Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Looking Back at Lowell

Following on Friday’s sessions, previously reported, Lowell offered a couple more days of memorable surf.  Three days of two-a-days has left me satiated, but wishing for a bit more respite before the arrival of Marie.


Following a brief, dawn patrol, check of Newport Point, which was firing but a concentrated with board surfers as I’ve ever seen it, Saturday morning found us in the Park again.  It was larger than Friday – consistently overhead but more walled up and not quite so glassy.  At the far South end, nearly to the base of Cotton’s Point ("North Gate") , the curve of the shore permitted the thick lines coming up from the south to sweep up the shoreline with some long, fast, hefty lefts. 

 Paul Heading Past LG1 to North Gate

Each take off required an act of will, pushing into the steep ramp stretching to the left, followed by a fast slide, gaining speed as I dropped into the pit and climbed back up into a line, midway up the face.  From there, some were short, covered up tube rides, while others would hold up for long glides up the beach into the deep inside … followed by an urgent effort to get back out to the safety of the lineup.
Main Peak

A strong current was pushing up the beach.  Three times Paul Tordella rode lefts and currents up to the LG1 area, then made the long walk (1/3 mile or more) back to where we’d started.  I found a nice stretch, midway, where some longer lefts were consistently rolling in, and made the effort to maintain position, constantly kicking and swimming south.  Twice, Neil Frank swept by me, before doing his own walk back up.

Tube Ride/Main Peak

 After 90 minutes of slowly being pushed up into the LG1 area, Neil had exited and Paul and I decided to spend the last half hour allowing the current to move us through LG1, over the Rocks, into Main Peak and beyond to the steps, snagging rides as they presented.

At the Steps

Finally exiting near the steps, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the wobbliness of my legs, sudden innervation and gnawing hunger in my stomach!  Perhaps not quite as perfect as Friday, but more adrenaline and great satisfaction!

Friends of my sons had gathered in Newport through the day, and reported on an epic session at the Point Saturday morning.  Late afternoon, we headed back to the point and looked to go out about 17th Street.  To the North, the Point was still fairly packed, but the wind was up and everywhere other than the Point itself and a secondary peak at 18th were a jumble of chop occasionally interrupted by a massive, thick close out.  While most of the boys paddled out on boards, between 17th & 18th, I swam out with one, Sam Abeger, to bodysurf south of 17th.  It was a far from easy swim out, and I was fairly drained by the time I got to outside.  Sam caught a short right, then an outside set put us both into sprint, followed by a deep dive, thrice repeated.  I drifted in, seeking a wind-wrought runner off one of the regular waves, which were running a bit over head high, but found none before another set caused a repetition of the sprint & dive.  Not wanting to get caught inside, but neither having much interest in the closeout, set waves, I concluded that it wasn’t my afternoon and worked inside to find a “shoreboat” ride to carry me back in.


I wanted to give the Point another chance to host a Lowell session shared with the boys, so headed down to 17th with the pack. 
Blue Heron..


Meanwhile, Up at the Point...

Again, Sam and I swam out as the others paddled out.  This time, with a little less wind, it was rideable.  Sam was connecting with some nice rights coming off the peak between 17th & 18th, while I drifted down to work lefts coming off the rip at 16th.   We still had to work around a lot of fiberglass in the water, but there were rides to be had.  While the size was still there, in full, shape and crowd didn’t compare to the two prior mornings in the Park.  It was compensated by the opportunity to share the session with Joseph, Allan and the Schwimers.  

15th - 13th Streets

18th Street
A brief, late afternoon session at 6th Street was mainly a chance at some warming water and thrashing about in the ribs shearing off wind-torn swell, with Joseph, Allan and Kevin Schwimer.


Tim Hankins was in town from his exile in Arizona and anxious to get a taste of Lowell in Newport, and Neil Frank was looking for some peninsula time as well.  Otherwise, quite surely, I would have headed south to the Park.  Instead, I met Neil at 15th and we swam out at 16th in surf ranging from shoulder to head height, generally poorly formed and interrupted by long lulls.  Shortly, Tim showed up ashore and swam out to meet us.  There were some waves to be ridden, but it wasn’t the best of sessions as Lowell’s energy seemed to be winding down and little of the traditional Newport vigor was to be found in most sets.  An hour seemed sufficient before we dispersed.

Monday afternoon at 6th Street was a pleasant surprise.  There remained a decent energy in the water, with occasional head high walls pitching over.  In between, though, the wind shaped a steady flow of feisty, chin-high swells into fun little hollow runners that Joseph and I frolicked in for a good hour.


Now, Tuesday, we wait and watch for the forerunners of the much-ballyhooed swell from Hurricane Marie.  Meanwhile, the flags are all red on the LG stands up & down the peninsula and I sneaked in a quick little morning session in shoulder high surf at 16th Street, surprisingly clean despite a fairly stiff breeze out of the west. 

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