07 August 2011

Slim Pickings (HMB Jetty)

Last night while wandering around on the web (I don't understand why they call it surfing), I found this:
On August 3, 2011 Jeff Clark, professional surfer and surf shop owner, had been surfing at the South end of Montara State Beach. It was 9:45 AM and he had been in the water for about 90 minutes. Air and water temperatures were estimated at 57 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was 10 feet deep over a sandy bottom with about 4 feet of visibility. The ocean floor at this location drops off to a depth of 100 feet within ¼ of a mile from shore. The sky was clear with a SW wind at 8 – 10 knots. The ocean swell was 5 feet at 7 – 10 seconds. Marine mammals were observed at Montara, Pescadero and Mavericks outside of the rocks. Clark reported; “I had been surfing for 1 1/2 hours when my leash came off my ankle and I swam in. I decided not to go back out even after I had re-attached my leg rope. Got to the parking lot and was watching the surf when I saw the shark. I saw about 10 feet of the shark's back exposed, out of water. It was very distinctive.”
Like most surfers, I try to forget about sharks. That's not too hard most of the time; I've never seen one in the water in all my years surfing (and hope I never do), and only know a couple of people who have. It's also not hard to dismiss many of the local sightings logged on Pacific Coast Shark News because they're vague or perhaps the reporter was mistaken (it was really a dolphin, yeah?). But this sighting was by legendary waterman Jeff Clark, and if he says he saw a 10-foot+ shark, I believe it's true. Still, since Montara was a potential surf spot for this morning's session, I really wished I hadn't stumbled on to that news. Not that I think the shark's still hanging around there, waiting for a seal-like black-wetsuit-clad surfer to stray too close, or that I don't think it could've moved south 5 miles, but because the thought of the lurking Landlord would be creeping me out the whole time. Montara was off the list.

As it turned out, Montara probably wouldn't have been a good choice anyway. With a steady WNW breeze, the exposed beaches were all on their way to being blown out, except for the semi-protected Jetty. After surf-checking other spots in Half Moon Bay, that's where Manabu and I met up. Steve joined us later in the water.
Steve and Manabu
The waves at the Jetty weren't good, just cleaner than elsewhere. small and breaking near the beach. Low expectations. It was cool and drizzling, more April than August. Steve started to talk about the sighting and Manabu shrugged it off but I cut him off; it's a rule that you can't speak about the Man in the Gray Suit while in the lineup.

I was blowing waves at first, but realized that the inch forward on my board had crept into more, and pulled my paddling position back. I ended up with three solid rides before the shivers drove me out of the water. The backside ride in came with a mogul for a second little drop. Low expectations + friends = fun surf!

Surfline: A blend of NW windswell, small SW-SSW Southern Hemi energy and some SSE-S tropical swell has exposures seeing knee-waist high+ surf. Top breaks get occasional sets around chest-shoulder high. Conditions are a bit funky with onshore wind and a full tide, but generall rideable nevertheless. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 3.9 ft at 7.7 s NW 63 / WIND WAVE: 5.2 ft at 4.8 s NW / WVHT: 6.6 ft / APD: 5.9 s / MWD: 320° (Met) WSPD: 16 kts / GST: 19 kts / WVHT: 6.6 ft / DPD: 8.0 s / WDIR: 310° / ATMP: 55.8° F / WTMP: 56.5° F. Tide: +/-3'.


  1. I was looking at th3 link you put up for the Calavera swimwear and was thinking about trying one but I was wondering how you avoid that painful rashburn on the backs of thighs, etc. when wearing a bikini while surfing. It seems like every time I try it in a warmer climate I get that burn quickly and have to go to my shortie wetsuit anyway. Any tips? Thank you and love your blog so much!

  2. Thanks! I'm afraid I've never surfed in just a bikini though (rashguard + boardshorts instead), so I can't advise on the rash. But I would like to test a bikini sometime, and when I do I'll be sure to blog about it!