Sunday, April 28, 2013

Little is Better than Nothing at All!

It was one of those days/weekends when, as it approaches, you wonder whether it's even worth the drive.  Depending on where you look, the forecast was for knee to waist or perhaps waist to shoulder high waves.  What swell there was didn't project to have a lot of energy and, though it had been warm, heavy fog or overcast was the coastal forecast.  

On the other side, the last two weekends were even smaller.  This at least looked surf-able.  So I determined to hit the Park late-ish (9:00) to allow a -1 foot, negative low tide, a little time to fill in.

The surprise of the morning on arrival was how many people were in the water.  Maybe eight sticks hanging out at the Main Peak area, with another dozen spread out to the south through the "LG 1" area below the campground atop the cliffs.  Straight out, four teens hung out on sponges.  The Calafia parking lot was as crowded as on a pumping swell or sunny summer morning.  

Under deeply overcast, gray skies, Sailfish and I watched a decent set come in - over waist high, certainly.  Note the bodysurfer, swimming out, on the left side of the photo above.  Looking north, the normally jammed Riviera break was empty.  Was this one of those days where it's pretty meager everywhere but the Park does it's thing as the most consistent of breaks?  I headed back to the lot to suit up, thinking of EY_\'s refrain ... the Park DELIVERS!

Maybe the gloom exaggerates it, but the water was supposed to be 64 yet felt a lot more like  60/61 getting in.  Over a two hour session, marred by long lulls, some fun waves, like those pictured and even a few larger, did show.  

During a long, early lull, I was questioning whether to rate day over 2 stars on the SwellWatch, 5-star scale.  Later, though, sitting alone on at the center of the Main Peak area, I snagged the corner of a shoulder-high right for a 40-yard slide to deep inside.  A solid 3-star day.

There was one bodysurfer in the water when we arrive (first photo).  My best guess was that it was Casey, as I caught him launching on what would prove to be a small, but very long, left slide above. We swam out well north of the Main Peak and he exited before we drifted south into the area.  As he walked back north to the steps, blue/yellow Churchills in hand, it did appear to be Casey.

So, the day was far from epic.  The sun never appeared and even the waist-to-shoulder-high swell was very inconsistent.  But it was marked with spurts of swell energy that made it fully rewarding.  A solid break to the "fast" of the last two weekends.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Weekend Split ... with photos from Hugh! (fixed)

This weekend was a Tale of Two Breaks ... I won't dwell on the first, Del Mar on Friday morning, and will largely allow Hugh's photos to speak for the second, SCSP this (Sunday) morning. 

Having spent a couple of nights in Del Mar, a few minutes on foot from the 17th St. LG headquarters, with a building swell, I thought an early session would be fun.  While there was swell - shoulder high and sometimes head high - it was pretty crumbly overall.  I wore the 3/2 suit, and was chilled during a 90 minute session characterized by long lulls.  Directly in front of the guard station, I had the peak there to myself, with nobody within a block, either direction.

More interesting to talk about was this morning's session at the Park, as evidenced below!

(Remember to click on photo for full resolution.)  As is shown, the Park was serving up some good size hollowness, ranging shoulder to head high, with a few plusses.  

Mark (Sailfish) Ghattas was out with his handplane, getting his share of the steep ones, between some very long slides on the peaky waves created by the multiple swells.

About mid-session, we were joined by a younger, local guy by the name of Jesse, also with handplane.  I thought Jesse might have been a holdover from yesterday's "Handplane Hoedown," but he's a UCSD student from San Clemente who was out on his board yesterday at Black's.  It's all too rare, but so welcome, to encounter younger surfers that still practice the fading art of bodysurfing.

A pod of dophin were cruising outside, through the morning, as we enjoyed the smooth, glassy tubes.  Late in the session, a few moved inside, and a couple joined us surfing.  Hugh caught this guy in a backside, airborne entry.  I am barely offscreen to the right on this.

The ride commenced above, which I watched close-up in the water as Hugh shot from shore, continued with a slide under the glossy surface, punctuated several times' breaking the surface. 

The immediately following wave was nearly identical, and I did my best to emulate the master that preceded me (below).

Sailfish had to leave after an hour.  I completed a 90 minute session - lots of waves between a few long lulls.  We stayed throughout the session at the secondary peak just north of the Main Peak, directly out from the slide area.  Not a single incursion from the gaggle of sticks camped out on the Main Peak nor the pod of sponges that were directly in front of the steps when we first swam out.

Just Mark, and me, and Jesse and the friend from Washington that he was introducing to bodysurfing, and some very fun waves.
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