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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Multi-Wind Swells and Winter

And like that, it was Winter...well, almost. I know we've got a long way to go until the official start of Winter (December 21), but in 48 hours things changed drastically. A low pressure trough moved through our area dropping temps in the inland locations as much as 30 degrees overnight. On the coast, because of the ever present marine layer and overcast, temps were more even. But as the tail of the low pressure systems moved West, it whipped us with strong northwesterly winds that blew the sea surface into a wind chopped mess all day yesterday.

This morning it was bright and clear and cold. Temp at the KOA across from the beach was 38 degrees. Because of yesterday's high winds, water temp was 55.2F at 6AM. That's more than a two and a half degree drop in 24 hours! The sea surface still had not settled from the big blow yesterday, and in addition to that, a far northwest coast wind swell was making landfall. Waves were 2-4 ft. with periodic six foot sets. It was almost impossible to find a corner. No sand bars, no corners. Even the small waves didn't have much shape, the bigger waves were impossible. The crowd was light, maybe everyone was in town, but that didn't look very good on the wave cams.

I couldn't find a channel or a lull to paddle out through so I just took waves on the head until I made it out the back. A large algae bloom blossomed overnight, and most of the time I surfed in root beer colored water. Hello sinus infection. I caught a couple olas that were fast, steep and furious on the drop, but with no where to go. Kicking out was the only option unless you really enjoy getting pounded during the paddle out. I could only take about 40 minutes of paddling for and backing out of a number of waves. I finally got one good ride into the beach after 40 minutes, and was tempted to paddle back out. But after walking up the beach to check out another peak or two, could find nothing better so I called it a morning.

I'll tell you what though, if this is Winter bring it on! At least the sun is shining and it's a beautiful color filled day. If I wanted Seattle, I'd move there.

September 30, 2009 (W)
In: 0807
Out: 0850
AT= 51-54F
WT= 55.2F
Wx: Sunny with blue skies
Tide: 4.2' Rising to 4.4'
Wind: Calm to very light easterlies
Sea Surface: Glassy with lot's of wind swell bump
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
0700: 9 feet @ 14 NNW - 3.6 feet @ 10.5 WNW (300) (2-4 ft. faces with 6 ft. set waves)
0800: 10 feet @ 13 NW - 4 feet @ 13.3 WNW (310) (2-4 ft. faces with 6 ft. set waves )
0900: 9 feet @ 13 NW - 4.6 feet @ 13.3 WNW (305) (2-4 ft. faces with 6 ft. set waves)
1000: 10 feet @ 13 NW - 3.9 feet @ 13.3 WNW (305) (2-4 ft. faces with 6 ft. set waves)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Onshore Winds and Fading Choi Wan Swell

There was light drizzle in the air, and it felt like rain this morning when I paddled out at 0815 on GB2. Usually the onshores don't start up until 9AM or so, but this morning it was already breezy early. A half hour later it went to moderate winds and by the time I got out the sea surface was wind chopped and wave faces were crumbly.

When it was glassy there were some fun rides every once in a while, amongst the close outs and the fake outs. The last of the typhoon Choi Wan driven waves would have been higher quality and much cleaner in decent conditions. (The swell didn't have much energy left by the time it made landfall in my neighborhood last Friday. The reefs were disappointing. I didn't get in the water all during the the heart of the swell because of teaching and our last GSF service. I was hoping the weather would hold up before things fade out later this week.) GB2 worked well though, handling the chunky faces and messy sections with stable efficiency. The mini-Simmons rides the white water so smoothly that rides to the beach and "face" maneuvers in the white wash are common. Instead of having to kick out, fall off, or bog down, the Ghost Buster makes riding sloppy waves fun.

The low pressure trough that is causing the dismal Winter preview is slated to move through pretty quickly, so tomorrow morning may be a bit smoother. We'll see, but anyway it turns out, unless it's howling victory at sea onshores, I'll be taking down some waves on the Ghost Buster.

September 28, 2009 (M)
In: 0815
Out: 0930
AT= 57F
WT= 57.6F
Wx: Overcast and gray
Tide: 4.1' High tide; Falling to 3.98'
Wind: Light onshores increasing to moderate
Sea Surface: Light to moderate wind chop, no white caps
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
0700: 5.2 feet @ 13.8 WNW - 3.0 feet @ 14.3 W (305) (2-3 ft. faces)
0800: 4.9 feet @ 14.8 W - 2.6 feet @ 12.5 WNW (300) (2-3 ft. faces)
0900: 4.9 feet @ 12.1 WNW - 3.3 feet @ 12.5 WNW (295) (2-3 ft. faces)
1000: 5.2 feet @ 12.1 WNW - 3.0 feet @ 13.3 WNW (no data) (no data)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Foggy Redux of Tuesday

Turn the time traveler back two days, add a little size with a bit more inconsistency, and you'll have today's surf.

The reefs must be flat, 'cause everyone who normally surfs there, was at the beach today. Surfed with Amy, Al, Diane and about three others who I know by surfing with them, but not their names...yet.

Overall a fun morning surf before brunch with "St. Vincent" Jay, the shadowy Carib operative about whom there is more than meets the eye.

September 24, 2009 (Th)
In: 0845
Out: 10
AT= 55F
WT= 57.2F
Wx: Heavy fog
Tide: 3.2' Falling; Rising to 3.3'
Wind: Calm to very light onshore
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
0700: 4.2 feet @ 12.1 NW - 2.0 feet @ 11.1 WNW (295) (1-3 ft. faces)
0800: 3.9 feet @ 11.4 WNW - 2.3 feet @ 11.8 W (290) (1-3 ft. faces)
0900: 4.9 feet @ 7.1 NNW - 2.3 feet @ 11.8 WNW (310) (1-3 ft. faces)
1000: 4.6 feet @ 7.1 NNW - 2.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW (305) (1-3 ft. faces)
1100: 3.9 feet @ 10.8 NNW - 2.0 feet @ 12.5 W (no data) (no data)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Small Windswell in Low Vis Fog

Well so much for Indian Summer. The hot spell called for this week has fizzled. The thermal trough which was supposed to set up on the coast, set up inland. So while it's in the 80's and 90's in the valley, it's in the 60's on the coast with an onshore wind and fog blowing up the corridor. Oh well, par for the course for this unseasonably low temp Summer. Who knows, maybe it will heat up later in the month, or in October, but I kinda doubt it. I think it's got something to do with altered weather patterns due to three years of drought and La Nina.

The beaches were about the only place that had waves this morning. When I arrived, the parking lot was pretty clear, that is you could see to the other end of it. Inland another 100 yards it was clear as a bell. At the ocean overlook you could barely see the ocean three hundred feet away the fog was so thick. All that was really visible was the surf line as it peeled directly onto the sand. Couldn't see any waves at all, but...you could hear some. That was good enough for me.

Surfed the mini-Simmons for an hour and a half in small, juiceless 1-2 ft. local wind swell. There wasn't much push in the majority of the waves, but there were sets, and in those sets you could pick out a couple of fun rides, some even had shoulders.

Buzz was out on his new Surftech/Bob Pearson 10-6 SUP. I hadn't seen him in a while so we had a chance to catch up in between waves. His son is surfing club competitions, and on the high school surf team, and Buzz is enjoying the trips and surfing in various locales throughout the state. He's been doing some distance paddling and will paddle in the San Fran race this weekend.

In between chatting and surfing, the fog would get thicker (about 50 ft. visibility) and thinner (you could see land). Half the time I couldn't see my lineup so I'd take a wave in and realize I had drifted about a hundreds yards down coast. Still, caught a lot of good waves and had some fun chit-chat too.

September 22, 2009 (Tu)
In: 0845
Out: 1020
AT= 56F-61F
WT= 57.7F
Wx: Heavy fog
Tide: 2.8' Rising to 4.0'
Wind: Calm to very light onshore
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Sand bars
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
0700: 4.9 feet @ 10 NW - 1.6 feet @ 10.5 WNW (310) (1-2 ft. faces)
0800: 5.2 feet @ 10.8 NW - 2.0 feet @ 10.5 WNW (300) (1-2 ft. faces)
0900: 4.9 feet @ 10.8 NW - 2.0 feet @ 11.1 WNW (305) (1-2 ft. faces)
1000: 4.6 feet @ 10 NW - 1.6 feet @ 11.1 WNW (310) (1-2 ft. faces)
1100: 4.3 feet @ 10,8 NW - 2.0 feet @ 10.5 WNW (315) (1-2 ft. faces)

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Wind Swell Disappoints With Inconsistent 2-3 Ft. Surf

I thought I'd get an hour of good waves on the dawn patrol this morning. All the numbers looked good, much better than yesterday, yet the surf was about the same size, less consistent and soft. Why is this? Less deep water swell energy is my guess at the moment. But why did all the measuring devices show numbers that in the past would have produced good waves. No se.

Whatever, the sunrise and weather were spectacular. I was in the water paddling at 0614, the peachy blue sky lightening over the mountain ridges. We don't live in a mechanical universe. God doesn't live in a test tube. (Neither did today's waves!)

All data below needs updating. I'm late for school.
September 18, 2009 (F)
In: 0635
Out: 0810
AT= 57F-56.3F (Yep, it got colder as the day wore on. Still Indian Summer though.)
WT= 57F
Wx: Heavy fog
Tide: 1.76' Rising to 3.94'
Wind: Calm to very light onshore
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Reef and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
0500: 5.6 feet @ 13.8 W - 2.6 feet @ 13.3 WSW (285) (2-3 ft. faces)
0600: 5.2 feet @ 12.9 W - 2.6 feet @ 10.5 W (300) (1-3 ft. faces)
0700: 5.6 feet @ 7.7 WNW - 2.6 feet @ 13.3 W (290) (1-3 ft. faces)
0800: 4.3 feet @ 12.9 W - 2.6 feet @ 13.3 W (290) (2-3 ft. faces)
0900: 5.9 feet @ 13.8 WSW - 2.3 feet @ 12.5 W (290) (2-3 ft. faces)
1000: 5.2 feet @ 7.7 WNW - 2.0 feet @ 12.5 W (no data) (2-3 ft. faces)
1100: 5.2 feet @ 12.1 WNW - 2.6 feet @ 12.5 W (no data) (2-3 ft. faces)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Small Wind Swell Energy With 2-3 Ft. Waves

I was hoping the incoming NPAC wind swell was going to kick in this morning but it didn't. Surfed a mix of residual wind swell, maybe a little southwesterly and/or some forerunners from the incoming new NPAC wind swell. Still, it wasn't bad, just less energy and a little smaller with longer waits than day before yesterday.

The marine layer has reinstated and it was thick, pea-soup type fog at the beach. I surfed #3's for an hour and a half and got some good waves and some close outs. The good waves were very, very good; and the bad waves weren't all that bad. The GB2 mini handles closeouts very well and I was able to outrun a lot of the folded sections and make it back into the clear wave face. The board is just amazingly functional and efficient.

There is a lot of west in the swell (maybe even some southwest) which is causing the bowls to break in sections. So I could sit on 3's, wait for one that swung wide and take off in the section peak with no fear of cutting another rider off. That changes when we get more definitive NW wrap. That's when Scimi's is a wonder to behold with the best riders hooking up all the sections for fast and furious, bowling, barreling rides into GDubs and beyond. Maybe we'll get some of those epic northwests later this Winter?

September 17, 2009 (Th)
In: 0635
Out: 0810
AT= 57F-56.3F (Yep, it got colder as the day wore on. Still Indian Summer though.)
WT= 57F
Wx: Heavy fog
Tide: 1.76' Rising to 3.94'
Wind: Calm to very light onshore
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Reef and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore #1-Nearshore-Farshore #2)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
0500: 5.6 feet @ 13.8 W - 2.6 feet @ 13.3 WSW (285) (2-3 ft. faces)
0600: 5.2 feet @ 12.9 W - 2.6 feet @ 10.5 W (300) (1-3 ft. faces)
0700: 5.6 feet @ 7.7 WNW - 2.6 feet @ 13.3 W (290) (1-3 ft. faces)
0800: 4.3 feet @ 12.9 W - 2.6 feet @ 13.3 W (290) (2-3 ft. faces)
0900: 5.9 feet @ 13.8 WSW - 2.3 feet @ 12.5 W (290) (2-3 ft. faces)
1000: 5.2 feet @ 7.7 WNW - 2.0 feet @ 12.5 W (no data) (2-3 ft. faces)
1100: 5.2 feet @ 12.1 WNW - 2.6 feet @ 12.5 W (no data) (2-3 ft. faces)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Day of Indian Summer in Fun 2-3 Ft. Waves

I'm calling this the first day of "Indian Summer." Weather was fantastic with a clean and clear sunrise free from any clouds or fog. The NWS is calling for almost a week of warm weather. It's about that time of year so I'm going with Indian Summer.

I think the swell today was a mix of almost gone Dujuan WNW swell, some new more local windswell (i.e. not deep NPAC swell) and maybe a touch of SW swell. The SW wasn't showing on the nearshore buoy and I'm pretty skeptical of southies that aren't hitting you over the head on all the data measuring instruments.

I was in at daylight and paddling to GDubs. Paul beat me out, as usual. Today I could see well enough to catch waves at 0617. Yesterday, in the fog and overcast I couldn't see well enough until 0640. What a difference clear skies make! I couldn't find my groove at G's so I paddled over to FP's for the remainder of my three hour session. With the Summer crowds mostly gone, there were a lot fewer people. Just about everyone surfing is more or less local. They were all out yesterday, and the day before. The regular dawn patrol crew. At about 0740, it seemed like everyone got out, and there were a whole seven people out. Sweet! Then the second surfer shift came on board and the numbers went back up a bit.

Waves today were both good and fun, although smaller than yesterday with less energy rolling through over all. The line-ups were almost identical. I caught a ton of waves again on the mini-Simmons, snagging long, lined up, held up waves from the takeoff to the cave. Again the GhostBuster2 is just an amazing board. It's been a long time since I surfed a three hour session on a lay down board. The GB2 is so stable it just doesn't hurt my back like a tippier board. (Of course lot's of stretching, almost two years of SUP therapy, good sports massage therapy and a super knowledgeable chiropractor don't hurt either.)

For me I think days like today are the best. The surf isn't epic, or even classic, it is just good, solid, 100% of the time FUN. Everyone in the lineup is relaxed and friendly and there are plenty of waves to go around. And when it's sunny, clear and warm? It just doesn't get any better....well, I guess the water could be warmer. (I'm such a whiner!)

September 15, 2009 (Tu)
In: 0617
Out: 0915
AT= 53F-62F
WT= 56.1-57F
Wx: Sunny and clear with no marine layer
Tide: 2.87' Rising to 4.54'
Wind: Light offshore early switching to southwestly
Sea Surface: Glassy with light wind ripples after a while and some backwash chop
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Reef and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore-Nearshore)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Wave Ht. Ave.)
0500: 6.2 feet @ 11.4 WNW - 3.6 feet @ 11.1 WNW (305) (2-3 ft. faces)
0600: 6.9 feet @ 11.4 WNW - 3.0 feet @ 11.1 WNW (300) (2-3 ft. faces)
0700: 6.6 feet @ 10.0 WNW - 3.3 feet @ 10.5 WNW (295) (2-3 ft. faces)
0800: 6.2 feet @ 10.0 WNW - 3.3 feet @ 11.8 WNW (310) (2-3 ft. faces)
0900: 5.9 feet @ 10.8 WNW - 3.0 feet @ 11.1 NW (305) (2-3 ft. faces)
1000: 6.2 feet @ 10.8 W - 2.6 feet @ 11.1 NW (320) (2-3 ft. faces)
1100: 5.9 feet @ 10.0 WNW - 2.6 feet @ 10.5 WNW (305) (2-3 ft. faces)
NOTE: Small background south running approx. 2 ft. at 14 seconds, 165-210 degrees.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Swell Fading With Steady 2-4 Ft. Surf

Seems like I'm always either late or early. This morning I was early so I burned off some time by taking a few pre-dawn shots in the local ville.

The fun WNW swell is fading away but still managed to deliver consistent 2-4 ft. surf early this morning. It was nice not to have to surf with a mega-crowd. Only a handful of people out at the dawn patrol, but those numbers steadily increased as the day grew brighter.

This was the first day I was actually able to get the GhostBuster2 mini-Simmons into some long and carveable walls, and I did just that. Even though I've only surfed it four times, waves like today, on the fatter and softer side, may just be the perfect wave for this board. The 5-11 just gets up and goes with very little effort on my part. Paddling into a wave is like paddling a much longer board. Popping up on this wide stable platform is easy. The board just isn't tippy and gets right down to the business of planing. I was able to climb and drop, carve around and place the board exactly where I wanted it to be on the wave face. The board will slow and fade by dropping a bit into the trough, then climb right back in the pocket with steady inside rail pressure.

There was never an issue with bogging. The RFC fins offer all the drive necessary to complement the perfect rails and foil that John shaped into the board. I was riding the second peak down from Scimi's Main which is usually a left-overs spot, but today because it was sectioning half the time, it was a great place to be. Rides are usually short and end well before the cave, but I was surfing almost into the cave (God bless these high tides). The board never bogged in the whitewash and in fact surfed it like a wave, finding the energy rolling under the whitewater, but not getting slowed down by the turbulence.

Three people in the water paddled over and wanted to know about the board, and when I was done a guy up on the cliff went ballistic. Course he was another old guy and saw an opportunity to get on a short board and have fun. This board is such a winner, today was by far the most fun ever on the GB2.

September 14, 2009 (M)
In: 0640
Out: 0830
AT= 66F
WT= 56.9-57.5F
Wx: Low left over rain clouds and heavy fog
Tide: 3.46' Rising to 4.18' Falling
Wind: Light to increasing southwesterlies
Sea Surface: Glassy with light wind ripples after a while
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Reef and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore-Nearshore)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Wave Ht. Ave.)
0500: 6.6 feet @ 12.1 WNW - 4.6 feet @ 12.5 W (295) (2-4 ft. faces)
0600: 7.2 feet @ 12.9 WNW - 3.9 feet @ 11.8 WNW (305) (2-4 ft. faces)
0700: 7.9 feet @ 12.1 WNW - 5.2 feet @ 11.1 W (305) (2-4 ft. faces)
0800: 8.5 feet @ 12.9 WNW - 4.3 feet @ 10.5 WNW (305) (2-4 ft. faces)
0900: 9.5 feet @ 12.1 WNW - 4.9 feet @ 12.5 WNW (290) (2-4 ft. faces)
1000: 9.8 feet @ 11.4 WNW - 5.6 feet @ 12.5 WNW (300) (2-4 ft. faces)
1100: 9.8 feet @ 12.9 WNW - 5.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW (295) (2-4 ft. faces)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

WNW Ground Swell Delivers Plenty Waves

The current WNW NPAC swell peaked last night around midnight, but there were still plenty of waves to ride today. The surf was consistent everywhere, and it was biggest up at the top, with set waves regularly going double overhead. Sunday crowds made things a bit scary at the upper reefs which were packed with just about every ability level of surfer, but seemed to be most heavily populated by intermediates. For me, it's just downright dangerous when the waves are big, and it's uber-crowded. Even when you get a good wave you have to dodge all the people sitting inside as you try to have "fun" carving the face. As I snapped pics after my session I swear it looked like there were two people taking every peak at Main. Even though we are it, everyone hates a crowd.

I paddled out dawn patrol on the Angulo SUP at Sarges and surfed and paddled from there all the way up to the point at various locations, moving around and trying to stay where the crowd wasn't. That proved to be an arduous task. Kirk was out again on his custom L41 EPS SUP. Got some dims today. At 210 lbs. he is surfing a performance SUP that's 10' X 4.5 X 23.5. Nice board.

I was out for a couple hours, did a multi-mile paddle, and got plenty of waves. The weather is giving us a sneak preview of Winter with a cold front moving through that dropped a small amount of rain on us last night. The sky was filled with dark gray rain clouds and it looked a lot more ominous at times than it actually was. Wind was up early out of the SW but never really got too bad. It didn't adversely affect the waves. I'd of taken twice as much wind and half the crowd if I could have. No complaints though, it is what it is and waves were definitely the real deal. Nice to have some ground swell back in the house.

September 13, 2009 (Sa)
In: 0640
Out: 0915
AT= 57F to 60F
WT= 56.5F to 57.5
Wx: Rain clouds and overcast
Tide: 3.6' Rising to 4.2' Falling to 4.0'
Wind: Light from the southwest then turning southeasterly and variable
Sea Surface: Mostly glassy with backwash bump
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-Nearshore)
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Wave Ht. Ave.)
0500: 8.9 feet @ 16 WNW - 6.9 feet @ 15.4 W (290) (4-6 ft. faces)
0600: 9.2 feet @ 14.8 NW - 6.6 feet @ 11.8 WNW (290) (3-5 ft. faces)
0700: 8.9 feet @ 14.8 WNW - 7.2 feet @ 15.4 W (295) (4-6 ft. faces)
0800: 9.2 feet @ 14.8 WNW - 6.2 feet @ 15.4 W (300) (3-5 ft. faces)
0900: 8.9 feet @ 14.8 W - 7.5 feet @ 14.3 W (295) (4-6 ft. faces)
1000: 8.9 feet @ 14.8 W - 6.2 feet @ 14.3 W (295) (4-6 ft. faces)
1100: 8.9 feet @ 14.8 W - 6.2 feet @ 14.3 WNW (295) (4-6 ft. faces)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New WNW Gulf Swell Starts Filling In

The blessings of Typhoon Dujuan, which stirred up some nice fetch in the NPAC, began showing late yesterday evening. Around 5PM, 20 second periods began showing on the farshore buoys, and all the coastal buoys upcoast from our location. By my calcs we were going to see waves a bit earlier than modeled so I hit it early this morning.

The first words I heard when I paddled into the dawn patrol line-up were from Greg. "I think the world is coming to an end," he says, "Gary's on a shortboard, and Kirk's on a stand-up." Kirk is one of the best surfers in the area and one is accustomed to seeing his trademark graceful and fluid style as he rips down the line at Scimi's on one of his shortboards, or custom performance longboards. He is a full-on waterman and athlete, but not only that, he builds his own rides under the "L41" label. (No website, strictly a "backyard" operation...his words not mine, because his products are as high quality in design and craftsmanship as any pro builder in this surf town.)

Nonetheless, it was even a surprise to me to see him on his newly shaped and glassed, 1.5 lb. EPS core, longboard-type performance SUP. As usual he was surfing with grace and style, putting the SUP through it's performance paces.

I should have packed all three of my boards into the little VW Golf this morning, but I thought it was going to be bigger than it actually was. Tides for this swell are going to be high, and it is definitely affecting the surf. The low tide mid-morning was 3.39', high at the early hour was 3.5'. That's not so bad if the swell at the reefs had been about double the size. But still, there were numerous chest/shoulder waves high with the occasional overhead wave or two on the best sets.

I surfed the Ward Coffey 6-10 Power Biscuit and had a blast. What a great board! An easy wave catcher, fast, maneuverable, fits smoothly into the wave face...and with the tri fin/quad fin options, it can be configured for smaller waves (like today, surfed with three fins) or larger waves which I hope we'll get as the swell increases in size. I actually wanted to try the 5-11 GB2 in today's surf, but thought it might be too big. Stupid me...I should have thrown it in the car anyway. I'll try not to make that mistake again. No matter though, I had fun getting reacquainted with the 6-10 and surfed a ton of waves before I elected to make myself one less member of the Saturday morning/new swell crowd.

After I got out, I headed down to the beaches to check it. The early morning CDIP table data didn't show that the swell was in there yet, which I was finding hard to believe after the morning surf at the reefs. I arrived to a see a macking set with sweet corners...no one out. That's because most of the guys out were sitting on a big left hander a hundred or so yards out, down coast. A few were getting nice rides. The rest of the beach that I could see looked sketchy. The sweet set I saw upon arrival was the only set I saw at that right hander. It was big and powerful and three or four surfers were totally denied on their paddle out. No one not surfing the left was getting much, except worked.

Unfortunately for all of us, tides are high and higher all day tomorrow as well. I was hoping to get back in the water this afternoon/evening, but the higher tide is just flooding the playing field. The best spots have waves but they are swollen and warbly. The upper reefs are still going overhead to double-o on the set waves, but everything else looks pretty bumpy and fat. If we were in a lower tide cycle there would be great waves all day.

September 12, 2009 (Sa)
In: 0645
Out: 0815
AT= 56F
WT= 56.3F
Wx: Marine inversion overcast and fog burning off around noon
Tide: 3.52' Falling to 3.47'
Wind: Calm to light from the east-northeast
Sea Surface: Glassy to light wind ripples
6-10 Ward Coffey Power Bisquit EPS (Marko Styrolite)/Epoxy Custom
Fin set-up: Thruster with RFC Speedwings and Future Eric Arakawa 450 center
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore-Nearshore)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0600: 6.9 feet @ 19 WNW - 3.3 feet @ 16.7 W (295 and 170) (4-5 ft. wave faces)
0700: 7.2 feet @ 17.4 W - 3.3 feet @ 16.7 W (285 and 185) (4-5 ft. wave faces)
0800: 7.2 feet @ 17.4 WNW - 3.9 feet @ 16.7 W (290 and 185) (4-5 ft. wave faces)
0900: 7.2 feet @ 17.4 WNW - 3.6 feet @ 16.7 W (295 and 170) (5-7 ft. wave faces)
1000: 6.6 feet @ 17.4 WNW - 3.9 feet @ 16.7 W (295 and 225) (4-5 ft. wave faces)
1100: 7.9 feet @ 16 W - 3.9 feet @ 16.7 W (295 and no data) (4-6 ft. wave faces)
1200: 6.9 feet @ 14.8 W - 4.3 feet @ 15.4 W (290 and no data) (6-8 ft. wave faces)
1300: 7.5 feet @ 17.4 WNW - 5.2 feet @ 16.7 W (295 and no data) (6-8 ft. wave faces)
1400: 7.9 feet @ 14.8 WNW - 6.2 feet @ 16.7 W (295 and no data) (no data at posting)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Small Local Windswell At The Beaches

Today we got one of our fantastic late Summer, heading into Fall, great weather days. Skies were touched by just a few high thin clouds. It was warm and winds were light well into the day. The water is even warming up from earlier in the week, showing a "toasty" 56.3 degrees on the nearshore buoy. I didn't even need my booties.

And I got to test GB2 in small, pretty gutless, low energy (even mushy) beach break, something I counted on the mini-Simmons surfing well. I wasn't disappointed, and had a blast surfing GB2 in the lefts and rights at the beaches, until the rising tide and the increasing onshore wind made it swamped out and messy.

The light weight and float of the EPS is a boon in small, mushy, but rideable waves. There were plenty of slideable shoulders, because the mini just gets up and planing so quickly. Even though it's only 5-11, it has enough glide, lift and speed to make it through sections, and to plane in front of the whitewater without bogging down for rides all the way into the beach. Some of my shortboard brethren were out on their thruster chips just bogging. For them it was no fun at all.

Today's surf reminded me so much, but was even more fun than this day. Only now, I have a real surfboard under my feet. Again, catching waves was easy and because the surf wasn't very good, it was uncrowded with empty "peaks" everywhere. I surfed my own spot and caught a ton of waves.

I haven't figured out yet exactly where the accelerator is on this board. It trims up so well I haven't had to move around much to get it to go faster. It just does it. But there is room to move around on the board which to me is somewhat surprising. In fact, there's not doubt that at the current dimensions, I could have gone shorter...maybe 5-8 or 5-9. But why? For now, it's all good. Another successful day on GhostBuster2. What a fun board!

September 10, 2009 (Th)
In: 1245
Out: 1400
AT= 66F
WT= 56.3F
Wx: Clear and sunny
Tide: 4.82' Rising to 5.2'
Wind: Light to increasing onshore wind
Sea Surface: Semi-glassy with light chop to increasing chop with some whitecaps.
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Sand bottom
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore-Nearshore)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
1100: 3.6 feet @ 13.8 S - 1.0 feet @ 13.3 WSW (310 and 180) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1200: 3.6 feet @ 7.1 NW - 1.0 feet @ 12.5 W (310 and 175) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1300: 3.6 feet @ 7.1 NW - 1.0 feet @ 13.3 SW (305 and 165) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1400: 3.3 feet @ 7.1 NW - 1.0 feet @ 12.5 WSW (300 and 180) (1-2 ft. wave faces)
1500: 3.0 feet @ 7.7 NW - 1.0 feet @ 12.5 W (no data) (1-2 ft. wave faces)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Freeline 5-11 "GhostBuster2" Mini-Simmons

Freeline 5-11 GhostBuster2 mini-Simmons
Length: 5' 11"
Dimensions: 18 3/4 X 23 X 19 1/4 X 2 5/8
Fins: RFC Glassed on, fully foiled twins
Rocker: Nose (5.25") (approx.) Tail 1.5" (approx.)
Blank: Marko EPS Foam 6-6 Halibut
Glassing Schedule: Epoxy resin. Deck two 6 oz. e-cloth - Bottom one 6 oz. and one 4 oz. e-cloth. Fins two 4oz./side each fin. Sanded finish.

I was intrigued by the mini-Simmons design after reading the article by Richard Kenvin in the Dec-Jan (2008/09) issue of TSJ. I searched around for more info and found Kenvin's blog and website which made the whole prospect of the mini-Simmons even more interesting and enticing. Finally, I was able to put my eyes and hands on one when Kenvin associate and friend Kirk G. was in my neighborhood on a book promoting tour.

One of the most fun things about surfing is that it is not static. Surfing a wave is an ever changing dance replete with hundreds of adjustments. Change is the essence of surfing. Rigidity and inflexibility will just get you wet. Wave crafts, built for surfing, are the same. Rigidity and inflexibility makes you all wet, boring, stuck in your ways, never changing, stiff and dead to the joys of new life and new worlds to explore. But while all that is waxing full of debatable and dubious philosophical hot air, the reality remained whether or not at 62 years old, I could even surf one standing up. After all, my first board in my home waters over 30 years ago, was a Freeline kneeboard which was longer than the mini-Simmons board I was now contemplating!

Transitions. Could I even stand up surf one of these boards? I needed a new boogie board for the family. Killing two birds with one stone, I opted for a six foot foam "surfboard," thinking, "if I can stand up and surf this narrow, foam six-footer, I can probably surf a six-foot (or less depending upon the overall dimensions) mini-Simmons". Long story short, I had a blast standup surfing the six foot foamie.

But still, was this really going to work well enough to justify a five or six hundred dollar outlay of cash for an interesting but very unconventional (not to mention idiosyncratic) addition to my little quiver? I called up John Mel from Freeline Design who recommends that I contact Christian who just picked up the first generation mini-Simmons out of John's shaping bay. That sealed the deal, but I wanted to make some design changes that were more contiguous with my understanding of the mini-Simmons fundamental design concepts and elements.

John's been shaping boards for me since the early 70's, so of course, he got the call. John's surfboards and surf shop, Freeline Design, are a foundational mainstay of the surfing culture in Santa Cruz CA. An integral part of the surfing community for over 30 years, John is the man...although you'd never know it from his humble demeanor and presence. When it comes to shaping, John knows what works and does not like to let anything get out of his shaping bay that doesn't meet his seal of approval, and that he KNOWS won't work. I, on the other hand, am a bit more of a gambler. In the end though, our collaboration was 100% effective and 110% successful. GhostBuster2 was born.

Over the last 10 years or so I've been in the shaping bay with John for every custom he has shaped for me (at least one or two a year)...but never took pictures. With his permission I documented the entire process for the making of GhostBuster2. I will follow up with a future "The Making of GhostBuster2" blog story at a later date, including glassing, fin installation and the final sanding.

I've had a chance to ride GB2 only three times since I picked it up last week. Twice I had it out in glassy beach break closeouts, and once in reef point break where I really started to get a feel for the board. The adventure is just beginning so it's impossible to entirely evaluate or review the board on it's own merits at this time. But there are a few things I can say in the context of the mini-Simmons design and in comparison with GB1, the first Freeline mini-Simmons I demoed.

The design (as I understand it, envision it and as translated through our collaboration) delivers everything I expected, needed and wanted. Above all it is a fast planing, quick starting stable platform for wave riding with surprising glide and speed for a short board. It is NOT a radical turning machine. It was not designed with that intention or desire, i.e. slashing turns off the top and bottom was NOT what I was looking for. But a 5-11 surfboard has a short radius for turning and this one's not tracky. What I've got is a fast, stable and responsive board that I can easily place on the wave face. This allows the rider to both lose speed and gain it back, by making precise, non-radical changes in direction efficiently and with little effort, moving the board in and out of the power pocket at will. All this is accomplished on a very stable and smooth surfing platform or wavecraft. You can watch an expert surfer do this by observing Kenvin surf the Baugess collaboration mini-Simmons on RK's blog. (There are numerous video clips of RK surfing several types of minis.) There's also a good video piece located in the TSJ website.

Sometimes, I think of GB2 as "60% of a longboard." When you look at the outline, it is easy to imagine the "rest of the board" in an imaginary plan shape. This is a useful analogy in that the GB2 has several foundational characteristics of a longboard. 1) It is easy and fast to paddle. Catching waves is no problem, although head to head with a "real" longboard the GB2 rider is going to have to work a little harder and perhaps take off a bit later. 2) Like a longboard, the GB2 is remarkably stable for a board that measures only 5-11. It is the most stable and unpretentiously functional short surfboard I have ever surfed.

Stability was an extremely important consideration for me. (That's why custom boards rule. You can have them made specifically for YOU: your skills, abilities and physical limitations or lack thereof.) All that width allows me to pop-up with no problem, even though I don't have the flexibility to ride the same size contemporary thruster type chip. The board is very forgiving and allows for the fun and stoke of riding a short board that feels a lot like a skateboard.

The EPS foam blank gave us the option of going thinner (2 5/8" instead of 2 3/4 or 3") on thickness without losing any float or stability. Going thinner also allowed us to increase or maintain maneuverability without having to deal with slowness or a board that would just plod along or bog down. It also eliminated any corkiness that people often complain of with the more air filled styrofoam cores.

Neither John nor I could think of any really good reasons to scoop the deck on such a short board. As I understand it s-decks, step decks, aka scooped decks were originally used on longboards to save weight. Then came the notion that s-decks would work on longboard noseriders to create flex (downward deformation, flattening rocker) that would allow the rider to increase tip time. (For more on that see the current issue of TSJ (Vol. 18 #4), Soundings VI: The Question of Flex, pages 66-67, Renny Yater.) In my research I could find no reason to take away foam on the mini-Simmons, even though it appears to be a design element of the genre. For me having a little bit of additional volume was more important than taking it away, especially since I could find no compelling reason to do so. But the bottom of the board was a different story.

John shaped a small, but clearly defined section of beveled, double barrel concave into GB1. We both agreed that more was needed in GB2 so he added a perfectly placed section of double barrel concave with vee out the back which enhances lift, speed and maneuverability. The double concave with bevel isn't anything new. John likes many of Steve Walden's boards and ideas. For a quick video overview and partial history of this design element check this video.

Rocker was important in that a short board without much rocker will be fast, but tough to turn, wanting to track in a straight line. Too much rocker will take away from an element that was primary to me, i.e. speed. Because turning wasn't my highest priority we went with flatter than not. But I wanted enough rocker in the nose so that I wasn't burying it on steep take-offs which would be easy to do with such a wide tail with so much float.

I liked the fin set-up on GB1 but was looking for fins that were more aesthetically tasteful and a bit more eco-friendly. I opted for a set of the fully foiled, bamboo RFC twin fins. We both thought that this fin shape, foil and configuration would provide the necessary drive and release that would enhance the boards surf-ability.

Finally, I added a half board length sheet of clear grip non-skid deck covering to provide better traction and adhesion for cold water barefoot surfing. I'd rather surf barefoot but when the water is cold, for some reason my feet too easily slip off a normally waxed surface. Rather than add SUP-like traction padding, or a conventional shortboard traction pad, I opted for waxing the clear grip. This does in fact add to the adhesive quality of the surface and the wax does not rub off the surface of the clear grip as easily as the plastic surface of the deck.

So now I think I have a very well rounded (albeit unconventional bordering on the weird) three-board quiver that should be a complete "all season" equipment cache for surfing any kind of waves that might come my way, and which I should choose to surf. 1) The 10' Custom Angulo SUP 2) The 6-10 Custom Ward Coffey Power Biscuit 3) The Custom Freeline 5-11 GhostBuster2 mini-Simmons. How do you spell e-c-l-e-c-t-i-c?

Postscript: John has a longer GhostBuster in the shop available for demo if you're interested in trying one out.