Sunday, June 5, 2016

Cool and Closed Out in the Park

It's been two months since I was last out in the Park.  Of course, in between was a week of intensive bodysurfing in Nicaragua.  In the several weeks since return, the stars haven't aligned, until this week.  

Forecasts held a lot of promise - maybe 4 - 6 feet, at least 3 - 4, with a moderate high tide and soft, even offshore, breeze.  The weekend was shaping up hot and sultry, at least inland.  Cool water and good waves beckoned.  

While it was good to get back in the water - that's true, without fail - what we found Saturday morning was not at all as expected.  Thick overcast, sometimes dropping to fog, overlay the coast.  A fairly stiff onshore breeze ruffled the surface and crumbled the crests of the waves.  Wind and moisture in the air, combined, made it even a bit chilly, making the water temp, in the low 60's, seem even colder.  The swell was there - sometimes up to head-high - but wasn't really catching the sandbars that often bring that peakiness to the park.  Instead, sets tended to be beach-break close outs.  

Of course, one benefit of marginal surf and cooler conditions is the lack of crowds.  The five guys above were the only guys in the water north of the rocks.  Further south, there were maybe 10 or so out, below the campgrounds - most likely early summer visitors to the campground.  Through most of a 90-minute session, Mark Ghattas and I were sharing waves with only a couple of local sticks, and the vibe in the water was relaxed and fun.

The wind came and went, sometimes getting a bit glassy, and there were occasional peaks on even set waves, for the patient. 

But it was highly inconsistent and the middle of our session was marked by an extended lull as the tide peaked.  And the higher tide gutted most of the inside break.  I did have one, well-formed left that allowed for a moderately long slide, along with several faster, steeper right, but those were short.  Over the session, I doubt I caught 10 waves.

However, after adapting to the cool water - initially a shock after the bathtub temperatures of Nicaragua - it was nice to float, paddle against the current, and catch an occasional wave.  Near the end of the session, I got a double calf cramp, aggravated no doubt by the cooler water, and concluded it was time to catch a shoreboat wave and head up to Adele's.

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