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Friday, August 15, 2014

8.15.14 Trying out Low Tide Playa Colorados sans Crowd

I didn't surf this morning as the peak of the high tide was right at six.  A check around seven revealed about what I had expected, and seen the previous two high tide mornings.

Though I wasn't thrilled about low tide being just a minute shy of high noon, I would have to make a go of it.  The tropical sun appears to be directly overhead at this time of year, allowing for it to travel and cook anything unprotected with little filtering from the atmosphere. When the sun is more at an angle, it travels through more atmosphere and the radiation is more diffused.

Once that time came, I checked it and it was laughably shallow.  The few people who were out were getting stuffed into hopeless closeouts and those who weren't, were getting hung up on the lip and obliterated.  I decided to wait one more hour to see what would happen when the tide filled in just a tad.

There were guys surfing just to the east and farther to the west of our compound, and as I walked towards the westerners I saw a right that was undisturbed.  It was barreling hard and most likely unmakeable by a surfer of my skill level, but I just had to try.  This was my third full day here and I hadn't hit the low tide yet to test my mettle in its hollowness.

I was much more aware of the rip given my adventures bodysurfing the past couple of days, when the rip snagged me and put me out with the surfers.  I had a little bit of a worry in going back in while dodging the set waves that were pounding down as closeouts, but I was able to go in after about five minutes of fun.

A rip can be very useful in shuttling one out to the outside, but in closeout conditions, it can help split up the wave.  I lined up just east of the rip and about ten minutes in had a look at what would likely have been an incredible wave if I'd caught it.  It was a big left and I got that feeling of fear/excitement as it lifted me up, but ultimately I was denied and felt the needling pain of the lip water being blown back by the 10+ mph side/offshore wind in my face along with the pain in my heart.

Two or so minutes later I found a smaller left, descended slightly and ducked down.  Within a second of my stomping down I was in a dry barrel.  I was in there long enough to see the lip line I was eyeing unexpectedly join its barreling older sibling much too soon.  As I made this realization, the board was swept up from under me and I flew forward and into the water.

My adventures on the left had pushed me right into the rip, but I realized it quickly enough so as not to have to paddle back in too far.

I corrected my oversight and caught a right and tucked into a pigdog stance a bit earlier than I probably should have.  The lip enveloped me and then raced off ahead of me leaving me with no way out.

I tried again on a bigger right that seemed a little more open.  I don't remember exactly what went wrong on this one but I definitely remember what happened underwater.  While my board didn't fly into me, it very gingerly touched me on the outside of my right lat muscle and then the wave's energy compressed it extremely hard against my back.  The board then gained some forward speed and, as a goodbye kiss, the fin sliced me.

I came up and was in a lot of pain, but not so much that I thought I had to go in. I remember telling myself it was nothing and to stop being a pussy.  When I paddled it was excruciating.  I was already halfway out so I just went for one more.

In my haste to go in, I went on a wave on which I probably should have pulled back.  The wave was fine, but I was too late on it.   The steepness and the howling wind didn't help matters.  I didn't descend enough, but I had to make my move or get decapitated by the throwing lip.  I managed to get in there and got a sick view of the barrel, before getting wrapped up in the wall and tossed over the falls.  I did my uncontrollable guttural yell that is harmful in that it makes me use up air.  It usually happens when I'm going over the falls or when I'm in the air snowboarding and things went poorly.

Luckily, I surfaced unscathed and walked back to the pool where Raquel and Lucia were waiting.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be relatively painless and I'll be able to get out there at low-ish tide again.

My left ear is still stopped up and I'm now fearing I will need to get the swimmer's/surfer's ear surgery on it as it's not getting better.

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