02 November 2011

Into the Sun (HMB Jetty)

Daylight savings time ends next week, which means the return of dawn patrols but also forecloses workday sunset sessions until next spring. With winds forecast light all day, I decided to get in one last sunset surf and enjoy what may be summer's last breath before a cold storm fills in later this week. The weather did not disappoint; it was nearly 70 degrees and sunny when I arrived at the Jetty. Still I wore gloves and attached my hood, which I was glad to put on as the sun dropped to the horizon and a light breeze arose.
There were more surfers than I expected already in the water and just making the post-work dash across the road. The main peak looked best, so I paddled out to join the little pack. Unfortunately, before I'd even ridden a wave, I surfaced in froth and took in an accidental swallow of seawater. Uh-oh. I tried by shear force of will not to let it get to me, but grew increasingly nauseated as the session went on.
The downside of all the sunshine was that I was looking into the sun for waves, the brightness intensified by the long reflected trail of light on the near-glassy surface of the water. For the first time in a while, I wished I'd worn my Sea Specs sunglasses. The glare made it difficult to see, and I misjudged my placement on a few waves. I still have to remind myself to keep looking back at the wave until the last, but am getting better at making the final go/no-go decision.
I snagged a couple rights from the edge of the group on the main break before moving a little south to a shiftier and less consistent but empty peak. I was rewarded with a handful of nice lefts and another right. My surf coach has observed that a surfer's hand positioning helps the upper body connect with and control the lower body and the surfboard. I've been web-watching the Rip Curl Pro at Ocean Beach this week, and there is something to that. I tried to mimic it today, and while it feels a bit awkward, it does seem to work.
The sun fell to the sea in an orange blaze and I shivered as the temperature fell below 60 degrees. The last wave is always a while in coming, but I found a right that took me partway to the beach before being subsumed in another. Ah, sweet sunset session! Until next year.
Taken with Google Nexus One; all other media recorded with Panasonic Lumix TS3
Surfline: It's a beautiful fall afternoon with sunny skies and light offshore flow continues. Our NW swell mix is fading, but still providing good waves in the head high range at the exposed spots, with some overhead sets at best breaks. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 6.2 ft at 12.9 s NW 90 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 3.8 s SSW / WVHT: 6.6 ft / APD: 8.5 s / MWD: 304° (Met) WSPD: 2 kts / GST: 4 kts / WVHT: 6.6 ft / DPD: 13.0 s / WDIR: 40° / ATMP: 59.9° F / WTMP: 57.7° F. Tide: 4.5' falling to 4."

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