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Saturday, August 17, 2019

8.17.19 Small, Blown-Out but Peaky D St

Quick session further abridged for your accelerated blog consumption:

I paddled out on the Tomo and caught two close-outs.  I switched boards with MC Gorgeous George, my one-time rap protegĂ©.  He was on a boogie board though.  I caught a really fun right on the boogie board and was able to stay high in the pocket which was pretty fun being that close to the water.

We got cold and went in after close to a half-hour out there.  Crowds weren't awful but there wasn't much to catch, even sitting on the blackball demarcation line.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

8.11.19 First Coldwater Sesh in almost Five Years

I knew it was going to suck so my expectations were ratcheted way down.

The fam and I were going to meet up with one of my OG surf bros Tim and his fam but they got behind and weren't able to make it at the time we were available.

We shined Moonlight in favor of Stonesteps, the site of our infamous engagement pictures.

I took the Tomo (and had to screw the fins back in from the flight up here). 

I had a couple of little drops but the highlight of the session was a slight and careful pump followed by a slight and careful bonk off the weak whitewater which I was thrilled to have completed given the conditions.

It was a trip being back and surfing in California after all this time.  My ear plugs were in and were working great, finally, with no fitting issues.

Monday, July 29, 2019

7.27.19 Last Session in El Salvador

My surf boner slapped against my sternum, awakening me at the prescribed time, as we'd discussed the previous night.

I was in a funk given all the bullshiv I'm dealing with for the move, on top of a project I officially started on the fifteenth. I was also still a little sick, having picked up some bug from the two sessions on the big day of the 14th. I was suddenly not in the mood to surf.  I checked the forecast and opted not to go.  But my surf jimmies wouldn't stop rustling. 

I checked the forecast again and noticed the surf was supposed to get bigger.  The period was a lowly 13 seconds, which could mean some crossed-up chop from a somewhat nearby storm.  The 14 kph offshores were what broke the surf stalemate within me and I decided to head down for my last session as a Salvadoran resident.

I glanced at the point, less angry than times past.  That long wave I caught which allowed me to do so much had whitewashed many of the bad sessions and frustrating waves I'd caught there since having arrived.  Unfortunately, the swell currently in the water wasn't enough to overcome the rideability bar and it wasn't working right.

I walked down the dirt road, to the beach I'd spent a lot of time on as a youngster.  It didn't look like it was working right either.  There were scattered peaks that seemed gutless, though it might have been my 13-second swell period bias leaking.

I settled on a peak and caught my first wave within ten minutes.  It was a left that opened up somewhat.  I did a brutal carve on it.  I gouged it so hard and lay back into the water enough so that I wasn't able to get back up.  I was surprised at the amount of water I'd thrown but that's not really impressive because boating accidents also throw a lot of water.

It took forever to catch another unbroken wave, and in that time I was swept down towards El Majahual.  San Blas has a battery of rideable waves when there's swell, and there's a sizeable gap between the Tinoco house (two houses west of my ex-stepfather's rented house) and the next consistent peak.  I ended up in that netherworld and opted to belly board in.

I walked way east and paddled back out, then got swept down again, even more quickly.  I caught a questionable right, which had the slightest of corners available to me.  I didn't think; my legs swooped up and I did a mini-pump in a pretty critical part of the wave.  But despite upping my chances at glory, there was no payoff as the wave unceremoniously closed out.

A couple more swept-down-go-in-walk-east-paddle-outs and some pretty critical late drops on what turned out to be close-outs later and I got the wave of the day. 

I had to go easy on it, as the first wave had foamed out the surface.  I didn't get barreled, but the lip hit me in the head as I was in-line for it.  I got a lot of speed but unfortunately for whatever reason I didn't do a turn.  Not sure if I was going for a foamy floater or I had paralysis of analysis but it didn't happen.

It wasn't until the writing of this post I realized that my first session as a Salvadoran resident took place exactly a year before my last.  Will I come back to live in El Salvador?  Maybe when the girls are out of the house.

Monday, July 15, 2019

7.14.19 Bigger and Gnarlier Balsamar

I was on daddy duty and my wife had decreed that I'd have to wait to surf.

I saw some big slabs break, definitely overhead and not makeable by me, not even close on my board.

The tide kept dropping, and with it my hopes of glory.

In between sessions, I held my breath underwater for 47 Mississipis, which is equivalent to about a minute, I discovered.  I made it with no problem. 

Thanks to a near-drowning incident this month in 1997, I've had a mini to moderate panic attack whenever I am getting my ass kicked underwater.  I am usually able to mitigate this by counting, knowing I can hold my breath twice as long as the vast majority of beatings.

So after my 47-Mississippis experiment, I felt confident.  I was headed towards the depth of the low tide and these massive energy transporters were coming in ferociously.

I was granted reprieve and I paddled out.  It took me a solid twenty minutes of straight paddling/duckdiving/questioning my sanity before I was able to squirt out between behemoth sets. 

I saw waves out there that scared the hell out of me, possibly approaching triple-overhead and slamming so hard.  I was extremely lucky to make it under two gnarly ones.  These were so big they were black.  It was scary as all hell.

I got smacked by an insider wave and whisked about.  I was counting but I felt that familiar panic rising within.  I gathered my board and what was left of my dignity and got smashed around some more.

I was getting pushed back some and then a bigger set came.  I ditched my board and got absolutely throttled.  My panic took hold, but I tried my best to act logically and relax.  I was unsuccessful.

 There were so many waves that just smashed down into a close-out, and I was not even close at seeing some green face on these.

Eventually I caught a right and was able to do a turn.  I got hung up on the lip and jumped off.  I was expecting to get brutalized but got lucky and squirted back out. 

Eventually the wind made the surface of the water untenable, adding yet another element of difficulty and I decided to go in.  I caught a huge close-out and was early enough so as to BARELY make the drop.  When my fins engaged after most of the board was out of the water I looked up to thank the big guy upstairs.

When I urinated later, I was surprised to see some sand in a very special place, lurking under my foreskin.


7.14.19 Massive Balsamar thanks to Friend-since-Kindergarten Guillermo!

We got a late start today as I was bringing the fam down to Balsamar, which we can only get into when invited.

The waves looked big, and they were over double-overhead on the sets.  I was without question undergunned on my 5'11", and I was curious to see how I would fare.

I was able to make it out without too much issue, not a single other surfer anywhere in sight, as has been the case every time I've been here.

I caught an overhead left, pumped, and then bailed out the back as I didn't want to be a part of the close-out.

I dodged sets for a while, then decided it wasn't worth my time or tragedy while out there.  I also didn't want to be a dick, as I'd said hello and quickly paddled out.  I caught a pretty good-sized closeout in.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

7.9.19 Tragedy (but not for me) at El Recodo

I somehow talked myself into paddling out despite all of the reasons not to at the end of my previous entry.  The waves were well overhead but makeable when they didn't section off.  And there was no one out thar!

My surf boner was saying LET'S GO, but my mind, heart, and body were saying no
The river was mellow, considering the amount of water coming down.  I suppose its recent widening helped reduce the speed at the expense of its girth.  And boy do I know what THAT feels like (pitching).

The paddle-out was sketchy but not an issue.   I did take one on the head, probs a 4 on the Beatdown Scale©.

What a set-up, macking El Recodo, by myself, with distant thunder and several tufts of cumulonimbus formations maddogging me.

It was tricky finding a good paddle spot for one that wouldn't section off.  Easy, you might be thinking, just catch it after the section!  But those would fizzle into fatness and were just a drop.

After about a half-hour I caught one.  It was a doozy!  I got two cutbacks on it and three top turns, including one really good smack on which I thought for sure I was going to pearl.  I was AMPING, definitely the best wave I've caught in a year (this sesh marked a year since I'd surfed in Nica, by the way).

After about five minutes of straight paddling out and against the current I perched again.  I noticed a guy coming up the rocks down the beach from me.  I was bummed but thankfully he had no entourage.  He and I didn't exchange a word and he was out there with me for about a half-hour before he caught one I let go as I was just in too critical a spot for it.  He caught it and he...

...WENT IN!  I had to laugh.  Here I had made my peace with this guy and a couple of other dudes subtracting from my wave count and he went in with no sign of a posse

As I bobbed up and down with the wave action, I noticed there were a couple of guys from Pando's development up the beach, their body language looking weird.  I quickly guessed that a body had washed up.  When my mom was with my stepdad, they rented a beach house at the beachbreak up the way here and we would sometimes see a crowd gather at El Majahual, gawking at the latest drowning victim.  It was usually an inexperienced swimmer, a drunk, or an inexperienced drunk getting caught in a rip and surfacing the next day.

In between dodging sets and bemoaning my lackluster positioning, I spotted something on the rocks, mind you I was about 250 meters away as the crow flies.  There was something odd there, it was a white bulk which didn't seem to belong.  More of a crowd gathered.

Then I saw the police pick-up truck, which then left without taking what I thought was a body.  I made the decision to go in about another twenty minutes later as the wind was picking up to my disadvantage.  I wasn't about to fight the current AND the ferocious shorebreak so I opted for the El Cocal beachbreak, towards Punta Roca.  When I eventually caught a small wave to aid me in my journey, I looked towards my line-up spot and was shocked at how quickly I was moving as I faded off this relative piddler.

The go-in was rough.  There was no sand!  I caught a foothold on a rock while in waist deep water and did my damnedest to quickly twinkletoe in before the next shorebreak wave slammed my body along with my dreams of a perfect landfall against the rocks.  I made it and had a long walk back to the car.

I asked the guys at the development if it was a swimmer from El Majahual and they confirmed it.

7.9.19 HEAVY and Unpredictable Beachbreak

I didn't know where, or even if, to surf.

I knew the waves would be on the bigger side, and the high tide would still be pretty extreme.  The bigger wild card was the big downpour.  This would make for a lot of water being dumped by the rivers, not to mention organic matter such as twigs and branches.  This would make it hard to stay in one place.

But I'm on a time crunch due to our leaving ES in three weeks, and I can only surf four days per week.  So down I went.

It wasn't raining when I got in the ride at 419, but it started raining right around Zaragoza, a city just shy of the halfway mark.  It started pouring on me and I slowed way down.  It reminded me of August 14, 2003.  I'd been down for the summer and Chuleta and his then-girlfriend Tesoro set me up with one of her friends (I remember her name was Jessica).  We went to the mall as a group date and I shockingly was unable to close (We could have had a good thing, Jessica)!

I had to drive Chuleta and Tesoro down to the beach where they lived and there was a torrential downpour, definitely the worst through which I've ever driven.  I was in my mom's car and they were in the back.  There was a guy driving an SUV coming toward us and I had to do a low-speed swerve onto the mud shoulder.  The car went up, and two of the tires lost contact with the earth for a bit.  Tesoro shrieked.

After the excitement from that incident was over, I white-knuckled it down to the beach, barely able to see in front of me.  The windshield wipers' max speed was laughably slow in the face of such an onslaught.

We made it down and Isra, Chuleta's dad, tried to convince me to spend the night and let the storm pass.  I made the stupid decision, riskwise, to drive back up.  I made it back without incident, other than being freaked out by the driving conditions.

When I got to my mom's house, I got out of the car and felt like I was going to collapse from the mental exhaustion of being so concentrated for so long (2+ hours).

I was hoping the waves wouldn't be chocolatey brown but they were.  So much so that I could b a r e l y make out the outline of my hands as they rested on my knees while being perched.

I saw so many death pits.  The vast majority of these were unmakeable but some might have been, even by me.  It made me wonder...what if?  I'd recently watched the movie The Shallows starring Blake Lively.  It's about a shark who is terrorizing her.  I am proud to say that I wasn't too freaked out by the Mecca-for-sharks conditions.

I also saw something that may forever be etched upon my mind.  This massive and heavy left slab came down with a huge barrel and a gorgeous and frightening and SOOOOO thick serrated lip.  It reminded me of a barracuda's jaw line.

I started getting the heebie jeebies, HARD.  I had a couple of near misses with double-plus-overhead bombs.  While duckdiving under them, I got this weightless feeling that I was going over the falls.  I can't remember feeling that before and MAN is it unsettling.

I would paddle out whenever the bombs came and I wouldn't be able to catch them since they were mostly closing out and I was woefully undergunned.

So I made the decision to go in about halfway during a lull.

But then I was in a pickle. I could stay there and take the reduced power whitewash from the bombs.  But there were some mini-bombs that were coming and I had to fight the urge (almost unfailingly losing) to paddle out to beat these by making it under them in time.  This of course, would just further up the stakes, as their bigger brethren would surely be showing up not two minutes later.

I usually sing to myself when I am out there and during this session I was so flummoxed by the conditions I didn't get a chance to.  I took one in.

I walked up the beach, convinced this was the end of the session.

BBUUTT I somehow convinced myself to paddle back out.
As they say here in El Salvador, solo fui a traer, loosely translated, I only went to take (a beating).  I got absolutely slammed by a set.  My plans to stick around friendlier waters on the inside were once again scuttled as my surf-vival instinct took over.

I did not want to get stuck out there so I kept taking waves on the head without paddling out in between and went in.

I did the usual coaxing: "I'll check the point break, maybe I'll paddle out there" to get me walking back to the ride.  Knowing deep down that I probs wouldn't because:
  1.  The river was swollen with organic and inorganic materials, not to mention rushing brown water.
  2. This leads to a lot of swirling water, making it difficult to stay in one place/take-off spot.
  3. Sharks love rivermouths after a rain.
  4. There has been at least one documented shark attack there (way back in 1992, but still...).

Monday, July 8, 2019

7.7.19 ...It totally Redeems Itself!

I didn't know where I could surf to take advantage of the surge in swell.  It was the weekend, so Punta Roca was out.  I didn't want to deal with a similar bump in crowds at La Bocana.

It was a massive high tide, definitely the biggest I've seen since having moved to El Salvador.

There were some lines out there and I ran to my peak.  I surfed the entire session completely by myself.

I was having trouble getting anything going.  I saw some right death pits swirling and I decided to tempt fate and head over there.  I paddled and pulled back from close-outs for twenty minutes before I had a line on one.  It seemed like a baby wave, but there was a double-up situation happening and I had to throw myself over the ledge as it jacked up.  It broke hard and I did a set-up turn halfway up the face.  I got all kinds of speed and really laid into the big mama section, successfully smashing it as the behemoth blasted down around it.

That turn was cathartic.  I was bumming from having had a bad surfing experience despite being in south swell heaven and surfing by myself for so often. 

I went in on my belly and tried my luck at the lefts on tap.

Not too long after paddling out again, I caught a juicy left.  I thought it was going to section off and shut me out, but I managed to make it around.  I wound up into a bottom turn and aimed for the corner, where the wall met the whitewater. 

I laid back, my front hand feeling water with my ass joining in on the fun a short while later.  I managed to pull it much to my ecstacy.

The rest of the session was less memorable.  I think i went in four times total before paddling back out up the beach.  There was one set wave that closed out the entire beach, something I hadn't seen in a long time.  I managed to escape the session with less than my share of beatings.  I lucked into several air pockets on some real nasty ones.  I did have one that made my board shorts go almost all of the way off my ass though.

7.4.19 Just when I think the beachbreak couldn't be any more of a bummer...

This is a short one.

I paddled out and there was a fair amount of water moving around.  As usual there was the odd makeable slab but they shifted around and good luck being in the right spot.

I caught three waves in more than two hours, these slightly opened up but I don't think I even got one bottom turn in all morning.

I can't tell you how frustrated I was on the walk back to my car

Monday, June 10, 2019

6.7.19 Chunky La Bocana with Charamusca

I last surfed with Charamusca, Pando, Chuleta, and Chamba's cousin,  in 1999.  He moved up to the gulf coast of FL to work and this was his first time back to El Salvador.  He just so happened to coincide with my still living here.

His kids, all three full-blooded Salvadoreans, had never visited.  His wife is Salvadorean but she was from the eastern part of the country aka went to another school, so they'd never seen where the other was from.

Daaaaaaaa Boyz

Charamusca was the receiving party of probably the best surf prank I've ever heard.  I don't remember why Chamba was pranking him, if he was the initial offender or avenger, but in the middle of the night before an agreed-upon Recodo sesh, he stripped Chara's board of wax and used soap to give a surf wax-like finish.

Chara was none the wiser and didn't notice the water's effect on the board's virgin soap coating until he had made it past the rocks and attempted to jump on the board to paddle out.  I believe it was Chamba's cackling that snapped him out of his stupefied confusion.  He sheepishly walked all the way back to the house.

We'd agreed upon this morning being our rendezvous.  He'd surfed his latest session at Cocoa Beach about six years ago.  He said in the nearly 20-year gap since he'd last been in the country, the biggest waves he'd surfed were maybe four feet during a hurricane.

I expected him to puss out.  I messaged him at 340 this morning that I was going to leave soon, and to my surprise he responded.  He even came out before I'd told him it was time to roll.  After dealing with less-than-timely people almost exclusively for the past year-and-a-half, I was shocked!

His brother, who lives here, came with us.  As we set out for the rocks Chara asked if I was really going to walk there barefoot.  I said that I liked my sandals and didn't want them to go "missing" while I was out thar.  He said his brother was going to be sitting there and I needn't worry about their whereabouts.

I was a little intimidated by the paddle-out preview.  The tide was nearly at its apex and I could hear the rocks being dragged about, clanking off other rocks.  I could almost feel my ankles being impacted.  When a shorebreak wave hit the rocks, I saw tiny little rocks being flung about.  Oof.

I led the charge in.  I pointed out a spent syringe laying on the rocks, needle absent; surely the result of someone fortifying themselves with B-12 and the wind snatching it out of their grip.

I caught a lot of waves and never got stuck inside, thankfully.  When La Bocana is overhead as it was today, it's always a concern.  Poor Chara had to do three paddle-outs, including once getting all the way out of the water in order to launch off correctly.

I saw no turns performed today, by anyone.

My first wave was really late.  I thought I was going to pearl.  It had so much power and I was on a 5'10".  I managed to make the drop and spent about three seconds almost-endoing before setting my back foot down.  A nasty close-out section came and I went.

The waves can be sometimes hard to catch, especially on high tide.  There was a storm blowing through, but no rain, so I was concerned about the possibility of offshore wind blowing me off the back, and onshore wind running the surface ragged with chop.  The latter was on top, though mellowly so for the time we were out there.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

6.2.19 Consistently Shifty Head-Plus La Bocana and Top Post-Surf Chill Tunes

I was waffling as to where I would surf.  I opted for La Bocana as El Recodo is practically dead to me.  I'll surf it if I go with someone, but I'm over that place.  The beachbreak is still not doing its thing and I wanted to catch some waves with form.

I pulled up to Chuleta's after an uneventful, just a semi-close call with a dog, drive down.

I opted for the back way into El Tunco figuring the road was still fugged from the big remodel they started nearly a month ago.  Sure enough, I took the correct route.

I took a shortcut in between a couple of hotels and saved about five minutes.  I was surprised when I saw the ocean as there was no one out.

A dude was on the rocks and beat me to the waves.  I paddled past him after a what's-up head nod because I'd spied some reeling cylinders.  This was the danger zone.  The rocks were somewhat shallow, but what I hadn't remembered until later this session was if you're caught there at the beginning of a set you are pretty much screwed if another set follows it.

It took me forever to catch a wave.  I caught a nice steep right that unfortunately sectioned off on me.  I was forced to take a slight beating as I kicked my board out and the wave enveloped me.

I waited about twenty minutes for my next chance.  It was another right but it didn't have much of a shoulder.  I popped up and sure enough, there was almost nothing there.  I laid into a roundhouse cutback but bailed out the back as it had no push.

Later, I went really late on another right.  I stomped the airdrop but must have been off-balance because when I tried to initiate the bottom turn I fell on me nutsack.  I surfaced with a stinging scrotal sac.

I would attempt to paddle west, towards the massive rigor-mortis-afflicted-pig-carcass-resembling rock formation (hence the name of the town, El Tunco, The Pig) when a wave would come.  It would thwart my efforts.  I felt as though I was stuck in a tractor beam.  I wasn't getting sucked out or sent east, I just couldn't escape its watery grip to the west.

I caught another good-sized right.  I couldn't make it around the massive detonating section and I kicked my board up.  The wave smashed me down so hard.  The inside of my eyelids darkened, letting me know I was going down.  I did my half-flaps with my arms, so as not to scrape on the sharp boulders out there and channeled my father-in-law when his catchphrase "Holy Fuckoli" popped into my head amidst the carnage all around me.

I then paddled for a wave and went in a ways on it.  A set detonated.  I spent, and this is not exaggeration, over a half-hour paddling.  When I wasn't paddling out, I was trying to make my way west.  After a couple of hours out there I was over it, and after this marathon paddle battle I was aching to get out of there.  Avid readers (😂) of this blog will remember my boondoggle of a go-in on the wrong side of the river.  I'd made a promise to myself that day that I would never going in in that rocky gauntlet at low tide.

But after all that paddling and my trapezoids screaming in protest (especially my still-sore right trap), I was tempted by the paddleless siren song that beckoned to me if I chose to go in directly behind me.  My face felt hot from the prolonged exertion.

It's a weird feeling having zero interest in doing something, but having little choice, as the fate awaiting one if he doesn't comply is likely so much worse.  It's a mental and physical burnout all in one.

I'd never seen anything like this before.  I would paddle forever and make almost no progress, but I wouldn't get sent any farther than the massive antenna landmark.

My plan was to catch a left.  Yes, my plan was to catch a left, something that had eluded me all session and ride that to relative safety where the rocks were more subdued.  This wasn't a bright plan, as the lefts were sectioning off, but my thinking was that I might make enough progress and be released from the rubber band's invisible grip on me.

Within five minutes, I made the fateful decision to paddle the wrong way to attempt to catch a left.  I thought I wasn't going to catch it and I was wrong.  I think I did one maneuver on the wave, not wanting to jeopardize its escort to friendlier waters.  The thing was very nice-sized, and connected even better than I had hoped to the inside.  I was getting butterflies thinking I was going to end up smacking into a boulder but they never surfaced!

I was elated.  Not so much because of the wave but because of the progress to go in.

But one glance shoreward revealed I still had a tough fifty meters to go before I knew I could avoid the nasty boulders.

Of course I was stuck in a deep spot.  A wave would come and help me oh so slightly, but I would get sucked back by the backwashing corpse of the wave.  A somewhat of a savior arrived and pushed me about a fifth of the way in and I decided to plant my feet down.  I felt immediate relief once my feet made contact with the slippery rocks.

I not so gingerly twinkle-toed my way in.  Once I was on a little oasis on sand, I stood there for twenty seconds, catching my breath.  My heart was beating in quintuple-time.  I was tired as can be but so amped to be walking away from the torture device that was La Bocana this morning.

Top Five Post-Surf Chill Tunes

7. This is a vid of some festival-goers in Europe.  I love this guy's voice but the last time I looked up his band's stuff I found it to be terrible.  His voice is the posterchild for smoking sometimes helping one's voice get that gritty gravelly texture that can sound really good.  I'm not sure he smokes, but it sure sounds like it!

6. Awesome sample-heavy instrumental, sick drum loop too!

5. One of the sickest basslines you'll ever hear.  This is a dub masterpiece.

4. One of the best-produced songs I've ever heard.  The effects sound amazing but they don't overdo it.  There's a nice healthy amount of muted guitar which I go gaga over.

3. I happened to find the above on reddit a couple of years ago.  I liked it A LOT from the get-go, but then I heard something completely new to me.  I won't spoil it for you but it starts at 4:22.  The outtro is frisson-inducing.  The way this guy hits those notes and nails the guitar parts, not to mention killing it on his board is awe-inspiring.

2. I didn't discover this video up until a couple of years ago.  This is from a live gig they did in Costa Rica.  They were supposedly down there so the lead singer could get clean.  It's a cover of a Bad Brains song with some amazing vocal vamping.  The power went out during the gig so they were using a generator for the instruments and the one light they had.  They were seeing a show in Alajuela and asked to borrow the band's instruments and this is what came out of them.

1. I think this the best produced song of the band's.  Great use of samples, especially the Ohio Players synth in the last half, as well as the MADNESS vocal sample.  There's a fair amount of scratching, but they didn't overdo it to the point of making it sound outdated.  I love how the song ends with the synth sample repeating into itself.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

5.25.19 Paying Tribute at Bigger Beach, then Point; BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

I got sick the night of my Balsamar session and didn't surf for 16 days.

I got quite the scare on the way down.  It had rained for much of the night and so I was taking it even more slowly than usual.  I guess I subconsciously track the oncoming headlights because I freaked out without warning when they were interrupted by a small box truck with no brakelights.  Thankfully they were farther away than I thought and I had PLENTY of time to react accordingly.

The truck in question, after the threat had been mitigated

My muscles in the middle of my upper back have been rocking me and I got a massage to alleviate it.  I am still sore from it and every paddle, especially my right arm, stung.

The rainy season is here  and with it, much more dramatic paisĂĄges (EddieSurfs attempt at growing his French audience).

I opted for the beachbreak today because the point has been so wonky for so long.  The high tide was almost at its apex and the surface of the water looked like diluted chocolate milk.  There were some head-and-a-half mackers breaking out the back, a product of the ferocious 18-second period swell.

I tried to time my wade out but I accelerated my launch because the sticks and branches the rivers had been deposited with the rains were slapping into me.

I paddled out and I jammed out there.  I wasn't paddling especially efficiently but I zoomed out there.  I took a couple of smaller ones on the noggin.

There was so much water moving around.  You could see the potential out there though.  Some slabs were breaking, mostly unmakeable, but some to behold.  If you lucked into the right spot you could get a chocolatey cover-up.

I caught one right, maybe head-high and it fizzled out on me.  I was over it, I just FELT the beatings that were going to happen and so I went in.

I walked to the pointbreak and there were three or so dudes on it.  I had a fun time crossing the raging river.  It wasn't as gnarly as I've ever seen it, but top ten mos def.  The water flows quickly and since you can't see, you're just guessing as to whether your next foothold is a good one.  I remembered from my October sessions during the tropical depression to fight and prepare against the "foot drift" as the river's force attempts to make one due the splits.  I ended up slipping and, in slow motion, plopping down onto my posterior.

I had a little scare on the paddle out, when a pretty good-sized wave broke hard about fifteen feet outside of me.  Back in 2000 at this very spot in this very spot, a massive double-up detonated and knocked me hard onto my back.  I pinballed off the rocks as I was quickly swept up the dry riverbed.  I was humbled that day.  But today I was the victor!  I slipped a little as I jumped with my board and paddled hard with one hand and kicked as fast as I could.  Next wave/water cushion I hopped onto my board and paddled out without incident.

The waves were big but still pretty bad because of the bottom.  I had one really good turn off the top but the section in front shut down.  I probably caught about five waves total as the pack grew.

On the way in I did better on the river.

It's time for my big announcement...

We're moving back to SD County!  I will be going back into real estate full time and with renewed fervor.  I've spent the last hundred or so days researching how to be a better broker.  My wife wasn't able to find a gig given the tight constraints we had for said gig (being there when our little one was out of school and a very flexible schedule) so she will be joining me as a licensed agent.

A few reasons for the move:
  1. Our property loses value as it gets closer to lease-end due to the will-they/won't-they renew the lease trepidation.  As risk goes up, reward must follow for any semi-intelligent investor to buy, so I will be doing a  1031 into something else.  I'd initially considered a mobile home park or a self-storage facility but I will likely be doing a managed apartment building someplace in the southeast, as the CA returns are almost as bad as the taxes and landlord laws.  Our monthly income will increase 30+% and we will be raising rents as the market allows, so that will be nice!
  2. I grew tired of chilling.  I want to be doing something and boy will I be! I will be going hard in the RE game and I really don't have a choice.
  3. My wife isn't a fan of the way of life down here.  I don't blame her...
Our unexpected awakening from the Nica dream diverted us to El Salvador.  I hadn't lived here since 1996.  I had a lot of emotional baggage from my time here due to the environment in which I was living.  I've gotten a lot of that worked out while here but there is still plenty on which to work once I get back to the US.

It's been really nice reconnecting with most of my family, from my sister and nieces to my uncle and first cousin.  Unfortunately my mom's remaining brother and his children have shunned me for reasons unknown.  Maybe if I ever start ripping they will love me.

So the blog will continue back from where it sprang!  I will be surfing with ear plugs and on a much more regulated schedule.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

5.9.19 Balsamar for only my fourth session of all time

Balsamar is the coastal outpost of my sister's country club.  It is located down a river valley and has some little duplex bungalows one can rent for $50/night if they are members of the country club.  I've never seen anyone else surf there.  It is a dream surf camp scenario, as it's completely private (you'd have to motor in on a boat) and the waves can get good...sometimes.  In my first session here in 2002, I got the best backside barrel I had up until last year's Nica gem. Almost a year to the day of my last having surfed here, I got the opportunity to do so again.

Completely Private; One can see the sections-off in the satellite imagery

Last time, I was on an ancient board and I was having trouble getting anything going speedwise.  It felt as though someone was yanking on my leash upon pop-up.  I had assumed it was the board so I was excited to hit it on my Merrick.

This time I felt the same thing!  It's a bizarre feeling and I don't know that I've experienced it anywhere else.  My best guess is that on a high tide approach the sand's depth change is extremely gradual and possibly there is a deep-slightly shallow-deep-slightly shallow loop going on. This would be simpĂĄtico with what the wave does on the surface.

Last time, I sat and watched good waves break with no one on them as I ate.  This time I ordered food as soon as we got there and wolfed down my bacon cheeseburger while the waves still sucked.  Surely the law of averages would even things out!

Before paddling out I saw one stand-out wave.  It was a frothing, nasty freight train of a barreling left which stirred my loins even though it was about as makeable as Waimea shorebreak.  I could see, from my angle, where the foam got dark into no-makeland.

I headed in that direction because there seemed to be a sandspit that was making the waves split so as to not close out nearly as much.

I paddled out and enjoyed the view behind me, nearly unfettered green peppered with the odd electric pole here and there.  I noticed as I sneaked glances behind me that I was getting farther from shore.  I had a real bitch of a time going against the rip, but it turns out that's what was keeping waves from closing out as quickly so I had to paddle the liquid treadmill if I wanted a shot at an open face.

The best wave I caught was a classic rip wave.  I was able to descend down and bottom turn around a flat spot, right into the maw of this angry, pitching right lip.  I slammed off of it, though not enough for it to count as an off-the-lip.  I got hung up and my ass started facing the water so I aborted and kicked my board out.

I felt forever frustrated by the rip and after about ten solid minutes of paddling freed myself from its tractor beam.  I caught a close-out in and walked up the beach to where I saw one wave out of twenty that had a corner.  I caught a couple of rights there but I couldn't get any speed going.

Eventually I caught a left and pumped away until a section hit me,  I should have gone around it because I was on the upswing of a pump.  I hit it in a layback snap attempt and blew it.

I went in after about ninety minutes out there, hoping the next day would be better.  Unfortunately, I came down with a fever/sore throat/nausea spell.  The good news, I guess, is that though the waves were cleaner they improved only marginally as the tide dropped.  There were some spitters out but they were almost all closing out.  If not, they would section off so as to eliminate any hopes of making it.

Taken around 5:30AM from the pissoir.  You can see the big section that just detonated and the other section down the line about to do so as well.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

5.4.19 Solid La Bocana

The ride down was brightened by what I'm christening as a Sequenox.  This is the extremely rare instance in which a song on the GuyPod (set on shuffle) is followed by the song following it on a full-length album.  I think the last time this happened was in late 2012 so it was really exciting.

I was tired of the crappy pointbreak and the more-miss-than-hit beachbreak, especially with this morning's dropping tide, so I opted to surf La Bocana.

I parked at the hotel, then walked to the water.  They're doing some major roadwork in El Tunco proper and I was the beneficiary of the recently heavy equipment treaded dried mud.  This turned to just mud as I got closer to the main drag and it took me a couple of tries to get out of it as I not-so-gingerly levitated on to the cement sidewalk.

I caught about seven waves in two hours, which is pretty good considering the crowd and the shiftiness. 

My highlight was a head-and-a-half left on which board and I FLEW out the back as the wave closed out.  It was so much fun riding something with that much power and a semblance of a line.

A smaller left preceded it and I got a top turn and a cutback in.

I had a great right which I smacked and on which I did a faded roundhouse cutback.

There were about twelve people out, including three ladies when I decided to bail.  I caught one on the inside and pumped before I pussed out and kicked out.  About fifteen feet to my right was a massive rock menacingly poking its nasty texture out.

I'd seen on social media that Pando and Chuleta's mom was in town from Maryland.  I hadn't seen her since Pando's wedding.  She was there at the hotel and I gave her a hug.  We talked for about five minutes and I met her sister before I bailed.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

4.28.19 The Pointbreak was still Screwy

I a l m o s t bailed on this session.  But a couple of sets came and, while they were barely shoulder-high, they were enough to make me brave the rocks.

There were four people out, including a girl who I originally thought was Argentinean based on her Spanish.  As the session wore on it seemed more like she spoke English as a first language.  I believe this is the first time I've surfed this break with a female.

My first wave was my best wave.  I lucked into a good spot, wound up and hit the section pretty hard.  Upon descending, the next section threatened to fold over me and I grabbed my rail and went under it to safety.

It took a good hour for me to get my next wave.  The high tide was strangling the waves.  The ones that managed to break at an acceptable distance from the dry rocks tended to section off hard, and if one showed up which didn't, you had to be in the right spot.

I happened to paddle out past the pack a bit, risking a section dashing my dreams and body against the rocks of despair, and a wave happened to be arriving to meet me.  I heard one of the boys groan at my fortune as I whirled around for it.

I hit it well, but too high and got stuck up at the top. Had the tide been lower I might have made it back down.  I flamingo-ed out with all of my weight on my front foot and held my balance to the point of fading.

Then the three shitlord locals came by and were not letting anyone have a go at anything.  Yeah, I could've paddled past them and eaten wave foam on all of the sections-off but I decided to go in after twenty more minutes of waiting for a wave in.

4.28.19 Rising Tide Rising Swell Beachbreak Sesh

I woke up about three times this morning, the last one being at 506, meaning I was about twenty minutes late from my normal departure time. Luckily I'd put all of the stuff I needed (save for coffee and Hydro Flask) into the ride the night before.

The swell was strengthening as the morning wore on.  I was really hoping the beachbreak would start macking with some makeable ones.

I had a bunch of late drops and made all of them.  I floatered as I took off on one and that one turned into an airdrop with no pay-off.

I had one where the end section was slightly in front but screwed up the timing and hit it too early.

I had a couple of really racy rights, the best one on which I felt like I was really generating speed, but the only thing that helped with was the height of my flop over the close-out.

I had about a half-hour break in between waves and decided to bail to see what the point was doing...

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

4.23.19 Unexpected Later AM Sesh

I thought I was going to be dropping my eldest off at school and as such, wouldn't be able to surf. 

School was cancelled so we made plans to go to the beach.

The waves were better than expected.  I took my Tomo down expecting them to be small but there were some shoulder-high sets out thar.

I bailed on my first airdrop.  I didn't think it was worth trying as it jacked up faster than expected and there was nowhere to go.

I did have a nice off-the-lip on a left which I pulled.  I was amped at how skatey the Tomo felt.

I had another fun one on which I pumped dangerously high in a steep part of the wave.  I came down with tons of speed after a couple of pumps but with nowhere to go.

I also did the following abortion of a carving 180 attempt:

The wind lifted.  The tide dropped and with it my spirits.  In I went.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

4.21.19 Clean but Smaller Beachbreak

I decided to go pretty slowly down to the beach.  As I crossed into a town, I thought I was going to hit a dog as it crossed the street but thankfully someone had already hit it for me.  I rolled harmlessly over it while my headlights reflected the freshly red concrete.

I pulled in to the development and there were some people walking around despite first light being about fifteen minutes away.  I attributed this to still drunken revelers.

El Salvador is on full-on vacation mode.  These partiers brought their preferred fĂștbol team's flag, Santa Tecla.

I was really hoping to surf the pointbreak today.  The break to the west looked juicy but the point itself was sucking. 

I paddled out at the beachbreak to see if I could salvage any of this diminishing swell.  The water was as clear as I've ever seen it here.

I had a lot of pumps but nothing really resulting.  I did get a tiny cover-up on a left.  I was folded into myself like a pretzel to fit into it. 

I got a right on which I did a nice roundhouse cutback but nothing left wave-wise after that.

On another right I got a nice whack but again, nothing left due to the gutlessness.

I crabgrabbed into some tiny right barrels but got maybe a blink's worth of tunnel vision combined.

I likely won't be surfing tomorrow as it will be even smaller.  Too bad because my eldest has the day off from school...

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 me to 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 flambĂ©...!

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.

While trudging back to our HQ for our time at the beach, I heard a loud SMOOCH as I walked past a gaggle of gals.  I was being sexually harassed!  FINALLY!
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.