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Saturday, December 30, 2017

12.30.17 Beat-The-Heat Panga Sesh

I wasn't expecting much today.  Playa Colorado is on life support and it was evident this morning when I counted about two dozen heads picking apart the scraps, like buzzards picking at nearly-bare bones.

I managed to paddle out through a secret (to me) rock patch.  On my wade out I got one close call when I semi-jumped and was surprised by a shallow rock.  The ball of my foot barely cleared out and I precariously balanced on it on one foot as a wave came.  I was transported  to my struggles of years-past at Punta Roca, but turning my sights seaward snapped me immediately out of that whimsy.

My first wave was my best wave.  A too-fat right started breaking at the top, I let it hit me and by the time I stood up I was hanging on the ledge.  The offshore picked up and I got blasted in the face, free-falling maybe two feet into oblivion.  I came up amped at the difficulty level despite the small size.

A couple of forgettable, borderline unsurfable waves later and I went in.  If I was out for fifteen minutes I'd be surprised.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

12.28.17 Quick Strike on Onshore Colorado

I lost another argument to walk to the beach instead of drive so we loaded up Opie and had a little bit of beach time.  I'd applied sunscreen and had brought my board so I was committed to surf.

It looked TERRIBLE. At first flat, then onshore and closed out.  There was one other guy out.

I paddled out and caught three or four closeouts.  I couldn't even get a pump in.

I decided to wade up to the north and try my luck there.  I got a left swooped under and did a late turn and PULLED IT!!!!!!

I went in after about twenty minutes out thar.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

12.26.17 Racy Playa Colorado

There's a good kind of racy and a bad kind of racy when it comes to waves.  The good kind is when the waves force you to stomp down and surf as efficiently as possible, swing it around the section with tons of speed and THWACK! over and over again.

The bad kind is when you can't ever hope to catch up to the wave.  This is when only Mick Fanning on a WaveJet might be able to make it around some sections.

Today was the latter.

I sat on the sand in front of the beach club for about a half-hour because it looked bad when I first walked out.  It was onshore/sideshore but I saw there were storm clouds approaching.  In El Salvador, this almost always means offshore winds and seeing as to how that's the prevailing wind pattern here, I figured it was almost a certainty.

Sure enough, the wind swung around and I was soon being rained on.  The tide was still rising and a bit too low. I waited a bit longer and had decided to paddle out right in front, where there was no one.  Then three Brazilians paddled out and I figured I'd get snaked so I averted course for northern peaks.

The water is cold, but still not San Diego in the summer cold.  The first duckdive felt especially refreshing.

A squall came down on us.  It was hitting pretty hard, making one have to squint to see well.  A rainbow appeared, ending on the pristine beach south of where I sat.  The rain went away and I got my wave count up pretty fast.

I made no sections.  I saw one of the Brazilians luck into a corner where he was able to get two turns in on his slower wave.  I saw a logger get a nice ride, but every other ride was an impossible race against the ocean.

After I caught an ill-advised "right", I got caught in a cleanup set, but made it out again.  Even on close to head-high and low-ish tide on these I haven't gotten a really good clobbering yet.

I went in after the crowd count continued to rise and the waves were still doing their thing.  The scenery was excellent and it felt good to be out there but these waves are too damn fast!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

12.24.17 One and Done at PD

I walked all the way to Playa Colorado today and unfortunately it was relatively crowded.  The waves were walled or very racy.  When I first walked up I got excited by seeing an emerald green wave jack up and over but there was never a hint that we weren't dealing with mostly unmakeable-around-the-section waves.

I saw a skinny bald guy burn two people on two straight waves and that cemented my decision to move along down the beach.

As I approached Panga Drops I didn't see anything particularly tantalizing and then it started raining.  I took that as a sign to paddle out and so I did.  I almost immediately caught a left with a nice drop and nothing more.  I continued paddling out, basking in the beauty of the black skies and solid rainfall.

As is seemingly always the case at this place, the peaks shift and instead of being too far out I was too far in.  I paddled for ten or fifteen minutes and duckdove multiple sets.  One glance back to the beach and I was over it, I hadn't moved much.  The dudes I watched take off got maybe one turn in and then mush.  I did see one guy get a sick right and do two turns on it.

I walked back and the rain let up.  We're out of the wet season so any rain that comes in helps prolong the green into the dry season.  It has rained twice since then and this should really make a dent in delaying the jungle's transformation into brown and bare.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

12.23.17 Not too Crowded PM Sesh at PC

I managed to get a mosquito bite right past where my toes meet and decided to go sans sandals to not have the strap rub on the bite. 

I walked about a half-hour down and paddled out after a brief check.  The offshore was there but not too strong, which is always nice.  The waves were still very fast and not one barrel was made in my time out there.

I got another sick carve in which decimated my chances of continuing on with the wave.  I'm still doing the going-for-a-roundhouse-but-end-up-carving thing.  Hopefully I'll be able to snap out of that soon.

The absolute highlight of the session was a left which WAY down the line had a guy going for it.  He pigdogged into the barrel and was in there for a fair amount as I eyed him while paddling for the wave.  He was about thirty yards away when the foam ball swept away his board and his dreams and I pounced, elated.

I got on, snapstalled and was in the barrel.  It immediately started passing me by and so I tried to stand out of it since it wasn't more than shoulder-high and got slapped onto my ass.

It got a little inconsistent and I went in after about an hour.

Friday, December 22, 2017

12.22.17 Bloated Pangas Slumpbuster

A swell that was supposed to fill in after the last swell mysteriously evaporated from all swell models and I got to see this stretch of beach at flatness.  Granted, it wasn't completely flat, but I took the last ten or  so days to get my amperage up.

I saw the first of the new albeit modest swell would be hitting overnight and I made plans to walk out in the dark.  There was basically nothing at PC and I walked the twelve or so minutes to Pangas and watched one logger paddle out.  A set wave came every ten minutes or so. Out thar.

The session was about what I expected.  I caught a long left on which I did very conservative 'turns' and got almost all of the way to the beach before I kicked out.

I caught a wave really late, and air-dropped then ate it.

The most memorable thing that happened was as I was paddling out the last time I felt a jolt on my right wrist.  It felt at about a quarter-strength of getting an electric shock.  As soon as I felt it, I felt it wrap around to my forearm.  It was pretty nasty and I assumed it was a jellyfish sting but I think it's chicicaste, as it felt as thought it was a thread wrapping around me.

I caught a wave all the way in.  It closed out and I just kept going on it until just before hitting the sand.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12.11.17 Too Low a Tide at Playa Close-Outs-Rad-Though

In a shift of strategy, I decided I was tired of fat waves and wanted some slope.  I knew paddling out at dead low tide in small surf especially was a recipe for broken dreams and possibly a broken board, so I aimed for about ninety minutes into the bounce off bottom.

The wind was howling offshore and coupled with the low tide, I knew it was going to be hairy albeit small drops.

The most greenwater I saw was on a left, which allowed me one pump around a section before its big brother section shut down any and all action.

I made every drop except one but alas there was no reward.  I pigdogged on one wave and realized it was passing me by as I subtly bottom-turned while grabbing rail.  I smashed through the lip, then it was eerily quiet, then I went through the back. The eerie quiet time was me in the barrel.  Though I had my eyes closed it was my first time in a pigdog barrel in more than three years.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

12.9.17 Onshore Mid-Morning PC

I was ready to do another pre-dawn session but unfortunately the tide was at its apex right at first light.

I paddled out and was slightly surprised at the sparse-ish crowd.  The waves didn't look great, but every so often a nice set would come.  Magicseaweed was claiming today to be a three-star day but it certainly didn't seem that way.

I paddled out one peak north and was by myself.  I almost immediately caught my best wave, a fat left.  I rose up, then when I felt the wave about to cavitate, STOMPED down and got a ton of speed.  That got me around the section.  It crossed my mind to to a cutback because of the relative fatness of the waves but I was too amped and tried to smash a weak section and ate it.

I caught a couple of rights and had to pump the brakes off my bottom turn when I realized how fat they were.  Every right I got did that, so I eschewed them for lefts.

Nothing else of note happened and I went in after about forty-five minutes.  The sun was getting a bit nasty and not worth the conditions.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

12.5.17 Pre-Sunrise Sesh at PC

I'd spotted a neighbor at the previous evening's festivities at the beach club.  He said he wanted to surf early in the morning.  I told him I would be out at first light (I'd warned Raquel last week I'd be paddling out super early on Tuesday).  He said he would join me and he fist-bumped me so as to solidify our bro date.

I set the alarm for 4:30 (I've been waking up anywhere from 3:30-4:40 all week, but I didn't want to be late and bum out my new friend).  I woke before the alarm, saw it was light-ish out and marveled at my body's internal clock and how it just knows when I need to get up.  I checked my phone and it was 2:02.

I went back to bed, beat the alarm by ten minutes, and got ready to go.  Lucia got up too and I made her breakfast while my coffee was still going.

Eventually, I got going and I marveled at my walk through the woods and my silhouette by moonshadow.

I got there and Buzz was there taking pics to cajole people to come on down and stay at his place (I'd do the same thing if in his shoes, by the way).  I asked him about where it was good and I paddled out at the left. There was no one out!  No sign of my fist-bump friend...

I caught five or six waves, all lefts.  I pulled back on a couple on which I could've gotten immediately barreled, though there would be nasty aftermath.  Here a couple of pics Buzz took, nothing exciting...

My first wave was a little fat.  I got a couple of long pumps on it and I could hear the spray flying off my rail and on to the area behind the wave.  Nothing came of it as I faded.

I did a pretty sick, or so it felt, carve on which I'd channeled my inner Pancho Sullivan.

I caught shoulder-high wave, made it around the initial section, snap-stalled ever so slightly, and got covered up for the first time in more than three years.  I caught a quarter-second view of the barrel before something went wrong and I was in the drink.

I got around another section, bottom-turned hard and fell on my top turn.  I was surprised by the mushy shoulder and the wave had spent itself on the section it put in my way.

The whole time I was out up until my last two minutes, I was completely by myself in the water.  As a result I have informed Raquel I will be doing the first light session more often.

Never did see that dude, though I saw his kid at the entrance to our condo building!

12.4.17 Quick Strike at swarmed PC

This was a quick session.

I caught one wave of note, a right, and I got a good hit on it.  I thought I was too late and while I got hung up in the lip I was able to descend smoothly.

I heard screams from the sand and sure enough, it was from my family.  I didn't know what was going on so I rushed in.  It turned out our youngest dropped our oldest's doll in the water and there was bedlam.  Raquel ran to place Lucia on the sand while she carried Solani.  We all looked for the doll together and Raquel spotted her floating in the river.

I paddled back out caught a couple of closeouts and went in.  I was getting killed by sea lice and the waves seemed to not want to open up, even on the sets.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

12.3.17 Bigger PC with strengthening offshores

It was as flat as I'd ever seen it when the fam and I descended upon its sands earlier today.  The tide was extremely low thanks to the supermoon and the surf responded in kind.

I was shocked to see it shoulder-high  on the sets.  I paddled out where there was no one as the main peak was swarming with dudes.  I caught a forgettable wave, but then I had one with a little corner to it and I bottom-turned, compressed then slashed off the top while sliding out my fins and landed cleanly.  I think I've solved the mystery!

I caught a right and was drawing out a bottom turn to obliterate the lip when I stopped short because I was afraid the wave would pass me by.  I did a half-turn half-pump and then the wave officially did pass me by.

I kept looking towards shore and saw Raquel with the girls (the ever loyal Chucho right by them as well) and decided to go in because it looked like she needed help.

Friday, December 1, 2017

12.1.17 Short but Sweet Seshie at Onshore PC

I hadn't surfed in a few days as I was having a hard time finding a window in which I wasn't needed with the girls and a time outside of ten and two when the tide wasn't at either a peak or valley.  I spent five hours yesterday traveling to and from Rivas, while doing some Christmas and grocery shopping as well as some odds and ends for our condo.

I thought today would be bigger than it was.  When we pulled up it looked bad, California bad.  I realized it was onshore, which is the norm almost everywhere else on the planet but the exception here.

The water was cold, as warm as San Diego gets in late summer, but still easily trunkable.  This is likely a result of the onshore flow and the upwelling it generates.

While walking to my chosen peak I reminded myself to keep my right arm pinned back after exiting the bottom turn.  I caught a left and did just that, came off the top and down so smoothly.  It felt too easy after doing that one little thing differently.

I caught a right did a two-part bottom turn, then foam-climbed and back down with no issues.

I saw my wife with the dog and the girls and went in as I thought she needed help.  She denied having needed help and I paddled out, caught two closeouts before getting lit up by sea lice.  I decided sitting in the salt water,  encouraging the spread/sting of the sea lice, wasn't worth it and went in.