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Friday, September 30, 2011

September Wrap-Up

August 2011: 13 sessions
September 2011: 10 sessions

Quite an assortment of spots this month. Wisconsin Street in Oceanside prevailed only because of my memories from last month. The rest are all tied for second...!

Wisconsin: 3
15th, Del Mar
D St, Encinitas
Secret Spot
South Palomar
Cardiff Campgrounds
Oceanside S. Jetty

Wave of the month award goes to the first wave I caught at Tamarack 9.1.2011
Beating of the month: Nothing memorable

October and November are great months to be a surfer in San Diego. The combo swells funnel in and usually create a more consistent environment. When they both go off, the waves get extremely fun. The water is colder, which means fewer crowds. Once daylight savings is repealed for the year, it will be first light earlier, which means it will pay to get up super early in terms of emptier waves.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9.29.2011 Del Mar Reef, then Beach with Moondoggie and 'Missed It' Mike! (4/3 Season is Here)

This morning I got up early and met the bros at D Street after my glowing review of yesterday's session. Unfortunately, the tide was extremely low and all we could see were glowing (literally, from the bioluminescence) closeouts.

I figured with the combo swell, Del Mar would be better. I led the three-car caravan down PCH. Dog Beach/29th St (from what we could see) was tiny. Since the tide was low we hoofed it to 15th Street and man was it ever crowded! I was on my DHD, Moondoggie on his log, and "Missed It" Mike was on his favorite board.

The reason Mike is monikered "Missed It" is because of his penchant for flaking out either with a warning or none at all. During one particularly nasty week, I was left stranded, sitting on the curb with my gear waiting for Mike, THREE days in a row.

We paddled out and I caught a right within about ten minutes. I did a solid backside turn on it, but was too aggressive on my second turn (the section was too flat) and ate it.

I always joke with Moondoggie about having him block for us. I first heard of this in the epic "Blue Crush" in which local Hawaiians block for the female protagonist so that she can get waves.

After paddling for so many waves and either missing them or having to pull back because of someone else being in position, I finally got my chance. Moondoggie paddled for a wave, which he missed, and I paddled for it inside of him. I knew it was going to be a closeout but I had to get a wave as I'd been sitting too long and I was getting cold. Also, Eric had in essence blocked for me so I was committed. I dropped in and it just. closed. out... GRRR!

I spent the next fifteen minutes paddling for waves and either being too deep or inside of someone and thus, not in the position to catch them. Then, my time came! I beautiful gem of a left came. I paddled for it inside of a guy, put as much of my weight as possible and gave a quick look over my right shoulder. I saw the guy outside of me doing his desperation paddle as though he'd missed the wave and he was too high up in the wave.

I took off and had a nice steep section to start off with. I pumped hard and saw a nice thick shoulder and visions of a roundhouse cutback danced through my head. I rotated my upper body back to the foam, leaned my weight back, transferred my weight from my back foot to my front foot and what do I see (and almost hit)? The dude who I thought had missed the wave! I swerved, he swerved. I kicked out, he kept going. I apologized to him profusely, telling him I didn't know he was on the wave. He said nothing, but kind of smiled (although I was not trusting my vision at this point...)

The waves were pretty good but the crowd was massive. The beach break to the north was beginning to look more and more tantalizing. On the walk up I started shivering and mentally declared the end of 2011's 3/2 season. We all paddled out, but the current was a beast and we were getting swept back south. I inadvertently snaked Mike on a right that had a sick barrel which I inexplicably dodged (The only thing I can really blame it on is being cold).

It's pretty crazy that I NEVER knowingly snake anyone unless they've done it to me and within a span of a half-hour, I do it twice!

As we were riding the current express, I saw waves break where we had just been two minutes prior. Of course, I also saw waves break where we were scheduled to be floating by in two minutes... MADDENING!

We got swept down to Jake's and no set waves came in our direction. Mike had to go to work and I bailed back home.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9.28.2011 Peaky D Street, Red Tide RIPPING!

Today marks two weeks since my last session. I had cruised for surf at least a half-dozen times in the interim, coming away disappointed each time. I drove to my shorebreak spot today and it wasn't doing much of anything. I checked Grandview and it was too fat. I stopped at C/D Street and the first thing I saw looked pathetic. I saw some heads out there so I parked the car to watch it.

Within a minute, I saw a guy drop in and get a small cover-up. I was out thar!

The water was accented by red tide. It reminded me of surfing El Salvador during the rainy season after a big rain. I paddled out and within a couple of minutes, I spotted a right heading my way. It looked really steep, so when a guy was paddling for the same wave five yards inside of me, I didn't yell him off. I got barreled, got hit by some water, and kept driving. I was in there a long time considering it was a closeout.

My next wave was a somewhat steep left. As soon as it popped up, it lined up. I got one super-pump in on the steepest part of the wave. The wave closed out, so I put all of my weight on my backside rail to get under it. While underwater, I kicked myself for not trying a foam climb...!

Less than a minute after I paddled back out, I caught a very similar wave, but with an open face. It was a little fat at the beginning, but I was able to pump more vertically than normal, sacrificing speed for distance covered. The oncoming section was there and I went pretty close to vertical and did what is probably my first legit layback snap that I pulled. NICE!

I saw a "big" (maybe shoulder-high) wave come and a guy caught it late. I hooted as he popped up to his feet and he pearled hard. He came up smiling at me, appreciative of the hoot!

About five minutes later, I saw one of the older guys charge hard for a chest-high right. He was extremely late, especially for such a big board. He got a well-deserved hoot (I won't say from whom) but didn't make it. I told him, "NICE!" and he said, smiling, "I had to go for it..."

I caught a right, pumped up and down and did the smoothest backside floater I've ever done. This isn't saying much as I rarely do these...

Upon paddling out, I looked south and watched as a guy got slabbed over. The red tide made it look dark in the barrel. I immediately lusted for a similar wave and speed-paddled down there.

After sitting there, alternating between floating and fighting the rip for about a half-hour, the wind came up stronger and I was over it.

The first half of the session was amazing, the second half was the opposite of amazing. A fun one for sure!

Friday, September 23, 2011

SUPER SESSION: Pipeline, North Shore Oahu, September 23, 2010

This is the first installment of some of my memorable sessions. I will try to coincide with the anniversary of the session as much as possible in future editions.

My wife had a conference to attend both in Honolulu and west of Haleiwa. I tagged along. I had surfed a couple of spots on the south shore so far, but nothing great.

I was having dinner with my wife's work friend Shannon and her husband Bill. I told them it was awesome being in Hawaii and surfing but I still had not seen the North Shore as a surfer. They said they had thought about renting a car and going to the North Shore to have cocktails at Turtle Bay and asked if I wanted them to drop me off somewhere. I said, "ABSOLUTELY".

Two days, later, we got into their rented convertible Mustang and put the top down to accommodate my rented board and got on the road. On the H1 (freeway that takes you to, from and through Honolulu), the rain started coming down HARD and being in the backseat, I got drenched.

The rain let up as we merged onto the H2, which takes up through Oahu's gut and releases you at Haleiwa, the gateway to the North Shore.

If you are not familiar with the North Shore, it is like flipping the pages on a storybook of waves. There are about ten world-famous 4-5 star breaks within a seven-mile stretch of land, starting with Haleiwa and ending at Velzyland.
Bill kept asking me where I wanted to be dropped off. We passed Haleiwa (not working right) and Waimea (not enough swell; like I would have surfed it if it'd had the swell!). He asked me again and I still wasn't sure. I saw a sign that said Sunset Beach Elementary School was coming up on the right and remembered from reading surf magazines that Pipeline was directly across the street from that and said, "Ok, Bill, pull over!"

I got out with my posse: Bill, Shannon and Raquel. The water isn't visible from the road or the parking area, so we walked towards the beach. As we approached the water, I didn't see anything. We turned left around the lifeguard tower, looked west and I immediately recognized the famous shape of what is probably the most recognizable wave in the world. I told Bill I was going to stay here and he said they'd be back in a couple of hours.

I walked back to the car and got my board out. Raquel told me to be careful and I told her I wasn't sure if I was going to surf. I walked back and plopped my board down next to the lone photog on the sand. I watched the waves for a couple of minutes. It was two in the afternoon and there was an east wind blowing sideways into the left with only five guys on it. I asked the photog if there were any pros out and he told me he was John John Florence's (look him up on YouTube) personal photographer. I kept talking to him and I told him it was my first time at Pipe. He was very nice and told me where to paddle out.

I sat on the sand and was getting cooked by the sun as I pondered whether to paddle out. I decided to just go for it as I could never forgive myself if I missed this opportunity.

Why was I so nervous?

1. More surfers have died here than at any other spot.
2. It was EARLY fall and the sand generally isn't right. Over late spring and summer it is very common for sand to fill in the cracks and crevasses in the reef. There usually aren't any big swells to clean the sand out. If the reef is clogged with sand, it is less able to felt out by the waves. This typically means more closeouts and less predictable waves.
3. I'd been surfing weak, chest-high (at most) California mush all summer. On the mainland, the open ocean swell is slowed and weakened by the continental shelf. Since Hawaii is made up of volcanic islands, the open ocean swell hits the reef at full power.
4. I was on a new board that I didn't have dialed yet.
5. It was 5'-7' PIPELINE!

I paddled out and sat the second-closest to the channel. I saw John John catch a wave but didn't see the rest of it. He paddled out past me and gave me a look. I can't say I blame him. I was in full farmer-tan mode (went to a Chargers game two weeks earlier where I got roasted) and I was on an epoxy (typically frowned upon in this area) rental board with a MASSIVE This-is-a-rental-board, guy-riding-me-is-most-likely-a-kook sticker on it.

The water was clear and I could see bits of reef menacingly staring back at me.

I paddled with the "crowd" as the sets came and went, trying to get the rhythm down. I spotted a guy who also looked kook-ish (something about his facial bone structure) and decided if he could sit that close to the impact zone, so could I. He paddled for a couple of waves and missed them. Then I saw him catch one and got my first up-close live view of a guy dropping in on Pipeline. I gawked at how quickly the wave, which was a bump twenty yards farther outside, turned inside out into this jacking wedge before tripping over itself on the shallow reef and DUMPING over.

He blew the takeoff but surfaced unscathed. This wasn't helping my confidence! I then had a couple of small scares and paddled a little farther out as some bigger waves came through. I saw John-John catch a wave at Backdoor, which is the almost-as-famous counterpart to Pipeline that breaks in the opposite direction and saw him get pitted almost from takeoff. The barrel went on for a while, unfettered by the wind that was making the left a bit choppy, and I saw him kick out. SICK!

I started paddling for some waves. I was hoping to catch one early and get a taste. I made sure nobody was deeper than me before I did so. I looked so comical out there in my pale skin and tan forearms that I probably would've kicked my ass if I was someone else. I didn't need to give them another reason to want to do so so I was extra careful.

I was getting a little tired of being out there and not catching anything. My fear had mostly subsided and was slowly being replaced by a growing sense of frustration. My inner monologue, which had started with quips like "Easy does it" and "One wave at a time", was now leaning much more heavily towards "Come on, you puss!" and "DO IT".

Finally, about forty minutes after my toes first hit the water, I spun around and paddled hard. I felt the wave pick up and gain slope. I got to my feet without a problem and immediately felt the wind in my face and my board rapidly gaining speed. YES! I bottom-turned and cruised up to the lip. I stomped on my back foot and snapped. The backwash hit the wave and flattened it out. I had barely any speed left, but I rode away clean.

Euphoria swept over me. Eddie 1, Pipeline 0! Sure, I didn't get barreled, but the lefts weren't barreling and I had made the drop on a head-high wave at Pipe! I went through my mental rolodex and couldn't think of anyone else I knew who had done that. Pretty cool!

I was paddling back out when I saw a couple of sets coming and I hoofed it out of there towards the channel. I saw John John catch a left on his backhand, fin out his bottom turn and do a backside 360 air. My subconscious self overpowered my conscious self and I let out a loud, primal "WHOOOOO!" as he landed it. He looked at me again without registering any emotion on his face. It must be nice for moves like that to be no big deal...

I decided not to tempt fate any longer and I went in. The sun was replaced by clouds and a hard driving rain was coming in almost sideways. The drops felt like needles as I sat on the sand for fifteen minutes with about an hour to go in my adventure. I was getting sick of being pelted by rain and decided to paddle out again. If I was going to get pelted, I would do so in the water.

Of course, by this time, I was a grizzled Pipe veteran. The fear was gone, I now overflowed with bravado. I sat in the middle of the pack and paddled for a few, being too inside for them and then I saw a set approaching. It was bigger than anything I'd seen all day.

I felt my stomach turn as I paddled hard towards the outside and slightly east to the channel. The wave pitched and I prepared to duckdive. I took a huge breath, braced my hands on my rails and kicked my foot onto the tail pad. The power was unlike anything I'd ever felt! I broke through to the back of the wave, though it did its best to send me over the falls with the lip. PHEW!

A smaller wave was behind it. I made it under and through then spent about five minutes reminiscing before being lulled to the inside again. "That was a freak wave" echoed through my head, along with "A wave like that won't come again for another hour".

I tried to catch some more and was on one, about to stand up, before being hooted off by a dark Hawaiian guy saying, "Ho, Ho, HO!"

I spun back around to face the ocean and that's when I saw it. I was desperately inside and another set was steamrolling towards me. I knew I was going to get rolled, the question was how hard. I did my best to get away from the inside as it is usually the shallowest part of the reef. I paddled for about ten yards before duckdiving.

The wave hit me so hard underwater. I felt myself going over the falls but I maintained my composure. Then I felt my right butt cheek G R A Z E the reef ever so slightly. The impact was less than what you experience when you sit down, but I arched my back and freaked out. I immediately got washed to where I had paddled out and called it a day. Eddie 1, Pipeline 1.

On my way back to the parking area, I paused and saw a bodyboarder get a sick barrel. I trudged up to the lot with no idea as to the time. I saw something moving in a tree and it was a haole with sun-bleached hair looking at me and laughing, his head cocking back so as to more efficiently inhale more laughter fuel. He looked at me in between puffs of air and I couldn't help but to smile a little. I'm sure what happened to me looked hilarious from his perch but was even funnier with how I looked...

Special thanks to Bill and Shannon for the ride!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hurley Pro is ON at Lower Trestles; DryDock Diaries

Here is a link to the action going on at Lowers this week. Hurley is running this comp and their website is similar to Billabong's was for Teahupoo. You can click on the scores to see the highlights from each heat (Click On Demand to make this happen). You can visit the official site by clicking HERE

Loyal readers of my blog (all two of you) may have noticed I haven't been posting and it's simply because I haven't been surfing since a week ago tomorrow. The surf has been beyond bad with very minor pulses and I haven't taken the fish out. Moondoggie called and wanted to surf Lowers tomorrow morning before the contest but I am pussing out as I think the crowd will be higher than normal on a contest day. There are some pros who are surfing their first ever WT contests as they just got on the tour. I'm sure they will on it early and frothing. I will get up early to check Oceanside but we will see if it's surfable...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

9.14.2011 Doing the Shorebreak Shuffle!

Given my bearish attitude on beachbreaks of late, I decided to go for a change of pace. There is a spot in North County that I can surf with few or no other people that can go off with a swell like this one.

Unfortunately, today was not one of these days. The good news is the surf looked better than Oceanside has looked in two weeks!

I only needed to check it for twenty seconds before I knew I would be out there. My standards for rideable surf have dropped to the level where crook surf looks ok and ok surf looks amazing. It's somewhat analogous to what sailors must go through after months out at sea on a boat full of dudes who on their best day are still ugly women. And then they hit port.

I spent about five minutes working on my leash rope. For some reason, I could not remember the knot pattern and used the first knot you use to tie your shoes and repeated it about five times to make the leash stay.

I paddled out just south and a good way outside of the two other heads there and caught my first wave within a minute of picking my perch spot. It was boggy at the beginning, then turned racy. I pumped and pumped, as you're prone to do on shorebreak, and I took one last big pump, the pinnacle of which put me in the vertical part of the wave just as the lip was throwing over. If I'd gotten there a split second faster, I would be experiencing a sick speed floater. Instead, I got pitched over the falls.

I spent the next ten minutes floating south a bit with the current as well as paddling for waves and pulling back. I watched a peak to the south that was working and paddle over there, but it was so shifty I never got a good one. I saw a right that I was out of position for spit from the back (rare in California). I started frothing a bit and the very next wave was mine.

I caught the wave a bit early, stalled on my pop-up to let it develop a bit (you rarely do this in Hawaii) and then launched with all my weight forward traveling sideways down the face of the wave. The wave immediately pitched over me and I got a great view of the barrel as it closed out ten feet in front of me.

I went in, walked farther south to where I originally paddled out and started paddling again. The waves were becoming less consistent as the tide was rising. I caught a left where I had to stomp on my front foot to stay on the wave and then pumped like a madman (while setting the 2011 personal record for most pumps on a wave with 5 or 6). I was outpacing the wave and laid into what sounded like a wicked cutback but I had very little to push again and I neglected to transfer my weight back to my front foot to do a roundhouse cutty.

I paddled back to where I caught the last wave and caught another one about five minutes later. I pumped and the wave began pitching in front of me (five yards of section). I backdoored it and pulled in to the closeout and pulled out the back. If this wave had lined up, I would've been in an amazing spot for a barrel...!

My last wave took fifteen minutes to arrive, but it was worth the wait. I started pumping down the line and began a slash on a part of the wave with some vertical slope and popped a fin out of the water. A little more weight on my front foot and I would've slidden the tail out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9.12.2011 Wisconsin to Tyson Bumpy Bumps with Moondoggie EVENING SESH (plus some thoughts on what's wrong with beachbreaks this month)

The forecast said the swell was strengthening throughout the day. It was calling for 3-4' with 5' sets for most exposed spots to the SW swell (Oside!). My buddy Eric was itching to go, but I was concerned about the wind. The forecast said it would go from 7 knots W to 5 knots W by sundown. We shot up there. The pier looked ok, but it was packed. I told Eric (Moondoggie) Wisconsin would be better and less crowded. We checked it briefly, saw a set and paddled out around 5:30.

Oceanside was still doing its latest fad. A wave would break and literally get chopped up. It looked as though someone had taken a giant steak knife and sheared the faces sideways, leaving speed draining potholes on the waves. This, coupled with the bump the onshore had been laboring at creating all day, made for challenging conditions for a shortboard.

We zipped out there, going approximately 100 paces south of Wisconsin. The current started dragging us immediately, confirming that this was a new swell.

I caught a wave and did the Huntington Hop, doing my best to pop multiple mini-wheelies so as to squirt water through the tail (doing this helps move water underneath the board, thereby creating speed in flat sections). Some sections were so ugly and had such big chops that I bypassed them and shot out the back.

As the session wore on, I caught a left and had a nice look at an oncoming section, I went up to smack it, did so, kept my board under my legs while my body was splayed behind. I came oh so close to pulling what probably would have been the sickest frontside turn of my life. When things like this happens, it makes me think I should paddle out in crappy surf more often instead of turning tail.

A set came through and I was on it. I caught it late and got hung up on the lip. I made the drop with the lip but the wave was over. As I'm hurtling myself over the foam, I realize I missed an opportunity to try foam climbs.

I caught a couple more waves and I was feeling really good about my equipment and the way I was surfing (even though I didn't pull that turn, I felt like I was surfing aggressively and efficiently in the choppy stuff). I started imagining being at different breaks from around the world and envisioning me dropping into some STEEP spinning lefts. I placed myself paddling for a late one, dropping in just under the lip.

Almost as though to give me a reality check, a macker comes through, one of the 5' sets they were talking about. I paddle and am so excited to get a steep one I P E A R L E D!!! Bummer. So much for my fantasy of dropping in to just about anything!

I blame my insistence on harnessing as much speed upon takeoff, even on steep drops. While stomping on the back can save you in a situation like this, it tends to look weak and can leave the rider in the pocket of the wave without speed. Granted, if this was Hawaii or El Salvador, where the waves are MUCH juicier, a different method would be employed (or at least until I got cocky).

I caught one right all session, did an ok turn but was too aggressive for the steepness of the wave and was left behind at the maneuver's conclusion.

A long lull came as the sun flirted with the horizon and we paddled in. The shorebreak was HEAVY. I saw some sick, mini-The Box style ugly ones. I tried to catch a couple but pulled back both times because of the shallowness.

The next morning I made the trek up to Oceanside and the waves were a little different, breaking fast and sectioning off quickly. I was racking my brain as to why the waves kept doing this and then it hit me! It has to do with that big swell we had that started to hit 8/31. It must have screwed up the sandbars. Given enough time, the sandbars will return back to normal but it's a shame.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9.12.2011 SouPa Gutlessness

This morning I trekked up to Oceanside once again, arriving at about 6:20. As I was pulling off the freeway, the famous Scuba flag was pointed due SW, OFFSHORE!!!

My froth was tempered only by my fear, soon to become realized: As is becoming habit for my treasured playground, it had morning sickness and the waves seemed bloated with water. It feels as though Oceanside has the flu and can't seem to recover. It's frustrating considering S swell season is starting its last gasp...

I scooted down to Carlsbad, checking Cherry and stopping for about five minutes at North Tamarack. I was tempted to go after watching a set develop, but it broke so blech that I bailed for "points" (get it?) farther south.

I checked the cliff spot just south of Palomar Airport Road and it looked a bit more promising. After about five minutes of trying to talk myself into going, I finally decided to just go as there were some set waves with a bit of steeps to them. The surface was very clean and the sun was out, which pushed me over the edge in terms of paddling out.

I scampered down the cliff, paddled out and caught a wave almost immediately. As I started leaning back to start a cutback, I had very little push from the wave and so aborted it and turned into my famous slash. I recovered and kicked out.

I caught a second wave and had the exact same experience! After kicking out I looked north and I saw a sick right barrel and thought, "Hmm..."

The next wave I caught was a right and steep. I got into my kneeboard stance and bounced down the face on my board. There was no barrel and I detached from my board, diving under the wave.

I caught a left did a sharp bottom turn and tried a snap. I threw some spray, but had no speed and did not recover. The waves got even less tantalizing and I was over it after about an hour.

Friday, September 9, 2011

9.8.2011 Cardiff Fourths, SoCal Blackout Surfing!

The power went out just before four. I turned on my car radio and was hearing reports of horrendous traffic. I debated staying home and playing guitar but it was so hot...! The news outlets were saying to stay home.

Well, they were right. On my way down to Birmingham, I passed a burned out bus that rioters had flipped over. Then, as I started my way down Birmingham's ocean view sector, I had to swerve around a flaming tire. I looked at Seaside Market just in time to see a brick smash through the window advertising its specials and then the other window went (the one touting the benefits of buying local).

Nope! It was very uneventful. The only difference I noticed is one of the two lights I passed wasn't working. I parked north of Cardiff campgrounds and took a quick look. It was tiny but CLEAN! I decided to trunk it, despite how cold it was the morning of my previous session. I had my 5'5"x20"x~3" Balestar fish with me. I call it malestar, which in Spanish means indigestion. It makes sense if you think about it because I only ride it if I have a bad feeling about the surf.

I decided not to wear a leash as I didn't want the drag, I thought I would need all of my speed.

I walked down the wood staircase and walked south to the next staircase. There was one guy actively paddling for waves and a douche on a SUP. Let me clarify, one is not automatically a douche for being on a SUP, but one has a much higher percentage chance.

He was paddling for everything regardless of his position in "line". I caught a wave and he was sweeping furiously to burn me on it inside of me so I let him have it. Obviously I wasn't going to say anything as it's a stupid thing to do ESPECIALLY when you consider how unworthy the waves are of testosterone-fueled possessiveness.

He eventually paddled away and I was surfing with a family surfing together. Two little girls took turns with who I hope was their older brother or cousin while dad and I duked it out for the "sets". When the sets did come they were about waist-high and closing out, but they seemed bigger because the average wave was upper-shin- to knee-high.

A typical wave went like this. I'd pop up, do a couple of pumps as it closed out in front of me and I'd attempt to kick the board out over the foam. There was a pregnant woman (I give her a 6, not out of ten, but six months into a nine-month pregnancy) bopping around with who I hope is her baby daddy in the shorebreak. I was forced to always watch for her on takeoff as I didn't want my board to cause a late-term miscarriage.

The highlight of the session was the set wave I caught and pulled into the barrel. I got covered up but it was hopeless in there and I kicked my board out in front of me.

I had a near miss with the pregnant lady. She held the board for me and I expected a talking-to but she was pretty cool and handed me the board. I decided I'd had enough and walked back the stairs to chaotic, power-less SoCal.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bobby Martinez Suspended from ASP World Tour

The only World Tour surfer of Latin descent (Brazilians don't count!) is off the tour for the comments made in the video above.  If you are unfamiliar with the One World Ranking system, the algorithm allows for a surfer like Bobby to be ranked higher in the World Tour than he is in the One World Ranking.  The system is new and very confusing and I predict it will be gone next season.  It will be interesting to see if Bobby will be reinstated.

9.7.2011 Oceanside S. Jetty, First Ice Cream Headache of the Season

All of Oceanside looked flat today.  The high tide was drowning the swell.  There were some shorebreak racers but they were looked so fat they weren't worth it.  I saw a promising set at Buc's but then silence.  I checked Harbor and just south of the south Jetty, I saw some peelers come through.  Not wanting to make it three times in a row of driving without surfing, I was on it!

I got down there and saw some clean little 1-3' peelers with a couple of heads per peak, not too bad...!  I saw an empty peak south of them and I paddled out.  The water was extremely cold for the time of year, I would guess 62, maybe 63 degrees.  Are we done with summer?  I trunked it twice and froze both times!

I managed to get the rip to take me too far out for the third session in a row.  I turned my head to look at the rest of the crowd and they were way inside of me.  I paddled north and in and was too inside of a decent one.
I paddled out a bit more and dodged another set, three waves this time.  I scampered back and forth until finally I was in position for a wave.  I caught it and as I was popping to my feet, the section closed and raced off without me.  I tried to pull back but the wave had other ideas.  I jumped off my board towards the beach and took one spin in the cold cycle.

I paddled back out and waited about ten minutes for my next chance.  I caught a wave and watched as it closed out in front of me.  I jumped over the foam.  I came up and something felt wrong.  There was no tension on my leg.  My leash rope had given out and I had the pleasure of swimming to get my board.  I got to it and it wasn't dinged up by the rocks.  If that had happened I would have questioned God's unconditional love for me.

I was disgusted with the cold, the gutless waves and my equipment issues.  I packed it in and bailed. No more morning Oside for me until this morning high tide goes away :o(

Sunday, September 4, 2011

9.4.2011 Spitting Barrels Titillate, High Tide and Current Frustrate at South Wisconsin

This morning I got up to Oceanside at about 7.  I had checked the buoys and they made it look like the waves had died off a bit, so I thought it would be less walled than yesterday.  As I was parked at Wisconsin Street.  I saw a guy get a clean barrel and make it out.  I was on it!

While suiting up, I saw the same guy get two more.  I started frothing a bit and got down there.  I saw a double-up in the shorebreak and in my haste, I ran to do a skim-paddle takeoff and smashed my heel against a cobblestone. OUCH! While paddling, I noticed a rip developing right in Barrel Alley and my chances for a dry barrel drying up with it. I dry-haired it and caught my first wave within about eight minutes of parking myself up there. 

It was a nice wave and I probably could've gotten barreled on it had I stalled upon takeoff.  I had some speed going and I began to lay into a roundhouse and noticed a chop.  I waited it out and then put all my pressure on my backside rail, pivoted and hit the whitewash smoothly.  Not a reo roundhouse, but a roundhouse nonetheless, SUCCESS!

Unfortunately, this was the only wave I would catch that is worth writing about.  I spent the rest of the session drifting towards the pier and then getting caught in a rip.  By the time I noticed, I was two-thirds of the pier out to sea!  I paddled and paddled and made it back, but the tide was making the waves so fat...!

No question about, tomorrow I will be on it earlier and stalling for those barrels.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

9.3.2011 Deceivingly Big Wisconsin Street to North Tyson Street

Last night I got a text from a poker buddy, Jonkey, about dawn patrolling the next day.  We made arrangements for Tamarack at 6 a.m.  While waiting for him, I sat in the car watching the waves.  Again, a peanut gallery had formed on the stairs and there were three times as many people there as in the water (only two heads in the water though).  The swell looked like it'd dropped off some and I knew it was going to get crowded, so I thought Oceanside might be working again. 

We headed north and while driving on the littoral, the waves looked workable.  I started getting really pumped up because I was looking forward to surfing waves with shape, but with power).  Wisconsin showed a couple of big set lefts with nice shape so I parked and took out my normal 6'1" leaving my "step-up" in the ride.

We walked down to the sand and turned south, due to the more than likely current from the south.  We saw another set that looked doable, but big.  I started paddling and got caught in a rip that took me out there in less than five minutes. 

The repartee went like this:  A wave comes which looks barely makeable, I would paddle for it while watching both shoulders hunch up towards the peak in a Neptunian shrug before collapsing.  The onshore and rip made it a bit bumpy out there.

On my fourth or fifth repetition of the above, I saw Jonkey lined up exactly outside of me paddling hard for a big frothy one (the froth on the surface cleaned it up a lot).  I yelled for him to go and I paddled south to avoid his apparent line of travel.  The wave threw out a nice foamy lip which I tried to duckdive but got somewhat caught up and tossed back.  I looked back and Jonkey was a ways back but we were able to dodge the next ones that came in. 

A couple of bodysurfers came out and they were the only other heads in the water as far as we could see.  I think Jonkey caught one and couldn't paddle back out, so it was just me and the bodysurfers.  Not too long after I lost track of Jonk, a wave came and it seemed to not shut down right away.  I paddled, caught it late, made the drop and watched this decent 6-7' freight train close out.  I kicked my board out in front of me and as I dropped to the water, I noticed one of the bodysurfers right in the way of my board, about ten feet away.

Here we are in this long rectangular surf zone with three of us out, and two of us manage to be a danger to one another!

I didn't hit him, tried to paddle out again but the waves, they kept a-comin', so I turned tail and skedaddled.

As we were desuiting these teaser sets came by, like ondulating sirens, beckoning us to spend some time with them.  We didn't fall for it a second time...!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

9.1.2011 North Tamarack, BIG swell!

This morning I woke up and shot down to my stuff, grabbed and put it in the car.  While doing this, I thought about putting my seldom used "step-up" board in the car.  It's not much of a step-up board, as it's only an inch longer than my normal board, though it makes up for that a bit in width and thickness.  I decided against doing this as I wanted to try my "new" board in bigger waves.  I had a feeling that Oceanside would be closing out and I was right.  I thought that Harbor might be able to hold it a bit better. Nope!

There was no one out from Tyson to Harbor.  A rare occurrence!  There were some bombs coming through, but it wasn't worth the paddle-out.  As soon as you made it out there, you could whirl around for a wave, catch it, kick out because of the close-out (nowhere to go) and get hammered by the next one, all while getting yanked down the beach by the current.  No takers...!

I drove south to Carlsbad thinking the waves would be more shapely there.  With such a steep swell in the water, the less direct the coastline is to its angle, the more the wave has to refract and decay in order to break.  Since Carlsbad is almost all beach break, I was hoping that it would make the waves less powerful so as to make them more than just a drop followed by a beating.

I almost paddled out at Cherry Street.  There was no one out and I was jonesing to try some roundhouse cutties on what appeared to be six foot faces with juice.  I talked myself out of going there and kept driving.  Tamarack looked makeable, but there were a good thirty people out.  I went down and checked the cliff spot just south of Palomar Airport.  The coast bends more west there and the surf reflected that.  It looked about shoulder-high and decent, but I wasn't about to waste a double-overhead day on a shoulder-high spot!

I circled back north and finally settled on North North Tamarack or South South Cherry Street depending on your political inclination.  There were only a couple of dudes out and the waves that sectioned off were a whole new peak in that spot.  I was on it.  The waves didn't look that big from the cliff (altitude tends to make waves look bigger than they are) so I was glad I didn't stray from my normal board.  On the way down the stairs, I had to wade through a peanut gallery of about ten guys.  I said, "Excuse me" to one as I was having trouble getting through and I couldn't understand what he was saying but his tone made it sound like he was talking ish.  I bounded down the stairs and paddled out.

I didn't take any real beatings on the paddle out.  I saw one of the two guys I'd been spying from the cliff take off pretty late.  Judging by his posture and composure and the radical drop, I thought he was toast.  I have to hand it to him because he made the drop backside.

I wasn't gnarled out by the waves.  When there's this many people out, it can't be all that heavy.  I set up a little deeper than the two guys and heard one say, "Yeah, this is my big wave board. It duckdives really well but still catches waves blah blah blah".  I was thinking these are not big waves.

I caught a left a little late and rode it for a ways.  A roundhouse cutty crossed my mind but seeing so many closeouts I decided against it.  I kicked out and caught air with all the speed I had.

I paddled back out and I had two waves that were almost exactly the same: Quick drops and quick kick-outs.  After paddling back out from these, I noticed that the main peak which had been plagued with dudes had thinned out, so I went for it.

Unfortunately, there was a lull that lasted about a half-hour.  During this time this kid who'd had a mad-dog look on his face before, paddled past me and said what I thought was, "Let's get a fresh one out here."  Not understanding why he would say that to a stranger I asked him to repeat himself and he said, "I'm the only Freshman out here."  I gave him a smile and a "Niiiiiiice!"

I was getting a bit bored so I paddled in a ways.  I had noticed that there were some juicy waves breaking a bit inside of me.  I start paddling and about fifteen seconds later, I happen to look back mid-paddle and I see a massive black line on the horizon.  I turn and scratch furiously.  As it and I came closer together, I thought, while paddling ferociously, "I'm toast."  I keep paddling and as I'm submerging for the duckdive, I see the lip crashing down.  I make it under and through but I can definitely feel the power of the wave through the slight turbulence I feel and how the wave's energy pushes me down and then past me.

I surface and let out a hoot, all while seeing the next wave of the set start to jack up.  I start paddling at about 75% of max speed, knowing that it isn't as big as the one that just narrowly missed me.  A third wave came through and closed out, all three of them went unridden.  The first wave of the set is the biggest wave I've seen break since that massive winter swell that hit its peak on 12/21/2005 and the most gnarled out I've been in the water since my sole Pipe session almost one year ago..

About two minutes later I caught a right, did a couple of pumps, went way down the wave face and had a decision to make.  I can either try for an off-the-lip which most likely will end up in disaster or I can kick out and try to salvage my place in the lineup.  I opt for the latter, but my fins disengaged on the bottom turn and I fall.  Somehow I manage to avoid going over the falls, but my board and my body are pulled inside quite a ways.  The same result would've probably happened with an off-the-lip, though my trajectory would've been more towards the trough, meaning I probably would've gone over the falls!

I jump on top of my board and see lines of whitewater.  I duckdive the first couple, and then decide to bail.

What a way to start the month!

August Wrap-Up

Wave of the month: 8.13.2011 The Barrel
Beating of the month: 8.31.2011 The Missed Barrel
Spot of the month: Wisconsin Street, Oceanside (Four Surfs)
Session Count on others:

Tyson: 3
Lowers: 2
Oside Blvd: 1
Uppers: 1
secret spot: 1
Ponto: 1

Completion of Goals: No 360's, almost there on the roundhouse, did a speed reo!