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Friday, August 31, 2012

August Wrap-Up

Wisconsin Street 4
D. Street 3
Oside Pier 2
S. Jetty
Buc Beach

Eleven Sessions surfing actively just half the month, not too bad.

Bail of the Month goes to the shoulder slam on 8.13

I guess the Wave of the Month honors go to the second wave I caught during the Nocturnal Ambitions session on the third.

8.31.12 Right back in the Swing of Things! S. Buc Beach

This was another sales job.  I REALLY had to talk myself into paddling out.  I checked Buc Beach through Harbor and found little inspiration.  It wasn't a question of where I was going to surf, but more, where I was going to sit.  Should I aim for a place where I could be alone with my thoughts?  Or perhaps one with a beautiful paisaje?

I decided to go out at Buc Beach and scored an amazing parking spot next to the handicapped parking. BOOM BABY!

There were about six guys surfing straight out and about four a good thirty yards south.  I opted to sit in between them.

My first wave reminded me of the night I became a man: a pump-fest that ended disappointingly (just kidding ladies, call me).  The wave faded and so did my hopes of a fun finish to the wave.

I did a switch crab-grab and got a sick view of the barrel as it closed out nearly ten yards in front of me.

I caught another left and got some speed before it too fizzled on me.

Another left arrived and I bottom-turned around the initial section and laid into a snap.  I almost recovered but received some incoherent positive lip from a loc.  When I came up, he asked if it was a GoPro on my board and I replied affirmatively.  He replied, "SICK!".

Three more dudes paddled out close to me and I was over it.

8.30.12 Back from a LOOOONG Dry Nap, I hit up S. Jetty in Oside

Yes, the formatting on the above pic blows, but you get the "picture"? (PTHTHTHTHPHTHPH AHAHAH!)

The above pic is the reason I hadn't been surfing.  The surf had been dismal.

Rumors of a month-end swell have been swirling around the last ten days, which is interesting as tomorrow is the anniversary of the biggest S swell we've had in years.

The upside of my not surfing for SIXTEEN days? I fell back in love with skimboarding.  Two days in a row, I went twice, per day.  My 32-year-old joints begged for mercy, mostly my right hip.  My left hammy screamed out in pain with every run-drop-slide.  I decided it was time to shift back towards surfing.

I shot up to Oside and didn't find anything remotely tantalizing along the Oside corridor.  I finally settled on S. Jetty after ALMOST bailing.  I hadn't surfed in so long that it was a novelty to paddle out.  I wanted to see if I was out of paddling shape, but didn't notice any aches on my paddle-out.

It was relatively crowded considering the 2' waves.  I caught several waves where I pumped around the first section and was met with a fade.

There was one wave where I bottom-turned as the section spilled over and was in great shape to get a smack.  I was met with a section that was extremely weak, but I put some oomph into it and threw the tiniest bit of spray.  I barely had enough speed to go back down the wave and I did so with my face toward the sky; my face in a wide smile, appreciating my effort-to-result ratio.

I caught another noteworthy left where I was going to do a roundhouse cutty.  Once I'd spun my head, shoulders and torso I realize it wasn't wise, but I was able to slide the tail out oh-so-gingerly. NICE!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

8.14.12 Too High a Tide for Oceanside=Back to D Street

Oceanside was swamped out with all of that water.  The good news is this should set things up nicely for the swell of the summer we will supposedly be experiencing on Friday.  People may check Oside the next few days and decide it sucks, then when the tide is lower in the morning and the swell hits, it may be a bit of a sleeper.  We shall see...

I paddled out without giving it too much thought.  I thought, in this gorgeous weather, I can't lose by paddling out on a day like today unless I got tagged by a stingray or otherwise injured.

There was some more of the green slime in the water I noticed during the PM session here late last week.  I couldn't figure out what it was, but it was noticeably warmer than the normal water.  Aaahhh!

I paddled out and caught my first wave within five minutes.  It was a quick left on which I crab-grabbed.  I was in there for less than a second before being slammed.

My next wave had the benefit of being the older half of a double-up, being pushed forward and out by its piggy-backing cousin.  I crab-grabbed into this tight tunnel and got in there for quite some time before eating it.  I'm pretty amped on the footy:

My second wave was a right that didn't really happen.  I stood up on a gutless wave and never descended.

My next wave was a right that I tried to get barreled on but, for some reason, it didn't happen.  I think the wave may not have barreled as I was hoping.

In between waves, I looked under the green slime trail and saw a massive school of fish.  Once I saw the bubbles rise up and the tinge of brown, I assumed I was floating in fish poop.  Bah, at least I was warm!

Then, I caught a left on which I got one pump in before being forsaken by King Neptune.  The wave raced off without me.  I hopped over the lip without issue.

Another quick one!  I didn't even get a pump in before the bitch closed out on me.

The streak continued for a third instance, though I did lurch up the face on this one before being shut down.

A change of pace: My last wave barely let me in, but I did enjoy the 2-ft drop, pumping up, then riding the foam a bit on the closeout before eating it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

8.13.12 Denying an Oside No-Go with a Last Second Stop at D Street


Please send monetary donations to  No well wishes. No flowers. Just money.

I checked Oceanside, from Buc Beach to Harbor and could not talk myself into paddling out.  I dejectedly headed back to the freeway.  The traffic was a bummer, but it resulted in my having enough time to realize I could check D Street on the way home.

I parked at C Street and saw a faraway left reeling south of D.  I debated whether to suit up, but ended up grabbing my board and paddling out in just my trunks.

I can't remember the last time I trunked it in the morning in California.

I caught a right which had very little slope to it, but the reason I went for it is because I saw there was a small wave in front of it, leading to the epic acceleration that is the double-up.  I went up for a late hit and did so, but I turned too late and ended up just presenting the board for the wave to smack, resulting in an ineffectual maneuver.

My next wave was a steep hollow left.  I switch crab-grabbed and apparently got gnarled out as I closed my eyes. The impact on my left knee led me to believe I airdropped.  I let my head hang down so as not to get clipped and open my eyes just in time to get ANNIHILATED! My right shoulder slammed into the sand, but there was no lingering pain or damage, thankfully.  This is definitely the frontrunner for BAIL OF THE MONTH!!!

I caught a right way too late and kind of faded off the back...

I caught a second right and was able to hit it well.  Unfortunately, I didn't take into account the wave's lack of juice and faded off the back again.

A quick closeout left came my way and I pumped quickly before jumping over it.

A nice right came my way, but there was a guy somewhat near my soon trajectory.  I turned sharply, almost into a cutty, then bailed into the wave.  No surfers were injured.

My teeth began to do their chatter dance and I decided to pack it in.

8.12.12 North Side Oside Pier Barrels

On this day, I finally decided to make the drive  after much consternation.  What finally convinced me to go was the early onset of the sweltering heat we've been subjected to for the past week.

I went up to Oside and was awestruck at the crowd at Buc Beach.  I secretly hoped whatever contest they'd hung banners on the pier for was over, but I saw the scaffolding right away.  The women's longboarding contest was still going.  I saw a lot of promise on the south side of the contest area, so I parked.  I suited up and walked south of the pier, but there was a plethora of loggers out, making those poor shortboarders pick off the scraps they left behind.  These guys were good loggers too, perhaps they were involved in the contest at some point.

I decided to walk north of the pier and saw some sick lefts spinning JUST north of the pier.  There was a pack on it, but I thought I could get into some.

I paddled out far enough away from the fishing lines so as not to get snagged.  My first wave came within ten or so minutes, a forgettable left with not much of a shoulder.  I kicked out and paddled back into the pack.

I witnessed quite a few in-and-out barrels before I got a shot at mine.  I barely got the camera on in time before I dropped down, but not all the way down, pulled in and got SLAMMED!

Perhaps if I'd absolutely hugged the wall, I might have had a shot.  I probably could have crouched down a bit more too.

Word was apparently getting out, as it was getting more and more packed at the action wedge.  I witnessed an older ripper on a shortboard stuff a guy and get barreled, make it, then eat it on a lip slap.  The snakee held up his hands as if to ask, "What happened?" or "Why?".  It was a bummer of a waveto get burned on, no question.

I bailed for points farther north.  I missed a lot of waves due to someone already being on them.

I caught another quick barrel on which I got decimated.  These steep S barrels just don't give much time to set up.  I saw two groups of surfers paddling out and I was over it.

8.10.12 Taking my Lumps at Lumpy Wisconsin Street

I had to talk myself into making the trek north on this day.  Harbor wasn't doing much of anything and had its usual pack so I was over that.  I parked at my usual spot at Wisconsin Street and eventually talked myself into surfing in front of Seau's former house, just as I had two mornings earlier.  The surface of the water was a bit bumpy, but the waves still seemed worth the paddle.

Paddling out just before me was a guy on a longboard and his buddy, a body-surfer.  I guess opposites do attract!

The bodysurfer caught three quick waves outside of me, waves that would have been mine if I'd been positioned better.  I am a fast learner, and quickly usurped his superior spot while he was swimming back out.  Apparently, he wasn't interested in trying to reclaim his spot, as he stayed put inside of me.

Despite my efforts and mental chess moves, it still took me some time to catch my first wave.

It arrived about fifteen minutes after I made my move, though there were a lot of waves I was just inside or just outside of, titillating me to no end.  It was a chest-high left.  I pumped twice before figuring out this wave was going to pass me by.  Rather than giving the bodysurfer an opening to re-claim his spot, I kicked the board out and paddled back out.

My second wave arrived about eight minutes later.  It had an open face, so instead of doing my usual initial pump, I went straight into a bottom turn.  As I cruised up the face, I felt the bodysurfer's eyes on me.  Please make this, I implored, I don't want him to think I'm not worthy of the alpha position and have him take his spot back.

I leaned too far back and wasn't even close. Luckily, the bodysurfer remained where he was.

My next wave was a much quicker left.  I did two quick mini-pumps then rose up to meet the lip.  I slashed it ok, then descended again.  The wave I was on was fizzling, but there was a right just behind it.  I attempted to transition on to it and went VERTICAL to its lip.  Unfortunately, I wasn't ready for such a steep approach and my board launched up into the air.

My next wave was a solid shoulder-high one.  I was salivating over its wall and ended up PEARLING on it.  Even while I was mid-flight, I didn't break eye contact with the shoulder.

My next two waves were both pump-fests which ended with no payoff.

I bailed soon thereafter, I was firing on no cylinders and was pretty eager to pack it in.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

8.9.12 Beat-The-Heat PM SESSION at D Street

The heat was driving me crazy and I was wanting to get some nice cold water on me to cool down.  I was initially going to go to George's, but at the last minute, decided to turn left onto the San Elijo towards D Street.

I figured the surf would be rank, so I brought the fish with me.

I parked a bit far due to summer parking issues and made my way down.  I ambled around the lifeguard tower and was shocked at how crowded it was.  This was without a doubt the most crowded I'd ever seen D Street.  It looked like a more spread-out Lowers.

The waves were SO much better than I'd expected, and I immediately longed for my DHD.  Oh well, at least I was out here.  I was trunking it to maximize the cooling effect.

My first wave was a right.  I descended it, rose up to the shoulder and leaned hard into a cutty, just like I would've on the DHD.  I turned, my board didn't, and I faceplanted.

There were so many rippers out.  A lot of groms were out.  I witnessed a pre-pubescent grom burn a guy a couple of years older than me on the wave of the day, forcing the middle-aged man to straighten out on a wave he had indubitably waited a long time for.  The grom's friends' high-pitched squeals egged him on.  I found it distasteful.

The sun was beginning to fade toward the horizon, and I still had not caught a good wave.  The rabid pack was making things very difficult.  I saw a guy super-pumping with every pump, boosting off a backside ramp.  It was the biggest backside boost I'd seen in a long time, possibly this decade.  He didn't land it though, but he styled throughout his flight.

I paddled a bit farther out than most of the pack and within fifteen minutes, I found my chance.  I paddled hard for it and noticed a guy to my inside paddling too.  I made eye contact with him and let him know as much as I could with my eyes, that he should not keep paddling for the wave.  He finally acquiesced and I took off on my wave of the day.  I pumped a few times, then went for a bank off the top.  Still being used to my shortboard, I leaned too far back while balancing on top of the wave.  I flopped onto my back.

I went out for one last wave before I decided to call it a day.  I was beginning to get chilly and was pleased at no longer being sticky.

8.9.12 Inconsistency Reigns Supreme at North Wisconsin

Apparently, word had gotten out about the previous day's session.  This is more common than you might think.  People who were out on a day like the previous day can't help but to tell their buddies (usually while exaggerating) about how hard they blew it by not paddling out. 

As a result, the previous day's sandbar was packed.  It didn't look as good as when I'd surfed it.  I opted to turn left at the bottom of the ramp at Wisconsin Street.

My first wave was an insta-barrel.  I'm still working on my half-descent arm stall technique and the results reflected that.  I got into the barrel and wasn't able to contort myself into its restrictive confines.  I landed on my back.

I caught another left that was borderline.  I thought I might have caught it too late.  I popped up and made the drop, but the wave had passed me by already.

The last memorable wave involved a quick barreling left that I was going to switch crab grab, but I got my wires crossed and ended up switch pig-dogging.  I got covered up, but pulled through the back.  I don't think I would've made it if it had been a right.

The rest of the session involved my paddling for, and deciding to not go on, a half dozen waves.  The wind gusted slightly, from zero to perhaps two knots, and that was enough of an excuse for me to call it a session.

8.8.12 Wedging Wisconsin Street

The reports were adamant that today would have potential.  I loaded up The Rad and swung onto the freeway towards the south-facing beaches.

Pier didn't have all that much to offer.  I headed south a bit and found what I was looking for just north of Wisconsin Street, smack dab in front of Junior Seau's house (it's for sale for $2.3M, let me know if you're interested).

Every five minutes or so, a two-wave set would roll through and wedge up beautifully, albeit a bit quickly.  No one was on it, so I was especially happy to be its first customer.

My first wave was a steep left that involved a pretty heavy drop.  It ended abruptly when the lip tried to take my head off.

My second wave was a right.  I pumped hard off the bottom, then watched in sadness as a long section folded over in front of me. I Fosbury-flopped over it, but was not successful.  The draining water slammed me down onto the sand.  Oof.

A left arrived, but it didn't have much to offer.  I floated with it for some time before deciding to pull out, for there wasn't any reason to continue.

An iffy left came, and I took off.  It closed out almost immediately.

A more open left arrived, but it lacked in the juice department.  I was about to b-turn for a hit, but I aborted and, naturally, faded off the back.

Yet another left came (S Swell Specials!), but it was racy, yet had no end section off which to do anything.  I pulled through the trough/wall section.

Two spongers paddled out.  One was talking about heading up to Salt Creek (sick right that is overrun with spongers) later.  His buddy told him it would be good today.

Not too long thereafter, I was an another left.  One of the spongers took off on me, but the good news is I wouldn't have made the wave anyway. I just couldn't keep up with its horizontal lip velocity.  I pulled through at my first opportunity.

I found a quick hollow left and I switch crab-grabbed into the barrel.  I got in but got humbled fairly quickly by the foam ball.

The sponger paddled out, asked if he'd burned me.  I said yes, but told him I wouldn't have made it anyways.  He said the next couple of waves were mine.

A bigger wave came.  I dropped down, a little too much weight on my back foot and then lurched forward with a pump.  The lip threw out hard and its trajectory led me to believe it was heading straight for my board.  I kicked my board in and it managed to land itself in the barrel (footy was interesting).  I got hung up in the lip and SLAMMED into the water.  As soon as my head hit the water, my tinnitus, first activated more than sixteen years ago due to an unexpected firing of a gun, flared up in my left ear.  Luckily it went away a couple of minutes later.

The other sponger was involved in one of my pet peeves: directing traffic.  If someone was in position for a wave, he would tell them to go (even if he was nowhere near the wave), almost as though people needed his blessing to go.  A true wave Pope.

Nearly fifteen minutes passed before my next wave.  The spongers were ravaging the selection of waves.  I'm not sure why I went on this wave, perhaps I was bored, as it closed out as I was releasing my board with my hands.

I caught a small left and did a little smack on it.  My weighting vacillated quickly between my front and back foot on the smack.  Not stable, not SICK, but a make nonetheless...

Finally, something nice to report on the wave front!  A GORGEOUS wave arrived and wave Pope told me to go (he was way inside of it).  I excitedly paddled out and south, being careful not to screw up my positioning.  I flipped around and went.  I mini-pumped and went for a steep hit.  I managed to not flip my leading arm back (it went more up than back) but couldn't hang on.

My last wave was a quick right.  I started to bottom turn, but realized it was a closeout.  I straightened out and headed for shore.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

8.7.12 Wisconsin Street Solo Mish

I didn't think the waves would be great  on this day.  I almost didn't drive out to check, but eventually made up my mind to do so.

My first view of pier showed me some swell in the water, which got my hopes up.  I cruised down past Tyson, then parked to check Wisconsin.  There were some peaks out there wave-ing towards me.  I suited up and walked, on accident, with two other surfers.  They headed north of Wisconsin so I decided to go south.  No need for a guarantee of a crowd right off the bat...

My first wave was a left on which, while paddling for, I knew I had to zoom.  It was one of those crossed up swell waves where the wave isn't a straight line.  Picture two closed parentheses right just askew from one another.  I'll see if I can do a very anti-climactic ASCII reenactment below:

(   target, throwing out lip
 (  middle section, foaming over and hard to get speed from
(   take-off

The bottom open-parenthesis is where I took off.  I had to pump like a madman to get around the middle ( in order to hit the highest open parenthesis.  I was successful in doing all of this.  However, in my balls-to-the-wall speed calculations, I'd neglected to account for the velocity with which I would be approaching my target.  I hit the approaching lip awkwardly and not vertically enough which resulted in my being dumped on my ass.

A minute later, I caught a quick right which did what most rights do on steep south swells in Oside: fizzle.

Seven minutes later, I was in position, though pretty late, for a hollow left that was not going to give me much time.  I didn't paddle for it right away, as I didn't want to start my ride with a nowhere floater.  Once the wave was closer, I paddled about six times in order to catch it.  After about my second furious paddle, I heard a guy between the beach and me trying to get my attention.  I was distracted a bit, but never stopped paddling.  There was no chance I was going to run into him as he was too far away.  I caught the wave, quickly popped into my switch crab grab stance and got maybe a second and change of tunnel vision.  As I was getting thrashed by the remaining energy of this three-footer (I told you it was a strong swell!), I realized I'd kept really calm in the barrel.  I had a good mindset in the barrel too, I remember thinking, "I can make this!", and was mentally patting myself on the back for it.

I came up and the guy who had distracted me was hooting me and was pretty excited about my ride.  I would post the vid, but it just shows me paddling and tucking.  The lip hit the camera and readjusted it, catching footage only of my board's stringer in the barrel.

The hooter was joined by his buddy not long thereafter.  I'd never heard a guy laugh so much in his life.  He had a real joie de vivre or he was on something.  Either way, I was a little jealous.  They were both super amped on being out there.

Four minutes later, I caught a small left on which I got some speed, then turned really hard off the top.  I didn't realize I was so inside, as my leading arm hit the sand as I was falling off my board.  This is probably the sickest turn I've tried on this small a wave.  Once I start pulling these with regularity, I will be AMPED!

The waves changed a bit and were beginning to remind me of the last session I had on a SSE swell we got from Fabio.  They were fast and pretty racy, to the point of closing out.  Since I wasn't going to be catching up to any of these, I focused on improving my catch-pop-drag-barrel sequence.  After my second wave, I was able to do it pretty well.  

On my last wave of the day, I went left and realized I was headed towards a boomer of a close-out.  I stuffed my hands and face into the wave and pulled through.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

8.3.12 Nocturnal Ambitions: Forrest and I Night-Surf Oceanside Pier; July Wrap-Up

I called Forrest with about four hours to go until sundown to see if he wanted to surf.  He asked if I wanted to go night surfing and I said "DOWN!".

I convinced him to drive up to Lowers, but while waiting for the sun to go down my lack of sleep from the previous night caught up with me.  I started feeling lethargic and was over the undertaking (see what I did there?) that is the Lowers trek.

We decided to surf Oside Pier and suited up about twenty minutes after dusk.  While doing so, we were asked by some patrons of the overpriced 333 restaurant if we were night surfing and they were amped for us.  We saw what appeared to be a five foot closeout set break and I started to get excited.  Forrest said that's the biggest wave he's seen in the last six weeks.

As we descended down the stairs, we saw a beehive of activity.; Lots of campfires (smaller than bonfires) and people buzzing about.

I recommended we walk down the beach a ways because of the current the south swells inevitably bring.

It was funny entering the water while people left.  Perhaps this is how firemen feel when they're rushing to a place where people are fleeing.  My experience was at a much slower tempo, though.

I made it out with dry hair and we realized we'd paddled out too far.  There was a lone sponger sitting inside of us with no one else out.  The angle of the swell made it very hard to read the waves.  I could see a peak spring up by the pier, but then, darkness.  A way to think about is when someone starts a sentence but the last half of it is muffled, and you have to piece the sentence together contextually and based on what you know about the person.

The atmosphere was a lot of fun.  The myriad of pier lights gave the water a stadium-like atmosphere.  The scene was completed by what felt like cheering fans (though they were fishing families with lines out).

My first wave was one that Forrest was in a better spot for.  I thought he'd caught it, so I pulled back.  He yelled me onto it, and a last ditch effort of mine was successful.  Unfortunately, the right closed out, so I straightened out and angled hard on a bottom turn so my momentum would carry me over the wash.

It was a bit of a battle to keep paddling away from the pier.  The monofilament fishing lines are almost translucent in the yellow lights and though I didn't touch one, I was paranoid about getting wrapped up in them.

I was getting a little frustrated.  The light would give us a clue, but then we had to guess as to whether we were in the right spot for the waves.  It was an interesting phenomenon that we grew tired of after about a half-hour.

Eventually, we decided to try the north side of the pier.  The sponger had caught a couple of waves I could have had and we were night surfing to ditch the crowds.  Forrest wanted to go in and walk through but I convinced him to just paddle through, threading the pier pilings.

It's always unnerving to paddle through.  I'd never done it in the dark before.  The darkness gave it another level of excitement, because we were doing it almost blind.  A wave could easily come in and bash us against the barnacled pilings.

We dodged the fishing lines, threaded the pilings then dodged another set of fishing lines.  Things seemed different right away on the north side.  We were being pulled away from the pier and the light hit the waves at a much friendlier angle.

My first north side wave was a left on which I pumped, while imagining where on the wave I might be. I pumped a couple of times and went for what I thought was going to be a floater, but I misread the lip in the dim light and turned it into a banked angle off the top, a move you see longboarders do.  My brain commanded my body weight onto my back foot and I lost it upon descent.

I forgot to put an end edit on this video, so feel free to quit watching after the wipeout:

I heard two women on the pier shouting to us.  One had a distinct, mischevious cackle.  I couldn't hear most of what they were saying, but I did catch, "I'm so scared for them!".

My second and last wave was another left that I caught well when it was nice and steep.  I pumped a couple of times and sailor-dived (dove?) off of it.

I went in and ran up to the pier to cheer Forrest on.  He wasn't able to catch a good one.  I caught up with him at the bottom of the ramp and he said he'd invited those ladies out for a drink. What a PIMP!

Forrest then saw them and was surprised by what he saw.  Let's just say his threesome fantasy took a hard left towards Cougarville.  We walked with them towards Forrest's car and he made an excuse about having to get me back to my wife.

What a month July was!  Well, the first half was incredible.  Here's the breakdown:

La Bocana 6
Tyson or Tyson Adjacent: 3
La Bocanita 3
Punta Roca 2
Las Flores 1
El Zonte Left 1
Sunzal 1
El Recodo 1
Avocados 1
D Street 1

Bail of the month goes to the second session of the month: the pearling wipeout at La Bocanita
Wave of the month: Tough one.  It's a tie between the wave upon which I saw the lightning strike reflected and the SICK turn I did at Medios (right by La Bocanita) on the eighth.

I'm mostly over my desire to move to El Salvador full time.  I now have my sights set on convincing my wife to move to Kauai with me.  If she says no, I will be heartbroken, but I have faith I will find someone else...!