Mike has a tendency to create swell with his absence. January 2003 is probably the best month of surf San Diego County has seen in the last decade. Mike was in Kauai and, a move that still puzzles me, DIDN'T SURF.
Mike came home Saturday and the swell arrived that morning. It was in its waning moments during this session. We were going to go up to Oceanside but it's been so crowded lately... Apparently the secret is out that south-facing beaches favor south swells.
In an effort to minimize the competition for waves while still getting a good angle on the swell, we decided on north Carlsbad. We saw some empty peaks that were savory, but I was almost positive they were blackballed. Parking was a nightmare, but Mike acted as my spot scout and I slipped into a sweet one. I lathered on some sunscreen, walked a fair amount to the edge of the blackball, and paddled out.
The waves were breaking close to shore and they were extremely punchy. There was no room for hesitation, no time for changing your footing if you popped up askew. The drops were steep and the waves were on the hollower side.
My first wave was one on which I got in late and PEARLED hard. Oof, not a great start
On my next wave, I descended successfully, but only got a pump in before the wave shut down on me.
I got another wave and went for a crab grab. The wave threw out and I was in there for less than a second before I got decimated.
Yep, another left! I pumped like a muphugga and eventually realized my fate was sealed. I cut my losses and pulled through the wave.
I caught another one steep and I almost pearled, but held on. I had to roll up the windows once to pull the drop, so hopefully the judges will be gentle. There was no juice for all that squeeze and I pulled up and over.
On my next left, I dropped in smoothly. My camera couldn't handle the G's of that drop and readjusted downward (not really, I think the housing mount is showing its age). I went for an unsuccessful bonk.
I thought I saw a bigger wave and paddled out and south to meet it. My closest competition was a sponger and I stood up a little too early on it. For a split second, I thought I was going to fade off the back. Luckily, I wouldn't have to apologize as the wave let me in. I really like my bottom turn on this wave. My hit is ok, still doing the weird shoulder movement that makes everything look wack.
You can see how hollow the wave is as the board gets away from me. I got thwomped and smacked into the sand in about a foot of water. No harm, no foul. I paddled back out for more.
I caught a quick left on which I aborted almost immediately, froggy-style (my legs looked like that of a frog primed for a big stroke).
Another wave, another late drop, though this one wasn't too bad. The wave showed some open face and I slashed it gingerly, because previous waves' hollowness had hurt me before. I found a speed pocket and used it to get going, then bonk off the whitewater.
My next wave arrived quickly, and it seemed to have a more open face. I pumped up and down smoothly, but there was nothing at the end of the wave. The thing just folded over.
I was still a bit on the inside when my next wave arrived. I immediately went for a barrel but my top half got pinched in and I couldn't see through the froth. I doubt I would have made it as these were extremely tricky and shallow, the vast majority of the closeouts.
Next wave I leaned back on the drop, but the wave wasn't as steep as I'd anticipated and I had overcommitted my weight to my back leg. It caused me to launch off the back.
On my last wave, I leaned back again, but made the drop. The wave shut down and I jumped off.
Mike had one of the sickest backside barrels I've ever seen him in. I yelled him into it and I don't know how he found the time to blast over the ledge and tuck in. He didn't make it, but not too many barrels were made in Carlsbad on a swell this steep on this day.