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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

La Nina Fiesta de las Olas: Swell #5

Friday through Monday January 21-24, 2011

No matter what you call it, a wave fest or wave fiesta, or cornucopia of surf, Swell #5 during this La Nina season produced a monster mash of waves for the masses.

Sacred Spaces
Some say that surfing is like a religion, a spiritual practice. Although I understand the emotion behind that, I can't agree. From this issues TSJ: Surfing..."has a spiritual aura that you can only get once you've experienced it, and it never will lose it's soul and spirit because the magic that envelopes you when surfing, is far too powerful." Substitute physical stimulus for "spiritual aura" and I'm down with it. It is not surfing in and of itself that is imbued with the spiritual dimension, it is rather, the place in which it is practiced. Who can deny the "otherness" of witnessing the sunrise in a wave spackled morning, sitting in a gently rolling sea with the glory of color and shape all around? It is a Cathedral of Waves. There is no specific religious theology, denomination or sect afforded exclusive rights to this witness of creation, nor should there be any power, entity or entitlement that denies anyone the right to witness or even worship there.

While we all complain about crowding and too many people in the water, the fact remains that this ultimate mystery belongs to us all. It is not exclusive or exclusionary. Do what you will, surf where and when you decide is best and at all times surf with appreciation and aloha. Along with "getting out more," this is my second decade of the New Millennium resolution. Join me, will you?

Jeff, Allan and Brad were up from CenCal Thursday night, on a Mission to Mavericks, but that would wait until Saturday. We woke up early and I immediately led us all astray by heading to the beaches for some pre-swell arrival beach bombs. I underestimated the energy of the 21 second swell which was even then on the buoys. While the beaches weren't too big, there just weren't any sand bars to surf. It was all close-outs and no channels. Too bad. So we headed into town to check it out.

Upon our arrival at Sarge's we ran into a couple usual suspects who had been out (alone) in shoulder high surf until the high tide swamped. That was right about the time we arrived. L41 Kirk was getting out of the water too. He surfed Gdubs by himself for an hour and a half in inconsistent (the hallmark of this swell) but fast and fun right hand zippers. We missed it! Oh well, no use crying about it...let's get brekkie.

Our breakfast spot was right next to the pier, and our oceanside view afforded us a good look at the incoming bombs that we would be surfing on the lower tide. Impressive. "Do sand bags come with this order of pancakes?" Next stop...the Arena. Our tour of Surf City (you can't live here unless you surf) spanned all spots from the southside to the northside. Biding our time we took it all in and waited with eager anticipation for the swamp monster to pack it's bags and get out of town.

At 1250 hours we found ourselves on the path down to the beach. The tide was still a tad too high and the spent wave foam was blasting off the rock walls of the pocket beach. Surf was easily overhead. We picked our way out into the line-up and headed up coast, aiming for Middles and Gdubs. There was a lot of backwash bump on the sea surface, and a lot of water moving through the line-up. It would get better as the tide dropped. We had the full fleet of wave riding craft: Two SUPS, a shortboard and bellyboard/paipo.

Halfway to Gdubs I turned into an advancing wave face, second in the set, and pulled hard for the drop in. I instantly felt the power of the 17 second swell under my feet as gravity took over. A fast drop and a bit of a bumpy face ended with an attempt to kick through the pitching lip of the section I wasn't going to make. I threw the board hard up into the wave and knew by the parallel angle it wasn't going to punch through. I felt the tug for a fraction of a second before the leash snapped near the board-side velcro fastener. Six bigger waves were bearing down, I took them all on the head.

Here's what went through my mind: f@#*#@k!, sh#@*#@t, f@#*#@k! (a variation of that repeated itself until I calmed down a bit); high tide + rock cliffs and boulders = badly damaged maybe even broken board; should I try to swim in to get it with no beach present, just cliff and rocks?; or should I just swim over to the stairs and get out, walk back to the car, find, unwrap and eat this shit sandwich? Perish the thought, banish the negativity. Swim for your board!

When the rest of the set passed over me and the lull set in, I was able to look for my board. You know how it is, tough to see a board from the sea surface. So I swam towards the land, tossing my paddle like a spear ahead of me as I swam. Praying seemed appropriate so I did. Then I saw Dave laying prone on his Angulo SUP, babysitting my board in the doldrums in from of the rip-rap cliff. It hadn't gone in and there was most likely no damage. just got better!

Dave pushed my board towards me and I crawled aboard. "I owe you a surfboard," I said. Dave is cool. I spent the next 40 minutes paddling in and then chasing down another leash which I found in Allan's little black bag. I had an extra leash...a teeny little competition surfboard leash. Doh! But no matter, I was back in business. Thanks in absentia Allan.

By the time I paddled back out, Jeff, Allan and Brad were long gone (actually they were surfing their brains out at Gdubs). My trajectory out through the surf line took me downcoast of Sarges and into the faces of an overhead incoming set. I picked off the third one which put me at the YH. From there I paddled back up to Brown House and surfed in the best waves I've had there in over a year. The take off is steep and fast and immediately sets up into a long section that feeds into the main peak at YH. When it's big and lined up like it was, the rider is in for a fast ride full of steep sections and makeable walls. Scott was out on his PSH SUP, taking down some good ones.

I surfed up and down that whole section of reef, from Brown House, to YH to Apt. House Point. It was all good. The surf today was a bit smaller than last Tuesday, but much cleaner. The weather was perfect. Sunny with calm wind, temps in the low 70's. Literally perfect Winter NorCal weather.

The crowd was moderately light considering the quality of the waves and how much this swell had been tracked and hyped over the last week. That would all change Saturday/Sunday morning when the line-ups became clogged by the infestation of black, rubber clad ants that had descended on the wave picnic.

Miraculously, we all got out of the water after our three-hour surf at about the same time and met back at the truck. Lot's of good wave story talk as we changed back into our dry clothes. While peeling off my wetsuit I saw a three-inch, stitchable laceration on my left foreleg. Funny with some stuff like that, we get jostled around all the time and don't think much of it...until we view the carnage later. No time to go to the doctor, I could fix this myself. A good butterfly, waterproof bandaid and gobs of Neosporin (generic if you like) and I was back in business. I learned the hard way from a previous deep abrasion that your wetsuit on an open wound is not your friend. It'll keep you warm, yes; it is also a bacterial sponge that would love to infect any open wound. So, keep it gooped up with anti-bacterial over the counter ointment and covered until the wound scabs up at least. (I keep 'em covered whenever I'm wearing my wetsuit until the skin is healed complete.)

Sausage Festival
Jeff, Allan and Brad are three very interesting suspects. Jeff knows all thing nautical and is in fact the Big Kahuna. He won't take credit for that, but we who know him, know he is. Also...he literally knows everyone worth knowing in the surfing community, and if he doesn't he makes the effort to do so. As my wife says, all you have to do is look at Jeff and you like him. Allan is a professional surfboard shaper who was one of the stalwarts in the shaping bays of a very well known surfboard manufacturer for many years. He's probably got close to 50k surfboards sculpted. He's also an accomplished and creative artist. Our conversation about surfboard design was priceless and viewing the custom shortboard he had with him was an eyeopener. When you work on the cutting edge as he does one often dispenses with trivia. Therefore his radically conceived and applied surfboard had penciled in numbers and data on it instead of stickers. Very trippy. At dinner Thursday night Brad talked for an hour about exactly what he does in the entertainment industry, and I still don't know what he does. He makes movies, commercials, music videos, the whole enchilada. The way they do things in order to achieve perfection is not like anything I imagined. Like, ya know the guy who focuses the camera to make sure the image is just right? He never looks at what he's focusing on! It went on from there and now you know why I'm kinda lost on this one. Maybe you just have to be there. But his story of gaining entry into the industry is classic. Sometimes you just gotta take the bull by the horns and never give up. That, and a lot of intelligence is the key to Brad's success.

Friday night the boyz left for Mavs (not to surf but to observe via the nifty Radon they had brought with them).

Saturday morning I was at the beach and paddling out in the inky darkness. My goal is to paddle out early enough so I can see to paddle, but not see to surf. That way I'm waiting for that first surfable wave in the light my eyes can function in. The low morning tide and the light of the full moon conspired to add to the perfect storm of impeccable conditions and solid waves for this swell.

The swell was about the same size, slightly bigger and would peak today. The crowds were beyond imagination, beyond what anyone has ever witnessed before. Was this some Tokyo wave pool? Disneyland's Thunder Lagoon transplanted to NorCal? At 0645 there were twelve people on the main peak at Gdubs. But even with the crowd, I was able to get a lot of good waves on both Saturday and Sunday morning early. Usually I don't surf on the weekends because the weekdays are available. It makes it less crowded for me, and it also takes one guy (me) out of the water on the weekends. But since the swell was targeting the weekend with such goodness I finally got a chance to surf with my weekend warrior brethren Andy, Sam and Dana. Andy was out on his trusty 10' Angulo, continuing his practice of becoming the Cecile B. DeMille of the surf movie world. Quick behind his heels and separated only by the insanely spectacular Apple computer and movie software Andy has, are Sam and Dana with their Go-Pros. I linked one of Dana's Facebook vids here of me on a fun one. Thanks Dana! (Click here to check it out.)

So far the swell was performing as forecast. Sets were full of waves, anywhere from six to 20. And it was inconsistent. That's what happens when you get long period swell that travels from the West Pacific to our shores. I surfed for two hours each day before the crowds drove me out. Sunday I got out after a sweet, long ride from Middles through Sarges. I played hooky from Sunday school but church was a different matter. Better to square things away with the Almighty first.

By now I'm tired. Four days of hard surfing in waves of substance tends to take a little out of you at my age, but I couldn't keep myself out of the water for the rest of the swell which was dropping fast. Again I paddled out at Sarges in the dark. This time just me and Greg and a guy on a Vernor mini-Simmons. Each day has delivered a beautiful, cathedral-esque sunrise and this morning was no different. We shared waves at Sarge's for an hour, then I paddled up to Middles for another hour. I joined two longboarders and we split up the smaller but well shaped waves until my back reminded me that the rest of me had had enough. It's time to get out, reflect, appreciate with thanksgiving, recover and prepare for the next swell!

Up until last Tuesday, it had been a very puny Winter for waves. We got rain and cold, but no swells. That turned around dramatically over the last four days. Viva La Nina Wave Fiesta!

Note: Thanks to Jeff for the SUP surfer sequence at Mavs and various other images.

2nd Note: I picked up a Kodak Play Sport Zx3 waterproof camera at Best Buy. They have a 14-day return policy with no restocking fee so I'm trying it out. So far I like the way it fits into my wetsuit, and the way it feels in my hand. It is much more comfortable to lay on when paddling, and it deploys easily. It boots up relatively quickly and while the zoom is slow, it's manageable. I'm running it at 720p, the recommended setting. It shoots stills but has no continuous frame shooting mode. A major defect which may make the camera unsuitable. The software that comes with it, and which you can use for editing is insanely slow and glitchy. I had to install the program twice before it would work. And it still doesn't make movies like it's supposed to. Just an FYI to those who might be interested.

I added a short movie I shot with my Oly on Friday for comparison. I used Windows Movie Maker software to string the sequences together. Much easier and quicker to use than the Kodak program. I've got some other thoughts which I'll post in a separate entry later.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

L41 Performance SUP Sale - 2 Great Deals

Kirk at L41 is clearing out some inventory for the new year. He's offering two killer deals on a couple of new era performance SUPs. Both of these EPS core custom shapes are going for $750 each. Your choice while they last. Are you drooling yet? (I just wiped off my chin.)

First up is an 8-10 step-deck diamond tail quad. Did I mention that it goes like a bat outta hell? It does. Check the Craigs List ad for more.

Second is another light, fast and maneuverable new age rocket. This one is an 8-6 five fin rounded pin. Stability and maneuverability in one package. Try it, you'll like it. Check the Craigs List ad for more.

If you think state of the art SUP surfing is in your future, give Kirk a call or text at 831.251.0322. Think globally, buy locally. Or...if you're too global to be local, Kirk will ship it. (If you're too local to be global, get it now and you'll be just in time for the big swell SUP surfing event of your life!)

La Nina Wave Fiesta Begins: Swell #4

Tuesday January 18, 2011
After an almost two and a half month drought, we finally got some real Winter ground swell which generated high energy, sizable surf throughout the region, and all my local reef surf spots. As per usual the upcoast reefs tended to have more size than those to the east, and during the best tides, the most popular spot was firing. Sets were slightly inconsistent, to be expected with such a long period swell, but surfers were getting the best rides in a long time with long walled lines putting up 200 to 300 yard rides on the best waves.

I figured today would be the biggest of the two-day swell so I had it in my mind to do a mega session. I surfed for four and a half hours, from about 12:30 to 5PM. I rode waves from Lower GDubs through every spot east to the Pier. I started out at YH but the tide was a bit too high, even for the large swell. So I headed over to Sarges which was absolutely PACKED with surfers. The guys who knew the place the best, were getting the best rides (natch). I saw Boots, Larry, and Paul surf some stellar examples of how good it was. I was able to get a few myself, no set bombs however, so after a while I moved over to Middles, then Lower GDubs where I got a couple of my best waves of the day. I almost pulled off a ride from Lower G's through Sarges, but got sectioned out at inside Sarges.

Since I had traversed so far down coast after that wave I just kept paddling, looking for some good waves east of Sarges. By that time the dropping tide had opened up a lot of new spots on the reef and I got a couple good ones off Nudies and into YH. I surfed there primarily for the remainder of the sesh, taking down a lot of fun, fast waves. With so much west in the swell there weren't a lot of waves connecting up for long rides. It was pretty much surfing from section to section. But there were very few close-outs, you always had a shoulder/wall to ride for at least 50-60 yards or longer. During one 16-20 wave set (I lost count) I surfed from YH to Dick's to the Pier, and then took two more waves at the Pier section before making the long paddle back out to YH. Amazing!

By about 4:30 I was feeling pretty spent, so I headed upcoast for the take out at the main spot. I snagged one last bomb off Nudies that took me in, a steep fast drop into a raging wall that sectioned (I made that one) backed off for a nice cutty, then turned back down the line for a racing finish into a crashing falls of whitewater and kelp. Sweet way to finish and apparently inspiring. As I was walking to my car Dave was heading out...again, for his second session of the day. "Double sesh eh Dave?" I said. "Your last wave inspired me, I had to go out." Cool.

Today surfing in the kelp at low tide was an issue, but not nearly as much because of the larger swell. I got "kelped" a couple times but not completely knocked off. Getting kelped today was a matter of getting slowed down enough (when hitting the kelp clumps) to reduce your speed so you couldn't make the wave. If there were no kelp slow-downs, making those waves would have been awesome.

But no complaints. You get what you get, Mother Nature does her thing and you live with it...make that "rejoice" with it.

For the final capper Ralph offered me a beer as I was carrying the SIMSUP back to the car. In the dimming sunset saturated light, with a lot of good waves still pumping through, how could I refuse such an offer? So Ralph and I drank beers and talked story until it got almost too dark to see. Dwayne and Eric wandered up and we dished surf stories, talked board talk, did the surfer thing. After a full day of surfing, sharing with your broheims is the icing on the cake!

NOTE: Not much in the way of pics or vids from this day. I tried to shoot movies in the line-up but lighting conditions were horrible; shooting straight into the sun almost, which put gnarly vertical lines through all the movies. When I finally got some decently exposed movies, I wasn't in a good spot and had to haul ass out of the way of an incoming section so the movies were super short and didn't show much. I put a couple in, but they are not impressive compared to how good the surfing was. Thinking about getting a new cam.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back To Mbusas

Friday January 14, 2011
The spawn of yesterday's short duration low pressure trough and rain was thick as a brick ground fog. Fifty foot visibilities at best for most of the drive to Mbusas, but a mile from the destination the fog cleared for good and it turned into a beautiful fogless and cloudless morning.

Big Al was checking it when I rolled up and got out for a short pow-wow. It was bigger than last time, but a definite lump, with rolling seas and troughs plagued the line-up at all locations. And it was fairly inconsistent. But it was the last day before a three day holiday weekend so we're on it. Hardly anyone was out.

It was a challenging one hour session in all of the above. Every once in a while a couple decent peaks would roll (literally) through but the wave faces were never quite free from that wind induced chop that had accompanied these waves from miles out to sea. It was a struggle to maintain my feet in the backwashed rollers, and I spent a lot of time on my knees chasing the peak and getting back in position while the current insisted otherwise.

But I'm glad I got a surf in before the holiday. Thanks to Al for his great pics. (He's using a Luminex and I'm finding that his shots are a little bit better in quality than the Olympus I've got. They're close though.)

Email blog posts do not show embedded movies or slideshows. Go to the blog to see those visuals.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Northern Beaches In Small Long Period Swell

Tuesday January 11, 2011
In keeping with my new year's resolution to get out more, I pointed the Srfnff-mobile towards the northern beaches for a surf at Mbusa's. Al was already in the line-up with a few waves under his belt when I paddled out at 0745. I haven't seen him in over a year, and we enjoyed a fun and productive "reunion" session in 2-3 ft. peeling rights that were just reeling off this unreal sand bar.

It was almost like surfing a reef break, the wave was so well sculpted and formed as it tapered off perfectly into the beach. The drop off one foot out from the dry sand to the water was about three feet, maybe four. I didn't hang around in it for fear of getting swept one way or another in the current. Once past the relatively benign shore break it was an easy and enjoyable paddle into the line-up. The view was perfect, sighting right down the line at the incoming riders, all of whom were having fun in the small right-handers.

There were numerous sand bar peaks up and down this long and winding stretch of coastline and plenty of places to surf, including a good left-hander south of us with only a couple guys on it. Looking up coast several empty tempting peaks were showing all session. With La Nina in full control it's looking like the opportunities to score big Winter swells are going to be extremely limited. That means smaller swells will light up the beach breaks and there should be plenty of action for the rest of the Winter and into Spring.

Thanks to Al for the motivation and local knowledge. He's been surfing here for years and introduced me around to the guys in the line-up. Today the waves were playful and easy to ride, putting up mind pleasing shapes and even some fast sections that were whackable. When it gets bigger here the kid gloves come off though, especially in the shore pound. Al says just to ditch the leash when it gets big 'cause it's not worth taking the risk of getting smashed by a loose SUP in the shore break. But today it was all bread and butter and jam. Rich and tasty!

Also, more thanks to Al for the snaps he got of me today!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Surfing the Beaches In the Old Fading Swell; the Reefs For The Incoming New Swell

Thursday January 6, 2011
Plan A was to surf the south beaches in the morning in the fading ground swell that was on it's way out; then surf the reefs in the new, incoming northwesterly 17-20 second ground swell. There was no Plan B. This was going to happen. Not.

Not completely that is. I surfed the beaches in the morning in another pristine, crystal clear offshore 4-5 ft. A-frame lefts and rights beach break that was the picture of beautiful. I held off going super early because it was just too cold. My thermometer read 32.9 degrees at 0700, and with an offshore wind chill...I didn't even want to think about it. So I waited for a little solar gain to make it a little more comfortable. When I arrived in the lot there were about five cars and some surfers but a quick surf check showed no one out. I hustled into my suit and ran to the beach to start my warm-ups. Warm-ups is no euphemism, I really needed to warm up just a bit before hitting the shore break.

I paddled out at LQ's with one other guy at 0900. Ten minutes later there were ten guys out, but it was a friendly crowd, mostly older guys. This spot definitely has a crew, more than one really so I minded my manners, hoping that the SUP guy (me) wouldn't get a cursory rejection from da boyz. I gave away several really good waves that were definitely "mine" in terms of placement in the line-up at the right spot and wave count. But that's not a bad thing, it always pays to be more generous than less. Even with ten guys out, all of whom surfed well, the surf was consistent enough to provide planety of rides for everyone. Then about 40 minutes into the session it just stopped. Maybe the higher tide, maybe a big lull in the swell, but only the only waves coming in were small ones so everyone moved inside. I took a couple more and on my last wave got a nice lined up wall into the flats, cut back hard and paddled left into the reform and rode it all the way into the beach. I squirted around the last little cupped section and stepped off into shallow water. Home free. I only surfed for an hour, but got a lot of fun little rides, met a couple of the more friendly guys and felt like I'd broken the ice. I'm hoping to get some more at this spot in the future.

On the way home I stopped at one other really isolated spot. It was booming with constant pounding 5-7 footers wreaking havoc in the shore break. With no channels in sight I was thinking there was no way to paddle out. SUPs don't duck dive, even a shortboard would have been a guaranteed ice cream head ache. The increased size of the swell compared to LQ's made me check the buoy on my cell phone. 7 ft. at 20 seconds. Game on...or so I thought. So far Plan A was in effect and I was looking forward to a larger wave surf in the afternoon.

I arrived at Sarges in a lowering tide of just about perfect height. One problem. Small, poorly shaped waves that mocked the size and period of the swell which scientific data gathering assured me was in extant. WTF? Graydon was posted up at the lookout and we talked story and bs'ed for over an hour just checking it out. Ron hustled past us with his 8-2 L41 Bat tail quad SUP, heading for YH. In the lowering tide he got the best waves of the small wave afternoon. I suppose if I hadn't surfed in the morning, and had a good session, I would have gone out...but I was so disappointed with my preconceived notions of what it was going to be like, I didn't surf. Time for Plan B.

Friday January 7, 2011
Plan B was to crack it this morning in hopes that the swell had solidified and was in fact sending in some genuine energy, something we haven't really seen since early November. I was on it at dawn, with just enough light to see. The surf was nothing to write home about, and again my expectations were disappointed. But this time I was prepared and had made up my mind to surf anyway. It was going to be a beautiful sunrise and I was going to be on the water to witness and enjoy it. I could always paddle upcoast, it's always bigger up there.

Jamie picked off a nice long wall as I was paddling out. He'd been waiting fifteen minutes for it, so I decided to move up reef. I arrived at GDubs at 0655, no one else out. It was 2-4 ft. and inconsistent. Scimi's was better with a lot more guys out. In ten minutes there were five more surfers in the line-up. What happened for the next two and a half hours was a mix of increasing surf hts. and direction and an influx of people. All this in a brisk and chilly offshore wind tempered by mostly unobstructed sunshine. I surfed at least a dozen really good long lines over multiple sections of reef that rendered makeable bowl sections all the way to Middles. It was a bit weird though. The place surfed more like low tide, than a rising tide. Perhaps a mix of WNW ground swell and NW nearshore wind swell with even a little southwest thrown in. Who knows? We're always trying to figure it out. But whatever caused it, today's session left me surfed out and completely satisfied. Next time I'll try not to let my expectations of reality get in the way of it.

Jan 7, 2010 from Srfnff on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Long Period Swells For The New Year

Tuesday January 4, 2011
With La Nina still firmly in control, the North Pacific managed to muster up a series of back-to-back WNW swells that finally (after a drought like hiatus that stretched back to November 2010) put some real long period energy into our little corner of the world.

The first swell made landfall a couple days ago during a two-day rain storm over the weekend. Weather related winds made conditions not that great, and the rain run-off pooped up the water, but the swell was ridable even though "iffy". Waves dropped down in size on Monday, before the next swell arrived Tuesday. Monday I drove up north to Davenport Surf and Sail to have Joe measure out the SIMSUP for a new board bag. M and I are heading to Mexico for a couple weeks in March and I'll need some good protection for our travels. I checked a couple spots up there after all the calculating was done. The tide was high and it was large and lumpy with the NW wind on it. But the swell was showing very well.

I waited until Tuesday afternoon when all the models showed the swell peaking. I paddled out at 1530 heading to Yellow House in hopes of some zippy small wave surfing there but it wasn't to be. 8-10 feet at 16 seconds still wasn't enough juice to turn on YH even with a low, going lower tide. As expected it was fairly crowded but it was also consistent enough to grab quite a few waves. I surfed a couple spots, chasing waves at the point, then moving to Apt. House Point, etc. Meanwhile I was looking up coast to Sarges where the grass looked greener.

After an hour I paddled up coast to the next spot. Only a few people surfing there and they were spread out because the tide was so low it was putting up some serious sections across the reef that a higher tide would have connected. The waves were actually very good, 3-4 ft. long fast zippers screaming across the kelp infested shallow water reef. That was problem, the kelp. If the kelp was thinned out, or not even there I'd give it an 8 or 9. But with all that kelp growing unchecked it was a 5 or 6. I got knocked off several really nice waves before I reverted to kelp riding technique which is to carry your weight back on the fins and try to blast through the tentacles before they grab you. This worked fairly well and I got some good ones. But it was seriously easy to get locked up in the kelp forest this afternoon.

Forecasters are calling for more swell through the weekend and everyone's happy that at least we're getting something resembling good ground swell.