12 August 2012

Frustration to Fun (Montara)

Yet another hyped-up south swell fizzled down to small longboard waves by the time it arrived. Will we ever see a decent-sized groundswell from the south? Summer's not over yet, but time is running out. I'm itching to surf the Lonely Coast and still hopeful for another day like this.

Instead of fighting the masses for inconsistent high-tide waves in Santa Cruz, I hunted windswell again on the San Mateo County coast with a few friends. It was shaping up much like last weekend, with lighter crowds. I saw Kelly in person and it was my first choice, yet I drove north to check the more protected beaches since J-Bird and Jacob had beginners with them.
Luke said Dunes was closing out near shore and at Venice I saw much of the same.
I started to change in the lot at Venice while waiting for Luke's report on Montara, ready to drive either there or back to Kelly. Both he and J-Bird said Montara looked pretty decent. I feared a reprisal of last Sunday, but they asserted the crowd was fairly low. Taking a chance on it, I drove north to join Luke while J-Bird and Jacob looked for somewhere more noob-friendly.
After an almost dry-hair paddle out via a rip during a lull, I sat at the edge of the pack and got no joy for a frustratingly long time. The waves either wouldn't break or would close out hard, and I was being selective so as not to get slammed by a head-high lip. Still, one closeout wouldn't let me go when I tried to back off, and as I fell, Rocket swung around to undercut me in the chin. Oww. The cold water was clear, and twice under my board I saw a kelp-colored jellyfish. Wanting only to move away quickly and carefully from those dangling tentacles, I didn't take a photo, but I think they were Pacific sea nettles.
Paddling to the next empty peak did not improve my situation; I could not find a shoulder. I toyed with the idea of wrapping up in my waterproof Surf-fur and driving back to Kelly, and moved into the pack to chat with Luke about my so-far skunking. That put me inside of a set, and wanting to ride something, anything, I turned and caught unridden roiling whitewater into a smaller reform. It felt good to get to my feet and I took another, even enjoying being tumbled by the ocean as I made my way out again to give Montara another chance.
At long last I was in the right place at the right time, and caught a nice right with a fun drop. Yeah! I shuffled my feet forward a little to trim properly and got in a few small turns as I took the wave all the way to the beach, dropping off flat just before the nearshore trench ended in the shallows. Woot!

When I tried to make my way back out at the same spot, the short-period breakers were impeding much progress. I saw Luke on the beach, and got out to say bye and find an easier path, but then decided to end the session on a high note, content in the stoke of one good wave.

Surfline: Short-period NW windswell blends with SSW (180-205) Southern Hemi swell for peaky waist-chest high waves at exposed areas. Light West-SW wind this morning for some minor bump and crumble at the exposed areas. Buoy 46012:(Wave) SWELL: 4.3 ft at 9.1 s NW 62 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 4.0 s WNW / WVHT: 4.6 ft / APD: 6.8 s / MWD: 307° (Met) WSPD: 4 kn / GST: 6 kn / WVHT: 4.6 ft / DPD: 9.0 s / WDIR: 300° / ATMP: 53° F / WTMP: 53° F. Tide: 4' falling slightly.


  1. Waddell Creek was fun yesterday AM. It was getting inconsistent 3-4' SSW sets with glassy conditions. I personally am willing to risk the crowds of the SC coast because the waves are consistently better down there and rippable.

    1. Inconsistently consistent, eh?!

    2. Inconsistently consistent, eh?!