26 September 2012

Tripping (HMB Jetty)

Although the first northwest swell of the fall season surged in a few days ago, my non-surfing life kept me out of the water until today. I figured the Jetty would still have something to offer even with the swell fading. There were only five guys out on two peaks when I arrived, and lots of loose kelp torn up by the earlier big waves. The shape was wonky with backwash of the riprap walls just past a high high tide, but expected to improve as it fell.
I thought he'd make that one
I was back on Rocket, as the conditions deserved. But who would've figured that after spending so much time lately riding my 5'3" fish on weaker waves, I'd have a lot of trouble keeping the nose up in stepper surf with a board 11 inches longer? Let's just say I did a lot of tripping this morning, so much so that a body-boarder remarked on my great wipeouts when he paddled out, using it as his excuse for surfing prone instead of upright.

To be sure, there was some pretty funky waviness going on out there, so a good share of those wipeouts were not entirely my fault. With all the backwash, the waves were as hard to read as the label on a record spinning on a turntable. (You kids who are wondering "Record? Turntable? What's that?" go look 'em up on Wikipedia.) As I paddled for one left, sidewash surged in and I found myself at the corner of two straight walls, looking down to the floor at least six feet below. This is not going to end well, I thought as I fell over the cliff.
I nevertheless thoroughly enjoying playing in the ocean and getting a taste of its fall power. I did nail the drop on a good head-high right with a short section - woot! - and rode a smaller left in close to the breakwall. For a time, I was blissfully alone out there, just me and the chilly sea.

As I paddled back out after another of my great wipeouts, I closed my eyes as whitewater hit me and before I could open them again, a rogue backwashy wave unexpectedly slammed Rocket into my face. Whoa, where did that come from? I could feel a bump rising above my right eye, but I kept on paddling out. "Low Tide" John doesn't call me "Timex" for nothin'. 

Clearly it was time to go in though, but I wanted to ride in, not make the paddle of shame. I caught a sectiony right, my brain yelling, "Nose UP!" and landed it, riding to the shallows with a smile.
Goodbye Summer
Surfline: Easing WNW-NW wind/groundswell mix combines with small and inconsistent SW southern hemi swell today. Waves are generally hanging in the chest-head high range with sets running 1-2' overhead at top exposed spots. Winds are onshore from the West to WSW so many spots do have some texture/bump. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 6.6 ft at 10.0 s WNW 81 / WIND WAVE: 1.6 ft at 3.6 s WNW / WVHT: 6.9 ft / APD: 6.9 s / MWD: 294° (Met) WSPD: 2 kn / GST: 4 kn / WVHT: 6.9 ft / DPD: 10.0 s / ATMP: 51° F / WTMP: 54° F. Tide: 4.5' falling to 3'.
Hello Fall


  1. Love the pictures! And I'm going to miss surfing this fall/winter. Post lots for me to live through!

    1. Will do! Good luck with your tummy alien ;)