Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve Day in the Park

It was a chilly morning, even with a relatively late start: 37 degrees in Pasadena.
But, it was a brilliant winter morning, with nary a cloud in the sky, from Pasadena to San Clemente.

Still a bit swamped by the tide, some swell was showing through nonetheless while the winter sun glittered on the smooth surface and a soft offshore combed the peaks.

Few were in the water, which was a bracing 57 degrees...just right to test out the new 4-3 wetsuit!

Neil was waiting in the lot, Shawn O'Gorman arrived right on my heels, Ian right behind him.  Mark and Craig T. showed up while we were suiting up.  In short order, we had a good pod of eight in the water (Mark Ghattas, Shawn & Ian O'Gorman, Craig & Sean Tomson, Neil Frank and myself), while Heather O'Gorman and Mandy Ghattas basked ashore in the sun.

There were plenty of waves to go around, as the sticks gradually filled in.  Wave of the day was a beautiful, long left slide by Mark, from lineup to shore, witnessed by all.

While the swell never quite filled in, with the receding tide, to the degree that we'd hoped, it was a great holiday session on a beautiful winter morning.

By the time we exited, approaching noon, the holiday traffic jam was on....

A great way to finish the year at the Park!  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shivering Sunday Session in the Park

Per force, this will be short on words tonight, but wanted to share a sampling of Hugh's great photography from this morning.  Click on the photos to see full size/higher resolution - it's worth it!

When I arrived this morning, at high tide, it wasn't just swamped but the size was well under what we'd hoped.  Shivering in the modest, off-shore breeze and low-50's air temperature, it was tough to be tempted to get in!
(HH, slotted)

After a half-hour's watch, without enough to tempt us out of warm clothes and into wetsuits and chilly waters, Mark Ghattas & I decided to give it some time and headed up to Adele's for a quick bite.  On return, it proved a good decision.

(Mark Ghattas)
It was still smallish - waist to chest high (but was to grow significantly larger later) - but clean and hollow.  The air didn't feel so cold, and Hugh was in the lot, waiting to suit up & shoot some water shots.  The sand wasn't as frigid as it often is, walking barefoot in the winter, but the water was definitely chilly getting in!  Soon, though, enjoying the Park, entirely to ourselves - nobody within a 1/2 mile - with gradually building, consistent, hollow peaks, we were warm enough for a two-hour session which finally ended due to exhaustion rather than cold.

Through the two hours, it gradually picked up, until, by 11:00, head high and even overhead waves were regularly appearing (finally attracting a few sticks).  Still, the wind stayed benign - offshore or some side-shore, holding the rights open.  

 If you like these shots, enjoy more at Hugh's smugmug site:


My two most memorable rides of the morning began early on with one of the hollow rights.  It lined up perfectly, and as I dropped in, Hugh was at the end of the line with his camera.  As I slid, directly toward the black " O " of the camera housing, the lip arched up and enclosed us - me on one end, camera on the other.  I so hoped the shots came out.  The top shot, above, and then this shot below were the gratifying result!
High-Res Flickr Version Here
The later, most memorable, was a moderate-sized left that I dropped into upon Hugh's urging.  As the feathering lip overtook me, I prepared for the expected close out, but, as I continued to slide, the light remained constant inside the tube.  A couple of seconds passed, and the light grew as the feathering lip receded and I pulled out into the open face of the wave - a complete coverup and out again - my holy grail of bodysurfing!  Hooting, I continued in until the fade out at shore.

Above, Mark and I debrief the morning in the lot at Calafia, a few short steps from the water.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reliving Last Saturday: Hugh's Photos

There's a dribble of surf this weekend, but it's gone chilly and windy.  Just thinking back to a great session last Saturday, I now can share some of the photos that Hugh took during the latter part of our session.
This one (above) was actually my last wave of the day.  This was one of the first shots of a 12-15 shot sequence.  A great way to finish!

Taking a high line to tuck into the curl.  This shows the glassy conditions.  Generally, it's only in winter that we get both sun and glass.

This is the first shot of another long sequence.

By this point, I am well past the kelp in the first photo, and looking forward to shack time... see below!
Thanks, Hugh!
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