30 October 2012

Chasing Mavericks: A Local's Review

A year ago, Hollywood came to my backyard to make a movie, initially called Iron Cross and then saddled with the unfortunate moniker Of Men and Mavericks, which ultimately released October 26th as Chasing Mavericks. On a hot day last October, I was excited to join a throng of other surfers including my friend Heather as a "background artist" for the paddle-out scene filmed in eastside Santa Cruz. Then it seemed like forever to wait for the movie to hit theaters so we could see if we would be up on the big screen. At long last, I went with a little group of my surfing buddies to watch it on opening night in a half-filled cinema in San Francisco.
The story is simple: big-wave rider Frosty Hesson takes fatherless, driven, and eternally cheerful teenager Jay Moriarty under his wing and trains him to survive the monster swells at NorCal's big wave magnet. What was exceptional for me was seeing my home surf turf so beautifully filmed. Maverick's is less than 20 miles from my house, and my home break at the Jetty is just around the corner.

I've surfed at or in sight of all the locations shown in the movie. Maverick's is firmly in the "in-sight-of" category, but I've watched the not-quite-annual big wave surf contest with binoculars from the bluff.
The view from shore during the last Maverick's contest
That intimate knowledge of the locale didn't let me and my surf buddies get fully engrossed in the movie. For example, when Jay and Frosty finish their 36-mile-long paddle from Santa Cruz all the way across Monterey Bay, we all laughed out loud. They're shown resting on the sand at popular Linda Mar beach in Pacifica, 100 miles north of Monterey. I guess they got lost.
Frosty and Jay resting on the beach in "Monterey"
Jay and Frosty live on the same Santa Cruz street in a magical place where you can easily carry a longboard to not only the nearby eastside breaks (The Hook, 38th Ave, Pleasure Point) but also the westside ones (Steamer Lane, Cowells), which are about about 5 miles away in the real world. There's also some spatial portal that lets the big wave riders paddle out from the beach at Ross' Cove and then reappear on the opposite side of Pillar Point for the remainder of the journey to the lineup at Maverick's.

Then there are the little things that any surfer would notice - the always brand-new wetsuits, the too-clean board wax, the wave that goes on for a long, long time because it's really several waves spliced together. And I must admit that I long for a wetsuit like Frosty's, which seemed to have dried in the hour it took for him to drive from Maverick's back to his house in Santa Cruz, instead of staying damp for a couple of days.
The real Frosty (left) and the Hollywood version (right) during filming
The long-anticipated paddle-out scene of course came at the end of the movie, and Heather and I watched closely, hoping to see ourselves. After a full day of filming last year, we were surprised that it had been cut down to well under a minute. As I expected, the camera panned to encompass the real Frosty, but it didn't go a little farther to capture me on my bright Clownfish surfboard. Then the view shifted to an aerial shot, and it was over. I'll have to look for fame elsewhere.

It wasn't just me left on the cutting room floor. I remember reading about a casting call for extras at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, but there was nothing in the movie at that venue. And although Holly Beck flew up from Nicaragua to be the surfing double for Jay's girlfriend Kim, she was on screen for less than a minute, much to my disappointment.

Near the start of the movie, new grommet Jay's soon-to-be-friend speaks the truth that "nobody gets up on their first try" at surfing. Not breaking with tradition, the film gives lie to the truth by showing young Jay doing just that. I expect a bump of newbies in the lineup as a result. However, the film gets it right by showing what's required to surf really big waves: Jay is made to paddleboard long distance and demonstrate that he can hold his breath for 4 minutes without panic. Hopefully that will make inexperienced surfers think twice about attempting to surf the beast near Pillar Point.

All that said, the hallmark of a good movie is when I'm still thinking about it the next day and beyond, which is the case with Chasing Mavericks. Was it worth the inconvenience of closed parking lots and the commandeering of popular breaks while the filmmakers created this picture? For sure. I didn't know Jay - he died before I started surfing - but we belong to the same tribe. Not just the surfer tribe, but the particular clan of surfers who ride the waves south of San Francisco. We're clad head to toe in neoprene year round against the chill waters, and we all harbor a niggling anxiety about the Men in Gray Suits, although few of us ever actually see a shark. From the lineup, we have a unique view of some of the most beautiful coastline anywhere. We are each driven to return to the cold embrace of the Pacific ocean, some like Jay in search of the rush of dropping down a 50' face, others just to enjoy the dance on much smaller rollers. Chasing Mavericks has shared that view and that feeling with the world. And I have to say I am inspired to "Live like Jay", pursuing my dreams with determination and an indefatigable smile.

This post also appears on The Inertia.

29 October 2012

Think (Linda Mar)

Linda Mar made me work for waves today. I paddled out at the north end where the waves were up to shoulder-high+ and actually had some occasional shoulders amidst the closeouts, but it was tiring slogging through punchy whitewater to the outside. Once there, I kept Beanstalk's observations from yesterday's session firmly in mind, remembered to start my turn higher on the face, and rode three solid short lefts on Rocket in half an hour. Score!
Sufficiently stoked and not inclined to fight my way back out, I decided I was done when an outside set wave I tried to dive under picked me up and threw me into the air and then against the bottom. Another shortboarder reached the beach just before me, looking frowny. "It's all closeouts. It's not surfable," he groused. Hmm. Must not be from around these parts if he expected different. "Yeah, barely," I replied, thinking of my rides and smiling on the inside.

Surfline: Still some dense fog lingering around the region (especially through OB) as a primary WNW swell holds over top of some small SW swell. Good winter spots are in the waist-head high+ range with onshore winds staying relatively light overall. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 4.3 ft at 12.1 s W 95 / WIND WAVE: 1.3 ft at 3.6 s WNW / WVHT: 4.6 ft / APD: 6.9 s / MWD: 266° (Met) WSPD: 6 kn / GST: 8 kn / WVHT: 4.6 ft / DPD: 12.0 s / ATMP: 53° F / WTMP: 57° F. Tide: 3' falling quickly to 2'.

28 October 2012

Sunday Jumble (Dunes)

The congregation was small for today's midday Church of Surf, and that suited me just fine. Luke, Perrin, J-Bird and I enjoyed Dunes all to ourselves. And we even had our own surf photographer, Beanstalk, who's been beached for a knee injury that occurred when he was hit by a car saving nuns, or slaying a dragon, or fell wrong on trampoline, depending on which version of the story they're telling. He hobbled on crutches over to the edge of the bluff to watch us surf and take pictures (full set here).
Luke and J-Bird heading to services at the beautiful Half Moon Bay Church of Surf
The waves were around shoulder high+ with steep drops, many of them closeouts, and jumbled on a swell mix. I was on Rocket, and had trouble keeping the nose up as the waves pitched. I badly positioned for my first wave and flipped nose over tail while still clinging to my board.
Cynthia…WIPE OUT!
Wipeout! (photo by Jacob)
At last I got a nice left with a couple of turns, which earned me a raised crutch salute from Beanstalk. Yeah! That was my best wave of the day.
My left (photos by "Beanstalk" Jacob)
Current kept pushing us south, so we were paddling back frequently to stay in sight of out photog. My wipeouts continued until I caught a short right, popping up and making the drop only to trip at the bottom. Arrgh! A larger set wave came through and I paddled toward the outside, not quite making it over the top; sucked over the falls backward, I took a hard fin hit to my elbow as the wave threw my shortboard down on me. Ouch.
Beanstalk, taking photos from the bluff top
Perrin had no success on Luke's 8'3" and had gone inside to play in the whitewater. Soon after, Luke and J-Bird rode to the beach, leaving me alone in the choppy surf and wondering how long it would take me to catch a wave in. Fortunately I didn't have to wait more than a couple of minutes, as the ocean delivered me a smaller right that got me mostly there, and then whitewater for a belly ride to the sand in front of my friends.
J-Bird, Luke and Perrin sporting stoked smiles
Luke said he got a few decent rides with a couple of turns, and he'd also landed an air drop on a big closeout that slammed down with a loud boom, after I'd pulled back when I intuited its intentions. I saw J-Bird making some waves on her new board too. Conditions were advanced for Perrin but she found joy in the whitewater after abandoning attempts in the lineup. And I tried hard and got a couple nuggets.

Beanstalk said he saw me have perfect takeoffs but then fall or nose dive, which is funny since I didn't feel like I was in the right place - I seemed too late, too deep much of the time. He suggested starting to turn sooner, halfway down the face, and digging in my rail - something my surf coach told me a while back that I needed to hear again. I think it comes down to that I need to be quicker and more confident and in control.

Luke commented that I was definitely surfing more aggressively today. You know that saying, "It is better to have surfed and wiped out than to have never surfed at all." I'll just keep on trying until I make it more often.

Post-surf lunch at Gherkins (photo by Luke)
Surfline: Slow start for most of the region as a blend of old/fading SW swell and slow building West-WNW was swamped out by a deep morning high tide. Fairly clean surf prevails across the region throughout the afternoon, though, and with the dropping tide and rising new West-WNW swell fun surf prevails for better exposed breaks running waist-chest-shoulder high. The most open exposures through SF are slightly better with some head high to slightly larger peaks. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 3.3 ft at 6.7 s WNW 94 / WIND WAVE: 3.0 ft at 5.0 s WNW / WVHT: 4.6 ft / APD: 5.7 s / MWD: 303° (Met) WSPD: 14 kn / GST: 17 kn / WVHT: 4.6 ft / DPD: 7.0 s / ATMP: 53° F / WTMP: 57° F. Tide: 4.5' falling to 2.5'.

25 October 2012

Almost Nothing Fits (Linda Mar)

I'm on the small end of women's sizes, so I hate to shop for clothes. Sometimes I'll bring an armload of possibilities into a changing room only to find that nothing fits, and leave the store frustrated. That's kind of how I felt at Linda Mar this morning.
Rainbow over Pacifica on the drive in
When I arrived, a dripping dude was just placing his longboard on top of the car next to me. I asked "How was it?" and he said, "Pretty fun earlier, but it's a little windy now." Oh, yeah, the usual "You should've been here earlier!"
First I tried toward the north end, where I spied some lefts rolling through. Alas, that breeze was blowing straight at me as I tried to take off, catching the wide nose of the fish and stalling the board while the waves passed me by. (Based on the report from Surflie - "n" omitted intentionally - the fish had seemed the best choice, but I should've put Rocket in the car too as I surely would've swapped boards, especially as the waves got steeper on the falling tide.) I must confess I'm still mystified as to why, as a surfer, I'm supposed to love offshores. I know the theory, that the help to hold the wave shape. Yet so many times they inhibit rather than enhance my surfing experience; they're such a rare occurrence around here that I haven't figured out the trick to taking off against the wind.

After missing a batch of green waves while settling for some whitewater rides, and having to back off more for the more-skilled competition on the peak, I stopped fighting the wind and looked for a right. The wind quieted slightly as I paddled, and I made the wave for a short ride on the section. Small victory!
Since the north end wasn't giving me much joy, I hit the beach and walked south a ways. But that wasn't a good fit either. Boatdocks on the far south was next to flat, and in between was mostly closing out as the tide dropped, so I took up station north of Taco Bell. Then it seemed an eternity before I caught another right.
Arrgh, methinks the north end was better. This time I walked the beach father, closer to the rocky cliff that bookended the strip of sand, before re-entering the water a small distance from a tight pack of a dozen surfers guarding the northernmost peak. The inconsistent set waves were bigger here, up to head-high, and I found myself dealing with a little fear that kept me from making the final commitment to push over the edge as the lip crumbled. On the next one, you Go For It! I told myself. I resolved to throw over that lip next time no matter what, and I did, getting to my feet before wiping out. A long lull later, I found a right that let me drop in and took me halfway to the beach. I watched a surf coach video on laybacks yesterday and surprised myself by making a part of that move (which is beyond my abilities), crouched low and leaning back over the turbulence, sure I would fall, yet somehow pulling myself over the board to upright. Whitewater belly rides got me the rest of the way to the sand, a little frustrated that nothing much seemed to fit but glad of my few short rides and incremental steps on the path to being a better surfer.

Surfline: 2-3 ft occ. 4 ft, fair conditions. Really clean, but fairly small and the big high tide seems to be swamping out the small swell at the moment. Very rideable, but overall surf quality is pretty average. Overcast, drizzly skies with light offshore wind. NW wind/groundswell mix is fading today, but is still our primary source of surf, with well secondary SW Southern Hemi swell (210-220) slowly building. Many breaks are seeing waves in the 2-4' range, with sets running a little larger at standouts. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 3.0 ft at 9.1 s WNW 93 / WIND WAVE: 2.3 ft at 3.3 s E / WVHT: 3.6 ft / APD: 5.2 s / MWD: 297° (Met) WSPD: 12 kn / GST: 16 kn / WVHT: 3.6 ft / DPD: 9.0 s / ATMP: 55° F / WTMP: 56° F. Tide: 4.5' falling to 2'.
Shark at the south end of Linda Mar

23 October 2012

Dirty Water, Clean Water

Yesterday's storm, the first of the winter season, dumped enough rain to flush much of the summer's buildup of contamination into the ocean. That means we don't have clean water for surfing, but many people in other parts of the world don't have clean water to drink. That's why I've pledged my birthday to help bring safe water to people in need. Click here to help.

20 October 2012

Drop and Fizzle (Linda Mar)

When I saw the surf this morning, I immediately dialed back my low expectations to very low. It was sloppy and small with a light onshore breeze under drizzling skies. This was to have been Beanstalk's birthday surf, but J-Bird bailed them last minute since he took a fin to the knee yesterday. Still, I expected some of the crew to show up anyway. I was wrong, and ended up surfing alone with strangers at Linda Mar.
With suitably debased expectations, it was hard to be disappointed. I'd brought Nemo, and the fish was fun in waves that were mostly soft drops before they lost energy and fizzled out. I did get longer rides on a couple of rights near Boatdocks, lucking into bits of swell that felt more urgency about getting to shore. 

As I left the beach with little orange/white/black Nemo tucked under my arm, a surf school was heading out. I wonder how many of those newbies got enough of a taste of the surfing drug that they are well on the path to addiction, their lives changed forever by the feeling of standing on a wave.
Hopefully I found sufficient stoke in those cold crumbles to last me into later next week, since there's a storm a-comin'. It's our first winter storm with predictions of substantial rain after the dry season. If that happens the ocean will be fouled with runoff, and this is the one time each year I follow the advice to stay out of the water for 72 hours. 
I never noticed this mural in the restroom before - too busy trying not to step in anything gross
Surfline: Very dense fog this morning making things difficult to discern. Expect scattered lines around waist high with a few larger sets showing on occasion. Soft/crumbly shape. WNW swell fades as new West-NW wind/groundswell blend picks up and small, inconsistent SSW swell continues. Waist-chest-shoulder high surf shows at exposed areas, while top breaks hit head high to overhead on sets, especially as we move into the afternoon. Onshore Westerly wind now with some bump/crumble to the surface. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 2.6 ft at 14.8 s W 92 / WIND WAVE: 4.9 ft at 5.9 s NW / WVHT: 5.6 ft / APD: 4.9 s / MWD: 311° (Met) WSPD: 16 kn / GST: 19 kn / WVHT: 5.6 ft / DPD: 6.0 s / ATMP: 55° F / WTMP: 56° F. Tide: 3' rising above 3.5'.

17 October 2012

Summer Lingers (Linda Mar)

This afternoon there were empty waves at the Jetty but they were poorly shaped and an unappealing shade of brown, probably due to red tide, plus there was a steady onshore/sideshore breeze. I used my smartphone to check the Surfline report for Linda Mar (see below) and was feeling lucky, so I drove there instead.
On a sunny warm afternoon in October, there was no better way to enjoy perhaps summer's last breath than at the beach. Lots of other folks had the same idea. (Don't these people have jobs?!)
The paddle out north of the creek at the south end was harder than I expected, and I was waterlogged and a little queasy by the time I slogged through the onslaught of shorter-period whitewater to reach the lineup. After a little time bobbing in the chop, dodging outside closeout bombs, I caught a right to the inside and, not wanting to make the same slog again, decided to try my luck even farther south.
Boatdocks was more crowded but many more of the waves had shoulders. I got some nice rides there, a few lefts and a right and some sectiony things in between. The waves were rampy and fun. Sunny stoke!
As I started to change out of my wetsuit in the parking lot, a random woman walked up to ask me how she could find someone to teach her to surf. I couldn't resist first replying with the bumper sticker axiom: "Surfing sucks. Don't try it."

Surfline: 3-5 ft occ. 6 ft, fair conditions. Clean, walled lines with a few sections to pick off if you can get lucky. Short to mid period mix of NW-WNW swell combines with some secondary SW southern hemi swell to put the better exposures in waist-head high waves. Standout winter breaks go a couple feet+ overhead on the larger waves during the more favorable tides. Light winds prevail throughout the day. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 6.2 ft at 10.0 s WNW 91 / WIND WAVE: 2.0 ft at 4.2 s WNW / WVHT: 6.6 ft / APD: 7.3 s / MWD: 290° (Met) WSPD: 10 kn / GST: 14 kn / WVHT: 7.6 ft / DPD: 10.0 s / ATMP: 56° F / WTMP: 56° F. Tide: 3.5' falling to 1'.

15 October 2012

Down Low (Linda Mar)

Whereas (I used to be a lawyer, so I have to use that word sometimes) yesterday I surfed at an undesirably high tide, today remodeling chores forced me out at an unfortunately low one. So I set my expectations suitably low and enjoyed the warm sunny weather.
Choosing my usual spot near the creek mouth, I was rewarded with a few short shoulders and a bunch of closed-out and whitewatery rides, once I adjusted to the extra length of my 6'2" shortboard over yesterday's 5'4" fish and stopped tripping over those additional inches. Just enough stoke to keep me smiling!

Surfline: 3-4 ft, occ. 5 ft, fair conditions; mostly clean but pretty sectiony and walled out with just short sections to pick off. Mid period West swell combines with some longer period WNW and new SW southern hemi swell today. Skies have finally cleared up to reveal chest-head high waves and overhead sets at the more exposed spots. Winds are staying light right now so surface conditions are mostly clean and the tide is dropping. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 5.6 ft at 14.8 s WNW 90 / WIND WAVE: 2.3 ft at 4.3 s WNW / WVHT: 6.2 ft / APD: 7.7 s / MWD: 282 (Met) WSPD: 14 kn / GST: 17 kn / WVHT: 5.6 ft / DPD: 15.0 s / ATMP: 58° F / WTMP: 58° F. Tide: Less than 3' falling quickly to 0'.

14 October 2012

Running on Fumes (Linda Mar)

We're having our kitchen remodeled, and a headache from lingering paint fumes drove me from the house relatively early this morning. Although I'd wanted to wait until midday for the high tide to fall off, the fresh air did me a world of good and the company of a few friends (in the midst of a hundred strangers) more than made up for the mushy waves. I rode a decent number of 'em on Nemo, and turned my waterproof camera on Nikki, Jacob and J-Bird.
Nikki, J-Bird and Jacob, about to get wet
Smile, ladies!
Nikki gets low (view from Nemo)
The long and the short of it: Jacob's board and mine
J-Bird had a good time on her new custom 7'0", Jelly Belly
Smallest changing bucket (Nikki)
Surfline: 2=3 ft, poor to fair conditions. Clean, but dealing with small-scale waves this morning. Soft, semi-rideable shape now. Slows down with the rising tide. West-WNW swell on tap this morning along with inconsistent SW groundswell. The better exposures go waist-head high with larger sets, while standout breaks go slightly overhead on occasion. Wind remains fairly light at the moment with generally smooth surface conditions. Watch for a 6.18' high tide just before 10:30am to slow things down as we move through the morning. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 3.9 ft at 10.8 s WNW 89 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 3.6 s WNW / WVHT: 4.3 ft / APD: 7.0 s / MWD: 287° (Met) WSPD: 10 kn / GST: 12 kn / WVHT: 3.6 ft / DPD: 11.0 s / ATMP: 55° F / WTMP: 57° F. Tide: 5.5' rising to almost 6' high then dropping slightly.

11 October 2012

And Then There Were None (HMB Jetty)

A buddy told me there were waves at the Jetty yesterday from the current swell, so I dashed over there during my window of surf opportunity late this morning. I struggled into my cold wet wetsuit, and shivered in the light breeze that chopped the water's surface.
I have a feeling conditions were better earlier, because there were eight other surfers out when I arrived, then five, then two, and at the end it was just me alone, bobbing in the ocean.
Long lulls were punctuated by closeout sets, the peaks were shifty and the backwash unpredictable, which made it all the more satisfying when I was able to catch an elusive rideable wave. A few of those otherwise unremarkable rides put a smile on my face.
Surfline: Light to moderate west wind is putting some bump and crumble on the water for most breaks this morning. Long period NW swell (290-300+) continues this morning with head high+ surf at many exposed breaks and sets to a couple feet+ overhead at standouts. Buoy 46026: WVHT 5.6 ft DPD 16 sec APD 7.3 sec MWD W 88 WSPD 9.7 kts ATMP 55.4°F WTMP 57.0 °F. Tide: 4' falling to just above 3'.
Half Moon Bay is ready for this weekend's Pumpkin Festival

10 October 2012

Thunder (Capitola)

My first surf lesson, in the summer of '03 on a waterlogged 10-foot foamie in Cocoa Beach, Florida, was cut short by a thunderstorm. That was after I'd stood up on the board and ridden a few tiny waves - after I'd been hooked on the feeling and reborn as a surfer. My instructor and I ran through pouring rain and growing puddles back to his shop, lightning flashing scarily close and loud thunder booming from an angry sky.
So when rare California thunder rumbled while I was in the water at midday, I well knew that I should head in lest I become a target for the lightning that accompanied it. Yet I saw no flashes, and rationalized paddling back out for just one more wave. And then one more, and another, seeking a better ride. After all, lightning would be attracted to the highest point, and there were sailboats, janitors and taller surfers in the vicinity. Riiiight...
I bagged some fun rides on Nemo, mostly long reform scraps scavenged from the wavehogs on the main peak, but one clean green left (which sadly ended prematurely when I dug my inside rail trying to get fancy). I surfed until the time ran out on my parking meter, reluctantly accepting that my last wave wouldn't be anything special as low tide served up mostly closeouts. Tomorrow is another day!
Surfline: Inconsistent but fun size, long period WNW groundswell fills in through the day offering up chest-head high waves at well exposed spots. Standout breaks that focus the longer period energy produce 2-3'+ overhead sets. Also some small, fading SSW swell mixing in with occasional knee-waist high sets. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 3.9 ft at 19.0 s WNW 87 / WIND WAVE: 2.0 ft at 4.2 s WNW / WVHT: 4.3 ft / APD: 6.3 s / MWD: 286° (Met) WSPD: 10 kn / GST: 14 kn / WVHT: 4.6 ft / DPD: 19.0 s / ATMP: 57° F / WTMP: 57° F. Tide: Falling slightly to 2.5' low.
Post-surf rainbow on the Westside

07 October 2012

Double Bof (Montara/HMB Jetty)

Manabu surf-checked the Jetty ahead of the appointed meet time, and said it was mostly flat with a surf school on the only peak. He drove north and reported that Montara looked better with more waves, so Luke and I planned to meet him in the water. Manabu said he'd be in his hard to miss (and seldom worn) yellow wetsuit.
Walking the golden sands of Montara with my shortboard under my arm, I searched the sea in vain for a yellow-clad surfer. Luke and I paddled out on a crowded mid-beach peak, both of us having to wait for a lull to get through the head-high surf. The waves were clean but sadly closing out a lot, and there was too much competition; I had no joy. Caught inside again, I took a whitewatery wave just to ride something. Then I walked northward and tried to go out near an empty peak, but closeouts kept crashing down in front of me in waist-high water, and I was spending too much time tossing my board and diving under them. Not fun. As I walked back on the beach to tell Luke I was going to the Jetty, I saw him ride a closeout that was slightly over his head. He said it was one of his biggest waves yet, but he was ready to go too.

As it turned out, Manabu had also decided to retreat to the south, and I passed him leaving the Jetty after surfing with Steve. The waves at there were shifty and messy with the occasional shoulder. It would seem I've overcorrected from being too cautious in wave selection to being too indiscriminate; mostly I just wiped out and put myself out of position for better waves that followed. Somehow, I need to find the balance. My best ride, and that's not saying much, was a short-shouldered right I caught in at the end. Earlier, I'd taken off on a better right, but turned too sharply up the face and dug my inside rail. Bah! This is why my turns are tentative; I have such a fear of "wasting" a wave by screwing up a more agressive move.
As I changed in the parking lot, two guys approached with wetsuits half on, and one asked with a distinct French accent if this was the Jetty dirt lot and "how were the waves?" I told him yes and meh, which in hindsight was probably not a word he learned in school. Rebecca tells me the analogous French word is "bof." Double session, double bof.
Surfline: A new WNW groundswell fills in further and tops out, becoming the primary swell, while the SSW groundswell eases some. Breaks that are better exposed to either swell will offer surf mainly in the 2-4' zone. Standout winter spots will produce occasional WNW sets up to shoulder-head high. Good combo spots will also see occasional waves/peaks up to shoulder-head high. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 3.6 ft at 14.8 s W 86 / WIND WAVE: 0.7 ft at 3.7 s NW 85 / WVHT: 3.6 ft / APD: 9.5 s / MWD: 278° (Met) WSPD: 4 kn / GST: 6 kn / WVHT: 3.3 ft / DPD: 16.0 s / ATMP: 55° F / WTMP: 57° F. Tide: 3' rising near 4'.

05 October 2012

Rocket on Top and Fish Inside (HMB Jetty)

My MINI Cooper was loaded for possibilities today, with my 6'2" shortboard Rocket strapped to the roof and my 5'3" fish Nemo tucked inside. Luke surf-checked the Jetty before me and on his advice I took out the fish, though the waves looked a bit steep when I paddled out. I've only surfed Nemo on Lindamush and softer waves at Capitola, but thought I'd see how it went. I rode a nice right straight away, which set expectations too high for the session.
When I asked Luke if he wanted to try Nemo, he said yes. He's a big guy and totally sank the board. It took him a wave or two before he stood and rode whitewash, and he said it was like surfing on a McDonald's tray. Hah! Meanwhile I tried for a few on Luke's 6'8" custom Coffey. I caught a couple but pearled - too much unaccustomed extra length, at almost a foot and a half longer than Nemo. I think the 3rd time would've been a charm but he wanted his board back. 
View from the fish
Luke and his Coffey
Luke introduced me to a guy he knew, and later I got to chatting with a dude who recognized me from a local Meetup group. Unfortunately conditions deteriorated as time passed. I'm not sure exactly why, since the tide was coming up slowly and there was little wind. The waves were lully and shifty, and I had trouble being in position and making the walled-up drops. Although I thought about going back to the car for Rocket, I didn't want to cut into my surf time since I had a deadline to meet up with Scott. Maybe the shortboard would've been a better choice, but I'll have to find out another day.

This morning I was going for more waves, trying to subscribe to BD's philosophy:
My new motto is "fuck it".  I have this new attitude where I'm going to paddle for a wave even if I'm late and not be pissed if I make it or not.  A quarter of the time I get hammered, and the other third has been straight up fun!  
That approach meant more wipeouts, including one that spun me 360° lengthwise. The rest of my waves were closeouts or whitewatery, nothing matching the first ride or the past two sessions, although I got a semi-decent wave in. Still looking for that straight-up fun!
For now, I'm content with my one good ride, sharing a surf with friends old and new, and spending time in the ocean on another lovely fall day.
One of my whitewatery rides, photo by Luke
Surfline: A mix of primary/holding SSW groundswell and secondary/easing short-mid period NW swell continues this afternoon. Many of the better breaks of the region offer surf within the 3-4' zone, while standout summer spots and combo spots produce occasional waves/peaks up to head high. Buoy 46026: (Wave) SWELL: 3.9 ft at 16.0 s SSW 84 / WIND WAVE: 1.0 ft at 4.0 s W / WVHT: 4.3 ft / APD: 7.9 s / MWD: 208° (Met) WSPD: 6 kn / GST: 8 kn / WVHT: 4.3 ft / DPD: 16.0 s / ATMP: 56° F / WTMP: 56° F. Tide: Less than 3.5' rising over 3.5'.