I made a point to dog M-I-M for missing out on the previous day's great sesh. He responded as I'd hoped, with ardent fervor. We made plans to surf the same spot. I showed early and checked it, but there was some texture on it from the NNE wind. The waves were coming in hard and fast, with nary a sizable break to be seen.
I convinced Mike to paddle out by extolling tales of yesterday's waves. We suited up and walked onto the sand, and it looked a bit intimidating. We weren't sure if there would be a payoff to our paddle-out pain, but we pressed onward. We got close to halfway out when our forward progress plateau'd. The constant onslaught kept us duckdiving instead of paddling, and once we surfaced, we were roiled in efficiency-killing foaminess. Our fingers would rake through the aerated water and not have enough water to make progress.
I pride myself on my tenacity when it comes to paddling out. Twenty minutes of constant paddle-paddle-paddle-duckdive-paddle-paddle-paddle-duckdive later and my steadfast commitment to making it out was crumbling.
Just as it's best not to look down when you're up high, it's a bad idea to look back towards the shore on grueling paddle-outs. It's rare when doing so that the culprit thinks, "Wow! I'm really far from shore!" . After my left trapezius was exhausted from it being overtaxed, and my left arm and shoulder were numb, I made the fatal mistake of looking back and realizing how little progress I'd made. Couple all of this with my stinging wetsuit rashes (now two strong) and you had a real demotivator.
Mike was behind me and a bit south. He gestured in such a way so as to relay to me that he was over it. We had a pow-wow: Were we really going to let this swell humble us and send us scurrying to our cars? After a three-minute debate of sorts, we decided we would let it. I suggested we hit up a reef that would provide some break in the swell and perhaps even a channel.
I put on my changing robe over my wetsuit, got in to The Rad and headed up north, with Mike following behind. If there are any ladies, or even effeminate men, reading this, be glad you didn't see me in it as you would have become pregnant with a baby that looks like this:
After passing through Solana Beach, the 101 opens up. Seaside looked ok, but crowded. George's was showing us some welcoming, but fleeting, faces. Best of all, the peaks were EMPTY. I flipped a bitch and parked. Mike and I grabbed our stuff, gushed over how easy the paddle-out looked (it's interesting how our priorities changed) and paddled out.
We flew outside with no issues, but of course we were overzealous and paddled out too far while taking the rip.
We vacillated between paddling in, then being surprised by a set and sneaking under them for about ten minutes before this happened.
A wave came, and I was in a great spot for it. Mike asked which way I was going and I said I was taking the right. I descended, waited out the spillover foam and hacked into it a couple of times before I made the fatal error of taking too much weight off my front foot for the grand finale. Still, a sick wave and one that made all that paddling worth it.
Since I'd traveled with the current, I knew Mike would be far. I looked to the north, where I'd taken off, and couldn't see him. I saw a guy WAY south of me, a good hundred yards and thought that it couldn't be Mike. I took some more waves on the head while I thought about which way to go. Then, I saw two amazing, close to double-overhead lefts roll through to my south. I decided I would paddle over there to try and snag one.
Once there, I realized it was Mike who was south of me. How the hell did he beat me down here when I was riding a wave and he was sitting? Obviously it was a nasty N-S current, but one unlike any I'd ever experienced before.
I caught up to Mike and we alternated paddling for and pulling back some stomach-churning closeouts for about ten minutes. Then...
Mike and I saw this massive wall of water. He was about eight feet in front of me and about three feet north of me. I saw him duckdive then do the subtlest of I'm-ditching-my-board shoulder twitches. I hadn't ditched my board in a long time and had forgotten it was an option. I watched the thick lip descend towards me and decided to ditch my board as well. I felt the wave detonate right above my head. It felt as though I'd ducked under a depth charge!
Mike ended up closer to me than before the bomb went off, which is usually a sign that he got the worse (not necessarily worst!) of it. We compared notes and wondered if our boards had made contact as they were dangerously close to one another.
We spent another ten, perhaps fifteen minutes trying to get in to some open-faced waves to no avail. A second beastly wave, about the same size as the one described above reared on to its haunches, then feet. It began feathering at the top. I could hear Mike making some noises, the tone of which I interpreted to be, "We're screwed!" to which I replied, "Don't be a pussy!".
Unbeknownst to me, Mike had taken my advice and interpreted as my telling him NOT to ditch his board this time. I got absolutely throttled by this wave, but I know it probably messed up Mike a little more than me because he was a couple of beats outside of me and closer to ground zero. Not only that, but I had the luxury of being a couple of feet deeper than he was and away from the burden of the board. I could feel the tug of my leash on my ankle. After about eight or ten seconds of ragdolling, I came up with a smile and facing the beach. I made eye contact with Mike less than a second after surfacing and he said, "Look out!". I whirled while simultaneously taking a breath and saw another wave explode sending me on the second leg of my journey towards the bottom.
There was no third wave of the set. M-I-M said my board had tombstoned, which means it was standing straight up in the water from how deep I was.
Mike and I laughed at how smashed we got and made plans to go in, as it was getting too brutal out here. If there were waves to go with the beatings, we would have gladly signed up. But we can get punishment without pleasure with our wives at home (this is a test to see if my wife really does read this, as she claims she does). And so we did...