Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sparkley Winter Morning in the Park

(Though the pictures were shot after session, they give a good feel for the morning.)

The Park doesn't do well on a high tide ... and a plus 7 feet, due at 9:00, is about as high as it comes.  Swell forecasts from earlier in the week, for a 3-4 foot swell, were being revised, downward.  Setting aside fears that an hour's drive would be met by unbreaking lumps surging up the beach, drawn by expectations of a warming day and projections for an offshore breeze, Mark Ghattas & I decided to get there by 7:00.  Later last night, son Joe called to say he'd crash at our house and join us.

So, in the chilly predawn of 5:30, I shook Joe awake and we threw the gear in the car.  It was frigid in the lot as we got out but we were greeted by Neil Frank & Mark Ghattas, in concurrence that it was looking surprisingly good.  Not wanting to waste time with the rising tide, a quick peek across the tracks toward the Main Peak showed something like this - clean, peaky and much bigger than the 2+ feet that was supposed to be there:
The 20-strong pack up at Riveria was a good sign as well.

It was frigid, suiting up in the shade of the lot, and the sand was cold enough to make bare feet ache.  But the water temp is holding at or over 60, and the sun had found a dip in the cliffs to illuminate inviting A-frame peaks in the Main Peak area.  The water was cool, wading in, but it felt good to duck the first wave - after more than a month out of the water - and swim out into glossy surface, sparkling in the sun. 

As soon as I got out, a thick, head-high right swept in from the northwest.  Ghattas had position on me, but he'd already caught a couple and I needed to get started.  A nice drop, fast trim across the face, and then a fully illuminated blue-green tube.  One ride alone was worth the trip down!

For the next hour, consistent head-high peaks were rolling in, with everybody getting plenty.  Long slides across glossy surface were interspersed with many more vistas of glowing tubes.  A couple of sticks mixed in, but generally lurked above or below the main peak, leaving center stage mostly to the five of us (Mark, Neil, Joe, Craig T & me).  A couple of guys were in the water with water-housing cameras.  One, Henry, got what should be pretty good shots of several of us.  I gave Henry contact information and hope to hear from him, with some water shots from the morning that I can share here. 

As the tide started approaching peak, and the waves moved closer ashore, the sticks pretty much vacated and we had what were still decent pickings all to ourselves.  There was a ten minute lull as the tide peaked, but then, shortly after 9:00, the waves picked up again.  After a bit, three spongers paddled up from the campground area - LG 1, but there was still plenty.  Hugh showed up, ashore with camera, and started shooting in what should be pretty good light...look forward to seeing those, as well!

Tiring after 2-1/2 hours, but still getting decent rides, the pod started to migrate ashore.  Though a slight onshore started to rise, the water seemed to have warmed, and the surf continued its recovery from the high tide, so I was more of a mind to continue.  About that point, I spotted something outside in plenty of time to line up for a perfectly formed, large right.  A nice, steep drop and trim lead to a long right, of varying speed, all the way to shore.  One of the best of the morning...and the right wave to wrap.

As was only appropriate, encore was breakfast at Adele's, with the eponymous owner in perfect form.

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