Monday, August 20, 2012

Classic Newport Weekend

Four incomparable days to start vacation, certainly one of (if not the) best four day surf sequences in my experience.  Sultry, sunny days, a large south swell and lazy, if any, wind.  Seven great sessions spread over four days.

It started out Thursday afternoon, on arrival.  Immediately, I walked over to the 6th Street beach which has not broken decently in years.  Trunked it in high 60's water as early forerunners of the south swell presented heavy, shoulder-high sets.  There was little west swell, creating runners that offered some non-close-out rides.  A 90 minute solo session left me salivating for the days to come.

Early Friday, Neil Frank texted he was headed down to catch the early arrival of long interval south aimed at Newport.  We missed connections ashore at 18th Street but eventually met in the water for a late morning session.  Yellow flag when we swam out, they shifted to red flag about 15 minutes before a monster set rolled in, almost catching the lifeguard boat unsuspecting.  A lot of very heavy water was moving through, but just inside the largest sets - which were all closeouts - there were some great shoulders for the patient...which became the pattern for the next few days.  Still warm enough to trunk it for a couple of hours.

By late afternoon Friday, the beginnings of the collection of the extended Haldeman and Schwimer clans had commenced, and I hit 6th Street again, this time with sons Allan & Joe and Kevin Schwimer.  A little smaller than 18th in the morning, there was even more to ride in the heavy, long interval, head-high waves.

All  night Friday, I kept waking up to the sound of pounding surf...2-1/2 blocks away.  Anticipation was high for the Saturday session...theoretical peak of this heavy South swell.   Below, the boys check it out at 8:00 - mid-rising-tide - at the 17th Street LG stand.  Head high & overhead sets, looked fairly closed out from shore.  Paul Tordella had checked it earlier and moved on to the Park.  

The description gets repetitive: very powerful surf, with plenty of closeouts, but lots to ride, head high and overhead as well.  Much more ride-able than it looked from shore.  Just all fun.  I was out with my sons, Allan & Joe, the Schwimer boys and Sam Aberger, all on boards, all totally stoked.  

Once again, in the afternoon,  6th Street presented surprisingly fun (and large, and powerful) surf.  The extended group was all out, whooping it up!

Sunday, the swell was supposed to be fading.  It may have been the best of the three mornings.  Maybe just the combination of swell size and tide were right, but some great rides were had, for Stan Schwimer to capture ashore.  More of yours truely will follow in a following post, but here's a taste:

Stan did a great job of capturing the day, with lots of barrel runs and a few monster sets, one of which has caught Joe inside:

As were both Friday and Saturday, Sunday was surprisingly uncrowded when we swam out about 9:00, but word got out and the Point, from 19th to 17th, filled in pretty quickly.  There were some amazing rides - the shot below captures a bit of the size and tubular action we were playing with.

It's tough to do it all justice.  Seven great sessions from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon.  The last, back at 6th for another fiberglass-free session (as all have been there), finally evidenced fade in the swell, but still plenty to ride.  I fear an ankle twist from a shallow feet-first landing in shorebreak may keep me out for a couple of days...but I have no complaints.  Four days have been the Newport of memories...sun-drenched, sultry days; heart-pumping, heavy mackers up and down the peninsula; cool, but trunk-able, clear glassy water; friends and stoke.  

I may be 1/3 of the way through vacation, but I'm 100% satisfied.

[Second post with a few more shots from the Sunday session to follow]
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