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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Clean Windswell Before the Rain

Wednesday November 17, 2010
(Posted Sunday November 21, 2010) The weather forecast was for rain and a major cooling trend for the weekend. Snow is forecast for the Sierras, and no doubt the ski and snowboard slopes will be open for business if the storm delivers the cold goods. This being the last chance to grab a few sliders before the impending rain and winds, I pulled my trusty Angulo 10-0 out of the rafters and headed for the usual spots.

The 8-0 SIMSUP is in the shop, drying out and awaiting the necessary fin box repair. Felix said he had to keep it around for a few days and monitor the moisture in the styrofoam. EPS is notoriously thirsty when exposed to water, and it has to be perfectly dry in order to work on. But we checked and double checked it on Friday and pronounced it good to go. The timing was right as he was just getting a batch of EPS boards ready for repair. The SIMSUP got in line. It should be done and good as new Monday or Tuesday.

I paddled out past Sarge's where Sean was playing around on Joanna's new stick which was expressly made for a pending trip to the Maldives. They're pretty sold on a southern atolls trip with Tropicsurf and one of the caveats is that board size is limited to seven feet. Click on the Tropicsurf link and you'll see why. I took a boat trip to the Maldives with Tropicsurf in 2003 with my buddy Joe. It was hands down a fantastic trip with good to great surf and a crew that was knowledgeable and attentive. This was back in the days before the Maldives became a popular surf destination that is now somewhat overrun with surfers. Sean was first day surf testing a Vernor 6-10 "miniSimmons" shape. I didn't get to see it but I'm looking forward to checking it out.

The surf was in the 2-4 range, mostly small and somewhat inconsistent. The tide was low so the kelp was in play, but not all that bad. Only two guys out at Gdubs so I hung out wide of the main peak where there was actually a longer ride before it morphed into a bowl section with a carpet of kelp for a ramp. I never could make it past that section.

I've gotten so used to riding the smaller SIMSUP that I missed the compact maneuverability compared to the Angulo. But the Angulo is fast in trim, noserides really well for a SUP, and is steady as she goes, which almost made up for the additional swing weight of a board that actually weights less than the SIMSUP, even though it's two feet longer!

I used to rail at, and curse the kelp. But I think I'm over it. There's really nothing I can do about it. Guys will say let's cut it, maybe the kelp harvesters could cut it, etc. but, it won't happen. It's here and most likely here to stay. If the water warmed up that could thin it's ranks, but just the opposite is happening. This session was most likely my last without booties. Today's water temps were 54 degrees. Anything consistently under 55 degrees and I'm into booties. As we get deeper into Winter the thicker mil hood will come out of it's bag, along with the gloves for those 30-something degree mornings.

There's no doubt that Winter is our best wave time here in NorCal, but along with the good waves, we have less time to surf them. Long gone are the days when you could be paddling out at five in the morning and surf until 9PM. Now it's six or six fifteen AM and pitch black dark by 5:30.

After about forty-fives minutes of surfing the wandering peaks by myself, Lynn paddled out on her longboard and we shared waves for another half hour before being joined by Dave and a couple others. The students and after work crowd filled in, but it never got crowded...only less consistent. I was hoping for more out of the 7 ft. @ 16 seconds West swell but you get what you get. I paddled in just before darkness fell after surfing a fun two-hour session.

The forecast was right on. From my writing desk late Sunday afternoon the temps have dropped into the low 50's and we've had over a couple inches of rain in the local mountains. Snow dumped a couple feet in the Sierras. I'd say that Winter has arrived.

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