Trestles Surf Report — 9/2/11

3 09 2011

Yep, deja vu all over again.

There was definitely still a lot of swell in the water for dawn patrol.  Not really that big; just a lot of water moving around.  In the photo below, looking south from the point at Uppers into the bay, you can see the lagoon is doing some strange stuff.  Notice the little inside backwash zipper to the left.  It was like a river washing into the lagoon and a river getting sucked back out.  It was almost safer to ride it out on your board than to try to walk in the water that was moving about 10 feet per second.

Just above the zipper line you can see a guy going right.  Even though this was the shorebreak, you can see it wasn’t that big (a foot over two overhead in the shorebreak); again, just a lot of water.  To the right is a seagull trying to escape.

The Lagoon in Motion

As for sneaker cleanup sets, I thought the little near-death experience Wednesday night was a one-time deal, but not so.  This morning, it was like a retake in a bad movie.  There were about twenty of us in the outside lineup.  I noticed a shadow on the horizon.  Thinking “I’m not going to let it happen to me again,”  I started paddling for Catalina.  Everyone asked me what I was doing as I put about 20 yards between me and the guy behind me.   When they saw the first wave of the set, it got real quiet.

I was able to punch my way through the lip of the first wave, but only a handful of others joined me on the other side.  The rest got sucked toward shore.  As I went through that first wave, for the first time in my decades of surfing I could hear a crackling sound while I was submerged.

The second wave was even further outside.  Just as I tried to duck dive under the lip, it snatched my board from between my fingers.  Again, the crackling sound as I tried to figure out which way was up.  Another couple guys got stripped out of our advance team.

The third wave was just too far out.  I didn’t have time to get back on my board so I bailed it.  The full impact of the lip was about 10 yards in front of me.  As I reached for the deep water, I could feel my board tombstoning.  My leash pulled harder and harder on my right leg until finally there was no more tug.  I knew what happened immediately.  Again, the crackling, even as the whitewater passed.  When I finally made it to the surface, there was no sign of my board; not even a bobbing flash from time to time.

Leashes are supposed to break to save your hip.

I swam out as far as I could trying to minimize the whitewater turbulence that rag dolls you and makes it dark when you open your eyes underwater.   The next six waves successively pummeled me as I did the breast stroke out to the lineup.

As the set dissipated and I started to backstroke the 200 yards toward shore, I couldn’t see my board.  Everyone who didn’t make it under the first three set waves were now washed up on shore at various points between the bay and Five-O’s.

The good news is that I made it to work on time (I guess).  The tough part is that it sucks when your last set snaps your leash and washes you to shore.  Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

I never did figure out the crackling sound, but it should be a good research topic.  Maybe you’ll see the answer in a future post.

Looks like the wave period is supposed to get shorter and the direction more southerly–perfect for our beloved Trestles.  See you in the water.

Buenas olas!


Guest Surfer Profile

2 09 2011

This is Sam.

Sam from Florida -- powering up for Trestles

Sam is from Florida and coast hops coast to coast looking for big waves.  He is a friend of Mark Sponsler, the keeper of, so he has an inside track.

Last week he surfed on the East Coast, chasing bumps from Hurricane Irene.  This week, it’s the West Coast.  Yesterday, he fought the crowds at Malibu.  Today, it was Trestles.

The photo was shot with a flash, because the time was pre-dawn.

Sam has a lot of great stories that he tells in his low-key Floridian style.  If you see him in the water, give him some waves.   If you see him at the restaurant, buy him a beer.

Part of the excitement of big swells is the ability to swap stories with surf brethren.  Enjoy!

Trestles Surf Report — 8/31/11

1 09 2011

Gateway to Uppers

Definitely not the best direction, but plenty of water moving around tonight.  Should be an exciting weekend.

Just after the sun went down, at Uppers, the proverbial “cleanup set” charged the beach from Cottons to Lowers.  One minute there were 30 of us scratching for the horizon; the next we were all literally washed up on the beach.  One guy happened to be sitting further out beyond the normal lineup and managed to pull himself over the double overhead sets.  I paddled back out, but there were only three of us left for the twilight last waves of the day.

In the hour and a half I was in the water, the waves grew before our eyes.  The tide was rising from a minus tide, but the water advanced on beach even faster than the tide.  When I was working my way across the rocky lagoon, the water moved in and out from the beach like a river.  I had to check to make sure San Mateo Creek hadn’t started flowing again.  There was that much water moving.  That explains the unusual ebb tide backwash that added to the thrill on takeoffs; there was just a lot of water moving in and out from the beach.

With all this said, the waves were by no means huge.  As I’ve already reinforced, there was just a lot of water moving around.  The shape was walled and mediocre at best.  Hopefully, as the swell turns more south, the shape will improve.  Sure would be nice to get some of those 500-yard dances.

That’s it.  Just thought some of you might be curious how it looked early in the swell.

Buenas olas!