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

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Beach Breaks and Cold Offshores

Friday December 31, 2010
My new year's resolution for 2011 is to get out more and adjust my mind set. I started practicing that today searching for some new for me that is.

A couple friends had given me some tips on some places to check so I followed their advice and my nose. None of these places are secret spots, far from it. But I'm not telling. For the most part they're still relatively uncrowded. My main stomping grounds are getting full. And what with one of the worst Winter's for surf that I can remember, everyone is heading to the beaches because there's just nothing going on in town.

I got a late start on purpose. It was cold this morning, 33 degrees when I left at 8:30 and it never got above 50 or so. It was clear and sunny and the wind was brisk offshore, putting a wind chill on the temp. It stayed that way, even though the high thin clouds and low storm clouds that moved in steadily promised to bring us rain tonight. Eventually I got into the water around 10:30 and it was still cold.

Two of the three places I stopped are bad for auto burglaries, one being auto burg heaven. But both these spots had good sand bars and offshores grooming several left and right peaks. Since the first spot I checked was number one of three, I looked for a while and left to check out spot #2. This place has a scenic little parking lot in a secluded bowl surrounded by sand dunes. It couldn't be prettier. Also a great location for a smash and grab. There wasn't a lot of glass on the asphalt and I looked pretty hard. No one out on the 3-4 ft. peaks that were getting their tops blown off by the cold winds. Here, it was a long walk out to the beach through the dunes on a lot of soft sand. This would have been my favorite spot but for the secluded parking lot and long walk back. If the bad guys hit your car, there would be nothing you could do about it. Matter of fact, this spot was so secluded that a determined bad guy could just rob you...forget about the car.

Spot number three is a popular beach break, full of sand bar peaks all up and down the beach. When I pulled in, the lot was packed. There were only a handful of guys out surfing, but another handful of guys were wet suited up and getting ready to go. I hung out for a little while, taking it all in and feeling the tug of spot number two. No one out there, and some good waves on tap.

So I nosed the Golf back onto the access road and found the northbound highway back to spot number two. This time as I pulled into the lot there was no one there except one guy sitting in his car reading. WTF? Reading? You gotta be kidding me. I suppose I could throw all my valuables in a backpack and take them with me, or maybe just give him my wallet up front and go surfing? Final decision, I just couldn't bring myself to surf there. It just seemed like a guaranteed break-in on a holiday weekend. So I drove back to the first place I stopped.

Surfing this morning was the icing on the cake. I'd already told myself that this was a recon, if I don't surf, no big. But now there were fewer cars in the lot and only three guys in the water. This place wasn't near as sketchy for theft so I changed into my gear, grabbed the SIMSUP and made the short walk down to the shore. I took my belongings with me though, in my backpack, just to be on the safe side. (After my surf a constable on patrol cruised the lot and I stopped him for a chat. The break-ins happen, but not as frequently as one would think. It's actually fairly safe for now because they've got decent staffing. That probably won't be the case with Cali's next budget. That will let the rats back in no doubt.)

I paddled out through a perfect channel and into a bar that was putting up multiple left and right peaks. I sat wide, giving respect to the shortboarders already out. They were taking the smaller waves that broke further in. But the way the set-up worked is that I could hang out the back and pick off the bigger waves without getting in their way. I enjoyed a number of steep drops on right handers that would wall up down the line. The secret was to cut left as soon as the curtain came down and then stay with it until the wave reformed on the inside. Then it would just morph into a long (but smaller) down the line right almost into the beach. Paddle out back through the channel and do it again. It was somewhat inconsistent for the bigger waves but it was fun and as much work as I wanted to do at a new spot. Getting caught inside (which happened once) wasn't something that was all that much fun, even in the small beach break which was in the head high range on take off and then chest high for the remainder of the ride.

In 38 years of living on this stretch of coast, I'd never been to these beaches before. Amazing. It feels good to be here now though. I'm thinking that 2011 is holding.

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