21 September 2010

Ride, Rinse and Repeat (HMB Jetty)

My waterproof camera wasn't this morning; it flooded. I'll try to paint a picture with words.

Standing in the dirt lot in the dim half-light before the cool crack of dawn, I knock three times on the window of Luke's big blue truck to wake him from the nap he's taking after dropping a friend at the airport for an early flight. As he stretches, I dash across the road to check the surf at the Jetty. A sideshore breeze blows my long brown hair in my face, and I push it aside, watching the empty, fun-size waves roll in. The wind is dappling a light chop on the water, and nice left is waiting just for me.

My new 4/3 Rip Curl Insulator wetsuit still feels slightly damp from Sunday's surf as I hurry into it, shivering a little in the chill breeze. The sky has lightened as we cross the road and carefully step down the worn bluff to the sand. The wind pushes against my longboard and I repoint it more parallel to the riprap wall bounding the beach. A pause to leash up, glove up, helmet up, and I'm ready to follow Luke into the cold water. The ocean is brownish with red tide and sporting clumps of loose kelp. A seabird bobs near the jetty, but there are no mammals in sight, except us. Slivers of blue sky peek between streaks of white and dark clouds above Pillar Point.

The waves are mixed up on crossing swells, doubling up, shifty. Luke catches one and rides off to the right, leaving me floating patiently, searching the near horizon for a sufficiently walled wave, hoping for a left. I paddle for a few, but they are too mushy. Or I am too far outside, passed by; too far inside, rolled by whitewater. Then a shoulder-high wave rises behind me, wanting to break left. I turn and stroke for it, feel it lift me, pop to my feet and ride down the face, bottom turning with the sizzle of whitewater at my back. I turn near the top and ride down again, enjoying the rhythm of being with the wave, feeling where it wants to take me and moving in response. Too soon the wave breaks fully, bubbles hissing at my tail, but I ride it a little farther, finally falling flat to the side as the rock-studded shallows approach. I splash down and cool water hits my face, trickling into my wetsuit. I plant my feet on the sand, collect my board and point it seaward once again. Ride, rinse and repeat.

Surfline: WNW (295-310) swell peaks, as some NW windswell, and fading SSW swell mix in. Most good exposures across the region are good for waist-chest-shoulder high surf, as top spots are good for some occasional head high+ sets. Winds are moderate out of the WNW, putting some pretty heavy bump/texture to the surf in most areas. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 3.0 ft at 13.8 s WSW / WIND WAVE: 5.2 ft at 5.9 s WNW / WVHT: 5.9 ft / APD: 5.3 s / MWD: 303°

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