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!


Crawdaddy said...

Nice Blog Hank. As always, cant stop reading and dreaming of the morning.

Hank H H said...

Thanks, Crawdaddy! It was an excellent morning...worth revisiting in memory for a while. Hoping for more like it this fall! Sorry we didn't get a chance to visit.