29 August 2014

Buh-Bye, Marie

It was my turn for surf checks this morning. I didn't get out yesterday, when Marie was still sending in lefts like this:
Looking south from Crystal Pier - yesterday
The forecast held promise of continuing south swell, but the reality was... not so much.
Weak and broken up at Crystal Pier
A little something at Birdrock, but crowded
Calumet looked slow and soft, waist- to chest-high, and almost empty
I texted my reports to Steve, who decided to stay home to review the patent application I just prepared for him. But I already had my suit on and my jones on, and an easy day offered a good opportunity to get more comfortable with the break.

As I paddled out, the two other surfers on the peak rode waves in. Another dude paddled over from the next break south but he soon left too, and I had the peak all to myself. That still amazes me, next to a city of over 1.3 million people.

The waves were plentiful and playful. They were also brown, the ocean so murky I couldn't see my feet as I sat on my 6'2" all alone in the wide sea. Water sloshed over a boil and startled me. It's just a boil. See? Round footprint on the surface. Nothing but a big rock down there.

I'd about had my fill anyway, so caught my best wave, a long left, riding in close to shore. Then it was a matter of timing to avoid being smashed by shorepound. I'd practiced that sort of exit many times in Half Moon Bay, but it's different matter running barefoot up a steep beach made entirely of cobblestones. Ouch. Still, the waves were worth it.

The dirt trail to the top of the bluff is also a bit tricky. Not only is it steep, but there's a constant trickle of water dribbling down that turns the footing to slippery mud. (Which is odd, because we're in the middle of the drought, and other than a couple of freak thunderstorms a while ago, we haven't had rain in a long time.) Near the top, one of my feet lost purchase and I barely stopped the slide with my free hand.

"Want to give me your hand?" said a voice from above, and I looked up to see a longboarder offering his. I raised my muddy paw and he hoisted me up the last few steps. The nice dude told me the trail's always been wet, since he was a kid, due to a natural spring. Perhaps that also explains the brownness of the water there. But hey, I'll take muddy reef break over closed-out beach break any day of the week!

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