Monday, December 3, 2012

Rain or Shine, It's Swell

So, the week was filled with rain, but the first serious winter swell was promised.  Through the day on Friday, I vacillated, tempted by the promise of overhead waves and surprisingly decent conditions - given the rain - but repelled by the thought of two days' continuous runoff contaminating local waters.  As the rain continued throughout the day on Friday, I finally decided to forgo Saturday morning and hope that the rain would back off and swell would linger through Sunday.

Finally, a break in the precipitation, of nearly 24 hours, came and projections were for smaller, but still significant, surf.  

Rising early Sunday, Pasadena was dreary under a heavy overcast with a bit of light drizzle.  Undaunted, I set out south and was pleased by thinner patches overhead, even an occasional glimpse of blue sky, over the course of my drive.

It was under a heavy gray sky that I arrived at the Park, but there it was - the crack and rumble of a decent swell - as I crossed to the rail to check it out.

Peaky, shoulder and head high sets were rolling through regularly - some a bit crumbly but others pitching around a hollow tube.  Surprisingly, only three surfers were out, enjoying the Main Peak.  Plenty out a half-mile south at Cottons, and as many north at T street; a gaggle at Riviera, in between, but nobody but these three from Riviera to Cottons.

Tempted by several sets, Mark and I suited up - water a reasonable 63, comfortable in a 3:2 full suit - and swam out at the Main Peak.  Two of the surfers had exited, and for the next 45 minutes, it was just the two of us and one "stick" working the plentiful and consistent peaks.  It wasn't epic - regularly shoulder high and sometimes head high - but plenty of hollow rights, some long right slides and an occasional left, with no competition, made for solid stoke.

A variable breeze from the north would ruffle the surface, then back off.  As the session progressed, the rising tide gradually fattened the swells and reduced consistency.  After something over a hour and a half, the consistency was being swamped, and it seemed right to call it a morning and head off to Adele's.  

A small group was celebrating the arrival of December with the holiday spirit, while the skies played out a drama of their own.

It wasn't as sloppy as this looks, but the evolving colors and lighting of the sky throughout the session punctuated a fun morning session.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best in a While Ain't Saying Much

What a difference a year can make!

Though in both years, I had a heavy, heavy travel schedule, limiting my weekend opportunities to get in the ocean, I had a fantastic run of surf in 2011, from September through December.  Not so much this year.

Just looking at last year, measuring sessions using the SwellWatch, 5-star rating approach, it was pretty remarkable - from September through early December, three were four-star ( least overhead & good) plus one five-star (all-time...8-10 foot faces, glassy and great shape).  In the same period this year, no five star and only one four-star - that, barely within the window on September 2nd.  Instead, there have been four sessions that barely rated three-star.

Prior to Thanksgiving, my last time out was a mid-week session in mid-October, in Del Mar.  A good session for Del Mar, but nothing really special.  The last session in the Park was nearly six weeks ago (!).  That was a marginal three-star - pretty swamped by high tide but nice conditions on a pretty fall day.

In between, it's been week after week of no (weekend) swell, high tide and/or bad conditions ... often all three!  There was one day in late October, where work had me in Orange County mid-week.  Tide and conditions were decent and a bit of swell was forecast.  I met Mark down at the Park and it was flat.  Just no point in going in. 

So, I was watching the Thanksgiving weekend forecasts.  A nice swell was due to fill in Wednesday night, peak on Thursday and linger into Friday.  A session Thursday wasn't going to be possible, but it looked like a 2-4 foot swell (chest to head high waves) would combine with mild off-shore or north winds and a tide falling from a pre-dawn high.  A beautiful, clear fall day - into the upper 70's at the beach and hotter inland - was predicted.  Into the weekend, the swell was due to fade and high tide move into the morning surf window, so Friday it was to be!

Prior to an early start out, the cloudless sky in Pasadena was promising, but the news was reporting dense fog along the coast.  Driving south, I passed through sections of tule fog and the lot was socked in as I pulled into the Park.  A chilly breeze was blowing from the north.  Trying to check out the surf, I could barely make out the waves, straight out from the rail, and couldn't tell what was going on up at the main peak.  As far as I could tell, no one was out.  It was tough to tell how good the surf was, except by sound.  Clearly, there were some waves, but no huge sets.

I vacillated about going out in the fog, alone.  Finally, it looked to be thinning slightly, and I decided to suit up and walk down to the main peak.  Actually, it felt good to put on the full suit as protection against that chilling breeze...what happened to the bright, sunny day into the upper 70's, I wondered!  

When I got to the main peak, 50 yards south of the rail, I made out two surfers in the water.  One looked to be Casey, a local who oftens bodysurfs with us.  There were some shoulder high waves coming in with ok form, so I finned up and swam out.  Though since I'd last been in, the water had dropped from the high 60's all the way down to mid-50's, it now had recovered to a cool 62 or so.  Nonetheless, I'd forgotten how cold those first few minutes can be, even in the low 60's.

The first half hour was really pretty good. 

The fog lingered, and it was just Casey, the other surfer and me, enjoying decent, but not great, shoulder to, sometimes, head-high waves.  Some had decent form.  Others were crumbling a bit or backing off as the tide was still a bit too high for the Park.

After a half hour, the sun broke through the fog.  Within ten minutes, a dozen surfers had joined us in the line up.  There really wasn't enough to go around, so I set up at a smaller peak, just north of the main peak.  After about 10 minutes, most of the pack of surfers had paddled up to join me, apparently drawn by having seen me catch quite a few waves, uncontested.  Not wanting to compete for the waves, I went south of the main peak, to catch the left that comes off the rocks.  Only Casey was there.  The fog had rolled back in, and we share the hope that the others would dwindle with the fog, but no luck.  

Needless to say, it didn't take long for the pack to spread back down to where Casey and I were sharing waves, so I headed further south to the "LG1" area.  There were a few surfers out down there, but spread out, so wave competition was no problem, but it really wasn't as good down there.  I spent maybe 45 minutes down there before heading back up, now with two hours in the water, figuring I'd just swim back up to the steps and catch a few along the way.

It turned out that the persistent fog had thinned the surfers a bit, and I was able to snag a number of decent rides as I worked through the rocks, main peak and the sand bar north of main peak...another half hour in the water.

Cramping and tired, I finally got out after nearly 2-1/2 hours.  But, walking up the shore, I felt unusually unsatisfied.  I guess I'd built up my expectations for the day.  It was a decent, "three-star," day.  But I only had a couple of exceptional rides.  Being chased, time and again, by sticks migrating to where they saw me enjoying a few waves alone, takes its toll, as do a few too many crumbling waves.

On the other hand, how great to get wet again!  There's nothing like a few hours in the ocean, even on an average day.  You take what you can get; they can't all be like fall of 2011.

(No pictures due to dense fog.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Skinnin' It in Del Mar in Mid-October

All of Southern California had sweated through a sweltering week, despite the fact that the season was Fall and the calendar said mid-October.  But Thursday, the skies clouded over and San Diego County daily high temperature dropped 25 degrees overnight.  Water temperatures had been hovering in the high 60's, but Thursday morning, the Del Mar Lifeguard Surf Report was that they'd dropped to the low 60's overnight.  A healthy, mid-week swell, that had thrived in near windless conditions, was dropping and forecasts were for a cross/onshore breeze to kick in.

Nonetheless, we were overnighting in Del Mar, 1/2 block from the 17th Street Lifeguard Headquarters, also headquarters to the Del Mar Body Surfing Club - an inveterate group that celebrates the 365-day blackball covering the two blocks around the LG Headquarters.  A visit to the blackballed beach - where fiberglass, stand up and/or skegged boards are prohibited - was mandatory, even if the water had cooled, the skies clouded over, the swell faded and the breeze waxed.

As Friday morning arrived, my enthusiasm was tepid, restrained by the considerations just mentioned, plus grogginess induced by the free flow of wines at a decennial birthday celebration the preceding evening.  Surprisingly, though, the skies were clear, no wind was to be seen, and an interlude in the cool water promised to chase the cobwebs.  The air outside was already warm and humid, leading me to vacillate between trunking it and the spring shortie wetsuit.  Finally, figuring it may be the last chance to skin it in 2012, and with the fallback that, should the water prove too chilly, I could always backtrack to the hotel to slip on the suit, I donned trunks, grabbed the fins and walked down to the beach.

On the way, I queried a surfer, changing out of his full wetsuit at his car, on the water temperature.  "Real warm," he said, "you're fine without the wetsuit."  Bolstered, I headed onto the beach and slipped on my fins as I watched a couple of bodysurfers slipping into very clean, well shaped, chest-high peaks.  To the North and South, scores of sticks were working some of the most consistent surf I'd seen at Del Mar.  Often very crumbly, this day the wave lips were pitching to form tight, little tubes.

The water was chilly as I entered without any insulation, but refreshing as well.  For the next hour, I enjoyed regular sets chest and shoulder high, with nice fast slides and plenty of tubes to tuck into.  Once, a slight breeze came up for about five minutes, but it was more offshore than anything and the rest of the first hour was all glassy.  The sun continued to rise, illuminating the tube rides, as a fog bank lingered off shore. 

The two heads in the water proved to be Jody Hubbard, matron of the DM Bodysurfing Club, and another member, Delores.  From their comments, I took it that it was the best conditions they'd enjoyed at DM in quite some time...though, in their full suits, they couldn't understand why I wasn't rather chilled after an hour out.  In fact, it was probably at least 67 degrees and quite comfortable.

I put in another half hour, as the water warmed but the conditions began to deteriorate.  Lips stopped pitching as the DM crumble returned and a modest breeze textured the water.  The off shore fog bank crept in as high clouds, filtering the sunlight and flattening the light on the water.  The tide filled in and the swell flattened a bit.

Satiated, I returned to the hotel with a head much cleared to enjoin the coming day.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Summery Sunday Smallies

High tide and a modest swell don't work well together at the Park.  The forecast was 2-3', with a high tide over 6 feet at 8:40.  

I arrived shortly after the tide peaked, to find a warm, summery morning, with the sun shining and winds calm.  The swell was small, and swamped by the tide, but looked ride-able, as least as the tide dropped.  No one was out, from T-Street a mile north to Cottons Point a mile south.  But the water temp registered 68 at the pier and waves like that below showed promise.

So, it was indeed swamped by the high tide, by and large, most of the waves breaking on sand, or nearly.  But every five minutes or so a set would come in that was breaking in water, pitching to form crystalline tunnels fitted to a bodysurfer.  

After a while, Mark (Ghattas) and I moved from the main peak, south beyond the rocks to work the LG1 area, where it was a  bit more consistent.  Throughout a 2 hour session, we were scoring hollow little tubes while enjoying the warm water, clear and sunny skies, smooth surface and the fact we had the Park entirely to ourselves while the shore gradually filled in with those seeking a last bit of summer.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hoedown in the Park: How Many is Too Many?

Stoke is great, and it has to be shared.  But how many is too many?

Broadening the corps of real bodysurfers and the respect garnered for what we consider the purest form of surfing is a quest, along with pinning the Park as a base for a respected pod of this, most esoteric, expression of human interface with waves.  But at what price, and what "qualifies"?

Saturday was the second "Handplane Hoedown in the Park."  Depending on your viewpoint, the 'alternative' segment of surf is comprised of some portion of the spectrum from "pure" bodysurfing, to hand planes, paipos, surf mats and knee boards.  

I crossed the tracks approached the viewpoint rail at the steps with some trepidation.  A call had gone out on FaceBook for the hoedown, with over 1,000 individuals "invited" and over 250 "attending."  What kind of zoo was going to be in the water? 

Looking South, there were 30 heads in the water, clumped between the Main Peak and rock area, and another 20 scattered toward LG 1 past the rocks.  One half of the mind says, "Wow! Look at the turnout!" while the other screams, "how the hell are you going to find a decent wave?"

In fact, as I watched a nice, chest-high set roll in, at least 15 people dropped in on the first wave, hooting and hollering.  

 Looking closer though, at the Peak, two riders were getting unmolested rides.  More significantly, there was not a single "stick" - surfboard - evident, anywhere!  Clearly, the "hand plane" crew had chased them.

As I walked down the beach, analyzing the waist to shoulder high waves that were fighting through the high tide, sporadically, the good spots were pretty much as usual: the Main Peak was best, seconded by some nice corners peeling off the rocks further south, and some reasonable consistency further down at LG1. 

I could see Mark Ghattas on the South side of the Main Peak, with the scores of handplaners beyond him, but there was only a couple of kids working the Peak.  I swam out there, and was rewarded quickly with a couple of fun peaks. 

For the next 2-1/2 hours, I worked that area, while about 100 "hand planers" were in and out of the water to the South.  Some would spread North, into the Main Peak area, all pretty loose and stoked.  I seemed to be grabbing all the best waves, so I really had no problem, as I gathered plenty of respect for each of my rides.  Shortly, Craig Thomson joined Mark and me, along with his son and a friend.  The surf was very inconsistent, troubled by the high tide, but my patience was rewarded with a good wave ever 10 minutes or so.  I was definitely having fun.

 Cool water (64 - "shortie" time), warm air (80's), glassy surface, just enough swell to break through the high tide ... and 100 bodysurfers/hand planers to the South of me.  I did meet a few that I had a loose connection with through Facebook, but couldn't help myself from fearing how many were likely to be back.

For most sessions, we have between two and six bodysurfers out at the Park.  Better days, maybe ten, and with a call for an expression session, twelve to fifteen.  That makes for a great pod.  We know each other, respect each others' waves (for the most part), maybe take over a section for some stick-free surfing.  Share the stoke.

I didn't understand, but was glad of, the invaders' tendency to clump together, all take off on the same wave, and leave the best of the pickings to me.  It was amazing to spend over a couple of hours in the water at the Park without a single stick around.  

If this gets the Park some respect in the bodysurfing community or gets bodysurfers at the Park some local respect, that's great!  I am happy to share "my" spot with some that will appreciate it.  But what if, instead, more and more of these guys make it a habit to come ride what has essentially been a "secret spot," enjoyed by small, close-nit group...a group that, as I said, respects each other and the essence of the wave...which, in itself, is a solo experience?  What if this group, not a single one of them local or regular at the Park, creates a backlash in the stick community, with which we - the regulars, the locals, at the Park - have forged a good, shared vibe? I wrap this, Joe just arrived for Sunday dinner, and commented that there's a ton of social media "press" on the hoedown, beyond the bodysurfing/hand boarding community.  A good thing for alternative surfing?  Yes!  A threat to the sanctuary of the Park?  Yes, as well.  

I'm glad it wasn't a classic day at the Park, but glad the hoedown was fun and enjoyed by all.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 3, 2012

Classic Park Session to close out Summer

Privately, I was holding hope for an epic session on Sunday, the second full day of one of the best swells of summer.  Saturday, by reports, had been big and strong but disorganized and troubled by onshore winds.  Late in the week, a growing group of bodysurfers targeted Sunday for an expression session in the Park.  It fell short of epic, but was a memorable day, nonetheless, with 14 bodysurfers in the lineup at various times.

On arrival, it was sunny and mulitple peaks were showing virtually from the steps all the way down past LG1.  The heads of several bodysurfers bobbed, amongst a line of surfers that ran unbroken from the steps through LG1.  A dozen surfers are visible in the shot above, which also shows the great form on an overhead wave.  Much fun was promised!

Jeff (JPL) Lashbrook, was just leaving as I arrived, having joined other early birds, Brent (Crawdaddy) Crawford, Russell (Riptide) Riopelle and local surfer Casey.  Riptide is pictured on a long left slide, on an inside wave, below.

A great, two-hour session followed.  The water had cooled to 66, but it still felt good - refreshing - trunking it with the sun, warm air and negligible winds.  Consistently, there were good corners for long rides.  Early on, the pack of board surfers waxed & waned as the surf broke consistently outside, ranging from shoulder to head and overhead heights. 

Most of the faces were softly sloped, and the break was relatively slow, allowing long, easy rides.  A couple of bodysurfers swim out, above, as a stick-rider enjoys the slowly peeling lip and glassy conditions.

With a lot of sticks and a solid pod of bodysurfers out, there were a few run ins. There were a few unfortunate kooks, (see below - this guy nearly took out Hugh after earlier dropping in on Akerman), and some back-paddling wave hogs.

Not all bad, though. There were a number of good surfers out who were respecting those of us without flotation devices. On one long right, a board was starting to drop in on me, but I called out, as I slid across the wave, "hey, hey, yo yo yo!" Though he was well into the wave and I was rapidly approaching his board, he pulled out when he heard me. Rick Ciaccio saw the whole thing and commented as I emerged on how much he had enjoyed watching me call off the surfer.

As you can see from the sequence below, not all were as respectful, as the guy on the left robs the other surfer of a great wave.

A great pod filled in, during the morning; fourteen, overall.  Russell was out for his first time in over a year.  It had been awhile since Rick (#9) Ciaccio had joined us in the Park, and Dave (DaArm) Amenta made one of his two or three annual visits.  In addition to the early birds - JPL, Crawdaddy, Casey & Riptide - the O'Gormans (Shawn, Ian & Cheyne) hoofed it down from Lost Winds while Eric Ackerman cycled down from Strands.  Regulars Neil (Real Deal) Frank, Mark (Sailfish) Ghattas also rode while perennial denizen Hugh Berenger shot it all.  It is always so amazing to ride with a stoke-filled group like these guys.

Unfortunately, about 45 minutes into the session, the rising tide started to approach its peak and swamped it out a bit.  The sets formerly breaking outside moved inside, compressing the lineup and making waves harder to come by.  They were still fun, though: DaArm got there long after it shifted inside and still was stoked about "the call" for the day, and #9 also missed the earlier action but still appeared to be happy to be wet.

Nonetheless, it remained glassy late into the morning, as the shots taken after I'd gotten out (all of those after the shot of Russell) show.  In fact, after the tide peaked, the swell started to move out again, offering gems like the one above.

There were still glassy, empty nuggets (above), but plenty of fiberglass, and still a few heads, in the lineup (below).

Saifish stayed in for a few extra rides after my still-weak ankle finally demaned that I exit.  Below, he makes his final slide toward shore.

I know that Hugh has a bunch of shots of the crew. I am not sure if these links will work, but he's posted some on Facebook here:  Sept2 Bodysurfing Session.  In this nice one of me, you can really feel the soft slope of the face and slow peel:   HHH .

And don't miss Crawdaddy's Video <- click here !!

A memorable session to close out summer and segue into fall on a three day weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mid-Week Lull in Newport

Gradually working back into it as the swelling reduces in the ankle jammed on Sunday.

Wednesday, 4:00 pm - 6th Street
First outing was just playing around for half an hour in messy shorebreak at 6th Street Wednesday afternoon.  The water has warmed up to an incredible mid-seventies while the weather has deteriorated to what has been the norm for Newport: cool, overcast mornings followed by clear afternoons plagued by onshore winds.

[The only photos I have are from this Wednesday "session".]

 Warm, clear water
 "Wave of the Day"

Thursday, 3:00 pm - 18th Street

Yesterday (Thursday), Joe & I biked down to 18th Street about 3:00, riding West (remember, the peninsula beach faces due South) into a stiff wind.  The waves were much weaker but there were shoulder high sets and the cross-wind created some sections that could be ridden.  Surprisingly, the current had reversed and was pushing from East to West.
Sticks were pretty well spread from 19th to 17th.   At first, we were tangling with some fairly aggro urchins who were launching into anything that they could, irrespective of anyone else.  One wave, I set up perfectly on the corner and started to drop in.  Five feet left of me, a 13-year-old started paddling for it and noticed I was taking off.  Rather than backing off, or even dropping in on me, he shot his board straight out, directly into my path (but narrowly missing me).

Trying to stay entertained in Wednesday's junk

I moved South/East and near 17th St. encountered Sully's son & daughter, and rode with them for a while.  After they exited, Billy Viergever and his son Chad entered.  As Bill and Chad walked East past the 18th St. LG stand, the black ball went up; a bit of a surprise for so late in the afternoon.  Joe exited to move down to 10th where he could still surf.

Between the Sullivans' departure and the  Viergevers' arrival came a memorable moment:  As I was swimming out to a set wave, I saw a dark form shooting across inside the swell.  The water was a bit murky from the cross wind, and I couldn't tell whether it was a dophin or sea lion.  As the wave started to crest and I swam into the middle of it, I kept my eyes open under the water.  Two dolpin shot past - one at most two feet below me and the other directly above me in the crest of the wave - riding the swell across, above and below me, as I swam outward.

As I exited, I stopped to chat with the 18th Street guard.  The topic turned to blackball, and he acknowledged that it was kind of unusual to put it up so late.  He said the commander had driven by and instructed him to do so, since a kid on a board had dropped in on a bodysurfer.  Since I was the only bodysurfer around at the time, it appears that the the punk move narrated above met with justice - paid for, however, by all the surfers out at the time.  Somehow, I suspect the kid remains clueless.

Friday, 9:30 am - 18th Street

Hoping for better conditions, Joe & I biked back down to 18th in a light drizzle from the heavy overcast overhead.  The swell was a bit smaller than yesterday, but cleaner, with a much gentler breeze from the West.  Boards were scattered from 19th to 17th, and a learn-to-surf class was wallowing halfway between 18th & 17th, protected by a lifeguard in a car ashore.  The water remains the warmest its been in years, in the mid-70's.

There were a few lulls, but shoulder high sets, evidencing little of the juice that consistently marked last weekend but with nice little left and right corners, rolled in with regularity.  Not long after we entered, Sully appeared on the shore, doffed his beach hat, and waded out to join us.  For most of an hour, Joe, Sully and I had the West half of the stretch from 17th to 18th to ourselves to enjoy the fun, but unchallenging surf.

After a pleasant, 90-minute session, I swung the bike West a half block along the boardwalk and stopped for a chat with Bill and Chad, as various Viergevers came in and out to enjoy their morning coffee overlooking Newport Point.

It was still drizzling slightly as I rode back to the house and iced down the ankle.

Soakin' it up after Wednesday's swim

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Newport Recap - Log and Photos

Not much new here, but I felt like it would be worthwhile to weave together a timeline and photos, focused on the sessions from Thursday, August 16 through Sunday, August 19.  Photos start on Saturday.

Session 1: 5:00 pm, Thursday - 6th Street

Solo session at 6th Street.  Sultry, hot afternoon.  Trunked it in 68 degree water. Powerful, shoulder-high forerunners of the approaching south swell, with little west runners splitting off for some sustained rides.   Smooth surface.  Half-hour freshen up session on arrival.

Session 2: 11:00 am, Friday - 15th Street

Neil Frank joined me about a half-hour into a 100-minute session.  Warm & cloudless day; trunked it again in 67 degree water.  South swell filling in with occasional monster sets - a few feet overhead, heavy, closed-out grinders.  The more consistent, shoulder-to-head high sets, though still thick, heavy & hollow, held open for decent face time and often had ride-able shoulders.  The only session of the weekend to be red-flagged by the lifeguards.  Some rips running through, but not too much of a current to fight.

Session 3: 3:00 pm, Friday - 6th Street

My sons, Allan & Joe arrived, along with Kevin Schwimer, and were anxious for a taste so we walked "straight across" and jumped in for an all-bodysurfing session.  Much like Thursday, but now with more consistent head-high height, and water warming perhaps to 70.  Still thick, hollow and heavy but with sections there to be ridden.  Surprisingly smooth surface for mid-afternoon. 

Session 4: 8:30 am, Saturday - 17/18th Street

Another sultry morning on the bay:

This time, the boys were all out on boards: Allan & Joe, Kevin & Jeffrey Schwimer, Bennett Givens and Sam Abeger.  Big surf in evidence as we checked it out.

To begin, it was amazingly empty south of 18th, and not many out even at 19th.  I hung along the south end, but we had 17th - 18th almost totally to ourselves, as we frolicked in head high & overhead waves.  Plenty of peaks and shoulders amongst the close-outs.

The water was a little chillier - 64 or 65 to start - so I was in the spring shorty for the only time out of the seven sessions.  There was a slight offshore, feathering the lip, but still a basically smooth surface.  The steady current out of the South and a series of rips sweeping along the shore made the 90 minute session very tiring, as I never stopped swimming.  

Perhaps my best ride of the swell came in this session on a set wave left.  Kevin was at the peak, but I was sitting perfectly (for bodysurfing) on the corner.  Kevin smiled and lauched me with a quiet "go!"  After a steep, tight drop in to the bottom, I arched back, caught traction and climbed back up the face and trimmed as the overarching lip gradually caught and overtook me...the Newport Pier a narrowing circle down the line. 

Session 5: 4:00 pm Saturday - 6th Street

A full crew out for bodysurfing & bodyboarding fun "straight across" the peninsula: Stan Schwimer (in water & with camera) along with his sons Jeffrey & Kevin, Allan, Joe, Bennett, Sam, Dan Herr.  Water warm enough to trunk again without chill over 90 minutes and, amazingly, insignificant afternoon wind once again.



The waves were shoulder to head high, still packing plenty of punch, a fun mix of closeouts and shoulders.  In recent years, 6th Street has been basically unsurfable, but here it is, a third straight afternoon...

Session 6: 9:00 am Sunday -  17th/18th/19th Street

The boys paddle out for perhaps the best session of the set.  Glassy surface; regular head and overhead sets; peaks and shoulders...and plenty of tubes!

Allan, Joe, Kevin, Jeffrey, Sam and and Mike Gross all were out on boards.  I was the lone bodsurfer - back to trunking it in 67 degree water - as Stan Schwimer shot 1,500 frames ashore.  
Kevin Schwimer

Once again, the strong south current and wandering rips made it an exhausting session.  I took a short break after 90 minutes, then went back in at 16th Street and drifted all the way to 19th as I caught three last waves.
Joseph Haldeman, backside lefts

Allan Haldeman, backside right

While it was fairly empty when we started, it did not take long for word to get out that the Point was firing, and 19th to 17th filled in quickly.  Between 19th and 18th it was very peaky...and very crowded.  Just below 18th, though, some great tube rides were being nailed by some of the better locals.

I got a few, too

A couple of hours later, an exhausted group watched from ashore for a while, amongst the growing, weekend beach crowd, driven to the ocean side by sweltering inland heat, clear skies and warm water.  Newport the way that I remember it.

Session 7: 4:00 pm Sunday - 6th Street

Though the swell, now, was definitely fading, the remarkable run at 6th Street continued.  The water continues to warm up under cloudless skies and mild winds.  Down from the head-high, plus, of the last couple of days, the swell was still heavy but generally shoulder high, sometimes head high.  But still the surprising, smooth, afternoon surface and slight corners to dig into.  

Once again, Allan, Joe, Kevin, Jeffrey, Sam and Dan were out, a mixture of bodysurfing and bodyboarding as Joe and Jeffrey sought to perfect a sponge-based game of chicken.  Early in the 90 minute session, I jammed my ankle on a smaller closeout on the sand, but it didn't really tighten up until the evening ... good timing for a few days off!

And so the (reflected) sun set on an exceptional, four-day run of hot days, continuous sun, calm winds, warm water and powerful swell in Newport.
Posted by Picasa