Sunday, July 30, 2017

Shapin' Up to be the Summer of Smallies

I only got five surf sessions in, the first half of 2017.  In July, I nearly matched that.  Four sessions, and would have been a fifth - I was at Sunset Beach last weekend, but it was virtually flat.  

Like the first three July sessions, yesterday was again small surf but well-formed.  This time, it was somewhat disappointing, since earlier in the week there were projections that hurricanes Hilary and Irwin were likely to throw a significant, combined swell our way.  Unfortunately, it was not only weaker than expected but also late in arriving.  By Friday evening, our expectations had been reduced significantly.

On arrival, we found a nearly placid Pacific.  A small pod of five surfers lurked at the Main Peak, with another, slightly larger, group out at Riviera to the north.  Apparently attracted by the earlier forecasts, in the distance beyond Main Peak, there appeared to be at least 50 surfers vying for meager pickings at Cotton's Point.  Closer to us, a lone, unknown, bodysurfer was catching some smallies between peaks.

Count over 40 heads out at Cotton's in the background
Heavy overcast made a warm day - sizzling inland - seem cool, and the 70 degree water felt good.  Mark and I elected to head down to the LG1 stand, below the campground, where there appeared to be some nice peaks in the chest-high range.  Throughout the scattered peaks from Riviera to Cottons, the surf, while small, was clean and peaky.  

We got in shortly after the low tide had bottomed out, with hopes that the increasing swell and tidal push would boost the wave energy.  For the first 30 - 40 minutes, it appeared that our expectations were sound as what started as solo, rogue forerunners in the chest - shoulder high range started to become more consistent, two to four wave sets.  The wind was mild, a bit off-shore, leaving a smooth surface.  However, after a five-minute stretch where several sets had rolled in back-to-back, just as the wind picked up a bit and started to swing onshore, the bottom seemed to fall out.  Long lulls were interrupted by only a couple of moderate breakers then would return.  In the last 20 minutes I had maybe four waves.  Ultimately, it left us with the feeling that the session, while fun, was somewhat disappointing.  The upside, though, was that we had the stretch in front of LG1 totally to ourselves throughout the 90 minute session.

Through the session, the overcast had thinned but not entirely burned off, but the shoreline had filled with a summer crowd seeking to escape the inland heat.  The gaggle of boards at Main Peak had been replaced by a line of groms on soft tops, longboarders and spongers (body boarders) that stretched from not far above where Mark & I had been surfing all the way up to, and past, the steps back to the parking lot.  One thing I couldn't figure out - there were kids donning full wetsuits to go play in the surf on a warm sunny day with water temperatures over 70 degrees.  We'd just spent a comfortable 90 minutes continuously immersed in just trunks.

Ah, to breakfast at Adele's!

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