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.
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