24 August 2011

Coaching: Active Wave Reading (Linda Mar)

With Santa Cruz next to flat, Barry came north to San Mateo County for our coaching session this morning. I planned to surf check Half Moon Bay first, and if necessary drive north to Linda Mar, bypassing Montara where there was another sighting of a large great white shark just yesterday morning.
Glassy shorepound under fog in Half Moon Bay
Alas, all I found in Half Moon Bay was bunnies, fog, glassy shorepound, and yellow wildflowers.

Linda Mar was pumping out surprisingly fun waves with actual shoulders. Barry initially pointed to a less-populated peak near the pumphouse, but we passed it by and kept walking to the bigger shortboard section at the north end. He was riding a leashless Soft-top, backwards, and I was on my 7'0" Emm as usual.

Today was about active wave assessment, building on the last session's paddle-to-the-peak lesson. He said to imagine myself at the center of a compass, with waves breaking at various points around it, and work on knowing where on the compass an incoming wave would peak so I could move to that spot. Also, when paddling for a wave, I should keep looking over my shoulder to assess how it's forming up so I can make any necessary adjustments, adding a final glance at the last second, just in case.

I got a bunch of nice chest- to head-high waves, mostly lefts. It's so sweet to swoop into a bottom turn on a glassy green wave and actually get to see the face in front of me.
Barry noticed as I paddled for one wave that my board's nose dipped underwater as the swell reached me, but I arched my back to pull it up and continued on to pop up and ride. I hadn't thought about doing that; I just did it. Progress. He encouraged me to get stronger by paddling back out to the lineup at a fast clip, saying I should "feel the burn." That's tough, since paddling through whitewater often makes me tired anyway, though I'm giving it a go. And I sure am feeling it in my shoulders now. But so totally worth it. Stoked!

Surfline: Fog continues to linger along the coast this morning, making it very difficult to see the surf. In the water we have a bit more NW swell-mix showing than the past few days, and that is mixing with some trace SW Southern Hemisphere energy. Expect most openly exposed ares to offer up knee-waist-chest high waves, with some larger set to shoulder high for top exposures. Winds are light onshore, likely continuing to keep conditions jumbled and pretty poor overall. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.3 ft at 9.1 s WNW 68 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 3.7 s WNW / WVHT: 4.3 ft / APD: 7.0 s / MWD: 294° (Met) WSPD: 0 kts / GST: 0 kts / WVHT: 4.3 ft / DPD: 10.0 s / ATMP: 55.0° F / WTMP: 56.3° F. Tide: Around 4'.


  1. Sounds lie good progress SG. Excellent!

  2. Yes! I wish I'd started with a coach a long time ago.

  3. I would love to learn how to surf. I just moved to the coast and it seems like everyone here goes surfing. This summer, I'm going to look for a surfing coach.

    Susan Hirst | http://www.costa-rica-surf-adventures.com/inter_surf_coaching.html