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Saturday, May 19, 2018

5.19.18 Abortion of a Session from Onshore Playa Colorado to Panga Drops

I knew it wouldn't be great today as the wind had shifted.  I figured the crowd count would be down and, you never know, maybe I'd tuck into something good.

This time I kicked my sandals way up after seeing just how bad it was.  It was worth paddling out though, as a nice left wall presented itself to me.

I sat where not a soul was sitting.  About five minutes later, I caught a right and got hung up on the lip a bit.  My fins reconnected and I watched as the section detonated in front of me.

I dodged some relative mackers for about forty-five minutes before I gave up.

I walked all the way to Panga Drops sandspit, paddled out there and perched.  There were two dudes out but these were much more makeable, but still messy.  I watched a wave wrap around the reef and take a horseshoe shape which was really cool-looking.  I paddled over there and sat.

Ten minutes later or so, I paddled for a wave I knew I'd have to hustle for.  I missed it and a neverending set arrived.  I got beaten back about halfway to the sand and I was over it.  I paddled for a wave that had a pretty good amount of angry-looking whitewater.  It hit me so hard it made me pearl instantly despite my having my weight more on the tail.

The board slipped from my grasp, turned sideways and bonked me hard on the scrote/taint.  I was aching.  I felt around and both boys seemed to be in there.  I caught another wave in, got my sandals from my second stash spot and walked home bumming.

Friday, May 18, 2018

5.18.18 Running the Gamut from Playa Idaho to River Rights

Wishing to obey my wife's decree of me having to surfing my brains out, I paddled out after lunch.  I thought the tide would be most advantageous right around one-forty, but in hindsight I wish I'd paddled out a half-hour earlier.

I kicked my sandals off in the dry sand, then kicked them a little farther up in case the tide went higher in my absence.  I didn't dally this time.  I checked it for about thirty seconds.  The crowd was way down from this morning.  While the conditions weren't as good, the surf was more consistent.

I had two rights from the get-go.  Both were super steep.  On one in particular, I could've stalled from the pop-up and likely gotten barreled, but the prognosis didn't look good from where I was standing.  I kicked out, but mostly through the wave.

I then floated, more slowly than this morning, towards Playa Colorado proper.  Some mackers would come through but I seemed to be out of position for them.  One in particular looked glorious and another guy had priority on me.

By the time I floated past the beach club and to the river, the consistency had seized up, likely a product of the tide.

I got one right on which I had an ok snap, then pulled through due to my not wanting to be a part of its underwater demise and the correlating beating.

Not long after, I got the wave of the session.  It was another steep right, but it didn't close out!  The initial section was a little mushy, so I bottom turned and snapped.  I came back up again and did my best snap of the wave on which I threw a bunch of water off my backside rail.  I then went for a third in a really critical spot.  I got the feeling I was really pushing my luck and snapped a little early, but still up top.  I felt the wave heave and my board and I got a little bit of air and successfully touched down on the water's surface.

I caught a left and didn't like how it looked on take-off.  As I descended, it looked as though it would line up somewhat.  I tried to avert course from a standing island pull-out to a standard pull-in but was unsuccessful, though I did get a second of tube time.

I paddled for a wave and it was a questionable decision.  This wave was a little fat from the tide, a left, and I paddled really hard for it as I wanted to smash the section I was salivating over.  I came up with no speed on just tapped it, then fell back.

When I came up there was a massive wave coming for me.  I decided to try to beat it but it wasn't even close.  I shook my head and swallowed my pride and ditched my board.  I sank down and got immediately upended, then pushed way down.  Through my closed eyelids there was no semblance of light whatsoever.

Ever since my near-drowning episode in El Salvador in 1997, I've panicked after being tossed around underwater for more than ten seconds.  I've mitigated this somewhat by counting, focusing on the action rather than the tumult around me.  I remembered this about halfway into my submerged pirouettes and it seemed to work.

I came up, conscious to not bonk my head on my board.  Successful, I whipped my head toward the open ocean and, through swirling stars, saw another macker.  Down I went again and I got disoriented, but I relaxed my body until I finally hit bottom.

I pushed up, and after my second double-arm stroke felt a twinge of panic begin to crystallize, but then broke through the water's surface to the welcome sight of nothing more in the way of the horizon.

It took a while for me to catch a wave to take in, as I got caught in the rip.  Once I did so I was out of there, having spent about four hours in the water today between the two sessions.

I went sandal-hunting and was disheartened to see the tide had come up, way up onto the sand.  I thought, no way had I kicked my sandals high enough to avoid Poseidon's wrath.  I couldn't remember where I'd placed them but I walked until I thought they were gone.  I was bumming.  I thought, well maybe someone had put them up for me. 

My eyes scanned the sand some more and I figured they were gone.  I bemoaned my painful walk home during which I would be stepping on hardpacked dirt with sometimes sharp loose gravel strewn across it and then BOOM, sandals.  Some loving angel had taken the sandals I had so carelessly kicked and placed them together, waiting for me next to one of the beachfront houses. 

I looked around to see if the angel would reveal itself.  It didn't, and I walked home with a tired spring in my step.

5.18.18 Biggest Waves I've Seen on this Stretch of Sand

After an arduous 12-hour trip back from El Salvador (we did stop to eat and do a Pricesmart run), I was ready to get my trunks wet.  I've received word from m'lady that I am to surf my brains out as we will likely be leaving our new home due to the deteriorating conditions described in my previous post.

We've deliberated ad nauseam and the next stop will likely be El Salvador.  Chucho, our twelve-year-old purebred mutt, will keel over and then we will be more open to destinations, including within the US.

Today was about head-and-a-half and a touch bigger on the sets.  The swell had more west in it than I'd ever seen and the longshore current was sweeping us toward Costa Rica. 

I had zero highlights.  I got barreled on a right and didn't have a shot at making it, but I did see a guy get one of the sickest backside barrels I've ever seen in person. 

He dropped in on a right, went around the section and snapstalled way too high on the face.  He tucked down and threaded a heaving dry barrel.  As if that wasn't enough, he pumped just after exiting, then laid into a brutal snap at the top of the wave.  I saw air between the deck of his board and the wave's slope.  He descended it.  As he paddled past me smiling I gave him major props on it and he was very gracious.

The very next wave I saw another guy tuck into a pigdog stance and make a great barrel.

I also saw one guy get two nice barrels, both on rights.  After getting swept down past the barrel  sandbar, I got out and walked way north to try my luck again.  Unfortunately, I wasn't in the right spot at the right time.

One realization I had this month is, in most places, you paddle for the peak so you get as deep as possible and enjoy a much longer wall in the process.  Here, you paddle for the corner, as the initial peak will likely close out. 

5.12.18 Back to Balsamar, El Salvador, for the First Time in almost Fifteen Years

Our 90-day visas were up and it was time to get out of Nica.  We were gnarled out on the way to the airport as we're going through what very well may be the beginning of a revolution.  As a non-Nica, it is illegal for me to say anything political so I will leave it at that, no matter how infinitesimal the chances are of anyone consequential reading this.

My sister and brother-in-law are members of a club that has a nice beach club.  I'd surfed here on two occasions.   The first was with my cousin Ed in 2002.   I remember I caught a right and was struggling to make it without being left behind.  All of a sudden, the thing felt bottom and threw over.  I instinctively ducked down, got completely swallowed up in water and made what at the time was my first backside barrel.

The next time I surfed there was with my buddy Tim, who came down to El Salvador in 2003.  This time was also courtesy of Ed but I have zero memory of any waves, though I do remember it being lackluster.

I stopped at my buddy's hotel on the outskirts of El Tunco called Hotel Puesta del Sol.  My buddy Chamba (who three weeks ago moved to the US) told me he'd drop off my board at the hotel but unfortunately didn't, and so Chuleta was a real bro and went to get one from his other adopted brother, 23-year-old Tony (whom I've known since he was two).

When we first got there, the waves were simply going off with not a soul out.  We'd ordered food and I sat there taking in the surf porn in front of me.  It wasn't perfect, but it was head-high and rippable.  I wanted so badly to paddle out but didn't want to be rude to my sister and her family as they were our hosts.

The tide continued to drop as I bit into my food.  It eventually got downright crappy.  There were too many closeouts.  I'd BLOWN it!

I paddled out and on my first wave, a left, I began pumping furiously.  Nothing was happening, though.  It was as though my gas pedal had been disconnected.  The board was ancient, one of the yellowest I'd ever surfed but I couldn't figure out why it was dragging so much.

I had another wave with the same issues and eventually floated west and caught a right.  It was a little fat, surprising given the dropping tide.  I rose up and snapped.  I came down again and laid into a roundhouse cutty, pulled that, and the wave was done.

Unfortunately, nothing worthwhile came that afternoon and the morning looked even worse.

Still, seeing that magical hour was enough to make me fantasize about having a surf camp there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

5.9.18 Small Rising Tide Playa Idaho/Wyoming with Josh from High School!

The morning started off weirdly. While Chucho's and my limbs were still intertwined in a (mostly) platonic embrace, I heard something bashing into the front door.  I peered out into the darkness and there was a feathery mass seemingly melted into the ground.  I figured the feral cats had claimed another victim (last week, a baby possum had been placed near our front door Don Corleone style).

I opened the door and couldn't tell if it was a hawk or an owl, but figured an owl due to it having been out at night. It lifelessly looked at me with its eyes shining from the porch light, its head still the whole time.

The screen door through my only exit out of the condo would swing out within a couple feet of it.  I prayed for it to be dead or gone in the next ten minutes so I could surf without fear of being clawed.

While putting on sunscreen I heard a bustling outside.  I peered out again and it was now about six feet away from the front door and sitting as though it was warming eggs.  It seemed more alert and more out of its concussed daze.

It was time for me to go, as I'd made plans to paddle out at sunrise with a guy I hadn't seen in close to twenty years.  I'd seen on Facebook that he liked one of the tour operators here and messaged him and sure enough he was coming down.

The clock was ticking so, board in hand, I jarred open the screen door.  It loudly rubbed on the ground.  The owl came to, looked at me and let out a scared shriek.  It took off flying, showing off a massive wingspan, and bumped its head along the 3rd floor hallway ceiling.  It started coming toward me so I shut the screen door.  It then turned right and out into the night.

There are quite a few feral cats in the development and I hadn't yet been able to pet one.  Today, one came up to meowing loudly and I got some nice pets in.  I wanted more and she did too but I had to go.  She meowed at me as I walked away, then hurried in front of me and put herself in my way.  I fought my urges and walked around her as my heart shuddered while she meowed her disappointment.

I saw Josh through his window at the beachfront house in which he's holed up for the next few days.  He came out, gave me a bro hug, then grabbed his gear.  We surveyed the conditions, "It's empty!" was my take on the situation; it was almost completely flat.  I waxed on about how once the tide came up the surf would follow as we walked to Panga Drops.  We did see a sick wave reeling off.  Josh's eyes probed into its cylindrical void, lusting for the low pressure it had created in its abyss.

We flipped a bitch and paddled out at Playa Idaho, where we'd seen the barreling beauty.

Josh caught a couple that closed out almost immediately.  It took me a while to catch any closeouts of my own.

The two highlights were:

I caught a small left I got a pump on, then pulled into.  I barely got covered up, then saw what fate awaited me.  I doggy-doored it but got guillotined on the way out and down I went.

Josh told me "Yeah Eddie" as a right came.  I styley'd into it in my pigdog stance.  It threw over me pretty hard and I watched helplessly as it continued to do so yards upon yards in front of me.  As the wave and I became one, I focused on keeping my board away from me and THUNK!  My head hit the bottom and I came up smartin' somewhat.

This was a session over two hours in length, my longest since possibly 2011.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

5.8.18 Quick Strike to Shitty Panga Drops Among Busyness of Brazilians

I knew it was going to suck.

I was aware of the wind, the short period swell, and on top of this had heard rumblings in hushed tones about the Breach by Brazil; one count I got was of about three dozen dudes!

For those not in the know, Brazilians, while far and away GREAT people on land, are absolute aholes in the water.  In Brazil, there isn't much in the form of surf etiquette.  My understanding (and I didn't learn this until late in my surf career) is that if someone can catch a wave, they go.

They take this practice, almost as a compass reminding them of the way home, with them when going on surf trips.   It's rare to even see them look if someone's coming!

I paddled out quickly, aided by the rip/sandspit, and caught my first wave within eight or so minutes of having perched.  It was a nice enough wave considering the conditions.  It was a really steep drop, about as steep as it gets at Panga Drops but then I immediately had to wait for the shoulder to catch up.  Once it did so, I faded a little, then began pumping.  Once I got some speed, I did a layback slash from which I wouldn't recover.

My second wave had a bit more oomph from the get-go, but a logging Brazilian caught it.  It's probably the best I've felt about having been snaked.  The guy was squatted in his action/stinkbug stance as though the thing was going to barrel over him and he was going to have to thread an imaginary freight train barrel.  He was pretty far ahead of me and I didn't feel the urge to yell or whistle. 

I went in to help ease the girls into their bedtime routine but it ended with me watching our eldest paddle my board around our condo complex's pool.

Monday, May 7, 2018

5.7.18 Marginal to Dismal in a Hurry at Playa Colorado

I was aching to paddle out as daddy duty (once because of Chucho) had prevented me from doing so the last couple of days.

I wasn't expecting much and not much is what I got.

There was an unhealthy amount of heads bobbing in the line-up, mostly towards Wyoming.  For this reason, I paddled out at Colorado proper.

I caught three waves in about an hour. 

The first was so memorable it escapes recollection. 

The second was a right which looked oh so pretty as it wedged just behind me, but then closed out hopelessly. 

My last was the best one.  I snapstalled and set up right next to the wall with muted expectations.  I enjoyed a millisecond of tunnel vision, but the lip for whatever reason hit me right in the head despite my superior positioning.

I sat for about forty-five minutes as the wind kicked up and made the waves ugly as sin.  The consistency suffered as well.  Though Wyoming was offering up more waves I had zero interest in battling that flotilla. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

5.3.18 From Just-Get-Wet to Just-Get-Welts at Panga Drops

About two weeks ago, I was messing around with my big toenail on my left foot while watching TV in the dark. It had been off-and-on ingrown and I was trying to fix it, caveman style. I felt a little bit of it stick out and I for whatever reason yanked hard on it.  It immediately bled and I spent the next couple of nights trying to fix the problem I'd worsened using tweezers.

I had a jagged semicircle of nail pushing into the side of my toe.  Walking hurt pretty bad, though I did manage to improve it somewhat after three excruciating hours of tweezing at it.

Probably the gayest thing about me, other than that one weekend in college I'd prefer not to talk about, is I go to get pedicures to cure my chronic ingrown nail issues.  I average about three times a year.

I sought professional help and walked down to the nail salon in the development.  She said she thought she could save the nail but it was going to hurt.  They gave me a bottle of rum and a cup and I took too little of it and swigged it down.  I spent an excruciating twenty minutes getting jabbed at by the half-Salvadoran, half-Nica María.  When she'd done as much as she could, she brought out what looked like a set of pliers.  That's when it really began to hurt.  I was biting into the plastic cup they'd given me for the rum and as quietly as possible wincing/writhing in pain.  My hands bit into the plush chair they had for nail work.  After a couple of breaks she told me I was good to go and to come out in a week to see how it was healing.  I asked her if I could go in the ocean and she said absolutely not, too many pathogens.  I was ordered to keep the toe clean and free of sand/dirt.

Of course, the surf began firing.  Looking at photos really tested my faith.  I was asked to go to the beach by my wife so I could help her transport the girls down there and I wore socks and my Chucks, greatly upping my kook quotient.

I walked down to Colorado after having been given a clean bill of health/all-clear from María the previous day.  It looked small and inconsistent, and there was a pack on it with THREE photogs on the sand and one in the water.  Wyoming looked similar but less crowded.  After watching it for five minutes, I trudged up to Pangas.

I saw what looked like a mysto wedge on the Colorado (to-be-named) side of Panga Drops.  It was empty so I just paddled there and perched.

 The waves were really tricky in that there was a sider coming through and perverting the waves' path.  I caught a couple of unspectacular ones there, though my second had a fun late drop.

I was unimpressed with the mysto wedge so I paddled to Panga proper.

For reasons unknown other than I'm a G, this song popped into my head as I paddled.

There were some overhead ones out but they usually had little to offer in the way of a shoulder/slope beyond the initial drop.

I started getting mauled by sea lice not long after making this decision.  First my right ankle was hit during a duckdive.  After duckdiving a couple more waves, I was hit in the right upper arm so fiercely it felt as though I'd been hit with a jolt of electricity.  Then I got hit hard in the forearm.

My right arm especially was buzzing.   The sea lice spread as it tends to do even if you don't spread it by touching it with your hands.  I made plans to go in.  I caught a wave late and kept up with it well, shuffling my feet up then back a couple of times so as to not be left behind.

On this wave, a section felt bottom and I was able to pump meekly and generate a little speed, but there was just nothing to off of which to even bonk.  The wave fizzled out completely and in I went, looking forward to showering so as to get rid of the stinging.

Before this my worst sea lice session was my last session of my first trip to Costa Rica in 2002.
Three hours later

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

4.18.18 Downright Nasty Playa Idaho

After enviously feasting upon the pics of yesterday's session around this time, I downright powerwalked the .8 or so miles.

It looked gross out there, but I figured that was from me trying to time it so it would improve as I waited.

The tide was coming off the low for the day, approximately two hours prior to my having paddled out, and man could you feel it.

Everywhere was racing off, but I was able to take advantage of the rip which helped delay the inevitable for a section, MAYBE two.

I had a wave that opened up a little.  I can honestly say I have never bogged so hard on a wave.  I zigged when I should have zagged and had my weight on the wrong foot every step of the way.  When the end section came I comically had no speed but still tried to do something. My board lazily met the section with nothing behind it.

I did better on another wave, pumping well and rising up as it threw over.  I luckily got to it before it threw but when I did my top turn, the bottom fell out of the lip and I was left squatting and planning my path towards not taking a fin to the rectum.  From both of us, I'm happy to report I was successful.

The last "high"light was a left I snagged.  As I popped up I saw a guy way down the line surfing the right.  I figured what's the best risk/reward ratio in this situation?  I tucked into the barrel and got maybe a tenth of a second of tunnel vision before I view was impeded by wayward water and way too soon, the lip itself.

I'm very close to catching it excellent out there.  Yesterday I apparently surfed in between two golden windows.  This just means I'll have to froth that much harder when I do catch it 8+/10.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

4.17.18 A Little Late at Playa Colorado

I made the fateful decision to go to Rivas (90 minute round trip) to stock up on milk, Fanta, and other goodies for my family and when I got back I checked the pics of what I missed and seemed pretty close to epic.  There were still plenty of closeouts but the swell direction was a little more southern, which apparently seems to help open up some sections.

By the time I made it out there, the backwash was in play and it pretty much ruined the session.

I had a bitch of a time catching my first wave.  But before I did so I saw one of the sickest barrel rides I've ever seen in person.  He caught it, swooped down, snapstalled then pumped as the lip went over him, and he pumped a couple more times until I lost sight of him.  I craned my neck and saw him kick out.

So of course I had to go over there and try to get mine.  I spoke to him about it later and he couldn't believe he threaded the backwash window.  He also told me it had been amazing right around noon.

My first wave was smaller than his.  I also swooped and snapstalled, though I had to crouch more to get into the barrel.  Just as everything was lining up and I was admiring what was imminently to be a barrel view (as well as the view down the line of the wave lining up seemingly perfectly) the backwash hit and the lip hit me right in the head.  Gone.

A lot of paddling back and forth and I got into my second wave.  It was a really late drop and I barely got to my feet in time. Unfortunately, an older guy on a bigger board dropped in on me.  Luckily he ate it on the takeoff so there was no collision of bodies.  I was pretty pissed and remember thinking, "Bitch move" as I watched his board waggle towards me in the whitewash.

I kicked my board in front of me and went under.  He gave me the wave, then again as I got closer.  He apologized sincerely and I was proud of how well I handled it.  I said, "Don't worry about it man".  He said, "I'm really really sorry".  I replied, "It's all good, no worries!".

I would have been right to let him have it and I sure felt like it when still on the wave (especially considering how long I'd waited for it).

I'm going to take a break from typing this as I may have sprained my wrist patting myself on the shoulder.

I got back to the main peak and happened to spot a big wave.  The backwash hit it and I thought that would cause it to eviscerate me.  I stared at it as it came down and happened to get J U S T under it.  The guy eight or so feet behind me who was also sprint-paddling got mauled.

I caught another late one on which I thought about pulling back but I went for glory with no payoff.  I unfortunately had too much weight on my back foot and paid the price for this mistake by getting clobbered above and under the water.

 On my next one, a left, I put my weight way forward but there was no golden section at the end of the ride, just exploding whitewater which took me down and out.

My last wave was another closeout and this time I put too much weight on my heels and ate it, so at least I'm varying my mistakes.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

4.15.18 Swampy on a Flaking Swell at Playa Wyoming

The tide was at its apex at about 2:30.  I left the condo around three thinking with a slow-ish walk I'd get to enjoy it a little bit more hollow with a little less backwash.

My new neighbor offered me a ride in his SUV.  I grabbed on to his roof rack and stepped on to his runner.  I got there the fastest I ever have from my place.  He has never surfed so I offered to teach him if he gets a board in exchange for his kindness.

Unfortunately, battling the wind's effect on my board at high speed was the most excitement I would experience during this session.

Every wave of mine was a closeout except for a couple.

I had another right which closed out right away.  I went for an immediate floater so as to make something of it.  I either put too much weight on my heels or my trajectory was bad from the get-go.  I was riding on top of the back of the wave although I did feel my fins catch and I began turning with them.  Had I been three inches closer to the beach I would have been able to say I successfully botched a backside taildrop 360 floater!

I pumped on a left and unfortunately didn't unweight my front foot when going for a lip tap (in preparation for gathering more speed for the upcoming section).  I bogged hard and ended my ride prematurely.

My last wave was a left and I was able to pump and do a pretty good cutback/slash on it as it fizzled.

There was no magical ride on a wave today.  And there was no magical ride back home.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

4.12.18 Ugly Sideshore Playa Wyoming

Oof it looked bad out there.  The wind was whipping it and the surface of the sea reflected that.

I hemmed and hawed as to whether to paddle out at Wyoming.  I once again, like yesterday, started walking towards Panga Drops, having written off the beachbreak.

A few corners came through.  They weren't anything remotely special, but compared to the barrage of constant closeouts their siren song was strong.

I had five or six pump-to-oblivion waves sprinkled throughout the following more noteworthy waves:

I caught a left and it had the slightest of corners.  I pumped once, then rose off the bottom and smacked the lip decisively and stomped it.

 My favorite wave of the day was a right.  I thought it was going to close out because that seemed to be today's wave m.o.  It did, but I rose up right out of my drop and levitated onto the lip.  I was pretty behind the lip itself and I felt my tail dragging turning my nose slightly to the open ocean.  I threw my weight over my frontside rail and stomped that, absolutely shocked I'd pulled it.

I saw a local pro drop in late on a right that just started barreling.  I duckdove out of his way and two seconds later I saw him do an aborted alley-oop.  He was the most amped I'd ever seen anyone down here and for good reason.

I thought I had to try to score one of those.  I paddled to where he'd caught it, hoping for another pulse from the same swell direction.  Twenty minutes later, still nothing.  I eventually caught one half the size of the one he'd caught and tucked into my first pigdog stance in forty-four months.  I got more foam on the head than lip, and I eventually gave up.

I was amped on the way I'd surfed considering the conditions and am enjoying the confidence boost.  I feel as though I'm surfing better than when I stopped in August of 2014.

4.11.18 PM Dropping Tide Playa Idaho

I calculated that at fifteen steps every ten seconds, and at ninety steps a minute, it takes me about twenty minutes to walk 1800 steps to Playa Colorado.  At 2.33' a stride extrapolated out to sixty minutes, I'm walking at about 2.38 miles per hour. 

You see, it's this bitchin content which keeps the hits coming to!

As is tradition, I slightly got my hopes up when seeing and hearing the closeouts past the estuary (and an estuary it will stay until the rains make the rivers break out).  Playa Colorado itself was EMPTY.  This would have been unsurprising if you'd been there looking at it with me.  The best sets were racy to the point of being unmakeable and the average ones were close-outs.  I overcame my temptation to try to find a golden corner where conceivably none existed.

Playa Wyoming looked better, though still very racy.  After watching it for a couple of minutes and seeing dudes getting gobbled up by the whitewater, I resigned myself to having to resort to Panga Drops to get my surf jollies.  I walked slowly, eyes on the ocean.  I saw a guy take off on what looked like a disaster northwest of Playa Wyoming.  I muttered to myself, "Why even bother?".  He hung on, pigdogged and got a slight cover-up. 

That's it, I had to surf here.  It was the first made barrel, albeit slight, I'd seen in months.

The tide was dropping though the backwash was still hitting some of the waves.

A lot of paddling around and jockeying for position later, I was in position for an overhead banger.  I made the drop with no issue, and felt my face contort into panic as I pumped up hard, then down.  I tucked down slightly and I was enveloped in the squarish barrel (likely a product of the tide and the angle of the wave hitting the bottom in a weird way).  I did another pump in the tube, this one less ambitious.  It felt like I'd backdoored the section that initially enveloped me, then I made it through another section before the foamball worked me.  I surfaced energized.

I went on another wave after a guy farther up the line couldn't catch it.  I tucked in and this one didn't benefit from bathymetry/swell angle synergy.  I barely fit inside it and it tunneled off without me.

Little by little, guys started filing in to the beach much to my delight.  Then a panga showed up.  Guys in the panga were wearing t-shirts and there were fishing poles visible so I hoped they were fishermen.  But the fact that they were anchored off one of the premier waves of the area didn't bode well for my optimism. 

Sure enough one, then five boards were thrown overboard followed by their riders.  It got semi-crowded again.  It wasn't bad at all with them in the water, but the further dropping tide meant there would be fewer rideable waves from which to choose.

I caught a right and did a drawn-out bottom turn, smashed it in a tight arc but turned into the whitewash and lost stability with no fin bite in the water.  I also managed to punch myself in the side of the head with my thumb knuckle somehow as I was underwater.

The first wave described was a doozy and one that will get me amping for my next go-out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

4.10.18 SlumpBustin' at Panga Drops

Before this last sabbatical I was averaging a session per day for the month.  Then I got busy, the surf shrank, and I got sick (again).

Today the stars aligned and I paddled out.  I spent ten minutes or so this morning bodysurfing and getting thwomped in unmakeable barrels.

I really thought with the swell filling in there would be some decent ones at Playa Colorado but when I walked over there it was laughably unmakeable.  I solemnly turned right and walked to Panga Drops, thinking of all of the money these poor souls spent on likely their only surf vacation of the year.  They could have waited a few months and gotten better waves at Zuma than today 😔.

I eventually made it over to the sandspit and paddled out.  Surprisingly, there was no one out and it was overhead.  The tide was almost at its abyss, but the sets were rolling in somewhat.

I pretty quickly caught a left and did a styley-feeling cutty after a late drop.  I ended the cutty halfway up the face to give myself some slope and mitigate my chances of getting blown off the back of the wave.  I semi-succeeded, for about five seconds.

I took a beating from about five waves then made it back out.  I decided to try the rights as they seemed a lot better so I paddled towards them.

Within ten minutes, I had a look at a good-sized right.  My body was saying let's go, but my heart was saying no.  It looked unmakeable as there was a big section in front that was threatening to fold over.  I felt the wave lift me up and I hooted myself into jumping up.

Another late drop and sure enough, the section imploded.  There was no way out and I was rapidly losing position and in danger of being caught inside by its younger siblings.  I jumped off and  literally skipped across the surface of the water before the wave entombed me.

I surfaced and yep.  I was screwed.  I was caught inside by a nine-plus wave set and before long I was over it.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

4.5.18 Different Story at Panga Drops

I checked this blog and the last time I surfed twice in one day was the first time I surfed Panga Drops, a mere 1346 days ago!

I paddled out with aching muscles given my extended session and wave count this morning and I had the opposite experience.  I paddled around, paddled around and was beaten out by others in better position time and time again.  The peak would shift, and someone else would be in a better spot.  It became maddening.

Eventually, I caught a left and had a nice bottom turn but was beginning to fade off the wave.  I then thought I had a chance at reconnecting but the backwash hit and ended my ride.

I looked back and thought about paddling back out but a set came and I was OVER IT!

4.5.18 Overhead and Busy at Pangas

The paddle-out was less vicious than I expected and I perched about forty yards inside of the guys on big foam.

I caught a bunch of waves and even managed TWO (2) maneuvers on one.  It was a nice though fat left and I did cutback and slash on it before it petered out on me.

The highlight was a late drop I took on a left.  The thing jacked up and sectioned off in front of me and I had to pump gingerly, almost in the flats, as the avalanche bore down on me.  I did a top turn and got hung up unfortunately.

I had another big left and when I went for a floater I got a weightless puckering sensation. The wind slammed on and blew me out the back.  I laughed in relief underwater.

4.4.18 Early PM Playa Colorado Close-Outs

Taking a paragraph out of my previous blog entry, I decided to paddle out at a time other than around sunrise or sunset.

There was a bit of a crowd at Wyoming and one approximating that at Colorado.  I paddled out on the Gigante side of Colorado to try my luck there, as most of the pack was sitting at Colorado proper.

My first wave was a quick right.  I managed to get a pump on the face of the wave which I quickly aborted and turned down.  My nose dug in just barely but I was left standing.

I pulled back from many-a-closeout until my next wave.  I swooped around the initial section and set my line, I was about to pump when out of the corner of my eye I saw the lip throwing over.  I ducked down just in time and was shocked to see the spinning cylinder of the barrel. While hooting (inadvertently),  and hearing the echo, I watched as the next section over threw over and then the one in front of it.  If I was in there for over 1.5 seconds I'd be surprised.

Nothing else worth writing about came and I eventually went in after close to two hours in the water.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

4.3.18 Traffic Jamming into Steepness

There was a slight uptick in swell and the tide was about right so I took that walk down to Colorado.  I've counted my steps, and at about 2.33' per stride, 1800 steps to wet sand is about three-quarters of a mile.  This amount doesn't include the walk back or walking up the beach once I figure out where I will paddle out.

It was nice seeing bigger waves today.  It was not so nice seeing the headcount multiply as I got closer to the water and obstructions fell away.  We are definitely in surf season.  I'm hoping the rains begin soon even though it means we will have many mosquitoes and gnarly humidity.

While I saw a lot of waves breaking today, I don't think I saw more than one makeable one.  Every wave on which someone went would lead to a meek display of their board tombstoning or their head poking out barely above the surface, slowly being led to slaughter over the falls. 

It's frustrating, but at least there are waves!

I caught my first left about ten minutes after having paddled out.  I made it around the initial section, then saw a slabby section about ten yards long jack up.  I pulled through the wave, but the force of it made me go over the falls.  I kicked my board out in front of me and covered my head with my arms and hands.  No impact came.

A LONG time passed, and I caught another left.  Every wave in the interim looked juicy while paddling for it, but a look in either direction betrayed its intentions with my body.  I popped up and immediately regretted my decision.  I kicked the board out.

About a half hour later, I caught my final wave.  I got hung up on the lip and airdropped.  I pulled it and there was nothing there.

Word on the street is the crowds visiting here love surfing early in the morning as that is what they are used to in the States.  The correct play is to wait until ten and if the waves look decent you paddle out and get a few while they tourists rest up for the afternoon session.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

4.1.18 Small Crisscrossed Wyoming

The swell was supposed to be increasing but unfortunately, the tide was as well.  I realized the backwash would be in play and it certainly was.  Waves would come and be almost inevitably be hit by backwash.  The faces were blocky and looked like windwhipped stairs.

The head count at PC proper made it unpalatable to me.  Wyoming was a little more spread out.

My first wave was within ten seconds of perching.  It offered nothing but a drop.

I paid for my quick wave by waiting twenty minutes for my next one.  I dropped down, got a quick pump in, then rose up and smacked an off-the-lip.  I heard a satisfying THWACK and rode away
No other waves of note came and in I went.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

3.31.18 Backwash Blitzkrieg at Wyoming

Yesterday evening we met some friends at the beachfront house they manage.  The surf looked abysmal.  I had low hopes for this swell.

This morning while walking to the beach we happened upon a guy I've surfed with and he said it was fun yesterday around noon.

I decided to paddle out at a similar tide to try my luck today.

I slathered on the 50spf sunscreen because I would be out in the dreaded 10-2 baking window and took the walk.

I saw a party of three in the parking lot and asked them their thoughts on the conditions.  They said it was fine, but a little backwashy.

Sure enough, I walk out and there is the backwash along with no one out at Colorado proper.  I paddle out there with the understanding I'd be getting swept out towards Wyoming.

I reminded myself to try a foam climb when waves would inevitably close out on me.

My first wave of note was a fast left.  I got enough of an angle on it that I could pump.  I came down off that and came up for a risky second pump.  I was flying down the line aching to blow any section that had the guts to present itself to me but nothing came and I got batted off my board.

I had a similar wave but this one had a nice steep section for an off-the-lip. I rose up and smacked it well and while completing the turn  the backwash hit and down I went.

I caught a right and smacked it nicely, but got hung up on the lip.  For whatever reason I jumped off after about a second-and-a-half when I probably would've made albeit for not much of a reward.

I then caught my best wave of the day.  It was another right.  I made it down, bottom turned, then averted course for a quick pump.  I bottom turned again then saw a section and I immediately recalled one of my first waves from July of 2012  There was a small section in front of the wave and just at the right time I obliterated it in a really tight arc as its big brother pushed from behind. I had so much speed and the wave closed out.  I went for a foam climb and got really high but with no plan and fins releasing into the drink I went.

This was definitely the best turn I've done since 2014 (but then I took two long breaks between then and 2017)!

I was over getting baked in the sun and when the waves went quiet for twenty minutes I bailed.

Friday, March 30, 2018

3.29.18 Understandably All Alone at PC

Welp, looks like more of the same!  I spotted some corners that at least gave the illusion of opening up.  Once out there, though, it was tough to even get a pump in at the top of the wave.

I caught about five waves.  All of my drops felt critical.  My one mistake was on a right where I thought about going for the barrel and bailed on the idea as I wouldn't have made it.  It would have been nice to get barreled going backside though for the first time in nearly four years.

I'm still having issues shutting down when the wave closes out and/or leaves me behind.  I need to start harnessing these opportunities for foam climbs.

I walked on the beach to Panga Drops but that wasn't worth the paddle

Saturday, March 24, 2018

3.23.18 Double Dipping from PC to PD

The waves had dropped and I considered taking my Tomo out for a spin.  A gust of wind convinced me otherwise.  Stringerless boards are in general less flexible and forgiving in chop, and there was a fair chance I'd be dealing with a fair amount of this today.

I walked all the way down to Playa Colorado.  There wasn't much out there, but there was something.  I paddled a little bit away from the crowd and within ten minutes I was rewarded with my best wave there in a while.  It was m a y b e chest high.  I managed to catch up to it with some deft pumping and harnessing all the speed pockets I could.  I did a mini top-turn and then went for a floater but I didn't rotate my shoulders enough and I splayed back.

After a few closeouts I was over the worsening conditions and increasing chop.  I hadn't put sunscreen on much of my body as I had my jacket.  I didn't want to take it off halfway back and get roasted, so I decided to walk up the beach to Panga.   There, I thought I would at least paddle out and re-wet the jacket so I wouldn't roast in that on the shorter walk back.

It was an eventful walk.  The high tide had left some sand-encompassed pools of salt water.  I was nonchalantly walking through them and I sank so fast on one step; it's the closest I've come to cartoon-style quicksand.

Then I spotted a dead fish.  It wasn't small, but it wasn't big enough for a meal either.  I figured there was a chance it would reanimate if placed back in the water but it was definitely dead.  I wanted to give it a proper send-off in the ocean and maybe feed an ocean creature.  This solidified my resolve to paddle out at Panga.  As I waded out, I balanced it on the deck of my board.  Once I was ready to start paddling I grabbed it by the tail and as I wound up and just started my throwing motion it slipped out of my hand.  So fishy if your spirit is reading this, I'm sorry I didn't give you a good send-off into deepwater.  May your purgatory at inside Panga be short  and may you be consumed by a worthy being through which you will continue to live.

There were two dudes out in the now wind-whipped conditions.  I paddled inside of them and stayed there for a few minutes, giving them a chance to snag waves before I got priority in the rotation.  I then spotted a peak to the south.  The paddle was rough, as many times I was paddling through rough troughs (did anyone catch the same word three times in a row?), rendering my efficiency terrible. 

About ten minutes later, I paddled my ass off.  I caught a wave and made it down, then had a quick panic that the wave was going to pass me by.  I was able to squirt enough water through the tail and the wave linked up with the next peak down the line.  It developed a wall and I gained speed.  I nice foam coping formed and I went up and did a floater/rock-and-roll completing half the maneuver before the wind snatched the board away from me.  If I'd kept more of my weight on my heels I would have been golden. 

No other noteworthy waves came and I went in in my refreshingly wet jacket.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

3.21.18 Picking off Mid-Morning corners at PC

I didn't see anything in the in the form of wave action as my walk was reaching its ending; a bad sign.  I was eventually comforted by the sight of a closeout 😏.

I put on my jacket and did some light stretching while I drank in the conditions.  The main peak seemed to be closing out, but the corners of these seemed to be holding up every so often.  The idea of veering away from the pack and picking off what was there after the unmakeable section inevitably folded over was titillating.

Well, the first and second waves were close-outs.  The second of these I got hung up on the lip and hit the eject button, breaking the water's surface with my elbow so as to sink more efficiently into it.

My third wave was a little screamer and I caught up with it.  I hadn't been presented with a forehand section in weeks and I while I did look down I didn't rotate my head and shoulders.  Granted, the section was super steep and drainy as it was pretty far on the inside. 

I had some work to do and so I bailed not long thereafter.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

3.18.18 First One Out at PC

I woke up just after 4:30 this morning but remembered my plan to paddle out as close to first light as possible.  I geared up and headed down the steps.  Before I even hit the first clearing for the golf course a truck slowed down and my new buddy Hayden gave me a ride.

I got out once at our destination and waited for him to put on his neoprene jacket.  He smiled and said I didn't have to wait for him.  So I went and checked it and lo and behold there were closeouts to be had.  But once in a while a nice A-frame would detonate.  The waves were definitely overhead and there was no one out.  I did some neck and arm stretches to take the strain out from last night's session

I made it out unscathed despite the relative bombs coming through.  The swell was seemingly still building.  It took me forever to catch my first wave and frustration set in.  Eventually, my wave came and the drop was probably the most gorgeous of any wave I've ridden since 2014.  With that good news comes the bad news: There was no wall, nothing, to follow it.  It had shot its wall wad on the initial peak.

My final two waves were similar, though the second was a really critical drop.  I got hung up on the lip as a gust of wind further levitated me.  I thought I was going down but I stuck it but unfortunately there was no reward to be had.

My teeth chattering, my paddling muscles bitching, I decided to go in.  Hopefully the water will warm up before it gets too crowded to surf comfortably...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

3.17.18 Big and Sloppy PC

I'd intended on surfing yesterday afternoon, then today around midday/mid-tide but daddy duty kept getting in the way.  I was finally granted a reprieve and so I took the long walk down to PC.

I knew it was going to be big.  I've seen PC around this size once before.  There were a lot of closeouts but every eight waves or so there would be a corner on which you could try to tuck into a no-way-out barrel or attempt a losing battle with a fast lip.

On my first wave, I experienced the latter and I kicked my board up and out.

My next wave was a right, and probably my best wave.  I half-pumped, half-bottom turned a couple of times and really close to the gaping maw of this fierce lip.  After this exchange I kicked my board up, conceding defeat.  While underwater, I wondered if I could've gotten in the barrel.  Yes, but not for long (considering I couldn't keep up with the wave with way more room than I'd have had in the pit.

I was told to go on a big meaty left which I thought was going to close out.  It was nasty looking but go means go and go I went. It opened up ever so slightly and I laid into a bottom turn but aborted and jumped over my frontside rail as the booming foam and I became one.

It seems the hopeless closeout count has remained the same.  This is the first big swell and maybe after it is done the sand will have shifted into a more amenable shape so as to provide us some nuggets.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

3.14.18 Low Tide Pangas

After witnessing some relative bombs detonating at Outside Pangas yesterday I made plans to paddle out this morning.

It wasn't a great situation.  You could sit outside and wait for the bigger ones which had too-fat walls or you could get the inside ones which were a little bit better, but you would get cleaned up by the whitewash.

I took a right late and bit it right away, getting bounced off when my fins hit. 

The highlight of the session was a left I caught late.  I put my weight on to my fins and waited until it was safe, then sped towards the lazy wall.  I did a top turn of sorts then kicked out.

The water was noticeably warmer and I look forward to shedding my wetsuit jacket soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

3.10.18 Aborted No-Go at PD

The previous evening we watched the sunset from in front of Colorado and the waves were opening up, meaning less than eighty percent were hopeless closeouts/section-offs!

I made plans to surf there the next morning but the swell dropped and it wasn't even worth the short wade-out.  I turned my eyes towards El Salvador and walked.  I figured there would be something more enticing at Panga Drops.

While I saw waves break they were lazy and wind-whipped. I'd made the mistake of putting on my vest jacket at Colorado so I was sweating.  I knew if I took off the jacket I wouldn't paddle out so I trudged on and looked forward to being cold.

The water was so damn cold.  I never thought the water in Central America could dip into the 60s.  But it was frigid and those who tuned into my post-sesh cam show know I am telling the truth.

I caught two waves, both drops with nowhere to go.  I got blown off the back on both of them, despite being on my practically rocker-less board.

I'm going to wait until the swell kicks back up, which should be Monday evening, before I attempt another paddle-out.  I will say I felt very refreshed after being reanimated in the shower.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

3.8.18 Dropping Swell but Rising Wave Count at Panga Drops

The girls wanted to go to the beach so I decided to surf while they did their thing.

I couldn't decide which board to grab and eventually opted for the 5'10" with more volume and nose rocker.  The swell had peaked but it would be a slow descent into its runts.

I paddled out through the sandspit, again surprised at how quickly I got out and this time with even dryer hair than last time.

The tide was dropping, probably about a third of the way down to its low.  The waves were a little bit steeper as a result.

On my first wave, I faded hard to my backside.  My leash was under my back foot but by the time I turned up the wave there was little there.

I got another wave and I should have gone for a roundhouse cutback but did just a cutback into the whitewater without facing it.

When I caught my first right I was a bit worried that the crosschop (the wind blows directly into the rights) would hamper my bottom turn and sure enough, I bobbled and couldn't recover after railing through it.

I got a second chance at a right and it was foamier due to the first wave of the set breaking before it.  I managed to bottom turn and laid into a nice turn at the top of the wave.  I know I was at the top because I got blown off the back by the wind.

I decided to make my way in as it was almost our little one's nap time.  I managed to get a look at a semi-closeout and had fun doing a pump at the top of the wave and screaming parallel to the closeout section.  I keep forgetting to try foam climbs...

3.7.18 Triple Overhead Panga Drops? (NOPE!)

The previous night, I was told to bring my biggest board for the morning sesh as it would be triple overhead.  I replied, "Guess I'll be bringing the 5'10"!".  And bring it I did!

I was the only one on the beach when I slipped on my jacket and earplugs.  I walked out to the sandspit and, if not for making it late over an inside wave (and the offshore causing the spray to needle me), I would have paddled out with completely dry hair.

There was definitely a lot of water moving around but it certainly wasn't triple overhead, not even double overhead.  I paddled towards PC to make up for my sandspit shortcut and perched.  One other dude was paddling out diagonally from that direction.

It was less than ten minutes before a set came.  The first wave obliterated me.  I gathered my thoughts and my board and pressed on. I made it over the second wave of the set and elected to whirl around and catch the third.

At first I didn't think I was going to catch it, but with a few extra paddles it did.  I semi airdropped down the right, definitely overhead but not scarily so.   I was starting the bottom turn and I hit a chop and went flying. 

I paddled back out and an endless train of waves bore down on me.  The other dude caught the right behind me and was ahead of me towards  the priority buoy.  I eventually passed him and after five minutes of the paddle-paddle-duckdive gauntlet I looked back and was disheartened to see we'd been moving backwards. 

I flailed around for maybe ten minutes total and was over it.  The incoming swell coupled with the apexing high tide combined to kill my amperage.  After not having made eye contact with the one other dude, I sat on my board, looked over at him and caught his eye.  I did a throat slit motion with my finger (in retrospect it might have looked as though I was threatening his life), he smiled, and I caught the next wall of whitewater in.

I briefly considered checking out the beachbreak but figured it would be crappy as the sand is askew.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

3.3.18 Mastering the Straight-Off Adolph at PC

The tide seemed somewhat favorable and there was swell so I decided to take the walk down to the beach.  I winced as I saw what awaited me.  Close-outs everywhere with one in every twenty waves having a corner.  This wouldn't be terrible, if the corners stayed put.

I caught two mirror image rights, made the drops and cut the bottom turns short after seeing what awaited me at their resulting trajectories.  I realized as I remembered the waves I could have gone for foam climbs at least... Maybe next session!

I eventually got swept past Wyoming into the rip and caught one in on which I almost pearled.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

3.1.18 A Session to Forget at Busy PC

My wife wanted to watch the sun set from the beach and I took my board.  I knew it wasn't going to be big and it appeared that it was going to be more of the same (close-outs).

I was surprised to see a few corners at Wyoming, though they were few and far between.  I paddled out there after hauling my daughter and our newest neighbors from Canada's son in the wagon, which was a great workout.

In all I caught five waves.  The one left I caught was a questionable go and I was immediately blinded by the sun and its glare.  I navigated by feel and got semi-covered but nowhere near being encased in a barrel.

The rights were all borderline pearls with almost enough room on which to go for a hit but natch.

I can't believe how cold the water is this time of year.  My ear plugs were being bitches and being uncomfortable the whole time.

Man, I sound like an old man!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

2.25.18 Morning PC Strike at Higher Tide than Yesterday

I'd been rolling around the idea of paddling out since I woke up at 3:30 this morning.  I wasn't feeling great, but could definitely muster up the strength to surf.  I found my Surf Ears and was pleased they wrapped around my neck, allowing me to salvage them from the next depth charge.

I mentioned to my wife I thought it'd be crowded as people at the beachfront party last night were speaking in hushed tones about high tide today being the call.   Surely, they'd tell their surf buddies and there would be a pack.

I grabbed my water jacket, board, and took the walk down to the beach.  My first glance of the ocean revealed a pretty big closeout and I got excited, given what might await me at the section of beach that closes out a little more slowly. 😏

The water was completely devoid of surfers.  I celebrated by stretching really well (for me).  I noticed during last night's go-out that as the session wore on I got slower on my pop-ups and I would drag my legs up.

Just as I finished my routine, another guy rocked up and began his.  I paddled out and perched and waited.  On my first wave I got hung up on the lip and I thought I was going down, given my experience the previous evening.  I pearled slightly but managed to make it.

All in I probably caught six waves.  I initiated one bottom turn on my backhand but aborted when the wave raced on.  I made all of my waves but if you count making unmakeable sections makes, then my success rate drops by an infinite amount.

My teeth were chattering and there wasn't anything worthwhile coming so I went in after about an hour, this time with ear plugs in hand!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

2.24.18 Surprise Surge in Swell

We were invited to a kid's party at a beachfront house.  I saw pictures on FB of just how good it had been a couple of hours before and I decided to walk down to PC to see it for myself. 

I didn't see anything at first.  There was no one out at Colorado proper.  I checked Wyoming and a really nice set broke.  The tide was still dropping as I put on my wetsuit jacket and secured my earplugs.

My first wave was an easy enough drop.  I swooped down and snap-stalled.  I got covered up but was on the outer edge and the lip was dousing me.  I kept resisting until eventually I was pushed face down into the water, like a dog getting its rub nosed in its excrement.

The next wave was too quick for me to get around.

My ear plugs popped out and I caught them.  I paddled with the plug string in my mouth and two duckdives later they were gone...

Then came the lull of all lulls.  I saw some nice ones, not too steep but bigger than I've seen all year, breaking back at Colorado so I paddled against the current up that way. 

Long story short, nothing broke over there and I soon found myself drifting back.

The tide was really low at this point.  I took off on two more waves.  On both, I paddled, popped up and felt the wrath of the wind.  I stomped down to compensate and by the time gravity gradually began winning my nose was pointed too far down.  I was catapulted into the water and in I went.

While at the party I watched the waves and saw a couple of spitters. Both were at the end of a big closing section where a corner opened up but one could sneak in if they were lucky and get barreled and spat out. 

I'm hoping to surf the higher tide tomorrow morning though I'm sure it will be more crowded because of the coconut wireless...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2.20.18 Pangas: Possibly the Windiest Sesh in my Surf Career

I went to Rivas and had to abort my mission to get something notarized as I'd neglected to remember to bring my passport.  I dutifully went to the grocery store and came back.  When I dropped off an item our neighbors needed, I was propositioned for a session by the NSR photog.  He said he really needed someone to shoot and there wasn't anyone out.

It was midday, the surf sucked, but I acquiesced.  I lathered on sunscreen and we pedaled down to Colorado, which looked absolutely abysmal.  A bicycling groove of grommets, coming from Panga Drops, gave us the report: "It sucked".

I had still not done a turn on the Tomo since Oceanside.  I forgot how nicely it goes on the flat spots, perfect for a day like today.

My first wave was a pumpathon to oblivion.  My board went really well and did great paddling into the waves despite the 40+mph gusts.

My second wave was a pumpfest, and I got a nice squirt through the tail (heterosexually speaking) and found something to bounce off of.  Unfortunately, I didn't rotate my head and shoulders and I bailed.

My next wave of note was a sick one.  I dropped in late, and as a result, blind.  The breaking wave around me was throwing water that the wind was accelerating into my face.  Once I opened my eyes, I was shocked at the section presented to me.

I went for a hit/floater and was abruptly shoved off the back by the wind.

I sat for what seemed like forever.  I was getting cold and my teeth began to chatter.  I didn't know how many more shots Brian needed and so when a biggish wave came I went.  The section was one I probably couldn't have made if I'd managed to not get hung up on the lip.  It looked like this:

Spoiler alert I got thwomped on to my back and the rest of the wave ate me up!

I know, it looks like I was killing it out there.  It just shows you the power of the still frame in an action setting!

Happy Birthday to my uncle Brad, who is celebrating fifty years of being an adult today, at least chronologically speaking! 😂

Monday, February 19, 2018

2.19.18 F-it PM Session at PC

I'd spent most of the time between today and my last session back in San Diego.  I went up there to take my mortgage loan origination license test.  I thankfully passed and am now here waiting for it to become active so I can pad our income a bit.

During my time in SD, I went to my in-laws' storage unit and got my Tomo Vanguard, my last bosom board.  Up until today, it hadn't seen the water in nearly three-and-a-half years and had been languishing in its windowless cell.  I bought a used travel bag and paid an ass-puckering $200 to get it down here and luckily it did so in one piece.

After nearly three weeks of not surfing, I decided to paddle out no matter how bad it looked.

And bad it looked!  This was most evident by there being nary a head in the water.

I caught six or seven  waves and the only quasi-turn was on my first, I launched off the lip after having zero set-up time and flew into oblivion.

It felt great to be on this board, despite it only being a 5'4" and the volume being around 26.  It paddles well and catches waves well despite the offshore.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

2.1.18 Unexpected PM Session at PC

My aforementioned neighbor came to my door while I was studying for my MLO test and said he was going to go check it.  He came back and said his contact at the beach reported chest-plus-high waves.  I grabbed my board and Chucho (Raquel and the girls were at the beach for a girls-only get-together) and we walked down.

The wind was pretty strong offshore, though not gusting and howling like it has been for the past couple of days.  I put in my go-plugs (ear plugs) and waded out.

I violated one of my surfing tenets on this day, for I fraternized with a sponger.  Brian revealed his true self and while I'm proud of him for the courage that took, I couldn't shake the piercing glares from other stand-up surfers.

I'm taking a little bit longer to get up on my board, definitely something I need to work on, though I did nail every drop.  They were all late due to the wind.

I blew one wave by trying to mini-pump upon take off.  The wind snagged my board and I couldn't descend again.

I had a nice, long left but I was off-balance for most of it.  I managed to hit it but was too off-kilter to have a shot.

I got teeth-chattering cold.  I know, I know, it's not cold here but the relative wind chill was nasty as the sun was going down.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

1.16.18 Back to Playa Colorado with First Hint of Swell

I had to abort my first attempt at leaving the house with my board.  My eldest decided she does in fact like me and started crying, begging me not to go.  I solemnly put my board back.  I ate my Frosted Flakes and figured that was it.  My wife got up and then she told me to go.

By the time I got down there it was well past first light.  There was one guy checking it but no one in the water.  It looked pretty bleak out there with some almost-skimmable waves breaking a little too fast.  I headed towards Wyoming, the break north of Colorado.

A couple of guys in wetsuit tops paddled out into the nothingness at Colorado, in what I assume is a faith play.  A rideable set finally broke at Wyoming and I went out to my very own peak!

It was not to last, as one, then another, logger paddled out.  Sets were inconsistent, but chest-high and they had more than a drop!  I caught a racy left on which I bottom-turned and was too late to do much, but watched a foot from the barrel to see if I could have made it.  The answer is yes, for about two seconds before the section in front collapsed.

I caught another left and tried to get in the barrel but couldn't fit.

I tried my luck on my backhand.  I was really late on my first, made even later by the  gusting winds.  I descended and swung around, I poked my board up at it and was able to come around but I for whatever reason aborted even though it felt as though I'd made it with my noise pointed in the right direction.

A second right and I tried really hard to pump, I got one in and on my second I was hung up on the blazing lip.  I was catapulted face first into the trough and was really lucky not to have hit bottom considering once I stood up I was in hip-deep water.

My final right: redemption!  I pumped once and hit it as the wave sped off.

I caught a final closeout in.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

1.14.18 Forgettable Pangas Slumpbuster

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I had to really convince myself to surf this afternoon.  I walked the long way to Panga Drops and walked out to the sand, then back towards the break.  A place I'd never seen break before looked really good considering the lack of swell in the water.  I checked that for fifteen minutes and no other waves like that one magic set came.  The absolutely howling offshore winds were hammering me and coating my lower body in sand.

One of my neighbors is a photographer for NSR, a company that has a surf shop/vacation rentals/real estate business, among other things.  I talked to him for a while as he shot pics for the surf report.  He said it looked pretty good all things considered.  We watched the set of the day not quite detonate and I figured that was as amped as I would get, so I should harness it and get out there.

The vast majority of waves were strictly drops.  There was a sweeper out there who was having trouble catching waves, although there was a logger who was snagging quite a few.

While talking to the photog, I compared this spot to monogamy.  You're sitting on your peak and you will see other, pretty waves break and you will be tempted.  But you know as soon as you paddle over to your new crush you will regret it as you will miss your old one.

As a result of this reinforcing conversation,  I sat in the same spot.  The stakes were a little higher today, for if you missed a wave you paddled for, you were punished by myriad needles in the form of salt water projectile launched by the offshores.

I will describe all the waves worth the effort in the below area.

Friday, January 5, 2018

1.4.18 WAY Bigger than I Expected at Inside Pangas

It was pretty warm this afternoon and the swell was tiny and only going to get smaller.  I figured I should go paddle around if only to cool off.

I walked to the spot and was surprised to see it sporting a semblance of rideability.  The tide was coming up, almost to its apex, so it was the shorebreak show.

I paddled out and was shocked when I caught my first wave, as it was nearly head-high.  I caught another, then the pack enveloped me.  I paddled south to emptier pastures, to a peak which had looked rideable from shore and no one on it.

I sat there for ten minutes and then was shuttled back to my original spot by the current.  I caught one more wave, another too-quick virtual closeout and was again surprised at the power.  Another thing that struck me was the rushing foamy water made it feel as though I was moving in slow motion; it was really freaky.

I paddled, then perched once more and while looking towards shore I saw something I hadn't seen at the beach since 2002...

A woman's top third had the same color as her middle third.  Could it be? Could it be I had snapped my tittyless-at-the-beach streak?  I strained to confirm my hypothesis but couldn't make out nipples, let alone areoli.

The shortest ten seconds of my life and then that's when it happened, she put a black bikini top over them. YES! It HAD happened after all.

I spent the rest of my time in the water changing the lyrics of popular songs to strictly 'titties'.  My favorite was the synth part of the Ghostbusters theme song.

I caught another wave and went in.  As if to put the cherry on top of the titty sundae, a local in a golf cart offered me a ride back to my condo building!