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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! 😂😄😃😊😏😐😕😒😟😡😢

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 mínimo' 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... 😑  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... 😆  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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

7.4.18 Clean and Good-Sized Playa Wyoming

Yesterday's experiments having been a bust, Chucho and I set off for the beach.  I had a grumbling in my belly after a couple of morning movements and I was all of a sudden feeling weak and hungry.  Once we got to the sand, I wasn't motivated to paddle out and I felt as though my mojo had been sapped.

I unleashed the beast, feeling optimistic about his ticking bark bomb lasting a bit longer thanks to a couple of doggos on the beach.

There were some massive ones breaking.  It looked like Pipeline on some sets.  Unmakeable Pipeline, but it resembled Pipeline nonetheless.

I snuck out in between sets and was sitting away from the ravenous pack.

I only caught three memorable waves.  The first was a left which I thought might barrel but didn't really.  I went up and did a snap on it but ate it.

The next wave I caught pretty late and I got hung up on the lip.  I stomped the airdrop down, leaned way back on my tailpad and got a short cover-up.  It let me out and I was a little off-balance.  My trailing arm hit the lip on the way out.  I turned and obliterated the oncoming section.  I celebrated by falling onto my back before my fins could reconnect.

I caught another quick left and got in the barrel.  I contorted myself as small as I could get and just couldn't squeeze in there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

7.3.18 Passing up a Pelican Paddle-Out at PC

The cleaning ladies' schedule has been retooled and they're now coming a day earlier than usual.  Everything is upside down in the tourism biz here due to the budding revolution to which I've alluded in past posts...

I left the doggo in their care and told them to leave him in the condo with only the screen door closed.  I told them I'd be responsible for any damage.

I ran most of the way down to the beach and when I got there I realized it'd grown, just as the forecasts had predicted. It was about double-overhead on the sets.

Some waves looked perfect but when they had a rider with whom one could judge makeability, you could tell they were just teases.

There was  a massive pelican standing on the beach facing inland, with one wing semi-splayed.  It looked like something was wrong with it.  I thought it might have been a sign to paddle out there but I bailed on it for a chance at bigger waves.

I had a bit of an angle on a smaller one and this Japanese lady sized me up and decided to go about fifteen feet down the line.  I leaned way back upon seeing this and somehow managed to put my buttcheek on my fin, thankfully only gingerly.  I was literally and figuratively butthurt she did that but not worth exchanging words.

I was in position for this burly left.  I had a little bit of an edge on the corner, but it looked grisly just past that.  I went only because this older guy was staring me down and I thought he would just go on any wave on which I paddled after that.
The drop was an insane rush on my 5'11".  It took everything I had to bottom turn into the pit and apparently in my enthusiasm/terror I put too much weight on my front foot and I literally tail-slid longboard style as the massive lip j u s t tapped me on the back of the head.  BUMMER.  I would have had a sick view even though the thing wasn't going to let me out.

I had something I don't think I've ever had happen in my surf career.  This good-sized left came and this Brazilian dreadlocked guy on my inside was paddling.  I said, "Dale!" (most Brazilians speak a little Spanish, or so I've read).  He pulled back and I made some noise and went myself. I dropped down into the pit and got barreled but the reason I told him to go is it was a disgusting closeout and I paid the price.
The aforementioned Brazilian looked a lot like the lead singer of P.O.D.

All-in-all I saw two guys make tubes.  One was in the absolutely perfect spot and the other guy was just a barrel maestro with his pumping in the pit.

I happened to hitch a ride with a friend in his golf cart and when I got to the pool area of our complex Chucho was there with our former neighbors, who are leaving Nicaragua for their native Colombia.

7.3.18 Kooking it Up at Playa Colorado

Today was quite the entanglement for the Golf Condo Gangsta Clique.  My neighbors, Barry and Bob (not a gay couple, or at least I don't THINK they are!) are staying in my same complex were out there with me, not on purpose.

I had an epiphany yesterday.  Chucho was sleeping and I was able to sneak downstairs.  He didn't even notice I was gone, so how could he be butthurt?

I figured, what if I bailed on him and left him in the condo, but left the condo door open in case he wanted out?  If he did, he would find a friendly party and he'd have his collar on so he'd likely find his way back to me.  Worst-case scenario is he gets hit by a car and then we have the option of moving back to the States... 😇

I did so and hoofed it down to PC.  It was a solid size on the sets, about head-and-a-half.

My first wave was a close-out, but I was jamming on it so I was game.  I pumped twice, then tucked down and got barreled.  I had a sick view and then I had trouble seeing anything that wasn't water because the barrel just kept running and running

I caught a wave and I had Bob about thirty feet in front of me.  I made eye contact with him and analyzed my options.  I ended up hesitating as he was just in front of me (at about one o-clock).  I decided to do my damnedest to avoid landing on him and catapulted off my board using my hands.  When I came up I checked on him to ensure I hadn't impaled him and he was worried about me.

Barry caught a sick one and he was somewhat close to me after I paddled back out from my abortion of a wave.   I screamed at him to GO! GO! as I duckdove.  He managed one turn on a really fast wave before it reached its final phase.

I caught a screamer of my own later in the session, but it was a third the size of Barry's (wave).

I also had a wave under which I duckdove which hit me so hard I saw stars.

When I got back I was excited to see what the Chucho experiment had wrought.  I saw the condo building and thought it was good that it was still standing.  I turned the corner towards the entrance and noticed Chucho's trademark poop and thought "Uh oh".  I got to my door and it was closed.  I found out later the cleaning ladies had ushered and sequestered him back upstairs.  Luckily there was no damage, as in 2015 he tore our rental in CO up after years of having been ok being left alone.

Monday, July 2, 2018

7.2.18 Onshore and Nasty at Wyoming then Colorado

Another day without the girls in Nica means another day with Chucho patrolling the sand. 

I paddled out near Idaho so as to keep him as far from the Beach Club as possible.  There were two groms out and we took turns pulling back from close-outs. 

My number eventually came up in the rotation and I redeemed it on a racy left.  I stomped down, then quickly back up so as to give myself a 1% chance of making it.  I managed to overdo it and pearl on a pump™.

I drifted down as it sucked where we were and saw a mirage of a right cylinder off, probably too fast for me to make it, but I decided it couldn't be much worse than here and so I paddled the thirty or so strokes to await its next of kin.

I split my time between waving at Chucho to keep him from going bonkers and watching the waves.  The dog seemed to grasp it was in fact I who was waving by his posture and attention.  He still barked some.  I went in and we walked up the beach where a sick left would break every eight or so minutes.

Sure enough I lucked into a nice one and pumped a few times, then did an off-the-lip off the close-out section.  I claimed it was I made eye contact for Chucho, hoping he would appreciate the maneuver.  He looked ready for me to go in and so I did after another abridged adventure.

The following message is for diehard trivia fans ONLY.
DO NOT ATTEMPT to read if you're just a casual.

I happened to look back and I've surfed every July 2nd of every year since the inception of this blog and not counting the massive sabbatical during which I lived in Colorado.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

7.1.18 Surfus Interruptus/Deja Vu at Playa Wyoming

It was Sunday and I didn't have anyone to watch the dog.  So we hoofed it to the beach.  I posted him just outside of Casa Colorados with no leash on, since he doesn't seem to freak that way as readily.

I paddled and perched and looked back.  His defining ears were aimed squarely at me from the wet sand, his lower legs in the water.  Within minutes he was distracted by a surfer exiting the water and went up to investigate. My theory is he thinks it's me every time he sees a guy walking out of the water.

The crowd was mellower than in recent days' past but so was the surf.

I got really barrelled on this smaller left.  I saw it about to heave so I levitated and then stomped down for a massive acceleration.  I tucked down, closer to the wall than normal, and enjoyed the view as my body became entombed in a watery grave.  It was a close-out but I will take it.

I watched and Chucho was getting dangerously close to the Beach Club, where dogs are banned.  I pictured a jack-booted guard giving him the heave-ho with a healthy kick to the ribs and made plans to exit.

I caught a right and hit it really well.  There was no wave left after that so I belly-boarded in on the whitewater.

I went and got him and tied him up.  I paddled back out and within seconds of my having perched he started barking.

I caught another, smaller barrel which also closed out.  I also caught a smaller right but it was really frothy and I had a bitch of a time controlling my board through two mediocre hits on it.

People were craning their heads to pinpoint the whereabouts of their ear rapist.  I went in on a close-out and belly-boarded towards him.  He was relieved to see me.  I think what he does when he is tied up is he sees surfers going in and walking away from him and he thinks it's me abandoning him.

As we walked back he walked purposefully and wouldn't look back.  He was actually tugging on his leash to head home but we've made up.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

6.30.18 Wading then Waiting at Wyoming

In essence this wasn't the most fun session.

I took advantage of the ladies cleaning our condo (and most importantly, watching Chucho) and got out there.

It was the abyss of the low tide.

My first wave was a left.  It looked super wedgy as I was catching it but as I was bottom turning there was nothing there so I sailor dove off of it.

I pulled back from SOOOOOO many closeouts for about an hour with the odd would-have-gone, dude-already-on-it wave sprinkled in.

Eventually I caught a right and tucked in.  I was immediately surrounded in the barrel.  I felt it pinching shut and I corrected my trajectory a little towards the wave, being careful not to touch it with my leading arm so as not to stall.  The thing was tight and I overcorrected into it and got slammed over the falls.  I instinctively bellowed gutturally and covered my head with my arms.  My top half was left unscathed but I did get a decent shinner from my board's rail.

About fifteen minutes later I caught a right.  This one I was able to pump on and get tons of speed.  As I bottom turned I got a similar feeling to that barrel wave from half a month ago and felt like I was running out of runway to make my turn.  I transferred my weight brusquely as the lip hit my board and I got hung up.  I started to descend, nose-down and nothing but air in the way of a two-foot drop into the detonating trough.  I bailed but didn't kick my board out enough.  I had a quick vision of face-butting my board but somehow I didn't even touch it.

About a half-hour later I caught another right, did a quicker bottom turn and didn't go all of the way up the wave as it surprised me by breaking sooner than expected.  I pulled out of that just fine and the wave closed out.  As I jumped off my board I made the mistake of contorting my body in such a way as to land on me nutsack.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

6.27.18 Drop in Swell Leads me to Panga Drops, Bonus SUPER SESSION 6.27.98

The ladies were cleaning the condo today so I took advantage of the opportunity to have them watch Chucho.  Unfortunately, the swell had dropped precipitously and the tide was at its apex.  This combination has but one cure and its name is Panga Drops.

I walked down there and as I got to the sand spit, noticed the sky was an explosion of varying shades of gray.  There was one dude out.  I paddled past him so we'd each have our own peak.

The swell was small but it was still overhead, which is a nice thing if you're strictly a size queen, which I am NOT!

I caught a bunch of waves.  One one of my first, I tried doing an elongated cutback just before the flat section and was bounced off my board by the chop.

A dude on a log paddled out and now there were three of us.  He gave me a "Buen Dia" and proceeded to sit deeper.  I saw him blow a lot of waves but the dude was charging.

There were zero waves on which I got to ride which made a connection with the inside/shorebreak.  It just wasn't happening today but that's common.

The guy who had been out when I paddled out was looking at a left and I told him to go.  After a too-short ride on the right, I paddled back out and he took the time and had the chutzpah to say thank you, which was really nice of him.

It started raining pretty hard as a massive cloud came overhead.  Then the sun broke through and the water was a murky turquoise color.  It was a very interesting color combo with the sun making the sea shimmer.

I eventually went in and went for an off-the-lip on a shorebreak close-out.  I was a bit slow and I half-made it/half fell off after initially having semi-stomped it.

Dateline: June 27,1998

I had graduated from high school just fifteen days prior to this.  This was the first summer my mom had allowed me to spend the night at her ex-husband's rented beach house (which he used only on Sundays and holiday weeks).  This was in El Salvador at a beach called San Blas.

I'd been surfing a little over ten months and had never gotten barreled.

Pando and I woke up early and it was going off.  Barrels were rifling off in both directions at the beachbreak almost right in front of the property.  It wasn't big, M A Y B E a little overhead on the sets.  I was riding this massive board I'd received in a trade from my older cousin Ed in 1994 (he got my Game Boy and all of my games).

It was just us.  I'd never been out in waves that barreled like this.  I got three lefts in quick succession and got barreled on two of them.  My first one was especially good.  I dropped in, posted up and the thing threw over me.  Unfortunately I made no barrels on this day.  But I popped my tube cherry and that was a big hurdle to get over.  I remember on both barrels I got pitched and ended up scraping my back on the sand.

At one point the tide kicked into high gear.  Seeing as to how I was on this massive thick board, I had a bitch of a time getting out.  I probably wasted forty minutes of the session sprint-paddling and doing my damnedest to duckdive this behemoth with my 125lb high school body.

I did see Pando get barreled going in both directions but I don't remember seeing him make one.

Monday, June 25, 2018

6.25.18 Heebie-Jeebies at Playa Colorado

I had a real uneasiness set in as I paddled out.  There were some bombs coming through, but nothing outside of my wheelhouse, even on my 5'11".  I can't explain it, but I just got this feeling in the esophagal area of foreboding doom.

The swell was easily a foot bigger than I'd anticipated and there was almost no one out.  The right at Wyoming looked good but there was a pack on it so I opted for Colorado.

After a couple of spankings, I made it out and perched.  Chucho was running amok in the sand, leashless and fancy free.

A left broke down the way and I sprint-paddled to meet it.  The one nice thing about waves which break quickly is you can bullshit your way into catching them if you're really far down the line like I was.  I did so and there was a wall of pain coming for me so I hit the eject button and sailor-dove out the back.

Quick glances toward shore revealed Chucho was being coaxed north; the sight of each beaching surfer beckoning him further from me.  This, together with the queasiness from my uneasiness, made me take the next one in.

I have little shot at a decent session unless I can get someone to dogsit him.

6.24.18 Short but not So Sweet at Playa Idaho

The doggie and I trudged south to the beach.  He walked with the gait of a riding horse walking towards his saddler with a heavyset rider-to-be looking on in anticipation.

We made it to the beach and I took off his leash and hung it on a tree.  I told him to stay where he was on the sand.  I stole glances at him while paddling out and he had his gaze and antennae fixed upon me.  I made it out quickly and kept looking for him over my shoulder.  I'd see him about 80% of the time as sometimes he would be chest-deep in water and I couldn't see him.

My first wave was a right, as was my second.  It was a quickly breaking wave and I aborted through the barrel I'd entered Quasimodo-style.  I got a painful pat on the back as a penalty from the wave.

There were lots of big beautiful barrels breaking.  I didn't see anyone make one.  They were all getting either swallowed up or pinched.

My last wave had a really critical takeoff.  I got hung up on the lip ever so slightly.  I was committed and I pearled hard.  I half-jumped/was half-catapulted and comically felt my legs trying to run out of it (as one would when one blows it on a skateboard).  My non-messiah status was proven by my painful introduction into the water.

The dog had been trotting along and I heard a warning bark.  I was worried he was going to bail and run away as he did once while here in Nicaragua.  As I caught a wave in, he was about fifty yards away from me investigating this portly older man.  This was presumably because he thought it was me which made me take a long look in the mirror when we made it back to the condo.