Entry: Wednesday May 4, 2011
Location: NB to the L41, to the Kelp Beds & Back
Swell: 7.5 at 11.4 NW (46042) 3.6 at 11.8 WNW (46236)
Conditions: Clear, hot and sunny with light southwesterlies
Tide: 3.2 Rising to 3.8 ft.
It's a good thing it isn't like this every day. I'd never get anything done. With record breaking temps forecast and in the making, I headed back to NB's for another upcoast paddle. Today the surf jumped up a tick, but the steep swell angle kept it from being a surf day. On the 10' custom Angulo all-arounder I knew I could score a good paddle and surf too if anything rolled in.
Lot's of folks in the NB parking lot and straight off I ran into Paul and Libby coming in from a paddle. Paul had paddled his one-man racing outrigger canoe, and Libby was on the Bark prone paddleboard. We had a good conversation and Paul offered his Bark 14' Expedition for me to try. Deal. He's also been busy converting his garage into a shaping room. He's shaped six surfboards so far and is making beautiful wooden paddles, one of which he had with him today. This deserves it's own post so I'll get to that another day. Paul is an amazing guy with an inspiring story. He was a kick-ass firefighter/paramedic who suffered a heart attack way before his time. He fought his way back but was forced to retire. Since then he's taken his passion and avocation and developed it far beyond where most of us ever go. It will be an interesting video.
I paddled at 50-70% power upcoast, just enjoying the day and trying to keep a steady and consistent rhythm and pace going. I hung out at a couple places to check the waves and surf a few. Sheriff Joe was out at the L41, and honestly, looked like he was having the most fun of all on his 8-11 Lopez Li'l Darling SUP. Occasionally there would be a waist high wave, but it was inconsistent. The beauty of the day made it all worthwhile, especially since I had another dimension than the conventional surfers. No SUP, no waves, no fun.
After surfing I headed straight out to sea, almost to the end of the kelp beds, about a quarter to half-mile offshore. Very quiet, lots of otters. Water visibility still extraordinary. The paddle back down to NB was all gentle downwind. As I was still in the kelp beds, and the winds were light, there weren't any real bumps to ride. I'm gonna be trying a few different distance/racing SUPs in the next few days. I've got a Surftech Bark Competitor lined up for Saturday, and Friday I'll be trying out all three distance Angulo SUPs, the 14 ft. Shaka and the 12-6 and 14 ft. Tiger Shaka models. I'm really looking forward to that. I can hardly wait to get outside the influence of the land mass where the "real" ocean conditions are as Jens would say.
For anyone interested in the video stuff, today's vid was shot with the GE DV1 waterproof video camera. I'll write more on it later but so far I like the Kodak PlaySport Zx3 a little better. Kudos to Amazon for their service. In all I've owned four PlaySports and one DV1. I sent both Zx5 PlaySports back (they have a fatal engineering flaw), one for exchange and one for a full refund. After field testing the two I have now, the Zx3 and the DV1, I'll send one back for a refund within Amazon's 30-day return policy. They make it difficult to shop anywhere else, especially for these cameras.
What happened to the second PlaySport Zx3 you might ask. I lost it at sea. Pilot error. I failed to secure it properly to my person and on one particularly turbulent wipeout, Neptune claimed it.
Here's a very good video from Ocean Paddler re the last Olukai Maliko race. It really shows up close and personal how much fun (and challenging) a good downwinder can be.