Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beautiful Winter Morning in the Park, in Words and Photos

[As always, click on the photos for full screen, high resolution.]

A week ago, the forecast was for overhead surf, maybe even to 10 feet, today.  By the time Saturday evening arrived, the forecast had been significantly downgraded, on SurfLine to 1-2 feet.  Nonetheless,  hearts were set on getting something this weekend, so off to the Park to see what we might find.  What we found was a beautiful, sunny, glassy morning:

But there was some surprising swell in the water:

 While there seemed to be more folks out shooting the swell than actually surfing it

Mark Ghattas and I were getting ours in.

 Some nice, hollow, waist to shoulder high smallies
 [definitely click though on this one!]

that were perfect for a bodysurfer to tuck into:

(That's Mark in the shot above.)

 A different view of the same story on the video:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Del Mar Double

Heading out of Torrey Pines about 10:15, back to Pasadena for a 1:00 appointment, I followed my usual route along the beachside between Torrey Pines and Del Mar.  The swell was a bit bigger, and nice clean lines were sliding across a glossy surface under a clear blue sky.  Instead of turning in to take Carmel Valley or Del Mar Heights to the freeway, I continued into Del Mar, telling myself I'd stop for a minute if there happened to be a parking space by the 17th St. LG HQ.

There was a space, and a pod of at least a dozen denizens of the Del Mar Bodysurfing Club, out enjoying the black ball protection on one of Del Mar's better days.  I couldn't resist the decision to shine on the appointment and slip into my wetsuit.  By 10:30, I was in the water, entering as most of the DMBC exited, leaving only Bill "Froggy" Schildge and Ray "Best Bodysurfer" Sullivan (the same two that I shared Thursday with) in the water.

 A little bigger, a bit more closed out, but otherwise it was a carbon copy of Thursday.  Beautiful day, glassy surface, the waves were mostly pitching.  Irresistible!  For an hour, I shared the water with Bill and Ray and a sole sponger, with very good conditions.  Bill had his GoPro - I've lifted (without express permission) the one shot he's put up on Facebook thus far.  (It's of Eric "Butter Bee" Phleger.)

After they exited, I had it all to myself, but it was such a beautiful morning, my mind kept turning to the GoPro sitting in the car.  How great it would be to share the serenity of the morning, the glassy water reflecting blue sky, the pelicans sweeping the peeling waves, the dolphin cruising just outside.  So I hopped out and went back to the car - stopping for a brief chat with Vince Askey and the DMBC - and grabbed the GoPro, enthused over the opportunity to share here.

But I made a rookie mistake: I knew the battery in the device was less than fully charged, but didn't want to replace it with a fresh one using my wet hands.  I figured it would give me a bit of time.  Unfortunately, there was barely any charge and it shut off within a few seconds of initiating any video.  I thought about going back to change the battery, but the wind had brought a little texture to the surface and the ideal conditions I was so anxious to share were fading.  Better just to get another hour of surf in!  So I did.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Slippin' in a Sweet Session in San Diego

Well, the pattern since mid-October appears to be holding: I've got to surf a weekday to get a decent session.  The Friday after Thanksgiving was the only reasonably decent outing since October.  Again, the forecast for this weekend is meager, but I was able to sneak away from a conference in Torrey Pines to get in a nice little morning session in Del Mar this morning.

It was tought o know what to expect, with forecasts all over the map for both swell and wind.  The morning cams didn't look great, but it was worth taking a look.  Driving up the stretch between Torrey Pines and Del Mar, it looked pretty good - tending toward glassy and not as crumbly as I would have expected from the short-interval, NW swelI.  

I got to the lot behind the 15th St LG HQ about 8:45 and walked out to find nice, clean, chest & shoulder-high waves and a glassy surface.  One guy was surfing out front of the HQ (above), and a few peaks were scattered around.  I wasted little time taking photos and headed back to don the 4:3 wetter, since reported water temp was 56, and that was warmer than the early morning air temp.

The water was indeed chilly getting in, but no "ice cream headache" on first dunk (or later).  Eventually, I concluded it was probably more like 59.  I swam straight out, and for 30 minutes traded waves with the lone surfer.  Pretty consistent stomache - chest - shoulder high waves; well formed and nicely peeling.  The sun was breaking through, illuminating a few blue-room tubes, and there were several long slides to the deep inside.

As the surfer exited, maybe 9:30, the first of the local bodysurfers arrived.  First Bill, then Ray "Best Bodysurfer" Sullivan.  Unfortunately, the switching of the guard occasioned a long lull - the better part of 20 minutes.  Eventually, the energy picked back up, but not quite as good as those first 30 minutes.

With no wind, broken clouds and gradual warming, the water felt fresh and comfortable; almost warm. Responsibilities pulled me from the waves after 90 minutes, feeling the revitalization that only a successful surf session brings.  

I can withstand another off weekend, now ... and, further downstream, there looks like there may be a real swell coming in on the 19th!