Saturday, June 25, 2011

Early Fireworks

Things were lined up well for a great session, but this morning far outstripped expectations.  Near perfection in the Park.  Even as I first walked out, a solid set, well overhead, was rolling in, green and glassy in the morning overcast.
Hugh was out in the water, giving different meaning to the phrase, shooting barrels (leftmost in the photo for full size):
As I watched, there were slabs...
...and barrels...
...but the peaks were why I didn't wait long before heading back to suit up!

Russell Riopelle was there, for his first session since last year, and Mark Ghattas pulled in as we were pulling on the wetsuits.  66 degrees...shorty time, for sure!

Steve Harkins, whom we haven't seen in a couple of years, was at the rail and Rick Ciaccio pulled in, in a few minutes as well.  Including Hugh, already a pod of six, and Eric Ackerman joined us shortly after we got in the water. 
What a great session it was!  We swam out at LG1, which appeared as big & consistent as Main Peak, but far less crowded.  For the next 2-1/2 hours we had it by & large to ourselves, with minimal fiberglass to deal with.

First wave set the tone for me.  An outside set, a beefy 8 foot face, looked fairly walled up, but I wanted to get started, so took off anyway.  Surprisingly, the left face held up for a fairly long ride before the inevitable close out.
Today, the Park was offering all its gifts.  Though there were some distinct lulls, there was a steady diet of freight train lefts interrupted by interludes when the West swell would combine with the SSW for some nice corners offering long, fast slides to the inside.  The only hassle was a tough swim out.

Peaks...corners...bowls...tubes...long slides...a good pod...warm overcast that burned off...plenty of stoke.  What could be better?

Above, Hugh at work (lower left) early this morning.

After a couple of hours fighting a stiff current and some tough swim-outs in sets up to 9 or better foot faces, we reconvened in the lot, to tell story...
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Warm Water & Good Vibe...and some shots from May 30

Very fun day in the Park today, magnified by the great vibe in the water.

The swell was actually backing off from earlier in the week, but still consistently shoulder-high-plus. Entering the water, it was overcast but on the verge of burning off, the surface was glassy and I was already up, heading into 66 degree water in the spring "shortie;" it's so liberating to be free of the full suit!

Hugh B Water Shot from May 30
(as always, double-click for full size)

LG1 looked pretty good, but the main peak was working well, from the rocks to the south through the canyon outlet to the north, with maybe ten or so sticks spread out, so I swam out there.

Initially, I was working a peak on the north side, where the canyon lets out.  My second or third wave was a nice, five or six foot face.  I was right at the peak for a clean right, but the stick about ten feet south of me started paddling.  "Oh, well, here we go," I thought, as I stroked for the wave while keeping an eye on him.  Right about commitment time, I was about to pull back rather than come in under him, he pulled back and left the wave to me.  At the end of the wave, as I popped out the back, I waved thanks to him.  He responded, "I wish I'd had a camera, man...just a perfectly framed take off/drop in view; would have been great!"

HH Innatoob - Hugh B shot
The vibe continued through the morning as a pack of mostly locals drifted with the current and paddled back, working the multiple peaks of the Main Peak area.  For the first 45 minutes, I was the lone body-surfer, but was given my share and all was cool.  Mark Ghattas arrived with Newport/Wedge regular, Rendell Swart - first time for Rendell at the Park.

Late in the session, I noticed a surfer on shore, stretching before entering the water.  Dark, and with a Hollywood shadow, he wore a "designer" white & black full suit and had a sharp-looking short board.  Entering, he paddled out right where I had been enjoying the left coming off the rocks pretty  much to myself.  Hot shot with an attitude, for sure, I thought. 

First wave came, I had position, and he let me go without any effort to take the wave.  Next wave, he took, several sharp cutbacks, a long left and a nice floater to close.  Good surfer.  A lull arrived, and he comments to me, with a strong Portuguese accent, "I need to get my fins; I no longer have them here.  In Brazil I would bodysurf three times a week."  We spent the next 45 minutes trading waves and chatting.

Twice I expected the worst; twice I got the best.  In between, a lot of water chat and great rides.

Another Hugh B, with Cottons in the background

I've not written about the past two weekends - got out at the Park both of them, as well.  Fun, but still cold; even wintery last weekend.

No photos from the last few sessions, but I've elected to include Hugh's water shots from three weeks ago.  What a fun day THAT was!  Thanks, Hugh!!!!
Posted by Picasa