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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WNW Swell with a Little SW Underneath

Monday October 15, 2012 - If the weather is drop dead gorgeous, and it's warm and the wind is still or offshore, it must be Fall. It is, it is, it is all of that. It also means it's usually time to focus on the afternoons and evening for a surf, when the tides are best. Fall morning tides are usually pretty high and all that water tends to erase any swell that isn't big and booming.

I paddled out to Sarges at about 3PM. Ron was hammering some quick walls off the point on his kneeboard, bobbing and weaving amongst the longboards and SUPs. Kneeboard. A gutsy call, like riding your go-cart on the freeway. Still....he was holding his own. Since there was west in the swell, and a little southwest underneath it, most of the waves were sectioning. But what this does is to open up numerous take-off spots in the line-up which can relieve crowding at any one spot. My kind of situation. I found a peak and section down coast from the main spot and proceeded to catch quite a few waves in very uncrowded circumstances. Overall the surfing was fun, the waves mediocre but punctuated by a few fast, lined up walls that were makeable and smackable on the inside. Put the pristine and warm Fall day and lack of peeps on top of that and you've got the ingredients for a super fun session.

About 4:45 I picked up the second wave in a set of what I thought was maybe a three or four wave set. It put up a decent wall and when it collapsed I decided to ride the white water into the flats, picking out the little power runs as I could just for fun. The wave faded out from under me as it rolled into a deep water pocket and I turned back towards the ocean ready for the paddle out the back. Another set and wave was coming in and this had a bit of size. I could also see another behind it so I just sat down and straddled my board in the deep and calm hole just offshore from the Nudie beach. I'll wait this out thought I.
What followed was something I have never experienced or even seen in person before. From out of the vast expanse of wind blown ocean there came a set with 40-50 waves. After the eigth wave I was beginning to wonder what was going on. Eight waves in a row was the biggest set I'd seen since I paddled out. After another eight waves my mind was boggling. Dave, one of my SUP surfer buddies was standing on his board about 30 yards from my position. He had his arms spread out iron cross style, paddle in hand and yelled, "it's stacked up as far as I can see." These were the best looking and biggest waves I'd seen so far. I thought surely this will end but it didn't. Suddenly my idea of waiting for a lull didn't sound so good. I picked a diagonal line out through the surf hoping not to get too beat up but also hoping to get back out in time to snag at least one of these beauties. I prone paddle sprinted through two and made it into calm water. Turned out that the last wave I pushed through was the last wave of the set. Expletive deleted!

There was no one in sight at any spot that I could see. Either everyone had gotten a wave and couldn't get back out, or had been trapped inside like me. I can imagine what it looked like from shore. Lines stacked up out to the horizon, like those posters we've all seen of Sunset Beach Hawaii with all that corduroy out the back. Something like the picture at the right only not nearly as big.

Well shizzizzit, I missed it. That was the downside, but the upside was wave quality and consistency definitely improved after that mega set. I decided to stay at my new location, the cave at Tres Palms, and for some reason, even though I was getting ride after ride of super fun lined up and sectioning fast and makeable waist to chest high waves, no one came out. It was just a mellow and relaxing but busy surf. At 6PM, the three hour mark for me, it was starting to get dark and I was starting to feel all that activity. I was getting tired and I don't see all that well in fading light so I paddled back over to Sarges to take one in. When I arrived, where there had formerly been 12-15 folks in the line-up, there was no one but me. I'll take it. I surfed another 45 minutes in windless, glassy waves before taking one last one in. An epic Tweener of a Tweener. Yes, the surf could have been better but when all things are considered, it was an epic session.

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