Sunday, May 26, 2013

Old Timers Day at the Park ?

Fears that two consecutive weekends of good surf was too much to ask evaporated with first view today, as crossing the tracks offered an enticing glimpse of the Main Peak at the Park doin' exactly what keeps us coming back.

Under a hazy sun, the texture on the water evidenced a side-shore breeze that apparently kept the crowds away but left the peaky swell unruffled.  Kahuna (Chuck Herpick, left) and Crawdaddy (Brent Crawford) were all smiles, just returning from checking it out at the rail/steps.

There was little competition for the waves at the Main Peak, and guys skinnin' it in the early morning promised warm water.

Further south, beyond the Rock area (which was exposed by the low tide in the foreground), it was firing at LG1, as well, with little of the holiday weekend crowd we would have expected.  However, there were plenty out at Cottons, which can be seen in the background in full screen view (click on the photo).

Meanwhile though, peaky sets kept rolling through at the Main Peak with only a few sticks in evidence.  Hard to hang around shooting pictures while waves like this (below) are going unridden!

Through an ensuing 2-1/2 hour session in 69 degree water, we shared the area from the Rocks to the northside Main Peak with no more than four or five sticks.  Especially for the first hour, pretty consistent sets running head high, and sometimes over, were coming in.  There were some walls, but plenty of peaks and some fun tubes.  The shot below shows the way that the Park can "bowl" when the swell and tide are right.

Early on, I had maybe my best - definitely one of my two best - rides of the year so far.  A head-high right that came on like a wall but - despite the predominantly south swell today - at about a 30 degree angle to the shore.  Like a slow freight train, the wall just peeled from outside to shore as I slipped along the face. 

Mark (Sailfish) Ghattas joined us about a half hour in, with his handboard.  Meanwhile, peaks like the one above (yes, that's a leg sticking out) went unridden.  A couple of other handboarders eventually joined us, and set up with Mark to the north while I hung out, outside the Rocks, waiting for one of the overhead lefts that occasionally rolled through.

Kahuna put in a good hour.  Don't want to tell any tales, but the guy, well, he's well past double-nickles, and Route 66 is also in the rear view mirror.  If you follow that progression to the next number, you'll get the idea.  Yeah, that's right - check the photo above - that's what a lifetime of bodysurfing can do for you!  And he still rips, for sure.

Crawdaddy put in 90 good minutes, focusing on his fetish for lefts.  Having faced death by heart attack on the beach during a bodysurfing competition five years ago, Crawdaddy is enjoying his second life.

I pushin' 60 and Crawdaddy is well into that decade...guess the three of us made it old timers day in the Park!

These two guys are an inspiration ... and it was great to ride with them again!
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Preview in the Park ... I hope!

Water hit 70 degrees at the Park yesterday, and forecasts for today were for a new, long period south swell to join a small northwest wind swell.  Wind forecasts were questionable, but the Park gets good with that mix.  Add a little sunshine for an ideal day.

As shown in the shot above, it was almost glassy and definitely peaky on our arrival, but under a dull gray sky.  Five surfers were camped on the Main Peak.  An equal number were scattered through the LG 1 area, but not many out for a day like this.

As I was finning up on the beach, Shawn O'Gorman came up the beach with Heather and their dog, prepared to "skin it" for the first time this year.  With water at 67 and a cool morning, I'd gone for the spring shortie, but even that's a luxury after full wetsuits since October!  It felt a little cool getting in, but was very comfortable through the ensuing, two-hour session.  

For the first hour-plus, our bodysurfing pod of Shawn, Craig Thomson, Mark Ghattas and I had the main peak area virtually to ourselves.  With shoulder and head-high, peaky waves, warm water, near glassy surface and sun starting to peak through, we wondered where everyone was!

Eventually, the sun broke through for good, lighting up a summery day.  Kids played in shallows, lifeguard stands were opened, and cones set for their jeep.  Inevitably, the lineup filled in, though today a little oddly: having enjoyed the main peak for bodysurfing while a few surfers worked further south, we were surprised when a group of about a dozen surfers, all together, arrived and paddled out precisely where we were set up.   Really?  Not like there wasn't a lot to work elsewhere!

By the time we exited, Riviera (above) had filled in pretty well, too.  Mark and I went south of the rocks to the area between the rocks and LG1 and worked that for about 45 minutes, getting some of the best rides of the day.  Inevitably, a pod eventually broke off the concentration at Main Peak and invaded the peaks we'd brought to their attention.

While the northwest was peaky, the south starting to fill in had a greater tendency to close out.  That, though, made a good opportunity for some tube time ... and some tube photography (above).

The bowling wrap that the Main Peak can get in this swell mix is evident above.

As seen above, the sun brought with it a little texture-generating onshore breeze, but the size held up while getting a little crumbly.

But there were still good ones coming in ... and, as so often, many left unridden.

Only the third reasonably good session of the year so far, I hope this is a promise of what summer '13 holds, after a sub-standard fall and winter!
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