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

Saturday, October 30, 2010

First Seasonal NPAC Swell Arrives

Monday October 25, 2010

The first northwesterly swell of the season started showing early Monday morning. Arriving at 10 ft. at daylight, it wasn't quite big enough to make much of an impact. But it came up quickly as the day progressed. By 1130 it was in the 12 ft. range and increasing in size, but the tide was too high to allow any quality faces as the backwash bumps were all over it. Big and fat, but rideable.

I walked my dog and took pics Monday morning, waiting for the tide to lower in hopes of a fun afternoon session. At about 4PM I paddled out further down the coast, hoping that the swell would be big enough to put some fun ones into Yellow House, but it didn't. Sarges was just packed with surfers so I surfed mostly inside in the chest/shoulder high waves. It was fun, clean and a lot of good rides were being collected by the crew. As the tide dropped the crowd thinned but the best takeoff spot just got too choked with vegetation to make riding through the kelp forest much fun. I rode way off to the side and inside the kelp bed, picking up smaller but lot's and lot's of fun, long walls past the Nudie Beach and almost to the brown house. The weather was pretty warm and so is the water surprisingly...a mellow 57/58 degrees.

It was a great time to really push my limits on the SIMSUP. I tried hard to roll the board on rail and throw high angle cutbacks as best I could. Everything I threw at the board, it handled with speed and stability. It's taken me a while to learn how to surf this board. It turns sharply and definitely off the wide tail corners. It doesn't bog and it doesn't bounce when turned hard off the top. It fits the wave faces very well and comes around nicely after a 180 slash back. And it's fast, very fast. It rockets through the high line and drops under sections and back up into the clear water when asked. It is the successful amalgam of stability and performance I was looking for.

Tuesday October 26, 2010 AM Session

The swell peaked this morning with three hours of 12 ft. at 16 seconds ground swell. I paddled out at dawn just in time to see Sean's first wave of the day. His silhouette went flying by on an overhead screamer that had me screaming too. It energizer bunnied it's way down the reef and just kept going, and going, etc. I had him being closed out on five or six times but no, he just found all the sweet spots while the wave peeled fast and vertical over the reef, the offshores calling the sections to attention all the way. And that wasn't even his best wave. No doubt, Sean and Timmy ruled this morning, getting the best waves of the best sets consistently. Local knowledge...can't beat it.

Only five people out for about an hour, all friends, all sharing, all stoked. After about an hour others started showing up and I headed up reef for the rest of the session, riding Red House for another hour and a half. Barry and I were the only two surfing, pulling down wave after wave in the strong swell, even though the tide was continuing to rise. Usually Red's swamps out at a medium high tide, but the swell was so strong it just kept sending us chest/head high blue birds. We rejoiced in our good fortune. The Kettle reef was hyper-active, much to our amusement, telegraphing the biggest sets like a drunk in a bar fight. No secrets here. Barry took about five "just one last wave and I'm goin' in" waves, before we finally called it a morning as the highest tides of the day started to affect the spot.

I headed to the point after the take out to snap a few shots in the fattish higher tide waves, and there was still plenty of energy in the water. The biggest spots were getting many well overhead waves.

At the high tide the new cliff armoring made it's presence evident by adding a whole new dynamic to one's end of session take out. At both new locations at the point, powerful sweeps of water wash in, over and through the entry to the stair case up the cliff. Paddling out at these spots isn't so bad, but coming in is another story. I photoed one board broken in half that the take out claimed near the big green house. The locals and experienced water people were OK, but the folks who think waves are what they learned on this Summer at the beaches never fail to let their lack of knowledge get them into trouble. At whatever level though, this new situation bears careful scrutiny and understanding.

Tuesday October 26, 2010 PM Session

The swell began it's dramatic decline sometime around noon, but there were still enough leftovers to have fun at Sarges in the afternoon. Crowds dropped way off and the waves were much smaller than yesterday afternoon or this morning but the same dynamic was in play...ride outside until the tide got too low and then move in to get out of the kelp as best as possible.

Andy joined me on his Angulo 10-0 custom and we surfed our little section of reef until it got too dark to see. We both took down a lot of waves and after an almost five hour surf in two sessions, this old man was feelin' it. I've developed an upper body strengthening routine that mimics paddling very well, but I've been negligent re the absolutely necessary lower body strengthening exercises for thighs and glutes. They let me know they were overworked, I let them know they were not under appreciated. A couple days off was in order, along with a slow and steady stretching session this evening and tomorrow.

All in all it was a great opening to what is hopefully going to be a full surfing season. So far, La Nina is being good to us.

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