07 August 2010

South Swell, South Wind & Sunshine (Linda Mar)

This morning I planned to attend Luke's Coastside Surfers Meetup, but I got to the Jetty an hour early and it looked pretty junky with an onshore breeze. Once again, I was blown north by the south wind. There were a lot of surfers in the water at Montara, which looked cleaner but more than head-high, with lots of windswell whitewater to slog through to the outside.
Feral agapanthus at Montara
Look closely: there's a dude trying to make that closeout.
I knew the Kahuna Kupuna contest was on at Linda Mar, but thought I'd check it out anyway since it's a good place to go when the south winds blow. Parking was pretty full but I found a spot and paddled out on the south end, well away from the contest. There were a handful of surfers in the lineup, including a female wave hog (would that be a wave sow?). I was happy to surf in sunshine again, since the weather has been gloomy and drizzly like Seattle most mornings of late. It had been three weeks since I'd surfed under sunny skies.
The waves were moundy and the offshore was strong, and for a while I was getting nada on Magic, but then I realized I was stupidly following the herd. Instead of sitting with the pack, I needed to use my surf sense to figure out where I needed to be in those conditions on that board. I moved to a smaller inner break I'd seen from the beach, where the waves were jacking up a bit, and put myself at the peak. Then I started catching waves, but at first the wind prevented me from riding them, blowing me off the back as soon as I popped up. This is one situation where it's a bit of a handicap to have the extra rocker in Magic's nose, which shaper Bob Pearson wanted to design out, since it catches the wind. It took some iterating and a few pearls, but I worked out how to weight the front of my board enough to push it down the face and get into the wave. One thing that helped was placing my hands farther forward on the board during the pop-up. I got a lot of great rides, including one left that I linked through not just one but two reforms, all the way to the beach.

Heron on the beach path
During the session, I'd exchanged smiles and banalities with a couple of women sitting outside of me. One remarked that she hadn't caught a single wave, and I suggested they sit farther inside. But it was time for them to go, and as she paddled passed me, she said "Do good for us out here!" Linda Mar has given me an unfortunate number of such waveless days when I was a beginner or equipped with the wrong board, and I felt bad for her. Just then I saw a wave approaching and urged them to paddle for it, but it mushed out. Then another came and I called "Paddle! Paddle!" She dug deep, popped up and rode for just a couple seconds until the wind pushed her off the back. She turned around with her arms raised in victory and a big stoked smile, which I returned, knowing those two seconds had turned her inner frown upside down. 

Afterwards I drove back south to El Granada and met up with some of the Coastside Surfers crew to swap surf stories over lunch at Cafe Classique and plan Sunday's expedition to Bolinas. I scarfed down a BLTA, hold the B, but I was still a bit hungry after the surf workout at Lindy. And a lot stoked!

Surfline: Waist to shoulder high, poor to fair conditions. Bumpy, sectiony walls with SW wind blowing around 5-10kts. A mix of NW windswell and building SW (200-215) energy provides 3-4' surf at average breaks this morning, while top spots occasionally hit head high. Onshore flow out of the SW keeps surface conditions textured/crumbly overall. Look for a building tide to swamp out most areas around mid-morning. Buoy 46012: NW 6.9 ft @ 9.1 sec.

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