Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dialin' the Decade at Del Mar

The surf wasn't exceptional and the weather gradually deteriorated, but it's hard to think of a better way to see the digits on the age dial click over a decade than an extended weekend in Del Mar with Heather and our (adult) children!

Friday afternoon was bright and shining, with a small swell showing as we settled into the cozy inn above the old Del Mar train station. 

Saturday, the sun made a valiant effort to break through, then gave up for the remainder of the weekend.   By early Monday, we had rain and blown surf.  But Saturday AM showed decent conditions while Sunday stayed glassy through the morning, albeit in chilly (60 degree) water under a leaden sky.  

The surf was a presentable waist to shoulder high, sometimes a bit bigger, and the Del Mar Bodysurfing Club made a valiant showing, with up to a dozen surfers gradually filling in the lineup over the hour succeeding the posting of the 17th Street black ball at 9:00 each morning (Saturday & Sunday).  Along with Allan and Joe, on their surfboards, we got a jump on it Sunday morning, enjoying having 17th Street  to ourselves, just the three of us, before the blackball went up.

Surf in the morning, lazing in the afternoon, drinks at L'Auberge then Del Mar eateries at night; the newly-weds, Hilary & Doug out from New York to join Heather, Allan, Joe and me.  Not sure that there's any better way to usher in 60!
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Beaut in the Park ... the photos

Back to small-to-negligible surf in So Cal...so it's time to post the photos from last Saturday's memorable session in the Park.  Remember, click on any for full screen.

First, those from Hugh Berenger, shooting from shore:

The Pastor was here...

My take off on the beautifully formed wave that was my ride of the day.  Watching the take off, from left to right, are Steve Harkins, Paul Tordella, Mark Ghattas & Matt Hughes.
First of a series.

Late in the wave, trimming under lip.

Lifted high, inside the tube, by a surge of backwash.

Backwash opens it up to reveal me on my way back down!

...and down & out the back.

Matt on a feathering right.  

Sailfish (Ghattas) left.

Me, right.

Crawdaddy (Brent) was in the water with his video camera, from which he extracted a few stills. 
Me, take off on a set wave.
(Full screen, you can see that we got some size.)

While shooting, Crawdaddy had a too-close encounter with Paul Tordella's fin.  (Photo Hugh)

Paul shared some snaps of the crew in the lot from before the session:

Sailfish, bundled against the cool morning breeze.

Matt Hughes

Me.  The RR crossing and steps (behind me) were closed for construction work on the tracks.

Cut over the eye from Paul's fin.  Cut on the forehead from his tailgate.

Reprise: Hugh's compilation of the latter half of my ride of the day:
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Beaut in the Park

Four weeks off, and a beauty of a day to break the fast!  One photo by Hugh tells a lot:

I will post a second entry soon with more from Hugh and Paul.  Meanwhile, a quick recap of the morning yesterday.  On arrival shortly after 7:00 - yeah, and EARLY start for a promising day! - I found Paul Tordella, Mark Ghattas and Matt Hughes already suiting up.  The air was chill, with a soft offshore combing the waves and putting a little texture on the water, but there was swell, it was peaky and not at all crowded.

Despite the pier report of 65/66 degree water and the clear skies, we all elected full suits due to the chill.  Getting in, it seemed a good idea, but by mid-session, spring suits seemed to have been the call.

Brent Crawford showed up before we left the lot and quickly joined us in the water with his cam in tow.  Can't wait to see the video!  For over two hours, we had regular, shoulder to head high, peaky surf.  Mostly glassy through the morning, the longer-period south in the swell, combined with the offshore, kept it pitching with large, open barrels. 

Soon, Steve Harkins joined us, and Hugh showed up, shooting from ashore.  

The top photo was from my wave of the day - others said it was THE wave of the day.  I found myself lined up perfectly on the corner of a head-high left that had a beautiful, long, soft shoulder trailing a long way off.  The initial face drop gave me the speed to shoot out onto the shoulder for a long slide before the face steepened and pitched a thick lip over me.  The tube stayed wide open as I continued, fully covered up.  Then, the wave exploded as several feet of backwash jacked it - and me - up to double-size.  The photo catches me dropping back into the tube before rolling out the back on a ride to remember.

Breakfast afterward at Adele's - decorated for Halloween.  As we were departing, I noticed the guy who'd been looking over my shoulder through the meal: A Crawdaddy Mini-Me, matching the wounds that the original was sporting from a too-close encounter with his tailgate followed by an eyebrow clip from Paul's fin.

So, I am sitting an airport as I write this, anxious that I've not done the day justice at all.  Warm water, low crowds, a good pod of stoked bodysurfers controlling the main peak, glassy surface, a great swell and plenty of sun.  Hopefully, some of this will come through in the photos to follow in next post!  Now to board....
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