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

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New South Swell Too Steep for the Southside

Wednesday August 25, 2010

I had hopes of better waves for today as a new south swell filled in early this morning. But the swell angle was too steep for the southside and with the exception of a few waves in a few sets, it was small and gutless.

Yesterday's high temperatures were record breaking in more places than here. It was the hottest August high temperature since the NWS has been keeping records at my place. But Shawn and I and the girls took a fun hike on the coastal road bluffs in cool, sunny and windy conditions. Temp at my house 95, temp on the bluffs, 65...very nice.

It cooled significantly this morning with the advent of a light southwesterly wind. But the sea surface was glassy and smooth. I surfed the SIMSUP for over two hours. The waiting was long in between the inconsistent sets. But the weather was still good and the water is warm. It was just good to be out in the clear morning sunrise. By afternoon the fog started cranking in, so much so that you could barely see the line-ups at some locations. Also, the steep angled southie was making it into the northside, and that's where the waves were today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Summer South Swells

Sunday August 22, 2010

I have become enamored of dedicated noseriders. There were two reasons for this. One, a noserider is made for small, relatively weak surf (although it can be surfed in better) in the knee-waist-chest high range. A perfect small wave Summer board. Two, I am intrigued by the traditional shape and design of a noserider, especially the knifey rails. I've never owned or surfed a board with 100% knifey rails all around. So I hunted down a used board that fit my design prescription.

I surfed the 9-6 Pearson Arrow CJ Nelson longboard for the first time this morning at T-Town. The swell was mixed southerly/westerly. The tide was really a bit too low and when the bigger south swell sets ran in, it pushed us too far down reef, and into the copious kelp beds that surround the main peak. But when the smaller, more westerly waves arrived, they broke closer to shore and set up to back door the small steep peak section. Perfect for the Nelson noserider.

In doing my research I looked at a lot of websites, forums and utube vids. There's a lot of good info out there. The best technical info came from Tom Wegener's website re rails. His article on the three types of rails switched on the the light bulb and cleared a lot of the cob webs away from my thoughts, clarifying my decision on which "noserider" I wanted. The forums eventually distilled the essence of the "which noserider is best" question sufficiently so I could make an informed choice. Careful scrutiny of the vids (and on scene observations of the best noseriders at the Tres Ates Summer reefs) presented the "how to noseride" info I was seeking.

I was more than pleased to find an acceptable used board, in good condition for a reasonable (below market in my opinion) price on Craig's List, the craft being located in a town nearby. The purchase made, the board came home to the saw horses to repair one small possibly water sucking ding, and it was ready to ride.

Overall this board, in the right conditions, is fun to ride, and easy to nose ride (once one's homework and thinking processes have been practically and correctly applied.) I'm looking forward to lots of fun in conditions that will offer up another fun option for surfing.

The real purpose of a quiver is to be able to ride any wave the ocean has to offer. But, as Kirk has so remarkable and piercingly discovered via his skilled engineering mind and background, the size of one's quiver can be reduced to an unequivocally accurate formula.

Size of quiver = N + 1 (where N equals the size of your current quiver). Voila! Move over Einstein.

Monday August 23, 2010

Shawn and all the girls arrived a day early, yesterday evening which threw my surfing plans off for as long as it took me to justify abandoning my responsibility and going surfing. This didn't take long.

I would have arrived at the sea at darkness before dawn anyway, just to watch the sun rise over the hills for the first time in almost ten weeks. That alone fed my soul in a way that only that event can. Again the the morning tide was too low for almost all places, but I was hoping for enough of an uptick in the swell energy that the low tide spot I love would have waves. It didn't happen.

My alternative spot wasn't doing it either. Kirk walked up with the Creamsicle about 0630 and we scoped it together. Eventually he bailed on supping in favor of speed lining the much better down reef waves on his fish at a place a spot and a half away. I only brought the SIMSUP so I was left with hanging out or going home. I couldn't go home, too beautiful a morning. So I hung out and forty-five minutes later it was looking good at Ates. (Amazing what a small tide shift can do to the quality of surf...from nothing to 2-4 ft. fun little zippers.)

The weather has finally turned fantastic with a real heat wave underway. Neal was out in trunks at 0800. Linda was supping in her 3/2 saying "we" (meaning me and her) were "overdressed." Maybe so, but I know what to do if I get too hot. Water temp = 58 degrees.

I surfed for an hour in pretty consistent south swell in relatively crowded conditions for a Monday even with one of the big school districts back in session for the first day today. But I got a lot of rides on the SIMSUP for the Three Palms racetrack all the wave to Roots. Again, I could take a deeper take off wave into the inside and paddle back out quickly enough to ride a peak further down reef. I was surprised that Roots was working for as long as it did and on this small a swell, and also pleased at how well the SIMSUP handled the vertical wall that lines up immediately after take off. I still haven't got the post section blast of white water figured out. I keep taking a line too parallel with the whitewash which just pushes me off the board. I think I need to just straighten out some and gain some speed to work around the boiling white water and into the next section which usually is pretty soft. But the section in question can froth madly and is known to rip the board out from under your feet on occasion.

It sure feels good to feel Summer.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flat and Cold

Friday August 20, 2010

Since my last surf, the waves have been small to flat and the same persistent high level low pressure trough that has plagued the Cali coast all Summer, has provided plenty of unseasonal low temps, even breaking some records in some places.

We had something of a respite for a few days starting Sunday August 22, what I have been calling the first day of Summer. But as of today's writing we appear to be back on track for more gloomy and cold weather.

On the other coast the people have been sweltering in record high temps for the entire Summer. So for the record, I'd rather be cold than swimming in my own sweat at 90 degrees in 90% humidity. So if there's a trade-off...we won.

I've seen a couple explanations for this years unusual weather phenomenon. The first has to do with cold water La Nina conditions, talked about in this piece on Surfline (thanks Ron for sending me this one). The other has to do with the high east coast air and water temps as reported in this piece.

All very interesting stuff and all related to some degree to climate change (cataclysmic or not) and all making me wonder if the new aberration is the new normal. I'm also wondering if we're going to get a "normal" Fall season, which is typically our best weather of the year. And on top of that we can get some great surf as the SPAC keeps on giving and the NPAC starts it's Winter cycle of storms.

Perhaps like Dorothy we should close our eyes, click our heels together and say, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home." Or perhaps a surf effigy by burning a few (biodegradable of course) surfboards in the bonfires of sacrifice. (And no NOT just the SUPs!)

OK, I'll say it...Pray for Surf!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mediocre Southwest Swell in Fall-like Weather

Sunday August 8, 2010

I got fooled into thinking that today was going to be the strongest day of this almost 3-day southwest swell. It wasn't, yesterday was. There was barely enough light to see when I arrived at Sarge's. John was already checking it from the topside landing. We were less than enthusiastic, disappointed even in the small, inconsistent, too low tide lines closing out everywhere we could (almost) see. Gradually one little speck over at YH came into focus. Turns out it was Greg on his Stretch SUP, hoping for better than he was getting.

We chit-chatted for a while, John was glad to be back to work after almost 13 months off. He landed a good job as a tech/sales rep for some company making some kind of technical instrument that I didn't understand. Kirk came by with his 8-10 bat-tail SUP, heading to Gdubs, and it was a good thing he did because if he hadn't I wouldn't have gone out. I was well on my way to heading back to the sheets. But I figured since he was going out, I'd at least have somebody to talk with and get a little exercise.

I geared up with the 8-0 SIMSUP, loosened up and stretched out the protesting back and hip flexors, and was paddling into the broken overcast that looked like rain at 0630. Two waves in the kelpy low tide closeouts at GDubs was enough for me though, so I headed up reef to Ates. The tide was rising and I'd had some good luck there last week. But it wasn't the weekend so crowds today were sure to be uh...enhanced.

Surprisingly, I paddled into a relatively empty line-up with only nine surfers in the water. A few quick succession sets came through, hyphenated by some smaller insiders and I quickly bagged half a dozen waves in less than a half hour. Just before Kirk paddled over from GDubs to join me the crowd tripled. I guess everyone's alarm clock went off at the same time. In the space of five minutes it went from nine to 30 people spread over a couple take-off spots. Amazing! Even more amazing was the fact that I was able to weave my way around from peak to peak and still catch quite a few more waves. Finally, after me and about five others rode the same wave, I decided to call it a day. I was more than satisfied with my good fortune and a decent surf in weekend crowds.

On a "hide the razor blades" this has been a pretty horrible Summer note...longterm seasonal average high temperature for July is 74.6F. Average temp for this July was 66.8. For August, average seasonal high temp is 75.3; to date this August average high is 65.8F. (And I thought it couldn't get any worse!) This year's average high temperatures are more comparable to Fall than Summer, which leads me to the conclusion that we have literally not had the season of Summer this year. On the other hand, we are averaging one degree higher than seasonal low temps this year. Bonus! Sun screen goes on a lot easier at night.

The NWS is trying to forecast a warm-up for the coming weekend. Hey, if the temps just get to seasonally adjusted averages it would be a heat wave compared to what we're experiencing. Maybe the answer is to rent a boat and park it right in the middle of the Northeast Pacific ocean. High pressure and nice weather has been the norm all Summer up there.

My brother and family are coming here for a vacation on the 23rd. I hope they don't turn around and go home after a couple days. Probably not, it's usually hotter than Hades in Kelowna this time of year.

I stopped by the tourist town downcoast on my way home to take a few shots and came across Joel giving his little guy a surfing lesson. That's just where surf school ought to be, a Dad and his son. As for the crowds on the weekends, when I'm not out there bumping into them, I quite enjoy the human family enjoying a Sunday respite in our true and real natural entitlement.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New South Swell

Sunday August 1, 2010 - Mayans Redux

Andy and I hooked up for another dawn patrol paddle to Mayans. The south swell had increased a bit, and the northerly wind swell dropped a little. All in all, it was better yesterday. The tide was a little higher too, which only enhanced the backwash and side roll off the high sandstone cliffs.

Yesterday's peak put up a better left, but it was short and mushy. The right peak walled up and was unmakeable with a very few exceptions. Yesterday was more consistent and longer rides. We soon abandoned Saturday's peak for another one further north. We didn't fare much better there though. The rights were a little more consistent but had an irritating habit of doubling up half way up the wave. When you rode over that you'd be in a walled up and closing trough that exploded all around you. No exit. Still, there were enough makeable waves to have fun, but only a shadow of yesterday's surf.

One longboarder and two shorts paddled up from somewhere. The longboarder earlier than the shorts. He rode the mushy left we'd previously relinquished. We were done by the time the shortboarders hit the area.

The nearly two-mile round trip paddle is a pleasant stroll, with plenty to look at on land and on and under the sea. Big boils punctuate the path to and through the surfing grounds, giving away the hiding spots of the peaks and ledges that stand up during larger ground swells. Birds, otters and sea lions are well represented. Today sea surface was glassy and smooth with only a few rolling waves passing through by the time we hit the beach for the take-out. Basically we're thinking for the future, low tide and wind swell. Mayans didn't seem to like the long period WSW swell all that much.

On the way back home I passed by Henry's and the popular spots on the eastside. Packed to the gills. Everybody's gone surfing, surfing USA - The Beach Boys

Monday August 2, 2010 - Tres-Ates

After a couple fun days on the 10-0 Angulo it felt great to get back on the SIMSUP and lean into the differences. What a super fun board is this L41 Kirk shaped mini-Simmons design inspired and based stand up paddle-surfboard.

I was hoping the swell would show better, so I took a small gamble by passing over Scimi's and GDubs, heading to TresAtes straight away without even looking at it. Actually, I almost did take a look at it but I got side tracked by Kirk who was checking Scimi's in the dimly lit, early morning murk and overcast. He was up for surfing his shortie twin although he was having minor second thoughts about surfing his short
SUP instead.

I grabbed the Simmy, did a quick warm-up and was in the line-up at Tres by 0610. There was definitely a south swell in the water. Sets were earmarked with fairly long waits, but there were enough small waves, horseshoeing over the inside reef, to make for plenty of diversion and surprisingly long rides in the fast and sectiony runners in between sets. Occasionally I'd get caught inside, but the paddle back was in front of Brown House or Tres Palmas and it was breaking soft and mellow there.

I'm thinking that the Angulo 10-0 is a great all-around SUP. It's the board I want when I need to paddle any kind of distance to get to the surf, or just to take a little excursion, or a paddle on a flat, surfless day in the sun. But the 8-0 SIMSUP is definitely my board of choice when I want
performance and maneuverability. Climbing and dropping, finding the right line in a hurry, hard turn backs just laying it on rail, stability with fast down the line speed and trim...the SIMSUP is the desired package.

Temps were cool, and this typical overcast morning Summer drizzle marine layer pattern is looking like the new norm. If there is a silver lining, it's that the water is pretty warm. 58 degrees at 0545. I surfed until I was tired and getting sloppy from fatigue. I got some halfway decent shots with the Olympus in spite of the horrible low light conditions for taking pictures. I was hoping to do better but every time I was in the right position to get some decent snaps of surfers on the main peak, I was dead center in the down reef peak which was bearing down quick on my position. More than once I got semi-creamed, but the peak was soft and not
pitching so the drubbing was minimal. Finally I just said, screw the pictures, I can't surf and take pics from this vantage point.

Herby was out on his red stripped Surftech, goofy footing his way through the lefts and an occasional right. It's always fun to surf with Herby. He's positive, fun-loving, upbeat all the time and (too) social. His right-foot-forward style has led him to be just a little Goofy in more than one way, and in the very best sense. And he finally got new wetsuit! His old one was literally falling apart on his body, leaving oxidized rubber and glue marks on his neck. Yuck! Isn't that carcinogenic or at the very least rubber stink-o-genic?

Lookin' for a redux tomorrow if the buoy numbers hold. If not, then down to the beaches on Eric's longboard, or...maybe I'll just sleep in.