Sunday, February 14, 2016

Persistence Pays Off at the Park

Last Saturday, the forecasts looked promising. There was a deep (6 foot) high tide at 7:20, but also a long period (14 sec.), 3-foot swell from the West-North-West. The tide was due to drop steeply, to a negative, by early afternoon, so I figured that, by 8:30, the Park would no longer be swamped. I arrived about 8:20, and watched at the rail with Hugh, as others came and went, for two hours without seeing a wave I could ride. They just dribbled in, and backed off, never really breaking. The first time in years that I've been skunked - driven all the way to San Clemente without at least getting in. Today was different. 

Bryan Knowles

A stronger swell, a benign (low) tide, light winds, generally offshore, were all forecast for a summery-warm Southern California Sunday.  I was confident enough to send a call out on FaceBook, and this time, the Park delivered...the best session, for me, since early December.  Over nearly two months during which El Nino conditions to the North sent a lot of swell to Southern California, I finally got a little.

The swell was deep enough for set waves to catch the sandbar well outside, maybe 75 yards out.  From time to time, a clean, peeling left was rolling off the Main Peak area.

But rights were coming off the Main Peak sandbar as well, some with nice little corners to be ridden way inside.  The water was cold - 61 - but warmed up from the under-60 chill of recent weeks.  The air rapidly warmed, but a hazy sky lingered while a dense fog bank lurked a mile offshore.  

There were surprisingly few surfers in the water.  They tended to remain clumped, and fixated on an occasional peak to the south of the principal Main Peak sandbar.  Ironically, it's a spot I often work, while the sticks tend to anchor right at the usual, main sandbar.  But Mark Ghattas and I maintained our spot on the north edge of the Main Peak for a solid 90 minute session with almost no incursion from the 6 - 10 surfers 50 yards to the South.  Further, few had the patience to remain outside, awaiting the sets, as everything else was breaking maybe 25 yards closer in. 

Mark was regularly scoring long, long rides to the far inside ... and the labors of returning to the lineup thereafter.  Most of my rides were shorter, but, whether it was the drops or the length, they were finally registering on the RipCurl SearchGPS watch.  It was fun to see the wavecount rise, and then view the length & location, once home. 

The response to my FaceBook call out was limited - maybe because it's Valentine's Day?  Hugh was there, of course, but remained at the rail since he had to get off to work at 11.  Kahuna - Chuck Herpick - came by to watch & chat at the rail for a while, but he's waiting for warmer water.

Bryan Knowles showed up just as we were exiting the water.  My legs were cramping on every wave after 90 minutes, so we'd called it as he came walking up.  After changing, I grabbed my camera and was able to get a nice sequence of Bryan from beside the railroad tracks:

All-in-all, a very satisfying session; long overdue!

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