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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4.30.14 A Lot Smaller at North Tyson, then North Pinnies

I didn't bother checking reports this morning.

I watched Lucia from 6-645 then paddled out once my wife was off the phone.  Due to new tenants moving in and the work involved to fix the handiwork of the previous tenants, a long session would not be in the cards for me.

The wave were barreling here and there, though the seemingly makeable ones were vexing all comers.  Varying barrel speed will do that to casual riders. Hell, I have trouble with one-speed tubes.

I paddled out and caught my first wave about ten minutes in.  It was a chest-high left and it bowled up almost immediately.  I snap-stalled very gingerly and got covered up for maybe a second-and-a-half.  It wasn't a clean barrel, definitely a chandelier.  I saw my time in there coming to an end so I stood up out of it and got a loving slap to the side of the head.  I suppose you could call it a make, but I had zero stoke surge from it.  It's definitely time for a change...

I got swept down a little too far while managing to miss the juiciest, least closed out, waves.  I went in and walked south for close to fifteen minutes. 

I didn't fare much better there and called it a session after about an hour total.

4.29.14 My Two Hour Journey: Underwhelming S. Pier, then Much Better N. Pier w/ a Taylor Knox cameo

Well, there was no denying it.  Oceanside was firing this morning.  The first real S swell of the season had arrived, and with it, a too-long train of unfamiliar faces from points south.

It took me twenty-five minutes to get my first wave.  I was burned by a guy wearing a Rip Curl fullsuit and a Matusse hood (I am NOT issuing a fatwa).  I had the honor of watching him pump a few times, then kick out, all without looking back.  I booed as loud as I could.

As he paddled back out, I said, "You stuffed me on that one, bro".  He was really sweet and apologetic, replying, "Yeah, well I kicked out".  A less mature EddieP would have dogged him the rest of the session, taking off on every wave he took off on, ruining it then kicking out; maybe even throwing in an unsolicited "Yeah, well I kicked out" after every time.

I caught no waves of note where I was at Mavs.  The current was pushing me south into the pier and I fought it for over an hour.  Since there was no sense in doing that, judging by my results thus far, I started eyeing the other side of the pier.

One cool thing I saw is a guy get probably the sickest barrel I've ever seen in Oceanside on a right.  He must have been a pro, because when he kicked out from his barrel, on the very next wave was the one and only Taylor Knox.  I had a front row seat to watch him get pitted, then go crazy off the lip, but he got too horizontal and ate it. The first guy who got barreled then sat with Taylor and they talked story.

The pier was getting closer and closer.  I watched the water swirl back and forth: to the beach, then out to sea.  It was going to be difficult timing.  A wave was coming and I decided to just go for it.  I had to paddle out and north as the wave came and then I sprint-paddled north.  My legs came close to hitting a pier piling, but I flopped them up towards my ass and came out unscathed.

I caught about five waves in forty-five minutes.  Meaty ones too.  There was one wave I got that if I had set up properly and not gotten so crazy with the speed I probably could have stayed in the barrel for a couple of seconds.

I did a couple of solid hits on two others, making just one.

One of my last waves was on a right.  I swooped down the generous face on my 5'4" and did what I proclaim to be the most vertical backside hit of my surfing career.  Best of all, I pulled it.  I had so much speed but of course the wave fizzled after that.

I went in with the sneaking suspicion that I would be yelled at for being gone close to three hours including walking time.  I am happy to report that my ears were spared.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

4.27.14 Overhead Wind-Fetterd Shiftiness at S. Pier PM SESSION

I had Sunday morning blocked out for family time, but I was allowed to surf during Lucia's nap time.

The waves were supposed to be big and they were.  My biggest concern was getting out there before the tide got too low and made everything close out with a vengeance.

I debated taking my big boy board but opted to take my 5'4" Vanguard just for giggles.  I knew the waves wouldn't be amazing due to the onshore wind.

It was pretty crowded out.

I caught my first wave, which was a pretty big right.  I raced down it and smacked it ok, then faded during my cutty.  I think the mistake I made was drifting too far out onto the shoulder.

About twenty minutes later of ducking under bombs, I caught another wave.  This one was about a foot smaller than the first, still overhead.  I watched as I headed right into a dislodged kelp mangrove and I slowed down very abruptly.  This shifted my weight forward and I flamingo'd on my right leg for at least two seconds until I gained my speed back.  The g-force was too much for me to handle on the outer edge of my right foot and I tumbled painfully into the trough.

I caught a forgettable left and as I was paddling out this guy started paddling for a wave.  I did my best to avoid him, but he ended up heading right for me as he picked up speed, still prone.  I duckdived.  When I surfaced he was hurriedly paddling away from me.  He was about ten feet away from him when I apologized, even though it was a situation of wrong place/wrong time.  He didn't turn around and went and perched next to his buddy.  Who within three seconds of hearing his buddy say whatever he said turned to look right at me.  He gave me a very unwelcoming look, it reminded me of a look someone would give if they disapproved and were ashamed of what I did.  I stared right through him for at least five seconds.  He turned away for two beats, then gave it another shot.  I continued to stare.  He took about eight seconds off then tried one last time, then immediately looked away.

I hate it when this happens.  Once in a while, you'll be in someone's way as they're paddling for a wave.  This is avoidable at most reefbreaks and pointbreaks, but rarely is it not a possibility at beachbreaks.  No one is immune to wrong place/wrong time syndrome and how butthurt you get is up to you.  I don't get upset when this happens if the person does everything they can to get out of my way, namely duckdiving.  But for Little Mr. Butthurt to go tell on me to his long-haired friend is a pussy move.  And for LHF to try to intimidate me with his piss-poor attempt at staring me down is downright pathetic.  It's not your fight, LHF, stay out of it.  You can still be Mr. Butthurt's daddy when you get home, even if you failed in defending his honor.

I caught a right off the pier, where no one was surfing because it was a lot smaller than just down the beach.  It was a weak right. I did a very horizontal slash on it, then tried to recover and regain speed.  Semi-successful, I looked forward to the end of the wave.  I prematurely went for a hit and my board got stuck in the lip and I pitched over.

The tide had dropped to the point where the vast majority of waves were closing out hard.

I decided to go in to see if Raquel needed help.

4.23.14 Not As Good As It Looked at North Tyson

My first glimpse had me nearly rubbing my eyes in disbelief.  Corduroy lines coming down, breaking shiftily, but well.  I was stopped by an older guy who asked me if he should take pics from the sand or from the pier.  Given that there weren't any peaks visible breaking into the pier, I told him the sand.  He told me about starting out in his photography hobby and how he focuses on the boards instead of the surfers.  He said he was going to go to the pier.

I told him the break going into the pier wasn't really working, at least on the south side.  Plus, elevation tends to pinch the wave and kill a lot of the curves/beauty of each wave.  He changed his mind and set up near the playground.

I went south a ways where I saw the least amount of heads and consistent waves.

Just as soon as I'd perched, I caught my first wave.  It was a left that was a little fat.  I got a slow hit on it that threw an ok amount of spray, then a slightly better one.  I kicked out and was electrified with the potential of this session.

I got a right and did a pretty nice smack, but the wave fattened up a bit given the rising tide and I couldn't do much more than lamely roundhouse cutty into the foam.  I had so little speed left that I went for as hard a smack as I could.  The whole experience left me emasculated.

A lot of paddling and shifting later, and I was left with no other memorable waves.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4.21.14 Unexpected Onshore Leads to Crisis of Faith

I intended on surfing the same spot as yesterday.  I figured with the increased swell and higher tide I would fare better.  When I got to the beach there was onshore wind, albeit slight, and it shredded my confidence in my surf call much more than the surface of the ocean.  After much lollygagging, I decided to paddle out right at Pinnies, after seeing a really nice left break there.  An older guy on a bigger board made the drop and navigated it nicely until it shut down on him.

My thinking was that the extra eight or so minutes of riding down would lead to worse conditions as once onshore winds get started, they almost always strengthen, especially at this time of day.

I paddled out and sat for about twenty minutes before I caught anything.  During this time, I realized the older guy was my buddy Antony, who makes the drive from Fallbrook five or six times a month to surf.  I gave him a what's up and he said my name with a thumbs up.

As I'm wont to do, I obsessed over my choice.  The wind had inexplicably died down.  The waves would come, but they were inconsistent. My mind at that time ruminated like so: "I probably should have surfed at Getis.  Man, I bet that's going off.  And here I am sitting in this.  I bet the crowd is mellower, the contest is over and it's Monday."

Then, a set wave approached.  My hopes for it were low, but they rose with it.  Once I was popping up, I knew I was in for a good one.  The wave had perfect speed and great shape.  I descended down and curled up, gunning for the lip.  I did a snap/slash, a bit slower than I would've liked.  I rose up and did another one, better, but in a less critical spot on the wave.  As I got to the spot of what would've been my third maneuver on the wave, I didn't know what to do and awkwardly kicked out while facing the pier.

I felt energized in having my decision to surf where I did reinforced. 

I paddled back out, still relatively alone with no one to combat for waves.

I caught another left and I took the chance on a pump on the steep part of the wave, then another quick one on a section a little less steep.  I made it down about two-thirds of the wave and made the mistake of turning up too vertically when I should have tried for an air with all of that speed.  My board got away from me and shot up into the sky.  I did not.

It was time to go.  And so I did. Splash.

Monday, April 21, 2014

4.20.14 Hunting for Easter Nugs: FRESH Sandbar leads to Extreme Hollowness at Serengetis

The waves on offer were less than incredible as I cruised from South Mavs to Pier and then continued north.  Given the low tide, I planned on riding my bike on the beach, but the Army Corps of Engineers had cordoned off the area.  There was major sand dredging going on, and a creek had formed to take this sand to the ocean, creating quite possibly the freshest sandbar I've ever surfed in the States.

I oohed and ahhed over the hollow, pretty much unmakeable, barrels on the inside.  When I saw a set break a little farther out, I was convinced this is where I would surf.

The paddle-out took less than a minute, and I was sitting in the middle of about eight dudes.  I was absolutely giddy and steadied myself: "Play it cool and you'll have your best Cali barrel today".

As good as the waves had looked, no one was catching anything great.  I saw several dudes eat it hard on these steep drops, no doubt coming out gargling sand.

A guy about twenty yards south of me caught the wave of the day, but like a fool he raced the wave and ended up passing up what would have gone on his highlight reel.  I call him a fool because he caught the wave and I didn't.  I would have loved the opportunity to blow that wave.

I had a few steep drops but nothing materialized for me in the barrel department, save for a left.  I caught it late and it had a rip going across it, plus foam from the previous wave.  I descended it and pumped and it just closed down, slamming me in the chest and chucking me in the churning liquid sand soup.  I put my arm out and deflected what would have been my head hitting the sand softly.

As I exited the water, I noticed the NSSA contest scaffolding was up at Harbor, which explained why the crowds were so focused on this spot.

4.18.14 First One Out at S. Pier

I was on limited time today because of the baby's six-month appointment.  I shredded up the asphalt on the beach cruiser.  Wisconsin? No Time! Tyson? No Time! Harbor? HAVE YOU NOT BEEN LISTENING?!?!

My mind had been made up as to where I would surf.  The surf was small and the tide low-ish.  Pier is usually a little bigger than its neighboring spots and the shape is a little steeper, but the head count reflects that, which is why I normally don't surf there.

I paddled out and caught my first four waves in my twelve minutes since hitting the water, including paddle-out time.

My first wave was a chest-high right.  I got really excited about the size and line of it and I wound up extra tight on my bottom turn.  The lip came faster than I expected it, so I was a little off-balance on the snap.  I descended awkwardly, then rose for another hit and that's when the combination of bad body positioning and wave fatness ended my journey.

I paddled back out and immediately caught a left.  It let me in easily, but I bobbled a bit after pumping into the foam too hard.  I recovered, then swung around the next section to decisively bash the lip and come down with speed.  Too bad the wave had closed out after that...

Three heads joined me and I was thrilled they weren't chasing every wave they possibly could

I caught a right and after an initial steep section, it fattened up and allowed me little more than a flat canvas on which to throw "Vanity Spray" ®

I caught other, forgettable waves then went in so as not to irk my wife.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

4.14.14 ♫ All By Myself ♫ (Mostly) at S. Jetty

I had an idea the pickings would be slim today but man!  Pier looked completely unsurfable which is very rare.  Luckily, I'd made the decision to head over to Harbor.  It too was barely surfable, and if you were lucky enough to catch something you very likely wouldn't get far.  I passed a huge Channel Islands box-ish van/truck with its motor running by the boat wash, checking it.  I pedaled past, and five minutes later when I swung back around, the CI truck/van was still there, motor still running.  It must be nice to have a corporate credit card!

I settled on S. Jetty.  I'd seen something surfable on my first pass. That and the lack of crowd was enough to stem my hemming and hawing.  I locked up the bike and went over the jetty.  By the time I hit the water, both people who had been sitting there had decided it wasn't worth their time and they went in. YES!

I took off on about five waves total.  Four of these were fat, small and sloppy (they reminded me of my single days). By far the highlight of the session was a right I caught on which I found a small speed pocket and smashed the hell out of the lip. 

Three dudes eventually wandered over from just north of the jetty.  They fared about as well as I did.

I went in after about a half-hour.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

4.13.14 A No-Go Negated at South Mavs

This will be a short one.

The waves were small, and when the set waves did come every ten minutes or so, they were choked out by the high tide.

The highlight was a wave I caught towards the end of the session.  I had shifted to the inside as trying to catch the "bombs" was a fool's errand.  I managed a pump in the somewhat flats and a successful foam climb; the speed it netted utterly wasted.

4.11.14 Jockeying for Position at North Condors

The surf was small and I figured Pier and Pier adjacent would have very little going on.  I hopped on the beach cruiser and slowed my littoral pace just enough to confirm my suspicions.  I then took the first-time step of going down the ramp at Surfrider to check out Northside in case there was a perfect sandbar/submarine canyon set-up that had somehow formed since the last time I was there and could turn this 1+' swell into overhead barrels.  Natch. Nothing.

I merged back onto the road that would lead me to Harbor and finally settled on paddling out at North Condors.  It was twice the size here as Pier, but the winds being funneled over the 76 would likely make it difficult to catch waves.

But no mattah, I was out there.  My first wave at first glance appeared to resemble a freight train with its lined up architecture and potential for travel.  It chubbed up immediately upon me popping up and I choked up so that my weight was exclusively on the front two-thirds of my 5'4" board.  It was a weird wobbly feeling.  It felt like I was riding a disc.  The speed section I'd hoped for never materialized and I faded out.

Nothing much was coming where I was, so the unexpected water trolley of a current I was on was pleasant.  I fought it when it tried to merge me into a pack of 5 ravenous guys and stayed just south of them.  I missed the first set wave because I was too deep, but I got into the second one...

It started out much like the first, but within two seconds of me standing on it and pleading for entry into its aqueous curves, it let me in.  I did a couple of ginger pumps, not wanting to get too frisky and too far ahead of its plans for me for fear of getting shut down.  I saw the end section and flashed the fins out to no avail.  If the photog on the beach timed his shot well, it would have looked like I was ripping.  A slight slip of his shutter digit would reveal my ugly truth...

The wind shifted straight onshore and it got textured and a bit bumpy out there.  After my left, I was content with being pretty close to the north jetty, or as I call the spot, Avalanches (an homage to when I lived in OB).

A couple of guys apparently couldn't take the conditions shift and bailed.  I paddled back south and after twenty minutes of no waves finally got a short one, on which I did a nice smack off the lip.

No other memorable waves came and I went in.

Friday, April 11, 2014

4.9.14 A No-Go Denied at South Mavs

I walked down to the beach, following my new rule of not checking the cams/reports and experiencing the conditions, however shitty they may be, organically.

I stood somewhat slackjawed at the abundance of absolute nothingness that was displayed before me.  The waves were very small, 1-2'.  Three minutes of me checking it later and I hear a slight honk from one of the cars.  It's a guy in a blue coupe with a surfboard in the reclined passenger seat and he's giving the conditions a very animated thumbs down.  As with most human beings, I let others' assessments guide my own, and briefly considered doing the walk of shame back to my house in a dry wetsuit.

Every so often, a little wave would pop up with a little bit of a shoulder.  I had to really think about this, as waves look bigger and better from elevation. (just ask Laird Hamilton about Nazare).  I saw something that pushed me over the ledge and I bounded down the stairs to the beach and paddled out.

The absolute best part of the session was having it all to myself.   There were no heads out within a hundred yards of me in any direction.  It was glorious.

The waves surprised me by being punchier than they looked.  I was catching a few waves on which I could stay for a while, though I wasn't doing much.

My best wave arrived in the form of a left on which I was able to do a surprisingly solid snap.  I noticed I opened my chest up to the beach as I was doing it and will definitely be focusing on that on future frontside snaps...

4.7.14 Closeouts Galore at Tyson

I was still on a slight buzz from the previous day's sesh and was looking to double down before the swell breathed its last gasp.  Future scholars and surf blog curators may argue this is what blinded me towards the conditions and convinced me to paddle out after seeing only closeouts.

Of the five or six waves I caught, I think I got one pump in.  I stayed out just under an hour and then bailed. I sulked home.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

4.6.14 Bigger, Better Pinnies

I had high hopes for today.  A lunchtime stroll on the pier with my dad and stepmom revealed juicy waves that were still appetizing even with onshore wind mucking them up.  I vowed to surf at my next chance.

I got on it a bit late as I had intermittent baby watch duty, but my toes hit the water at about seven.  There were some heads out, but it's a Sunday, so that was expected.  It was less crowded than what I thought the ocean would have in store.

I duckdove and upon surfacing, felt the afterburn of an ice cream headache.  Another wave came, and the cumulative effect of another dousing in the water, followed by my forehead's exposure to air, reached its apex and I bared my teeth in a grimace.

My first wave took me about fifteen minutes to find, but it was a lined-up left.  I dropped down and picked up speed.  I picked my target on the face of the wave, but was too casual and lazily/awkwardly came back down.  Luckily, the wave steepened up and I got another chance, which I promptly blew by sliding the tail out WAY too far off-the-lip and bailing.  It's difficult to make two opposite mistakes on the same wave, but I have the talent!

I had another left on which I got some speed, but kept it casual so as to save some sort of semblance of style.  I had a mini-ramp approaching, so I did a half-pump down then sprang up, slammed my back foot while raising my front foot, and felt the sweet release of my fins as I "launched" into an air.  I didn't rotate my hips enough and fell.

On a right, I did a top turn with a lot of speed and was taking out my frustration on a too-fat wave by overtorquing.  My front foot slid off the deck of my board and I banged my shin on it.  It didn't hurt too much, but it was definitely a first for me.

I caught a double-up left and went for a bottom turn, quickly realizing the barrel was slow and beautiful.  I was close enough to stick my arm into the barrel, but couldn't post up in it as I was j u s t out of position for it.

After about an hour the tide was too low and the vast majority of waves became closeouts.  I bailed.

4.4.14 Small Low-Tide Tyson

I rode the beach cruiser all the way down to Harbor and back.  There was something there, but it was very inconsistent.  I sat on my bike with the GuyPod and accompanying speaker blasting out of the pack on the handlebars and watched it.  I saw a decent two-wave set, but nothing else for five minutes.  I biked south, then hoisted the bike over the jetty and onto the hardpacked sand.  S. Jetty had barely anything, and N. Pier wasn't much better.

I was very close to making today a no-go, but I eventually talked myself into paddling out at Tyson.  It had been more than two weeks since my last session and I wanted to wash the rust off.

The highlight of the day was the dry-hair paddle-out, brought to me by the small waves and the higher-percentage-than-normal wading vs. paddling ratio.

I caught about five waves total and they were all close-outs.  The "best" was a left on which I got to pump once.  I bailed after about forty-five minutes.