Trestles Wave Quality

30 08 2010

Source: Google Earth

Ever wonder why the waves at Trestles don’t quite have the punch of some of its beach break brethren?

It’s not just the rock reef bottom, with its holes and mounds, that make it roll onto shore without throwing surfers for headers.  The bottom affects it before it even makes it onto the horizon.

Notice above  (courtesy of Google Earth) the continental shelf that extends out from the beach, starting at Dana Point and continuing southward.   The shelf was formed over time by the deposit of sand and silt (and rocks) from the ephemeral creeks throughout the Southern California Bight (not bite).  The Bight actually reaches from Point Conception into the northern part of Baja California.  The summer (mostly south to north) currents move the sand along the coast until it hits a projection like Dana Point.  Then, the winter (mostly north to south) currents wash the sand in the opposite direction.

We’ll talk about sand flow in more detail at another time, but the point here is that there is a shelf that extends out from Trestles for a few miles.  That shallow shelf provides resistance to incoming waves, slowing them down and flattening them out.  As a result, they just sort of roll onto the beach.

On the other hand, look at what is referred to as Newport Canyon.  Again, at another time we will discuss how Newport Canyon was formed and present some cool side-scanning sonar images that leads some to believe that the canyon was formed when the “mighty” Santa Ana River cut into the soft continental shelf over the centuries.  The point here is that the big south swells of summer run through deep water straight at the south facing beaches of Newport (“The Point”) and slam into the sand, without any shallow water resistance, forming vertical faces and those “almond eyes” that can bury a standing surfer and spit him out again.

So, if you want a mostly rolling wave, hang with the Crowd at Trestles.  If you want to take your chances in the pursuit of barrel glory, look for the deep water with no offshore island obstructions.

Bear Count in the Sierra Nevada

25 08 2010

Big fat zero!

We never got a chance to practice a little taekwando with lions, tigers or bears, but we know they were scared of us.  Just look what the bears left behind—–bear scat (excrement or another “s” word).

Bear scat -- note size and content (berry seeds)

So, why is this post in a surfing blog about Trestles?

The Human Trees

Trestles Surf Crowd believes that surfers are educated and intensely concerned about all the environmental issues related to the water we surf in.  Watersheds provide the water that comes down our creeks, like San Mateo Creek, and brings the sand down to our beaches.  So, it is important to go to the top of the watersheds and work our way down to the beach to make sure they are healthy and productive.

Over the next few weeks, between beach reports, we will report on one High Sierra watershed, providing info on some of the environmental issues we face in safeguarding our precious watersheds.

On the subject of large creatures, check out these super-tall humanoids we ran across.  We had to work undercover so we only caught their silhouettes.

They said something about looking for new “sticks.”   Maybe we’ll see them in the water soon.

On A Watershed Exploration Trip — Evolution Valley

17 08 2010

Looking SE -- Evolution Valley at 1:30 O'Clock From Florence Lake

While the waves are taking a break, I’m going to do the same.  Off to Evolution Valley in the Sierra Nevada.

It’s a trip our group has been considering for about 12 years.  Evolution Valley ranges from high-altitude arctic tundra to alpine meadows to chaparral.  You can either start from Florence Lake, which is part of Southern California Edison’s Big Creek Hydroelectric Generation System, their largest hydro provider.  Or, you can come over Paiute Pass (approx. 13,000′) from North Lake, which is on the east side of the Sierra, west of Bishop.

We will be starting from Florence Lake.  We’ll hike for a few days to see how far up the valley we can get.  Along the way, we’ll probably do some side hikes up to the nearby lakes, passes, and peaks.  Then, we’ll take a couple days to get back to the car.  The valley is supposed to be one of the most beautiful in the Sierra.

I can’t afford the extra weight of a laptop and satellite phone, so I won’t be posting for about a week.  But, look out because I’ll have plenty of time to think about the oddball stuff I think about.  And you know what that means–more posts, like ’em or leave ’em.

So, excuse me while I get high for a week (in altitude of course).  Then, we’ll be rejoining The Crowd.

Yes, Summer 2010 Is Over

16 08 2010

The post from the other day talked about water temperatures “way out there” in the ocean and how La Nina had really kicked in.  But, I didn’t realize just how prophetic that post was until the water temperatures plummeted right on the beach.

On Saturday morning, it felt like a bad dream.  There we were at Uppers all commiserating.  Seemingly overnight, the ocean temperature went arctic on us.  It was probably only 58 degrees, but it may as well have been 50.  Nobody had booties, gloves or hoods at hand.  So, we all just complained to each other.

It was just like sitting in the lineup in February.  Low quality wind waves and cold water.  And, yes the calendar still says the middle of August in the northern hemisphere.

Hopefully Winter 2011 goes away as quickly as Summer 2010 came and went!

Surf Wax Where It Doesn’t Belong

14 08 2010

Surf wax is an amazing product.  Without it, surfing just wouldn’t be the same.  Even today’s traction tops just don’t work the same.  But, the miracle product sometimes ends up in places other than on our boards.

Seems like no matter how hard we try to avoid it, surf wax ends up where it doesn’t belong.

The other day, I got a strong sign that I took off on the wrong wave.  After a late takeoff and during the drubbing brought on by the closeout, I realized my toes had curled so hard trying to pull under the lip, that my toenails had loaded up with wax.   Wax where it doesn’t belong.

How about those warm summer days when we don our spring suits, but forget to change out our “cool” wax?  The wax balls up and sticks to the hairs on our legs.  At least that’s true for guys and bohemian wahines.  Brings a new meaning to waxing for hair removal.  Wax where it doesn’t belong.

If you use a backpack to carry your wetsuit and gear, you likely keep your wax in a separate compartment.  Otherwise it ends up on your Iphone or clothes.  Wax where it doesn’t belong.

It also sometimes intentionally ends up where it doesn’t belong.  Most of the Trestleglyphs (see previous post) are wax.  Intentional writings of surfers.   Great communication, but does it really belong on the trail?

Then, there’s the age old tactic used by over-zealous locals — wax on the windshield of some poor tourist.  Definitely wax where it doesn’t belong.

And, of course,  given enough time, wax somehow manages to migrate onto the bottom of our boards.  It slips while we’re waxing up,  when we lay our boards on the trash can while we’re toweling off, when we stack our boards on the roof rack, or when we land an air on the board of the poor soul behind us.

Where have you found wax where it didn’t belong.  But, don’t wax bizarre and remember this is a family site, so don’t rub anyone the wrong way.

By the way, if you want more info on the leading developer of surf wax, go to Wax

Is Summer 2010 Over?

8 08 2010

When is cool not cool?  When it’s supposed to be hot.

Okay, so all the “weathercasters” (a new term for blond cuties and guys in $3,000 suits standing in front of weather charts on TV) agree, this has been the coolest summer on record for Southern California.  And, somehow everyone seems to be whining about it.  All while the southeast is suffering in 126-degree stifling heat (effective temp, when humidity is taken into account).

So, wazzup with the weather?

We can blame La Nina — the cooling of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean along the equator and the opposite global wind pattern of El Nino.  Check out this map from the El Nino/Southern Oscillation discussion group of the NOAA.  It shows water temperature “anomalies,” that is departures from average temperatures.

Australia is the white shape at the lower left corner.  Central America is at the upper right.  The line marked EQ is the equator.  This is a moderate to strong La Nina.  In a moderate to strong El Nino, the blue is replaced with red and orange, and vice versa.  Go to the NOAA ENSO site for more info.

Then, here is an SST (sea surface temperature) map from Surfline’s Hurricanetrak.  The only warm water is off Central America.  The water even gets cooler toward the equator.  Guess we won’t be seeing any hurricane surf this year.  Usually, the entire ocean west of Central America is a dark red this time of year.   Also, notice all the red in the Gulf of Mexico, where they are predicting an unusually heavy hurricane season this year.

Source: Surfline Hurricanetrak - August 3, 2010

The other day, out at Uppers, it even felt like Fall.  The water was cool, the wind was offshore and dry.  The only thing that told us it was still summer was the crowd.

Better start looking for those 5/4’s, booties, gloves, and hoods.  Summer is over!

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

3 08 2010

I still have the pieces.    Anybody know a good taxidermist?

In June, I lost an old friend.   I guess that’s why I haven’t posted anything since June [good excuse anyway].

It happened while paddling out.   That old buckle, where I landed it a bit hard about 18 months ago, finally gave way.  I got stuck in the impact zone while paddling out and it happened.  One snap and it was gone — my old Russell, shaped by Chuck Barnes, was now in two pieces.  I hadn’t ridden it in awhile, waiting until it was big enough to crank up the speed on the old orange flyer.

2-piece Russell

A couple years ago, the Crowd kept telling me I needed a new board for months on end.  But, I just couldn’t find a good replacement for the speed and agility I found in the Russell– a shape that combined the rounded pin curves of the 70’s with the maneuverability of 2010.

On that day in June, in an instant, my old friend was snapped in half by a unforgiving wave.  Now I have the choice of making it into art or trash.  While my heart says art; reality (and my bride) says trash.

Or . . . . . . . . . . . .  anybody have a ding repair kit handy?