Sunday, November 12, 2017

Fall Fun with Family in the Park

It was pretty close to perfection in the Park yesterday.  

Forecast at 4 - 6 feet, it was breaking consistently from chin high to overhead.  A late fall, long interval, south swell combined with an early winter, northwest swell to throw up a series of peaks from just below the steps to past the LG1 area to the south.  A mild offshore occasionally ruffled an otherwise smooth, sometimes even glassy, surface.  The water had cooled to a mild 63, but the sun was shining on a cool, fall morning.  A slowly dropping tide was due to bottom out around 10:30 at +2 feet.

While these make for close to ideal conditions for the Park - probably only improved by a rising tide, starting out somewhat lower - what made the day especially memorable was that both my sons joined me for the 90 minute session.  

When we arrived, a dozen surfers were splayed across the main peak area, while another half-dozen were clumped on a peak below the State Park campgrounds to the south.  A couple other peaks were evident, while Cotton's was pumping in the background, further south:

Cottons firing in the distance
It was a rare outing for the three of us.  Other than during our annual summer sojourn in Newport, which often includes other friends & family, it's been a long time since Allan, Joe and I surfed together.  Later this week, Joe is off on an extended trip to Australia, so this was a send off of sorts, while, for Allan, it was his first visit to my most frequent stomping ground, the Park in San Clemente.

The peak we surfed, between the rocks & LG1

We paddled/swam out at a sandbar between the rocks & LG1, north of the gaggle of surfers who were in front of the campground trail, where there seemed to be a consistent peak and no crowd.  By & large, we had it to ourselves for the 90 minute session.  Allan and Joe both were scoring long rides, both left and right, some fast, some slow, some all the way to the shore.  It was the typical (when it's good) Park blend of fast tubular peaks, slow shoulders, and fast, inside walls. 

I started slowly, getting a feel for the way it was breaking, but Al & Joe were on it in a flash.  I mainly worked the outside, getting a lot of nice, relatively short, peak tubes and a few long, slower slides into the deep inside.  Meanwhile, Joe and Al were working both inside and out, racing the faster faces and carving the slow ones.

After about 90 minutes, fatigue and calf cramps starting to set in, I caught a long left that walled up in the deep inside.  On the other end of the wall, there was Joe, finishing a right that had peeled off the rocky spine we call the rocks.  We ended up together in the middle, just south of the rocks.  An inside current was sweeping south to north, so I allowed it to pull me north of the rocks as I slowly kicked the final few yards to shore, ready to rinse and head up to a hearty breakfast at Adele's to which Al & Joe treated me.

Does it get better?

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