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Thursday, April 18, 2019

4.18.19 Negative Low Tide Beachbreak

My blog coach said I needed more pics so here is a blurry selfie of your fearless blogger with his murda'd out whip

My first view at first light revealed a little texture on the water.

It was while finishing up my coffee that I felt pangs of  what would very likely have to be an inconvenient poop.

Now, am I saying the lack of having an available bathroom would lead to me poop in the water? Absolutely not!  But I might jettison some cargo at sea...!

Am I saying being all alone in the water with not a soul being aware might convince me to defecate? Heavens no!  But I might just conduct a Viking funeral sans flambΓ©...!

I'm going to have to break the comedy Rule of Three on this one as I couldn't think of a turd one.

I barely took another glance at the point.  I really thought this would be the call given the shallowness of the tide.  But it was strangling the swell as it came in.  Combining small waves with a negative low tide at a cobblestone point is a mathematical expression resulting in short-term depression.  I'd have to take whatever the beachbreak offered.

It looked as bad as I imagined.  The swell wasn't showing much here either but every now and again hope would be offered in the form of a corner.

My wade-out was ill-timed.  A big set unloaded and I lost control of my board.  I got a shallow fin slice on my wrist bone before getting absolutely demolished in waist-deep water.

I put on a pumping clinic!  I was getting a lot of speed but not much to show for it.  I had a couple of floaters on which I held for a while but kept pussing out knowing how shallow the flats were (knee-high).

I had a sick airdrop on a closeout.  I wouldn't have gone but I'd committed by the time I realized it wasn't going to open up.

My sickest was my only right.  I got a mini-pump in after a late drop on which I thought I was going down.  Then I swooped around and demolished it, but ended up going down as my board connected.  I was excited to look for my rooster tail of spray signature on the water's surface but another wave was coming and I was stressing to avoid being slammed into the sand.

It got less and less makable.  I knew if I went in I was probably done for the day as the point was probably still suffering from suckage.  I went and checked it and there was one dude out who caught nothing for the fifteen minutes or so that I watched while walking, then standing on a small cliff.

True to my word, I ended up not pooping!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

4.16.19 Low Tide Tight Window Drops with Chuleta!

Chuleta and I had been trying to sync up since I moved here nine months ago to surf.  We were FINALLY able to line it up for this morning.

I got there early, finished my coffee and took some hits off my Hydro Flask of water.  Chuleta rolled up right on time as always.  We hugged it out and decided the point sucked.  The tide was so low and it just wasn't working.  We headed towards San Blas.  He moved there with his family in the mid-90's and live there until 2003 when my former stepdad stopped renting the house. 

As we were reliving the glory days of our youth his voice started getting emotional.  I looked at him quizzically and he broke down crying.  He said he's always admired me as a person, businessman, but mostly as a friend.  He apologized for having shone me on and flaked so many times over the years.  I was grateful but also a little embarrassed for the guy.

We got to the beachbreak.  It was predictably crappy-looking given the low tide, but much more workable than the point.

For about twenty minutes, I was catching waves every two minutes.  I even caught one with a one-paddle take-off!  The waves would jack up and if you were able to sniff out the prime takeoff spot you would be rewarded.  I had a wave on which I was at the very top pumping and it felt as though it was going to toss me as my deck started angling towards the beach.

I had one really satisfying THWACK from a snap/off-the-lip.

Most of the waves I was leaning hard on my fins so as to make the drop.  I blew one wave on a right not off the drop, but right after when the wave imploded.

I didn't see Chuleta catch a single wave, probably because the fucker flaked on me and never showed!

Below is a picture I snapped of da boyz (Chuleta would have been on my left)!

El Salvador, where you can pay $5 for a haircut at a nice place and still be ripped off!

4.15.19 Surprise LATE AM Session with Ladies in Tow

I wanted to go surf early today but m'lady'd said she wanted to go to the beach.

We got in the car around 930 and headed down, only to get caught in nasty traffic as we sniffed the outskirts of La Libertad (town).  It took us about twenty minutes to get through that bumping of bumpers and we were finally released.  We all got out, gathered our stuff, and 'screened up.  I was shocked at the still-smooth ocean surface despite it being just shy of 11AM.

I was amping to get out there as there was a semblance of corners out there.  They were fat, to be sure, but they were opening up somewhat.

I paddled out right at our lunch spot (they charge $10/adult to use the facilities, which can be applied towards lunch).  I caught one within five minutes of having perched.  It didn't do much of anything, just a fatty with only some push.

There were two highlights of the session.  I made it around a corner on a left and was able to do a nice off-the-lip and stomp it.  As I gathered my board and paddled out, Jerson of Surf Strong Surf School whistled his approval from near the sand.  I gave him a what's-up head nod.

The second highlight was seeing Pando's' cousin, whom I hadn't spoken to since maybe the early 2000's.  He was out on a bigger board with Cucaracho.  I saw him catch a meaty right but while he made the drop he immediately biffed it.  Line in head, I paddled over to say hi.  He was amped to see me and then I said, "Wow, man, you've gotten better!" with my trademarked shit-eating grin.  He was mildly amused at best.

We talked story for a bit, and then I caught a really racy right.  I had a questionable spot to hit but I opted to pump.  There was to be no pay-off for my patience, as the thing shut down on me after about three pumps.  I had nowhere to go with my speed.  I proned out and went in to see if Raquel needed help.

View of a set wave right before noon.  The wind stayed light until about 12:30 which is rare.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

4.13.19 Beach to Point to Beach

The depth of the low tide was right at my check of the forecasts, 3:30 this morning.  By the time I paddled out about 540, surely the tide would be swinging up to my advantage.

When I checked the point at first light, I saw that it seemed to be opening up more on the inside ones but not enough to make me want to paddle out there.

I had dreams of walking out to the beachbreak and seeing makeable slabs folding over on the lefts.  And then I walked out and BOOM, saw one!  Long story short, I saw one other one that I likely could've backdoored and made with a timely pump had I been fifty feet closer!

I got really amped, definitely the most amped I've been all year.  I was screaming my approval to the surf gods.

But that was all there was to see.  I diagnosed it as the tide still being too low as everything just seemed to reel away way too quickly.  I was eventually swept down the beach and was caught in a rip.  I saw only despair around me so I went in and walked to the point.

Once at the point, I saw three guys out, one whose silhouette looked familiar.  It turns out it was the unmistakable local legend Don Roberto.  He pioneered Punta Roca in the 1970s and liked it so much he bailed on life in the US to run his restaurant/tour business here.

I caught a wave within eight minutes of having perched.  I was mindful of the priority situation, but the guy outside missed it and Roberto and his buddy had decided to paddle way inside about thirty seconds before this wave was visible.  I got a pump on it and a cutback as well after which I kicked out.

Bob expressed his dismay at his fortune.  He'd been waiting for a wave for a half-hour.  I apologized for having been in position out of respect to the guy and he told me it was his fault for paddling out of positioning.

He didn't recognize me, but when I introduced myself as my mother's son (he was friends with her starting in the 70s when she ran away from home to live at the beach) he correctly guessed my name.  He asked me how long it had been since I'd spoken to my dad which I thought was an odd question.  He said he'd read about him in the news and I was as confused as I was curious.  It turned out he thought my ex-stepfather was my dad.

Once that was cleared up he said the guy was a real prick and that one time my mom came down to visit at his restaurant and she'd been beaten.  I told him I'd been on the receiving end of those myself.
Not sure why but the conversation stalled a bit after that.

I was in position for a macker.  I was a bit late but not too bad.  The wind held my board back a bit but I pushed through and down.  As I'm starting my bottom turn, I inexplicably just flopped over onto my back.  I half-expected to skip off the water given my speed but I didn't.  It may have been a good thing as the section that folded over looked beastly from the back.

I had a race with another sectioning wave.  I was flirting with disaster, pumping up and down near the top of the wave.  I descended and the thing detonated just inside of my backside rail which spelled doom for my chances of making it around the section.

My last wave there was a smaller one.  I managed a couple of ok top turns before compressing into a cutback.

We sat forever as the high tide swamped us out.  I'd had thoughts of bailing to try the beachbreak again with the higher tide but I thought that the river go-in would've been sketchy if a set came.  And if I paddled all the way to the sand it would eat up an easy fifteen minutes between the paddling and the walking.

I watched as the smoke trail from a local's burning trash heap go towards the ocean then flagellate in its indecision until it appeared to be taken over by the budding onshore.

Then I just snap-decided to go in at the river.  I watched for sets and when a small one came I hung out and used the waves' backs to propel me over as many rocks as possible.  The go-in was perfect, if you don't count my slow-motion slip and butt bonk on a rock!

I walked all the way back doing my best to inhale as little as possible of the trash fire and took a look at it with the extra water.  It was burlier and my chances at an open face seemed unlikely.  There were no amp screams on this attempt.  I did get a pump in on one and an off-the-lip on another.  A big set came and I took one in, not wanting to be caught outside as the swell reinforcers arrived and stranded me out there longer than I wanted.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

4.6.19 Shipwreck and Shorebreak

I thought about going back to La Bocana again this day.  But the tide was going to be dropping and last week's thorn (turned out to be some synthetic thingamabobber my wife was able to pull out almost immediately) made me go back to old habits.

I was hopeful that last week's swell had cleaned up the point.  My first view of point proper was exciting, though a bit small, a nice peeling wave with some hollowness.

I walked down and watched it and saw only nasty sections-off and even some that sectioned off so hard I would classify them as close-outs, with no rideable shoulder remaining.

And so I went...

It looked promising.  I waded out and lifted my leg up to get over the whitewash.  The wave hit me perfectly and I immediately felt my junk become awash with saltwater, which really made the ol' sores sting.

The vast majority of waves were either too slow (but big, very characteristic of this spot since I started surfing it in high school) or dumping hard or if you were lucky you got one look at a section.

The aforementioned being mentioned I did catch one with a weak wall.  I did a mellow top turn and did a weak bonk.

I caught one really fun wave on which I descended all the way, really compressed into my bottom turn and launched off the lip, though I lost the board in the process. 

I caught one right over which I flopped after a pump.  The wind turned about an hour early today.  I headed back towards the point where my ride back to Tecla awaited and saw three silhoutted heads bobbing in the distance, at the El Cocal beachbreak. The point seems to be on everyone's shitlist until it sorts out its bathymetry issues.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

3.30.19 Macking and Mostly Empty La Bocana?

After finally coming to terms that it probably would continue to suck at San Blas/El Recodo , I decided to surf La Bocana, something I hadn't done in eight months.

As I locked the door to leave, I felt a pang.  It seemed to exhort to me to take a preemptive poop.  I diagnosed it as a juicy movement of the gaseous kind but in the back of my mind was some doubt.

After three spooky incidents all within a mile of my place and within an eighth-mile of one another, it was smooth sailing.  I got behind a pick-up truck with two dolls hanging under the bed, presumably as a warning against future doll transgressions and shadowed it.  This helped me avoid potholes and hazards.  There was an incident in 2003 when I was driving down shadowing a car and it hit a crossing dog.  The dog lifelessly careened down the road and under my car and I somehow managed to avoid further defiling its presumed corpse.

Once I got into La Libertad proper I began to receive warning signs from my intestines.  It got bad, but I was able to let off some pressure thanks to some very measured eructions.

Arriving at the hotel, I called Chuleta.  I didn't beat around the bush and asked for the nearest empty room's bathroom.  While offloading, I noticed my legs didn't have much room while sitting, I couldn't make my fist fit between my knees and the wall.  But the flush was strong with this one, and that is the only thing that truly splattered.

We'd made plans to surf but I figured he would bail.  He has become a bit husky and knew it would be big.  He was out of shape and not in the mood, as predicted, but had other cover in the form of no one being around to watch the place or his kids.  I harassed him by telling him his kids could come film but he said the three-year-old wasn't ready.

I parked, 'screened while chatting Chuleta up, then embarked on the long walk.  I saw Sunzalito and was pleased to see the sea's surface was smooth.  I turned the corner and La Bocana was doing its thing.  It was big, but not unmanageable, even for me on my 5'10".

I waded out in the low tide and paddled out pretty uneventfully.  I was surprised to be the only one out on a Saturday.  Sunzal was packed, it looked like a floating ant swarm out there.  I dodged bombs and got smacked around by a few, but nothing too bad.  Until...

...The Set came.  It surprised me as I was sitting pretty far out, WELL past the rock after which the stretch of beach is named.  I didn't get hit too hard, but I was pushed back enough to have no shot at cresting the bigger wave.  I spent the next fifteen minutes pretty much in place, paddling my ass off and duckdiving.  I got pushed to the east a bit, but still in position for some rights.

Two dudes had paddled out.  I saw one catch a wave and immediately kick out.  The current was disgusting and unforgiving.

Long story still too long, I paddled for one wave I might have been able to catch had I been ten feet more on the inside and that was the only look I got at a wave.  I was so whupped, not from any real beatdown (maybe a 6.5 on the beatdown scale at worst), but the absolute tenacious quantity.  I went in well east of the river, farther east than I ever have.  Ugly sharp boulders littered the gauntlet that awaited me.  The ones that weren't sharp were slippery.  I scraped my knee pretty bad and have small cuts all over my feet.  I even fell on my ass and thought I'd dinged the board but apparently it was a fin tap on the rocks.  My lower ribs met rock very softly but I thankfully wasn't cut.

The long walk was hampered by a thorn in my foot, cuts all over my lower extremities, and my tail between my legs.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

3.24.19 When Will It End?

I elected not to surf on the 23rd.  The forecast/report seemed ok but Sunday was supposed to be better, with a stronger period.

I got there really early, before first light, thanks to having left the carport at 451.  I finished off my Chikys and coffee, 'screened, and walked optimistically to the point.  My pace slackened upon seeing the morning sickness on the water.  The wind was offshore but it had apparently been blowing onshore not too far off shore.

There wasn't anything at the point so I resigned myself to the beachbreak.

The beachbreak looked AWESOME!  Peaks up and down the beach.  I excitedly slapped on my leash and jumped into the water.

I must have caught the tail end of the vibing tide, because it almost immediately turned into mushburgers with almost zero push.  I would take off on waves and have a bitch of a time getting down the face.  The slight offshore wind further befuddled my attempts but not nearly as much as the lack of push.

A logger paddled out to my west and then another guy who looked familiar from afar joined him.  I paddled towards him and sure enough, it was Cuca.  I hadn't seen Cuca  in about fifteen years.  He is now managing the house next door to the one in which I caught surf fever as a grom.  That house rents for $500+ a night and he gets to keep 10%, which is great for down here.  We talked story for a while and he went in, unimpressed with the conditions, but not before regaling me with tales of how good it had been the previous afternoon.

I stayed out longer and longer, hoping for something as the tide began to drop but it sucked beyond repair.  When my eldest is out for spring break I will be surfing elsewhere...

Saturday, March 16, 2019

3.16.19 Point Toe-Dip, then Shipwreck, then back to Point on First Swell of the Year; Intro to BeatDown™ Scale

I left at 454 and got to my parking spot at 532, one of my fastest descents ever.  The biggest slowdown was right as I got into La Libertad (town) I spotted something while going about 30mph.  It was about five guys pushing a heavy cart.  Had I not been feverishly scanning the road in front of me it could have been bad!  There was nary a streetlight and these guys were wearing darkish clothing and the cart was an unhelpful woodgrain brown.  I waited behind them as they slowly progressed and then they thankfully turned off onto a sidestreet near the pier.

Given the swell reports I went straight to the point.  As I pass it on the way to the parking spot I was barely able to make out a big wave coming down the point, so the reports were confirmed.

I made it to the 'river' which was barely a trickle given the lack of rain upstream.  I put my leash on but with every step I grew less excited at the session that would lay before me.  I was up to midshin in water when I decided to try my luck and see what was happening at the beachbreak.  The waves were coming but they were sectioning so hard.  The paddle-out looked juicy too, with the biggest surf I'd seen in about six months.

So I turned and walked the ten or so minutes.  My first view of it was exactly what I'd feared.  The low tide was making anything that came turn inside out and slam shut.

The shipwreck was breaking ok so I decided to try my luck there.  I dodged a couple of angry bombs.  Within five minutes I caught a pretty good-sized wave.  The shipwreck looks like a big lazy wall from the sand but the water angle is a whole 'nother story.  If you want to catch them you can luck into one that is foaming over, gather your wits and balance after initial impact and drop down or try your luck at a steeper-than-you-thought drop.

Mine was of the latter variety.  I thought I was in a good spot for a not too hairy drop.  That's when the wind cackled in my face and blew up the face of the wave.  It did its best to hang me up on the lip but I was determined to make this, though I did utter an Oh Shit.  I stuck the drop with absolutely nothing as a reward other than a feeling of speed on mostly flat water.  I jumped off my board and paddled back out.

Upon perching I was awestruck at the speed at which I was being shuttled west.  I got swept into a rip and I caught it about as early as possible.  There was nothing breaking out the back, just a bunch of waves pouncing on the too-even sandbar.  So I cut off the head of what would eventually be an unbelievable drubbing and went in.

While I realized the sand at the point would cripple my chances at anything I had to try as I knew the beachbreak was crap given the bathymetry present there.

I did the walk along the rocks this time, fended off a sand flea after feeling its sting, then with renewed fervor, committed to paddling out.  There was so much sand but with such a low tide it came to an abrupt and sad ending.  I probably put my board down for stability too early and out of the corner of my eye I saw it almost clap a dry boulder.

When a big surge of whitewater hit I jumped up and made myself as hydrodynamic as possible (feet straight with a couple of mini-paddles from my free hand)  so as not to be dragged back.  I would then play the Recodo roulette where the post-surge force would push me back and I splayed my feet, hoping to catch a gentle crevasse to not cut me up and give me a decent foothold.

I wasn't very successful, but I did make it out pretty quickly all things considered.

The classic take-off spot wasn't worth perching, it was ground zero for section-offs so I paddled way wide where I would essentially be surfing this alien intruder of a sandbar.  Some did open up somewhat but with it being so shifty good luck guessing correctly!

After too many pullbacks on obvious no-makes I caught one and was immediately blinded by the glare of the sun bouncing off the wave.  I pumped half-blind, did a baby top turn and launched off the end section behind the wave into a sailor dive.

It took over an hour for me to catch my next wave.  In the interim the spot filled up and the wind switched from offshore to side onshore.  I saw a dude go for a nasty looking wave and get pitched headfirst, he told his buddy he hit only sand.

Every ten minutes or so a nasty set would come and clean up the guys sitting up the point, but I and another guy were sheltered thanks to the absence of the sandbar in deeper waters, with one bad exception. 

I hereby am proposing a Beatdown Scale™:

  1. Water off a duckdiver's back
  2. Anything in between 1 and 3
  3. Healthy hit noticeably delaying one's resurfacing
  4. Anything in between 3 and 5
  5. Shocking hit rocking the submerged off-balance
  6. Anything in between 5 and 7
  7. Immediate slam down and turned upside down
  8. Immediate slam down with some rotation and can't recover balance once breaching surface
  9. Immediate slam down and hit so hard submerged is stunned and involuntarily releases board
  10. Anything worse than 9

A big 'un came and I was a bit behind the epicenter, which meant I couldn't escape via the air pocket that shows up between the wave hitting the surface and the force penetrating to the depth at which one duckdives.

It was easily the hardest I've been hit in six months, definitely a solid 7 on the above scale.  I came up and had water up my nose from my adventures underwater, though I was able to maintain a grip on my board.

I'm sad to report that my streak of not having given up a wave due to another surfer on it was broken on this session...

Eventually, I was in a good spot for a smaller wave and did a turn on it after a couple of fun pumps.  Another dude caught the one behind it and I was slightly in his way.  We both went in WAY down the beach near Rotherham's property.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

3.2.19 Lazy Low Tide Bombie Reform Depth Charges

The road hadn't changed much from last week so it was a relative breeze making it down.  I parked the car at 5:55 and 'screened up.

The point had less than nothing to show me, and I trudged to the beachbreak.  Only one local was out watering the dirt (presumably to keep dust down as delivery trucks/buses access the community of San Blas).

One of the feline twins started audibly chortling when he saw me.  I said, "Is it that bad out there?".  He ignored my question and said, "It's like going back in time watching you walk up with your board".  He was referring to my several summer sojourns in my late teens/early twenties before a post-pizza delivery lifestyle swooped my carefree youth out from under me.

The waves were predictably crappy.  Every once in a while a sick reeling barreling section would fold over and if  the wave lined up flawlessly and one timed it perfectly he/she/it/xir could conceivably get covered up and doggy door out before being entombed in a no-way-out barrel.

The sunrise was amazing.  A massive fire-orange, somewhat squared-off marble rose just where the land met the water.  That was unquestionably the best part of my morning.

All of my waves were lefts and I didn't even bother trying to turn.

But first, let's get to an EddieSurfs first!  I had a dry hair paddle-out and when I caught my first wave, the thing detonated just inside of my tail.  I slowed down and almost stopped as I beached my board but not my fins, then stood there awkwardly.  The water came back up after bouncing and completely doused me and my dry hair was no longer even though my chest hadn't gotten wet.

It was bizarre but thankfully my board seemed fine.

I had one wave on which I had a line on a barrel but I didn't bother as the section in front was folding over for the next twenty yards.

I had a bunch of hairy drops but no reward for my efforts. 

The wind turned up and I went back, picking up pieces of sea glass on my way back.

Friday, February 22, 2019

2.22.19 Beachbreak Blahs and Eddie's Top Five Pre-Sesh AMPERS!

What constitutes a surf session?

To this humble blogger, a surf session is having paddled out at a spot, then paddling in and walking somewhere far enough so that it makes sense to take one's leash off.  Is this criteria perfect? No, but if you don't like it start your own surf blog (and send me the link so I can ROAST it)!

The beachbreak was working better than Saturday which illustrates close to nothing.

Surprisingly, there were 5-7 dudes bobbing at El Pedrero.  That wave was working but extremely lazily so, as was evident by the hard time there were having staying on the waves.

I had a couple of ok off the lips on which I aborted due to the wave pitching me onto the very shallow flats.  I would get thrown ever so slightly, look down and kick my board up.  Sure enough, both times I came up in knee-depth or less water.

I saw a white horse trotting from El Majahual but lost it when it turned inland.

I had a left on which I did a hard non-roundhouse cutback.  I would have liked to have seen the footage on that one as it's not something I'd done before.

I had to go in due to an appointment in town.  The wind was creeping up when I made the decision but I could have gotten a couple more.

On my way back to my ride, the horse and I crossed paths and I was relieved to see it hadn't any machete wounds, as that is very unfortunately something young people sometimes do to pass the time/take out frustration around these parts.

As promised, here are the top three songs that get me raring to paddle out and tear waves apart (then nearly unfailingly flaying on to my back).

 Without further ado, here is today's countdown:

Number Five:

Awesome guitar work and the drums get me going.  GREAT production work too!  It turns out this girl with whom I went to high school is engaged to the lead singer, really proud of her.

Number Four:

This is a song that is very centering to me.  The video especially reminds me of how I came up.  Having this song come up on the GuyPod before a sesh reminds me not only of where I've been, but how far I've come.

Number Three:

Great texture on the guitar sound and don't-f-with-me lyrics.  One day I'll be so amped before a session from this song and I'll talk back to a dude who snaked me and it'll end with my getting my ass kicked.

Honorable Mention:


Number Two:

This is an instrumental that never fails to get me going.  I love the tone on the guitar and the percussion on this song is without question my favorite of all time on any song.

Number One:

Very simple song but the staccato vocal rhythm changes passion seeping through get me crankin!  I love the driving drums after nearly every chorus. 

2.22.19 Doth One Wave A Session Make?

Well, today I got on the road early and after some fun subdeveloped nation roadwork-riddled road driving, I got there before the sun had risen.  The sunrise was a disappointment, as heavy clouds enshrouded the orb during the infancy of its triumph over the horizon.

I was told by magicseaweed to expect 3-4' surf.  They were off by a foot, so only about 30%!  I thought I'd seen a nice one peel down the pointbreak so I veered left.  My feet hit the river and I waited. And waited. And waited for something to show.  It looked FLAT out there the vast majority of the time.  Every couple of minutes a too-small wave would break.  About every eight or so minutes a meaty one would break.  I thought about turning to the beachbreak but was saved from that, albeit temporarily, by a meaty one's arrival.

I made my way out to another empty lineup.  I sat for a bit, then paddled as the peaks shifted either away from me or resulted in no-go closeouts.  I swear I thought I heard them cackling with every initial crackling of each lip.  Eventually, I linked up with a set wave that b a r e l y let me on it.  I dropped in late, swooped around and lacerated the lazy lip.  I put so much oomph into it I slid the tail out but it was awkward-feeling.  I recovered and kicked out but not all that amped despite having made the fins slide out.

The "set waves" that were headed for the deeper takeoff spot seemed to back off and break too far inside.  And the ones in the middle spot were sectioning off.  Case in point, I caught one there and pulled through the lip when it became clear there was no making it.

I came to the realization that the embarrassing riches of sand were effing with the bathymetry and therefore, the waves.  This epiphany coupled with a bad smell joined forces to make me bail and head west toward the beachbreak

Monday, February 18, 2019

2.16.19 Drove Down for a Let-Down

This was my first session as an almost-middle-aged man.  I used the remote on my bed to incline me, grabbed the railing on the side, and stepped into my slippers.  I shuffled down to the stairs where my cane awaited.

I left earlier today and was rewarded with more time with which to surf.  Unfortunately, it was a waste of time.

If I was lucky, I got to pump.  I did get a short cover-up on my first wave but I felt like a contortionist trying to fit into the pit.  It was a no-make but the highlight of the session.  When the payoff for driving eighty minutes (plus twenty minutes of walking) lasts about a second it may be time to consider another line of jollies!

I also managed a gentle bonk on another left.  I tried the shipwreck mostly, but because the waves were so gutless (a pansified 13-second period), if it broke out there it was SUPER fat and weak, and when it hit the inside it was a gross close-out.

I did give the incoming tide a shot at redemption for its underachieving swell cousin.  I stayed out over two hours for science, to confirm the suckage.

I didn't bother driving down the next day.  I am  giving the ocean the silent treatment until it whispers the right sweet nothings into my ear.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

1.26.19 Shattered Expectations at the Beach Break

The swell forecast for today was a lowly just-over-half-meter.  I briefly considered not going, but with our upcoming trip less than a week away (stay tuned), I figured I better get it while the getting's good.

I packed the Tomo, confident in the board choice.  The small swell with the peak high tide would lead to some me vs fat ones paddle battles.

The point, predictably, had little to show with the aforementioned symptoms affecting its ability to provide more than j u s t rideable surf.  But the fact that it was showing anything was a shot in the arm to my chances!

Sure enough, when I first caught sight if what the beach break had to offer I was excited.  It was really peaky, though not too open, and shoulder-high!

I did the best cutbacks I've done in years today, even bouncing one off the rebound section.

I had one wave where I hit it really high after a solid top turn and slid the fins out.  It would have looked great on film if you edited it appropriately 😏

The guy who owns the surf school paddled out on his soft-top log.  I asked him if he's ever surfed a Tomo and he said no.  His eyes lit up when I asked him if he wanted to switch boards.  He was loving it and I got to pop my logging-in-El-Salvador cherry as well as my cross-stepping cherry!

As the bloat of the apex of the tide hit, the waves slowed down.  I caught a right and pumped and waited until the end section was there.  I hit it really well off the lip but ended up too inverted and bailed.  I came up and a little grom was within ten feet of me but didn't seem aggrieved.

My rubbed-raw belly (worsened by paddling the log) was crying out for me to end my friction assault on it.  I thought with the tide coming down and some sets still coming perhaps the point would awaken.

On my walk back I confirmed it hadn't so in I went.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

1.20.19 Rip-Roarin' Bomb-Dodging on a Negative Tide...

... is a recipe for an exciting session.  But when you add in this swell direction and size, you get a workout and not much more.

My belly rawness came back although more muted this time. So I decided to go in.

As I walked, I saw some possible rideable ones on the outside, known as El Barco, after the shipwreck for which this beach is named.  I hemmed. I hawed.  I thought, "I can't leave my faithful blog readers with this!".

"I can't leave the person or bot from Saudi Arabia who was for whatever reason responsible for 108 page views in one day hanging!"

"I can't let my three top referrers this week, cam show sites with girls who may not have been born girls down! The session must go on!".

So I put my sensitive tummy back on the board and rubbed it a little rawer for you, my beloved blog fans.

It was a waste of time as I got shuttled every which way except into non-close-out implosions.

I did see a SICK right throw over into a great barrel section.  It didn't spit and ended up closing out but if you timed it right and got lucky you could make it.  I paddled over there and for its next two of kin which combusted so hard they spit out of the back (up) and threw little piddles of sand!

I nailed all of my drops except the last one, on which I pussed out as the thing started dredging and I jumped for my life!  There were no sections presented to me, I didn't even get to bottom turn!

I walked back to the car and checked the point.  It looked better than it had at first light with some swell filling in.  I went to the car and the wind turned true offshore.  I debated paddling out at the point given it was empty and I'd likely get some sick ones if I was willing to wait an hour or two for the tide to fill in.  On the other hand, inconsistent swell on a super low tide with a hard offshore isn't ideal.  My raw belly was the tiebreaker and I drove back to the pad.

Monday, January 14, 2019

1.13.19 What the Hey Pointbreak Session

This break doesn't work well unless there is solid surf coming in.  Today's swell was solid, but the high tide was making it so that the waves broke more on the inside.  The inside is littered with rocks jutting up, and sometimes out of the water.

I enjoyed making my way to the water.  The river is dumping sand like crazy and since there has been no rain since the first week of December (or big swells), the sand stays put.  So my feet were cushioned by yummy coarse sand up until the last dozen or so steps.

There were no n***** in Paris today, I had it all to myself!

On my first wave, I was pretty deep and saw that beautiful first section bowl on which one can really lean into.  I smacked it and was coming down with tons of speed when I saw a rock through the water and freaked out.  As panic tends to impair one's decision-making, I fell right next to the rock and could have easily t-boned it with my t-bone.  We didn't touch.

The wind was making its presence felt, feathering the water surface and creating chops in the wave, something a board like my choice for the day doesn't handle well.  I caught one other wave of note.  I got a hit on it and a cutback before fading off the back on the inside.

The wind really started ruining things for me so I went in through the river, undoubtedly the easiest go-in I've enjoyed here.

1.13.19 Surprisingly Solid Sunrise Surf Sesh (500th Post!)

This morning I awoke at 345 and made the decision to get up as I just didn't think I would fall back asleep.

I was going back and forth as to whether I would surf today.  Tomorrow's forecast looked very slightly better.  I happened to see that the wave period (the amount of time between troughs in a set) was 16 seconds.  The longer this is, the more powerful the waves are.

When it's really macking, it's 18+ seconds, so 16 meant that while the swell itself was still small, it was coming with ferocity.  Since tomorrow's forecast foretold of a 2-second haircut on the wave period, I decided to strike today.

Because I would be out during the apex of the high tide, I decided to take the Tomo down in what would be a fateful decision.  I envisioned fat waves and possibly some reforms leading to some lazy walls and fun bonks.

My first glance was at the point break.  I was shocked at what appeared to be a shoulder-high set wave rifling down the point.  A subconscious pang of regret percolated over my board choice.  Oh well, I was going to have to make it work.

I 'screened up and power-walked to the point.  No other similar waves came and the tide was only going to get higher.  So I convinced myself the beach break would be better and beat feet in that direction.

The surf at the beach break was dumping despite there being a lot of water out there.  The Tomo hadn't touched water since Nicaragua and it took a bit to get used to paddling it again.

My first was a right.  It was a late drop but nothing too bad, although the Tomo (and its lack of nose rocker/general rocker) sure makes it seem that way!  I got a mini-pump in and a small bonk to finish.

I had a really late drop on a left.  I thought I was going down and the nose went under before I rescued it.

The high tide did affect the waves so they would mostly blast down on the sandbar that's just outside the shorebreak.  I had to adjust my strategy so as to not paddle too much once I'd found a wave.  Doing so would put me in the drop-straight-down spot.  Once I shifted to this I was able to find my rhythm.

I had two waves in a row with big finishes.  One was an abortion of a layback snap, and the other was more of a miscarriage of one, as I came slightly closer to pulling it.

The tide and swell changes were starting to be noticeable.  I caught a left and the oncoming section was five or so feet in front of the wave I'd caught.  I stomped down after a mini-pump, swooped around and up and got a nice satisfying off-the-lip.

I paddled out as a couple of foreign-looking dudes paddled out.  I let the slight current drift me down a bit so as not to break my streak of not having to let go of a wave due to someone already on it.

And that's when it happened.

I caught a wave and it was one of those that was a slight double-up.  The wave behind it caught up and I didn't notice until it was too late.  I was on trajectory for a second pump and noticed the thing foaming over and threatening to snap shut.  I kicked my board out and got picked up and absolutely slammed onto my back into the sand, so hard that I felt it in my chest.

I gathered my thoughts, emotions, and the remnants of my ego and paddled back out.  I caught a similar wave but this time I spotted it and kicked out, doing a fading carving 180 while doing so.

Another similar but smaller wave came.  I pumped crazily along the top of the wave and tried to do an air but I didn't swoop enough on my set-up and just skipped out along the top of the wave.

The tide and swell angle conspired to make the waves crappy and I decided to pack it in.  I was curious to see what the point was doing and since it was on the way to where I'd parked, I walked that way.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

1.9.19 Barely Rideable Beachbreak

I left the carport at 538 and parked at 622.  The surf report had said it  would be 2-3' and it was wrong.  I suppose some a couple of sets approached 3' but 1-2' would have been much more appropriate.  Had I known it was going to be this small I would not have made the trek!  But I can't really complain, I had it to myself, had great scenery and got some exercise.

The point looked like Tahoe on a big day.  I took the dirt road to the beachbreak.  My first glance gave me hope that it would be a fun day.

But it was not to be.

The relative highlight was a backside floater I did.  It was such rough going getting any speed that I ended up too sideways on the smush-out sections. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

1.3.19 Heaviest 2' Ever?

I was jonesing to surf.

The 2' swell wasn't going to stop me.

The early morning timing of the depths of the low tide wasn't going to slow me down.

I thought about bringing the Tomo and while driving down cursed my decision to bring the Merrick, but then I remembered how low the tide was going to be.

I got there, parked the car, walked the walk, and it looked flat.  Down the beach I saw some spinning with steep sections and disgusting doomsday sections. 

The wind was a beautiful light offshore.  I fantasized about the perfection present had the swell doubled in size and the tide been a foot higher.  I had to stop when I felt my boardshorts getting tight.

There were many waves caught and "ridden".  I had a bunch of dicey airdrops.  Some made, some "made".  The rights were gross because of the just-risen sun's glare subtracting a clear view from the equation.  I caught one and thought I had it in the bag while in the air.  I slammed really hard into the water after having pearled.

I did luck into a few corners.  I was so focused on making the drops and initial sections or catching up to the green water that I was too sideways to make anything.

A questionably late left came.  I went.  I went under and smacked my elbow HARD into the sand, thankfully cushioned by a slab of just-above-the-knee depth of liquid salvation.

I kept getting shuttled west where it was even less makeable.  I don't remember what happened on the wave but when I came up my head and fin met and I was left with a painful contusion.

I left the water on two occasions to walk back up the beach; from unmakeable to barely makeable.

This was the worst session I've had since moving here and it was ironically the most crowded I've had at the beachbreak.  The good news is I gave up zero waves to others because the closeouts were splitting the peaks so effectively.

Monday, December 31, 2018

12.29.18 A Bit Bigger at the Beach Break

This time I was let in to Pando's development.  I longingly looked at the point but there just wasn't enough swell for it and two n***** in Paris already on it.

I walked over to the beachbreak and I was surprised at the size there.  Nothing special, but there were some shoulder-high ones out thar.  They were mostly pump and dumps, in which you could get a sick amount of speed and then go for broke on the nasty end sections.

The absolute highlights were two late lefts I caught.  On the first I rose up slightly and snapped with the lip hard, but kicked my board out when I realized I had zero shot.

On the second I altered my trajectory and was able to weight more correctly.  It was an aggressive line but this time I had a single-digit percentage shot.  The odds took it.

There were some freight trains rolling through: rights which were barreling.  Some looked makeable.  I went for one and without thinking crabgrabbed.  The lip tightened and slammed me in the head. I laughed possibly the shortest laugh of my life.  I stopped my face from hitting the deck by stopping the momentum with my hands and just managed to shoo the board away from me. My face was smashed into right where the board had been.

The wind came up a little earlier this time and there was nowhere to hide.  I walked back to Pando's and there were still two n***** in Paris on it, now with heavy texture on the water surface.

12.27.18 Back after Long Break,

I suffered through a battery of illnesses in the month in between sessions.

I initially thought I'd gotten the flu, but when two rounds of rashes (first across my back, then across my left collar area) appeared, I thought I'd contracted chikungunya.  Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne illness but it is maybe a tenth as bad as dengue (if I've diagnosed it correctly..).  Then, a cough arrived (which I still have the remnants of) and a minor cold.

I missed out on the late November swell as a result as my nausea wasn't allowing me to take advantage.

I finally had a chance to go to the beach and did so.  Pando's development wouldn't let me in so I drove and parked at a lot.

The waves were small so I didn't bother checking the point.  I paddled and perched on the inside of the shipwreck.  They were lining up pretty well there and I was all by myself, not a bobbing seafaring soul in sight.

After being neglected for so long, my floater game was on display!  I did one I bobbled and faded, and one I held for seemingly ever, outlasting the initial mini-blast and riding away and clean.

The wind kicked up a bit and the tide dropped.  The surf spigot was turned to a standstill.  I went in and walked past the beach house I'd spent many-a-weekend in years past but that was a fool's errand.
 I paddled back out and caught not much of anything and eventually went in.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

11.24.18 Quick Beachbreak Session

Two roads diverged in a beach
and I-I took the one less traveled
and that has made all the difference
(from my recollection of an 8th grade Robert Frost poster)

I took the street side as I wasn't feeling the rocks jutting out along the shore.  I wasn't sure when to go from littoral to sandbound so I guessed and was half-expecting someone to tell me not to go that way.  It was a quarter-lot's width and there was a little cocktail/bar/surf rental shack.  Sure enough, I heard a noise, looked up and it was that guy with whom I surfed a couple of sessions ago (or his brother, I can't tell them apart).

He said he'd be out soon and I said I'd probably miss him as I had a hard out.

I paddled out at the first sign of a decent wave and was surprised it didn't end in a horrendous closeout.

Long story short, I caught three waves in quick succession.  On one I might have gotten tubed but I had frontside turns on the brain after having only turned backside all day.  I did a sick superpump, on which it felt like the wave was amping to catapult me into the flats.

I managed to overturn™, which as I'm coining it, is to turn too hard for the section.  I probably could have gotten away with a cutback but with the tide being this low I didn't even consider it a possibility.

My other memorable wave was a double-up and, though I didn't realize it at take-off I did spot it while descending.  I prolonged the drop and bottom-turned hard.  Once again the wave was weirdly too weak for my off-the-lip.  I diagnosed it as a case of my being too early.

I went in and my car's clock read 802, 804 once I had changed into shorts and mounted up.  The drive back was gross thanks to the roadwork and I was stopped at one place for nearly ten minutes.  Thankfully I made it back just shy of 910 and avoided another browbeating!

11.24.18 Pointbreak Sunrise Session

My wife wasn't into me going surfing on this day.  The previous evening, she'd reminded me that our eldest's ballet recital rehearsal was today at 930. I thought, if I leave with enough time I can arrive right around first light, which is what I did.

Thanks to my wonky sleep schedule, I woke up without an alarm at 330.  I tried to go back to sleep and gave up after our youngest began wailing.  I tried to get her to come to our bed but her Mami appeared behind her and she somehow preferred her for soothing purposes.

I got in the car and left at 458 and got there at 540.  I got a little static from the guy at the front because I was there so early.  They have a rule wherein guests can't use the pool/showers/club area until 830 but I've learned that if I tell them I'm just going to the beach they're cool with it.  After a three-minute delay, I drove in.

The point looked good enough that I barely gave the beachbreak any consideration, despite how good it had been to me the last couple of sessions. 

There was one dude out but he was sitting on the shoulder on a bigger board, which is usually a sign there won't be a battle for waves.  I waded through the river towards my paddle-out path and soaked in the colors of the sunrise.  The sun's top third was visible in its orange glory.

Within five minutes I caught my best wave.  I did three turns on it and was amping.

On my second wave I did two turns, then kicked out as the wave fizzled a little close to the inside. As I splashed down and recovered, my buttocks happened to gently land on a submerged rock.  Back in my twenties this sensation would have driven me into a panic but I guess I care less overall now?

The waves vacillated between the main take-off point and the swing-wide point.  If you were in the perfect spot you could get a pump in and make it around the section, but the swing-wides seemed to have a soft shoulder.  The main take-off was great because at first turn the wall was very bowly.

I had a wave that was iffy from the main and I saw the swing-wide section off.  Normally I would just kick out but for whatever reason I went up and smashed it, throwing a good amount of spray in the process.

As the tide continued to drop along with the consistency, I longed for the sweet curves of the beachbreak.  With each subsequent wave I was more committed to staying at the point break, but then a local paddled out and where there's one dude, there tends to be a gaggle.

I caught an ok wave and rode it pretty far in.  I started surfing this wave almost twenty years ago and there was always a little beach area I could use for egress purposes.  I aimed for it (it's right in front of a big ceiba tree), while keeping my eyes glued to three jutting rocks in between the shore and me.

It was a bitch to go in and I spent five minutes doing the eggshell dance.  I vowed to never again go in that way, at least at that low a tide.  I beat feet to the club area and asked a guard the time.  He told me it was 728 so I walked briskly to the beachbreak, convinced I could buck the closeout-causing low tide and contentment-killing inconsistency and snag some more waves.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

11.20.18 Ripping? at the Beachbreak

I decided to take advantage of our eldest daughter's week off from school and thereby my week off from shuttling her there in the morning.  I left our carport at 5:41 and shut the trunk, surfboard in hand at 6:30, nineteen miles and some iffy road construction later.

The point, as it's wont to do when it's small, was underperforming.  There was one guy out who was trying and got a wave in my three minutes of checking it.  It was a waist-high one with nice shape, but just too small considering I could probably get some shoulder-high waves if I walked ten minutes to the west.

As I did so this aguacatero ran up to me; a scruffy mutt with lively muted green eyes.  I petted it and rubbed its head.  I could tell someone was caring for it as its fur was not matted or mangy.  It was loving the affection and was really leaning into it.  After about a half-minute it wanted to play and tried to snag my dangling leash in its maw.  I retracted the leash upwards in time and I ran after it.  It stopped to look at me and then ran around as I squatted and jumped toward it.  I hit the rocky area and it started barking at me (it felt as though there was a tinge of sorrow in its barks but it might just have been my imagination).

About five minutes later it ran towards me from the opposite direction! The dog had taken the road and then come to the beach to meet me, this time with two other dogs I'd seen before in tow.  The novelty must have worn off quickly for he/she/it, as I began gaining on the pack.

The tide was pretty low, which can sometimes be a good thing for beachbreaks but usually it means closeouts are on tap.  I paddled out close to my ex-stepdad's beach house to try my luck there.  There were two dudes out at the shipwreck and the waves looked ok there; a critical-ish takeoff but a too-mellow face as a payoff for having stuck the landing.

I caught a couple of close-outs and then backdoored one.  I was thankfully a bit early and was underwhelmed by my timing on a pump.  I gained some speed but not as much as I could've.  I swooped up, tucked in and was ensconced in a swirling frothy barrel for maybe a beat and a half.  I sensed doom and was able to doggy-door it was the lip j u s t tapped me on the head.  This is the first barrel I've ever made at this beach and I was amping.

The morning's sun angle was wreaking havoc on my visibility on the rights, but I did catch one about ten minutes after my barrel.  I wound up on the bottom turn and smashed the lip.  I got hung up and exhaled quickly through my mouth as I leaned back so as not to pearl.  Another, less critical, turn followed and I kicked out as the wave fattened over a deep spot.

Another right towards the end of my session led to another nice wind-up.  But this time I lost sense of where on the wave I was when I turned, as when I did so my legs fully extended as too much of the board went over the lip.  As I surfaced I admired the foam trail my spray had wrought.

The waves turned off and I went in, no sign of the dog on the way back.

11.18.18 Peaky and Fun San Blas

The waves were looking pretty small for today but it might be the last southern pulse for the year so I headed down after my buddy (with whom I went to school down here) bailed on me.

The point looked too small, and I initially was excited by the three guys that were WAY out.  I thought to myself that perhaps they were fishing but I've never been right in that thought. Until today!

I headed to the beachbreak around the corner.  There was one dude out and so I walked past him.  I inevitably was swept into him by the current.  It was a guy five years my junior whom I'd met when he was little.  He and his two brothers lived in a house a couple of blocks away from my former stepdad's old beach rental.  He now runs a surf school and on good months does pretty well for himself.  Check him out at Surf Strong El Salvador

He chatted me up somewhat about the situation here in El Salvador which he thought was grim, but not too bad all things considered.  He really talked a lot about his time in the States, mostly in CA, but some in DC and VT.

The waves looked a bit closed out but there were definite running corners on some.  You could backdoor the peak and get a really good pump in to make it.  It was tons of fun when I didn't misread the waves.

I did a few frontside hacks and pulled one, as well as a weak carve down attempt.  I botched a couple of layback snaps, though I did get semi-close on one.

After I paddled back out and perched, I felt for my car key in my boardshorts.  The reassuring irregular mass was not to be found.  I entered panic mode as I frantically patted every corner of the pocket.  I was freaking, "There's no way I'll find it, it's gone!".  Then I went into, "The pocket is still velcroed closed, where/how could it have fallen out?!" I stopped patting it thinking I had to catch the next one in when I finally felt the key, tucked into the top center of the pocket, right under the flap! PHEW!

I'm really digging the water temp/clarity from the lack of rains.  It is an absolute godsend not having to battle crowds on B waves.  I can't imagine doing the California struggle every morning with ravenous snakers and achingly cold water...

Sunday, November 18, 2018

11.11.18 Unattainable El Recodo

I saw some barrels breaking from the beach club.  I'd finally been granted access inside.  The first attempt I was forbidden entry because they said the administration hadn't passed word down that Pando (owner of a lot inside the development) had greenlit me in (he had).

The next time we tried, we got in the gate but were barred at the beach club itself because Pando was a couple of months behind in paying his dues (he wasn't).

Due to it being my first time here I got excited when I saw the barrels but then realized from the angle that these barrels were breaking over shallow cobblestones and likely not worth the risk.

A squint into the rising sun's glare down the line revealed good news: nice lines coming down the point. 

I did the river paddle-out that few seem to do for some reason and I jumped onto my board more quickly than possibly ever at that spot.  I spotted no boils and the current was threatening to drag me down the point, where slightly submerged rocks could get me.  I sprint-paddled diagonally just as a set detonated on the outside and took a few on the head.  After the carnage, I was comically way past the preferred take-off spot, even inside the wave-swung-wide-section-off take-off spot.

I spent most of the hour paddling to attempt to stay in position.  Eventually, I paddled OUT deep, then across and in.  I continued my work on the liquid treadmill and finally caught a beast of a wave.  I cut back just enough on my first maneuver, then pumped and slayed the section which had presented itself.  I got hung up on the lip some, but managed to descend and pump a couple more times which led to another rooster tail of spray on my last turn.

I kicked out amped, but crestfallen at the paddle back that lay before me. 

Ten minutes later I was almost almost in position and caught a small one.  I faded off the back on my first turn and after I surfaced I realized I was really gone.  I figured Raquel needed help with the girls at the pool so I went in and managed to scrape my knee up on a surprise big boy rock on the inside.

That one wave was worth it.  After three sets in one hour (first one blasted me, second one I blasted, third one was blasted by the locals), I figured I'd gotten what I was going to get given the circumstances.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

11.4.18 Best Waves I've Ever Surfed in El Salvador

IN NOVEMBER! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜„πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ŠπŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜•πŸ˜’πŸ˜ŸπŸ˜‘πŸ˜’

As you probably surmised from my emoji game, these are the only waves I've surfed in El Salvador in November.  The last time I was in El Salvador in November was my tenth grade year in 1995 and I wasn't surfing then.

I was allowed a reprieve from daddy duty on this day so I shot down to the beach.  I was overjoyed that I was allowed entry into Pando's development (he owns a lot there).  My joy turned to pain when the security guard by the pool (which is next to the point break I wanted to surf) said that Pando was behind on his monthly payments so I had to leave.  It turned out this wasn't the case and was a clerical error...

So I drove into the neighboring beach, parked the car and walked all the way back.  It looked abysmal.  Small and fat.  I watched it a few minutes, then walked all the way back to the beachbreak and paddled out.  I surfed that for forty-five minutes. What I should say is I sat there for 44.9 minutes and caught one wave that didn't close out right away. I had to finesse my way into it and did a crappy snap on the end section from which I rode away.

I decided this sucked, walked ALL the way back to the pointbreak and watched it for about seven or eight minutes.  Nary a set broke.  I turned to walk back, intent on paddling back out at a different part of the beachbreak (it had been slow but the tide had dropped and maybe it would start working).

I decided to turn back for one more look and I saw a set!  It wasn't much but my stoke threshold had been dropped to almost nil from the morning's festivities so out thar!

Long story short, I did one pretty sick snap on a wave and that was it.  The good news is I had gotten exercise and been outside.

I guess...

Thursday, October 18, 2018

10.10.18 Aaron's swan song at El Recodo

I braved the road from town to La Libertad after it had been further battered by the monsoon-light's dousing.

Aaron was leaving today so I took advantage of school having been cancelled (and freeing me from taking Lucia) and got one last session in with him.

I borrowed a voluminous but very short board. Long story short (*snort!*)...

I caught zero waves of note.  The highlight of the session was just before paddling out I saw a dead mouse floating to and fro.

Aaron went in to pack and I mostly floated/somewhat paddled to the beachbreak.  When I used to surf El Recodo half my life ago, I assumed the waves down there were all rocks, given what lay beneath me.  It turns out it's beautiful, forgiving soft sand.

I found this last tidbit out after deciding to abort on a late takeoff.  I was worried about the rocks so I jumped off and did a shallowish dive to the side of the wave.  I gingerly put my foot down upon surfacing and it was that great spongy stuff!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

10.7.18 El Recodo with Aaron!!

I picked up Aaron from his pad in El Tunco and we drove to Mizata.  There was a house for sale there that I wanted to see, because it was suspiciously cheap.

We drove through three of the five tunnels toward Mizata, admiring the waterfalls from the deluge as well as some small landslides and fallen trees.

Eventually we reached an impasse.  A cliff had fallen and there was no way to get around it in a car.

So we flipped a bitch and headed back, stopping once so Aaron could take a look at a point break, from the road, that was kind of breaking.

I took him to San Blas, the beach at which I'd spent a lot of time as a kid.  It was semi-rideable.  Every once in a while a reeling right would break and stir our loins.

I drove him down to El Recodo, a point break at which I'd surfed a lot in my summers away from my pizza delivery gig (which is where I first met Aaron).  We didn't have a good angle on it but Aaron was amping at the potential.

We ended up surfing for just under three hours.

This was my first time surfing this spot without one of da boyz (either Pando, Chamba, or Chuleta) guiding me into the surf. 

Using the river as an ingress point has several advantages:
  1. Extra cushion of water.  If you slip, your fall will be slowed by the extra water.
  2. River push-back. The onslaught of water coming from the ocean is relatively slowed down when it meets the constant river outlet
  3. The express. Once you do start paddling (and taking advantage of the extra water cushion), you will be shuttled out to the water much faster.

On my first wave I was able to levitate onto the lip and while up there, a local, older grom was right in my path.  I grabbed my rail and leaned back, away from him, and hard.  He duckdove under me without issue though the wave was blown.

The wind was onshore and the waves were bumpy, but within forty-five minutes, the wind stopped and then flipped offshore!  These are the rewards of paddling out during a storm.  The rain would 

I caught a couple of waves on which I did some pretty sick initial turns.  I believe my record for maneuvers on a wave was three.  I could have had longer rides but I was intent on doing a roundhouse cutback.  I blew at least three of these, though I did slide the fins out on one attempt.

I also managed a turn on which I got hung up on the lip seemingly forever, slammed my hand down onto the deck and leaned forward, then somehow found a way to biff.

On the way back to the car, we had to navigate the river.  It had gained some breadth since we'd paddled out given all the extra rain.  Every time you picked a foot up, it would be moved towards the ocean.  On a left foot put-down, it slipped on a rock and I kept sliding while looking for footing.  I got about halfway to doing the splits before it found purchase in a crevasse, leaving me with a couple of cuts.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

9.30.18 First One In at El Palmarcito

The previous day's lower tide showed that El Palmarcito could bare some teeth with a little less water waterboarding it.  I was close to paddling out since there was only one dude out but the wind kept getting worse and I was over it.

When I got to the sand this morning I thought it was flat.  I kept walking because I thought I could paddle around some since I'd made the trek down.  Eventually I saw some action at the point, but it was underwhelming.

I knew if I got lucky on the timing and if a slight surge in swell showed, I could get something rideable for more than five seconds.  So I walked that way and paddled out to it.

There were two highlights. I caught a right that seemed to keep growing as I dropped down (not saying much as it was about three feet when I popped up).  I turned up, then down, quickly, then again.  I then got clotheslined by the lip I hadn't seen because of the glare.

My last wave was better and I actually completed my first turn in over a month, though the wave could have been more into me.  It didn't push back as much as I'd hoped and while I successfully completed the maneuver it wasn't as satisfying as I would have liked.

It's interesting as a surfer how a wave can break a certain way and you can get a flashback to a certain session about which you'd forgotten.  That happened to me on the way in; as the waves sloped a certain way, I was reminded of a day at the Del Mar beachbreak when I was in my early 20's.

9.29.18 First One Out at El Palmarcito

My in-laws were coming down and I booked a pad for them to stay and enjoy El Salvador's beaches.

My goal was to find a place within walking distance to surf that would have wi-fi, a pool, access to facilities, and would allow our mutt to stay there.

The above really narrowed my price range but we got into a place that was a bit dodgy-looking in the pics.  Thankfully it wasn't bad once there.

El Palmarcito is a wave about which I hadn't heard up until a few years ago.  It wasn't a mysto spot, and it's not a new discovery.  It's a very unpredictable logger wave.

I first paddled out where I'd seen some locals messing around the previous afternoon.  I had jumped into the water to bodysurf and had an EddieSurfs first: I accidentally pooped myself in the water (I'd been battling a stomach bug since Wednesday and had already murdered the McDonald's toilet prior to leaving for the beach).

I caught a disorganized left and pumped on it but couldn't get in rhythm.

I eventually drifted down towards what I'd gathered was the actual point break.  I caught a quick close-out and then I paddled up to the point a bit more.

A couple of false starts later and I caught the wave of the day.  I got a couple of backside pumps on it before it fizzled out.  I went in and had a bitch of a time doing so!  I had to do the awkward ride-a-wave-in, but-jump-over-the-shorebreak dance a couple of times and my left big toe got smashed when a cobblestone rolled onto it just as I was preparing to leap.

Monday, August 27, 2018

8.25.18 San Blas Beachbreak Sesh

Pando has purchased a lot just down the way from the my ex-stepdad's former beach house.  He said we could come and visit his development so we wouldn't be subject to the 'consumo mΓ­nimo' issues at hotels/restaurants, in which we'd have to spend a certain amount of money to warrant their allowing us to use their facilities.

Due to what I'm hereby christening as Salvapathy (the gatekeepers wouldn't call the office to confirm Pando had followed proper protocol in establishing us as his official guests, despite proof-in-hand), we were rebuffed and we sought shelter at nearby Rancho Playa Bruna, a converted beach house which is now a hostel/restaurant.  We had to consume at least $20 ($10/adult) of food and beverage so that we could post up and use their pool.

I did something I hadn't done in Lord knows how long.  I trekked to the water without first having checked the forecast/tide/wind.  It reminded me of when I first started surfing, twenty-one years ago this month, and I would drive to the beach with only what the Del Mar Lifeguards' often-erroneous forecast said, in my head (courtesy of San Diego Union-Tribune).

The waves were better than last time.  Where I first paddled out they were pretty slow despite the lowish tide.  There was a crowd of four out.  I could tell they were foreign by their pale skin but it wasn't until I drifted closer that I ascertained as to their being from Germany.

The absolute highlight of the session was an outsider that bowled over as it hit the inside sandbar.  I may have gotten covered up but I had zero faith in making it due to it being low tide.  I raced ahead of the lip and tried for a snap but I was too late and I ended up on my ass.

I had another wave on which I slid the tail out on a snap and suffered a similar fate.

My session count has been predictably decimated by our distance from the water.  Though I do look forward to more variety and am definitely enjoying the lack of crowds.

8.12.18 Solo Beachbreak Sesh Eastside MaHawaii

I hadn't surfed this, the beach on which I'd spent many weekends during my formative years, since 2005.  We pulled up to a place so the girls could eat and I could paddle out. 

The waves were as good as the breakfast!  And the breakfast was bad... πŸ˜‘  My wife, who has an addiction to salt in her food, said the eggs were too salty!

Although by myself, the session was barred from being a magical one due to the close-outs.  I think I got one look at a wall, and it was too quick for a surfer of my caliber.

I went in earlier than I'd wanted, as I wanted to make sure the girls were happy; my biggest one was suffering from oversalted eggs.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

7.27.18 Back to La Bocana, El Salvador

My surf mojo was going through a crisis of consciousness.  I'd previously enjoyed lightly fettered access to a reliable and sometimes magical beachbreak.  All I'd had to do was grab my board and go.

Now I was thirty kilometers away, in a borrowed car (which I'd be parking out in the open).

Several factors had stymied my attempts to paddle out sooner.  Massive swell coupled with a brutally low tide was the first.  The swell models predicted a slow marching-down in size and I made plans to surf.

The gods had other plans for me.  That Saturday evening, I ordered a pizza and in my haste to meet the pizza guy I ran barefoot on these wet too-smooth stepping stones.  My index toe curled under the pad of my foot and was crushed into the sharp edge of the awaiting next stepping stone.  I thought for sure I'd broken it and cautiously canceled the next day's session.

On two occasions, massive thunderstorms and their accompanying rain derailed my plans.

And finally, on a very dark Friday morning, the stars aligned so I could presumably bring you this blog entry!

As previously alluded to, I was in a borrowed car.  I didn't know if the key had a chip so I couldn't risk getting it wet by taking it into the water with me.  This meant Punta Roca was out.  I realized if Chuleta was at the hotel I could surf La Bocana and it just so happened he'd spent the night there!

I was really surprised at just how many rocks I'd have to dance on to paddle out.  There was also a suspicious smell in the air as my toes hit the remarkably warm water.

I caught five waves.  I had a massive lull before I caught my last one, by far my best.   Since I hadn't caught anything in so long, I went on a questionable one as I was really late.  I got a massive amount of speed and hooted myself as I made eye contact with a local while adjusting my course so as not to hit him. I connected on the inside but I had no speed when  I tried to bonk off the oncoming section.

I took a lot of beatings out there as it was really shifty.  Unfortunately, though the waves were still big, they were mostly all drop.

Monday, July 9, 2018

7.9.18 Nica Swan Song at Playa Colorado

The doggo and I beat feet to the beach.  He took his time sniffing stuff, getting one last inhalation of the path to the water.  I let him dally on the sand when I paddled out.

It wasn't too crowded.  I think a lot of people were lulled by the late arrival of this swell.  According to magicseaweed we were to get a pulse in the morning with constant reinforcers all day with the swell peaking today.  Yesterday was a complete bust.  I waited until the afternoon to go and it was so gutless I didn't bother to paddle out at the swell magnet that is Panga Drops.  

 There was way more energy in the water noticeable upon my first southward gaze into the Pacific.

I caught a left pretty quickly and got covered up completely, too completely.  I kicked my board in front of me to lessen the chances of trauma.

I immediately began getting attacked by the baby jellyfish, including a particularly painful string of them wrapping around my forearm.  It felt as though a low voltage charge had coursed through my extremity.  Painful, but not as bad as the Pangas "Just Get Welts" sesh a couple of months ago.

A light squall showered us and a rainbow formed.  I gazed at it while two surfers were particularly close to one another framed by the rainbow and thought what a cute gay surfers couple's pic that would make. 

I caught a right that lined up ok.  Had I not been dropping in blind from the wind and the glare I might have noticed it was going to tube.  I pumped and snapstalled but did so too high/late and as I crouched down I got pitched.

My last wave was a really late small right.  I had paralysis of analysis and ended up crabgrabbing as the wave unloaded its Napoleonic fury on my head.

The dog had been barking it up for a while and I had stuff I needed to button up so I went in.

We moved to Nicaragua because at the time of planning it checked so many of our boxes
  1. Warm water and good surf within walking distance
  2. Decent school with US accreditation nearby
  3. Established community with little kids running around
  4. Relatively cheap
  5. Safe. From October 2015 (when I started planning the move) to April 2018 it was considered the safest country in Central America by far (yes including Costa Rica, which is dealing with a terrible rise in crime and corruption) 
  6. Striking distance to US
The school thing turned out to be a bust as we got insider info while here that it wasn't up to snuff.  So even if this political strife hadn't happened Raquel had decreed we would stay here through Lucia's first grade year at the latest.

Point Five is the biggest catalyst for the move, obviously.  If we were staying now the next few months would be the time to put money down on a lot or home.  We pulled out of our lot purchase and ended up eating the deposit (though we are supposed to get half of it back...).

Everything else was pretty sweet.  The waves weren't as good as I'd hoped, meaning the close-out/too-fast-too-make situation didn't sort itself out for as much of the season I was here.

Ironically, had the political issue not ignited I'm pretty sure the crowds might have turned me off and possibly away (as they did in California). 

The biggest bummer about being here, and one of which we were aware before the move, was getting supplies.  Each trip to the grocery store was a three-hour endeavor pre-roadblocks.  Roundtrip driving alone was 100 minutes and waiting in line was twenty on a decent day.  Going to Managua for (Pricesmart, VERY similar to Costco) shopping and to get our investment property check was a seven-hour grind.  I insisted on doing both Rivas and Managua trips on my own because our youngest has a penchant for puking when in a car for more than a half-hour.  I got it down so I would only have to go to Rivas every twenty or so days and Managua every forty-ish days.

So we move on from the Nica dream to our next station in life, El Salvador.  8065 days will have elapsed since I left El Salvador as a full-time resident to return as one.  I have been back to visit nineteen times in the interim, so I have a feeling as to what to expect.

A few of the differences between El Salvador and Nicaragua:

  • In El Salvador, we will live in the San Salvador metro area (I consider Santa Tecla to be part of it because of the sprawl).  Everything will be more convenient (hospital, grocery stores, doctors, schools; hell I'll even be able to go to a full gym again) with one tiny exception:  The beach will be a little less than an hour away. 
  • This convenience comes at a price.  Where we had been living for the last eight months was in very rural Nicaragua.  We will be in very urban surroundings of San Salvador.  Nicaragua has six times the land area and fewer people total than El Salvador. 
  • When it comes to infrastructure, we will be in the lap of luxury relative to Nica.  The power and internet will go out much less often and the roads are actually asphalted and maintained there.
  • The biggest bummer we'll encounter is the muro-to-muro lifestyle.  Everyone there lives behind walls and you go from your set of walls to others'.  We can mitigate this somewhat by living in a complex with a bunch of kids so we'll see how that works out.
  • Surf-wise, there will be a lot more variety than here (point breaks galore, beach breaks, rivermouths and so on all bigger than in Nica for some reason) but with no offshore it's pretty much an early morning only situation.  The nice thing is they're doubling the capacity of the road to the beach so no more chewing on diesel exhaust on the way back up the hill.
  • We'll have blood relatives there and the can of worms that goes with that... πŸ˜†  I also have life-long friends I've known, in some cases, since preschool.
  • No more worrying about obtaining residency!  I am a full citizen with all of the benefits that entails and can stay as long as I'd like.  Here in Nica we had to leave every ninety days to get our passports stamped with new visas.  In ES, I'll have to get the girls legal but that will be a lot easier than having to get the four of us residency.
In CA, I was burned out on working but I must say I'm getting the bug to start producing hard again.  Once Chucho dies we will likely be leaving El Salvador unless we fall in love with it.

When I was living there, I couldn't wait to get out.  This was pre-internet, pre-driver's license, pre-surfing, so my entertainment options were extremely limited.  I was also in a dysfunctional situation at home which was a constant bummer and the pervading vibe was emotional instability.

Conclusion to the Opie chronicles

The van I drove down was nicknamed Opie due to its license plate having OP as the first two letters.  I bought it and drove Chucho and a fair amount of stuff down from Colorado, with the intention of giving it away (because it was too old to be imported).

I asked around on the expat groups and the first person to respond was a woman from Dallas who does a lot of charitable work in Astillero (where some people take pangas to surf up north).

Your Faithful Surf Blogger and Da Astillero Boyz in November

I received a message this morning saying how much the van has helped the community as well as a pic of Opie in action!

"I want to share with you how much this van is helping many in the community. The baseball team has been able to transport the team 2 weeks in a row! Olinyer takes care of it and the surf team has used it to feed the elderly in nursing homes etc. we are very grateful thank you and your wife for this gift."

Friday, July 6, 2018

7.6.18 Smaller at Playa Close-outs-rad-though

The wind was blustering and it made for a bad combo with the smaller waves.  Smaller waves, generally speaking, have a tighter window during which you can catch waves and getting hung up on the lip robs you of the already low percentage you have to make these poorly angled waves.

I caught three waves.

On my first, a left, I pearled on a pump.  While I didn't get hung up on the lip at takeoff I managed to put myself in that position and my nose went pearl diving.

I was in position for a juicy right.  I got hung up on the lip and airdropped.  While I was airborne, I saw a dark local grom bail and leave his board out (I presume he feared I would smash into him as it was tight).  He needn't had worried, I stomped it and for my reward I was presented with a section folding over in front of me cutting me off from the rest of the wave.  To boot, the guy who'd last given me a ride in his golf cart had gone and had reaped the best section of the wave.

Chucho was being good on the sand, only barking when people came in from the surf.

I got another left. I made it around the initial cascade of a section but what lay before me beyond that was too fat.  I managed some pumps and a half-hearted bonk but that was it.

The dog was really running around now so I went in to chill with him hoping the drop in tide would make it get better.  We messed around on the beach for about a half-hour and it got even worse.  I told myself if the crowd count got to a -3 (meaning three more surfers left the water than entered it in a specific span of time) I would paddle out again.  It peaked at a -1 and we bailed.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

7.5.18 Close-Out Kristallmorgen at Playa Colorado

I lucked into having my neighbor Barry watch the dog AND he let me ride the bike he's renting.

I pulled up to PC and there was a set detonating.  It was big and beautiful looking, but as a surfer it was ugly.  I could picture getting hung up on the lip as the wind's invisible hand denied you descent while the liquid guillotine of the toothy curtain rained terror from above.

There were about ten guys concentrated at the main peak.  I chose to be a little on the inside, to score some of the ones that might swing wide.  I'd had a bitch of a time paddling out.  My timing fairy dust from the previous paddle-out had worn off and my timing fairy dust dealer was out to collect with a vengeance.  To add to the beatings, the boardshorts my in-laws gave me, 31 in waist, were falling partway off of me thanks to my unofficial fasting which began when my lady bid me adieu. We're apart geographically, but we're still together together (I think, though I am reluctant to check my IM).

I caught two quick waves both close-outs.  I had a shot at several more with more open faces, but there was a dude in priority each time.  On one instance, I watched the guy paddle his ass off, pop up, and go over the handlebars. 

He came up, paddled towards me and said, "the wind". 

I told him, "I know.  You have to put your weight all the way on the gas and then the lip holds you up and over you go.  It's happened to me before and it will probably happen to me again, this session.".

He took me by surprise and said, "Thanks man".

Long story short, I didn't get the chance to endo.  I eventually took a close-out in as surf and crowd conditions deteriorated.

But before that happened...

A guy who went to high school not far from the condo where this very surf blog was founded is known around here as an a-hole.  I've only surfed with him twice as far as I know.  He thinks he's local and he's claimed in the past that the house in which he lives is his when his parents built it and he manages it.  He has on many occasions dropped in on people and then harassed them when they confront him, on some occasions threatening to call the cops when they ask him to go to the sand for a chat.

I knew he was out because he was shouting as a set approach; something unintelligible, I couldn't quite make it out.  Within ten minutes of my having noticed him I saw him take off on a wave with a rider (who'd had priority) already on it, then proceed to loop around him.  The guy who'd had priority understandably was spooked as he had no idea a close call had been imminent.

The aggressor in question paddled back out and words were exchanged.  The Argentinean guy (if my accent detection skills are still up to snuff) let him have it. Believe me, he couldn't have held back much more than he did considering a direction change could have put both riders' bodies in jeopardy.

The long and short of it is, from what I could gather from one party's bad Spanish, is that the aggressor accused the Argentinean of backpaddling him (if it happened, and I doubt it did because of the relative distance between the two when the Argentinean stood up).  He then said this was HIS wave.  The Argentinean said this is the ocean, which teaches us all humility and your arrogance will do you no good (it was getting harder to hear as they were paddling away).  The Argentinean reached out for a handshake to which the aggressor reluctantly obliged.

The aggressor then paddled in a ways.  I made eye contact with him about five minutes later and couldn't help but smirk (I tried not to).  Some say it is this smirk which intimidated him into paddling in for the sesh...

Overall, it was a waste of having had a dogsitter since I've caught more waves when Chucho's been on the sand.

The swell was good-sized but the conditions (an unfortunate combo of too much wind and poor swell angle for the bathymetry) conspired against us having a good session out thar.