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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Messy Post Storm Nearshore Wind Swell

The "after swell" from the major rain and wind storm that dumped 7.55" of rain at my house over the last three days blasted into our shores late yesterday afternoon. By this morning at daylight, it hadn't really cleaned up, but was good enough for a couple dozen surfers to ride.

Surfers were getting primarily head high plus waves in consistent sets, but the tide was high and rising, and there was a lot of backwash bump lumping up the wave faces. Still, I witnessed a number of long rides from #2's at Scimi's all the way into and (almost) through GDubs. Ken K. was out on his Hamilton speedster, putting his prolific local knowledge to work, and pulling down some of the best rides. Not bad for a old guy who spends his time walking the walk, not talking the talk. Kirk was nailing it on one of his laydown paddlers, surfing with his usual style and grace and also local knowledge that comes from years of riding his spot. Kirk is also a guy who isn't saddled with a truckload of insecurities and reactionary attitudes. He designs, shapes and rides all his board from short to SUP. He stopped for a quick chat on his way back to 2's and said he had to make himself surf one of his shorter boards instead of the SUP this morning. Of course he made the right choice, the best waves were in fact where he was surfing and not where I was on my SUP.

I had hedged my bet re the polluted water and chosen to paddle out on my Angulo SUP. I wanted to be more on the water than in it, at least for a few more hours. I rode at GDubs by myself but the best waves were at Scimi's by far. I rode quite a few, but only a couple had shoulders that would connect the dots and the sections. While I was able to paddle out at Sarge's, I elected not to take out there...too much tide, too much turbulence and too much rock wall getting smashed by incoming whitewater. So I paddled down to the other side of the pier and got out there.

The kind lady at the motel let me stash my board under her windows and I walked the half-mile back to Sarges to get the car. No problem. The only glitch in the whole thing was that somehow, when getting out, my rear fin caught the key pocket on my wetsuit and 'bout ripped it off the wetsuit. Bummer! Again, no prob as I dropped the suit off at Diane's for the repair. I'll be back in bidness in no time and in the meanwhile, I've got my 5/4/3 as a backup for this afternoon/evening's session. This time on the 6-10 or the 5-11 depending upon what the swell is doing.

October 15, 2009 (Th-AM)
In: 0740
Out: 0905
AT= 60F to 68F
WT= 58F
Wx: Dissipating clouds as the tail end of the storm moves out of the area
Tide: 4.9' Rising to 5.3' Falling
Wind: Light offshore
Sea Surface: Bumpy and jumbled
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
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.)
0600: 11.5 feet @ 12.1 W - 8.5 feet @ 12.5 W (285) (4-6 ft. faces)
0700: 11.8 feet @ 12.1 W - 8.2 feet @ 12.5 W (285) (4-6 ft. faces)
0800: 10.5 feet @ 12.9 W - 7.9 feet @ 12.5 W (285) (4-6 ft. faces)
0900:11.5 feet @ 12.9 W - 7.9 feet @ 13.3 W (285) (4-6 ft. faces)
1000: 10.5 feet @ 12.9 W - 7.2 feet @ 13.3 W (285) (4-6 ft. faces)
1100: 10.5 feet @ 12.9 W - 8.2 feet @ 12.5 WNW (285) (4-6 ft. faces)

Afternoon Session
Surfed an afternoon session on the 5-11 at Roots and Tres Palmas. The surf wasn't as big at
those locations but shape was decent and the tide was low enough to make the spots work. Overall swell size dropped some but there were still a lot of fun rides to be had. Things started off fast paced with four waves in eight minutes. Then for the next 40 minutes it was more or less a merry-go-round of wave action. Then after 50 minutes, it just sorta ended. Sets were inconsistent, few and far between.

Of all the spots that I saw along the reefs, Scimi's had the best surfing today.
This swell is really just a follow-on wind swell from the storm that passed through. There wasn't enough time or territory to groom the ocean-borne wind energy so this wasn't a real high quality swell. Size has been dropping off
slowly but surely all day long, but there's probably a few more waves to be ridden before the next swell arrives.

Of interest is the warming water temps. Water this afternoon was 60 degrees! That's the highest it's been all year. I don't expect it to stay this way for too long, but still, I didn't think we'd see warm water again for a long while. Just goes to show you what happens when the northwest winds don't blow for a while.

Of interest too is whether or not this last storm and follow-on swell will be the pattern for our Winter weather and surf. If we continue to see mid-latitude storms driven by the jetstream right to our front door, then it's going to be a wet and messy Winter. Swells will be there, but messed up by the wind and weather. Let's hope the jet and the storm track shift north a bit, or blow up in the western NPAC before coming straight at us and then veering north and out of our CWA.

October 15, 2009 (Th-PM)
In: 1520
Out: 1715
AT= 67-70F
WT= 60F
Wx: Partly cloudy, warm and tropical (slightly humid)
Tide: .78' Rising to 1.85' Rising
Wind: Moderate southwest (sideshore) to calming
Sea Surface: Wind ripples
5-11 Freeline Ghost Buster 2 Mini-Simmons
Bathymetry: Reefs
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.)
1400: 9.8 feet @ 12.1 W - 7.5 feet @ 13.3 W (285) (2-4 ft. faces)
1500: 9.8 feet @ 12.9 W - 6.6 feet @ 13.3 W (295) (2-4 ft. faces)
1600: 8.9 feet @ 12.9 W - 7.2 feet @ 13.3 W (300) (2-4 ft. faces)
1700: 9.8 feet @ 12.9 W - 7.5 feet @ 12.5 W (000) (2-4 ft. faces)
1800: 9.2 feet @ 12.9 W - 6.6 feet @ 12.5 W (000) (2-4 ft. faces)


  1. Looks like fun. Did the storm do anything to reduce the kelp?

  2. Not that I could see. There were a few strands washed up on the pier beach, but other than that, nothing.