Sunday, May 25, 2014

Season's First Warm Water Session

I'm not sure that I missed much surf, but the last two weekends were spent on the east coast, leaving me anxious for surf this weekend.  Forecasts have been for a modest swell and reasonable conditions; tides would present no problems.  Surprisingly, on the heels of sub-60 water temperatures the first week of May (and our last session!), they reached, and even exceeded 70 during the course of the week.

The prospect of warm water and reasonable surf beckoned. 

On arrival, leaden gray skies stretched over the dark surface rippled by a slightly chilling breeze.  Chest-high sets arrived inconsistently as the tide peaked and started to withdraw.  A handful of surfers were clumped at the Main Peak, which didn't look any better or worse than anywhere along the Calafia/State Park stretch.  In the distance to the south, Cotton's Point was thickly crowded as at least fifty surfers vied for what looked like a bit larger surf.

The promised south swell was in evidence, along with a small WNW wind swell helping the sand bars with their peak creation.  As I turned back from the rail to go suit up, I was pleasantly surprised to find a grinning Bret Belyea striding toward the tracks.  Bret explained he'd come up from SD with a couple of friends and had just finished a decent, dawn-patrol session down at LG1.  Consistency was lacking, he said, but there were some good waves for the patient.

Turns out Bret was half right.  Yes, there were good waves for the patient, but as the tide receded, the consistency improved.  Pretty regular waist - to - shoulder high waves were punctuated, every ten minutes or so, by head high sets.  Initially, it was just solo waves, but later in the session, they were arriving in pairs and, occasionally,  even threes.  On the down side, the initial breeze that simply textured the water built into a bit of bump through the session.  Not enough to really mess up the waves, but creating a bit of chop, nonetheless.

Mark Ghattas and I decided to start out south of the rocks, working the north side of LG1.  We shared that for over an hour with a couple of older surfers, who were pleasant enough, if a little unsure of where to give room to a couple of bodysurfers.  Eventually, the crowd at the main peak thinned and we worked our way back up, basically enjoying the area north of the rocks to ourselves for the last half hour.

Between the overcast skies and untidy surface, it wasn't a particularly picturesque morning, so I left the GoPro ashore - a move I regretted early in the session as I was perfectly positioned to watch (and film, if I'd had it) Mark in a long, textbook, left slide.  On the other hand, what a joy it was to spend comfortably spend nearly two hours in the water in my battle-scarred "shortie" wetsuit!

My comment yesterday on Facebook noted I was looking forward to a session in the Park, perhaps not epic, but decent & warm water...pretty much nailed it.  With El Nino lining up, maybe we should get used to it!

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