08 October 2010

Blowin' in the Wind (Davenport)

After lunch in Half Moon Bay, Dwayne, J-Bird and I parted ways with Dwayne's friend Rush and his East Bay buddy and began to meander down the coast on Highway 1. We knew we had time to kill before the high tide stopped killing the waves, so we stopped off to see the latest coastside tourist attraction, a dead 80-foot blue whale and her fetus. Scientists, who carved a chunk out of her body, believe she was a victim of a nautical hit and run. It was very sad, and very, very smelly. The odor permeated our clothes and lingered in the car for hours.

We checked just about all the spots I know along the Lonely Coast between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, including Tres Rocas, which wasn't getting enough south swell to break properly. Having exhausted the little known, we turned to the well known breaks. The forecasters had lied, and the wind was coming up, but Davenport looked the best of the lot. Unfortunately, there were already about five surfers on it, and four more headed out as we did a surf check. So we continued on south, all the way to Eastside Santa Cruz, which was next to flat. The Hook was was only waist-high but crowded, with other hopefuls dotting 38th and Pleasure Point, waiting for little waves. Arrgh.
C'mon, let me carry your fish!

Back to Davenport we went, since surely the other surfers must be done by now! Indeed they were; the lineup was empty. We felt a breeze where we parked the car and suited up, but it wasn't until we reached the part of the beach unprotected by the headland that we felt the full force of the sideshore wind. J-Bird and I had trouble holding on to our longboards, and Dwayne only laughed when I suggested we swap so I could carry his fish instead. (Chivarly is dead.) We made it out to the break, then struggled against the wind pushing us away from the peak and down the coast. The water was choppy and whitecaping all around us, truly the windiest surf session I've ever experienced. I was beginning to think this might be my first skunking on Magic since I got it a year ago, but then I paid attention to Dwayne.
The last time I surfed Davenport with Dwayne was 3 years ago, and he kept trying to coax me into moving off of the shoulder and closer to the peak, where he was catching waves. Timid on large waves, unskilled on a shortboard, and lacking in confidence, I didn't do it then. This time I observed that, as at Rachel's Point, you had to be at the peak to catch the wave; shoulder-sitting would get you nada, and Dwayne was proving it out. I paddled to the edge of the broken-wave bubbles near him and waited, and sure enough, a wave came to me and I caught it. A clump of kelp near the shallow take-off zone proved a useful anchor against the near-gale. I got a few more waves, some from too far inside, riding the whitewater down on my belly until the spray cleared enough for me see the way forward and pop up, but one nice long right along the cliff to the shallows of the reef, dropping off the back in a flat-fall over sea grasses. Magic's reputation and my stoke were preserved.
Shivering as I stood on the reef after my last ride, I filmed Dwayne riding, then J-Bird. A windsurfer was sailing out from the beach as we vacated the peak, and he soon took over the spot, using the wind to get onto the waves and surf.

Surfline: Well exposed combo beach-breaks continue to see a fun, peaky mix of mid-period NW swell and old, fading Southerly swell with waist-chest zone waves and occasional shoulder high+ sets. The more sheltered spots are seeing much smaller surf overall. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 3.9 ft at 10.0 s NW / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 5.0 s WSW / WVHT: 3.9 ft / APD: 8.2 s / MWD: 307°

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