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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Back To Back WNW Swells

The L finally got a couple decent swells with enough west in them to get into the bight. The bigger ground swell was a nice Christmas Eve day gift that put up waist to chest/shoulder high waves and the occasional overhead bomb. These were both short duration swells, one-day swells, and while the second had some west in it too, it was much smaller, more like wind swell.

Hard to say that I didn't get all of the first swell, I paddled out at noon and rode my last wave in five hours later in the rapidly decaying daylight. I surfed just about every spot in the L41, concentrating on Sarges and Middies but also taking down a few at GDubs and all the way down to Yellow House. The SIMSUP OSX3 performed flawlessly as usual, and I am just loving this board the more I surf it. It is the best all around SUP surfboard I've ever owned by far. The fact that I helped design it with Kirk of L41 Surfboards is just icing on the cake. Rumor has it that we might get some BIG NPAC swells early in the new year and I can hardly wait to put this board into some double overhead mackers. (My personal large size limit if I can help it.) If it goes good in the big surf then it will truly be a full spectrum all-rounder.
The day after Christmas the surf was about half-size compared to the 24th. There was less juice, less energy overall and the waves were much softer. Still, in the low, low tides there were a lot of fast, zippy walls and sections to negotiate. I love those quick burst speed runs, steering the board along the energy lines, swooping under the falling crests and jamming off the top on the other side. Gotta love it.

Maybe I'm surfing more this year but the holiday crowds have been thick. Without a doubt I've never surfed with more people in the water at the same time than these past two swells. Even though it's packed it's kinda hard to complain. There are so many moms and dads with their kids out surfing, and everyone is having such a great time. Smiles are all around and hey, there's always another wave.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

L41 Surfboards Original SIMSUP Online

One of the most rewarding things I've been able to do in my journey along the SUP trail is to help design and bring to life my own unique SUP surfboard. I didn't do it for financial gain, but for the satisfaction, fun and knowledge I've gained along the way.

So I'm happy to announce the L41 Surfboards Original SIMSUP website, now online. There is lot's of information, videos and still pics for everyone to enjoy. The SIMSUP is a design that has it's roots back in 1949 when Bob Simmons was designing original and creative surfboards to ride big waves. Fast forward to our current era and Joe Bauguess, who adapted Simmons ideas and created the mini-Simmons. It has been my privilege to work with another great shaper, Kirk McGinty, who has enthusiastically put his energy, progressive mindset, prolific shaping skills and knowledge into the SIMSUP series.

The SIMSUP is fast, maneuverable, short and stable. The fastest and funnest SUP I've ever ridden. Once ridden, the SIMSUP has been known to be mind altering. You'll never see SUP surfing the same. Check it out.
L41 Shaper Kirk Rides the SIMSUP OSX3 from Srfnff on Vimeo.

Long Period Mid-Month NW Swell

Surfed Simmy 3 at the usual spots in dropping long period NW swell. As big as it was in Hawaii (think the Pipe contest), it just didn't translate here very well, especially in the L41. I surfed it in the afternoon, in the low tide where it was fast and racy with a fair number of closeouts. Surfed for an hour and a half before I got smacked in the jaw by my board punching through some whitewater. It hurt and at first I thought it might have broken my jaw. But it only opened up a small compression laceration which slowly dripped blood down on the deck. It partially nailed my throat and I felt like I'd been strangled so I decided that it was session over. I'd actually taken down a large number of waves, chasing down a bunch of insiders in between sets so I was tired. Fun session not including the injury.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Two Days at the Beaches

Nothing like a shark attack to clear the water of crowds. Then add in early morning temps in the mid to high 30's and a solid 3-8 mph offshore wind dragging the chill factor down even lower. The only takers these last few days have been the SUP brethren. And in all honesty the sand bars aren't as good as they could be, but there have been plenty of waves on offer...enough to wear me out to the point of taking a day off from the barrels, the poundings and the vigorous workouts.

Monday Al, Paul and Mike were already out in the water by the time I rolled into the lot. It was cold, 38 degrees. I arrived in my new Hotline integrated hood Reflex which has been keeping me toasty in the line-up ever since Winter set in. Add in the three mil gloves and booties and I've been staying amazingly warm. Funny how a brisk offshore wind in 3-something degree air temps will give you an ice cream headache when it hits you in the face. It's making the 54 degree water feel almost warm.

This stretch of beach faces the open ocean and even when it's small it never fails to deliver the juice. Back wash, side chop, rips, littoral currents, double ups, pitching lips, apex predators, late drops into a freezing's all here. It gets almost manageable when the surf drops into the 2-4 foot range like Tuesday. But even then you'll get held down in the places that just don't look that wild.

The sand bars are not nearly as symmetrically placed as last years, but it never ceases to amaze me how the bars usually reform in about the same places from year to year. This year seems more shifty and beach breaks being beach breaks what looks like a channel for one set, is the next sets close outs. Wait long enough though, and it's bound to change.

Paul got some of that Monday after we all left the water, having had enough for one session. I had one exceptional wave, overhead with a steep drop and long racing face with a barrel section to end it. I got plowed under at the finale, and that wasn't the first time that session either. But Paul soldiered on (his day off) and was rewarded by about 45 minutes worth of screaming, lined up lefts (see the slideshow) with the occasional tube. He surfed wave after wave after wave, all by himself. Then, it just stopped. The peak he was on started lining up and closing out and that was that. Not sure if it's an abundance of balls, or a lack of brains that keeps someone out in the landlord's neighborhood alone, but I did it Tuesday and I've got neither. Well, maybe I'm not even as smart as I think I'd like to be.

It must have been my turn to get the blessing on a right-hander. Mike, Bob and John had their fill after about an hour and a half, but I stayed out just as the little sand bar pile we were riding came alive for 45 minutes or so. I rode the wave merry-go-round until my legs were aching. I finally paddled in, pretty much exhausted after almost two and half hours but absolutely invigorated. The air and the water were crystal clear. The sky was deep blue and the hump back up the steep sand dunes had me gulping some of the cleanest air on the planet. Not that I don't think about it, the toothy ruler that betrays the beauty we can see on top of the sea surface. But if we let our fears dictate our lives then we really wouldn't be alive in the deepest sense of the word. But for today, it was another good session and the landlord left me alone....again.