New WSL Format — the Scrum

14 09 2016

In what can only be seen as a wink and nod to its fiercest critics, the World Surfer League (WSL) has adopted a new contest format for its cadre of professional wave riders.  It’s called the “scrum” format.

For years critics, who are also, oddly enough, usually also fans of professional surf contests, have complained (or whined) of organized events that only test participants in a rarefied environment.  Two to three contestants surf against each other in perfect waves (sometimes) while the beach is completely closed to any other surfers.  The critics wonder how well these contestants would fare if they had to surf in crowded, competitive conditions “like the rest of us.”

So, here is how the scrum works.

At 4:30 am, all 34 pro contestants simultaneously receive a text message on their phones telling them the scrum is on, along with the wind and buoy reports.  They must then race to the Cristianitos parking lot, drop their bikes, and ride like crazy down the trail to the beach.  Those who happen to live closeby can ride their bikes directly to the beach.  But, no headlights allowed for anyone.

There is only a single 3-hour heat, all in.  Last man (this is the men’s contest) standing wins.  They can bring their best game faces, but the rules are the local rules.  No such thing as priority.  You’ve gotta earn it through tactics learned through years of experience.  Mad-dogging, blocking, shoulder hopping, back paddling, rail bumping; it’s all legal, if you can get away with it.

Some of the new contestants will try to work  their way to the peak by giving a few set waves to the veterans, hoping for some scraps or nuggets.  They may even try chatting it up with the vets, but there is not much hope for the nice guy approach in the scrum.

In some cases, disputes over priority may have to be settled on the beach by individuals or “teams.”

Longboards are allowed, but are generally discouraged.

That is the scrum.  Sound familiar?  Here is a photo, courtesy of the Surfline Lower Trestles live stream. Scrum in progress.  Anybody keeping score?

scrum

We hope you enjoyed this fictional story about a zany idea that has no basis in fact or any relationship to any real surf industry persons or organizations.





Tropical Cyclones – Then and Now

3 09 2016

History does repeat itself.

Even though 2015 was in El Nino mode and 2016 is in La Nina mode, there seems to be an eery similarity in the tropic cyclone pattern in the northeastern Pacific.  Late August/early September 2016  is looking a lot like the same period in 2015.  Check out this map of just a couple storms being tracked by Surfline’s HurricaneTrak.

090216 hurricanetrak 2

What isn’t shown is the disturbance west of Acapulco that may just be enough to jack up the waves for the 2016 Hurley Pro at Trestles and Swatch Women’s Pro.  Here is the National Weather Service advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

090216 nws hurricanes

Could be some fun contests in 2016, much like the contests in 2015.





Hurley Pro — The Wave Magnet

3 09 2016

It never fails.  When the Hurley Pro shows up at Lowers, so do the waves.  Last year, Mick Fanning walked away with the win.  The waves weren’t perfect, but there were waves.  In fact, they were some of the best waves of the summer.

Here is the link to the Surfline forecast for the contest as it appeared on the WSL website last year (2015).

Lully, but Fun, SW Swell Fri for the Hurley Pro / Swatch Women’s Pro

This year, the 2016 summer can only be called the “forgettable summer” of waves.  But, as it turns out, the waves seem to be on the way for the 2016 Hurley Pro at Trestles and the Swatch Women’s Pro, with a waiting period of September 7 through 18, 2016.  Of course!

Lowers is expected to be a magnet for fun size waves during the first few days of the waiting period.  A sizeable storm in the South Pacific is generating a groundswell while some late cyclones are potentially forming off Mexico.

So, get your cameras ready to shoot and collect your favorite keepsake poster for signatures by the pro’s.  It’s gonna be another fun celebrity party at Lowers over the next couple weeks as the pro’s roll into town.

And, there will be waves.  There always are. Because, like the pro’s, the Hurley Pro has a magnetic personality.

 





A Tale of Two Breaks

25 02 2016

This is a strange swell.  Two different breaks; two different swells.

Here is a screenshot of the Surfline report for Sandspit, in Santa Barbara, California yesterday afternoon as the new swell worked its way down from north to south along the coast.  Looks kinda fun, right?  Typical winter swell, right?

sandspit

It was amusing to watch it in live action.  The dense crowd looked like a flock of ducks fighting the current in a river.  They would all paddle with their noses in the same direction, even though the current was much stronger and faster than they could hope to paddle against.  They would all paddle toward the jetty.  Then the backwash would suck them all out and to the left.  Like the ducks, no real chance to paddle into the ideal position.  Just turn and go.  If you got in the right spot, you were assured of a fun little barrel.  If not, you either became one with the backwash, flying into the air, or you were dropped into the sand with the surfer next to you scrambling to get out of the way.  The swell direction seemed pretty good for Sandspit.

Looking for good waves along the coast to the south, they were few and far between. They either had size and lousy shape or they were too small to be fun.  Something was just a little strange about the swell’s behavior.

Then, this morning it happened.

Our favorite spot lit up!

trestles report

Strangely enough, the strong typhoon-driven swell from the W/WNW that closed the North Shore (Hawaii) beaches manifested itself as more of a southwest swell.  As with most west swells, just a couple degrees of direction can dramatically change where the waves will be good and where they won’t even show up.  I guess it mixed in with a little bit of pure south swell.  As a result, Surfline is calling Trestles “Good” today, a designation seldom used in this area.

Most of us usually don’t like a “Good” designation because it tends to draw a bigger crowd to deal with, but it sure is fun to see our favorite spot start the summer season a little early. So, come on down and join The Crowd.





Can you say pancake?

16 12 2015
flat trestles

Source: Surfline Upper Trestles report — December 16, 2015 8:15 am PST

Enough said.  Time to settle in for the cold, rainy winter.

Or, at least until the Gulf of Alaska really kicks in at just the right angle.  In the meantime, we’ll be keeping an eye on spots to the north and south.





2015 Hurley Pro Trestles — Results

19 09 2015

A week of excellent “skateboard park” waves at Lowers for the first five rounds!  An unbelievable air save by Kelly that only got a 4.17.  A ton of solid surfing by just about all the contestants.

Then, very close rounds from the quarters to the final, with a little controversy for spice.

The 2015 Hurley Pro Trestles is done, finished.  The Champ — Mick Fanning.  Nice to see him on the podium again as he extends an incredible career.  And, Mick has definitely shaken off that shark bump thing.

With an impressive lineup in the parallel universe of the 2015 Swatch Women’s Pro, we were treated to a show that is the women’s WSL.  The women killed it as they wrapped up their event.  The Champ — Carissa Moore.

Congratulations to both of our new Trestles Champs!  Come back and join the Crowd when things quiet down.

For more info, go to The WSL Events Website.





Trestles Surf Report — September 7, 2015

8 09 2015

Wow!  What a day!

It started with a full parking lot by 5:45 am.  Followed by full Cristianitos Road street parking by 6:00 am.

Everyone’s expectations were mostly kept pretty low for getting waves to oneself on this likely the most crowded surf day of the year.  Fortunately, there was a substantial swell that provided some size.  Unfortunately, at most tides there were lulls that allowed everyone to reload,

Bike Traffic on the Busiest Day of the Year -- Uppers

Bike Traffic on the Busiest Day of the Year — Uppers

meaning the crowd was not spread out temporally (ie, the surfers who caught the previous set of waves have enough time to paddle back out to the lineup before the next set).

First stop:  Lowers.

There were at least 100 people in the “slot” at Lowers, from the guys acting as “indicators” on the outside to the groms on the inside.  It was possible to get some boomers to yourself, but you had to paddle for a lot of party waves first.  Warm water, mens and womens pros sprinkled through the crowd, and lots of competitive juice flowing through everyone.  Got about 10 waves, then paddle, paddle, paddle to  . . .

Second stop:  Uppers

Even more people, though they were spread out from Barbed Wires to the Bay.  Definitely some sneakers coming through.  Swing, stab, and go.  It was also a little more consistent than Lowers this time.  Lots of waves, but lots of surfers.  Nice long rights, with lots of speed and energy.  Sometimes the walls would gobble you up.

That’s the Trestles report in a nutshell.  But, there were waves everywhere along the coast.  I  thought Kayo was crazy peddling back to his car at 6:00 am, mumbling something about checking out Doho.  Looking at the Doheny camera this evening, now I see what he was talking about.  Check out this report from Surfline; only “good” rating on the coast.  Hmmmm.

Source: Surfline Doheny Beach camera/report

Source: Surfline Doheny Beach camera/report

Everyone is getting pumped up for the 2015 Hurley Pro at Trestles, with its window being from Wednesday, September 9 through September 20.

Parking will be interesting.  For those planning to attend the event, you likely won’t be able to find parking at the Trestles lot near Carl’s Jr.  It will be full by about 6:30 am at the latest due to the swell.  So, just follow the event signage to the official parking area.  That will work best for everyone, surfers and spectators alike.

With that said, do plan on attending the event.  The lineup is incredible this year for both men and women.  And, it looks like there will be waves throughout the entire window, though they may vary in height a bit.  Weather is perfect as well.  What an idyllic place to enjoy some of the best surf and surfers in the world.

Welcome to the Crowd, where respect is mutual and expected.

That’s the report for this week.  Surf’s up!