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

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First Surf In Winter Conditions at the Beaches

Wednesday December 1, 2010
Since my last surf over two weeks ago, Winter arrived. Two weeks ago I was out on my Angulo and I was still in my 4/3, no hood, no booties. The water was end of Summer NorCal warm, that is, 55 degrees. I was really looking forward to and excited about getting the SIMSUP back from Sand Dollar Ding Repair (Felix did a fantastic job repairing the broken out fin box) and getting back into some surf on it. My chance came in small 2-4 ft. surf in near perfect, but cool, Winter conditions.

It's always hard for me to transition out of warmer weather and into colder weather. I love surfing barefoot and in lighter wetsuits. So I always have to drag myself into a cold weather set-up. Get out the booties, gloves, neoprene hood and make sure everything is intact. I hate to see the warm weather go, but Winter is when we get our best waves usually, so when the surf is there, it makes it a lot easier.

La Nina is back and after Winter Storm #1 brought us fantastic surf early in November, there haven't been any significant ground swells. And I haven't been paying attention really, busy with other stuff. Getting the SIMSUP out of the shop was my wake-up call though and the forecast I was seeing was for some excellent SUP surfing conditions at the beaches. Beach break surfing a SUP is always more demanding because you can't duck dive a SUP. Getting caught inside, without a channel to escape into, can be a frustrating experience. Usually, instead of getting hammered by wave after wave, I just go into the beach and wait for a lull, then prone paddle out the back and into the line-up. I like it best when the waves are big enough (or small enough depending upon how you look at it) to be groomed into rideable lines by whatever sandbars are out there. Sometimes if it gets too big then it's just nothing but closeouts. But today was almost perfect.

The morning weather was Winter superb. Cold and sunny with light offshore breezes were holding up perfect A-frame peaks in two different locations. I chose the nearest peak which was being surfed by only two people. We rode there for about half an hour before Paul paddled out on his shortboard. Surf was 2-4 ft. and super consistent. Everybody was getting ride after ride. I couldn't believe it wasn't more crowded, but that solved itself shortly. People trickled into the line-up until there were just too many. Paul took one into the shore break then paddled out downcoast to a peak that didn't look as good to me. I knew he wouldn't mind, so I tagged along with him.

He'd surfed this peak last night on his longboard until darkness forced him out of the water. Even though the wind had changed direction and was more onshore, this downcoast peak was fun. The two of us surfed it alone until another shortboarder joined us. There were a lot of waves. Finally after another hour Paul went in and I decided to call it a day too.

I paddled back upcoast, past the first peak, through the rip chapped channel and was headed in when I saw Ralph and Mary surfing yet another peak. We chit-chatted a while and swapped boards. I've always wanted to try Ralph's short stick and he wanted to take a spin on the SIMSUP. I couldn't stay long though and had to get going so we only got a couple waves apiece. We'll have to take a rain check for future swaps.

Kirk sent me a heads-up re some pics posted of me on a local website. I'd seen a guy shooting from a tripod early on, and I thought he was taking promotional pics of this girl. But he takes the photos for sale later. The shots are nice but I didn't find the ones of me all that great surfwise, even though the photo quality was ono. I poached the ones he posted and put them here. Check the website, it's pretty cool.

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