To those who have checked in over the last two months - No, I have not stopped blogging my surf outings, nor have I quit surfing. However, it has been 8 weeks since last I surfed, the longest hiatus since I started this blog 6 years ago; in fact, the longest stretch in at least 8 years. How is this possible?
I don't have a record of the swells over the last 8 weeks, but this is how best I can reconstruct it:
Week 1: Weekend in Ojai / Easter Sunday. There was a little swell, but nothing notable.
Week 2: I have no notes, and there were no conflicts. It must have been feeble surf.
Week 3: London. No surf on the Thames.
Week 4: Just home from London; no surf.
Week 5: Hawaii, Big Island. No surf in Hawaii; big swell hitting Southern California, but marginal conditions.
Week 6: Just back from Hawaii, but with a nasty cold. There was small surf (2-3 feet); I would have gone if I'd be in better health.
Week 7: Flat surf; bad weather. Not happening.
Week 8: Finally!!!!!
Not much happening on Saturday or Sunday, but it's Memorial Day weekend, and a moderate swell out of the south has been promised all week for arrival late Sunday. On arrival at the Park on Monday morning on a chilly morning under slate grey skies, a swell was, indeed, showing. I joined Hugh at the rail to observe a head-high set come in.
There were only a handful of surfers out, but, as we watched the swell for a few minutes, another dozen materialized with boards under arm. By the time we'd suited up (full rubber) not only the Main Peak area but the entire range from the rocks all the way up to straight out from the rail was populated by guys on fiberglass.
Beyond, at "LG1" below the Park itself, the water was still empty. First on the beach, I headed the quarter-mile south to LG1 and swam out. Hugh and Mark joined me shortly for a two-hour session. Hampered by a tide swing bottoming out mid-session, it was inconsistent. Nonetheless, there were plenty of chest and chin high waves throughout, with some surprising rights and hollow lefts.
The water was supposed to be 64, but felt colder, rewarding the decision to go with full wetsuits. Until late in the session, the wind remained mild and from the south, finally starting to ruffle lips near the session's end. Throughout, we had the area south of LG1 - "King's Corner" - all to ourselves, balancing the lower consistency there against the crowds at the areas further north well populated with sticks and sponges.
It wasn't the best session of late in the Park, but damn if it didn't feel great to get wet!