25 February 2007

Pleasure Point, 24 Feb 2007

Swell direction: NW
Tide: Just before & after 0.2' low
Wind: Light, then breezy
Air/Water Temp: 48/53 degrees
Wildlife: Black & white birds, blue fish

Another overcrowded and frustrating day near Pleasure Point. D and I met up with some of the crew from Stokemaster.com at 41st Ave, then paddled closer to the Point, where it was breaking about 4-6'. Since it looked like the sun was going to come out when we left the car, I had my SeaSpecs around my neck. It was hard for me to get any waves because there were so many people in the water. I pearled badly on the first wave I caught, leading to one of those washing machine moments that left me grateful when I finally broke the surface to take a breath. Unfortunately, the tumbling must have flexed my SeaSpecs too much, because when the sun did make a brief appearance, I found both the lenses were gone. Bummer.

I had to back off a lot, even the five or so times I was up and riding, because someone else was already on the wave, and once accidentally hit a guy I didn't see. He was a bit pissed off but accepted my apology. Then I moved out to the far shoulder again to get more clearance, but caught nada. With the wind picking up, my teeth we chattering, and we headed in. I passed a little flock of striking black and white birds who made a sound like a ray gun in a 1950s sci-fi flick when they took flight, and saw a pair of brilliant blue fish in the shallows.

We were both really really cold when we got to the car, and the hot water I'd brought felt really really good.

So no good rides, but it still beats painting molding.

20 February 2007

Pleasure Point, 20 Feb 2007

Swell direction: NW
Tide: Falling, in between 4.7' high and 0.6' low
Wind: Breezy (5-10 kts)
Air/Water Temp: 57/54 degrees
Wildlife: several camera-shy sea otters

D and I bugged out of work early to head down to Santa Cruz, where conditions were reportedly better than in San Mateo County. We checked Capitola first; it was clean but too small, maybe up to 2', although there were a couple determined souls in the water. Next we tried the Hook, which was a bit windier and crowded, but 3-5'. Pleasure Point was less crowded but even windier, so we settled on a break a little east and parked at 35th.

By the time we headed out, it seemed the after-school crowd had invaded, with maybe 40 people in the water. I can't stand being in a crowd; I always feel like I'm in somebody's way. (D said, "Well, you ARE in their way! Everybody is.") If I managed to catch a wave, then I'd be worried about hitting someone. All that makes me anxious and nervous - not what I go surfing for. So I left D sitting in the midst of the pack and went to hang out on the end where I could have some room to myself. Mostly I was too far on the shoulder to catch anything, or someone was already on a wave and I'd have to back off, so lots of waiting around. I tried to sneak up quietly on a sea otter to take her picture, but she was camera-shy and dove down before I could get close enough.

When I finally did catch a wave, I blew the pop-up because it seemed like my front leg was off in a daydream after sitting so long (Me: "pop up! NOW!" Leg: "Whaaaa? You want me to do what? Right noowww?"). But a few minutes later I made up for it by snagging a nice long right, and I caught another short ride before various semi-frozen body parts drove us from the water. We watched the clouds turn pink on the way to sunset as we walked along the cliff top back to the car - beautiful end to the day.

17 February 2007

Capitola, 17 Feb 2007

Swell direction: NW
Tide: Falling, in between 6' high and -1' low
Wind: Light to none
Air/Water Temp: 73/55 degrees
Wildlife: 3 sea otters (or one 3 times?)

A beautiful summer day in February, with glassy 2-4' waves - perfect! Capitola was more crowded than I'd seen it the few times I've been there before, with about 2 dozen people split between the outside and inside breaks. A sea otter was floating on his back, snacking on an unlucky crab, as I paddled out. I missed getting his photo as a nice wave was headed my way, and I caught a sweet right.

Since it was a bit crowded and most everyone was going right, I got in position on the inside end so I could pick off the empty lefts. A bit shorter ride heading that direction, but it was all mine. Being goofy does have its advantages.

As the tide dropped, so did the crowd and the already light wind, and I moved to the outside break. Not used to surfing in kelp, I made the mistake of sitting in a patch of it. When I spun around to paddle for a fine-looking wave, I wrapped a length of it around my right leg, and went precisely nowhere as the wave passed by, empty.

The wait for waves got longer too on the falling tide, but I bagged a total of 8 or 9, all nice rides. On the last, I finally managed to sit back down on my board at the end instead of making a planned fall - yay! Now I can look more like I know what I'm doing out there.

16 February 2007

Linda Mar & HMB, 16 Feb 2007

Swell direction: NW
Tide: Rising, two hours before 6.5' high
Wind: Light
Air Temp: 50 degrees

Skunked! Surfline’s forecast was 3-5’ and fair conditions, but Linda Mar was jumbled and disorganized, breaking all over the place not far off the beach, with a bit of wind chop on it. I suppose one might’ve been able to find a rideable wave somewhere out there with enough patience and the good luck to be in the right random spot at the right time, but when I arrived just after daybreak no one was even trying. There was also a island of fog only over the cove in the midst of otherwise sunny skies. HMB @ jetty was cleaner but small, maybe up to 2’, breaking too close to the rocks on the near-high tide, with no one out there either. Hopefully tomorrow will be better; maybe I'll try down south, Capitola or Pleasure Point.

12 February 2007

Linda Mar, 12 Feb 2007

Swell Direction: W
Tide: falling, 1.5 hours past 5.2' high
Wind: Very light
Air/Water Temp: 45/54 degrees

Pacificwaverider and Surfline were both so wrong today. Pacificwaverider said HMB @ Jetty was 1-2'; it was bigger. Surfline said Linda Mar was 4-7'; it was smaller. Always a gamble when you head for the coast before dawn...

D and I checked out the Jetty first, but it was about 3-5', messy, disorganized and uninviting with no one out. So we drove up to Linda Mar, which already had a small crowd (per usual), also about 3-5' but cleaner with some ridable waves here and there. It took a while to snag any, but we each rode one in close succession before we had to leave. Clearly I need to work on my backside turns, but that's hard when you only catch one wave in 30 minutes!

My new 4/3 Hotline wetsuit kept me warm enough. Now if only I could find some booties that fit so my feet stop going numb....

06 February 2007

Linda Mar, 6 Feb 2007

Surfline called it pretty well today:
3-4 ft. - waist to shoulder high with occasional 5 ft. and fair conditions. Fair and glassy with walled up lines and soft workable shoulders on the inside.
Although I'd add it was inconsistent and say it was a little smaller, especially south of the bathhouse, where I started out just after daylight on a high low tide. The three people in the water at that spot quickly grew to over a dozen - too crowded since it wasn't breaking over a very wide distance. So I headed a little north of the bathhouse where only 1 guy was out. He was friendly but mostly we just waited around until conditions started to improve, either on the incoming tide or because we drifted even farther north to perhaps a better spot. Hard to get used to the steep fast wave again, and I blew a few takeoffs, but had a couple brief rides before nailing a nice left just before I had to leave for work. Even managed to turn up and exit out the back right before the wave closed out. Sweet! Stoked!

04 February 2007

HMB @ Jetty, 4 Feb 2007

No pix today - camera battery was dead when I got out on the water, after only about 120 shots.

Surfline's forecast for this weekend was the rare "good" so I had my hopes up. Surfline lies. Or maybe somewhere on the San Mateo County coast there were good waves, but not at the Jetty, where it was mostly closed out. Or at Linda Mar, which I drove by (sort of) on the way home. Or at Montara, although the 3 guys out had more - and bigger - shoulders coming at them than at HMB or LM. Pacificwaverider had it wrong to, calling it 1-2'; it was more like 3-4' when I got there but dropping in size and consistency as the tide pulled out. It was pretty glassy though, and a beautiful warm sunny day. I thought there would be fewer people in the water (about 2 dozen at HMB, 60+ at Lindy - ick!), but I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that some guys would rather surf than watch the Superbowl.

Compared to my last surf sesh at Pavones, it was crap. Yet I still managed to catch 3 waves before my frozen feet drove me in, and proved to myself I can do it right (backside) as well as left. Well, maybe not as well...