06 March 2011

One in a Million (Linda Mar)

I knew conditions would be challenging this morning, with a stormfront passing though. Wind forecasts were all over the place - Half Moon Bay might be pretty glassy, or it might be blown out by strong southerlies. With the winds anybody's guess, I planned for the best tide, at mid-morning. Past halfway to the coast, my surfing buddy called to say he wasn't feeling up to a rain surf, and my choice of surfing spots narrowed to those I feel comfortable surfing alone. Some breaks are just too isolated for a solo session (I could get injured and drift off toward Japan without anyone noticing), and others are too intimidating to surf without a little friendly encouragement.

There were no cars parked at the side of the road by the Jetty, and I soon as I opened the car door and stepped into the drizzle, I knew why. A steady wind was blowing onshore, flattening the surf and hacking it into pieces. I ducked back inside and drove north. Passing Montara, I saw a bunch of surfers on the south end, and brief flashes of pretty clean and big waves. Linda Mar was the end of my road, and I was dismayed that so many people had come out to surf in the rain. But the wind was light, so I decided to give it a go.
While I changed into my wetsuit in the south lot, a non-surfer in a dented black SUV held together with bungee cords pulled up a few spaces away. Rap music was blaring on his stereo as he stood next to the open door, the crotch of his pants drifting near his knees. I would have though both the music and the low-slung pants had fallen out of style by now, or perhaps that's just wishful thinking. After hanging out in the parking lot for nearly the time it took me to change, he took his silly pants and not-to-my-taste music off down the road. Just as I bent to pick up my board and head for the water, a guy crossed the parking lot aisle and I could tell he was intending to talk to me. What, begging money for gas? I thought, Didn't he see me just lock up, and here I am quite wallet-less in my wetsuit?! To my mild surprise, he said he'd recognized me and my Coffey board - he had one too - and he wanted to tell me how much he likes my blog, especially the gear reviews. I guess this was a few more seconds in my 15 minutes of fame. (I guess I'd also better start working down my list of tardy gear reviews.) Luke tells me that a lot more people recognize me than I realize, and indeed it's true. I still have a mindset that hardly anybody reads my little old wave journal.
 As I crossed the packed sand to the water, I saw it was so crowded that there were no empty or even semi-empty peaks for me. Heading straight out in front of Taco Bell (No churros today, TB? They would've smelled so good), I set up camp on the inside, waiting for scraps, feeling like just one of a million surfers at Linda Mar. I was able to pick some off, nothing epic, but decent lefts, especially since the crowd on the peak seemed sometimes not to notice they were drifting south. When I felt I was getting almost in riders' way a few times, I moved farther out, close to the pack. The danger of this position was made clear when I backed off from catching a wave for traffic, and a fat old longboarder kept paddling right beside me, almost hitting Emm as I pulled back and barely heeding my sharp warning in time to avoid slamming into the rider.

Despite the masses, I found my way into a fun long left with a nice shoulder. Then the slack wind kicked up a notch, blowing offshore, once gusting so I hard I got pushed off the back of wave with no hope of making it down the face. Absent the gusts, I got in some good practice at forcing my weight forward and down enough in the face of the offshore to make the ride. Then the herd seemed to overcompensate for drift, moving past me to the north while I stayed in front of Taco Bell. I caught a sectiony one into the beach and looked in vain for rainbows as I changed into dry clothes in a sunny drizzle. Earlier I'd put almost $60 of gas in my car's tank (!), and now I'd put some stoke into my own.
Surline: Southerly flow for smooth, clean surface conditions. Waves stay fairly weak/crumbly overall though. Mid-period WNW swell on tap today with shoulder-head high+ waves fairly common. Top breaks are up to a couple feet overhead on the best sets. Light southerly wind on tap for semi-textured/crumbly conditions, although S wind protected areas remain clean. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 5.9 ft at 10.8 s W 20 / WIND WAVE: 3.3 ft at 4.2 s S / WVHT: 6.6 ft / APD: 6.7 s / MWD: 270° (Met) WSPD: 19 kts / GST: 23 kts / WVHT: 6.6 ft / DPD: 11.0 s / WDIR: 150° / ATMP: 52.2° F / WTMP: 52.5° F. Tide: 3' rising to 4'+.

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