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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

8.31.2011 Good 'ol Wisconsin Street, Early Arrival of Big Swell!

This morning I got up there at 6:45, as I was still recovering from the Lowers sesh a couple of days earlier and there was a S wind up.  I checked Buc Beach (closed out) Oceanside Blvd (closed out), Wisconsin (flat while I was checking it aka inconsistent) Pier (North side was working, but the current there is crazy) and Harbor (inconsistent, but south of the jetties was working ok though a bit shifty).  I couldn't make up my mind as to where to surf and decided to fight the current on N. Pier and maybe get shifted down to the jetty and surf my way north.

On my way down the stairs, I for no particular reason decided to walk south towards Wisconsin.  I didn't see anything promising, but I kept walking.  I was getting more and more bummed as I didn't have a destination and thus no pep in my step.

A set proceeded to break just south of Wisconsin street with one guy on the peak.  I paddled out and asked him if it's any good.  He said he's been out for thirty minutes and caught three waves that lined up (later in the session I realized he has a HIGH standard for what lining up means as he didn't paddle for many waves).

My first wave was old-school side-to-side Eddie though I did try to stall for the barrel a bit.  I was going too fast and kicked out next to the guy.  Another wave came quickly and I snagged it.  It was steep, but the wave had that weird cross-up where the rip splits it in two with the oncoming wave being behind a smaller wave, which makes you lose speed.  I managed to do a couple of pumps when I got to the back wave but I grossly overestimated the power of the wash as I hit it and wound up bouncing myself into the trough.

Another left came and I was on it, it sectioned off a bit, I made it around the section and did a snap-stall.  The wave covered me up but I closed my eyes (I thought I'd gotten over that mistake).  I got clipped and slammed hard.

A left came through and I pumped and did my wanna-be-goofy-Kelly-Slater gouge.  Recovered, kicked out.

Another wave came and I had a similar thing happen, though it did shut down on me.  I ate it and the wave picked me up and suplexed me over the falls. BOOM!

A smaller wave came and as I was paddling for it I almost didn't go as I wanted more big 'uns.  The wave seemed to be less racy, so I dropped straight down and did my first reo at considerable speed! SUCCESS! I snapped up at the top of the wave hard and got thrown down with only a slight bobble by the lip, continued down the line, kicked out and let out a hoot!

A good-sized wave came and I was in a prime spot to backdoor the peak for a barrel section.  I kept eye contact with the section in front of me as I popped up, felt my nose catch, made a quick decision that I should still keep all my weight on my inside front foot to hold the line for the barrel (based on experience, as I'd done this before). Whoops! I pearled and skipped down the wave on my back yelling, "NOOOO!" as I see the wave barrel over me.  I grab a quick breath in the pocket, get picked up by the wave and SLAMMED.

The waves then turned.  A clean-up set came and I saw a big one coming and I was thinking, "Would I go on that thing if it was lined up right?" then "Yeah, if I can get to the right spot".  I whirled around after having scratched furiously, was a bit late and as I popped up, there was about an eight foot drop from the nose of my board to the bottom (or as they say in Hawaii, a 1-foot wave).  I made the drop, did a couple of pumps and hooted as I climbed the wave and did an abortion of a sailor dive over the shoulder.  This is the biggest wave I've caught in two years, easily, made even more exciting by my not expecting to be the waves this big.

I caught another couple of waves but they were nothing as special as the one above.  The rip was giving the waves a bit of texture and making it hard to maneuver.  I had an appointment at ten, so I bailed and made the long walk to my car on Mission Street.

You know you've gotten throttled when you have sand in every ear orifice and crevasse.  I haven't checked my other orifices and crevasses but will be sure to report back when I do!

8.30.2011 North Wisconsin, EVENING SESH

After the morning's session, I was wired and ready for more. My wetsuit was still wet, and I checked the reports to make sure the water hadn't cooled down.  I shot up to Oceanside and trunked it at Wisconsin after looking at it and noticing Wisconsin was the most viable for steep enough waves that would allow for dealing with chops.

I caught a small left and pumped down the line as much as I could, keeping most of my weight on my front foot.  I kicked out and paddled back out, having to paddle south to retain my takeoff spot.  I caught a right and hit it, then tried again and fell on a chop.

I caught a nice steep left and went up to smash it and did so, but I didn't transfer my weight back-to-front-to back (electing to skip over the last back weighting) and fell.  It was a good clean snap and I was thrilled by my progress.

All told, I was out there for forty-five minutes or so.  The sun never came out and my teeth were chattering so I went in.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

8.30.2011 South Wisconsin, Bringing it Together...!

This morning I was flipping and flopping more than John Kerry, but it was about whether to go surf.  Around 6:45, I made up my mind to shoot up there and boy am I glad I did.  I didn't expect much as I knew the onshore was in effect.  I was hoping that this wouldn't be the case in Oceanside, but when I saw the Scuba flag just south of Ocean's 11 pointing towards Escondido, I knew that I would be surfing choppy stuff.

I checked Oside Blvd and it wasn't great, but there was rideable surf.  The pier looked ok as well, but Wisconsin definitely had some steeps showing.  For some reason, I started frothing as I was changing and couldn't wait to hit the water.  I put on my leash and ran and jumped over the shorebreak.  I caught a wave and couldn't get much speed on it, it seemed a bit fat from the increasing tide.  I set up a little farther south and some decent ones started coming through.

It was an interesting feeling going from surfing Lowers to surfing empty (one other guy on the peak, not catching anything) Oside.  I was able to catch every wave I wanted, except one where the guy who paddled out went over the falls.  I caught my first wave and did a cutback and hit the foam low and did not recover.  Anyone can do a cutback, really, but to do it in one fluid motion is trickier and to do it at speed is what makes a good surfer great.  I did it in one fluid motion but didn't have the wherewithal to harness the speed pocket of this fat-ish wave and I couldn't recover.

I caught another wave and went straight down to get as much speed as possible while using as much of the wave as possible.  I swooped up off the trough as hard as I could and did a little snap, recovered, pumped and did another roundhouse cutty attempt.  I did a little better this time, with more speed but still couldn't bring it all the way around.

A right came my way and I was paddling for it and having trouble.  I finally got enough speed and grabbed my rail, kneeboard style.  A split second after the lip went over my head, a little bit of it hit me in the head, obscuring my tube vision.  I kept driving and marveling at how square that thing was and it freight trained beyond the point of making it.  I kept going until the wave did its best Roberto Duran and told me, "No mas".

I caught another right and got into a pigdog stance, which is rare for me.  The wave didn't barrel, but I got up and did an accidental pump which put me in an awkward position at the top of the wave, just below doing a floater.  I recovered, did a cutdown, and smashed the lip as hard as I could.  I kicked out and paddled back out.

I caught another left which closed out, but I was able to get a top of the trough pumps in and I could feel the speed.  This isn't a move I've done before but I am picking up a lot from my out-of-the-water research.  I wish I'd thought to do a foam climb, but I just jumped over the wash and that was that.

The wind got stronger and really put a bump on things, so I was out of there.

Goal Update:  I still have not landed a roundhouse cutty, but I am getting close...!  No 360 attempts and no notable speed reo attempts...

Monday, August 29, 2011

8.29.2011 Lowers (then Uppers) Sunrise Sesh, Bioluminescence!

Another week, another Lowers sunrise session.  Had I had my druthers, I wouldn't have gone to Lowers as the swell was fresh in and everyone would be frothing... I told my buddy Eric about surfing Lowers before the sun was up while on the way to a Friday poker game and he wanted in and PRONTO!

The night before, Eric asked me what would happen if he was attacked by a shark (there was a great white sighting off Mission Beach over the weekend).  I told him that I would marry his wife and raise his two girls as my own.

I told him I'd meet him at his house in Carlsbad at 3:45 and was making great time when I pulled off the freeway and realized I'd forgotten my leash.  This is probably only the second time this has happened to me.  I called him and circled back, got it and arrived at his place at 4:05.  His fifteen-year-old stepbrother was joining us and we were up there.

We were the second car there and on the way down the dark path I spotted what appeared to be the kneeboarder from last week speeding by on his bike (bastard!).  We made it to the railroad tracks and I counted my steps back from last time so I could more easily find the path through the brush, as it was pitch black with very minimal artificial lighting helping us.  The kneeboarder was out already and the two guys I was with were lagging putting their stuff on so I paddled out into the great dark abyss without them.

I was definitely weirded out as it was SO dark out there.  The shark crossed my mind a couple of times, but I didn't have any panicky what-is-that-touching-my-leg moments.  This is where the best part of the morning comes in...

While looking out at the waves at night, all you will typically see is the whitewash where a wave has already broken.  There was a glow to these waves that I noticed, but I wrote it off as its whiteness being the only thing for any ambient light to bounce off.

As I made it to a safe paddling depth, I jumped on my board and started scratching.  It was SCARY how dark it was.  I kept paddling and I noticed that my hands were lit up!  The bottom of my white board was also lit up and it made me feel a little like this guy:

Another cool aspect is when I took my hand out of the water and looked at it, it looked like tiny lightning bugs appearing and disappearing sporadically in a scattershot manner.
It doesn't sound nearly as cool as it looks, but hopefully you get the idea a little bit.

I got out there and it wasn't difficult to see unbroken waves but it was damn near impossible to judge them.  I managed to catch a garbage left and kicked out.  I paddled back out and got a nice left on which I did my patented slide/slash and it looked pretty sick with the glow!  I recovered and rode it a little longer.  It was difficult to see where on the wave I was, but the intermittent beacon atop Cottons Point helped a bit.

More and more guys paddled out and before I knew it there were seven of us and still no light.  I then caught a short right and did a couple of turns, nothing too special, but solid.  Within two minutes, I caught what was the best wave of the morning and did a great snap followed by a decent backside roundhouse cutty to kick out.

It got more and more crowded and we bailed to Uppers.  I hadn't surfed Uppers in about ten years and was looking forward to reacquainting myself with it.  The waves there weren't as juicy, but I caught a right and did a good snap on it with another backside roundy.  I also caught a sick one that I raced but got caught up in the white wash.  I can't remember the last time I pumped and was going so fast on a right and it was a great feeling!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flat Day Fun and Progress on This Week's Goals!

My tribute to CJ Hobgood's double stall, from Teahupoo to eastside Cardiff secret spot.  Just look at the lip on that thing!

No goals have been accomplished.  The waves have not been cooperating, but I will try to get out there on Sunday with just one fin on my Flyer, to try some 360's...

8.25.2011 Oceanside Blvd, Fishing for Rank Surf

In my quest to complete this week's goals, I have been racking my mind as to how to best pull a 360.  I thought about buying another set of fins (grom-size, pathetic I know... ).  I also  though about taking out the two side fins on my Flyer and leaving the one trailing fin.  This would lead to a training wheel effect wherein I could add the two fins once I have them down pat.

Then I got the bright idea that I could just take my 5'6"x20"x~3" fish out.  It has four smaller fins and I should be able to pop those out of the water to spin.  I took the fish up to Oceanside along with my regular thruster, just in case there were some steeps out there.

I checked the pier and it was too fat out there.  Wisconsin looked promising, but Oceanside Blvd looked "best".  I'd never surfed here before and was looking forward to popping my Oside Blvd cherry.  It didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought and I only bled a little bit.

I passed a homeless guy sleeping on the sand and saw an elderly woman doing what looked to me like improvisational tai chi in the deck of her oceanfront home.

First wave I catch, I go left, stomp on the front foot as I'm easing up the face and sweep hard with my back foot, with most of my pressure on my toes, all while looking over my back shoulder.  I turned, the board didn't.  I was bummed.  I tried again and the same thing happened.  After that wave the board came out upside down and I looked at the tail.  I forgot how wide that thing was!  I tried one more time, but nothing happened.

After this series, I did a sick foam climb, which I probably could've landed if I'd shifted my weight to my front foot (I was going backwards in the foam for a tiny bit, so my front foot was effectively my back foot at the time).  I did do a nice little floater.

The highlight of the session was a massive three dozen strong volery of pelicans kamikaze-ing into the water (sometimes while twirling) and moving south to north along with what must have been a massive school of fish.  The closest they came to divebombing by me was a good ten yards away, though I did get circled and maddogged.  I also noticed that some seagulls were following them and squawking when they caught something.

When the pelicans had a water takeoff, their feet clap on top of the water making for a very comical sight.

Overall, not my favorite session, but it felt good to get out thar!  Forecast shows no sign of easing, though there is talk of a SW groundswell all over the coconut wireless.  We shall see...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

8.23.2011 Lower Trestles Sunrise Sesh

Last night I was debating making the early-morning trek to Lowers.  SurfLie (yes I left the N out on purpose) said it was going to be 1-2' w/ occasional 3' sets in S. Orange County.  The next couple of days in the forecast looked grimmer.

Lowers is the kind of wave that is so sought after, you have to get it when the conditions are less than optimal and/or SUPER early, I'm talking about before the sun comes up and you have nothing to light the waves except a sliver of moon and the lights from the nuclear power plant.  It is without question the best wave in California and is considered to be the most rippable wave on the planet, with long predictable walls and bathymetry that seems to pull in and magnify the swell.  The secret's been out for the last fifty years and the head count reflects that.

I expected the forecast to make people decide not to take the forty-minute walk, but I was sleepy last night and heavily leaning towards not going.  I figured it wasn't going to be worth paddling out anywhere else but I just didn't want to get up that early.  Then I considered Hurricane Greg and how I would love to ride some of those steep SSE waves, which should lead to better lefts.  My internal conflict was settled when I said, if I wake up in time to hit it early (before 4:15) I will go.

Sure enough, I wake up at 3:56 and I'm on it.  I got there at 4:50 and open the car door, the N wind hits me instantly and I long for my 4/3.  I reach in my tub and there are TWO wetsuits in there, one must have dropped into the bucket!  My 4/3 slips on me and I barefoot skate it down the path.  It was extremely nerve-wracking as it was very dark, but I made it without falling and only one high speed run-out.  I paddled out around 5:15 in the dark and I was the third guy out.

I paddled right out and caught a three-footer that was pretty weak.  I tried a backside cutty and didn't have enough juice to allow me to smack the whitewash. Within twenty minutes, there were seven of us out there.  By the time the sun came out, there were almost twenty.

I lost a couple of set waves to this frothing kneeboarder (he was the first guy out) and then I caught my best wave.  A right came through and I had slipped inside of another surfer, paddled like hell and caught it in a sweet spot. I went down the face, did a bottom turn mini-pump and hit it nicely. I tried a backside cutty and didn't have enough speed to hit the section.

I caught a left and did a pump and a half (I should've skipped the last half-pump) and attempted a roundhouse cutty.  The section I was on wasn't steep enough to stop me from bleeding off my speed on the first half of the cutty.  I sank down and paddled back out.

The waves became inconsistent and when they did come, few tended to have shoulders.  I was over it and went in at around 7:15.

The water was cold and you could actually feel the upwelling with the cold fingers of water reaching up to caress me in my nice warm wetsuit.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jonesin' and THIS WEEK'S GOALS!

I haven't surfed since Thursday morning.  The forecast doesn't look good, but I will be up and at 'em tomorrow morning regardless.  Surfing as much as I have been the last week has left me with an empty feeling if I don't get out THAR!

I spent about a half hour giving my board a new wax job, something I've promised myself will become a fortnight ritual.  It does feel good to do and will keep the board from getting yellow for a bit longer.

I've also been boning up on the tech side of surfing doing a little bit of an experiment.  I will let you know how that goes...

Full roundhouse cutty (frontside figure eight) smacking the top of the foam reo-style and landing so as to continue riding.
Frontside 360.  I've never done a 360 and I know it's a kid's move but I have to do it.
Land a frontside speed reo.

New Board Pics

My favorite board of all time is sitting in my uncle's (formerly my mom's) house in El Salvador.  With it, I got the best backside barrel of my life (Balsamar, thanks Ed!), did by far the sickest turn of my life at Punta Roca (backside fins-free tail slide with my trailing arm elbow-deep in the water and my leading hand on the deck of my board) which my buddy said from his angle it could've made Surfer Magazine, this turn I DID make.

It's a 6'2" DHD Joel Parkinson thruster I picked up in 2002 off the used rack at Surf Ride Oceanside and has been magic in the water for me.  I've flirted with the idea of bringing it up here but it just seems to work so well down there and I don't want to pay for any board fees.  It's had its nose bent to the point of breaking and it's the only board I've decisively snapped.

About four weeks ago, I started looking for a replacement board for my 6'1" Merrick Flyer from 2005.  I saw a DHD in Surf Ride Solana Beach but the dimensions were off just a tiny bit.  I tend to prefer 6'1"x18.25"x2.25" with slight room for overage and this board had everything right except for the width, which was 18.125", yes just an eighth of an inch off!  I spent ten minutes hemming and hawing before bidding it adieu.

I had another brief emotional relationship with a Xanadu 6'1" at the Oceanside Surf Ride and a minor flirtation with a magic-markered up Merrick but ended up coming back for the DHD.  Darren Handley is an Aussie shaper and I'd not heard much about him here in the States. I knew one of his boards was magical for me and that he'd shaped for the Coolie boys off and on but that was the extent of my knowledge.

Here are some pics of the board:

Yes, it rides well.  I had a little bit of a hard time adjusting to it as I was used to my Merrick.  This thing has more rocker and does not do well in fatter, high tide waves as a result.  I also had a hard time adjusting it to my frontside, but backside I immediately noticed my turns were sharper.  I still haven't gotten it wired on my frontside but that is not all of the boards fault as I am changing up my surfing from a takeoff->pump, pump, pump-> smash it and fall style to a takeoff->top to bottom, top to bottom, link turns-> smash it and fall.

With two variables in play it's hard to draw conclusions.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

8.18.2011 South Tyson Street, A Bit Better!

Today I woke up around 5:30.  I walked out and felt a slight breeze coming out of the south.  I briefly considered surfing Scripps as it's protected from the winds but I decided against it, as the swell was too steep a south. I got right on the road, parking my car just south of Tyson Street at 6:05 after a brief surf check.  One guy out!  It's amazing how much lazier the surfers are up in Oceanside.

The current was still in effect, though it was more touch-and-go leading me to believe that the swell I'd been enjoying was on its way down.  There was a slight texture bump from the S wind but not too bad.  There were some nice peaks coming down.  If you looked south you could see a big line of swell breaking (sometimes barreling) and sectioning off several times.  If you picked the right spot, or if the current happened to place you there, you could get some sick barrels!

Sticking to my goal from yesterday, I caught a steep one and did a mid-face speed check snap.  The lip hit me in the head, but no tunnel vision, so NO BARREL!  I got knocked down on the way out.

The next wave I caught was also steep.  I dropped in somewhat straight and saw a BIG shoulder.  I went up and instead of pumping or doing a cut down to harness all of the waves power and turn it into speed, I went for the snap.  The push and the wall were there, but I leaned too far back and did what was an ugly vertical layback snap (I'm sure it was uglier from the beach).  I got trounced underwater for my mistake and paddled back out.

I caught another wave and had too much weight on my front foot.  As this is a new weighting for me, I wasn't used to the speed and I flew past the bashing section. I let out an audible "Grrr!".

The current was taking me far away from the wave zone, so I caught one in and jogged up past the BRAND new twinhomes to paddle back into the juice.

I caught yet another wave and found my footing, doing a nice squat snap, recovering and riding off clean.  I did an on-the-face slash and buried the rail, but I couldn't recover.

Then I caught a wave and noticed the rip was creating a small wave that follows the initial peak, with the similar size wave (to the one I caught in this instance) was behind the small wave.  I pumped up and down the small wave and did a nice half-rotation slide.  I burned all my speed and didn't make it out though.  I'd set out to do a cut-back on this wave and I could've pulled it off with a tight-enough arc (to make up for the smaller wave I was on) and hopefully come back to hit the bigger wave I caught but it was not to be!  I need to rotate my shoulders and neck and look where I go rather than puss out and just go for a move I've done enough times.

I caught a big one and went for my famous high-speed reo and of course missed.  My leash rope knots gave out and I swam in for my board.  I paddled out one last time but didn't catch anything decent.  The tide had come up, so that was probably to blame.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8.17.2011 Tyson Street, Oceanside New Swell, Part Two!

I woke up at six this morning and had a mini-tragedy.  I attempted to hold my wetsuit bucket with one arm while I used the other arm to open the car door.  I heard the bucket flex under the weight and the awkward fulcrum point created by my sole grip.  The glass jar I keep my almonds in (to grind on for the way up) fell down and broke, spilling out gorgeous and expensive almonds on the paver driveway of my complex.  NOOOOO!

I spent about fifteen minutes picking up each and ever almond and shards, then compressed-airing the guishtillos into the corner, where no one could step on them.  While picking up the shards, I managed to get a micro-sliver up my index fingernail, what John McCain must've felt during interrogations divided by 100!  It's still in there now and gives me a sharp pain once in a while.

I get on the road and check everywhere in Oceanside for waves and settle on Tyson Street.  At the beginning of the session, I had an eerie "Where is everybody?" feeling as I was the only one out at seven! I caught a bunch of fast waves and I still can't seem to nail those high-speed off-the-lips but I noticed I'm able to keep my board under me a little better.

One wave in particular stands out.  I saw it out the back and scratched furiously for it, not breaking eye contact with it once.  I spun around and caught it early-ish.  I dropped down and the wave just jacked up behind me. While this was happening, all I could think of was the passage I read by Taj Burrow where he says big waves are when you see people's true balls or style. I did two (and pretty stylish I thought) massive pumps.  The end section was one of those weird, behind the peak shoulders but I made it to it, hit it hard and sent spray everywhere. BUT AGAIN I didn't land it.  I am in a rut, no question.

I was reflecting on how well I was doing on these steep drops when a wave reared up.  I paddled hard for it and though I was really late, I decided to go for it.  I felt myself make an "Oh $%&*!" face.  I thought I was going to pearl and get catapulted but I somehow made it.

The waves worsened a bit and the surf camp killers were out, snagging just about everything.  A couple of kids whose voices haven't dropped where KILLING it!

Tomorrow morning I will head up there again and my goal is to stall for barrels upon takeoff.  If I'm too late on the drop, I will immediately go for a reo.  Stay tuned!

Wildlife Report: I saw a sting ray when I looked down and about a minute later, after dodging a couple of waves, I saw two of them ondulating together.  I'd never seen two of them together before.

8.16.2011 Wisconsin to Oceanside Pier, New Swell! EVENING SESH

AHH, that new swell smell!  Had a crazy sesh last night.

I met my buddy Forrest in Carlsbad and we drove up to Oside.  We checked the main spots and decided that Wisconsin looked best.  Since Forrest was on a longboard, I checked to make sure he was cool with surfing there, as it was dumpy and throwing pretty hard.  He said "You know me, bro.  I don't care."

We walked a ways up the beach as I assumed there would be a longshore current.  We ended up just south of our destination, catching some textured waves.  I caught one right and kicked out immediately.

On a S swell this steep, the lefts tend to be a lot better and I was trying to catch some rights just to battle the current.

Forrest went in and I went in to check on him.  Apparently he'd hit his head on the sand and he was making sure he was ok.  He told me to keep surfing and he'd join me in a bit.  I tried to time the sets but with this new, rising swell but got caught in a cleanup set.  One wave hit me so hard that it dazed me and made me unconsciously release my board.  It took me less than a second to regroup and I grabbed my board and kept paddling out.  That was the hardest a wave has hit me in more than a year.

The wind died down a bit and the water surface smoothed out.  We were drifting south with every subsequent wave.  I caught a small left, kicked out and had an excellent view of what is the hardest I've laughed in the water in almost a decade.  My buddy Forrest "caught" a left, immediately grabbed his rail and got hung up in the lip (Keep in mind he was on a longboard covered in pink wax).  He jumped clear and comically dropped a good six feet while his board basically tombstoned as the wave caught it, pink wax side up.  I started cackling and stopped to duckdive, somewhat concerned that his board might hit me.

We both came up and I was laughing so hard that it was hard for me to paddle.  Forrest was scrambling to regroup and a bigger wave was coming.  I yelled back to him "Bye Bye!" and I didn't see Forrest for another ten minutes as he got pounded and taken for a ride on the S swell express.

I caught a wave late and took a LATE drop, don't think it was quite an air drop though.  I gathered myself and pumped up and down the steep face, racing to beat the closeout.  I hit the lip/wash and ALMOST landed a FAST off-the-lip.  Forrest told me that if I hadn't pumped I could've gotten barreled. BUMMER!

Another late drop and a quick kick-out and we're down to Tyson Street, steadily floating towards the pier.

I declined a set wave as I saw two spongers that were in a better spot but then I caught a sweet one and did my patented fake punt down the line.

I made a pact with Forrest that we wouldn't get out until we were at the pier (it was getting dark).  He caught a wave immediately when we were about 150 yards away (standard)!  The lights for a vacation rental building came on, lighting up the waves a bit.  The pier lights came on shortly thereafter, giving the waves a stadium night-game atmosphere.  I caught one last wave, straightened out, and found Forrest splayed out waiting for me just south of the aforementioned vacation rental building.  We walked back to his car and laughed about this session.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8.16.2011 Draining Tyson Street (Oceanside)

This morning I woke up before 5am and just laid there, waiting for first light to get closer.  I got my gear and shot up to Oside Pier.  I got there at 6:01 and the parking lot (which opens at six) was empty.  I did a cursory check and saw a nice fast peeler with no one out and decided that's where I would surf.  I got my stuff on and walked past Tyson St., past the surf coach (surf camp killers in a previous post) setting up his tent.

I caught a couple of screamers where I got a couple of pumps in (including one sweet super pump from the top of the wave all the way down!) but alas, both closed out.  In restrospect, I should've tried for a foam climb on at least one.

This guy paddled out and caught a sick left, pigdogged it, got pitted and ground up.  I hooted him as the lip went over his head and yelled "NICE!" after he came up.  I got nothing back in response.  Guess he's one of those maddoggers...

As I glanced south, I saw these mackers, just grinding barrels that were sectioning off a bit.  The next wave I caught I almost got clipped on, straightened out and rode all the way in.  I jogged up to the new set of double twinhomes and paddled out, taking a set on the head in the process.

Then I sat. And sat. And sat...

This young guy paddled out and started talking to me about how sick the waves there.  I told him it's really inconsistent.  We kept talking and he told me he was sixteen and was asking me about surf trips.  He'd never left SoCal to surf anywhere else.  I told him he HAD to do it.  He said he was planning a trip to Nicaragua.  I told him what I knew about it and he was amped.  I also told him to check out El Salvador and to definitely surf Punta Roca.

I caught a couple of sick ones and attempted the first floater I've tried all year. I over-rotated and ate it.  Then I caught another drainer and did a reo I ALMOST pulled, but I lost it in the wash.

Hopefully the waves keep going this week, nice, strong swell!

Monday, August 15, 2011

8.15.2011 Ponto

This morning I did my usual S swell trek up to Oside.  The pier was inconsistent and those surf camp killers were out.  I surfed with them a week or two ago and these guys not only rip, they snipe waves and line up just right. OVER IT!

I checked Harbor and I saw a sick left breaking from the S jetty.  I waited about five minutes and nothing else came so I bailed.  I then made my way down Tyson, Wisconsin, and Buc's.

Buc's is one of those wild-card spot which will have a surprising amount of 'peakiness', only problem is the crowd there is top-notch.  You have to stink-eye and have an aggro surf to get any waves there.  That wasn't breaking very well.  I saw Pedro, this Panamanian-looking ripper (he looks like El General, a famous rapper from Panama so of course he's from there too!) checking it.  He seemed to like it as I saw him skate down the hill but I was over it.

I really wanted to paddle out today as it was the three-year anniversary of my mom's death and wanted to remember her with a session.  She loved the ocean, and her ashes were spread at her favorite reef, Sunzal in El Salvador.

I continued down the coast and checked North Cbad which was packed and not looking great.  The wind put a little texture on the water's surface and I was getting worried that I wasn't going to paddle in to any waves today.

I drove past Ponto and saw a SICK set wave breaking between the jetties which made me immediately pull over.  I kept scanning and nothing was showing but I did spy a sweet little left  south of the jetties.  I caught two quick closeouts and wasn't able to do a turn.  I then took the biggest pounding I've taken all of this year when I was in the perfect spot to get slammed by what was apparently the biggest closeout of the morning. It wasn't so brutal an impact that I was left dazed but I had to fight to hold on to my board and was under for close to ten seconds, wrestling the alligator.  When I finally came up, it looked anything but smooth and ended up letting go of the board to regroup.

I had to laugh at how things were turning out.  I drove to Oceanside, where the SW-facing coast accommodates and magnifies the SW swell best and was skunked.  Then I took a pounding on a measly 2' California summer swell.

Sitting between the jetties at Ponto on a rising tide creates a weird vortex of water that makes waves back off due to the infusion of water from the lagoon.  It's a bummer if it's the only wave breaking.

This guy with an Australian accent was asking his buddy if any waves were coming.  Apparently, he hadn't been briefed on how frustrating being a SoCal surfer can sometimes be.  I saw him paddle for ten waves and not catch a single one.  I was able to count because I was ten yards inside of him and still not catching anything.

Finally a wave came and I caught it, not much power, and did a fist pump out of relief.  It felt so good to catch a wave ABOVE the water!  I went in and that was that.

8.13.2011 Secret Spot Saturday Sesh (Longest Barrel Since the 90s)

This Sunday I had the opportunity to surf the secret spot with my buddy.  I almost bailed on this sesh as I was tired, but I'm obviously glad I went.

As tends to happen with this spot, I look at it and go, "There's no way. It's flat out there."  Aaron, ever the optimist and always knowing the spot better than me says, "We'll get some waves out there."

This spot has a longer sometimes barreling right and a short, sometimes barreling left.  As a goofyfoot, I am supposed to favor the lefts but those rights are just so damn tasty.

We paddled out and didn't see much.  We sat there for a bit and the waves started rolling through.  I did my patented kneeboard backside barrel stance in which my feet don't hit my board, just my front knee.  My back leg splays out and could theoretically be used to further stall in the barrel.

This guy who works at my gym was paddling out and I took a wave late.  It was probably the shortest time from takeoff to barrel that I've ever had and was in it probably for three seconds before I lost my board.  I couldn't help myself, and asked him, "Did you see that barrel?!" like an amped grom.  He said he could see my face deep in there and wished he'd had a camera.

I had another wave in which I was a bit early for it so I stalled on takeoff then shoved my weight hard towards the nose of the board.  Aaron said it looked SICK.  It couldn't have been that sick though as I didn't make it.

Aaron caught a wave and the one behind it was a macker BUT I MISSED IT! I looked back longingly at it and saw it spit from behind.  I can't remember another time I saw a wave spit from behind so you know it would've been a sick one to make!  I was super bummed but less than five minutes later this happened:

Another wave rolled through and it looked like a classic square barrel.  Aaron, who introduced me to this spot, wanted it.  I usually give him waves if I'm not in the perfect spot but this one I had to have.  I took off and stalled hard from the get-go.  I got covered up and aimed my board at about a forty-five degree angle from the wave.  The lip hit me hard and I kept driving, vision somewhat obscured.  The cascading lip hit me again lightly and I quit stalling and I was in the clear! I was in there a good three maybe four seconds.

I let out a somewhat muffled hoot, paddled back out to brag to Aaron that I FINALLY made one.  Then I bailed.  As I was leaving, I looked back and saw Aaron catch a sick one, threading through the tube and doing a pro-looking mellow fist pump.