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

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Big Swell On Mavs Contest Day

Sometimes the "biggest" days are not the "best-est" days. That isn't to say there weren't a fair amount of long, big and satisfaction inducing waves ridden, but this swell had just a little too much nearshore local windswell on top, and it being a three-day holiday weekend, the crowd factor had an effect on the quality/pleasure factors.

I paddled out on the Angulo Custom SUP (a lot of people wanting to buy that from me lately), around mid-afternoon and into a falling tide. The Angulo custom is usually my go-to big surf wavecraft because it's stable, maneuverable and very fast. It handles big and bumpy faces as well as steep and fast sections. It's probably the fastest board I've ever ridden for that matter. And it takes the high line at the speed of light. (No wonder so many people want to buy it off me.) It's so fast it even puts up a steam contrail off the tail as I rocket across those large and fast greeny cold water walls....well, maybe not.

The swell peaked sometime mid morning, but there was still a lot of big size and long period energy putting up overhead to double overhead waves routinely. I thought Yellow House would be firing, with long rides down the line and into the pier area but, it wasn't happening. As a matter of fact, it was downright strange. Wave energy was not focusing on the point reef, but would back off the reef and wrap towards the pier. Large swells would back off even down the line, then regain size further in, only to put up short, fat close-outs. Definitely haven't seen that before.

So I paddled around picking off a wave here and there, moving from the YH to Apt. House Pt. to Brown House, never really finding much. And the crowd was unusually thick, even for a Saturday. There was a whole contingent of shortboarders riding (trying to ride) the fat YH reef waves. This is mostly a longboarders wave, and not even a really good longboard wave today. I couldn't figure why a bunch of shortboarders would be wasting their time (not) catching waves here.

(Pic quality sucks. Pre-session I was shooting right into the sun, and post-session it was getting pretty dark along with all the foam mist from the big surf.)


Up reef was much bigger (and even more crowded) and there was an occasional wide bomb that blasted through Sarge's so I thought I'd try my luck over there. Sarge's is usually populated with longboards and "old guys". There are a lot of aging (and really good) surfers who are still into it, and surf the place very well. On good days, like today, a lot of them are out along with a small cadre of shortboarders. Most good surfers like to sit off the point and it's congested. When I'm on my SUP I stay away from packed take-off spots so the fact that there would be an occasional good size and well shaped wave swinging wide, had me lined up with the sea wall. One had to wait for the right wave, and make sure no one else was already up and riding before committing, but surfing with this strategy yielded a good half dozen or more, 300-400 yard rides from the sea wall to the near the Brown House at kick-out. On a couple waves I just stayed down at BH, surfing there for a while before paddling back up to Sarge's. The lower reefs never got better, even at the lowest tide.

The most frustrating part of the session was having to dodge all the surfers who were sitting inside, waiting for the smaller waves. It's not the big surf that scares me, it's navigating around three of four surfers who maybe shouldn't even be out surfing on a day like today, with a lot of water moving a lot of energy around. None of these neophytes are ever willing to take a beating to stay out of the wave rider's way, they always paddle into the line of travel. Therefore, they are counting on me NOT to hit them (which I usually don't). But it makes me nervous never-the-less. There was even one hapless guy who looked like (from where he was laying and the way he was paddling) he had never been on a surfboard before! I paddled over and gave him a quick lesson in paddle trim. Fortunately he was smart enough to stay way out the back and out of everyone's way.

After 2.5 hours I was pretty tired and my left calf was feeling like it wanted to cramp. Riding bigger waves puts a lot more stress on your muscles so I figured I'd head in on the white water apron of my next good wave. That peeler was another long and wally ride to the brown house where I turned in to shore and rode into the flats.

Everyone has their own subjective definition of "good" surf/surfing. This was a satisfying and challenging big wave day, but the poor to fair conditions, as well as the bloated crowd size, kept it from being epic, or even classic in my book.

February 13, 2010
In: 1415
Out: 1645
AT= 58-60F
WT= 55.6F
Wx: Clear with low fog off the coast.
Tide: 0.80' Falling to -0.05'
Wind: Moderate to strong southwesterlies, diminishing slightly around 1600.
Sea Surface: Wind bump and 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): 5-10 ft.

1 comment:

  1. Yeh a good session on a SUP is way more of a workout than on a lie down that is for sure. Hoping to get out on my SUP again today after a great little session last Friday!

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