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Monday, April 22, 2013

4.17.13 Steep South Swell Makes Oside Harbor the Call

The moratorium on having either funky Spring winds or absolute flatness had been lifted, and I was amped.  I shot up to Oceanside and saw some worthy peaks just north of Wisconsin Street.  Apparently others had received the memo about the favorable conditions and combo swell in the water, as it was crowded for 6:30 Oceanside standards.

I trudged north, towards sweet relief from the crowds.  Northside didn't have much, but I did get a sick view of a guy on a bike, wearing his wetsuit and booties, with his surfboard riding shotgun.  He had a small bag slung diagonally across his back, which I presumed to be his dry clothes.  He turned down to the frontage lookout and I proceeded to see what Jetty/Harbor had in store for me.

Jetty is a fickle wave. It needs swell to overcome offshores of this magnitude.  The set waves seemed to be right at the cusp.  I saw three dudes running towards the water, which always raises one's stoke level.  I decided to park and suit up.

After walking onto the windswept sand, I opted to try my luck on the peaks to the north of the jetty; peaks collectively known as Oceanside Harbor.  I have my own names for the waves  a hundred yards past the jetty.  The sandbar that sits just south of the big condominium building visible from the freeway I've dubbed Condors, and is great because the wave just off the jetty swallows up the crowd and I can surf Condors with only one or two heads battling for waves.

The wave that breaks towards the northern jetty (the one that is the southern boundary for the boat entry/exit point) I call Avalanches, and can work really well on a big swell.  This wave is usually not too crowded as it's a ten-plus minute walk from the parking area, but it's hardly ever prime because of the swell requirement.

I anticipated a northern-moving current because of the south swell.  As I was assessing my strategy for the day, a ginger guy in his early 20's skipped past me clutching his 5'6" quad fin.  The thing was tiny!

I walked north a bit more. I paddled out south of Condors.  It took a good five minutes before my first wave arrived.  It was a bigger right and I was extremely late on it, an observation which didn't crystallize for me until I was popping up and the stiff offshores laid into my board.  I air-dropped awkwardly and skipped off the deck, just as my fins were biting into the water.

I caught another late one, but it was a left and tucked into a switch crab grab.  I got some tunnel vision, my first in a while, and got treated to a surprise double-up which made the barrel wider but also way too racy for me to make.  I will leave you in suspense as to what happened...

My third wave was a bit better, a lined-up left on which I was able to jump in before it reached critical mass.  I pumped a few times, then bottom-turned hard, snapped, threw a ton of spray, but ended up splayed upon my back as it closed out over me.

My next one was a quick left which closed out on me fast.  I pulled through the wall.

My fourth left in a row was very fast and I lost the footrace with the curl.  I pulled through the foam only somewhat successfully.

My final wave was another quick one, but I had a jump on it. I pumped just once and was prepping for a hit on a somewhat open section when the lip throw surprised me.  I floated over it, but was too sideways in my trajectory and biffed.

I went in as I could feel my outer pecs getting a rash.  This wetsuit has less than ten sessions left in it...

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