29 April 2011

Rock, Wind, and Water (Dunes & Jetty)

After working 12 straight days, I finally got to take a day off. To beat the wind, I planned to meet Luke, J-Bird and Jacob at the Jetty at 7:30 this morning. The Js were early birds and reported the Jetty was really small - only ankle-high - but Dunes was bigger and pretty clean so we should surf there instead. When I arrived they were already in the water, and I suited up without walking to checking the surf. From the beach I saw head-high closeouts and a tough short-period paddle, with some rideable waves in the mix. I got a short video of Jacob making the drop on a overhead wave, but my fat-gloved fingers cut it off when I tried to zoom. Doh! 
The paddle out was a challenge, and once there, I had trouble getting into the mushy waves that would often jack up and dump at the last second. I saw Luke on the beach heading back to the parking lot and wondered if he'd forgotten something, but he didn't return. I caught several broken waves that fizzled shortly after I got to my feet, then got stuck inside and pounded for my efforts before slogging back to the lineup. Meh. I decided to cut it short and try the Jetty instead.

The rock that saved me
When I got to my car, I dialed the combination on the Master Lock 5400D key storage box holding the car key, and was surprised that it wouldn't open. The wind was coming up and I was shivering in my wet wetsuit. Borrowing J-Bird's iPhone, I called my husband who said he'd rent a car (we only own one) and come rescue me. Then in hopeful frustration, I hit the lockbox repeatedly with a rock, and it popped open. Yay! Bad lockbox! From now on, my key's coming in the water with me. I'll have to find another way to deal with the car door lock getting corroded from saltwater.

Luke had left me a text that he'd bailed for the Jetty, and I found him there just after his session. The waves were much more than ankle-bitters, going chest-high plus. With the wind now blowing strong from the north, side/offshore, I wish I'd gone there earlier. It was still pretty clean and holding up decently, but took effort to get over the lip in the face of the wind. The whitecaps moved from the outer bay into the lineup while I was out. Although I was tired from fighting Bunnies, I got a few fun waves, washed off the work weariness, and put some stoke in my tank.

Surfline: Shorter period WNW-NW (275-300+) swell mix is up this morning as small SW (225-205) swell mixes in. Size for better exposures is in the 3-4' zone, with some larger sets for top exposures up around head high at times. Winds are light out of the NNE-North early for semi-clean conditions, though winds look to shift more NW'erly and build through the morning. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 7.9 ft at 8.3 s NW 35 / WIND WAVE: 6.9 ft at 5.0 s NNW 34 / WVHT: 10.5 ft / APD: 6.8 s / MWD: 322° (Met) WSPD: 23 kts / GST: 27 kts / WVHT: 10.5 ft / DPD: 8.0 s / WDIR: 330° / ATMP: 49.5° F / WTMP: 50.7° F. Tide: 3' rising to 4'.

25 April 2011

Misty Monday (HMB Jetty)

I spent the weekend frustrated as the first south swell of the season rolled through while I was at work. Finally on Monday morning I was able to get to the coast for a surf. The wind, now light, had been doing unkind things to the sea, and the Jetty was a bit sloppy but producing rideable waist-high waves with occasional plus sets. On their drives down, Heather, J-Bird and Jacob checked Linda Mar (clean but almost flat with long lulls) and Montara (pretty sloppy), and we all decided the Jetty was our best bet. Gray skies drizzled cold steady rain as we changed by the side of the road.

J-Bird, Jacob and Heather waiting for waves
My heart wanted to ride 7' Emm, but lost the battle to my head, which thought 8' Magic more suitable for conditions. It was probably the right call, at least in terms of wave count and ride length, but I blew a couple of steep drops I would've landed with the shorter board. My first wave, riding left at the main peak, was replete with backwash moguls that I successfully navigated. Fun! I got a bunch more rides, mostly rights, and forgot about work for a while, enjoying a morning on the ocean. After about an hour, someone turned on the fan, increasing the chop and slop. We had the spot to ourselves, and I was first in, last out, grateful for another day to surf.
Surfline: SW-SSW (195-215) groundswell slowly eases this morning, mixing with new mid period WNW (270-300+) swell. Better breaks offer generally knee-waist high surf, as top exposures pull in some sets up in the chest/shoulder high zone. Conditions are generally an issue across the region with light-moderate Southerly winds. Select spots that can block some South winds are a little cleaner. Tide: 3.5' falling near 2'. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.3 ft at 16.0 s WSW 33 / WIND WAVE: 1.6 ft at 4.0 s SW / WVHT: 4.6 ft / APD: 6.4 s / MWD: 250° / 08:00a PDT (Met) WSPD: 10 kts / GST: 12 kts / WVHT: 4.6 ft / DPD: 16.0 s / WDIR: 190° / ATMP: 53.4° F / WTMP: 53.2° F / 07:50a PDT

20 April 2011

Magic Morning (Cowells)

Flexing my work schedule in anticipation of a late night, I was able to take the morning off and get in a more leisurely almost-dawn patrol. With a south swell in the water and the tide negative more than a foot, Cowells was the call. I met up with Luke and his newbie dad before paddling out and again in the water.
I brought Magic, my 8'3" hybrid longboard, and that was also a good call. The waves were waist- to chest-high with workable flat sections, and I needed the extra length and foam to get into and stay on them. It took no time for me to dial back into the longer board, but it sure doesn't turn like my 7'0" Emm. Despite the crowd and some lengthy lulls, I got some nice long rides and a big ol' heap of stoke!

Luke's dad was a little tippy. We've all been there.
Surfline: SSW(195-205) groundswell holds steady through the day, mixing with some minor NW energy. Most breaks get to waist high at best, as top Southern Hemi spots pull in some inconsistent waist-chest-shoulder high+ sets. Conditions are fairly clean, but a little drained as the tide heads for a negative low. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 3.3 ft at 14.8 s S 32 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 4.3 s W / WVHT: 3.3 ft / APD: 8.0 s / MWD: 188° (Met) WSPD: 10 kts / GST: 12 kts / WVHT: 3.3 ft / DPD: 15.0 s / WDIR: 150° / ATMP: 53.2° F / WTMP: 53.2°. Tide: -1' rising to less than zero.

14 April 2011

Bunnies! (Dunes)

Pink sunrise
I was hoping that Dunes would offer up some decent waves this morning since I haven't surfed there in a while, and it delivered: shoulder-high plus and pretty clean with little wind, but a bit inconsistent and mushy on the high tide although the drops could be steep. My dawn patrol surf posse came together too: Darren; his friend Noah, newly transplanted from SW Florida; J-Bird and Jacob; and old man Luke, celebrating his 30th birthday today. I arrived at first light and walked past many shy brush rabbits on my way to check the surf, shivering in the barely 40-degree air. (It felt more like January than April.) After tweeting the surf report to my buddies, I suited up and paddled out alone, trying not to think of the S-word.
J-Bird escapes just in time

There was a nice rip current to take me to the empty peak with relative ease, but other currents pushing south and outside made it hard to stay lined up. Just before the others joined me, I caught a sweet head-high right from the outer bar, working it past some flat humps into a smaller reform over the inner bar before it mushed out inside of the shorepound. Woot! I took another rip back out to the lineup but couldn't top my ride of the day, instead experiencing some fabulous wipeouts and humbling underwater tumbles.
Not worth standing, Darren?

Fun rides were had by all, including the birthday boy. Stoked smiles all around!

Surfline: A swamped-out combo of leftover NW (300-310+) swell-mix and trace SSW (190-200) groundswell is in the water this morning. Better breaks offer up chest-shoulder-head high surf, with some larger sets for top NW exposures. Winds are light, but most breaks are still looking poor to fair at best thanks to some residual lump/bump and a building tide that peaks just after 8am. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 5.6 ft at 10.8 s NW 31 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 4.0 s WNW / WVHT: 5.6 ft / APD: 7.7 s / MWD: 311° (Met) WSPD: 8 kts / GST: 10 kts / WVHT: 5.6 ft / DPD: 11.0 s / WDIR: 340° / ATMP: 50.0° F / WTMP: 53.1° F. Tide: above 4 ft.

10 April 2011

A Small Infusion of Cold Stoke (HMB Jetty)

Small, cold, sparse and clean pretty much sums up dawn patrol this morning. I had the Jetty all to myself when I paddled out at dawn - too silly chicken to do the same at more remote Dunes - but was soon joined by a couple other surfers. There were long lulls between set waves and I kept mis-positioning, then trying to take off too late for some impressive wipeouts in the waist-high waves. On one such, I saw my 7'0" surfboard go vertical, nose-down straight into the shallows as the wave pitched, but fortunately no harm was done to either of us. Eventually I found the sweet spot and got a nice left, fading to the peak to extend the ride as the wave flattened and reformed into a right before petering out in thigh-deep water.
I rode a few more little 'uns and shivered. It was a cold wait between sets, with the air in the low 40s and the water in the low 50s. The swell perked up again when Luke arrived, and I caught a couple more before I had to leave, getting introduced to Dan and hearing Luke's brief review of Soul Surfer in between. I think I'll still wait for it on Netflix.
Can't beat starting the week off with a surf!

Surfline: Smaller surf on tap this morning as fading NW (290-315) wind/groundswell mixes with easing SSW (190-200) energy. Decent NW exposures and combo breaks see 3-4'+ waves. Expect light onshore wind out of the NW with generally semi-bump/crumbly conditions at the openly-exposed areas. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 5.6 ft at 10.0 s NW 30 / WIND WAVE: 1.3 ft at 4.2 s WNW / WVHT: 5.9 ft / APD: 7.4 s / MWD: 312° (Met) WSPD: 10 kts / GST: 12 kts / WVHT: 5.9 ft / DPD: 10.0 s / WDIR: 320° / ATMP: 50.7° F / WTMP: 51.6° . Tide: 2.5' falling to 1'.

07 April 2011

Snakes, Hogs and Solitude (Hook/Sharks/Privates)

I've worked almost 40 hours this week already through Wednesday, including nearly 15 hours straight yesterday. That earned me a morning off - that, and the fact that I may need to work all night tonight. Cats and trains kept me from sleeping in, and there's swell in the water, so but of course I would go surf. It's powerfully windy all along the San Mateo County coast, so a drive to sheltered Santa Cruz was in order.
The Hook
When I checked the Hook there were only a few surfers on it. 38th Ave had a bigger pack with a bunch of janitors in the mix, and looked less clean. I couldn't pass up uncrowded Hook with fun almost head-high waves rolling through, even if they were a bit sectiony and closing out at times, but by the time I paddled out, a bunch more surfers had filled in the lineup. I caught a few but one shortboarder kept snaking me on nearly every wave, so I started to move east. There were only a couple guys out at Sharks when I headed that way, yet again, by the time I reached the lineup, more had joined. (Don't these people have jobs?!) I caught a few more, but several wave-hog longboarders weren't leaving anything for me farther inside on my 7'0", or for anyone else. I realized I had to make my own space, and stroked eastward to Privates where I found a private peak, just me and the sea. Then I got my wave of the day, a nice chest-high right with a long shoulder that I worked through a reform. The offshore wind picked up, pushing me off the back of an unfortunate number of waves as I tried to get over the lip. Determined, I forced all my weight against the nose of my board to hold it down and got another smaller but nice ride. Stoked!

Surfline: Healthy WNW-NW (280-315) groundswell mix holds steady as new SW (200-215) groundswell builds further this afternoon, with mainly chest-head high plus surf at well exposed spots, while top breaks are going overhead. Rising WNW winds in the early afternoon for a building bump at exposures. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 8.5 ft at 13.8 s NW 29 / WIND WAVE: 4.9 ft at 7.1 s NW / WVHT: 9.8 ft / APD: 7.9 s / MWD: 316° (Met) WSPD: 16 kts / GST: 17 kts / WVHT: 9.8 ft / DPD: 14.0 s / WDIR: 320° / ATMP: 48.2° F / WTMP: 51.6°. Tide: 0.5' rising to 1.5".

So One Ball Jay Got Caught in My Hair...

...the surf wax, that is. (Yeah, I'd never heard of it either, but when I ordered my new leash, it was either pay for shipping or thrown in a few bars of Jay and get it for free.) Usually when I put my surfboard on my head to carry it, I'm wearing a hood, but Monday was so warm that I hadn't yet suited up that far. The instant I placed Emm's freshly waxed deck atop my bare noggin I thought uh oh! but it was already to late. After melting into my hair and scalp during the surf session, the wax wasn't visibly obvious, but I could feel a matted spot that refused attempts to wash it out. So I asked the Tweeple for help in dislodging good ol' One Ball Jay. The responses on how to remove surf wax from hair broke down interestingly by gender, with the surfer guys offering quick but often flip and not very useful advice, and the girls giving less timely but practical tips. Read for yourselves:

Luke Kilpatrick
@ Wax Comb :)
@ Cynthia, get the "Slater" cut. We are all gonna love it.
Darren Mason
RT @: So how can I get surf wax out of my hair? // melt it with fire or hair dryer :)

Tracey Thompson
@ did you try peanut butter? that was my mom's old standby for getting gum out of our hair.
@ How about Goo-Gone or The Chief?
Emily Chang
@ it's weird there isn't a single search result @ surf wax, but some tips for candle wax (try oil to soften)

I didn't have occasion to try any of the remedies as the wax worked out on its own over several days with frequent hot shower scrubbings, but if ever if make that mistake again, I'll have a better idea of what to do. Thanks, surfergrrrls!

04 April 2011

Just Reward (HMB Jetty)

Since I worked over the weekend, I got to take this afternoon off. And what else to do on a warm sunny afternoon with a little swell in the water?
Conditions were similar to yesterday and just as stokifying.
Here's something you don't see everyday.
Surfline: Easing WNW (285-295) swell and holding SSW (195-210) energy holds up mainly waist-shoulder-head high surf, as top exposures pull in a few slightly overhead sets. Winds are light, but some of the more openly exposed breaks do see a little bit of surface crumble at the moment. Dropping tide for the remainder of the afternoon should help both size and shape at many breaks. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.9 ft at 10.0 s NW 28 / WIND WAVE: 2.3 ft at 5.6 s NW / WVHT: 5.2 ft / APD: 6.8 s / MWD: 312° (Met) WSPD: 14 kts / GST: 16 kts / WVHT: 4.9 ft / DPD: 8.0 s / WDIR: 300° / ATMP: 54.3° F / WTMP: 54.1° F. Tide: 3' falling to under 2'.

03 April 2011

Ms. Understood (HMB Jetty)

My job has been very demanding lately, and I had to work much of the weekend. When I got home late this afternoon after spending hours in a windowless room on a sunny Sunday, Scott said, "I know you've been stressed lately, so why don't we head to the beach so you can surf, and I'll go for a walk?" Ah, he does get me.
There was a strong sideshore breeze at the Jetty, the waves were only waist-high+ and the tide was low, but I felt much better as soon as the first drops of seawater splashed my face. A left was holding up a short shoulder and I was able to link it into a reform a couple of times to the inside, plus I caught a bunch of other short ones with the peak all to myself. Thanks, I needed that!
Surfline: WNW to NW wind and groundswell mix combined with some modest SSW groundswell today. Good breaks pulled in chest-head high+ surf while standout exposures produced 2-3'+ overhead sets. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 7.5 ft at 12.1 s WNW 27 / WIND WAVE: 4.3 ft at 5.3 s NW / WVHT: 8.9 ft / APD: 7.4 s / MWD: 298° (Met) WSPD: 17 kts / GST: 19 kts / WVHT: 8.9 ft / DPD: 12.0 s / WDIR: 330° / ATMP: 52.0° F / WTMP: 53.4° F. Tide: 1.5' rising to 2'.

01 April 2011

I Quit!

While I was waiting for my last wave yesterday, forced to leave the water earlier than I wanted by a mid-morning work meeting, I decided I'd had enough. Enough of work interfering with what's really important: surfing. Enough of being stuck inside in a gray-walled cubicle with a dirty window on beautiful sunny days. Enough of being on call at all hours of the day and night, like some sort of spacecraft doctor, but not getting paid like one.

So I quit, and we're outta here.Our house is underwater so the bank can have it. We've got some money saved up, so when we go to Kauai next month for vacation, we're going to rip up our return tickets (figuratively since they're electronic). We'll get a tent and camp on the beach. Sure, we'll have to smuggle our cats into the state like contraband and it may be a little crowded with the five of us in one tent plus three surfboards, but just think of the warm water waves right outside the flap. Aloha, pura vida and stoke!