31 July 2011

Catch and Release (Kelly)

I held out hope for good waves at Teslas this morning on a mid rising tide with a SSW groundswell in the water. Alas, J-Bird reported it wasn't looking much better than last week. She and Jacob surf-checked from Pacifica through Half Moon Bay. There were good waves at Montara but it was crowded, so they told me to come to Kelly (Francis Beach), which was the best of the rest. We had it to ourselves for a while before a few other guys paddled out.

The bane of our meager serving of south swells this summer has been concurrent south winds. They were light this morning, but still textured the sea with chop. Many of the waves were closing out, and I caught quite a few but declined to commit to the smashing drop, engaging in a sort of wave catch-and-release. You gotta know when not to go. I tried to practice some of Friday's surf coaching lesson, following the wave's cues and paddling left or right for better placement before going in, but the waves made this tricky by being disorganized and shifty. Easier to practice was body positioning; an inch forward on my board is starting to feel more natural, and my knees only bent up once or twice. Finally I found a shoulder on a left for a nice ride. On another left, as I took the head-high drop, a backwash mogul appeared in the face, bouncing me up and then tipping my board nose-down faster than I could react. Crash! It was fun nonetheless. Getting back out through the shorepound after that tumble was challenging and involved a holddown that found me glad when my feet hit the sand so I could push up for air. It wasn't small out there today.

As always, there was a wait for my last wave to come in. It was a right with a short shoulder, and took me close to shore. Then Jacob rode the wave of the day, and I caught it on video:
Surfline: Our NW swell mix continues this morning as small, fading SSW (190-200) Southern Hemi swell mixes in. Knee-waist high+ surf is fairly common now, although the better exposures can see a few larger sets at times. Light SW-WSW wind now for generally smooth surface conditions. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 5.6 ft at 8.3 s NW 61 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 3.6 s W / WVHT: 5.6 ft / APD: 7.8 s / MWD: 305° (Met) WSPD: 6 kts / GST: 8 kts / WVHT: 5.6 ft / DPD: 8.0 s / WDIR: 190° / ATMP: 56.3° F / WTMP: 58.3° F. Tide: 3' rising to 4.5'.

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