30 January 2011

Big Fun (Trees)

The five other surfistas who were going to join me for a girls surf-up in Santa Cruz all bailed, so I ended up with a fun solo session east of Privates. The WSW wind was chopping up the swell from Pleasure Point through 38th, but around the corner at the Hook it started to clean up. Really sweet overhead waves were rolling through at the Hook, but there was already a sizable pack on it, so I walked east on the beach and paddled out at less-popular Sharks. The large swell with its frenetic train of whitewater made getting to the outside a challenge, and there was a serious current pushing east. I caught a few broken waves into reforms on my way out, drifting east all the while, until I found I was past the stairs at Privates and in sight of the Capitola pier. I stayed there on an empty peak, although staying meant a constant paddle west to keep in position.
I rode a bunch of good-sized waves, shoulder-high to overhead, and had a few stinging wipeouts. The waves were often sectiony and didn't hold up for long rides, but I was having a blast on my solitary peak, enjoying the bursts of sunshine and sudden downpours as the weather fluctuated. The sideshore wind would turn off at times, leaving the water glassy, then ramp up to lightly texture it. My best wave was a left with at least a 7-foot drop - woo hoo! So stoked!

I left the water at Privates and found that while you need a key to get in at the top of the stairs, you can get out with just the press of a button. Then it was a long walk back to my car, parked several blocks away at the Hook. Post-surf eats were at Dharma's, a great veg restaurant Scott and I just discovered in Capitola.
Surfline: Solid WNW (280-300) energy on the rise today as trace Southern Hemi swell mixes in. Head high to overhead+ surf is common now, while top breaks approach double overhead on the best sets (especially as our nearly 6' high tide begins to drop and swell continues to fill in). Expect SW/WSW wind around 10-15kts. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 13.1 ft at 13.8 s WNW 08 / WIND WAVE: 5.9 ft at 6.7 s W / WVHT: 14.4 ft / APD: 8.7 s / MWD: 283° (Met) WSPD: 16 kts / GST: 21 kts / WVHT: 14.4 ft / DPD: 14.0 s / WDIR: 280° / ATMP: 52.9° F / WTMP: 53.2° F. Tide: 2' falling under 1'.

28 January 2011

My Sweet Mother Ocean (Dunes)

It's been an agonizingly slow recovery from the fin hit to my thigh last week. Although more study is needed, I'm tentatively ready to say that arnica gel helps contusions to heal faster, although unfortunately I didn't get any until several days after the injury. With nearly all of my range of motion now restored, I was ready to get in the water this morning.

I met up with Luke at Dunes, and we were joined by new buddy Kyle, a Seattle transplant. J-Bird's "alarm didn't go off" so she missed out. Before I left the house, I'd checked back through my blog posts to see what today's conditions might produce at the beach, and was forecasting something outside the realm of the mellow waves I was looking for with a still game leg. Luke arrived at Dunes before me, and reported it as waist- to chest-high, with an easy paddle out via a rip. I had to see for myself, as that sounded too good to be true. Indeed, watching from the clifftop, I saw a closeout set roll through that was head-high plus, although it's always hard to call scale with no reference human on it. Although I expressed a desire to drive on to the Jetty which would be smaller, Scott convinced me to stick with my buddies and give Dunes a try.
Luke and Kyle were already in the water as I stood on the beach, waiting for a lull. The shorepound was head-high, smashing closeouts sucking sand. Hardly what I had in mind. I timed it fairly well, making it to the outside with just a couple turtle-rolls. At Luke's suggestion, I was on Magic, my 8'3" hybrid longboard, for more paddling power on the high tide. I caught a fun left, a fast wave all the way in with a second drop on a reform. Luke said I disappeared on the drop, so it was over-my-head-high. I caught a couple more waves after that, but was having trouble adjusting to the extra 15" of Magic as compared to my current board, so I didn't ride them out. Then Luke got a stand-up barrel (woo hoo!), on a wave he said was probably about 8 feet - so much for "waist- to chest-high!"

Duty called, and when I found myself inside, I chose to ride the whitewater in so I could get to work not too terribly late. I caught a turbulent broken wave, popped up and rode it into almost a reform which deposited me near the shore, and then was able to run up onto the sand without a shore pounding. Luke, on the other hand, had some holddowns, and got rolled into his board by a big closeout, his sanded fin cutting through his wetsuit near an inside leg seam, stopping short of slicing his skin. Although certainly conditions were such that I could have had a much worse time of it, I think perhaps my sweet Mother Ocean took it easy on me today, in consideration of my injury, and also blessed me with a nice long ride. Thank you, Mother Ocean.

Surfline: WNW (280-300) groundswell fades through the day, holding the most size early, as some small SSW(190-200) swell mixes in. For the dawn patrol good breaks are pulling in head high+ to well overhead surf, with top NW exposures pulling in sets in the double overhead range at times. Light NW winds have some crumble/bump to the surface in most areas. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 6.9 ft at 13.8 s WNW 07 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 3.7 s WSW / WVHT: 6.9 ft / APD: 10.5 s / MWD: 288° (Met) WSPD: 6 kts / GST: 8 kts / WVHT: 6.9 ft / DPD: 14.0 s / WDIR: 350° / ATMP: 49.8° F / WTMP: 52.9° F. Tide: 5' falling to 4'

25 January 2011

Mea Culpa

Sometimes I forget that my dry humor may not come across on the written page. I was also probably a wee bit cranky while knocking out my last couple of blog posts, due to the pain in my leg and frustration at being stuck on shore during a run of nice swell and weather. In describing the girl who rode her shortboard into me last weekend as blind and the Green Menace (now redacted), I was going for tongue-in-cheek, but perhaps it didn’t seem that way. I bear her no ill will, and didn’t intend to imply she’s a kook.

Surfers make mistakes; nobody’s perfect. I was in a bad place when the outside set came through, and she didn’t see me or just couldn’t make the turn to avoid me, so a collision resulted that neither of us wanted. Surfing can be a dangerous sport, and accidents happen, though we do what we can to ride safely so everyone can enjoy the waves. We're all surfing the same ocean, seeking the same thrill in playing on the swells.

If my posts offended anyone, especially the girl on the green surfboard, I sincerely apologize.

24 January 2011

Until There are Armored Wetsuits

As I sit with my left leg propped up, recovering from a fin hit to my thigh a few days ago, I’m stewing about my forced hiatus from surfing and ruminating on what could have prevented it.

I’m not sure why the woman on the green shortboard didn’t see me when she turned into my leg (red helmet, light blue board, definitely in her field of vision). It might have helped if I’d yelled loudly, but it seemed as if there was no time: she was about to hit me, and I needed to turtle fast in a futile attempt to use my surfboard as a shield.

What would certainly have lessened the damage is if she'd had Pro Teck fins on her board. Pro Tecks have a flexible edge designed to reduce fin cuts. I’ve got them on all of my boards (except the 9:Fish, which employs an unavailable size). There are some gruesome photos on Surf Co Hawaii’s website that document the destruction wrought by ordinary fins. When I was learning to surf, one not-very-serious, self-inflicted fin cut was all it took for me to adopt this sensible safety measure. In subsequent years, I’ve had occasion to hit my legs hard into two of these fins, causing both fins to break, but I was not cut nor did I incur a significant contusion. Had the shortboarder employed them, my wetsuit would not have been slashed and I would not be limping around, unable to bend my knee past about 70 degrees without pain, and kept out of the water for who knows how much longer.

Sadly, I’m the only surfer I know who uses Pro Tecks. The reason I hear most often for sticking with standard fins is that Pro Tecks wouldn’t perform as well. Although an expert or pro surfer might make that case, at the beginner through intermediate levels, I really don’t think the difference would be that noticeable.

There’s more behind that excuse, however. Although it’s much more common, I’ve also noticed that many surfers don’t add nose guards to their boards, not even on a sharp and pointy thruster. Since the nose rides out of the water, any reasonable justification escapes me. Riding an unguarded thruster at a crowded break is like surfing with a spear attached to the front of your board, with the primary danger to other surfers. Standard fins are a danger to a board's rider as well. Although some people I know take the trouble to sand them to make the edge less sharp, they've still been cut during wipeouts (fortunately all were wearing wetsuits that took the main damage instead of their skin).

Although I’ve started to see more helmets in the lineup recently, very few surfers choose to wear them, another safety device forsworn. I can attest that a helmet has saved my head several times from a hard blow by my surfboard or another’s.

So what’s the reason most surfers won’t take reasonable steps to improved the safety of the sport for themselves and other riders? I can only attribute it to the machismo inherent in surfing, a fear that they won’t look cool, a statement that they’re so good they don’t need safety accessories, a concern that they’ll be seen as a kook. And me? Frankly, I don’t care what people think when they see me out in the lineup in my helmet, on a board with Pro Teck fins and nose and tail guards; if those things keep me a little safer, I’ll have more water time and less down time - and so will anyone I have the misfortune to run into.

For now, I wait for my leg to heal. Perhaps one day someone will invent an armored wetsuit to protect against injuries such as this. Hmm, that might also be useful against the toothsome Landlord...

22 January 2011

Blind People Shouldn't Surf in Crowds (Capitola)

With a big WNW groundswell coming up through the day, I had a notion that Capitola might be good for an early afternoon session. When Darren, J-Bird and I arrived, it was firing, with set waves on the outside peak going slightly overhead. Truth be told, I hadn't expected it to be quite that big. Still recovering from jetlag and a string of nights with little sleep, I was looking for something more mellow. But it the shape was good, long pealing rights, too nice to pass up on a warm summery day, although there was a dismaying crowd already on it.
J-Bird and I walked east on the beach to paddle out with less of the energetic whitewater in our path. Just after I reached the outside at an empty peak east of the main one, a set came through and I caught a fast and fun head-high right. When J-Bird joined me, I told her I'd stay there, away from the crowd. She soon paddled over to the main peak to meet up with Darren. I caught another fun wave, but then my peak clogged up with a six-pack of shortboarders, so I headed west to join my buddies.

I stopped to chat with Darren, who was sitting on the inside, but after a few minutes we both had to paddle toward the horizon to get out of the way of an outside set. We made it over the first wave or two, but the next was going to break farther out, and I knew I was too far in. Although she was dangerously close, a woman on a green shortboard* a bit outside and between us took off on the wave, dropping down with the breaking lip as the section closed out in front of us, and since the whitewater was about to hit me anyway, I turtled my board just a little early as a shield. She could have avoided me, and I can't believe she didn't see me, since I was wearing a red helmet and displaying my light blue surfboard in her direction as I rolled under it. (Perhaps I need to add a flashing light to the top of my helmet.) Nevertheless, instead of dropping in straight and bottom turning a few feet farther along, threading the needle between us, she inexplicably turned into me, and I felt a hard thunk and sharp pain in my left thigh as she rode her board right over me. Darren asked if I was alright, and I told him I wasn't sure but was going in to shore to check body and board. The rider had been thrown nearby in the collision, and she called out "sorry!" but didn't follow me in when I told her she'd hit my leg. The set waves were still rolling through and I caught a wave on my belly, foolishly deciding to pop up for the rest of the ride in. My leg immediately howled in protest and buckled, dumping me until I could catch another broken wave, this time all the way in on my belly.

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicOn the beach, I assessed the damage. My new Rip Curl wetsuit was torn and gashed across my thigh, and though my leg hurt a lot, and even more when I weighted it, there seemed to be nothing broken or cut. Thank the cold water that I was wearing 3 mils of protection against fin cuts. Recalling the thunk, I checked Emm over carefully, but she was unscathed. After testing the leg a little I decided I could probably surf some more - and besides, I had no ice, so 53-degree water was the next best thing.

With the tide dropping fast and the swell still rising, the waves were starting to close out more, and the paddle out was tougher than earlier. When I finally reached my previously-empty peak I was surprised that now there were 15 shortboarders on it, but I realized later I'd been pushed even farther east, almost to New Brighton. I caught a wave but again my leg refused to cooperate, and I fell. It was worse that it was my back leg that was injured, since it has to carry much of my weight on the drop. Stealing myself for the pain the next time, I caught a breaking right and popped up, staying vertical this time and riding it out, into an inside reform and all the way to the beach, where I got out and hobbled back through boulder-strewn sand to my car parked on Esplanade.

I'm glad of those two fun head-high rights I got before I was run over. But really, blind people shouldn't surf in crowds.

*In Indo, green shortboards are considered back luck. It was certainly true for me.

Surfline: Solid long period NW groundswell is on the rise this afternoon as some old WNW swell mixes in, and conditions remain mostly clean. Better breaks are good for shoulder-head high-overhead surf, with top exposures in the 2-3' overhead to double overhead range on the better sets. Winds are light/variable, with exposed breaks and those that can focus the longer period energy offering up some clean, workable corners. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 9.5 ft at 19.0 s WNW 06 / WIND WAVE: 2.3 ft at 5.0 s NW / WVHT: 9.8 ft / APD: 11.4 s / MWD: 297° Tide: 4' falling fast to 1.5'

20 January 2011

"The Wave" Review: Lots of Laird, Minuscule Maya

Traveling to Moscow involves moving ahead 11 times zones, effectively turning night into day. I had serious problems adjusting to the change, and found myself wide awake for large portions of the Moscow night, then struggling to stay awake during all-day work meetings that occurred while California slept. Insomnia gave me ample time to watch the surf movies I brought on my netbook, and to plow through a couple of books, including Susan Casey's The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean.

This review by the Waterman's Library is pretty spot on. I wanted to like the book, but it was somehow unsatisfying. Little errors in the sections where I have local knowledge made me skeptical of the rest. For example, Casey refers to Half Moon Bay as the sleepy fishing village by Mavericks, when in fact that's Princeton-by-the-Sea; the pleasant town of Half Moon Bay is several miles south and inland. Casey also describes the year-round uniform for surfing Mavericks as full up: wetsuit, gloves, booties, hood. Although I've not surfed Mavericks, I have surfed the near-shore breaks closest to it, and there are significant parts of the year when gloves and hoods are not worn by most surfers.

But my biggest disappointment with the book is its almost complete omission of women big wave surfers. Casey spends a lot of time with Laird Hamiliton, and though she tries to tone it down, it's clear she adores him. (To be fair, if he'd surfed a wave at Jaws on his jet-ski with me on the back, I'd think he was wonderful too.) Female chargers are not mentioned until page 245 of the 312-page book, and then get less than two pages. Casey describes seeing Maya Gabeira at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, where she's up for Girl's Best Performance. It's a distressingly sexist event, with the Billabong interviewer dismissing her accomplishments to call her hot and ask if she's single, and Occy congratulating Maya onstage and then asking her to get him a beer. Casey mentions nominees Jamilah Star and Jenny Useldinger in passing, then gives Maya just a few paragraphs to tell her story and comment on what it's like for a woman to participate in the testosterone-fueled sport of big wave surfing. I would rather the author had cut out a little of the Laird-worship to devote a whole chapter to this topic, as there is certainly enough interesting material and her almost total neglect of the subject is a striking omission. Perhaps I'll have to write a book on women who surf mountains, someday.

19 January 2011

Why I Dislike Surfing in Crowds

This writer* in Surfers Path sums up well why I avoid surfing in crowds. He's having a great early session in Bali when the break starts to clot up with a lot more surfers, one of whom drops in, collides, and then chews him out.
Suddenly I felt angry. I looked around and realised I was surrounded by maybe 50 people, all waiting for the same thing I was. It was a magic, beautiful, powerful thing we were waiting for, a little hit of the magic wave-bong. But at that moment it felt sordid. I felt more like a junky queuing for a methadone prescription.
There's something fundamental that changes when the ratio of waves to surfers gets low. The magic becomes elusive, displaced by anxieties of competition and concerns for collision. I'd rather seek a purer surfing experience in worse conditions than chase more perfect waves in a pack.

*Sorry I can't properly attribute, but after snapping a pic of this paragraph, I finished the magazine on the flight to Frankfurt and passed it on to Tracey, who by random chance was on the same plane.

15 January 2011

Balmy (Roosevelt & HMB Jetty)

The air was nearing 60 degrees when I arrived at Dunes for one more surf before I step into winter in Moscow. There we already a dozen surfers on the main peak, and I watched as a couple of 7- to 8-foot closeouts swept through the pack. Most made it over to the outside, but one got caught on the lip, his board flying high in the air as the hollow wave exploded in whitewater.

Luke joined me on the bluff top, and we decided to try slightly farther north at Roosevelt, where an empty peak looked perhaps a bit smaller and less bruising. As I pulled on my second glove at the the surf line, Luke announced "there's a rip right here," and headed into the water. Following him but too far behind to ask over the noise of  the shorebreak, I thought "Where??" Trusting but not seeing any rip, I gamely plunged ahead, only to find myself besieged by a relentless train of breaking waves, too short of period for me to make any forward progress on my 7'0". Finding myself in standing depth again, I pointed toward shore, because I had seen an unmistakeable rip farther north. I walked up the beach to catch it and made a nearly dry-hair paddle-out, then turned south to rejoin Luke, who had attained the outside. Halfway there, I was caught inside of a large set, and turtle-rolling didn't prevent me from being pushed close to shore once again. Sigh. I'll be glad when I've improved my skills down to a duck-diveable board. I got out, walked north and took my rip back to the nearest peak, where I decided to settle in. Sorry, buddy, I thought at distant Luke, but I'm staying here.

After riding a wave in, Luke tried to join me by using the same rip current, but he later told me he didn't luck into my timing and had a hard paddle out there as well, calling it one of the toughest days in recent memory. The waves were mixed up and sloppy, mid- and short-period swells duking it out, a far cry from Tuesday's sweet clean groundswell. I paddled for a few waves on the outside but didn't get into them, then found myself inside yet again as another big closeout set pushed through. I rode a couple somewhat unsatisfying inside reforms before deciding it wasn't worth another paddle out. Back on the beach, I signaled to Luke that I was leaving, then watched him land a wave that was his head-high (he's over 6 feet), ride briefly, and crash as it closed out in a smash of white spray. When he joined me on the beach, I told him this just couldn't be the surfing memory to tide me over through the cold days in Russia, so I was going the Jetty, where at least the washing machine would be set on something closer to the gentle cycle. He seconded my assessment and we tossed (not literally) our boards into the back his truck. I took off one glove to retrieve my car key, quickly covered the seat of my MINI Cooper with a trash bag and a towel, and drove a few miles north in my wet wetsuit.

The Jetty wasn't much better but it was smaller and cleaner, although there was a little crowd sprinkled along the peaks. I didn't have much time left to surf, but made the most of it. I got a nice left, working it through the inside into a reform close to the beach. A few other rides rounded out the session, and in the final minutes, I landed a ~head-high drop that had me whooping into a short ride. Until next time, Mother Ocean.
Sorry the Jetty video is a little water-droplet blurry, but look for a waverider at the start and Luke wiping out at the end.

Surfline: West swell has picked up a bit today with chest-head high+ surf at at the better breaks. Standouts are picking up some overhead waves. Things were a bit slow early with the deep high tide but clean conditions prevail with light winds. (Wave) SWELL: 6.2 ft at 12.1 s W 05 / 5.2 ft at 10.8 s WNW 04 / WIND WAVE: 3.0 ft at 4.8 s NW / WVHT: 6.9 ft / APD: 7.2 s / MWD: 265° (Met) WSPD: 12 kts / GST: 14 kts / WVHT: 6.9 ft / DPD: 12.0 s / WDIR: 330° / ATMP: 50.7° F / WTMP: 52.7° . Tide: 4-2 feet.

11 January 2011

Rabbits (Dunes)

Fun chest- to shoulder-high clean waves this morning in Half Moon Bay, and just my little surf posse on it: Luke, J-Bird and Jacob. The paddle out was easy and the lulls not too long. A few waves were fast and workable to the inside for long rides, while others were smaller and playful.
No better way to start the day than immersed in nature, washed by the ocean and surfing her waves, with a few buddies to share the stoke.
Title note: There were an abundance of rabbits at the State Beach early this morning, hopping away as I parked my car, darting down the path in front of me as I checked the surf, and peering out of the bushes. They faded away to their nests as darkness gave way to daylight.

Surfline: WNW(290-310) groundswell fades through the day today, offering up the most size early. Better breaks see mainly knee-waist-chest high surf, with top NW exposures pulling in some occasional sets in the shoulder high range. Conditions are mostly clean across the region with light ESE winds. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 3.0 ft at 14.8 s NNW 03 / WIND WAVE: 3.3 ft at 4.8 s SE / WVHT: 4.3 ft / APD: 5.0 s / MWD: 327° (Met) WSPD: 16 kts / GST: 19 kts / WVHT: 4.3 ft / DPD: 15.0 s / WDIR: 140° / ATMP: 52.0° F / WTMP: 52.9° F. Tide: 3 feet, falling slowly.

08 January 2011

A Lotta Stoke with My Friends (HMB Jetty)

J-Bird and Jacob, Luke and Beth, and I met up at the Jetty this morning for one last surf session with Nikki before she starts almost two months away from the ocean. The waves were glassy and chest- to head-high, the sun was shining in a clear blue sky, and there was plenty of stoke to go around.
Unlike Tuesday, I was surfing in The Zone, and it felt really good to be good. For the first hour plus, I was riding with style every makeable wave that came my way, and even surprised myself by landing and riding out some late takeoffs. Beth got her best wave ever, feet on the board all the way to the beach, and started spilling infectious stoke all over the lineup, sharing with friends and strangers alike. Soon after, she joined me and J-bird on a hoot-filled party wave.
Fun drops, fun rides; smiles, everyone!

Surfline: Solid this morning as WNW (285-310) groundswell peaks as a modest SSW (190-205) swell builds in. Better spots are good for solid well overhead to double overhead high surf, with the most openly exposed NW spots pulling in sets in the triple overhead zone. Winds are light out of the NE, keeping conditions clean for much of the region. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 8.5 ft at 14.8 s NW 02 / WIND WAVE: 1.6 ft at 3.8 s NW / WVHT: 8.5 ft / APD: 8.0 s / MWD: 312° (Met) WSPD: 8 kts / GST: 10 kts / WVHT: 8.5 ft / DPD: 15.0 s / WDIR: 10° / ATMP: 47.1° F / WTMP: 53.2°. Tide: 3-4 ft rising.

04 January 2011

Green Around the Gills (Indicators/Cowells)

I had high hopes for the first surf of 2011. Since a stormy weekend thrashed my Sunday surf plans with friends (who doggedly went anyway), it was four days into the new year before I got to surf. Big groundswell has the western breaks going well overhead, so a drive south to a more protected spot was in order.
I lucked into a great parking spot, on the street right next to the surf show. A professional photographer was capturing the moves of some really good surfers as Steamer Lane was pumping lovely overhead+ waves through the main peak. The waves dropped in size as they wrapped around the point, with Indicators generally chest- to head-high and Cowells waist- to chest-high, while plus sets were rolling in regularly. I walked across barely-submerged low tide reef and paddled out at Indicators. It was crowded, of course, but that was not to be my biggest problem.

A friendly surfer within 10 feet of me and closer to the peak offered me an incoming wave, which I promptly lost, falling as the wave broke before I reached my feet. D'oh! I don't know if he was watching, but I redeemed myself a few minutes later, getting a long ride on a nice shoulder-high right nearly to outer Cowells. Making my way back to Indicators, I had to turtle-roll under waves several times, and that is when my troubles began.

From my father, I inherited a love of flying (for me, along the face of waves; for him, in small planes), and a big nose. My Streisand-esque schnoz is a splendid scoop for sending seawater swirling through my sinuses to my stomach. One of the reasons I dislike turtle-rolling is that the maneuver is particularly prone to causing seawater ingestion via this route, and during one roll this afternoon I felt it strongly. Uh-oh. I probably should've eaten something right before I got in the water. I take Dramamine before every surf session to forestall the seasickness I suffer periodically. (I suspect it may be a placebo to some extent, since I skipped in in Hawaii last year with no ill effects.) But as my brother the doctor says, there's nothing that can save you from the nausea of seawater in an empty stomach. You'll be fine, I told myself, wanting it to be true, willing it to be true.

I soon discovered that there was a strong eastward current, as I paddled and paddled trying to get back to my spot at Indicators. Eventually I made it, but I couldn't seem to put myself in the right position in the crowd to catch any more of those nice waves, although I got a few short rides. I kept finding myself at the lull point between warbly sections. I decided that at halfway to sunset, I'd travel over to Cowells, where I'd seen a less-crowded peak on the inside. Starting to feel none too good, I stopped paddling against the current and soon drifted to outer Cowells. I caught a few more little rides toward the inside, then a nice long one that took me far in and close to the wharf. The greasy, frying-flesh smells wafting from the wharf restaurants didn't help my worsening condition. I made another long paddle back to an inner peak, but again my positioning was off, and my performance was deteriorating as well. Just one more. I caught a bigger wave as it broke, standing at its top 5 feet above the water surface, and saw a woman perilously close to my landing spot. I knew I had to stick the drop lest I land on her, and I did, though the whitewater tossed me just after.

The nausea had now become so strong I wanted nothing more than to curl up on the sofa wrapped in a blanket. All the joy sucked from my surf session, it was time to go. Now I wanted any wave, whitewater, whatever, as long as it could push me to the beach. Two such rides later, I dragged out on the sand, with miles to go before I could rest. Un-stoked.

Surfline: New WNW-NW groundswell is on the rise this afternoon, as some small Southern Hemi swell mixes in and our old WNW swell mix drops out. Better breaks are good for chest-shoulder-head high+ surf, with some occasional 2-3' overhead sets working through at top exposures. Light Westerly winds keep conditions fairly clean through town, with most breaks offering up some scattered, workable corners as the tide heads for a negative low, bottoming out right around 4:30pm. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 8.9 ft at 16.0 s WNW 01 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 3.6 s NNE / WVHT: 8.9 ft / APD: 11.2 s / MWD: 288°. Tide: Negative low.