Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Surprise

Early cams, most everywhere, looked small and lumpy.  Water temps had dropped overnight and a lazy holiday was beckoning.  But the cams at T Street looked clean and glassy, so instead of heading back to bed, South I went.  

Great call!!!

Yeah, it was frigid getting in.  But it was sunny and glassy, the Peak was working and GREAT, hollow, head high rights, driven by the NW swell were peeling across the length of San Clemente from T Street past LG1.  

I'll let the few shots I took before suiting up speak (as always, click on photo for full size):

Main Peak
Some great tubes!

Plenty of size

Hugh was taking water shots

And the clump of sticks up at Riviera were having fun

So, Sailfish and I quickly suited and swam out.  The glass lasted the first 90 minutes and the following hour just had a little texture.  Great tubes that seemed to open up after entry and hold their hollow size.  Sets with a lot power, and fast, fast rides.  

The water gradually warmed from 57 to low 60's.  The sun remained.  We connected with Hugh, North of Main Peak and just stayed there, fighting the current, as there was a great peak working and those sweeping rights.  Craig T and his son, Seth, swam up from Main Peak, where it was more crowded and not as mellow a vibe.

We pretty much had the section that you see Hugh shooting above, and pictured in the first photo below, to ourselves, with a friendly stick or two and an occasional sponge working through.  Tons of rides, lots of swimming.  A great day in the Park!

It was still working well after we got out, as shown below.  Hugh was in his van, downloading the shots from his camera to his laptop...some great water shots, that will follow in time.  #9 Rick Ciaccio showed up, sorry to have missed the early action but it looked like there was plenty left for him.

Sticks still playing in the section we deserted

And lefts still coming off Main Peak.

A real transition day from spring to summer.  The swell was a spring swell, from the Northwest, and the water temp chilly.  But the morning glass, warm sunny day and crowded beach had a real feel of summer.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

SCSP: Home, Sweet Home

Great to get back to the Park yesterday!  It may be 72 miles from Pasadena, but each time I pull off the I-5 and into the lot, it seems like home.

Forecasts were mixed: swell for sure and decent tides, but a threat of an eddy offshore or, worse, signficant onshore winds with accompanying upwelling (read frigid water) put expectations on hold.  But the early morning cams showed glassy conditions and the water temperature at the pier was hanging in at 65.

Arriving at about 8:00, it seemed calm in the lot, but as soon as I crossed the tracks a steady breeze from the South hit me in the face.  It was chilly and overcast.  The surface was a bit choppy, but the underlying swell was still there, as a nice peak rolled in at Main Peak:

A little mushy, but decent size and still clean enough.  To the North, at Riviera, the sticks were crowded as some consistent peaks, with long rights, were in evidence:

Good enough!  I spotted a couple of heads in the lineup (bodysurfers) at the Main Peak and went back to suit up...having hoped to get by with the spring shortie, I reluctantly pulled out the full suit to fend the wind and cool air.  The water was comfortable getting in, but it was the right call.

Eric Ackerman and "the Lawyer" MacPherson were in the water, immediately letting me know that I was late: at 7:00, it was glassy, clean and peaky...tons of fun.  But it was good enough that they hung in for another hour, as Sailfish and Craig Thomson joined us shortly.  For 2-3/4 hours, we fought the current pushing South, first riding the Main Peak then trolling the line from the Rocks to LG 1.  Sailfish kept snagging his signature corners that took him from outside to shore.

Near the end of the session, we worked the inside at "Kings Corner," an inside, bowling section just South of Life Guard Stand #1, so named for erstwhile local, Eric Yeisley, "King of the Smallies" at SCSP.  Kings Corner was working; plenty of fun.

Late in the session, I caught a long right that took me well inside with a couple of re-forms, leaving me well South of LG1.  Sailfish joined me and we walked back North to Main Peak for a final 20 minutes as Craig took off.  Wind and current had chased most of the sticks from the Peak, so we were able to cap the session for a few more fun ones before staggering  back to the lot to rinse and dress.  

Having battled a steady current for nearly three hours, after a month off, legs & shoulders had quite had their fill...great to be back!