24 February 2016

The Many Moods of the Ocean

Monday I surfed Tourmaline with Mike and Jess. The waves were small but nicely shaped for longboarding. We all got fun long rides, although Mike dominated as usual on his 9' log. While I was waiting for a ride in after my friends left, a sea lion surfed a wave near me and no one else in the crowd saw it. Way cool!
Spring flower from the road to Blacks
With a similar forecast for Tuesday, I headed to Blacks, where Surfline was reporting 3-4'. After walking down the gated road for fifteen minutes to reach the beach, I saw that Surfline had lied. The set waves were a couple feet overhead and the shorepound was 6'. One guy got a stand-up barrel despite the poor shape of the waves. If I'd driven up to see those conditions, I would've gone somewhere else. But after hiking down, I had to go in. I managed to get out past the shorepound on a lull and a cute college boy chatted me up in the lineup. He yelled, "Yeah!" as I paddled for one of the big set waves, which may or may not have influenced my commitment. I popped up, maybe a tad late, and a split second after my feet landed, the wave jacked up vertical. My board lost contact with the water and I free-fell to the bottom of the wave before the lip crashed down on me. I got dragged and rolled to the impact zone, spinning until I didn't know which way was up. The primitive part of my brain feared drowning and I had to tell myself not to panic. I surfaced, gasping, to see the rest of the set bearing down. When the shorepound is overhead and breaking in waist-deep water, you know you're going to get drilled, and I was. By the time I made it to the shallows, I'd bashed a finger and I think my head into my board. Shuffling through a long stretch of knee-deep water to the beach, I felt a little dizzy. I sat on a bolder until it passed before making the hike back to my car.
Today, as I checked the surf at Hennemans, someone at my side said hello. It was my friend Ian, who I hadn't seen him in a while. He paddled out ahead of me and we chatted a bit before drifting to different parts of the peak. Halfway through the session, Mike joined me, also on his longboard. On the high tide, the waves were fun but soft, in between Monday's gentle surf and Tuesday's gnarly swell. The ocean has many moods.

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