05 May 2012

Serenity, Stoke and the Kindness of Strangers (Hook)

I didn't sleep in this Saturday. The call was for Santa Cruz again, since the San Mateo County breaks were almost certainly blown out and sloppy, and I knew the crowd would only get worse as the day went on. There were only a handful of surfers out when I arrived, and I sat on the inside at the main peak and rode a bunch of waves apparently deemed unworthy by those sitting farther out. The lulls were long, but I basked in the serenity, bobbing gently in the swell and listening to the peaceful sound of whitewater rolling over the uncovered low-tide reef at my back.
As more surfers came down the stairs and paddled out, I moved east to the next peak where I introduced myself to a couple of longboarders I'd seen on Thursday morning, Lauren and Jim. Lauren and I caught a wave together; I took the shorter left while she went right. Later, as I stroked for another wave, she asked if I was going left. "No." "OK, go for it!" And I caught my wave of the day, a long right with an open face that let me turn a little before closing out. Woot!
Later, I got video of Jim riding a wave on his yellow board as Lauren paddled back out with her 1-year-old dog, Sophie. 
Lauren is teaching Sophie to surf but Sophie's a beginner surfer dog; it was only her second time on a surfboard and she's still working on her balance.
Lauren and Sophie
I'd turned my glove inside out so the seam wouldn't bash my ring-finger when I popped up with my hand in a fist to protect my not-quite-ready-for-prime-time, almost un-sprained wrist, but still my right hand was feeling like I'd been in a fight. I took my last wave in, working it to the shallows, happy and stoked on the fun little waves of the morning.

After I rinsed my 7'0" at the shower, I stepped into the parking lot but remembered I'd taken a different space since my usual one was occupied. Turning toward the far corner, I tripped over the handicapped ramp and went sprawling across the pavement, Emm skidding to a stop in front of me. Oh, no! No fewer than four guys came instantly to my aid. Someone unwound the leash which, wrapped around my neck and caught under my board, kept me from rising, and strong hands lifted me to my feet. "Are you OK? Are you hurt?" "I'm OK, but I'm afraid to look at my board." One of the guys picked it up and handed it to me, and I was glad to see no major damage. "We're just glad you're alright!" I thanked them and walked more carefully the rest of the way to the car, where I dried Emm and found only fairly superficial scrapes on the rail that I can cover with clear plastic tape, for now. My elbow hurt a bit but my wetsuit was intact, so I was surprised to see a slightly bloody, not-small hole in my arm when I pulled the sleeve off. I must've landed on an exposed pebble in the old pavement. Opening the first aid kit from my gear box for the second time ever, I stuck a band-aid over the wound. Only as I drove away did I notice my other elbow was wet, bleeding from some lesser scrapes. The worst laceration took three stitches to close later at an urgent care. Who knew a parking lot could be such a dangerous place?

Still, the surf was fun! And there are no restriction on water time for the 10 days I'll have the stitches, so I'm grateful to be able to surf another day soon.

Surfline: Fun, glassy peaks staying super clean but a bit inconsistent overall. Mainly SSW groundswell with small, shorter period NW windswell mixing in. Look for somewhat inconsistent/lully waves mainly in the 2-3'+ zone for the better exposures of the region. Standout spots see occasional shoulder-head high SSW sets on the more favorable tides. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 6.9 ft at 9.1 s NW 34 / WIND WAVE: 7.2 ft at 7.7 s NW / WVHT: 10.2 ft / APD: 6.9 s / MWD: 315° (Met) WSPD: 23 kn / GST: 27 kn / WDIR: 330° / ATMP: 50° F / WTMP: 51° F. Tide: 1' rising to 2.5'.

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