26 November 2012

The Break Around the Corner (Rockaway)

There's a big storm coming that will bring swell and destroy it with strong winds. So of course I had to surf today. I'm not much into the whole holiday shopping thing anyway.

Two surfers were just finishing up a Dunes, and one of them told me it was better before but had lost its shape on the dropping tide. She then offered the report for Montara (too big), the Jetty (too small), and Linda Mar (closed out), but suggested that Miramar might be OK since she'd seen a couple people out. I drove on.
Dunes. I should've been there earlier.
She was right about them all, except that Miramar didn't have much going on either, and an onshore southwest wind was coming up in Half Moon Bay. As I neared my break of last resort, Linda Mar, I thought I might as well check a bit farther north at Rockaway, since the tide was dropping fast and I'd heard it could be good on a low tide.
There were just several guys out at the south end of Rockaway, a few going for big outside rights, and one riding smaller inside lefts, which seemed good to me. A dude in the parking lot (Todd of Mendonesia Surf) said something about it looking different but I told him this was only my second time. He then gave me a tip about the often-strong currents before darting to the beach with his colorful, wide, and leashless single fin shortboard.

It was true about the current. A helpful rip near the rocks was my conveyor belt, but it was hard to stay left of the peak with the steady push south. And as one of the other surfers commented, the wave was punchy - and I kept getting punched. After a wave hurled my head and shoulder into the sand bottom (that's gonna hurt tomorrow), I moved farther outside, recognizing that I couldn't surf there in waist-deep water without appreciable risk; I'm not that consistently good yet. It was definitely a more challenging place to surf than just around the corner and I'm glad I paddled out there instead of joining the lunch rush at Linda Mar.
When the stars (starfish?) aligned and I got into position and made the drop, I rode several sweet lefts that allowed for some turns. Soon it had been just me and Todd on the left, and he hooted me on one wave and called me into my last. It's so nice when someone brings a friendly vibe - a spirit of aloha - into the water. I left smiling in the sunshine, stoked and happy.

Surfline: NW swell continues to come down this afternoon while mixing with some small SSW swell. Waves are still fun size, mainly in the 3-5'+ range but the SW winds blowing right now are putting a little bit of texture/bump on the ocean surface at the more exposed spots. Buoy 46012: (Wave) SWELL: 4.6 ft at 12.1 s WNW 108 / WIND WAVE: 1.3 ft at 4.0 s WNW / WVHT: 4.9 ft / APD: 6.9 s / MWD: 296° (Met) WSPD: 8 kn / GST: 10 kn / WVHT: 4.6 ft / DPD: 12.0 s / ATMP: 52° F / WTMP: 56° F. Tide: 2.5' falling to 1.5'.


  1. Rockaway is actually my go-to spot on the HMB-Pacifica coast. Glad to hear you had a fun session there - it can be pretty fickle but you seemed to have picked a good day with a decent NW swell, glassy conditions, and low-tide. Most days when I checked it in the past it was slow / messy / choppy but I have seen some really epic days there on occasion too. I haven't surfed there since April but maybe I will see you out there in the near future!

    1. I won't be here much longer, but maybe!