25 November 2010

Iced Coffey (Melon Camp)

Frost on the beach
We're having record low temperatures now, and today was the coldest I've ever surfed. When the air hovered just above freezing on the Washington Coast, I couldn't bring myself to make the 5-hour roundtrip drive from Seattle. Here in NorCal, I've gone out a few times in just below 40 F, but never this cold before. As I drove over the hill to Half Moon Bay before dawn, my car thermometer briefly displayed 31 F (less than 0 C). It wasn't much warmer at the beach. There was frost on the plants alongside the path, and even on the sand. Brrr! The 53-degree water was noticeably warmer than the air. I added the detachable hood to my 4/3 Rip Curl Insulator wetsuit for the first time, and it greatly minimized flushing, helping to retain my body heat longer.

While the less (fool)hardy burrowed under their blankets and slept in, Luke and I had the break to ourselves. It's a locals spot, which I'll call "Melon Camp." The waves were glassy, waist- to shoulder-high and peeling nicely. But the swell has dropped considerably since yesterday, the tide was rising from a fat low, and the waves were unenthusiastic and lazily ambling toward shore. I found I needed to be quite close to the peak when it broke to get onto the wave, which was good practice on Emm. I'd brought Magic just in case, but the 8' stayed in its bag while I rode the new 7' Coffey. After Luke found himself cross-stepping on his 7' Coffey, he made the switch to a longboard and started getting more waves.
The rides were long when we could get them, and I found my way onto a couple of good lefts and a nice right, working them close to the beach. A handful of other waves didn't carry me so far, but one let me stick a fun drop. Surprisingly, I lasted about an hour and a half in the cold, before I was shivering and couldn't feel my hands or feet. Dawn was again beautiful and the sun brought a little warmth as I changed out of my wetsuit in the frigid air. Adding the hood had kept my hair, arms and upper body partly dry. I was thankful for my jug of hot water and the seat heater in my MINI Cooper, and for fun waves surfed with only a buddy. And especially for my husband, who was home cooking me a big tasty post-surf breakfast. Happy Tofurky Day!

Surfline: A clean combo of NW swell-mix and minimal SSW energy prevails this morning. Most breaks are good for knee-waist high+ surf, with some larger sets working through at top NW exposures to shoulder/head high at times. Conditions are nice and clean as the tide comes off a 3'+ low tide. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.9 ft at 8.3 s NW / WIND WAVE: 2.6 ft at 5.0 s NW / WVHT: 5.2 ft / APD: 5.8 s / MWD: 316°

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