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.