Sunday, September 1, 2013

Surf in August ... at last!

With the last day of August finally came some surf!  And, much better than expected, at that.

A pretty steep SSW swell, forecast at 2-3 feet, pointed to the North/West end of Newport rather than points further south.  Desperate for any surf, expectations were for a small swell but heavily packed lineup as the whole of Southern California sought to break the August surf fast of the past four weeks.  We - Paul Tordella, Mark Ghattas and I - decided to meet up at 59th Street - the very end of the Newport Jetties - in the hope the crowd would be a little lighter there without sacrificing much swell.

We were surprised to see a peaky, head-high set and glassy conditions as we crossed the broad expanse of sand in Newport.  Less surprising was all the fiberglass in the water - but it was moderately spread out.  We swam out right between 58th & 59th, where it appeared a little thinner: there was the expected, dense clump at 54th, the last jetty, and then concentrations further north.

 The swim out in warm-ish, 65 degree water, was easy, and, nearly immediately, a clean, shoulder-high set came in, hollow and pitching with a bit of that Newport punch. 

Joe on a glassy shoulder high right

Despite the number of sticks in the water, the vibe was good...everybody was just happy to see surf and there was plenty to go around.  As I held position at 58th Street, with a mild current running north, the spot would go through periods of intense concentration - maybe a dozen surfers clumped in - to periods where there'd only be one or two within the block.

I had lots of fun rides, long ones on slowly peeling lines and faster ones in pitching tubes.  So good to be the in water again!

Joe joined us, along with Sam Abeger, who brought his new GoPro out and got some good shots.  Video to follow soon.

Two memorable rides of the day:  First, a 50-ish guy, shortboarding off the end of the 56th Street jetty, dropped in on a peeling, head-high left and worked the wave all the way to the inside - past 60th street...a four-block-long ride.  The bodysurfing wave of the day, hopefully caught by Sam, was another peeling left that Paul caught right at the peak, for a long, fast slide to the deep inside.

With Labor Day weekend sealing off the disappointing summer season, we can only hope this was a harbinger of the the fall season!

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