Friday October 1, 2010
Northwesterly swells from a series of storms in the North Pacific continue to roll into the bight. A 21 second swell made landfall late yesterday afternoon, and the surf was probably off the hook at low tide last night around midnight. Daytime tides have been in the 3 - 5 ft. range, which has put a sloshy finish on the wave faces at times. To be sure the best spots are going overhead on the best sets, but conditions are poor to fair. Add in an onshore wind condition now that the high pressure ridge has moved on and you have a recipe for somewhat sloppy surf in between the fog and the occasional bouts of glassiness.
With that in mind, and knowing that I'd be teaching all day tomorrow with no time to surf, I opted to pay some dues on the 9-6 Pearson Arrow CJ Nelson noserider. I paddled out at T's for a 70 minute session in surf and conditions that resembled what I wrote in the first paragraph. I hit it lucky as I was in between a crowd change from the dawn patrollers to the sleep in late college kids. Eight in the line-up at 0910. I chose to surf the inside peak that was smaller, but which had a better shaped nose riding wave across the inside reef.
It's fun to the push the 9-6 longboard through it's paces, especially leashless where one has to be more attentive to a lost board. No bailing and yanking on the cord to get it back before it washes into the rock cliff face. I only had to put in one exuberant racing sprint after some kelp ejected me on my fifth or sixth wave. Just as I got to it and grabbed a hold of the slippery knife edged rail, a line of whitewash ripped the craft out of my hand as it headed for what I was sure was a ding producing date with the rocks. But I lucked out and there was no damage. I death gripped my ride firmly when I got to it this time, and paddled hard for the outside as a new set of breaking waves came boiling my way.
As winded as I was after I got out the back, it felt good. It felt good to be surfing without a leash and to have to work harder for the pleasure and satisfaction of surfing. I think one could make a credible argument that leashes may be the single greatest cause of overcrowding and bad vibes in the line-up. How many times have I watched a beginner take-off, eat it and bail and then climb right back on and take off on the next wave! In the old days kooks earned their stripes by putting in the time crawl stroking after their boards. Everybody did it that way. It leaves less people in rotation and therefore gives everyone a better chance of getting waves. Dennis says that the two things that have hurt surfing the most are the "re-advent" of longboards and the leash. I'll have to think about that some more, but I can see his point.
Of course surfing a noserider with no leash is a no brainer. Why ride a noserider with a leash? The idea is to walk all over the place, get on the nose, run back, throw a cutback, turnback and head to the tip again. Rope free. I'm not advocating the "leashless way," I wouldn't surf my SUP leashless...too much to manage with a thick board and a paddle. But I surf my 5-11 Ghostbuster without a leash at the beaches, and I wouldn't be opposed to surfing my 7-4 quad without the ubiquitous leg rope. Swimming without the life buoy has to make you a better waterman, woman, child, whatever.
Another thing I like about the 9-6 is that it is completely different than any of my other boards. The Nelson is built to noseride...period. The rails are designed to direct the water over the tail of the board, the deep concave in the nose designed for lift and to keep the nose afloat as is the serious tail kick. The bottom goes from deep concave to vee so the thing will turn. All my other boards are designed to go fast, turn and be maneuverable. A different way of riding than the noserider for sure which is built to trim on the nose in up to about 3 or 4 ft. surf. Put it on a fast head high wall and it feels a little shaky. You don't get that solid feel on the noserider that you do from rails that have a hard edge shaped to hold you and your board into the wave face.
The crowd fattened around 10 o'clock and people who were having a hard time catching waves started burning people in frustration of not riding anything, so I decided to call it a day. The difference between surfing standup and laydown is significant on my back. My mid and lower back were aching after an hour and fifteen minutes on the laydown this morning. The other day I surfed the SIMSUP for three hours and sure I was tired and sore, but there was no irritating achiness that always seems to accompany my laydown sessions.
But I had fun, got wet, felt good, got more acquainted with the leash free big dog and honed my seriously deficient noseriding skills. Life is good.
No pics today. I didn't want to lay down on my Oly and five minutes after I got out of the water, T's completely socked in with thick fog. I couldn't even see the line-up.