Seeing as to how the air was a testicle-levitating forty degrees and the water not much help at 56 degrees, I opted to suit up in the relative comfort of my living room.
The charts said it would be 3-4' and I couldn't wait to sink my fins into some of that.
I drove down to MD's and parked The Rad at 20th Street. I didn't bother checking it, I was going out no matter what.
I slipped my all-but-spent 4/3 over my shoulders, then shoe-horned my feet into my geriatric booties. Upon first glimpse of the ocean, I was immediately worried, but this was a short-lived sensation as I saw a head-high banger crack hard. The sound of it rifled into my ears, amplified by the cold air. I walked north a ways, knowing I would be shepherded into the line of fire of that wave in due time, hopefully not before I perched though!
I waited nearly a minute for this seven- or eight-wave set to end its assault on the otherwise calm water. I ran into the water, jumped on my board, and glided before paddling. I knew it was a matter of time before I would have to dunk my head and feel the sting of ice cream headaches. Supposedly, the reason these happen is the temperature differential between the skull and the brutal cold of the water. The frosty air piling on wasn't going to help.
After a good five or six minutes of constant paddling and duckdiving, a short clearing appeared and I whisked through just in time. The sets were frequent and hitting hard, reminiscent of a new swell hitting the shore. Unfortunately, the tide was making the waves slam shut with very few (and short) exceptions.
I caught my first wave within three minutes of perching. It was a steep right and I made the drop, got a look at the lip throwing, and attempted to straighten out. The lip undermined my backside rail and literally pushed my board over. Picture a bully tilting a tray, but forcefully.
About forty minutes passed with a lot of paddling/pulling back. Also, there was the scenic tour of some of the most expensive real estate in the county thanks to the N angle in the swell and the longshore current byproduct.
I saw an overhead left and I paddled for it. It had the slightest of openings, but as I paddled, I smiled because I could see this thing was going to shut down on me, but I was GOING! I went, and it did its pitching-all-at-once thing. I attempted to pull through head first but my timing was off slightly. My face slammed into the lip really hard, and while the pain was present, I wondered if I'd get a black eye from it.
Once I got to Three Palms, I got caught in the rip. I paddled in and just missed another closeout, one that would get me closer to The Rad and its heater. My hands were so cold that I could not stop fantasizing about a hot shower.
Ten minutes passed, and finally a wave broke outside of me. I rode the foam in prone and spent the three-block walk back to The Rad alternating which hand carried my board and which hand was blessed by my warm breath blowing into it.
I should have checked it...!