The devil winds that constantly plague us during Spring had been having their way with this swell. I was watching the wind reports/forecasts hoping for a break and it appeared this morning would be it.
I checked D Street and the low tide was shutting just about any wave down. The wind was ENE so Oceanside's siren song grew louder in my head. "Eddie", it crooned. "Come see me". I obliged.
I knew Buc Beach wouldn't be a good indicator, as the tide was so low. The sight of two-foot slop didn't shift my foot toward the break. I trudged north with plans of taking out my frustrations on various wave faces.
Wisconsin and Tyson didn't look good, but Pier had some peaks with just a few dudes out. Because the tide was so low, I figured I should check Harbor, but that wasn't great. I circled back and parked in the free lot by Dairy Queen and suited up.
I remembered how many cigarette butts I'd seen my last couple of sessions up here so I made a point to count them. In a two block stretch, guess how many I spotted?
Bummed about the future of our species, I shifted my eyes up, toward the waves. There were peaks a ways south and no. one. out. ON A SUNDAY!
I paddled out, awestruck at my good fortune. The nearest person to me was 150+ yards away. I thought I was going to be able to dry-hair it but had to succumb and submerge thanks to a small one-wave set.
I paddled for a right that was going to barrel hard and very likely close out, but I aborted. I was just too late on it.
Just two minutes later, I bagged my first one. Avid reader(s?) of this blog will remember my past spiels about lefts generally being better on south swells (on shorelines with any western exposure) and this was indeed a left. I caught it and slogged my way through the foam, punched up the face with a strong bottom turn and hit the wave in a pretty sweet spot. I threw a lot of spray but it was all for naught as I ended up on my ass, the victim of too steep a turn for too weak section, or at least that's what I'm telling myself...
My next wave arrived ten minutes later. It was a fast one so I had to boogie. I dropped down pumped once, then floated over the section. I was up on this thing for a beat and a half when I felt my speed dwindle and saw trouble brew as the wave imploded and disappeared within itself. I kicked my board out and bailed.
I caught a weaker left and it closed out. I kicked my board out and let the wash wash over me.
The waves were really hard to read. I had sun to the east with no cloud cover, but sun over the horizon and all to the west. The added contrast made it difficult to judge the waves. When a macker is coming, it is almost always accompanied by a change in color from the surrounding water surface. Because the water's surface was already dark, it seemed like every little bump was a crusher. After a few paddles-out I acclimated, though, and stayed closer to the inside.
It was at this point that people started filtering in, though I'm happy to report that I didn't have to pull back from any waves this session because someone was already on it.
I took on another left, but it too closed out on me. The low tide makes the waves steeper and much more likely to close out at beach breaks. I'd much rather have it this way then too fat though...!
I was pretty late on another left, but had a shot because of its foamy top. The wash hit me and I staggered up, but the area to my left also had foamed out leaving no runway from which to gain speed. I kicked out.
On my way back out, I spotted a rhino of a wave. When you're in this position, you do a delicate dance. You want to paddle out so as to not be too late on the wave. But you also don't want to paddle out too far so as to miss it entirely. As you watch waves break over the years, you get a knack for it, but not much of a knack was needed for this one. I was going to catch so long as I didn't puss out on my late position. I paddled, whirled, then paddled in the opposite direction, gaining speed to match the wave's.
The drop was heavy, but not an air drop. I pulled up from my descent and bottom-turned in time to watch the next ten yards of it slab over and explode. I corrected halfway towards the beach and kicked my board out, waiting for a pinning that could possibly send me to the sand. The force of the wave hit me about a half-second after I hit the water. I felt a brutal push for a second, then it released me. I surfaced amid the foam and sandy water, gathered my wits, and mounted my board.
I was getting close to the Pier crowd thanks to the pervasive longshore current, so I took a wave in on my belly and ambled down the beach toward less crowded goodness. Once I made it just north of Tyson Street, I stopped for a moment. The wind had switched onshore and it was looking gloomy out there. I decided on paddling out anyway.
As if to mock me for my decision, the ocean sent a right my way, which immediately chubbed up and ruined my chances of gaining speed; a discovery I made just after popping up.
A left came a minute later and I pulled through it just before it closed out.
I was now in a veritable pack. That realization came and was quickly interrupted by another macker. I watched as a guy to my south inexplicably paddled to my north, giving me position on this obvious left. We both paddled and there was no way I was pulling back. He yelled, "GO GO GO!", and I did.
I went down this head-high wave about two-thirds of the way, no idea what to do. I got caught in my indecision and completely kooked out on it, half of my body leaning towards a hit, the other towards a quick cutty back into the power source. I blew what very well would have been the wave of the session, and I did not do it gracefully.
I caught a quick left with barely a hit section and did what the wave implored I do. I felt a satisfying smack under my board as the lip met the fiberglass, but I couldn't hang on. I swear, if I could do these well I would rip!
The waves regressed into crappier and crappier quality and I took a right out of desperation. Mid-bottom-turn, it foamed out on me and I kicked out and over. I took the next wave in on my belly and called it a day.