After an eight week hiatus, I finally got out for what was only my third session of the year, and we're already into Spring! Mostly, it's been wind, rain, tides and/or poorly timed swells. Last weekend, though, it was when a forecast of light rain, strong winds and a high tide contraindicated a moderately strong south swell...and then proved inaccurate. Too late, the morning beach cams last Saturday broadcast a scene of clean, head-high peelers.
This weekend, I was not to be denied. Forecasts were for a 2-3, maybe 3 -5, foot swell, low tide, clear skies and mild wind. Though on the small end of that spectrum, this time they were spot on; precisely what we found this morning at "the Park" (San Clemente State Beach).
A mix of northwest wind swell and southwest ground swell made it peaky - stronger, faster rights driven by the larger, northwest swell, mixed with steep and glassy, but slower, lefts from the the southwest swell. Somewhere, there had to be a north wind blowing, as upwelling had dropped the water temps to a very chilly mid-50's and there was a steady current from the north, continuously pushing us south.
A dozen or so sticks (surfers on surfboards) were clumped at the main peak to the south of the steps, but there was another peak, somewhat less consistent but completely empty, between the steps and main peak. Mark Ghattas and I swam out there. Sheathed in my heaviest (4:3) wetsuit, the chill wasn't too bad getting in, other than my unprotected hands, to which the water seemed downright icy.
In an hour-long session, I stayed right where I swam out, while Mark allowed the current to push him south to the closer edge of the main peak area, where he got his fill of fun, shoulder-high waves. The crowd (and traffic jam I witnessed in the photo above) notwithstanding, Mark said the vibe was good; one surfer even apologized to him for taking off on a wave that Mark was eyeing, even though the surfer had the better position. When it's locals, the Park's a great place!
Meanwhile, I worked the further north peak, enduing some long-ish lulls, but my patience rewarded by my pick of the set waves. Late in the session, as the tide filled in, the waves moved closer to shore. A series of really fun lefts - smooth, glassy faces that were steep, but nonetheless held open for a sustained ride - came in over the last 10-15 minutes, capping a gratifying END to this fast of waves.
A couple of fried eggs, atop "Monster Hashbrowns" at Adele's, was the perfect postscript.