Help Support The Blog by Clicking Through to

Saturday, August 23, 2014

8.23.14 Irony in Oside: Maxing Beachbreaks

My wife and I got right back into the swing of things and did our dawn patrol walk.  The waves were overhead with some barrel sections, but they looked very tough to judge even from land.  We walked back and I rode the bike back with my board.

I caught a couple of big ones and was glad I didn't pearl.  There was nothing more to these waves except closing out with a vengeance.  I quit fighting the current's drift at Wisconsin as there was no point in clawing for closeouts (good name for a failing surf charity). 

My wave of the day only earned this title because of its competition.  I was in full survival mode when I dropped in, hoping to see daylight and get a whack in.  I pumped long and hard and was laughing at the ridiculous distance I covered.  Eventually I got a very feeble whack in which faded me off the wave. 

As I continued north, I was excited to see no one was at Pier and it became clear quickly as to why.  The current accelerated there.  I told myself no way would I be paddling under the pier with so much water moving around but the crazy current forced my hand(s).  A wave was approaching and I was within five yards of Pier.  I had a decision to make.

I sprint-paddled towards Pier and had to quickly take into account the suck-out of the upcoming wave.  I made it through unscathed and quickly got transported north.  I can't remember ever going this fast in the ocean without being on a wave.

I eventually caught one in, over it.

8.22.14 Last Session in Nicaragua at Colorados; Trip Wrap-Up

I paddled out after not having surfed in seventy hours.  The surf took a turn for the macabre.  The day we were supposed to experience an uptick in swell we lost some size.  Then the day after that, the wind turned onshore for the first time all trip.

My ear was still clogged with Lord knows what but my back was all better, thankfully.

I paddled out with muted expectations and the surf met them.  I caught two or three waves that all closed out immediately and a left that while it was open, raced off without me.  I pumped along never gaining a step on the speedy whitewash.

I eventually decided to go in so as to make sure we were packed for the sixteen-hour trek back awaiting us.


While I won't go as far as to say I got skunked on this trip, it was not up to what I'd hoped.  My goal was to make one barrel and I think I got in six or seven, none of which were makeable.  I spent many hours watching the waves while eating and I think I saw two dudes make barrels, including chandeliers. 

The El Niño conditions have left Central America in a drought and the rivermouths aren't performing up to snuff.  The swell was also affected, as it is common for the surf to not drop under 4' for months at a time during S swell season.

The almost-trip-encompassing offshore winds left me slackjawed.  I didn't know such a place existed that gets waves.  Sure, North Shore is offshore during Kona winds, but these Nicaraguan winds were a trip.

El Salvador and Nicaragua are practically neighbors.  Their borders don't touch thanks to Honduras getting in the way and the Gulf of Fonseca separating the two landmasses.  The countries seemed very different.  Now, it's not a fair comparison as I've spent almost two decades all told in El Salvador and ten days in Nicaragua, but here are the biggest differences.

The graffiti I saw in Nicaragua was religious.  I saw no signs of gangs (shirtless kids hanging out, etc).  Our driver says it's not a problem in Nicaragua as their police force is efficient.

In Nica, there were women going to the store by themselves on their mopeds/motorbikes.  I don't remember ever seeing that in El Salvador.

I saw VERY few soccer fields along the road.  When I asked the driver about it, he said baseball is more popular in the south of the country, but soccer prevails in the north.

The beach was clean in Nicaragua.  Yeah, there was the odd piece of litter, but because there isn't a coastal population center where we were, it was practically pristine.

The streets were also very clean, comparable to the States.  The driver said it was because people collect all recyclables to trade them in.  There was the odd burning of trash here and there, but everything seemed very clean.

At no point did I or my wife feel in danger.

I will definitely be back, especially considering how tenebrous the situation in El Salvador remains.  The set-up in Nicaragua is crazy from a potential standpoint.  Nicaragua is more expensive, but we also stayed in 4-star accommodations, I'd rather die than do that in El Salvador.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

8.19.14 Panga Drops Redux

I started my walk early this morning, grabbing a Zucaritas (Frosted Flakes) "energy" bar.  Once I finally reached Panga Drops, I continued on.  I wanted to see why people were paddling out on the west side of the peak.

I realized it quickly.  I'm not quite sure how it works, but I probably shaved 100 strokes off my previous count.  All I could think of was that the lefts are less consistent than the rights and so I had fewer duckdives and less wave push to deal with.

I got out there and after about twenty minutes of perching, then slowly and incrementally paddling in, I caught a left.  It was steep and I went up to the top of the shoulder and laid into one of the most traversing slashes I've ever done.  The wave kept going, albeit a little fatter, and I tried to slam off the approaching section.  I went flying over my board.  In retrospect, with that ferocity, I should have tried an air.

I caught a right very late after someone outside of me pussed out at the last second.  I got hung up on the lip, then avoided a near-pearl as I felt the tip of my nose submerge for an instant.  I over-turned too far onto the shoulder.  I took a second to appreciate how fast I was going, then dug into a strong roundhouse cutback.  My plan was to bank off the foam and set up for the closeout section but I again went flying.

I felt the initial twinges of a belly rash forming so I went in.

8.18.14 PM SESSION Reversal of Fortune at Panga Drops

The waves out front looked absolutely dismal out at Colorado so I decided to walk up the beach to see if anything was working.

I knew Panga Drops might be an option, but from this angle and this distance it looked less than stellar.  Eventually I decided to walk the ten minutes to Panga Drops to at least check it out.

As I was about five minutes from arriving, I saw a guy on a right absolutely killing it.  He was pushing hard on the wave and the wave was pushing back in kind.  He was linking turns and seemed like he was having a blast.  My pace quickened.

My first assessment of the wave, before we arrived in Nicaragua, was that it was like Sunzal in El Salvador but with a weaker shoulder.  They had a lot of similarities.  Both are deep water spots requiring a long paddle.  Both have the clunking cobblestones noise when you duckdive.  Both are located at the western end of a natural bay with an expanse of beachbreak, then a rivermouth, then unsurfable rockiness.

Panga Drops has some attractive differences.  Its bathymetry somehow magnifies the swell to easily triple the size of the waves, compared to the surf around it.  It has easily 20% of the crowd Sunzal has, thanks to its distance from population centers. The lefts there break and work, which means there are multiple takeoff spots to further diffuse the crowd. 

I decided to count how many times I paddled before I was in the perch zone.  Can you guess how many?  Remember I was paddling out on a 5'10" so that ups it a bit.  If you guessed bout tree-fiddy you would be correct.  It took exactly 350 paddle strokes to make it out there.

I saw someone paddling around who seemed to be wearing a rash guard with the exact same colors as a stone cold ripper at Colorado, but it turned out to be a grom who was super amped.  Most waves he would stand up on, he'd get blown out the back by the wind.

Since this was my first time surfing here, I didn't know what to expect.  When what appeared to be a left popped up, I eyed it suspiciously for signs of a horrible closeout, like what you'd see at Sunzal.  The signs weren't there and as the wave began to rise with me I popped up, super late but really excited. 

I descended and had SO much speed, I did a long drawn-out cutback.  I pumped a couple of times then decided to kick out.  My angle wasn't severe on the kick-out, but I caught some air and lost my footing, landing somewhat sideways on the deck of my board.

I paddled back out and caught a right, and I as I did a slash on its wide-open face with more speed than I was comfortable with, I made the mistake of letting too much wind under my nose, throwing me off-balance, and sending me off the back of my board.

The amped grom had a comment for me: "At least you got the cutback in!".

A lot of time elapsed between this wave and the next one I caught.  It was another right.  On this one I made sure my weight was over my board and bottom turned with tons of speed.  I found my target and when I went to hit it I either hit a chop or caught air because my board became airborne for less than a second  and then POW, into the drink I went.

I spent the next forty-five minutes on the inside trying to catch one in. I saw the lady who served our breakfast paddle out with a couple of her friends on longboards.  I couldn't seem to catch anything so I had to do the paddle of shame and walk back.

It's definitely the best session I've had on the trip yet, though I'm hoping Colorado does its thing soon...

Monday, August 18, 2014

8.18.14 Crowds MIA at Rising Tide Colorados

This morning the waves looked the worst they've looked on a healthy rising tide.  This bummer was mitigated by the sight of only one other dude.  I thought about paddling out and perching RIGHT next to him just to see what face he'd make but I thought better of it.

The waves were as shifty as they've ever been. After paddling out near the long ago beached tree trunk I ended up in front of the pool area of the condo complex at which we're staying.

Buzz/Mark, the condo manager was out for his usual daybreak surf report photo-taking.  Obviously, I need to be a part of this hallowed Facebook ground.

My first wave/attempt was a right on which I got covered up and had a 1% chance of making it out.  Unlike what the Occupy Wall Street people may tell you, the 99% won out yet again.

I caught a left on which I did a risky pump in a very steep part of the wave and came away with A LOT of speed.  I went a little out on to the shoulder and was set on trying a roundhouse cutty, but nixed that idea, thinking I was too close to the foam.  I did an awkward slash and finished the wave poorly.

On my last wave of note, another left, I got a good pump in and then banked/floated the inside a couple of seconds later.

Injury Report: My left ear is still clogged despite a couple of Swim Ear infusions. It's been clogged nonstop for about five days.  My wife is getting annoyed at my repeated "What?"'s and "Huh?"'s.

My back is almost to 100%.  I'm getting a pretty sick looking bruise there as well as on my right tricep where apparently there was damage too.

8.17.14 PM SESSION A Little Better but...

I paddled out about an hour after the bottom of the low tide, thinking it would be a nice compromise of hollow waves and consistency. 

It being Sunday, theoretically, I'd be dealing with fewer people as Gringos go back to their lives and get revved up for the upcoming workweek.

This was definitely the case on this session.

There were two waves of note.

The first was a right on which I swore I could get barreled.  I dropped in and pivoted into a pigdog stance and immediately regretted it.  I had tons of speed but no barrel.  I had overshot it somehow.  I tried to stand up out of it but wasn't very smooth and ended up standing awkwardly as the wave faded.

I caught a longer left on which I pumped, did a small snap, then pumped again into a bonk/floater.  The whitewash had little push and I jumped down softly and again, awkwardly.

A guy asked me if I'd gotten some fun ones and I told him, "Not as fun as I'd like...!".  He laughed and said it was downright shitty.  I was surprised to hear such a scathing review but I admit I agree.  I know I touched on this on a previous post but it's crazy seeing offshore and sometimes hollow surf and considering it to be bad for surfing.  If you took a picture, you would say it's epic, but when you see it live and in motion it's downright bad.  It's the epitome of paradoxical.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

8.17.14 Rising towards the High (Tide) Sunrise Session

Considering my experience the previous day, I decided to try higher tide again.

I paddled out and was again surprised at the relatively mellow power these seemingly nasty waves had underwater.  I wasn't manhandled once in the ninety minute session, and some of the waves pouncing on me looked beastly.  I know the tide is somewhat to blame, but in a session this long in El Salvador I can usually count on one shellshocking depth charge to inadvertently make me release my board underwater.

I thought I had a good line on a barreling left, but it was only a pause in the closeout.  I got into position and saw the lipline before I got barreled, then immediately pulled through the wave and out the back. There was no sense in risking injury for zero chance of a reward.

I got a right on which I pigdogged but the barrel was so narrow that I barely fit.  My millisecond of tunnel vision revealed a long chunk of lip throwing over, ruining any chance I had of making it.

I got a long left that turned fat pretty quickly.  I was struggling to stay on the wave.  When I finally reached the smackable section, I had to finesse it just to get any oomph out of it.  I got some, but I still faded off the back.

It's maddening to see what you long to see as a surfer (offshore, barreling waves) but it's practically unsurfable because of the speed.  When I spoke to the manager of the condo in which we're staying, he told me this is the worst year since he moved down from La Jolla in '09.  He said it was likely due to the lack of rain not making the rivers break out and form sandbars as well as what looked like an El Niño year.

8.16.14 Quick Closeout Session

My affected muscle (sounds dirty, I know) was feeling a lot better and I was ready to put it to the test.  As I walked up to the low tide surf I didn't like what I saw.  It looked remarkably flatter than earlier today, and what did show up almost immediately closed out.

I ended up catching two "lefts".  The first one closed out immediately.  The second one graciously allowed me one half-pump before imploding.

Friday, August 15, 2014

8.15.14 Trying out Low Tide Playa Colorados sans Crowd

I didn't surf this morning as the peak of the high tide was right at six.  A check around seven revealed about what I had expected, and seen the previous two high tide mornings.

Though I wasn't thrilled about low tide being just a minute shy of high noon, I would have to make a go of it.  The tropical sun appears to be directly overhead at this time of year, allowing for it to travel and cook anything unprotected with little filtering from the atmosphere. When the sun is more at an angle, it travels through more atmosphere and the radiation is more diffused.

Once that time came, I checked it and it was laughably shallow.  The few people who were out were getting stuffed into hopeless closeouts and those who weren't, were getting hung up on the lip and obliterated.  I decided to wait one more hour to see what would happen when the tide filled in just a tad.

There were guys surfing just to the east and farther to the west of our compound, and as I walked towards the westerners I saw a right that was undisturbed.  It was barreling hard and most likely unmakeable by a surfer of my skill level, but I just had to try.  This was my third full day here and I hadn't hit the low tide yet to test my mettle in its hollowness.

I was much more aware of the rip given my adventures bodysurfing the past couple of days, when the rip snagged me and put me out with the surfers.  I had a little bit of a worry in going back in while dodging the set waves that were pounding down as closeouts, but I was able to go in after about five minutes of fun.

A rip can be very useful in shuttling one out to the outside, but in closeout conditions, it can help split up the wave.  I lined up just east of the rip and about ten minutes in had a look at what would likely have been an incredible wave if I'd caught it.  It was a big left and I got that feeling of fear/excitement as it lifted me up, but ultimately I was denied and felt the needling pain of the lip water being blown back by the 10+ mph side/offshore wind in my face along with the pain in my heart.

Two or so minutes later I found a smaller left, descended slightly and ducked down.  Within a second of my stomping down I was in a dry barrel.  I was in there long enough to see the lip line I was eyeing unexpectedly join its barreling older sibling much too soon.  As I made this realization, the board was swept up from under me and I flew forward and into the water.

My adventures on the left had pushed me right into the rip, but I realized it quickly enough so as not to have to paddle back in too far.

I corrected my oversight and caught a right and tucked into a pigdog stance a bit earlier than I probably should have.  The lip enveloped me and then raced off ahead of me leaving me with no way out.

I tried again on a bigger right that seemed a little more open.  I don't remember exactly what went wrong on this one but I definitely remember what happened underwater.  While my board didn't fly into me, it very gingerly touched me on the outside of my right lat muscle and then the wave's energy compressed it extremely hard against my back.  The board then gained some forward speed and, as a goodbye kiss, the fin sliced me.

I came up and was in a lot of pain, but not so much that I thought I had to go in. I remember telling myself it was nothing and to stop being a pussy.  When I paddled it was excruciating.  I was already halfway out so I just went for one more.

In my haste to go in, I went on a wave on which I probably should have pulled back.  The wave was fine, but I was too late on it.   The steepness and the howling wind didn't help matters.  I didn't descend enough, but I had to make my move or get decapitated by the throwing lip.  I managed to get in there and got a sick view of the barrel, before getting wrapped up in the wall and tossed over the falls.  I did my uncontrollable guttural yell that is harmful in that it makes me use up air.  It usually happens when I'm going over the falls or when I'm in the air snowboarding and things went poorly.

Luckily, I surfaced unscathed and walked back to the pool where Raquel and Lucia were waiting.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be relatively painless and I'll be able to get out there at low-ish tide again.

My left ear is still stopped up and I'm now fearing I will need to get the swimmer's/surfer's ear surgery on it as it's not getting better.

8.14.14 PM SESSION More Sideshore High Tide Action at Colorados

I spent the low tide marveling at the hollowness of the waves, somewhat tempted to go out despite my wife's concern for my safety. She was tipped off by a guy who came in bleeding from the nose.  I heard him telling his buddy he hit the sandbar.  I was out there bodysurfing it for a little but didn't see his fateful right.  Some waves looked wide open and makeable, but I didn't see a single person make one which didn't bode well for my chances.  As of this writing the next day, my plan is to go for it JUST after the depths of the low tide, which should provide a bigger water cushion and better consistency.

I made plans to surf a couple of hours after the bottom of the tide thinking the barrels might be narrower but perhaps less racy and better percentage propositions.

While the waves were more open there weren't any makeable barrels out there, at least that I saw.  I caught a right pretty soon after paddling out and while I was contorted into my bottom turn I caught a glimpse of my shadow in the sprayed over water which looked styley.  I hit it well and the wave was over upon my descent.

I caught a meaty left, definitely the biggest on this trip and gazed at the lip line.  I knew it wasn't going to do anything but try to snap my neck as it was too thin a barrel for me to fit in. I did a standing island pullout and looked for another one.

No other waves of note blessed me and I beat feet back to the condo.

8.14.14 Bad Feeling turns to Relief turns to Tide-Hobbled Surf

I rounded the corner of the condo building and noticed too many people were on their way to the beach.  I was up early enough, but the head count looked like it would increase from yesterday's logjam.

As I reached the sand, Mark (manager of most of the condos), said there were twenty-three people in boats.  I shuddered.  As I paddled out, I saw a guy on a sponge wearing a backpack paddle out.  It was then I realized the twenty-three people were going on local boat trips to find less crowded surf. YES

The tide was coming off its extreme 10' peak and the surf reflected that.  I had one right on which I smacked it nice and high, then felt the wind and fatness of the wave conspire to fade me off.  I quickly shuffled my feet up towards the nose, then back down once I'd made to the descent point.  I did another smack and tried to shuffle up again but I was defeated.

I caught a left and had a good smack off the top.  I got hung up there and it turned into a floater from which I never descended.  I went in after about eighty minutes of water time, trying to save myself from the sun until the surf was worth it.

8.13.14 PM SESSION High Tide Bumpy Sideshore Colorados

The baby took a napping break and I was able to sneak out to get some more waves.  This time the tide was high and still rising.  The paddle-out was tough in that the waves kept coming at me, but when they hit me they were soft pats on the back.  It was during one of these duckdives I first felt the annoying water-stuck-in-my-ear feeling which plagued me throughout the session and still does now.  I blame it on the inflammation caused by the aforementioned ear infection.

Just after I perched a wave came and an older guy told me to go fo it.  It was a good-sized left and I was salivating.  It started off racy and I made it around the corner and found a section.  I hit it but didn't keep the board under me through the turn, causing me to splay out at the last part of the turn.

I raced another wave, this time a right, but couldn't catch up to it.  The sideshore wind had picked up and hampered my attempt at speeding towards the open face.

The waves were fat and getting lumpy thanks to the wind.  On top of that they were pretty shifty and difficult to catch.

I caught another left and was too high on it when it backed off slightly, leaving me out of the speed pocket and out of luck.

I paddled back towards Costa Rica and saw the guy who gave me the wave at the beginning of the session.  I thanked him for the wave as it's so rare to be given waves these days and wanted to make sure he knew it was appreciated.

I went in not long after so as not to get too much sun for so-so waves.

8.13.14 First Session in Nicaragua

Today this blog turns three.  In preparation for such a milestone, we spent the seventeen hours in the preceding days traveling from SD to Playa Colorado in Nicaragua.

I had the chance to surf last night but was content with pacing myself and not wearing myself out.  I was most concerned with not having prepared the skin at the bottom of my rib cage for the beating it will endure over the next few sessions, as well as a twin set of rashes on the undersides of my legs that I got from walking for too long in wet boardshorts; I know, real POW stuff.  Neither of those have been an issue as of this writing.

I managed to pick up an ear infection but I thought it was on the way down as it wasn't too much of a bother on the planes.

I was able to wake up before dawn and hooked up the leash to the board I had rented for my stay, a 5'11" Rusty rounded pintail.  When I headed down to the water I counted four other heads out, all from a panga anchored about 100 feet from the break.  The people began streaming out of the condo complex we're staying in and eventually there were way too many people out for the consistency of the waves.

I quickly caught two half-waves on which I had to bail right away due to their closing out, but then nothing.

I began one-quarter drifting, three-quarters paddling up the beach towards El Salvador.  The crowds were much thinner and I was eventually by myself.  The only problem is the waves were bad.  I paddled ALL the way to the south of the pack.

The waves were opening up quite a bit, but the head count was even less in my favor now. I vowed not to go in until I caught one.

After about twenty minutes, I caught a nice right and did two good snaps on it and one roundhouse cutty on which I scrubbed out in the wash. I was thrilled and relieved to have caught the wave and beamed with pride at the turnaround my sticktoitiveness had wrought.

8.7.14 Swell Shows Up, Snapping me out of my Surf Slumber

It had been a long time since I surfed, mostly due to lackluster swell issues.  Today, that changed, so I got out there.

I pedaled down to Harbor after being dissatisfied with what I saw at points south.

The waves were overhead and the crowd to meet them was as generous as the swell.

It took a lot of paddling before I caught my first wave.  It was at least head-and-a-half.  I caught it knowing it would close out within a few seconds, but wanting to get my surf legs under me.  I felt the power and it made me giddy with excitement, a feeling I hadn't felt in the water in a long time.

After forty or so minutes of paddling, I caught a right and did an ok snap on it.

Not much more happened, as I had to deal with the crowd and shifty waves.  I went in and pedaled home.

Friday, July 18, 2014

SUPER SESSION July 18, 1999, La Bocana, El Salvador: My Best Barrel EVER

It was fifteen years ago exactly today that I got the best barrel of my life.

Summer of 1999 was a special one for me.  I'd gotten a job the preceding Christmas delivering pizzas, which was a huge and very welcome change from the dread and monotony of busing tables.  I enjoyed going to work.  I would get in the early 90's Nissan pizza truck and, thanks to my portable tape player (which I hid under the seat so I wouldn't get in trouble), I would rock out on my way to Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and throughout Carmel Valley.  It barely felt like work, and I was making and saving wads of cash.

When MiraCosta let out I had made arrangements to get all of my shifts temporarily covered (this way I wouldn't have to earn them back upon returning) and hightailed it to El Salvador.  I had booked a plane ticket leaving May 20th and returning August 12th, about twelve weeks. I brought with me a cool Sunset five-fin yellow board with red rails.  I had been surfing for less than two years at this point, and I could barely go backside.

Before I'd left, I reached out to the best-ranked El Salvador surfing site online.  I emailed the site's admin and said we should surf.  I met him and he seemed nice enough.  He had graduated from Liceo Frances (the French school) while I had gone to Escuela Americana.  What put me off about Condorito almost immediately was his extremely perverted way of speaking, the way he viewed women and treated them like they were there to serve him.  This is unfortunately a common attitude amongst middle-/upper-class people down there.

His unearned cockiness with the opposite sex was offset by something that floored me.  On the way back to the city the first time, a Sunday night, I sat quietly in the car while he drank in the weekly sermon.

When he met Pando they became fast friends and I was immediately ignored by Condorito and to a lesser extent, Pando.

I was not a victim in this "friendship".  On Sundays when Jaime, my former stepfather was at the beach house where Pando and co worked, he and I would take off and surf elsewhere.  I first surfed Kilometro 59 with him and caught my first real (VERY real) right there.

In the early afternoon of July 18, we drove to La Bocana.  I remember there were maybe eight heads out and a Gringo was surfing well.  In what is still my closest call, I duckdived my board, a 6'2" and a little thick (keep in mind I weighed MAYBE 130 at the time) as deep as I could as he started pumping on a wave.  As my foot began to descend into the duckdive, I felt the tiniest of nicks as his fin j u s t tapped the skin between the pad of my big toe and my left foot.  PHEW!

Later in the session, I saw a left coming and I went for it.  It wasn't huge, maybe head-high.  I paddled and struggled to get into it.  As I was crouching down on my front foot I was enveloped in the barrel, completely by accident.  The contrast between full tropical sun and sudden shade was wild. I saw Condorito paddle over the wave, shaking his head in disbelief and smirking.  I was really high in it and decided I needed to take a lower line.  I put some pressure on my heels and the extra speed brought me closer to the lipline and exultation.

As I exited the barrel, the lip hit me forcefully, but at such an angle that it wasn't catastrophic.  I watched as the wave joined with the right and began to closeout and I kicked my board out in front of me.  When I surfaced I let out a primal scream of sheer ecstacy, one that I have yet to apex.

We drove back to Jaime's house and on that particular night, I wasn't bothered by the hypocrisy of Condorito's personality juxtaposed against the raving evangelist crackling though the tinny speakers of his microbus.

7.18.14 Midday Beat the Heat Mini Sesh at NSide Oside Pier

My wife, mother-in-law, and daughter were in Encinitas for Story Time and errand running so I took the opportunity to do a session.  I was initially going to do my usual one mile jog.  I thought about going skimming instead, but the tide was still not high enough.  I decided to take the board down on my bike, and if it was unsurfable I could drop off the board and go for my jog.

The south side was bigger, but good luck finding a corner.  Every wave I saw detonated into a no-hope closeout.  I thought that as the tide continue to rise, perhaps my fortunes would shift, but I pedaled on.

I saw a glimmer of hope as a guy pumped away on a left, blasting into a no-chance fins-free turn.  Eventually I reached the end of The Strand (Oceanside's impression of a boardwalk) and circled around.  I saw another ok left, made a note as to what landmark it was in front of, then locked up the bike at NSide Pier.

As I was paddling out I saw quite possibly the most board control I've seen in the water.  A guy went right, towards the pier and did a CLEAN backside 360 air.  He rode away perfectly.  On another wave a minute or so later, he did a smooth 360 followed by a chop hop, while retaining speed.

The right was rife with rippers, so I let the current take me down to the left I'd spied.

My first wave was barely a wave, but I did get a little speed going before it closed out.

Another wave came, but this one had very little juice.

My last wave of the session was by far my best.  After initially almost stalling out up top, I descended, pumped twice, and did a solid smack with a good angle, riding away cleanly.

I had a work appointment to attend, so I bailed to give myself plenty of time.

7.17.14 More Pain than Pleasure at Pinnies

I hadn't surfed in a few days, and while I knew the tide would be at the absolute lowest for my session, news of the fortified swell made me pedal my bike down to the beach.

The first snafu came when I duckdived and immediately hit sand. My hands felt the sharp sting of an unsanded epoxy repair job.  A quick examination revealed red lines which I thought were cuts, but apparently I'd only cut through the first layer of the skin.

I took a closeout on the head shortly thereafter and was amazed at the power in these 4-footers.

All waves were closeouts.  I managed a half-pump on one which heaved over into an unmakeable barrel and sent me tumbling.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7.13.14 An Accidental Session of sorts at North Pinnies

My wife was out of town and took the baby with her (no, I didn't piss her off).  In my lost and confused state, I fell asleep on her pillow and my neck was a mess for several days.  I had planned on paddling around Oceanside Pier and possibly getting some interesting angles of it with the GoPro, but with my neck (and deltoid) in pain I wasn't about to do a kilometer+-long paddle.

I thought I'd just go paddle out and enjoy the warm water.  I wanted to prepare my ribcage and adjacent skin for our upcoming surf trip (read all about it HERE!), as coming in unprepared can lead to a nasty reaction/rash.  I always thought it was tender skin that led to a rash, but when I told Aaron about it in El Salvador he brought up that it could be the hair follicles in the area getting plucked and then irritated, which makes some sense.  Whatever it is, it SUCKS and can cost you a day or two of sessions if it gets bad.

I paddled out to the tiny conditions on my 5'10" Merrick.  I got barreled going both ways on the sets, both crabgrabs with no way out, but the absolute highlight of the session was as follows.

I had read about the anchovy excess off La Jolla a couple of days prior and that was my hypothesis for the literally thousands of birds that were out.  A few flew above me, nothing out of the ordinary.  Then white movement caught my eye and I looked down and saw liquidy guano mixing into the water less than two feet from me, an almost direct hit!  I was south of the frantic flock, but I ended up drifting/paddling into it.  Suddenly, the birds started divebombing and flying over me, at times.  I was in a bird hurricane and the high-pitched roar was wild.  I looked up and behind me as I paddled and remember thinking that if I squinted, they resembled bats flying out of a cave.

A couple of decent sets came in, bringing nothing but closeouts.  I saw a couple of birds get enveloped by the lip and tossed into water, something I'd longed to see my entire career but had evaded me until today.  These were not seagulls or pelicans or other normal seafaring birds so lack of experience may have been an issue.

I eventually took a shoulder-high closeout in.

7.10.14 Mourning the Passing of the Swell at Miniscule Tyson

I expected the waves to be small, but what lay before me as I made it around the corner to The Strand was ridiculous.  The high tide further muddled any energy that was in the water.

I almost didn't surf, but a set that was maybe waist-high gave me hope.  I paddled out and proceeded to paddle for, and struggle to stand up and stay on, five or so waves.  About a half hour into the session I caught a right on which I did a very lateral snap, careful not to overextend into the flats and lose all hope of making the inside connection to some juice.

Natch, it didn't happen.  I paddled out and "caught" a couple more waves and went in after I'd dismissed the session as a total loss.

7.8.14 Closeouts Galore Lead to Just One Golden Opportunity

Oside was doing its usual one-way water shuttle routine and I was game for a ride.  The waves were dropping in size, but the consistency was still pretty good.

I took off on several waves but there was nothing great.  I got an ok pump in on one but no payoff due to the close-out.

I saw what appeared to be yet another close-out and held out a sliver of hope that the corner that appeared to have formed would hold, leading me to make it around the section and finding some greenwater.  It did and I did.  I was able to decisively smack the section and descend.  In my hubris, I immediately rose up to do it again as the closeout section hit me and I lost control and tumbled down with the lip.

I went in for daddy duty not long thereafter.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7.6.14 Swell Continues its Assault

I didn't put a spot name in the title of this post because I paddled out south of Wisconsin Street and went in, after about an hour, at the pier.  It's not the fastest I've traveled on what I call the longshore express, but it was getting close.

As a first, I was accompanied by Raquel, Lucia, and Chucho on my walk down to the water and they watched me paddle out.  I walked south to counteract the effect of the current. By the time I perched, they were distant figures set against the morning sun's glare.

The waves were coming in at a pretty extreme S angle.  Five or so degrees more to the south and it would've bypassed SD County completely (may still have hit Point Loma though).  I caught a quick left and I kicked out immediately, as what little corner I thought I had failed to open up.  The waves were coming in fast and strong, and with this angle that leads to a very sectiony, almost always unmakeable experience.

The highlight of the session by far was a wave I caught late.  I pumped, made it around the section and found a great spot and SMASHED it.  As I came up a grom made eye contact with me and smiled.

Once I got too close to the pier I was over it.  The option to paddle through the pier isn't a good one with this much water moving around. Add in all of the Sunday morning fishermen's lines out, it's extra treacherous. I thought about going in and paddling out farther south but I just didn't have the time to do so.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

7.5.14 PM Session at Big and Burly S. Pier

I didn't get to surf this morning, and I checked the swell report and it claimed we were at 4-6'.  I found a window during which my wife would be ok being alone with the baby.

It was so hot, that there was no  question I'd be trunking it.  I walked down barefoot and paddled out JUST north of the blackball flag and watched as a sea of swimmers were being  herded towards the blackball and away from the red flag, where they're not allowed.

The waves were almost empty, an amazing feat considering it's a holiday weekend with really warm beach weather.  Considering the sheer number of bodies in the sand it was even more unbelievable.

I caught a couple of waves, one of which teased me by opening up slightly before slamming shut.

The two lefts sped me along the longshore express towards the pier.  When I got there I stayed there for the rest of the session.

The waves began to get bigger and I was excited, but it was difficult to enjoy the occasion as there was so much water moving around.  I had to paddle quite a bit to keep from being wrapped up in people's translucent fishing lines, then watch for a bomb set to come through while hoping I don't get too close to the pier while fighting the underwater turbulence.

The highlight of my session is the nastiest pearl I've undertaken (*SNORT*) since Lord knows when...

I paddled for a wave that turned out to be neither a right nor a left.  I was late on it.  I decided to go because I was sick of the monotony of paddling.  I got hung up on the lip, but I stepped on the gas by slamming my weight onto my front foot.  I airdropped and fell so fast and so hard that I didn't realize what had happened until I was underwater.  I literally fell faster than the speed of thought.  I was lucky that my board didn't slam into me.  I hit the bottom, but nothing too bad.  I came up after about eight seconds, gathered my board and paddled back out.

My last wave was a smaller, slightly more defined version of the previous wave.  It was a big right.  I took it and was content to go in and avoid the gauntlet.

When I got home I found out Raquel had been cooking dinner and doing laundry while watching the baby.  It's almost as if she knew I would mention it in the blog...

7.4.14 Not Quite as Good as it Looked at NorWisc

The waves were small, about waist- to chest-high, but they were CLEAN!  I was salivating at the session that lay before me.

For a major holiday, it was a ghost town.  I perched and caught the first few waves without anyone near me.  That soon changed, and by the time I left the water the waves had exceeded critical mass.

I caught my usual couple of no-way-out closeouts, but I got a good luck at a left with a corner.  I pumped a couple of times and as I was towards the waning stages of my bottom turn the lip surprised me by arriving early.  I was able to get on top of it but could not convert.

Since the tide was so low, a lot of the inside waves were closing out, but not before providing an oasis for the eyes.  If you squinted, cocked your head just right, and suspended disbelief, you could talk yourself into thinking you could get tubed and doggy-door out of it.

I caught a left and switch crab-grabbed.  A rush of water smacked me in the face, but I was still in, I was about to open my eyes when another rush of water followed, and that was the end of it.  It felt like I had some room in there but there was no way for me to tell if the lip had long ago left me behind.

The highlight of the session was the lone right I caught, which is interesting giving the severity of the angle of the S swell and its penchant to crank out higher quality lefts than rights.  I dropped in and my footing was a bit off, I was too far starboard.  I bottom turned and hit a section late, so late that it was capping off in front of me.  I banked off the lip and section that was just breaking and threw a nice flume of spray.  I descended again but in my enthusiasm to do it again, I came up too quickly and my off-balance footing couldn't take it.

I went in shortly thereafter.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

7.2.14 Crappy Windblown Mavs

I almost didn't surf today.  It looked pretty bad and just as I was turning the bike around to head home, a set came.  Compared to its underachieving predecessors, it looked marvelous.

I paddled out right where I saw the set.  I was all alone.

The tide was low and the wind was picking up, a bad combination for a beachbreak.

I caught two waves of note.  The first was a left on which I got some speed but not enough to make it around light-years ahead of me section.  The second was a successful connection, but just as I was going for one last superpump before attacking the closeout section the bottom fell out from under the wave and I pearled.  I hit the bottom pretty softly, but it was jarring to feel it, as I had not expected it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

6.26.14 Miscommunication Cripples Slump Buster at South Wisconsin

My wife's work is super busy during the summer.  When she is on a conference call, I can't surf.  When she has to go on a trip, I'm going with her.  The vast majority of the destinations are places where it's very difficult or very uninviting to surf.  This month we went to Oakland, but took a little pre-work mini trip to SF.  The closest I got to surfing was mind-surfing the set-up at Fort Point, just beneath the Golden Gate. There were no waves, but I visualized the NW swell wrapping around and refracting into a barrel.

When we finally came home, the waves and Raquel's schedule alternated in making sure I stayed dry.  I got a couple of great skimboarding sessions in, as that's something you can have fun with on any peak of a high tide, but no paddle time.

That finally came to an end on this morning.

I decided to stick to the nether, south of Wisconsin, waves due to the not-so-great quality-to-crowd ratio elsewhere.

I paddled out and I didn't have a chance to perch before I caught my first wave.  I pumped and pumped, and it was a little flat at first, but then bared its teeth.  I saw a ramp and I launched enough to release my fins but had too much weight on my heels to land it.  Still, not a bad way to restart my surf career...

I caught another wave that seemed to have a shoulder, but as I ascended with the intent of eviscerating the lip took its sweet time and the adjacent wall lacked oomph.  I turned with very little speed and sent a rooster tail with the thinness of an eleven-year-old Indian boy's moustache.

The last wave I remember catching was a steep, racy one that flattened out.  Just before it flattened out, I prematurely decided to lay into a roundhouse cutback.  The section was too steep for it and I turned it into a carve which felt awkward.

I mixed up the times and couldn't remember if I had to be back home by 730 or 9, but rather than risk Raquel's wrath (and her colleagues being showered with baby noises), I cut my session short.   It turned out the 730 call was for the next day.  Bummer.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

6.5.14 Only Dude Trunking it at Mavs

I was greeted with a couple of dozen bobbing heads whose bodies were enveloped in black neoprene.

I was on my seldom surfed 5'11" CI thruster.  I made a point to go a little away from most of the crowd.

The crowd was made up of some familiar faces.  From sessions past I spotted smily mustachioed Filipino dude and Peroxide Pat, whose bright hair reflects glare rivaling that of the sun.

I managed to snag my share of waves.

I got a left on which I made it around the initial section, but when I bottom-turned I had a brain fart and quickly ran out of wave. I was about twenty percent of the way through the turn when I was up and over.

I caught a couple of other lefts which either closed out on me or I immediately kicked out on, not in the mood for a no-way-out crab grab barrel.

The absolute highlight came on an A-Frame nugget.  I was a little too deep on the left, so I went right.  I had a glorious view of the wave opening up to me.  I rose and absolutely smashed the lip.  I got hung up on it for so long I thought I was going to fade off the back, but I made it back down, out of runway.

After about a half-hour (the surf report said the water temp was 62, which seems about three degrees too low), I got cold and bailed.

6.4.14 Short Trunk-It Sesh at Miramar

I was on limited time, and I was aching to surf.  I was on my way to check Harbor due to the low tide when I suffered what could kindly be described as technical difficulties.  I went from the street to the sidewalk so I wouldn't be in the way of the car turning right behind me.  I didn't jump the curb or do anything crazy, I took the curb cut up and out of the corner of my eye I caught my surfboard literally nosediving.  My adrenalin kicked in and I opted against reaching for it, as my mind made a snap decision that could lead to me crashing (it would have been the best course of action in hindsight).

I steered the bike so it was right on the edge of the sidewalk and applied the brake.  I watched helplessly, or so it felt, as the nose of my board skidded in the grass and dirt to my right.

I surveyed the damage and the board was scratched but not dinged.

I stuffed the horizontal bar as best I could and continued on my way, with one hand on my board.  I nervously went down Seagaze towards the "boardwalk", not an easy task while holding the bike steady with one hand while engaging the coaster brakes.  I stopped when I saw some waves and fiddled with that damn loose bar.  After a solid minute, I had it in there well and tight. 

I rode all the way to Harbor and that looked worse than I'd seen when I was pulled over.  What caught my eye was the lefts off Mira Mar street.  On my way back from Harbor, I pulled in and anchored my bike to an ancient taxpayer-subsidized bbq grill.

I paddled out to a completely empty lineup. I was reminded on this paddle-out, my first sans wetsuit one in almost nine months, how much easier it is to paddle without a wetsuit.  Normally when I paddle out, my arms start burning towards the end of my journey past the waves.  I felt so free.  I wonder if this is how women feel when they go braless...

My first and best wave happened less than thirty seconds after perching.  I dropped down the initial steep section and rounded the corner.  I snapped it well, then descended.  I pumped once or twice to make the connection and once I did, I was rewarded with a soft section of the right meeting me.  I tapped it so as not to overdo it but my fins lost purchase in the foam.

I caught a couple of others, both closeouts, then bailed.  I had an early appointment to get to.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

5.31.14 PM Mavs with Missed-It-Mike!!!!!!111!!1!

Mike had some free time and decided to come up and surf with me near my house.  He picked me up and we paddled out at Mavs.

The blackball was in effect, so there was an area with no surfers whatsoever.  I told Mike we should paddle where we're JUST inside of that.  I figured the current would sweep us right into an enticing peak.

Not long after we'd perched, I caught my first wave.  It was a left I raced and lost.

I was in position for a solid overhead right.  I caught it, then hooked around the section and vertically CRUSHED it in the steepest part of the wave, throwing tons of spray.  The wave fizzled after that and I was alright with that.

Fifteen or so minutes went by and frustration got the best of me.  I took off on a wave on which it was pretty obvious I wouldn't see daylight.  I went for it and after much finessing made it to the unbroken part of the wave.  Unfortunately, this was a sider, which was much smaller.

I had to let a couple of overhead bombs go because I was just too late on them.

I caught another couple of overhead lefts on which I was convinced I was going to pearl, but I somehow made it.

I convinced Mike to switch boards with me and he did.  He had never tried this type of board before.  I took his Tokoro, which didn't feel all that big to me even though it was nine inches longer (that's what she said?).

Mike is the type of guy who is afraid of missing out, so I was a real bro when I told him we could switch back if he wanted.  I think it was his puppy dog eyes that let me know he was ready to switch.

It never got to the point where the crowd was a factor, but there were some sick bombs in the blackball.  Seeing as to how we'd been outside the designated surfing area for about all of our session, I went for it. Five or so minutes later I was rewarded with a bomb.

Mike was telling me a story about his brothers and the mayor of Oceanside when I spotted something massive on the horizon.  My vision was confirmed when a guy was sprint-paddling for it, trying to pass me.  Given my superior positioning and average awareness, I was able to situate myself in priority.  I was a little bit late, but I bottom turned hard and did the best frontside hack I've done in over a year.  I got hung up slightly then rejoiced as I descended again.  I kicked out elated.

Mike had a time constraint as he's helping plan his son's third birthday party tomorrow and we had to go.  We were in the water for close to ninety minutes.

Friday, May 30, 2014

5.30.14 Another Quick Session at Low Tide S. Mavs

I hit the road on my bike at 5:33 and was in the water by 5:46.  The bike allowed me the luxury of more surf time, but also a great way to survey the surf.  Raquel needed me back at home by 655 (post wetsuit wash). Pressed for time,  I decided on S. Mavs after seeing a big set break.

I locked up the bike and paddled out.  I had a bitch of a time catching my first wave and got a bit stressed given my time constraint.  Eventually I caught a left that wasn't catch-upable.   It was just too damn fast.

I caught another left and tucked my knees in as I hit it.  Unfortunately I'd approached it too laterally and decided to bail as I was being pitched over.

The swell is on the way down and the pickings will be slim.  I enjoyed this run of ok waves, especially considering we're dealing with bad winds for the most part.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

5.29.14 Much Better than Expected N. Mavs

The wind forecasts from the previous night did everything to dissuade me from paddling out today, but I was too determined to surf.  Yesterday's dry hump of a session demanded I relieve my blue balls.

This time I took a nice leisurely stroll, with more than two hours in which to surf.  The wind was palpably coming from the south, which made the corners of my mouth droop as I walked. 

Upon first glance, it looked pretty bad.  The fact that the surface of the ocean was smooth made it an easy call to paddle out.  And so I did.

I paddled out at the southern end of the vacation rental building on the very northern edge of N. Tyson.  By the time I'd perched, I'd skipped past the entire building and its adjacent park and was lined up almost exactly with Seagaze.

My first memorable wave was a left which I caught late.  I almost pearled, made the drop, bottom turned, and did a mellow snap.  I got hung up in the wave a little but was able to descend.  The wave still had its steepness on the inside but had halved in size.  I did a nice slash at the top of the wave and sent spray flying.  Good one.

As I drifted closer to the pier, I sniped a right.  After suffering through a bumpy bottom turn (the winds had kicked up), I had the reverse situation from a couple of days ago.  This time I snapped too hard for the wave and would have lost it if I hadn't slammed my weight to the ball of my front foot.  The section was nice and vertical but it had no oomph.  I faded off the back.

I got too close to Pier again and decided to bail in search of better and less crowded waves.

I walked all the way down to, and paddled out in front of, Tyson proper.

I spent most of my second try at the session battling the current and crowd, though I did have a luck at a BURLY overhead left that I was just too inside for.

I had a couple of waves peppered evenly throughout the session on which I could not drop in and had one dangerously close call with a trip over the falls.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5.28.14 No, THIS is the Shortest Session in History!

My wife had a seven o'clock conference call today.  I woke up, as usual, at around three something in the morning.  My plan was to get up around five, walk down to surf by the pier light, and take advantage of this swell while it lasted.

Unfortunately/Fortunately I fell asleep.  Yes I was able to catch up on a sliver of my many hours' of sleep deficit, but I shot out of bed to see it was 5:41, jumped in my wetsuit and RAN to the water.

I had about a half-hour to surf and I couldn't take any valuable time to lollygag and see what the sets wrought.  I paddled out at South Mavs thinking, correctly, that I'd get swept towards Pier.

The sets were closing out for the most part thanks to the crappy timing of the low tide. 

I ended up catching one wave. I bobbled the takeoff ever so slightly, causing me to put some weight on my heels.  That was enough to kill my shot at what looked like a workable lip line.  I dove off my board once I realized I'd blown it so as to minimize the ground I'd lose to the current.

A set came and with it, transportation RIGHT to the edge of the pier pilings.  By this point I'd decided I was going to go in.  I braced myself and caught a macker of a closeout on my belly.

As I walked on the sand, I vacillated between paddling out for a chance at a quick one, but within twenty seconds I'd decided not to.  A set of closeouts made that decision easy.

According to my watch, I'd spent twenty-three minutes in the water. Woof.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5.27.14 Lonely and Loving It at N. Mavs to S. Pier

The waves showed very little when my eyes first met the sea this morning.  There was absolutely no one out as I saw chest high set detonate a little too quickly.  The low tide had happened almost 2.5 hours ago but it was evident the surf hadn't recovered.

I spent the days between today and my last session with another nagging, annoying, sinus infection.  It kept me out of the gym and out of the water, but at least I didn't have to worry about passing it on to Raquel or Lucia.

With the news of Isra's death still weighing heavily on my mind, I dedicated this session to him.  I got to ride my first really juicy rights at Sunzal thanks to him, a direct result of my pestering him for way too long on preceding nights.  I have great memories of piling into the back of his black pick-up truck (one with metal bars all around functioning as a cattle car, but for people) with his kids before sun-up and standing up the whole five or so kilometers to the break.  My elation and breathing in of the already warming humid air was intermittently interrupted by various tropical bugs meeting their fate on my face.

I wish I could say my grief turned me into a surfing savant for the extent of my session, but it didn't.

I paddled out amidst one of those bizarre it's-too-quiet lulls where you think you've paddled out too far because the only waves are forty or so yards inside of you.  I perched and a set hit.  I paddled out a little farther.

My first wave was a left on which I got one quick superpump and not much more.

My first right was next, and I'm going to call it the wave of the day.  I bottom-turned and carved it well, though I did let up a little as I didn't think this section would have as much push as it did.  Had I gone at it full bore I would have eviscerated it.

A smaller left came and I did an off-the-top on it, sooner than I would have liked (no wall).

A guy had paddled out closer to Pier and wasn't catching a thing.

I got swept towards him, but he had bailed to try his luck elsewhere.  I caught another racy left on which I superpumped, hoping to cover as much ground as possible so I'd have a faint shot at making the section.  It was of no use as the whole thing detonated.

That last wave happened to be the first of the biggest set of the morning.  I was determined to paddle through, but I was being swept south and was reaching critical proximity to the pier.  As I paddled out, the current and the angle of the waves I was duckdiving pushed me closer and closer.  I flirted with paddling through the pier but considering how much I was being tossed about, I decided to go in and march south.

I paddled back out at S. Mavs.  I caught one wave on which I did a small floater, but lost it as my fins were confused by the aerated foam.

I had another chance at a decent left.  I descended and pined for the end section.  By the time I reached it, I had no speed.  I threw my hands up in frustration.

The whole session was free of me having to pull back from others who had right-of-way.  In this way, the time spent out there was glorious.

Monday, May 26, 2014

RIP Israel 'El Charro' Rivas

At one point when my mom was sixteen, she'd had enough of living the lonely and fake oligarch life and took off for El Sunzal, a then tiny beach community in El Salvador.  In her stories to me, she seemed to imply that she lived off her wits and cunning, and while she did make some money giving tours to tourists (sometimes all the way to Guatemala), most of her income came from her brother and my namesake, Eduardo.

It was during this time she made friends with Isra.  He was a lifeguard at several beaches in El Salvador, namely El Majahual and fed several mouths with his meager earnings as such.  He and my mom lost touch after she left El Sunzal for Maui, then San Diego (where I dropped), then Guatemala.

She married Jaime, her second husband (twenty-one years her senior), in 1983.  Jaime's family was a very wealthy family which had made its fortune in coffee over the last hundred years, then diversified into banking, a car dealership (they held the monopoly on Subarus in El Salvador), et al.  In 1986, she convinced Jaime to rent a house on the beach in San Blas, adjacent to El Majahual.

As is common there, people would wander off the sand to entice weekenders with their various wares.  People would come by offering horseback rides, turtle eggs, parakeets, bread, nuts and so on.

One day a very tan man with sunbleached hair came by with a big black inner tube.  He was selling oysters and conchitas.  My mom recognized him instantly as Israel, whom she hadn't seen in more than a decade.  After a warm greeting and exchange, he came to me and asked me if I knew how to swim yet.  I said I didn't, and my mom hired him to teach me how to swim.

We'd see Isra every other week when he came by to unload some of his seafood.  He'd then jump into the pool with me to teach me to swim.

In 1989 things weren't going well and we stopped going to the beach.  My mom went to rehab in Boca Raton for her on-again/off-again addiction to coke.  She then divorced Jaime and I don't believe I saw Isra again until seven years later.

In December of 1996, I was back in El Salvador for the first time after having moved to the States.  Jaime invited me to spend Sunday at the beach house (he continued to rent it until 2003, God knows how many times over he could've paid for that thing with that rental money).  It just so happened Isra was now the caretaker of the beach house and lived onsite.

I didn't see him again until the next summer, when I came down for two months and spent as much time as I could at San Blas.  I had become extremely good friends with Eliud, Carlos, and Chamba. We all loved the beach and bonded instantly.

When I contracted Dengue fever in 2000, Isra and his wife took me to the doctor and paid for my medicine out of pocket.  My attempts to repay them were rebuffed multiple times, though I was able to pay for a new windshield for his pick-up truck when his previous one had been smashed four years later.

As previously mentioned, Jaime gave up the beach house in 2003.  Israel and his wife, Dinora, moved the family about as close to Punta Roca as you can be. They lived in a house owned by Dinora's family, who worked in Maryland as managers in banks.  I saw Isra and his boys many times on every trip to El Salvador.

The last time I saw him was July of 2012.  Carlos had married the sister of the mayor of the city of La Libertad and Isra was driving a garbage truck.  I found this out when I was taking my board out my rental car at Punta Roca and Isra slammed on the air horn of the garbage truck, then laughed his ass off as my face registered sheer terror. "¡Chele Pfeifer!", he said (chele is a term of endearment given to particularly pale people in El Salvador).

He moonlighted as a Charro aka mariachi singer and he LOVED it.

I was on Facebook today and saw a rectangular graphic commonly used in newspapers bearing his name:

The guy who had posted it was Pando's (nickname given to Eliud) second or third cousin who was also a caretaker in San Blas.  Then I saw that the city of Puerto de La Libertad had paid for it.  I WhatsApp'ed Pando, who now lives and works in Luxembourg, and he confirmed the sad truth.  His dad's heart had stopped.

I'll end this post with a video I took of Isra rocking out on karaoke during his son's wedding.  It starts at the one minute mark:

Friday, May 23, 2014

5.23.14 Inconsistent Mavs; One Memorable Wave

With the holiday weekend approaching, the dreaded Spring winds packed their wind suitcases and got in their wind cars and bailed.  A fresh swell was scheduled to hit my home shore and it was not officially a day off for most, meaning my chances for a good session were solid.

I had made up my mind to walk south to Wisconsin Street as was tradition last summer, but my mind was occupied when my subconscious steered me north, towards Pier.  I made it maybe five steps before I realized which way I was walking and decided to leave it up to Jesus, for He knows better than I.

I was looking into the plate glass windows of the closed businesses as I walked along the 101 when I heard someone call out to me.  It was a black woman in a dress.  The exchange went like this:

Lady: "HeeeeEEEEEEEEeeeeey!"
EddieP: "Hey!"
L: "You going to have some fun?"
EP: "Absolutely!"
L: "Thank you for saying good morning to me. It makes my day!"

I then realized this was someone I'd greeted near the bus stop on a couple of separate occasions.  I've made a habit of saying hello to fellow pedestrians as I've always thought it weird when people walk by each other and pretend the other doesn't exist.

EP: "You're welcome!"

I continue walking and pass her.

L: "My name is ChiChi."
EP: "ChiChi? Mine's Eddie."
L: "God bless you, Eddie."
EP: "Right back atcha!"

I continued walking, hopeful that ChiChi's blessing would last through my session.

I arrived and balked at the head count at Pier.  There was no way I was going to do battle with all of those guys.

My first wave was a left that looked racy, then looked downright unmakeable by the time I was up on it.  I pumped up slightly upon stomping, then slammed my weight forward to cover as much water as possible.

Five or so forgettable waves later, I caught a left and swooped down on it.  It's the first wave in too many sessions on which I had some real options, though it did slow down about three-quarters of the way through.  I smashed the lip and slid the tail out hard, the board became parallel with the sand.  I ALMOST pulled it.  Had the wave had a bit more juice to it I think I would have been able to get back up.

I eventually took a close-out in.

5.21.14 Junky S. Pier

We had classic Spring winds on it today, but I was excited that this would keep the crowds from swarming in.

I was the first to paddle out, not a soul in the water.  I had sought solace in my solitude and BAM!  I had it.

It lasted all of eight minutes.

The waves were about as bad as expected.  I caught several lefts which either had no juice or would close out. 

I caught a right which scooped me up late.  I made the drop and my loins tingled as I bottom turned.  This one had a line.  I drew my line a little wider than I should have, and though I eviscerated the wave, I sank into water with no speed.  Had I gone more vertical I may have descended again and completed the maneuver.

I went in after an hour.  I counted fifteen heads in my vicinity as I left.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

5.16.14 Quite Possibly the Shortest Session in History

I couldn't paddle out as early as I would have liked, thanks to scheduling conflicts.  Thanks to the offshores, which had been wreaking so much terror on our inland braddahs, I didn't have to worry about the waves getting blown out.

Unfortunately, the tide was a bit too high for the amount of swell in the water...

I opted for North Pier to escape the god-awful crowds south (the waves there were much better, though).  I paddled out right next to the pier, twelve or so feet before the pylons extend outward another layer.  I told myself I would paddle straight out towards the pylon, confident the current byproduct of the steeply angled S swell would move me away.

My calculations were correct, though I could've tapped my elbow on the pylon if I'd rotated my shoulder.

I sat on the outside, constantly missing waves. 

I went in and the waves there left little to be desired.

I glanced around at the crowd, much smaller than the last session but unsettling nonetheless, and decided I would bail after my first wave.

My first and last wave was a juiceless left on which I did zero maneuvers for 0.0 points.

5.15.14 Crowd Threading at Packed Pier

I paddled out at Mavs thinking I'd avoid the Pier logjam, but deep down I knew the current would put me with them eventually.

I didn't catch much of anything.  I did a speedless floater on a left that I stomped, but it would have been a better use of energy to have not caught that wave.  I ended up going because I was sick of not catching any waves. 

Close to thirty minutes later, I caught a better left but it too slammed shut on me after a very promising opening section.

I bailed about ten minutes earlier than I had to because I wasn't having much fun.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5.14.14 One Fin Fun, then None, at Pier

The scenario looked incredible.  Tide was right, winds were perfect, midweek (fewer crowds), and City of Oceanside had decided to pump pristine sand right onto the beach for the upcoming tourist season.

All we were missing was swell, only the most important part of the equation.  Without swell no one surfs.

With this in mind I decided to get cute and do something I've thought about doing since the inception of this blog: take out all but one fin and work on tail releases.

Granted, it would be an uphill battle given the lack of classic tapering rail on my board.  In its place is a WIDE tail with canyons for a channel. Not only that, but the middle fin, the last fin standing, was a TINY trailer fin that was stuck and I couldn't remove.

I continued on my mental path, headstrong.  This would be a way to inject some fun in the tiny conditions that awaited me.

My first glance revealed a soothing sight.  The waves were tiny, barely surfable.  This would be a good day to surf with one fin.

After paddling out and trying to get going on waves, I realized just how crucial the correct fin setup was.  After wiggling the tail to pump on several lefts, I couldn't get going.

I did manage a weak floater/bonk on one left though.

On a right, I was able to make it past the foam thanks to my initial speed.  As the wave predictably petered
out, I decided to jam on the tail and BAM, I slid out instantaneously and came up laughing.

I began to long for my fins.

A macker three-footer appeared and I was too inside of it.  I two-paddled for it and caught it really late, then gingerly made my way around the initial section.  I was slow on the bottom turn and leaned WAY back and took the top off the wave with exactly zero chance of making it.

I reached my time limit for the day and as soon as I got home, I screwed my fins back in.

5.12.14 Groveling at High Tide Pier

I accompanied my wife and daughter to St. Louis, home of the continent's least crowded surf.  The surf highlight of my trip was wandering into the pool area and spotting five sponge surfboards.  I imagined these made up a sizable percentage of the riding choices Missouri had to offer.

I checked the tide and knew the waves were going to be fat. I didn't care, I had to get out there.

The waves were as fat as I had predicted. I didn't care, I had to get out there.

I spent the vast majority of the session paddling furiously for what appeared to be fertile waves, ripe for the ripping.

The highlight of my morning was a left I let develop for a while before I popped up.  The wave allowed me one pump before jacking up and shutting down almost simultaneously.  My plans for a lip smack were scuttled in favor of a Frankenstein 360 attempt, which I will be a sport and say it was a 90.

My schedule today would've allowed me to surf for two hours longer than I did.  I didn't care, I had to get out of there.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5.2.14 Small But Punchy N. Mavs

The tide was very low on this day.  I would normally have made the trek to Harbor, but my bike was still out of commission from the unfortunate incident in which I maxed out its speed while trying to climb the steep ramp onto the pier.  The chain fell off the gear and I can't get it back on, mostly due to the tight confines that surround it.  I will take it to a bike shop this weekend once the heat dies down and I'm sure they'll fix it in two minutes and charge me $30 or so...

The waves were small, but I did spy a set coming through at N. Mavs.  There were a couple of guys out closer to Pier and I was happy at the prospect of surfing by myself.

The session ended up being better than I expected.  Unfortunately after my second wave, one of the bros from Pier decided to contest my stranglehold on the lefts after seeing me smash one to smithereens while I suffered a similar fate.

The lefts slowly went away as he paddled inside of me for them, though he did get a good one.  I turned my attention to the rights.  I was able to do a pretty good off-the-top on one, then I was a little premature on a snap on the next one. 

I went in after about an hour for daddy duty.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4.30.14 A Lot Smaller at North Tyson, then North Pinnies

I didn't bother checking reports this morning.

I watched Lucia from 6-645 then paddled out once my wife was off the phone.  Due to new tenants moving in and the work involved to fix the handiwork of the previous tenants, a long session would not be in the cards for me.

The wave were barreling here and there, though the seemingly makeable ones were vexing all comers.  Varying barrel speed will do that to casual riders. Hell, I have trouble with one-speed tubes.

I paddled out and caught my first wave about ten minutes in.  It was a chest-high left and it bowled up almost immediately.  I snap-stalled very gingerly and got covered up for maybe a second-and-a-half.  It wasn't a clean barrel, definitely a chandelier.  I saw my time in there coming to an end so I stood up out of it and got a loving slap to the side of the head.  I suppose you could call it a make, but I had zero stoke surge from it.  It's definitely time for a change...

I got swept down a little too far while managing to miss the juiciest, least closed out, waves.  I went in and walked south for close to fifteen minutes. 

I didn't fare much better there and called it a session after about an hour total.

4.29.14 My Two Hour Journey: Underwhelming S. Pier, then Much Better N. Pier w/ a Taylor Knox cameo

Well, there was no denying it.  Oceanside was firing this morning.  The first real S swell of the season had arrived, and with it, a too-long train of unfamiliar faces from points south.

It took me twenty-five minutes to get my first wave.  I was burned by a guy wearing a Rip Curl fullsuit and a Matusse hood (I am NOT issuing a fatwa).  I had the honor of watching him pump a few times, then kick out, all without looking back.  I booed as loud as I could.

As he paddled back out, I said, "You stuffed me on that one, bro".  He was really sweet and apologetic, replying, "Yeah, well I kicked out".  A less mature EddieP would have dogged him the rest of the session, taking off on every wave he took off on, ruining it then kicking out; maybe even throwing in an unsolicited "Yeah, well I kicked out" after every time.

I caught no waves of note where I was at Mavs.  The current was pushing me south into the pier and I fought it for over an hour.  Since there was no sense in doing that, judging by my results thus far, I started eyeing the other side of the pier.

One cool thing I saw is a guy get probably the sickest barrel I've ever seen in Oceanside on a right.  He must have been a pro, because when he kicked out from his barrel, on the very next wave was the one and only Taylor Knox.  I had a front row seat to watch him get pitted, then go crazy off the lip, but he got too horizontal and ate it. The first guy who got barreled then sat with Taylor and they talked story.

The pier was getting closer and closer.  I watched the water swirl back and forth: to the beach, then out to sea.  It was going to be difficult timing.  A wave was coming and I decided to just go for it.  I had to paddle out and north as the wave came and then I sprint-paddled north.  My legs came close to hitting a pier piling, but I flopped them up towards my ass and came out unscathed.

I caught about five waves in forty-five minutes.  Meaty ones too.  There was one wave I got that if I had set up properly and not gotten so crazy with the speed I probably could have stayed in the barrel for a couple of seconds.

I did a couple of solid hits on two others, making just one.

One of my last waves was on a right.  I swooped down the generous face on my 5'4" and did what I proclaim to be the most vertical backside hit of my surfing career.  Best of all, I pulled it.  I had so much speed but of course the wave fizzled after that.

I went in with the sneaking suspicion that I would be yelled at for being gone close to three hours including walking time.  I am happy to report that my ears were spared.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

4.27.14 Overhead Wind-Fetterd Shiftiness at S. Pier PM SESSION

I had Sunday morning blocked out for family time, but I was allowed to surf during Lucia's nap time.

The waves were supposed to be big and they were.  My biggest concern was getting out there before the tide got too low and made everything close out with a vengeance.

I debated taking my big boy board but opted to take my 5'4" Vanguard just for giggles.  I knew the waves wouldn't be amazing due to the onshore wind.

It was pretty crowded out.

I caught my first wave, which was a pretty big right.  I raced down it and smacked it ok, then faded during my cutty.  I think the mistake I made was drifting too far out onto the shoulder.

About twenty minutes later of ducking under bombs, I caught another wave.  This one was about a foot smaller than the first, still overhead.  I watched as I headed right into a dislodged kelp mangrove and I slowed down very abruptly.  This shifted my weight forward and I flamingo'd on my right leg for at least two seconds until I gained my speed back.  The g-force was too much for me to handle on the outer edge of my right foot and I tumbled painfully into the trough.

I caught a forgettable left and as I was paddling out this guy started paddling for a wave.  I did my best to avoid him, but he ended up heading right for me as he picked up speed, still prone.  I duckdived.  When I surfaced he was hurriedly paddling away from me.  He was about ten feet away from him when I apologized, even though it was a situation of wrong place/wrong time.  He didn't turn around and went and perched next to his buddy.  Who within three seconds of hearing his buddy say whatever he said turned to look right at me.  He gave me a very unwelcoming look, it reminded me of a look someone would give if they disapproved and were ashamed of what I did.  I stared right through him for at least five seconds.  He turned away for two beats, then gave it another shot.  I continued to stare.  He took about eight seconds off then tried one last time, then immediately looked away.

I hate it when this happens.  Once in a while, you'll be in someone's way as they're paddling for a wave.  This is avoidable at most reefbreaks and pointbreaks, but rarely is it not a possibility at beachbreaks.  No one is immune to wrong place/wrong time syndrome and how butthurt you get is up to you.  I don't get upset when this happens if the person does everything they can to get out of my way, namely duckdiving.  But for Little Mr. Butthurt to go tell on me to his long-haired friend is a pussy move.  And for LHF to try to intimidate me with his piss-poor attempt at staring me down is downright pathetic.  It's not your fight, LHF, stay out of it.  You can still be Mr. Butthurt's daddy when you get home, even if you failed in defending his honor.

I caught a right off the pier, where no one was surfing because it was a lot smaller than just down the beach.  It was a weak right. I did a very horizontal slash on it, then tried to recover and regain speed.  Semi-successful, I looked forward to the end of the wave.  I prematurely went for a hit and my board got stuck in the lip and I pitched over.

The tide had dropped to the point where the vast majority of waves were closing out hard.

I decided to go in to see if Raquel needed help.

4.23.14 Not As Good As It Looked at North Tyson

My first glimpse had me nearly rubbing my eyes in disbelief.  Corduroy lines coming down, breaking shiftily, but well.  I was stopped by an older guy who asked me if he should take pics from the sand or from the pier.  Given that there weren't any peaks visible breaking into the pier, I told him the sand.  He told me about starting out in his photography hobby and how he focuses on the boards instead of the surfers.  He said he was going to go to the pier.

I told him the break going into the pier wasn't really working, at least on the south side.  Plus, elevation tends to pinch the wave and kill a lot of the curves/beauty of each wave.  He changed his mind and set up near the playground.

I went south a ways where I saw the least amount of heads and consistent waves.

Just as soon as I'd perched, I caught my first wave.  It was a left that was a little fat.  I got a slow hit on it that threw an ok amount of spray, then a slightly better one.  I kicked out and was electrified with the potential of this session.

I got a right and did a pretty nice smack, but the wave fattened up a bit given the rising tide and I couldn't do much more than lamely roundhouse cutty into the foam.  I had so little speed left that I went for as hard a smack as I could.  The whole experience left me emasculated.

A lot of paddling and shifting later, and I was left with no other memorable waves.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4.21.14 Unexpected Onshore Leads to Crisis of Faith

I intended on surfing the same spot as yesterday.  I figured with the increased swell and higher tide I would fare better.  When I got to the beach there was onshore wind, albeit slight, and it shredded my confidence in my surf call much more than the surface of the ocean.  After much lollygagging, I decided to paddle out right at Pinnies, after seeing a really nice left break there.  An older guy on a bigger board made the drop and navigated it nicely until it shut down on him.

My thinking was that the extra eight or so minutes of riding down would lead to worse conditions as once onshore winds get started, they almost always strengthen, especially at this time of day.

I paddled out and sat for about twenty minutes before I caught anything.  During this time, I realized the older guy was my buddy Antony, who makes the drive from Fallbrook five or six times a month to surf.  I gave him a what's up and he said my name with a thumbs up.

As I'm wont to do, I obsessed over my choice.  The wind had inexplicably died down.  The waves would come, but they were inconsistent. My mind at that time ruminated like so: "I probably should have surfed at Getis.  Man, I bet that's going off.  And here I am sitting in this.  I bet the crowd is mellower, the contest is over and it's Monday."

Then, a set wave approached.  My hopes for it were low, but they rose with it.  Once I was popping up, I knew I was in for a good one.  The wave had perfect speed and great shape.  I descended down and curled up, gunning for the lip.  I did a snap/slash, a bit slower than I would've liked.  I rose up and did another one, better, but in a less critical spot on the wave.  As I got to the spot of what would've been my third maneuver on the wave, I didn't know what to do and awkwardly kicked out while facing the pier.

I felt energized in having my decision to surf where I did reinforced. 

I paddled back out, still relatively alone with no one to combat for waves.

I caught another left and I took the chance on a pump on the steep part of the wave, then another quick one on a section a little less steep.  I made it down about two-thirds of the wave and made the mistake of turning up too vertically when I should have tried for an air with all of that speed.  My board got away from me and shot up into the sky.  I did not.

It was time to go.  And so I did. Splash.

Monday, April 21, 2014

4.20.14 Hunting for Easter Nugs: FRESH Sandbar leads to Extreme Hollowness at Serengetis

The waves on offer were less than incredible as I cruised from South Mavs to Pier and then continued north.  Given the low tide, I planned on riding my bike on the beach, but the Army Corps of Engineers had cordoned off the area.  There was major sand dredging going on, and a creek had formed to take this sand to the ocean, creating quite possibly the freshest sandbar I've ever surfed in the States.

I oohed and ahhed over the hollow, pretty much unmakeable, barrels on the inside.  When I saw a set break a little farther out, I was convinced this is where I would surf.

The paddle-out took less than a minute, and I was sitting in the middle of about eight dudes.  I was absolutely giddy and steadied myself: "Play it cool and you'll have your best Cali barrel today".

As good as the waves had looked, no one was catching anything great.  I saw several dudes eat it hard on these steep drops, no doubt coming out gargling sand.

A guy about twenty yards south of me caught the wave of the day, but like a fool he raced the wave and ended up passing up what would have gone on his highlight reel.  I call him a fool because he caught the wave and I didn't.  I would have loved the opportunity to blow that wave.

I had a few steep drops but nothing materialized for me in the barrel department, save for a left.  I caught it late and it had a rip going across it, plus foam from the previous wave.  I descended it and pumped and it just closed down, slamming me in the chest and chucking me in the churning liquid sand soup.  I put my arm out and deflected what would have been my head hitting the sand softly.

As I exited the water, I noticed the NSSA contest scaffolding was up at Harbor, which explained why the crowds were so focused on this spot.

4.18.14 First One Out at S. Pier

I was on limited time today because of the baby's six-month appointment.  I shredded up the asphalt on the beach cruiser.  Wisconsin? No Time! Tyson? No Time! Harbor? HAVE YOU NOT BEEN LISTENING?!?!

My mind had been made up as to where I would surf.  The surf was small and the tide low-ish.  Pier is usually a little bigger than its neighboring spots and the shape is a little steeper, but the head count reflects that, which is why I normally don't surf there.

I paddled out and caught my first four waves in my twelve minutes since hitting the water, including paddle-out time.

My first wave was a chest-high right.  I got really excited about the size and line of it and I wound up extra tight on my bottom turn.  The lip came faster than I expected it, so I was a little off-balance on the snap.  I descended awkwardly, then rose for another hit and that's when the combination of bad body positioning and wave fatness ended my journey.

I paddled back out and immediately caught a left.  It let me in easily, but I bobbled a bit after pumping into the foam too hard.  I recovered, then swung around the next section to decisively bash the lip and come down with speed.  Too bad the wave had closed out after that...

Three heads joined me and I was thrilled they weren't chasing every wave they possibly could

I caught a right and after an initial steep section, it fattened up and allowed me little more than a flat canvas on which to throw "Vanity Spray" ®

I caught other, forgettable waves then went in so as not to irk my wife.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

4.14.14 ♫ All By Myself ♫ (Mostly) at S. Jetty

I had an idea the pickings would be slim today but man!  Pier looked completely unsurfable which is very rare.  Luckily, I'd made the decision to head over to Harbor.  It too was barely surfable, and if you were lucky enough to catch something you very likely wouldn't get far.  I passed a huge Channel Islands box-ish van/truck with its motor running by the boat wash, checking it.  I pedaled past, and five minutes later when I swung back around, the CI truck/van was still there, motor still running.  It must be nice to have a corporate credit card!

I settled on S. Jetty.  I'd seen something surfable on my first pass. That and the lack of crowd was enough to stem my hemming and hawing.  I locked up the bike and went over the jetty.  By the time I hit the water, both people who had been sitting there had decided it wasn't worth their time and they went in. YES!

I took off on about five waves total.  Four of these were fat, small and sloppy (they reminded me of my single days). By far the highlight of the session was a right I caught on which I found a small speed pocket and smashed the hell out of the lip. 

Three dudes eventually wandered over from just north of the jetty.  They fared about as well as I did.

I went in after about a half-hour.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

4.13.14 A No-Go Negated at South Mavs

This will be a short one.

The waves were small, and when the set waves did come every ten minutes or so, they were choked out by the high tide.

The highlight was a wave I caught towards the end of the session.  I had shifted to the inside as trying to catch the "bombs" was a fool's errand.  I managed a pump in the somewhat flats and a successful foam climb; the speed it netted utterly wasted.

4.11.14 Jockeying for Position at North Condors

The surf was small and I figured Pier and Pier adjacent would have very little going on.  I hopped on the beach cruiser and slowed my littoral pace just enough to confirm my suspicions.  I then took the first-time step of going down the ramp at Surfrider to check out Northside in case there was a perfect sandbar/submarine canyon set-up that had somehow formed since the last time I was there and could turn this 1+' swell into overhead barrels.  Natch. Nothing.

I merged back onto the road that would lead me to Harbor and finally settled on paddling out at North Condors.  It was twice the size here as Pier, but the winds being funneled over the 76 would likely make it difficult to catch waves.

But no mattah, I was out there.  My first wave at first glance appeared to resemble a freight train with its lined up architecture and potential for travel.  It chubbed up immediately upon me popping up and I choked up so that my weight was exclusively on the front two-thirds of my 5'4" board.  It was a weird wobbly feeling.  It felt like I was riding a disc.  The speed section I'd hoped for never materialized and I faded out.

Nothing much was coming where I was, so the unexpected water trolley of a current I was on was pleasant.  I fought it when it tried to merge me into a pack of 5 ravenous guys and stayed just south of them.  I missed the first set wave because I was too deep, but I got into the second one...

It started out much like the first, but within two seconds of me standing on it and pleading for entry into its aqueous curves, it let me in.  I did a couple of ginger pumps, not wanting to get too frisky and too far ahead of its plans for me for fear of getting shut down.  I saw the end section and flashed the fins out to no avail.  If the photog on the beach timed his shot well, it would have looked like I was ripping.  A slight slip of his shutter digit would reveal my ugly truth...

The wind shifted straight onshore and it got textured and a bit bumpy out there.  After my left, I was content with being pretty close to the north jetty, or as I call the spot, Avalanches (an homage to when I lived in OB).

A couple of guys apparently couldn't take the conditions shift and bailed.  I paddled back south and after twenty minutes of no waves finally got a short one, on which I did a nice smack off the lip.

No other memorable waves came and I went in.