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

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)

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