Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Magic Dusk in Del Mar

I'm sorry that I don't have any pictures to convey what was an unexpectedly magical sundown session at 17th Street in Del Mar.  The stats don't tell the story but they set the scene:

Swell: Beautifully formed, head high, hollow-breaking peaks.
Surface: Smooth, with a slight offshore breeze
Water Temperature: 71 (yes, in late October)
Air: 90 and clear
Crowd: Nobody within a block in either direction

Yes, for 90 minutes, I had moderately-sized surf that approached perfect, all to myself, in warm water on a balmy fall day. 

I'm so used to morning, and even mid-day, surfs that I was enchanted by the phenomenon created by a clear, bright sun, dropping behind a good-sized wave: on take-off, behind a face shaded by the wave, the swell itself, illuminated from behind, glowed a luminescent turquoise.  

In the tube, I am used to the morning sun transforming the lip into a glittering, crystalline curtain.  Instead, at dusk, the lip is a dark curtain to the inside, and the tube instead is lit by the glow through the wave behind.  

The blackball was up, from 16th to 18th street for part of the time that I was out.  As the sole bodysurfer in the water, I wasn't surprised to have it to myself (though I wondered where the locals from DMBS were, given the great conditions!).  But after the guards took down the blackball, the surfers, even though in some concentration, left the traditional bodysurfers' zone alone. 

The only thing I was missing was someone with whom to share the stoke.  About an hour in, I caught a perfectly-formed left that included some nice time closed in high in the barrel, after a reasonable open-faced slide.  As I returned to the lineup, I noticed a local regular, Morgan Launer, whom I'd not previously met, swimming out.  "Beautiful left," she commented as she sought her position in the lineup.  Shortly, she was dropping into a set wave right, showing perfect trim as she slid out of sight.  

Morgan's arrival occasioned a burst of wave energy, with shoulder & head-high sets coming in nearly continuously.  We traded waves for a while before exhaustion got the better of me and I caught a "shore boat" ride to the inside and staggered up the sand. 

As I fell asleep, images of backlit waves, glowing turquoise, filled my head.

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