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.
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