Sunday, October 26, 2014

Adding an Annum in Del Mar

Sixty-one and still surfing; hoping to emulate septuagenarian Chuck Herpick and octogenarian Neil Frank!

Heather and I slipped down to Del Mar for a couple of nights to celebrate another notch in my belt of years, just as the first solid northwest swell is due to arrive.  Northern San Diego forecasts were for four to seven feet, but the forecasts for conditions were all over the place.  Some projected onshore winds staying close to 10 mph overnight and into the morning, while others were holding for mild offshore through the morning.  Meanwhile, the water temperature in Orange and San Diego continued to hold at or over 70 through the week.

I was optimistic, and arranged to meet Bret Belyea and Chris Lafferty at a preferred spot in Encinitas.  By sundown Saturday, little two-footers continued to dribble in, raising fears that the swell would be insufficient to push through a tide that never really got low and was due to approach 6 feet around 10:30. 

I remained optimistic, and was justified as I walked up to the observation point atop the stairs at D Street: glassy, clean lines, widely separated at a good 14 second interval, slid in under a slate gray sky.  Few yet were in the water, even without a body against which to measure the height it was clear that these were head-high at least.

Shortly, Bret, Chris and I were finning up on the beach and slipping into the water.  Tempted to "skin it," the cool morning lead me to don my summer "shortie," but Bret & Chris were in full suits.  The water was cool entering, but very comfortable through the 90 minute session.

I'm not so used to the long swim out presented by Encinitas, but overcame that and got out to the break just as a seven-foot right swept through.  I thought about it, but gave in to my temptation to catch wind before dropping into a set wave.  Immediately regretting my decision, my angst was allayed shortly as I saw another approaching on the horizon.  With a couple of strokes, I was sliding right down a fat face that just continued to hold up for an easy slide, well inside.  I pulled up after maybe 20-30 yards, concerned about another immediate swim out and figuring there would be plenty more, but I could easily have continued on at least an equal distance, if not a good deal further.

Fortunately, I was in the right place at the right time for that wave.  Less fortunately, it proved to be my best wave of the day.  The second wave was a bit more typical - a bit smaller, the face was again fat as I dropped in, but shortly, the swell hit a shelf and quickly steepened into a tight, fast, closeout barrel.  Fun, but the long easy slide of the first wave.

Through the session, we struggled with placement and judgement, as the rising tide played tricks with us.  A swell would rise up as it hit the underwater reef, even start to break top-to-bottom, then back off entirely to break another twenty feet in.  The next one would curl and break as soon as it came upon the reef.  Nonetheless, there were plenty of fun rides for all over the session, and no one to compete with us for the waves.  

90 minutes and a couple of calf cramps later,  would work my way ashore to rinse and climb the D Street stairs with Bret and Chris, thinking that the sixties could be pretty damn good.

After the session, I snapped a few pictures from the D Street view point: some nice lines with a glassy surface still in evidence. There were several bodysurfers working the area between D Street & Moonlight, who show up in the photos above. 


elbobking said...

Happy Birthday. Enjoy your blog. We must have been just North of you. Super fun morning.

tc said...

nice blog. if that was you, i was the big fat guy just north of you on a paipo, my friend on a pg mat.. you guys were killing those lil buggas!