14 November 2010

Birthday Present (Davenport)

My birthday present to myself this year was a new surfboard. After I met with him just over a month ago, Ward Coffey designed and shaped a transition board to help me move down more smoothly from my 8'3" hybrid (which I surf well) to my 5'8" shortboard (with which I've had only random successes). Basically, he scaled the 8'3" down to 7' and added performance features such as a speedier concave. And so, Enhanced Mini-Magic (Emm) was born.

Ward phoned the day before my birthday to say the new board was ready, but alas (!), we were in Hawaii. So I picked up Emm today, and since Ward assured me there was no need to wait for it to cure further, we were off for a surf. But first, Ward took control of putting on the traction pad, using a few tricks not listed in the instructions (lightly abrading the board surface and wiping it with acetone, and heating the pad's adhesive with a hair dryer before mounting it). Then Scott and I drove up the coast, since it was too small and crowded in town. A surf kayak contest was being held on the north end of Davenport but the south end was empty with occasional rideable waves. It seemed the onshore wind was rising and likely that farther north would have worse conditions, so I ended my surf search and finished dressing my new board with nose and tail guards, a leash, and layers of basecoat and cold-water wax. It was unusually warm for November - near 70 degrees - and by the time I finished, I was ready to jump in cold water.

Design by Birdswell
Two guys and a girl paddled out to the empty break just before me. They were a smiling, friendly lot, but as one of the guys pointed out, conditions were "challenging." The chop was 1-3 feet, making it a little hard to see the shoulder- to head-high waves approaching, and I was a bit uncomfortable out there on an unfamiliar board. But after a getting-to-know-you period with several mini-rides and a handful of wipeouts, plus getting caught inside disconcertingly close to dry reef, I nailed a solid head-high right on Emm and called it a day. I think we're going to be very good friends. Woot!
Surfline: Fading NW swell and rising NW windswell combined to keep good breaks in the chest-head high+ range while standouts were a couple to a few feet overhead on sets. Tiny SSW swell was in the water as well. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 7.9 ft at 11.4 s NW / WIND WAVE: 7.2 ft at 8.3 s NW / WVHT: 10.8 ft / APD: 7.4 s / MWD: 315°