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

Friday, November 27, 2009

Super Fun Waves In Fading Swell

The miserably wretched first hour of my nearly four hour session this afternoon, played counterpoint to an incredible final hour and half surfing in the best Fall waves I've scored yet.

My plan was for a redux of yesterday in smaller surf, but a lower tide. I thought YH would be holding some small but good waves. Wrong. Disappointingly inconsistent, small, low energy goiters waddled through the line-up and over the reef, usually right through a path of chain mail kelp intend on slamming you face first onto the deck of your board. Side shore winds were blowing me out of the line-up. And the occasional rain squall felt like I should be in the mountains with a snowboard under my feet instead of a SUP. The demons of negativity took over. I stood my ground as long as I could before throwing in the towel and heading over to Sarge's. I thought maybe I could score a couple decent waves, reclaim the session and call it a day. An inauspicious beginning.

On the upside...there were fewer people at Sarge's by the time I got there. As per my usual, I lined up wide and picked off a few stragglers no one else was taking. Overall, the surf was better at my new locale. Never more than seven people out and as the afternoon moved into evening, the waves just got better...and better...and better. And more consistent too. I was the last one out of the water, and spent 20 minutes on a literal merry-go-round to end the session. Those last half hour of rides were long ones too, from the rip-rap point to past the nudie beach or to the seawall, about 200 yards. After I kicked out or faded over the back of the wave, I slowly paddled back out to the line-up. In that last 20 minutes, I never waited more than 30 seconds for the next wave. At ten after five it was too dark for my eyes and I rode the white water as far in as I could for the take out.

At least part of the explanation for the increase in wave size and consistency lies in the data below. The passing front that brought light rain and wind to the coast, brought some heavy NW winds (29-37 mph) blowing down coast. That kicked up some amazingly well groomed nearshore wind swell driven waves, along with the remnants of the last NPAC ground swell.

After three consecutive days, eight hours of SUP surfing, and waves too numerous to count, my shoulders and legs are stressed and fatigued to the max. Tomorrow has to be a rest day. Gotta rest up for the next swell.

November 27, 2009
In: 1325
Out: 1715
AT= 59-53F
WT= 54F
Wx: Scattered showers and clouds with periodic clearing
Tide: 1.16' Rising to 2.8'
Wind: Strong side shore and offshores
Sea Surface: Wind ripples and scallops with some light backwash bump late
10-0 Angulo EPS/Epoxy Custom SUP with Infinity Ottertail carbon fiber paddle
Fin set-up: Thruster with K2D2 4.75" center fin (first 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.)
1300: 10.2 feet @ 16.0 WNW - 7.2 feet @ 14.3 W (295) (1-2 ft. faces)
1400: 10.2 feet @ 14.8 WNW - 6.6 feet @ 15.4 W (295) (3-4 ft. faces)
1500: 10.2 feet @ 16.0 WNW - 6.9 feet @ 15.4 W (295) (3-4 ft. faces)
1600: 9.2 feet @ 14.8 WNW - 6.9 feet @ 15.4 W (290) (3-5 ft. faces)
~New Wind Swell~
1700: 13.1 feet @ 14.8 NW - 6.6 feet @ 15.4 WNW (285) (4-6 ft. faces)
1800: 14.4 feet @ 10.0 NW - 8.5 feet @ 10.5 W (305) (4-6 ft. faces)
18.4 feet @ 10.0 NW - 10.5 feet @ 11.1 W (305) (4-6 ft. faces)


  1. Four hours in survival cold and wind
    Are you some kind of maraniac?
    I would have packed it in.
    Of course the last waves make it worth the suffering.
    I hope you had that wind up heated vest on.
    Yes you deserve a day of rest.
    Vaya con Dios.

  2. Hey Michael,

    Re the vest I actually decided not to wear it on purpose. I was in my 5/4/3 and didn't think I'd be out for more than two hours max. The intensity of the wind and then the good waves late in the day took me by surprise. My core stayed pretty warm although my 3mil booty clad feet, and bare hands were cold by the time I got out. Had I know I'd be out for four hours though I'd of worn the vest.

    VCD tambien amigo,

  3. Hey Gary,

    I knew that the evening would be the best call, but alas I surfed early again. Like Turkey Day, the waves were bigger at the higher tide. I got a few overhead waves before the tide took the energy out of it. The main problems (for me) out there (again) were the inconsistency and too many guys on LONG-boards (I was on my thin sub-8' Bonzer). I'm always surprised that people don't ride higher performing surfboards when the waves get good. Oh well, that's Sarges...


  4. Hi Ron,

    It's looking good again today...even bigger than T-day. This evening might be a good call but not for me...I'm tapped out for today.

    I agree with you on the LONG-boards...guys will get pissed at me for being on a SUP, when in fact there are many guys out there surfing boards longer than my 10 footer. They'll sit way outside and charge in, wind milling all the way, to just barely drop in, taking pole position away from anyone who might be in a good or even better spot to get the wave further inside. It also seems to me that the LONG-board riders are pretty much point and shoot surfers. They drop in, turn once and trim their way across the rest of the wave. Not much movement, 'cause those big boards don't maneuver very well.

    But I guess the thing that gets me most is that often some of them will take off too deep, never making that inside section. So guys like me, who like to sit off to the side and snag those wide ones that peak up across the middle section, can't take-off without a shitstorm starting. Of course I "get" that the deep ones you do make are pretty friggin' great waves, but chaps my hide.

    No problem though really, in the end it all seems to come out good, with plenty of waves for all most of the time.

    See ya out there soon.

  5. Hey Gary,

    I haven't been down there yet, but the period is way shorter than Turkey Day (12 vs. 20) so it'll be interesting to see how well it pushes into the bay.

    Couldn't agree more with your assessment of the line-up. Yesterday I was deep off the point only to have the LONG-boards, shallower and WAY outside of me, up and riding 20' down the line as I popped-up. A no-win situation...

    You're right, in the end we all get plenty of waves. I just wish more guys would put the longboards away when the waves are (finally) overhead.

    C-ya out there, Ron

  6. Ron,

    Send me an email, I've got something for you.