25 March 2012

A Hole in the Rain (Sharks)

Once again, a storm rolled in for the weekend, with heavy rain on Saturday. It looked like the only window in the weather might be early Sunday, and with a low tide at dawn, that meant a trip south to the reef breaks of Santa Cruz. As I drove along my suburban street in the dark, a skunk trundled up a driveway, and my headlights illuminated a raccoon loping across the street. A misty drizzle dusted the windshield until I reached the coastal side of the Santa Cruz mountains and it began to rain in earnest. I was half hoping for showers, to keep the crowd down and save more waves for me at the Hook, but by the time I pulled into the parking lot, clear morning sky was appearing through rainless clouds.
There was already a pack on the main peak as I descended the stairs in the pale light before sunrise, past a memorial to a surfer who died there last week, so I walked east on the sand and paddled out near Sharks. For much of the time, it was just me and two longboarders. One of them was a good surfer who sat outside and claimed inconsistent nice rides. The other was my counterpart on a bigger board, making some and missing or getting rolled on others. The low-tide exposed kelp was confounding, forcing me out of the best position or ensnaring my legs. I got a few meh waves amidst wipeouts before deciding that I had a better chance at finding shoulders if I moved moved eastward where the waves weren't so closed out and sectiony.
There I got a couple of good albeit short rides; they sectioned too soon, but I had a taste of shoulder and got in a turn or two. As I waited in the lineup, a young harbor seal swam past, looking at me with big eyes before moving away. The sun poked out from behind the clouds, and suddenly there were three other shortboarders on my peak. One of them was king of late take-offs, getting ride after ride, dipping his head under the curl. Ah, someday I will get there.
A light offshore breeze added to the chill of the 46 ºF (8 ºC) air despite the increasing sunshine, and shivers drove me to shore after another quick ride and tumble. The shallows teamed with life, both plant and animal.
Sea grass
I'm a little disappointed that I'm not progressing faster on my shortboard, but still stoked!
Surfline: Expect shoulder-head high+ sets with semi-drained conditions on the low tide this morning. WNW (285-320) swell blends with small SW energy today for shoulder-head high+ surf at exposed areas. Clean early with light wind. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 7.2 ft at 12.9 s NW 26 / WIND WAVE: 2.6 ft at 4.5 s SSE / WVHT: 7.6 ft / APD: 8.1 s / MWD: 306° (Met) WSPD: 12 kn / GST: 16 kn / WVHT: 7.6 ft / DPD: 13.0 s / WDIR: 130° / ATMP: 49° F / WTMP: 50° F. Tide: 0.5' rising to over 1'.

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