Help Support The Blog by Clicking Through to

Monday, March 31, 2014

3.19.14 Complete Sea Change from Previous Session

The swell was on the way down, so I was prepared to not have nearly as good a session.  Upon arriving at the shore, I saw clean, somewhat fat waves, with a small army of heads on it.

I paddled out a bit south and let the chips fall where they may.  Within minutes of paddling out I realized I was in the midst of a Surf PE session.  All these guys were manic out there, paddling for just about everything.

I must have been in the right spot because I was catching a lot of waves.  I had only about forty minutes to be out there due to one of Raquel's conference calls and I maximized my wave-to-minute ratio.

All told, I caught about eight or nine waves.  A lot of them fattened up almost immediately, though I do remember doing a sick slash to bail which indubitably felt cooler than it looked.  On a right, I also did a comprehensive wrap-around cutty. 

I left the water satisfied.  Unfortunately, this was the beginning of what I'm calling my longest cold of all time, which kept me out of the water for the rest of the month.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

3.18.14 Stormy and Big N. Tyson to S. Winnies

While waiting for the sun to come up and light my path, I took two of the five fins off my board.  The pentafin set-up experiment was over and I much preferred the thruster set-up with the small fin in the middle. It's a lot skatier and allows me to change course much more readily should the mood strike.

I knew something was off as soon as I stepped onto the sidewalk.  The wind felt different, not bad, but different.  I couldn't tell where it was coming from as the direction seemed to change. I looked forward to hitting an east-west street so I could ascertain as to the wind's origin.

At first it felt offshore, but once I got to a north-south street I realized it was a dreaded devil wind, coming from the south.  For the vast majority of surf spots, this means the surf quality will have a low ceiling.  For an instant, I considered bailing and going back to the house, but I had put my wetsuit on and was about a hundred steps on the way, so I pushed on.

Further wind readings indicated that the wind may not be a true south wind, but rather a SSE.  With a bit of luck, this could shift into a true offshore.  I then realized I've never experienced a south wind turning offshore, at least that I could remember.

My first view of the ocean confirmed that the wind was slicing up the sea surface.  If it had been less than shoulder-high I may have been over it, but there was some size out there.  I saw six or seven heads already out at Pier and I smiled as they scampered to try and catch an overhead but lazy set wave, about half of them getting caught by a slow lip, the other half falling back one by one, not being able to catch it.

Rather than deal with that mess, I walked south for a couple of minutes to my very own peak, which seemed to show some juicy rights.  A couple of guys who had walked with me had elected to paddle out between the mess and me, but we soon reluctantly rendezvoused within ten yards of one another.

One of them caught a good one, then a good-sized set came through and we scattered.  Five minutes later, I'd lost track of them.

I caught a left that had a divot on the top.  I stomped on my front foot and barely made it up and over.  My new fin set-up made the board shift just a bit that was too much for my already off-balance positioning.  I tumbled over and slammed into the flats hard.  Luckily my lower body absorbed a lot of the blow, because the part of my upper body that made contact hurt and I had just a smidgen of a can't-catch-my-breath feeling.  It was as though I'd had just a little bit of wind knocked out of me, but I had fallen on my lower back.  Weird.

Redemption arrived in the form of the best wave I've caught in probably six months.  It was a right which was steepening up nicely, but I didn't hold high hopes for the shoulder.  I got held up on the lip, then literally air-dropped down at an angle, perfect for beginning my bottom turn.  It was long and drawn out, and the section I'd targeted for the snap was being rapidly accelerated thanks to it getting some help either from a small wave behind it or a shallow spot in the bottom. 

I laid into it, putting a lot of pressure on my back foot, then descended the steep wall.  I rose back up and laid into a roundhouse cutty, coming around nicely on the first half, then snapping well on the whitewash.  My fins slid out to the point that my tail was facing the sand and I had no hopes of recovering.  I came up jubilant.  That drop followed by that section and turn was a recipe for a stoke awakening.

I caught a left and did an off-the-lip/snap off which I released the fins into a hopeless contortion of sadness.

I caught a couple of other waves, but nothing even a quarter as good.  I had planned on bailing when the current took me to Wisconsin Street, or as I like to call it, taking the Longshore Express and getting off at Wisconsin.  I went in about one hundred fifty yards south of Winnie's then walked home.

3.17.14 Mostly S. Pier Rights

I thought I would be the first to paddle out today, but it turned out that there was someone hidden that scurried out like the rodent he was.  He was wearing booties and gloves and was fighting against a set that had made its way to the shallows, valiantly rowing away in tumultuous seas. 

I didn't beat him out there, but I was close thanks to my fortunate timing, as evidenced by my dry hair paddle-out.  I had paddled out twenty yards to his south, but we both ended up in the same spot thanks to the intense current by the pier.

I caught a right and did an ok turn, then got left behind by the wave.  A couple of forgettable waves later, and the wave of the day came.

This older guy I said hi to had position, but he let it go and booties-and-gloves guy got it.  He rode it all the way to the sand and bailed.  He probably thought it wouldn't get any better than that and man was he right.

The older guy then paddled up to me and said, "Don't I know you?".  I gave him a non-commital "Yeah I think I've surfed with you before".  Then we realized we'd shared a really good day about three years ago in which I got swept down more than in any other session.  He lives in Fallbrook and surfs about five or six times a month.  I remembered he used to own a print shop.  He asked me about real estate and we left it at that.

I caught a left which I barely got into and it rewarded me by bowling up and throwing over when I was about halfway back up the face, slamming me onto my back.

It got really crowded towards the pier.  I bailed.

Monday, March 17, 2014

3.7.14 South Winnies to North Pinnies

Yesterday was a bust for me surf-wise, as I was assigned on daddy duty.  As Lucia, Chucho and I pushed off with the stroller, I got a bit of a mood changer in the form of a caress of onshore wind.  You read that correctly, ONshore wind.

Sure enough, when we got to the water, there was texture on it and it was pretty much unsurfable.  Pier looked doable, but there was a pack of rabid dogs on it.  I held my fist up in the air in a triumphant Black Panther salute.

Today's session had better conditions in store, but not quite as good as I'd anticipated.  I rode my beach cruiser to Harbor and was bummed when I saw nothing surfable.  I rode on the beach, then onto The Strand and all the way to Wisconsin.  I passed Wisconsin and stood there on the bike, mulling over my options.

I saw a couple of sets with one guy on too big a board trying to get in on them.  It looked dumpy but makeable on the rights. Out thar!

Just as I paddled out, the current swept Too-Much-Foam Dude to the south and it was just me out there.  Upon perching, I realized there were two other guys paddling out right behind me.

This is a phenomenon that surfers often bitch about.  There is a long beach with waves for them to plunder, but people will paddle out where already are heads out rather than surf alone.  I don't think it has anything to do with an innate fear of being alone that we as human beings share.  They are just lazy and someone already did the homework for them, so they'll paddle out at where it's better than average and sit in a better spot.

I spent the next half-hour paddle-battling the two bros, and one caught a sick one after I'd JUST missed out on its immediate predecessor.  Eventually, I caught an ok left, but I waited to long to snap and blasted the fins out the back in what I'm sure looked like a comical expression of rage.

I was sick of the inconsistency and shiftiness and went in, then walked about twenty minutes north to the pintail-shaped houses.  It was empty and looked doable.  I caught zero waves of note and went in after another half-hour...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

3.5.14 Better (?) South Tyson

After the storm, we were blessed with a strange, now apexing, string of waves.  The forecasts and buoys dictated that Wednesday morning would be the absolute best of it.  Because of the funky tide, I took my bike to Wisconsin Street and shaved twelve minutes off my morning commute thanks to a serendipitous string of coincidences, starting with the old school full-size pickup which let me draft behind it to and through the 101 with only slight slowdown as we coasted to the light for just a couple.

The surf looked robust from the train tracks and I was licking my chops.  I cruised down the Strand, Oceanside's beachfront road as I checked the waves.  I saw a pretty sick A-Frame break and I locked up the bike at a lamppost vacation rental complex called Land's End.  I didn't know if that was a no-no, but I had to get my surf on.

I paddled out to the completely empty peak and was joined less than ten minutes later by a squatty dude.  I gave him a "What's up, man?", which he ignored completely, even though he was less than twenty feet away.  Then three more guys paddled out, two of which he apparently had made plans to surf with, and the guy could not stop talking. 

We were both paddling for a sick one, Mr. Selectively Talkative with priority, and he caught (and I pulled back from) what I'll call the wave of the session and got to his feet a little late.  The thing looked like it was going to be a makeable, thick barrel.  I looked from the back and was trying to see if I'd see that telltale bulge and/or color change towards the top of the wave when a guy is pitted.  Just as I'd started to look for it the guy's head popped through.  He'd bailed! If he pussed out on a wave another guy could've gone on, he's a morph.

I decided I'd had enough of Mr. ST Morph and paddled to the north, against the current, but away from he and his buddies.  I stopped paddling once his musings were merely a murmur.

No waves of note came for thirty minutes.  It was Closeout Central.  Eventually, I caught a left which looked like it was going to line up very well for me.  As I got to my feet, I pumped up and down as much as I could and saw a section ten or fifteen feet from me spilling over.  I crashed up into it, and came back down with so much speed but was immediately slowed to a crawl by a lack of wave slope.  I had big plans for that wave...

After being out close to ninety minutes, I caught a small right and did a couple of flickier-than-I'd-like pumps.  I managed to outmaneuver the spilling section and did a solid smash off the whitewash, projecting onto the flats with speed.

I bailed shortly thereafter.

3.4.14 Quick Mish to S. Jetty

S. Jetty is special to me.  It is the site of one of my greatest sessions of all time: July 4th 2007.  Missed-It-Mike made the trek up here after I swore to him it would be good.  Mike and I surfed our brains out for two-plus hours and we were all alone.  The lines, especially on the lefts, were solid and held a nice steep wall.  These were absolutely perfect for smacking.  It felt like I was surfing a mirror image of Lowers and without the crowd.

Today's S. Jetty session was nowhere near this one.  I rode my beach cruiser down to Pier for a quick check. It was riding away from there I realized I hadn't put my bike lock back on the frame (I'd taken it off to do some painting). I cursed my mistake and briefly thought about returning home for it, but I was on such a limited window that I was going to have to chance it if I was to surf.

Today would be an experimental session for me.  I decided I didn't want to be riding a 5'4" with a thruster set-up but only a small trailer fin.  Unfortunately, I couldn't remove the small fin.  I was afraid if I exerted any more force I would hurt the board.  So I did the next best thing:  I left all three fins as they were, and added two more!

After much deliberation as to where to surf, including riding all the way to Harbor's boat entrance, I decided S. Jetty looked the least awful.  I didn't want to leave my bike near the parking area where someone could lift it up and put it in their pick-up, so I rode it onto the sand and leaned against a rock.

I only had forty minutes before I was due back at the pad, so I tried to make it count.

Most waves were of the lazy kind.  The swell was big enough so as to barely break on the outside bombie set-up, but too big for the inside to have consistently peeling waves.

I did a pretty good snap on one wave that did line up, a right that needed a few Huntington hops to rev it up.  The extra fins definitely made me commit to my line a bit more.

I caught a left, pumped a couple of times and snapped off the end section.  My fins held me well and I descended successfully.

No other memorable waves came and I rode on the beach to the north end of the Strand, then up the pier and back home.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3.3.14 Post-Storm Pier

After mulling it over since five in the morning, I decided to risk various infections by paddling out this morning, after one of the biggest storms in the last five years.  They say to avoid contact with the ocean 48-72 hours after a rain.  If you really think about it, as a storm continues, the "land pollution" swept into the storm drains lessens.  The first rain of the season is always the hairiest one, so on a macro level, you should avoid paddling out until three days have passed after that one.  On a micro level, if it has been raining for three days, you're probably ok to paddle out on the fourth or fifth day.

Or at least that's what I kept telling myself as I suited up.

Yesterday's post-brekkie surf check revealed the biggest surf I've seen in Oceanside since I moved here nearly eight months ago.  Massive waves were coming through and they had lines to them.  It was practically empty, and people seemed to be having trouble catching waves.  I jerked my neck to the left, then a little more north, then back south as we practically coasted down the littoral.  My loins filled with lust as the waves' curves beckoned to me.  Raquel may have rolled her eyes as guttural passion noises continued to  emanate from my mouth; I don't really know, I wasn't looking at her.

Raquel had made it clear I only had until 8 to be ready to take the baby, so I jogged down to the 101, then hung a right towards the pier, and continued jogging until I hit the stairs south of Pier.  The waves were a shadow of their yesterday's selves, but I was still so revved up from their subconscious come-ons that I didn't care.  I would be jumping into their arms with everything I had for them.

As I paddled into the cool embrace of my years-long crush, I began to realize more and more she was not as attractive as she was yesterday.  Her curves were a little flatter, and her faces more disheveled.  I kept on, the visions of how gorgeous she'd looked yesterday dancing upon my head.

The waves looked ok, but they were bloated.  You'd see an open face from shore and go, yeah,  I could go for some of that.

Once in the water, you'd realize how they were practically unsurfable.  It was weird because the tide wasn't high, it was about mid-tide on a moderate tide swing day.

I caught two rights, both of them head high, within ten minutes of each other.  On both I went up for a hit and had to settle for a roundhouse cutty attempt.  On both, I had lost most of my speed and ended up just sitting in the wash as a result.

I overheard a bro telling another bro about how good it had been the previous day.  He said, "It's the biggest I've seen Oceanside with shape".  I cursed myself for having the maturity to abstain from surfing.

A bomb right came through and I was pretty inside.  I whirled around and thought about not going, but my last look at it showed me that it was in the beginning stages of merging with another wave, meaning I'd have a little extra time before it got REALLY steep and angry.

Aforementioned surf bro was paddling for it, and in better position than me, makeablity-wise.  I had priority and I would be damned if I wasn't going to go after so much surf lust.  The thing steepened up alright, but I had no fear for some reason.  I stomped the air drop, but so much of the wave had broken to my right that I just couldn't make it past that mountain of whitewater.  Surf bro had gone anyways, which was wise because I couldn't have made it.

That was the last memorable wave before my watch told me it was my time to take care of the baby.