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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NW Ground and Nearshore Wind Swell

In all honesty I delayed waking up this morning because I didn't think the longer period, but steep NW swell was going to show very well. And even if it did I reasoned, it would be really inconsistent. I was sorta right, but mostly wrong. The new NW was showing nicely all along the lower reefs, but it was somewhat inconsistent. But mixed in was the nearshore wind swell from the big northerly post-frontal winds that were blowing. The dawn patrol crew got the prize though, and surfed for about an hour and a half in clean and glassy head high to overhead waves.

As I paddled out most of them were finishing up a very fun morning of uncrowded waves in great conditions. I SUP surfed for another hour and forty-five before the tide swamped it a bit, and the swell lulled. Really, the numbers were all over the place for this swell. The long period swell peaked around 4 or 5AM, while the wind swell jump around and was still showing strong later in the afternoon. Again, I ended up riding wide at Sarge's and picking off some great waves when the long period west pushed the lines right to me, and past the point surfers who were sitting further out.

Still, had I been an earlier bird, I may have gotten a better worm.
December 22, 2009
In: 0850
Out: 1035
AT= 49-56F
WT= 55F
Wx: Sunny, clear and clean with light scattered cumulus. Beautiful!
Tide: 3.02' Rising to 3.42'
Wind: Calm to northwest to calm to offshore northerly
Sea Surface: Glassy to wind rippled sea surface. Some backwash bump and outer water wind chop.
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 CDIP Archive
Wave Hts. (Faces): 3-5 ft.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Short Lived WSW

A new, but short duration WSW swell made landfall last night. This morning's ground swell lines were pushing in some good waves for the morning crew. Not too crowded, fairly consistent and pre-rain, light southerly wind conditions conspired to make for a fun time for all.

I finally felt well enough to get back in the water, heading out on the stand up. I figured it would be better to be "on" the water than "in" the water. Amazing how a few days off can take the edge right off one's surfing and one's stamina. Only four out at Sarge's when I glided into the line-up. Tim, Joanna, a local pro and a guy getting a lesson from the local pro. It lulled just when I arrived, and after one surprise wave that popped up, I headed down to Casa's and GDubs. Only Shaun was out at Casa's and only three guys out at GDubs, almost deserted.

The waves picked up quickly and I surfed for the next 45 minutes on the merry go round. The tide on entry was about 3 ft. and even at that, the inside at Sarge's was a kelp obstacle course. It wasn't bad everywhere else though and I was glad for a short break after the first part of the session. I wandered back and forth between GDubs wide and CR's. Most rides were fairly short, but armored up with some steep sections and takeoffs on the best waves. The swell was strong and even though it shown nicely through the higher tide, after a while all that "extra" water ended up rendering most the waves fat and lumpy backwash jumbled shadows of their earlier selves.

Shaun told me to take it easy this first session back so I decided following his advice would be a good move. After an hour thirty I caught a set wave that put me into the rip-rap point, which by now was a roiling, whack-a-mole cauldron of incoming surge and side wash off the big rocks. I gracelessly exited the water and was lucky I didn't get washed into the stairway rock, which was puking incoming waves right back out to sea in a messy flurry of foamy energy and water.

This could be it for the reefs for a while. Time to hit the beaches, hope it's not too big.

December 21, 2009
In: 0740
Out: 0910
AT= 51.6-53.2F
WT= 55.6F
Wx: Overcast with rain clouds
Tide: 3.1' Rising to 3.62'
Wind: Calm to light south easterly winds
Sea Surface: Glassy with some light outer waters induced wind bumps, and some backwash in the rising tide.
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 CDIP Archive
Wave Hts. (Faces): 3-5 ft.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New West-WNW Swell

One thing for sure this season so far, there's been no shortage of swell driven waves. Conditions haven't always been the best, but overall, it's tough to complain. So I thought I would.

Finally after a week of rain and poor conditions we get a sweet new westerly WNW swell with nice waves in great conditions. I got the flu. Yes, timing IS everything.

Buoy charts and the forecasts show this short lived swell dropping off into the weekend. But it's still putting up plenty of fun looking waves at the best spots.

No matter, the way we're going here, I'll get some good ones after a while.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Big WNW Swell - 3 Days

The much hyped extra large WNW swell made landfall early Tuesday morning, starting at 20 second periods and peaking at 22 seconds. Deep water swells that carry that much energy are amazing to see, and we haven't seen one in a while. Besides being big, the hallmark of this swell was relatively poor wind conditions. Only several periods of time early in the morning and just before dark made for excellent surfing in more favorable winds.

I couldn't surf early for two reasons. One "other" imposed, one self imposed. First, I had a commitment first thing in the morning I couldn't cancel. Second, at daylight it was 29 degrees. Being secretly glad that I didn't have to paddle out in the icicles, I headed to the beach late, arriving about 11 o'clock. By then things were definitely out of control, made so by a steady southeast wind that hacked the sea surface into a bumpy, choppy mess, and a growing swell that was by anyone's standards, humongous! I watched sets break at outside reefs I didn't even know existed.

All the spots I usually surf were empty except for a very few surfers, who were not getting any waves. The smaller spots down reef had folks out, but it was messy to say the least. I took some pics and packed it in, hoping for better surf on Wednesday. Eric told me that a couple of pros went out at Sarges around 4PM, but even they weren't getting many. It was just too big to surf.

OK, this was my fault all the way. I elected to (again) avoid the 29 degree morning temps in favor of a better tide around 1030. Weather reports were calling for northeast or easterly winds so I gambled that conditions would be much improved. Long story short, they weren't. When I arrived to check at Sarges, a nasty southeasterly was on it that made Tuesday's winds look mild by comparison. There were about 15 people out, and almost all at once there was a mass exit from the line-up. The departing surfers looked almost stunned. They said the wind came up so fast, one minute it was glassy, the next minute it was lumpy and full of crumbling sections. Rats, skunked again!

Dawn patrol was the time, and perhaps the best waves of the swell, as the early risers were treated to line after line of head high to overhead waves in almost perfect conditions. Thanks to Dr. Herby (Whole Story Coaching) for the great pics of Angulo reps Whitty and Dave.

Now I'm bummed. The phrase "you really missed it" is playing over and over again in my mind. The only thing left was to come back later in the evening and hope for the wind to slacken, which I did.

At 3:15PM Sarges didn't look all that great. The tide was up and the wind, although lighter, was still out of the southeast. SUP surfing was out. Fortunately I brought my Coffey 6-10 so I went to check GDubs and Scimi's from the overlook. Scimi's looked very decent. The kelp was holding the wind off, and it was almost glassy with just a light wind rippling on the surface. Only three out at GDubs so I suited up in full attire (it was still cold) and headed for GDubs...the crowd was right. Unfortunately the waves weren't very good. With big sections folding over from the main takeoff to seven or eight spots all along the reef. Take-off, turn, kick out. I only got a couple that had surfable walls for any distance. But of those, the rides were long. Scimi's on the other hand was off the hook!

While the swell direction, or the lack of sand or whatever was making GDubs dump, Scimi's was about as good as it ever gets, which in my opinion is world class. The crowd was on it, but what a show! Of the thirty or so in the line-up, I guessed that 10 to 20 were pros, semi-pros or sponsored and they were ripping to the max. It looked like a professional surf contest. Rides from the main peak to past inside GDubs were routine. Throwing spray, tail slides, air, floaters, power surfing through pitching was all there.

Needless to say I opted for actually catching some not very good waves, over sitting in the higher powered line-up and not getting any waves. Sometimes one just has to yield to reality.

I paddled in as dusk was fading and finished changing out in the dark, with a brisk and cold offshore blowing out to sea. I didn't feel so bad now, maybe it wasn't great waves, but I got some and didn't get skunked.
December 9, 2009 (W)
In: 1545
Out: 1720
AT= 50-47F
WT= 53F
Wx: High partial cloud cover
Tide: 3.63' Rising to 3.62 Falling
Wind: East and north easterlies moderate to calm
Sea Surface: Glassy in the kelp to light wind ripples
6-10 Ward Coffey EPS (Marko Styrolite)/Epoxy Custom
Fin set-up: Tri-fin with Rainbow Speedwing sides and Arakawa center.
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1500: (7.2 ft. @ 17 sec. 280 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)
1600: (6.6 ft. @ 17 sec. 285 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)
1700: (7.4 ft. @ 17 sec. 285 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)
1800: (6.8 ft. @ 17 sec. 280 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)
1900: (5.7 ft. @ 17 sec. 280 degrees) (5-8 ft. faces)

By this time the swell was starting to fade and the tide was even higher in the morning. It didn't look all that great on the cams, even though the numbers on the buoys were still good. So I held off and arrived beachside abound 9:30A. The SUP was on top of the car, inside, the 6-10. Once again the southeasterlies were on it, but not as bad as yesterday. It looked manageable if the swell was still with us.

I needed new gloves so headed to Freeline to get the ones James recommended. Of course they were out of my size, duh! It's been cold, think anyone else got gloves? The answer was obvious. So much for planning ahead. So I headed to the point for coffee and to check it. It's usually bigger up reef and today was no exception. I parked my butt on one of the benches overlooking the biggest peaks and witnessed a nice series of waves rolling through both of the biggest peaks. It also didn't take long to see that one of the down reef peaks was putting up some nice one out on it. That sealed the deal.

I headed back to the car, locked the SUP onto the racks, suited up in all the goodies (wetsuit, gloves, booties, fleece rashie and heated vest), grabbed the 6-10 and paddled out at Tres Eights, headed for that empty peak up coast. One thing for sure, at a popular surf spot, it doesn't take long for something decent to go unnoticed. By the time I got there, four other surfers were on it. No matter, there was plenty for all.

The waves were smaller and less consistent that the more crowded main peaks, but consistent enough so that sets dished up 4-6 waves. Even though the peak moved all over the place, long rides on jacked up walls were the norm. Conditions weren't optimal, but if they had been, there probably would have been another 20 people on it. The swell was moving a lot of water, especially at the lower tide. There was backwash bump coming one way, and wind bump from the other way. A light wind ripple was on the surface, but once again the kelp kept the whitecaps off the surface. Two hours of good waves was enough for me, and now I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. I scored enough fun waves in decent surf to feel like I'd gotten a piece of this swell, the largest of 2009.

Mavs was big enough to be contestable, but the contestants canceled because of the poor conditions. (This proved true at most NorCal locations.) Their thinking was that the season has been so good so far, that there will be another swell. I say, bring it on.

It started raining late this afternoon and is supposed to continue on and off through the weekend. This swell will be gone by then too.
December 10, 2009 (Th)
In: 1100
Out: 1310
AT= 50-53F
WT= 53F
Wx: Cloud cover with light showers
Tide: 1.4' Falling to 1.01, then Rising to 1.5
Wind: Light to moderate east/north easterlies
Sea Surface: Moderate wind ripples with side chop and backwash
6-10 Ward Coffey EPS (Marko Styrolite)/Epoxy Custom
Fin set-up: Tri-fin with Rainbow Speedwing sides and Arakawa center.
Bathymetry: Rock reefs
Deep Water Swell and Wave Face Heights CDIP Archive
Time-NDBC Data-CDIP Data (Primary Swell Dir.)(Local Wave Ht. Avg.)
1000: (6.3 ft. @ 14 sec. 265 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)
1100: (6.3 ft. @ 14 sec. 280 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)
1200: (6.8 ft. @ 14 sec. 275 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)
1300: (no data) (3-6 ft. faces)
1400: (6.1 ft. @ 17 sec. 285 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)
1500: (5.9 ft. @ 14 sec. 285 degrees) (3-6 ft. faces)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

SUP Surfing In New NW Swell

Whew! It took me a while to get to this post. Today is my last day teaching in the EMT program so this will have to be quick.

Larry and I finally got together for a paddle surf. We've known each other for almost 35 years and about 30 years ago came to the fork in the road. He took the public safety harbor patrol route, and I went for the fire service. Didn't see much of each other in the last 30, and wouldn't ya know, it was SUP surfing that sparked the reunion. He caught the bug last year and has been saving up his shekels for a new board. So we made arrangements to borrow the new Angulo prototype 9-8 (pictured at right with my orange 10-0 Angulo) so we could try it out, and so Larry could paddle surf my board.

We paddled out kinda late around 4PM but made the most of our session in small waves put up by the new incoming NW swell. It was pretty consistent and we bagged a ton of knee to waist high peelers at YH in low tide and kelpy waters. We surfed until almost literally pitch black darkness fell on the ocean, and in a tide so low the take off was in the kelp, and the ride was through the kelp. A bumpy "glide" to say the least. An interesting characteristic of the swell today was how uniform in size the waves were from the top of the reefs to the down coast reefs. Usually down coast surf spots are much smaller, but this evening it all seemed to be about the same size.

The new 9-8 proto is an epoxy custom that is being evaluated for production. Big Andy has been riding it and loves it. It's got more of a shortboard shape with a pulled in nose (for a SUP) and a standard Angulo SUP rounded pin. It's got a lot of rocker at both ends. It's wide too...about 32" (the dims weren't on the board, and I haven't spoken to Ed or Andy about them.) It was good to have my board and the 9-8 to ride in the same session. They are different for sure. My Angulo 10-0 is a longboard, paddles like a longboard and rides like a longboard. The 9-8 has a different feel and rides more like a shortboard. For my size, 154 pounds, the board is too wide. At 32 inches wide and lots of nose and tail rocker, you need more weight on the board, especially for dropping in. But once you get on the wave the 9-8 rocks! It's very loose and maneuverable, turning easily at the bottom and at the top. In all fairness I didn't get a chance to really evaluate the board in good waves. But my sense is that this board would absolutely excel in good waves with a little juice. You could definitely power surf it, especially a bigger person with more leg strength than I.

Dave C. came over and surfed with us for a while. He was on an Angulo custom 9-6, and Dave is a big guy, but a very good SUP surfer. He and his board are a great fit for a surfer who is advanced in skill at SUP surfing. We chatted about how quickly SUP's have evolved from only a couple years ago. We laughed when we remembered how reluctant Ed was to make a SUP shorter than 11 feet. Now he's routinely shaping them out in the 9-0 range. It's only a matter of time before Ed's putting out eight footers. One thing for sure, Ed don't make no junk. His boards always work!

Dave headed back upcoast, done for the evening while Larry and I stayed out until we could barely see. We paddled back over to Sarge's for the take out in an uber-low tide, rock danced into the beach and rejoiced at our good fortune that allows us to stay surfing and keep having fun into our "Golden" years.

December 3, 2009
In: 1355
Out: 1725
AT= 58-52F
WT= 53F
Wx: Mostly clear with some scattered low clouds
Tide: -0.53' Falling to -1.43'
Wind: Calm to light variable winds
Sea Surface: Glassy with some light wind ripples
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.)
1500: 4-5 feet @ 17.0 WNW - 3-4 feet @ 12-14 W (305) (1-3 ft. faces)
1600: 4-5 feet @ 17.0 WNW - 3-4 feet @ 12-14 W (305) (1-3 ft. faces)
1700: 4-5 feet @ 17.0 WNW - 3-4 feet @ 12-14 W (305) (1-3 ft. faces)
1800: 4-5 feet @ 17.0 WNW - 3-4 feet @ 12-14 W (300) (1-3 ft. faces)