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

Monday, August 29, 2011

3 Paddles Before The Trip South

Friday August 26, 2011
Today's workout was a short 3-mile sprint from New Brighton to the Cap Pier, out the line of vessels to the end, right turn to Sponge Bob and dig for home. I got a new phone and my tracking app doesn't seem to want to work so nothing was getting timed very accurately. It was a good paddle and I was working hard. I think I clocked around 4.8 mph. All I know for sure is when I landed I felt like puking for about five minutes. Always a good sign.

Saturday August 27, 2011 - West Cliff Challenge Practice Run
The Boyz and I met at Andy's house and launched from Natural Bridges. Dan, a fellow paddler I met at New Brighton joined us. Today's mission was to recreate the September West Cliff Challenge put on by the Ghost Ryder's Watermen Club. I've never paddled this race before, but Andy and Sam have. The tricky parts of this race are: 1) The late start. At 1PM we'll be padding into a brisk headwind for the first mile or so if prevailing conditions exist. 2) The straightest lines to the waypoints are the shortest lines. If there is surf on race day, this puts one almost right in the line-up at the Lane. Not an enviable place to be caught inside on a big set. 3) Picking the best line through the copious kelp beds will be a trick, especially on the leg from the Lane back to Mitchell's Cove. The competitive paddler will have to take the inside line. A dubious track if the swell is up.

It was a fun paddle and the Hawaiians capped it off with a vigorous body surf in the 57 degree water. They are the real men, we haoles are the weenies.

Video: A little over six minutes with a new tune from Blitzer Trapper & Dawes. Kind of alternative country. Worth a listen.

Monday August 29, 2011
I was gonna take it real easy today so as not to hurt myself or do anything to screw up my trip down south Wednesday morning. But that conservative impulse passed as soon as I hit the water. Not that I burned it up, but I kept a strong, steady rhythm up for the entire 6.6 mile paddle. Once again the freakin' app didn't track so my guess is that I did the run in about one hour 27 minutes. That's a pace of about 4.5 mph over the entire distance. I'm happy with that especially since the headwind was in effect for the entire paddle up to the Channel and the water surface was as bumpy and confused as I've ever seen it that close to shore. It presented some challenges that made the paddling just a shade more difficult. Out past the kelp bed the wind died and it was glassy with about 20 feet of water depth visibility. Off the Cap Pier the south wind came up and it was sideshore to Sponge Bob. The only good news is that the wind lightened up for the one mile run into the beach and the usual backwash off the cliffs was minimal.

The Trip South
If you've just emerged from your cave or from under some flat rock, then you probably don't know about the large south swell headed our way, scheduled to make landfall near the end of the week and over Labor Day weekend. Also with the south we'll see a combo northerly ground and wind swell and the surfing should be pretty good around here for a while. The crowd over Labor Day will make it something of an over populated nightmare. So I decided to get out of town.

On the spur of the moment a few days ago, after following the SPAC storm since it's inception and chewing over all the surf and weather forecasting resources I could find, I booked a flight to Puerto Vallarta, leaving Wednesday morning early. I'm taking my SUP surfing performance board, the 8' SimmyD, a couple paddles and my backpack packed with surfing essentials. (Up early: surf, surf surf. To bed early: recover, recover, recover. Etc. etc.) I arrive Wednesday afternoon late, and hopefully can make it to Punta de Mita in time to catch an evening surf in the rising opening salvo of what hopefully will be nine days of non-stop surfing in 4-8 foot waves.

If I can post updates on my blog I'll do it, but I will probably do a big blog post sometime after I get back on September 10. Wish me luck. Your prayers are always appreciated.

Viva Mexico!


  1. That sounds awesome.

  2. I may get an extra serving as there is a tropical depression forming a couple hundred miles south of Punta. When it rains it pours.