Saturday, April 7, 2012

Half and Half

I last surfed four weeks ago. 

It was ok, but far from great.  Then, the next two weekends, swell and conditions were poor. 

Last weekend, the biggest swell of Spring arrived with some stellar days, especially Monday.  Just check out Hugh's Smug Mug Album how the Park can look when it's really firing!  Unfortunately, I was looking at the Gulf of Mexico from Southwest Florida.

What a difference a few days can make.  The swell backed off through the week with meager projections for today.  But I'm gone again next weekend, no wind was forecast and a warm, sunny day was in the offing.  After a bit of debate, I persuaded Mark to join me and committed to the drive.

On arrival, it looked ok - waist, even chest, high peaks and a smooth surface.  A passel of sticks were out at the Peak, a good sign.  But look a little closer, at the shot below.  The peak above turns very fat on either side - after the middle breaks, the sides just slide to shore without breaking.  Fun, perhaps, for a longboard or standup, but not much for bodysurfing.
Undeterred, we suited up to swim out.  Casey, a local friend of Hugh, who has been out bodysurfing with increasing frequency, came up the stairs from the beach, insufficiently inspired to go out.  Understandable, when just a few day ago, he was enjoying, fast, perfectly-formed, "DOH" (double-overhead) waves right here. 

When I first swam out, hands aching in the 56 degree water but the rest of me warmed by my 4-3, I immediately caught a wave.  Kind of.  As soon as I dropped in, it turned fat (see above), and most of the ride was a lot of kicking on my part.  Oh, well, there will be others...right?

Yes, but not for 25 minutes!  25 minutes as swells came in, not quite big enough to break over the sand bar, but enticingly close.  It's frustrating to look at what should be a nice, three to three and a half foot face that humps up and then just flattens out without breaking.  25 minutes can be a long time in 56 degree water, even if it it sunny and windless. 

Then, even though the tide was still rising, the swell started catching the bars and we had waves - small, but decent, some quite fun - for an hour.  Lefts and rights, even a tube or two.  Hugh came by on his SUP (stand up paddle) and started catching them with us.  Another of the local bodysurfers, also on SUP, paddled up and caught a few.  Yes, their surf mode of choice still was far more appropriate than ours, but we all were having some fun.

After an hour, I told Mark I was going in after one more wave.  I waited for the wave, and waited, and waited.  And waited.  Really.  After an hour where we were getting waves every 2 - 3 minutes.  But the code says you finish with a wave.  So I moved in.  Further in.  And yet further in.  Nothing. 

During our hour of waves, the pod of sticks gradually dissipated, leaving the Peak to just the four of us, while a gaggle of Easter visitors to the campgrounds above LG 1 floundered on their boards to the South of us.  During our lull, incomprehensibly, six or seven new sticks paddled out to wait it out with us. 

After 25 minutes, I was at the shore.  25 minutes without a wave. Again.  The morning was a tale of two halves.  The first and last 25 minutes each with literally, absolutely, nothing to ride.  No stars on a scale of four.  The middle hour, fun and playful surf...a weak 3 stars. 

But, again, it was a morning in the water, on a beautiful Spring day.  Beats about anything else.
Posted by Picasa

No comments: