Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Summer's Still Sizzlin' at SCSP

Ever put time into polishing something up to publish then somehow deleting it?  Yeah, we all have.  That was my story Sunday after writing up my blog entry.  And that's my excuse today for late posting and abbreviated entry.  The original was good...

Inland air temperatures hitting triple digit.  Water temperature over 70 degrees.  Long period, deep south swell sweeping through So Cal.  July?  August?  Nope!  October.  Really.  One departure from what otherwise was a perfect masquerade of a summer day at the Park was that it was completely devoid of the usual concentration of surfers at the Main Peak.  On arrival, absolutely no one was out.

It wasn't until I got home and was looking at the photo above full screen that I realized the stark contrast at Cotton's Point in the background.  Here's a zoom in on the same shot:

Perhaps more obvious if you click on it for a full rez version, but each one of those little dots is a surfer.  I guess chased by the fact that the Park generally struggles with a high tide (over 5' at 7:45), the pack went south.  Nonetheless, there were shoulder-, chin-, and even some head-high sets rolling in, thick with the long interval and often hollow, 

and not right on shore: 

Some were combed by a mild off-shore breeze, but for the most part, it was smooth and glassy.

By the time I got in, there were two surfers out, down by the Rocks, and I had the Main Peak to myself.  Mark Ghattas eventually joined me, and for two hours a stick or two would come or go, but throughout, any wave was there for the taking.  Some hollow, sometimes a bit mushy.  Lefts came in looking like closeouts, but would open up on drop in.  Mellow vibe in the water as all enjoyed the clean conditions, warm water and total lack of crowding.

I slipped the GoPro on before swimming out but didn't feel like sacrificing wave time for shooting.  At one point, I regretted that, we watched one of the longest rides I've seen at the park.  Taking off 50 yards south of the Rocks, the surfer dropped in on a nearly head-high left, then set a high fast line as he traversed all the way to the Rocks, over them, then continued on another 50 yards to the north side of Main Peak before the final inside close out on the sand.  

I did take a few, though.  Enjoy!

SCSP 10-05-14 from Hank Haldeman on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sizeable Swell to Celebrate the Stentor of Stoke

The large swell that's been traveling up from New Zealand over the last week arrived on time late Friday to greet this year's sojourn by the Stentor of Stoke, Eric Yeisley, back to his hunting grounds in the State Park.

Before moving to Colorado, EY_\ was the glue binding the Golden Triangle - SCSP's looseknit bodsurfing association - together.  

Golden Triangle founders Hugh Berenger & Eric Yeisley semaphore the ohana's /_\ logo
 Now, on his once-a-year visits, the tribe gathers, this year finding a solid swell to celebrate the visit.  
Solid swell draws scores of sticks to the Main Peak
While the Main Peak was densely populated by board surfers, the area at the bottom of the path down from the Park in front of LG1 and King's Korner to the south were given over to the band of the body.  When I arrived there were already 13 heads out in the water, mixing up long left shoulder slides on the inside waves with tubular action on the sets waves.  Solid, 4' - 8' surf, carrying a lot of power in the long-interval swell.  Though smaller than the hurricane waves of preceding weeks, the much longer period created more power per foot of swell...the quest of the bodysurfer.

Crawdaddy got some fun footage of the pod

In the water, joining the itinerant EY_\, were original GT/_\ core members Hugh "Huge" Berenger, Chuck "Kahuna" Herpick, Brent "Crawdaddy" Crawford and Derrik "MuDsHaRk" Sciarra.  GT regular Mark "Sailfish" Ghattas (duck model above) joined long-timers Steven "Hawk" Harkins and Eric (nickname omitted) Ackerman.  Bret "da threat" Belyea made it up from SD county for his occasional visit, with a buddy in tow, while SC denizen and frequent Park-er Shawn O'Gorman drew several friends of the SC Waveriders into the water.  There were a few I didn't know, and apologies to those I've overlooked!

While the sticks fought it out further north,

the extended GT ohana enjoyed our stretch over a couple of hours.

Photo - Heather O'Gorman

Ashore, the stoke of the stentor shouted out, "We've been Pastor-ized!"

Crawdaddy, Sailfish, EA, EY_\, MuDsHaRk - Photo Kahuna

MuDsHaRk, Kahuna, Crawdadday, "Pastor" Hank - Photo Sailfish

Friday, August 29, 2014

...Meanwhile, Back at the Park...

After a couple of days sidelined by Marie to spectator status, it was great to get back in the water at SCSP today.  Nothing epic, not even picaresque, but actually an excellent session.  

Paul Tordella and I met at the Calafia lot, to find shoulder - sometimes head - high, glassy, peaky surf on a nearly deserted break.  

The water was cooler - maybe 67 at first - but I still trunked it comfortably for over 1.5 hours.  The early photos don't show it, but it was sunny throughout, yet the glossy surface remained undisturbed.  

Paul and I found the stretch between the Main Peak and the Rocks empty, and worked long lefts and occasional tubes alone for most the session until a couple of sticks decided to paddle out exactly where we were and endeavor to take every wave ... whether they could make it or not.  Not nearly enough, though, to spoil a sweet session.  Dozens of waves, sliding along glossy, shoulder-high ramps, deep into the inside.  

Just the day for a guy about this size:

Not writing a lot today ... off to see if the peninsula has morphed into somewhere amenable to an evening surf.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Postscript: Marie

Let's be clear.  The waves today did not match those of yesterday, nor, unfortunately, do the pictures.  I hesitate to offer more, as they don't really compare, but there was still a lot of Wedge energy, and some great rides by incredible surfers.  So, with that in mind, I offer a modest postscript to yesterday's photoessay.

Today, I arrive just as the blackball went up.  It was a pleasure to meet a star of yesterday's photos - including both the first two in yesterday's blog, my favorites of the day - Teddy Banderuk, to meet Chris Colima and greet Starkey. 

Mel Thoman had already entered the water, and I failed to capture his early ride.

But, I did catch a few moments, as 10 - 18 foot surfed pulsed through: