I'd seen the surf forecasts talk about how steep a swell would be hitting Orange County. I knew Oceanside would be my best hope in San Diego County. I considered doing a Lowers sunrise session but I was already behind on my sleep enough.
I got to Oceanside just before seven and after a quick glance at Southside Pier, bounded towards Harbor. Harbor again had nothing to show me, save for nearly twenty heads, solemnly bobbing while staring at the horizon.
I circled back to Pier and was not too amped on what I saw. The swell that was coming in was extremely angled, just as the forecasts predicted. I gawked while doing my best to follow traffic regulations on my way to check Wisconsin.
I saw a sick ledge fold over into a pretty square barrel and I pulled over HARD into the next available parking spot. Out thar!
I went down the ramp to the beach, then zagged south in anticipation of the the assured current. I was hoping my short jaunt would buy me some more time in the Wisconsin area so I could plunder its peaks.
When I was almost done paddling out, I was already north of Wisconsin Street.
My first wave was a right. While paddling for it, I knew it was a bad idea. On a S swell, the number of quality lefts tend to vastly outnumber the amount of good rights. Add in an E flavor to the swell, and this becomes even more true. I went for it anyway and got as far as a bottom turn before I shot my board out the back while bailing into the trough. The foam ball bore down on me. As I came up, I glanced toward shore and was surprised at how quickly I was being shuttled north.
At reefs and pointbreaks, it's almost always worth paddling back towards where you caught your last wave. At a beachbreak, it depends. With a current this strong, I would be on an aqua-treadmill between every wave just to stay in position. Had the waves been absolutely amazing, this may have been a worthwhile strategy.
The waves were coming in consistently, and my neck snaps toward shore to check my northward progress provided entertainment during the short lulls. The waves were extremely racey, but some had a rare barrel that looked makeable.
I knew, upon catching my first left, I would be racing from the get-go. As soon as I felt my feet slap the deck, I began to swoop to initiate my first pump. If I was in an good spot on the wave and if I was as efficient as possible, I could make this and do a high-speed bash. Upon exiting the first pump, the lip crashed just inside of my inside rail, impeding my progress forward. I barely was able to throw my body over the lip.
Less than two minutes later (I TOLD you it was consistent...), I caught my third wave. I wasn't even close. By the time I'd popped up, the section had folded over in front of me and accelerated like a quick wick. I descended and flopped over again.
My next wave was the wave of the day, but let's not get too excited. I spotted a warble on the face just outside of where I would be catching it that led me to believe there was a barrel to be had. I popped up, kept my weight on my back foot and had the lip mostly mush over me at first, but then it did throw to the point that I was in there for half a second or so on my way out the back and through the wave. Mick Fanning could've made that wave and at least doggy-doored it. Not backhand though!
Less than four minutes later, I caught an iffy left. My suspicions were confirmed when I dropped down and immediately made plans to pull through the back. The footage captured showed a closeout.
I was just south of Tyson at this point and about to be funneled in with the sizable Pier crowd. I made plans to exit the water, walk south and assess. The SW wind that was subtly kicking up was making me lean toward not doing another lap.
On my last wave, I went for an immediate, no drop-down floater bonk. The wave was so fast that I didn't have time even for that.
One interesting thing I noticed on all of my lefts was my paddling half north (away from the breaking wave), half to the beach in an attempt to buy me a bit more time upon popping up.