22 September 2011

Coaching: Poaching (The Hook)

Our first WNW groundswell of the fall season filled in overnight. With the buoy showing 12' @ 16s, I thought the waves would be much bigger than they were, and so did a lot of people. The Hook still had nice size, shoulder to overhead, but the crowd had turned out for more. Barry led me around from the second peak to Sharks and back again, looking to poach some of the smaller waves from the pack.
On a spacecraft, there's a mechanism that's used to position the reflectors. It has two components, one coarse to get the reflector in the vicinity of the desired location, and another for fine-tuning to the exact spot. Barry helped me to be in the right general area, and his break knowledge and experience were invaluable in the crowded conditions. But then it was up to me to be in just the right place at the right time, when traffic would allow me to get a wave.

For a while I wasn't having much luck, but ended up with four solid rides. On one, I was following Barry right to correct our drift, when he said, "Are you going to go for this one?" The wave was almost upon me and I sat up quickly, slid back, spun around and paddled right into it for a nice drop and ride. Woot!

Barry noticed that I'm paddling stronger back to the lineup, so all those swim sprints must be doing some good. My wave judgment, timing and positioning are also getting (incrementally) better; today my ratio of waves paddled for to waves ridden was high with no takeoff crashes like the last coaching session. There were a few I missed because I wasn't deep enough, but I didn't go for any that were clearly too steep/deep.

There was a bold sea otter in the lineup, putting on a show between sets just a dozen feet away. When he bent forward to scratch his upper back, he curled into a spinning otter-ball, rolling head over heals, 'round and 'round in the water. I don't bring my waterproof camera out on coaching sessions because I want to focus on surfing, but I wished I had it then.

When it was time for just one more, I stroked into a nice head-high right and turned quickly on the shoulder for a little face time before it sectioned. I kept riding, all the way to the beach. Stoked!

Surfline: New NW groundswell peaks with chest high to 1-2' overhead waves at good spots. Standouts go 2-3'+ overhead on sets. Small S-SW swell blend mixes in with 2-3' sets. Light winds early. Patchy, dense fog possible. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 14.4 ft at 13.8 s WNW 77 / WIND WAVE: 2.3 ft at 4.8 s NW / WVHT: 14.4 ft / APD: 11.3 s / MWD: 302° (Met) WSPD: 12 kts / GST: 16 kts / WVHT: 14.4 ft / DPD: 14.0 s / WDIR: 300° / ATMP: 54.1° F / WTMP: 56.8° F. Tide: Peaking high at 4'.

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