Srfnff

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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More of the Same Wind Swell and GB

Today was just another round of what I've been doing for the last three days, having fun surfing the Ghost Buster in lackluster surf. Also, I've been reading a lot on Sways re the mini-Simmons and the many iterations of that design that have happened in the last two or three years. There are at least five pages of comments that are fascinating, but it takes a while to get through it. Some of it is highly technical math stuff which is way over my head, but most of the info is understandable and relevant to the layman.

I'm thinking that when John shapes mine I'll come down an inch in size to 5'11" with the rest of the dims something like 18.75 X 22.75 X 18.5 X 2 5/8 X a 14-16" tailblock. Keel fins right on the rail and maybe thin the tail out so there's not as much float back there. The rest of the shape will stay pretty much as John already has it. The board will be designed for what I want to use it for, i.e. small mushy or walled up waves where the board can just up and go fast. It doesn't have to turn all that well, long arcing turns will do fine. The board isn't going to be designed for good waves, but to have fun in junk waves.

I really love this part of surfing, exploring new things, checking out new ways of riding surf on wave craft. What a pity it would be to be stuck in one genre, there is so much more to be learned and lived.
July 30, 2009 (Th)
In: 0817
Out: 0947
AT= 57.4F to 58.3F
WT= 55.8F
Wx: Marine inversion overcast, low clouds and light drizzle
Tide: 3.4'Falling to 3.1'
Wind: Light to semi-moderate onshore
Sea Surface: Glassy to light wind chop
6-0 Freeline (Mini-Simmons) Ghost Buster with twin glassed on keel fins
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0700: 3.9 feet @ 14.8 S (305 and 205) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
0800: 3.9 feet @ 14.8 S (300 and 200) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
0900: 3.9 feet @ 14.8 S (310 and 205) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
1000: 4.3 feet @ 9.1 WNW (310 and 205) (1-3 ft. wave faces)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fast!

More Wind Swell, GB

Pretty much a redux of yesterday morning. But, this was the first time in five years as a state parks pass holder that a ranger didn't open the gate at 8AM. Don't know what happened, but I hope it isn't a harbinger of things to come.

Met Warren who was also parked in line and showed him the Ghost Buster. He dug it so when he decided to take alternative parking, I gave him the board to surf until I got out there. Also, ran into Priscilla who was surfing with Michael. Where's Patrick? He's burnt out from surfing the hull Christian recommended. Ha-ha....funny how things work out that way.

There's a small southerly swell in the water, but other than some minor size on some sets, it wasn't showing well at the beaches. Most waves were off the wind swell. Surf about the same today, perhaps a bit smaller. Not much real ground swell on the horizon so it looks like I'll be getting more Ghost Buster time at the beaches.

Weather this morning was fog, low clouds and drizzle. So much water that puddles were formed on the main road as I drove in. More of the same forecast for a while. Put my booties back on today. At least I was warm for the whole session.
July 29, 2009 (W)
In: 0847
Out: 1000
AT= 56.9F to 57.1F
WT= 55.9F to 55.4F and Falling
Wx: Marine inversion overcast, low clouds and drizzle
Tide: 3.0'Falling to 2.7'
Wind: Light to semi-moderate onshore
Sea Surface: Light wind chop
6-0 Freeline (Mini-Simmons) Ghost Buster with twin glassed on keel fins
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0700: 3.9 feet @ 16.0 SW (320 and 190) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
0800: 3.9 feet @ 8.3 WNW (310 and 225) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
0900: 3.9 feet @ 16.0 SW (310 and 200) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
1000: 3.6 feet @ 8.3 NW () (1-3 ft. wave faces)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wind Swell at the Beaches

When the swell drops down, and it's glassy and small, who ya gonna call? Ghost Busters! That's right another session this morning with the GB. This board is just too much fun.

The only thing in the water right now is wind swell. The NW and the southie are completely gone. The wind swell is coming from wind that is being generated off the Oregon coast. Nearby winds are calmer, thus conditions are smoother and there isn't as much wind chop in the water. Hopefully water temps will go up a bit 'cause the water is frickin' cold! I really look forward to surfing without booties in the Summer but after an hour this morning my feet were pretty numb.

This morning's surf turned into a good practice and fun workout session. These waves are best surfed leash-less, after all, I'm only 30 yards from shore. The surf was small but had some zip. Some even barreling up before coming over pretty hard in the pock marked sandy shallows. With the not so variable shades of gray between the color of the sea and the overcast skies, some softies just jacked up and pitched out, leaving the rider's (or should I say now riderless) board to fend for itself in the shoreward heading white wash. The more aggressive surfer would sprint into the beach, grab the board and paddle hard out the back and into the line-up, thus ensuring a decent cardiovascular jump into a pounding, but fleeting anaerobic moment or two. I'm a little less aggro than that (but who knows, maybe I'll kick it up a notch for the better workout in future) so opting for the body surf into the beach and the slow, methodical walk and paddle back through the shorie worked for today.

Any way you look at it, it was fun.
July 28, 2009 (Tu)
In: 0830
Out: 0940
AT= 55.2F to 55.6F
WT= 54.7F
Wx: Marine inversion overcast
Tide: 2.2'Falling to 2.0'
Wind: Calm to very light offshore
Sea Surface: Glassy
6-0 Freeline (Mini-Simmons) Ghost Buster with twin glassed on keel fins
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0700: 5.2 feet @ 7.7 WNW (315 and 195) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
0800: 5.2 feet @ 7.7 WNW (305 and 185) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
0900: 5.2 feet @ 6.7 WNW (310 and 170) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
1000: 5.2 feet @ 7.1 WNW (315 and 210) (1-3 ft. wave faces)

Monday, July 27, 2009

South Swell #4 - Day 4

It was cold and gray this morning with patches of thick fog misting in and out of the line-up. At almost light a small group was heading out to the main peak at Scimi's. One longboarder sat on Gray House and already four guys at GDubs. In between sets it was tiny.

The mix of south swell and the northwest swells are fading but still putting up some fun peelers in sets of four to six waves. Especially if you could get one that didn't close out, you could get a nice run down the line on a smooth and fast shoulder. Kelp is still unbelievably thick and graspy.

Five hours on the SUP Saturday and I was ready for some shortboarding today. Thanks again to Christian for letting me keep the Ghost Buster. I busted it out for a two hour session in the clean glass and morning gloom.

My best rides came at the end of the session when I was getting cold and tired. One thing about SUP, when it's cold I like being on the water instead of in it. It's been a cold July on average. Massive high pressure over the great basin has caused an onshore wind pressure gradient that just won't quite. That along with a 2K feet marine inversion has incubated fog every morning for the last two weeks. Water temps are still lowish 50's, which actually isn't that unusal compared to last year when water temps were down also.

The best is yet to come. If El Nino is really happening, then this Fall should be very promising. And we've still got some way to go this Summer, which has been very good for southerly waves.
July 27, 2009 (M)
In: 0600
Out: 0815
AT= 52.8F to 52.6F
WT= 54.5F
Wx: Marine inversion overcast
Tide: 2.2'Falling to 0.2'
Wind: Calm to light onshore
Sea Surface: Glassy
6-0 Freeline (Mini-Simmons) Ghost Buster with twin glassed on keel fins
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0500: 4.9 feet @ 14.8 S (310 and 185) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
0600: 4.9 feet @ 11.4 NW (295 and 175) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
0700: 5.9 feet @ 14.8 S (310 and 185) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
0800: 5.6 feet @ 8.3 NW (310 and 185) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
0900: 5.6 feet @ 8.3 NW (310 and 180) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
1000: 5.2 feet @ 13.8 S (305 and 175) (2-4 ft. wave faces)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

South Swell #4 - Day 2

The south swell came in to it's own this morning. For some reason, when the swell periods drop down from 20 seconds into the 15 - 18 second range, the surf gets better, much better. That was the case today as the T-Reefs went off in classic style. It also didn't hurt that the off-season swell from the Gulf arrived at 4 ft. at 14 second intervals at 0900. So we had Northwest and SSW swell in the water at the same time. Sweet!

I paddled out at 0600 through a small channel that runs parallel to the beach and is deep enough to flatten out the incoming waves. This was a lot easier than blasting through the white water that was being presented by multiple chest/head high sets of very consistent waves. Jamie was in the line-up at Yellow House having paddled out in the dark. Already a small group was forming at Brown's House, hoping for the long ride through to Apt. House Point and beyond. But the tide was pretty low so few were making the entire transit. Those that did got blistering fast rides through cascading sections of speed. Barry was out on his shorter board and got some of the best rides that I saw all morning at Brown's. Paduan Sam was taking down waves on his PSH at BH too.

Jamie and I, and eventually Andy, Greg, Marsha, Keith and even Ralph (Ralph is that you on a SUP! Cool!) stayed put at the Y House, opting for that guaranteed fast ride and (maybe) hookup through to Dick's or even the Pier. (It wasn't that good though, no one made the Pier in one run.)

As skeptical as I was about this swell on Friday, is as glad as I am today. While today's waves don't qualify as epic, they definitely fall into the Classic category, and are about as good as it usually gets for Summer surfing at the T-Reefs. Take-offs were mostly in the kelp beds, but that got better with the rising tide, although not much better on the biggest waves in the sets. This swell was consistent too. Not uncommon were 10 -12 waves per set. And because southies are wally, there were no channels. So taking the first wave of the set wasn't the greatest idea unless your idea of fun is getting pummeled in the white wash by the next 10 waves.

The big sets kept coming, even as the tide rose up past the point where it usually washes the place out. At the end of my five hour plus session, we got some of our best and biggest waves.

More waves are in the forecast for Sunday but I might have to have a rest day. My glutes are so worked! Especially the right side, the pushing rear leg. Besides that, the big race is tomorrow and all the nearby beach access streets will be closed really early. Parking for the dawn patrol may be impossible. But Sunday night could be a go...Monday AM for sure.

NOTE: Still learning the camera. Shots are all overexposed for now. Getting the settings down is trial and error. Wave quality is not well represented either, because I always default to safety. And there weren't a lot of channels so it was hard to get a decent angle when the spot in the ocean I was standing on was either about to get smacked by an incoming wave, or I was about to get smacked by an incoming surfer.
July 25, 2009 (Sa)
In: 0600
Out: 1115
AT= 54.9-56.1F
WT= 54.0F
Wx: Marine inversion layer overcast, light drizzle
Tide: 0.1' Falling to -0.4, Rising to 2.6'
Wind: Light to light moderate from the SE, then SW
Sea Surface: Glassy to light moderate wind ripples at the end of the session
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddleFin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (fourth mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0500: 7.2 feet @ 17.4 SSW (310 and 190) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
0600: 6.9 feet @ 17.4 S (315 and 190) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
0700: 6.6 feet @ 17.4 SSW (310 and 185) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
0800: 6.9 feet @ 17.4 SSW (305 and 190) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
0900: No data (310 and 180) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
1000: 6.6 feet @ 17.4 SSW (315 and 185) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
1100: 7.2 feet @ 16 SSW (310 and 190) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
1200: 7.2 feet @ 16 SSW (310 and 195) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
1300: 7.2 feet @ 17.4 SSW (310 and 190) (3-5 ft. wave faces)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer South Swell #4 Fills In

First Session
Because this swell received so much hype, when it finally made landfall (12 hours late) it was a bit of a disappointment. I was sorta expecting something in the near epic category, and what we're getting is an inconsistent and smallish steep angled southie. I can't complain too much really, it's a whole lot better than nothing, which is pretty much what we had going into this thing.

I've been watching this swell like a hawk. All the pro forecasters were impressed. The NWS was impressed, even issuing a Hazardous Weather Outlook for a "high energy southerly swell," with the possibility of high tide flooding etc. etc. But the fact is, for good surfing at our reefs, we needed a little more west in the swell direction.

I woke up at 4AM, anxious to hit it. I did a computer check and...no swell. I went back to bed. At seven I woke up and checked it again. The first pulse of new swell was showing on the farshore buoy, 6.2 feet at 19 seconds, South. Game on thought I, grabbed my ready to go stuff, and headed for Sarges.

I paddled out into old home week. All the SUPers were out. Whitty, Greg, Sam, Steve, Hatman. Dean and Barry were holding down Yellow House. Because the tide was so low and the swell angle steep, waves were sectiony and wally. No surprise there really. Like Steve says, all those sections spread the crowd out and make for more places and more room to surf. There were a few fun and fast waves. Sets were inconsistent, just like a south. Bottom line...we were all hoping it would be bigger, but we all got waves. I managed to pull down three nice rides at two different spots on the reef, so all was not lost. Maybe it'll be better tomorrow.

NOTE: I got my new waterproof camera back from the repair shop. Wolf Camera did a class job taking care of me and honoring the extended warranty I bought with the original purchase. This was the second time the camera was in for repair, so this time they replaced it with a new Olympus Stylus Tough 6000. When I picked up the new unit I bought another two year warranty. So essentially I got a $200 plus camera for 80 bucks. Sweet!

July 24, 2009 (F)
In: 0850
Out: 1100
AT= 56.4-59.2F
WT= 53.1F
Wx: Marine inversion layer overcast, light drizzle
Tide: 0.2' Rising to 3.0'
Wind: Light to light moderate from the SE
Sea Surface: Glassy to light moderate wind ripples
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddleFin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (fourth mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0800: 6.6 feet @ 19 SSW (310 and 185) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
0900: 6.2 feet @ 19 SSW (310 and 185) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
1000: 5.9 feet @ 19 SSW (315 and 190) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
1100: 6.2 feet @ 19 SSW (320 and 190) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
1200: 6.6 feet @ 19 SSW (310 and 185) (2-4 ft. wave faces)

Second Session
Surfed a second session this evening as the swell started to settle in. Size this afternoon/evening was showing much better than the morning session, which was a relief. I thought that the steep swell angle might really downsize this southie. But I don't think it will. Still though, it's pretty wally out there. Overall, it's just taking a little more time than forecast for this swell to fill in.


July 24, 2009 (F)
In: 1900
Out: 2030
AT= 62.8-59.1F
WT= 54F
Wx: Clear with fog moving in from the east
Tide: 1.8' Rising to 2.3'
Wind: Light to moderate onshore
Sea Surface: Moderate wind ripples
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddleFin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (fourth mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
1800: 5.9 feet @ 17.4 SSW (315 and 185) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
1900: 6.2 feet @ 17.4 SSW (310 and 185) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
2000: 6.9 feet @ 17.4 SSW (315 and 190) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
2100: 6.6 feet @ 17.4 SW (310 and 185) (3-4 ft. wave faces)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Small Wind Swell Waves and More Ghost Buster


Christian let me keep the Ghost Buster for a while, primarily so I could take it to the shaping room when John shapes my version of the original mini-Simmons. So I couldn't resist riding it some more.

I would say that at least 50% of the waves I ride aren't what I would call "quality". Few surfers would ooh and aah over the weak energy wind swell, short ride waves that pour into the beaches or that even make it to the local reefs. But, unless it's completely flat (which it rarely is) you can have a board that will give you plenty of fun sessions in junky, small, mushy, not very good waves. You know the kind of waves I'm talking about. The ones where you see your buddy getting in the water as you're getting out. He says, "how was it?" You kind of laugh a bit and say, "it was fun." You know what I mean.

The mini-Simmons is perfect for every day surfing in small waves. Of course it will also work well in bigger and better waves, but when the surf gets better, one usually has more options, more boards to choose from. In smaller waves, thrusters aka chips tend not to work because of the lack of wave energy. Bigger boards are OK, like longboards and SUPs, but they aren't short boards. So you've still got a variety of boards to choose from, whether the waves are big or small. And make no mistake, the mini-Simmons provides a wave riding experience that is as differentiated from longboards, as longboards are from thrusters, as thrusters from SUPs and as SUPs from mini's or fish.

What I want out of this board is: a shortboard experience; a board that is fast in junk and mush or up to about a head high speedy wall; a board that paddles easily and floats me well; and a board that provides a stable platform to surf and to paddle. In the shortboard realm, the mini is it. Short and fat works.
July 21, 2009 (Tu)
In: 0825
Out: 0925
AT= Data not available
WT= 55.0F
Wx: Marine inversion overcast
Tide: 1.9'-3.0' Rising
Wind: Calm to light onshore
Sea Surface: Glassy to light wind ripples
6-0 Freeline (Mini-Simmons) Ghost Buster with twin glassed on keel fins
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0700: 3.0 feet @ 9.1 NW (315 and 180) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
0800: 2.0 feet @ 12.9 S (310 and 170) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
0900: 2.0 feet @ 12.9 S () (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1000: 2.0 feet @ 12.9 SW () (1-2 ft. wave faces)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wind Swell & the Ghost Buster

John is calling his version of the mini-Simmons the "Ghost Buster". Seeing as how the earliest iterations of the design in it's pristine white form were called "Casper," this seems only right. I've been chompin' at the bit to try one of these out. The design has been around long enough now, that it's becoming an international phenomenon of sorts.

I met with John on Friday evening at the store to hash out a few ideas and had the good fortune of being referred to Christian, who had just picked up his board a few weeks previous. John suggested I call him and see if I couldn't arrange a time to try his out.

I met Christian this morning at the beaches. After checking it out we both decided to head back into town and give it a go at GDubs or Scimi's which was looking halfway decent earlier. In addition to be a most versatile surfer, Christian is not unfamiliar with the surfboard construction business, having shaped many of his own boards, so he had a lot to say about the mini-Simmons shape as a design, and about his Freeline mini as well. He is also a student of surfing history and surfboards so I did my best to keep my mouth shut (not that easy) and listen and learn.

We surfed in knee/waist high little low energy wind swell peelers for a couple hours and I got a great feel for the board. My main concern was whether or not I would be able to step down to a six-foot board. But the beauty of short and fat, with all that added volume, is that this board offers a stable platform that paddles and surfs well. And at these dimensions (18 X 22 X 17 3/4 X 2 3/4) I could probably bump up the widths a little bit and take another two inches off the length. My understanding is that these boards work best in six, or sub-six foot lengths.

Priscilla and Patrick were out on the longboards, Whitty was way out in the kelp beds on his SUP fishing, I mean hoping for the elusive white sea bass hook-up. (Actually probably hoping for any hook-up.)

I had a good chance to surf a lot of small waves, lefts and rights. I was hoping to surf the board in low quality waves, because that's one of the reasons I want it. These boards are incredibly fun in mush and slow sloppy waves, which is a category of wave everyone gets a lot of. It always helps to have the right equipment to have fun on a short board.

John's got the Marko Styrolite blank on order and as soon as it's in and John's got a hole in his schedule, we'll mow some foam.

Thanks again Christian...you are most generous!
July 20, 2009 (M)
In: 0845
Out: 1045
AT= 55.4 - 57.4F
WT= 55.6F
Wx: Marine inversion overcast
Tide: 2.8'-4.1' Rising
Wind: Calm to very light sideshore
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy
6-0 Freeline (Mini-Simmons) Ghost Buster with twin glassed on keel fins
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0800: 4.9 feet @ 7.1 WNW (310 and 195) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
0900: 4.6 feet @ 10.8 WNW (310 and 175) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
1000: 4.6 feet @ 7.1 WNW (310 and 185) (1-3 ft. wave faces)
1100:4.6 feet @ 7.1 NW (315 and 225) (1-3 ft. wave faces)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Sick Mushburgers


Tuesday, July 14
Almost the complete lack of any kind of swell, along with the still winds conspired to dish up the sickest day of mushburgers yet. Me and the ShitStorm were up to the challenge. Today I pulled the two side fins (you need a big-ass screwdriver to do it) and used the SS as my alaia training board. I lasted about a half hour and at best could only succeed in making the board go straight. Of course I had visions of me pulling 360's like the big boys, but all I could do was a 90, monkey gripping the soft deck with my toes while sliding sideways in the mush before catching a rail and flipping over. But who cares, once again it was warm and sunny...even the water was more or less warm with lot's of folks trunkin' it. After a while I screwed the funny little middle fin back in and had another hour of fun in mushburger heaven.

Paul was sitting on the beach taking it all in and watching his super-grom longboarder son Will mauling the mushburgers on his yellow mush crusher. 'Course he had to give me the bidness for wearing my wetsuit, a black blob floating in a sea salted with whiteys. As soon as you change the spelling of NorCal to H-a-w-a-i-i I'll ditch my wettie.
July 14, 2009 (Tu)
In: 1345
Out: 1515
AT= 63.8 - 65.6F
WT= 57F (Farshore buoy)
Wx: Sunny with clear skies
Tide: 4'-4.8' Rising
Wind: Calm to very light onshore
Sea Surface: Glassy with light windswell chop
6-0 CBSAG Shop ShitStorm Ripper Thruster surfed as a single fin.
Bathymetry: Sandy beach break
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
1300: 4.6 feet @ 8.3 NW (310 and 170) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1400: 5.2 feet @ 9.1 NW (305 and 165) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1500: 5.6 feet @ 9.1 NW (305 and 180) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1600:5.9 feet @ 8.3 NW (310 and 170) (1-2 ft. wave faces)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Taking the World By (Shit)Storm

I love it when Summer finally arrives with hot temps, balmy breezes and warmer water. But when I saw the surf forecast was for 1 - 2 ft. glassy mushburgers, I panicked. I wasn't prepared. My quiver was dangerously anemic to take on this new Summer challenge.

That's when I grabbed the phone and called the China Beach Surf, Appliance and Grocery Shop. My anxiety mounted as the voice on the other end of the line answered. "I was wondering if Lik Mi Dong is working today," I said with hopeful anticipation. What if he was out of town surfing some mysto Cardiff Pipes break, or down in LA ripping the mushburgers at Zuma? "Yeah, I'll get him." I was elated!

"This is Lik, whaddya want?" Lik's degree of sarcasm was palpable, but that's what you get when you've shaped millions of boards for the Yangtze River Surf Club, and others like it. "Lik, I'm desperate," I pleaded," I need a board. "The beaches are going off and I've got nothing in my quiver that can handle mushburgers like your one-off times two million 6-0 ShitStorm."

"Look pal," Lik sneered, "Everyone needs a board now for these hot summer conditions and waves. I can see by your caller ID that you're from Surf City. Well screw Surf City, you all think you're so hot. But, I dig your pathetic little blog so what I'm gonna do is set aside ShitStorm number 243,756. I'll even sign it...by sneezing on it. Ha-ha, later you kook!"

I was so stoked! I had talked to the MAN himself and one of the rare CBSAG boards was mine. Move over surf punks, I'm about to rule the mush! I sped down to the shop as fast as my skinny fossil legs would carry me, and there it was. Gleaming under cellophane shrink wrap. The ShitStorm! I grabbed it and together with my surfing gear headed straight for the beaches and the looming 1 - 2 ft. mushburgers that were awaiting me.

I was in heaven. Never has a board performed so well in it's "almost surfboard" category. One step up from a sponge and several hundred down from a custom. But it was mine and for today, I ruled the mush.
July 13, 2009 (M)
In: 1245
Out: 1345
AT= 65.5 - 71.1F
WT= 54.1F
Wx: Sunny with clear skies
Tide: 3.4'-4.2' Rising
Wind: Calm to very light onshore
Sea Surface: Glassy with light windswell chop
6-0 CBSAG Shop ShitStorm Ripper Thruster surfed as a twin fin.
Bathymetry: Sandy beach break
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
1100: 4.3 feet @ 7.1 NW (310 and 170) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1200: 4.3 feet @ 7.1 NW (305 and 175) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1300: 4.9 feet @ 7.1 NW (300 and 175) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1400:3.6 feet @ 7.7 NW (300 and 175) (1-2 ft. wave faces)

No Swell Paddle Day

Friday, July 10

Around 3:45PM I noticed that the usual afternoon wind had not yet made a showing. With the lack of any significant, or even moderate southwesterly swells in our swell window, and a relatively weak northwest wind blowing up tiny waves, I grabbed my stuff and my Angulo custom SUP and headed to Sarge's for a paddle.

Conditions were nice when I arrived at the gate a half hour later. The usual dozen or so kids and parents were having fun playing in the sand and small shore break, or just chatting and enjoying the warmth of the wind stilled cove. I made it down to the water's edge, did my warm ups and stretches, and launched out into a clear jade green pocket cove, looking down into three to five feet of visibility, impossible when a swell is running, but always a special gift when it's flat.

The wind stayed light on the first half of the paddle, up to the point and around the corner. But on the homeward bound leg it kicked up fast from the southeast. The white buffalo were on the move outside the kelp beds.

A few people were out surfing, grabbing the little peelers making their way through the kelp and the high, but falling tide. Dad on his SUP and his son and daughter on their longboards were having a lot of fun at GDubs when I paddled through.

By the time I got out and was shoulder carrying my board through the cut in the cliffs on my way up to the park, I had to be careful not to get blown off my feet. The wind wails through that gap, especially a south wind and I try to keep visions of my board being ripped out of my grip and then fluttering down the 60 feet to the beach and rocks below at bay.

Summer in this beach town is always fun, mainly just because it's Summer. Sure, it's more crowded but it's hard to get mad at people who are having a good time with their families. Selfishly, I'm glad they're here. One, it makes me glad I don't live right in town, but far enough away to be removed from the traffic and the hordes of people as they have that good time. And also because I know that in only a few weeks they'll all be gone, just as the best part of our more northerly latitude dog days get going. Then we'll have it to ourselves again...for a little while.
July 10, 2009 (F)
In: 1640
Out: 1740
AT= 66.4-63.6F
WT= 53.5F
Wx: Sunny
Tide: 3.7' Falling
Wind: 4-5mph southeast at launch increasing to 4 with gusts at 10mph
Sea Surface: Light to moderate wind ripples inside the kelp bed
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddleFin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (fourth mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
1600: 2.2 feet @ 8.0 (305) and 1.9 @ 14 (170) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1700: 2.1 feet @ 8.0 (305) and 2.1 @ 14 (165) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1800: 1.9 feet @ 8.0 (310) and 2.1 @ 14 (170) (1-2 ft. wave faces)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Small SSW Swell Fills In

The after fourth of July crowd was thick this morning as the newly energized south southwest swell filled in after a slow and arduous climb up the wave ht. and period scale. I surfed both boards in back to back sessions, starting with the Angulo custom SUP and finishing with Coffey 6-10 shortboard. The higher tide began swamping the line-up so I probably picked the right order to surf the boards, SUP first, shortboard last.

I paddled out to Red House at about 0920. Since this swell wasn't really a macker (unlike last weeks, early week southerly swell) there wasn't a lot of energy left over for the lower reefs. As per usual for the southies, there was a pretty long wait in between sets. I pulled the new Speedwings out of the 6-10 and screwed them into the slots on the SUP to see how they would perform. Right after my session I headed over to Freeline and bought another set, dedicated to the SUP. These fins just flat out work great. On my first wave I pushed the SUP over into a hard right hand turn, sinking the tail and back of the rail into the wave face. The fins had a buttery, solid feel as they literally pushed the board forward and out of the turn seamlessly. I think I've found the only set of sides fins I'll ever need again. At least they work really well in these two boards, which aren't exactly identical by any means. The Speedwings are free to try so stop by Freeline or O'Neills and get yourself some. And...they're only 36 bucks for two...you don't get a center fin. I'm not getting any royalty or anything from RFC, I just really like these fins and they're worth a try. (Well, maybe I am something of a fin freak.)

The most consistent spots were Scimi's and GDubs, which were absolutely jam packed with post holiday surfers. The sets were good though, ranging in from waist to head high with six to eight waves per set. The later waves dropped down in size a bit, and were more walled, while the earlier waves had longer shoulders and longer rides.

Since I really wasn't getting any of the best waves because they just weren't coming through at Reds and Sarges, I paddled in and swapped out the SUP for the shortboard. I paddled around Sarge's main point and then walked up to the point at GDubs on the rapidly narrowing sand between the incoming ocean and the unrelenting cliff. I ended up chatting with a least a half dozen folks in the water, and even ran into Larry and his son Ramey. I've known Larry, a longtime Deputy Harbor master, for over 30 years, and his son Ramey (one of my EMT grads) just got a job as an EMT working on an ALS car in a nearby county. No small feat these days when everyone seems to be cutting staff. Anthony and Gu were out at Scimi's and Barry, John and Dean were taking a few down at Sarges and Red House. Can't blame everyone for being out. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm with only a light onshore wind.

We'll have to get what we can, while we can. Forecast for the next little while doesn't look too promising.

No pics today. I didn't have time to get any after the session with my Canon and my Oly water cam is still in for warranty repairs.

July 6, 2009 (M)
In: 0920
Out: 1126
AT= 59-62F
WT= 58.6F
Wx: Sunny
Tide: 2.5'-4.0' Rising
Wind: Calm to Light from the east-southeast
Sea Surface: Glassy to light wind ripples
6-10 Ward Coffey EPS (Marko Styrolite)/Epoxy Custom
Fin set-up: Thruster with RFC Speedwings and Future Eric Arakawa 450 center
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddleFin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (fourth mark up from back) and RFC Speedwings
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0900: 3.3 feet @ 14.8 SSW (195) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
1000: 2.3 feet @ 16 SW (205) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
1100: 3.0 feet @ 16 SW (200) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
1200: 3.3 feet @ 14.8 SSW (210) (2-3 ft. wave faces)
1300: 3.0 feet @ 16 S () ()
1400: 2.6 feet @ 16 S () ()

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Road Trip - SSW: Day 2

July 1

Today we took a more leisurely approach to our adventure. The swell was slowly backing down from yesterday so we headed out to explore the coastline.

JC was my tour guide and there is none better. Over 30 years exploring the coast and coastal waters of this CenCal locale, and he's been paying attention. I'd say he has it dialed. It's been years since I've spent any time here, and knocking around brought about some old memories. Even though I didn't recognize most of my old haunts because of the changes, a lot just hasn't changed. Places still have that free roaming, open space feel.

We checked a full array of surf spots before narrowing it down to two. The first place we rejected because it looked just a wee bit too fast. A pitching A-frame was putting up overhead lefts and rights. The lefts were shorter and less frequent, but had better shape...that we could see. The rights were freight train barrels that would have been the main event. But we just couldn't quite see around the corner of the little point that blocked our view of just how long those rights were holding up, before closing out in an explosion of whitewater. So we chewed it over and decided to motor down to one of the first spots we'd checked.

The view is a long one, a quarter mile across an open field that (had there been cattle) would have had a cow trail right down to the shallow arroyos that carved up the low bluffs. Access to this (once again, another A-frame) head high wave was across a narrow pebble strewn beach and through a series of glassy pools, broken with rocks and boulders sculpted by wind and waves. These same rocks and boulders were heavily draped with a large cadre of sea lions and harbor seals. The way some were folded over the rocks reminded me of Dali's melted watches in his famous painting The Persistence of Memory.

They must call it bull kelp because it's got such big balls. Half of the paddle out was through a carpet of kelp that without constant paddling stopped you dead in your tracks. I had the Angulo custom SUP and I choked up on the paddle shaft and knee paddled through the morass into the clear blue water. In these conditions I feel more like a deckhand on a poleboat, laboriously poling his boat upriver to deliver the goods.

Large underwater rocks humping up from the bottom and covered with sea grass, kelp and other vegetation dotted the line-up, especially the take-off. Incoming waves were fewer per set now than yesterday, and smaller. Waves would tend to roam into shallower water on one heading, only to change directions quickly, putting the hapless surfer in the annoying position of being completely out of position. So picking the right spot was a little tricky except for the set waves, which had a broader area from which to launch right or left. Either sliding direction proved fun with the rights putting up a smoother but shorter ride, and the lefts dishing up a steeper, square wall with a section you could easily back door while sliding under the falling lip.

Once again JC was perfecting his patented in the lip take-off, blasting out of the pitching mini almond eye of whitewater and spray before finishing the ride right or left. As the day wore on the persistent morning fog burnt itself out in the presence of the sun. The day and the ocean turned crystal clear and the view and feeling was as selfless and clean as standing on the loneliest fourteener in the Sierras on a calm Fall day. It took two hours of surfing these uber-fun waves all alone before we wanted to leave the stadium. We'd gotten our monies worth for sure.
Pics are file photos.
July 1, 2009 (W)
In: 1100
Out: 1300
AT= n/a
WT= n/a
Wx: Mostly foggy clearing to bright and sunny
Tide: Rising
Wind: Glassy to Light to moderate north westerlies
Sea Surface: Glassy 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 Future Fiberglass YU (actual fin not shown)
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore)
Time NDBC Data CDIP Data
1000: NDBC n/a (2.4 ft. @ 14 secs. 190) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
1100: NDBC n/a (2.6 ft. @ 14 secs. 205) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
1200: NDBC n/a (1.9 ft. @ 12 secs. 200) (2-3 ft. wave faces)
1300: NDBC n/a (2.7 ft. @ 14 secs. 195) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
1400: NDBC n/a (2.7 ft. @ 14 secs. 200) (3-4 ft. wave faces)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Road Trip - SSW Swell: Day 1

June 30

JC got it right when he said, "The best surfing happens in between swells." Period, end of story. It took me a while to get that, but eventually I did. Then he proved it.

We'd been watching the charts and forecasts, looking for an opportunity to make the secret spots run. Since the south swells have been coming pretty good this June, we didn't have to wait long. The big NZ and Chilean swell boomed in earlier this month, followed by a couple small pulses of southerly and northwesterly swells, mixed in with a lull or two. Then we saw something that looked interesting. Would it pan out? Would the energy be intense enough to make it worth our while? How's the direction? Is it shadowed? How's the wind? It's been fickle and kinda bitchy this season.

But we were itching to get a session in and we committed to go three days before D-Day. I made the run to Skeletor's house Monday afternoon. (He was tied up, but he does his best work when he is.) My tires crunched over his gravel driveway at 1700 hours, just in time for dinner, conversation and an early bedtime. We were up at 0430 and heading out to the launch site by 0530. It was me, the Phantom and Chris, all ready to poach a few.

Eight to twelve wave sets were roaming into the beach every 10 to 15 minutes when we arrived. Most slept in, never suspecting that this little 3-4 ft. at 14-15 second south-southwest pulse was even alive. But it was, and it wanted some action. We were obliged to accommodate it.

After checking all the spots up the line we settled in. Five guys out. Two dads and three groms, all mellow, all upbeat, happily stoked, and having a great time. Phantom insisted I take the Angulo custom SUP out first, even though I wanted to shortboard a little on the 6-10 Coffey. OK, OK, I'll take the SUP. (In hindsight it was the best move 'cause after I switched out the SUP for the shortboard two and a half hours later, everyone was surfed out. I had the place solo for an hour.) One-hour wave count? 20. Surf? Waist high to a little overhead on set waves. Conditions? Glassy to light sideshore wind about two hours into the session.

Everyone got lots of waves, and everyone was surfing with a true spirit of aloha and sharing. The groms joyous energy was infectious, and the truth is, they rode mostly inside, picking off all the smaller waves that were racing down the line on the inside reef. Phantom and Chris were taking down a ton of waves. Phantom is way into his 5-6 Mellor shaped, mini-Simmons like design belly board. His favorite take off spot is right under the lip. It was a show watching him take off as the top third of the wave bowls over his head and he disappears under the white water of the falling lip, only to blast out and down the steepest part of the face like the whale spitting out Jonah after being chastised by the Lord.

Chris was picking off some of the best set waves. He would set his rail to glide down the face, then pull into the most graceful bottom turn with his feet about six inches apart...like he was on snow skis. Old school and stylish...you just don't see that kind of grace with style much anymore and it is a delight to behold.

If there was a downside to all this, I guess I would have to say it was the wind. It slowly picked up through the noon hour, and it was blowing pretty hard by 2PM. No matter, we were all tired, satisfied and finished for the day.

We motored back down the line, checking the spots as we traveled to the take out. One classic spot had bigger surf, but by then the wind was on it. Nine guys out and still lots of waves to ride.

Sometimes...the best surfing happens in between swells.
June 30, 2009 (Tu)
In: 0930
Out: 1300
AT= Low 60'sF
WT= 58F
Wx: Marine inversion fog clearing to sunny
Tide: About 1.0'-3.0 Rising
Wind: Calm to Light to moderate northwesterlies
Sea Surface: Glassy to light wind ripples
6-10 Ward Coffey EPS (Marko Styrolite)/Epoxy Custom
Fin set-up: Thruster with RFC Speedwings and Future Eric Arakawa 450 center
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddleFin 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 and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore*)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0900: 4.5 feet @ 12-15 (200) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
1000: 4.5 feet @ 12-15 (205) (3-5 ft. wave faces)
1100: 4.5 feet @ 12-15 (195) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
1200: 4.5 feet @ 12-15 (200) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
1300: 4.5 feet @ 12-15 (195) (3-4 ft. wave faces)
1400: 4.5 feet @ 12-15 (200) (3-5 ft. wave faces)