes an incredible difference in maneuverability, especially for a lighter guy (153 lbs.) like me. The board did everything the 10-2 does only faster and crisper and with much less effort. Second biggest difference would be rocker. With more nose rocker I could turn harder and make more tail pivoty bottom turns, as well as more radical turns down the face of the wave from the lip, in steeper sections. The board handled well in those situations and would come off the bottom, and into a turn back off the lip of the wave and down again without pearling the outside edge of the nose in the trough. It took a fraction (by a least half) of the weight, strength and effort to get the nose up when dropping back down into those steep places. Major improvement!

As stated earlier, I only rode it for two hours in small waist high waves that were pretty lacking in punch. But there were enough sections and steep spots in the wave to get a good idea re board performance and handling qualities. In more energized waves the board would work even better, but it was still fun in the small surf, which it has to be in order to qualify as a good all-arounder. As for ease of noseriding the verdict is still out. I surfed it with my small thruster fin set-up because of the low tide and the kelp. I set the center fin at the same place in the box as I have it set-up in the 10-2 so I'd be comparing apples to apples. The next thing I want to do is slap in the new Rainbow Pivot and see how that works. There were definitely times I could have run up to the nose, but decided against it as there was no traction whatsoever in the 38" forward section of nose. Clear Grip or Monster Paint, I still haven't decided.

Rails are soft 1/3 forward and hard all the way back to the tail. Bottom flows from a small concave nose into double barrels into a vee out the tail, which is one of the reasons it turns so well. Combined with the light weight, the board goes on rail easily. One of the other big things I noticed is how well it turns backside. Much easier to bring it around and snap into a line going left. With the 10-2 production, because of the weight, once you got it going in a direction, it was hard to get it to come back. The 10-0 is much more responsive and sensitive to direction changes.

At first launch, there seemed to be a bit more instability paddling the board, but for now I am attributing that to the lighter weight of the board and a slightly different bottom shape designed into the 10-footer. It didn't take long to get used to the slightly increased feeling of instability, which I would characterize as a sort of wobbly side-to-side feeling. (Interestingly, this is the exact same feeling, only less, that I experienced when I paddled Mash's 9-2 Stamps SUP. Again I am speculating this to be from much reduced weight first, and concomitantly a more surfing oriented bottom shape, along with a pulled nose and tail on the Stamps SUP, second.) I'm sure that after I get used to paddling the 10-0, and it becomes more of a subconscious practice, jumping back on the 10-2 will be like standing on a floating dock.

I've always liked sanded finishes, and combined with the blended colors and 60's style acid splash on the bottom, the board looks stylish and professional. Ed and his son Mark built the boards together, and they used a proprietary vacuum bagging process they have perfected over the years. This should yield a strong and durable shell. I don't know what glassing schedule they used. Overall, the GU Crew did GUuud.

This board is a step up in my SUP journey. It's more like a surfboard you can paddle, than a paddleboard you can surf. I'll post more, like pics, dims etc. in the next few hours or days. But it looks like there may be a few more waves to be ridden before the next set of storms rolls through.

Feb 24, 2009 (Tu)
In: 1630
Out: 1825
AT= 60F to 55F
WT= 54F
Wx: Clear with big, puffy cumulus all around
Tide: 0.0' Rising to 1.4'
Wind: Brisk south westerlies calming at dusk
Sea Surface: South west wind ripples with light backwash bump on the higher tide
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 Future Fiberglass YU (actual fin not shown)
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1600: 5.9 feet @ 11.8 WNW (2 - 4 ft. faces)
1630: 5.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW
1700: 6.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW (2 - 4 ft.)
1730: 7.2 feet @ 11.8 WNW
1800: 5.2 feet @ 11.8 WNW (2 - 4 ft.)
1830: 5.9 feet @ 11.1 WNW

What Happened While We Were Surfing

Friday, February 20, 2009

3 to 6 Ft. Evening Session in New Dateline Swell

Made a mad dash for home after teaching all day to get my stuff, and headed for the reefs. I was paddling out at 1658, heading through Sarges, and enroute to Casa Roja's, the next upcoast reef in the group. On the way out got a nice 12 shot sequence of Fig. Sweet little wave.

The swell jumped up last night, and by morning a decent shot of dateline west swell was pouring into the bay, putting up some good numbers and 4-7 foot faces at 14 second periods. I was surprised by how much sand had been moved out of the small cove, revealing the bare rock bottom of the small beach which is usually covered by enough sand for kids to build sand castles and play in all day long. Tide was high in the morning so the waves were swollen and lumpy, but as soon as the tide dropped, they shaped up. The tide was one foot and rising, which was good timing, as the kelp is still thick and rapacious.

My first wave was one of the best. I picked up a sweet head high peak well off the main take-off at Sarge's for a fast and sectiony ride which I almost made. After that one, I shook off the wipeout and headed back to Casa's where I surfed 3 to 6 foot faces with an occasional o-head set until about 40 minutes before dark. Waves were very consistent except for one short lull, and although the swell had more energy than yesterday, the rising tide started to filter some of the juice out of the sets. Still, a number of very good rides were to be had in the glassy and improving conditions.

About ten 'til six I looked at Sarge's and saw that just about everyone had bailed out. So I caught a nice wave to just outside the main takeoff, which closed out as I arrived. Another fast moving comber was looming so I paddled hard down peak and caught that one which took me into the nudie beach. The offshores came up right on cue and the rest of the session was defined by wave after wave of fast, clean, wind blown lines. Only four of us out by then, Tory and Eric and another longboarder. We shared waves, screaming and hooting each other on until it was so dark we couldn't see if the peaks were about to feather, or just roll past us. I got one last screamer in the dark that squirted me out of two sections before dying out on the inside.

This Friday session was such a blessing. A whole 'nuther series of storms is coming with bad ju-ju high southerly winds forecast for Sunday. It's safe to say I'll be land locked for a while, but with some good memories to keep me stoked.
Feb 20, 2009 (F)
In: 1658
Out: 1837
AT= 56F to 53F
WT= 54F
Wx: High hazy cloud cover with filtered sun
Tide: 1.3' Rising to 2.6'
Wind: Light west-southwesterlies to calm to brisk offshores
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy with some higher tide light backwash bump late in the session
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 Fiberglass YU (actual fin not shown)
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1600: not available (3-6 ft. occasional 7 ft. face)
1630: not available
1700: 5.2 feet @ 13.3 W (3-6 ft. occasional 7 ft. face)
1730: 5.2 feet @ 13.3 W
1800: 5.6 feet @ 13.3 W (3-6 ft.)
1830: 5.2 feet @ 13.3 W

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fun SUP Surfing In Between Systems and Classes

The last storm system and teaching my EMT classes was the ball and chain that kept me out of the water for almost a week. I finally broke free from classes this afternoon, and vowed, at the very least, to go for some kind of paddle. Getting out on the ocean was the main aim. If there were waves, great. If not, then it would just feel good to get back out there!

What a nice surprise this 1.5 hour session turned out to be. Real consistent 2-4 ft. fun waves in glassy, tide rising conditions. According to my fearless prognostication, there was a small mixed swell in water of short period and long period swell. No real ground swell was out there, but the morphodite swell combo put up some very fun waves, especially after having nothing for almost a week.

I first checked the beaches and found that it was too big, made that way mostly by the lower tide. So I thought I'd better check town. Truthfully, I just wasn't up for the workout/beating I knew I was going to take if I hung at the beaches. Some very good shortboarders that I know were checking it, and they weren't paddling out so I figured they were waiting for the tide, or just waiting.

I beat feet for town and paddled out at Sarges around 1645 into a light and decreasing southwest wind. Joanna was out with two other guys and right off the bat I picked up a couple insiders. Fun, but pretty soft on the inside reefs. Casa's and GW's were looking pretty good, with one friendly shortboarder sitting on the main peak at Casa's picking up some nice sections. I headed for the peak in between Casa's and GW's and was immediately rewarded with a couple nice, long rides through the Casa section. Rode that for 45 minutes by myself, picking up numerous fast sections and long rides, a couple all the way to Sarges and one double past the nudie beach. That one was about a 600 yard ride...sweet!

Surfing and paddling was non-stop for an hour when it slowed a bit and I found myself waiting around, enjoying the scenery and the light of a beautiful evening. The crowd picked up a bit at Gdubs, but never got obnoxious. Near twilight I paddled back down to Sarges and finished the session in the dimming light. Picked up a nice shot of James on his Pope bisect in the almost darkness.

This session will probably have to last a while. I teach again all day tomorrow, and then another weather system is supposed to bear down on us this weekend.
Feb 19, 2009 (Th)
In: 1645
Out: 1815
AT= 60F to 54F
WT= 54F
Wx: Clear and sunny with some high clouds
Tide: 1.7' Rising to 2.9'
Wind: Light southwesterlies to calm to light offshores
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy with some high tide bump late in the session
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 Fiberglass YU (actual fin not shown)
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1600: 3.6 feet @ 10.5 WSW (2-4 ft. occasional 5 ft. face)
1630: 3.3 feet @ 15.4 W
1700: 3.6 feet @ 10.5 WSW (2-4 ft. occasional 5 ft. face)
1730: 3.9 feet @ 15.4 W
1800: 3.6 feet @ 15.4 W (2-4 ft. occasional 5 ft. face)
1830: 3.9 feet @ 11.1 WSW

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Storm Dodging

I didn't think this clear spot in the storm chain would be so brief, or the session so short, even with a dawn patrol paddle out. But I was able to get in two hours of good exercise in some fun but inconsistent and lumpy waist/chest high waves.

Only Jamie and Tim out at 0715 when I paddled into the line-up. Jamie had to head to work pretty quick, leaving me and Tim out to trade a few. As I watched three SUPs launch from the beach I told Tim not to turn around lest he crap his wetsuit. His comment..."I wish it was like five years ago, when there weren't any!" Oh well, times change.

Mash was out on his not so new anymore Tim Stamps 9'2" X 29" SUP "shortboard," and I immediately made him give it up. It's definitely different surfing a short SUP board. I caught about six or seven waves, but not really enough to get a comfortable feel for the board. It's just way different than my 10-2, or any other SUP I've had the chance to try. My first impressions: paddles well, not much yaw (he's running a 2+1 set-up with a 7.5" center and two Future 450 quad sides); catches waves remarkably easy; is VERY light epoxy/EPS construction; will definitely turn on rail when I figure out how to do it better; punching through waves was a surprise in that it just scooted over the top of the whitewash, leaving me flat on my back bad. I had a hard time keeping the nose down while surfing (more rocker than I'm used to and a bit of an offshore). I never felt like I had "control" of the board, but I think this is due to the fact that in my opinion it is a different feel and one surfs it in a different way. (Mash said I was too far back on the board, and needed to move my stance forward.) The biggest negative I experienced wasn't "tippiness" in the sense one would expect of a short, relatively narrow (for it's length) SUP, rather it was a disconcerting side to side sliding feeling, like an exercise balance board almost. Again, this is something one would get used to, and develop the additional strength and stamina needed to be "on it" physically at all times. I spent a lot of time adjusting to changing sea surface conditions, which left less time to "rest" in between waves. Also, I was more susceptible to side chop while paddling for waves, But I need to spend some more time on it, and seeing as how Mash wants to hit the beaches more often, I've got a feeling I might get some of that in the future. Imagine...a shortboard SUP? What a concept! One thing about which there is no doubt, Stamps builds beautiful boards!

Steve was out on his longboard, Kevin on his Kazuma SUP and surprisingly few others, 'cause the surf was for sure good enough to be out with so few people in the water. Fellow SUP surfers Mash, MikeyB and Scott headed in after an hour or so, but I wanted to get my fill as more storms are coming and I've got to teach or substitute all next week, so I stayed out. But the tide swamped it, waves got fewer, quality dropped, and the storm freakish lumpiness just got worse.

The buoys all up and down the coast were all double digits late last night and this morning, NWS issued a high surf advisory, the whole 9 Yards, but generally it sucked. The swell definitely didn't live up to it's publicity. I'm sure the top spots were bigger, and probably better, but all in all, it was a disappointment (mirroring the totality of this winter season's surf so far). (Scimi's looked good and there was a crowd of shortboarders on it, including a bunch of sponsored surfers who were being videoed from the beach by two photogs.)

But, putting a Happy Face on it, I'll take what I got over not getting any at all.
Feb 12, 2009 (Th)
In: 0715
Out: 0930
AT= 40F to 49F
WT= 54F
Wx: Partly cloudy and sunny
Tide: 1.3' Rising to 3.3'
Wind: Offshore to calm to light easterlies, north and south
Sea Surface: Glassy to lightly wind rippled with lumps
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 Fiberglass YU (actual fin not shown)
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
0700: 5.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW
0730: 5.9 feet @ 11.8 WNW
0800: 6.2 feet @ 14.3 WNW
0830: 5.9 feet @ 14.3 WNW
0900: 5.9 feet @ 13.3 WNW
0930: 5.6 feet @ 14.3 WNW
1000: 5.6 feet @ 10.5 WNW

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How They See Us

Leave it to the Aussie's to tell it like it is. Thanks to ASL for setting us straight and SUP Brother Andy for sending it my way.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Few Fun Waves in Wind Hacked Conditions

Paddled out at noon for a three hour session in what I hoped was going to be bigger waves. Conditions were about as I expected. What a workout. Three hours of paddling into 3 - 12 mph headwinds. Buzz paddled over from C-ville Main after a while, he even got a few pics of me with my camera. Thanks Buzz!

I was in the water fifteen minutes before the one foot tide. I was hoping to surf until dark, but constant paddling in bumpy conditions and a head wind wore me out after three hours. This wind swell had some size, but a fast moving high pressure trough put up enough local northwest winds to keep the post-storm conditions from settling down. Every once in a while a head high set of three or four waves would pore into the line-up, remnants of Storm #5 I think. Those were nice, but rare. Generally, surf was in the waist to chest high range. Even the inside fast waves weren't hollowing out in the sections. Face it, it was just lumpy.

I did get a couple long rides though from the YH to past Dicks, and then some doubles inside, but generally it just never got going. As soon as the wind would calm a little bit, it would start right back up again, keeping a constant wind bump on the sea surface. There was just too much lumpiness in the swell to clean it up and make it really fun. But waves is waves, and this Winter season has been such a disappointment that I'll probably remember this session as being really "good". Naaawww!

Feb 7, 2009 (Sa)
In: Noon
Out: 1450
AT= 57F to 59F
WT= 55F
Wx: Partly cloudy and sunny
Tide: 1.2' Falling to -1.2'
Wind: Mostly southwest 2-12mph
Sea Surface: Wind rippled with lumps and surface chop
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 Fiberglass YU (actual fin not shown)
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1200: 9.2 feet @ 12.5 WNW
1230: 9.2 feet @ 11.1 WNW
1300: 8.9 feet @ 13.3 WNW
1330: 10.2 feet @ 13.3 WNW
1400: 7.9 feet @ 13.3 WNW
1430: 9.2 feet @ 13.3 WNW
1500: 9.2 feet @ 12.5 WNW
1530: 8.9 feet @ 11.8 WNW

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last Hoo-Rah B4 the Rain

I figured this morning might be the last time to get some decent waves in good conditions so I hit the beaches early. At 0806 as I was paddling out, the west northwest wind was already on it. The swell had jumped up from Tuesday, sideband energy from a Gulf windswell, and sets were breaking hard in the four to six foot range. Three separate rips were in the water in the vicinity of my sand bar, but worse yet, swell direction was different from the prevailing direction of the last week, and everything but the smaller waves (3-4 ft.) was closing out. Worst of all, no channel. Anything but the last wave of the set (or the smaller waves) led to a beating while floating around inside waiting to paddle back out. Hanging out too far inside was a sure guarantee that you would not make it out the back in time to paddle over the incoming bigger sets. And the bigger sets all had waves that just closed out, no tapering shoulders, just crashing walls. On the upside, the smaller, rideable waves inside were fun with longish rides into a jumbled up and washboard shorebreak six feet from dry sand.

After an hour and my final wave, and bouncing around in what seemed like a hundred incoming white water rollers, I convinced my self that an hour's surf was good, a bonus even in the face of the incoming rain storms. While I was standing in thigh high water I talked some surfer stuff with a longboarder who was headed out to take his beating for the day. I unleashed and pushed my board into the shore rather than deal with it while trying to have a conversation. When I wadded in to retrieve it, much to my surprise I found one of the side fins bent over and laying flat, broken off at the base and hanging by a few fiberglass strands. Should have taken a pic but didn't. Later in the day I headed over to Freeline and showed it to John (that would be Peter's Dad) who was as surprised as I was. It didn't seem to me that the shorebreak conditions were vigorous enough to bust off a fin but John made a couple good points. 1) This particular fin was designed for a six pound shortboard, not necessarily a 24 pound SUP. 2) The construction of the fin is probably the weakest, or most vulnerable to damage. I agreed with both points, and as usual the most honest and fair surf shop owner in NorCal made me a great deal on a set of replacement side fins.

Surfing beach breaks on a SUP is definitely a challenge when all the avenues of easy access to the peaks are taken away. So I am learning to cope by: 1) Accepting it and learning how to negotiate mounds of white water. 2) Being patient. So what if fifteen waves in a row wash you back into the beach? There has to be a break in all this sooner or later....doesn't there? (I'll have to remind myself of this when I'm feeling cold salt water draining through my sinuses while racing to swim for my paddle which has been ripped out of my hand by the whitewater and dodging my board which just flipped over and hit me in the head, all the while cursing every animate and inanimate object ever created...) 3) Sometimes it's easier to sprint for the openings by: laying on your paddle and prone paddling like mad; knee paddling using a short stroke while choking up on the paddle shaft and paddling like mad; standing back up and paddling like mad when it looks like you can actually crash the white water or make it over the breaking waves and still remain standing. Falling off while trying to punch through incoming waves from a standing position is a huge time waster, and you often fall too far behind the pulse of the action to recover any gains you made while sprinting prone or on your knees. In the end it's all judgment calls, the success of which is determined by your experience and physical fitness. But the "doing" is so freaking cool. Success is the icing on the cake. SUP addiction.

Postscript: Hats off to Buzz and Keith (two top of the line Norcal SUP riders who have made the beaches their own) and John and the IB SUP riders...I feel your pain brothers. (And me likey!)

Feb 4, 2009 (W)
In: 0806
Out: 0910
AT= 45F to 51F
WT= 52F
Wx: Partly clear with high clouds to rain storm cloud cover moving in
Tide: 3.2' Falling to 1.8'
Wind: West northwest 2-3mph
Sea Surface: Approaching storm, light wind mottling with rip current chop
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 Fiberglass YU (actual fin not shown)
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
0800: 3.6 feet @ 13.4 WSW
0830: 4.0 feet @ 15.4 WSW
0900: 3.6 feet @ 14.4 WSW
0930: 4.0 feet @ 12.5 WSW
1000: 4.0 feet @ 14.4 WSW

Monday, February 2, 2009

5-Hour Session in Fun Waves with Perfect Weather

Paddled out at noon and 48 minutes, and into a flawlessly perfect day, rare and to be cherished. Talked with Michael who was finishing up his session, he was stoked! I ended up surfing until dark, a five hour plus session, but I had a completely open schedule, and just couldn't let this go. I surfed more than a few sand bars up and down my preferred stretch of beach...what I refer to as, "the beaches."

I started at my current favorite spot which although small (2-3 ft.) had a nice easy takeoff and a long run into a fun "bowl" (if you could really call it that, more like a steep spot in the sand) and then finishing up into the channel. It was a bit inconsistent and the sets were thinly populated with waves, two or three at most. But it was fun, especially banking off the inside section and then driving into the flats. One old guy and his girlfriend were sitting like non-producing data buoys inside, and taking off in the bowl. Their deal was to take off in front of you when you were heading into the section, and then yell at you later for picking off all the "set" waves. Set waves? Picking 'em all off? Whatever. Eventually we all moved on, as that peak got kinda crowded and the surf seemed to drop off a bit.

Ran into Mike on his 9-8 Starboard and after some chit-chat we swapped boards. I like to try as many SUPs as I can so I can learn more about how the different designs and shapes work. I really liked the Starboard, it was wide and stable, with a very rounded, tongue depressor nose. It's got a concave nose and light vee from there right out the tail. Mike has it set up as a 2+1. It was stable, an easy wave catcher, and very loose. It weighed less than I thought it would, and throwing it around was not much of a problem. It seemed to handle the inside steep end section nicely without rolling over in the steep parts, which is something I think the high volume SUPs tend to do. Not much of a review or comparison as I only played around on it for a half hour or so before Mike had to get going. The 9-8 Starboard is looser than the Angulo and I would say a wee bit more stable, even at six inches shorter. The only downsides in comparing it to my 10-2 are: 1) it's definitely not as fast 2) it's a pretty slow paddler. Therefore I don't think I'd want to own one if I could only have one board. It's not the all-arounder (AA) that the Angulo 10-2 is, but for sure a really fun board. Thanks Mike for letting me try it!

The day just kept getting more mellow. Never once did the wind get heavy, it was light out of the southwest until dark when for a short time it turned lightly offshore. I re-swapped with Mike and headed down coast, surfing a few bars as I paddled. My thought was just to keep heading down until I found a fun bar with no one (yeah right!) or just a few guys on it. I surfed a left for a while, as it was an easy three foot wave and I hardly ever go left. I need all the practice I can get.

Although I was ready to just keep paddling down, all the way to the next state lot if necessary, I found what I was looking for about 2/3 mile from my starting point. (That's one of the beauties of stand up paddling, you've got incredible range and you're out on the ocean, not walking the sand.) Four guys were already on this 3-5 ft. right hander that was putting up a nice takeoff and section and then just dumping out into a deep channel. So I hung out, off to the side after paddling past where they we all sitting, to show my respect for their "first out" rights, and to see how they were reacting to the SUP guy hangin' around. I was checking the waves too, and I thought sets must be coming through where they were sitting, but none did. What did come through were these fun little insiders that I was there for. I got about six or seven waves before a couple of the guys paddled in to the inside lineup, so things were pretty cool. I had established my presence, and proved that I could surf the SUP and wasn't totally geeked and they were going, "What the hell, why is HE getting all the waves?" Life was good.

It stayed fun and mellow for the next three hours. Surf was consistent at 3-5 ft. with occassional 4-6 ft. sets. Everyone got a lot of waves and about an hour into it, three of the four guys got out, and that just left me and the shortboarder...Matt. It's always easier to make friends when there's only a couple guys out. Anyway, Matt turns out to be a really good surfer and he even tried out my SUP. Of course, like all good surfer/athletes, he popped up on it right away and paddled all over the place. That left me with his uber-short, leash-less shortboard on which I caught zero, read "0", waves. No problem, at least I could sit on it.

Across the channel a very nice left was breaking that looked like the set up for a Mentawai boat trip. The sand bar looked like a reef, and the waves would just jump up and horseshoe in. Matt took off to surf that spot with a couple other guys, leaving me all alone (damn!) for a while, before a couple late longboarders and another shortboarder paddled out. It was all good. The surf was showing a little smaller, perhaps because of the incoming tide, perhaps because the swell was dropping, but conditions were still perfect and it was still impossible to drag myself away.

Eventually the sun dropped below the horizon and darkness was only about 20 minutes away, so I headed back down to the main lot and called it a day. A very classic day.

Feb 2, 2009 (M)
In: 1248
Out: 1800
AT= 70F to 58F
WT= 54/55F
Wx: Clear and sunny
Tide: 2' Rising to 3' then falling slightly
Wind: Calm to light side/off shore
Sea Surface: Some very light wind ripples with periods of glassiness
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: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Nearshore)
1230: 2.6 feet @ 11.1 WNW
1300: 3.0 feet @ 11.8 WNW
1330: 3.0 feet @ 11.8 WNW
1400: 2.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW
1430: 3.0 feet @ 11.1 WNW
1500: 2.6 feet @ 12.5 WNW
1530: 2.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW
1600: 2.3 feet @ 11.1 WNW
1630: 2.6 feet @ 12.5 WNW
1700: 2.6 feet @ 11.1 WNW
1730: 2.3 feet @ 10.5 WNW
1800: 2.6 feet @ 11.1 WNW
1830: 2.0 feet @ 11.1 WNW