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

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Conditions Worsen At The Beaches

The swell dropped a bit but chest to overhead waves continued hitting the beaches this morning. I waited an extra hour for the tide to reach two feet before paddling out. From the lot it looked decent. I stopped and talked with Chris for a while, watching smaller waist to chest high waves fill in. Ominously, every once in a while a multi-wave close-out set would pour in, but it looked manageable.

Almost as soon as I paddled out things got worse. The easterly wind never calmed, it just shifted to the south east, never a good sign. The sea surface blew into a wind chopped wash board and most of the rideable waves lost their shape. Sets started coming in at an angle that just set up unmakeable walls and peaks down the line. The smaller waves were bloated and rolling in, fat with water and hard to catch. I paddled up coast to search for another bar, but found nothing. When I paddled back four or five guys had paddled out, but no one was getting much. There was kind of a channel with a rip in it, but the bigger sets would break right through it.

I could not put myself in the right place at the right time. If I paddled in a bit to catch an insider, I got cleaned up by an outside set. If I paddled out to wait for the sets, I either got nothing, or paddled over every wave in the set as I watched it close out down the beach. And I was getting fooled by a lot of the waves I thought wouldn't break, and then did. One time, as I paddled over the top of a booming comber, the top third of the wave pitched and carried me backwards over the falls. I spent a lot of time in the water being slapped off the waves, or just getting caught inside.

Of the last four days, this was my worst for catching waves. I just didn't get much, and spent a lot of time fighting with the ocean. She won. Not complaining though, at least I got four days in a row of surf. Today I just couldn't find a rhythm, pace or comfort zone.

As testament to the beating I took, my Olympus waterproof camera cracked a small leak in the battery hatch cover. When I opened it to re-snap it closed up in the lot, a small drop of water was visible just inside the housing. Fortunately I bought a two year warranty with the camera, knowing that something was bound to happen sooner or later. Water always has a way of getting in, even though I take really good care of the camera. It's out of service for a couple weeks, in for cleaning and repair.

I put the Pivot fin back in and set it one inch back in the box from all the way forward. On the few waves I got it still felt a little stiff, so when I got back home I moved it up a half-inch.

Mar 12, 2009 (W)
In: 0845
Out: 1045
AT= 43F to 49F
WT= 54F
Wx: Partly cloudy
Tide: 2' Rising to 3.8'
Wind: Side shore easterly to south easterly
Sea Surface: Some light bump with developing wind chatter
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)
0830: 2.6 feet @ 13.3 WNW
0900: 2.6 feet @ 13.3 WNW (3 to 4 ft. faces)
0930: 2.6 feet @ 14.3 WNW
1000: 2.6 feet @ 14.3 W (3 to 6 ft. faces)
1030: 3.0 feet @ 14.3 W
1100: 2.6 feet @ 13.3 W (4 to 6 ft. faces)
1130: 2.6 feet @ 14.3 WNW

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