Saturday, March 26, 2011

Park Delivers, Wish I'd Received More!

Anticipation was pretty high for a good session, with a solid swell coming in and conditions expected to clean up after the chain of storms that battered SoCal over the last week.  Hugh had reported 12, even 15, foot faces yesterday evening, and even the water temp had broken into the sixties.  But an early check of the surfcams showed some serious "morning sickness" - unsettled, choppy waters, causing pretty lumpy surf.  But there was swell, and an itch to get wet, so I hit the road for "the Park."  

As I parked & walked to the rail, a good sized set - a foot or two overhead - rolled in.  As the  two photos below show, it was still a lttle lumpy, but a mild offshore was smoothing the inside, and there were both size and corners.  Note the two sticks off to the left for scale. 

Suited up, Mark, Neil, Hugh & I entered right at the peak shown above, which was empty at that point, while sticks were rapidly filling at the Main Peak slightly South.  The water temp, listed at 58 at the pier felt several degrees colder, but there were some fairly hollow sets rolling in, with short lulls in between.  A solid rip current hung between the peaks, offering an "elevator" out to the break.
The first 20 minutes were great, with some fast, hollow lefts & rights on seven to nine foot faces.  Hugh, Mark and Neil drifted South with the current to compete for the peaks with the growing pod of sticks while I hung at the original peak, which was more closed out but empty.  

I noticed Brent Crawford, waving from the side of the train track on shore, video camera in hand.  Immediately, a long lull set in.  Brent whistled from shore, and a fairly closed-out, two wave set arrived outside.  Barely able to set up for the second, I took off late, failed to make the drop and pulled a classic over-the-falls for the video.  Oh, well.

Yet another lull...a bit of frustration, looking South to Main Peak where it seemed to be building consistency...but as I toyed with relocating, another whistle, and again I'm too far in.  This time, on the second wave, I at least get headed down the face before the bottom drops out and over the falls again!  I can't remember the last time I took two OTF in a single session, much less back to back!

Time to head south, where the others are now sharing shifting peaks between the rocks and "Main Peak" with about twenty sticks.  It's more crowded than we've seen in ages, outside of summer, but it's mainly the local crowd and vibe is good.  Still, it's tough for a bodysurfer to compete for waves with the more mobile board surfers.

For another twenty minutes, I never seemed to be able to be in the right place at the right time...if there wasn't a stick dropping in before me, I was too far in or too far out.  The peaks were shifting, but not for me!  Finally, I spotted a large bump outside, about four waves out.  Glancing around, it appeared that none of the surfers close to me had seen it.  Discretely, I started swimming for the outside.  Nobody else was moving, and I was nearing the take off zone when one board surfer saw the swell and paddled out - deeper than where I'd be able to take off.  Of course, he launched...but the sets were coming in pairs right?  Not this one.

Shortly, Crawdaddy took off, and, of course, in the final twenty minutes, I was able to score a series of smaller, but pretty sweet, rides.  Through the 100 minute session, lumpiness subsided and the lines cleaned up, and the wind didn't shift to onshore until the end.

It was a good session, for me, but better than that for the others.  Hugh & Mark were both really stoked as we walked back to the parking lot.  It leaves me with mixed feelings - it was a good, solid session, but, with the waves and conditions, it could have, should have, been great.  

The shot above, taken after the session, and after the wind moved onshore, still shows how the lines cleaned up not long into the session.

The wrap was a quick breakfast at Adele's, then back on the road home.  All in all, gotta be satisfied.
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1 comment:

Craig T said...

Can't trust the Surfline camera view. I must have watched for 25-30 minutes and it looked like no one out and 2-3' slow rollers. Wished I could've joined you, sounds great! And this stinkin' rain has messed up the water for tooo long. Next Time!!