Mike and I had made arrangements to surf on this morning. As I walked up to the lifeguard tower at 20th St, I checked my phone and I had received a message from Mike which said, and I quote "Prob out on surfing tomorrow". I look up from my phone to look at the waves and I smiled broadly. Missed-It-Mike was missing it yet again.
I saw two lefts reel through unridden and I went back to my car thinking, "Where is everyone?".
The paddle-out was uneventful with only one hairy duckdive in which I lucked into an air pocket and surfaced unscathed.
There were a lot of waves coming through and this reality was reinforced by both the rising swell and rising tide. Picture a running back getting hit by one defensive lineman and then having a linebacker immediately add to the momentum. The good news is the waves didn't seem to be affected by backwash that tends to happen in these conditions.
My first wave was a head-high left. I hadn't stood up on a wave in ten days and was a bit wobbly on my pop-up, dragging my back foot a bit. I recovered on the descent, but the wave was closing out by that point. I kicked my board up and looked forward to my next shot.
I caught a right and did a drawn-out bottom turn, but again, the wave ended up finishing without my approval.
I had another right come my way two minutes later. It looked steep so I tucked into my barrel stance from the get-go. I was in deep and high on it, one of the bigger backside barrels I've enjoyed in recent memory. I angled down but ran into the ever-receding lip and slammed. The footy was marred by swirling water, unfortunately.
One other guy paddled within twenty yards of me and we compared notes on the waves. I remarked on how sick it was and he lamented as to how much better it would be sans closeouts.
The waves were beginning to get bigger, and for the first time in a long time, I began to long for a bigger board.
My next wave was a bigger version of my first right with the same result. I Fosbury flopped over the back, hoping not to lose too much ground.
I caught an overhead left and it closed out about two seconds after I popped up, allowing for only a second of green face time before I pulled through the wave out the back.
Finally, an open face! I caught a smaller-than-average right and bottom turned hard into it, but not as vertically as I would've liked. The section of the wave I chose to snap on was too flat; had I gone vertically up the face, I would have had no problem. I dug my trailing arm into the water but the only thing I was able to use as a pivot point on the wave was a weak spot. I faded off the back.
The next wave was a little bigger, but with a similar result. I dug both arms into the wave, but it was more of a cutback than a snap and I faded again. I have to start descending and use the change in vertical positioning to accelerate into the roundhouse.
Less than a minute later, and on the same film clip, I caught a frothy left. I did two of my most stylish pumps of all time with the third one projecting me over the nose of my board. I had overestimated the slope of the wave and paid the price by endoing face first into the water.
It was at this point that I really started to feel my right arm pit getting raw from the constant paddling and friction.
I caught an overhead right that seemed to grow as I descended. I straightened out and did a one-fist claim as I watched it detonate. I jumped off my board and got annihilated underwater. I came up for air and took a second wave on the set. The third wave of the set was double-overhead, and I saw a fellow goofy-foot take off on it about fifteen yards north of me. I cheered him on for about three seconds before I took another gulp of air and took one last one on the head.
Upon paddling back out, I spotted what seemed like a familiar face from long ago. It was my old buddy Tyler Grant. I hadn't seen him in close to ten years and the last time I'd seen him was out at this very break. He was my best buddy when I came up to the US when my mom sent me up during La Ofensiva in El Salvador's Civil War and again in sixth grade.
We caught up a bit and I caught my wave of the day. It caught me by surprise and I didn't have time to press the button, but I can assure you, I smacked it well twice, then bogged on the third hit as the wave closed out.
I got Tyler's email and he said we could go out for beers but as of this writing close to thirty hours later, I haven't received a response... :*-(
I got a lazy left and pumped on it, but it too quit on me and I ended up flamingoing, then endoing.
On the way back out, a monster wave came and I was determined not to let it separate me from my board. I duckdived and the wave's power exploded between my body and my board. I felt the board straining in my hands, a feeling I can't remember experiencing before. I let the board go and wondered if I'd pressure-dinged the board. After I was safely in deeper water, I checked, and saw an impression of my thumbs on the deck.
My pit rash was getting to be agonizing in my tight suit, so I bailed.