Help Support The Blog by Clicking Through to

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2.23.14 I Shun Pier in favor of Condors

A still-in-bed check of the tides this morning confirmed that Harbor would likely be much better than Pier due to the low tide.  I hemmed and hawed about paddling out given that it was a Sunday and crowds would be a major factor.  Eventually, I went for it as I didn't want to miss out on the dwindling swell, especially considering the relative flatness we're in for followed by the storm system that will waste the waves it brings.

It didn't feel cold in the alley as I pedaled away from my back gate, but men did my fingers and toes scream in agony as I picked up speed on the downhill portion of my journey.

Once I'd decided where in Harbor I was going to surf I looked down and saw some grisly purple-ish toes.  I couldn't wait to get in the water because I knew it wouldn't be nearly as cold as the air.

I had a nice dry-hair paddle out and spent the vast majority of the session paddling around for waves.  The waves were big and a little fat, surprising considering the dropping tide, but they were easy to get into.  For me at least; I faded off of several shoulders of waves on which paddlers with right-of-way just weren't able to make it happen.  I saw others take off blatantly on others so as not to let any gems go unridden but I don't have that in me.

I caught two waves of note.  The first was a left I descended gingerly, reset my footing and came up and did a nice pocket snap.  I came back down and for some reason bobbled and lost it as I was about to b-turn again.

On my last wave of the session, I caught a right that turned into a speed demon.  I got a few pumps in and finished it off with a flourish, a sweet off-the-lip.  I went in after about ninety minutes of water time, the most since I became a dad.

2.20.14 Super Butthurt at Tyson Street

Harbor had offered up decent waves during my previous session, but not many for me.  I vowed to change that on this day.  I had no plans of surfing Pier but a quick glance on my surf rack-equipped beach cruiser revealed a bomb right breaking off the pier with solid not too-fast speed, steepness and great shape.  I considered pulling off then and there but I had to continue my mission.

Ten or so more minutes of pedaling revealed nothing worthwhile at Harbor.  The task of pedaling this one gear beast back up the hills seemed daunting but less so when I considered that magical right I'd seen.

I pedaled out to the lookout south of Pier and there wasn't much there.  I eventually settled on locking up the bike at Tyson and paddling out to a sandbar that seemed to work ok.  I focused initially on the rights.  Nothing all that memorable stands out from the numerous closeouts, though there was one wave on which I had my hand on the deck, trying to lean into it to get some speed.

The memorable wave of the day was a right and it was fast.  I popped up and made it around the initial explosion.  A bit more wave came down and I was antsy to catch up to the beautiful green wall that was just sitting there for me to climb and, likely, disappoint.  I felt the urge to bail, but I overpowered it thanks to that sight of the next section.

The lip then slammed down just inside the backside rail of my board.  In one fell swoop, my board flipped over and I fell onto a fin, butthole first.  I felt an unfamiliar, and much to my relief, completely not sexy feeling as the fin and I became one.

I was pretty sure what had happened as I tossed and tumbled underwater.  As I was surfacing, I felt for the source of the pain and realized that the fin had indeed destroyed an important portion of the protection I had packed.  My wetsuit had a small tear in it.

My ass was sore.  I had fallen down right on the fin, a direct hit; you sank my battleship.  Luckily though, my momentum must have spun my body in such a way that my buttbone took a lot of the hit.  It is still sore as I type this, more than eighty hours post trauma.

The bike ride back was a difficult one.  When I got home I bent over and asked my wife if she noticed anything different about me.  She immediately asked what happened to my ass.

My wetsuit is now repaired and after a trip to my proctologist, I'm happy to announce my behymen is still intact.

2.19.14 Beach Cruiser Extends my Range to Oceanside Harbor

Given the previous session's experience, I was mad at South Pier and points even more south.  I forewent a real surf check there and continued to Harbor, a place I hadn't surfed in close to a year.

I had to go almost all of the way to Avalanches, but I found something that looked pretty good.  A-Frame peaks were popping up shiftily and inconsistently, but it was better than anything I'd seen in a while.  I locked up the bike on a rusted street sign.

I paddled out and under three waves.  On my last breaching of the ocean surface, I felt the initial sting of a nasty ice cream headache.  If I'd had to duckdive four waves it would have been nasty.  I've heard that if you hold your tongue against the top of your mouth, you won't feel it, but I would argue any improvement is as a result of the placebo effect.

Fifteen or so minutes in I caught a nice right and did a good snap on then kicked out.

On my way back out, I saw an older guy on a lot of foam paddle his ass off into the wave of the day; a left-his backhand.  After spending what seemed like an eternity getting up as his board rose higher and higher into the reeling lip, he managed to put it all together and descend it.  I cheered him on with a raised fist.  As he paddled back out he regaled me with a toothy grin.

Toothy Grin and his cronies spent the next half hour terrorizing me on their thick boards, paddling for just about anything.  I missed out on two solid waves because one of them was already on it.

I thought about paddling out past them to get position on them but my mind was interrupted by a not-that-impressive-at-first left.  As I paddled for it, just in case it turned into something, it steepened into a semblance of the sublime.  I jumped up and pumped.  I was going really fast when I eventually met with the closeout section.  I rose into it, laid my weight back and slid across the foam as my tail got away from me.  I ended up going fakie for a half-second before I splayed onto my back.

I caught a less impressive left five minutes later and did a snap just on the outside corner of the pocket.  I ended up splayed, less impressively, on that one too.

Eventually Father Time reared his ugly head in the face of my SICK Rasta watch and I had to pedal back to watch our daughter while Raquel held court over her conference call.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2.18.14 Disappointing All-Encompassing Pier-Wisconsin

The talk of the growing swell reverberated from the pleasure center of my brain to my loins and back. I would definitely be out there tomorrow, I thought on the preceding night.

I made my way to the 101, then towards Wisconsin Street.  I instantly regretted my turn south, as given the swell direction, Wisconsin and Wisconsin-adjacent would undoubtedly be less than firing.

Sure enough, my eyes confirmed what my mind had wrought, and I had no choice but to hoof it to the pier.  In all, I walked thirty minutes.  In the last fifteen minutes of my walk, I was treated to a front row seat of good conditions, decent swell, and more closeouts than you could pan your telephoto lens in between.  The waves were consistent, and they were consistently closing out.  Guys would either catch waves and bail right off the bat because of the steepness of the waves or they would make it to the bottom.  The latters' reward would be a cracking of the lip onto their heads, surfboards, or if they were lucky, only an underwater drubbing.

I thought, well, I am going to paddle out because I haven't in almost three weeks and the tide is coming up so it can only get better.

All of the waves I caught were bad.  I'd think I'd have a corner and out of nowhere the section in front of me (and usually, the section in front of it) would experience a last second push and burst right in my way.

The tide was slowly rising and you could sense the shift in the surf.  Unfortunately, it got even worse in the sense that the outside sets were having less and less push, leading to not even a hint of hope.  As Tennyson put it, it was better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.  I will spare you, dear reader, of detailing each individual baby step towards madness.

In all, I saw one guy catch a wave and get a turn out of it.  I had the later morning shift with the baby and we retraced my steps.  I am happy to report that the surf still sucked and I didn't have to sit at the amphitheater with blue balls while my dog panted and my baby slept.