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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

10.12.2011 Black's Redux, Bigger and Sunny

This morning I woke up just after five to take my wife to the airport. I packed my board and gear along with her suitcase with the plan to swing by Black's on the way back. Just after I dropped her off, first light happened, so I was going to be a bit later than usual.

Given that the fog had lifted, I walked down to the mouth of the goat trail and snapped the above shot. The waves looked bigger than a couple of days ago so I was out THAR!

I was doing my usual, run-just-a-little-faster-than-I-should, routine when at one of the lookout points I saw two guys sleeping in sleeping bags. I thought they were creative campers so I slowed down so as not to wake them.

About fifteen minutes after completing the descent, I saw a guy get the throatiest backside barrel I think I've ever seen anyone make in California. It wasn't a big wave, but the lip was thick and throwing. He was in there a good three, possibly four seconds. My pace quickened, along with my pulse, and I decided to paddle out inside of him to see if I could snag one of those beauts.

The longshore current from the NW swell was pushing pretty hard, and I had to do some corrective paddling to counteract its effects. I sat/paddled north for about fifteen minutes until I got my first look at one.

A right came through and I dropped in on it just a little late. I grabbed my rail a little prematurely and waited for the wave to throw. By the time it did, it overdid it, the section in front of me was too long for me to navigate successfully. I got a little bit of tube time and, even better, some tube vision.

About fifteen minutes later I caught another right. I blew all of my takeoff speed by taking off too straight on it and tried to get some speed going, but the wave left me behind. Too bad, because there was an amazing oh-so-hittable section coming towards me on the left...

Five minutes passed before I had my shot at another one. This one was a "big" (maybe 6') screamer of a right that started breaking on the outside and lined up for quite a ways that I caught late. I pumped up and down, thought about going for a big floater, but I was too far below the wave to make it manageable, especially as it started to throw. I did my Fosbury Flop and cleared the watery high bar, letting my leash rubber band my board back to me.

At this point, the waves started being teases. The tide was rising and what looked like a sick peak, turned out to be nothing. At the beginning of this phenomenon, I would actually paddle out, thinking, "Aww, yeah!". After two of these, I let the pack paddle for them while I just sat there and let them pass by. The inside was shutting down, so that wasn't a viable option.

Around this time is when my right forearm started aching, to the point where hard paddling was excruciating. I began looking for my last wave.

It was definitely a beautiful morning. Santa Ana conditions make for blue skies. With the high cliffs directly to the east, the sun hits the water at interesting angles. I had stopped fighting the current when the peak I was on got flooded by semi-pros and I was officially at South Peak.

The sun finally came over the edge of the cliff and it made the waves change to a nice green hue. I spent my time admiring the way the light played with the bluff and ocean. I didn't spend my time catching waves.

Finally, I caught a small left and pumped. I floated over a section, which gave me more speed. I was about to bottom turn when I BOGGED and dug my rail. I had just enough speed for a weak snap.

I kicked out south of the south access to Black's (the one off LJ Farms) and spent a good twenty minutes walking back.

I saw a beer can on the sand and picked it up. I walked up the way I came down and was bummed to see the "creative campers" had packed up their valuables but left a plastic bag full of empty Bud cans. I picked it up and added my sand can to the loot. A-holes...!

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