25 September 2011

Salad with Loggers (Linda Mar)

Sunday services at the Church of Surf were scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Scott and I arrived a bit late at the south parking lot, where he detached his bike from the MINI's roof rack and peddled off on the bike path. This being Linda Mar, many congregants were already gathered in the water, but my buddies were nowhere to be found. I suited up but was not looking forward to paddling out alone on the south end; the bigger, emptier waves to the north looked more enticing.
As I texted Luke for his ETA, he pulled into the lot in his shiny new blue Subaru WRX, and said that Emily and Max had followed him but turned into the north lot. Finally, I would get to meet a couple of Twitter friends I've been conversing with online for over a year. Sure enough, as I walked to the beach with my board under my arm, Emily appeared on the sidewalk. Odd that, meeting someone in real life for the first time, you'd hug like old friends, but that's how it is in the internet age.

Emily, Max, and Luke, who's wearing seaweed
I paddled out alone at the extreme south end by Boat Docks. The seaweed was heavy just off the beach, but for strength training purposes I paddled halfway out towing a pile of it on my leash. It's amazing how much drag a small hunk of kelp can create. I soon found my place well inside and closer to the peak than the few longboarders who'd taken up station there. The rest of the beach, except for the north, was clotted with surfers and closeouts, but happily Boat Docks was less populated, and I was the only one not on a log. I was perfectly positioned to pick off the waves the longboarders let slip by, especially as most didn't seem to notice the current kept pushing them too far outside. I was ever on the move, staying lined up with the deck of the last house on the hill and the sloping wooden boat ramp extending from a beach house. Goofyfoot joy, it was all lefts, and I caught a bunch. I rode the first too far inside, falling off flat into what seemed a watery salad of chest-deep loose seaweed. I towed my heavy leash outside of the vegetated zone before clearing it from my board and body. After that I tried to turn out before reaching the salad bar.
Emily and Max
Luke, and then Emily and Max, paddled out some time later. Max's board is a 10-footer and weighs 60 pounds! (That's 3 meters and 27 kgs for my friends outside the USA.) The waves were more suited to longboarders, waist-high+, mushy and slow, and the offshore was working to push me off them before I could get over the lip, but I challenged myself to be in the right place to ride on my 7'0". For sure coaching has increased my wave count; I'm getting better at predicting the peak and moving to that place, and I'm turning up my speed to get into waves. As I paddled for one next to Emily, I was closer to the peak, looking over my shoulder to see how the wave was forming up. I said, "I don't think I'm going to get this one - it's too mushy," assuming she would take it on her longboard, "but I'm going to try!" I kicked it into high gear, catching the wave, pushing the nose down against the wind, and popping up with my weight forward - surprising myself that I was riding. Later, as light rain began to fall, Luke repeated something our buddy John had told him, that when you get to a certain skill level, you can ride anything with anything, i.e. any wave with any board. (My surf coach disagrees, saying that while you can more quickly adapt once you reach a high level of wave judgment and body/board awareness, you'll still kook it up for a while on a new wave-riding device.) I've a long way to go, but I feel that I'm moving toward that place.
It was a fun morning, all the better for the presence of friends and for low expectations that were more than fulfilled.
Lining up on a boat ramp
Afterwards, Scott and I stopped by J-Bird's booth at Fog Fest in Pacifica. I'd forgotten to bring a t-shirt to put on after surfing, and she hooked me up with a nice one from her Birdswell line.

Surfline: NW-WNW (280-310+) swell on tap along with small SW groundswell. Decent exposures see shoulder-head high waves, while standout areas get overhead+ sets. SW-WSW wind early for some very minor surface texture (S wind protected areas offer up some cleaner waves). Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 7.5 ft at 10.0 s WNW 78 / WIND WAVE: 0.7 ft at 3.7 s W / WVHT: 7.5 ft / APD: 9.1 s / MWD: 296° (Met) WSPD: 8 kts / GST: 10 kts / WVHT: 7.5 ft / DPD: 10.0 s / WDIR: 160° / ATMP: 57.4° F / WTMP: 56.3° F. Tide: 4' rising to 5'.


  1. Glad you got some good ones. Fun surfing with you finally. Let's do it again!

  2. My God. So many people out there!

  3. For sure, let's surf again soon, Emily!

    That's Linda Mar, Ramsnake. Always crowded, even when it's crappy. But I found a spot.

  4. These are great updates. Keep it up.