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Friday, January 31, 2014

1.30.14 Time Crunch leads to Pre-Sunrise Session at South Pier

I'd spent too long of the previous day bumming about not being able to surf.  My seaside stroll with Lucia and Chucho confirmed that my worst fears had been realized: It was pumping and damn near empty.  I slouched home the rest of the way, kicking detritus with every tenth step in an attempt to feel control over SOMETHING.

The truth is I made mental plans to be on it no matter what the next day.  Raquel had a call from eight to ten and I had a flexible schedule.  I had to be back home by 7:40.  Including the walk back I should have a solid hour and some flex time to catch a wave in, rather than doing the emasculating paddle to the sand.

I did some research and I knew the sun would be up at 6:44, which meant I could surf in natural light and have some idea as to what was happening if I hit the water at 6:10 or so.  As is typical for me these days, I woke up right around four but thankfully managed to get another hour of sleep. I woke up and laid in bed waiting for the sun to get somewhat close to breaching the local topography, so I wouldn't have to nightsurf.

I saw the water as I passed The Cup and there was definitely enough light with which to surf.  I went down the ramp to The Strand and I saw size there, but not enough steepness to make it worth my while.  I knew Pier would be better, it just had to be.  I was surprised the pier lights were still on as I made my 3/4 mile walk north.  There was no one out.

I licked my lips at the prospect of being the first guy out but then I saw someone come bounding the Tyson Street stairs.  NOOOOOOO.  I chased after him in a half-jog and warmed up my left shoulder in stride.

We hit the water at about the same time, but since he chose to paddle out in the channel (puss), he beat me out there.  I was in a much better position than he, and it reflected in our different experiences on basically the same peak.

True to form, it took me twenty minutes to catch my first wave.  It was a sketchy set wave.  I went right, away from the pier and amazed at my speed.  I snapped a bit off-balance, recovered, and as soon as I realized I was getting too far out on the shoulder, laid into a roundhouse cutback.  Alas, the section I'd targeted was weak with nothing of note to bounce off and my ride was over.

I caught a couple of lefts towards the pier, which is a lot of fun when there aren't fishing lines around.  On my first attempt, I kept up with my wave, then watched it steepen.  I bottom-turned and prepared to snap nice and vertically but the wave hit a deep spot and fizzled.  Dammit.

My second left was bigger, and I had the opposite experience.  I cruised up the face of what looked like a burger, but it steepened up as I slashed.  I reeled in the torque so as not to slide my fins out and risk tumbling, then being driven by the whitewash into a pier pylon, then kicked out.  The narcissist that I am, I proudly surveyed the foam trail of my spray.

I caught a right that went nowhere and I did a throwaway attempt at an off-the-lip 360.  The result is not worth describing...

Fifteen or so minutes went by of my not having caught a wave.  My watch was telling me it was time to go home and so I did.  I took a left in and did an off-the-lip but got bounced off on the way down.  I power-walked home and saved myself a browbeating by getting back just in time.

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