What is the Surfline Effect?

18 07 2014
This is the Surfline Effect!

This is the Surfline Effect!

It is that relatively new phenomenon whereby on the peak day of any clean swell the Upper Trestles Surf Crowd blossoms.  Can you say Party Wave?

Now understand that as a scientist/engineer who got the top A in his biometerology class, I love Surfline’s wave and weather models.  My wife has to ask why I spend so much time with a model named LOLA.  I would venture to say that LOLA is the most significant breakthrough that has come along in wave forecasting for surfers over the last few decades.  As a model, it filters out most of the extraneous computer garbage to give us clean, simple forecasts weeks in advance of approaching swells.  And, it is mostly dead on accurate.

However, there is LOLA’s relative from the dark side, LOWLIFE.  It is the simultaneous rise in surfer population at Upper Trestles whenever a swell’s peak is predicted.  If Surfline says the swell peak overnight on Tuesday, you can bet the parking lot will be full by daybreak on Wednesday morning.

Reading my posts, you know that I welcome all surfers to join the Crowd, but there is this phenomenon we have to deal with nowadays — “The Surfline Effect.”  Today, I counted 12 surfers taking off on the same wave.  That is probably not a sustainable or safe situation.

A good surfing ethics question came up in the water.  It seems to have a simple answer, but it does make you think.  The question is:  “Is it okay to take off on someone who took off on someone else (who in today’s crowd actually took off on someone else and so on and son on)?”

I’ll just say “Let’s be careful out there.”

And, let’s stick to the Surfing Rules for Upper Trestles, which I posted the other day.

By the way, there are some measures that can be taken to counteract the Surfline Effect, but like the Central Coast secret spot location, I’m not talkin’.

And, to all our favorite forecasters at Surfline, don’t let the Surfline Effect change your good work.  We are now hooked and can’t go through the withdrawals if you decided to shut down.  We just can’t go back to the old days of showing up at the beach each morning to see if we are going to surf that day.





Tribute To A Hero

13 07 2014

On July 6, 2014, Southern California lost Ben Carlson, one of its heroes to the churning waters off 16th Street in Newport Beach.

Today, the community thanked Ben with what has to be one of the largest “paddle outs” ever.

Paddle Out for Ben Carlson -- 7/13/14

Waiting in Line for the Paddle Out for Ben Carlson — 7/13/14 — note the Crowd on the pier

Most people involved probably never met Ben, but they respect, admire and deeply appreciate his dedication that drew him into the “washing machine” that day to save a body surfer’s life.

Without going on, trying to act like I know more than I do about Ben or the situation, I just want to say thank you to Ben, his family, and all the lifeguards that serve day in and day out with little thanks.  Thank you!

Surfers and lifeguards (many of whom are surfers) have always had an interesting relationship, swimming side by side in heavy surf at times.  We as surfers need to say thank you to lifeguards each time we see them.  We never know when they will be dragging us to shore to give us another chance at life.





Surfing Rules for Upper Trestles

7 07 2014

Welcome to all who want to surf Upper Trestles!

Visitors by the Thousands

Visitors by the Thousands

But, let’s get something straight — there are some rules.  Contrary to the opinions, or perceptions, of some guests (and I use the term loosely), Uppers is not some sort of free for all where you just paddle into any wave any time you want.

Most of us on Dawn Patrol are pretty nice guys, easy to get along with.  Unfortunately, sometimes that easy going approach is misinterpreted to mean “go ahead snake me.”

On a related issue, because Uppers can be one of the most crowded spots on the planet in the summertime, it may seem to some that there is no order to the crowd.  On the contrary, it is only because of the strong order in the water that everyone is usually able to get waves to themselves, even on the most crowded days.

All this to set up my social comment.

This morning, I watched as some infrequent guests showed up late, about 7:00 am, and immediately started snaking anyone and everyone.  Yes,  including me.  When I paddled back out, I heard a couple of them congratulate each other on their endeavors.  It went something like this.

Funboarder:  “Hey, I just saw your buddy blatantly take off on a guy who had perfect position on that last set.  He even looked the guy straight in the eye before paddling in front of him.”

Overly tan baldy:  “Yeah, what a great wave.  Lucky guy.”

Funboarder:  “It didn’t seem right.”

Overlly tan baldy:  “Yeah, but I guess that’s the way it works at Uppers.”

Funboarder:  “Yeah, I guess.  I just did the same thing.”

My official response for the record is:  “No, that is not the way it works at Uppers.”

Sure, we all occasionally shoulder hop someone, usually by accident, or because we didn’t try as hard as we should have to look way up the line.  But, we at least need to be somewhat remorseful, and owe the other guy a wave or waves they can bank for later.

If you want to come to Uppers, keep that in mind.   A simple “Oh, sorry about that” goes a long way and helps keep order in the water.  It also keeps us all a little safer.

Visiting surfers need to realize that there is order in the water.  If it seems otherwise, it is because you are probably just projecting your own chaotic, reckless demeanor on The Crowd.  So, take a few minutes to be perceptive about the order and integrate yourself into it.  You will have a lot more fun in the long run.

And, you may just make some new friends in The Crowd.

Namaste.