28 July 2012

Wave Quest (Linda Mar)

This morning, I started my search for waves in Half Moon Bay. Dunes was small and breaking too close to shore...
...but the flowers were pretty, sprinkled with misty drizzle. Farther north, the Jetty was flat.
Montara was messy and sad with no takers. I thought I saw waves on the north end and stopped again to check it more closely, but no.
That left Linda Mar. Sigh.
I dithered on whether to try the north end, which had glints of fun amidst bigger closeout cleanup sets and a more punishing paddle out, or the cleaner and easier but smaller south end.
Since I'm already injured, I decided it wasn't worth the fight for slop on the north. As I walked down the beach, I had trouble holding my board against the wind until I reached the lee protection of the hill near Boat Docks.
My expectations were low when I paddled out. I kept distance from the longboarder clump, sitting on the next peak over with a couple of guys. 
My first wave was a fun left that let me play on the shoulder. I rode it unexpectedly long and finished with a smile. Of course that raised my expectations again.
Alas, another nice wave proved elusive. I rode some meh ones, then found a decent right in to the beach.
Linda Mar gave me one good wave and 25¢ for my trouble
Rockaway was "super fun" according to BD; maybe I should've driven a little farther. Still, I got one good wave, and sometimes that's enough. Stoked!

Surfline: Ankle to knee high occ. 3 ft. [Wrong! It was bigger, even on the south end.] Poor conditions. Soft, crumbly lines [and whomping closeouts] with some Westerly wind texture to the surface. Small-scale and weak overall. Increased NW windswell on tap today as fun-sized SSW (185-200) swell blends in. Average areas run knee-waist-chest high, while top breaks can see sets to shoulder high on occasion. SW-West wind early along with some texture and crumble to the surface at the openly exposed areas. Tide hits a 4.2' high around 8:30am. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 1.3 ft at 12.1 s SSW 58 / WIND WAVE: 7.6 ft at 9.1 s NW / WVHT: 7.6 ft / APD: 6.2 s / MWD: 312° (Met) WSPD: 19 kn / GST: 21 kn / WVHT: 7.6 ft / DPD: 9.0 s / WDIR: 320° / ATMP: 53° F / WTMP: 55° F. Tide: Around 4' high.

24 July 2012

Notorious (Linda Mar)

"You're surfergrrrl, right?" I'd just paddled over to Boat Docks to try to snag some little lefts from inside the pack of longboarders, when one of their number queried me. I turned and replied with a smile, "Yeah, that's me!" The longboard dude said he follows me on Twitter and he's @Artificehowdy. (Funny, I forgot to ask his real name.) I'd been getting frustrated a bit farther north, out with Marcia, and then J-Bird, Jacob and Luke, failing to ride more than a nanosecond of mostly closed-out rights. I was having trouble keeping the nose of my shortboard up on the steep drops; some positioning difference from my longer board that I hadn't adjusted for yet. @Artificehowdy's infectious and near-constant smile helped to dissolve the vexation (although I wish he hadn't offered the old surfer's adage "you shoulda been here yesterday!"). The inner lefts at Boat Docks were softer and I had more success, getting several whitewatery rides that ended over rocky shallows.
Luke said I probably needed a bigger board today, but the only way I'm going to learn to shortboard is by doing it. Even on meh days like this, I still come to understand more about how to catch waves and ride my 6'2", and fuel my surfing obsession with just enough stoke to keep me going until the next time.
Surfline: 2-3 ft+, poor to fair conditions. Clean long lines with short sections. NW windswell slowly fades through the day today while inconsistent SW-SSW southern hemi swell tops out. 2-4' waves are the norm while top windswell and combo spots produce some larger waves/peaks. Winds are from the SW early with textured/bumpy surface conditions at exposed areas. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.9 ft at 10.0 s NW 57 / WIND WAVE: 2.3 ft at 3.4 s SSE / WVHT: 5.3 ft / APD: 6.7 s / MWD: 326° (Met) WSPD: 12 kn / GST: 16 kn / WVHT: 5.3 ft / DPD: 10.0 s / WDIR: 170° / ATMP: 55° F / WTMP: 54° F. Tide: 2' dropping near 1'.

22 July 2012

Social Sunday Sloppy Surf (HMB Jetty)

Crowd-sourcing the decision of where to surf this morning didn't work so well, but it was still nice to share waves with my buddies.
Heather and Perrin heading out at the Jetty
Kelly was clean but solidly overhead, and I'm not currently in condition for that size and power, either physically or mentally. At Dunes there was a light chop on waves head-high and under. I suited up there as the reports came in. J-Bird and Jacob passed by messy overhead Montara and said the Jetty was flatski on their way to Dunes with Perrin in tow. Yet Luke, with his beginner friend MJ, and Heather decided to paddle out at the Jetty, calling it small but rideable. Upon hearing Jacob say he'd looked at the Jetty for a mere 5 seconds, we dispatched one of our number for a better report, and thereby lost Perrin. Wanting to be sociable, the rest of us headed back north.
The Jetty was small, sloppy, sloshy and bumpy. On a windswelly day like this, it seemed like an icy, rocky bunny slope, and I was soon wishing I'd stayed on the better-groomed blue run at Dunes. I got a few rides on my shortboard, including a right that didn't close out for at least a second; small stoke, yeah! Failing to navigate a steep drop, I also bagged a pretty good wipeout. With all the bumps, it was harder to stay on the 6'2" once I was up and riding as compared to a longer, more stable platform, but I like the challenge; next time, I will navigate those moguls. 
Heather, Luke, Jacob, J-Bird, Perrin, and MJ
I dropped in on J-Bird to ride our last wave in together. On the beach, I turned to film Jacob coming in, including his awesome dismount. Still a fun time with friends! 
Surfline: Increased NW windswell on tap as new, secondary SW-SSW energy slowly moves in through the day. Waist-chest high waves work through at exposed areas, while select standout locations see better sets. Light SW-Westerly flow early with some texture and crumble to the surface for the open areas. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 7.2 ft at 10.0 s NW 56 / WIND WAVE: 4.9 ft at 5.6 s NW / WVHT: 8.9 ft / APD: 6.9 s / MWD: 314° (Met) WSPD: 16 kn / GST: 19 kn / WVHT: 8.9 ft / DPD: 10.0 s / WDIR: 310° / ATMP: 54° F / WTMP: 54° F. Tide: 2' rising to 3.5'.

18 July 2012

74-Inch Stoke Machine (Montara)

My surf posse met up at Montara for dawn patrol, based on J-Bird's good report from yesterday. Marcia and Luke paddled out a few minutes before me, J-Bird and Jacob were just behind, and I saw Tracey and Chris in the parking lot after.
Itching to shortboard again, I'd brought my 6'2" Rocket. The waves were mushy chest-high+, and you had to be on the peak to catch them. My first wave was a sweeeet right that made me fall in love with my shortboard all over again. I think about turning and it turns, fast and tight. I was dancing all over the face of that wave. So stoked!

After seeing photos of myself surfing in Sunday's contest, I resolved to work on my body position. I need to keep my torso more parallel to the board, instead of facing forward. (And on my buddy George's advice, I'm reassessing my paddling position to make sure I'm not too far back, though I didn't have waves to waste before work to push it to intentional pearling as he suggested.) It felt stiff and unnatural to ride with upper body in the plane of the stringer, but I expect that's just because I have to unlearn my habitual stance. By the last wave, it seemed a bit better, and I used my arms to swing my body into turns, taking a zig-zag all the way into the beach ahead of rushing whitewater. Maybe it was the low tide or maybe sand has filled in near the creek mouth, but the nearshore trench wasn't there today, making for an easy exit.

Though I rode a handful of other waves, just like my last session, the first was the best. I am stoked-smilin'!

Surfline: 3-4'. Small, clean mix of local NW windswell and some SSW Southern Hemi swell (190-200) this morning. The better exposed breaks to the swell combo are in the waist high'ish range, while standouts are a touch better. The surf quality is fairly low simply due to small size, but there are very rideable waves showing and clean conditions. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.6 ft at 10.0 s W 55 / WIND WAVE: 0.7 ft at 4.0 s WNW / WVHT: 4.6 ft / APD: 8.8 s / MWD: 273° (Met) WSPD: 4 kn / GST: 6 kn / WVHT: 4.6 ft / DPD: 10.0 s / WDIR: 10° / ATMP: 56° F / WTMP: 58° F. Tide: Zero rising to 1'.

15 July 2012

My First Surf Contest (Linda Mar)

The contest was held on bigger waves toward the north end
Ready to surf (by J-Bird)
Arriving early, I got the low-down from the organizer, then warmed up on a few waves next to the contest peak. I didn't want to tire myself out; I just wanted to ride something before the pressure was on. J-Bird and Jacob arrived to root for me.

I shook hands with my competitors before we paddled out for our 20-minute heat. The other girls were half my age and riding shortboards, while I was on my 7'0" Emm. I told them with a friendly smile, "This is my first contest and I'm not very good, so don't worry about me." 

Seconds after the horn sounded the start of the first heat, I caught a beautiful long shoulder-high left. They must have wondered if I was faking them out. 
Heading out for the first heat
Taking off just after the horn at the start
Going left in the first heat (photo by J-Bird)
I rode several more waves, all decent but none as good as the first, coming in 3rd out of 4. I was feeling pretty good about my performance in the first heat. Smiling J-Bird greeted me on the beach with "High five, good hand!" (I'm still wearing a splint on my right wrist, and started physical therapy last week.) 
Stoked! With J-Bird after my first heat
After two men's heats, the bottom three of us would face off in a semi-final, including the girl who'd joined the first heat late.

Conditions and I fell apart in the second heat. As I started to paddle out behind the two shortboarders, I realized I was already tired. The side/onshore breeze was now a wind that flipped my board over whenever it could, closeouts were more numerous, and the surface was lumpy. This time, it took a little longer than the 5 minutes allowed for me to make it outside. I got a few short rides amidst wipeout mistakes but was derailed by moguls on my one left that could have been good. It didn't help that non-contestants were infiltrating our peak, or that the guys in the next heat paddled out too early and started catching waves before ours was over. I snagged another meh wave and came in, with two minutes left on the heat timer on my tide watch.

I don't like most photos of myself surfing but they are instructive (by J-Bird)
I'm glad of the experience, and if I compete again, I'll know what to expect and what to do differently. Between heats, I'd keep warm in my Surf-Fur and power back up with something more than two bites of a Clif Bar and a few sips of water. It was a lot more work surfing in this contest than free-surfing, because there was no rest; paddle out the lineup as fast as possible, through short-period whitewater and against a current pushing away from the peak, ride a wave, and do it again. I'd also train for the format ahead of time, and make sure to get all the way back outside before I started looking for more waves. And of course, I need to be ripping on a real shortboard to be on par with the other contestants. If I compete again, I want it to be with an expectation of potentially winning.

Will I compete again? The jury's still out on that. I didn't like the way I felt beforehand: butterflies in my stomach all morning that got a'flapping like mad when the coast came into view. And I'm not keen on the competitive atmosphere, which detracts from the pure joy of riding waves. But I'm pleased with myself that I did it, instead of bailing and declaring my entry fee was merely another donation to Surfrider. I'm also glad that I surfed respectably, at least in the first heat. My wave at the start got me stoked. And it was validating to have been judged to surf better than one other person, at least for 20 minutes. So, maybe... Time will tell.

J-Bird also live-tweeted today's contest (read from bottom up):

Linda Mar is possibly the worst place to have a surf contest. 1:Crowded 2:Windy 3:Close outs
3rd place in the 2nd heat and 4th place in the contest.Great job on your first !!!!!!
 LOL. I should have said wicked windy - even more east coast :)
 takes a short left and paddles back into the line up.
 just watching  I am getting competitive yelling on the beach! Haha!
 I have vowed not to do surf completions...I only surf for fun. I get waaaay too competitive and then it won't be fun for me
Wind and waves are out of control! Paddle out much harder for the surfers. No waves caught yet. 
 yep! 3 heats for the woman...if she gets 1st or 2nd she will go into the final round.
 except that non-competitors keep on surfing in the surf zone, the waves a super closed out and wind is out of control
Results are in for the first heat:  gets 3rd place out of 4 competitors! wooooot!
They added two more heats to the woman's contest since there is an extra woman competitor that arrived late. 
Red competitor gets some nice turns on a left shoulder
 takes another wave...smaller reformed wave.
Another woman competitor enters the water! Ohh the suspense!
Annnnnd  gets the first wave of the heat! A long clean shoulder high left!
My award, a yard sign (?)
Sponsored by Birdswell
Surfline: Onshore wind out of the West-SW with some texture and crumble to the surface. Rideable, but really not all that workable or much fun. It's mainly NW windswell now with some minor Southerly energy in the mix for 2-3' waves and a few + sets. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.9 ft at 8.3 s NW 54 / WIND WAVE: 2.0 ft at 4.8 s WNW / WVHT: 5.3 ft / APD: 6.4 s / MWD: 324° (Met) WSPD: 10 kn / GST: 12 kn / WVHT: 5.3 ft / DPD: 8.0 s / WDIR: 170° / ATMP: 55° F / WTMP: 56° F. Tide: Just over 3', falling slightly.