06 March 2014

Washed In

Christina didn't tell me whether she was paddling out at North or South Garbage, but I correctly guessed that she and Steve would be at North. A friendly SUPer offered to share his waves with anyone, saying "just go if you see me on one!" and I saw Christina get some nice slightly overhead rides. I, however, couldn't find the right position. I'd brought my floaty Ward Coffey 6'2" to help me into the soft waves, but found no joy on the far outside where my friends were sitting. As soon as I'd been lured farther in, I'd get pummeled by an outside set and washed way inside. I can't duckdive Rocket, and get dragged by the bigger board much more than my 5'4"s. Still I caught a few from whitewater on the inside, just to get the feel of my "longboard" under my feet again.
South and North Garbage
When I saw Christina heading for the stairs, I working my way back to the main peak at North Garbage, and saw it had gotten quite crowded. South had only a handful of surfers, so I cut across the channel to join them. A friendly red-headed shortboarder turned out to be Scott from Outdoor Outreach, where I'd volunteered a couple of times last year. Although there were fewer surfers at South, they were all much better than me, and I found no joy on the waves there either. More often I was in the wrong place to catch unbroken waves but the right one to take a beating and be washed in again. On the only green wave I felt I'd solidly caught, I had to back off for Scott who was closer to the peak, and he had to back off because an old longboard guy who was way too deep took off behind the peak and immediately got smacked down by the lip. Dang.

I must admit, I'm fighting some of the old big-wave fear again. I'd worked my way up to riding overhead waves last winter and had some of my best ever at Garbage on my 6'2", long rides that kept me stoked for days. But the waves have been small in San Diego for so long that I guess I've forgotten that I can ride them, and fear of the big drop has built up again. I think I could get past it, if only I had an empty break to practice on - every surfer's dream! It would also help if I had a surf buddy to encourage and push me; I miss my NorCal friends. But I'll get my big-wave mojo back again, eventually.
South Garbage
No one was surfing the Boil inside South Garbage, so finally I tried my luck there, and Sunset Cliffs offered up a consolation prize of a long left. I caught it from a reform so missed out on the initial drop, but it did reform a couple more times with smaller drops and also allowed for turns when I made it over to the face. Another lesser ride followed, and I found myself far inside, bailing as I approached shallow reef. Instead of paddling back out and over to the the stairs, I walked across the reef to a strip of low-tide beach and then along the boulder-strewn base of the cliff. At one point I had to traverse through piles of kelp washed up by last week's storms. Did you ever play this game at Halloween when you were a kid? Walking on gushy strands of kelp (thankfully in booties) felt like stepping on cold thick spaghetti.

The day ended on a good note, with publication of my second story in the San Diego Reader: Major projects at Mission Beach's Plunge. Yay!

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