06 August 2010

Kelp Baseball & Musical Boards (38th Ave)

Not long after dawn when I arrived at the 41st Ave parking lot, my buddies hadn't yet shown and, so it appeared, neither had the south swell. But after driving all the way to Santa Cruz in the dark, I was getting wet regardless. Darren turned up while I was changing into my wetsuit and Luke pulled into the parking lot with Angie as we were leaving for the beach. Angie didn't have a wetsuit and surf shops aren't open at 6 am, so I loaned her my 3/2. A bit thin, but Luke assured me that since she is, like him, a hardy Canadian, it would be plenty warm, eh.

From the cliff, it still didn't look like there was a lot going on surf-wise. As I put the final touches on my gearing-up, a guy in a wetsuit hurried past me from the beach, and quickly came back the other way, carrying a plastic baseball bat. As he started down the stairs, I asked, "Is that for the sharks?" He laughed and scurried on. When I got to the lineup, I saw its purpose: kelp baseball, using as balls the floaty kelp bulbs which are in over-abundant supply.
Kelp baseball is just one way to pass the time during lulls. According to the Surfing Rule Book Rule No. 232: "If there are more than two stand up paddlers (SUPs) in the lineup, they must joust until only one remains." I was hoping to see some jousting when a phalanx of five SUPers paddled out, but alas, they weren't familiar with Rule #232. Fortunately they didn't take over the peak, and the crowd remained surprisingly light. Perhaps everyone else was holding off for the forecast real arrival of the swell tomorrow, or maybe Surfline's bad report scared them off. Whatever the cause, it was a happy circumstance for in fact, instead of poor ankle-knee high surf, we were treated to decent waves up to shoulder high, both rights and lefts, with plenty to go around since there were only a dozen or so in the lineup. My uninspiring views from the shore had been during lulls, and I'm very glad we paddled out, as a good time was had by all.

Darren at the end of a ride. I wish my camera would start up faster.

Angie had only been surfing a few times and was struggling to balance on her new 7'4" Ward Coffey egg. She's on her way to work at a surf camp in Costa Rica (lucky!) and I'm sure she'll have lots of fun on it later, but it's not a good beginner board. So Luke passed his shiny spankin' new Harbour longboard to Darren, who loaned his longboard to Angie, who gave the egg over to Luke. And I wanted to try the egg, so I swapped Magic for it. I caught a few waves on the egg, but it felt meh, although it gave me more confidence for my next session on my 5'8" Xanadu Rocky. Riding my 8'3" Magic all year, and riding it well, has built up my skills, and I think I'll do much better on the shortboard. I hope to test that theory this weekend.

Surfline: 1-2 ft, ankle to knee high, poor conditions. Clean, inconsistent little lines working through. Starting pretty slow this morning as old SSW (195-205) groundswell drops out, new, long period, SW (200-215) groundswell builds, and some small NW windswell mixes in. Most better Southern Hemi breaks are seeing fairly small scale surf in the knee-thigh high zone, as standout exposures pull in a few inconsistent sets to waist high+. Conditions are mostly clean early. Buoy 46012: NW 4.3 ft @ 7.7 sec.


  1. Great surf this morning and musical boards was fun. The stoke on Angie's face after her ride was awesome! Surf was way better than Surfline presented and plenty of waves too! Thanks for making us all movie stars!

  2. Yeah, I'm glad Angie got a good one! Hopefully more to come this weekend. You should join us!