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Saturday, September 28, 2013

9.27.13 Best Surf in Easily Six Months; Best Barrel since Panama

On the 25th, my wife and I went into Kaiser for the umpteenth medical check-up on our soon-to-arrive daughter.  They had a sign for flu shots and my wife recommended I get one.  I did so and thought nothing of it.

The next day my shoulder was KILLING me.  The morning of this session, it stung pretty bad still.  I decided given the surf and conditions, it was something I would have to suffer through.  I windmilled my arm to test my paddling motion and the accompanying pain.  It was rough, but not so bad that I would wince each time.

On the way to the beach I happened upon an entire In N Out meal's packaging laying in the street, complete with strawberry shake remnants.  I scooped it up, along with some other assorted litter, in an attempt to appease the God I worship, King Neptune (with a minor for Aeolus, the keeper of winds, which generate swells).

My first glimpse of the ocean revealed groomed chop, evidence the howling offshores had effected their will upon the water's surface.  Since it was offshore, it was good chop.  I think if the winds had been five knots stronger, it would have been unsurfable.

Wisconsin proper was fat and slow as usual. I walked down the beach until I found some juicy hollow waves.  There was definitely a refraction to the swell visible, a sign the NW swell was the predominant, while the SW swell was the one submitting.  It was interesting having strong 3-5+' windswell, but having it look like groundswell thanks to it being groomed by the offshore winds.  The only hint that it was still windswell was how close together the waves were, definitely less than ten seconds apart mid-set.

I paddled out north of the juiciness with the intent of being swept down into the goodness.  My first wave was a pretty steep left.  I caught it and raced the initial section.  Once I spotted my opening, I lunged up and snapped.  I was in the critical part of the wave and was left in a delicate squatting position.  I descended again and buried my rail in a slash before the wave passed me by.  Good one.

A few more heads paddled out, and I was no longer alone.

I caught a right and was immediately blinded by the just risen morning sun.  The second half of my bottom turn was by feel.  I went past my target and snapped fins-free, but so much so that a surfer of my caliber cannot recover.

I caught a left which was really steep.  My back foot almost came off the back of my board, saved by the foam frame of the very back of my tail pad.  I readjusted, then pumped somewhat laterally.  The lip crashed down on my board and I marveled at my luck in coming out of that with some speed.  I did a tiny pump when I saw my chance, then the second premature section came down, this time JUST shy of my inside rail. 

This made my board flip up and over and the rail SLAMMED into my left shin leaving me in the most painful state in the water since I smacked my head in Panama almost two years ago.  Usually the cold water numbs the pain, but I was in excruciating pain.  The rail hit me in the lower shin, where there's no meat to dull the collision between bone and epoxy. 

I went so far as to check if there was potentially consequential damage, but I was intact.  All I have to show for it is a nice chindondo there.

I caught a couple of closeout lefts and stopped fighting the current as more heads populated where I'd been sitting.

After about a half-hour of nothing noteworthy, I had a line on a left that looked like it was going to close out.  It was one of the bigger waves of the day and I went for it.  I dropped about halfway down the face, then came up with the intention of kicking out.  Instead, I slammed back down on my front foot and ended up backdooring a barrel.  I had my arms and hands extended in front of me and was immediately enveloped in a crystalline light show.  I was in a great position and would have made it if it had let me out in the first two seconds.  My board was most likely swept away from me by the foam ball and I dropped down into the trough without warning. 

I came up with that eerie feeling you get when you think you've broken your board as I didn't feel much of anything tugging on my ankle.  I was relieved to find my board in one piece.  I didn't notice that the aqua trauma had torn my leash off my leg right away, probably because I was woozy from the barrel and the slam.

I put my leash back on and paddled out.  Nothing much else came and I was done, due in part to a breakfast appointment in Encinitas.

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