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

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mid-Period NW Gulf Swell

The models were calling for a mid-period NW Gulf swell for Labor Day that was supposed to be short lived, but with some decent energy. If it came in I figured the beaches would be too big, and the sand bars weren't there anyway so it would be nothing but a struggle with little to show for it except exercise. I wanted to get the new GhostBuster 2 mini-Simmons out into something with longer walls and more organized energy so I opted for the reefs.

I checked Sarge's in the pre-dawn darkness, but the swell wasn't big enough to get down into that part of the bight. The parking lot at Scimi's was less than half full, a good sign for the last day of the unofficial last weekend of Summer. I tucked the 23-inch mini-Sim under my arm, grabbed the competition leash and headed to the shore. At the bottom of the cliff an older guy (one of my contemporaries) took a look at the GB2 and asked me if I had (swim) fins. Nope I said, I just left the other 40% of this longboard at home. As he eyeballed da kine, he told me that he'd recently been down in San Diego where these craft are plentiful. He looked stoked.

I paddled out at Scimi's and soon realized the first peak was closing out. That left second and third peak to the 10-15 guys who were right behind me. GDubs didn't look like it was working at all. So I paddled out and headed upcoast, toward the point. I got caught inside at DP's by the one rideable wave that came through. Sets were inconsistent, size waist to chest on the biggest waves. I stopped briefly at Tres 8's but there were few waves there. A steady look up at the point soon led me to believe that even though it was more crowded, if I wanted to get any waves I was going to have to surf there.

I paddled into the line-up at Seconds in time to catch the third wave of the set. It was a small, nicely lined up right that gave me a good ride well into the beach. Stoke! The board works good with a little energy behind it, and a nice long wall to glide. I took a couple more but again, it was too inconsistent. I was going to have to go out to the Main and troll for waves with the other 15 surfers.

All in all it was a pretty mellow crowd. Not a lot of over-egoed, self proclaimed hotties polluting the line-up with arrogance and attitude. I picked up three or four longer and bigger rights, and two barreling lefts (neither of which I made) before calling it a morning and heading into the beach. The hordes were descending and it didn't take long for traffic to become jammed up in the line-up. I was glad I'd gotten a dawn patrol quota of waves in a halfway decent swell before it fades out into the work week.

I made the rounds after I got out and took some pics from several good locations. It seemed to me the waves got a little bigger as I was shooting. The swell was in fact modeled to increase in size during the day, but according to the data it stayed pretty much the same all morning. In checking the cams later in the day at the higher tide, it looked like the extra water was drowning the swell. Proof that this NW'er wasn't really packing much punch.

I found out a lot about GB2. I'm gonna have a lot of fun on this little board.

September 7, 2009 (M) (Labor Day)
In: 0625
Out: 0745
AT= 51F to 57F
WT= 54.3F
Wx: Clear and sunny
Tide: 1.5' Rising to 1.95'
Wind: Light offshore
Sea Surface: Glassy with some light bump
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Rock reefs and sand
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Buoy: NWS (Farshore-Nearshore)
Time NDBC Data (approx.) CDIP Data
0500: 7.9 feet @ 12.1 NW - 3.6 feet @ 12.5 WNW (310 and 220) (No data)
0600: 8.2 feet @ 12.9 NW - 3.9 feet @ 11.8 NW (310 and 185) (2-3 ft. wave faces)
0700: 8.9 feet @ 13.8 NNW - 4.3 feet @ 13.3 NW (310 and 170) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
0800: 8.2 feet @ 13.8 NNW - 4.6 feet @ 12.5 NW (305 and 175) (2-4 ft. wave faces)
0900: 7.5 feet @ 12.9 NNW - 4.3 feet @ 13.3 WNW (305 and 170) (3-5 ft. wave faces)


  1. Hello. I was wondering what your thoughts are on surftech paddles? I found this one on sale, used, for $189.

    It's in good condition, but seems a bit heavy compared to the Kialoa's.

  2. Hi Michelle,

    I don't know what company makes paddles for the Surftech brand, therefore it would be hard to comment on the quality of the paddle. Find out who makes the paddle for Surftech and then check out that company.

    Fiberglass paddles are heavier than carbon fiber paddles. I started with a wider blade Kialoa Kole paddle and now use the narrow blade Infinity ottertail paddle. For more on that check my blog post:

    Also, under the "OTHER STUFF" heading in my blog you can click on "Search Srfnff" and look for more paddle info.

    If you are a beginning paddler and not sure if you will stay with the sport, then a discount on equipment is attractive. But if you know you'll be staying with it, my suggestion would be to find a trusted retailer and work with them to get what's right for you. Borrowing or demoing paddles is always a good idea and will give you a different taste for the most comfortable shaft length and blade size that works for you.

    My personal philosophy is that it's always better to pay a little more, but get what you really want and what works best for you, than to save a few bucks only to have to buy again later because the "good deal" didn't work out for you.

    If you'd like you can contact me further by email at