20 September 2012

Fishing with Janitors (Capitola)

The Hook
The waves in NorCal have been grim lately, mostly small hacked-up windslop. This morning I drove south to surf a bump of south swell in Santa Cruz. The Hook was overcrowded as usual, so I kept looking.

Although the tide was a bit high and going higher (shoulda been here earlier!), there were still fun-sized waves rolling through at Capitola and only a handful of longboarders in the lineup.

By the time I got out, three stand-up paddleboarders had joined the little group, waiting through long lulls for the groundswell sets. They weren't too greedy though, and I claimed a decent share of waves on my fish. Plus I rode every one I caught - no takeoff wipeouts - and that's a rare event. I'm having so much fun on Nemo this summer! I think my longboard will be gathering dust for a long time.
One of the janitors turned out to be Ed from Club Ed surf school, and he was giving out free advice to me and the other surfers. First, he said I should keep my knees closer together when I paddle so I'll know I'm properly centered, which will help to keep me centered when I pop up. Ed also said his forte is surfing big waves - Maverick's, Ghost Tree, etc (OK, now that's just bragging) - but one thing that's more challenging on a shortboard in small waves is getting into them. Since "you can't chase it down like on a longboard," he suggested getting into position, then pushing the board back/under and letting it pop forward to generate momentum right at the peak when catching the wave. I think I need to have one of my shortboarder buddies demo that one. It sounds a bit tricky to get the right timing and motion.
Eventually it was just me and the three janitors, who were chatting when I saw the first wave of a set incoming and began stroking into position. Ed called me into it with "Go for it, Cynthia!" and he and his friends let me have the wave, a sweet chest-high right with some facetime, a couple of turns and a floater before I bailed just inside the rocks at the base of the cliff. Stoked!
Surfline: This morning there's a primary South groundswell is mixing with some small SSW swell. Surf is 2-3'+ for exposed spots, while top breaks are hitting head+ high on inconsistent sets. Light/variable winds early for mostly clean conditions. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 3.0 ft at 16.0 s S 79 / WIND WAVE: 3.9 ft at 5.6 s NW / WVHT: 4.9 ft / APD: 5.0 s / MWD: 316° (Met) WSPD: 17 kn / GST: 21 kn / WVHT: 4.9 ft / DPD: 6.0 s / ATMP: 54° F / WTMP: 55° F. Tide: 3' rising to 5'.


  1. Hey Cynthia,

    Are there stairs at the Hook now? Haven't been down there in a long time. Just wondering.

    BTW, you take nice pics. Subjects are spot on center.

    1. There are nice stairs at the Hook now, part of the coastal armoring project.

      Thanks! I usually do some editing of the pix before I post them. And I throw many away.

  2. Nice blog Cynthia! Where you surfing Saturday?

    1. Thanks, BD. Family in town this weekend so no surf for me. Have fun!