Wednesday April 28, 2010 - Offshore Winds in the Rain
I arrived at my favorite beach break at 0615 hoping I was wrong. I was more or less convinced that the tide would be too low. It was. The surf was jumbled up and there were no clean corners to be seen at the lefts or rights. So I headed into town to check the low tide reefs, with nearshore ridable wind swell in the water, Roots could be working on this super low tide. It was.
Two minutes before pulling into the open spots at the gate it started to rain. There was nothing going on at Sarges, too much kelp, too little water. The intensity of the showers caught me by surprise, I was expecting maybe sprinkles not full on showers/rain. I slogged through the puddle pocked gravel fines trail, soaking my fleece jacket and Uggs before moving to the overlook at Scimi's. 15 guys out at 0645. Definitely a dawn patrol crew at this spot. Up reef it looked pretty good, Roots was putting up some inconsistent waist to shoulder high peelers. Not great shape, but incredibly good conditions for an almost rain storm.
I paddled out on my borrowed Freeline 7-0 HGS into the empty line-up at 0650 in the pouring rain and immediately picked up my first wave. It rained solid for the next hour and fifteen minutes, but the wind was perfect, calm to offshore. The last time I surfed in rain splattered waves was the south shore of Kauai a few years ago.
Seventy-five percent of the wave energy this morning was in the 8-12 second, 270-290 degree wind swell band on the 9-band CDIP buoy. So wave direction was somewhat inconsistent and jacked around, coming from various places within that WNW bracket. Roots when it's best (it's not even there most of the time), is a minus tide, behind the peak take-off into the first peak section. Then it backs off a little, putting up a skatable wall that feeds into another steep section which takes you to the beach. It's kinda like surfing a beach break peak. A short, fast ride that's changes up a little from wave to wave, but is mostly uniform in shape and performance 'cause in reality it pushes over a reef or reef and sand bottom. Scimi's was bigger and more consistent, but Roots had only one rider...me.
The first fifteen or twenty minutes were stricken with long waits. Then you'd get a set that would push too much water up reef, leaving nothing for the peak section, therefore no wave. I got a couple good ones but kept seeing another peak and wall farther up the bight. I paddled up there briefly but couldn't get around the second section from the peak I was riding. When I returned to Roots there was another guy there. It was the same deal, inconsistent with long waits. The other guy finally got tired of waiting around so he headed back to Scimi's. About five minutes after he left, my wave counted exploded and it turned into a merry-go-round for the last half hour of my session. I got out tired and satisfied. It was a good call to check it this morning, even though the NWS was right on with their forecast for rain and showers. But the wind was right and the kelp held the sea surface still except for all the miniature explosions and resultant outward expanding concentric circles caused by the rain drops.
After the rain stopped, the sea surface settled into a smooth and glassy sheet that reflected the clearing skies and the mounds of cumulus building over the bay. The colors came out to dazzle and amaze and the crowd disappeared! When I came back to snap a few pics there were four guys out and a lot of waves going unridden. But shift change was soon to come as five or six were in the lot suiting up. But I was done for now, with another good surf to start the day right.
Wednesday April 29, 2010 - Swell Jumps Up, Cleans Up and the Sun Comes Out
The tail end of the rain showers and clouds blew through late last night, revealing a full moon and a minus early morning tide. A pastel sunrise lighted up a smooth, lightly rippled sea showing combo wind swell/ground swell lines at almost all the places. Town was good and getting better.
Again I surfed the 7-0 Freeline HGS at Roots. Again, no one on the end section peak that I like, but today word had gotten out. A couple guys up coast yesterday? 12 guys on it this morning at 0645. Everyone signed up for the dawn patrol this AM. Wave heights were chest/overhead on almost all the sets. Kirk was out on his L41 mini-Simmons, putting his new ride on rail and getting long, speedy rides from up reef, almost through the end section. Truth is, the way the swell was pushing in, combined with the low tide, made for a lot of sections that pinched most chances of barreling through the multiple peaks that this right hander puts up. For that you need consistent south swell. Only on one shortboarder's last wave did I see a long ride punctuated by fast sections and a genuine cover-up right at my end section. His ride made my day. I had the best seat in the house, but I didn't see every wave that came through either. If anyone could make it it would have been Kirk on the mini-sim.
But that isn't to say I wasn't stoked. I got a ton of rides in my two-hour session, many of which completely transited the Verts Perch pocket beach. A decent current was in effect, which on the larger sets would push me inside and down towards an exposed table rock. But that only underscored the groundswell energy of the waves, and it was a relatively short paddle back out to the line-up.
What a great Spring this has been! And did I say that we haven't even had our Spring south well yet?