Saturday, June 8, 2013

South Swell Sweeps the Park

Kee-rack! Barrrrummmble …(12 seconds)…  Kee-rack!  BarrRUMmmble….  What a beautiful sound to hear as I turned off the car and opened my door in the Calafia lot at 7:30.

I didn't read it until I got home, hours later, but the Surfline "dawn patrol" had it spot on:

4-7 ft. - shoulder high to 2 ft. overhead occ. 8 ft.  This morning's dawn patrol: A little on the inconsistent side, but there are some solid overhead SSW sets pushing in. Looking a bit walled (especially on the bigger waves) with scattered pick-n-choose corners/sections. Clean surface conditions, incoming tide.


As I joined Hugh at the rail, a trio of sticks were struggling to maintain position in the Main Peak area against the strong current running South to North, and one of Bret Belyea's crew was just entering in the distance to join a pair of bodysurfers that appeared to have the "LG1" area south of the rocks to themselves.  The current was strong, and the deep groundswell waves were clearly packing a punch.  Maybe the same size as El Porto had been in January, but much more powerful.


Truth be told, I was hesitant to surf today.  I'd be up since 3:00 and wondered if I was up to the swell.  But I'd told Bret that I'd meet him and there he was, with a couple of buddies.  Gotta swim out.


It was about twenty minutes before I caught my first wave.  Not wanting to be caught inside, I was hanging outside but where ever I was, when a set appeared, it was pretty walled up.  I didn't really want to start my session getting trashed in a 9-foot face closeout. 
Eventually, though, the third wave of a 7-foot set offered a small right corner and the morning was started.  Patience was important this morning, but paid off handsomely.

The corners were there, both lefts and rights, with some long, fast rides.

Bret was there with two of his buddies from San Diego, taking the best that the Park had to offer.  Hugh was dominating, as usual.  For an hour, we worked the LG 1 area, all to ourselves.  While you really had to pick your waves, I came to the conclusion that it's much better to have your choice of waves on day where you need to be picky than it is to have to compete with a pack of surfers, even when there's much more to chose from.

Occasionally, a board would float through, paddling up against the current or sliding along with it.  The was one guy on a board, accompanied by two other bodysurfers, between us and the rocks...plenty of room.

I finally tired of fighting the current and allowed the current to carry me into, and beyond the Main Peak, catching three good waves along the way.  The last was a steep, long right - a duplicate of the last photo above, that dumped me way inside and well north of the peak.  Satisfied and tired, I joined Hugh ashore.  Bret's friends had already exited and Bret was following me. 

Then, Mark Ghattas appears!  Just the motivation I needed to get in for a few more waves.  Mark, Hugh & I walked back south of LG1 again, and swam out.  The filling tide was offering those corners more often now, and a few waves turned into another full hour.  In the water, Mark & I debated whether this was a "high" 4 or a "low" 5 on the WetSand 5-star scale.  By this time, I had had four or five waves that equalled the best of any session I've had in 2013, and certainly the size was the best of the year.  Maybe not quite the equal, for consistency, with other days that I've logged as 5 star.  But the vibe in the water was great - that's what happens when the swell chases off those that don't belong out - and a number of memorable waves.

It was great to see Bret and his buddies, and a leisurely breakfast at Adele's with Mark and Hugh pushed it over the line...first 5 star day of 2013.

Oh, and the title today?  It's a dual reference to the strong current and the fact that the deep groundswell kept the lineup thin and clear of kooks.

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Crawdaddy said...

Nice one! I'll bet Eric is mad he missed this one.

Hank H H said...

Today would have been perfect for EY_\....

Eric the Green said...

We were up the sand at State and it was perfect. Glad you scored.