Sunday, August 1, 2010

August Begins

At first peek, 8:30 this morning, a steady, head high swell was showing at 16th Street, thick and hollow under a thinning gray sky.

Hastening back to the car, I vacillated between the full suit or just the spring "shorty."  The Newport Lifeguard report for the morning was "61.4 degree" water temperature, but it seems to be warming.  Right  at the decision point, the sun popped out, warm and bright.  The springer I decide, and slip it on.

Head back to the beach, where the sticks are filling in from 17th north to the Point (19th).  But 16th  (actually all of 17th to 15th) is the province of a lone, white-haired bodysurfer.

Mark Ghattas (Sailfish) has arrived and is at water's edge getting ready to enter.  Neil Frank, the septuagenarian wonder, joins us eventually.  Definitely chilly getting it, exertion kept us warm as, for the next two hours, we have the stretch from 15th to 17th to ourselves, sharing for a while with the white haired guy.   The cooling interludes between waves feel good. 

Through the first hour, the height held up and it became less closed out, allowing some long lefts and a few decent rights on 5 and 6 foot faces.  Wide barrels held open for sparkling tunnel views, and even the more closed out, rogue set waves, while thick and hollow, allowed for some decent face time on early take offs.  

We swam south against the current to the 15th LG stand, drifted back to the 17th Street stand then worked south again.  Near the end of the session, a fairly heavy rip developed right in front of the 17th Street guard, while others slipped up the coast, pulling sand-brown plumes out well beyond the break.  
With the sun came texture on the water, not the slick gloss of yesterday, but I'd readily trade the glassy surface for a couple of extra feet, albeit rippled.  

After a quick change, Mark, Neil and I met at the Stuft Surfer, on the boardwalk at 15th for breakfast eaten on a picnic bench on the sand as the parade passed along the boardwalk, brought out by the first sunny morning in a while: bicyclists, joggers, groups of walkers, surfers skateboarding with sticks underarm and skaters pushing big-wheeled strollers.

It's August.
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