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

Friday, April 18, 2014

Four Mile to Mitchells Downwind Run - April 17 2014

Thursday April 17 2014 - DW 4 Mile - Mitchells - Shaka (Just over an hour). A weird wind day as the NWS missed a cutoff low coming up from the SW that pushed southerly wind into the Bay, Santa Cruz and almost the North Coast. It was overcast and cloudy well into the afternoon and I feared that the Salinas Valley low pressure would be too slow in forming to create the necessary pressure gradient to crank up the 4 Mile run. But the NWS was insisting on small craft advisories for nearshore and outer waters so in spite of no wind showing on the Lane cam I loaded up and headed to Mitchells.

I arrived early and parked at the Lane so I could watch for the wind to come and have a device connection. In the slowly clearing cloud cover there was almost no wind and it was nearly glassy. I drove over to Natural Bridges to check it and same thing, almost no white caps showing north of NB's and Longs. I was pretty sure it was over for today. So I headed back to Mitchells to wait for the other paddlers.

Jens, Mike and Jeff showed up on time and they still wanted to go. I was thinking no go. Mark called and said he was going to be late so I said we'd wait. This turned out to be a good thing as the wind was steadily showing some improvement with weak whitecapping now showing on the outside. Mark arrived and by then I figured that there would be decent enough wind around the corner and WTH, I'm here, lets go. That turned out to be a good decision as the wind was in the 20's at launch and stayed steady for almost the entire run. I put the wind at just a little bit less than on Tuesday's run, but still plenty to have fun on. (Lesson learned, trust the NWS forecast and know that it's going to be windier up north.) I felt more comfortable than ever on the Shaka, did a lot of walking around on the board, and caught a bunch of bumps and glides.

Downloaded and subscribed to a new weather, wind, swell app called Predict Wind. It uses two models to make forecasts and appears to be comprehensive and accurate. Time will tell. At $19 it's expensive and designed for rich sailboat people, or middle class weather geeks like me.

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