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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Indian Summer And An Awakened NPAC Series of Swells

Monday September 27, 2010

As bad as Summer wasn't, is as good as this year's Indian Summer is. A high pressure ridge gave the boot to the infernal low pressure trough that moved in like a box canyon squatter, making life miserable for any kind of Californio beach goer.

But last Thursday Indian Summer bloomed right in the nick time. I can't remember a better time of year than this one has been. And to top it off, the NPAC mixed up a batch of WNW work week swell that has kept the minions pumped and going strong.

I dawn patrolled it into the midst of the usual suspects at Sarges this morning. I admit, I was a bit disappointed in wave size and consistency. The models over amped it calling for surf and periods in the double digits. Not quite, but you didn't hear any complaints. Tides in the Fall don't exactly play along, going a wee bit too high in the mornings, but a decent swell will overcome the tide and riding above the kelp is a pleasure.

I picked off a few good ones at several spots, this morning riding the 7-10 SIMSUP, my 8-0's little brother that Eric has been letting me borrow. The 7-10 is just a shade smaller all around in size, coming in at 129L vs. 130L and weighing 1.5 pounds less than the 8-0. The board surfs loose and fast, and is stable. Not as stable as the 8-0, owing to the slightly smaller size, but if I was a few years younger I'd have one of these in my quiver for sure.

My two plus hour session had me taking waves at Sarges, Middles, GDubs, T8's and back again in that order. By the end of the session the tide had ushered in a lot of water, but good sets were still streaming through in spite of the waits.

The weather just doesn't get better. Clear, warm and supernatural. It's impossible to take this for granted.

Tuesday September 28, 2010

The buoys all showed the swell dropping in size this morning, but there was no way I was going to miss the last day of clear warm morning weather. T8's had been even more inconsistent than the other spots yesterday, but I was hoping that the swell had seasoned some, and it would be good. It was pretty good. The waves were smaller but in my first 20 minutes it was just a merry-go-round. I couldn't paddle back out fast enough. Herby and Christian were out, making the day an event.

After an hour or so everything slowed down and got swampy so I headed up coast to Whore House Point (there IS a story here) where it was more crowded but bigger and more consistent. I floated around near the pack and managed to paddle into two good waves while sharing heaps of other combers with the crowd. Steve picked off the set wave of the day during my part of the session and turned in a dazzling performance on his 8-10 L41 custom bat tail quad. He surfed the board rock steady, utilizing smooth sweeping turns and bursts of speed all over the cleanly peeling length of this 150 yard, overhead beauty. Stoked, he went to work a happy man.

After my second good wave I paddled back to T's and into a small shore liner where I rode the white wash into a small pocket of sand and rock next to the stairs. Then out and up through the foam rushed rocks at the base of the chipped up concrete steps, picking my way over the now you see 'em, now you don't moss covered rip rap. At the top, winded, the panorama of five or six surf spots comes into view. The warm morning promised another hot, beautiful Indian Summer day. What a place!

Wednesday September 29, 2010
The bumped up WNW swell arrived about six hours ahead of schedule (my calcs and at least one other model) and peaked in the dark last night. By this morning consistency and size was the best it's been so far, but we missed maximus goodness by a few hours. The high pressure ridge that has captured the heart of an incredible Indian Summer finally broke down, ushering in cool winds and low stratus from the south east.

The sea surface this morning when I paddled out at 0635 was bumpy and uneven. This from the southeasterly, onshore wind and backwash bump from the increased wave size. There may be no more such a thing as dawn patrol. This morning it was dawn platoon. Seems like the Beach Boys 60's song, Surfin' USA (Everybody's Gone Surfing) was more prophecy than recording. Indeed, everybody's gone surfing...with me! And it's only bound to get worse as the rest of we baby-boomers retire. (Do you suppose people will turn from being SUP haters to fossil haters? Or worse, Old SUPers haters. Perish the thought.)

I got a few waves at Sarges that were fun. One particularly nice head high, very late drop that I took blinded by the pitching take off section. The SIMSUP stuck it perfect and all I had to do was hang on. Four fins definitely increases your odds. But it was already crowded and Middles looked good with less folks so I headed there for a couple. The waves were o-head but super lined up. Kirk was surfing his 8-10 k-rail at GDubs where the crowd was surprisingly light so I thought I'd try a couple up there.

Tides in the Fall are generally a lot higher in the early morning and throughout the day. Just the way that nature made it. So even with sizable waves, that energy is still pushing a lot of water which makes the take-offs somewhat fatter than when the zone is standing up over a shallower spot in the reef. Sometimes what this leads to is a later drop in because you're pulling yourself over a fat lip instead of a thinner pitching one. There were a lot of those this morning as I dragged myself over some fun ledges and into some steep drops and sections. The SIMSUP made up for a world of my inadequacies. A truly fun board and without a doubt my go-to surfing stick.

I like to take water based pics with the Oly waterproof camera, and with the clear Fall conditions they usually come out better than in the thick, dark fog. I don't however always end up being in the best spot to get a few shots. That happened today. I just wasn't where I needed to be to get a decent shot of someone surfing. And as also happens in the Fall, I surf early, usually in the lowest tide of the morning. Tide today at paddle out was about 3 ft. and rising. Usually land based shots after a session aren't all that great unless the swell is really thumping. The high tide water just swamps the lineups, making for poor conditions.

Kirk paddled in for work and I hung out at GDubs before paddling back to Middles and surfing a super fun forty-five minutes in the best conditions and waves of the day. The south wind disappeared, it glassed off and the sets got really consistent. Only two or three guys counting me, in the lineup. Middles started putting up clean and steep takeoffs that fed into a series of ramps and sections moving almost into Sarges. The SIMSUP handled spectacularly, allowing for hard ninety degree plus snaps off that big square tail, but also maintaining maximum speed over, through and under the fastest sections. The SIMSUP owns the high line. No need to pump this bad boy, simply aim and shoot, find the line and the section is yours.

Joe paddled over on his monster Angulo SUP. He uses it for everything, fishing or surfing, pleasure paddling or racing. That craft will catch just about anything, and I'm always surprised by how well it surfs.

By then I was coming up on a three hour session and my legs were getting pretty tired. I am pleased though, at how quickly I've gotten in shape for longer sessions. SUP surfing is an incredible workout and I don't realize how effective it is until I stop doing it (usually due to lack of energized surf).

The rising tide had it's effect on the incoming waves, making it smaller in size. It was less consistent but there were still some fun sets coming in. But I bid Joe adieu and headed for the takeout. The best surf I've had this month, and we've a lot of good surf this September.

1 comment:

  1. Sat a.m.: A few forerunners at Mayans, but overall too much water and inconsistent. Super nice weather and surface conditions.
    Mon. p.m.: Really fun session at Sarge's, a lot of people but consistent and fun. A few big ones, glassy conditions and a lot of waves.
    Tues.p.m.: Sarge's is all crossed up with wicked side shore wind, lots of surface texture and the swell is UP! Lot's of paddling as the peak shifted around, but some real bombs to be had (and I had some). About half an hour before dark a big set cleans things up and everyone goes in but me and my friends Lee and Lisa. I score two OH+ set waves as it finally glasses off, both working well past the park, walled up, hollow and moving fast. Challenging, but with a payoff.