08 August 2010

Tri-County Surf Weekend (Bolinas)

If the original surf posse had held, I was going to title this post "Five Surfer Girls...and Luke." But Tracey brought her buddy Andrew, and Beth, Angie, Emily and I were also joined by Deepak and his friend Evan, so Luke wasn't the only guy. Then I thought I might go with "Bloody in Bolinas" after I bashed my lip on my board. A woman surfing right on the shoulder inexplicably turned into the whitewater I was trying to catch left, and I had to pull my board back hard to avoid being run over, with sadly predictable results. Although I was then bleeding slightly while surfing in notoriously sharky* waters, that title seemed overly dramatic for such a tiny lip wound. So I chose the one above, since I've surfed three counties in three days: Santa Cruz, San Mateo and now Marin.

Luke on his new board
It's been a couple of years since I surfed Bolinas, which isn't that much farther than Santa Cruz in miles but takes much longer to get to. First there's the slow slog in surface street traffic through San Francisco, which has declined to let a freeway run through it like any normal city. And then there's the narrow and curvy but beautifully scenic trek down Highway 1, traversing the coast near the top of a ridge with the expanse of the Pacific Coast laid out a long way below. Our four-car caravan linked up in Mill Valley at the start of the winding highway, but alas, the magnificent view was mostly obscured by misting clouds and fog.
The light drizzle and overcast continued when we reached Bolinas but allowed us to park near the beach. Unfortunately, the waves were meh, not really worth the drive. The tide was high and I had trouble getting into the mushy waves; I needed to wait for the bigger ones, and then be right where they were breaking. I got a smattering of decent rides and a couple of good waves, one near the Groin with a nice fast drop, and another long one I worked through reforms into the beach on the east side of the lagoon channel. The current was rushing fast into the Bolinas Lagoon, and I very nearly got sucked in with it. In waist-deep water, it was hard to even walk perpendicular to get out of the strong pull. That inrushing current had me paddling extra strokes even far from the lagoon mouth until I figured it out. After 3 straight days of surfing, my paddling muscles are sore!

Deepak and Evan
It was fun surfing with friends even in so-so conditions, and the unscary mushy waves were good for the newbies in the group. Half of us decamped post-surf to the Coast Cafe, which actually has vegan soup, but I was way more than soup-hungry so went for another ALT sandwich. I was hoping for sunshine and a clear view of the coast on the drive back, but high fog shrouded Marin and obscured the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, not lifting to sunshine until I was nearly home, tired and happy.

*There was a shark sighting here the day before, I learned later, and my buddy Mike reported one a few months ago. Thankfully, Luke didn't mention that he'd been bumped by something in the water until we were out of it.

Surfline: 4-6 ft [not!], light and variable southwest winds with smooth seas. Small long period swell from the southwest. Buoy 46012: NW 6.2 ft @ 7.7 sec. 2 Mile Surf Shop: Coastal cloudiness and overcast conditions start the morning again, broken record, right? Temps are mild but the wind is lightly onshore causing some ocean texture. There is a still a bit of south swell pulse in the water sometimes mixing with the NW windswell. Sets at The Patch were knee high currently. The Channel still has the most surfers out and has waves in the 1-2'+ range and a little bigger.


  1. Fun to read this while I'm in bed still recovering from this nasty stomach flu. Whenever we end up surfing together, I'm taking lots of photos and videos of YOU!

  2. Nice to meet your gang. Reminds me a bit of Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse :D
    Jeez, is that summer? We get sunnier days in the middle of winter (which is probably why Australia might be the skin cancer capital of the world) It was 21 C here last Monday. Sounds like fun going in a group like that. I look forward to Emily's post.

  3. That would be great, Emily!

    Michelle, our nicest weather is usually in early fall, September-October. Soon...

  4. surf's are small, that's true. and the Surfline reports are way too optimistic. later in the Fall and Winter, tho, the spots swells up.

    good place for novices to learn