One of the things I love about San Clemente State Park is that I park about 50 feet from the beach. On arrival, it's easy to check out the surf, snap a few photos to document it, then slip back and suit up. Not only is parking in the western part of Newport a challenge, but in all probability you're at least a block or two off the beach...and then, the beach is so wide you must cross it for any decent shots. So, that's my excuse for my text only post today.
OK, there's a second excuse. I could have strapped the GoPro on my wrist and documented the session from the water. I didn't because our expectations for the surf and session were so low. This was really a session driven my just not having been in the water (other than that quick, cold, outing in Carmel) in three weeks...but the surf was supposed to be meager and the conditions evident on the early morning cams looked crumbly and a bit choppy. So, I figured there was little reason to be burdened with surfing with the GoPro. I was mistaken.
SCSP hasn't been responding well to the surf this early summer ... a lot of backwash and lumpy shape, so Mark Ghattas, Paul Tordella and I had agreed by Saturday night that we'd meet in Newport, most likely the jetties. After checking the morning cams, I was very much on the fence but the water temp was supposed to be 70 and Pasadena sweltering, so an ocean swim beckoned. Mark had found parking at 48th Street and was texting us that there were some waves, but Paul and I were frustrated in our quest for parking until we headed further north/west to the 58th Street lot, which was only 2/3 full.
Paul pulled on his wetsuit, while Mark & I concurred that no rubber was necessary, and we headed straight over, to the final, north/western-most jetty. A thin line of surfers spread from the jetty, west for blocks. There were few breaks in the line up, but there was a peak to the right a block with only a couple of boards out working it. After observing a decently formed, chest-high set, we slipped in the water and headed out ... to a surprising fun session.
The first hour in the water, from 8 to 9 was actually quite good. Set waves up to shoulder height appeared fairly regularly, and the steep south angle of the swell regularly presented little peelers that could be taken deep inside - frequently with enough pitch to get some extended tube time.
Paul had found a perfect spot, picking off four or five outside waves at at peak that offered a steep, but not too fast, left to the deep inside. In between, there were plenty of waves. Mostly, the boards around us were novices, so we pretty much had our pick of waves for the hour. A father with his two blonde sons, maybe 10 and 12, appropriately outfitted in their DaFins, swam out and joined us as, for a while, we carved out a bodysurfing zone.
90 minutes rolled by quickly, with lots of waves, though it slowed down ... and the competition for waves picked up, after the first hour. 10 more minutes and we exited, to head over to Lido for a good post-surf breakfast at Woody's Diner.