23 October 2011

Smashing Pumpkins (HMB Jetty)

Today's semi-monthly mass surf meetup was to be followed by skating. At the suggestion of my surf coach, I just bought a skateboard, a Sector 9 Orange Crush. I've never had a desire to ride a skateboard, since falling on pavement is significantly more unkind than falling in water. But Barry rightly pointed out that not much of a surf session is actually spent riding waves, so a good way to get more time on my feet practicing turns would be to do that on a skateboard. So OK, I'm in. I was surprised to learn how many of my surf buddies also skate; in fact, it's most of them. And a couple offered to show me the ropes this morning.

Unfortunately today's surf 'n' skate plans kind of fell apart, so it's a good thing I bugged my coworker David into giving me some skating tips in a parking lot near work Friday. Still, several of us met up at the Jetty to surf. By the time I finally arrived, Luke, John, Heather and her husband Eric had already suited up, and I was badly in need of surf, determined pumpkin seekers having turned my normally half-hour drive to the Jetty into a trek of more than an hour and fifteen minutes. I checked the traffic to the beach on 511.org before I left, and it falsely showed yellow, just a little slowing. In real life, the line of cars started backing up on Highway 92 before I'd crested the mountain, and it was stop-and-go black almost to the coast road.
When at last the pumpkins came into view, I fantasized about driving my car through the field, smashing the lot of them. What insanity drives people to sit in such ridiculous traffic, just to pluck a pumpkin from a slightly muddy field, when they could buy one with their groceries at the supermarket for a lot less hassle? It defies comprehension. Needless to say, I was ready to scream by the time I pulled into the dirt lot at the Jetty. I knew the waves would be small there (and in fact had suggested relocating to a venue more open to the NW swell), but I needed to get wet ASAP and enjoy the company of my friends.
The traffic frustration started to wash off as soon as whitewater splashed my face on the paddle out, and disappeared with my first ride. We had fun party-waving the (at best) waist-high peelers. "Low Tide" John called me into waves with "Go, Flea!" The waves were tiny but offered shoulders, and I rode a bunch, almost all rights, despite being on my 7'0" when my friends were all on longboards. After Luke and then Heather and Eric left, Andy joined us, followed by Erin on her brand new surfboard when John switched off babysitting duties. The little girls rode my old 5'8" Xanadu Rocky in the whitewater. It was a gorgeous summer day in October, warm air and not-too-cold-water for a hoodless and gloveless experience, and I enjoyed the sensation of cold water flowing through my fingers once I got used to the shock of the chill. Waves, sun, friends - who could ask for anything more? (Well, some bigger waves, but that's what I get for hanging with longboarders!)
My old 5'8" Xanadu Rocky, resting on the beach in the left foreground
Surfline: Short-period NW (295-315) swell continues as small SSW (190-210) groundswell begins to ease. Things looks fairly soft/inconsistent initially as the tide approaches a 5'+ high. Decent breaks see knee-waist high waves, while top spots get inconsistent larger sets (especially as the tide begins to drop). Conditions are nice with light wind. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 5.2 ft at 7.7 s NW 88 / WIND WAVE: 1.3 ft at 4.0 s NW / WVHT: 5.6 ft / APD: 6.6 s / MWD: 325° (Met) WSPD: 2 kts / GST: 2 kts / WVHT: 5.6 ft / DPD: 8.0 s / WDIR: 110° / ATMP: 61.7° F / WTMP: 57.7° F. Tide: 3.5' falling below 2'.


  1. Nice. The pumpkins? Just a primitive instinct from the old hunter-gatherer days I guess. Strange ritual though.

  2. I'd get one from the grocery store. But that's just me.

  3. Damn pumpkin traffic! Sorry we didn't meet up but glad you had fun :) Kinda wish you had been at LM as the shortboarders were having a blast on steep waves.

  4. Wish I'd been somewhere with more NW exposure too. Montara looked fun when I drove by on my longer though quicker way home. But it was still good to get wet!