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.