Saturday, April 2, 2016

Getting Worked in the Park

I took a bit of a beating today.  

My first wave, a beefy right, I executed a quick take-off and started to set a high line.  Quickly, the bottom fell out and I dropped, free-fall, to the flat water below, the weight of the lip quickly following me.  Though a quick roll popped me out the back, the wave wasn't done with me, sucking me back down into the maelstrom.

Ending my session, after catching my last wave, I was in "no man's zone," inside the main break, as I saw a wave lining up outside.  Digging to get under it, I was pinned for a moment, deep, but no real problem, and angled back up to continue my flight to the outside.  However, the second wave was significantly larger, and further out.  No way to get under and past it.  So I dove, and took one "on the head."  Popping up, I was to discover that it proved to be a five-wave set - rare today - with me in the impact zone.  The long interval - 14 seconds - between waves gave plenty of time to grab a lungful of air between waves, but I took a pounding, nonetheless.  

In between, I never really quite got slotted.  Over 90 minutes, I had maybe two clean exits.  The rest included some sort of free-fall, close-out drop.  I can't remember the last time that I had more than one or two in a single session. 

It was a good - perhaps excellent day at the Park.  Main Peak was going off, with head high and overhead peaks created by a good mix of southwest and northwest, long interval, swells.  Wind was light and surface pretty glassy.  Sun overhead and decent water temp (61) for early April.   However, it appears that a few others figured that out.  

 From the rocks to the north side of Main Peak, it looked like this (above).  Not a break in the line and, frankly, most of them hadn't a clue what they were doing.  Not a good place for a bodysurfer.  Too much fiberglass with too little control.  So Mark Ghattas, Matt Hughes and I swam out straight out from the steps where sandbars and the mixed swell appeared to be creating some peeling rights and lefts, ranging from shoulder high to a foot or two overhead.  While Mark and Matt scored on some, riding them to deep inside, most of my waves seemed to look like this:

Nice heft and clean but way too fast for a bodysurfer.  But that's not fair.  I'm usually pretty good at wave selection and today was no exception.  Instead, in retrospect, the issue may be my inclination to take a high line, tucking in under the lip.  Today, where we were, the back-most curve of the wave appears to have been set lower in the wave.  As I sought to ride up high, time after time the bottom would drop out on me.  I need to adjust better!

Meanwhile, to the south of us, the Barneys continued to flail:

Too much traffic for me!  However, there were a couple out there who knew what to do and dominated the peak with elan.  Flipping through my pre-swimout shots, I find one appearing regularly.  I didn't realize until I got home and cycled through the photos that it was Hugh:

I should have known!  When I pulled into the lot, I parked next to his van, but didn't see him at the rail or on the beach shooting.  Of course, he was the guy in the water, master of the Park.  Had I known that, I probably would have headed down to Main Peak, knowing we can always count on Hugh to run interference....