Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Visit to Del Mar

Through the week, as I enjoyed spectacular sunsets and summer-like weather in Torrey Pines, I monitored the forecasts for a nice, 4-6 foot WNW swell with good (16 sec.) interval due on Saturday.  Good friends, that I'd not ridden with in many months, Bret Belyea and Chris Lafferty, agreed to meet after 8:00 at 17th Street in Del Mar, and Mark Ghattas decided to drive down for his first time at Del Mar.

I got to the lot behind Poseidon and the Life Guard headquarters early and checked it out.  Some nice lines gave promise of decent surf as the swell filled in and tide dropped from the 5:30 high.

Chris Lafferty pulled in, followed shortly by Bret and a friend of Bret's, we suited up as Mark arrived and headed onto the sand.  Del Mar is usually black balled - no surfboards - at 17th Street from 9:00 on, but the Guard saw us heading out and immediately announced on the PA: "Surfers in the water, black ball is going up and only swimmers are permitted; please paddle one block North or South."
Before the blackball went up
As we swam out, the black ball went up and the Guard again instructed surfers to move away a block.  It was a glorious, sunny, winter morning (see below) with a mild breeze combing the peaks, but surprisingly chilly water.  Posted temperature was 59 but our consensus, as we swam out with ice cream headaches and stiffened fingers, was that it was closer to 56 or 57.

Unfortunately, the swell didn't really fill in much and not much improved with the dropping tide.  It was a bit on the anemic side, but occasionally a fun one would sweep through and there were playful corners on the inside.  Over the next two hours, we'd be teased by what seemed to be a rising swell, but then another lull would follow.  The regular Del Mar crowd filtered in between 9:00 and 9:30, and we ended up with ten heads or more in the water.  Gotta love that black ball!

It's long, too long, since I've been out with Bret and Chris, and it was great to catch up and share some waves, while introducing Mark to the scene in Del Mar.  Mid-session, a pod of about seven dolphin swam up right outside the lineup, trailing the wake of a stand up paddler.  We swam out a few strokes and found ourselves amidst the pod as they trolled by.

Great to get wet in Del Mar with friends!
Posted by Picasa

No comments: