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.

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