Having wasted the previous day's swell by electing to watch my daughter while her mother was on a two-hour conference call, I was itching to go.
I checked the usual spots, but ended at Pillbox. I saw some bigger waves, probably head-and-a-half breaking outside with no one on them. Out thar!
After suiting up, I saw a guy on a SICK Rasta colors funboard on the sand. It looked like I was going to have company out there...
Now much wiser, I paddled out at north peak, expecting the WNW angle of the swell to really shine. What I didn't expect, was just how much this rising swell was going to shift all over the place and create different take-off zones wave to wave.
It looked like I was in for another half session of no waves, but a buzzer beater came and I sliced its scalp as its kin had made me look like a fool. I came down speedily, no doubt aided by the even steeper now face, post-hit. I came back up and attempted a floater I didn't want to attempt to land. I had seen how much air these inside closeouts were throwing up and wanted none of it. Luckily my reluctance led me off the lip and onto the back of the wave.
The guy on the Rasta board had caught one smaller wave but other than that was struggling to find something that would let him in on that much foam. I muttered something to myself about how exciting it was to have caught a wave, which according to WebMD is one of the first symptoms of insanity, and Rasta board guy asked me what I thought of the conditions. I told him it was too shifty, but at least we had waves.
The swell kept growing, not so much in size, but in frequency and ferocity. Rasta Board Guy and I were shuttled south towards the middle. He told he was going in as it was "too much to handle". I wasn't gnarled out yet, but I could see what he meant.
With very little to lose, I let the current sweep me south, towards hopefully greener (water) pastures. This is when I really felt the shift in waves and some of the sets were legitimate eight footers. Pillbox apparently maxes out at this size as the overwhelming majority were massive closeouts.
A peanut gallery had gathered at the park's edge and I was the only guy out.
After about ten minutes of feeling like a wayward cork at an exuberant pool party, I paddled for a wave with the slightest of corners and popped up, then swooped down hard. I immediately cut through the frothy remnants of the previous wave's passing, tucked close to the wall and was enveloped in this big, white barrel, which darkened a second later and blew me out its ass. I was overjoyed at getting barreled on such a shifty, good-sized day and came up jubilant.
I spent the next ten minutes getting gnarled out by the continued growth of the swell. It was time for me to go home to my wife and daughter, but I didn't want to be too inside and get smashed. I also didn't want to get too far outside and make myself late. I wasn't scared of what the wavescape had wrought, but if it kept going like this, I could see myself entering the beginning stages of freaking.
I found a friendly closeout which let me in on it. On my way up the ramp, I was complimented by an older woman for being out there when it was that heavy-looking. Then I saw Rasta Board Guy walking down the ramp and asking me if he'd missed anything by going in. I said, "Well, I did get a sick barrel!". He said, "Oh, yeah, I saw you get that little barrel!" I thought to myself, "Little!?!?"