I've lived in Oceanside for a hair more than six months now and today was my first time putting my board in the car for a session. Given the "Aleutiany" angle of the swell, I knew Oside would be one of the worst places to surf in the county.
I ended up at my old haunt, Del Mar, after seeing a sick-but-too-fast right barrel almost perfectly at Dog Beach. I checked 20th, which looked uninspiring, then circled back up to 27th and parked. The City of Del Mar is known for its gestapo-like approach to parking enforcement and they installed meters at 29th to thwart dog owners who thought they could outsmart the city by parking south of Dog Beach. This results in forcing dog owners to park at 27th (or on the north side of the appropriately named Border Avenue, which is Solana Beach territory).
I saw some hard-to-believe-I'm-in-California reelers come through in my fifteen minutes or so of watching the waves. I had my doubts about my chances out there. There were a lot of closeouts and it was 45 degrees out, not accounting for the rigid offshore winds shooting through the San Dieguito River valley. I was debating whether to retreat into the warm confines of my ride but decided to go for it out there even though I didn't bring booties or gloves.
I had a look at two or three waves on which I could have gotten barreled but had zero hope of making it. If I'd been surfing with someone and they'd been paddling out I might have thrown myself over the ledge for their entertainment. If there's no real reward, I'm not going to risk taking a fin to the noggin...
My first wave was a steep right. I made it down and felt my nose dig just a wee bit, but was really focused on getting a snap. The head-high wave shut down almost immediately and I kicked my board up into the air. Just before I hit the water I felt the whitewash give me a nice solid slap to the back of the head.
For the next hour, I paddled for and pulled away from some really obvious closeouts and dodged clean-up sets thrown my way by the growing swell. I almost bailed my board on a head-high banger, but managed to make it just under the tumult.
Later in the session, I bailed on my board twice and saved myself the brutality of being slapped around in water that felt like death for eight or so seconds at a time. I also had to wrestle my board underwater after taking a wave on the head and ended up getting spun around and surfacing to the sweet sensation of brain freeze.
I'd had enough of the exercise in frustration and took a wave in. It predictably closed out right away and I belly-boarded back to the heated interior of my car.