Sunday, May 16, 2010

Park Perfection (Saturday)

Today was San Clemente State Park approaching its best: a four to five foot swell from the South on a rising tide and a glossy slick surface. Head high and plus sets peeled up the beach, gathering energy from the tidal push, pitching a fat lip over deep, hollow tubes.

Though it was overcast and the water has cooled a bit, today was all about the waves. A quick glimpse from the steps sent me quickly back to the car to suit up…no lingering with the camera or Flip today.

Walking up the beach with Crawdaddy and Kahuna, we saw Paul Tordella catch a couple of long, fast left slides despite the gaggle of sticks, and debated swimming out at the main peak. But further South, beyond the rocks at Life Guard Stand 1 (LG1), it looked just as good and was empty. It proved a great choice, as we had the place to ourselves for over two hours, only interrupted when a couple dozen aspiring Junior Lifeguards made their qualifying swim out and around the buoy.

Sailfish and Real Deal joined us shortly and we traded waves while fighting a steady current pushing us North into a quartet of surfers accompanied by a guy shooting them in the water. The first hour was fairly steady - lots of lefts, but the swell was catching sand bars to peak up with some fun, fast, hollow rights as well. The latter part of the session grew more inconsistent but the sets,when they came, were even larger.

First wave out, Saifish (Mark Ghattas) snags a long, gaping right and comments as he's swimming back out that he's already got his wave of the day. (That held up until late in the session, but there were plenty more to be had.)

Good vibe in the water today - lefts, and the steady push North, would bring us into the area being ridden by the four sticks, and they were as psyched as we were. One dropped in on Mark then apologized when he realized Mark hadn't been telling him to go, but, rather, trying to call him off. Another dumped his board, donned fins and swam out to join us.

Tiring after a couple of hours, but still stoked by the swell, it was only Sailfish and me in the water. Mark rode a couple more and got out, but I decided to drift through the rock reef into the main peak and up to the steps instead of walking back.

Great choice - I caught at least six more waves over that 20 minute stretch. A good right to the South and then a perfect set wave left to the North as I crossed over the reef from the rocks. Only one surfer hanging South enough to catch the lefts off the rocks.

Then, as I came across the "main peak," another set showed. While all the board surfers were digging to get back South and outside, I had the first wave of the set all to myself. Three waves later, I finally snagged a final lift inside to the shore.

The coda was a well-earned breakfast at Adele's with Mark, Neil and Mark's girlfriend, Mandy (and a few minutes playing with their Boxer puppy, Penny). Could barely slide out of the booth afterwards, as the legs tightened up after over 2-1/2 hours fighting the current.

Postscript: Great to have Crawdaddy (Brent Crawford) back in the water! He's been out since October, when his doc punctured the membrane into his brain cavity while doing sinus surgery. Stuck on the sand, shooting video and imagining for over 6 months, today he was able to get back in the water. Great day for it!

PPS - Mandy was shooting pix from the shore with her new camera…will incorporate a few as soon as I can!

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