Friday, May 2, 2014

Worth the Wait!

...a belated post about last Sunday's session, but the title refers to the session - especially the first half hour, rather than this post....

It had been a long time - three full months - since the last really good session in the Park.  For over a week, a solid mix of deep south groundswell and northwest windswell had been predicted, but with an expectation of heavy onshore winds Saturday and the hope of calming overnight Saturday for decent conditions Sunday morning.  Through Saturday, all proceeded as expected - the northwest windswell arrived, the long interval, deep south groundswell worked its way north from the Southern Hemisphere, and heavy winds ripped the coast on Saturday.  All good, but would the winds abate while the south filled in?

The answer came swift and welcome upon arrival.  Triangular peaks dotted a glossy surface, glazed under the early morning sun and lightly combed by a soft, offshore breeze.  Northwest lines from the right crossing perpendicular lines wrapping around Cotton's Point to the south lifted peaks to a few feet overhead, with soft shoulders running right and left.  A fairly solid string of surfers fanned from LG1 stand to the south below the campground, all the way up to the steps where we stood checking it out.

Guys were getting barreled in steeper sections and carving up the softer sections.

Neil Frank was a welcome sight, in his wetsuit, after an absence stretching back to the end of last year, as he nursed an injury now healed.  We'd missed our intrepid octogenarian in the line up!

While the air was balmy and the sky sunny, with wind comes ... upwelling.  Overnight, the San Clemente water temperature had dropped from a summerish 66 to a very wintery 56!  Fortunately, we were forewarned and prepared.  It was as cold as it has been, for a least a year, getting in, but the calm winds, warm air and sunny sky conspired to blunt the chill.

Soon, we had a small pod of four, working a peaky area north of the Main Peak but below the steps, pretty much to ourselves: Mark Ghattas, Craig Thomson, Neil and myself.  Quick drops and some hefty tubes were interspersed with long slides to the deep inside.  At one point, Neil came swimming up, an eighty-year-old as stoked as an eight year old, jabbering how he couldn't believe how wide open the large tube had been that he'd just been occupying.  

As we neared the half-hour mark, the incoming tide peaked and a lull ensued.  Quickly, the two-score of sticks dwindled to a half-dozen, well spread out, and some of us moved down to work Main Peak.  The the remaining 90 minutes, surfers would come and go, as the wind picked up a bit, shifted to the south and then, eventually, to onshore, creating a texture but not blowing out the waves.  Occasional busts of energy arrived, but never recovered the consistency of the first half hour.  

Size and conditions were enough to be the best since mid-January, but, since Thanksgiving, we've yet to see that kind of punch that gets the adrenalin pumping and demands an unfettered "whoop" on exit.  A good day, worth waiting for, for sure, but still leaving me looking for more.


Crawdaddy said...

Thankyou, I love your writing. Made me feel like i was there.

Hank H H said...

Cddy, wish you had been!