The hotel's go-to guy dropped the ball on this morning. After some debate, my wife convinced me to rouse him so I could surf the sick walls of Punta Roca. I felt bad and didn't want to wake him, but she won, so he lost.
I made it to my parking spot at 645, just in time to see Piry pull up on his bike. I walked with him and we both got excited by the improvement in the waves since yesterday.
In what is perhaps my biggest accomplishment of the trip thus far, I managed to hit the water after Piry and STILL beat him to the water. I wasn't trying to race, either. I was methodical, but quick, allowing little room for hesitation once I'd set my mind on my next step.
On my first wave, I bottom-turned, snapped, and slid the fins out. I didn't recover, but I hope it looked sick!
My second wave was a bit bigger. I got a snap in, then went for a roundhouse cutty but lost the board in the wash.
On my third wave, I got in some massive top-to-bottom, critical positioned pumps. These were pretty sweet in that I could hear the water coming off my rail and its subsequent spray hitting behind the wave. I got in one really good hit, then an ok one before kicking out.
It is worth mentioning that after almost every wave at Punta Roca, and every wave I enjoyed during this session, I feel an amazing adrenaline rush upon kicking out. This is extremely rare in the States. But where in the States do you constantly get to catch bowling, heaving waves, feet (sometimes inches from consequence-laden rocks)
Piry and I sat on the outside, deeper than anybody else. A short guy who goes by Enano (Dwarf) paddled out a bit deeper and less than a minute later, he was seemingly rewarded when a macker came through. I was eyeing him as I too paddled and pulled back when I realized he was going to be on it. Less than a half-second after my pull-back, Enano decided he wasn't having any part of it. As a result of people just inside of us thinking one of us would catch it, no one else in the near vicinity paddled for it. I immediately heard a two-man chorus of "PPUUTTAA!" directly to my north. If these guys were bummed, they couldn't have been bummed at me, assuming they were logical beings of course.
A minuter later I paddled a bit deeper as Piry set up for the wave of the day. He caught a beautiful 8+' freight train as I yelled him onto it. I duckdived and upon coming up I was rewarded with what is the most adrenaline-inducing sight I've had in probably years: a wave slightly bigger than Piry's. I was in a good spot for it, but I was slightly off balance on my board. I stopped paddling for a second as I switched from paddling out to paddling in to quickly readjust myself on my board.
I was successful and paddled as hard as I ever have. The wave lifted me and my board as my brain alternated in seeming split-seconds between slightly more complex versions of "NO!" and "GO!". The good side won and I was rewarded with what is, without question, the biggest wave I've ever caught at Punta Roca.
Because of Piry's wave, I was dropping through some still-settling froth and was careful not to make sharp corrections to my trajectory. It would have been very sad if I'd slid the fins out on a b-turn due to the heavily aerated nature of the water. Since I was the farthest out (Enano had since caught one), I was also on stage. A kook move to cost me the wave of the day would harrowingly affect my chances at another set wave.
The photog missed the first few seconds of the wave, including one where I felt as though I'd absolutely SMASHED IT!
I went for a set-up mini-snap/pump to get into the power section of the wave again. I could've been more aggressive, but I'll be honest here, I was in awe of this magnificent beast I was on and was thrilled to have talked myself out of survival mode through the first half of the wave.
Decent, but I would have liked my trajectory to be more bottom-to-top. Again, this is easy to nitpick now, because I am not there now, seeing the low-tide ocean water come off the rocks allowing for terror-inducing cobblestones to appear in my periphery and mellow my aggressive intentions.
I noticed through the pictures I had taken on this trip that when I bottom-turn hard on my backhand, I look not to where I want to go but to my outside rail. It's a bad habit and it allows for less reaction time as I have less time to spot my target on the wave.
I went for a roundhouse cutty when a the section was ripe for a snap. If I had really wanted to do a proper roundhouse cutty, and increase the likelihood of landing it, then I should've pumped once, then laid into the turn, gone all the way to the bottom for speed and THEN smacked the lip.
When I faded off the back, I felt electric and was feeling a level of stoke I hadn't experienced in years.
My last wave was an insider and all I remember about it is that Mama Roca surprised me by showing up way before I expected it to, about a half-second before what I thought was imminent impact. I leaned hard on my outside rail, thinking maybe the bottom of the board would take the hit. I was SHOCKED not to have hit the rock. Upon kicking out I flipped my board over and there was no damage. Unbelievable!
I went in and had a bit of a tough time on the rocks, giving myself a nicking on my right foot. I was surprised again, this time by some high tide push of some waves. I had to turn to jump over the surge and then find a nook or cranny in the sometimes-barnacled-sometimes-super-slippery rocks