Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sometimes Good Things Come In Small Packages

Swell forecasts through the week have been uninspiring.  There's a little southwest swell, generally projected for waist high, maybe some plusses.  Conditions were supposed to be decent, though, so  I turned in Friday night undecided: if I'm awake and feel like it, I'll head down to San Clemente.

I was awake, and I felt like it.  With a coffee and yogurt downed and about to head out, I get a text from Hugh: "Waist high and weak."  Damn.  I reply: "On my way, anyway."

Turned out to be a pretty good choice.  It was, as expected, fairly small.  But it had some shape and the conditions were good: clean and glassy under a flat, gray sky.  

A waist high tube is still a tube for a bodysurfer!

Today was a rare, solo session.  Hugh was at the rail but uninspired.  Mark was in San Diego.  Expectations hadn't warranted reaching out to anyone else.  

There were a surprising number of surfers in the water.  A mix of sticks, sponges, and a trio of teens launching skimmers off soft tops, were scattered from the main peak up.  At first, it seemed pretty much the same everywhere - waist high, with a few plusses, semi-hollow with a few corners.  

But a set rolled through with maybe shoulder-high peaks down at the Main Peak.  Instead of swimming out in an empty stretch just north of the stairs, I went down just past the Main Peak where there was a little gap between the rocks and Main Peak, that seemed to be getting pretty consistent corners.  I had the spot to myself for all but 10 of the next 90 minutes.

The waves were fun, and I had plenty.  There were few lulls and no competition for the waves.  Lots of chest and sometimes shoulder high peaks with nice little corners leading into fast tubes.  I even had a rare "in & out" - cover up inside the tube, then emerging back out onto the wave face.  Also, a long left slide that just kept peeling into the deep inside.

Though I had the GoPro on my wrist, with the poor lighting, small waves and lack of company, I only shot a couple of clips.  The extract above gives a pretty good idea of the semi-hollow, chest-high rights that were coming pretty regularly.

Wishing I'd just slept in?  Nah.  Sometimes good things come in small packages.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Still Bloggin'

To those who have checked in over the last two months - No, I have not stopped blogging my surf outings, nor have I quit surfing.  However, it has been 8 weeks since last I surfed, the longest hiatus since I started this blog 6 years ago; in fact, the longest stretch in at least 8 years.  How is this possible?

I don't have a record of the swells over the last 8 weeks, but this is how best I can reconstruct it:

Week 1: Weekend in Ojai / Easter Sunday.  There was a little swell, but nothing notable.
Week 2: I have no notes, and there were no conflicts.  It must have been feeble surf.
Week 3: London.  No surf on the Thames.
Week 4: Just home from London; no surf.
Week 5: Hawaii, Big Island.  No surf in Hawaii; big swell hitting Southern California, but marginal conditions.
Week 6: Just back from Hawaii, but with a nasty cold.  There was small surf (2-3 feet); I would have gone if I'd be in better health.  
Week 7: Flat surf; bad weather.  Not happening.
Week 8: Finally!!!!!

Not much happening on Saturday or Sunday, but it's Memorial Day weekend, and a moderate swell out of the south has been promised all week for arrival late Sunday.  On arrival at the Park on Monday morning on a chilly morning under slate grey skies, a swell was, indeed, showing. I joined Hugh at the rail to observe a head-high set come in.

There were only a handful of surfers out, but, as we watched the swell for a few minutes, another dozen materialized with boards under arm.  By the time we'd suited up (full rubber) not only the Main Peak area but the entire range from the rocks all the way up to straight out from the rail was populated by guys on fiberglass.

Beyond, at "LG1" below the Park itself, the water was still empty.  First on the beach, I headed the quarter-mile south to LG1 and swam out.  Hugh and Mark joined me shortly for a two-hour session.  Hampered by a tide swing bottoming out mid-session, it was inconsistent.  Nonetheless, there were plenty of chest and chin high waves throughout, with some surprising rights and hollow lefts.  

The water was supposed to be 64, but felt colder, rewarding the decision to go with full wetsuits.  Until late in the session, the wind remained mild and from the south, finally starting to ruffle lips near the session's end.  Throughout, we had the area south of LG1 - "King's Corner" - all to ourselves, balancing the lower consistency there against the crowds at the areas further north well populated with sticks and sponges. 

It wasn't the best session of late in the Park, but damn if it didn't feel great to get wet!