A week on vacation at the beach, on the waterfront at 17th Street on the Newport peninsula. Warm days and evenings, clear skies, beautiful water and the warmest water temperatures in memory. Ending Friday, it was a fantastic vacation, but offered little grist for a blog focused on surf. Until Thursday, the surf rarely exceeded waist-high wind swells barely able to propel anything other than a longboard. Thursday afternoon and Friday morning offered a tad more, some fun, stomach-high waves, but still pretty anemic.
The only answer was to return to the peninsula Saturday morning, when a long-interval ground swell from the south was expected to mix in with the western wind swell we'd frolicked in on Thursday and Friday. Meeting up with Derrik "MuDsHaRk" Sciarra and Mark "Sailfish" Ghattas in the 15th Street lot about 7:45, we were quickly assured that'd we'd not be disappointed.
On a hot, sultry morning, the glassy smooth surface glittered as well defined lines offered thick, dredging head-high, and sometimes bigger, breakers. No wind to mess it up; little current to fight; and the west swell to help break the otherwise closed out south swell lines into peaks and corners. Fast, steep rights in pitching tubes interspersed with longer lefts, peeling slowly enough to ride into the deep inside but still with enough speed and power to thrill.
Oh, but what about the crowd on a five-star morning? None. Nope. A scattering of sticks and spongers were spread out from 16th Street down to 19th, but the swell was hitting everywhere equally from Schoolyards at 13th Street to 19th. Through a 2-1/2 hour session, occasionally, two or three might drift through but there was not a wave that one of us had to give up. We worked between the corner of Schoolyards at 13th to in front of the guard stand at 15th essentially without interference or competition.
This is what a summer Newport swell is supposed to be.