Sunday, February 3, 2013

Back in the Park

Two months have passed since the last session in the Park, a hiatus interrupted only by the rare session at El Porto, in LA's South Bay, two weeks ago.  Sunday was supposed to mark the arrival of a significant northwest swell.  Anticipating a classic weekend winter morning session in the Park, the first of the 2012/13 winter, the call went out.

No one answered (other than inveterate Park companion, Mark "Sailfish" Ghattas).  Maybe it was the Superbowl, or the Lakers going for rare back-to-back road wins, but maybe they knew better.

As a late dawn gradually filled in sufficient light to view the online surf cams, they were disappointing.  Nothing over waist-high dribblers were in evidence.  Nonetheless, both Mark and I were determined to get wet in the Park.  Off to the Park, to find a warming sun penetrating through the early haze ... and very inconsistent surf. 

Sometimes head-high, mostly chest to chin high sets would sporadically arrive through the 100 minute session.  Nonetheless, under a hazy sun were clean, glassy lines...sometimes peaky, sometimes fast-closing lines.  The mid-50's water was chilly, but the rides were fun.

Conditions remained constant through the session as the swell gradually gained height.  Oddly, it appeared to be sponge day at the Park.  "Sponge" is the disrespectful term used for boogie boards.  There are some amazing body-board riders, but the vast majority are, rightfully, viewed as surfers on training wheels.  There are a couple of local regulars, who are good surfers, but today there were over a dozen sponges out, none of them the local regulars but most less than driving age.  Not sure what brought them, but they kept to the north of us.  Other than the sponges, a small collection of sticks (board surfers) came and went through our session.  

We started directly in front of the steps, where the right that occasionally appears there was coming through regularly.  Eventually, the sticks at the main peak drifted down to the rocks, the most consistent peak this morning, vacating the main peak area for Mark and I to enjoy working alone, for over an hour.

Meanwhile, to the south at Cotton's Point (above) a pack of what must exceed fifty sticks gathered, though we never saw anything impressive pass through.

As we approached the 1:45 mark, the chill of the water had numbed the majority of my toes and I'd already missed one solid right when both calves cramped simultaneously.  Though the swell showed signs of continuing to build, and the tide had turned to start coming back in, the point of satiation had been reached.

Hugh pulled into the lot in his RV as we were wrapping up to leave, having enjoyed the lazy luxury of a local.

I keep thinking back to that string of incredible sessions running through 2011 into 2012.  This didn't compare with those.  It was great, though, to get back in at the Park. 
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