Saturday, April 7, 2018

Hiatus Interruptus

I suspect that this is the longest hiatus in posting since I began this blog.  It's April 7 and, irrespective of some exceptional demands upon my time, unrelated to surfing, trying to intervene, I cannot allow my belated first surf session of 2018 to pass undocumented.

As has been broadly bemoaned within the Southern California surf community, this has been the most miserable stretch of winter surf in recent memory.  Applied to a weekend bodysurfer, dependent on swell, tide, weather and winds to cooperate within two, fixed days amongst each seven, the implication has been three dry months.  I don't think that's happened, or even close, since I initiated this blog nearly 10 years ago.  

The periods when I would post nearly every week, having surfed, seem a distant memory.  Those who used to check this space regularly on Sunday or Monday have, no doubt, long ago discontinued. 

Throughout, though, as the stress which comes from lack of water time gradually accumulated, I knew it always just a matter of time.

I'd love to say that the session to end this unprecedented drought was epic.  It wasn't.  In too many ways, the forecasters missed this, at least from what we got in the Park (San Clemente State Park) this morning.  The swell, forecast for 3 - 4 feet, which should translate to a regular shoulder to head high wave, was well short of that.   A 66-degree water temperature reading at the San Clemente Pier certainly didn't reflect the 60 or so degree water into which we swam out.  On the up side, the "questionable" winds for the morning were non-existent, presenting a glassy surface.

Nonetheless, though the waves were only waist to chest high, the Park was clean, peaky, glassy, almost empty and ... fun!  We swam out down by LG1, south of the Main Peak, where it seemed to be a little more consistent.  Fun though the actual, real-time, surf was, through much of the hour-long session, I kept seeing, in my mind's eye as we awaited the arrival of sets, past sessions at that spot.  

Glassy, grey mornings with with strangely gentle, though well-overhead, sets, tag-teamed by a pod of a dozen bodysurfers.  The Golden Triangle crew...EY_\, Hugh, Crawdaddy, Kahuna, MuDShArK, Da Arm, Too Tall, the Real Deal...and occasional visitors - Bret Belyea from SD, the late #9 Rick Ciaccio, Ackerman, the Lawyer MacPherson, the O'Gorman clan, Hacksaw - images of them, dropping in, sliding, spinning, ripping, seemed almost there. Many memories.  A few incredible, truly epic, mornings, surrounded by these guys.  And, of course, Mark "Sailfish" Ghattas, who, alone, was there this morning.

More than anything, it was a re-awakening.  A resuscitation.  A reliving.  It left me intensely hopeful that this would again, soon, become the norm. 

PS - sorry for the lack of photos.  When we arrived, it looked pretty lame and that's about what the pictures I took reflect.  It got better once we got in, but I have no photographic evidence...